The future of ranked

Discussion in 'PA: TITANS: General Discussion' started by Killerkiwijuice, January 11, 2019.

  1. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    Here are the 2 cents of one of the most air heavy player right now:

    Imho Air is not OP. It IS strong, and it IS easy to play, and that's about it. OP would mean that it destroys everything else, whereas that's definitely not the case. I find myself using less and less of it on maps like Roc and Amplus and banking on proxy T1 factories and Galata sprawl more and more.


    Here are some notes to all of the less experienced players when dealing with air spаmmers:

    1. Use small clusters of dox and boombots (and sparks if the target is close enough) to raid enemy expansions. A major problem of air heavy play is that it cant be everywhere or it becomes vulnerable, so exploit that and attack from multiple vectors before your opponent can dig in and place turrets.

    2. Up scale your AA. if your opponent is going 6-8 air, it doesn't hurt to set 1 or even 2 tank factories to produce spinners only. Really soon they will find out that all those tens of fighters and bombers are useless to area patrolling spinners

    3. Be aggressive with your fabricators and protect them with mobile AA. 4, 3, or even 2 fabricators dedicated to sealing areas with galata that you have captured with your tanks as soon as they arrive means that's off limits for your opponent to raid until they come with an actual land army.

    4. Hunt their air. I find radars one of the most valuable tools, not because my air is insufficient to scout the whole map (for most players below top uber level that should be the main reason to build radars everywhere), but because it tells me where my opponent's air is (and is not). If you see them stop, bring your air force (even if smaller) to snipe the bombers and harass, or send some dox. Dox area paroling eath through air the same way locusts eat through power generators.

    5. Dont attack (more dedicated than just raiding) unless you are sure your army has enough AA to scare away your opponent. There is no use in bleeding ants, infernos, sparks, etc. The more they can get away with, especially early game,

    6. Pressure. If your opponent has 6 air factories and you have only 3, that means you have 3 more ground factories than they do. Use that, especially early on before T2, to get total map control. With the right unit mix (infernos, sparks, ants) you can probably breach most of their defenses once you've gathered a large blob. if one area is fortified or there is a commander there, dont bother, just go around and find a softer target. It will take quite a while for them to collect any sizable counter force since you have the factory advantage and their air is useless

    7. Use all the AA capabilities of PA. Late game a single colonel is enough to permanently deny all air on its own, combined with its speed and ability to build T2 metal and Flak, that thing is monstrous on maps like amplus if you get to the point where you can afford it. Same goes for the Mend (T2 combat fabb), the mend can rush galata in an instant and fortify it with walls (that actually deflect Kestrel shots really well. Make proxi tank factories that produce annoying AA clusters near your expansions, and you wont even need galata



    However I do recognize a couple of major problems that need to be addressed:

    1. Once you give up on it, getting back in the air game is close to impossible, even if your opponent has lost all of their bombers. That's so since all ground based AA has been ballanced around countering bombers (as far as I know), which means fighters lack any real ground based countermeasure, and therefore can stack easily

    2. Kestrels are disproportionately tanky considering the lack of scaling T2 mobile AA on the ground early on. Gil-Es still miss vs air, storms are soft, have low damage, and very limited range, and both the colonel and Mend are really expensive (and the mend has low HP). All that is left is spinner spam.


    I offer two approaches to solving those problems.

    1. To fix the Kestrel menace, either nerf it's HP (must remain a 2 shot kill for Phoenixes) so that ground AA can take care of it/ sniping it with T1 air is more doable.

    An additional change could be to buff the Strom and the gil-e by increasing the storm's HP and range so that its punishing to split your kestrels away from your air just to snipe it. To the gil-e, i'd suggest increasing its turret turn rate and fixing it's accuracy (one proposal was to make the projectile homing with very low maneuverability so that it's unnoticeable on the outside but still corrects for the arc displacement that currently makes it miss so often)

    2. Decrease Hummingbird and Phoenix HP.
    This can happen without significantly altering how air-to-air combat works and applies to all sill levels and game mods. Decreasing a humming bird's HP by (a radical) 20-33% would mean that it's still a 2 shot kill from another hummingbird but now damage dealt by flying over AA for a couple of seconds brings that down to 1. Similarly for Phoenixes (even though due to the belated nature of T2 they need it slightly less), decreasing their health by a conservative 50 Points (16.6%) (I'd suggest around 90) means that flying over Dox and AA weakens them enough to make up to the other player for having way less air. This way ground AA investment can translate to a better chance at regaining air control, or even rendering your smaller air force more useful => a better more varied air-ground dynamic.



