Author Topic: Why are DropShip cost multipliers so high?  (Read 1401 times)

Saklad5

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Why are DropShip cost multipliers so high?
« on: 22 August 2023, 13:47:06 »
Many unit types in BattleTech have painful cost multipliers, but none are even remotely as crazy as those of DropShips and other units with docking collars. Spheroid and aerodyne DropShips have an inherent multiplier of 28 and 35 respectively, which often makes the final cost of a ship rather unhinged from common sense.

Take the classic Leopard: it is meant to cheaply carry an AirLance into combat, but nearly half the price tag of that 1,900-ton DropShip is due to 82 tons of basic weaponry. Over half the cost of a Union is similarly the afterthought weapon systems.

Most designs have it far worse: quite a few canon designs have nominal prices far exceeding most WarShips, especially those outfitted with newer equipment like Naval C3. Almost no canon DropShip is realistically acquirable using the rules in Campaign Operations, especially Pocket WarShips.

It's not just that DropShips are expensive: WarShips and JumpShips are too. But unlike with those unit types, the cost of a DropShip is extremely volatile based on minor changes to the loadout: a single twelve-weapon bay of Laser AMS on an aerodyne costs almost 100M C-bills, and that covers one arc.

That brings me to my main problem with this: refits. Because the final cost of a DropShip is so wildly disproportionate to its components, it is phenomenally cheaper to add everything aftermarket. That 94.5M C-bill bank of anti-Alamo lasers costs 2.7M to purchase separately, and you're unlikely to spend 91.8M on a basic refit in a repair bay.

This isn't a problem other units have, since other units have relatively tame cost multipliers that tend to do a good job of representing the overhead of customizing them. Even WarShips, which canonically suffer from limited shipyard availability, don't pay nearly as high a premium.

Why is the cost calculation designed this way? If DropShips simply need to be expensive, why isn’t that a function of the engine, KF collar, superstructure, or even the transport bays?
« Last Edit: 22 August 2023, 14:11:42 by Saklad5 »

cray

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Re: Why are DropShip cost multipliers so high?
« Reply #1 on: 26 August 2023, 07:54:57 »
DropShips have high cost multipliers to get them into the desired cost range of some hundreds of millions to billions of C-bills. Their base costs, from Explorer Corps and AT2 onward, were too small and inexpensive so the quick-n-dirty answer was to apply very high cost multipliers.

This does have oddities. A well-appointed, large DropShip can be more expensive than JumpShips and a few weapons can drastically impact cost.

Mike Miller, Materials Engineer

**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Saklad5

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Re: Why are DropShip cost multipliers so high?
« Reply #2 on: 26 August 2023, 12:00:23 »
Do you think it's likely that this could be fixed in the future? Maybe shift the cost to things like the superstructure or transit drive, to avoid the refit issue?

Also, are they really intended to cost billions of C-bills?