I build spreadsheets to analyse the fairness across units/factions. My opinions are only that, opinions, yet I shall when relevant or possible attempt to corroborate them with facts or figures.
Shimmer stun time is a point of potential imbalance. I shall now point out a myriad of different factors to consider when deciding if the Shimmer is indeed imbalanced using the Medusa as the ‘baseline’ for a balanced unit. Shimmer stuns for 2 seconds. Medusa stuns for 3.5 seconds. These values were measured in-game not taken from the unit database. With stun duration, we have to factor in stun frequency and stun area. Medusa has 2 radius while Shimmer has 4. Medusa hits target every 6 seconds while Shimmer without micro (meaning without hover bomb) hits every 10 seconds. The Shimmer in the unit data has a fire cycle of 5 seconds but a flight path of 10 seconds, resulting in a 10 second fire cycle. Compounding this data the Medusa stuns for 1.75x longer, fires 1.67x faster and hits 0.25x more area (<-simple geometry). Assuming simple multiplication can deduce effectiveness, the Medusa is 0.73x more effective than the Shimmer at stunning if units can't die. But units die, thus reducing their effectiveness. HP per mass the Medusa is 2x more efficient, has 0.683x more HP and T1 interceptors deal 1.8x the damage of T1 tanks for 0.935x the mass cost on average. Additionally the Medusa costs 0.34x more mass and 0.0735x more energy. To summarise, the Medusa is more “tanky” for a reduced cost. To calculate an adjusted effectiveness rating the standard effectiveness should be multiplied by survivability (HP ratio) and divided by cost (using mass ratio for simplicity's sake). This yields the formula: 1.75 x 1.67 x 0.25 x 0.683 / 0.34 = 1.467. At this point I expect the reader is drowning in values and simple calculations if they are still reading at all! To summarise, the Medusa is 1.467 times stronger at stunning stuff than the Shimmer. Perhaps the balance team could consider increasing the 2 second Shimmer stun too 2 x 1.467. Or 3 seconds! However, in patch 3704 Chrono Dampener stun duration was decreased from 3.5 seconds to 2.5 seconds because the longer stun duration caused units to lose their move orders. In order to not lose move orders, I suggest the Shimmer stun time be increased from 2 seconds to 2.5 seconds (not 3 seconds) to preserve move orders of affected units.
The Aeon T3 bomber is imbalanced (weak). Here are the facts explaining why. Currently the ratio between damage and payload radius is: Damage = 4500-(Radius*250). I shall assume this ratio has been tested to be “balanced”. Each T3 bomber follows this rule except Aeon, why? Subsequent question. Why are the AA ‘goodies’ on the UEF T3 bomber stronger than the Cybran T3 bomber? If the answer is because Cybran has stealth, why don’t Aeon or Seraphim have AA? What ‘buff’ counteracts this imbalance? Next topic. Each T3 bomber has a different set of stats which makes them more or less suited to fulfilling a particular role. First a table indicating the relationship between Mass Extractors and T3 Bomber bombs required to destroy said T3 Mass Extractor.
Faction UEF Cybran Aeon Seraphim UEF T3 Bomber 3 2 3 3 Cybran T3 Bomber 4 3 3 3 Aeon T3 Bomber 3 2 2 3 Seraphim T3 Bomber 3 2 2 3
Next the radius for each bomber. Cybran=7, UEF=6, Seraphim=5, Aeon=4.
From the table we can see that the Aeon T3 Bomber is just as good at killing Mass Extractors as the Seraphim Bomber yet has 1 less radius. Imbalance. You may say “the Aeon bomber has more damage to compensate for this” and this is wrong. The Aeon bomber only has 200 not 250 extra damage over the Seraphim bomber and doesn’t follow the “balanced” ratio! Imbalance. Solution is to add 50 damage to the Aeon Bomber. Just do it.
