Reclaim balance suggestion

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Give engineers veterancy for mass reclaimed.

Engineers should get a small life/life regen boost for reclaiming mass. The intuition is that engineers who have experience on the field get battle hardened and have a little more survivability than engineers that have never left the base. This is just a fun little change that uses a new mass reclaimed stat and should not affect overall gameplay significantly. Speaking of a new mass reclaimed stat...

Display mass reclaimed by engineers.

This suggestion is one that doesn’t impact gameplay directly, but could actually have a large impact on how players play. Regardless of whether this change actually goes through, here’s a fun exercise for the readers at home to try – follow a T1 engineer that’s reclaiming on the field and tally up how much reclaim that single engineer actually gets over the course of its life.

I suspect most people who aren’t in the top 30 will be very surprised at just how much reclaim a single engineer can get. I know that I personally was, and this realization was one of the catalysts for my improvement in the game. Engineers are stupidly efficient at grabbing reclaim compared to everything else they do. T1 engineers spend -4 mass per tick when building land factories, and most of their other projects fall within this ballpark. However, T1 engineers can reclaim mass at a whopping 25 mass per tick (increased to 28 mass per tick on some experimental wrecks). T1/T2/T3 engineers will pay for their own mass cost while reclaiming a wreck in around 2 seconds. Engineer preset SACUs can reclaim mass at a staggering 490 mass per tick, and will pay for themselves in just over 5 seconds. For comparison, the T1 mex, which is often held up as a paragon of mass efficiency, takes 18 seconds to pay for itself.

How is this not a bigger balance issue, you might ask? For the majority of the playerbase, I would identify two main reasons:

One. A lack of knowledge in the playerbase means that most people don’t try to exploit this game mechanic nearly as much as they should. Up to around 2k ladder or even above, reclaim is frequently left untouched for far too long, and not capitalizing on reclaim is probably one of the most common glaring mistakes that can be improved upon for most players.

Two. The difficulty of issuing manual reclaim commands. The most consistent and effective way of ensuring reclaim income is to manually issue reclaim commands on wrecks. However, this is difficult to do, not very fun, and combined with reason one means that it isn’t done nearly as much as it should under current balance by the vast majority of players.

At the highest level of play, where reclaim is consistently being utilized effectively, however, this is not the case. Reclaim fields disappear very quickly after being deposited under the control of a top player. Exciting attacks or plays that ultimately fail are punished extremely quickly. Games are often decided based on who can secure a reclaim field for a short period of time. I personally think the conversion time should be a little longer, and the investment needed a little higher.

Reduce reclaim rate by 5x.

Here’s the real meat of the post, and the most controversial suggestion.

I can already see the crowds with pitchforks and torches forming, so hold just your horses for a few seconds and let me explain a few things.

This change is not as severe as it might seem at first glance, because this change does not affect the travel time of engineers. Another fun exercise for the readers at home: follow an engineer that is reclaiming and see what proportion of its time is spent reclaiming versus travelling. You will see that often the engineers spend the majority of their time moving, even if they were given manual reclaim orders. This change should also serve to somewhat lessen the need to manually issue reclaim orders all the time, as attack/patrol move reclaim becomes relatively more effective.

The travel time/reclaim ratio means the overall change in efficiency this change will make in most scenarios is smaller than a 5x reduction in efficiency, and is actually the reason I chose such a large factor (instead of like 2.5x); however, in very specific scenarios, the efficiency reduction will be large. Opening BOs on The Ditch and Daroza’s Sanctuary, where engineers spend the majority of their time reclaiming, will be more heavily affected, but that is an intended consequence of this change. It is debatable whether it makes sense that a one engineer should be able single-handedly power so much of the opening build order, but it seems to make sense that more investment should be required to get an astronomical level of mass income.

This change makes engineers reclaim rate on par with the rate at which they spend mass, instead of close to an order of magnitude higher. A T1 engineer will reclaim mass at +5 per tick, and builds land factories at -4. An unupgraded ACU will reclaim at +10, T2 ACU at +42, and T3 ACU at +100. Engineer preset SACUs can still reclaim mass at a blistering 98 mass per tick, and still pay for themselves in around 27 seconds.

