Fire beetle balance suggestion

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If you think you can make it work, go ahead. Just be aware that my calculation is that there's no place where this will actually work out to a balanced state, the unit design and surrounding faction simply doesn't allow it.

Landmines are a well-understood concept, so its easy for players to pick them up, and all your concerns are also present in every game which already has a landmine unit, and it works fine in them. They're mobile, re-placeable, they'd have moderate to large AOE, they'd be able to activate and home in on the highest value local target, they might EMP... It fills a similar role to T1 PD rather than T2, but is faster and cheaper to deploy, able to be repositioned, and is not revealed so easily to scouting missions. Being a mobile unit, it also isn't like PD in that, once scouted, buildings remain on the map even after the scout has gone.

I do not believe any other approach will come to a good place for the unit.

I do believe that a good place can be achieved if pushed hard down the landmine route.

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Landmines are a well-understood concept in other games; however, they are not in this game and I suspect there would be a lot of pushback for a new gameplay mechanic. I.E. how are landmines disabled? What keeps players from just disabling them all the time, making them effectively useless? Why learn this one gameplay mechanic for this one faction rather than just deleting the unit?

On another point, what's your objection to just increasing the damage they do? As ThomasHiatt pointed out, 190 mass for 1100 damage isn't very economical, since the equivalent mass of t1 arty does just as much damage and is not a one-shot. For a one-shot item, there should be much more damage done. We could also decrease their health (to, say, 200), making them much more like land-based mercies. Since they require radar, I think it would be pretty cool to see people sniping scouts and radar before a beetle snipe, in the same way they now snipe aa before a mercy snipe. Of course, since the ACU has omni, there would be a moment of suspense right before the kill.

@keyser said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Mercies are known in teamgame to be very luck based (maa missed or mercies was a radar signature so wasn't prioritized etc etc etc) and lead to a lot of frustration.

I disagree. There is luck in the margins the same way there is luck when your ACU has 300 health and you're trying to dodge tank shots, or when you're walking in circles to avoid a strat snipe. But by then, the strategy has already worked. There is no luck involved in scouting, putting your ACU well behind t1 AA, and winning air. In the same way there is no luck in winning land rather than complaining that you couldn't dodge the last shot of the last tank you couldn't kill, or winning air rather than complaining you couldn't walk in circles well enough because a rock got in your way.

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@Pearl12 said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

190 mass for 1100 damage isn't very economical, since the equivalent mass of t1 arty does just as much damage and is not a one-shot

you miss the fact that the beetle has aoe. You woudn't use it vs 1 unit only, but preferably 2-3 units. There it paid itself pretty well.

@Pearl12 said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

I disagree. There is luck in the margins the same way there is luck when your ACU has 300 health and you're trying to dodge tank shots, or when you're walking in circles to avoid a strat snipe. But by then, the strategy has already worked. There is no luck involved in scouting, putting your ACU well behind t1 AA, and winning air. In the same way there is no luck in winning land rather than complaining that you couldn't dodge the last shot of the last tank you couldn't kill, or winning air rather than complaining you couldn't walk in circles well enough because a rock got in your way.

Ok i reformulate it. There is luck in the game, no doubt about it. But the impact is minimal. Here the luck cost you the game directly. On top of this It's different to "the last shot of a tank" because if you can die in situation where you prepared for it. When you died to the last shot, it was your fault putting yourself in this position. Just giving you a screenshot of why mercy can be very frustrating : mercy.png
the 2 radars signature are mercies and the player was aware of that, backing his commander and putting forward the maa. Still even if they were well in range of maa, the maa decided to prioritize other unit.

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I have used mercies extensively, and I would like for it to be worth-it to use fire beetles with a comparable level of balance and finesse. I read a lot of the above theorycrafting on how to achieve that, and while there are some nice ideas, it doesn't need to be so complicated.

Give fire beetles a better mass/damage efficiency, and they will be more balanced.

Mercies: 2400 damage/300 mass = 8 damage/mass
Fire Beetles: 1100 damage/190 mass = ~5.78 damage/mass

I think it would be good to change fire beetles to: 1500 damage/200 mass = 7.5 damage/mass
If you want to reduce Fire Beetles' health and or aoe to balance such a change, that would be fine.

