The Last Thread about RAS SACU Balance

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I am quite sure that the biggest reason people build bois over massfabs is ease of use. You don't need to queue up a shit ton of stuff, make sure it is somewhat shielded and also scale powergenerators in an appropriate amount. Instead you just spam a bit of buildpower and repeatbuild the preset. Removing the preset would throw a decent apm hurdle in the path to infinite bois. If I remember correctly they only got that much because the preset was introduced.

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For whatever this is worth, I never make them. They take time to pay for themselves, so if you start spamming them you actually lose mass for something like 10-12 minutes (the first SCU will pay for itself long before then, but by then you have several more produced that put you into debt more than the first SCU benefits you so it takes longer than the time for the first one to pay for itself for the SCUs + Gateway to start helping your economy).

If someone starts spamming them, they're effectively giving you a 10-12 minute window where you will have more available mass to punish them with. Rather than trying to outeco them during this period, just make a big ass army and crush them.

I play 10x10s though, so this may not make sense on say, Seton's where there is a significant travel time component for your forces.

So, if you want to be able to play like a high rated elite 700 on 1v1, or 1200 in global... you know not to build RAS SCUs =P

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@harzer99 said in The Last Thread about RAS SACU Balance:

I am quite sure that the biggest reason people build bois over massfabs is ease of use. You don't need to queue up a shit ton of stuff, make sure it is somewhat shielded and also scale powergenerators in an appropriate amount. Instead you just spam a bit of buildpower and repeatbuild the preset. Removing the preset would throw a decent apm hurdle in the path to infinite bois. If I remember correctly they only got that much because the preset was introduced.

I haven't done the math recently, and am too lazy to now, but don't RAS SCUs pay for themselves slighly faster than the combination of fabs, power and shields? Something like 6.5 minutes rather than 7-7.5 minutes?

If that's true, and I think it is, then it shouldn't be any wonder that people would pursue the simpler, more efficient option that has the side effect of producing a decent combatant.

It also means an APM penalty isn't likely to be enough to discourage their use.

Ras SCUs should be significantly less efficient than Mass fab structures since they get such significant advantages over those structures.

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People sometimes forget to consider in their paper napkin calculations for mass cost/mass generated benefit, that this is a unit that can also build shit, and in a pinch, fight. IMO that's part of the reason it works AND its difficult to punish if implemented well. You are scaling eco and buildpower at the same time, and have a unit that can be upgraded in a pinch to serve as a fairly mass efficient combat unit. So in reality, it pays for itself WAY sooner then you think it does, if you also factor in the ~2k mass of combat unit, 800 mass of build power, just out of the gate.

That and its stupid convenient to spam on repeat.

I think I remember a few years back Icy made a mass fab/gateway template and the mass cost for a RAS SCU can be stupid low if you pack enough mass fab/mex adjacency on it. Problem is spamming multiple gateways and producing unassisted. Takes too long to pay for itself, but was cool in concept.

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How about just removing RAS from ACUs all together. With the ACU investing in RAS has a clear trade off, economic benefit for a decrease in ACU survivability. For an SCU there is no such trade off, ultimately it makes little difference whether an SCU lives or dies to the outcome of the game.

The SCU is far too useful. It can run your economy, duplicate itself (via a quantum game), snipe your opponent via teleportation (particularly for Aeon), build point defences, shoot things, reclaim a base, whip up an experimental, wander over to help shore up an ally etc. The truth is it has far too many benefits which have no real trade off. The whole concept of a payout time is totally moot as a consequence. You'd never talk about the "payoff time" of a monkeylord because the unit has inherent benefits which are totally unrelated to time. I don't see why an SCU should be considered differently in that regard.

