The Direct combat in Sunrider can be complex, as you have to take into account both your weapons characteristics (which differ depending on its type), the enemy stats (whose effects also depend on your weapon type), and even external factors, like the flak in the missiles path or shield provided by nearby units.
Also, every action that results in a loss or recover of HP has a "damage variation" associated with it, to represent a stroke of luck or misfortune. This variation is at maximum of a 5%. There is also a damage multiplier depending on your Difficulty settings (if you play on Easy, your damage rises and the enemy lowers, vice versa on Hard)
Unit ability types
In Sunrider units have 5 general subtypes of "actions" that ships can use by expending EN.
Kinetics and Assault weapons fire physical matter at ships at great speeds. Kinetic weapons typically are very powerful but have low accuracy. They ignore shields, but have twice the damage reduction from armor.
Kinetic cannons are generally only effective against large, slow targets, but their high damage is very effective at puncturing through armor. Assault weapons are ineffective against armor, but can mow down lightly armored ryders and finish off badly damaged ships effectively.
Kinetic weapons lose 15% accuracy per hex of distance.
Laser and Pulse weapons fire concentrated energy at enemy units. Energy weapons typically have great accuracy making them viable at range, but they are directly countered by energy shielding. Multiple shield generating ships together can create an energy field so powerful that it negates energy weapons completely, making them effectively useless until you deal with enough ships in some other way.
Lasers are good for softening or killing targets from a distance, particularly those with little or no shielding. Pulse weapons serve a similar role to assault weapons, but have longer effective range and can damage some modestly armored targets (e.g. bombers and frigates) that assault weapons cannot.
Energy weapons lose 10% accuracy per hex of distance.
Missiles do great damage and are dependable even at long range, but their stocks are very limited. Commanders need to consider the best time and place to use them. Rockets are a variant that do far greater damage but are very expensive and do not get replenished between missions. Missiles and rockets are directly countered by Flak. Units capable of doing so will try to shoot down any enemy missiles that come into range, allowing them to defend units near and behind them.
Missile weapons lose 5% accuracy per hex of distance.
Some ryders are equipped with short range weapons specialized for anti-ryder operations. These attacks are difficult to evade and do massive physical damage, easily overpowering any armor that may be present and ignores shielding, but cannot be used on ships. The point blank range of Melee attacks means having to get in close and personal, which could prove to be a challenge as moving within a single cell of an enemy equipped with an Assault type weapon triggers a free blind-side attack from the opponent. Any ryder moving in for a Melee attack should either be confident in it's armor or have another way to deal with the counter attack.
Some custom ryders come equipped with unique skills that can buff, curse or even repair units. The effects can be extremely varied and when used properly can turn the tide of the entire battle.
The chance to hit for most weapons is equal to the weapons base accuracy minus a distance penalty. the actual formula used in game is:
weapon accuracy + base accuracy - (accuracy degradation * distance) - Enemy Evasion + (buff or debuff).
Base accuracy is 50 for all weapons except energy weapons, which have a base accuracy of 40.
The degradation value is 15 per hex for kinetics, 10 per hex for energy weapons and 5 per hex for missiles. This means that a cannon with 120 accuracy fired at an enemy at 5 grids with 25 of evasion (EV), will have a: 120 + 50 - (5*15) - 25 = 70 . this final value taking into account enemy EV, buffs, and distance is the one you see on the battle grid whenever you select a weapon.
In Sunrider energy shielding and flak extend outwards around a ship. Therefore, a key part to battle strategy is optimizing the positioning of friendly units such that units protect each other. There exist 4 general types of defenses that vary from ship to ship and which can be improved through upgrades
Units can use machine guns or flak cannons to try and intercept approaching or passing enemy missiles - reducing the damage taken by allies. The value shown in the status and targeting window represents the percentage chance of each missile within a salvo to be intercepted. this means that if unit A fires a salvo of 8 missiles and unit B as a flak value of 15 then there exists a very tiny chance (15%^8 = 0.000026%) that every single missile gets intercepted and a moderate chance (85%^8 = 27.2%) that no missile gets intercepted at all. The range at which a unit can intercept passing missiles can vary and is shown by a red outline on the battle map when the mouse hovers over the unit, or when the mouse hovers over a missile/rocket weapon.
