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Post New player feedback after 1 month, Fall 2018
I have been playing very consistently for just under a month now, having originally found the game through Steam. I know a few people who would love a game like this, people really into Endless Sky (a somewhat similar FOSS single-player game on Steam) and games like that, but in the game's current state I couldn't really recommend it. If you do manage to clean up some of the major bugs and quality of life issues (and maybe some big balance issues) I could definitely see myself recommending it to friends and I think a Steam release would bring in a lot of new players.

My very first impression of the game was that the ships were way too twitchy, it felt like a game designed to be used with a controller where you could give a partial input in order to turn at a rate that wasn't ridiculous. I've had a lot more practice now but it's still fairly difficult to hit a moving target outside of knife range with the starter ship. Maybe just nerf the stats on the Coalfurnace to what they are on the wiki or make some of the starter gear heavier? I shouldn't need to know about the `/maxturn N` command from the first launch, and I still don't know what is reasonable for `N` anyway. A slower turning/accelerating starter ship also gives a need and reason to upgrade engines so new players can get a feel for what Thrust does since it doesn’t really affect top speed.

I have made a few characters (Berserker, Fleet Commander, & Shield Monkey; more on those later) with the first two doing the Earthforce start and the SM doing the Pirate start. The pirate start seems to be a bit more difficult but also seems to set you up better before you get to Sol and then be a much more sandbox-like, hands-off experience than the EF start which has a main questline that leads you along for quite a while. It would probably be a good idea to label them with the EF start being recommended for new players and the pirate start recommended for experienced players.

I did have quite a bit of confusion around nomenclature with the words slave, bot, combat bot, wild bot, drone, temporary drone, permanent drone, etc thrown around. A big part of that is that one of the first items you get is a Super that spawns a temporary Pest drone which you can't pick up, but that isn't a temporary drone. Real temporary drones can be deployed for more or less as long as you like, they'll just stop shooting after a while, but they don't take up any "Drone Slots" in the Avatar window even if there are clearly "Drone Slots" they're taking up since you can only deploy so many drones at once, sometimes depending on tech and sometimes not. I know now that I can only have 3 deployed with a total tech limit related to (double?) my drone skill but it was really confusing initially and I'm still not sure with combat bots except for total tech levels (only because it shows on the UI). Having these limits added to the Avatar screen would be extremely helpful.

Otherwise the first few hours of the game are pretty solid.


Classes probably come too early to not just start with them (or at least just the focus school). It would probably be better to aim it around level 25 (10 for focus school if not starting with it) so you get your class around the time you're getting to Sol (depending on missions you do or any extra farming).


This is less of a balance issue and more of a key fact about the game that needs to be communicated before new players get too far along their path (ideally before picking a combat specialization, let alone a class). Star Sonata 2 is biased heavily toward having as many things firing and taking damage at once as possible. It’s impossible to build up a single ship which has as the same shield bank as many little ships, or the shield regen, or the DPS, let alone having all of that at once. It needs to be made clear that having as many fighters, drones, and bots as possible (with all bots also using as many fighters as possible) is the way the game is made to be played until endgame at the very leas. Items and ships just don’t scale in a way that lets you do anything else.


Class descriptions are not all faithful to the classes they describe, both from my experiences and what the (extremely old) guides and current veterans recommend.

"Fleet commanders take control of a range of smaller ships, fighters[,] and can even make their enemies fight for them, while helping their allies with aura generators." All classes do these things (except the auras) and they're virtually required if you don't want to get stomped by a random swarm of ships because you can't kill them fast enough and the game is unbalanced in favor of swarms. <Tangent> Arctia and Vulcan, both of which you're sent to early, are virtually impossible for a new player in a single ship at the level they're sent in. The patrolling mobs swamp you faster than you can kill them and, even when you do manage to get through them all they respawn before you can regenerate shields, energy, and cooldowns. Finding your first few drones and figuring out how to deploy them makes a massive difference in that regard. The Zebucarts you pick up in Arctia, if you somehow manage to fight through (the flame weapon, Zobitan Beam, you get on the EF start helps), are virtually useless as slaves because they don't even have weapons and have paper shields with nothing mentioning that it's even possible to refit or upgrade them, let alone how to do it. </Tangent> Something more along the lines of "Fleet commanders direct and empower a range of smaller ships and fighters while helping their allies with powerful aura generators." As far as I know, FCs aren't able to capture slaves other classes can't, although the "Radex-able" line in the wiki suggests this might have been different in the past (nothing else suggests this is true anywhere else that I’ve seen).

