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DoK: Balancing a Desert Too(Two?)

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  • DoK: Balancing a Desert Too(Two?)

    As to not steal from Tren's stash of thunder (especially cause he coincidentally posted new material today) I thought I would make my own thread.

    As of patch 1.3.0


    Most RTS games have some sort of death-ball problem. In Deserts of Kharak artillery is solely responsible for this. Once a team has around 2-3 artillery units, unless you have your own there is simply no way to approach them or deal with them effectively as their attack range is so large. They are so much more valuable than any other cruiser (BCs, HGCs, ACs), yet they cost less than any of them. This problem is exacerbated by the over-effectiveness of surface to air platforms. The largest contributor is the Khaaneph siege cruiser, as its armour and primary weapons protect it from the only reliable method of dealing with artillery, strike craft.

    Specific Aims I wish to address
    1) Artillery too death-ball-ey

    2) The over effectiveness of surface to air vs tac-bombers and gunships

    3) Coalition/Soban reliance on the railgun and late-game fall-off of AAV due to armour upgrades

    4) Weird pathing with battlecruisers causing them to spin around instead of going in reverse while engaging the enemy and ordered to pull back

    5) One of the players in Taiidan passage 2v2 always has his carrier spawn on top of the blue resource, so he cannot start mining it until he moves his carrier off it.\

    6) A standardization of carrier power titlecard text. Example the Soban range system text is simply worse than the Coalitions card.

    Aim 4 and 5 are bugs that I simply wish to draw attention towards.

    Designer Note: If balance change is presented to a shared Coalition/Soban or Gaalsien/Khaaneph unit, they will only appear once.

    Feedback is always a welcome sight.
    Last edited by pbobbert; 22-01-2018, 08:14 PM.

  • #2

    Armoured Assault: New Upgrade
    In order to deal with the AAV late game fall-off I propose a single damage upgrade that costs a hefty amount of Blue resource units. This should make it difficult to achieve if one wishes to invest heavily in rail guns, and should open up an opportunity for new play styles.

    -Armour Piercing Rounds 250/400, 55 second research time
    -requires heavy armour level 2 to unlocked
    -increase weapon damage by 3

    Gunship: survivability and ammo increase
    It is always more valuable to make 3 strike fighters than a gunship. Now that the build time is so long (55 second, 45 seconds for 3 strike craft) it is just not worth it. The biggest challenge for the gunship is to survive. It takes a very long time to unleash its entire payload, and because of its strafing behavior it almost always dies before being capable of unleashing it all. In addition, an ammo increase would allow it to provide more support if no AA is present with which to chase down strike craft. With strike fighters it is trivial to micro them in and out of range to fire their missiles. These changes should help them see more use.

    -HP increased to 1650 from 1050 (2 additional surface to air missiles needed for kill.
    -cost increased to 450/250 from 380/250
    -build time reduced to 40 seconds from 55
    -ammo capacity doubled (increased from 40 to 80)
    -gunship auto recall when idle time doubled

    Tactical Bomber: survivability from surface to air missiles increase (hp increase, armour decrease)
    Despite the previous buff to the tactical bomber, unless your target has only a single surface to air missile platform, you will not survive the engagement. This proposed HP buff will help to fix this, while an armour reduction will help mitigate impact on their relations to other forms of AA such as production cruisers and LAVs.

    -HP increased to 1650 from 1050
    -armour reduced to 10 from 15
    -bomber auto recall when idle time doubled

    Battle Cruiser: movement improvements
    The coalition battlecruiser could use a little love.

    -smoke ability no longer locks movement, like the Khaaneph base runner.
    -cost reduced to 750/225 from 800/225
    -speed increased to 60 from 50

    Missile Battery: movement improvements
    In order to make missile batteries more valuable in the midst of support cruisers and anti-air turrets, increasing their movespeed will both help them keep up with a moving army and make them more appealing in general.

