On BA air

On BA air

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Johannes
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On BA air

Post by Johannes »

I'll try to quickly describe some things of how BA air works, both in 7.4x and before, the issues I perceive it to have (subjective maybe, but I do believe there are some objective things too in game design principles), and why 7.4x does not fix these issues properly. Feel free to correct me on some fact, and further elaborate on some thing. It's quite hastily structured but hopefully it'll get my meanings across.


Much of BA air is kinda Rock-paper-scissors. Where you've got ground AA and fighters which counters building bombers, building mostly just ground units beats someone investing a lot into AA but not bombers, bombers kill someone without enough AA. So you've got to find the right balance of building enough AA to stop the enemy air from killing you, but not too much. It's hard to scout your opponent in BA (often that's almost as hard as making a proper crippling attack) so a lot of it just has to be guesswork, though fighter patrol is usually easy to see. And when you see bombers for the first time it's too late to respond in any way usually.

Though air units can be used for a bit more too, though. When t1 fighters could still attack ground units properly from patrol, those doubled as a little vsGround defense too, even if not much. And bombers can bomb attacking enemy units, but now t2 bombers in 7.4 are really ill suited for this. So, apart from gunships and t1 bombers/liches, air units are all suited for 1 purpose only pretty much, air defense for fighters (including those gunships though) and right click enemy base (with some scout and possibly fighter escorts) for bombers. With the 7.4 fighter hp change, you also cannot turn your fighters from being air defense into taking out air defense, if there is any ground aa on the enemy. So you don't really need to be ever afraid of enemy fighters. And if fighter cannot properly ever take operations besides guarding your base, it's very close to ground aa in function, though it can be produced centrally.

So what's wrong with having a unit suit only 1 purpose? It means you're much mmore locked into a strategy (that you often have to choose by guessing) when you build something. You built hurricanes, but the opponent got fighters to stop them just at the right time - now you can't use them for much anything until you break his fighter shield somehow. Or you built fighters when you suspected air attack but that never came. Compare to building flashes for example, even if you built it with intention to attack now, but he got enough turrets/defense everywhere, the flash is still useful as a threat and as defense.

Gunships, though, are pretty interesting. You cannot attempt a 1-hit all in attack with them like with bombers unless you're really ahead. Rather they serve to kill (or stun) enemy units, and kill mexes etc. not protected enough. They can properly maneuver around, the enemy aa can maneuver around in response, it's much more tactical and interactive, not just a check of how many planes both of you have and then pray that they live to drop those game-winning bombs. Fighters vs them are cool too, it can be worth it to attack enemy gunships even in areas of their ground aa, at least used to be when fighters didnt die like flies.
(EMP) Bombers when used against units are cool like this too, though they're harder to control predictably cause they turn so slowly and often weirdly, and they might've been too good at it before.




And about fighters and air, is the wacky special damages:

Code: Select all

Hawk special damages:			Freedom Fighter damages:
default		= 15				default		= 27	[ie. vs ground]
COMMANDERS	= 5				COMMANDERS	= 6
L1FIGHTERS	= 160				L1FIGHTERS	= 87
L2FIGHTERS	= 110				L2FIGHTERS	= 50
L1BOMBERS	= 350				L1BOMBERS	= 240
L2BOMBERS	= 450				L2BOMBERS	= 100
VTRANS		= 100				VTRANS		= 70
GUNSHIPS    = 150				GUNSHIPS  	= 90
HGUNSHIPS	= 150				HGUNSHIPS	= 80
VRADAR		= 100				VRADAR		= 50
VTOL			= 100				VTOL        = 50
Core fighters have mostly same ratios, though there's few small random differences. And ground AA mostly does same damage to all those classes with exception of reduced damage to (h)gunships.
That's not something anyone can easily remember or fully internalize, well mostly I just remember t1 fighters do well against t1 bombers, ok vs rest, and t2 fighters do well against any bombers and slightly better than t1 vs rest. And that t2 fighters raped t1 fighters, which is now turned around in 7.4. And note that t2 bomber is pretty resistant to anything but t2 fighter.

