Should the main base be raidable?

You feel like a battlecruiser is too weak or a race too strong? Go ahead and discuss it here :)
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posted on March 6th, 2012, 9:20 pm
Last edited by Tryptic on March 6th, 2012, 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
I was having an interesting discussion with Kamk earlier, about avenues of attack and when a main base can be raided.  Many of our earlier-generation maps had a large amount of blockage that reduced them to a series of corridors and bottlenecks, but now we know that these setups aren’t well balanced.

I’ve been trying to come up with unique new maps but Kamk pointed out that on most of them it is very difficult to raid the home-base’s mining.  I realized that although my maps all have the moons far away from the Starbase and multiple avenues of attack to get to them, I tend to always put the expansion in the direction of the enemy.  This allows certain races to skip defenses for their home bases and fortify the expand, knowing that their ships will be able to intercept any raiders headed for home.

This is very hard to avoid on smaller maps like mine: the only ways around it are to either have large, open spaces around your base or to put the expansion in a weird place where it can’t cover your main.  I was hoping I could rework the maps, but now I see that I would have to start over from the beginning.

Then I got to thinking, and I realized that almost every RTS game has some maps like mine.  I think that in some situations the main base SHOULD be hard to raid.  Taking a forward expansion should be very difficult and highly rewarding, without breaking the balance of the game.  Of course in some cases the home mining can be exposed, but the game should be balanced so that it works both ways.

When I make my maps I’m expecting that people will expand slowly, after they get their starting build up and have some ships to defend the new place.  But that’s clearly not what they do.  They rush straight to the expand and count on the fact that the enemy can’t stop them this early, knowing that once they take the second moon pair their home base will be easy to defend.  In most RTS games, a player has to choose either expansion OR defenses, but in this game mod it's not hard to get expansion AND defenses that will solidify their position unless the mapmaker went out of his way to make it very difficult to defend both home and expansion.  If it stays this way, there will only ever be a small handful of map configurations that work.

Right now expanding is so cheap, not getting noticed is more important than the cost of the expand.  It's about the cost of 1 ship, except your yard is busy so you have time to put down the expansion and let it pay for itself before the yard is ready to use those resources.  Any strategy that relies on double-yarding to burn up your starting res will start to choke when the money runs dry.

A proposal

I propose that the cost of every refinery be increased by at least 100 Di, probably 200/100.  This includes the Borg resource node but not Dominion supply mining.  I also propose that the starting res be reduced to around 3000/1500 instead of the current 4000/2000.  Yes it will slow down the early game a bit, but it will dampen a TON of abusive rush strategies and land-grabs.

I also suggest that turrets have their defensive values lowered across the board, but this may not be necessary if the new patch has good turret-removing weapons for every faction.  This will work well with the more expensive refineries: if 5-6 ships comes to raid an expansion with only 20 seconds before the defenders arrive, they will be forced to choose between the turret and the juicy refinery.  The point is, if you want a turret defending your otherwise totally vulnerable base, you should expect to pay for a new turret every once in a while instead of it being a one-time investment.  If you're using turrets responsibly with your ships, it's the damage you care about anyway.

Dode Turrets have shown us that people don't like super-defensive turrets very much, they just don't do what you need them to do.  The most defensive turret in the game should have its defense value about the same as its offense, with all the others being focused on offense.
posted on March 6th, 2012, 9:33 pm
Tryptic wrote:A proposal

I propose that the cost of every refinery be increased by at least 100 Di, probably 200/100.  This includes the Borg resource node but not Dominion supply mining.  I also propose that the starting res be reduced to around 3000/1500 instead of the current 4000/2000.  Yes it will slow down the early game a bit, but it will dampen a TON of abusive rush strategies and land-grabs.




Your idea was good till here. Reducing the staarting resources would be a diasaster. It just would be. no way around it, the game has all factions ballenced at this start limit with different races spending the bulk in different places, reducing it would make some races underpowered and others OP.
posted on March 6th, 2012, 10:04 pm
Hmm, it's an interesting idea to raise the costs of the mining stations, but I would throw in the idea to keep low costs for the first two mining stations you build. That way you have to decide whether you do a fast expansion or stay at home, build up some ships and expand afterwards. Or throw out everything on ressources and hope your enemy does the same and is not raiding. ;)
However, I'm opposed to the suggestion to slow down the early game phase even more(it is already quite slow). I remember wishes by out replay makers to fasten it up a lot, since little is happening during the first 3-5mins in FO. Furthermore I do like rushes. Not rushes that win the game immediately, but rushes that annoy right from the beginning.

