Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance

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I think that you need to be extremely careful when comparing SC2 and FAF (in context I am right now Number. 3 on FAF ladder and in Platinum league in SC2 after couple weeks of playing), while it's true that if an UI mod for SC2 exist that does what an UI mod for FAF does then it would absolutely busted and banned for sure (eg. a Disperse move for marines to avoid Banelings to kill them with their AOE) because it removes a vital part of SC2 which is unit micro. The same can be said for an UI mod that would control economy in FAF where it would automatically add pgens, pauses everything that uses power (E-please or whatever it was called mod). That's because a lot of FAF depth lies in economy and macro, much more then in SC2 (in SC2 unless you are Zerg (Queen injects) the economy is basically Select all Nexus/CC/Hatchery make drones while having the hatchery's waypoint on mineral line/Gas).
The point:
Now back to the topic, I believe that UI mods like ATP (Advanced Target Priority), UI party, Spread move, Disperse move actually increase the micro potential because of the importance and trade of's of Micro vs Micro.

Note: While in theory assuming perfect gameplay and APM of >300 on normal and probably >500 on big maps this wouldn't be true but we are mere mortals and taking into account that I am top 5 player It's safe to assume that If I can't do this and it's not optimal for me to invest my APM into it then it's not gonna be possible nor actually beneficial for other players.

Reasoning:
I will try to now explain why I think that is and give a couple of examples. First of all we need to consider what these mods actually do, most of them allow us, the player, to better tell the units what we want them to do via orders or improve the way we give/queue the orders. ATP allows us to specify what we want the unit to target, Disperse move allows us to split the units more efficiently, same for UI party. As Archsimcat already stated you still do the same amount of work in game by giving orders, the part that is improved/simplified is the UI. Instead of needing to somehow (different methods for that as stated by Arch) select 5 groups i can select one, give the orders and tell them via a UI mod to just split. You may say that this is bad and takeaways the micro aspect of the game, but my point is that it doesn't, it allows you to better "translate" your actions to units and because of that micro more.
Why is that you may ask? Because if I am not allow to use that option then I won't do it at all, I just won't micro it (Excluding some edge cases like splitting very important units that you give a lot of APM attention like engies early game when there is nothing going on, your first 3 t3 units, your T4's etc.) and neither should you because it's just not worth it. Why would I spend 3 seconds on splitting my t1 tanks so that your bomber has 100 less mass killed value if this would mean that I am inefficient with my Mass/E/BP balance causing me to make 5 tanks less? Because of the importance and focus on economy most of the time it's just not worth it to invest a lot of attention nor APM into extensive unit micro in this game, It's just how it is.
Let's go over a few examples:
Example N.1 Mod in question - Disperse Move
As stated above a situation is as follows, a t1 bomber attacking my t1 tanks. If I would have disperse move option there is a chance I might quickly select my 4 tanks, give them 3-4 move orders around them and use my keybind for Disperse move. Take probably around 1-1.5 seconds. If I wouldn't have Disperse move I wouldn't bother to move my tanks at all, if I would have tried I could probably manage to move 1 away but realistically speaking, ask yourself, do you really see it out side of edge cases like first 2-3 minutes and special units? No you don't, I don't do it, I don't see it because it's too much hassle for little gain and it's more important to queue 1 more pgen so I don't power stall in 2 minutes.
Example N.2 Mod in question - ATP (Advanced Target Priority)
I have a few units doing a run by and I want to kill enemy mexes. I select my units and using ATP I use my keybind to tell them to focus mexes and move them in between mexes. I then have to options depending on the game state, I can either micro the units by giving move orders to avoid enemy units, dodge shots etc. to get maximum value out of them or leave them be if that's not really important. Now the same situation without ATP, I select my units and either just move them in and pray, move in and then queue Attack orders on mexes or just queue attack orders on mexes from the start. It takes a little bit more (given low amount of targets, don't kid yourself you don't need to queue more then 2-4 usually) time and "micro" to do so then using ATP BUT it doesn't at all allow for any future micro, I won't move micro my units cause they will move but stop shooting the mexes so I just queue and forget.
Another thing is a more strategic aspect like deciding that I want to prioritize targeting of t1 arties given the game state and both mine and enemy unit composition. Without ATP it wouldn't be possible and this takes a potential strategic and micro aspect of the game.

