Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

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Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:43 pm

Let's add here any suggested changes or tweaks to unit stats, before the next game goes live.

Personally, I'm happy with most stat changes so far, although there are still a few unit matchups I haven't tested... I can think of only 2 things which make units slightly unbalanced:

1. Hypersonic missiles R:25 allows them to destroy much much more labor and resources than they cost. This makes them the best defensive unit and can make a world impregnable if supported by almost anything else with cannons. Those who find this unbelieveable are welcome to attempt an attack on my capital :) I propose their range be returned to the original R:20.

2. Nebular gunships are too weak with their range R:5 and R:10 for the Hammerhead and Cerberus respectively. I think this was in line with Watch TV's original comment in the other thread. I think they should have the same range as their clearspace counterparts, and the Hammerhead still needs a cannon attack to the consistent with other gunships.
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:28 pm

How do people feel about capship performance right now? Gorgos performance vs Minotaurs (to which Gorgos are intended to be a weak counter) feels somewhat underwhelming but this isn't anything I could quantify. In the two simple combats I've seen, defending Gorgos fleets didn't survive their first orbital pass against reasonably-sized gunship fleets due to their newly reduced armor, so they only really benefitted from their longer range in the short period where the Minotaurs were closing on them the first time. Maybe they are more effective on the offense when they start at high altitudes, since opposing fleets riding to higher orbital have longer approach times?

I support reducing hypersonic missile range. Perhaps GDMs need to become fixed emplacements rather than single-shot since they still suck. If they are using the new firing rules that means they shoot off before enemies get in range, and if they are using the old firing rules they get first-shotted by wings in firing range orbit as they crest the horizon. GDMs would work as a single shot weapon if they use the old firing rules AND had like 400 armor to reduce horizon first-shotting against them. The space forces equation should also be tweaked to reflect the reduced utility of single-shot weapons like GDMs.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by starxplor » Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:38 pm

I would like to request a slight color change to the darker nebula area, it is almost impossible to see the difference between unexplored and explored dark nebula unless you move the map around to find a single background star that is bright enough to shine in the dark nebula and be missing in unexplored area.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:30 pm

starxplor wrote:
Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:38 pm
I would like to request a slight color change to the darker nebula area, it is almost impossible to see the difference between unexplored and explored dark nebula unless you move the map around to find a single background star that is bright enough to shine in the dark nebula and be missing in unexplored area.
This is also an issue in some areas of open space at high zoom levels when stars stop being visible. The ministry ticket mentions dark nebulas too.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:37 pm

Do people feel autocannons are cost-effective relative to HEL cannons?

Against autocannons
  • They cost substantially more on a per-unit basis (83 WUs vs. 58.5 WUs when factoring in supply-chain costs) while doing less damage
  • They have 50% less armor than HEL cannons
  • They are more spread out than HELs so a smaller % of them are engaged with a wing at any given time. This is primarily an issue in battles with small numbers of attacking wings.
  • They may be subject to a bug where they don't fire at fleets in some cases.

For autocannons
  • They have a half-life of 5 vs HEL cannons' half-life of 2. It's possible that you could generate a larger volume of fire over a long period of time by building Autocannons rather than HELs, but I'm not sure how to calculate force accumulations (I think some calculus is involved).
  • They have the same range but can engage units orbiting at 20Mm.
  • They are less mineral-intensive to build.
Uncertain
  • The orbital motion of satellites might allow them to remain engaged with the same wing for a longer period of time.
Also, does anyone have any insights into what might happen if the orbital direction of satellites were reversed? Would this affect their effectiveness in any way?