    -movement speed increased to 60 from 50

    Assault Cruiser:

    Artillery Cruiser:
    -research time increased to 120 from 100 (to accommodate removal of assault cruiser tech)
    -cost increased to 550/300 from 450/250
    -weapon range and barrage range reduced to 2400m from 3200m
    -weapon damage and barrage damage reduced by 10%
    -research stems from missile battery
    Last edited by pbobbert; 19-01-2018, 12:10 PM.


    • #3

      A huge part of the Soban play-style was its powerful map presence and vision capabilities; it is (was) one of their core defining attribute. The ALM deployment range is so short now its frustrating, and the point defense railgun buff was not enough to compensate, the Soban carrier still loses to all the other carriers in direct combat, and it is the least useful in fleet support.

      Armed Logistics Modules-
      The situation is as follows. The main problem is that for the ALM the patch cut from the the bottom rather than the top. In order to get anything relatively useful out of the ALM systems you now need to achieve Lv4 instead of Lv3, which is significantly harder to obtain (Lv3 can be gotten with 2 artifacts and power lv1 research, or 1 artifact and power lv2 research). Another issue I have is that nothing was done to remedy the original problem. Once you get to Lv4 and Lv5 however, the previous problems of frustrating to play against re-emerges. The problem prior to patch 1.3.0 ALM spam with Lv4 and Lv5 were obscene, now levels less than Lv4 are very underwhelming.

      Lv0: Deploy range = 1650m
      Lv1: Deploy range = 2150m (+500)
      Lv2: Deploy range = 2650m (+1000)
      Lv3: Deploy range = 3150m (+1500)
      Lv4: Deploy range = 3650m (+2000)
      Lv5: Deploy range = 4150m (+2500)

      Lastly, to remedy the ALM situation the RoF and Damage for ALM systems should be changed such that Lv4 becomes the new Lv5 with the rest changing to accommodate this narrower spread.

      Point Defense Systems-
      The Soban carrier has railguns that do not behave like railguns. This is both saddening and un-intuitive to use. The proposed changes will drastically alter the behavior of the Soban carrier. The point defense railguns will be real Soban railguns and will behave as expected.

      -PDs damage increased to 165. The standard railgun upgrade will increase it to 225.
      -Fixed accuracy equal to the soban rail gun
      -Reload per power level changed

      Lv0 = 12s
      Lv1 = 10s
      Lv2 = 8s
      Lv3 = 6s
      Lv4 = 4s
      Lv5 = 2s (at this level, the DPM vs another carrier, not including armour, is 13500, on par with the others)

      PDs will not have scaling range, but will always be that of normal railguns, being 2100m. They are still limited by vision, with the intent of combined use with their ALM modules to provide vision.

      Lastly, the missile system will shoot 2 per volley, but their damage will still be 125, half that of other carriers. Range to be fixed at 800m. Right now the missile system only does 1 damage to carriers, this bug needs to be fixed.

      Microwave Emitter-
      The microwave emitter is by far the worst carrier super weapon. It also suffered a immense indirect nerf in 1.3.0. Previously, the way to use the MWE was to also launch 3-4 ALM cross map to the spot to ensnare enemies inside the MWE. Now with the ALM launch cooldown and the range slash, this is not possible. As such, these changes should help to bring it in line with others.

      -Now unlocked at Power Level 4, no upgrade needed (maybe power level 5, unsure)
      -Diameter increased by 20%
      -Damage and duration increased by 30%, with no increase in DOT.
      Last edited by pbobbert; 19-01-2018, 12:11 PM.


      • #4

        One of my main goals is to try to broaden the window in which the assault ship has any value. To quickly does it becomes out-purposed in almost every manner by the assault railgun. I think the assault ship needs some form of gap closing ability without increasing (dramatically) their ability to give chase. An important thing to maintain is that AS must be slower than AAV; it is a critical balance point.