Now onto the goodies (T3 bomber anti-air). Seraphim and Aeon don’t have goodies like UEF (their anti-air) or Cybran (anti-air + Stealth). Aeon is the closest to Cybran with only 100 more hp. Does having 100 more HP justify no anti-air or Stealth? No. People may say “but Aeon deals a whopping 700 more damage” but they also forgot that it has 3 less radius. Remember we are assuming the ratio for radius too damage is correct, so clearly the Aeon bomber is underpowered (provided the ratio is balanced). Now for Seraphim. They have 200 more HP than Cybran and 100 less than UEF and STILL don’t have anti-air! How can you justify giving the UEF T3 bomber AA and not the Seraphim bomber! UEF favouritism I see… It was suggested in this forum post (https://forum.faforever.com/topic/49/all-the-reasons-aeon-sucks-t1-worst-of-all) to offset the damage and lack of ‘goodies’ imbalance by giving the Aeon T3 Bomber’s bomb target tracking. However if the Aeon T3 Bomber was to get tracking on their bomb, I would expect the bomber price to increase drastically, or the tracking to be negligible/non-existent. That said, this would provide more factional uniqueness, compensate for reduced (imbalanced) bomb damage and offset the lack of goodies.
Galactic Colossus. A reasonable unit with a suspected software error in its tractor claws. The Galactic Colossus tractor arm in-game only activates once per 12ish seconds when tested (GC idle against Percival’s moving towards it). In the unit data (https://github.com/FAForever/fa/blob/develop/units/UAL0401/UAL0401_unit.bp), each of the two claws is supposed to have a fire rate of 0.15shots/second which is about 6.6 seconds per activation per claw. Why the major discrepancy between what actually happens and what is supposed to happen? Conclusion, a software error. Can this please be fixed to make the Galactic Colossus more consistent?
If this is in fact, not a software error, please consider halving the activation time for the claws as the Galactic Colossus is more costly compared to the Ythotha (by 1000 more mass) and is less effective against large T3 unit groups because the Galactic Colossus has no AOE damage. If you are curious about this ‘fact’ I suggest you make a ‘test’ game and throw 30 T3 units (direct fire of same unit) at a Galactic Colossus, then repeat for the Ythotha. The Ythotha will have destroyed more T3 units than the Galactic Colossus.
The Novax. Currently it costs exactly half as much as a Duke, has more than half the DPS of the Duke, is 100% accurate, has omni and radar while having unlimited range (via moving). The only reason not to build 2 Novax instead of 1 Duke is the area effect of the Duke. Please apply a very minor increase to the mass cost of the Novax to offset the additional benefits.
Talking about intel and balance Seraphim is lacking. Aeon has the Eye of Rhianne, Cybran has the Soothsayer and UEF have the Novax (despite this being way more expansive). What can the balance team do to balance this? Yes, the Iaselen T3 Spy Plane has Sonar unlike the other Spy Planes, but this is to offset the lack of a T3 Sonar Platform.
Now onto the Percival. Its shots are almost impossible to dodge with T3 land units. Factor in the alpha damage (1450) + greatest range (34) every unit which attempts to tango with the Percival has their actual maximum HP reduced by 1450. This range, plus their high HP, plus high alpha makes them nearly impossible to counter with land units. This statement assumes equal mass investment into both armies and only into direct fire land units, not indirect fire. I can already sense people saying something like “just don’t fight them and attack elsewhere”. Such a statement is true yet also implies two things. One, that Percivals are unbeatable. Two, the non-Percival player is playing on a countdown to win before the UEF player reaches a critical mass of Percival’s. A suggestion to allow counter play by land units would be to reduce the Percival’s speed to ~1.8. This will mitigate the Percival’s range advantage, emphasise the “attack elsewhere” point and make ‘poke’ from Percival’s more easily punished. Movement across the battlefield for Percival’s will admittedly be affected, yet UEF possess the only T3 transport. Perhaps the speed reduction of the Percival will encourage the Continental to be used once again. A less favourable suggestion would be to further reduce the Percival’s muzzle velocity however this forces the opposing player to burn more APM in fights to dodge shots, resulting in a subtle advantage to UEF players.
Fun fact, the average range of the Harbinger, Titan, Loyalist, Percival, Brick and Othuum is 26.125 when including all their land-to-land weapons. The Percival has ~8 extra range on average at the T3 phase. Perhaps this is one reason why Snipers and T3 Mobile Artillery were the main T3 land army composition a few patches ago??
I am exceptionally curious to hear feedback from the balance team and the community.