The Titan and Loayalist problem

0

Something that i noticed after playing for quite some time(and after watching a ton of gyle casts) is that the Titan and the Loyalist, two of the coollest units in the game, are unfornately both underused and underpowered. From my experience, the only enviroment in which these bot are actually good is when theyre pitted against either t2 or t1 units or other t3 siege assault bots, but against anything else theyre just outmatched, or are the worst option, specifically because of the Heavy Assault Bots(Brick and Percival). The way i see it, the big problem is that the HAB's are just too much better than the SAB's in pretty much every situation, something which is specially true with the Brick and the Loaylist, with the brick being the absolute powerhouse that it is(the Titan is also pretty weak itself, which just aggravates things when you factor how good the Percival is). Now, im not a pro, not even what you'd call a good player(my elo is below 1000), so im in no way qualified to propose balance changes, specially when it comes to specific numbers. However, i do think there are ways of making the SAB's more powerful without messing much beloved HAB's (although i do think the Brick and the Percival have to be nerfed/tweaked in some way to make the other bots more viable), so IMO what could be done to fix them would be:

*Buff the Titan so its more powerful(probably increase its damage, but maybe also making its shield stronger would be good as well)
*Nerf the Percival in a way that it needs the Titan as a escort of sorts (maybe reduce its firerate so its more vulnerable to massed units)
*Buff/change the Loaylist in a way that it remains use in the Brick/experimental phase without just serving as a living EMP bomb(expanding on the Loaylists EMP capabilities is something that goes to mind, maybe make it so it has a weapon that stuns? Implementing some manner of stealth could also be very useful, maybe make it more of a hit and run bot with personal stealth), something that makes it worthwhile to have loaylists escorting your Bricks

In general, i think the SAB's should be ajusted so they can work together with the HAB's in some meaningful way instead of being quickly phased out for or just skipped altogether. They are too cool to be so weak and underused as they are in the current meta. What do you guys think?

1

I think you've missed the pinned thread "Balance Thread Guidelines". I don't say you should apply the whole thing to the letter, but the part where it's asked to SHOWCASE the problem is important. By just hosting a sandbox game to demonstrate your impression, you would realize that titans and loyalists are in a fine stat balance wise.

Here's a demonstration : https://replay.faforever.com/14033428. Titans and loyalists trade fine mass for mass angainst their heavy bots conterparts.

Titans espacially fill a specific role in a t3 army since percies have such a bad rate of fire. Brick vs loyalists is another story, but still, loyalists have a reason to be made : far superior mobility.

Now why are those two units underbuild ? I can see few reasons:

  • Few people are able to effectively use mobility and prefer making big chunky armies.
  • People play maps where mobility isn't important, and where spam is not dominant (astro, canis, wonder, gap, seton ...)
  • People are stuck with the idea that those units are terrible, and will always spam percies/bricks even in situations where titans/loyalists would be better
    ... and probably others ...
    I don't think a bufff or a nerf will change anything to those reasons.

And lastly, I think the role of the balance team is to make sure all units are usable and have some specifity that make you want to use them, while avoiding situation where one unit is clearly so dominant we won't make anything but this one.
I think we are exactly in that situation with T3 bots : none is overpowered over the others, each unit has its advantages and its drawbacks, so in theory all of them are usable.

What is clearly not the role of the balance team is to buff one unit cause it's "cool and should be played more". Otherwise the CZAR will be 5 times less expansive 👽

0

@Auricocorico thanks for the reply! Yeah, i didnt check the Guidelines first, i didnt think there was anything important in them, so my bad. I'l try to experiment more with my teories before posting here, so thanks for the heads up.

@Auricocorico said in The Titan and Loayalist problem:

Titans espacially fill a specific role in a t3 army since percies have such a bad rate of fire. Brick vs loyalists is another story, but still, loyalists have a reason to be made : far superior mobility.

Now why are those two units underbuild ? I can see few reasons:

  • Few people are able to effectively use mobility and prefer making big chunky armies.
  • People play maps where mobility isn't important, and where spam is not dominant (astro, canis, wonder, gap, seton ...)
  • People are stuck with the idea that those units are terrible, and will always spam percies/bricks even in situations where titans/loyalists would be better
    ... and probably others ...

