Smitty's Spring 2018 Playtest

Playtest B is out

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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Smitty
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Smitty's Spring 2018 Playtest

Post by Smitty » Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:10 am

Time for another round of playtesting. There's a couple of big issues we're looking to address this time around:

Issue #1) Shockies.
Shock Troopers are overperforming, and in the Russia vs Ukraine matchup they're straight up broken. There's a handful of ways to approach this, so I'll go over them to explain why I'm going the direction I'm going.

A) Buff Ukraine! - Ukraine struggles the most against shocktroopers, and by struggle I mean they get obliterated. This is a very unbalanced matchup. Allies struggle too, but with some good arty shots and pillbox micro, they can whittle down an opponent that uses shockies poorly. There's just no answer to a shock centered army in the base soviet arsenal. Flaks and Rocket Soldiers easily defend against yaks, and any attempt at taking a fight will end with a big disparity in losses.
There's been a common belief that Ukraine's parabombs are garbage. We've all seen parabombs take hilariously bad angles, flying over their opponent’s base long before they reach their target. My issue with this is; we've also seen parabombs take hilariously good angles, wiping out entire armies. It's a free power that can win games, and to me free is the real kicker against buffing them.
Even if we decided to buff Ukraine, there's a big problem in how. The most requested way, allowing the player to decide the angle of the parabombs, isn't possible at the moment. More free bombs doesn’t sound appealing to me either. Of course there’s the nuke truck, but making that more accessible and asking a player to win games vs Russia on the power of nukes doesn’t seem too sporting either.

B) Revert the price change to Shockies – The shock trooper received a huge buff last year in a $100 price drop. This allows players to build more shockies more quickly for cheaper, but the savvier ones will build a complement of rockets for air defense with this extra build time. (The faster build time is more impactful than the lower cost btw) Saying hinds and yaks are a good counter to shockies doesn’t really account for the rockets and flak trucks that will certainly be with them.
Before the price change, I saw several players lose games because they over invested in shock troopers without the proper supporting units. We could simply revert the price change, but I’m not sure I want to be the guy who reverted a change of my predecessor. This brings us to:

C) Follow the path SoScared took and reduce damage vs Armor further – Shock trooper damage vs armor has been reduced to 60%, which allows them to steadily melt armor instead of completely evaporate it. An additional lowering of this value should allow armor to be a viable counter to shock troopers as I assume was the original intention of this change.
There’s also the prospect of combining options B and C if necessary; say a $350 price tag and 50% damage vs heavy. We’ll see how testing goes and make that decision if needed.

Issue #2) - Allies, Arty, and AA guns.
Allies are in an odd spot as they tend to frustrate players with how Arty, AA guns and pillboxes work; but at the same time, they are pretty well balanced against Soviets. I’d say Soviets have the slight edge on most maps, but player skill will still decide the bulk of matchups.
This state of balance naturally means any large nerfs to the pillbox, arty, AA core of the allied arsenal are going to set them way behind their Soviet counterparts. Because of this the changes in this test will be smaller than some of the grand overhaul suggestions I’ve heard. I certainly don’t mind seeing those big suggestions tested, and if a good solution is found my mind can be changed.
I'm also looking at buffing Phase Tanks and Chrono Tanks in hopes of seeing more use from them. I've wanted to see how these units would look with anti-air capabilities. Both of them will have the ability to spring an ambush on an idle air unit in this test.

Changes: (Updated for Playtest B)

Walls require base provider
- Continuing testing of walls and base provider to see if there’s a reason to not require it.

Fake structures can build off of other fake structures

Removed Kill Bounties

AA Gun delay increased from 5 to 6
- Every test of nerfing AA damage so far has made Allies way too vulnerable vs air. So far we've tested reducing the range by two cells, and reducing the fire rate to 7. At this point, we're testing a small change to see if the AA gun can take a nerf at all.

Added 2nd seat to Ranger
- Continuing testing. If the usefulness value is clearly better than ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I'll probably go ahead with this. We learned from Sir Cake's mod that this would be overpowered as heck if rangers functioned like the RA2 IFV.