Over all the argument is that these mods don't take away micro from the game because Yes, they simplify some part of micro but if it's not simplified it's not used (except some edge cases where the mod isn't actually taking away the skill needed cause given low amount of orders value gained from the mod is so small it can be ignored) so nothing is lost, we actually gain the possibilities for micro and increase the potential of it. I would hate to see banning or blocking via changes such UI mods since it would make the game dumber, more boring and actually decrease both the focus on micro and it's potential.
Another thing I would like the bring up is balance, if the mod follows the basic rules (as stated by Mach) and it's not a cheat mod then it really doesn't make units OP (Few exceptions like Shift G + ATP on ACU priority). Did t2 arty/unit drops became OP after ATP? Yes they can be stronger bcs of ATP but it requires extra attention and micro (in order to get more value you need to set targeting to eg. power and then MICRO your arties so that they don't die to defences and stay at the edge of their range). T1 bombers doing Spread attack? Yes they will utilize their AOE more efficiently but it takes more clicks then just move + A-move or just A-Move.
All these mods do is take an aspect of micro that is in theory possible but not worth it because of the time required to achieve it being long due to UI being bad or UI limitations and making such move a viable one.

Back to Keyser.
"the pr you are showing is here to preventing cheating : UI mods abusing the feature to give order to units (ie auto dodging, auto hover bombing etc etc)" Agree with that, these are and should be considered cheat mods and therefore be banned."
"It is also here to remove the split move to trap ACU with T1 units (balance decision in accordance with the balance councillor)." I think this is a very weak argument for removing such an excellent feature like split move, I also don't see why unit blocking of ACU is so bad while for example while blocking an ACU with spamming of t1 aa is not (absolutely busted since it fucks with pathfinding insanely). I really fail to see how units getting on top of the ACU and blocking it is such a bad thing, yes it may be frustrating but I think it's healthy. ACU's are absolutely busted compared to units and you want to keep your ACU in range of enemy units while keeping your units outside of enemy's ACU range. If you move in your units on top of enemy ACU you should be able to block him at the cost of clumping up your units and making them more prone to OC. After all it's only effective if you have a lot more of units bcs of how attacking vs defending unit formation works. If blocking wouldn't be possible it would make ACU even stronger (bad idea in my opinion) and even if you have 50% more t1 tanks you still wouldn't be able to kill enemy with an all in because of defenders advantage in engagements and Vet on ACU etc.
" Spread move / disperse move not working after that, would be an unfortunate side effect." I think that there should be a focus on finding alternative solution if that's the case, it would be a huge loss for micro and gameplay to lose those mods.

Please make sure that your posts contains some actual information, don't make ridiculous claims like "oh this will make bombers OP" without giving it a second thought nor actually argumenting your position. You can have your own opinion but sharing it as facts is just foolish. This thread as all others derail and become a spam fiesta of people arguing and quoting each other back and forward for no real result. This stubborn guy won't change his mind about XYZ so just don't bother. This is not the place for that. Without deeper game knowledge or game balance you shouldn't really claim anything, you can hint that you think or in your opinion something is ... but it's really not that useful for the discussion. It may seem "elitist" but in 99% of the cases it's just the truth, if you don't understand the game well enough you can't say what's OP or UP cause most of the time you can't properly use it or counter it.

Footnote: I've spent a lot of time on this post and thought it through so I won't respond to some low effort quotation and BS claim by some random guy, so just don't bother. I am looking forward to get some answers from other top rated players, but mostly Balance and Game Dev Team as well as to use it in the near future in any related discussions so I won't need to spend 1h again explaining and argumenting my points.

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we have already had the discussion about the balance side of this decision several time. I think everything been said on that part.

as for the point on spread move / disperse move :

  • I think this is only used to split air scout, so it wouldn't be a huge lose (although zlo showcased some use for reclaim naval field)
  • I will try to find a way to not break it, but i'm highly pessimistic about that.
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Imo ban all ui mods from ladder and tournaments (give custom lobbies option to ban ui mods). Integrating adv priorities is debatable. I agree with tagada that shiftg and adv prios add micro rather than removing it.

