Nik's Balance Tweaks Mod

Discussion in 'Released Mods' started by NikolaMX, September 3, 2021.

  1. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    A mod intended to improve on the current balance of the game.

    I've tried to keep changes to a minimum, only making significant tweaks when absolutely necesary.

    The aim behind all changes is to make the game more fun by
    1) making diffenret ways to play the game viable, destabilizing the current mono-build meta
    2) improving unit and layer interactioons by adding variaty and increasing specialization
    3) QoL changes and minor bug fixes


    COMLETE CHANGELOG

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pKSYOdUPrl2ENDMOCQkByaZPJMpFH4ovQYEL9XaNRQA/edit?usp=sharing

    Github link
    https://github.com/NikolaMX/BalanceTweaks



    List of player endorsements:

    Nimzo
    MarchelGrizzly
    ThatSonOfaBroom
    Diskraip
    KillerKiwiJuice
    Corgiamy
    B3L4L
    Makocb
    B13
    Taiga



    Detailed Justification

    1) Air and AA

    Stinger

    Stingers are currently weaker versions of spinners that mostly act as a noob trap, being slow, expensive and having too little DPS to counter anything other than individual Icarus.

    The changes effectively make them into a dedicated stronger version of the former Dox AA. They now have
    > direct fire instead of homing missiles
    > high RoF
    >high DPS
    >short range
    >fast

    This makes them less reliable against fast bombers that don't always get hit by the non-homing missiles but excell against slow/numerous/high HP targets (Icarus, Kestrels, Wyrms, Angels)

    The +2 speed also makes them better specifically at chasing idle AA and regaining map controll from T2 air



    Spinner, Galata, Narwhal

    The change these units receive is a partial nerf: they now shoot at ½ their old rates of fire but do twice the damage.

    This makes them less effective against swarming of Icarus and significantly more specialized against bombers and fighters, with the new higher front loaded damage. (additional range tweaks might be implemented)

    **For Narwhals I am considering a sligh price reduction to make them more viable but that is TBD**



    Icarus

    Currently they are the only combat unit that doesn't automatically target AA and as such get destroyed unless carefully micro'd. That makes it a noob trap but also a chore to babysit. The guard layer and priorities adjustment fix that, making them behave the same way Kestrles do.

    Secondarily, the 15 extra HP means that all T1 AA (Galata, Spinners, Narwhal, Stingers) need two shots to kill an icarus.

    That increases their survivability strenghtenign icarus against lone spinners, allthewhile making Stingers disproportionately effective at hard countering Icarus.



    Kestrel

    Currently Kestrels benefit from being relatively tanky especially in high numbers which means they rarely die during fights with AA and gradually scale up in numbers until an inevitable snowball.

    The HP nerf makes them significantly more popcorny, combined with the newly buffed stinger limiting the T2 air kestrel snowball.

    The DPS increase doesen't meaningfully decrease their time to kill AA but helps a bit at taking down individual high HP units and stops them from getting outclassed by other T2 air units (Horseeflies)



    Storm


    Storms’ biggest problems has always been that they dont stay alive for long enough to make the fight costly for the air player, especially against T2 air. Increasing their HP by 50%(400->600) gives T2 tanks a slightly better fighting chance against T2 air, as now the air player NEEDS to snipe storms with horseflies or hornets beforehand.

    This makes for more interesting Air-AA gameplay in general


    Mend

    I’m placing the mend HP increase in the AA mod because they are the main source of AA T2 bots has.

    150hp has always meant that a few stray bombs/grenadier shots are enough to clear all mends from a T2 army, which for their hugee cost is just absurdly fragile. With the HP buff (150-> 450) they can now survive to place more flak/galata/walls or heal bot AA but also makes the handling of the unit more player friendly in general.



    Colonel (experimental)

    Colonels are the cheesy AA choice. They are by far the most dangerous counter to any air unit in the game(except for Hornets) but the prohibitively high cost makes them more of a meme than anything else. The cost decrease makes them slightly more viable as such a cheese and a valid choice for a player going T2 bots.

    The range increase (100 -> 110) allows them to combat slammers and T1 units more effectively, making a Colonel on the field a primary target and a force to be reckoned with. This also makes them more scary against air that strays in their range.
    HP nerf might be in place after some more testing





    2) Land units


    General note on range:

    Lots of people have already said this, but there has been a gradual range creep across land units. That is most clear with the drifter, leveler and grenadier range values increasing by roughly 14-20% over the last few years.

    Range creep has decrease the importance of static defense but has also made short range and rush units/flanking manouvres and complex unit composition less relevant.

    The universal range reduction is here to combat that.

    That being said, land balance is hard to theorycraft and requires a lot of trial and error; don’t expect this balance to be perfect or permament.



    T1 raiders:
    Dox, Stryker and Spark


    These 3 have always been hard to balance due to the similarities of their roles.

    Sparks have two roles: Crowd control with their AoE and assault/ DPS with their very high damage per shot.
    They don't need the extra range to do that.
    Additionally cutting 5hp means drifters can 1-shot them. (experimental, might revert)


    Strykers are also loosing 5 range to make sure they can't kite Sparks too easily. They retain their high DPS and speed which will allow them to be effective early game against dox and mid-late game as a DPS/combat swarm unit.