"Shield Monkeys have unparalleled shield regeneration and healing abilities, allowing them to give up portions of their own shield banks to regenerate the shields of allies." 90% Shield Max + 50% from Zen, 78% Shield Recovery (48% if Shield Manipulation only applies to bots) + 50% from Zen. SMs have the biggest shield max boosts in the game and can have the biggest tanks in the game. Who else are they supposed to be healing when they already have the biggest tank with the biggest regen? The only real bonus they get to healing is +81% Transference resistance. If you want the class to match the description, leave the Zen skill alone and convert the Shield Max in class skills to things like Transference Power/Efficiency and negative Hostility. They will still have one of the top, if not still the top, bonuses to shield max but won't be the only tank option.

"Protect your allies and force enemies to attack you as a Berserker, dishing out damage by firing multiple weapons at once." 12% Shield Max, 99% damage resistance, a bunch of Hostility. Let's be honest here, the Combat Focus class skills are complete trash. You wouldn't even take 12% Shield and 9% damage as a T0 aug, let alone for three class points. Even if it was 12% and 9% per level it would be a bit low. This is a major issue with the Sniper class as well, which is also apparently extremely weak. Part of this is the weakness of Heavy Fighters (more later) but a big part is having three null skills. The Berserker is supposed to be the tank both by description and its combination of damage resist and hostility but it doesn't have the bonuses to shield max or ship capacity bonuses to support both massive shields and the energy to keep its weapons firing while running everything else. The speed nerf on Impervious Armor and the Zen skill is especially odd given the slow nature of their designated ship class and extremely annoying for someone trying to do the Paxian quest line. Why not make it a +Weight modification instead? It still fits with the theme but is a little more possible to work around without shooting yourself in the foot. The real problem though is sticking so much +Hostility onto something that doesn’t have shield bonuses as well, you're making a single ship the number one target in every engagement without allowing players to spread the damage out to bots/drones the way most other classes can. The resists give decent EHP and are certainly nice with a healer present but 50% total resists are just the equivalent of +100% shield max. Bigger shield max boosts or higher capacity bonuses to allow better shields to be equipped feel necessary especially at lower levels. Ideally most of these bonuses would be added to the Combat Focus skills so Sniper can take advantage too.


Ship classes seem extremely unbalanced, with the best ships on the size extremes (consequently acting as a buff for their associated classes) while the mid-sized ships seem to be ignored and feel as if the developers started with an idea for the niche they should fill and failed to execute on that. In this section, I’ll state what I think the goal of the ship class was and give some examples of ways things could be changed to bring about some better balance. Note that I’ll only be looking at ships up to T19 because that’s what I have looked into, endgame ships (T20+) seem to be fundamentally different, and this is feedback focused on the new player experience rather than overall game balance. I’ll also try to mention possibilities for a future fitting/cargo space split I saw referred to as being in the works.

Industrial Freighter - Let’s start with the easy ones. These are designed as support ships to move large amounts of cargo around. They are huge, slow, and hold a ridiculous amount of cargo. Most come with a Weight Reduction mod, are far from stealthy, have little to no resists or weapons. These are pretty good in general and fit with their apparent design intent well. The one thing that would be nice is for there to be a lower tech option. Maybe add a T5 ship or allow players to fit an engine to the Academy Thatch since tractoring something that size isn’t an option at lower levels. There are some really helpful high-level players but Help chat is silent and new players won’t know who to ask from All or have a Team yet to get a high level player to tractor them around.