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@keyser said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

@Pearl12 said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

190 mass for 1100 damage isn't very economical, since the equivalent mass of t1 arty does just as much damage and is not a one-shot

you miss the fact that the beetle has aoe. You woudn't use it vs 1 unit only, but preferably 2-3 units. There it paid itself pretty well.

That's fair; while AoE is the name of the game for Cybran, I'd rather sacrifice that to have a more snipe-like unit. Since we are here saying that the current state doesn't really work. 🙂

@keyser said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Just giving you a screenshot of why mercy can be very frustrating : mercy.png
the 2 radars signature are mercies and the player was aware of that, backing his commander and putting forward the maa. Still even if they were well in range of maa, the maa decided to prioritize other unit.

That would indeed be a frustrating situation, but, getting mercy sniped is a symptom of the problem; in this case, that pink had already lost. The mass on the field is much more for LeToucan, given the number of fire beetles present.

Additionally, the ACU is only behind one t1 AA compared to the direction the mercies are coming from. You could just as easily call any bomber OP because it can't be killed before it drops its bomb by an equivalent mass cost of AA, if the AA is not well in front of the bombing target. It doesn't mean the bomber is broken, it means the AA is misplaced.

If the mercies belong to the enemy air player, then it is your team's air player's job to counter them. If the ASF are on pink's side, they should have killed the mercies before they got there. If the ASF are on Toucan's side, then again, pink lost anyway. Because of the air player, yes, which is frustrating, but it doesn't mean mercies are broken.

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Balancing them as a pure snipe unit again won't work. They were like that before, and they were OP, then UP, then OP, then UP... It just can't be done. FFS, give up! Try something new!

Pearl, your argument that the guy had already lost is disingenuous and silly. A pair of well-placed OCs are easily capable of rescuing that situation, and for all we know Air was on its way, so Bombers wouldn't have achieved what Mercies did.

Fact of the matter is that ALL of this game's pure snipe weapons have been mired in controversy for years because they don't feel good to play against. At that point balanced or not isn't the question, it's whether people quit the game entirely for not being fun any more!!! Mercies, TMLs, Beetles, Strats, Telemazer... People don't like them very much.

This is why landmines is the only possible route forwards. TMLs have direct counterplay. Strats are T3 and have direct, very effective counterplay. Mercies have direct counterplay. Telemazer has direct counterplay. Yet even with the counterplay in effect, the mobility of the assualt allows it to still be useful. The same is untrue for beetles. The same approach will never work.

Try. Something. New.

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@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Balancing them as a pure snipe unit again won't work. They were like that before, and they were OP, then UP, then OP, then UP... It just can't be done. FFS, give up! Try something new!

The issue with the fire beetle was the ability to drop on the head of the opponent player.
I tried few month ago to replicate it, you can't drop on his head anymore. You can try to lower the transport low enough that when you ctrl k the transport it snipe the ACU, but this take a lot of time and it succeed like 1 out 10 even if there is no aa.
I've never seen people being abused by beetle walking into the com, and then complaining. I was able to pull that out on OP to punish aggressive ACU push to your expansion. Goal of beetle as i imagine it isn't sniping, this would depend on the number of beetle ofc, but usually at the timing it is used you won't have enough to kill a com, only to weaken it enough to stop a push.
Then you can see it used later to sneak in the back of exp for example.

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@IceDreamer I gave you a solution that stops beetles from being an OP ACU snipe unit. Its direct counters are direct fire units and buildings, it has the mobility via high unit speed and transports. You can't claim that your landmines are the only way forward.

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@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Balancing them as a pure snipe unit again won't work.

I disagree. I think something like this would work fine:
Damage: 1100 -> 1500
Mass: 190 -> 200
Damage Radius: 6 -> 4
Range: 5.8 -> 7

That being said, as an alternative, I do like the landmine idea suggested in the OP, and I think that it could be done well; it would just be a much more major reworking of the fire beetle.

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@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

This is why landmines is the only possible route forwards. TMLs have direct counterplay. Strats are T3 and have direct, very effective counterplay. Mercies have direct counterplay. Telemazer has direct counterplay. Yet even with the counterplay in effect, the mobility of the assualt allows it to still be useful. The same is untrue for beetles. The same approach will never work.

Try. Something. New.

Land mines is a fucking cancer too. There's no counter play to that either as intel works differently compare to other RTS which have this kind of mechanic.

