Increase T3 mex cost & reduce reclaim to reward aggressive gameplay at T2 stage

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Some Sort of Ethos
I dont need to be a 2k ladder god to be the bennis

Identify a Problem

In teamgames T3 mex is the winning play, most of the time. Setons meta, dual gap meta (the most played maps) degrode into T3 mex simulator. Canis, Wonders, all these maps are T3 mex simulator. Even in 2v2, after initial skirmishes, gameplay degrades into T3 mex and try to get somewhat useful ways to spend mass style.

RAS COM is just another symptom of the problem: you can get away with T3 mex gameplay because it pays back too fast and unit speed is too slow for the aggressor to be able to convert his early investment into substancial damage before defendant has enough BP and mass accumulated to formulate an effective defence.

This is further amplified by reclaim values being very high at 83% which makes it even harder to aggress.

This also devalidates T2 stage in teamgames entirely. In 1v1 this is less of a problem as most fighting occurs in T1 and T2 stage, but a T3 mex nerf wouldnt hurt 1v1 either as it will just extend T2 stage further which is probably a nice thing.

Its a problem because it limits the meta. Problem should be evident and doesnt need showcasing.

Find a Solution

  1. *priority Make Eco options past T2 mex with storages more expensive. Increase T3 mex cost by 25%. Increase Ras cost, sacu ras cost and fab cost by 25%.

  2. Decrease reclaim values to a flat 50%, everywhere (water air land )

  • this is effectively a reclaim reduction of 40%. Its nice and intuitive, reclaim is still a huge factor, but not so huge it makes any attack that doesnt clearly win a flank or destroy a base a mass donation.

Justify the Solution

Obviously, if T3 mex is more expensive it increases the duration of the window for the aggressor to deal damage. It also adds a small challenge for the T3-mexist to defend his precious mex against units, he cant just rely on travel time of units to be too high to be any threat. Thats why air is so strong: the mass investment immidiately pays off as units dont need to walk across the map. unit travel time is airs benefit, not its balance of strenght relative to AA options. (nvm T3 MAA is still mostly useless)

I think the recent bomber and lab changes have highlighted what faf needs: more options that reward aggressive gameplay. These changes have been a welcoming touch to 1v1. But for anything with more players this doesnt cut it. Mass enters the game too fast, and the reason is the many efficiently teched up mass extractors that pay off too quickly. One eco noob with T3 mex can wipe a wonders with fast T3 mex rush + GC, Chicken, Megalith when the rest of the players go full out aggression and naturally dont eco. Because all he needs to do is survive for 10 minutes.

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Reclaim values are high, and raiding one's base is risky because of that, i agree with that. Too often you kill few t2 mexes with a t2 arty drop and it doesn't even matter cause the wreck is ~750 mass, and you gave 12 t1 arty worth of reclaim to help rebuilding them.

However i don't think the game is that inbalanced in favor of t3 mexes.

Canis, dual gap, open wonder ... etc are maps designed to end in a stalemate very quickly, and where it's very hard (because of the map's design) to counter ecowhoring. Increasing cost/time of mex upgrade might allow more possibility to crush the stalemate at t1/t2 stage, but i don't think it'll solve the "problem". Getting eco upgrades will still likely be the best strategy just due to map's design.

I'm not a pro at seton's gameplay, but i've seen many games where one team just go all in with t2 drops/t2 air and just crushes opponents who just invest in t3 mexes. On a lot of map (tmm maps included), i think there's often the possibility to bypass the main front with t2 transport, or to raid with air, and make the game messy. I would agree that it is not a very popular move, people tend to prefer staying safe rather than investing into aggression. Same can be said about firebases and static gameplay. People tend to fall back and eco when they see their opponent turtling, rather than investing into ACU upgrades/MML/T2-T3 units to break the stalemate.

I truely feel the game is quite balanced regarding the cost of t3 mexes, the price of t2 aggressive units (T2 transport is quite easy to make, MML are cheap and strong, T2 aggression is generally strong and efficient ...).

The fact that a lot of players like eco-whoring maps, and always play very stalematy maps for teamgames instead of more open ones ... i think you cannot change that with tweaks on cost values 😕

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@cocAurico

I disagree that its only a matter of personal preference. the best player faf currently has, Nexus, doesn't do things out of personal preference or laziness, but because its the winning play. And if he choses to get mexes in team games almost every single time, and to go air, then thats probably a pretty good indication of what's the best play to make. And if he goes mex every time against a variety of strategies by his opponents, then this indicated that mex is probably stronger than this variety of strategies. And if upgrading mexes is the strongest play, then faf balance has a problem because that's boring as fuck and devalidates all the nice other options we could see.

