Slightly limiting the viability of orbital comm snipes

Discussion in 'Balance Discussions' started by acesoyster, July 15, 2018.

  1. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    I've been doing a lot of modding to orbital lately, and wanted to try and put and end to the orbital arms race that occurs late in multiplanet systems. The problem, as I see it, is that there is little cost to sending your orbital units above an enemy's defenses, as your units can be immediately retreated. With an appropriate mass of cheap orbital units to soak up turret fire, your Omegas can have a good few seconds above the enemy comm without taking a significant hit, and retreat to be used again in your next push of twice the size.
    Whilst considering ways to fix this, I had an idea for an engine change that might be in time be useful in solving this issue. Similar to the way the unfinished mass teleport feature builds energy before teleporting, would it be feasible to add an energy cost and energy drain field for orbital moves? This would allow an "orbital departure delay" to be implemented, and also make orbital snipes with large groups of forces have a significant energy cost. The largest issue I can identify is making this information transparent to the player, but at least there will be a blue charge bar so that it's clear the units have responded to the command, unlike implementing a delay in the same way as the arrival delay is done.
  2. emarkus

    emarkus Active Member

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    I dont know what is the best solution, but I also think the fast orbital retreat possiblity is a problem. Because you defense units cannot follow them, as it would be possible on ground armies.
  3. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    give catapults anti orbital splash damage
    add devastating orbital mines you cant see without actual orbital unit vision range
    add significant energy cost to recovery time upon arrival?
    make omegas explode on death

    basically make jumping into the most heavily fortified point in a solar system as stupid an idea as it sounds.

    so you have to actually try to invade someone. nuke and land in a weak point, set up a beach head like the good ol' days.
    add mobile/orbital anti nuke?
    git gud gilEs?

    make invading someone more fun/less annoying than trying to snipe them from orbit.
  4. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    I have a couple of issues with your points. Starting with concerns with specific items:

    Anti-orbital splash is very dangerous because units arriving from interplanetary transport arrive at almost the same spot. The punishment for not noticing a catapult in someone's base shouldn't be that you lose your entire orbital force in a single shot, as it would be if you gave it splash.

    I don't get what this fixes, nor how it makes much logical sense. We already have a configurable amount of delay before each unit can operate when arriving after transport. Why would adding an energy cost to that do much more than essentially make orbital units more expensive? Furthermore, in the case of an energy cost before departure, the stop command would still be viable should you decide that the economy hit is too large and you need to cancel the charging cycle. In the case of a cost upon arrival, there would be no such facility, and as such you create an unpleasant noob trap.

    What's to stop someone just covering their planet in mines and replacing the mines that their enemy sets off? What's the counter to these mines? For land mines, once revealed, the mines become useless because you can destroy them from range. For an orbital mine, you still have to actually travel to the planet to be able to target them, which you can't do without setting off mines. Does the solution become sending lots of disposable Hermes at their planet faster than they can build mines? That doesn't sound particularly enjoyable, especially if the mines are cheaper than the Hermes. If you make the mines more expensive than a Hermes, why would you build 4 mines rather than a single Umbrella? This idea only leads to a sequence of hard counters, which leaves the orbital game just as boring as it already is, but with an additional two or three steps before the same stalemate is reached. Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of the game's land mines, which I believe have the same issues.

    On a general note, while I agree that I'd like to see more interplanetary invasion, which I think has a aesthetic quality too it that's far more aligned with game's theme, I wouldn't want to make the orbital snipe infeasible. The fact that the units appear on top of eachother defies the image slightly, but the idea of 40 spaceships arriving over a city and wiping it out with massive lasers is cool as well. What I am suggesting is an engine change that would allow modders a bit more utility in trying to find a working balance between those two methods, rather than asking Uber to redevelop the orbital balance entirely. I actually think invasion strategies are quite viable and often used successfully in multiplanet games, and while I could get behind some small buffs, I don't think any drastic changes are needed there.
  5. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    if you waited until your opponent manages to cover the entire planet in catapults to launch an attack you deserve to lose. same gos for covering the ENTIRE orbital layer (much much larger than just a planet) in mines.
    "oh come on! I sent my entire armada in with insufficient intel and it got destroyed! how UNFAIR!"
    Air has flak, land has darn near everything, I don't see the problem here.