Light Fighter (Zen - Speed Demon & Seer) - Small, fast, and stealthy with low (but increasing with Tech level) resists and shields. Not too many weapon slots but a lot of inherent bonuses to weapon attack (damage, range, tracking, fire rate, etc) and movement. These are ships made to sneak around and do a lot of damage but can’t take much damage in return. Their major detriments are lack of cargo/fitting space and a fairly low number of weapon slots. These seem to be at a really good point of balance which should be aimed for in the other ship classes. You can find a ship for most play styles that would conceivably use it but there are still drawbacks.

Heavy Fighter (Zen - Berserker & Sniper) - These should be pretty big and heavy, dense, slower than light fighters because they’re mostly armor while still being able to get around the battlefield. They should ideally have a lot of weapon slots and be able to fit big shields and guns but without a lot of cargo space (e.g. 400-900 hull for <T20 in the current system, keep similar fitting space with maybe 100 cargo in the proposed new system). They should have high built-in resists (rising with tech level, many with transference vulnerability) and their inherent bonuses should skew toward shield/energy max, radar, tractoring, basic +damage (and maybe range), and Weapon/Shield/Energy holds. Ideally they should be capable of using Auras that project resistances to allies, vulnerabilities to enemies, or which can slow enemies.

As currently implemented most ships have little to offer compared to capital ships or light fighters (depending on what you are looking for) other than some extra weapon slots in most cases. Resists are non-existent until T10 or so and then are fairly low, inherent bonuses are small when they exist, they are slow (good) for no apparent reason compared to ships with similar stats (bad). Why would any class use any heavy fighter rather than a ship of another class with the same or lower skill requirements? What is the standout heavy fighter for T5 and under (entering Sol)? <=T9 (pre-Rumble)? <=T19? Is there any reason for any class to ever use a heavy fighter over one of the Earthforce capital ships or a Bear (ignoring class skills trying to force it)? Classes whose bonuses are focused in Heavy Fighters are being seemingly-unintentionally nerfed because the ships they have bonuses to are significantly worse than other options. Even with the class/zen bonuses, Heavy Fighters are only questionably comparable to other ship classes without any class/zen bonuses applied.

Support Freighter (Zen - Shield Monkey & Engineer) - These should be similar in size to heavy fighters but much lighter and less armored leading to faster speeds (still slower than light fighters). They should ideally have a similar number of weapon slots to light fighters with a good bit of cargo space, fairly evenly split between fitting space and additional cargo space (e.g. drones). They should have almost no built-in resists (except transference on some/most), 2 weapon slots max (maybe 3 on a couple of ships), and their inherent bonuses should skew toward shield/energy regen, small bonuses to shield/energy max (<50%) if at all, -hostility, various bonuses to drones, and bonuses to transference. Inbuilt Electricity should be common and with pretty sizable values (50-100 for <T19). Ideally they should be capable of using Auras related to shield/energy max and regen along with any support-ish auras (e.g. cargo bonus auras).

Similar to heavy fighters, as currently implemented most ships have little to offer compared to capital ships other than maybe some extra stealth, which they shouldn’t have in the first place except for a few specialized ships. Inherent bonuses are fairly rare, random (don’t do all that much their support-classed users would prefer), and small. Again, why would any class want to use a support freighter over an equal-tech capital ship other than because class bonuses almost make them comparable? Even with class bonuses, do any of the <T19 ships stand out as one players should be aiming for on their journey to endgame? Shield Monkey and Engineer should be some of the more useful classes to partner with in the game, and they are, but because they’re a good tank and DPS respectively due to class bonuses, not because they’re able to fill their class role. A big part of the reason for this is that not many (any?) ships support their ostensible class roles well.

Capital Ship (Zen - Fleet Commander & Gunner) - These should be huge, lumbering ships similar in size to industrial freighters (or larger), heavily armored but nowhere near the flying brick of a heavy fighter with speeds (~50) somewhere between a heavy fighter (~65-70) and industrial freighter (~35). They should have one or maybe two weapon slots capable of holding some of the ridiculously oversized weapons that other ships could only dream of carrying, let alone fitting. Their built-in resists should be okay but not amazing (20-50% for <T19) and their inherent bonuses should skew toward shield/energy max (good but lower than heavy fighters) and shield/energy regen (good but about half that of support freighters) with a few random electric tempering, radar, or tractoring bonuses to let them fire those giant weapons or control the battlefield. Ideally they should be capable of using auras that fit in with their command and control nature, things like damage, range, max speed, attack speed, tracking, etc.

