The Problems With The UEF - Part 5 (The Bulwark)

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THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 5 (The Bulwark)


Hi everyone. Thanks for sticking with me throughout these posts.

Today, we will tackle the Shield Boat. I would like for us to focus mainly on the shield itself and how it interacts with the environment, but I will also be offering a nerf / buff as well. The nerf / buff is more so of a secondary change. So, please keep this in mind. Thanks! Now let's get to it.


-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.


-Navy-

Problem: The Bulwark (Shield Boat), detailed version:

The Bulwark is a strong support unit. Very strong if paired with almost any other navy unit, in fact. However, it comes with a drawback. I understand that the shield range is meant to be large to accommodate the navy underneath as well as to allow enemy units the opportunity to get underneath it and destroy the shield boat, but, the issue here is that the shield size is very misleading. To explain this, I will be using the following terms: 'Actual range', 'Visual Range', and 'Usable range'.
Below you will find an image showcasing each ring and its position.

4323a2f8-7e30-4334-b2e7-d2972b503327-image.png
Image: Shows the range of the Bulwark's shield with custom terms.

When you select a Bulwark, you will notice the shield's range ring; the light-brown or cream-colored circle. I will be dubbing this term the Actual Range - A novice player may see that it extends a certain distance away from the unit and based on that range, may think that the shield would cover a unit up to this point - it does not.

If we zoom in to see the shield render, you will instead see that the shield hits the seafloor - Visual Range - before it reaches its maximum shield range. Again, a novice player may see the physical shield extend a certain distance away and would think that it would cover a unit near the edge of this marker - It does not cover surface ships, but it does extend past the surface down to the 'Actual Range'. Here it would offer some protection to subs.

Now for the 'Usable Range'. The shield size covers about 34 units (distance) away from the actual unit before it hits the surface. Up to the red ring's range is where any surface ship would be protected.

Instead of having a shield with a large diameter (currently it reaches up to 120 units (distance) away), it would have a smaller diameter to make the shield steeper at the edge to match its usable range.

3d5eb536-a959-47bc-ba8f-2321b84e57e6-image.png
Image: Frigate is positioned so the Bulwark's shield covers the back half of it, Attack Submarine is in front of the Frigate but is still covered by the shield. Support ACU is further in front of the Attack Submarine on the seafloor yet is still covered by the shield

As you can see, the shield is quite misleading.
This shield is still a little large as it was exaggerated to showcase a point.


I will now like to show what I believe would be a more reasonable shield adjustment.

383baa31-aea6-4a3a-a140-679c8b38566b-image.png
Image: Shows new shield range of Shieldboat.

2df045bc-55d5-48ce-856b-5adfdcc5ab2e-image.png
Image: Shows a side view of the new shield adjustment. I apologize for the weird shield height, I am still new to modding;

This shield modification has a range of 88, which is in between its current surface range (34) and its maximum range (120). Here we can see that the shield is significantly steeper when it collides with the water surface and the seafloor. This will fix the issue with the current shield as this will no doubt clear up any confusion about where the Shield Boat can and cannot cover.


On a different note, the Shield Boat is quite the unit to face, especially in late navy engagements or in large numbers. I recommend that the Shield Boat's energy cost be adjusted to better represent the unit. It's a strong unit, after all. Increasing the energy cost by just 1,000 would mean only 2 more seconds from one T2 Pgen's power output. So it would not become too expensive - even in the early T2 navy stage.

Why increase the energy cost and not the mass cost? Well, In my experience, the mass cost is already where it needs to be, especially in relation to global T2 and T3 navy. It's already over half the cost of a destroyer. Increasing its energy cost just a tad, as well as increasing the build time to mirror will help to better balance the unit in early T2 all the way into late T3 navy engagements.

To help balance this small nerf, I suggest that it get some light torpedoes and torpedo defense. This would help the UEF in its infamous torpedo problem. Not so much so that it is strong or that it matches the Cooper (UEF T2 Torpedo Boat) but instead mirrors the Valiant (UEF T2 Destroyer). This would alleviate some pressure as the UEF has a difficult time dealing with subs of any sort unless you have a few Coopers to take on the task. This would help buy time in navy mixes without anti-sub capabilities.


Problem: (The Bulwark's Shield TL:DR)

The Bulwark's Shield is quite misleading and would be of benefit to be adjusted.

The unit has a strong influence in combat, so its energy cost should be adjusted to reflect that.
The unit is defenseless; some light torpedos and torpedo defense should be added in.

