Smitty's Fall 2017 Playtest

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Smitty
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Smitty's Fall 2017 Playtest

Post by Smitty » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:19 am

Howdy folks, it's time for another round of playtesting. The goals are the same as always: Make as many tools available as possible. Keep balance between Allies and Sovs. Make Allies vs Allies less boring.

This release is going to to show us a much different game as the rules of combat itself have changed. Base crawling was severely nerfed with the one-two punch of the stance change and mcv speed reduction. We've seen more quick tech play than we ever have.

A problem I pointed out last go around is festering: The disparity in vehicle options between Soviet and Allies. Soviets have five vehicles, possibly six now with the recently buffed tesla tank, that are useful through the end game. Allies have Medium Tanks and Artillery. Ideally, the light tank and ranger need to be brought up to where players can use them late game.

Soviets are in a really good place right now. And they even have more room to grow with the potential of fixing MIGs, Hijackers and the MAD tank. Allies simply need more tools to keep up. Along with figuring out how to make light tanks and rangers have a late game role, Allied special faction units/abilities need to be balanced and seen in games. For this playtest I'll stick with the conceptual change I've been playing with, but I'm soliciting for ideas on how to balance Allied factions.

There are a few things we won't be testing in this round but will be keeping an eye on:

- How viable is the single ref opener with the new stance change?
- Are shockies going to be an issue? Shockies, the poster boy of skilless A-moving, received two major buffs this go around. The stance change will make them not waste shots on buildings, and the price reduction makes them quite spammable. They got a nerf to damage vs Heavy but that will be negligible to the amount of infantry they can fry.
- Are phase transports viable vs Soviets? Mammoths can now see stealth, and if more players start riding the mammoth train like me, it's going to be hard to get much use out of the phase transport.

Changes:

Minimum range of Artillery and V2s increased by two cells:

The logical counter to siege weapons are fast moving raider units like the light tank and flak truck. Unfortunately, these vehicles often get one-shotted from close range by the very units they are supposed to counter. Increasing the minimum range of siege weapons should make the tactic of getting close and personal vs them more rewarding.
GPS dots removed from infantry and aircraft.
GPS remains the most unbalanced power in RA. The timer puts more pressure on an opponent to stop it than a nuke. Ideally we'll get GPS to the point where a warning timer is unessessary.
Light tank 25mm reload delay reduced from 22 to 21, Damage vs wood increased by 10%
Additional passenger seat added to ranger.

We'll try a fire rate buff and extra damage vs wood for extra raiding power from the light tank. If the light tank can get to where it can destroy buildings in a reasonable amount of time it should help stretch the battlefield vertically. I'm honestly clueless on what to do with the ranger. Ideas on that one are appreciated.
Iron Curtain invulnerability reduced to 16 seconds from 20.
I've seen multiple games won with a single use of the Iron Curtain. That said, this change is somewhat dependent on a potential GPS nerf.
**AA Gun delay increased from 5 to 9
Testing by popular demand. One thing we found out testing last go around is that Allies do need strong anti air as they lack mobile anti-air. We'll see if this is too much or not.
Grenadier explosion on death changed to small explosion. Chance increased to 100%
The grenadier explosion is comically large, and leads several players to not use gren play because of the shutdown potential. We’ve tested grens with a small explosion last time around and they didn't look overpowered. I've noticed a lot more gren rushes with the new targeting rules so we'll see if my observation changes.
Walls now require base provider:
This closes a loophole that allows players to build a wall off of a building without an MCV nearby. A common exploit of this mechanic is to drop a barracks or powerplant and then move on. There are concerns over how players will cope with building walls in a restrictive circle, so we’re looking for feedback on if this causes frustration.
Pillbox and Camo Pillbox power cost increased from 15 to 20
This is a minor nerf that is aimed at reducing the numbers of pillboxes late-game. It’ll be a small amount to be sure, but it will at least not be a higher number than the amount of flame towers a soviet player can churn out.
MIG Changes: Reload delay decreased to 20, damage vs heavy increased to 115%
The MIG needs some love. Reload delay actually affects the time between when the MIG can engage the next target.
Destroyer: Anti-air Missile speed reduced from 255 to 230
Incoming bombshell on naval balance theory: It is a fool’s errand to balance navies against each other. It’s okay if Allies are a bit stronger on the water: Britannia rules the waves and all that. The counter to allied naval supremacy shouldn’t be found in the submarine, but with the MIG.
Gunboat damage increased from 25 to 40, Depth charge speed increased from 85 to 125
Depth charges will still miss a fleeing sub this way, but they won't look as lame. Mainly buffing the gun here.
Cruiser: Range increased from 16 to 20, inaccuracy decreased to 1c938
If I'm going to sink 2400 credits into a siege weapon it better hit the damn target.
Missile Sub inaccuracy decreased to 0c614
If I’m going to sink 2000 credits into a siege weapon it better hit the damn target.
Submarine: Vision increased by two cells
Buffing that periscope.
British Spy replaced by Sniper Drop. MGG and Phase Transport swapped between England and France. Sniper fire rate reduced
This is still conceptual so don’t freak out/get your hopes up on snipers in OpenRA. This change aims to address allied faction balance and remove the widely decried $250 Spy. The sniper over performed a bit so we’re reducing fire rate this time around.

