The Problems With The UEF - Part 3 (The Parashield)

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THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 3 (The Parashield)


Welcome back!

In this post, I would like to bring some attention to the UEF's Mobile Shield unit, the Parashield.

However, before that, I would love to share with you all a mod. This mod was made solely by SpikeyNoob, so all credit goes to them.

With this mod, we can now visualize most of the changes (as well as upcoming ones) I have proposed with units, abilities, and structures. Now, we can all gather data together! This mod is still a work-in-progress and most stats are subject to change due to adjustments and tweaks.

7cccd22b-4626-436b-b9fd-3a58d43c4df7-image.png
Image: Mod name: UEFRebalance, Author: SpikeyNoob, # 12,385

(Spikey, you Legend! Thanks for the help with this!)

Now, back to the Parashield!


-Disclaimer-

These are just some problems I wanted to bring attention to. I am offering my own solutions to these problems, however, I am not a balance team member, nor do I have a large data pool to back up my suggestions; Hence, the balances will likely need some adjustment. There may also be some better ideas to fix these issues, out there - so I encourage you guys to suggest your own ideas as well.


- Land -

Problem: The Parashield (Detailed version):

UEF T1 land is great, T2 land is solid, and T3 land is amazing. I don't really have complaints until we look at the T2 Mobile Shield.

The UEF T2 Parashield offers 3,000 Shield HP (SHP) for a maintenance cost of -80/s E. Comparing it to the Aeon T2 Mobile Shield - which offers hover, 3,500 SHP, and a maintenance cost of -45/s; it's not even comparable! Having just six Parashields in a small land army would mean you have to divert an entire T2 pgen for them alone. Just for six!

Some may mention that it has a slightly larger shield coverage area (17 to 15) and 50 more HP on the base unit (150 to 100) but these stats are negligible as the extra shield range doesn't do anything to help and the extra base HP doesn't matter when anything can kill the unit with ease after the shield fails.

So, I propose 2 options - either increase the shield size a considerable amount to accommodate the power consumption and increase the shield's HP to match, or lower the power cost to be more reasonable.

I personally like the option that increases the shield size a bit. This way, we can still have more variety between units. Aeon shields would be cheaper to maintain as their shield coverage area is small, and the UEF would have a larger shield coverage area but with almost double the maintenance cost.


Problem: (The Parashield TL:DR)

Parashield's power maintenance is high compared to Aeon's Asylum (T2 Mobile Shield).

Proposed Solution #1:

Lower the maintenance cost: -80/s -> -60/s .
This would help keep the power balance a bit better without absurdly reducing the cost of unit maintenance.

Proposed Solution #2:

Increase shield size: 17 -> 19
Increase shield HP: 3,000 -> 3,500
Adjust mass and power costs to match new unit stats:
Increase Mass cost: 220 -> 250
Increase Energy cost: 900 -> 1,000.


Thank you all for your time!

I encourage you all to offer your own suggestions.
I appreciate all the feedback I get.
I'm happy that these last few posts have been getting quite a bit of attention!
Hopefully, I can keep up, but I bet the next post will bring in even more attention than the last two.

I will post the next part on Monday so you guys have time to comment about these last 3 parts.
Sneak peek at part 4: The Blackbird & Ambassador

See you on the battlefield!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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From what is saw when making the mod, the shield size increase is way too much. There is no way a t2 shield should cover that big of an area. I think making the E drain more like the aeon is good tho.
edit: ive been told the stats have been reduced a bit from the version the mod was made with, with that in mind i still tend to think a E drain change would be best.

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@spikeynoob

You are correct, the mod's versions stats are a bit off and need to be reduced - it is difficult to visualize numbers without actual gameplay or without physically seeing them in action.

After some tests, I have adjusted the stats a bit in this post.

Thanks again for being a legend, Spikey!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Buffing parashield breaks UEF balance imo. UEF T2 is already strong, and Titans are kinda amazing right now. Buffing parashield just means UEF land is solidly better than all other factions. Any buff to parashield coupled with your bubble shield changes (which I like) would be disgusting to play against unless you're also UEF.

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@exselsior

I agree that UEF has strong T2 land, but, so does Aeon.
I'd argue that they have slightly better units as 4 of the 5 T2 land units have hover capability.
They have multiple uses as land and sea units!

The one that doesn't has incredible firepower and HP.

With my suggestions, I must disagree that it would break the current balance.
For one, the first change merely changes its maintenance cost by 25% - keeping all other stats the same.

