The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones)

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@rowey

@ComradeStryker https://github.com/FAForever/fa/pull/4132 Fix for the Wreckage Mass Discrepancy

👍


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@ftxcommando

How would it be quite the change? Why would I build an engie station to get reclaim which can die to some dude that is putting 6 mass a second into int spam? The HP buff does essentially nothing useful for survivability, it means my drones will die when the int does a turn rather than as soon as the int gets into range. It's nice in terms of making it less frustrating for a gust of wind to cripple your eco balance, but you're still keeping the kennels in base on your actual win conditions not dicking around on the map.

I think you may be mistaking the changes I offered. They are quite a lot of changes, so, lets see if I can clear it up:

The ACU shoulder drones would have 51 HP, instead of 6. This would just make it so - as you said - 'a gust of wind' doesn't cripple them.

Kennel drones should get about 151 HP so they can still survive the T2 stage if they decide to be used outside of a base - for reclaim purposes or just whilst traveling in general.

SACU drones would only get 201 HP so they don't die to random AoE in the late stages. I've seen a Spy plane crash right in the middle of a bunch of drones and bam, there goes all my Build Power. Both Kennels and T3 Drones.

That's the HP difference - it's only to prevent them from dying to random AoE... Anything direct would still be well, dreadful for you, but would still be a good counter to flying drones.


The other changes, though, would still benefit the Kennel, regardless if it's being compared to the Hive. The Rebuild time is a definite problem, and that needs to be tacked. The rebuild cost, as you said, isn't a huge issue, but you're still paying so much for a unit that you already built. Making payments on top of that is an insult to injury.

Allowing them to reclaim with a patrol or attack move order would make them more viable as engineers too... this would also encourage using drones outside of your base and to utilize the range that they provide.

As for the other options, those are still questionable to me - as limiting the range is detrimental to the Kennel as it's the only perk the Kennel has over the Hive - but I offered them in hopes someone could expand on them with more balance in mind.

I wouldn't reduce the BP, I'd just make it more expensive. I would disagree, there is definitely a premium you can attach to the utility of hive where you can tradeoff decisions between hive/kennel. But that's mostly me looking at it from a teamgame point of view. I assume if both have a tradeoff against the other, it would still be healthy in a 1v1 just the same. Currently you just never really make a kennel in a 1v1.

Yeah, and that's an issue with how they work. Options 3 A & B would work well in 1v1s!
It would encourage the production of drones - much alike Sparkies - and would encourage them to be used away from your base.

In team games, this would not work as well, but it would still be an option available to the player - though again, I'm not for the range limitations.

When does it depend on the situation? Floating mass is always an issue and that's a gigantic component to why kennels are trash; you are required to float mass while hives are not.

My apologies for the typo. I meant "Floating mass may not be an issue..."
But yes, it does depend on the situation as even if you are mass stalling, diverting the mass into a unit or structure could be the difference between you winning or losing the game.

If you're mass stalling already, and you lose your drones - it's not neccisarrily true that you will be floating mass. For 1, you could still be mass stalled, and you were just diverting the mass into an experimental or some other structure like a Nuke, or for 2, you do start to store mass, but in 40 seconds, I doubt that is enough time for you to float it to your teammates. By the time the mass BP returns, you can spend it all the same, again.

But I agree with your overall point, Kennels are quite bad, at least with some minor changes that I offered, they won't be as bad as they are now. Though, again, I don't think they will ever compare to the Hive - they may come close but likely never match it.

At least... not unless a dire rework is made to them. But I doubt that would happen.

To me, I just say keep the Kennels as they are, just make them less of a hassle to use. Improve the quality-of-life of them a bit more and they would be far better than their current iteration.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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You won’t use them outside of your base for reclaim unless they’re so ridiculously cheap and fast that it breaks the game. Why would I ever make this unit to go get reclaim when it can die in a few seconds to an int? An engineer can die quickly too, but a new engie quickly takes its place since in late game reclaim fields you build factories near the reclaim piles and losing a few engies to a variety of game elements is irrelevant.

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@veteranashe said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

If they are given fuel it needs to be spent only in travel time and not while building

I think the other way around would be better, so you don't lose the infinite range.

@blackyps said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

Having a fuel mechanic on the drones increases complexity, but I don't see what current problem that would solve?

I would have thought that adding a fuel mechanic allows for buffs in other areas to make the kennel more distinct.

If the drones for example were faster (like 10 which is apparently their ground speed) but could only build/reclaim for 10 minutes:

  1. You could still use them anywhere on the map, but faster
  2. they could switch faster between projects
  3. you would only need to refuel for 10 seconds if you use them in your base, but it would take longer the farther away you want to use them.

Combine this with giving them some more hp and reduce their rebuild time/cost to like 20% and they could become somewhat useful.

@ftxcommando said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

You won’t use them outside of your base for reclaim unless they’re so ridiculously cheap and fast that it breaks the game. Why would I ever make this unit to go get reclaim when it can die in a few seconds to an int?