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Thread #16373573 where I say again that it's not possible to ban UI mods...

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There is no technical way to ban UI mods. The only check for game consistency is a hash of the game change that leads to the desync message if they differ. The UI layer is completely unaffected by that.
There are multiple ways you can inject files into the loaded game, even if you don't want to use the normal mod folder.

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Forget Alaince Forever. Maid by balance team for balance team. I vote Tagada for balance councillor.
But sarcasm aside, will someone tell me why nerf unints micro potencial (like this https://github.com/FAForever/fa/pull/3205) if FAF gaming is about APM?
Why balance is about to nerf and remove thing? All changes that I can see in balance - is for that something is harder to do, or some unit harder to use. Like it was said for ideal balance in some RTS - "easy to learn, hard to master". Now game makes more and more hard to learn.
I hope this post is short enohg to have answer exept "didn't read" or "we already told about that".

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@keyser said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

we have already had the discussion about the balance side of this decision several time. I think everything been said on that part.

Can you point me to that discussion? When I brought my concerns about the removal of shift g I was met with (if I remember correctly) something along the lines of "We have already talked about it and decided" but I wasn't given any reasoning.

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ATP WAS integrated. Or at least partially integrated. The logic for only partially integrating it was that it’s a ton of options to throw right at a new player so only the most critical priorities were put into the base game. If people want additional ones, they get the mod.

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Well, not like it have chase to be readed, but i was thinking abot all that, so here comes another long post. I see what an approach balance team use, and it, well... It maybe called "problem-orientired". If somethig seems broken, let's fix it by changing it. And that approach is not ideal, because... Well, no one is. But not only for that reason. Balance - is titled "balance" because if change something it will affect may thing if not all of it. So changing of vet sistem to mass cost form number of kills is hude buf for t1 units, because t2, t3 or t4 units has a much more less chance became veterans and get stronger while figthing t1 spam. So new vet sistem change cost efficiency of all tiers or units. So there is less rewarding to figth t2\t3 wich t1, becauce of it. So it less rewarding to get t2 or t3 units.
And about rewarding. If balance is about solve "problem" that madet by some uint, it mostly not rewarding, but punishing balace sistem - if something good, players will use it more, and so if nerf it, it will be balanced. kh ASF kh If even nerfed - it still used more offen, nerf more, and there to the poit where no reason to use it at all.
So its work like "If somethig is better that other options
analogue, that will get nerf". Nerfing thigs - makes players feel like if they keep use it, it will get nerfed more. Psycology proofs that. And so they do not want to use it anymore. Because 1) It was better 2) It may and will get worst if they keep use it.
What about UI mods, they make thing easyer to do, but now seems like now balance team want everything it game be hard to do.
Lets talk about that. 99% play for pleasure. They not want to be punished for using somethig, and there how it is now. In situationt where compete two players wich same APM and game mechanic undestanding - wold win player who has more
effective APM. And easyest way to have more effeive APM is use untis that require less control.

