Some good ideas in here. Another thing I'd like to see is for the TEC loyals to be given *Some* offensive capability- they are the premier defensive faction, but let's face it: you need to attack to win.
To keep in flavor I think any such buffs should focus on boosting Border conflicts or mounting counteroffensives on enemies that attack you first. Perhaps something like:
Counter Deployment: In addition to current effects, when the last enemy leaves a friendly gravity well, all ships in that gavity well(but not structures) deal 15% increased damage for 10 minutes.
Battlefield Promotion: Increase effects to +10/20% experience gain Rate, additionally grants it's effects to ships in neutral & hostile gravity wells as you control an adjacent gravity well(so you can fight 1 well outside your borders and still level up fast).
Militia weapons/armor: Additionally grants 1/2 their bonus to ships in neutral & hostile gravity wells as you control an adjacent gravity well(likewise grants half of bonuses in border skirmishes just outside your territory).
Buffing Novalith Deregulation would also be an easy way to give the TEC loyals some counteroffensive capability.
Also, the TEC loyals have a few techs that I can't fathom why they are such a high tier. Hardened Defenses is a prime example- at only 2 tiers higher the Vasari Rebels get +25% hull & +5 armor to everything. Hardened Defenses only gives 2 armor and 30% hull to tactical structures alone- It could easily be put in the available T2 defense slot and still be balanced. This would make even early game TEC loyal defensive structures substantially more resilient then any other faction.
As for the Ankylon:
Disrution Matrix: I'm a bit Leery of increasing the Disable time, as that already has some massive combo potential with other AoE damage such as Missile Barrage(pretty much guarantees 13 seconds of no interruption). What about instead just adding "all effected ships suffer 200% slower ability cooldowns for duration" in addition to the current silence. This way any abilities that were on cooldown at the start of disruption matrix get 4-8 seconds added to their cooldown(which in many cases is similar to a longer disable). Not to mention this debuff could be applied to enemy titans unlike the disable.
Furious Defense: any buff here is welcome- this ability feels pathetic in comparison to the Kultorask's Nano-leech.
Area Group Shield: Not sure I really agree this needs a buff- It's very strong as is, and frankly pretty much all such large damage reductions have downtime between their duration and recast.
Inspire and Impair: Agreed. Titans are one of the largest sources of late rgame damage and this ability not effecting them is an oversight. That said, the percentages may need some adjustment +/- 50-100% firing rate is an enormous swing for a titan. Perhaps have the ability have different percentile bonuses for titans?
I like those ideas!
Disruption Matrix. Could be interesting and could compensate for its comparable low damage potential.
Furious Defense: We have to be careful about buffing it. Remember Beta 1? The Ankylon was invincible. Nothing could harm it back then. We should not forget that the ability itself is very powerful as it comes into effect after shields, shield mitigation and armor all have reduced incoming damage.
Ability User : Ankylon
Ability type : Active
Antimatter cost : 70 -> 65 -> 60 -> 55
Cooldown time : 90
Duration : 60
Own gravity well:
Hull repaired/sec : 30.0 -> 40.0 -> 50.0 -> 60.0
Damage output : 35% -> 45% -> 55% -> 65%
Not own gravity well:
Hull repaired/sec : 15.0 -> 20.0 -> 25.0 -> 30.0
Damage output : 25% -> 35% -> 45% -> 55%
Notice that the damage output doesnt change much when outside of an owned gravity well, what changes considerable is the amount of repaired hull. At maximum level even a level 10 Ragnarov will take ages to do more than superficial damage to an Ankylon with that upgrade and in its own gravity well. The amount of firepower that is needed to overcome those 60 hull repairs second is tremendous, thanks to the extremely heavy armor and shield mitigation.
So any buff here should be firepower only. Imho the values could be something like this:
Own gravity well:
Hull repaired/sec : 30.0 -> 40.0 -> 50.0 -> 60.0 - no changes
Damage output : 60% -> 70% -> 85% -> 100% - a major increase in firepower to make the Defense truely furios
Not own gravity well:
Hull repaired/sec : 15.0 -> 20.0 -> 25.0 -> 30.0 - no changes
Damage output : 35% -> 45% -> 55% -> 65% - the current in gravity well values for neutral wells. Would imho fix most of the firepower related issues.
The Ankylon has not a durability problem. Its problem is that besides being durable it hasnt much to offer, especially not on the lower levels.
Group Shield: No doubt it is powerful - but only on the higher levels. Main problem is:
Early game: Small effect, to short duration.... will rarely make a difference
Late game: Good effect, acceptable duration - But compared to the crushing firepower your enemy will field at this time.... not enough to make much of a difference on anything but high level capital ships or starbases. And that is to little for a effect that requires such an high level Titan.
Inspire and Impair: Totally agree. Also agree about the lower percentages.... what about:
Level 1 of I&I: 50 % fire rate reduction for everyting
Level 2 of I&I: 75 % fire rate reduction.... but only 60 % for an enemy Titan
Still the same increase in firerate for all own ships and all own Titans.
Now imagine an attack on an TEC Loyalist... First off Furios Defense buffs the Ankylon weapons damage and then I&I bring its firepower up to a level that truely make your enemy wish to run the other way. The stack effect would of course be weaker when outside your own gravity wells, but the Ankylon actually would have some teeth outside your territory.
