2018 RA Balance

4/22/2018 Balance Update

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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Smitty
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2018 RA Balance

Post by Smitty » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:53 pm

The last release cycle was a time of transition for the RA competitive community. RAGL was under new management, we saw the single biggest change to gameplay in the new defense stance, and then some complete yokel took over balance.

The good news from all of this, is that we can now confidently say that the fears of an RA apocalypse were completely unfounded. The stance change didn’t ruin the game. We still have amazing gameplay, from standard tank play to tech play; we even still have the occasional hour long epic (see Smitty vs 5a). If anything I’d say the game is better than ever, as base crawling is much less of the be all end all it once was. While still an important part of any master level player’s game, a base crawl can now be handily punished by a player that is ready for it. I counted four games I won in the Foretaste Tournament because I was able to successfully fend off a base crawl.

There are several up-and-comers that are looking to join the ranks of master level players. Eskimo and BullE come to mind. Admiral mo has gone from ‘that guy who does weird stuff’ to ‘wow he’s hard to beat now; and he still does weird stuff!!!’

And a final observation on the state of the game: I’m simply having the most fun I’ve had playing competitive RA. 8)

Now, on to the focus areas we need to work on for RA balance:
- Allied tier 3 needs to see more use, especially faction specific units.
- Shock Troopers are over performing.
- Naval siege units need more damage to make them worth their price tag.

There are plenty of other things I’ll be looking at (fake buildings building off of each other is a prospect I’m excited about) but the three issues I mentioned are the ones I especially expect action on going into this. I’ve been putting my playtest together and will issue that when ready. For now, I’m making this thread so we can steer discussion towards what issues people want to see addressed or tested in my next playtest.

...

And a final somewhat unrelated note concerning what I’ve learned the last few months by doing stuff on the OpenRA github:
1) I don’t know jack about coding.
2) Even though I don’t know coding, I can still contribute to the project by testing pull requests in game.
3) If we had a handful more people willing to review pr’s, especially the ones that know a bit more than me, we could get a heckuva lot more work done for this project.

If you’re interested in the future of OpenRA, I encourage you to invest some time familiarizing yourself with to project github and reviewing a pull request now and then.
Last edited by Smitty on Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Was the best player in the world for 2 1/2 weeks.

"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."

SirCake
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Post by SirCake » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:00 pm

Guy gets in charge of RA balance...
...6 months later considered best player of RA.
...I wonder ...

:D :o0: :zip: :P

Check out Dune2k-Advanced on my moddb page!

Arular
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Post by Arular » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:02 pm

Sorry for not having an opinion about the three points mentioned. But I would like to mention some small things (since I never had a response for these things in the previous thread):

- Increase the vision range for the Biological Lab from 3c to 4c. Reason: the Hospital and Oil Derrick tech buildings have also 4c vision range.
- Decrease the vision range for the Airfield from 7c to 5c. Reason: all other buildings (including the Helipad) have also 5c vision range (or increase the vision range of the Helipad to 7c).
- Decrease the vision range of the Allied Command Center from 10c to 5c. I'm not sure why this building has the same vision range as the Radar Dome.
- Increase the vision range of the (Adv) Power Plant from 4c to 5c. As the only buildings a player can build that doesn't have 5c vision range. This will make only the Silo and Kennel with only 4c vision range.

And lastly, what do you guys thing of increasing the vision range of the Communications Center from 10c to 15c? This will make, in my opinion, the Comm Center more interesting to capture.

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netnazgul
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Post by netnazgul » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:12 pm

Arular wrote: And lastly, what do you guys thing of increasing the vision range of the Communications Center from 10c to 15c? This will make, in my opinion, the Comm Center more interesting to capture.
Please no. If anything, CCs are already ruining some early game balance especially if placed in key points of the map (i.e. center), because they provide an overwhelming vision range which cannot be obtained by any other means during first 5-7 minutes of the game, and army vision in this game phase is crucial. Increasing CC vision even further will just make the games deadlocked for a good period of time when one player/team caps the CC and the opponent just can't come any near into effectively half of the map and is thus reduced to teching or expanding backwards.

