Why basepushing is so strong

aka, how i learned how to play the game

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
OMnom
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Why basepushing is so strong

Post by OMnom » Wed May 24, 2017 12:46 am

I will try to keep this as short as I can for those people who have a distaste of reading my walls of text.

Basepushing / MCV usage is not a simple problem, and it definitely cannot be solved by any simple solution. Here's a short list why, in a very rough order of importance:

1. The "I was here first" problem

2. The " Houdini Tank-Building" problem (aka, magical barracks popping up to soak dmg)

3. Vetted Pillboxes

4. Shorter supply line, quicker reinforcements

5. Spending your money the instant you get it

6. The new Flame Turrets

7. Tesla coils on a cliff

8. Abusing the AI targeting with the MCV deployment/redeployment

9. Concrete walls

10. Cost efficiency of a 600hp building for $500 versus a 450hp / $850 medium tank

11. Multiple MCVs allow for quicker build time of all buildings

12. Scouting with buildings is cheaper and easier than scouting with units

13. Ability to instantly profit from killing your opponent's base.

14. Sacrificing your MCV/buildings to preserve your Army

15. Pillbox spamming

16. Basepushing helps maintain map control.

17. Basepushing is also one of the only ways to help trade evenly with artillery spamming.

18. Basepushing is also easier to pull off than taking the time to micro units

19. Pocket Pillboxes

20. Getting base pushed by someone who knows what they're doing.

______________________

You may think some of these items are "troll items" meant to just make the list look longer, which is true. However, the point I'm trying to make is that even the simplest strengths of basepushing can be very complicated and dependent on other aspects of the game. So when someone says, "lets just reduce the build radius of the MCV" or "lets put a BuildRadius delay on a freshly deployed MCV," two things come to my mind. The first, and less important one is, "What are you going to do about the other problems?" The second, and much more pertinent one is, "Are you creating any new problems?"

When you reduce the build radius of the MCV, you nerf one extreme aspect of basepushing where you get to camp your MCV in a safe place and crawl your way to the engagement. This would be a great fix if it weren't for the fact that one of the perks of basepushing is being able to put your MCV in close-quarter combat and throwing buildings in your face. Also, since you're reducing the effective area a single MCV can control, there will be a increase of "sweet" spots where you can set up an offensive MCV for maximum effectiveness because the defensive MCV can't reach those spots anymore. All in all, this change, by itself, has more negatives than positives.

If you put a BuildRadiusDelay on the MCV, that compounds one of the biggest issues with basepushing, the "I was here first" problem. Whoever gets to a location will have to wait 8-10 seconds before they can place a building down. Not that big of a problem, since most people aren't in a position to punish an MCV deployment anyways. But what will happen to the guy that arrives there second? I've had so many games hinge on that "get there first" mentality, and this change only served to exacerbate this stupid snowball effect. SoS might frown upon me for doing "fast" changes, but it didn't take long for Smitty, JB, and me to agree that this change would do more harm than good. Again,by itself, this change has more negatives than positives.

It took me months and many modded maps to figure out that $2500/40s MCV, $1600 WF, and a $1500 SD smoothed the scaling curve of MCVS versus Radar tech and WF units. Don't expect a random, "oh X is the problem, therefore Y is the solution" to fix basepushing.
Last edited by OMnom on Thu May 25, 2017 6:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Wed May 24, 2017 1:49 am

Also, the current best way to stop someone from shoving buildings and pillboxes down your throat is by putting buildings and pillboxes in their way. Most nerfs targeting the base crawler equally nerf the defender, leaving you where you started. :(

(Love how 'Getting base pushed by someone who knows what they're doing.' is at the bottom) :D
Last edited by Smitty on Wed May 24, 2017 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Do not trust the balance tzars (Smitty, Orb). They are making the changes either for the wrong reasons, for no reason at all, or just because they can and it makes them feel good." - Alex Jones

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avalach21
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Post by avalach21 » Wed May 24, 2017 1:49 am

I think one of the biggest issues that contributes to the overpoweredness of basepushing that I didn't see you mention is the current way fog of war and vision works. The original game had no fog of war whatsoever. I don't mind the implementation of it as I think it can add some strategic depth, but generally, I think that most units have way too short of a vision range. I think it's fundamentally backwards when units have a longer firing range than vision range (with the exception maybe of artillery or V2s etc). I think in general a human soldier would see much farther than they are able to accurately shoot.

