MMLs are terrible - Lack of competent T2 siege option contributes to turtling

T2 Mobile Missile Launchers (MMLs) for all factions are terrible. This is bad for gameplay as it makes the most interesting tech level (T2) also the worst for turtling. MMLs should therefore be greatly improved.

First, let's note that MMLs fill a similar role in Tech 2 that T1 mobile artillery fills in Tech 1 and then state clearly why MMLs are so awful:

  • For Cybran, T2 MML DPS/cost ratio is much worse: ~1 versus about ~0.3. By contrast, for Cybran T1 bot and T2 tank, DPS/cost is ~0.5 and ~0.3, indicating a reduction of only 40% raw paper strength from T2 to T1. This would suggest that MML raw damage should be doubled so that T2 to improve DPS/cost to ~0.6, a reduction of ~40% from the ~1 DPS/cost ratio for T1 artillery.
  • T2 TMD and mobile/stationary shields block MML shots. The previous bullet suggests that MML are underpowered even in absence of missile defense and shields. Missile defense and shields serve to aggravate this problem further.
  • T2 MML shot linger time - the time between a missile being launched and a missile hitting the target at maximum range - varied from about 6 seconds (for Seraphim) and 12 seconds (for Aeon). Compare this to T1 artillery shells which linger for about 8 seconds.
  • T2 MML damage radius is very small at 1. T1 artillery (other than Aeon) damages in a radius of 2-3.

Now let's talk how to fix these problems:

  • Low DPS can be fixed by improving raw damage. Raw paper DPS suggests a 100% damage buff is necessary. Analysis of damage radius and shot linger time suggests another 50-100% beyond that would also be warranted. Also, there's no reason why MMLs shouldn't one-shot T1 pgens. The Aeon MML can 1-shot Cybran and Aeon pgens, but all MMLs should get a buff so that the Seraphim MML (405 damage) can one-shot even UEF T1 pgens (720 hp), so perhaps 810 damage total.
  • The T2 shield/TMD combination renders a fire-base all but immune to MMLs. Due consideration should be given to the idea of missiles passing through shields (similar to how strategic missiles do) although this may not be needed if DPS is improved substantially.
  • MML linger time cannot be set directly because it is a product of the missile's performance values (muzzle velocity, acceleration, maximum speed) and it's guidance script, but effort should be made to reduce UEF/Aeon MML shot linger time to <9 seconds, reliably. Also, UEF is the only MML with an unpack animation, this unpack should be made faster to improve the MML's responsiveness.
  • If MML raw damage is only doubled, improving damage radius from 1-->2 would make sense. If MML damage is improved by a factor or 2.5x or 3.0x, more damage radius is not necessary.

Additional notes:

  • It has recently been stated that TMLs are OP. I disagree generally. They only seem OP because they are so much better than MMLs that they are used to siege much more often. If MMLs are made to be good, TMLs versus MMLs will feel like a real choice rather than obvious selection of the superior siege weapon (TMLs currently).
  • Adding a minimum range to MMLs to give tanks some breathing room would make sense. Perhaps 10-15, perhaps as high as 20.

MML do thier job and are very effective at breaking shield bases. Literally my only complain is that if you have about 10-15 MML they will just die to 1-2 t2 arty.

T2 arty need a big nerf on fire rate.

I never seen anyone call TML op, maybe that is just me. TML are expensive and a tactical tool that is rarely used because scouting easily counters it. Com TML was called OP , because its harder to scout. Personally I never had a problem with COM TML.

@Psions Consider that to "break" a walled T1 PD (260 mass), you only need a single T1 artillery (36-54 pass) and about 30-40 seconds. This means T1 siege is effective at 20% mass cost investment.

Now consider a T2 PD + a TMD. For Cybran this costs 480 + 280 = 760. To maintain a similar siege effectiveness, a single MML (200 mass) should beat this in ~30-40 seconds. It does not.