So how it will be for new player who learns game.
One way (superior efficiency)- do thigs that require less control to be effective, win in compete wich same skill level player - that means be rewarded. Them get to more skilled level, be beaten, up control to this level - win (be rewarded).
Other way (superior microcontrol) - do thing that reqire more control to be effective, lose in compete wich same skill level player - be punished for a try. Up control to better level, win versus players wich less control, and get to the players wich same control level, to be beaten again. (be punished)
Units that require more control are a more risky strategy. Mistakes are punished more. So if you use your APM to make better economy, not do any risky move, you must just wait for opponet to make mistake. If you rely on micro you have to take the risk. The more difficult the control, the greater the risk. The more APM you need take out pillal wich hoplite, the more APM other player can put to mass taking, to make more pillars, or someting else. They about to same cost in mass and energy, but... If we take APM like another resource (and it is) hoplite much more expensive. But mass from pillal can be taken back if needed, and you can stop invest mass in pillals and pillars that you have will still be effective. Not microed hoplite is much less effective. So if you use (x) APM to get 1k mass, made pillars - you can just a-move, and if use (x) APM to get 1k mass and made hoplites, you must also use (y) to control it to win versus pillars. So if players have same APM - pillar player have (y) free APM, that he can use to conter hoplites, say put pd's wich a com. And that requires less APM, so it (y-i), and hoplite player have to react and not lose his units, so he requires more (u) APM and some (c) APM to couter pd. So (superior efficiency) player need x+(y-i) APM and (superior microcontrol) need x+y+u APM to not lose, and x+y+u+c APM to win. So (superior efficiency) have (i+u+c)=(q) "free" APM to do somethig. If that someting (like TML) require from (superior microcontrol) player (q+1) APM to conter, situation will get only worst. So you can snowboll efficiecy just like mass, only thing you need to do it use things that needs less contlrol over time, and you will "eat" APM of your opponent.
So if you trying to play first way, you must be not worse that your opponet, that play second. If you play second - you must be better.
This is also true for ui and ui mods, because player who eco more and micro less - can use ecomanager, and build template, like storages on left click (that trade one action for some), and player that eco less and micro cant use ui mod that will reduse number of actions to do somethig. If you eco hard and have t3 mex you just need to protect in on your base, if you micro hard, and have reclame field, you must micro even more to get engy here, to make them take it fast, and to protect them on the front. But here is ui mod's that helps manage mexes, and that fine. And any ui mods that help reclame or control units are banable. Eco more, spam more, that not really a thing - do what require less APM more. So betwen two equal players will win player, that use units who need less control to be effective. So that how high APM RTS works?
So now how FAF works - try to do something that need more control - be punished and overcome or be punished again, and also after you do that, be punished again, because you move to next level, do all over again. Try to do somethit that need less control - be rewarded and you also can improve to be rewarded more.
People do not want be punished, they want to be rewarded.
But well, that wont affects 1% of 1700+ ladder (or its just seems so), or anyway. Who caries what balance do to players
below top level.
That post will not be readet or answered, tho. Because Im average joe, and must be grateful that can play at all, and even Tagada won't getting someting that coutns like reall answer.

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Will probably not be answered because you can’t proofread your posts.

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@RelaxBro said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

Nerfing thigs - makes players feel like if they keep use it, it will get nerfed more. Psycology proofs that. And so they do not want to use it anymore. Because 1) It was better 2) It may and will get worst if they keep use it.

People don't care about history. They use a unit because it's fun, because it works, because it makes them feel powerful and gives them control over a situation. In-game, they don't care if it's 5% weaker than it used to be. Maybe on the forums they say they care, but during the game, they use the units that work for them.

We could nerf RAS SACUs by 10% and people would keep making them because they like having RAS SACUs.

So now how FAF works - try to do something that need more control - be punished and overcome or be punished again, and also after you do that, be punished again, because you move to next level, do all over again. Try to do somethit that need less control - be rewarded and you also can improve to be rewarded more.
People do not want be punished, they want to be rewarded.

Microing units successfully provides an immediate dopamine hit, it's a fast and simple way to provide this reward during games.

But well, that wont affects 1% of 1700+ ladder (or its just seems so), or anyway. Who caries what balance do to players
below top level.

It's important to balance the game for top players, not all players, because the rest of us will eventually end up copying the top players as best we can. There is no trick that only top players can do. Everything is available to us, even if our execution is comparatively poor. You will see 300-rated players using triads to ground fire subs while they are mismanaging their economy. You will see 500-rated players following the exact pathway to a big economy (t1 into t2 into storages into t3) and then suiciding monkeylords as mass donations. By definition, you can't balance the game for medium-rated players because we're making a lot of mistakes, and while we can't play perfectly, we can change which mistakes we're making.

That post will not be readet or answered, tho. Because Im average joe, and must be grateful that can play at all, and even Tagada won't getting someting that coutns like reall answer.