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Post by ZxGanon » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:35 pm

Like I once said Id like to represent Naval again like last time (hope Blackened and others join the theorizing):

- Sea Transport able to transport 20 infantry and 5/6 vehicles
- giving Sub Pen and Naval Yard scouting vision so you can see submarines camping your door
- making Naval Yard and Sub Pen equal in terms of stats and cost and maybe even reducing the cost to 600$ to recreate the original RA
- reducing the price of Cruisers from 2400$ to 2000$
- increasing the basedagame of Missile Sub a bit
- increase the base damage of the Missile Sub AA weapon a bit so it atleast always one hits Hinds
- giving Soviets the Chinook (to match the original)
- nerfing Allied Satelite a bit (by not showing infantry)

Crazy changes:
- reducing price of Longbows from 2000$ to 1650$
- give Migs AA capability
Last edited by ZxGanon on Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Happy
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Post by Happy » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:58 pm

ZxGanon wrote: Crazy changes:
- reducing price of Longbows from 2000$ to 1650$
- give Migs AA capability
Not related to the navy bit because who cares about navy heh *looks over shoulder to find admiral mo with a fire axe*

The first point I completely agree with. I actually had a convo with Lorrydriver recently over Longbows. It was a follow on from barfs theory of Allies static play with base push AA gun because they have no mobile AA compared to a Soviet flak truck which forces an aggressive aa gun base push to stop units such as Tanya and arty from dying. Soviets can have a hind hunting pack of flak trucks. This change would be good however it needs to be part in parcel with improving tier 3 allies overall and make it actually worth it which is apart of Smitty's proposal anyway.

The second point is highly controversial but I have to disagree with this. Allies are the current faction desperately in need of a good mobile AA, not Soviets. Migs are fast glass cannons and a good player can neutralize longbows easily which completely kills Allies mobile AA options. Couple this with the current revival of the flak truck being one of the most crucial units for soviets recently I fear it would be too powerful and make the already better soviets leagues above Allies. Not as bad as the 400 credit pillbox allies era for faction balance but a step in the wrong direction.

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Post by Lorrydriver » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:03 pm

Well, I believe that naval siege should not be the main focus, they aren't all that bad, the problem is that submarines are utterly useless since they can't compete with destroyers. Before that's fixed I'd stay away from any other naval changes.

Also shock troopers only overperform in matchups vs soviets, so I'd rather like to see a buff of ukraine's lategame. It's probably not easy to do but if all the kills from the nuke truck actually give you the bounty as well, that could already help. Right now, you only get the money if you deploy the nuketruck and even there you only get the bounties of the units that die in the first 0.5 seconds or so, because after that the nuke truck counts as dead and therefore doesn't earn you any bounties.

Hinds and arties are excellent shock trooper killers and it's easy at all to get favorable trades with shockies against allies.


For that basepushing part: I think the changes to the MCV speed are the main reason we're seeing fewer basepushes these days, not the autotargeting changes. Multi mcv basepushes are nerfed and basepushes without armies behind them, sure. But that never really was a general issue. That was more people not being able to keep up with OMnom, which I'm sure most people still wouldn't be.

MCV positions are more important than before.
Spamming def structures preemptively is now one of the key skills you have to have in order to be good, which in my opinion doesn't really benefit the dynamic of games at all. I think that's what we should focus on more.

ZxGanon
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Post by ZxGanon » Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:34 pm

Btw. another bold change would be to reduce the price of the Mammoth Tank by a bit. Right now we are having 5Aces stream where Orb desperately tries to get this unit to work and just out right loses because it takes so much money and time to build them.

If you would decrease the price from 2000$ to 1700$ would also bring it in line with the original RA. :D

Btw. Submarine > Destroyer in 1v1 combat but Destroyer deletes air so yeah.

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avalach21
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Post by avalach21 » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:43 pm

ZxGanon wrote: Submarine > Destroyer in 1v1 combat but Destroyer deletes air so yeah.
I mean, with some good micro, a destroyer can outmaneuver a sub in 1 v 1, but anything more, especially large groups, Subs OWN destroyers. Of course having some air on hand will help, but it's not that easy to play whack a mole with your air while trying to dodge torpedoes. I don't like how people say Subs are "worthless" because they absolutely are not..