I think one of the following would be reasonable solutions:

  • Turn RAS into a mobile mass fab, power for mass or power but not both
  • Increase the volatility of a RAS ACU (lower hit points, bigger bang, makes it less useful in its other roles)
  • Increase the cost substantially
  • Increase build time and increase quantum gate build power so assisting becomes pointless
  • Remove RAS preset
  • Remove RAS entirely
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@Tex said in The Last Thread about RAS SACU Balance:

People sometimes forget to consider in their paper napkin calculations for mass cost/mass generated benefit, that this is a unit that can also build shit, and in a pinch, fight. IMO that's part of the reason it works AND its difficult to punish if implemented well. You are scaling eco and buildpower at the same time, and have a unit that can be upgraded in a pinch to serve as a fairly mass efficient combat unit. So in reality, it pays for itself WAY sooner then you think it does, if you also factor in the ~2k mass of combat unit, 800 mass of build power, just out of the gate.

That and its stupid convenient to spam on repeat.

I think I remember a few years back Icy made a mass fab/gateway template and the mass cost for a RAS SCU can be stupid low if you pack enough mass fab/mex adjacency on it. Problem is spamming multiple gateways and producing unassisted. Takes too long to pay for itself, but was cool in concept.

Can't argue any of that, they're definitely a great value, even if they don't necessarily pay for themselves as quickly as people probably think.

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I feel like an easy change to nerf RAS bois just would be to remove all SACU presets.

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No need for that. Just do this ->

  1. Up the BT of all sacu by big ass margin, Ras even more.
  2. Nerf the Ras income.
  3. Up the BP of gates to make it so they still produce stuff at the same rate as currently when it comes to combat presets.
  4. ?
  5. Ras lads spam is now griefing unless you already won the game.
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If RAS SACUs are kept in the game, you don't want to nerf them so much that building them means you are throwing the game unless the game is already won.

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@archsimkat Say they nerfed them to where they took 8.5 minutes to pay for themselves instead of 6.5 or whatever it is.

That would mean in real terms it would take something like 14 minutes before you start making money on them, but you did get a bunch of decent combatants with good BP for the time being.

I think there's room to nerf them without making them a unit unfit for any particular purpose.

That said,... I don't build them myself as they are now =\

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@Arkansas said in The Last Thread about RAS SACU Balance:

How about just removing RAS from ACUs all together.

Do you mean SACUs?

Increase the volatility of a RAS ACU (lower hit points, bigger bang, makes it less useful in its other roles)

This what I suggested as a first step, but I disagree with lower hitpoints.

Upgrades universally improve upon the unit's capabilities. RAS reducing HP would be unintuitive for new players.

Remove RAS preset

@archsimkat said in The Last Thread about RAS SACU Balance:

I feel like an easy change to nerf RAS bois just would be to remove all SACU presets.

Not a fan of this approach either. Making something clunkier to use just makes the game more frustrating, instead of making a well thought out balance change that improves the game as a whole.

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We could go in the opposite direction, increase the Ras gain but also increase the range and the dmg of explosion and I mean by factor of X10.
So sure you can make Ras but it can also just as well kill you.
Strat bombing the Ras now becomes a viable tactic and not a waste of a strat.

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No it does not. Ras sacus are still easy to hide below shields(which they can assist) etc. Even water.
Like yeah, making them more volatile would be nice but in most cases the moment your Ras lads are exploding is the moment you are fucked anyway, so them being lil bit more volatile won't mean jack shit.

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Idk, I like my solution to this pickle, even tho it creates some other problems like kamilazi Ras 😛
Also on the note of shielding and assisting I sure (in ideal situation) a burst of couple of strat bombers could penetrate through assisting shielding. Will give it a test when I get home.

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RAS can build, fight, reclaim, assist, and move and it is really hard to balance that. The fact that x-minutes theoretically the Fabs are better eco-wise is just not worth the static C4 in your base.

I am open-minded to try different solutions.

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I would say: remove it. What good is it doing to the game?