I was asked to test uncrushable hijackers but after discussing the issue in github decided to leave it for a proper fix. And a thought on MAD Tanks: I have no idea. Good luck to whoever is bored enough to work on making MAD Tanks viable.

And finally a word on how I'm going to approach balance this go around. I don't want to surprise anyone with what goes into my final balance pr. I'll keep active discussing what observations I'm having and will release a list of changes before I make a pr so it can be discussed. Several of these changes will not make the cut and if necessary a few changes from other tests may make it in. We're looking to cut the wheat from the chaff here.

FEEDBACK MATTERS: If you want to share your observations and ideas leave a comment or feel free to get ahold of me on Discord.

(EDIT: MAPS UPDATED FOR TESTING PHASE 2)

Maps: (I'll upload more as time allows. If there's a specific map you want let me know.)
3v3
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24052/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24047/
2v2
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24053/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24054/
1v1
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24048/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24049/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24050/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24051/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24055/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24056/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24057/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24058/
http://resource.openra.net/maps/24059/
Last edited by Smitty on Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:39 pm, edited 2 times 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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netnazgul
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Post by netnazgul » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:55 am

Gunboat damage increased from 25 to 40, Depth charge speed increased from 85 to 125
Depth charges will still miss a fleeing sub this way, but they won't look as lame. Mainly buffing the gun here.
Didn't play as much naval, but from what I have played and seen - gunboats pretty much always win dogfights against subs because of the crappy turn rate of the latter. This will amplify it even further, don't know whether it's intended.

Although naval balancing is going along quite nicely in parallel tests made by ZxGanon, MustaphaTR and SirCake, so I suppose some things of those will be incorporated into this one later on.

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Graion Dilach
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Post by Graion Dilach » Mon Oct 30, 2017 2:52 pm

While I have no idea what is the general issue on the MAD Tank, I would suggest that you could try adding a secondary plain damagewarhead to deliver some constant damage (make it sharing Spread with the HealthPercentageDamageWarhead and set Falloff to 100, 0 so it'll be a constant even at the outer edge and no levels beyond percentage spread).

TLDR: Instead of delivering 33% damage, it could deliver (dunno really) 250 + 20% damage.
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ZxGanon
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Post by ZxGanon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 3:16 pm

I have to say that I like almost all of your proposed changes and hope that they get into the new playtest next year.

If you wanna push out more on the naval perspective please contact me on Discord. I´d like to also throw in a few of my changes from my mod maps aswell.

Also nice that you adapted on the Cruiser and Missile Sub as I did.

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WhoCares
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Post by WhoCares » Mon Oct 30, 2017 5:27 pm

An idea has been proposed before to give forceprone on the madtank, like its sismique wave push infantry on the ground.

This path for the madtank should be explored.

Just trowing some idea/feature example to illustrate without considering any as balanced, just for you to imagine a proper way.

Use the mad tank as "feild shaker", while it's in effect; reduce mobility of infantry by forcing them to prone and unable to fire or having a huge accuracy/rof/damage penality. If you're thrown on the ground by an earthquake, logic says you should not be able to operate your gun like a sharpshooter.

If limited to infantry, the mad tank could be use on the battlefeild to counter blob gameplay with a combined apc/v2/madtank play of some sort or any other use.

