The state of bombers and dox.

Discussion in 'Balance Discussions' started by julien119, March 25, 2015.

  1. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    1. Dox speed reduction
    2. Bomber rate of fire decrease

    First was the speed reduction for dox. The speed of dox were reduced to 18 from 20. This change has the effect of greatly reducing the utility of dox.

    It greatly decreases dox ability to defend against and attack tanks. Tanks greatly out-range dox, tanks have a range of 100 and dox have a range of 75. Meaning that dox need to close down on tanks to be effective. In tank versus dox battles you want to kite dox by reversing your tanks. Meaning the speed difference between dox and tanks have gone from 10 to 8 a 20 percent decrease. This has increased the amount of dox you need substantially. Even when tanks aren't moving backwards the speed decrease still has a noticable effect.

    While tanks were more effective per metal spent in the last patch, in this new one they have an clear and decisive advantage meaning that dox don't have any place in an attacking army and can't be used for this purpose. While in the last patch dox and tanks seemed to be wonderfully balanced and tanks and dox army were a choice left up to the player with the differing play styles being equally viable. With the decrease in speed you need to use tanks to do any sort of unit engagement or you won't be able to complete.

    Another by product of this change is now boom bot snipes are now becoming extremely difficult to pull off. If you were losing the land game with bots but the enemy commander was out of position then you could easily switch over to boom bots to sneak out a win. But now there really isn't a reason to build more than one bot factory if that so you won't be able to take advantage of a vulnerable commander fast enough to capitalize.

    The second change is the bomber rate of fire decrease. The rate of fire was decreased to 7.5 from 10. This has several effects.

    This change has greatly increased the bombers effectiveness versus dox. A single bomber run can now destroy upwards 25 dox if well placed. This is hugely favorable for bombers. This has the effect of negating the role of dox to raid undefended or lightly defended positions. Bombers move so fast and do so much damage against bots that before they can reach a mex they have been obliterated. The only way to protect them is to either use spinners but then you move so slowly tanks would be more effective. Or you use fighters but that only works if you have air superiority and then you might as well use bombers to raid instead because they are faster and more versatile.

    Also bombers have been made quite weak against tanks. While the bombs being spread out murders dox with tanks it is barely effective. It now takes 4 bombers to kill a spinner. 1 to tank a shot and 3 to kill the spinner. While before hand it only took 2. Also while the number of spinners the opponent goes up so do their effectiveness. The point at which a tank group is untouchable to bombers happens much sooner. Meaning it almost always isn't worth killing tanks with bombers. Especially now that is also take a much longer time to kill a tank army as well given the opponent time to get their planes in position. All these points also apply to bombers versus naval.

    Bombers have also been nerfed against single targets now taking 5 bombers to kill a mex with one pass instead of 3. In general bombers have been greatly nerfed against any single target. They are ineffectual versus their counterparts in the last patch. Not to mention the cost increased. It takes a significant more bombers to pull off a bomber snipe, Even with a little bit of AA on the other side especially with the air_pbaoe damage.

    All of these changes have the effect of greatly reducing the available options. Tanks are being forced as the only unit to mount attacks and the options available to sneak out a win have been greatly reduced.

    In general it seems uber wants to slow the game down by making dox unviable, making bomber snipes more expensive and removing the possiblitly of quick boom bot snipes. As well as the massive eco reduction and the commander being less efficient. Fast paced gameplay was the reason I played PA and it is being eradicated.
  2. mot9001

    mot9001 Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I liked the more fast paced playstyle a lot more too. But what i really liked most is no balance changes in the months after release so you actually could practise something and get better at it and it still worked 2 weeks later. Now, it feels like we are doing total overhauls on our strategys every few weeks because MASSIVE balance changes that occur constandly.
  3. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    I don't see the problem at all. Dox are a raiding unit used to attack mainly wherever your opponent has no defences. They never were a good choice for direct encounters with larger armies.
    I guess if it really were decided that they need to compete with tanks I'd say buff something else. Be it dox range, dps, whatever. Or nerf tank speed.
    But I very much like the reduction of dox speed, in fact I think it wasn't enough. The very high speed of the dox makes maps seem unnaturally small.
    I would go even further and demand a speed reduction of air units as well, just to make maps seem bigger.

