THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy)

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THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy)


Hey, everyone!

I originally had a different post about static/base shields ready for today, but in hindsight, I believe my info was flawed and/or biased. Though, I skipped it, it is still ready to post as it was written about 2 & 1/2 months ago. It is quite in-depth, having charts, ratios, and more. So if you wanna read that, lemme know!

Anyway, on to the Fatboy! Funnily enough, there is a similar post that was published not too long ago. I guess we can consider this an expansion of that post by @Sladow-Noob.


-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.


Problem: The Fatboy, detailed version:

The Fatboy - A unit that is out of place, to say the least.

It is difficult to say what could be done with the Fatboy as it is a unit that has a lot of potential but just as many, if not more drawbacks. For example, its low HP, slow speed, huge size, and even larger shield, as well as lack of (close range) defenses - all of this is detrimental to the unit itself.

As stated by Sladow, the Fatboy needs to have a lot of things going for it to allow it to have any effect or even see use on the battlefield. However, I want to focus on its main 2 counters. Air (snipes) -most commonly seen in the form of T2 Fighter/Bombers- as well as T2 Static artillery. There are other counters, such as gunships, and T1 & T3 bombers but these are the most common that I have seen.


Air Counter

First things first - let's look at some stats.

5b970cc3-1e62-4947-acd6-af3c4c0d4944-image.png

Image shows stats of Nothas & Fatboy.

So, a Fatboy costs 28,000 mass, and has 12,500 Base HP + 20,000 Shield HP for a total of 32,500 HP. A Corsair and Notha cost 420 mass, and both deal around 1,250 damage. That means it would take 30 of these units to one-pass a Fatboy. That's 12,600 Mass. But that's just for one pass, which means you would need 15 to two-pass. That's 6,300 mass to take out 28,000 mass. Ouch.

So, I believe that the problem arises with the HP of the Fatboy. However, it's current HP is in a good area, so instead of altering it too much, I suggest swapping the Shield HP and Base HP.

It is difficult to manage this unit as its range is its main advantage, and its low HP and speed are its downsides, however, by giving the unit more base HP, it would be a little less vulnerable to snipes during powerstalls, and since the shield will be weaker, then it would still balance out to the same HP it currently has. This would make it a little easier to use and not make a disastrous situation when the shield fails.


How it would affect gameplay:

First: Veterancy
Increasing the HP of the base unit would mean, that when it vets, it'll gain even more health up to a maximum of 30,000 - which, if I may remind you, a Monkeylord has 45,000 HP - so it would still be -by far- the most vulnerable land experimental in the game in terms of health - even at full vet.

Second: Wreckage Reclaim
When the Fatboy expires, the HP of the wreckage would be more resilient to damage as it would also share the HP increase.

Third: Shield Recharge Time
The shield of the Fatboy, as it works in current FAF, takes an entire two minutes to regenerate. That is a huge time frame to have the Fatboy exposed - especially when two minutes can be the deciding factor between winning or losing. Swapping these HPs will have another effect as well. By reducing the shield HP, the shield will blink on much sooner. So, at 12,500 HP, the shield should blink back on in about 75 seconds instead of the base 121 seconds. That's 45 seconds sooner.

This change would prompt the Fatboy to be a little less aggressive since its shield would fail sooner due to the low HP, but more aggressive overall as the shield downtime would be greatly reduced.


Artillery Counter

This next idea was offered by @Jip.
They suggested that a new and unique system for the Fatboy be implemented. Similar to the system the GC has - Tractor Claws - no other unit has these.

This new system would be an 'Active Protection System' or APS and would be exclusive to the Fatboy. More specifically, an Anti-Artillery APS.

This new system would not be as absurdly strong or 'OP' as you may think. This trophy system would offer moderate utility against groups of artillery shells and will have some nice visuals to go with it as well. One TMD would be placed on either side of the Fatboy, as shown below in the highlighted areas.

db501da9-4050-428a-b759-52ba73585326-image.png

Image shows the placement of the new AAAPS.


How it would affect gameplay:

So, these 'TMD', instead of shooting at missiles, would only shoot at incoming shells from mobile T1 & T3 artillery units, as well as static T2 artillery. These TMD would be modified to shoot at a VERY high fire rate, dealing very low amounts of damage, causing them to have a low chance of defeating the incoming projectile. It will not be a guarantee that it will block a projectile, but it wouldn't be useless, either.

The new system would also help when the unit is facing opposing artillery banks. At the moment, a player can build around 5 to 6 emplacements to counter the Fatboy, and that is more than enough to counter the unit - especially if that artillery is shielded by one, two, or more T2 or T3 shields.

bc340a97-7b2d-4a7d-b28f-8313f7eb03f0-image.png

Image shows statistics of each faction's static T2 Artillery.