Lorrydriver
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Post by Lorrydriver » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:55 pm

they are useless, compared to destroyers, you cannot reliably micro your subs to kill someone who microes his destroyers as well, also subs cant even shoot from angle, just because they don't pierce rocks and what not

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Happy
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Post by Happy » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:49 pm

When I've watched good players use naval (and not random tom and jokinha fighting on isles of war or whatever its called at 7 apm) it's usually a complete stalemate were players fire their shot then dodge the enemy shot but then the enemy dodges their shot and its an endless loop. From my own experience, I'll take a destroyer any day since they're the Swiss army knife boat with a holy trifecta of AA, anti navy, and coastline harassment. Subs, on the other hand, feel like a naval denier more than anything. It's like if allies had their hind and longbow and the only Soviet air unit was a yak that can only target planes.

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Post by Materianer » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:42 am

Happy wrote: it's usually a complete stalemate were players fire their shot then dodge the enemy shot but then the enemy dodges their shot and its an endless loop.
Yes thats is funny to watch and need nearly the whole attention from both players, one small mistake and you unit is lost.

On big water maps its of course easier for soviet players because you can always hide your subs somewhere and sneakattack the enemy after a while, the hinds are often somewhere else.
On smaller maps with maybe only a bit water soviets will have a hard life.
Hinds are hovering over the water hungry for subs, and torpedos accidently shooting at the cliffs and damaging its owners.

1on1 with a bit space the sub will win and is much better in destroying conyards so the allied player will need some helis wich are not on the battlefield then.

Naval fights are fun and know how to use the units right is important.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Wed Feb 21, 2018 1:46 am

SirCake wrote: Guy gets in charge of RA balance...
...6 months later considered best player of RA.
...I wonder ...

:D :o0: :zip: :P
Nah I think Lorry will have plenty to say about that next go around. My feeling now:

Image
Was the best player in the world for 2 1/2 weeks.

"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."

Blackened
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Post by Blackened » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:45 am

Allied tier 3 needs to see more use, especially faction specific units.
I still like your proposal to switch MGG and phase between France and Britain and give Britain the sniper drop. Failing that, convert MGG into mobile fog generator. It does the same thing except now there isn't a black circle that beacons MGG is here on the map. It still lowers vision of units but now in allied mirrors with gps France has a powerful tool that "cloaks" units from the gps blips. This takes away Allies all seeing eye and allows for actual flank attacks. If you wanted to run that same change through gap generators too you could. Not sure if that can be coded. Best part of all that is it doesn't effect soviet vs allied game play but helps break up the allied trench warfare.

Chrono tanks could maybe use a 33% reduction in teleport cooldown (200 from 300). Let them blink around a little bit more. They could be used very successfully with good micro but still beholden to getting sniped in between blinks.

MRJ is fine.

Longbows could use a small price decrease and the rate of turn you suggested.

phase transport is fine.

Minelayers should have their falloff adjusted so that they splash infantry more appropriately. 1 mine killing 1 rifle in insufficient.

Instead of more damage to cruiser/missile sub why not lower their costs again?
I mean, with some good micro, a destroyer can outmaneuver a sub in 1 v 1, but anything more, especially large groups, Subs OWN destroyers.
they are useless, compared to destroyers, you cannot reliably micro your subs to kill someone who microes his destroyers as well, also subs cant even shoot from angle, just because they don't pierce rocks and what not
It's like if allies had their hind and longbow and the only Soviet air unit was a yak that can only target planes.
ding ding ding. 1 sub<1 destroyer<multiple subs.

So someone is camping your ore with 5 destroyers on a grueling hour plus game on DCF. So you build 10 subs to sink those ships. Your harvester drivers thank you as they are tired of watching their brothers blow up. You sneak up under the cover of water. The destroyers have no idea what fury is about to be unleashed. You order your subs to fire. Unfortunately 1 of your subs is pelvic thrusting the shore and when he fires his torpedoes in a moment of ecstasy he blows himself up. 3 others of your sub flock managed to find the one rock jetty in the middle of the ocean and they can't seem to figure out how to shoot around it. The other 6 subs are free of obstruction and wouldn't you know it that first destroyer doesn't even get to sink before its blown to smithereens. The enemy hind pilot that was providing vision obviously radios in to the 4 remaining destroyers. They turn to engage your subs first with their missiles as the subs have decided they need to surface to shoot. 1 sub get destroyed. As your subs resubmerge a volley of depth charges scatters the sea. You valiantly order your sub commander to evade and they do, until they stop to shoot the next time amidst the second wave of depth charges and are promptly destroyed. Have no fear though, your other subs never stopped firing and have managed to take out 2 more destroyers. The last flees as 8 subs are too many. You give chase sensing easy victory. As your subs stealthily approach the enemy shipyard you find a lone cruiser struggling to turn around and retreat. You imagine that ship set sail a week ago to aid the destroyers you destroyed earlier. Surely the crew was informed of the massacre but the ship is just too slow. You assign 1 sub to put the cruiser out of its misery.