It is no secret that the TEC Loyalists are quite out of favor on ICQ. What needs to be done to make them a competive choice again?
The post is very good and informative. I need to disagree with the central thesis, however. In fact, some excellent players do choose TEC Loyalists. I was surprised aboutey this, so I thought about it for a while. I prefer TEC rebels myself. But why do excellent players choose the Loyalists? It all comes down to the defensive titan. I watch their games and watch what they do with their titan. They make a great offensive fleet and then make it indestructible with the titan. They win a lot of battles and do very well in games. So we need to keep this in mind. Surely, TEC loyalist is not the highest priority for a fix, then. That dubious distinction would go to Vasari Rebel, which are not allowed in ICO. Next in line would be the Advent Loyalist --- talk about a race that NOBODY chooses. The Vasari Loyalist are allowed on ICO but of course are still OP'd. So those would be the first three fixes. Then we could get into the details, as outlined in this thread, about whether the TEC loyalists need a buff or not. I'd be hard pressed to say whether Advent Rebels or TEC Loyalists are better, though I'd say TEC Rebels are better than both --- notwithstanding that several well-known excellent players do great jobs with the Loyalist titan. Could it be that the Loyalists require a high skill level to play but that, with that skill, they are better than the Rebels?
Define excellent players? I have yet to see anyone with more than 20 games choosing TEC Loyals in competive Multiplayer. Some replays perhaps?
If a low level Ankylon decides a battle with its then low level group shield, the TEC Loyal would have won that battle without the Titan being there at all. He would have won that battle far better with a Ragnarov being there, too.
Actually I see more people playing Advent Loyalists then playing TEC Loyalists. Although most of them are quite new to the game.
Advent Rebels are better... alone by the Titan. Not to mention Wail makes up for a defense that puts fully upgraded twin starbases to shame. But I agree to something mentioned in another topic.... Advent in general need some major rethinking... it is just more visible in the Loyalists because they dont have tremendous powerful techs like Advent Rebels with Wail and Eradica.
About the skill level... you can win with any race... if your enemy has a lower skill than you or makes a serious error.
I dont think that any awesome TEC Loyalist player would do not awesome with TEC Rebels. That is the main issue... TEC Rebels have the Techs that are generally more useful... and they can dig in 99% as effective as TEC Loyalists... that is what makes them such a poor choice when playing competively. Need to defend yourself? Not much of a difference between TEC Rebels and Loyalists... Need to go offensive? Choose Rebels.
In the end it comes down to this:
Your Fleet + Ankylon VS the identical fleet with a Ragnarov.
I am certain that below Titan Level 6 this will be easily won by the Ragnarov. Above 6 its get closer and on Level 8 or above the Ankylon "MIGHT" win with both fleets totally lost. Which is somewhat dissapoining, because right now a lone Ankylon is not very dangerrous... a lone Ragnarov is.
More things to consider:
Rank up speed:
Many people will rush a Ragnarov... having it available earlier than suitable for the other races = valuable rank up time.
An hostile invasion of your empire has been sucessfully repelled... the invaders fleet is in full retreat.... guess who gets more XP destroying fleeing ships? The Ragnarow! Because the Ankylon even when under full Furious Defense needs ages to destroy ships.It needs even more time to move into broadside position.... another 5 seconds for the enemy to run like hell. Against the Ragnarov.... notice the huge range... notice the firepower and the excellent coverage of it.
In theory the Ragnarov has slower repair speed than the Ankylon. So what? 2 Hoshikos or a Dunow is all you need to compensate for that. So it can go hunting again quite soon, too.
The bottom line is: Few there, you can do with TEC Loyalists which you cannot do with TEC Rebels. However many things you can do with Rebels, that you cannot do with TEC Loyalists.
On a final note.... eternal defense will not win you any game. Novaliths will not help you against a human that is not totally stupid. A war of attrition favors the Rebels. Because as Loyalists you cant stop them from bombing your planets into dust if they mean it seriously. As you cannot counterattack with the necessary punching power they can and will just surround you and attack you so long until your defenses are overcome. It may take a while.. but the end is inevitable.
There are only two options to solve that.
1. Loyalist get a defense that makes it considerable more costly to attack them.
2. Loyalists get a way to strike back with enough power to overcome the - still impressive - defenses of a TEC Rebel.
Ideas from some Mods I saw used on the TEC Loyalists:
- more tactical slots in general
- Starbases come with Docking boons as a standard (no slot cost, repair and antimatter restore)
- E4X Mod: TEC Loyalists planets that are under your control for some time get more and more planetary missile launchers installed on the planet - so if you truely insist on attacking that planet you better expect half your fleet dying because of it. Not to mention it looks awesome when hundreds of missiles lash out into space... raining death and destruction on the invaders!
Ideas I have myself:
- General planetary shield for TEC Loyals: Similar like the earlier suggested general health upgrade, just better and more cool looking. At Tech Level 4 or 5 all TEC Loyalist planets get a shield ON the planet. Give it 4 minutes build time so that a new conquered world is not immediatly though as hell.
The planet shield is actually a awesome thing (although imho it would fit Advent more) but the easy to destroy building does ruin its point in 99 % of the cases.
More ideas please!