In a test game, I build a Cybran T2 shield + 2 T2 PD + 2 TMD. This costs 1480. In a gametest, I tested 5 Seraphim MML against this, total 1000 mass, and it took them one minute to destroy this setup. (Actually, the MML couldnt destroy the last T2 PD because they kept missing due to a bug.) This indicates that a much larger investment of MML (proportional to defenses) is required to crack a T2 firebase, and it takes much longer to do it. If MMLs are made more effective, they will defeat T2 firebases before being destroyed my T2 artillery themselves.

TML pays itself off with just a single t2 mex kill. In fact you would need to launch 3 more failed TML missiles in order to lose the mass gains you got from the trade.

Anyone that doesn’t think it’s busted purely plays teamgames where 2 TMDs save 4 bases and no one cancers your TMDs.

In fact if we had a neural AI play faf I’m 100% without a doubt positive that the first thing it would noticeably do is abuse tmls and t1/t2 bombers on tmds.

FTX, you were the main person I had in mind when I made the TML comment. TMLs are certainly good, so there is no need to buff them. The MML buff seems appropriate however, does it not?

I like your idea of making TML/MML go through shields. "Just put up a shield it'll stop everything" no longer works, you would now need more TMD and if there are a lot of missiles some could still get through.

@John73John I agree. It's an option, but I think a simple damage buff + missile performance improvement (faster and more accurate) is probably a better solution.

Terrible logic. T3 mobile arty only has 0,08 dps/mass ratio, so only about 25% of T2. Do you want to quadruple its damage after your MML buffs (applying the same logic as you did for your MML buff)? Then it would still only have half the effectiveness of your T2 MMLs. Cyb T3 mobile arty would then deal 1800 damage per shot. Only 2 of them (1600 mass cost) would have the same dps as a T3 artillery installation.

Just an example to show that this way of looking at balance is dumb and ignores many other things, like the additional range you get or that you force your enemy to make a building that is more expensive than an MML and is otherwise completely useless.

In general I think they are pretty good, they outrange T2 PD so can kill them with 0 danger. If your enemy wants to protect them he has to make a shield and/or build TMDs, so he's technically already losing even if you kill nothing. They are decently fast and can disengage easily. They always hit what you shoot at, unlike artillery. I think they fulfill their role well enough.

TMD definitely I would think do not need the buff (Especially any through-shield buffs). I often play with AI, an adaptive AI team only needs 1 TML per player and will always build them almost as a priority. With the amount of AI I play against with its often required to build 5 TMD as a defense on each little fire base. (8 Adaptive, 2 Normal vs 5 players) (depending on your faction's TMD). I do agree MML (possibly TML) AoE buffs are good simply because of that travel time.
The Cybran MML: Viper however seems to be OP in it`s splitting capability, taking out any un-shielded TMD over time with even equal, possibly lesser numbers. This combined with the mobile stealth generator unit: Deceiver (also T2) could be deadly.
I do not know much about stats on the build times of these TMD, TML & MML if you could provide some info on all that too it could help your case.
I personally have always thought that TMD however needs a highly improved fire rate or the ability to target better (ex. 1 TMD per missle)(Aeon excluded).

@FunkOff This is a pointless statement. T2 units should always be less mass efficient than T1 and T3 should always be less efficient than T2 when looking at raw HP and dmg stats.

This is because you get better dps/hp density on higher tier units, you need to limit the way it scales.

If you had linear scaling then as Femto has already mentioned certain units would clear be game breaking.

If you are playing a wide open map, how many tmD and t2 pd combinations must the enemy make? For 1 MML you are now making him spend the mass for 4-5 TMD?

This is why on DG Nuke is always netgain 0, because you force 2 SMD which is 15k mass against 15k mass. Which is why its so dominant.

@FtXCommando I don't think TML are that dominant. They cost a lot in initial investment are easily scouted and easily countered. If you're suggesting bombing TMD then i suggest bombing TML. Also you can block TML with a single land fac in construction.