Now that you mention it, it does make a lot of sense. Ive always noticed that certain units and structures were kind of underused in FAF (stealth units, transports, and so on), which i thought were underused because the gradual baloance changes made on FAF over the years disencouraged their use, but now that you said it, it actually makes a lot more sense. If people mostly play Astro, Dual Gap or Setons (or some variant of them), they will tipically prefer to use the more powerful units instead of the more finesse ones.

That being said, even though the Titan and the Loaylist do quite well agaisnt other units on their level, i still think they dont really have a place during the late game. I mean, sure, they are good agaisnt other SAB's, and sometimes theyre better than HAB's when mobility and numbers are more important, but when the t4 phase begins they are almost completely phased out. They are just fodder to experimentals, so theres really no point in building them when you could be building percies and bricks instead. Besides, while the Titan can be paired with the percie and still be effective, the brick just replaces the loaylist in almost very way. It has good dps, has a lot of health, and is amphibious, so when mobility stops being an issue, theres just no reason to build loaylists instead of more bricks.

So i still think some kind of change could make these units more attractive and useful in the late game. Not because theyre weak or just "too cool to be useless" (which i realize isnt a good argument), but instead because i think the late game could be made more interesting if the titan and the loaylist had some more proeminent role in it. Personally, i think the best way to do it would be to take advantage of the special features the titan and the loaylist have(which would be their shields and their emp respectively). Maybe make the Titan's shield more powerful somehow(maybe make it regenerate faster?) so it can serve as distraction of sorts for experimentals(the Titan tanks damage while the Percival deals it)and expand on the Loaylist emp cababilities(giving it a extra weapon that stuns enemies like the medusa in exchange for its tmd capabilities could make it useful as a way to support the Brick by making experimentals vulnerable). Idk if these are the best options, but i do think theres the potential to make these units more interesting and useful in later stages of the game without making them op.

0

These two units have been rebalanced multiple times in the last few years. There was a time when titans and loyas were considered OP. They were nerfed from there. I don't know if that was part of the T3 rebalance or if that was a separate balance patch. Relatively recently (in the last year I think) they were changed/buffed a little, for example loyalists get the "charge" ability. If you look at the history of these balance changes, you will see that a lot of people have considered exactly the issues that you are pointing out, and in general I think the community has accepted the current balance. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Titans and loyalists get a lot of use on big maps where their speed matters.

2

somewhat agree that loyas are bad but i don't want to write a 2500 words paragraph 🐷

0

@arma473 said in The Titan and Loayalist problem:

These two units have been rebalanced multiple times in the last few years. There was a time when titans and loyas were considered OP. They were nerfed from there. I don't know if that was part of the T3 rebalance or if that was a separate balance patch. Relatively recently (in the last year I think) they were changed/buffed a little, for example loyalists get the "charge" ability. If you look at the history of these balance changes, you will see that a lot of people have considered exactly the issues that you are pointing out, and in general I think the community has accepted the current balance. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Titans and loyalists get a lot of use on big maps where their speed matters.

Huh...I assumed other people talked about the same problem before, but I didn’t know Loaylist and Titans were ever op. Do you remember how exactly they were op? Did it get to the pint that people didn’t use bricks and percies? Maybe we can avoid doing the same mistake.

Tbh, I think now that the problem isn’t really that they are weak now, but rather that the role they excel in is too narrow. Like, they are pretty good at some specific things, but there’s a narrow window in which they’re usefulness surpasses their cost, and once that window is past it’s just more worth it to just built Armored bots and experimentals instead.

So for example, what I think the Titan and the Loaylist are good at is:

*dealing with t2/t1 spam and punishing players for not teaching up
*fighting other t3 heavy/siege bot
*raiding and overwhelming t2 firebases

The Titan and the Loaylist are quite good at these jobs, the problem is that it’s the only thing they’re good at. Instead of remaining useful for the rest of the t3/t4 phase like they should (considering how they’re the t3 equivalent to a basic tank), they’re very quickly phased out for armored assault bots, as they’re simply not useful against t4 and other armored bots. This is specially bad for the Loaylist , because the brick is just good all around, unlike the percival (although you don’t see Titans with percies either).

