(disclaimer)I am a noob(/disclaimer)
(disclaimer)Balance will not be able to be fully assessed until Rebellion comes out!(/disclaimer)
It occurs to me that certain vanilla units are either underutilized or otherwise eclipsed. With this thread, I would like to:
- Enumerate a list of units I think fall into this category
- Modify said list according to community feedback
- Make suggestions as to how some of the units on this list could be fixed
- Modify said suggestions based on community feedback
Forthwith the list of units I feel might need a buff of some kind:
- Cielo Command Cruiser
- Kol Battleship
- Dunov Battlecruiser
- Illuminator (LRF)
- Destra Crusader (just Ruthlessness)
- Domina Subjugator (just Perseverance)
- Radiance Battleship
- Revelation Battlecruiser
- Antorak Marauder
- Vulkoras Desolator (just Phase Missile Swarm)
- The Skirantra Carrier (just Microphasing Aura)
The community seems to be in agreement: fighters are completely shut down by flak frigates. One way to fix this without throwing off the relationship between damage and armor types is by giving flak frigates a %chance to miss fighters.
In addition, I feel that fighters need increased ability to accelerate, decelerate, and turn, allowing them to come about and pursue bombers more effectively.
Finally, both fighters and bombers should have their antimatter costs rebalanced, allowing fighters to be built cheaply and bombers to be more expensive.
As near as I can figure it, metagame is as follows: get LRFs for focused fire; get flak frigates as an early defense against fighters/bombers and as a counter to LRFs; get carriers for Moar Bombers; and get heavy cruisers/casters as the situation demands.
Note the absence of light frigates, which get ravaged by LRFs and can't kill anything else.
Light frigates are designed to function as anti-casters in the mid to late game. Their weapon system is designed to counter units with heavy armor (flak frigates; light carriers; and casters), and they all get an anti-caster ability of some kind. To balance them out, they're easy prey for LRFs.
I feel the best solution would be some combination of the following:
- Increase their DPS
- Improve their DPS against heavy armor (flak, carriers, casters)
- Improve their anti-caster abilities so they can be used to cripple, rather than merely inconvenience, a fleet of support cruisers
- For starters, it would be nice if Sabotage Reactor and Interference impacted light carriers in a noticeable way (Steal Antimatter already bankrupts them rather nicely)
The Cielo Command Cruiser suffers from a number of problems:
- Role confusion: Tier 5 cruisers in the Vasari and Advent are given a T6 "crowd control" ability; but the TEC crowd control ability (Demo Bots) went to the Hoshi. Since the Hoshi is available at a lower tier, it is often on the field in large numbers when Demo Bots hits the field, and the developers wisely chose to make it the least powerful of the three crowd control abilities
- Conflict of interest: With 2.5 shield regeneration and +10% RoF, Embolden can't decide whether it wants to be an offensive ability or a defensive ability. Consequently, it excels at neither
- Designate Target is... not that great
I think Embolden needs an overhaul, to be either offensive or defensive or good for both in a way that doesn't suck. Then we'll see.
Bilun indicates (and I agree) that the Kol is plagued by three problems:
- Its abilities are antimatter hogs
- Lack of a passive ability
- Flak Burst caught between a rock (Advent strike craft) and a hard place (Vasari strike craft)
Consequently, I endorse Bilun's suggestions:
- Adaptive Forcefield becomes passive, with its effects reduced to correspond with constant uptime
- Flak Burst instantaneously kills 2/3/4/5 strike craft in each nearby squadron; the maximum number of squadrons that can be effected in this way is X.
Unless otherwise prompted, I will continue to log my suggestion that Gauss Railgun ignore shield mitigation.
Older suggestions in quote below.
By comparison, the Kol Battleship is a much simpler problem: all three of its abilities are lackluster. Just compare it with the Kortul Devastator!
- Overcharge vs. Adaptive Forcefield: Godly regeneration and increased RoF vs. a slightly higher level of mitigation.
- Jam Weapons vs. Flak Burst: Entirely shut down all attacking squadrons vs. an ability that needs two clean hits to kill anything (during which time you've already been pecked to death)
- Disruptive Strikes vs. Gauss Railgun: Completely shut down a single capital ship's abilities vs. Slow the thing down and do a modicum of damage
But ph34r n0t! This is pretty easy to fix.