There is precedent for such a change. The issue reclaim balance has been extensively debated and changes were made. Reclaim rates were reduced by a factor of 2x in patch 3684 (T1 engineers used to be able to reclaim at a mind-blowing 50 mass per tick!). This was a good and necessary change, but the exact same issues that compelled such a change still exist even with the 2x reduction.

The change that this suggestion is most similar to in spirit is the buildtime increase for experimentals in patch 3696. Experimental build times were increased, on average, by a factor of around 5x. This change was compelled by how easy it was to throw up an experimental with a small amount of build power and mass in the bank. The reduction in reclaim rate is just the other side of the same coin. Like the increase in experimental build time, both changes just require more engineers for the same job.

There is often the argument made that reclaim is a mechanic that helps prevent T1 spam “grond” strategies, and that any changes to reclaim would only help encourage the gronders. I’ve heard this from players all along the rating spectrum. In my personal experience, I believe that reclaim actually helps the spammer. The gronder is able to secure map control with his spam and is able to quickly convert that reclaim into an overwhelming advantage. This was my strategy of choice on particular maps, and won me many games on ladder. Nerfing reclaim rates should actually nerf mass T1 grond strategies, as it takes longer to convert the map control and associated reclaim into an advantage.

Please note that this change does not affect the amount of reclaim that is actually deposited. I know this may be an obvious point, but I suspect it will be overlooked. A failed attack will still leave the same amount of reclaim, it just requires more time to capitalize on it. This should give more opportunity for dynamic strategic decision making, as reclaim fields must be secured for a longer period of time. This should reduce the amount of snowballing and create more counterplay opportunities, leading to more exciting games.

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All i can think of is extreme mass stalling despite having issued dozens of attack orders on my engineers. Sounds like more required APM to do more monotonous reclaim stuff so I can churn out the same amount of stuff that took less of my attention away pre BP/reclaim rate nerf.

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@archsimkat said in Reclaim balance suggestion:

Give engineers veterancy for mass reclaimed.

Veterancy is known to slow down the game; it would be fun to have but I don't think it's worth it. It also alters the balance too much, your engie could live an attack from a bomber cause it reclaimed some rocks. I am against.

Display mass reclaimed by engineers.

Would be fun.

Reduce reclaim rate by 5x.

I like the idea however I think something along the 2.5x nerf would be better and allow for smoother transition.
I like that this indirectly nerfs manual reclaim compared to Patrol/Attack move.
With this change the importance of microing your attack move engies on maps like Pizza or Ditch will actually Decrease because
A: You get less mass/second per engineer
B: Having your engies clumped up is more forgiving because having 2 engies reclaiming the same rocks actually now speeds up the process.

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Yeah dont give veterancy to engineers you'll slow the game down ten folds... Remove Veterancy!!!

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RIP dropping engies to steal enemy mass.

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Veterancy makes sense but calculative cost probably not reasonable.

Units reclaim say faster than what it takes to build also makes alot sense also. Not as complex interests are needed to basically sustain the operative, best option here is add energy reclaim gain also at time, rather in present already or not.

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@Tagada

I guess I can see why veterancy will slow down the game – it's just a lot of numbers the game has to calculate in real time. Also, you're right on engie vet. I was thinking that engie vet could provide some exciting moments for casters, but I realized it likely just has the effect of creating "random bullshit" moments for players, so that idea can be shelved.

Nice points. That's a pretty precise summary of the various gameplay outcomes that nerfing the reclaim rate will lead to. One other effect the change has we haven't talked about is to actually help fix an issue you brought up before: contested mid mass deciding games on certain maps (e.g., Shoal). If a player successfully drops engies and wins the reclaim, the other player has more time for counterplay (e.g., making a bomber, dropping later and still getting some mass, etc.).

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I dont think reclaim vet calculation is as complicated as mantis laser tickle damage logging and proportionate mass value vet calculations. My intuition tells me that this shoudlt be too excessive of a burden to the simulation. I am a fan of the reclaim log. Useful data to evaluate bos and to make decisions. However, i am personally a big proponent of ditching vet on all non acu units and non experimentals all together as it is only slowing down sim and has zero impact on gameplay. Like even if a battleship gets vet it hardly matters at all. It pretty much only matters on t1 bombers and maybe on strats. An alternative would be to dramatically increase vet effects. I mean we got this ressouce hungry system, why not buff the regen granted to normal units so that it actually matters and micro would be rewarded. Imagine: you micro a tank well and he kills two tanks and gets a vet level but he has 20/280 hp. Currently this tank would just die in the next fight with maybe 30/280 hp, the vet has no noticable impact. Give regen so that he would heal to 150/280 in maybe 2-3 mins then it would actually be worth sending him back for that time and reusing. The slow regen means that investing micro into low tech units is futile because by the time they are healed their tech becomes obsolete.