    Having counterplay for a kind of snipe doesn't make it impossible. the existence of flak didn't end airsnipes, boombot snipes still happen even though we have ubercannons and dox, and people still get nuked somehow even with anti nukes in the buildbar. Maybe I'm oversimplifying this when all I see is that orbital has a significantly higher damage potential than anti-orbital, which is the opposite of how everything else in the game works.

    significant energy cost for recovery time would mean that if you didn't have the power to charge up your death fleet it would be stuck until you charged up their bars. basically like your original idea but where your ships get stuck at their destination instead of the start point. not really a problem if you control a gas giant, but then what is?

    maaaaaaybe these ideas are heavy-handed, but I think punishing moronic orbital maneuvers is a pretty logical course of action when you can basically do whatever you want as long as you always have your finger on the retreat button.

    thinking about it it seems like the fact that orbital can squeeze so much health and damage in one spot is kindof the problem here. you can't possibly fit enough vanilla structures in the same space to counter. would it be possible to make orbital jumps "inaccurate"?
  6. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    The difference between orbital and other layers is that there is a difference between vision and being within turret range. You have no time to react to what you see with orbital, and it makes it feel a lot less like an RTS. Additionally, the ratio of cost between Flak and T2 air makes it much more significant an investment, whereas the cost of an Umbrella against an Omega makes it a no-brainer. Even a catapult is relatively cheap against T2 orbital.

    If catapults had splash, that single shot from one catapult could wipe out ludicrously large amounts of metal. A lack of intelligence should be punishing, but not to that extent. If it's increased anti-orbital output you're after, Bluehawks fill that need, as do Avengers.

    Mines are confusing enough for new players, and having your orbital units arrive and immediately disappear is going to be even worse. As far as I can see, all orbital mines would do is make the current orbital stalemates even worse.

    As I said above, all that adding an energy cost to planetary arrival achieves is making orbital armies cost more metal. If you're convinced that the problem is that orbital is too cheap, just raise its price rather than adding this hugely uneven energy draw. I honestly think just making the retreat non-immediate is enough to punish poor intel with the units' current DPS values. The idea of adding an energy demand was to me, mostly just a convenient way to display this information, although adds a slightly more interesting dynamic than arrival cost, given that you'd expect to lose some units on a raid anyway, thus decreasing the energy necessary if a player sticks to their guns harder and opts for a late retreat at the expense of their units.
    manlebtnureinmal likes this.
  7. w33dkingca

    w33dkingca Active Member

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    Idea. Why not make a structure that disallows orbital units to land above it within a certain radius, like it has orbital collision and pushes them out of the way at least, decide cost so its hard to cover the planet in them and everything else meaning a totally invulnerable planet is prettey un obtainable unless your alone for a long time or have a lot a lot a lot of economy
    Last edited: July 27, 2018
  8. w33dkingca

    w33dkingca Active Member

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    That idea isn't possible with current limits, there is however the option of a super umbrella with an energy charge and beam weapon, dealing massive damage meaning a snipe will take more effort than just one click shift attack, the need to drain the weapon of energy first is there and that should give players with too much going on on the ground time to counter and move commander.
    Last edited: July 27, 2018
  9. acesoyster

    acesoyster Active Member

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    From what I’ve heard people say, I should make it clearer that I don’t think orbital snipes are OP. I think orbital snipes are too attractive an option given A) how readily they are countered and B) how boring they are. If they were made less viable in a distinct way, it would discourage people from lazy orbital snipes that serve to do nothing more than extend an already long multiplanet game as the player throws away copious volumes of metal for little gain. If players didn’t get back nearly all their units with merely reduced health (a less of metal which isn’t especially highlighted in the UI), they might become more aware of just how much they are throwing at a brick wall and seek other, more entertaining, alternatives more often.

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