What units have omni to spot a mine? ACU, SCU, T3 scout, Omni, GC, Novax. ACU is only thing that exists at t2 stage and that's not a unit you would ever want to have near Fire Beetle, other units appear in t3 stage. This means there's no counter play to land mines either.

This yet brings us back to Fire Beetle stats so cloaked mine Beetle would be still more efficient than building more tanks/arty but wouldn't destroy your entire army if you happened to walk into it since you can't spot it at t2 phase.

And as far as I remember there were complains about being micro intense to place land mine, manually detonate it and make sure you don't accidently move it around.

Also, what prevents you from transporting bombs and using them classic way?

This land mine concept is as ugly, as any concept which involves Fire Beetle to kill things on its own.

Saboteur concept
To think of it, I remember old nomad team tried to improve EMP code for FAF. Some improvements work for years in Nomads (not integrated into FAF), but they also attempted to make stun affect power/mass production and buildings build power.

May be it could be possible to allow Fire Beetle not only stun units, but also stop enemy unit/resource production for some time if you happened to sneak one at enemy base.

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@MazorNoob Of course I can, it's what I believe. You presented what you believe to be an option. I disagree; I don't think that it can be done. I don't think there's any state where that unit design won't be either stronger than any alternative, and therefore overused and, in time, regarded as "cheap" and "OP", or weaker than more commonly available alternatives, and therefore never used. I don't believe there is any such state. I just cannot see it. All the testing I did years back, trying literally hundreds of stat combinations, I couldn't get it there. I couldn't even get it satisfactory on paper!

My prior response stands. If you wish to try it, I won't stop you. Just be aware that it's my belief that you won't succeed.

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@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Balancing them as a pure snipe unit again won't work. They were like that before, and they were OP, then UP, then OP, then UP... It just can't be done. FFS, give up! Try something new!

If they are OP, then UP, it seems there must be a middle ground, no? "We've never done it before, therefore, it can't be done" is not only defeatist but a logical fallacy. Rather than saying, "give up, it can't be done," I think your argument would be more effective if you acknowledged both sides and then stated why landmines are a better option. Saying they are the only option is not very appealing.

@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Pearl, your argument that the guy had already lost is disingenuous and silly. A pair of well-placed OCs are easily capable of rescuing that situation, and for all we know Air was on its way, so Bombers wouldn't have achieved what Mercies did.

I'm not saying pink will definitely die, I'm saying pink has lost, at the moment, because they have less mass on the field. If you and I play a game and I have your ACU surrounded by 10 pillars, no, you may not die... but in that moment you have lost. The game is about accumulating, spending, and positioning mass. From that screenshot, it appears to me that pink has accumulated and spent less mass than their opponent. It's not that it can't be turned around. But it's also not a great moment to use to argue that mercies are OP, since pink is clearly behind even without the mercies on the field. Even if it was, it's a pretty small sample size.

Also, I count 13, possibly 14 beetles. It would require some skilled OC'ing indeed to counter that many plus already being in range of the enemy ACU.

@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Fact of the matter is that ALL of this game's pure snipe weapons have been mired in controversy for years because they don't feel good to play against. At that point balanced or not isn't the question, it's whether people quit the game entirely for not being fun any more!!! Mercies, TMLs, Beetles, Strats, Telemazer... People don't like them very much.

It's not controversy, it's discomfort. Losing never feels good, and one way people cope with difficult feelings is by complaining. That doesn't mean the way you lost needs to be changed. It needs to be changed if it is consistently unfair or unbalanced—regardless of how it feels. And there is an easy, fair, balanced, accessible solution to mercies: scout. The same direct, effective counterplay that works for strats.

I think a lot of people like mercies, tmls, beetles, strats, and tele quite a bit. Because one of the most fun aspects of this game is pulling back a seemingly lost game. And they all have easy counters:
(wait for it)
scout.

@IceDreamer said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

This is why landmines is the only possible route forwards. TMLs have direct counterplay. Strats are T3 and have direct, very effective counterplay. Mercies have direct counterplay. Telemazer has direct counterplay. Yet even with the counterplay in effect, the mobility of the assualt allows it to still be useful. The same is untrue for beetles. The same approach will never work.

Try. Something. New.

