I actually kinda hate the style of matchmaker maps and they are indeed very noob unfriendly.
The issue with them isn't the start though, it's that they're micro-heavy: Mexes all over the place and with almost no terrain obstruction to unit movement meaning that you can have as many lines of attack as you're capable of managing and your opponent has to be able to keep up with defence.
Making FAF micro-heavy is kind of like blitz chess: On the one hand, it's a great challenge for pros. On the other hand it completely ruins the experience for a lot of people.
Ever noticed how the most popular noob maps are ones that force the game to be played in such a way that you can play with really low APM and still win by virtue of strategy alone, by severely limiting the lines of attack and assigning many players to manage them? Though they often do this to too extreme an extent and players don't step out their comfort zone.
Apparently, there's no difference between 400 ping and 100 ping, as the game works in 500ms intervals so the effect of ping only changes with 500ms intervals; so ping would have to be over 500 to appear any different to any ping below 500.
However, ANZ players with pings decently below 500 constantly get kicked from matches with the message "Reason: Ping" by European hosts, presumably with the logic "They're on the opposite side of the world, they'd single-handedly ruin the ping for everyone else".
And while it is true that we're on the opposite side of the world to Europe, it doesn't matter, unless somehow the ping does actually get above 500 (which would require unusually bad internet)
So, could we have a loading screen hint that mentions that unless someone's ping is showing in the lobby, ping has zero effect on gameplay?
Okay, this idea is probably totally broken, but imagine this:
ML loses 10k health but gains a 10k area shield for protecting nearby units.
ML still only has personal stealth, but it can project both cloak and stealth to nearby units (at a huge energy cost).
Essentially, it's still a trash experimental on its own, but a ML fielded outside of omni range is a complete wildcard and you ought to send a T3 scout every so often to make sure it's not up to anything.
It'd be pretty hilarious if someone fired a Billy at a ML hiding a loyalist.
Kind of an out-there suggestion that I doubt will be seriously considered, but it could be used to stretch out the relevance of ground experimentals.
Rather than making the experimentals simply better through increased DPS or health, the experimentals are made into much more versatile units.
Here's some ideas for what this could look like:
Slot 1: Air factory | Improved engines
Slot 2: Advanced AA (aircraft carrier grade) | Tactical Missile Warfare System (equivalent to four TMLs and TMDs, builds TMs with reduced price and damage and scatters when launching a volley)
Slot 1: Disruptive Beam (beam has increased shield damage) | EMP Overcharge Cannon (manual/auto fire like ACU overcharge, requires a huge amount of energy to recharge)
Slot 2: Rapid Reclaim System | Rapid Capture System (tractor claws reclaim/capture units at a very high build rate)
Slot 1: Incendiary AA Artillery | Portable Gateway (moving units to Ythotha teleports them there at the cost of energy, with enough energy you can even move experimentals)
Slot 2: Amplified Detonation | Tactical Nuke (Like Billy)
Slot 1: Stealth field -> Cloak Field (no self-cloak) | Stationary Fire (improved range when not moving)
Slot 2: Bubble shield | Radar Jamming
Slot 1: Flak Battery | Long Range Missile Deflection
Slot 2: Artillery Guns (similar to three gunthers but with 100 range) | Advanced Engineering Station (equivalent to two maxed out hives with double range)
Something that I notice that makes naval balance very different to air and land balance is that the factional differences are enormous.
It's difficult to summarise because there's just so many differences that feel too big to gloss over, but overall I feel that UEF navies are simply too good compared to navies without UEF units, as UEF provides powerful units not available to other navies, plus they have arguably the best battleships.
Of course, in team games, you can have a mixed navy which is likely stronger. A Cybran or Seraphim navy stands to benefit enormously from a few UEF units.
Bulwark especially bothers me as just too big a factional advantage. It combines especially well with UEF being well-suited to long range harassment as both their cruisers and battleships can attack at a range of 150, and greatly helps against air strikes, especially Ahwassa (a single Bulwark can nullify an Ahwassa hit that would otherwise do 20k mass of damage).
@archsimkat But the problem with that is that in real life, an ineffective weapon is not one that does too little damage, it's one that tends to do no damage at all.
An attack on a WW2 bomber formation that ineffectively defends itself will likely still have a few attacking fighters be lost.
An ASF attack on an unescorted strat bomber group results in no losses unless the ASF force is really small, for some reason one fighter gets focus-fired for ages, or there's fighters with very low health to start with.
Weapons that are never going to have a substantial impact on gameplay, because they'd struggle to kill units a tier lower or even two tiers lower.
UEF and Cybran units are particularly guilty of this, having little extra features that don't actually do anything.
UEF T3 gunship AA is so weak that you'd need 10 of them focus-firing (and always hitting) a single ASF to kill it in 15 seconds, the fight might not even last 15 seconds.