Concerning turrets: most of the turrets in FO are already of little use, the only exception being mason phaser turret and the Dominion defenses. I think there is no use in weakening them even more. They do what they should do: fortify a position.
posted on March 6th, 2012, 10:20 pm
although i appreciate the idea of weakening rushes, i think there is an alternative.

have an option in game setup to place people's main base mining for them, and have the starting resources immediately be deducted the relevant build costs.

the player would then spawn on the map with less resources, and 2 mining stations with 3 miners mining each moon in dil/tri mode. the map maker could put in the spots for these starting spawn units. borg would start with 4 miners, 2 on each moon.

perhaps dominion miners would spawn with a long cooldown on mode switching, so that they don't immediately have 8 constructors. and klinks couldn't make turn the starting 6 into ktingas for a while as well.

this would make the early game much faster, while giving neither team much advantage. sfc rush will still require the yard+SFS build time sum for example.
posted on March 6th, 2012, 10:53 pm
Last edited by Tryptic on March 6th, 2012, 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
@Crisis: Keep in mind that they're already throwing the current balance out the window and creating a new one, so it's not extra work there.  Still, which races would be overpowered and which ones would be underpowered?

@Hope I'm also worried about slow starts, but the amount I'm suggesting wouldn't make it much slower than they are now.  The game starts slow because yards build slow, which is necessary because they can be proxy-placed.  You would still be able to build ships, you just wouldn't be able to expand right away without delaying ship production like you can now.  You could even increase mining rates or globally decrease costs if you want the game to go faster.

As for turrets, I didn't mean to make them weaker.  They would receive a lower cost or higher offense in return for the defense.  It's just the principle of the thing; turrets should have higher offense than defense to prevent them from dominating the map on their own without ship support.  It needs to be possible to snipe them.
posted on March 7th, 2012, 12:01 am
Tryptic wrote:@Crisis: Keep in mind that they're already throwing the current balance out the window and creating a new one, so it's not extra work there.  Still, which races would be overpowered and which ones would be underpowered?


Borg: Underpowerd: reason: they spend aprox 50% of their starting resources on the mining and conduction matrix, witht this there would be nothing left to build ships with

Feds: OP: such a change would favor defensive races such as the feds. as the feds could easly skip ships and just put down some cheap turrets while they build.

Dominion: UP: Building the proto is as far as they'd get.

Kling: OP: with K'tingas, thats all we would every see, games with a quick 6 K'tingas killing what ever the enemey has.

Rommie; Unsure on this one
posted on March 7th, 2012, 12:21 am
Last edited by Tryptic on March 7th, 2012, 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
Styer Crisis wrote:Borg: Underpowerd: reason: they spend aprox 50% of their starting resources on the mining and conduction matrix, witht this there would be nothing left to build ships with

Feds: OP: such a change would favor defensive races such as the feds. as the feds could easly skip ships and just put down some cheap turrets while they build.

Dominion: UP: Building the proto is as far as they'd get.

Kling: OP: with K'tingas, thats all we would every see, games with a quick 6 K'tingas killing what ever the enemey has.

Rommie; Unsure on this one


Well said, you have some very good points. Still, the idea is that it would oppress everybody equally.

If the Feds get a turret they've delayed their expansion and/or ships which their opponent sees and expands himself.  Yes they get an early, solid position that's hard to raid, but they can already do that now.  Only difference is that right now they can build the fast forward turret and SFC rush at the same time, but with my idea they would have to choose one over the other.

The Borg have to go 2 scubes 2 probes to prevent the other races from expanding early.  If the other races couldn't expand so quickly, the Borg wouldn't be so desperate to stop them.  One scout cube would become more of a terror, forcing the enemy to build combat ships before they expand.

Think about most Dominion builds these days.  They almost always send one of their first 3 workers to go expand.  They usually finish their second yard and 3 refineries by the time the first proto is out.  My suggestion would stop them from expanding so early but it wouldn't stop them from building ships if they had to.

Okay, K'tinga rushes could be a problem I admit.  Still, the Klingon player would have much less resources so if he does K'tinga rush his economy is sunk.  As it is right now, he can K'tinga rush and send 2-3 Kbeajq along with them, my suggestion cuts out those Kbeajq and maybe even the field yard so maybe the enemy can handle it better.

We've developed a culture that tries to exploit these starting res in the strangest ways possible.  Romulans double-yard even though there's no way for them to sustain it, or warbird rush.  Dominion pull off Dreadnought rushes and build large yards before they have 2 combat ships on the board.  Feds do SFC rushes, Borg are forced to rush intercept scubes whether they want to or not and Klingons build Starbases at their expands to support a K'tinga spam.
posted on March 7th, 2012, 1:51 am
Tryptic wrote:Well said, you have some very good points. Still, the idea is that it would oppress everybody equally.