T2 drops are strong, yes, but even if you kill a few mex, because you leave reclaim and dont have eco yourself as the dropping player, often times - unless you totally kill your opponent - its not the winning play.

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If we just changed the adjacency bonus so T3 mexes only got half as much, would that solve the problem?

A T3 mex with full storages would only give 22.5 mass/second.

We could also boost the adjacency bonus for T1 mexes so that it's not quite so ridiculous to ring them with mass storages. If you got +2 mass/second instead of +1 mass/second for storaging a t1 mex that would make early mass storage much more helpful on mex spam maps like astro rich or dual gap.

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Mass points are pretty much the ONLY reason to leave home (unless there are unreasonably large reclaim fields - but that's another topic) - so making them more valuable - relative to wreckage reclaim, is the key point. As the OP points out - the value of the reclaim, in most any battle, makes it completely worth fighting on your OWN turf - and NOT fighting anywhere else. That's a fundamental of the current gameplay dynamic, and I agree it's worthy of re-evaluation.

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It's always seemed a big jump from T2 to T3 mexes to me. Tripling the output makes it snowball so fast.

Could it be possible to reduce the mass output of the T3 mex and add a T4 mex that has the same output as the current T3 one?

So it would cost the same but give you +18 instead of +27, for instance?

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I’d go to petric’s house with an axe if he ever entertained the idea of touching mex output or input

and it wouldn’t be to chop down wood for a new shed

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Supcom Unringed higher tech Mex Output was originally (pure theory admittedly on my end. Just its a stat relationship I noticed no hard evidence. That or because its roughly (initial)x3 at each tech. 2 > 6. Then 6 > 18. Which has roots in TA) basically meant to be = 1 Unassisted Factory same teir.

Argueably could make a point to increase t2 Mex output to reflect EngiMod Changes.

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Before even getting into why changing t3 mexes is necessary (it isn’t) it should be asked whether it’s even good (it also isn’t).

Games have certain fundamental pillars which everything else is built upon. When you change something as base as mex values, you have essentially reached the point of full circle for FAF as it is one of the few things that has never had an adjustment.

Why has it not had an adjustment? Because it’s an extremely important frame of reference which allows every other relativistic change to be put into the same optics. You change it, you change how everything goes and looks. And a lot of that will just shift the goalposts back to the disaster of old balances, maybe even back to the shitfest of GPG.

No, you want more aggression in the game change unit costs, not the eco buildings.

Reclaim stuff sure whatever, it doesn’t change any real truth surrounding the game. It just adjusts internal calculations for what is/isn’t worthwhile which hardly destroys the structural framework of the game.

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To be clear Ftx not supporting a Mex income change. Just noting the most probable reasons why the output is what is it:

  1. TA Eco*
  2. Vaguely weird formula x3 Output
  3. Output (T2 & T3) = Maintanance cost for (unassisted) Building of same tech (land) units.

*That isn’t actually true as the eco for mass was variable but; 2 was most common output on “rich” mass and TA T2 Mexes generated 3x Output the T1 Mexes did on same spot. Which brings us back to weird x3 Formula

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I agree that changing mex values should only be done with extreme care. It's such a fundamental building block of supreme commander that it will affect everything else. But one thing that always struck me as very strange is the lack of diminishing retuns when upgrading from T2 to T3 mexes. Consider:

Upgrading from T1 to T2 mex pays off for itself in 3min 45s
Upgrading from T2 to T3 and ringing it with mass storage pays off in 4min 17s
Cntr-k of a t2 mex, building a T3 mex and ringing it pays off in 3min 42s, faster than the T2 upgrade!

This contrasts massively with the very strong diminishing return of going from T1 to T2 mexes, or going from T3 mexes to Massfabs/RASboys. As a result, when being behind on the T3 eco upgrade, the window for punishing your opponent in the T2 phase is very slim, especially on the ever popular 20x20 team game maps.

Reclaim is a mechanic I think that has to be seriously looked at. It for sure increases the depth of the game in the T1 stage, but it is punishing the attacker increasingly as the game progresses. More often than not, a non-game ending land or navy push in the later stages of the game just ends up being a giant mass donation.