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:02 pm

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:28 pm
How do people feel about capship performance right now?
In the few Gorgos-Minotaur battles I've seen, the Gorgos still manage to inflict some casualties from long range (10 to 20% depending on where the opposing fleets are when the attack command is given). If the two fleets are of equivalent cost I'd hazard a guess that the Gorgos still destroy more labor and resources than they cost, but a bit less than before. Haven't tried using Gorgos in an attack yet.
Perhaps GDMs need to become fixed emplacements
Yes. They're useless at present. But we could reduce their range to R:10 if this is the case? Because otherwise they become a cheaper, more deadly hypersonic missile system which can be spammed in greater numbers.
Do people feel autocannons are cost-effective relative to HEL cannons?
They certainly seem to get destroyed a lot faster in an attack, that's for sure. I think they're sort of the first line of defense, easily disposable hence should be cheap to build. They can take out a few ships on their own, but really serve as cannon fodder to protect the heavier, longer ranged plasma towers and hypersonics. Attackers can choose to go for the ground defenses first, taking a bit more casualties from the satellites, or take out the satellies while sustaining more damage from the ground. This also fits with their in-game description...
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Xephyr » Thu Mar 16, 2017 12:48 am

GDMs I think need particular attention.

I think they should still be cheap to build, and should be buffed to make them stand a reasonable chance at damaging attackers, but I don't think they should be made fixed rather than multi-shot. Basically, they should be an easy investment for new players, but should still be eclipsed in usefulness by hypersonic missiles or HEL cannons (these should be better investments).

It's probably fair for them to be at least equally powerful as hypersonic missiles and cheaper to build, but the tradeoff being that they are consumed.
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Thu Mar 16, 2017 8:34 pm

The Minotaur has halfLife:12 while the corresponding ramjet gunship the Cerberus-class has halfLife:10. Since all other starship/ramjet half-life values are directly comparable for units of the same tech level, perhaps the Cerberus should be raised to halfLife:12 or the Minotaur reduced to halfLife:10.

The Vanguard should probably have halfLife:4 to match all other jumpships.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:42 am

The final list

If we're all in agreement then, here are the final changes. I'll edit this list as we discuss more etc etc. Please, anyone feel free to call out if you disagree with anything on here, or want to suggest something else...

1. Reduce hypersonic missile range to the original R:20
2. Make GDMs multi use OR increase stats (we can vote on this one, but I think multi use would be easier since single shot is still buggy)
3. Cannon attack type for Hammerhead.
4. R:10 for Hammerhead and R:15 for Cerberus
5. HalfLife:12 for Cerberus
6. HalfLife:4 for Vanguard

7. Remove missile protection from Hammerhead and Cerberus
8. AOE:1 for Manta
9. D:96 for Defiance and D:144 for Manta
Last edited by --Imperator-- on Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:33 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:47 am

Additionally: I think George should announce the new game start date well in advance (maybe 1 week?)

So everyone gets a fair chance to start all at once rather than the few people who are watching the forums getting ahead in production and worlds...
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:50 pm

What about reducing hypersonic range?

If GDMs stop being single-use people seem to think they will need to see range reduced to 10, although maybe Adamant range would then need to be reduced to 10 too? (Although I think adamants will still mostly first-shot them on the ground at that range with the new missile changes).

If the business with dark nebulas reducing missile range is true, increasing hammerhead range to 10 would put hammerheads outside reduced GDM range (although they and all other ramjets besides the Behemoth now have missile protection, not sure why that happened since they also have superior armor and weapons... thoughts?)

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Fri Mar 17, 2017 1:32 pm

What about hypersonic range? R:20 is good right? First thing on the list.

Adamants need to stand a chance against Minotaurs, which they currently don't even though jumpcruisers are supposed to counter gunships. Reducing their range to 10 would be... suboptimal. GDMs can be countered by Stinger or Eldritch fleets, whatever their range is.

Do nebular range and damage penalties affect all units except ramjets? I think the missile protection on nebular gunships was a mistake on my part, I can see on my spreadsheet there's a "1 ?" in the missile defense column. I was considering them having missile protection to balance their lower range, but wasn't sure. George must have seen it and taken the values straight from the table. That's okay, we can remove it if it's unsuitable. Added to the list.
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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:52 pm

Sorry, somehow I overlooked the entry about hypersonics. R:20 is good.

I have not tested direct damage / missile range penalties at all, so I don't know how or if they work.

I intuitively support nebular gunships losing missile protection, although I haven't had a chance to test them yet.

Assuming that AoE is actually working right now:

Mantas should get AoE:0.1 to match Defiances; although they are an overall cheaper and more damaging unit than the Defiance and don't have a dedicated cannon component, they are already penalized by reduced range and probably need AoE to be effective in an anti-jumpcruiser role.
Cerberuses maybe not get AoE:1 if Mantas don't get it either. Minotaurs don't get AoE, although they accumulate in larger numbers right now due to their cost and halfLife advantage so perhaps that was the justification for giving Cerberuses AoE.

