Pre-Built Units: Why not?

Posing this question mostly as a thought exercise, but also because I think it has some merit when it comes to making FAF more palatable and/or attractive to potential players.

Why aren't pre-built units the norm?

I'm going to bring StarCraft II into this discussion, but only in terms of overall game progress. When SC2: Legacy of the Void launched, the amount of workers a player started with was doubled from 6 to 12. Mineral and gas field values were also lowered, but we'll ignore that since these two games have vastly different economic systems.

The worker count change was done for mainly one reason, to reduce the downtime at the start of a match and shorten the early game. This arguably made matches shorter, more action packed, and more entertaining to watch.

Could pre-built units as the norm do the same for FAF?

I pretty much always skip the first several minutes of a game when I'm watching a cast on Youtube unless I'm looking at someone's build specifically. I wouldn't be surprised to learn others do the same. It's possible the slow start of FAF games turns people off from trying the game, or watching casts to learn about the game.

Barrier of Entry
It's pretty easy to make a mistake and cause yourself to stall energy, mass, or both if you're a new player and don't know a starting build. Sure, it shouldn't take long to figure out a build that at least keeps you from stalling, but it's just another barrier of entry to new players coming into a fairly unique RTS.

That's my 2 cents, I'd love to hear what other's think about it.

For reference, here is what the current pre-built units setting gives a player:

  • 1 land factory
  • 4 pgens
  • 4 mexes

While I can see it helping out in low rated games, it will ruin some of the more complex play in higher brackets due to killing off some of the strategies that thrive on abusing other players early or doing unconventional plays.

Imo totally not worth the time for higher bracket games, or any games in competitive scenario as it makes it impossible to properly abuse other players in early game as recovering from first bomber will be much easier.

As for casts? Skill issue kappa. Instead of looking at the BO caster should try to speak about the map and players. What type of gameplay the map is promoting and what can we expect the players to do? What kind of cheeky plays are possible etc. So it's not fault of BO's being boring but rather FAF casters (me included) being just bad.

I prefer not having the pre-built units. (1) if you're on a new map, it gives you about 30 seconds to look around and see what's what. You wouldn't get that extra time if you start with a fully-built factory. This is especially important now that we are going into mapgen maps blind. And (2) it lets me plan my base, for adjacency etc.

An example of pre-built units being done right is in Phantom. Somebody set it up so you can start with a bunch of T2 mexes and engineers all over. That's good for Phantom even if it's bad for 1v1.

So maybe it should be a map specific thing. For maps like Dual Gap, Astro, Canis, it might make sense to start players with a land fac + air fac + hydro + all core mexes built + 5 pgens, then the game gets off to a much faster start. And you don't really lose anything.

I totally agree with Endranii and arma here. A couple of things I want to add:
Like Endranii mentioned, it kills some of the earlier strategies.

  • First bomber basically is useless since you can have an infinite amount of engis out before the bomber is even done due to the fact you have to build the factory first.
  • Double-fac opening. Even though it's often discussed whether it gives you an advantage or not, it's not changing the fact that it's an optimised BO you won't be able to use anymore in that way. Due to the extra PGs and mexes you have, let's say a 1100 can do the same thing as a 2000. Ofc a bit less efficient, but the fact that he doesn't have to fully understand the chore mechanics, it's an advantage you just take away from the better players.
  • In ladder it can lead to very cancerous strategies, since on smaller maps you can instantly move your ACU towards expansion XY
  • You also start with a full storage. And since you already have all those buildings, you can literally instantly go for a t2 mex if you have a bit reclaim lying around, allowing insanely greedy shit resulting in some players chilling at t1 while for others the first t3 unit is on the field at like min 6 (Yes, I'd say it's such a big difference due to the exponential grow)
  • Learning a standard BO is simple as fuck. If a newbie asks for it, they receive exactly one message (not even that long), use it for 3 games and boom - problem fixed

Not active anymore.

Biggest problem is that you have 0 time to read a map, most of the rest could be resolved thru balance changes if this was actually made the default experience tbh.

Like what’s the tradeoff between losing double fac bo but now you could potentially have new tryhard bos where you have ACU start a new air fac and engies tree reclaim for some all in early cancer.

Also what’s the impact on transport RNG maps. Does it lower or increase the general chance of ur transport succeeding? Who knows really.

I also don’t see instantly starting with a t2 mex upgrade as being inherently bad for the game, if it’s optimal then it’s optimal. Why is that a con?

With the t2 mex I'm basically referring to all those "all welcome" or "1k+" games, where some ~2k+ play in. Ofc we can just say "It's a problem for the players if they allow it", but since especially newbies join those games or in general just ppl who want to play a game, then giving the better players the option to instantly ecowhore will decrese the chances of the lower ones from like 10% to literally 0% since it snowballs that extreme earlier on already.
The thing with the map-reading you mentioned is a big factor there as well since lower dudes just need more time to think about where to send units, push, eco etc.
Also EcoManager will be hella busted

Not active anymore.

I can definitely see the loss map-reading being an issue, I didn't think of that one. But that said, I wasn't really concerned with the loss of certain BO's because it would just open doors for new BO's. I do like Arma's idea of starting units being map specific though.

I don't think prebuilt units would be nice in this game. The early game where nothing happens is like 1-2 minutes until raids/bombers arrive (depends on map tho). In Starcraft i feel like nothing happens for like half the game, so shortening that time can be nice. Also Supreme Commander isn't as focused on action as Starcraft. It's more about planning stuff out, which will get harder if you shorten the early game. Newer players won't have to learn a bo, but they'll just be afk for the first 30 sec trying to figure out what to do with their factory and com.

Building the factory gives you just the right amount of time to find where the reclaim is on mapgen, view the map terrain etc. Not to mention it will bring the time window for things like T3 air rushing even further forwards on maps with air slots. Imagine if you had a free engie producing factory instead of having to make a land fac along with your air fac.

put the xbox units in the game pls u_u

I don't think it would be much different except it would punish new players more for falling behind quicker.

This is supcom, you are teleporting in.

Also on orebuilt rhe acu warp in time delay doesn’t exist. For what that matters

I’m a shitty 1k Global. Any balance or gameplay suggestions should be understood or taken as such.

Project Head and current Owner/Manager of SCTA Project