In the same idea, effect extended to vehicule, vehicule in the range of the mad tank, could be slower, or take damage if moving, not able to aim proprely. This would lead the madtank to give air superiority for a limited time over an army allowing mig and yak to do some damage without being worried.

This effect could be considerated as well, to perturb base defences (exept tesla and sam site by logic), allowing the madtank to neutralize them while it's in effect and allow a ground/air raid in safety.

That what i was thinking to make it usefull, ofc, feel free to twist, rethink, contest everything i just wrote, those are just random ideas to try to find a path for the mad tank.


edit :

regarding the light tank, if it was the light tank of TD, we could add him a AA missile salvo because the model of the tank has a little rocket launcher on the side of the turret (wich i alwais was frustrated that to be pure cosmetic), but as i checked ra light tank does not have that .... making him AA potent (but not too much) would fix both it's use in late game and lack of mobile AA but sadly doesn't seem to fit.

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Post by noobmapmaker » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:09 pm

Idea to make ranger more interesting: the single infantry in it can shoot with the ranger. (If you enter a rocket inf it'll shoot a rocket and
also the ranger gun). This does seem like mostly good for early game harassment though, perhaps early mid game.

Or maybe let rangers crash into units, creating a radius of 2c512 of temporary debris (3-4sec) that impedes movement (slow down enemies)?

Adding a ranger to an army for vision is still a useful thing for the ranger btw. So it does have some use.
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eskimo
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Post by eskimo » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:14 pm

Gonna enjoy having a play with this, good work :D


All changes look good to test from first glance. Regarding the Ranger, purely to provoke some thought; embarked passengers can shoot (excluding Tanya/Sniper). It makes early game harassment last a bit longer into the game, has a use late game due to AA capabilities. May require build time/ cost/ speed tweaks to suit accordingly.
MCVs no longer crush infantry
Boneheaded MCV moves should be punished. Running headlong into enemy rifles with your MCV should be punished. (Maybe not as relevant now that MCVs are slower but we'll see)
Didn't think this was an issue now due to the speed nerf, but not fussed either way.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:11 pm

Replaced Pitfight with the RAGL S4 version and added Ysmir and Shadowfiend II.

https://resource.openra.net/maps/23610/
https://resource.openra.net/maps/23611/
https://resource.openra.net/maps/23612/
"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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ZxGanon
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Post by ZxGanon » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:29 pm

https://www.twitch.tv/videos/186335395

Link shows a 5 hour stream were I was showcasing your balance map Smitty.
Barf and I left you some nice games and feedback you can use!

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Kiraye
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Post by Kiraye » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:45 am

Light Tank: the problem is with this unit that it is ineffective at its intended role of hunting down light armored units(Arty, V2), and useless at everything else. The comparable unit on the Soviet side, the Flak Truck has 10% less dps vs light units, higher range (4 vs 6), higher sight range, better durability vs infantry protecting these units and also an AA unit and decent vs infantry. And the Flak Truck is cheaper. So I would buff the multiplier vs light units from 110 to 180 at least, to make it better at its primary role.
AA Gun: I have made a change when it sees an enemy unit at the first time, it will have some delay before attacking. This will lessen the issue where the enemy just pops an AA Gun and all planes go byebye in a blink, while keeping the rest of the AA Guns features intact. This method can also be applied somewhat for the massed Medics issue.
Snipers: since the idea of their reimplementation is divisive, I would give it to a neutral civ building (Communications Center/ Civ Tech center maybe) as an ability, so as long as someone controls it, they can use Sniper Drops. Maybe make that building undestroyable, so it can be contested all game long.
MAD Tank: I would increase its range and detonation timer by alot with some other tweaks. To be honest I plan to post an indepth log of the values and other changes later with some citation how it will all play out. I realized I rambled far too long and not covered even half of your changes.
Ohh and I found a way for Attack Dogs to not kill each other if they engage the same target.

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Post by OMnom » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:29 am

You might find this more useful for your tests. This spreadsheet will be able to show you damage versus HP/Armor between as a function of time in a normal speed game. I've omitted aircraft, gun turret, tesla coil, and naval units because i was lazy / they have other mechanics that define their balance... if you want, i can give you the code that I used to scrape the yaml with so that you can add the missing units yourself.