As you can see, T2 Artillery costs 1,680 to 2,079 mass - depending on faction. That means about 8.5K to 10K mass investment is needed to counter a Fatboy. Remember that you also only need T2 to build the Arty vs T3 to build the Experimental - so time is against the Fatboy, as well.

Static artillery outranges the Fatboy by a considerable amount, being able to fire about two volleys before the Fatboy starts firing back - but at this point, the shield is basically depleted. (Not to mention, you can groundfire the shield of the Fatboy, even before the entire unit is in range of your emplacements.)

Again, it wouldn't be a reliable defense system, but it could help stop some rounds to offer a slight increase in survivability.

The main idea is that turrets would spread fire, making it quite ineffective against one artillery shell, but if multiple shells are inbound, the spread fire would likely hit more shells and therefore be more effective.

So, in short, a visual change that would also serve some modest utility. This ability would be disabled when the Fatboy is submerged in water - as per the rest of its weaponry - Which leads me to my next point (Torpedoes).


Defenses Counter (AA, Riot Guns, Torpedoes):

Now, these defenses rarely get used but with the current HP of the Fatboy as well as how the unit is meant to be used, they are quite out of place. The Fatboy is described as a Mobile Factory and a Land Battleship but has practically nothing for close range - especially underwater.

The idea here was to slightly increase the effectiveness of all of these defenses to give the unit more a bit more viability in the sense of it being on its own or without support - most specifically against air - still keeping it vulnerable to snipes but not AS vulnerable as it currently is.

As for the torpedoes, these don't see much use, but when they are used, they are pitiful. My suggestion here was to make them far more effective, matching or similarly matching the Megalith's torpedoes.


How it would affect gameplay:

Increasing the range of the defenses - This would adhere to the theme of the Fatboy and its long-range bombardment - basically, the closer you get, the more damage it will deal as more weapons will open up and fire.

Torpedoes - Increasing the range + the effectiveness of the torpedoes would give the Fatboy more use for when it finds itself underwater. Again, not really an effective use for the Fatboy (being underwater), but when it needs to engage in naval combat, it can.


Building on the Move

Self-explanatory, building units on the move, but the same could go for every other experimental/Mobile Factory. (I.E. Aircraft Carriers)


How it would affect gameplay:

This is mainly a Quality-of-Life change, but it would also encourage the use of mobile factories as... well... mobile factories. They could continue to build whilst moving; keeping up with combat instead of sitting idle and having their queue and production canceled with a move order.


Problem: (The Fatboy, TL:DR)

Adjusting some of the stats of the Fatboy to better help the unit in its identification and role as a Factory and Experimental

Proposed Solution(s):

Option 1:
Implement a new Anti-Artillery APSystem.

TMD for Artillery shells: Very high firerate, low damage, low accuracy.
"So that it looks epic." - @Jip


Option 2:
Swapping the HP of the base unit with its shield HP.

Base Unit HP: 12,500 -> 20,000
Shield HP: 20,000 -> 12,500

(Having multiple effects with one tiny change - Increasing survivability & viability in the long run.)


Option 2: Continued:
Increase range & effectiveness of other weaponry/defenses.

Hell's Fury Riot Gun (x2):
Range: 45 -> 70
Damage: 150 -> 175

Linked Railgun (x2):
Range: 45 -> 70
Damage: 20 -> 25

Angler Torpedo
Range: 40 -> 55
Damage: 75 -> 200

(Fatboy's torpedoes fire slow (4 shots every 4 seconds) vs the Megalith (fires 4 shots every 1.3 seconds.) Hence, the larger alpha damage per torpedo.)


Building on the move.


There are some other suggestions out there - I've heard Tagada mention giving it a personal shield instead of a bubble shield, and someone else mentioned altering the Bubble SACU to better synergize with the Fatboy; Like I said, many ideas out there, this was just Jip's idea as well as a few of mine.


Thank you for your time.
I encourage your suggestions. I appreciate the feedback.
Sneak Peek at Part 10: The Novax
For now, see you on the battlefield!


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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It is, undeniably, a unit with a personality conflict - and as such, it should and does suffer for that. The cost, and weight of the factory are directly responsible for it's girth - and pokey movement - and, to some degree, it's need to rely upon a shield rather than heavy armor, for the bulk of it's protection.

As a combat unit, that makes for some very uncomfortable conditions. Saddling the already stressed frame, with heavy but rangey battleship guns, doesn't entirely make up for the lack of knife fighting ability - which the riot guns only partly address.

The Wyvern BattlePack took a stab at those issues, basically copying the Fatboy, stripping out the factory, and replacing it with a true artillery piece. This was a nice adaptation, but it doesn't solve the fundamental mobility and protection issues.