Why would it break the game if they were as cheap as a t1 engie?
against your engie spam your opponent could just send a stream of t1 bombers, which would do the same as inties would to your drones. Bombers are more expensive, but if the drones are build faster, move faster and reclaim faster, this could still be balanced out.

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Why would it break the game if they were as cheap as a t1 engie?
against your engie spam your opponent could just send a stream of t1 bombers, which would do the same as inties would to your drones. Bombers are more expensive, but if the drones are build faster, move faster and reclaim faster, this could still be balanced out.

A group of engineers can build AA. A few engineers dying in a reclaim field delays scale by nearly nothing. A few drones dying resets the situation to having to make drones all the way back in my base and then they need to travel back.

It would break the game because the engineering station needs to compete in cost with a land factory + engie spam. This means it would need to cost around 300 mass to be considered relative to the basic way of scooping reclaim all factions use. If they're not that cheap, they are forced to be made in base because they're too expensive to just randomly throw around comparable to a land fac spamming engies. This then requires them to zoom across the map in order to make it compete with the general safety/utility that comes from a simple fac spamming engies near a reclaim field.

All of this carries a large quantity of gameplay impacts that would make UEF incredibly broken at various stages of the game. If drones are super cheap, they need to be basically t1 engies in BP. If they're fast, they become oppressive tools in their own right to just float around and build TMLs or proxies.

I mean I don't care if drones can attack move reclaim, I'm just saying that it won't actually change anything about how you actually utilize the unit nor the fact that even UEF players will ask for a cyb engie for scaling.

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@ftxcommando
The usecase i'd see for kennels would be smaller reclaim fields left from raids or strats/aircraft. Even later crashed T4 could be reclaimed by kennels if they crashed inside your territory. So for bigger reclaim field factories would be the option, but you could get reclaim inside your territory faster, than dropping/walking engies there.

@ftxcommando said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

If they're fast, they become oppressive tools in their own right to just float around and build TMLs or proxies.

They cannot build on their own tho, so you would still need to get an engie there first.
But supporting a proxy could be one of their jobs, but they are still easily shot down by inties.

Would also be interesting if instead of docking to refuel drones could automatically refuel while near their station. That way you could further limit their "outside base" timer without restricting normal base building. Not sure if something like that is possible tho.

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@nex

Would also be interesting if instead of docking to refuel drones could automatically refuel while near their station. That way you could further limit their "outside base" timer without restricting normal base building. Not sure if something like that is possible tho.

Not sure if this is what you meant, but I just thought of something. What if a fuel bar is added in, but instead of needing to refill at its own station - it refills at the nearest station.

This would make it so you could still utilize the range of them but not having as limiting as a set range. Basically having them leapfrog between Kennel stages to refuel.

This would impose a range limit but not have it be a limiting factor in it's mobility. If you build a front-line Kennel, it would act as an extension to it's range.

Though this would still be questionable in large navy maps as you can't build Kennels on water.


Side note, what if they do become amphibious structures? Like AA or TMD?

Hmm, perhaps not useful currently as they can just fly everywhere but with the range limitations, it could be quite cool actually.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Fuel should not be added, sending drones on missions is already balenced due to:

Risk of losing drone
Apm required
Engies are better 90% of the time

The only time drones are used for mission reclaim when a easy path is blocked for a engine, and there is no action in the area, and reclaiming over a cliff. These are very nich missions, even with a buffed drone engies will still be used over drones, even with am and patrol unlocked.

Rebuild cost should be low or zero, or dead drone leaving a wreck

Hives are better, that's ok, that's how the game is supposed to be.

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@veteranashe said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

Risk of losing drone
Apm required
Engies are better 90% of the time

Yeah but adding a fuel mechanic could allow for buffs in other regions.

@veteranashe said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

These are very nich missions, even with a buffed drone engies will still be used over drones, even with am and patrol unlocked.

If drones were twice as fast as engies this could change. And to allow such a huge buff, it would need to get some other limitations, such as a limited build reclaim time.
So if you have a reclaim field, that could be cleared with one trip from your drone, it would be better to send a drone, otherwise you send an engie or make a reclaim fac.

@comradestryker said in The Problems With The UEF - Part 6 (The Kennel & Drones):

Not sure if this is what you meant, but I just thought of something. What if a fuel bar is added in, but instead of needing to refill at its own station - it refills at the nearest station.

Also thought about that, but i'm not sure if this would get to strong.
What i thought about is, that the drone just needs to fly around it's own station (like having the station in its build range) to refuel. So it can still build in that area while refueling.

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Just wanted to thank the Devs for fixing the wreckage issue.
851 mass left on wreckage after upgraded Kennel is destroyed.

Anything on the drone side, though?
Reduction in drone rebuild time and costs?
Or the T3 Variant?

Judging by the feedback, these also seemed like favored changes. 🙂


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?