    On the matter of adding a bot AA, I stand firmly against. All of the testing i've done with the legion AA bot (slower than Dox) results in totally decimating up to 4 bombers alone due to micro, and I can imagine that even a version with significantly lower Damage output will still be unkillable when in the hands of a player who knows how to wiggle it out of harm's way.

    If for some reason everyone is so keen on making an AA bot, just increase the maximum firing angle of the dox, they are already effective at dealing damage when area paroling under a bunch of bombers
  2. w33dkingca

    w33dkingca Active Member

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    A storm range increase could be deadly, they already hit kestrels at their full range, not great damage though, maybe a slight damage increase will help, but increasing range/radius, I dunno.
  3. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

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    The problem with the Storm is it has no range, only splash. So your Kestrels get hit, but are at the edge of its splash, so easily kill the Storm before it can do much. I like the idea of allowing it to tilt (which the model supports) which would allow it to be more effective, but only in one direction. This would encourage splitting air, because if it's shooting the front blob it's doing nothing to the blob coming from the other side. This would be best supported by a fix to the Hornet to allow it to engage from its proper range so it can really deal with ground AA like it's supposed to (while being limited by its speed).

    I think this makes the Storm more effective against the Kestrel, doesn't make it more powerful against bombers than it already is, and allows for slightly more interesting possibilities in the air space.

    It's worth noting that the DPS of the Patriot is twice that of the Spinner. Legion AA was always intended to be more powerful than MLA AA.
    Last edited: January 14, 2019
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  4. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    The reason we don't see larger 1v1 maps is that they would be all air and maybe some bots (1000+ radius). Air is too effective both of the two major skills in PA: raiding and unit confrontation/engages. It should only be strong at one, which naturally means it should be weaker at raiding and stronger at trading in metal-for-metal engages like tanks vs bombers. Currently it is too good at fabber sniping and too easy to spam on non-small maps. If we want to keep playing on super tiny planets, i guess air is fine :)
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  5. w33dkingca

    w33dkingca Active Member

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    Kiwi, Surprised you didn't pull him on the fact hes Uber #1 and he said "Here are the 2 cents of one of the 'most air heavy player right now:"
    NikolaMX likes this.
  6. NikolaMX

    NikolaMX Active Member

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    watch my recent ranked games ;)
  7. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    We dont need any sort of buff for t1 bot factory. It is already preferred 99% of the time. t1 bot aa is a big no no.
  8. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    1. If anything can be everywhere and react very quickly to the enemy dox attack it is air.

    Colonel are not really an option because they cost like 9 Levelers. Colonels might barely be an options against Zeus which is imba on its own. But Zeus will always be able to back off and attack elsewhere anyway.

    There are lots of options like galata turret spam but it boils down to a single fact that building defences and planning for building defences wherever you need is very time and micro consuming. The opponent only needs to select all air and issue a move order to attack elsewhere at any time. The amount of effort required to defend from air is disproportionate.

    Generally defences arent great because you need lots of micro to set them up. And once they have been destroyed you need that micro to restore them again. There is no UI feature that allows for automatic replenishment of depleted defensive structures. And offensive units will be built automatically and in great numbers isntead. Micro requirements for air defence is one of the reasons why noone ever bothers with it. Instead they build their own air.

    Lets just watch the actual uber games. Total air imba. And when someone finally built a couple of storms, they got outmicroed by the Kestrels with little to no trouble from air.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=o4oYNF58wcM
    Last edited: January 15, 2019
  9. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    Well I dont think that they miss every time but yes they miss often(because they go for the fighters which they cant hit). But only if the air player does not stop. If the air stops to attack then the kestrels are done oriveded that the snipers prioritize them (preferably even using radar info). Of course i wish sniperbot AA worked more similarly to their antimissile defence which never missed but that would require a good patch from PA devs.

    Kestrels need to be no.1 target for the sniperbots and of course 100% accuracy would be preferable but it is optional. I think they should always attack Kestrels(and their Legion copy the Lockheed) in range and one they are dealt with they should ignore the bombers (leave these for spinner/storm) and go for gound targets. I think at this point people recognize the threat that the Kestrels pose and it is well worth it to have them prioritized by some of your units.

    On their own the snipers are very mediocre anyway. You re often better off building the bluehawks which have a lot more DPS. So anti Kestrel/missiles might be a good role for the snipers. And i d like to mention that their current anti air role is very unpronounced and therefore they feel more like an unfinished unit in their current state. They have antiair which does not have a preference for the targets that are worth killing and which they can actually hit.

