Restarting Old Discussions

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by stuart98, July 18, 2015.

  1. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    Felt like a Clopse post on the 1v1 balance thread deserved a reply off-topic from that thread's OP enough to merit it's own thread.

    T1 unit balance is pretty good right now, but how is T1 unit design?

    Is the unit variety in T1 good or do we get a lot of sameness?

    Every game seems to start out with dox rushes followed by gradual pushing with ants, infernos, and grenadiers. Nothing is OP, but we're only using seven combat units for most of the game and it's all mostly the same until we get to how the game is ended (Surrender, tank push, boom, com push).

    You brought up TA, I'll bring up BA.

    The arm T1 bot factory in BA has five anti-ground units, each of which with a distinct role. While there is some overlap, each of the units feels like it has a distinct role even among such units as a rocket bot and an artillery bot. (Artillery bot fires over wreckage but is otherwise worse. This small advantage really has huge impacts on the game.) Core T1 vehicle factory has even more. Lots of units allow for more variety. If we are using the same units in every game, then PA has, from a design standpoint, failed.

    Onto your point about T2.

    "You shouldn't be allowed build it unless as kiwi said there is a stalemate."

    Why? Why are we restricting half of the unit roster from use unless rare conditions occur?
    Why are we making it so that T2 so expensive that you never get it unless you can't beat your opponent any other way?

    I want to see a more open game strategy wise. People say that PA is a game of execution because the games tend to play out very similarly. If you don't follow the meta, you tend to die, and the meta is pretty narrow. There's no room for varying play styles in PA. This is killing strategy.

    What if the cost of T2, the production level of T2, and the consumption level of T2 were all halved, then we changed levelers, slammers, and vanguards to be more dissimilar to their T1 counterparts?

    What would happen?

    What if we introduced ~2 new units to each factory?

    What would happen?

    At Galactic Annihilation, we're not asking rhetorics and hypotheticals. We've done this, and the result is glorious increase in unit composition.

    Sorry.

    I'd like to harken back to a discussion around two months ago on the why of balance. Why are we going with this heavily gated T2? Why are we going with so few T1 units? Don't talk about art; there's plenty of unused art assets and also plenty of community made models, many of which are of comparable quality to Uber art (models wise at least; there's less high quality textures, but I think that's mainly because we don't have many good texturers. Nanolathe's were pretty close to vanilla quality, but he's long gone and probably not coming back. I'm not sure how OWO's are; I probably never spent enough time in that mod). Making new units certainly doesn't take the time a new commander with 10 times the polys does.

    How is the game better with its current balance and design directions?

    How would the increased strategy offered by more (properly designed) units be offset by some downside introduced by them?

    #addmorestrategyinpa2015
    xanoxis and ace63 like this.
  2. dom314

    dom314 Post Master General

    Messages:
    896
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Tl;dr lol
    EDIT: sorry im not in the best of moods, just thought this was funny.
    elodea, xanoxis, tunsel11 and 2 others like this.
  3. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    :/
    xanoxis and dom314 like this.
  4. dom314

    dom314 Post Master General

    Messages:
    896
    Likes Received:
    1,196
    Don't worry bud, I'll read it a bit later
    xanoxis and stuart98 like this.
  5. BobChaos

    BobChaos New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    4
    I wouldn't mind some unit variety added to T1, but it feels a bit late in the dev cycle to upset the balance with new units. Worth looking into tho. I find T2 vehicles lack variety, 3 out of 4 are basically just better versions of T1 vehicles :/ T2 bots are a great example of the kind of variety I like. Each one fills a very distinct role that complements, rather than improve upon, its T1 counterparts.

