Identify a Problem
A lot of maps have tree groups. In comparison to trees they are beyond measurable more effect to reclaim. Tree groups can be broken by units walking through them.
Scouts and labs are fast units used for raiding. They also break tree groups. This is a two-sided problem:
- (1) You can see through the fog when tree groups break, while these units should be 'low key'
- (2) These units are relatively fast and hard to catch, allowing them to be used to purposefully break tree groups of your opponent
The issue with (2) is that it is extremely effective: it is a low investment with almost no setback, while if successful you deal serious damage to someone's build order / early economic progression and you didn't even need to shoot at anything.
Showcase the Problem
Here is a replay for (1): https://replay.faforever.com/17061951
Tree groups breaking by your own scout, notice the sudden change
Tree groups breaking by some unit you can't see (it is a scout), notice the sudden change through the fog of war
An example replay for (2): https://replay.faforever.com/15963787
It is not uncommon for a mid player on Seton's Clutch to send one scout with the sole purpose to destroy the tree groups of the opponents air player. It feels frustrating as it is difficult to counter (especially an Aeon scout that is going across the water) and it doesn't feel like a technique that you should expect to be part of the game.
Find a Solution
I propose that scouts and tech 1 labs should no longer break tree groups. We can do this by giving them a new category
NoTreeBreaking, and when a unitcollide with a tree group we check for that category. If they have it, then the tree group won't break.
This is a simple solution that is cheap on performance.
Justify the Solution
The tree groups are a product to safe on performance. They are simply put more efficient to render. Tech 1 scouts and labs are supposed to be 'low key' units used for raiding. Yet, they are visible through the fog by them breaking tree groups (1). And they can be used for anything but scouting by intentionally breaking the tree groups of your opponent (2). It is a dominant strategy on some maps (Seton's Clutch / Dual gap), it is difficult to see coming / to counter and it feels frustrating when it happens.