ACU upgrades balance

Consider ACU options through the game, especially those for front-line combat:

  • Starting out: about the same (slight HP variations)
  • Very early (400M / 5KE):
    • Aeon: -
    • UEF: (double) drone
    • Cybran: stealth
    • Seraphim: -
  • Early game (to 800M / 25kE):
    • Aeon: T2 OR gun range, gun speed OR sensors
    • UEF: T2 OR nano, gun
    • Cybran: T2 OR gun
    • Seraphim: T2 OR restoration field, gun
  • Slightly later (to 1750M / 56kE):
    • Aeon: shield, chrono
    • UEF: TML
    • Cybran: torpedo
    • Seraphim: adv. restoration field, nano, TML
  • Later (to 3000M / 125kE):
    • Aeon: T3, heavy shield
    • UEF: T3, shield
    • Cybran: T3
    • Seraphim: T3 (note that nano + adv resto field combo is in this price range)
  • Later (to 6000M / 500kE):
    • Aeon: RAS
    • UEF: (double) RAS, shield gen field, billy nuke
    • Cybran: RAS, mazor
    • Seraphim: (double) RAS, adv nano, splash gun
  • Very late: personal teleporter, Cybran cloak

Very early game UEF gets drones, otherwise there's not much difference (stealth isn't really used here, it's just that cheap). Early game all get combat upgrades, with some choices.

Slightly later we see some differences: UEF doesn't have a direct combat upgrade, Cybran has the torpedo (but not useful in most games); Aeon and Sera both have more options.

At the 3kM / 125kE level, again Cybran is the only one without a combat upgrade. UEF gets its shield, but still feels a bit behind the others.

Finally at the 500kE level, Cybran can get another gun (mostly only used for all-in snipe attempts), and Sera can turn into a monster.

What stands out here are that:

  • During the mid game, Cybran is weak on the front-line (especially since T2+gun is not an option).
  • UEF also feels a little left out in mid-game, though it's still decent.
  • Cybran cloak is never ever used in serious (non-AI) games.
  • Cybran and Seraphim have some kind of tele-snipe option late-game; Aeon and UEF don't.
  • Cybran mazor is an all-in option (little utility other than win-or-lose snipe attempts), mostly since ACU survivability on the front line is poor late game, especially for Cybran

Some suggestions (while not going to insane black-ops standards):

  • Replace the Cybran cloak with a walk-speed boost (around 20%), at about the same cost as the Aeon shield, making this a second-tier upgrade over stealth. This would make the ACU less vulnerable on the front line.
  • Maybe give Cybran another mid-game right-arm option (instead of torp or mazor), perhaps a rocket like the hoplite (slightly upgraded) or AA like a cruiser (slightly nerfed)
  • Maybe give UEF a second-tier gun upgrade (a bit more power and small splash) in the mid game
  • Maybe give Aeon a late-game gun power upgrade to make tele-snipe almost-feasible (less powerful than mazor). (Or maybe forget this one!)

you completely ignore the game situation these upgrades exist in. e.g. cybran intentionally being weak in T2 rambo stage, allways try looking at the big picture, because upgraded acus rerely appear on their own

Forumpros doing balance .
When a canis player remembers to build more than 3 units .

UEF is beastmode and shines at late t2/early t3 stage. Zero clue what kind of games you are watching where you think it needs a boost in the mid game.

Cybran is not intended to shine at late t2 stage.

Aeon ACU doesn't need new toys.

This post is deleted!

Is important to understand viability of the upgrades aside even, the upgrades and the like are intended to nudge players conceptually about a faction strength or playstyle. I could be completely wrong but UEF Drones made the UEF ACU 'best' builder of the various ACU's to reinforce or nudge new players, to not necessarily use a UEF ACU Aggressively. When something like a Cybran ACU having cheap stealth basically promotes using a Cybran ACU more aggressively. So on and so forth. And even talking balance aside its an important role ACU upgrade suite plays. And some of your suggestion basically ignore that whole relationship. Like UEF ACU doesn't need a second gun because 1) As Ftx said its already solid. and 2) It would detract in part what the UEF options are suppose to help represent. Likewise for Cybran Stealth to Movement Speed. Also Movement Speed Buff while still allowing Gun. Could end so poorly.