    Regarding going T2, I'm personally satisfied with the way it works now. 1v1 should be short and brutal, no time for T2, but in team games they're not unusual, sometimes even in large numbers. I read that before I joined the multiplayer community, at some point the meta was to rush T2, but that doesn't feel right to me. Right now this game is a lot about maneuvering warfare, trying to get where it matters faster than the enemy, whereas I imagine rushing T2 was much more turtely in nature.
  6. MrTBSC

    MrTBSC Post Master General

    Messages:
    4,857
    Likes Received:
    1,823
    the way i see it both toghether t1 and t2 have good unitdesign at least in some areas ... the thing is t2 mobile units need to be a bit more accessible ...

    i don´t see why you should f.e. throw in more brawler or snipertype units into t1 when you actualy have them in t2 ...

    i find it a huge mistake to throw in units that across the tiers perform too similar ... aaaaand the thing is we partialy have this issue for a very long time already .. i mean has anyone had the chance to propperly mix up both t1 and t2 groundunits to see if you can put up propper compositions where it doesn´t turn out to just having to spam one unit from one tier ( f.e. gil-e´s or shellers) to be effective? ... f.e. can a composition of shellers and grenadiers work? or vanguards and infernos?m or do you simply replace one with another .. otherwise realy what t2 would need are real special case units to spice gameplay up ... prime example stealth generators or something like nukebots ... not just nukes, halleys or holkins ...

    and for the love of god we sooo need multiunittransports or some rebalance that allow more drop tactics ...
    like this is the one thing that realy saddens me ... transportdrops at the moment is like the rarest thing to occur and when it happens it only happens like ONCE ...
    Last edited: July 18, 2015
  7. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

    Messages:
    12,074
    Likes Received:
    16,221
    It's never too late to do that kind of thing imho.
    Can be the fresh air that brings back players who stopped playing because they felt the game was lacking. Just tiny tweaks don't do that.
    stuart98 likes this.
  8. cdrkf

    cdrkf Post Master General

    Messages:
    5,721
    Likes Received:
    4,793
    @stuart98 whilst I agree with you on most points, I don't see T2 as the issue. T2 isn't something you can rush in a 1 v 1 in TA or BA for that matter. You do see t2 in 1 v 1 BA when on a metal rich map like Comet with 2 evenly matched players, but that's usually after 15 to 20 minutes of play to arrive at a stalemate (or the loosing player using it to turn the tables, I've seen a few good comebacks with a core player sneaking out a krow when their opponent has minimal aa :)).

    I think we all need to remember there is more than 1 way to play PA. If we focus the entire balance around small planet 1 v 1 play what happens to multi planet, FFA and team games? I think too readily accessible T2 would result in pushing the meta in larger scale games to rush t2 + nukes.
    MrTBSC, kayonsmit101 and Nicb1 like this.
  9. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    As much as I like BA's T1 phase, I don't like how eventually players stop attacking each other and turtle up until they can get bulldogs and reapers out.
  10. Geers

    Geers Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,946
    Likes Received:
    6,820
    What's BA?
  11. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    Balanced Annihilation.

    It's one of several TA derived spring games.
  12. igncom1

    igncom1 Post Master General

    Messages:
    7,961
    Likes Received:
    3,132
    I think PA should be balanced around CompStomps!

    :p
    Bsport likes this.
  13. Bgrmystr2

    Bgrmystr2 Active Member

    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    201
    To be fair, I never played BA, but I can feel this statement. I'll bring up Supreme Commander real quick just to point out that, while balance in the game was obscenely exponential.. IE : early scout units with a dozen health vs experimentals with hundreds of thousands. Pff wot is balance? ..I do think the game in it's current state on FAF does extraordinarily well on this front. Just about every high level game you see people constantly attacking with T1 units all the way until they hit T2 and proceed to use T1 until they can support their entire army being T2 (if that's what their plan is, anyway).

    Applying constant pressure on the enemy while also teching up is something that is not unique to any individual game. It's something that should be the mainstay of every game. If you don't attack the enemy, they will attack you. The problem with SupCom is that the advanced tech is so undeniably superior, there's no reason to not tech other than sheer cost. PA has the same problem. With a similar number of advanced tech, you can wreck several times their value in basic units. I think this is a serious problem with scale.

    TA didn't have a large scale from basic to advanced units. Of course.. it wasn't perfectly balanced and a lot of the advanced units weren't used because of this, but the idea behind their strategic purpose was sound. I believe PA has been lacking in this department from the get-go. Now, I wasn't expecting a glorious spectacle of balance that could only be thy god himself to grace the player base on day one. Obviously. Not going to happen. But it's been quite a while from Kickstarter to now and after everything that's been added, the units themselves still feel like one big 'meh'.