    On the bombers I don't see the issues as well. I hope the bombers nerf is a preparation for improvements for something we rarely ever see: t2 air. t2 air should be about air units that can effectively attack ground units.
    T1 air is mainly for getting air control and doing small attacks on undefended stuff.
    Making t2 air more useful again would greatly increase the options you have with air.
    I agree that dox are utterly useless as an AA unit. Making them a generic "I can even (try) to shoot air" was never a good idea. There still is the bot AA model. I strongly wish for it to be used again for some form of bot based aa that maybe is not as strong as the tank based aa, but as fast as dox. Do it can escort dox groups and defend them against bomber attacks, however it would have no chance vs larger groups of bombers or t2 air.
    Though to be fair, if you have a larger group of dox and you area patrol them they will split up so much that bombers become very ineffective against them as well.
  4. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    I don't like a unit having the niche of raiding because raiding is literally the only think that weakens your opponent besides structure snipes. That's why dox are so fkin dominant on large maps. They were balanced to adapt to raiding but this makes them the only unit worth building on large maps and also makes them suck in combat.

    I'd rather have the dox be a unit that can stand up to tanks or support other units in army composition. Like RCBM.
  5. MrTBSC

    MrTBSC Post Master General

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    dox speed imo is good as is ..
    i still wouldn't want a aabot atleast not in t1 ... a t2 flakbot would be what i like to see ...
    Planktum likes this.
  6. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    Dox sure are important on larger maps to raid, however you will need tanks just as much for direct assaults?
  7. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    Well I think if you have more raiding units than the enemy you're probably going to have more metal, and dox have a critical mass where you can make a deathball and swarm enemy tanks.
    Last edited: March 25, 2015
  8. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    Just being able to raid doesn't mean that you can get your own metal. Also once your opponent has established a proxy base with tank production dox attacks won't work vs it, unless you have a lot more metal in dox than they have in tanks.

    I don't think deathball concepts work very well with a low range unit like the dox? I don't think there is any point where dox beat tanks per metal.
    squishypon3 likes this.
  9. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    You are right if your opponent had a larger army dox weren't the choice unit but they were at least somewhat capable. I was willing and able to sacrifice their ineffectiveness for the their speed. If you reduce their speed then not only do you remove the positive I was trading for but you also make them less effective. You weakened their strength and make their weakness more apparent. It was a surprisingly large nerf for such a small change. One that isn't necessary. Dox and tank play last patch felt great. Let me be clear I agree with your later statement that dox don't beat tanks metal per metal at any point unless your opponent is doing stupid things and I want it to stay that way but last balance there choice was left to player choice whether to field tanks or bots. With the current balance on most maps I can't find a use for them not an effective one where something else would be better.

    I don't want a bot aa unit. I actually like the easy counter to bots being bombers. A fast ground AA unit will invalidate air even more. I'll be able to place that anywhere and air will be confined to nothing. Even splitting dox while reducing the effectiveness of the bombers it can still easily kill 10 dox with a single bomber run because it covers such a large area. Which pays for itself and then some. It used to be you could get modest returns on a bomber run. a well placed shot would kill 10-12 around depending on a lot of factors this was a great return while still meaning you needed actual defenses once the enemy air got there. With air being less effective against everything else, you those air reinforcements may never come because it really only seems to protect or defend dox.

    Also, I certainly don't want to make the game feel larger overall. This feeling of immediacy is the reason I play this RTS over Supreme Commander. This is the main reason I don't really like the new eco. I love from the second I'm on the ground I'm either getting attacked or being attacked.

    For you making the current maps seem larger by nerfing all unit speed is the wrong way to achieve this feeling. If you'd like to experience larger maps then increasing the radius is a simple and easy way that accommodates us both. Armplus feels like a huge map while not invalidating the current unit roster.

    T2 air gets a lot of terrible things said about it while it doesn't have that many problems. The kestrel is a useful unit that can effectively incorporated into strategies and the hornet needs to stop moving into air turrets and it becomes a great unit.