I get it. As a space/sci-fi nerd capital ships are awesome and just the thought of flying around in one in real life is likely to make your pants a little tight but, as currently implemented, capital ships are the Mary Sues of the game. They do everything as well or better than the ships that are supposed to be designed for the specific task. They have as many guns and more armor (resists) than a heavy fighter, they fly as fast as a light fighter, they have more hull space than anything but an industrial freighter (maybe more after bonuses), they have absolutely ridiculous inherent bonuses, they have all the auras, they can fit more supers than any other ship type (probably should be moved to or matched by support freighters), and they have the best fighter launchers. Why would anyone not aiming for pure stealth use anything but a capital ship? Even our combat bots tend to be mostly capital ships (apart from the Hybrid Paximinus players recommend to start with, and then only because there’s no capital fighter bay before T10) because the ship class is so ridiculously overpowered. Capital ships need to be toned down so they’re not the best at everything.

To really see how bad this is, let’s look at a set of ships all from the Jungle, made to be the same tech level and similar power level, designed more or less with certain classes/playstyles in mind. There is one light fighter (Leopard), two heavy fighters (Monkey, Tiger), a support freighter (Elephant), and a capital ship (Bear). Note that the stats on the wiki are somewhat out of date so look in-game or get them from the Discord bot. We’ll ignore resists since they’re all somewhat similar (a problem in itself but these are somewhat special ships so resists on ships that shouldn’t have them make some sense).

The Capital Ship (Bear) has the most hull, 2nd highest max speed, 2nd most weapons, and is matched for the highest inherent energy generation. It is only worst when it comes to stealth and augmenters. And then we get to the inherent bonuses.
  • Leopard - Damage: +30%, Hostility: -20%
  • Monkey - Turning: +20%, Energy Max: +20%, Thrust: +20%
  • Tiger - Shield Max: +20%, Electric Tempering: -15%
  • Elephant - Shield Max: +30%, Transpower: +10%, Drone Operations: +3.5%
  • Bear - Energy Max: +250%, Rate of Fire: +20%, Shield Max: +325%, Electric Tempering: -13%, Critical Resistance: +15%

Which of these is not like the others? Even if we were to really try to make one of the other ships work and used one of the augmenter slots to attempt to match the in-built bonuses, what T12 augmenter could even come close to catching up to those bonuses? There are some augs that would give you one of those stats at that level but nothing will come close to a 325% shield max bonus (closest you’ll get is ~100% with certain God augs or a Basic/Std shield aug). There is no reason for any of the non-Recon classes to use any of the other ships, and even the recon ships might consider it depending on their play style.


The Academy, the zone that teaches players about Station Management and gives them enough items to set up a low tech (T3 iirc) base, should be moved so that it’s encountered later in the game than Deep Space. Maybe move it off Lyceum instead? Or Free Market would make sense if that’s also somewhat static during universe resets. As it stands now, a new player is going to be encountering these missions in a Heavy Zebucart or Zebu Gunship, neither of which has the capacity to do the missions. The missions will also encourage new players to set up a T3 base somewhere before they know better.

The missions themselves also have a lot of issues between instructions that need some polish and highlighting a bunch of bugs in the game. The Academy missions were very close to making me rage-quit the game because of the number of bugs and issues. At one point I had to restart the game 4-5 times over the course of a half hour to be able to progress. I give the bugs in more detail on their own bug posts and at the bottom of this post but the planet spawning bug, the selected item bug, the bug (now looks fixed) where ship inventory windows would constantly change to different ships, and the scanning mission bug were all highlighted in a really bad way in the Academy.

The instructions needing polish were in two spots. The first was at the start where you’re told to scan the planets, then your given a base and told to place it, and then you’re asked to extract certain resources from your base which only all exist on a single planet. If you were instead told when placing your base what resources you’d be asked to extract you could choose the correct planet to be able to extract them all instead of needing to set up and take down multiple bases because you chose the wrong random planet out of the five. The second issue with the missions is in the last mission Final Exam, the mission text implies that dropping drones (which require more energy than a new player is likely to have) is what starts the missions. The actual start condition (tractoring the examiner) is put into the Galaxy chat tab which a new player has never had to interact with and which is probably already lit up from the UrQa mob spamming in Deep Space.