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I agree on all points and the sheild HP switch is a nice touch

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  • 70 range on the riot guns feels over the top - they look similar to T1 PD type turrets, so I'd rather they got a bit more of a DPS boost than a range boost as 70 range sounds like it'd visually be a bit strange

  • A nerf to the fatboy's shield makes it less effective long term, since the damage to the health is permanent whereas the damage to the shield can be recovered if using the fatboy in an attritional style (which its long range favours). It also makes it weaker against air where the opponent isn't going to 1-shot it with air, since it's more likely the air attack will damage its health before you can retreat it far enough behind an AA escort.

  • Anti-arti shells sounds complicated and unintuitive, and would be a significant deviation from the original FA (increasing the barrier of entry for new players)

  • Agree with most of the option 2 continued options (torpedo boost; AA boost - although again I'd prefer DPS over range since the AA looks similar to a T1 AA turret; building on the move)

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 still don't understand why people think Fatboy is bad. I've had games the last week where I've had several fatties hit anywhere between 50-200k mass killed. All it required me to do is make a few t3 engies to spam t2 shields and have percies/maa (which I already had since the fatty is a natural continuation of a percy push rather than the initiation of a push) supporting it.

These pushes went into billy ACUs, went into t2 arty, went into TML. I did end up losing some fatties to like 4 czars tho

Once the fatty percy push breaks through the first line of defense which often has the most mass invested into defense, there is essentially 0 that stops the snowball except air. And with proper air defenses, there is going to be 0 besides air t4s.

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@maudlin27 said in THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy):

  • 70 range on the riot guns feels over the top - they look similar to T1 PD type turrets, so I'd rather they got a bit more of a DPS boost than a range boost as 70 range sounds like it'd visually be a bit strange

It is difficult to see the changes until they are in-game. I did my best to see if we could match them to better represent what you're looking at. Just for reference, the Fatty can shoot up to 100 range units away. 70 may be a little far, yes, but it is still a significant (30 range units) distance away from its max range.

  • A nerf to the fatboy's shield makes it less effective long term, since the damage to the health is permanent whereas the damage to the shield can be recovered if using the fatboy in an attritional style (which its long range favours). It also makes it weaker against air where the opponent isn't going to 1-shot it with air, since it's more likely the air attack will damage its health before you can retreat it far enough behind an AA escort.

You share a good point. In hindsight, perhaps the Regen rate of the Fatty could also be increased? But, I believe that the way the new shield works, it would be far more beneficial, as when it fails, it would be back up in a very short timeframe. Sure, the HP of the shield would still be low, but it would make sense for it as it is basically a very expensive sniper bot. Long range and kiting is its strength, the shield is just that.. a shield.. the Base unit should have more HP - It's a Factory, not an energy storage.

On top of that, I'm certain that the increase to it's base HP would make it far more versatile, even if the shield is down. With the increase to the HP, the veterancy would be far more useful.

  • Anti-arti shells sounds complicated and unintuitive, and would be a significant deviation from the original FA (increasing the barrier of entry for new players)

From what I hear, Arty shells already have 1 HP. These 'TMD' would just be told to target Arty shells... the game won't see much a difference between a shell and / or a missile - so, I don't believe it would be too dificult to add into the game. Then again, I'm not a developer, but @Jip did make it sound quite easy to implement. Time consuming, maybe, but easy...?

As for deviation from the original FA game, well... there's already a LOT of that.
We're looking at drastic changes. The HQ system, new units (T3 MAA), rebalances and reworks, even fundamental things like how the game processes everything was changed. Sure, that's all under the hood, and the average player wont see it, but, I feel like the game needs to evolve - preferances change, and if we don't change too, then the game may as well be dead.

That's the whole point of FAF - an evolution to a game we all loved! The community, the developers have kept this game alive - because the game evolved with us, too.

  • Agree with most of the option 2 continued options (torpedo boost; AA boost - although again I'd prefer DPS over range since the AA looks similar to a T1 AA turret; building on the move)

Thanks for agreeing with me here. The Defenses are quite lackluster and may as well not be there. Range may not be the main issue, but damage certainly is.

But, as I said - keeping up with the theme of the Fatty - the closer you get (and you will, considering the Fatboy's slow speed makes every other unit catch up to it.) the more damage is dealt as more weapons open up.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@ftxcommando said in THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy):

I still don't understand why people think Fatboy is bad. I've had games the last week where I've had several fatties hit anywhere between 50-200k mass killed. All it required me to do is make a few t3 engies to spam t2 shields and have percies/maa (which I already had since the fatty is a natural continuation of a percy push rather than the initiation of a push) supporting it.