Another special damage is that gunships do half damage to commanders (fair enough) and flak units(meh, they die quickly to them anyway - it's like having flash do half dmg to leveler), even the flak resistant Blade. And flaks do slightly (~20%) less dmg to fighters, but that hardly matters especially not in 7.4.


So what am I trying to say here, how should BA air be?
Make bombers less simple all-in, right-click on enemybase choice, instead of just worse. If bomber is made different, the spamming of ton of fighters and bombers for 1 big attack will cease to be as good too.
To accomplish that, I'd make the bombers SLOWER. That means they'd take much more hits from ground aa while on route to their target, the difference in trying to go for the back of base or strike at frontline would be much bigger. And you could better react to the threat when you see bombers when you first see them due to the extra moment you get. Then reduce the crazy damage fighters do to them to compensate (and overall streamline their damages more), and prob also fighters speed. -> less fighters more ground aa, which leads to both bigger defenders advantage in fighter battles, and losing fighters is less crippling. And raise their flight altitude to allow for some hit-n-run action better.
Then test and then fine-tune the units with their new roles.

And outside the most pressing issue with fighters and bombers, some other changes would be very welcome. Slower speeds and faster turning for all planes would be nice, plus more hp to compensate if needed. Especially scout plane should turn faster, so you could better scout with it when it could turn away from a turret it sees in time.
Transports would really benefit from being slower + sturdier I think, then combombs and -drops wuold be easier to react to, but ordinary drops would often be better. Overall just less luck-based (did he build aa beforehand or not?).


Surely I forgot something I meant to say too but I guess that's it for now :D
Thoughts? And you're free to diss my ideas even without trying!
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Pxtl
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Re: On BA air

Post by Pxtl »

So, apart from gunships and t1 bombers/liches, air units are all suited for 1 purpose only pretty much, air defense for fighters (including those gunships though) and right click enemy base (with some scout and possibly fighter escorts) for bombers.
To rephrase away the negatives: Fighters and T2 bombers are only for air defense and destroying high-value targets in the enemy base.

Gunships, scouts, transports, conplanes, T1 bombers, and special aircraft are for different purposes.
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Baracus
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Re: On BA air

Post by Baracus »

I agree Air should be simpler with a cleaner and more open structure.

the way I see Air now in BA 7.4x is

ground AA takes care of fighters, enemy fighters will have a hard time in uncontrolled area's because they die to AA easily.

Bombers pretty much still ignore ground AA but are taken down easily by fighters.

Well now, if you want to bomb the enemy, you need to make sure you have a path you control to fly over. = you need to push someone back, and only then you can bomb.

thats fair enough for a game ending attack. you win the surface fight, and you bomb the eco behind it.

What else should fighters do then stop bombers? why would they need to be good against ground? dont you have gunships for that reason?

to get back on your point, yes make air more clear, but i like the idea of controlling an area first completely, before fighters can patrol over it and make it hard to bomb that area.

nice post btw johan :)
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Pxtl
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Re: On BA air

Post by Pxtl »

Gota wrote:can we get a short summery of that post for people who dont actually balance BA?Id love to know the main general points but that is just too long.
In short: BA air needs a spammable multifunction catch-all unit like the flash tank or the panther.

That used to be the T2 bomber. It will likely be the gunship now. Which might actually be better, since gunships can be used more strategically.

Also, make bombers slower but more destructive so you have to be more careful how you use them instead of just picking a target deep within enemy territory and dispatching an assload of them.
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Johannes
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Re: On BA air

Post by Johannes »

Pxtl wrote:In short: BA air needs a spammable multifunction catch-all unit like the flash tank or the panther.
Hmm, not necessarily. But that there'd be more back and forth air battles, instead of just preparing to make and/or deflect a game-ending attack. Like you have with bladewings or banshees now, it's a maneuvering battle with them, fighters, ground aa, ground attackers.
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Jazcash
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Re: On BA air

Post by Jazcash »