Anyway. Regarding nerfing reclaim rate: i agree that this is a good idea in the region of a 1.5x nerf. Not more why: because it would make gameplay more slow and stale. Getting reclaim fast and making units from it fast is nice for apm whores because you usually the cap for reclaim grabbing and reinvesting in huge spam vs spam scenarios is apm. With the proposed change its build power. It would make gameplay slower and of course reward the careful surgeon kind of player, but i think that faf has tended to these kind of players enough in the past patches and that sc like apm fiestas should have their place in faf too.

Regarding

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I think this idea is relevant to this discussion, so I'm going to repost it here.

I think it would be good to disable the ability to reclaim small map elements (trees and small rocks) manually.

There should be a class of reclaimable that is passive reclaim only.

By this I mean that those elements should still be reclaimable through patrol and attack move, but not by manual clicking.

My motivation for wanting this change is to reduce the mindless click spam that occurs early in game... but it will also have the effect of reducing the net mass/energy gained via reclaim... so I think it fits in with the suggestions made in this post as well.

The mindless click spam is an indication of a bad game mechanic, if both players on many maps are forced to literally click tiny rocks or trees dozens or hundreds of times... that's an indication that something has gone terribly wrong.

Large changes to reclaim will have large impacts on the game, perhaps this one is small enough to fly... and it would perhaps kill two birds with one stone.

Early reclaim has a lessened role early on, and the need for clickspam disappears completely. Many of us in the community are getting older, no need to have a mechanic that is just asking for carpal tunnel injuries.

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This is a terrible idea and I've already answered why in another thread so don't even try to ruin this discussion by adding it here. If you do then I think it will be really healthy for this thread that your posts be removed as you do nothing but post your insane ideas around the forum and argue with people which demotivates everyone around to read through the threads and post anything meaningful.

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@moses_the_red

Your solution, disabling manual reclaim for small props (trees and small rocks), but allowing them to be reclaimed by attack move, is possibly the most inelegant and unintuitive solution I can even think of. It reads as if I just described the issues with reclaim to my 8 year old cousin, who has absolutely no understanding of the game, and had him try to create a solution to the problem.

It belies a complete lack of understanding of the fundamental tenets of game design. Are we going to have to create a must-read forum post now describing what is manually reclaimable and what is not? That seems necessary to make it clear what is manually reclaimable and what isn't. Your solution makes it difficult for a new player to even learn what is reclaimable, and even for the experienced player your solution adds unneeded complication. It will be extremely frustrating to manually click reclaim only for some of the commands to not go through. This adds a whole new set of complications – with your solution, players likely now have to learn what reclaim is manually reclaimable on a map-by-map basis.

I took the time to respond to your post and point out the issues with it, not because I think your opinion deserves it, but because the community needs to realize just how useless the drivel you spew is. I agree with Tagada that there should be some kind moderation for misleading or harmful posts.

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I double the moderation request, and not just for moses or the balance discussions, but some other you know who individuals too, this shitposting is the reason noone on the balance team takes any forum talk seriously and barely anyone even reads it. Quite mindboggling how this forum managed to top the old one in the sheer idiocy just after being released.

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I mean i do agree that his post doesn't contribute much to the discussion. However, i do agree that the manual reclaim fiestas required to be top on various maps is abit stale and that strategy and unit micro should be more important to get an advantage than reclaim clicking and order of building. I lost many games because i didnt know the random insane mass values of almost invisible reclaim patches in my early days (loki ??????) And that not a cool gameplay feature. Make reclaim wrecks only, clearly visible and in contested areas of maps: same mechanic and more straightforward even to new players.

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I would like to see reclaim happen at speeds based on the amount of resources. So if you're reclaiming 100 mass worth of broken trees, that should be about as fast as 100 mass of dead tanks or 100 mass of rocks. You would have to have engineers take less time, basically zero downtime, between reclaiming different targets. That would reduce the need for manual reclaim orders, because attack-move would be nearly as efficient. If you could shovel 100 mass into your face just as fast with attack move as with manual reclaim orders there would be a lot less clicking.