The rest of your subs arrive to find a small flotilla of Destroyers and gun boats. This time your subs are far from the shore and there are no rocks to waste torpedoes on. Your first strike eliminates a quarter of the enemy ships. bombs explode, bodies fly. people's cries turn to gurgles as they slip under. Oil and fire streak across the water. Your subs are doing well. only a few allied ships remain. The subs surface to give the final blow just as a few hinds decided to unleash their fury. Only 1 sub escapes the carnage. But alas, you prepared for this. Another 10 sub squadron has reinforced the battle and quickly make work of the last ships while avoiding rarararar's. You laugh as your enemy struggles to build shipyard after shipyard. Each time one pops up a flurry of torpedoes quickly knock it back down. Eventually the enemy accepts that the water is yours. It's a perfect time to bring in 5 missiles subs! You begin queuing buildings to be razed to the ground. After 10 minutes the combined effort of the missile subs finally brings down that first power plant 6 cells away.

That's when you hear the dreaded sound. "Insufficient funds". You've spent 20k on subs that are either dead now or sitting next to the shore wondering if they could slide torpedoes onto the shore. Maybe they could kill that pillbox then. Another 10k of missiles subs finally kill that refinery. You zoom back to your main base seeing if you can help strengthen your eco only to find that your opponent has used 10k of artillery/tanks/infantry to destroy it. You don't have much left. You scroll back to your missile subs, maybe they can find a snipe on a conyard. There is only 1 left. A few hinds hover over where the missile subs used to be. Enraged you order your last one to attack the hind floating above it. The Missile sub surfaces and unleashes 2 missiles right into the belly of the Hind. You can faintly hear a chuckle from the pilot as he shrugs off the damage and proceeds to rarararar your missile sub, killing it before it can resubmerge. You GG out knowing you were defeated as soon as you tried to go navy as soviets.

And all that as shitty as a story as that was, is more exciting that actual 1v1 naval gameplay.

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avalach21
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Post by avalach21 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:25 pm

Happy wrote: When I've watched good players use naval (and not random tom and jokinha fighting on isles of war or whatever its called at 7 apm)
That's a hilarious shout out to everyone's favorite temperamental, team killing, isle of man loving dirt dawg.
Blackened wrote:
Blackened wrote: Allied tier 3 needs to see more use, especially faction specific units.
I still like your proposal to switch MGG and phase between France and Britain and give Britain the sniper drop. Failing that, convert MGG into mobile fog generator. It does the same thing except now there isn't a black circle that beacons MGG is here on the map. It still lowers vision of units but now in allied mirrors with gps France has a powerful tool that "cloaks" units from the gps blips. This takes away Allies all seeing eye and allows for actual flank attacks. If you wanted to run that same change through gap generators too you could. Not sure if that can be coded. Best part of all that is it doesn't effect soviet vs allied game play but helps break up the allied trench warfare.

Chrono tanks could maybe use a 33% reduction in teleport cooldown (200 from 300). Let them blink around a little bit more. They could be used very successfully with good micro but still beholden to getting sniped in between blinks.

MRJ is fine.

Longbows could use a small price decrease and the rate of turn you suggested.

phase transport is fine.

Minelayers should have their falloff adjusted so that they splash infantry more appropriately. 1 mine killing 1 rifle in insufficient.

Instead of more damage to cruiser/missile sub why not lower their costs again?
Pardon my noobness. but what is MRJ?

Otherwise I agree strongly with everything you said.
Blackened wrote:
ding ding ding. 1 sub<1 destroyer<multiple subs.