    Dox receive no combat buffs, but gain +3 speed and improved handling (acceleration change), making them significantly faster than all other raiders. This means they will lose in direct fights to other raiders but are better at avoiding or flanking armies and raiding poorly protected expansions. The increase in speed means you can have Dox wherever they are needed faster than Strykers and especially Sparks, and also allows them to run down/ force an engaugement with kiting units (drifters, levelers, grenadiers, etc)


    T1 tanks:

    Ant

    Ants are meant to be the generalist T1 tank. Currently, however, they are outclassed in every aspect: Sparks are bettet anti-raider, Infernos are more tanky, Drifters have more speed, range and combat ability against T2 Bots.

    Increasing their rate of fire by 20% (0.5 shots/sec -> 0.6) significnatly improves their damage potential, reinstalling them in the niche of main battle tank. This change is most significant in contrast to the low DPS and RoF of Drifters, making Ants a better all-rounder to make against turrets and buildings, in addition to buffing thir anti-raider capacity.

    This buff is quite significant, so to prevent them from becoming opressive it is paired with a -5 range nerf. In tone wiht the global range downscaling, this allows Drifters to retain the first shot and stacking advantage in direct connfrontations and



    Drifter

    Drifters(along with sparks and grenadiers) are kings of the meta, hardcountering almost every non-raider unit in the game.

    Long story short, thats 100% because they can outrange/outrun almost everything they can meet


    The constraining characteristics of their balance are
    1) they must have a fighting chance against slammers (so a min of 105 range to not be kited)(this also ensures they have better range than ants)
    2) they must NOT outrange double laser turrets (so a max of 110 range)

    I am no fan of static defense but Drifters hardcountering double laser turrets leads to absurd/flustrating gameplay.

    From this point on the mod will test two possible solutions:
    >Drifters with 110 range and turret rotation 60->50 (to maintain superior range to slammers without allowing them to infinitely abuse kite) (current build of the mod)
    >Drifters with 105 range and unchanged turret rotation (tested and scrapped)




    T2 Units:


    Levelers

    Range downscaling. (140->120) They become less opressive against commanders and T1 units


    Slammers

    Damage increase to pre-nerf values.(90dmg/shot ->100) This mainly makes them stronger against infernos, T2 tanks and buildings whenever they manage to get in range. Mainly a QoL buff.


    Bluehawks

    Range reduction (220->200) Pretty self-explanatory.

    Gil-E


    Range reduction (200->180)

    Reducing the Rate of Fire of Gil-E anti-missile weapon. (0.25shots/sec -> 0.167) (experimental, not in the current build)
    This change is intended to keep bluehawks at least somewhat relevant past the point where all players have a T2 bot factory.
    In practice snipers bots can still kill the bluehawks before being overwhealmed and at larger scales will provide good protection, but now if a player invests in a mix of the two they wont be massively punished.






    3) Economy and Production


    Power Storage


    Increased capacity from 100k to 300k There is more or less a consesus that power storages are terrible at providing a buffer, especailly as the game progresses into late stages. This buff fixes taht without making the power storage too OP

    The HP nerf 7.5k ->2k) is to make this important infrastructure building more succeptible to snipes, oppening more avenues for players to counter eachother.



    Metal Storages

    HP nerf(7.5k -> 2k) same justification as with the power storage



    Sollar Array

    Energy production 2.5k -> 3.2k

    This buff makes sollar arrays from only 6% better than T1 power generators into slighlty better than T2 Power gens. That should make it a lot more worthwhile building them, especailly when coupled with the Jig nerf



    Jig


    energy production of jigs has been broken OP for a really long time. the 50% nerf (7.5k ->3.75k) means that while they still provide some cousion, they are no longer enough to rely on for power in the orbital stage.

    Additionally a 50% nerf on their metal storage means they dont fully obsulete the regular metal storage (experimentnal, might remove fully)



    T2 Advanced Metal Extractors

    increasing metal production from 16 to 20

    Still a bit uncertain on the details of this one, have had a lot of discussions with a variety of players and playtested two different approeaches. Regardless, the consensus is that T2 metal is currently very underwhealming for its cost (taking a total of over 2 minutes to pay for itself!)

    Maintianing its high cost while restoring its high yield(16->20) makes the transition into T2 metal a costly and risky, yet potentially highly rewarding strategy. This should diversify the way people play around their T2 economy timings and will enable more games to reach the cool end-game content (Nukes, titans, multiple T2 factories, etc.)





    T2 factories

    T2 rush was a huge problem back when there were few to no counters in T1 to certain T2 units. This is no longer the case, as such a minor experimental reduction of the cost of t2 factories (4.8k -> 4k) will allow for players to build them slightly sooner/ build more of them and rely less ono boosting
    applies to T2 Tank, T2 Bot, T2 Air, T2 Naval as well as T2 Orbital Factory (6k->4k)



    ENDGAME UNITS



    Ares

    HP nerf (80k -> 40k)

    The Ares is the mobile unit with the best range in the game, their current HP makes it VERY hard to punish or counter them. People ahve been complaining about that for years, due time its adressed.