Another way to fix it might be to have attack move always work like factory attack move (where the engineer walks to the waypoint and then reclaims at guard range, instead of traveling down the path acting like it is on patrol). You could quickly queue up a series of attack-move orders so you don't have to babysit engineers and constantly adjust their orders to get the benefit of factory attack move. FAM can be at least as good as manual reclaim orders, so in most situations, manual reclaim would be unhelpful.

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@arma i asked for default attack move to be fac attack move before. Apparently its not possible due to engine restrictions but maybe thats just as excuse my either nostalgic or lazy devs

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@Tagada said in Reclaim balance suggestion:

This is a terrible idea and I've already answered why in another thread so don't even try to ruin this discussion by adding it here. If you do then I think it will be really healthy for this thread that your posts be removed as you do nothing but post your insane ideas around the forum and argue with people which demotivates everyone around to read through the threads and post anything meaningful.

For all your inane shit talking, you've failed.

Other people agree with my views. You don't like that its a reasonable discussion point that you don't agree with, so you bitch and moan and attack because you're too immature to put forward a decent argument.

Fundamentally, you're trying to argue that clicking a bunch of things repeatedly is a good mechanic. Its not something that you want to have to defend, because its so obviously stupid, but its something you're good at and its something that helps you and at some point that convinced you that its a good mechanic when its clearly not.

I watched a few of your replays, you may stop queuing up manual reclaim at 3:30, but your engineers continue to process that manual reclaim up to about 5:30. It is an advantage for you, and it is a stupid advantage gained through a ridiculous mechanic.

By all means, complain, attack me, whatever... it does nothing to obfuscate the clear absurdity of your position.

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So what are we supposed to do during this time? Watch anime on second screen? Ponder on the balance?
Enjoy aeolus? What you are doing is literally crying 'cuz you can't be arsed to click few rocks.

Like yeah few maps are fucking stupid with the reclaim they have, but it's not the problem with mechanic but with the map design itself. We already nerfed it by half, by fucking half, and you want even more nerfs on top of that?

I mean this game is already slow AF, so slow that even boomer like me can sleep throughout the most of the game and not have lack of APM. The effin reclaim at least gives me something to do during the boring downtimes that supcom have in the early phases. Cuz I sure AF don't enjoy staring at single factory doing it's thing for 4 minutes without having anything to click.

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On a side note, to say reflect a sim of prior damage dealt for reclaim gain, to say, might be reasonable to suggest the amount of reclaim is with a variable amount versus a present one.

Thanks

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@moses_the_red said in Reclaim balance suggestion:

Tagada said in Reclaim balance suggestion:

This is a terrible idea and I've already answered why in another thread so don't even try to ruin this discussion by adding it here. If you do then I think it will be really healthy for this thread that your posts be removed as you do nothing but post your insane ideas around the forum and argue with people which demotivates everyone around to read through the threads and post anything meaningful.

For all your inane shit talking, you've failed.

Sorry but what was the point of posting this? The purpose of the balance forum is to propose the ideas to the balance team so it could be put into the next patch. Trying to act like you’re some second rate Ben Shapiro for no real reason literally damages everyone involved in the thread.

  • the balance team stops looking at player suggestions
  • higher rated players are not interested in giving feedback to suggestions because they don’t want to crawl through garbage
  • lower rated or newer players don’t get a seat at the table due to repeated negative experiences
  • you get a bad rep for being an idiot

This has literally devolved into useless arguing, and you know that means something if I’m the one saying it of all people.

Please allow the balance team to moderate the balance forums.

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I'm in support of a reclaim nerf. Having wrecks take longer to reclaim gives opponents more time to make a counter play. It also means if you have laid claim to a large mass field post-battle, your rate of absorbtion will slow down, meaning it will be easier to manage balancing the incoming mass.

The only part I would want to keep the same is the rate engies reclaim hostile units. I feel it's important for an awake player to reclaim a raiding LAB or tank with a quick reclaim order. If a LAB can go toe to toe with a reclaiming engie and kill it, I think that takes away a "large" bit of early game micro that rewards players that put the attention and effort in.

It would be very interesting to see how a significant slowdown in reclaim would affect how The Ditch is played.

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