Subpens and Naval Yards have 10c0 detection range of Submarines
- This has been widely requested, and while I agree with Sir Cake that it won’t solve subs camping spawn areas, I like the idea of giving players more information. (For a player wondering if it’s safe to sink money into ships it is as important to know that your naval yard isn’t being camped as if it is.) And if you have the information, you can move air units or long range ground units into position to deal with emerging subs.

Shock Trooper price increased from 300 to 350
* Testing a price change in Playtest B

Tesla Tank speed lowered from 113 to 99. (Same speed as MGG and MRJ)

Missile Sub vision increased from 6c0 to 8c0, damage vs wood increased from 40% to 80%. Reload delay decreased to 250 from 300.
- The extra vision will be even with subs now, and should provide more ambush opportunities of idling aircraft. Missile Sub damage is pretty bad so we’re looking to boost its worth as a siege weapon.

Lower selection priorities of Hijackers and Minelayers
- Requested by Frenzy on github. I think changing the Minelayers won’t be a problem but I do wonder about doing this with Hijackers since they are often paired with APCs.

Sam Vision increased from 6c0 to 8c0
- Suggested by Orb. Since the SAM range is short compared to the AA gun it should always get to use the full range. Also extra vision is a buff for anything regardless of purpose.

Artillery cost increased to 850 from 800
- Dialing back the spamability a smidge.

Phase Transport and Mobile Gap Generator swapped between England and France.
- Addressing the power disparity between England and France

*Phase Transport Cloaking speed reduced from 9 seconds to 6.

* Chrono Tank PortableChrono time reduced to ~9 seconds (250 ticks).

Extra construction yards no longer provide bonus production speed for defence structures.
- Another step in reducing the amount of defense spam. Took out the change to regular building speed.

Biolab vision increased from 3c0 to 4c0; Vision of Airfield (7c0), Allied Tech Center (10c0), and Advanced Power Plant (4c0) changed to 5c0.
- Changes requested by Arular for consistency.

Mechanic repair increased by 5 HP; Vehicle HP on restore 40%, up from 25%
Longbow turn speed increased from 4 to 5
Sub torpedo speed increased from 85 to 100

- Not much to say about these last three changes. Just a bit more oomph to mechanics, longbows, and subs.

___

Final Thoughts:
- I saw another request for a Soviet Chinook. I don't intend to go that direction. I wrote my thoughts on that here.
- There are some projects I have in mind that I left out of this test. (MAD tanks, Soviet Hinds, Engi husk salvage to name a few) I still want to tackle these somewhat esoteric issues but time is a barrier. As always, if there's an issue out there you want to tackle feel free to compare notes with me.
Attachments
SMT Spring 2018 Playtest B.zip
Map Pack
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Last edited by Smitty on Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:37 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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AoAGeneral1
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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Sun Apr 01, 2018 7:26 am

Was there a reason Shockies keep the 1000 damage vs none armor types in compared to RA95 damage types vs none?

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netnazgul
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Post by netnazgul » Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:30 am

Looks promising, although some changes may be overnerf/overbuff, subject for testing of course. I.e. some already think that shockies are in place after their AP nerf. One thing I may suggest to look into is *slightly* increasing V2 AoE/spread which will also make it more viable against shockies and infantry in general.

Missile sub may become quite all-rounder after the mentioned change.

Also, I suppose this playtest cycle will be in stasis up until the RAGL rest week as most [active] people won't be able to jump between the two.

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Post by ZxGanon » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:17 am

"Phase Transport and Chronotank can attack air units."

Oh baby yes. Also loving the MSub changes that seems enough to make this thing useful.
It still wont fix the Naval balance though more has to be done in that regard.

Btw. how about reducing the cost of Mammoth Tank from 2000$ to 1700$. I have talked with a few ppl about that and they seem to have no problem with that since this tank is...just not good for being an iconic unit. Biggest reason is because of its huge price Tag. Also reducing the cost to 1700$ would bring it close to original.

Are you not gonna change the Mig?

Also the Soviet Chinook I still think it is necessary to add.
1. Makes balancing way easier and doesnt limit the fucking map making anymore.
2. Sorry but this isnt Starcraft this is CnC and Asynchron faction design has a limit in CnC or it goes into full retard.
3. Something like a transport is no asynchron design that is just Westwood retardism. Tiberian Sun is a prime example of very bad multiplayer game design ala Westwood.
4. It existed in original (I know lame argument but speaks the truth of OpenRa´s politics).
5. Example from Shattered Paradise: Stated to the 4 facts from above I decided to give all factions in SP Carryalls and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It not only fixed the enourmus map issues we had but also put my mind at ease about faction balance in general. Now every race might have the same option to transport its MCV across the map or put nice chinnenigans with hard hitter units (not just Disruptor and Mammoth MKII) but there is more to a Faction than just the transport possibilities.