    Atlas buffs:
    HP 40k -> 60k
    speed 13->14

    Atlas has the opposite problem, too little HP to ever get any damage done. It's suppoosed to be the ultimate anti-turtle, so slight speed and significant durability buffs should help with that.


    Zeus buffs: (Not implemented yet!!)

    HP 10k -> 15k
    Range 100->110

    First and most glaring issue with Zeus titans is that fighters, and especialyl T2 fighters have bussted high DPS that chews through Zeuses, making them more plan bad when compared to Wyrms or even horseflies.

    Especailly with the change of stingers, Zeus neeed some love. **NGL, I have little idea as to how this titan can be made viable; Its primary role in my head is that of a penetrator/ army buster, so for now ill just raise its HP and playtest**

    The range increase is so that T2 fighters cant infinitely kite and will always take at least some losses. When micro'd, air still has the advantage due to the low RoF of the Zeus.


    Unit Cannon
    Cost decrease 10k -> 6.8k

    Added Infernos and Storms to the build bar

    The unit cannon has always been a great unit concept-wise that should open a lot of new ways to play a match. However its prohibitatively high cost and the fact that all it takes to counter it fully is a single umbrella or 3-4 bluehawks in the path of the drop pods makes it the worst of all T2 engame investments. **This cost reduction might be too radical, but I want it there as an inscentive for people to try it and figure out its potential. Could revert if it totally breaks orbital games**



    If you've reached this far, congratulations nerd!

    More changes might be added soon, specificlaly to titans, T2 turrets and naval, but for now this is all. All feedback and comments are greatly appreciated!
    Last edited: September 19, 2021 at 10:29 PM
  2. Clopse

    Clopse Post Master General

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    Have never been a fan of double nerfing units but there seems to be a lot of that here. Nerfing the kestrel while buffing striker, nerfing spark while buffing a lot of the counters. Nerfing the drifter is going to make slammers viable again. T2 eco buff, cheaper factory, leveller nerf, and air nerf would prob mean slammers are pretty op.

    Like all the economy changes but not sure why you havnt lowered the price of storage. Not like they have been overused in their current state but now there are more fragile. Agree with energy storage number obviously.

    Balancing the game to complement your playstyle is hard to see past for me but I can see this being fun to play for a while. Change is always good.

    Edit: oh its a mod, nevermind my bitching.
    Last edited: September 6, 2021
  3. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    Edit #1

    After some more testing drifters seem to underperform too hard, so switching to the other option where they have 110 range and reduced turret rotation.


    Upcoming changes:

    Ares
    HP nerf (80k -> 40k)

    The Ares is the mobile unit with the best range in the game, their current HP makes it VERY hard to punish or counter them. People ahve been complaining about that for years, due time its adressed.

    Atlas buffs:
    HP 40k -> 60k
    speed 13->14

    Atlas has the opposite problem, too little HP to ever get any damage done. It's suppoosed to be the ultimate anti-turtle, so slight speed and significant durability buffs should help with that.


    Zeus buffs:

    HP 10k -> 15k
    splash radius 50 -> 60

    First and most glaring issue with Zeus titans is that fighters, and especialyl T2 fighters have bussted high DPS that chews through Zeuses, making them more plan bad when compared to Wyrms or even horseflies.

    Especailly with the change of stingers, Zeus neeed some love. **NGL, I have little idea as to how this titan can be made viable; Its primary role in my head is that of a penetrator/ army buster, so for now ill just raise its HP and playtest**

    The splash will make it better at fighting air and clearing armies.


    Unit Cannon
    Cost decrease 10k -> 6.8k

    Added Infernos and Storms to the build bar

    The unit cannon has always been a great unit concept-wise that should open a lot of new ways to play a match. However its prohibitatively high cost and the fact that all it takes to counter it fully is a single umbrella or 3-4 bluehawks in the path of the drop pods makes it the worst of all T2 engame investments. **This cost reduction might be too radical, but I want it there as an inscentive for people to try it and figure out its potential. Could revert if it totally breaks orbital games**




    The endgame units changes are not going to be implemented just yet, ill update the original post and changelog when that changes.


    Coming up next:

    Possibly fighter HP reduction and first shot at naval?


    Boombot damage when killed
    *highly experimental, requires a bit of cost tweaking to not make booms OP
    Last edited: September 21, 2021 at 9:07 PM
  4. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    Edit #2


    1) implementing endgame units changes form Edit#1 (specifically the Zeus one, since that was missing from the previous build)

    2) reverting the drifter turret yaw rate nerf (60->50->60)

    3) partially reverting the leveler range nerf (140->120->130)

    T2 bot seems to be a must have, so to make sure T2 tanks is also a valid option I'm reverting some of the nerfs to slammer counters.



    Next upcoming experimental change might be fighter HP scaledown.

    Hummingbird hp 150 -> 100
    Phoenix hp 300 -> 240

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