So someone is camping your ore with 5 destroyers on a grueling hour plus game on DCF. So you build 10 subs to sink those ships. Your harvester drivers thank you as they are tired of watching their brothers blow up. You sneak up under the cover of water. The destroyers have no idea what fury is about to be unleashed. You order your subs to fire. Unfortunately 1 of your subs is pelvic thrusting the shore and when he fires his torpedoes in a moment of ecstasy he blows himself up. 3 others of your sub flock managed to find the one rock jetty in the middle of the ocean and they can't seem to figure out how to shoot around it. The other 6 subs are free of obstruction and wouldn't you know it that first destroyer doesn't even get to sink before its blown to smithereens. The enemy hind pilot that was providing vision obviously radios in to the 4 remaining destroyers. They turn to engage your subs first with their missiles as the subs have decided they need to surface to shoot. 1 sub get destroyed. As your subs resubmerge a volley of depth charges scatters the sea. You valiantly order your sub commander to evade and they do, until they stop to shoot the next time amidst the second wave of depth charges and are promptly destroyed. Have no fear though, your other subs never stopped firing and have managed to take out 2 more destroyers. The last flees as 8 subs are too many. You give chase sensing easy victory. As your subs stealthily approach the enemy shipyard you find a lone cruiser struggling to turn around and retreat. You imagine that ship set sail a week ago to aid the destroyers you destroyed earlier. Surely the crew was informed of the massacre but the ship is just too slow. You assign 1 sub to put the cruiser out of its misery.

The rest of your subs arrive to find a small flotilla of Destroyers and gun boats. This time your subs are far from the shore and there are no rocks to waste torpedoes on. Your first strike eliminates a quarter of the enemy ships. bombs explode, bodies fly. people's cries turn to gurgles as they slip under. Oil and fire streak across the water. Your subs are doing well. only a few allied ships remain. The subs surface to give the final blow just as a few hinds decided to unleash their fury. Only 1 sub escapes the carnage. But alas, you prepared for this. Another 10 sub squadron has reinforced the battle and quickly make work of the last ships while avoiding rarararar's. You laugh as your enemy struggles to build shipyard after shipyard. Each time one pops up a flurry of torpedoes quickly knock it back down. Eventually the enemy accepts that the water is yours. It's a perfect time to bring in 5 missiles subs! You begin queuing buildings to be razed to the ground. After 10 minutes the combined effort of the missile subs finally brings down that first power plant 6 cells away.

That's when you hear the dreaded sound. "Insufficient funds". You've spent 20k on subs that are either dead now or sitting next to the shore wondering if they could slide torpedoes onto the shore. Maybe they could kill that pillbox then. Another 10k of missiles subs finally kill that refinery. You zoom back to your main base seeing if you can help strengthen your eco only to find that your opponent has used 10k of artillery/tanks/infantry to destroy it. You don't have much left. You scroll back to your missile subs, maybe they can find a snipe on a conyard. There is only 1 left. A few hinds hover over where the missile subs used to be. Enraged you order your last one to attack the hind floating above it. The Missile sub surfaces and unleashes 2 missiles right into the belly of the Hind. You can faintly hear a chuckle from the pilot as he shrugs off the damage and proceeds to rarararar your missile sub, killing it before it can resubmerge. You GG out knowing you were defeated as soon as you tried to go navy as soviets.

And all that as shitty as a story as that was, is more exciting that actual 1v1 naval gameplay.
lol the story wasn't that shitty.. it was pretty good and a funny ending.. the only thing is that in context of analysis of how a typical OpenRA game could unfold, it was pretty accurate until the end.. I mean The subs do crush allied navy and get it to the point you mentioned, and yea once the soviets dominate the sea then they can get a missile sub or 2 as an annoying harassment ... but if you spend 10k - 20k or whatever on missile subs then yea ur a moron and deserve to lose.. especially if you are neglecting the ground battle. So with appropriate macro decisions at the end, I think a Soviet player could make the situation work out.


Also yea the subs act retarded if they shoot near a rock or coastline, but that makes logical sense and is one of the drawbacks to shooting an underwater torpedo and it's quite easy to micro them into position to avoid doing this, so I don't personally think that's a huge issue.
Last edited by avalach21 on Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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