    Personally, I stand in the camp that believes advanced units should not cost multiple times the basic units, nor should they be able to outmatch everything in the basic tree on even footing. They should do very specific things extremely well, increase the strategic depth of the game, but not be required to win a game. I always think of sniper units as a perfect example. They're amazing at taking out high-priority and/or high-health targets. Things like the Commander, a Krogoth, or those damned Diplomats.. askjfgaskhf >:/ Snipers tend to reload slowly, but usually aren't heavily armored (they even have visual stealth in TA) so they can get in and get out quickly and efficiently. IE, if they're found and swarmed by multiple units that are fast and light, they show weakness.

    It's these very role-defining characteristics that PA just doesn't seem to have. I realize that balance is an extremely complicated beast, but it seems to me that without a plan to make the game more strategically engaging, it's just going to continue to be 'meh'.. and I find that really sad. The potential this game has is astronomical, but noone's building storage.. so it's all going to waste. :/
    KNight likes this.
  14. exterminans

    exterminans Post Master General

    Messages:
    1,881
    Likes Received:
    986
    The biggest impact right now would be induced by new mechanics.

    What makes most units in PA so "indifferent" is the lack of mechanics which have an impact on the dynamics.

    Basically all ground units in PA behave exactly the same when attacking and retreating. All can fire while moving, all can fire in every direction, all take the same damage regardless on which side they were hit, all can take the same paths.

    As it stands, all offensive ground units are only differing in HP-to-cost-ratio, DPS-to-cost-ratio, movement speed and weapon/splash range.

    Out of these, only the movement speed and the weapon range actually have an impact on play style, the other two are just making units more or less attractive.


    It would already change A LOT if e.g. the Levelers turret was fixed front-facing, Infernos received an damage reduction when attacked from the front, Shellers would need to become stationary, or long story short:

    Tiny changes to the movement and situational dynamics of each unit. Changes which change the pace at which one unit can switch from march to offensive to defensive behavior, regardless of the performance of each unit WHILE inside a certain situation.

    An example is Dox vs vehicles. As it stands, the Dox is fast because it is supposed to outmaneuver vehicles. But does that really mean that all vehicles need to be slow? Or doesn't it just mean, that the Dox only needs to be more agile in close quarters in order to be effective at flanking? Does it even mean that the Dox needs a higher march speed than any other unit, or wouldn't it actually turn out to be more interesting if effective flanking and raiding and the ability to intercept other squads would be attributed to different units?

    For another example, just imagine what would happen if the Leveler had a fixed turret, high speed, but lost the ability to turn at high speed and had subpar acceleration. That would just form an entirely new role (basically an anti-tank vehicle), which is currently not covered by any other unit in PA.
    doud, ace63, Bgrmystr2 and 6 others like this.
  15. Bgrmystr2

    Bgrmystr2 Active Member

    Messages:
    384
    Likes Received:
    201
    In this respect I like to think of games like MechWarrior. (I played MW3 extensively and a bit of MW4 along with many other non-MechWarrior games) Granted weight is a major thing in MW, I simply thinking of the relation between the tanks and Mechs. Obviously Mechs are way over-blown in size compared to the tanks from what I see, but tanks in this kind of scenario would easily be able to out-speed heavy Mechs but wouldn't take nearly the damage. Their major weakness lies in their arms, legs, and joints. Conversely, the light Mechs can be much faster and more agile, but they're still Mechs, not slabs of steel. It'd be easier to take down a light Mech if you could get a shot at it.

    Mechs have a purpose in MechWarrior. They've all but replaced tanks, have extensive weaponry, are proficient in acceleration, top speed, agility, vision, versatility, and customization. They are, in essence, the best at what they do. They trade some stats for others, and everything has a respectable limit while allowing immense personal customization. This balance design allows players to custom-tailor their Mech to suit their needs. High speed harassment, hulking heavyweight armed to the teeth, agile jumper scouts with long range weaponry, speedy but heavily armored assault units with a small selection of heavy weaponry.. the list goes on. Every build has a role.