Not really, because every body would be forced to do the bare minimum to have offense and defence, it would stifle variability to such a point that games would be more predictable than they are now. God forbid you get the counters wrong, then your really screwed. And yeah we have some prety screwed up starts these days, but thats why the devs are working hard to change things, i just don't think the lowering starting resources is such a great idea. Rush impediment can be retained by increaseing build time on common rush units, or increaseing their cost. there are more ways than one to do this.
posted on March 7th, 2012, 2:30 am
Last edited by Tryptic on March 7th, 2012, 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Styer Crisis wrote:Rush impediment can be retained by increaseing build time on common rush units, or increaseing their cost. there are more ways than one to do this.


Exactly, there are several ways to balance it but I really think this is the best one.  Everybody still advances at the same speed, but the early game is smoothed out which is something the Devs have been wanting for a while now.  Right now ships like B'rels and Bugs are only good when they're spam-rushed; this would not only prevent the spam-rush, it would give these ships a longer window of usefulness when they're built normally because the game takes longer to reach the point where they become obsolete.  Increasing the built time/cost of these ships will ensure that they're never used properly again.

The Devs are working a lot of variability into the next patch in the form of yard and ship options.  Variability doesn't just mean more ships; just because you can't build as many ships doesn't mean they all have to be the same ship every time.
posted on March 7th, 2012, 3:12 am
Tryptic wrote:Exactly, there are several ways to balance it but I really think this is the best one.  Everybody still advances at the same speed, but the early game is smoothed out which is something the Devs have been wanting for a while now.  Right now ships like B'rels and Bugs are only good when they're spam-rushed; this would not only prevent the spam-rush, it would give these ships a longer window of usefulness when they're built normally because the game takes longer to reach the point where they become obsolete.  Increasing the built time/cost of these ships will ensure that they're never used properly again.


Your trying to re-fix what the devs have fixed already in the next patch. Ships like the saber/b'rel/bug which were only good massed will become usefull because of the profile system.... it will natruly extend the window because you'll have to auto target to rid your self of them, they will no longer be auto destroyed for no reason. Such Drastic action as Reducing resources is not nesscicary IMO.
posted on March 7th, 2012, 3:35 am
This is true.  However reducing the starting res is anything but drastic.  You could look at hundreds of RTS games and you'd find that hardly any of them have players start with as many resources as this one.

It's not like the game will never work without these changes.  What I'm looking at is how to make the game balanced for a wider variety of map layouts.  Because as it is, no 1v1 map can possibly be balanced unless it's almost a perfect clone of Duel: wide moons at the home base, an expansion on each side with one slightly closer to your home base and the center of the map and the other farther from your base but taking longer for the enemy to reach.  Home bases further than 8000 units apart to prevent turret and yard rushes.  Blue nebula somewhere near the middle that Borg can retreat to.

I make maps that are totally different from the ones we've had before, but they don't always work.  So I'm trying to figure out what game mechanics would be balanced on the widest variety of maps, and high starting res is a limiting factor that I don't believe is necessary to the core of the game.
posted on March 8th, 2012, 1:15 am
Tryptic wrote:I make maps that are totally different from the ones we've had before, but they don't always work.  So I'm trying to figure out what game mechanics would be balanced on the widest variety of maps, and high starting res is a limiting factor that I don't believe is necessary to the core of the game.


True, But in the end, your asking to Stifle Unit varity for map varity, and i can't support that..... I can't take the current versions limited starting starts, how much more monotnus would this make the game?

As for expanding map variety, i was talking with dom a couple days ago, i made a few sugjestions annd he made it clear that, while they were good ideas, the general outtlook is that the Devs want to wait till the enviro redo to start changing stuff like this.
posted on April 21st, 2013, 2:23 am
Just tossing out a thought here given the game will be getting a balance tweak any how.

What I do when a race comes up under-powered I have them start with a one time only power full defense base.

Such as Babylon 4 ultra high cost quick build low end mining avatar starts with the Babylon 4 station as a fall back base.
To equal this out I lowered the cost and effective power of turrents and the build able base.

Babylon 5 A defensive faction with lots of long term research through the cultural sharing station this one starts with a weaker base that can be upgraded latter on but the defenses they build is both more diverse and cheaper.

Both there build-able bases or out posts are weaker then the hero stations they start with.

I recommend this to cut down on rushes.
The federation is a peace keeping task force and a research faction it should be represented in the same way.
One avatar should start with a Space dock have build-able modular Stations that can be refitted to suit the need.
Such as the station could be refitted with a power extension on the bottom to increase shields a sensor dome for scanning for cloaked ships.
Or a defense grid on the bottom for defending high pro file areas a ship repair dome.