Proposed Solution:

Decrease shield range: 120 -> ~70 & adjust shield height, and size.
Add light torpedo defense to help fend off small attackers that get under its shield.
Increase energy cost: 13,000 -> 14,000
Increase build time: 5,200 -> 5,400


Thanks for your time!
Unfortunately, this change isn't implemented in the mod, just yet.

Again, I wanted to focus mainly on the shield rather than the changes to the unit itself.

I encourage you all to offer your own suggestions.
I appreciate the feedback.

To not bombard you guys with posts, I will now be posting on Fridays and Mondays.
Only about 5 more posts! Haha! Just a few structures to talk about and then the infamous Experimentals!
Sneak peek at part 6: The Kennel

For now, see you on the battlefield!

~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@comradestryker said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 5 (The Bulwark):

Add light torpedo defense to help fend off small attackers that get under its shield.

this is call the Cooper

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" - Spock

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@rowey

this is call the Cooper

Well, it was not my intention to have it be anywhere as strong as a Cooper... just stronger than it currently is. As stated in the latter half of my post, Light torpedo defense... even if it matches the valiant, it would be able to defend itself from one or two subs.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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I really don't understand why you decided to focus on the bulwark. The whole problem with UEF navy centers on the general failures of cooper and valiant to perform their roles at any decent level. The shieldboat and cruiser for UEF are both totally solid support units.

Some good shit about cooper btw, you need to make 5 coopers (4500 mass) to beat a Cybran torp/stealth ACU. Aeon or Cybran would need to make 2 of their destroyer, which is coincidentally exactly 4500 mass just as well!

However if a single one of those coopers dies, the Cybran ACU can kill 4 coopers meaning you need to keep each 1750 hp unit alive which could be swarmed by frigates, ambushed by 3 torps, or sniped by a few salem shots. Also don't forget to put another 4500 mass into your destroyers so you can actually do what the exodus and salem can do with their main gun against frigates while doing damage to the torp ACU.'

This is forced by 2200 mass into 2 ACU upgrades.

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@ftxcommando

I really don't understand why you decided to focus on the bulwark. The whole problem with UEF navy centers on the general failures of cooper and valiant to perform their roles at any decent level. The shieldboat and cruiser for UEF are both totally solid support units.

Just focusing on the shield mainly. The torp thing is a suggestion.
I just want to see if the Shield could be modified, that's all.

The Cooper is strong for its purpose but weak against everything else. It lacks the HP and range to be useful.
The Valiant is... standard. It's not great, to be honest, but it does have some perks over other Destroyers. Though yes, I would like to see it improved, but unfortunately, that can't really be done as it would make the unit fall out of the place. If it's good at countering subs, the Cooper has no purpose. etc.

I'm all ears to any suggestions but for now, this is mainly about the Bulwark.

Some good shit about cooper btw, you need to make 5 coopers (4500 mass) to beat a Cybran torp/stealth ACU. Aeon or Cybran would need to make 2 of their destroyer, which is coincidentally exactly 4500 mass just as well!

Another thing is that you need 5 coopers to take counter an Atlantis completely.
5 if they're all Shift-G'd together in the same position or 6 if they are spread out. Not too spread out or the Atlantis can pick them off one by one.

They're strong.

However if a single one of those coopers dies, the Cybran ACU can kill 4 coopers meaning you need to keep each 1750 hp unit alive which could be swarmed by frigates, ambushed by 3 torps, or sniped by a few salem shots. Also don't forget to put another 4500 mass into your destroyers so you can actually do what the exodus and salem can do with their main gun against frigates while doing damage to the torp ACU.'

This is forced by 2200 mass into 2 ACU upgrades.

Yeah, that unit is out of place - just like the Aeon Shard (T1 AA boat)!


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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I really support this change, the way Forged Alliance did shields was often a bit janky imo, in that all shields had to be a perfect sphere and to create shallow domes the game moved the center of the radius far below ground so only the top 1/3rd of the shield was sticking out and blocking units. Making the Bulwark shield projection radius actually centered on the boat itself means that there's no weird slope that big ships can stick out of. I actually thought this wasn't technically easy for whatever reason but nope GPG just made a weird shield shape.

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

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@zeldafanboy

I really support this change, the way Forged Alliance did shields was often a bit janky imo, in that all shields had to be a perfect sphere and to create shallow domes the game moved the center of the radius far below ground so only the top 1/3rd of the shield was sticking out and blocking units. Making the Bulwark shield projection radius actually centered on the boat itself means that there's no weird slope that big ships can stick out of. I actually thought this wasn't technically easy for whatever reason but nope GPG just made a weird shield shape.