A map should never limit any faction if you put a slight obstical like water on it.

Btw. setting the Hind for Soviets is infact not possible and I dont support that idea since its sadly way too late to reverse that.

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Post by eskimo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 10:52 am

ZxGanon wrote: Biggest reason is because of its huge price Tag. Also reducing the cost to 1700$ would bring it close to original.

Are you not gonna change the Mig?
A few of us spoke about the Mammoth the other day, and it didn't go very far as we were all in instant agreement that it's not a tank to be spammed, cover large ground due to speed, and generally gets used wrong.
However, a very slight price decrease (not $300 imo) would be worth looking into.

The Mid had a buff previous release, and the AA gun has seen a slight nerf this test.

The Chinook thing, i'm against it, but at the same time don't want to be against it. The map design relation is a huge point.

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Re: Smitty's Spring 2018 Playtest

Post by eskimo » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:04 am

Smitty wrote: Time for another round of playtesting. There's a couple of big issues we're looking to address this time around:

Issue #1) Shockies.
Shock Troopers are overperforming, and in the Russia vs Ukraine matchup they're straight up broken. There's a handful of ways to approach this, so I'll go over them to explain why I'm going the direction I'm going.
Agreed wholeheartedly. I've lost numerous games through shocky overrun sadly. Once you commit an attack to them and it goes wrong, there's literally no retreat and your whole army gets wiped.

Has a slight build time reduction on Nuke Truck been considered?

I thought shockies used to be $600?
Now when i'm Russia, i just shift the hell out of Shockies as they're so cheap!

I think the lesser use of the Phase Transport came from increased Cloaked(?) detection from defensive structures. And maybe other units now such as Mammoth? Though my memory is hazy there.

And a buff to Chrono tank would be huge, and be awesome to see.


Smitty wrote:
Lower selection priorities of Hijackers and Minelayers
- Requested by Frenzy on github. I think changing the Minelayers won’t be a problem but I do wonder about doing this with Hijackers since they are often paired with APCs.
Yes, this would be great! Minelayers look too much like APCs as is. But also the Hijacker APC thing, i'm 100% against that for what it's worth.


Smitty wrote: Mechanic repair increased by 5 HP; Vehicle HP on restore 40%, up from 25%
Longbow turn speed increased from 4 to 5

I'm of the opinion that this feels like a very fine line. Mechanics have frequent decent use currently. And Longbows are absolutely brutal once the enemy starts snowballing.





Also, MAD tank is my favourite unit. I read something not too long ago about removing the screen shake, that would suck tremendously.

Thanks for your efforts also Smitty.

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Post by ZxGanon » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:33 am

Im happy about every price decrease on Mammoth Tank.

The Chinook is something we have to take in account. That is no joke like the Hind discussion (except if you all agree to rebalance the game and throw years of work out of the window).

With the Mig one I agree because AA Gun is the bain of every aircrafts existence.

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Post by SirCake » Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:35 am

Half way through the post I realized... I hope it is what I think it is. However, if it is, it is very elaborate... Lets see how things develop - if it lasts prepare for a sweeping note of protest.

Check out Dune2k-Advanced on my moddb page!

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WhoCares
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Post by WhoCares » Sun Apr 01, 2018 12:21 pm

Changes seem logical and good to me.

One thing that can help with the transport is why not grant apc amphibious trait like sirecake did with the like tank but with a speed reduction so it does not feel too op. That would solve some map issue. If i'm correct the main issue is allies just have to hit radar tech to access chinnok to acces some remote derrick where soviet have to invest in subpen just for the same purpose (and most of the time nothing more).

Second,

An idea that will be a bit odd but i think it can be considerated because it will bring back the use of the engeneer and the fence/sandbag :

Why don't give the engeneer a 8 cells build radius workable only for sandbag/fence. that way you can start to "fortify" with more flexibility rhe surrounding of your base and advanced position without having an mcv.