        The second point is that there are two Gaalsien techs which are very very situational. Dart maneuver, and heavy railgun emp. The Dart maneuver is almost never needed as the assault railgun is already a very fast unit. EMP is just not valuable on such a long range unit like the heavy rail gun. However, both of these researches offer an opportunity to perhaps fix the problems with the assault ship. Having a shunt move on the assault ship would help it to close the gap before getting shot to pieces. EMP could possibly do the same thing, but I worry about giving this ability to a unit that can be massed easily.

        Honourguard Cruiser:
        -AA reverted to passive once researched, matches Assault cruiser AA

        Siege Cruiser:
        -Cost increased to 600/300 from 600/200
        -Weapon range and barrage range reduced to 2000m from 2800m (upgrade shall be +400m = 2400m)
        -weapon damage and barrage damage reduced by 10%
        -siege cruiser research now stems from missile ship

        Assault Ship:
        -Shunt move added (same thing as the assault rail dart maneuver)

        Heavy Railgun:
        -EMP rounds removed

        Assault Railgun:
        -Dart maneuver removed
        -New EMP upgrade added, centered on self. No damage, applies 3 second stun.
        Last edited by pbobbert; 22-01-2018, 08:13 PM.


        • #5

          Honor Guard Cruiser:
          I just think this will be thematically appropriate for the Khaaneph. I would suggest the model be a modified siege cruiser to show that they are derivatives of one another.
          -Removed, replaced with assault cruiser.

          Assault Cruiser: general quality of life improvements
          The assault cruiser at its core has never been a super well performing unit, and it not hard to see why. It is truly quite similar to the khaaneph siege cruiser, just worse in most manners. Bringing the unit to the khaaneph faction puts it in direct competition to the siege cruiser, so it must be brought on par if we want to see its use. My aim is for the assault cruiser to be the complementary to the khaaneph siege cruiser.

          -cost remains 550/250
          -Movement speed increased to 70 from 65
          -armour decreased to 14 from 15
          -health increased from 2700 to 3100
          -Passive health regen added (matching siege cruiser)
          -Research stems from assault ship

          One of the biggest difficulties for the khaaneph is their poor carrier vision, and for good reason. Having high vision would be simply to strong with the Khaaneph missile system. But I think they could use a little help. Adding a vision mechanic to the mobility system will prevent them from going full offence with low levels of power. I also think the mobility part needed a small buff.

          Mobility support-
          grants +150m sensors range per level and +5 speed per level

          Lv1 = +5 speed + 150 view
          Lv2 = +10 speed + 300 view
          Lv3 = +15 speed + 450 view
          Lv4 = +20 speed + 600 view
          Lv5 = +25 speed + 750 view

          Siege cruiser:
          -Speed reduced to 65 from 70
          -Cost increased to 650/300 from 650/200
          -barrage range reduced to 2200m from 3000m? (upgrade shall be +400m = 2600m)
          -barrage damage reduced by 10%
          -siege cruiser research now stems from missile ship
          Last edited by pbobbert; 22-01-2018, 08:35 PM.


          • #6
            Double post
            Last edited by pbobbert; 10-02-2018, 06:35 PM.


            • #7
              Double post
              Last edited by pbobbert; 10-02-2018, 06:35 PM.


              • #8
                Reserved for later.

                Dear BBI.

                Please alter the spam detection filter so it does not trigger upon editing posts.

                It is very frustrating to put the final touch correcting a spelling mistake or bolding a non-bolded word only to have your post vanish when you are all done.

                Last edited by pbobbert; 22-01-2018, 08:04 PM.


                • #9
                  ​​​​​​While it is awesome to see someone else try their hand and balance suggestions, some of these are insane.