The Wiki really needs to be gone through to clean up out of date data and guides. Almost all of the guides and info are 5-10 years out of date and mostly don’t make much sense anymore so it’s really hard for a new player to tell what is still good advice and what is from ages past. Many of the entries for augmenters, ships, and weapons are out of date and, even worse, don’t agree with each other on different pages of the wiki (e.g. look at the Bear on the Ships page vs the Bear page). The Warframe wiki is really good about this and might be able to be used as an example for a better way to set up the wiki with a single source for all item stats that other pages are able to pull in to use. The other option is using something like Jekyll to generate certain pages/sections for the wiki.

This seems like a minor issue that could be gotten to later once you have a lot of game knowledge but is actually a major issue for new players trying to learn about the game, especially with the way the market in-game is implemented. For example, if a new player is trying to figure out what fighters they want to use they’ll probably need to find some fighter generators but the wiki only lists a single T20 generator. Even worse, generator names don’t match a set pattern based on fighter names like augmenters do so new players can’t guess and not all fighters have ship-equippable generators in the first place so players can’t even know if a generator exists in the first place.


The current marketplace requires you to know something exists and know its exact name in order to look for it. The wiki tries to help with this but doesn’t have price information and includes a lot of items that aren’t buyable (e.g. unique items given for a reward or P2P-only items) or equippable (e.g. can only be used by certain mobs or are built into certain ships) and doesn’t include price information so items that are extremely expensive are right next to common items sold by every AI station with no differentiation. There were quite a few tools made in the past to try and help with this linked from the wiki but most are now defunct. Again, using Jekyll or something similar to back the wiki would allow a tool to be made that would be able to lookup and filter items for new users to search through. In game a search command could be added which could list shields of a certain tech level (e.g. “/ms Shield 5” to market search for tech 5 shield using the Type name that shows in some inventory windows) limited to those available to buy on the market with the lowest buy price for each listed to help new players find items they need.


There are a lot of key combinations and features that are not documented or otherwise made available to new users. A big one is being able to use Alt to select and deselect your slaves to direct them. Another big one is that you can tractor debris without needing to click on each container (the starter tractor without skills has a range too short to find this out before the player gets used to needing to click). The ability to deselect a target so that items can be tractored (and so you don’t accidentally kill one of your own slaves with fighters at the start of a big fight :x) would be amazing too. I assume there’s a key combo for that which I still don’t know. I know general quality of life improvements have been covered by others quite thoroughly but those are some of the big ones I’ve run into as a new player.


Remember these are the perceptions of a new player and might not hold at high tech levels or once skills have been fully developed so solutions might just need to be an added line to a tutorial mission or slight tweaks to certain progressions rather than some of the bigger changes I’ve mentioned that appear necessary.

This is a game I’ve played quite a bit over the last month, one which I enjoy enough and see enough potential in that I’ve taken quite a few hours over the last couple of days to write this up. It’s not a bad game but I want to be able to confidently invite friends to play who are somewhat more easily frustrated or less forgiving of issues than I am to join me. I think a future Steam release could bring in quite a few new players to stay but only if things are cleaned up enough for them to stick around and get hooked. As it stands, starting with the wrong class or doing certain mission chains just results in frustration and annoyance with new players quickly giving up. With a little cleanup there’s a lot of potential for new growth in the Star Sonata playerbase.

One quick recommendation, it might be tempting to time any future Steam release with a fresh universe start but I would recommend instead timing it with the middle of a universe cycle to give new players a chance to get skills and understanding of the game with a stable and explored map and team dynamics. Having player shops set up to sell to that are stable and limited to a handful of galaxies accelerates a new player’s ability to make money and get items they haven’t had the time to farm and store for themselves. They’ll also have a universe reset they can participate in as a driving factor to get them geared up and excited for their potential future power.


