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

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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

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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

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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.

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Don’t think saying Aeon frig is trash is a reason to justify asylum/blaze/mobile flak when they at least have a t2 navy stage within the realm of humanity and it isn’t like thunderhead is an epic frig.

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

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

This is over simplifying, since the units the shield covers are different. This becomes especially obvious on T3. There the units covered are:

UEF: percy, titan, upgraded UEF ACU,aa

Aeon: Harb,sniper,upgraded Aeon ACU,aa

Harb+shields behaves very different from percy+shields or titans+shields, since shields perform especially well with army compositions that kite a lot or fight many small skirmishes.
And obviously sniper+shilds is completely different from percy+shields, first of all because the snipers can die in a second when not shielded.

I hope this shows that you have to compare whole army compositions of a faction, with whole army compositions from other factions to draw meaningfull conclusionson faction balance.

Forumpros doing balance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wTcguJZh3A .
When a canis player remembers to build more than 3 units https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hjp8xJHuyA .

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@kalethequick

Is it possible to have shields in shapes other than a bubble? Like would a forward facing rectangle shield be possible?

If it is possible, what changes do you propose for this?
Like, would the shield be really strong covering only the front arc and be exposed at the back?

I mean, depending on how this would change, I'd be interested to know in more detail what you recommend.

Also, could we arm the parashield? Perhaps that would boost it's utility?

Honestly, giving it the Riot Gun that the Sparky has would be quite nice. I could see this being useful.

Or making it deploy and be more efficient when not moving?

Interesting idea here, as well. Though. I'd like to hear some more detail on this, as I'm not for the deployment - unless the unit is buffed elsewhere, as well.
SHP is greatly increased, shield bubble is too, and even the unit HP. Sacrificing mobility and potential coverage for no SHP increase is gonna be detrimental to the units with the Parashield.


Thanks for your feedback!
~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@exselsior

Hey, Exselsior! Thanks for coming back.


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.

Oh, I'd beg to disagree. You see, it all comes down to mass, correct? To create power, you need to spend mass on pgens. So, technically, Aeon, again, is far more efficient due to the fact that it requires less power to maintain, which in turn means less mass to be dumped into pgens.

Let's look at some stats: So, the UEF's Parashield is not only just 220 mass. Including the mass costs of the 4 T1 pgens it requires adds an extra 300 mass PER Parashield. Meaning one Parashield costs a total of 520 mass! On the other hand. The Asylum, a far better unit, in my opinion, has a total cost of 388.75. (Needing 2.25 T1 pgens).

That is over a 130 mass differential between the units. On top of that, the Asylum has better stats overall making it even far superior in its mass and gameplay efficiency.

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.

I am trying to look at the bigger picture. Hence why I am mentioning that the Parashield can only be used on land, whilst the Asylum can be used on Sea as well. And, as you read just now, it is a far worse investment than stats show - which is why I made this post to begin with.

Hover is nice, but Aeon arguably needs hover more than UEF because Aeon frigs are trash tier,

I never mentioned that the UEF Parashield needed hover. However, though I would agree that Aeon frigates are - less effective - than other navies, I would not say they are 'trash'. After all, most navy games are dependent on how many frigates you have, and not their stats. On top of that, they have torpedo defense, too, making them. Yes, they can't directly combat subs, but they can - in numbers - ignore them.

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.

It is a strong unit, hence why I'm mentioning that the only thing the Parashield needs is a small reduction in maintenance costs. I offered a different suggestion as well to see if we could diverse the units a little bit more. Specializing in their respective manners. One is multi-use (land and sea) and the other is solely for land, so it should be stronger in the Shield HP sense.

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.

The UEF has a strange Shield Boat. I will post about it later in part 5 or 6. If the Parashield hovered, I would be using those instead of Shield boats as they would be far better gameplay-wise and mass-investment-wise. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

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.

Every faction is strong in its respective manner. It's not just the UEF that is strong. There are many ways to counter each and every unit in this game.


Thanks for the feedback.
Looking forward to hearing more from you!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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You haven't given any arguments why Parashield should be buffed besides saying that Asylum is stronger which is definitely not enough to justify a buff. UEF T2 land is perfectly fine as it is, it doesn't need any buffs.
T2 mobile shields were nerfed 1.5 year ago because they were too strong. I think that parashield is in a good spot right now. Asylum is currently a bit too strong thus it's getting nerfed.

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Do the parasheild mass cost with t2 pgens, because, well, you have t2 tech

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UEF has an almost unstoppable combo of nano and gun, extremely cheap t2 and broken t3 land at the moment, i see no reason whatsoever to buff what is already insanely strong on literally every spot in-game, shields change will lead to basically unkillable armies and monkey pushes right into your base and pds won't be able to prevent that due to drugged hp from com vet, combine that with personal shield and you get a t4 on min 12.

queuing with a newbie to show him the beauty of tmm and meeting tagada be like:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLcRpdZ0Xb0&ab_channel=Tomoko

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@sprouto

Thanks for that formula - I didn't realize that there was one. I thought everything was manually balanced.

This is most interesting, though.
Thanks for sharing!


~Stryker

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@maudlin27

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).

Aeon does have better and more efficient shields. However, the size difference when comparing the 2 mobile shields, is negligent. We're talking about a smidge more shield radius and in practicality, it's literally nothing.

Similar to how you said you were comparing static shields, I was trying to expand on that with the UEF mobile shields, a bit. Hence they cover more but have almost the same HP - and are far worse in efficiency.

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.

Of course! That is why I offered 2 suggestions.
One to reduce the maintenance cost and one to expand on the unit a little more.

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.

Perhaps you are correct here, but I do want to point out that the UEF does kind of similarly match Seraphim in coverage - in the T3 stage of shields, at least. The unit is far worse, too! We're talking about having a third of the HP. I mean... it is T2 vs T3.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@nex

You said it yourself

Still waiting for that insight. x)

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.

Well, saying this was more of a general statement... something to get a sentence going.

And, of course we would build the unit. Not building it means you're missing out. I'd rather build a bad unit than not build it when it comes to it. I need every unit I can get.

Why wouldn't someone build it? If you don't you're just kicking yourself in the teeth, haha.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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

@sprouto

Thanks for that formula - I didn't realize that there was one. I thought everything was manually balanced.

This is what we use in LOUD, for all shields, and shielded units - we have similar formulae for firepower/range/AOE/power consumption relationships for Artillery, Teleportation, and, in fact, for a great deal of our balance work.