Anyways, I feel that if you can spot the basepushing from farther away you can react to it better and get a jump on it before they are entrenched and it's too much to overcome.

I think a lot of the fundamental frustrations I personally feel with the current metagame come from fog of war system but that's just me. (artty spam etc.)

OMnom
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Post by OMnom » Wed May 24, 2017 5:25 am

That "short" list could easily be twice as long if we went in-depth and detailed everything out. The scary part is that those details could easily be interpreted as actual problems. For instance, avalach mentioned more how vision actually works in this game, while I just brushed over it very quickly. Smitty also pointed to the "Mirror mirror on the wall, who has the bestest MCV of them all" problem where anything you do to the offensive MCV will also be applied to the defensive MCV. In each case, the two could be just one problem, or the two could easily be separate problems.

Not enough people liked my solution of putting 3 buildings in the defense tab for me to push it any further, even though I've repeatedly explained exactly why this method works. (perhaps I added the wrong buildings, but thats a different story...the idea is what I am pointing at). If someone can come up with a less drastic solution that isn't overly complicated, I'm all ears.

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avalach21
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Re: Why basepushing is so strong

Post by avalach21 » Wed May 24, 2017 6:21 am

OMnom wrote: If you put a BuildRadiusDelay on the MCV, that compounds one of the biggest issues with basepushing, the "I was here first" problem. Whoever gets to a location will have to wait 8-10 seconds before they can place a building down. Not that big of a problem, since most people aren't in a position to punish an MCV deployment anyways. But what will happen to the guy that arrives there second? I've had so many games hinge on that "get there first" mentality, and this change only served to exacerbate this stupid snowball effect.
To tie a few things together I agree that the I was here first situation is too overpowering in my opinion. Obviously it applies to basewalking but I think it also applies to something as basic as the early game where if you get your rifles to a certain position it is so overpowering to challenge it. I think the sight range should be increased so that so that you can see the enemy base/unit and plan your approach rather than running blindly into the situation with no vision.

The very limited sight range in general gives an overpowering cover to basewalkers and arty spammers etc and makes other styles of play less viable

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AoAGeneral1
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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Wed May 24, 2017 6:42 am

1. Not sure what this means

2. Houdini tanks only work on higher tiers to kill infantry.

3. OpenRA issue.

4. Easy to stop without defenses vs army.

5. Non-existant. You are either flat broke or floating above 6k.

6. These kills tanks easily. Its an over all problem.

7. Arty/V2?

8. AI is a joke and a half already. Needs rework.

9. Increase build duration

10. Tanks lack damage vs non defensive buildings. Infantry do more.

11. Problem

12. True. Thats why air units is important. Effective unit ranges are over all gimped in vision.

13. Partly due to bounties. Other is lack of units for defense.

14. This happens anyways due to the nature of the tanks.

15. Reason itself to nerf base pushing.

16. Units should be the key for map control. Not structures. (Except being expansions or critical choke holds)

17. Partly due to bounties. Its also a slight issue on vision range.

18. Negated by the fact aircraft is important for scouting and vision.

19. Easily built.

20. Not hard to learn.

The easiest solution for defenses is an increase in build duration. Multiple MCVs already contribute to faster build times. A Pillbox with about three MCVs (Which is common) is about 11 seconds to build instead of 15.

OMnom
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Post by OMnom » Wed May 24, 2017 8:05 am

....

I have self restraint. I will restrain myself from blowing up your post. I can do this.

zinc
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Post by zinc » Wed May 24, 2017 9:36 am

How about a setting where you can't build in another team's build radius?

That would make no difference to the power of base expansion over the map. Actually it would probably increase the power of those who "get their first".

But you couldn't, for example, Chrono a MCV into an enemy base, or sneak one in, and just start building off of it. Or not unless you first killed the enemy MCV in the base.

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Wippie
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Post by Wippie » Wed May 24, 2017 10:51 am

zinc wrote: How about a setting where you can't build in another team's build radius?

That would make no difference to the power of base expansion over the map. Actually it would probably increase the power of those who "get their first".

But you couldn't, for example, Chrono a MCV into an enemy base, or sneak one in, and just start building off of it. Or not unless you first killed the enemy MCV in the base.
This would never work imo. This will create very strange gameplay dynamics.

Did you explore the option of placing a deployed mcv in the building tab Omnom?

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Sleipnir
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Post by Sleipnir » Wed May 24, 2017 10:53 am

That setting exists: "Build of Allies' ConYards".