Referenced bugs, already reported on the proper forums:

Selection Issue: Double click to replace an equipped item with a different one, now right click on the old one and click Sell, it will sell the new item you just equipped. The same thing happens if you transfer, check market price, etc. The selected item is still the old one.

Planets in the Academy mission area frequently spawn on first entrance (and occasionally afterward) so they aren’t orbiting on the client, they are stationary. This means you can be on top of the planet with the client only showing 20px difference and the server will constantly say you’re too far away to scan. A /f, logout/login, or client restart seems to fix this but when you’re constantly going back and forth for the missions it can mean needing to do this several times in an hour. I’ve seen it in other areas on Paxian missions and just scanning random planets but the Academy seems to be the most consistent for it for some reason (maybe least likely to have had a person in it recently?).

Missions requiring you to scan planets frequently don’t update the mission journal showing the planet has been scanned even though the event window shows the scan and your progress gets updated. An /f or relog fixes the journal. This seems to be an issue entirely with the progress window as you can scan everything you’re supposed to and mission status will switch to completed even though none of the component goals show as completed. This is obviously only an issue with missions requiring you to scan multiple planets at once like in the Academy, Paxian missions, and certain missions in the Colored Empires. It’s really annoying if you don’t know that you’re actually getting progress behind the scenes because you might need to relog or /f for every single planet/solar body that needs to be scanned to ensure your progress registers and this can be 5-6 times in a single mission in a single galaxy.

Sat Nov 17, 2018 7:08 pm
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Post Re: New player feedback after 1 month, Fall 2018
holy shit. it's been a long time since i've seen a forum post with so much effort put into it.

since i'm not really that well versed with early game stuff or game balance stuff, i'll just comment on these points

The Wiki really needs to be gone through to clean up out of date data and guides.

The current marketplace requires you to know something exists and know its exact name in order to look for it. The wiki tries to help with this but doesn’t have price information and includes a lot of items that aren’t buyable ... or equippable ... . Again, using Jekyll or something similar to back the wiki would allow a tool to be made that would be able to lookup and filter items for new users to search through.

iirc there were talks about linking the in-game database to the wiki, dunno what happened to that or if it's still in progress. imo updating all the stats on a page is a massive chore and there's no point in doing it if the database linking stuff actually rolls in. its one of the reasons i've been so reluctant in updating item stats...

There are a lot of key combinations and features that are not documented or otherwise made available to new users.
this page doesn't say that you can zoom out with the '-' and '+' keys, shift the camera's vertical position with 'page up' and 'page down', and move it around using 'alt + shift'. info about the in-game commands such as /mc should be added too.

This is a game I’ve played quite a bit over the last month, one which I enjoy enough and see enough potential in that I’ve taken quite a few hours over the last couple of days to write this up. It’s not a bad game but I want to be able to confidently invite friends to play who are somewhat more easily frustrated or less forgiving of issues than I am to join me. I think a future Steam release could bring in quite a few new players to stay but only if things are cleaned up enough for them to stick around and get hooked. As it stands, starting with the wrong class or doing certain mission chains just results in frustration and annoyance with new players quickly giving up. With a little cleanup there’s a lot of potential for new growth in the Star Sonata playerbase.

i believe most of the playerbase would agree with this. that's why i've been sticking around for so long lol

thanks a bunch for your feedback. i'm sure your perspective will help out on whatever they're working on.



Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:26 pm
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Post Re: New player feedback after 1 month, Fall 2018
Hi there. Thank you so much for this thorough review of the game. I'd like to invite you to join us on Discord if you haven't already. There you will be able to connect with our Lyceum Librarians, volunteers from the community who do most of the maintenance of the wiki.

Regarding your comments on the balance of combat classes in the early game, we are actually currently working touching up the class skills that should help with that. I would like to invite you to follow up with me in private message on Discord if you would be interested. You can find me at enkelin#3571.

I agree that it will be best to release on Steam a couple weeks after uni reset, not right on the reset day.

Hi, I'm Anil, a long-time player turned developer. I am Star Sonata's lead content developer, which means that I run weekly dev meetings and make sure that any proposed changes to the game receive proper review before going live.

Sun Nov 18, 2018 1:56 pm
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