These pushes went into billy ACUs, went into t2 arty, went into TML. I did end up losing some fatties to like 4 czars tho

Once the fatty percy push breaks through the first line of defense which often has the most mass invested into defense, there is essentially 0 that stops the snowball except air. And with proper air defenses, there is going to be 0 besides air t4s.

Thanks for sharing that, looking forward to a replay, if you don't mind. 🙂

But, the Fatboy isn't "bad". As I stated, it just requires a lot going for it, otherwise, it is useless. For other Experimentals, that's not such a big issue because of the larger HP pool, and/or damage they can deal. Being a direct fire Exp, also plays a huge role in this.

A GC is meant to spearhead a push - to be the tank;
A Monkeylord is meant to catch you by surprise - high damage and stealth;
An Ythotha is meant to be destructive, and to clear a path;
A Megalith, all in one! Tank, long-range, high damage, and a factory.

But a Fatboy? Its main role is to weaken bases, and armies, right? But it doesn't even do that effectively - not saying it should be able to take care of them with ease, either, - but it doesn't get the chance to due to all the risks it needs to counter.

The secondary role is to be a Mobile Factory, yet this is rarely used, too. And its close-range defenses, may as well remove them.

But when it does get those perfect instances, it does rule! Hence why the kiting is so effective. But if it doesn't, then it'll end up like the ones you mentioned, dead to Czars.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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I'd like to see it have a resource discount to the units it can produce.

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It literally does do that effectively.

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Fatties are quite balanced i'd say, yes you can't push since it's not a siege weapon, but it does it's job extremely well when defending a base/reclaim field, ofc you need to babysit it and since shields get spalshdamage, parashield are irrelevant when protecting a fatty, it really goes down to fatty being a supportive unit and the main army being the "main" unit which is not the case for any other faction.
arty protection will probably be beyond broken and getting 3 stacked fatties is pretty much gameover for any defender since it will have 0 counters besides air/nukes.
need to keep in mind that fatties are getting value over time, it's not designed to get 20k mass killed in the first 2 mins of hitting stuff.
does it need a buff? maybe
is it really needed? no

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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@ftxcommando
Damn really? every time I use it I'm like 'woah awesome build power' but its consuming 45 mass per sec to build some mobile aa. Ok I never did the maths but it always felt like you got the build power but no discount.

Felt like if it consumed a somewhat similar amount to a normal factory then people would have good reason to leverage its factory capability on the front line.

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@relentless said in THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy):

I'd like to see it have a resource discount to the units it can produce.

I could've sworn that in the original game, the ACU had something similar to this.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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@relentless He wasn't responding to you

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ah ok, you can see how it'd seem like it 🙂

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@rezy-noob said in THE PROBLEMS WITH THE UEF - Part 8 (The Fatboy):

Fatties are quite balanced i'd say, yes you can't push since it's not a siege weapon, but it does it's job extremely well when defending a base/reclaim field, ofc you need to babysit it and since shields get spalshdamage, parashield are irrelevant when protecting a fatty, it really goes down to fatty being a supportive unit and the main army being the "main" unit which is not the case for any other faction.

The Fatboy is perfect for long-range engagements - it's basically a T4 sniper bot. Yes, it's a supportive unit, and it can have a huge impact on a game, but its not very good at anything else, whereas all the other Exps can have multiple roles, so to say.

arty protection will probably be beyond broken

T3 MAA was a controversial idea when it was added into the game. But, it was adjusted over time. The same can be done here. It doesn't have to be a one-time change - it can be adjusted over time and even before it is released, too.

getting 3 stacked fatties is pretty much gameover for any defender since it will have 0 counters besides air/nukes.

Critical mass in units usually works. If your opponent manages to get 3 experimentals, well... Game might be over, by then.

Arguably, the same thing can go for any other Experimental, 3 Ythothas, 3 Megaliths, 3 GCs - air and nukes are a counter to all of these, too. Yet these have more of a chance to deal damage as these units are tankier and are direct fire.

need to keep in mind that fatties are getting value over time, it's not designed to get 20k mass killed in the first 2 mins of hitting stuff.

How does this help the unit? It's already daunting that it isn't a direct fire Exp.
Sure, it's not designed to be direct, as you said, and that isn't a problem, but it doesn't help its case, either.

does it need a buff? maybe
is it really needed? no

Well... there are definitely issues or stats that should be addressed and/or updated.


~ Stryker

Can you send me some mass?

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Fatboys scale way better in large quantities than chickens or gcs.

What role does a GC have besides walking into units and bases exactly?

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The Fatboy is the only true experimental. Clearly the designers had no idea what they were doing and just threw a bunch of shit together, hence experimental. All the others are fakes. Change my mind.

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In the campaign when you run into a monkeylord they say what is that thing? See it's experimental because the uef didn't even know about it.