Sadly, I think you're right. Shift-g move is a good thing and I think the establishment doesn't want to talk about removing it because they know we won't agree. They want to sneak the change past us and present it as a fait accompli. They say "we already had this discussion" and we're just supposed to accept that?

@Tagada said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

I really fail to see how units getting on top of the ACU and blocking it is such a bad thing, yes it may be frustrating but I think it's healthy. ACU's are absolutely busted compared to units and you want to keep your ACU in range of enemy units while keeping your units outside of enemy's ACU range. If you move in your units on top of enemy ACU you should be able to block him at the cost of clumping up your units and making them more prone to OC. After all it's only effective if you have a lot more of units bcs of how attacking vs defending unit formation works. If blocking wouldn't be possible it would make ACU even stronger (bad idea in my opinion) and even if you have 50% more t1 tanks you still wouldn't be able to kill enemy with an all in because of defenders advantage in engagements and Vet on ACU etc.

How is this possibly a controversial opinion????? The top players who fetishize having unstoppable ACUs are just WRONG about what they want to do to the game. We shouldn't let them take away shift-g move.

Footnote: I've spent a lot of time on this post and thought it through so I won't respond to some low effort quotation and BS claim by some random guy, so just don't bother. I am looking forward to get some answers from other top rated players, but mostly Balance and Game Dev Team as well as to use it in the near future in any related discussions so I won't need to spend 1h again explaining and argumenting my points.

I don't think you will find any random guys who DISAGREE with you about this. A change that makes it impossible for us to kill 2k-rated players even if we have them surrounded with a swarm of units is NOT something that the average guy would ever agree to.

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@FtXCommando said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

Will probably not be answered because you can’t proofread your posts.

Oh, thanks, I hope my disgraphia, amuse you too, not only gave a reason to not argue.

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Think most top players actually really hate how strong ACUs are in this game. I remember hearing a suggestion to slash the ACU default gun damage from 100 per shot to 50 per shot.

As far as I know the shift+g change mainly revolves around fixing the backdoor for exploits. The balance stuff is more secondary and is more of a question of "do we want this aspect of gameplay kept in the game in spite of the fact it keeps this backdoor open" rather than being a simple question of "is gameplay better with or without shift+g for movement"

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Then find somebody else to proofread your post. You having a medical issue doesn't make your post more readable, unfortunately.
Nobody can argue a position that is incomprehensible.

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@BlackYps said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

Then find somebody else to proofread your post. You having a medical issue doesn't make your post more readable, unfortunately.
Nobody can argue a position that is incomprehensible.

No. Because there will be no arguing anyway. I wrote this because I can, nothing more, nothing less.

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I agree with the points made by @Mach & @Tagada and disagree with @FtXCommando and @biass. FAF is an amazing game to me because I can control my units as I see fit without being restricted by the game designer’s limited imagination. If the game developers start restricting the player’s ability to control units their own way, I’ll leave the community and I’m sure others will too. Be warned.

Ability to control units vs APM is a stupid argument. Adding new ways to control units won’t decrease your APM, RSI will. New control methods will only shift where your APM is used. Admittedly if you have nowhere to shift your APM then that’s a bad thing for a game but FAF is sufficiently complex and epic in scale that this won’t (probably) become a problem.

Radical point. Pro FAF players (mostly old codgers who are dogmatically set in their ways, while blindsided by their fear of change) want split-move removed from the game because they screwed up their ACU positioning and got punished for it (similar logic for the removal of snipe-acu-mode). Why not just get good and not position your ACU like an idiot, or better yet, have an army with your ACU! If that still doesn’t give you enough survivability, before engaging add an ACU upgrade that gives you survivability when facing off against a huge T1 army swarm!

@RelaxBro made the point that the majority of FAF players are casuals. I hope the balance team takes that to heart when thinking about interfering with UI mods. If the mod doesn’t add AI elements to units, leave it alone.

I suggest adding a visible counter to mods which tracks how many players have downloaded it.

I second the nomination of adding @Tagada to the balance team (if he isn't already). He makes well though out points, rationally considers other people's opinions and explains his reasoning.

