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Balance changes for 2019 July #16803

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merged 1 commit into from Jul 20, 2019

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@Punsho
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commented Jul 19, 2019

Core Aims

  • Streamlining and improving mechanics that became overcomplicated over time
  • Addressing the imbalance consequences that Opportunity Fire introduced for turreted actors
  • Miscellaneous changes addressing specific past or future issues

This PR is the result of various balance works been initiated and commenced by numerous people, as well as countless discussions held over the past several months.

Stealth Rework

Currently stealth mechanics are targeted at just one unit, slightly at two others (Phase Transport, Thief (when idle) and Camo Pillbox). For it to work we have a large number of arbitrary stealth detectors - Dogs, Spies, Tanya, Mobile Radar Jammers, Mammonth Tanks, Spy Plane, Radar Dome. It is not easy to memorise this list for newer players. It also is not good game design to force players to include Dogs / Spies into army compositions as they require a great deal of micro management, Dogs are faster then infantry and Spies do not adhere to common attack-move. Note that there is no counter-play against Spy detection as they just disguise as their own. Mammoths on the other hand are easy to use as detectors, but they are a staple Soviet unit that is built regardless of Phase Transport presence, making it commonly hard-countered without that being intentional. All of this mess is just to counter one faction-specific unit. Thieves have a different infantry detection rule making things even worse as it is not explicitly clear.

A decision was made to streamline stealth down to how it worked in the original and in TD - just infantry (1 cell) and defence structures (6 cells).

  • Removed detection from Radar Dome, Phase Transport, Mammoth Tanks, Mobile Radar Jammer, Spy Plane
  • Added DetectCloaked: 1c0 to ^Infantry

The only significant change in gameplay is that Phase Transport infantry crushes become less viable. Subsequently Phase Transport is getting buffed, shifting its role from a cheesy blob crusher more to a stealth transport and occasional blob crusher

Phase Transport

  • Transport cost from 1350 to 1000
  • Health from 30000 to 35000
    • Phase Transport will survive a Tesla Coil hit instead of being one-shot

Veterancy

  • Removed accuracy improvements
    • It is completely redundant for most units and in case of cruisers it nerfs their anti-infantry capabilities
  • Regeneration rate on elite from 200 hp per 4 seconds to 5% per 4 seconds
    • Low health units regenerate a lot faster than those with higher health pools. Now it is all percentage based. For reference Heavy Tank normally takes more then seven minutes to fully regenerate
  • Ranks are visible to opponents
    • Gives better counterplay
    • After a spy infiltration its victim will now see that it happened

Changes in Response to Opportunity Fire

APC

  • Health from 30000 to 35000
    • Opportunity fire has buffed all light vehicles except for the APC. This change counteracts their relative nerf and resolves this dynamic where APC drops get shut down by 1 Tesla Coil while Allies have a far more difficult time dealing with it

Mobile Flak

  • Speed from 128 to 118
    • Mobile Flak is a powerful unit that is useful in all stages of the game. It is a counter to almost all radar tech units and was significantly buffed with the introduction of opportunity fire. It is being slowed down to the speed of Hinds, that gives them a better chance to fly away
  • It can no longer shoot over walls at ground targets
    • It is implausible and has very minor balance implications

Tesla Tank

  • Health from 45000 to 40000
    • Tesla Tanks were on the threshold between balanced and overpowered, opportunity fire has tipped that scale and coupled with improved Mobile Flaks Tesla Tank spam became very hard to stop once gaining traction
    • Yaks / Hinds are now able to kill a Tesla Tank with one ammo clip
  • Note: the build time decrease below is going to affect it significantly as it is one of the few high tech units that is spammed

Mammoth Tank

  • Tusk Missile range reduced from 8c0 to 6c512
    • They are over-performing against infantry and aircraft as they now able to fire when retreating
    • For reference V2 Rocket Launcher has 10c0 weapon range, meaning that Mammoth Tusk is just 2 cells short of it
  • Vision range from 7c0 to 6c0
    • Same as other tanks with the exception of Light Tank (5c0)
  • Note: the build time decrease below is going to affect it significantly as it is one of the few high tech units that is spammed

