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How do you rate the new RA release?

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:01 pm
by Raishiwi
Now that everyone has had some time to play, watch streams, and even play some RAGL matches under the new release, I'm wondering what the overall consensus is on the release as an entirety. There are plenty of opinions on specific changes, this is just a general poll.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:18 pm
by Clockwork
Would also be good after you have voted if you wish to add what feature you hated and loved. For me I hated the targeting change on the defense stance.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:49 pm
by Doomsday
I voted 4. I hate targeting change on buildings but like the new UI element about stances.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 4:59 pm
by netnazgul
Doomsday wrote: I voted 4. I hate targeting change on buildings but like the new UI element about stances.
Yeah, I've voted 4 too, only to realize that 5 is the worst here. I thing the poll is rigged

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:00 pm
by SoScared
The experience so far is the targeting change has severely mushed RA's play style towards generic defensive army blobs as there's less reward in moving out to go for map control. In turn, creative play beyond the early game is discouraged as the aggressor can expect to be deflected.

Kochevnik's RA Cup stream was this release's first real litmus test and was a good indicator on how the games play out: ... 304#305304

In a general sense the matches were pretty slow and repetitive, not really a good showcase for the RA mod.

*rated 4 btw - it's pretty wild how 1 singular feature can pull down an otherwise fantastic release.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 5:30 pm
by Smitty
I've had some pretty crazy games with new release and the official playtests so I'd say it's definitely not boring.

I'm also hearing the exact opposite complaints which is always a good thing.

Will get this season's SMT playtest out soon so we can get to work on some solutions. Just need to fiddle with some naval numbers and it should be ready.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:05 pm
by kazu.
what soscared pointed out is what i was afraid about after playing five ( 8) )games.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 6:29 pm
by FiveAces
I love OpenRA, but I had to rate this release a 4.

On the bright side, the stance bar is a great addition for new players, and though I can't see it play a role in higher levels of play, it is strictly an improvement.
The same holds true for the hitshape changes: Strictly positive, and also a great buff to Tanya/spies/Commandos.

With that out of the way, let's talk stance changes: This does in my opinion take a lot of agency away from players.

That does sound counterintuitive now, doesn't it?

After all, the change was implemented to make it easier to deal with basepushes.
But if we take a look at how games play out now, the picture has changed drastically:
Proper target selection has always been a core skill in OpenRA micromanagement.
If you built lots of units and attackmoved them into a fortified base without any further inputs,
you were bound to take an unfavourable trade since your units would waste most of their shots on cheap shotblockers like barracks or powerplants while the defender was taking free shots at your army.

The new release has flipped things upside down by introducing what I'd like to call "defender's disadvantage":
If we take the same situation in release 1017, not only does the attacker not have to micromanage his army any more,
but the defending units are being spread thin behind their own buildings,
effectively decreasing their damage because unlike the attacker they can't get an effective concave around the enemy.
This leads to a massive buff for the all-in 1-army no-hotkey attackmove and pretty much cements the meta while simultaneously promoting a more defensive playstyle.

I know you devs are doing a great job and are putting an extreme amount of work into this (for free, I might add),
but I'm not a big fan of the release changes.
Imo 1017 has significantly decreased the skillcap in OpenRA.

Let's hope for a better solution in the future!

(Also, please let's keep things civil in this thread. This is an important discussion, and I'd hate to see it locked due to personal attacks et alia)

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:06 pm
by FRenzy
I for myself voted 1 for the new release. I was pretty apprehensive during the playtest phase, but was pleasantly surprised with the release, ad I think it's going the right direction :

- I used to be very pissed off with previous release basepush wars. You would literally spend minutes building only rax and PP and pills against your enemy, some players used to win without even teching, only using basepushes and small armies. From my perspective, basepush wars weren't fun, and were killing the game. And players who wanted to tech could be punished by not counter-basepushing enough. For tech players, this was so frustrating.

This has become obsolete, building rax won't help anymore, so players will skip directly to either full rax, fast tech, full air, full WF ... building options are way more diverse now.

- I don't agree that micro management is less important now. At least as a Soviet player myself. I'm still micro managing the hell out of my army !
But at least, I don't have to stupidly force fire my riflemen into the enemy infantry (yet losing the fight), just because buildings were artificially used as meatshields and popping out like mushrooms. Now, fights are cleaner and more logical, and greater armies have more chance to win the fight.

I'd say you need even more micro, especially when attacking a base, as you have to switch between attack move, assault move, stances, or specific targeting. Yet, this micro is more interesting than force firing into the ground.

- I'm not sure that the defensive advantage is completely lost, cause his buildings still grant extra vision, and carefully placed defences are still good. So on equal sizes, defender still has a slight advantage. But not a highly unbalanced one, as previously.