There's dozens of ways to approach air in BA. I'm not going to go into an awful lot of depth but here's something similar to what I would've changed from 7.31.
  • Buff AA - When AA doesn't kill air units like it should, you don't nerf air. Flaks should have a much larger range and perhaps a lower buildtime too. Screamers/Mercuries should get a reload buff.
  • Bring Valkyrie HP down from 250 to 240 and push Defender/Pulverizer damage up from 113 to 120. My main reasoning for this is to kill incoming combombers with 2 Defender/Pulverizer shots instead of 3. I'm also leaning towards buffing all AA LOS up, just slightly though.
  • Keep EMP Bombers, change them in no way whatsoever.
  • Change Blades from Arm to Core, change their projectile to that similar to a Krow's but differed in some way to lessify boringness. This follows increasing the projectile's accuracy and damage. Then, make it a lot more Flak resistant and increase HP from 1800 to around ~3000.
    The main motive behind this one is that Arm T2 Air has a huge advantage over Core T2 Air:

    -Brawlers > Rapiers (Rapiers hardly ever shoot on-target)
    -Liche > Krow (Krows are a joke)
    -Dragonfly > Seahook (EMP > No EMP)
    -Arm has EMP Bombers where Core has nothing similar
    -Arm has Blades where Core has nothing similar
    -Arm air has 10 units, Core has 8.
  • Up Rapier's projectile accuracy
  • Make Krow a bit cheaper and slightly faster
  • Raise T2 Bomber damage by about 40% (I strongly disagree with the costs of T2 bombers in comparison to their build time and effectiveness)
Note, these are just some quickly brainstormed changes, nothing hugely thought through here, but it's the general direction I would go.
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Pxtl
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Re: On BA air

Post by Pxtl »

Johannes wrote:
Pxtl wrote:In short: BA air needs a spammable multifunction catch-all unit like the flash tank or the panther.
Hmm, not necessarily. But that there'd be more back and forth air battles, instead of just preparing to make and/or deflect a game-ending attack. Like you have with bladewings or banshees now, it's a maneuvering battle with them, fighters, ground aa, ground attackers.
The problem with gunships is that they're tricky to balance for non-game-ending attacks because of their ability to achieve nightmarish densities. If a gunship is powerful in a group of 5, it will be unstoppable in a group of 200, and there's no way the defender can cram enough defense in a space to stop them... or you make them a glass cannon, a unit that can demolish a whole base like a swarm of locusts, unless you invest substantially in air-defense in which case the whole swarm is useless. And even if a developer *can* make them useful, you have to worry about supplanting the roles of units with similar functions on the ground - L2 land-based raiders (fast anti-ground defense response), all-terrain or amphibious robots (assaulting impassable flanks), bombers, etc.

I haven't seen a BA player field anything other than the occasional Banshee-swarm-before-anybody-has-L2-air in years, and that's a game-ending gambit (and we've already got enough of those) unless you count bladewings.

@Jaszcash - I think the Mercury's role needs to be clarified. Is it a defense or an area-denial tool/artillery? It wears too many hats, because it's trying to do both. I'd rather see it solidified as an area-denial tool and people stop trying to make it viable as an anti-bomber defense, and focus on empowering the other AA buildings for that role.

Defending a base with Mercuries seems like defending a base with Lugers.
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Nixa
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Re: On BA air

Post by Nixa »

I actually read that post :? to give it a fair chance. I'll keep it short, BA air is effectively disjoint from BA ground. It will need a serious restructure to fix this problem.

Ofcourse this depends on the overall goal for air. At the moment it's usually used as a game end strategy or reducing unpatrolled ground units with impunity. It often matters not how well you did in the game but whether your enemy built more fighters than you did. Baracus sums up the BA 7.4X air actually pretty well (in terms of fighters/bombers anyway).

Your proposed idea with speed reductions would probably be a positive one for the game. Speed and all terrain ability (well dur :-) ) make air the "go to" unit for stopping anything ground related if the air is available. However, I disagree with making bombers (at least high damage bombers) anything more than a strategic unit. There are many gunships that currently have their roles effectively removed by some averagely micro'd bombing. Bombers (due to speed/damage/all terrain abilities) are simply to OP to balance against ground with the only effective way to stop them being fighters (which not a ground unit).

I also favour mixed units rather than multirole units. There are over 360 units in BA, with alot being obsolete due to the multirole functionality of others.