Fortnight used something like that for a unit called the achitect in his mode but for general building purpose. Here we limit it as sandbags and fences only.

Why sandbag and fence ? First because they are not used at all exept for trolling, second it makes sens that an enge could carry along some sand bags and some wire to improvise a defence but it would be odd that he carries around cement and iron to erect 2 m hight concreete walls. plus erecting concreet walls everywhere would be op.

I know it is getting a bit more far than the original but it can make 2 birds one stone by giving usefullness to both enge and sandbags/fence.

The concept can be used *as well/instead* on the supply truck wich is pretty useless too.

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Post by netnazgul » Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:18 pm

Btw. how about reducing the cost of Mammoth Tank from 2000$ to 1700$. I have talked with a few ppl about that and they seem to have no problem with that since this tank is...just not good for being an iconic unit. Biggest reason is because of its huge price Tag. Also reducing the cost to 1700$ would bring it close to original.
I think it would be better to make it "heavier" (more hp, more damage), not cheaper. Mammonth should not ba a spammable unit.
Are you not gonna change the Mig?
Mig is quite feasible now, with its recent AP buff.

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Post by netnazgul » Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:49 pm

Btw on the AA Guns - has anyone explored the option for AA Guns to deal less damage, but an actual AoE spread? So they will be less effective on singular units, but quite deadly against flocks. Which also seems a bit more realistic too.

Maybe same for flak trucks even. All in all too big upheaval though.

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Post by SirCake » Sun Apr 01, 2018 8:12 pm

April Fool's?

Check out Dune2k-Advanced on my moddb page!

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Post by CatGirls420 » Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:45 am

In case this isn't an april fools joke post....

You know, you could just test out my cg420 maps and you'll have all the proof you need that my balance changes work. It fixes a lot of the most controversial issues among many other things.

The newest cg420 version, 33, is the latest, and is not anywhere close to the "fun" rules I made before. I'm sure some tweaking needs to be done to my ruleset (because of the changes the devs made, I'm sure I got some values wrong) but you won't know til you try.

Also yes I've tested aoe aa guns.....and you'll see how much better my as guns work if you guys bothered to try testing my maps. I know you may still harbor resent me against me but it will save you all worlds of trouble.

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Re: Smitty's Spring 2018 Playtest

Post by Anykeyich » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:21 am

Smitty wrote: Lower selection priorities of Hijackers and Minelayers
- Requested by Frenzy on github. I think changing the Minelayers won’t be a problem but I do wonder about doing this with Hijackers since they are often paired with APCs.
Has anyone proposed to give the same lower priority for the units that are sent to SD? I think can slightly decrease the casualties.
I like you very much. But I am Russian. And I do not like anybody. (c) General Topolev

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Post by Materianer » Mon Apr 02, 2018 10:46 am

The balances seem to be well overall even if i think the misslesub damage increase is too much, they are already really good since the accuracy has been improved.

I'm a bit unsure about the shoktrooper change they are often a bad investment for players as you mentioned.
If you play well with them they can end a game fast of course but mostly not if the defending player is prepared.
they are hard to use and this is probably more a problem of the ragl szene maybe, in normal mp games they could become irrelevant.

The walls are sometimes used in close base on base battles but that someone is building them outside of the basecircle? That happens maybe in 1 game per month, often done by noobs then who wall they'r base in, so why limit this?
Too many limitations will make the game more and more boring.
ZxGanon wrote: Im happy about every price decrease on Mammoth Tank.

The Chinook is something we have to take in account. That is no joke like the Hind discussion (except if you all agree to rebalance the game and throw years of work out of the window).

With the Mig one I agree because AA Gun is the bain of every aircrafts existence.
You like the soviets eh? They are already stronger than allies since last release.

Its right mammoth seem to underperform a bit, they are often used in a wrong way and are a bit weak for being a mammoth.
Like netnazgul said a bit more armor would be nice and or increase the selfhealing a bit.

About the chinook thing, how do you want to "balance" one of them full of flamers or naders? There seem to be no easy way to do this for me.

How many testgames on the soviet-hinds maps did you do that you think this would throw years of balancework out of the window?
Just asking because most of these maps show a Played: 0 on the resource center.

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