- Gauss Rail Gun:
Flak Burst: Damage doubled at all levels; radius halved at all levels
- Now ignores shield mitigation
- Also disables phase engines
- Disables passive hull regeneration
Adaptive Forcefield: Now effects all friendly ships in an area (I'm thinking 2500, half of the Marauder's Distort Gravity), giving your fleet extra mitigation and phase missile block; sort've like a preemptive Shield Regeneration
- This allows you to completely wipe out squadrons with one shot at all ranks, but it requires much more timing and control to use effectively
This unit suffers from two problems:
- It's tier 3
- Its damage is spread out across three targets
Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to both problems, as suggested by Bilun: increase the firing arc of the side beams so they can focus on frontal targets.
The Destra Crusader:
Ruthlessness is a pretty easy fix: it disables passive hull, shield, and antimatter regeneration on all units around it. This is better than it sounds -- trust me.
The Domina Subjugator:
As per the common suggestion (and in accordance with Bilun): make Perseverence omnidirectional.
The Radiance Battleship:
There are four main problems with this ship:
- Energy Absorptive Armor
- Lack of early game firepower (thanks Bilun)
- Lack of health
As near as I can figure it, the devs felt that Animosity would be used in three ways:
- To restore the Radiance's antimatter
- To synergize with the Rapture's Vengeance ability, which returns damage, the idea being that you cast Vengeance on the Radiance and then use Animosity to make everything attack the Radiance and kill itself (Shield Regeneration helps here to make sure your Radiance doesn't die, but it's rather wasted on the
- To force neutral units to attack the Radiance, rather than his friends
Unfortunately, you don't often see a Radiance paired with a Rapture, as there's simply not enough synergy here to make this worthwhile. Also, this combination is dependent on your opponent being, well, brain dead -- but if your opponent is brain dead, you're gonna roll him anyway.
So, I propose the following buff: When Animosity is in use, attacks restore the Radiance's shields for W/X/Y/Z% of the Radiance's maximum shields.
Simple and effective. When it works, your Radiance is effectively immortal, but its success depends on your opponent being, quite frankly, stupid.
In other words: it becomes what I like to call an idiot check.
Likewise, Energy Absorptive Armor can also be used to benefit from Animosity:
- In addition to its current effect, Energy Absorptive Armor now charges the Radiance Battleship's weapons; each hit the Radiance takes increases its autoattack DPS by 5%, up to a maximum of 20/30/40/50%; this effect lasts for 30 seconds; any incoming attack refreshes the effect.
This will allow the Radiance to deal a significantly increased amount of damage.
I've actually never used Cleansing Brilliance, so I can't say for sure whether its good or not.
The Revelation Battlecruiser:
Bilun has weighed in on this one and identified two issues:
- Guidance hogs antimatter
- The ship itself is squishy
The simple solution is to make Guidance passive. I agree. I should note that this bears some resemblance to the Priestess of the Moon from Warcraft III, who had (wait for it) a scouting ability much like Clairvoyance AND a Trueshot Aura that increased ranged damage on units around her.
In addition, I feel Clairvoyance should reveal mines in any system under its effect.
Older suggestions in quote!
This is a tough nut to crack. I'll start out by pointing out the problems with this unit's abilities:
- Clairvoyance is the LEAST problematic of the Revelation's abilities. I do, however, feel that Clairvoyance should reveal mines in the system on which it is used, making the Ravelation a minesweeper
The problem with Guidance is that it has minimal synergy with the rest of the fleet; consequently, I recommend either one or both of the following:
- Clairvoyance is not without precedent: in Warcraft III, the Night Elf Priestess of the Moon had a similar ability, as did the Orc Farseer. In both cases, the abilities were useful but circumstantial: searching for expansions and clutch reveals of hidden units
Reverie: I can think of two buffs for this ability:
- Also causes strike craft to build 40% faster
- Synergy with strike craft hosts of all flavors AND the Rapture Battlecruiser (which buffs strike craft damage at the source)
- Also causes nearby kinetic weapons to fire 40% faster
- For all you lore junkies out there, Advent orbital bombardment weapons are kinetic weapons
- This buff would allow the Revelation Battlecruiser to facilitate orbital bombardment WITHOUT treading on the toes of the Halcyon Carrier's energy weapon aura
- The Revelation Battlecruiser cannot be disabled whilst this ability is being used
- A small AoE effect, rather like the Stilakus Subverter's Distortion Field
The Vasari are in a pretty good place right now. That said, even they have a few underused units.