- I think that defensive playing comes from a lack of scouting. We are still used to a gameplay where we could attack blindly and split armies, knowing that our own bases are safe behind pills and walls of barracks.
Now, you have to scout the enemy, to know his position to judge if you should intercept an attack, or if you can attack and where.
This gives more importance to scouting, and more reward to the player who gathers more intel.

I've played a few games where I was just switching between attack and defense according to enemy movement, but never on wait. Except if I've lost my scouts, but then it's my fault, and it's to the enemy's advantage. Which is a good mechanic, IMO !

- Maybe artillery has been buffed with the new targeting, therefore needs to be reworked.

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:16 pm
by avalach21
I really like the new release... generally it feels a lot more stable and less laggy... I'm not sure if it's all just in my head or if there was some work done under the hood but internet games feel much more stable + quicker.

I don't mind the stance bar UI at bottom.. I personally dont use it but it's not a bad idea for noobies to even realize that the controls are there. What I DO enjoy is that you can specifically select a stance now rather than annoyingly cycling through the stances as before. Having to take your eyes off of the gameplay to squint down at the text (I'm playing in 4k which makes it even worse) in the corner to try to figure out which stance they are in vs being able to specifically choose a stance is a huge improvement IMO.

It seems a lot of people are bitching about units not auto-attacking buildings in the default stance:

my first question is... I haven't encountered the scenario somehow yet to test, but do units attack captured by enemy netural/civilian structures (especially oil derricks) automatically in this new release? This was always by far my greatest annoyance with the game.. even in the hold fire stance, my units would relentlessly attack a captured derrick held by the enemy while I am trying to take control of the area and capture it myself... most annoying sh*t ever. [Only option is to force attack empty ground, which usually causes my army to miss the first shot when the enemy shows back up to defend their derrick] For the love of God I hope that this change prevents this from occurring.

Anyways.. my next question is, how do other people feel about/how hard would it be to implement the logic to have units auto target enemy vehicles in range first with a higher priority and then if there are no vehicles in range, they attack enemy structures automatically while in the default stance. Is this possible with the current engine/would this appease anyone and be a happy medium or would it somehow break things even further?

Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:59 pm
by OMnom
avalach21 wrote: Anyways.. my next question is, how do other people feel about/how hard would it be to implement the logic to have units auto target enemy vehicles in range first with a higher priority and then if there are no vehicles in range, they attack enemy structures automatically while in the default stance. Is this possible with the current engine/would this appease anyone and be a happy medium or would it somehow break things even further?
Tried something similar to this, and what I found out is that if a unit is already in the act of firing at something, you need to press 'Stop' in order for the priorities to actually change. There's going to have to be some kind of new code implemented to detect if a unit with a higher priority is firing upon the actor in question.

But as far as having default logic being different from A-move or Assault-move logic...yeah thats easily done through yaml.

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:18 am
by SoScared
The discussion around basepushing has been one of the most difficult and confusing subjects in relation to the stance changes.

First off, I hope there's common ground here on the direction RA has taken regards to this specific subject the past year. With the previous release RA took a some very small, but decisive steps to adress this exact point which put Allies and Soviets on a collition course regarding the strenght of their basepushing abilities. The first few weeks, Soviet basepushing simply exploded due the feature no longer being an Allied monopoly until the games reached some sort of equilibrium. This stalemate forced most players to focus more on mobility, giving rise to the current meta to which, if I'm not mistaken, no longer really has basepushing as a solution by default. Keep in mind this was done with balance adjustments that was, at least to the eye, so incredibly small they shouldn't have affected the game at all, and there was more than a few that believed it wouldn't.

Fast forward a couple of months and you see the game has changed quite a bit. Not as fast as many would have liked to see it happen but it's been quite a while since I last saw real heart-felt grievances on the basepushing aspect of RA, and as far as I can tell it's the general experience expressed players in general. Off course basepushing still happen, it's still a very strong play but it's been pushed more towards the background and further, the general trend of balance discussions has shifted more towards traits of units and features versus structural flaws of the RA tech tree itself. All mostly because of a measly $200 increase on the Pillboxes, a Flame Tower projectile speed increase and a slight reduction of the Barracks' HP.

This release's set of balance changes compared to the previous is no joke. In fact I had to remind myself constantly I wasn't playing mad scientist with the full constellation of changes that sought to alter the game in a very specific manner. In many ways I honestly felt I had no real way of conveying the whole idea out to the community of what I wanted to accomplish as parts of it was just bits and pieces that I believed would likely work together well and other parts that was linked up to an overall strategy that tied in to, among other things, the issue of basepushing, the T3 tech tree and so on. So when it comes to the issue of basepushing this release's set of balance changes has elements within it that has sought to address this matter in a very specific way and its impact going way beyond the development that happened in the previous release cycle. One example of an intended cohesive set of changes being:

Tank damage vs Heavy armor +15%
Tank vision +1c0
Barracks cost $500 (+20% cost and production time)
Cut of ca. 15% production time on all T3 units
Buffed faction specific T3 vehicles