Also I think there is some speculation in your posts about bombers vs ground in 7.42. In my 20 plus games I've now played/watched I'd say well microed bombers are still very OP vs frontline units. So please, if you suggest changes and some good ones like you have keep the speculation out to keep it more credible.
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Baracus
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Re: On BA air

Post by Baracus »

I agree with nix on the multirole part, 360 units cant all be multirole and why should they be.

well now we need a roll for each air unit. lets make a list:

Fighters, role; counter air in controlled area's
Bombers (t1), role; bomb groups of weak buildings/ (units?)
precision bombers (t2), role; bomb strategical targets (defensive structures or fusions (slow big units like sumo or goliath))
gunships role; anti units (or in early game a raider itself)
emp role; emp incoming raiders without AA, or in big numbers emp incoming army's with AA (the emp bomber itself is/was way to fast to be killed by anything while doing so.. there is no counter to it. so it should either be heavily nerfed or deleted as is done)

Specials

Blade is useless now, it cost way to much and dies to easily (can we find a new role for it? should it be buffed? or should the cost be lowered? wont it just be another brawler?)
Atomic bomber, role; pown big things, or big groups of things, anything big, and its good at it (dont forget its role as a com hunter in 1v1/FFA)
Krow role; Flying fortress -> shouldnt it be slower and way more hp?
(then again krows are pretty usefull as fighter magnets right now)

Transports

t1 transes, transport small stuff
t2 transes, transport bigger stuff or more stuff
(personally i'd like to see t2 transes drop all the units it carries simultaniously, so it can actually use its hp??)

i never see a unit being transported with the arm T2 transport, i just see em used as stunners, which since the last update by TFC doesnt do its job aswell. so what should be its role? transporting, or emp'ing?

T1 stunners bladewings, have been a pain in the ass for everyone who tries to attack a core player, in whatever gamemode (8v8,1v1,ffa) and are pretty good at doing what they do. maybe to good?
(personally and I've spoken about this with several others I think emp is to good in general, shouldnt it just lower the units speed? so instead of seeing 20 stumpy's being wasted, try to kill as much shit at a 20% speed? do we need emp as it is?)

so my questions would be,

t2 arm blade a role
krow has more potential to be a fun and cool unit
t1 stunners bladewings to good?
transports just being transports?

thanks.
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Johannes
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Re: On BA air

Post by Johannes »

Baracus wrote:Fighters, role; counter air in controlled area's
For areas you already control, shouldn't ground aa fill that role just as well or better? Ground aa makes more sense for such role since that you have to decide more how you position it, and enemy can look for possible holes in that. But fighter patrol in comparison, you can easily produce it from 1 place only, and you probably only move it if enemy aa comes under it - in which case you can save it, with turrets you would have to pay a price for losing that ground in losing them too.

t1 stunners bladewings to good?
Definitely not, they're great just as they are, in arm vs core battles with blades it comes down to skill not bladewing imba to see who wins. And it's an interesting unit, would be a shame to see less of it.
Oh but we just lost the ability to fight them with fighters... Dunno.
Nixa wrote:I also favour mixed units rather than multirole units. There are over 360 units in BA, with alot being obsolete due to the multirole functionality of others.
There's no reason you shouldn't need to mix multirole units if they're designed well. And too specialised units just don't fit BA as long as it's so hard to scout the enemy as it is now, it makes the game too luck dependant.
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Jazcash
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Re: On BA air

Post by Jazcash »

Bladewings are OP, no doubt about it.
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Nixa
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Re: On BA air

Post by Nixa »

Nixa wrote:I also favour mixed units rather than multirole units. There are over 360 units in BA, with alot being obsolete due to the multirole functionality of others.
There's no reason you shouldn't need to mix multirole units if they're designed well. And too specialised units just don't fit BA as long as it's so hard to scout the enemy as it is now, it makes the game too luck dependant.
Really? I've found in BA scouting is very easy - especially in FFA/small games (bit harder in large games on small maps). Those areas where you cannot scout are those with a high proportion of fighters or anti air. If this is the case the enemy has spent time and effort making sure you cannot see what he/she is doing. I see no problem with that concept?
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Hobo Joe
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Re: On BA air

Post by Hobo Joe »

Jazcash wrote:Bladewings are OP, no doubt about it.
No they aren't, don't spam single units
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Nixa
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Re: On BA air

Post by Nixa »