Mac Diarmarta
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Post by Mac Diarmarta » Wed May 24, 2017 11:45 am

Basepushing will always be a mechanic of the game unless OpenRA deviates drastically from the original Red Alert. Personally, I find my current tactics have often adopted a "take and hold" paradigm where an MCV follows up behind an attack to hold an objective (usually an ore point) once it is taken and I don't mind that gamestyle.

Is there still the game option to disallow redeployable MCVs? If one has such a distaste for it, do that! :shifty:
Are you creating any new problems?
This is the most important thing to think of alongside SoScared's principle of small iterative changes.

zinc
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Post by zinc » Wed May 24, 2017 11:46 am

Sleipnir wrote: That setting exists: "Build of Allies' ConYards".
I was talking about not being able to build if the enemy already has an mcv in place in that area. Quite a different thing.

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Orb
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Post by Orb » Wed May 24, 2017 11:58 am

I think this is a unique problem for openRA because this is a style of building only the old command and conquers use. I can't think of a modern RTS that doesn't require a worker to build the structure at that location.

However, we do have the other openRA mods to look at for potential solutions. While the meta isn't nearly as developed in the other mods I still think it's worth a look.

TD

While I'm not very familiar with the meta for TD I do know there are a few things they implemented to restrict base pushing. Weak-ish defenses, long build times on defenses, and expensive con yards.

Of these, I think long build times on defenses is the most relevant. They don't have to cost more, but simply take longer to build. This sort of works the same way as putting tech structures in the defense tab, as it limits the amount of defenses you can produce.

Dune

The most obvious thing in dune is the area you can't build on that is 80% of the map, sand. I know map makers are already exploring planting forests everywhere so we'll see how that develops. Dune also has very weak structures (the equivalent of 5 APCs/Rangers can easily take down power plants), so there is no use in using these buildings to tank. Reducing the health of many cheaper structures (barracks, powerplant, helipad, so on) wouldn't make them cost effective at tanking anymore. Unfortunately, this will have the side effect of making cheese builds (I'm looking at you gren rushes) and aircraft more powerful, and would probably require massive changes to bring in line.


Disregarding the other mods, a more quick and dirty solution I thought of would be for structures to be constructed at 1 health and gain their health over 5-10 seconds. If you deploy a structures that an enemy can fire on it will immediately die. I don't know how hard this would be to implement though (it's also not very faithful to the original).

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Doomsday
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Post by Doomsday » Wed May 24, 2017 12:40 pm

Orb wrote: I think this is a unique problem for openRA because this is a style of building only the old command and conquers use. I can't think of a modern RTS that doesn't require a worker to build the structure at that location.
MCV is the worker. :)

Orb wrote: Of these, I think long build times on defenses is the most relevant. They don't have to cost more, but simply take longer to build. This sort of works the same way as putting tech structures in the defense tab, as it limits the amount of defenses you can produce.
Defensive structure build time nerf is often mentioned when discussing base pushing. I want to point out it would affect both offensive and defensive player. It would also amplify "I was here" problem.

I tend to compensate scouting with defensive structures. If I have pillboxes or flame turrets and barracks everywhere, it will take some time for my opponent to destroy them - thus buying me some time to move my main army to defend or counter attack / attempt a base trade.

RA has very weak scouting tools for players because of most units having awful vision. I fear nerfing defensive structure production time could bring more annoying random elements to games because players don't have proper tools for reliably scouting flanking attacks from all directions.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
-Sun Tzu

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Doomsday
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Post by Doomsday » Wed May 24, 2017 12:47 pm

From another thread.
Smitty wrote: I view RA gameplay as a triangle, with the three points being Base Crawling, Artillery/V2 duels, and mobile armies. Ideally these elements would all have their place within a game, with base crawling being strong vs. mobile armies, artillery being strong vs. base crawling, and mobile armies being strong vs. artillery. Base crawling in particular has been skewing the balance of these three sections, which is why the competitive community has focused balancing efforts on the MCV.
In SoScared's most up-to-date balance playtest version, Barracks costs +100 credits and MCV movement speed is also nerfed from 85 to 71. I feel these nerfs together with recent Allied base defense nerfs and Barracks HP reduction are pretty major things for offensive base pushes. Radar Dome is also 200 credits cheaper so artillery / v2 is slightly more accessible to counter base pushing. Personally I would prefer to see how these changes affect the metagame before making further changes.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
-Sun Tzu

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