Also cybran shields are cheap.

I've always wanted an increase in MML max missile speed, provides more of an incentive to hold fire to overwhelm TMD (except the aeon one) since the reload speed wouldn't change.

I have to agree that MMLs feel a bit weak. Not because their dps is is so bad but because tmd is so effective against them. One tmd can certainly block one mml shooting at it. Except cybran but the missile split is rather a gimmick. and a tmd is only 280 mass vs 200 mass for the mml. I am very sure it is effective to block unsynced mmls with tmd. Synced mmls might be more efficient than tmd. But then you still have to break through a shield. I nearly never use them to break through a fire base. But they are great at stopping pd creeps. 3 MMLs make pd creeping with a t2 acu nearly impossible. For breaking firebases I would rather suggest t3 mobile arty, as it has only shields to fight against and it is more dps/mass efficient than t2 stationary arty.

But this discussion is only happening again because people play lame chokepoint maps where building firebases is viable. On more open maps you just can ignore the firebase and destroy your opponents eco and deal with the firebase once you are so far ahead it doesn't even matter anymore.

The problem is MMLs exist solely to break firebases, and TMD exists solely to protect from MMLs/TMLs. You have to keep a balance between the two or else MMLs become either under or overpowered.

I would agree for a straight damage buff. This would preserve the current MML/TMD balance while also nerfing shields' ability to block them.

How do we nerf the ability of shields to block them? Literally just let them through some percentage of the time? 100%? 50?

You could use MMLs to kill shielded TMD and then bases would break instantly. At least with shields absorbing some MML shots you have a chance to react if your opponent spams MMLs.

By buffing MML damage. If the missiles do more damage shields cannot hold under fire as long, while this has no effect on TMD.

There are different ways to change MML's balance and at least 2 types of passive defense can be used

Shields: any buff or nerf will contain changing dps
TMD: more about how many MML's they counter. Healthy (IMO) state is about 0.7-1.2 . 1.5 will be OP

There is possible even buff MML aganist shields and nerf aganist TMD

From test:
It takes about 3 min by 10 MML's to do ANY damage to firebase with around 2000 mass in shields and TMD

Unless the map is cluttered with players or the map is a turtle map i fail to see where turtle bases are an issue at all. The most common scenario is that 2 opposing players have lots of t1 / some t2 spam when fighting over territory and you try to build some t2 pd to support your army. Note that it's for army support and not to make it act as a "turtle base". These fights are often pretty chaotic so both having the time to build tmd and letting it live is pretty rare. After your mml's have killed the pd's they shoot safely from the back at random units and will eventually give you value as well, since armies tend to grow big enough for them to randomly hit units anyway. You often can build just 2 or 3 mml's and when the fight is over you check the mass killed on the mml's and they often have reached 500+ mass killed, which means they have more than done their job.

This was all talk about teamgames btw. 1v1's turtle bases aren't even worth talking about.

I'm not sure where the idea came from that MML were suddenly unable to break firebases. Maybe you have some replays where this is not the case? They're supposed to be the basic requirement for balance posting. Instead of making 8 posts a week full of claims that are not backed up in any feasable manner.

Stop asking for the balance team to randomly change stats because of what is essentially napkin-theorycrafting.

If you cannot even provide people the basics (The replay where you think you lost because of MML balance) It's on you to test this simple idea.

Luckily, we've told you how to do just that, here.

@biass said in MMLs are terrible - Lack of competent T2 siege option contributes to turtling:

I'm not sure where the idea came from that MML were suddenly unable to break firebases. Maybe you have some replays where this is not the case? They're supposed to be the basic requirement for balance posting. Instead of making 8 posts a week full of claims that are not backed up in any feasable manner.

Can you provide replay when they can?

I'm asking cos I'm not that good player and newer being able to break firebase with MMLs. I want to become better
Unprotected PDs and interesting mex locations are other story

Just post a replay of you not being able to break a firebase then. This is exactly what he asked for.