Because the federation was a peace keeping task force they should not have such a strong defense system instead they should be able to build there ships to certain tasks.
Such as the shipyards should use the formula system from the borg.
Such as if I choose the the MK hull that has the galaxy class and nebula in it I then make different choices.
Such as nebula for science and research with different pods the AWACs pod of sensor range, Torpedo pod for the ability to launch different probs, No pod for speed.
Galaxy Class for crew capacity, Dominion war refit for better phaser power.
ETC....

This would also explain the kit bash ships seen so often in star trek plus the 3 or 4 different Miranda style ships.
Plus certain federation ships should be more well suited for fighting certain races such as the Defiant, sovereign and Akira should be best fighting Borg ships.
Excelsior enterprise B version and nebula sensor pod version should be best fighting against Romulan ships.
Galaxy Class, Nebula Torpedo pod should be best fighting Klingon ships.
Dominion war refit ships could be best fighting Dominion ships.

Klingon's should being war like feel about right to me the only thing I think they really need is there capital ships have a tad bit longer build time and a bit more armor.
If it's possible I think have a chance where if you go to long with out fighting some of your ships break out and start there own team and attack you for being weak and cowardly unless the other factions are almost wiped out.

Romulan's really need little here except there cloak should not cost special energy because they should be able to keep there whole base and fleet cloaked indefinitely if needed.

Dominion I don't know enough about the dominion to really say one way or the other.
Borg well from what I see they are going to be getting what they need a snap together base system.
Plus I don't know why people have so much trouble with the borg I have yet to lose using them plus I have always defeated them.
The borg can build up a strike force faster then any one else in the game.
Plus the borg is meant to be a super power.

In short the balance should be in my view
Federation ability to specialize to suit the need.
Romulan Star Empire Defensive
Klingon Empire Strong offensive brawler
Borg ability to adapt
"Such as if you send a ship to attack the federation each time the federation would do less damage to your ships and you would do more damage to there ships, Excluding ships that are purpose built to fight the borg."

Example is in the mod i'm working on.
Babylon factions
Babylon 5 League backed Strong Defense heavy research.
Babylon 4 Earth Force Quick Build and High cost weak mining.
Shadows Strong stealth with fire while cloaked but ships and stations are like glass.
posted on May 26th, 2013, 9:28 am
Tryptic wrote:This is true. However reducing the starting res is anything but drastic. You could look at hundreds of RTS games and you'd find that hardly any of them have players start with as many resources as this one.



How many of those games have only 4-6 or so resource points on 1v1 maps. How many of those allow you to build barely 4 units after building your basic resource gathering setup. How many of those games are actually good?

It's easy to make a blanket statement but I see no evidence. Giving you more starting resources gives you more options. If you reduce it you reduce the range of possibilities for the early gamer and the possible dangers to the opposition proportionally, but do it too much and the opposition ends up not bothering with building a military force until he reaches a higher level of shiptype because he knows nobody has the resources to afford that. This completely removes a portion of the stratagem from the game.

If you really want to go this path, you're better off raising ship requirements somewhat, then creating identical shiptypes that sit in the original price bracket of the current cheap early game attacker thus giving everyone exactly the same early game and disallowing anyone from complaining. I would hate to see that though, may as well make the game have only one race.
posted on May 26th, 2013, 11:43 am
Wow, you reached pretty far back in time to necro this thread. But I think I can answer your doubts.

In most games, builders are used in much larger numbers, and as a result losing one early isn't such a terrible loss as it is in this game. As a result, it only takes 2 zerglings or some other tiny starting unit to kill off a builder that tries to rush a forward base.

However in this game, some constructors are much stronger defensively, to the point that they can build a shipyard and repair in it before a single starting ship can kill them. This makes taking an expansion in the first few minutes of the game, before any combat ships are out, a viable strategy. The problem is that certain races like the Feds and Dominion can defend an expansion more easily than others, and on certain maps the expansion also protects the main base which leaves their opponent with no choice but to attack the fortified expansion.

If this wasn't enough already, these races can take their early expand without suffering any slowdown in their ship production because of the high starting res. All I'm asking for is a slight tweaking of the resource system that will weaken the building spree at the beginning of the game as players use their starting res. I've also said that resource gathering itself could be made faster to compensate.

I'm not just making blanket statements without thinking them through. If you don't understand my evidence that's okay, but don't start using that as an accusation against an old thread. Whoever said anything about identical ship types for all the races?
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