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@FtXCommando

Could you please substantiate your argument? Frankly right now your posts look like nothing more than shitposts. I completely disagree that mex price is a fundamental pillar with complex interactions thats shifts it all. It literally only affects timing of aggression vs defence. All units stay the same. I think my analysis is fairly complete. TA lore isnt a reason to leave mex income and prices untouched. At the end of the day we need to ask ourselves why faf has become slow and static and wether we want that. Making eco a worse option makes units better. And i think faf should be about making units and using them right and not about making mexes and firebases.

How many games people where surprised in teamgames in the following way:

"Oh no my opponent made units. I might have a problem"

You would understand.

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Then again how much is eco whoring related to cheap t3 mexes and how much is it realted to map design? I see dualgap getting 12 base mexes when t3 mexes are nerfed.
But on the other hand t3 mexes + cap are more efficient than capping t2 mexes. Probably close to t2 mexes in efficiency. Only thing that limits you from making them immidiatly is the huge upfront cost.
Combine the short repay time of t3 mex and the slow travel time of t3 units/ experimentals you get that strong defenders advantage and therefore eco whoring.

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Accusing me of not thinking about the game is not conducive to the discussion, because I can assure you I did think about the game before making my post.

I added analysis as to why I think that T3 is too good, and before saying I merely stated preferences maybe try engaging with my arguments and refuting them before throwing accusations. Currently you are just being toxic.

Hint: travel time of T2 and T3 units is too slow. If I rush a percival on 20x20 it takes more than 5 mins (>T3 mex payback time) to arrive at opponent unless I drop it, which is connected to having radar / air supriority and requires alot more apm, thought and risk taking than making a mex and then making the percival right next to the mex.

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I would agree with Ftx that changing eco rather than the price of units is probably not the best move. In my games, i tend to think like that : i have t2 mex, i can upgrade one factory to t2, i have 2-3 t3 mexes, i can start to think about a monkey/gc ... etc.

Changing the price of some units is an easy change to process from the player perspective, however changing eco values would mean you have to adapt your entire gameplay.
Plus, it would completly ruin build orders for the big eco map, I'm sure people playing those would largely prefer that few units are made cheaper/more expensive, than having to think again about "should i make t3 mex now, can i afford it ?".

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@cocAurico
I can assure you that no player of competitive relevance thinks about the number of T2 facs relative to his mex count. But rather on the basis of gut feeling / reclaim control / game position overall eco state.

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Bennis, its not just TA Lore. Every CT RTS: Planetary, TA and Supcom, and alongside their various derivatives, all have the same core mex income economy.

And its a fundamental part of that expectation is Mass/Metal etc production T1 is 2, and higher tech mexes is that vaguely x3.

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Question:
Why is the efficiency of the T3 mex practically the same as the T2 mex, when the jump between T1 and T2 mexes is so large? The decision to get the first T2 mex is often a significant decision in 1v1 games because of the vast decrease in efficiency, whereas, on the other hand, the storaged T3 mex is almost as efficient as a T2 mex, which makes it a much less impactful decision and often a no-brainer to get. Couple that with the difference in build time, means that the jump from T1->T2 is approximately larger by a factor of 30 than the jump between T2->T3.

The lack of a significant efficiency decrease from T2->T3 is especially difficult to countenance, given that T3 mexes actually have quite a few advantages over T2 mexes. T3 mexes have far more HP than T2 ones. The UEF T3 mex has a whopping 9k HP, compared to the 2.5k on the T2 mex. This means it is far more resistant to eco snipe options like strat bombers (if a strat hits a storaged T2, you lose it all and some reclaim from overkill. If a strat hits a T3, you just lose the storages and the mex can tank a few more strat hits). I think this advantage alone already makes it much more desirable than upgrading T2 mexes/storaging them in a lot of situations. There are even more advantages: e.g., investment required to defend them is often smaller, since it is more eco packed into in a small location, etc..

IMO I do agree with Bennis that T3 mex could use some nerf. I know FtX is against changing the base input/output value, since most other balance issues are built upon the foundation set by the mexes, and I do see the validity in that argument. Here are some other ideas to nerf the T3 mex:

  • reducing the HP to <6k so all mexes only survives 2 strat bombs from bombers of any faction.
  • increasing the build time by ~3x (it would need to be increased by 5x to be proportional from the jump from T1->T2).
2

Is it correct to include the total output of the upgraded mexes when calculating their time to pay off? I had assumed you had to count the T2 output as +4 because it's already at +2 before the upgrade. In that case time to payoff would be 225s which would be 12.5x the time.

Also the cost of ringing should be 800 (cost of 4x storage). That would make 266 seconds to pay off based on +3 mass.

Assuming that is the correct way to calculate it, you then get 300 seconds to pay back a +18 T3 mex.