                  It is important to focus on the balance impact of changes, alot of the changes here all push into purely buffs or unexplained removal, these is no reason putting a speed boost tech on assault ships should require the Assault rail loses it.
                  There is no given reason for the outright removal of the assault cruiser, an action that reshapes the Coalition tech tree.

                  but lets break it down.
                  The gunship changes
                  the gunships would go from 5 x 250 damage missiles to kill to 7 x 250 damage missiles to kill, so 2 Missile batteries working together would need to fire 4 volleys to kill it.
                  it builds 15 seconds faster allowing a Gunship rush to come out significantly faster.
                  Finally the doubled ammo capacity means a single gunship can kill a Support cruiser from full hp.

                  damage upgrade is potent, but ultimately locked behind too many gates to be viable and costed such there are many better ways to spend your RUs, also AAVs can get a free +1.1 damage upgrade just by getting vet lv 1.

                  while I agree their mobility is a problem, most of this stems from turn speed and acceleration, keep in mind the battlecruiser moves as fast as a missile battery but the missile battery gets around just fine.
                  Meanwhile you are looking at a cost decrease, a smoke buff and a 20% movement speed buff, this is a case of too much at once, and is likely to increase deathball plays, just shifting it to the Battle cruiser instead of artillery, also with 60 speed a Coal/Soban carrier could never escape Battle cruisers if they get in range.

                  Missile battery, I am pretty much ok with this

                  Assault cruiser....Y THO

                  Artillery, this is just a massive set of nerfs, major range nerf, cost increase, harder to tech, why would you get them anymore?

                  2100m range carrier at lv0
                  please keep in mind LAVs have great vision, this + the accuracy buff makes the Soban carrier very difficult to approach, also all power in weapons and a couple LAVs for vision seems like a no brainer, why would I put power in ranged system just for a bit of vision.

                  we do not want ALM spam everywhere again, ALMs are effectively free when used primarily for pop cap, perma stun is not a fun thing to deal with.

                  ​​​​​​Soban railguns being further incentivised by Railgun damage tech buffing the Soban carrier damage, which is always 2100m range.
                  When you consider the impact of this, you could have just given AAVs + 2 damage and AAVs would still be screwed vs Soban, AAVs would struggle to get in range to do damage.

                  We then have a buffed MWE, on a buffed Soban carrier,
                  The AOE increase is already big, but then we have this "-Damage and duration increased by 30%, with no increase in DOT.* you are increasing the damage per tick and the time the AOE remains but no increase to DoT?
                  The MWE is an area denial tool, it is able to deny eco or deny your enemy a location, you can block escape paths, deny a high ground option, the Soban nuke is not mean to do the killing but enable your army to.

                  Siege is basically redundant vs HGC, do not pass air, do not collect siege tech. (also why the tech tree shift?)

                  HGC AA change, fine, I am not sure it is worth getting considering the bomber and Gunship buffs

                  Assault ship speed boost is something that could be a great addition, or makes them OP, but it is definitely something I'd like to see.

                  Heavy rails lose EMP, it is rarely used but feels like an ability that should have a place

                  Assault rails EMP
                  Something to consider about the speed boost on Assault rails is it allows them to kite even speed boosting LAVs, which is important.
                  This, depending on the AoE size would allow ARs to dominate Skims and LAVs, even if they do get the jump on the ARs.
                  It is a nice alternative to the speed boost but probably OP.


                  • #10
                    I think that upon further investigation you will find that the vast majority of these suggestions are far less drastic than you think. Certainly some of the proposed alterations are more of a gameplay change rather than a strict number adjustment.

                    Ill go over your concerns in order.

                    As I mentioned in my original post, the hp increase would indeed increase the surface to air missile count from 5 to 7. That was the purpose, to increase survivability and increase use in prolonged fights (ammo increase). To go along with these a price increase would be rational, and the build time is excessive. Because of the price increase the rush potential would not change drastically. The simple fact of the matter is the gunship is irrefutably bad because of how quickly it dies to missiles.

                    Are you certain about the damage to the support cruiser? that is certainly something I missed.