    Your post is great because it not only asks the reason for units, but the reason behind the mechanics of balance, not just of the balance itself. I think a lot of players here on the forums (including myself) are guilty of looking at balance from a numbers perspective, but either lacking or forgetting answers to the purpose of units, changes, and all the mechanics that entail.

    If a Dox is fast, then what is meant by 'fast'? Is it nimble and agile? Does it just move from A to B quickly? Is it's acceleration or top speed significant? Does it have a good mechanical reaction time to avoid enemy fire? None of this matters more than why. Why does the Dox move fast? Whatever this 'fast' is, what purpose does it have? Is it any different than the 'fast' of other units? Do they have a specific goal in mind? None of these questions seem to be asked in balance threads. They're said, skimmed over, maybe a few posts have them, but I've seen no major discussions on the very meaning of what units are supposed to do. A tank is a tank, sure, but what makes it different from any other tank? Maybe it's bigger? Has more health? Does more damage? Does that simply make it better? Why are they so similar in use? Why use both? Why not have both?

    If balance is designed with no purpose behind the mechanics, then it won't ever feel inspiring or game changing. Many people here on the forums, some here, some gone, know what they want for numbers balance. What I want to know is where are all the answers to the questions basically noone's been asking? Honestly, it doesn't look like many people are asking the right questions in the first place. I think if we can start asking the right questions and then answer even a fraction of these, the number balance should sort itself out relatively easily.

    There's a quote I would describe the forum discussions of balance. As the late doctor once said..
    I'm sorry. My responses are limited. You must ask the right question.
    xanoxis and KNight like this.
  16. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

    Messages:
    3,879
    Likes Received:
    3,597
    This is probably the most important thing ever. This entire thing falls under the unit combinations category too, having more mechanics like this would create a hundred more possibilities for successful unit combinations.

    I edited my "why i stopped playing 1v1" thread to include this.
    stuart98 likes this.
  17. probodobodyne

    probodobodyne Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    177
    Which specific units are you talking about? I see every T1 unit used as much as they should be (Booms don't become useless if they're used less than Bolos) and it's t2 that needs talking about.
  18. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    Skitters? Combat fabbers aren't being used to fabricate in combat but only to build mines? Fireflies?

    But it's not just that; it's also the fact that there are so few combat units to begin with, it just gets stale. We need more units.
  19. probodobodyne

    probodobodyne Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    177
    I use Skitters, how else do you scout with a vehicle start?

    I use Fireflies all the time. Combat Fabs are a great boon when groups are small enough that Bolos don't die in one burst.

    And what additional T1 niches can you think of? A close range bot or a gun armed fast vehicle will overlap with other units in other factories. Naval T1 is always the backbone in naval engagements as Barracudas are the best pound for pound.
  20. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

    Messages:
    6,009
    Likes Received:
    3,888
    Don't do a vehicle start, they don't work.

    My upcoming mod manages to have:

    Vehicles:
    Spotter - Skitter (Cheap, fast, weak gun, one of the few units with more vision range than weapon range)
    Raider - Striker (Fast, powerful gun, low health, low range)
    Assault - Ant (Decent cannon, good armor, medium range)
    Mobile wall - Shielder (Defenseless vanguard with a lot of health at a low price)
    Skirmish - Thumper (Long range, fairly low DPS for cost)
    Anti-air/skirmish - Spinner (Fairly long range, low damage, shots get blocked by wreckage)

    Bot:
    Raider/Spotter - Zipper (Fast bot with a volleyfire gun that, like the skitter, is one of the few units with more vision than weapon range)
    Assault - Dox (Cheap, good damage per metal with decent health)
    Skirmish - Smasher (Fairly good range rocket bot whose shots are blocked by wreckage)
    Skirmish - Stomper (An artillery bot with less range than the smasher whose shots can be fired over wreckage)
    Boom - Sniping (Get in, take out strategic target or just cause mayhem before dieing)
    Combat Fabber - Field support (Tank a little damage, set up a frontline defense, or heal units)
    Crasher - Anti-air/Riot (Volleyfire vulcan weapon that gives high burst dps but low continual dps, spread can give it a fair amount of damage in an area during a burst or shred a target while fairly low weapon range and health for its cost make it an easy target for assaults).

    It's not hard to find additional niches.
    doud and ace63 like this.

Share This Page