Hello, I am Evan_. I mostly play mid level (1600-2000) teamgames, and occasionally ladder games. The goal of this balance patch is to make the T3 air game more interesting by making gunships viable in more situations again. This post is primarily focused on team-games, as I do not feel the changes proposed are enough to significantly shift the T3 air-game in 1v1 (that is up for discussion though).
T3 gunships were nerfed in balance patch 3709 without a justification attached, (while it could exist somewhere else, there should be at least a reason given for such a large change). Both their mass cost and energy cost increasing substantially:
Mass cost: 1260 → 1500 (1680 on FAF unit database) Energy cost: 42000 → 65000
The strength of T3 gunships at the time (in team-games) was that they could be rushed on T2 power generators while opposing air players were getting a T3 power-generator for ASFs. Additionally, T3 gunships are effective against Flak as they attack as a few mass-dense units rather than a lot of cheap units, reducing the impact of AOE damage.
This led to a brief window where the T3 gunship player had time to do damage in exchange for reduced air control in the future, creating an interesting imbalance. T3 gunships and a swarm of Inties could hold and even win against the first few ASF, However, the T3 gunship player had to play intelligently and not let his inties fly over flak while doing as much damage as he could. This led to an interesting imbalance as one team creates an advantage on land while the other team creates an advantage in the air.
After the nerf however, this risky strategy is now much harder to pull off in a way that benefits the team in the long run. This makes the T3 air game on 10x10 maps more static as players go straight for ASF rather than trying to create an imbalance.
Additionally, in the late-game, there is little reason to build T3 gunships over Strat Bombers if you have air control. Strats will take little to no damage from Flak and have AOE to hit many targets. T3 gunships are also a lot slower than Strats, both to deal damage (Alpha damage on Strats vs DoT on gunships) and to move around the map. Strats actually have some use if air is even, as you can drop a bomb and then retreat to Sams if you catch your opponent's air on the other side of the map. This has become more viable in spread out maps with the decrease to asf speed. T3 gunships however, will be slow to move in, to deal damage, and to move away. There are still a few cases where you build them, but opponents mostly only need to be wary of Strat bombers and not T3 gunships.
I propose to revert or reduce the cost nerf to T3 gunships while reducing speed slightly. This makes them more efficient to use and cheaper to get out without making them too dominant, and giving players more reaction time to prevent a snipe. This plays into the idea of them being slow and bulky.
Here are my proposed changes. The speed nerf is not meant to offset the cost decrease. These changes are meant to be an overall buff as I feel that the previous nerf was too harsh. The numbers themselves can be finetuned of course.
Mass cost: 1260 → 1500/1680 → 1260 Energy cost: 42000 → 65000 → 48000 Max air speed: 8 → 8 → 7.5