Flak activates as a missile passes by its zone of activation (the red outline), being the target in its range or nor. This means that a unit that is not being covered by any flak can get some protections from other units depending from the positions the missiles are shot. The path followed by the missiles is always a diagonal line until it can reach the target either by a perfect horizontal or vertical line. Thus, predicting the path of the missiles can save a unit in a situation where there is not enough cover, by intercepting all the missiles early.
Flak becomes less effective as it gets overwhelmed by enemy missiles. Each time a unit tries to intercept a salvo its effectiveness temporarily drops by 2% per enemy missile within the salvo. That means a salvo of 8 missiles will leave the interceptor at only (100%-8*2%=) 84% effectiveness until the end of that turn. This would drop a flak rating of 30 to effectively 25. Flak effectiveness can not be reduced below 33% of its original value in this manner. This degradadtion applies to all units, even the ones that haven't intercepted any missile. So, sometimes it may be wise to spread a little your flak net if missiles comes from two sides, so that the degradation of every salvo doesn't affect all your units (of course, this only makes sense if you have a surplus of flak protection)
Rockets have the innate property of reducing the enemy flak value by 10 on account of being a lot tougher than regular missiles, which is represented in the displayed value in the targeting window. This is a simple subtractive penalty to flak, meaning a 15% effective chance to intercept missiles becomes 5% against a rocket. This value can be improved further through R&D, even for regular missiles (which normally have 0).
Combining these 2 concepts means it's optimal to only fire rockets only after weakening the enemy flak with a few salvos of regular missiles first. Effective flak is calculated as: (base flak - flak reduction) * flak effectiveness= percentage of shooting it down. The main thing to take away from this is that the flak value gets reduced by the missiles resistance before the effectiveness penalty caused by being overwhelmed opposed to after, which would give very different results.
Example: A rocket is fired towards the Sunrider, having the Black Jack at it's side, both without any flak upgrades. The Black Jack has suffered a enemy attack of 8 missiles, so both the Sunrider and the Black Jack flak effectiveness is at 84%. The effective flak is: Black jack: (35 - 10) * 0.84 = 21 Sunrider: (40-10) * 0.84 = 25
The chance of the rocket passing through is: 1 * (1 - 0.21) * (1 - 0.25) = 0.5925 = 59%
Also called blindside attacks, counterattacks are more like a derivative of flak. When you put any unit adjacent to a enemy one, if the enemy unit has an Assault weapon it gets a free attack of his Assault weapon upon you moving (effectively firing in the middle of your turn). This means that sometimes if you aren't careful you can lose a unit before your turn ends. The only way to avoid this attack is using the Phoenix Stealth's ability, although units with enough armor can just tank the enemy fire. Take into account that any unit which also has a natural flak of 0 won't have any Assault weapon (so you can go near them safely), and that you can trigger counterattacks in your favour (with the Gravity Gun for example).
Flak buffs act as a damage bonus during counterattacks.
The Bianca's kinetic weapon can also do blindside attacks.
Energy shielding reduces incoming energy damage (from Laser and Pulse weapons) by a percentage before armor, equal to the shield value shown on the status and targeting window. Ships that generate an energy field will also protect units within their range, which is shown when the mouse hovers over the unit in the battle map.
Shields stack from multiple sources additively, meaning a unit in range of 2 units that generate a shield will have a shield value of both summed together. This makes it possible to reach a full saturation point of 100% shielding which completely negates all energy damage to that ship.
Because shields reduce damage before armor, a combination of the 2 is quite effective at defending against Pulse weapons because of its multi-shot nature.