What I’m saying is, the Titan and the Loaylist should have more broader roles, so that they can be used more often, and thus make the game more interesting overall. Personally, I think the best way to do that isn’t to just outright buff them, but provide them with something that makes them more useful against t4’s, and improve their usefulness at the late game without making them op in the process.

0

Something else that I noticed and that I think is worth mentioning, is that Aeon and Seraphim don’t have this problem not only because they have sniper bots instead of armored ones, but also because their main t3 unit, the Harbinger and the Othuum, are more expensive but also more powerful stat wise than their UEF and Cybran counterparts, which is why you see them fighting t4s effectively unlike the Loaylist and the Titan.

0

Loyalist used to:

  1. stun every single land unit
  2. stun ACU
  3. stun every single air unit
  4. Redirects missiles

All while costing less and having more damage.

The OP aspect doesn’t really need to be discussed. You could swarm a shielded ACU with like 8 of them and kill it. Or stop asf from firing/stop a strat midair by ctrl+k.

Titan has nearly always been bad due to the fact it had zero real benefits over loya. It had less dps and also just about as much hp while costing as much as loya.

Titan being near unusable was countered by the fact percy is absurdly nuts and so long as there isn’t a ton of ground to cover, it absolutely dominates.

Nowadays loya and titan operate in the same sort of raiding role to get quick utility of your t3 upgrade. They’re fast, they do decent damage, and they have pretty good hp. Lots of t2 need to be pulled off to go deal with them while they run around and snipe loose mexes. They can also handle themselves until you start seeing small groups of othuums/harbs/percies/bricks walking around.

You don’t use them to fight t4, you use them to force opponents to go t3 while you get very good trades.

t2 < titan/loya < harbs/othuum < percy/brick < snipers < arty/spearhead/titan/loya

is the general relation

You won’t see this relation work properly in heavily closed maps that have minimal room to maneuver for land ie gap/astro/sentons. But FAF is typically balanced around the gameplay you find via the matchmaker service rather than custom games.

0

I get it, but titans and loya arent really mainline units like harbs and othuums are. Theyre only role really is to punish players that didnt tech up, which lasts until you either win or the other player does tech up. If youre fighting an Aeon or a Seraphim, then you need to start using percies/bricks when they start massing harbs and othuums. So in the end theyre less of a mainline unit but more of a raiding "hit and run" unit. Which inst bad, and i get it that is thei current role, it just isnt very useful after a certain point. I personally think they should be mainline units instead, but thats on me, and i can live with them fulfilling that role. But that doesnt change the fact that they dont really show up that much, and when they do they are only used for a while before being replaced by bricks and percies. Which kind of makes sense, as these two are pretty much t3.5 units, and on supcom higher tiers almost always replace the lower ones. But still, i think that they should be used more, even in maps that are more narrow like Setons and Gap (excluding astro, as its not a competitive map or anything near it, unlike the other two).

The solution for that, i think, is that the relationship between titans and loyas and percies and brick should be more mutual. Instead of being able to work perfectly on their own, they should have some sort of weakness that could be exploited in a way that makes titans and loyas more useful, as they would serve also as escorts for them (or just human shields agaisnt t4, which works as well tbh). The percie is already halfway on this, with its low rate of fire, but the brick is way too all around powerful. I guess you could keep the bricks power, but maybe make it more expensive or slow so it needs a escort of loyas to support it. This way both types of units are powerful, but they work better together instead of separated. Picture like, 5 or 6 loyas/titans for each percie and brick, with the lesser bots serving as the general army while the big boys support it, kind of how in t2 you have a few mongosses and hoplites sprinkled around the formation to support the tanks.

Of course, this (possible) change isnt necessary, but i still think it would be nice to have, as it puts these units in a position that they always should have been imo, and it would make t3 a bit more interesting besides just blobs of percies and bricks, like its ussualy seen.

0

@FtXCommando said in The Titan and Loayalist problem:

Titan being near unusable was countered by the fact percy is absurdly nuts and so long as there isn’t a ton of ground to cover, it absolutely dominates

Thats an good example of how it shouldnt work. Ideally, you want titans and percies workign together, instead of percies just dominating everything and compensating for the fact that the titan is trash. Making this work for the titan would be relatively easy, but balancing out the brick and the loya is definetly more tricky, unless youre ok with fundamentally changing the brick's identity as a unit (which im not)

0

But you don’t have hoplites and mongoose sprinkled around to support formations. Usually you either go pillars or mongoose as your mainline or you go mongoose/hoplites early on and then transition to tanks. Same as titan/percy.