    TLDR snipers would have no trouble with the attacking and hovering Kestrels IF they prioritized these above anything else. You can easily test it in sandbox.
    Last edited: January 15, 2019
  10. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    Well in fact the sniperbots would have no problem with the Kestrels IF they were able to prioritize them above anything else (especially above the fighters).

  11. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

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    Now dance the Kestrels. Then dance the Kestrels and have a land force engage. Are the Gil-E still useful? Can the Gil-E track as quickly as the Kestrel can circle?
  12. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    Im not sure what exactly you need but if you tried to outmicro the storms with the kestrels like you used to do, the Kestrels are sitting ducks and are going to get killed by the sniper bots. If you are doing some moving around you are going to get in range of the spinners and storms if you wanted to deal damage anyway.

    Whatever you might imply requires lots of micro from the air player with uncertain results and dubious profit. It is probably too much effor for too little benefit at this point. And after some time even the moving kestrels will die just due to luck with absolute 0 micro required from the sniperbot player Simply because the snipers have 220 range instead of 80 for the storm and 120 for the spinner.

    It is going to cause that attrition over time regardless of which moves you do. Provided that the snipers have priority targeting on those kestrels.

    Nowdays we dont see GilE used as anti air because they target the hummingbirds instead and the hummingbirds are absolutely impossible to hit. Targeting the hummingbirds is a waste of sniperbot AA ability.
    Last edited: January 15, 2019
  13. billthebluebot

    billthebluebot Active Member

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    38 gil-es and some accidental comm fire against 50 kestrels, that's slightly more metal on the gil-e side already. Added 50 or so ants to be more similar to your test (which the kestrels would have won if they targeted the gil-es first, let alone flew over them to abuse slow turning speed, which will always be a no-no for aa.)

    Now I do get where you're coming from on this, long range aa is more appealing than speedy aa in my opinion as well, but the gil-e needs a complete overhaul to fit this role. Needs an accuracy fix, faster turn speed, new target priorities as you said and maybe a small health boost.
  14. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    Needs an accuracy fix, faster turn speed, new target priorities as you said and maybe a small health boost.

    Yes i can agree with this 100%. Maybe even no need for a health boost. They are tool and not a tank.

    But also just wanted to note that you dont fly over land blobs like in that test because of the storms. I think the slow turn rate might not be an issue because you have to stay away with the kestrels.
    Last edited: January 15, 2019
  15. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    I think something like this is more realistic. And the snipers kind of work in their current state if only they had target priority on the Kestrels. Notice how i side strafed the kestrels and one of them was sniped anyway. We just need priority for that to work in our game.

    I could go in and try to exploit slow turn rate but the storms prevent that. I could try and focus the storms but i think that the snipers and the spinners prevent that. Besides things that require micro are expensive for the players and are nowhere near 100% fool proof thus will produce mistakes which will cost Kestrels. As soon as they are stationary they are free to shoot and at a very long range.

    Last edited: January 15, 2019
  16. netpyxa

    netpyxa Active Member

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    By the way another thing that is worth noting is that units in game actually try to stay in formation. Infernos and vanguards take their place to the front, standart units stay in the middle and artillery + AA usually stay back and especially the Storms. Storms love staying back in particular. This sometimes leaves them vulnerable to kestrel snipes if not protected by enough Spinners. I rthink that the spinners tend to stay elsewhere in large blobs. Which in turn could be covered by properly pioritized sniperbots.

    Another thing is the maps. Maybe just maybe we need large maps gradually removed from ranked (leave just a couple?). And replaced with the maps like Blitz or Forge. Blitz is only like 350 radius and with 30 metal spots now that s too small for air spam. I think that any 500+ radius maps are very excessive for 1v1s. Sure they leave a lot of space for expansion and increase the skill ceiling but usually its just a stomp and provides the snowballing advantage to a better player with lopsided results.
  17. Quitch

    Quitch Post Master General

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    The better player is usually going to win, it's what makes them the better player.
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  18. wpmarshall

    wpmarshall Planetary Moderator

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    There will always be a place for larger maps in the ranked pool because it requires a different play-style. This would be the case with or without an air meta.
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  19. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    If anything, small maps allow for less mistakes while large maps allow for more, so small maps would snowball faster.
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  20. stuart98

    stuart98 Post Master General

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    Small maps encourage more ground use and large maps encourage more air use, and air engagements tend to both be faster and more decisive so I'd argue that it's easier to work your way out of a moderately losing position on a small map than on large one.
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