- A unit with no shielding but 8 armor being attacked by a pulse weapon doing 25x10 damage will take on average (25-8)*10=170 damage from the attack (assuming each shot hits the target).
- A unit with 30% shielding (generated by itself or a nearby ally) being attacked from the same weapon will take (25*0.7-8)*10=95 damage from the attack, nearly halving the actual damage despite the shielding only being 30% thanks to the synergy between shielding and armor.
Armor reduces each hit (not total damage, every individual damage) by the amount equal to the value shown on the status and targeting window. This makes armor especially effective against low damage multi-hit attacks such as Assault and Pulse weapons. In addition, the armor value is doubled against Assault and Kinetic weapons, making it a straight counter to Assault weapons more than anything else.
As ships take damage the effectiveness of its armor gets reduced alongside its HP. This reduction is percentage-based: When the enemy has 20% left of its HP, their armour will be reduced to 20% of what it was. This could make assault weapons viable even against heavily armored cruisers if they are already heavily damaged. Try to keep the health of your own units up to counteract this effect!
The effective armour value of a ship shows in its status window, with a red color if it has been reduced from its maximum by damage.
Example: The Sunrider attacks with its kinetics (400 power without upgrades) a Cruiser that has 500 HP. Suppose that it hits. The armour will negate 32 of damage, as:
effective armour = (base armour * percentage of HP left) = 30 * (5/9) = 16.67 = 16 (every number is rounded down)
Now however, if everything else is as normal, the cruiser will have 132 HP left. This mean that its effective armour will be 4. Now the Cruiser is very vulnerable to most Assault weapons.
As one would imagine, small and nimble units are a lot harder to hit than slow or even immobile units. This is represented in game by the evasion value shown in the status window.
Generally, most Ryders will have about +25 evasion, frigates get no bonus or penalty and capital ships get -25 evasion, actually making them easier to hit. Immobile units like stations and bases can have up to -50 to evasion making them very easy to hit, but those tend to make up for it with lots of armor and repair facilities. This however is not set in stone: the Alliance Cruiser is a capital ship yet it has 0 EV, while the Phoenix being an incredibly nimble Ryder has +50 EV. You can see the EV of every unit on it's status window.
The evasion value gets directly subtracted from the attackers chance to hit. e.g. a weapon with a chance to hit a frigate of 60% can be expected to have a chance to hit of 35% against most ryders at the same distance.
equation for calculating the damage done:
DAMAGE RECEIVED PER HIT = (BASE DAMAGE PER HIT * (100-SHIELDING) ) / 100 - ARMOR
Equation for calculating the amount of damage your armor and shielding will negate:
NEGATION = BASE DAMAGE PER HIT * SHIELDING / 100 + ARMOR
Equations for calculating the required Armor and Shielding to completely negate all damage:
ARMOR = DAMAGE PER HIT * (100 - SHIELDING) / 100
SHIELDING = (1 - (ARMOR / DAMAGE PER HIT) ) * 100
damage = weapon damage * relevant upgrades * (0.95~1.05)
This damage value gets modified further like so:
damage1 = damage * modifier value (buffs/curses)
Now we check defences of the target. If the weapon is of the 'energy' type it checks for shielding
damage2 = damage1 * ( 100 - enemy shields) / 100
Armour gets subtracted (double for kinetics)
Final damage = damage2 - enemy armour
So, as an example:
I shoot my laser with 200 damage and I assume it hits. The attacker has a 20% damage buff and has upgrades for +25% extra laser damage. The target has 20% shielding and 10 armour.
damage = 200 * 1.25 * random(let's say 1.0) = 250 damage = 250 * 1.2 = 300 damage = 300 * ( 100 - 20 ) / 100 = 240 damage = 240 - 10 = 230
The target now receives 230 points of damage. If you are the attacker and are playing on easy the damage will be increased 230 * 1.33 = 305 (always rounded down). if you were attacked it would become 230 * 0.75 = 172. If you play on hard these figures would be switched.