The other suggestion buffs the unit, yes, but it also increases the unit mass and cost proportionally. Even with these changes to the Parashield, I would still argue that the Asylum is better still, due to the cheaper maintenance cost, higher shield regen, and movement speed - but mainly because of the hover ability.

Hover cannot be underestimated; it is really strong, especially with micro.

Thank you for your feedback!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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I think comparing single units from different factions, which do similar things, is not the right way to approach balance.
It's better to have one factions mobile shield to be (considerably) worse than those of other factions, if it has other means to compensate. Otherwise every factions would just have the same units.
And just having slightly different stats, but having each unit balanced to it's counterparts, is boring balance.
So an unit that is used and does it's job for the faction (and the faction is not just worse than the others) should not be buffed.
And if a faction is worse than others, buffing their strengths instead of fixing weaknesses would be a more fun way to go.

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We use a unified shield formula in LOUD to explain and quantify the performance characteristics of all shields - which gives substance to the factional differences in shields, while keeping things like maintenance cost, and the impact of the shield on unit costs, in perspective. So, if one faction wants larger, stronger shields, this impacts things like the regen rate of the shield, it's off-time when fully discharged (which is also impacted by platform).

Essentially, the more mass involved in the shield host, the more quickly said unit can disperse energy absorbed. Shield size impacts regeneration, and to a lesser degree, consumption.

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Please don’t buff hp or radius, just lower the maintenance cost

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

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I will write more tomorrow but I must say I completely disagree with this suggestion and problem description. You consider the unit in isolation without taking into account the whole faction land roster. Just because UEF's t2 mobile shield is worse then Aeon's it doesn't mean that it should be buffed. In this particular case I actually consider Aeon shield to be too strog currently and therefore it might potentially be slightly nerfed (currently there is a PR open increasing its e maintanance cost)

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Technically increasing aeons maintenance cost solves the ops proposed problem

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@comradestryker My response was basically what Tagada said, but reducing its maintenance by that much is a nontrivial buff to a unit that really doesn't need it. That's a whole t1 pgen less per parashield for its maintenance cost, might not sound like much but that adds up fast, especially in higher level play.

UEF T2 is already strong, it doesn't need to be stronger. Just because the parashield is worse than asylum doesn't mean it needs a buff, balance doesn't work that way since you have to look at the bigger picture.

Hover is nice, but Aeon arguably needs hover more than UEF because Aeon frigs are trash tier, and Aeon t2 in general has a different philosophy than UEF t2. Both of which are in a pretty good place now though I'd agree with Tagada's statement that the Asylum is a bit too strong. UEF also gets the shield boat so they have t2 shields that are useful on the water. Cybran gets stealth and op frigs, sera gets strong t3 hover shields for late game navy on mass heavy maps, though now I'm going a bit off topic.

I said this in my first post, but your bubble shield idea(s), which again I do like, already buffs UEF's late T2/T3 stage if bubble shield is now a viable option in place of regular shield. This is already a point that UEF is strong, buffing parashield would compound that even more. I'd hate to be cybran vs that but I guess at least Aeon and Sera have snipers which are a whole other topic.

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@nex

I think comparing single units from different factions, which do similar things, is not the right way to approach balance.

I would disagree, as both units share the same purpose; To cover your army/navy.

It's better to have one factions mobile shield to be (considerably) worse than those of other factions, if it has other means to compensate. Otherwise every factions would just have the same units.
And just having slightly different stats, but having each unit balanced to it's counterparts, is boring balance.

You are correct. If all units or similar units are basically the same, then it won't be diverse and fun.
Though, this is why I offered 2 suggestions. For this situation we choose option 1: lowering the maintenance cost, we still keep the unit stats the same, though the Energy maintenance is a tad lower.

if it has other means to compensate

I understand your point here, however, I'm not sure if the UEF can compensate for an inefficient shield - at least not in an obvious manner that I can see. Would you care to share some more insight on this?

So an unit that is used and does it's job for the faction (and the faction is not just worse than the others) should not be buffed.
And if a faction is worse than others, buffing their strengths instead of fixing weaknesses would be a more fun way to go.

I believe this is where the second option could shine. With these changes, the Parashield would have a larger shield radius, covering a larger army, whilst the Aeon Asylum can still have its multiple uses (considering hover), and basically cover its units in a tighter area more effectively. One large expensive shield vs one small tight shield, if that makes sense.