    However waiting for T2 air to use your air superiority is simply to long to wait. There will be no pay off in most 1v1 matches. The ground sacrifice you make by making gaining control of the skies doesn't appear till much later when you have a much higher amount of metal in bombers and doesn't reflect it's cost. Making a token air factory for scouting seems a lot more effective because I can place spinners in my armies. If I need to control an area I place tanks and spinners and the only thing that can take that is a larger tank force. I used to have 3 choices where now I only seems to have 1 that is effective. I'll need a massive advantage in bot metal or I'll need a large amount of bombers. I feel trapped in using tanks and only using tanks. The choices I used to make are now being thrown out the window.
  10. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    Dox aren't dominant on larger maps. Especially larger maps now seem like a slow crawl to a win by the moving tanks slowly forward. I agree with coca_colin. Setting up proxy bases of tanks on a map like armplus meant that dox really can't up end that expansion unless it is very early in its development. The slow relentless push of tanks seems to be the only option. Dox are certainly not incapable of hold an area. Tanks will mop them up and bombers are most like getting 30 kills before they die to area microed dox before dying.
  11. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    I don't think a bomber can get 10 kills in one run vs dox that are on area patrol. It certainly depends on how many dox you patrol on what area. You should aim to make the "dox density" low enough so the bomber cant hit more than 1 or 2 at a time, while slowly taking damage from the dox shooting back. That way it will take quite some time to take down a bunch of dox. That time is quite valuable and the bomber may even die to them. When I make a bomber I don't want to spent time with it bombing dox for a minute. I want to do hits vs fabbers and closely packed unit groups.

    I don't see why making t2 air should not be the logical step after putting resources into winning the air game. With t1 bombers you can achieve quite a lot as it is, to go even further t2 air should be the way to go. On smaller maps air doesn't make much sense though, but that is a logical result of a small map.

    I also really don't see how the dox nerf is large. 10% speed reduction isn't exactly a lot in my eyes. Yes maybe they went from "bad vs tanks" to "a little more bad vs tanks", but I never ever used dox to fight tanks anyway, so I don't even notice that difference. What matters is only their ability to raid. 18 speed is still crazy fast for a land unit. Only the boom bot and the skitter are faster I think. Dox are the unit you use to ensure that your opponent is not greedy about expansion. Shut down any unprotected expansion. In that sense dox aa even might make sense, since it can be used vs air fabbers.

    If you feel dox are useless on most current maps then that may be because on most of the small ranked maps we have there is only very little time before players have covered their expansion in defences or tanks. (actually if I think about it, if you raid hard all game than that isn't even that easy) On bigger maps dox become more and more important, as the possibilities for greedy expansion stuff increase.

    But it seems we have vastly different ideas of what we want:
    I feel Amplus is a medium sized map. It takes a few minutes before players have expanded all over it, maybe 10 or so. It is not big. Big would mean that even after 30 minutes players have not spread over it. There are no big maps in PA 1v1. Only tiny ones, small ones and medium ones. It doesn't feel like a slow crawl to the win either. You start out expanding, you fight with dox and air over expansions while building up the capability to spam tanks (preferably close to the enemies base) for main assaults and growing your economy by teching to t2, as well as going orbital for scouting and maybe even attacks from the orbital layer, with t2 economy that is definitely payable. On Amplus on top of these things you also have navy to care for. Yey!
    The smaller the map gets the less options you obviously have. I don't see a problem with that, we just need more medium sized, maybe even some big, maps.
    I don't get what you mean by feeling of immediacy. There is plenty to do on larger maps and I feel larger maps tend to ask the player to do more stuff more quickly than smaller maps. Smaller maps tend to have few options to play them, often flat out one dimensional.
    Sekuraz likes this.
  12. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    Bomber can indeed kill 10 dox in a bomber run on an area patrol. The area covered by bombers is now huge. There will be quite a bit of variance in that number but it is representative.

    If t1 air isn't worth getting meaning you won't put metal into getting air superiority meaning t2 air won't be an option. I do agree air increases in importance with the size of the map but before I could find a use for air a map like forge, that usefulness has been diminished to the point where I would keep one bomber on hand to kill fabbers and not much else.