Cybran T3 gunship AA is a little better, it can do it in 10 seconds and it's missiles. Still, an experimental's worth of gunships isn't going to kill a single ASF without focus-firing.
UEF and Cybran strat bomber AA is a little stronger relative to mass, but of course strat bomber and ASF engagements are so short that there's no chance of an ASF dying.
All T2 transport weapons (all have AA and all but Aeon have a ground weapon) falls into the uselessly weak category, especially the ground guns. The one possible exception is Cybran, because a 4DPS weapon with EMP might be useful.
UEF T3 transport can actually beat an ASF in a 1v1 (but not a 1v2), or a small swarm of interceptors, so its fairly weak AA actually matters; however its ground guns most definitely do not.
UEF, Cybran, and Seraphim frigates, UEF and Cybran destroyers, and UEF, Cybran, and Seraphim battleships all have really weak AA.
Of course, these are tough units and can be escorted by cruisers/carriers which have amazing AA.
There are only two situations where this AA being so weak is actually a big problem for the player; No cruisers have been built yet and there's no air support, or it's a Salem and going places where cruisers can't follow and aircraft would die.
And lastly there's ground experimental AA and battlecruiser torpedoes.
Monkeylord and Fatboy AA is enough to deal with T1 scouts and small groups of T1 bombers. Sure, they're early experimentals, but strat bombers are almost certainly going to be a concern at their stage of the game.
Megalith is even later game and has even weaker AA, it'd struggle with singular T1 air units.
And battlecruiser torpedoes would take 30 seconds to kill a T1 UEF sub.
I'm not sure what I'm saying about what needs to be changed about the game, I think that with the exception of the transports and Monkeylord all of these units would be considered overpowered if they were buffed further.
I do think it's rather misleading to new players though to label a unit as having "AA" when it's completely incapable of protecting itself against anything you'd expect it to encounter, plus the similar situations with a few non-AA weapons.
However, these weapons should be kept as they fill an "anti micro" role, otherwise you could much more often force a player to waste APM by constantly sending units where they can deal damage without being damaged back.
Are there any units where you think it'd be reasonable to makes some changes to their minor self-defence weapons?
Cruisers just seem too good in their AA role in order to make a favourable mass tradeoff likely. Sure, you can get a favourable tradeoff with no enemy ASF presence, no bulwarks, and a lot of torp bombers; but that's essentially requiring your enemy to do everything wrong while you build lots of torp bombers you might never have a good opportunity to use.
So, what if cruiser AA traded off most of its DPS for a large boost in range?
UEF cruiser has 500DPS AA missiles with a range of 75.
It could instead be 200-250DPS at a range of 120.
This would add a lot more depth to the interaction between air and navy.
On the one hand, it would be pretty easy for a torp bomber strike to get a favourable mass tradeoff on a typical fleet with no air support, although a fleet with lots of cruisers could still be tricky.
On the other hand, although now reliant on air support, cruisers would provide much better support to air units.
ASFs would have to give cruisers a wide berth unless they're targeting something valuable enough to justify a few losses, giving your air units far more room to operate in.
The long range AA would also give you an edge in both sending and defending against bombers and scouts.
@harzer99 Cruisers may have much lower AA DPS relative to mass than T2 MAA, but their range and accuracy is far higher, so it more or less balances out.
Plus, on top of that, cruisers aren't a dedicated AA unit.
All of them have TMD.
UEF has decent long-range missiles, and a fairly weak direct fire weapon.
Cybran has long-range proton cannons nearly as powerful as those on their destroyers.
Aeon... Well, that's actually a dedicated AA unit, and an insanely powerful one.
Seraphim has really powerful long-range missiles.
So ignoring the AA and TMD, UEF and Seraphim cruisers add an additional ability to the fleet, and Cybran cruisers are great in ship-to-ship battles.
So I think it'd be perfectly fine to make cruisers no longer an AA monster and instead have the AA as more of a long-range utility.
Cruiser AA just feels way too powerful in terms of raw DPS.
However, nerf it too much and you can end up in a situation where naval superiority is useless if you don't have air superiority.
So, what if cruiser AA had way less DPS, but even more range? That way it's not gonna be able to melt waves of bombers, but the sheer range of the AA would allow you to maintain an air presence you otherwise couldn't have, which in turn would be what protects the fleet from large waves of bombers.
It'd couple really well with aircraft carriers, since you could keep ASFs far away from them making it much more safe to strike from and return to the carrier.
For the UEF cruiser AA is currently a range of 75 and a DPS of 500 (Cybran and Aeon have same range and similar DPS, Seraphim are weird).
I'm thinking something like a range of 100 and DPS of 300, or even 120 and 200.