In imperator's model starfrigates are concieved as anti-jumpcruiser units that can also fight jumpships effectively, while starcruisers are conceived as anti-starfrigate units that can also fight gunships effectively. Jumpships typically have 8-16 units per cell, gunships have 16 units per cell, starfrigates have 2 units per cell. Right now my guess would be that starcruisers are able to fulfil both their combat missions handily because they have both high base damage (to destroy starfrigates) and high AoE (to take out tightly-clustered gunships).

My concern is that starfrigates may not be buildable in large enough volumes to serve as a more credible and economically viable threat to jumpcruisers than starcruisers do (starfrigate base damage has been reduced a lot relative to jumpcruiser armor, although I still do not have a great intuitive sense of how the combat algorithm works for wing vs wing engagements). Perhaps they also need higher AoE.
Last edited by Watch TV, Do Nothing on Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by Watch TV, Do Nothing » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:56 pm

I think missiles may still be underperforming. Here is my justification:

The combat equation is given here.

Consider a hypothetical engagement between two ship wings. 1000 Undines engage 1568 Minotaurs. These wings cost the same supply-chain-inclusive WUs to build (in practice the Undines are actually more expensive because the Minotaurs have a higher halfLife)

Minotaurs have 64 attack, 160 defense
Undines have 160 attack, 320, and 0.1 AoE which I am not considering (an unquantifiable bonus to the Undines)

I am ignoring range, but Undines outrange Minotaurs by 5Mm (a 2nd unquantifable bonus to the Undines.)

Minotaurs have a delta-V advantage, which at best can negate the unquantifiable range bonus.

Based on the combat equation, we would expect the Undines to kill a maximum of 200 minotaurs in the first volley while the Minotaurs will kill a maximum~68 Undines in the first volley, with the ratio of WUs destroyed favoring the Undines.

Since this is just the first volley and Undines are destroying Minotaur WUs faster than the Minotaurs are destroying Undine WUs, each subsequent combat round should be more in the Undines' favor, a 3rd unquantifiable bonus! Combat should end with the Minotaurs destroyed and at least 54% of the Undines surviving, probably more.

I set up a test battle between Undines and Minotaurs at supply-chain-inclusive cost parity. There were 6 wings each.

47% of the Undines survived and (a couple hundred Minotaurs also made it out alive survived)

A missile-armed ship which has a range AND an AoE bonus (against a unit with high ships/cell count!) AND a combat round advantage bonus from fighting a weaker adversary underperformed what would be expected of it (based on the equation). I don't know if this is in the margin of error imposed by jittering, but I suspect some other factor may be at work.

This is completely independent of any discussion of whether Undines are appropriately costed, etc.

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Re: Balance final tweaks/changes before Beta 3

Post by --Imperator-- » Sat Mar 18, 2017 5:06 am

Watch TV, Do Nothing wrote:
Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:52 pm
Mantas should get AoE:0.1 to match Defiances
Added to the list, if the are no objections from others? With regard to ramships' range and damage, my spreadsheet gave them 50% more armor and damage than clearspace ships, but -5 range. I think that's a perfect system if the penalties in dark nebulae (-50% cannon damage and -25% missile range) are in fact in place and affect all ships.

Anywaaay... nebular penalties are redundant since you can move ramships around in clearspace by merging with a clearspace escort, and vice versa... but nevermind that.
The combat equation is given here.
Link is broken... what's this combat equation?

Yes, it would seem probable that missiles are underpowered. Based on stats alone I would have expected Undines to win every engagement unless outnumbered by more than 3 to 1. This may be the result of missileships targeting the same wing while cannonships spread their fire out evenly. Also, missiles take so LONG to hit, while cannonships get about 5-6 free shots in the same time frame, which adds up even though they have lower damage. A short term solution would be to increase armor on missileships even further, say 50%? to prolong their combat lifespan.

Hopefully this won't be a dialog between Watch TV and myself only 8-) , does anyone else have suggestions to add to the list?
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