In Jaz's defense, current implementation of veh ground AA (samson) is heavily multirole based making it's AA capability probably weaker than it should be if it was AA only.
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Baracus
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Re: On BA air

Post by Baracus »

Johannes wrote:
Baracus wrote:Fighters, role; counter air in controlled area's
For areas you already control, shouldn't ground aa fill that role just as well or better? Ground aa makes more sense for such role since that you have to decide more how you position it, and enemy can look for possible holes in that. But fighter patrol in comparison, you can easily produce it from 1 place only, and you probably only move it if enemy aa comes under it - in which case you can save it, with turrets you would have to pay a price for losing that ground in losing them too.
if fighters kill bombers and AA kills fighters isnt that a good balance to go with? why should AA easily kill bombers too, wont this disrupt the balance.
And ofcourse you build ground AA in area's you control, cause else enemy fighters will get in your land, which you cant allow.
This way you have a perfect 3 way and role-dividing balance.

you cant make everything good to do everything cause it will turn into a mess.
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Johannes
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Re: On BA air

Post by Johannes »

Nixa wrote:Really? I've found in BA scouting is very easy - especially in FFA/small games (bit harder in large games on small maps). Those areas where you cannot scout are those with a high proportion of fighters or anti air. If this is the case the enemy has spent time and effort making sure you cannot see what he/she is doing. I see no problem with that concept?
Yeah it depends on map, but not so much on game size, rather on what phase the game is at. Army movement is easy enough to see, but seeing into the enemy base is way too hard at many points if there's any measures taken to prevent it.
Pretty much if there's fighters it's as hard to take a peek at what's your opponent making as just go bomb his shit. He's not just making it hard for you to scout, he needs that defense to not die from an air attack. Because of that, later in the game you always end up in a situation where neither can scout what's happening in the others base. If you want to break something through the fighter formation, might as well make a bombing run along with it.

Though when it's an FFA map where you can approach the enemy base from any direction with air, yeah it's different.
Nixa wrote:In Jaz's defense, current implementation of veh ground AA (samson) is heavily multirole based making it's AA capability probably weaker than it should be if it was AA only.
Though that also means you can make more samsons, since you are not penalised as much if enemy stops making air or never starts making it.
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momfreeek
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Re: On BA air

Post by momfreeek »

So many ideas, so little agreement. How about we let one person implement their changes and then we all test it out and see how it plays.
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Nixa
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Re: On BA air

Post by Nixa »

momfreeek wrote:So many ideas, so little agreement. How about we let one person implement their changes and then we all test it out and see how it plays.
It is good to see we are all in agreement that BA air needs fixing in some form or another though - progress.
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momfreeek
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Re: On BA air

Post by momfreeek »

Nixa wrote:
momfreeek wrote:So many ideas, so little agreement. How about we let one person implement their changes and then we all test it out and see how it plays.
It is good to see we are all in agreement that BA air needs fixing in some form or another though - progress.
But fix it to one person's purpose and you just made it more broken to someone else's (theoretically.. and this is all theory and no testing).
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Johannes
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Re: On BA air

Post by Johannes »

Baracus wrote:if fighters kill bombers and AA kills fighters isnt that a good balance to go with? why should AA easily kill bombers too, wont this disrupt the balance.
No, it'll improve the balance. 7.4 disrupted it. :P

If you had the options to defend with ground aa, or fighters, or a mix (each approach with their strengths and weaknesses), against bombers or any air threat, it would be more interesting than always haveing to have that mix of mostly fighters with some turrets to defend vs fighters that you now end up in lategame.
you cant make everything good to do everything cause it will turn into a mess.
Weird RPS systems from special damages are much more messy in my eyes.


Also someones idea I heard at some discussion (not now but months ago) was to differentiate t1 and t2 fighters in a more sane way than to just have t2 be better at almost everything. Though now in 7.4, t1 fighter is better at killing fighters but anyway.
To make t1 fighter a more defensive one - low hp (which it had prioor to 7.4 too), but good damage for its cost. It'd just need altering in some of the special damages (vs t2 bombers at least) to fit this.
And t2 fighter would be mainly for killing those t1 fighters. So it would have less damage output for its cost, but it would have good hp to last in fighter battles.
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