This list is based on the amount of damage per 1c0 cell (i.e, 1 tank, 1 pillbox, 5 rocket soldiers, 5 rifles) and on direct hits (no splash damage, no prone damage reduction). I took the amount of HP+Armor a unit/structure had and divided it by the raw DPS of the unit to show approximately how many seconds it would take to kill that particular actor with a certain unit. Again, mind the splash bias, damage reduction from infantry going prone, DPS per 1c0, no weapon range consideration, and no scaling information. The transposed list will also allow you to find out what units kill stuff the quickest (due to laziness, there aren't that many damage types in the list)
Attachments
whyisxlsxnotallowed.rar
rough damage versus hp/armor spreadsheet
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ZxGanon
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Post by ZxGanon » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:45 am

My feedback (considering 6 hours testing):
Ranger and Mammoth Tank change are my favorites right now.

Mig:
Barf and I may have been a bit too fast judging the use of Migs but paying 2000$ for such a unit isnt really worth in our opinion. The heavy damage is fine thorugh your changes though but Mammoth Tanks are just on another level.
Is there a possibility to maybe decrease the cost of Migs since their only role is harrass while being super fragile? Losing one also donates 200$ straight to your opponent.

Light Tank:
Even though buffing this Tank is always nice to see but we felt like it didnt really help as a role filler. The Light Tank just feels like being straight out of Limbo (void) which means he doesnt really have a place right now just a very niche play in the very early game against greedy players. APC would be a far better choice if Allies could build them.
Maybe we come up with a new idea later.

AA Gun:
What we have seen so far is that the attackspeed delay nerf might be a bit too much. Maybe slighten it a bit from 9 secs to 8 secs that should be more than enough (coming from a guy who hates AA Guns btw).

Naval:
I like that you took over some of the changes I was prosposing but how about also adding the changes to the Sea Transport I did and also changing the weight of Vehicles so you do not transport 16. Also maybe consider adding the Chinook to soviets aswell because that can help taking on Islands if you lost all see battle till now also maybe encourages Soviets to go for some drop plays. Further you could add the detection range upon Naval Yards and Sub Pents so that players can see if Submarines are camping their front door. Also reduce the cost of both buildings to even out the odds and make Naval play more fluid.

That is currently my experience so far. Keep it up Smitty!

lucassss
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Post by lucassss » Tue Oct 31, 2017 12:47 pm

Light tanks are good in large maps like patches for harassing small expansions, ore trucks, and mobile mcvs (this may be less relevant with mcv slowdown).

barf_openra
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Post by barf_openra » Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:42 pm

The mig vs mammoth example from the match Gannon and I played illustrates how difficult it is to make these balance changes. While migs got a slight buff vs heavy armor, the turn rate increase for the mammoth turret made it much more difficult to safely attack mammoths from the rear without getting shot down. Migs should be one of the best soviet counters to mammoths and with the turret turn increase the intense micro needed to keep your migs alive probably isn't worth it.

Still very early days for the playtest, but perhaps the mig needs a bit more love and the mammoths turret turn speed buff was too much. We should keep an eye on these two as testing continues.

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avalach21
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Post by avalach21 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:06 pm

Looks like it has already been said but yes.. maybe the Ranger could function like an IFV from RA2 and allow the passenger to fire from it? Allies have no mobile AA counterpart so this would allow a rocket troop inside IFV to be an option..
noobmapmaker wrote: Idea to make ranger more interesting: the single infantry in it can shoot with the ranger. (If you enter a rocket inf it'll shoot a rocket and
also the ranger gun). This does seem like mostly good for early game harassment though, perhaps early mid game.

Or maybe let rangers crash into units, creating a radius of 2c512 of temporary debris (3-4sec) that impedes movement (slow down enemies)?

Adding a ranger to an army for vision is still a useful thing for the ranger btw. So it does have some use.
eskimo wrote: Gonna enjoy having a play with this, good work :D


All changes look good to test from first glance. Regarding the Ranger, purely to provoke some thought; embarked passengers can shoot (excluding Tanya/Sniper). It makes early game harassment last a bit longer into the game, has a use late game due to AA capabilities. May require build time/ cost/ speed tweaks to suit accordingly.
MCVs no longer crush infantry
Boneheaded MCV moves should be punished. Running headlong into enemy rifles with your MCV should be punished. (Maybe not as relevant now that MCVs are slower but we'll see)
Didn't think this was an issue now due to the speed nerf, but not fussed either way.

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