    The dox speed as a matter of raiding on most maps hasn't been a large change. It does decrease their usefulness because 10 seconds where my dox don't kill a mex is half a tank but the real nerf was in combat. a 25 range to cross is a huge area and nerfing the differential speed by 20 perfect is very significant. It doesn't seems so at first but it has had major effects on how people play this game. @burntcustard went tanks on forge in the evils twins. Our play style are very similar, considering I stole my play style from him that isn't very surprising. He went tanks during that tournaments because he couldn't justify putting metal into dox. We used to be able to use dox to fight and it is no longer possible.

    I wouldn't play on a maps larger than amplus. I find even amplus to be an annoying map to play on. We do have differing opinions on the game we want to play. A 1v1 where it takes 30 minutes to expand I woudn't play.

    Immediacy as in attacks, quietly expanding for prolonged periods of time bores me to no end it is one of the reason I don't play supcom. This game is much faster and more action paced which is an asset.
  13. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    How is expansion boring? The point is that you fight over the expansions all the time.

    Also I am surprised anybody would go dox for their main army on forge ever. Yes you do one bot factory to get dox to raid a bit. And then I went tank. Every single game since long before the current patch. The map is small and has only very limited space to navigate. With mass dox you might have a small window to rush your opponent to death, but I sincerely doubt it every worked well. Tanks are the perfect choice for small maps with lots of tight areas and forge is a good example of such a map. With the grenadier buff the important bot unit on forge btw is the grenadier. It can actually be quite helpful to shoot over mountains at tanks that cannot shoot back.

    I would describe a good match on amplus as very fast and very action packed. Fast does not mean "super short" to me.

    Also if a bomber can kill 10 dox on area patrol the dox density is too high, so you have too many dox patrol on a too small area :p
  14. burntcustard

    burntcustard Post Master General

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    Dox on Forge used to work. If my enemy knew how to use bombers it was a bit trickier, but usually gave me good results. The Dox speed change and bomber spread change have tipped the balance on that map for me into using almost pure Ants now, which is a shame because it was fun using almost pure Dox before. Grenadiers are certainly viable there, but to me it still feels like Ants (and maybe Infernos.. tanks at least) have the advantage.

    I've only played one proper game on Amplus so far, and it was alright. Seems like a decent map for going T2 on which is a nice change (not including T2 Naval which is usually good).
  15. Clopse

    Clopse Post Master General

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    I kinda agree and disagree with Julien in that dox have been nerfed but for micro players bombers have been buffed hard, it takes 2 bombers shorter time to kill a mex than the old three if you circle over the mex.

    As cola said dox are raiding units, grouping 25 plus is a waste, make 3 groups, 9 or so dox to a group is the perfect amount. Easily able to dodge a bomb drop and perfect numbers for drive by mex killing. Could get a little speed back but all in all perfect for their unit type. They are also ambhibious and shoot air. Pretty fair if you ask me.
    zihuatanejo likes this.
  16. Killerkiwijuice

    Killerkiwijuice Post Master General

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    I generally don't like how dox fill the most important niche but nothing else does, i'd rather have dox be a normal attack unit and have all types of units useful for raiding.
  17. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    But you can raid with tanks. A group of 20 tanks that goes around and kills your mex can be really scary since you may have some defences in place to handle dox, but not tanks.
  18. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    Now I really don't like the change to bombers. I haven't actual thought of microing bombers. It now gives an advantage for a microing player. Those sorts of trends I'm against.

    Also before, you would group them together because they made a more effective unit like that. 3 groups of 9 will have some effect but even a single laser turret can easily stop that.
  19. julien119

    julien119 Member

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    Also, the bomber nerf against tanks is more important because now the only really way to attack a tank army is now a larger tank army if you opponent is playing intelligently.
  20. cola_colin

    cola_colin Moderator Alumni

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    I think it should be impossible for bombers to do weird small circle stuff. Micro like that has been a problem since the bomber was added to the game (before alpha)

    I dont think even before the nerf bombers were a real option vs a tank army, assuming the tank army had a sufficient amount of aa.

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