Yeah, it was quite weird and it doesn't make sense now-a-days.

I was teaching the game to a friend of mine and he instantly complained about this.
I found it quite funny as it reminded me of how I first saw shield boats back when FA launched. Long ago but I still vaguely remember how weird that the shield was so awkward.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Add jamming to the valiant

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@comradestryker

Yep, the Fatboy also has an iceberg shield shape that’s 80% underground but it’s not as much of an issue because it’s a flat and low unit and the shield is mostly for personal use and not other units

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

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Dude the shield boat is so insanely good. It makes hitting cruisers a pain. Now you also want it to have torpedo defense of a T2 destroyer? Bruh

I feel like these posts you are making are literally going into “buff UEF buff UEF buff UEF” territory where you just grab any unit in the UEF and find a reason to buff it. I wish Seraphim had a shield boat or a cruiser with amazing missiles

FAF = Femboy Alliance Forever
Come check the draft of the FAF website 4.0! https://www.test.faforever.com/

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@javi

Dude the shield boat is so insanely good. It makes hitting cruisers a pain.

It is, which is why I'm suggesting a small nerf.

Now you also want it to have torpedo defense of a T2 destroyer? Bruh

The 2nd half was more of a suggestion but, yeah, If you played the game, you'd know how crappy the Valiant's Torp and Torp defense is. This is just a minor suggestion to not leave the unit defenseless when a unit gets underneath it.

I feel like these posts you are making are literally going into “buff UEF buff UEF buff UEF” territory where you just grab any unit in the UEF and find a reason to buff it.

The series is literally called "The Problems With The UEF" - It would be quite awkward if any other faction's unit was on here...

I wish Seraphim had a shield boat

It does have a shield option - It's called the T3 Mobile Shield, though why would it need it? Its destroyer literally submerges. I wish UEF units were able to submerge. While we're at it, let's give the UEF battleship the ability to build and fire nukes, too.

or a cruiser with amazing missiles

The Seraphim cruiser - again, if you played the game - deals way more damage than UEF cruiser missiles. And the cruiser fires missiles non-stop.

Sera Cruiser is arguably the best as it has, if not the best AA, definitely better than the UEF Cruiser's AA, its AoE is devastating to clumped units.

It's a better cruiser overall. What more could you want?

Thanks for the feedback, though.


~ Stryker.

Can you send me some mass?

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UEF cruiser shoots more missiles in a shorter time span. Which is better to break in through TMD. Which makes it better than Sera.

Also you should think in the terms of four factions because you can’t change or tweak a faction without considering how that would impact its play with the other three factions.

And T3 mobile shield doesn’t matter that much since going for T3 land is very expensive in 1v1.

Also I know UEF has shit torpedo defense. I also know they have the copper for that. I don’t have a torpedo boat or a shield boat, just destroyer and cruiser.

FAF = Femboy Alliance Forever
Come check the draft of the FAF website 4.0! https://www.test.faforever.com/

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@Javi

Perhaps I am focusing more on one faction... But I'm trying my best to keep things balanced overall - though I am not perfect... Hence the disclaimer I place before every post.

That being said, it seems that you have a lot to say, so I look forward to reading your posts on improving other factions.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Strongly against adding torpedo or torpedo defence to the shield boat. It's already a useful unit and should be weak to subs to give players the option of sneaking a sub inside the shield to easily kill it. Removing that worsens gameplay rather than improving it.

However the shield radius changes sound more interesting/beneficial. While I've not done testing to check the broad principle of having the displayed shield range align more closely with what the shield can actually protect sounds like a good one and makes the game more intuitive/user-friendly without damaging the complexity of the game.

M27AI developer; Devlog and more general AI development guide:
https://forum.faforever.com/topic/2373/ai-development-guide-and-m27ai-v56-devlog

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I definetly agree with the idea of making game visuals more intuitive, as long as it doesn't affect balance.
Just out of my head I see 2 possible effects your way of changing the shield bubble could have.

  1. Overspill: if I remember correctly how overspill works, and understand your idea correctly, the resulting shield would be smaller, therefore also reducing the area other shieldbats would take overspill damage in. This might be an issue due to the stranght of shieldboats.
  2. Interactions with air. From how I understand your idea, you move the centr of the shield upwards while reducing the shield radius. This might move the top of the shield higher (or lower the the reduction in the sheld radius is sufficiently large), which can change the interactions of shieldboats with air, making it easier/more difficicult to move an airunit inside the shield bubble to snipe the shieldboat.

Therefore such a change might need some testing and adjustments.

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 .