Landmines are not the only possible route moving forwards. There are many routes forward, some better than others. Maybe landmines are the route we will choose, but I don't think you'll get many people in your boat if you aren't willing to consider other options. On an emotional level (since you are talking about how snipes make people feel), saying "I'm right and you're wrong" rarely works, but saying, "I understand where you're coming from, and there are parts of it I agree with. Here's why what I'm thinking would be slightly better" tends to garner a lot more responsiveness.

Anyway, you still haven't answered some of the most basic questions about the mechanics of landmines. I'd love to learn more about them. For example:

  • How are they seen before and after deployment? Radar only?
  • How are they countered? Are there special disarming units for every faction?
  • Do beetles no longer do any damage unless they are "buried" first? Does that mean they can longer do damage to buildings, or anything that's not moving?
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@Pearl12 said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

I'm not saying pink will definitely die, I'm saying pink has lost, at the moment, because they have less mass on the field. If you and I play a game and I have your ACU surrounded by 10 pillars, no, you may not die... but in that moment you have lost. The game is about accumulating, spending, and positioning mass. From that screenshot, it appears to me that pink has accumulated and spent less mass than their opponent. It's not that it can't be turned around. But it's also not a great moment to use to argue that mercies are OP, since pink is clearly behind even without the mercies on the field. Even if it was, it's a pretty small sample size.
Also, I count 13, possibly 14 beetles. It would require some skilled OC'ing indeed to counter that many plus already being in range of the enemy ACU.

What you are saying doesn't make a lot of sense. We are only talking about the fact that mercy can easily snipe an offensive acu because maa (and flak) are pretty bad to deal with it (i'm not even talking about cybran T1 maa which is totally garbage for that purpose).

On an unrelated topic, i'm quite amazed you can draw any conclusion on the game from that screen shot. If you want to know it's a double gun acu vs a vanilla cybran acu. Without the mercy situation was pretty save (even after killing the yellow player and losing half of the army)

I think a lot of people like mercies, tmls, beetles, strats, and tele quite a bit. Because one of the most fun aspects of this game is pulling back a seemingly lost game. And they all have easy counters:
(wait for it)
scout.

you would be amazed at the speed mercy can be produced on a T3 air hq. The timing to scout is quite short. Well i guess that's more an issue of air player spot map, but quite a lot of team game balance is around that now anyway

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For what it’s worth I pulled off a beetle snipe recently. But I concur that they do need the DPS buff (and yes, I believe in the stupidly simple solution here)

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@keyser said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

On an unrelated topic, i'm quite amazed you can draw any conclusion on the game from that screen shot. If you want to know it's a double gun acu vs a vanilla cybran acu. Without the mercy situation was pretty save (even after killing the yellow player and losing half of the army)

I just went from what I can see in the screenshot. Of course there's info outside that screenshot—which is the problem with arguing balance using specific scenarios. If a snipe occurs at 10 minutes we don't know what happened in the 9 before. I could just as easily argue mercies are underpowered if I showed you a screenshot from a game where they don't work.

So we don't use specific scenarios to generalize a unit's balance. What do we use, then?

@keyser said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

you would be amazed at the speed mercy can be produced on a T3 air hq. The timing to scout is quite short. Well i guess that's more an issue of air player spot map, but quite a lot of team game balance is around that now anyway

By T3 air ACUs should be under shields anyways. A t3 fac can also make t2 bombers pretty quick, doesn't mean they are OP.

Which brings us back to what I said above... we are using specific scenarios to argue a generalizable balance.

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will try to be simple.

land mine concept is garbage, its micro intense, its cancer, its annoying and there is no def against it. And there is not much more frustrating as when you acu die to something that you do not even notice that exist.

the main problem is that beetles do damage only when fire, and do zero damage when die.

the solution to this problem is to fix the main problem. And let them do damage when die as well.

Oh and of course fix this stupid pricing and 1100 dmg, like, good damn, who come with this numbers must have iq 9000 while none else can understand how grat it is.

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Beetles deal damage when they die since two beetle patches ago.

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@MazorNoob said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

Beetles deal damage when they die since two beetle patches ago.

i don't see them such a long time that I not even notice : D

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Another problem with them I see currently:

They are intended to be used as a snipe unit, yet their damage is nerfed because of splash. 1100 damage for 190 mass is comparable to the damage per mass cost of medusa, yet medusa are not single fire. Remove the splash, give beetles 2500 damage, problem solved.

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@Pearl12 said in Fire beetle balance suggestion:

They are intended to be used as a snipe unit,

no