Miscellaneous changes

High tech units no longer build faster

  • This high tech unit buff is not explicitly clear and has multiple exceptions
  • High tech units should be made not because they build faster, but because they are valuable tools. If high tech units underperform they need to be buffed individually

Thief

  • Moved from Service Depot tech to Radar tech
    • Hijack fix made Thieves into very powerful tools, this change makes them require additional investment into tech and moves them to a later stages of the game where stealing Ore Trucks is harder and less significant
  • Note: idle Thieves will be detected by infantry in 1c0 range instead of 5c0

Light Tank

  • Weapon range from 4c0 to 4c768
    • Light Tank has poor staying power. It fills the same roles Medium Tank which when compared is better at them. This buff will make it easier to use it later on the game for sniping Artillery, V2s and Mobile Flaks
    • Its weapon range is now the same as all other tanks

Spy

  • Can steal money from Refineries
    • Getting veterancy is a one-time use for Spies, after which they can only be used for light scouting and for sabotaging Power Plants, the former being very situational. Removal of this feature in favour of Thieves was not thought of in this regard

Kennel

  • Cost from 100 to 200
    • In the previous patch Dog vision was increases by half a cell with the goal of making Dog not only have a vision advantage perpendicularly but also diagonally. It tilted the current meta in favour of Soviets in early game as a single dog provides a very significant advantage in fights that Allies can not keep up with until acquiring a Ranger. Increasing Kennels cost demands a larger commitment for utilising this strategy but does not punish players who want to open more than 1 Dog

Parabombs

  • Projectile Z velocity from -86 to -40
    • Counters the introduced ability to choose the direction of support powers. Parabombs were always too potent at the map edges but randomness balanced it for the most part. With its removal a nerf is necessary. Reducing Bomb fall speed makes them easier to dodge
    • Since directional support powers are not in a finished version of the game we can not do proper testing. Although it does not take a leap of logic to figure out how Parabombs will work when they get the perfect angle every time. More nerfs may be necessary in the future

Mobile Gap Generator

  • Cost from 1200 to 1000
    • As a non-combat unit, MGG has a very low value/cost ratio. This is one of the easier changes of a potential Allied tech tier rework

Minelayer

  • Health from 15000 to 30000
    • Yaks will require more than one ammo clip to kill a single Minelayer unit

Sandbags / Wire Fence

  • Cost from 50 to 30
    • Improves usefulness as it is now builds faster

MAD Tank

  • Added weapon range circle

Note that this list does not contain all planned changes as they still need a more refinement, main ones being: Chrono Tank overhaul, second half of veterancy changes

@Orb370

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commented Jul 19, 2019

This list of changes has been discussed to exhaustion in the little "balance council" we have in the openRA Discord. The Council includes FiveAces, Netnazgul, SilentPun, Smitty.

I think it's good to go for playtest, as far as the ideas behind it go (I haven't looked over the code).

👍

@Punsho Punsho force-pushed the Punsho:Balance branch from 66bb5fe to 07f8f81 Jul 19, 2019

Punsho Punsho

@Punsho Punsho force-pushed the Punsho:Balance branch from 07f8f81 to 8553d71 Jul 19, 2019

@pchote pchote added this to the Next Release milestone Jul 19, 2019

@eskimo4130

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commented Jul 19, 2019

The APC health increase puts me on edge. The other changes appear to generally accepted as needed or wanted from what i've seen from discussions pre this conversation/thread.

@pchote pchote added the PR: Needs +2 label Jul 19, 2019

@matjaeck
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Only adding my two cents here as I have been involved in some of these balance discussions back then, opposing most of them. Untested but the set of changes here seem reasonable, good luck with it.

@pchote
pchote approved these changes Jul 20, 2019
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These have gone through a lot of discussion and testing in mod-maps, and there shouldn't be anything too controversial here. Lets get these in for the playtest where they can be tested properly with the other engine changes before any further revisions.

@pchote pchote merged commit 70dc053 into OpenRA:bleed Jul 20, 2019

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@Punsho Punsho deleted the Punsho:Balance branch Jul 22, 2019

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