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Eliminating RAS SACUs entirely makes sense. I don't get why it's an important mechanic to have in terms of lore or why it makes the game more fun to be able to have a mobile economy. (I understand why it's fun to HAVE them, having power is fun, but I don't understand why overall it makes the game more fun to play if everyone can do this.) If they must exist, I can think of a few lore-friendly ways to nerf RAS SACUs, some of which have been said above already:

  • definitely you should not be able to assist a quantum gateway, no matter what. The whole point is that the gateway can pull units in from across the galaxy. An engineer's dinky little assistance beam can build things but it shouldn't be able to speed up the quantum process. That should be implemented immediately in order to bring us into conformity with the lore and with realism. Also it would be good for balance. Since this would reduce the value of a gateway, metering your ability to get units out of it, it might make sense to make the gateway itself, or even the SACUs, less expensive. (If we do this, the build time for vanilla SACUs, and different presets, should probably be identical, so we can avoid giving an incentive to make only vanilla SACUs and upgrade them after they come out.)

  • similarly, quantum gateways should basically pause during a power stall, similar to how nuke launchers get extremely slow trying to load during a power stall. Maintaining a quantum connection to the other side of the universe isn't something that should be easy to do with power fluctuating on and off. If you want to get your SACUs, get your power stall under control.

  • fewer hitpoints because they are fragile. A regular SACU should be able to survive two direct TML hits but maybe a RAS SACU should not. The idea of hit points is not that when you drop to 1, your last shard of armor is gone, and one more hit will kill you. the idea is that it represents how close you are to the unit ceasing function, which for a volatile unit means how close you are to the death explosion happening.

  • bigger death explosion to encourage chaining, but not 10x because that would turn them into ultra fire beetles. If you drop their HP by 50%, you are already promoting chaining. Even a small boost to the size of the death explosion would further promote it.

  • make them always show up on enemy vision, because the energy signature of a RAS device is just too dang obvious to hide (but ACUs, the most expensive/precious items in the galaxy, would have the tech necessary to hide a RAS signature). If we do this, operational paragons should also always show up, and perhaps quantum gateways too. You shouldn't be able to twist reality itself, or teleport units across the entire galaxy, without making a signature that would be noticed by an enemy ACU less than 75 miles away.

  • eliminate the RAS preset. The idea would be: this device is so complicated/fragile that you need to assemble it after the teleport is completed. After all, ACUs can't teleport in with a RAS upgrade. Why not? That would be an instant game-winner. Aeon vs. UEF in a 1v1, UEFbro comes in with RAS and T3, Aeonbro starts with double RAS and T3. Who wins? I think I know. It's still easy enough to upgrade RAS compared to Steam (you can select multiple ACUs at once to give them all RAS upgrade, and you can queue a RAS upgrade as part of multiple orders, which you can't do in Steam). And this would still allow people to set up hive farms to speed up the process of upgrading RAS after the SACUs gate in.

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I like the idea of spliting mass/energy into only one option. probably only energy.

And add higher death explosion can be interesting balance concept, not only to nerf ras sacu, but also as usable suicide tool. I remember that on Nomads we have ras sacu that was very weak ras sacu, but strong suicide bomb and it was kind of nice for use as bait.

Explosion should not be only about damage, but mostly about area effect. When it will have ACU radius then its totally different story. Thats worth to be build only as suicide squat.

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I think they should just be made inefficient to the point where it's the absolute last resort. No more mass points. No more room for mass fabs and pgens. Time for RAS SCUs.

Basically remove them from the game in practical terms, but keep them around for the one scenario where they make sense.

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I think that the best, easiest and most interesting solution would be to make RAS SCU's produce a symbolic amount of mass and shift their focus to energy production which would make them an expensive but mobile and easily shielded power sources. So when enemy gets a game ender or an arty and shoots at your grid you have a way to not power stall at a cost of inefficiency mass wise. I would propose something like production of 2 mass and 2.3k power making it an equivalent of t3 pgen + 2 mass fabs. You would need to ofc adjust their cost.