Thing is, t3 stage has an answer to brutal mainline tank spam in the form of mobile arty and snipers. This doesn’t really exist at t2 stage so it’s t2 that’s the less dynamic “make tank and walk forward” sort of gameplay.

0

Well, fair point. I guess im the only one that does that, but still. What im saying is that these units should support each other, and fight together. What usually happens is that you use titans and loyas for one thing, and then bricks and percies for other.

0

@FtXCommando said in The Titan and Loayalist problem:

Thing is, t3 stage has an answer to brutal mainline tank spam in the form of mobile arty and snipers. This doesn’t really exist at t2 stage so it’s t2 that’s the less dynamic “make tank and walk forward” sort of gameplay.

But snipers and arties fulfil a very different role. They should support the formation from afar, not make the bulk of it

0

Thats actually a better example: percies and bricks should support titans and loyas the same way sniper bots support othuum and harbs, but instead of doing it form far away, they provide overwhelming firepower up close

0

If you make titan/percy and loya/brick have that dynamic there is no real discernible difference between how any of the factions play late game.

UEF/Cyb have the advantage early on with quick raiding units that can be difficult to catch

Once the map gets more closed up these units get outdated and Aeon/Sera have the advantage with their tank

Now UEF/Cyb have to regain the advantage through percy/brick

Which causes Sera/Aeon to go maximum sniper

Which ends the arms race of maximum punch direct fire and takes you into:

  1. spamming t1 arty
  2. spamming titan/loya again
  3. spamming indirect fire
  4. getting something like a fatboy, mega, or a firebase up

Your efficiency in these transitions and your ability to parry enemy proactive periods is what determines if you’re better.

If all these factions have the same dynamic, it greatly simplifies the t3 stage dynamic that currently exists.

0

Thats true, but the fact remains that titans and loyas are much less used tham harbs and othuums. And snipers never really replace harbs and siege tanks, they are still used later because theyre the only massed t3 firepower that Aeon and Sera get, unlike UEF and Cybran. The problem is that titan and loya get replaced fairly quickly, and after that stop being useful, unlike their factional counterparts

0

It’s a bit of a dilema I guess

0

You can try checking out how navy balance operates if you’re interested in a unit mix type of gameplay. Land and air both kind of operate with maximizing a singular unit (with air being a more extreme version) while navy has all 3 unit tiers viable throughout the game. Granted that’s only really true because frigates are busted and a lot of navy unit mix is “how can I do free damage/win reclaim but also not die to a flood of frigates”

Applying that to land is a bit more difficult because navy combat is much more slow and methodical.

0

But why a buff would be needed ?
If you like them, just play maps and gamemods where they are good, and build them. There is nothing stopping you to play them and ignore percies/bricks. And watch replays where they are made, like 1v1 on kusoge or other big and open maps instead of gyle casting 6v6 where people only know to spam 1 unit.

The risk of buffing them is that you might make them absurdly good : you can see in my little replay that they already trade cost efficiently ... if they are made even better people will just ignore brick and percies, complaining we've made titans/loya OP, and then it's going to the other way around.

So if they are cost efficient and you like them, just play them 😄

0

@Auricocorico said in The Titan and Loayalist problem:

But why a buff would be needed ?
If you like them, just play maps and gamemods where they are good, and build them. There is nothing stopping you to play them and ignore percies/bricks. And watch replays where they are made, like 1v1 on kusoge or other big and open maps instead of gyle casting 6v6 where people only know to spam 1 unit.

Yeah, i guess at the end it boils down to how the comunity plays, and how the game itself was made really. Like Commando said, air and land were built on maximizing use of a single unit instead of using all in unison, and trying to change that would just end up in trouble. And when most people play on maps where their role isnt needed/doesnt perform well, its no wonder you dont see them that often (which is something i never really realized, but i actually explains a lot about FAF really). I just find it a damm shame but a the end i guess i cant do much about it --_-/-. Well, if theyre not weak like i though they were, and they can actually be used in the right maps, i think im going to take your advice and try using them more often and stop playing only Dual Gap and Setons.

But anyway, thanks for clearing up guys! 🙂