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project

Alright can we get the ability to hide comment for spreading "fake news". Some fact checking or something, or we remove right to post in here.
Kind of sick of reading random noobs posting bullshit like "Cybran stealth is one of the strongest upgrades in the game. It improves your regen, gives a HP boost, and gives you stealth (AT THE FRIGGIN T1 STAGE). For a very economical cost."

intended to nudge players conceptually about a faction strength or playstyle

Hence why I think a walk-speed upgrade for Cybran really fits with the faction: playstyle is about mobility and taking advantage of weak targets. 20% may be too strong, I don't know. Cloak isn't even Cybran style IMO (more seraphim: see those selens?)

Also hence why I do not think the Cybran ACU should get a shield or HP boost.

Balancing an ACU speed upgrade is a gigantic pain in the ass due to how much of the game revolves around facts like the ACU not being able to be faster than tanks. There's also things like a speed upgrade meaning that it could make it impossible to properly kite an ACU with range bots because it can quickly turn and OC the units. Balancing it so that it's actually worth getting (can't get it too early so it needs to be expensive, otherwise it breaks a ton of maps) but not totally gamebreaking is just a ton of work for no real gain.

Stealth + good regen gives Cybran the survivability it needs until massed t2-t3 is out on the field, at which point it needs to retreat.

Cybran playstyle (or standard caveat about promotional advertisement claims not = gameplay) is the ability to threaten anywhere but not everywhere via counter intel and fast units. For example: Deceivers, their plethora of Stealth based units, and there T1 Scout w/ Cloak. One of the reasons why Mantis are so fast and have a repair function. Also there units tend to promote raiding or hard to detect via one means or another. Via movement underwater and not on the surface, Monkey Lord having Stealth, Cybran ASF's Stealth, etc. A Cybran army can appear basically everywhere.

Aeon as a contrast design is they can attack everywhere, hence the plethora amount of Hovers Aeon have for example, but not anywhere. They lack a factional specific counterintel that UEF, Cybran and lesser extent Seraphim have (Seraphim having a randomly a number of Ships that can submerge and Selens).

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project

I agree with Ftx, an upgrade that would touch on ACU's speed/acceleration/turn rate would be very hard to balance, mostly because it's effectiveness would be hard to gauge and essentially you would need to test every possible interaction of t1, t2, t3 units from every faction with such upgraded ACU. Also I think it would promote bad gameplay since given the latency of the game (0.5 sec natural delay) you don't want units to be too fast, it's already annoying that when micro'ing certain units enemy can turn around and before your units react enemy gets into the range, now imagine that the one unit you can't loose in the game is dependent on this interaction even more then now. Over all, too much effort for little gain.

@Cyborg16 said in ACU upgrades balance:

Consider ACU options through the game, especially those for front-line combat:

  • Cybran cloak is never ever used in serious (non-AI) games.

I use it in serious games. I used it in a TMM game on Fields of Isis. It makes you very difficult to snipe and it gives you the ability to fight on the front lines with mazer or just overcharges (but if you can afford cloak, you can afford mazer). You can turn off the cloaking if you want to save power, even the HP boost alone is huge.

I killed a monkeylord with overcharge+mazer. I probably could have killed it without the extra HP but having cloaking + extra HP meant it would be very difficult to air snipe me afterwards or to chase me down with the regular T3 land spam that was behind the monkey. I was planning to take my ACU to the front (TMM = full share) but the enemy was nice enough to send the monkey to me.

I would have to look at the replay to say for sure, but I don't remember it being a one-sided stomp. The enemy got a monkeylord right to my doorstep, and I had nothing else to stop it, so it wasn't just me fooling around because I had a million resources. It was a serious decision to make a cloakmazer so I could move it to the front and maybe even try to drop it over the mountains.

On a map like Adaptive Maridia, a cloaked ACU in the water would be very hard to snipe.

Good points on speed balance, Tagada + Ftx

I use it in serious games ... HP boost

Lol. In general one doesn't build such upgrades to counter an ML, but I guess it can work.