The Antorak Marauder:
This unit needs a little help, in small ways, here and there. My suggestions are as follows:
- Phase Out Hull: Damage/healing scales with level: 150/200/250/300 (it is currently 200 at all levels)
- Distort Gravity: The only problem with this ability is that it doesn't encircle the whole fleet most of the time, if it ends at an inopportune time, your units have to reposition themselves, which actually slows down the entire jumping process. To that end, I have the following suggestions:
Subversion needs its own paragraph
- Increase its radius (note that its radius is currently 5000; I feel that 8000, being the radius of the Akkan's Targeting Uplink, is ideal; Bilun suggests 7000, which is fine with me)
- This ability no longer reduces phase jump departure range
- This ability now increases phase jump charge speed by the same rate it used to reduce departure range (8/16/25%)
Subversion, as compared to Embargo, sucks. Both abilities have the same limitations (the ship must be in-system), but in addition to doing everything Subversion does, Embargo STEALS 100% OF AN ENEMY'S TAX INCOME!
Rather than try to one-up Embargo, I recommend overhauling Subversion entirely.
- Subversion: Sends an espionage team to the planet's surface to commit acts of sabotage and interfere with interplanetary communication for W/X/Y/Z seconds (I'm thinking no more than 30/60/90/120).
- Tax income rate reduced to zero
- Culture output rate reduced to zero
- Planet upgrades, orbital construction, and ship construction are all DISABLED for the duration; all such projects are halted for the duration
- Players can't build ships, can't build structures, and can't commission planet upgrades -- the buttons are greyed out on their interface
This ability would effectively paralyze a single planet as long as the Marauder is in-system, just by cutting off communications.
Though Bilun raised some objections to this ability, I'm unconvinced: Embargo does the same thing, only the Sova Carrier also carries a fleet of LRFs and bombers around with it.
Unless I have drastically overestimated the ability, Embargo:
- Cuts tax income
- Gives a corresponding amount of tax income to you (in the early game, when you really need it)
- Reduces (eventually shuts down) ship construction
- Reduces (eventually shuts down) orbital structure construction
- Prevents civilian craft from leaving the gravity well
If you compare Embargo with Subversion as I have conceived it, you find only three differences:
- Embargo gives you money; Subversion does not
- Subversion shuts down culture and planet upgrades, Embargo does not
- Subversion achieves its full effect at level 1, increasing in duration with level; Embargo increases in both effectiveness and duration with level
The Vulkoras Desolator:
Really, this is a solid unit, its primary weakness being Phase Missile Swarm.
The weakness of Phase Missile Swarm is the fact that its damage, and the number of targets, is capped.
Consequently, I feel the ability should be overhauled:
- For the next 30 seconds, the Vulkoras' Phase Missile batteries attack an additional 2/4/6/8 targets; X second cooldown
I'm pretty sure this would turn out better, as it would scale with the Vulkoras' level and any upgrades you researched for Phase Missiles. Naturally, if it were OP, it would have to be tuned.
The Skirantra Carrier:
The Skirantra has one weakness: Microphasing Aura.
Currently, Microphasing Aura provides the following effect: every 4 -> 4 -> 3 seconds, there's a 20% -> 30% -> 30% chance of moving an allied fighter squadron 750 km in the direction it is facing; if this happens to take place at the end of one of the 2-second intervals during which Sins calculates damage, that damage is negated.
To be honest, I max out EVERY SINGLE ONE of the Skirantra's other abilities before even touching this. It needs some love.
Three possibilities occur to me, any or all of which could be OP:
- Frigates and cruisers can phase with this aura in the same way fighters can
- Microphasing Aura also improves the chance of Phase Missile weapons to bypass shields by a small margin, like 3/6/9/12% (OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP!)
- Non-phase missile weapons in the area of effect gain a 3/6/9/12% chance to phase through shields (OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP OP!)
Yes, all those suggestions were OP; I was trying to come up with something that played on the "Phasing" theme. >.<