                    To quote myself from earlier,
                    The AAV is a very cool unit, but it hinges to much on rail guns. Which was actually one of my main points that I for some reason forgot to dictate in my original post, ill add an edit soon for any future readers. One should NOT have to build rail guns to win. And I will not truly be content with the game until I can confidently say that I can beat an opponent at my own skill level without being pigeon holed into building rail guns. Adding a damage upgrade would help them get by without a reliance on sunder, and would mean they can actually do damage.

                    I actually chose movement speed on purpose; I wanted to maintain the battlecruisers feel of lumbering behemoth. In a fight this increase in movement speed will probably not alter the behavior drastically. But, coupled with the mobile smoke ability, it will lend to the initial advance. The speed I think is important because one would wish to have the battlecruisers at the front, and this essentially means you move your whole army at the speed of a battlecruiser.

                    Assault Cruiser:
                    I believe when you made this post was the period when BBI had removed my khaaneph post, so just in case I will reiterate that I wish the cruiser to be moved to the khaaneph faction.

                    Soban Carrier:
                    These changes would both help restore the MO of soban (their map vision prowess) while also simultaneously easing off the irritation of lots of ALMs. The cooldown remained unchanged so you still cant spam them. As for the guns, the Soban carrier has railguns on it, but I have adjusted their rate of fire to be very low all the way until power level 4. It would certainly behave differently, but I think that would help bring distinction between the factions. I cant think it would be any worse than or even as imposing as the khaaneph missile system. Perhaps the railguns should be turned off at level 0 though. A good thought.

                    I do not see how the proposed AAV damage upgrade pertains to this at all.

                    My that I mean to say that the damage tick rate and damage per tick (the DoT) will not change. Simply that the MWE will last 30% longer, and be capable of dealing 30% more damage in total.

                    While the MWE is certainly valuable for those reasons, you cannot make the claim that the MWE is not designed to be used for offensive killing measures. I simply point out that it no longer can because of an indirect nerf, and could due with an adjustment to compensate.

                    Like all artillery, being that they are the most cost effective cruiser (by a long shot) for each faction, I proposed a reduction in potential.

                    Certainly this will require some fine tuning. But starting with the shunt move equaling the dart maneuver seems reasonable. I picked 3 seconds because in my head I envision a AS being surrounded, then activating EMP. It will take probably 1 second to clear the radius himself, that buys you 2 seconds to get away and rotate to aim at the target again, probably 2 volleys from the AS. For the size I had intended for it to match the EMP taken from the HRG.


                    • #11
                      Ok, lets go over this.

                      The Gunship changes give just enough damage to kill a Support cruiser in 1 attack run,

                      A gunship does 15x4(60) damage per shot and fires(in this case 80 shots)
                      The support cruiser has 2 armour x4(8) in this case due to armour stacking vs Gunships

                      so that is 52 x 80 = 4160 total damage vs a 4100 hp Support cruiser
                      +70CU doesn't really cover +600hp, faster build time and double ammo btw

                      It is important to keep in mind Coalition and Soban are designed as combined arms factions, their units and techs are generally cheaper with much of their tech tree branching out of the AAV (Assault cruiser, Battlecruiser, Missile battery and heavy armour upgrades all come from the AAV)

                      With this in mind the AAV is designed as a utilitarian BRICK, high HP, high DPM, good armour, low cost and free LoS blocker ability.
                      Its drawback is poor scaling vs armour which nose dives its DPM.
                      But even then it is sturdy, kills low armour targets and provides utility.

                      This unit has no right being a high damage mid-late game unit, they are very easy to spam and fulfill other roles.
                      Should there be other tools in the Coal/Soban roster that could provide sunder, maybe, but a straight damage buff is not a good idea.

                      Battlecruiser needs to be more responsive, not faster in a straight line.
                      It needs turn rate and acceleration buffs.

                      The Assault cruiser adds nothing to the Khaan or Gaalsien rosters, the Assault cruiser is effectively just a beefed up Assault ship and the HGC does a better job countering strikecraft

                      Soban ALM spam was OP, the range nerf alongside the Soban damage buffs on the Carrier and BC have helped Soban compete in the late game.
                      If you want a Soban carrier with superior range consider a flat 100m range bonus, this would also mean lv5 range would grant 2100m range, the same as a railgun.