At first glance it might be hard to see how these changes would simply do away with much of the basepushing mechanics left over from the previous release but as I mentioned on occasion when going through the playtesting process (playtest maps) they way these changes affected the basepushing and tech, happened specifically with different elements of the game progression. One of which is what I called army retention, which simply means the ability of players to take better care of their armies supported by +1 vision tanks that helps player react quicker and retreat should they decide an engagement is not worth taking, perhaps they encounter some enemy forces by accident, etc. We had the same reasoning supporting the Yak/MiG vision increase previous release. Having a mobile army at hand to which you can excercise better map control opened up options to tech behind your army. The +15% heavy armor damage is pretty straight forward; when punching through a defensive line, no longer does the tanks only function solely as a damage soaker but helps out taking out the first few defensive structures in its path before the infantry comes in and starts dealing damage. As an added bonus you also had the occasional Medium Tank "wolfpacks" hunting unprotected harvesters, picking of defensive structures and sometimes engaging in some good old tank-to-tank combat, which have been pretty rare in the RA mod. The barracks spam fading away with the cost/production time increase. The T2/T3 tech being more available due to the above gameplay foundation allowing for a more safe and open path towards T3 where its untapped potential awaits you, like the now more potent German Chrono Tank and the Russian Tesla tech, both HP boosted, in combination with the across-the-board T3 production time cuts which includes possibly the most risky buff in this release, reduction of the Longbow and MiG production time.

I'm not describing a fantasy hypothetical here by the way, some of you should find most of these scenarios quite familiar with the hundreds of hours these scenarios has played out in front of hundreds of players in before the first playtest preceding this release.

The point I'm trying to make here is that basepushing, big mindless army blobs and the stale tech play is (and has been) on the fast track out the door with so many combination of different changes not even mentioned above. The effect of faster tech, game pace and strong ground armies is definately experienced in this release already, but in no way is the stance changes supplementing this effect and I can honestly say, if you by now would trust my skill as an observer, that the new stances is a definitive downgrade in relation to these balance changes coupled with previous release.

Tying into FiveAces point above the game definately is looking straight at a major dumbing down of RA's gameplay that, as meantioned above, will have members of the community attempt to desperately patch the feature for god knows how long and in the meantime suffer a transition neither needed or wanted by significant portion of OpenRA's users.

Also we have to be extra careful with arguments that involves players "not playing the game the right way" as an excuse to why a big sector of OpenRA's playerbase are experiencing this shot-in-the-dark feature as bland, tedious and stressful without adding to the game. We can't just waive aside these players' opinions with a simple adapt-or-whatever attitude and I'm not sure how people can even envision this sort of gameplay balance strategy survive development in the long run.

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:10 am
by anjew
FiveAces wrote: Imo 1017 has significantly decreased the skillcap in OpenRA.
SoScared wrote: transition neither needed or wanted by significant portion of OpenRA's users.
No, just in RA (from what you suggest).

There have been close to no complaints from the TD camp. The stance changes and most other changes are fantastic from my perspective.

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:00 am
by OMnom
I told everyone, nearly a year ago now, that the counter to stale arty play is and always has been basepushing. Explicity nerfing only one will result in a net buff to the other. This is the main reason why I am generally against any sort of teetering act between MCV speed changes, arty range nerfs, autotargeting logic changes, and any other seemingly "small changes with a big impact" -- balancing of this nature can only be done by outside intervention, from modders or developers.

This is why I've been trying convince people that we need to add additional options to this game: expand the tech tree, enable different builds, emphasize the importance of scouting for tech instead of just scouting for position, and introduce mechanically intensive elements to encourage dynamic gameplay. Let the players who actually play the game do their own balancing in-game, not cry to the devs to have a 10% increase here, a -10% there, or "fix hijackers". If there are more options in the game, people aren't going to cry about "MCV needs to be slower" ; they will explore their existing options and come up with a solution themselves, without the need of developer intervention.

The stance changes are living proof that RA does not have enough options. The moment that the current option A got nerfed, we're back to the old stale tech gameplay, not because we want to, but because there's nowhere left to go.

Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:17 am
by noobmapmaker
anjew wrote:
FiveAces wrote: Imo 1017 has significantly decreased the skillcap in OpenRA.
SoScared wrote: transition neither needed or wanted by significant portion of OpenRA's users.
No, just in RA (from what you suggest).

There have been close to no complaints from the TD camp. The stance changes and most other changes are fantastic from my perspective.
I'd assume there's a fundamental difference between the games that results in "not so much difference/mainly improvement" for TD and "quite a shift in meta that many people don't feel adds to strategy" for RA? What would be the difference that explains the difference in sentiment? I'm sure it's not a difference in player base personality.

So far not a huge fan, but haven't voted since I've only played AI.