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@FtXCommando said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

As far as I know the shift+g change mainly revolves around fixing the backdoor for exploits. The balance stuff is more secondary and is more of a question of "do we want this aspect of gameplay kept in the game in spite of the fact it keeps this backdoor open" rather than being a simple question of "is gameplay better with or without shift+g for movement"

if that is the reason for it being considered for removal, Id like to remind you (or whoever decides about this stuff) that you shouldnt remove things from game just because "someone might exploit it" (or create a cheat mod or whatever your fears are) if it means removing it will stop all legit mods from working too (such as disperse move)

if you can find solution to stop cheat mods (or whatever this backdoor is) from working while legit mods remain fine then fine, but removing code that allows both is just lazy, idk how big problem cheat mods are (never saw someone using (obvious) one ever on FAF) but moderation should be able to keep cheaters banned until this better solution is found (and if at all), otherwise this can be compared (although it is even worse than) to removing friendly fire from nukes just because teammates can nuke each other (or basically any way of griefing), once again moderation is there for that, dont break the modding scene just because some people might exploit it when you can already counteract those cheaters thru moderation

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I am really liking the split move. I honestly thought that was how the split command would naturally work with move orders. Though I understand the concern that it could leave open tools and such for cheat mods, I do hope it stays in. It will be interesting to see the new techniques it will allow. I'm sure I'll find a few, but to be honest, seeing the top tier guys like @Tagada use it for some crazy awesome thing on casts will be amazing to see! 😄

Now to make spread build, so I can relive my AOE:II wall building childhood.

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Arran said:

FAF is an amazing game to me because I can control my units as I see fit without being restricted by the game designer’s limited imagination. If the game developers start restricting the player’s ability to control units their own way, I’ll leave the community and I’m sure others will too. Be warned.

I find empty threats of "people will leave" if you don't get change X inherently vile.

Every game that ever exists had it's movement and control restricted by intention of the game designer. Stating this means nothing.

Arran said:

Pro FAF players (mostly old codgers who are dogmatically set in their ways, while blindsided by their fear of change)

I'm not a pro player and this is straight cringe

Arran said:

I second the nomination of adding Tagada to the balance team (if he isn't already). He makes well though out points, rationally considers other people's opinions and explains his reasoning.

I don't find someone who needs to open every discussion with his current leaderboard position, and then saying to only bother replying if you're "relevant" especially conducive to a proper work enviroment.

I understand that the forums are probably in the worst state they've ever been in, but I rather people not stall progress because they don't want to deal with someone being patronizing. We had that for a long period of time just recently already.

Also, this is a Game Council issue, not a Balance one.

Just for clarity: I'm personally FOR disperse move because I use spread move to help scout, and the former is just the latter without the fat. However i'm not okay with leaving open a backdoor for little QoL changes.

Also, I find the strange game design talk of APM discussion to be cringe and so that's what I talked about in my old posts. You're not designers, just discuss the merit of the changes without some strange moral delving dive into the fundamentals of what APM is used for,

Mach said:

if you can find solution to stop cheat mods (or whatever this backdoor is) from working while legit mods remain fine then fine

This is of course, the utopic situation that benefits everyone. However this is FAF.

@Mach said:

but moderation should be able to keep cheaters banned until this better solution is found

We essentially don't have any competent, and constantly motivated moderators on FAF to try covering this base. FAF needs to make these minor sacrifices because it is aware of this fact. The damage from people ruining lobbies is always going to be far greater than the loss of some good ui mods. Who is going to be able to notice if someone is cheating or not? Who is going to do that for the thousands of games played each day? It's just not going to happen.

I do of course hate to see that happen, because I'm obligated to help grow the "modding scene" but the core FAF experience does need to take priority. As TMM and etc is brought into the client, it's best to remind everyone that this is a video game/client that needs an acceptable level of integrity, and going further down the road of this game/client becoming some kind of amateur developer playground is not a strategy that benefits the end user. Those being people who just want to play FA mutiplayer.

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So now it is like - "we are gonna to remove something, because someone can cheat, but we do not have any evidence, community of FAF is bad enough, to have a lot of cheaters, so we do not have to proof that there is any"