                      With your suggestions you have a Carrirer spitting sunder out to 2100m range opening up the armour on enemies for free,
                      This would be a balance nightmare alone, as well as giving ALMs their deploy range back. or the mag rail upgrade buffing the Carrier guns.

                      MWE is weak currently, but you want to buff the damage and increase the AoE size, its just too much, it is important to keep in mind when dealing with AoE, every 1m you add is covering more and more actual ground.
                      I think just an AoE increase could work, but the damage buff makes it much more potent vs Rails and also makes it more effective as eco denial.

                      Artillery...Artillery is a late game pressure tool, it is expensive to invest in and cannot defend itself.
                      You are looking to reduce the range by around 800m, reduce the damage from 100x2 per shell to 90x2 and then jump the costs (100CU/50RU for C/S and 100RU for G/K)
                      as well as shunting them around the tech tree, which functionally makes C/S cheaper to tech (125RU AA techs vs 350RU Assault cruiser tech)
                      Functionally you end up with C/S getting easier access to arty while pushing G/K's back.
                      If you really want to lessen the impact of artillery you want to increase the cooldowns on their barrages and the reload on their passive fire, this hampers their damage output.
                      another alternative is the hp values, is 2500hp too much for a backline unit?

                      I get where you are coming from but these changes are big and in some cases cripple certain units.


                      • #12
                        Thanks for the math on the gunship, it does sound like perhaps 70 ammo (75% increase) would be more appropriate. That would prevent the support cruiser snipe, but allow for increased use in real engagements, right now the gunship cant even take out upgraded rail guns.

                        The Khaan assault cruiser suggestions are driven by lore more than anything else. But honestly its the thing I care the least about, I simply thought it would be a nice solution to the assault cruiser problem.

                        The problem with the AAV is that after armour 3, the AAV stops being a utilitarian brick, and only becomes a smoke casting machine. Even against rail guns, their damage drops my 75%. And again, you have to run them with rail guns. The unit has every right to be useful. But this is mainly to decouple them from railguns to help address aim 3.

                        We will just have to disagree on the battlecruiser point for now.

                        The soban back with the alm spam were never OP, just dumb and frustrating to play against. But as we all know, Good balance != good gameplay. But cutting from the bottom was a bad idea, the ALMs went from being overused to almost never used. So we are back to the same problem, just the other polarity.

                        And the soban carrier still under performs dramatically to boot. It takes roughly twice as much power into weapons for soban as it does the other factions to be om comparable footing, and because of it they have none left for range systems. The coalition and gaalsien missile systems alone are better than the soban rail PDs, and their gatling turrets are super effective vs strike and assault craft. But that is not my only point. The soban carrier has railguns on it, but they dont behave like railguns. Just yesterday I had to explain to another player that even though it has railguns on it, it actually is the worst at dealing with cruisers and other carriers. The best solution for the soban carrier would be to give it real railguns. Fixed at 2100m range, 165 damage (upgrade to 225) and then balance around that to make them fair. Maybe long range accuracy vs non cruiser and carrier class units can be mixed into the sensors range upgrade (call it "targeting systems"). As I know you stressed that there would be otherwise very little incentive to upgrade this. Or maybe through turret rotation speed, that could be a limiting factor to balance fleet support while not changing carrier vs carrier fights significantly.

                        As for the MWE, I am more interested in increasing its duration not its max damage, but its damage tickrate should not change, so max damage is just a consequence of that. The area change (44% increase, 20% radial increase) was intentional.

                        Artillery are simultaneously the cheapest, quickest to build, and most powerful cruiser class unit. These changes help bring them in line while also making them easier to access. Hopefully it will depolarize the unit. The Artillery cruiser already has very low HP for being a cruiser. Its fine how it is.