Yes, they would have the same HP, but the Terran mobile shield would have a slightly more versatile use in the land game.

In other words, one multi-use shield (land and sea) vs one dedicated shield.
The changes in its costs would also reflect this - being more expensive than the Asylum.


Thanks for your feedback!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@sprouto

That sounds very interesting. Any chance you could share this? If you have a spreadsheet of some kind to visually see how it directly correlates to the units in-game?

Essentially, the more mass involved in the shield host, the more quickly said unit can disperse energy absorbed. Shield size impacts regeneration, and to a lesser degree, consumption.

I would very much like to see this in more detail - if youre willing to share.

Similarly to this, I have an upcoming post in which I will be talking about the UEF's shields. And I have some detailed information to share on them, as well.


Thanks!
~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@zeldafanboy

Could you elaborate more on why you wish for option 1 rather than option 2?

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@tagada

You consider the unit in isolation without taking into account the whole faction land roster. Just because UEF's t2 mobile shield is worse then Aeon's it doesn't mean that it should be buffed.

I did my best to match units and rosters, and this is how I came up with my solution.
But, if you dont mind, could you explain a bit more on what you mean by this?

In this particular case I actually consider Aeon shield to be too strog currently and therefore it might potentially be slightly nerfed (currently there is a PR open increasing its e maintanance cost)

It is strong! It mean, we're talking about hover, a great HP pool, and all this for the same cost as the Parashield!

On another note, increasing the maintenance cost should more evenly match its stats and power on the battlefield... Which I would be happy for this change.


Thanks for your feedback, Tagada!
I look forward to reading your next comment.

~ Stryker.

Can you send me some mass?

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@veteranashe

Technically increasing aeons maintenance cost solves the ops proposed problem

Yeah, that would work.

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Semi-unrelated shield question.

Is it possible to have shields in shapes other than a bubble? Like would a forward facing rectangle shield be possible?
Also, could we arm the parashield? Perhaps that would boost it's utility? Or making it deploy and be more efficient when not moving?

You must deceive the enemy, sometimes your allies, but you must always deceive yourself!

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The purpose of the formula is to give you a relative mass cost, and an energy maintenance cost, for any shield, based upon it's strength parameter, it's recharge time, and shield size. So, to that end - there are two formula, one for mass required, and the other for energy consumption. Once you have the formulas you just plug in the values you want the unit to have, and you'll get the mass required, and the maintenance energy required.

Mass Required = ((160 * (Strength/4000)^2) * ( 0.96 ^ (Recharge Time - 15)))
Maintenance = ((( (4/3 * 3.14) * (Size^3)/2)/1000) * 5) + ( Strength/1000 * 15 )

These two formulae cover static shields, and there are some constants in there, for example, the 15 being a lowest possible recharge time.

For mobile shields, the mass required is doubled, accounting for the inability to disperse the charge directly into the surface, and the need for a complete 360 degree bubble, but the maintenance base is divided by two

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Your first two threads related to upgrades I'd agree are underwhelming and rarely seen. The same isn't the case for the mobile shield.

I see the UEF mobile shield as a strength of the faction, and it compares reasonably with the Aeon given how their fixed shields compare (i.e. Aeon is stronger but smaller for fixed shields, the same is the case for the mobile shields).

While it's not a great guide for balance, I'd also note there was a dramatic improvement in my AI's combat performance when I added logic for it to build and use mobile shields for UEF and Aeon (far less so for Seraphim), particularly due to how it significantly increased its ACU's survivability in the early-mid game.

So the only change I might be ok with is a slight reduction in energy maintenance, since comparing T2 fixed shields the UEF costs 200 vs Aeon's 150, so having the mobile shield cost say 65 (instead of 80) would be more in line with that sort of a ratio. Boosting the shield health to me runs counter to the faction identify on shields, while increasing the shield size to 19 makes it comparable with the T3 mobile shield size for a T2 unit.

M27AI developer; Devlog and more general AI development guide:
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/2373/ai-development-guide-and-m27ai-v44-devlog

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@comradestryker said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 3 (The Parashield):

I understand your point here, however, I'm not sure if the UEF can compensate for an inefficient shield - at least not in an obvious manner that I can see. Would you care to share some more insight on this?

You said it yourself

@comradestryker said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 3 (The Parashield):

UEF T1 land is great, T2 land is solid, and T3 land is amazing

So UEF land is fine even with a bad mobile shield and people even build that bad unit.
So there's no reason to buff that unit.