Thursday, April 25, 2013

Strength / AL / Class / Roll / and all that stuff

This week we're going over the rest of the information that is given to a player as they are looking at the descriptions on a unit.  There is a lot of information that is given but does it all actually mean something or are we just putting technical numbers up that make it look pretty but don't actually mean anything?

First is the Strength of the weapons and the Armor Level of the armor.  The first number gives you an idea of how strong the weapon actually is.  So if you see a Rail cannon with a Strength of 40 you will know that it's obviously stronger than a AutoCannon with a Strength of 21.  What what do those numbers really mean?  Well they are directly tied to the Armor Level of a unit.  Many vehicles have 2 armor levels, a Frame and a Plate armor.

Lets take that same example above and look at the vehicles armor level that the weapon is being fired at.  An Autocannon with a Strength of 21 deals 2100 points of Cannon damage to an enemy unit.  If that enemy unit has Plate Armor with a 40% reduction to Kenetic Weapons that means its actually only taking 1260 points of damage.  However if that Plate Armor only has an Armor Level of say 10 that means its armor hp is only 1000 and that Autocannon will punch right through it damaging the frame by 260 points of damage and completely ruining the Plate Armor for further attacks.   So in this situation if the Frame AL is also 10 it would only have 740 HP left (assuming the frame doesn't also reduce damage at all).  A second shot would take this unit out easy.  However same situation with the Rail Cannon it would do 4000 points of Rail Damage to the enemy unit.  The first 1000 would be stopped by the armor and the rest of the 3000 points of damage would destroy the frame, a single shot would destroy the enemy target!

You may be thinking to yourself "why would I build anything but Rail units in this beautiful world?"  Same situation, but say you were fighting a swarm of Pitbulls.  I can buy 3 Titan Tanks for the cost of 1 Mammoth Mk 4.  Each shot the Titan Tank fires will destroy a Pitbull just as quickly as it would be destroyed by the Mammoth tank.  Thats because the Pitbull would be considered a swarm unit.  They have weak armor but pack a bit of a punch for the cost and are fast.  That Mammoth Mk4 will take a lot of damage trying to fight off 10 or 12 pitbulls by shear numbers but the Titans would not only kill 3 off before the Pitbulls are in range (compared to the Mammoth killing 1) but would hold up just as well against the Pitbulls kenetic based weapons because both the Mammoth and the Titan have armor that is designed to stop Kenetic types of damage.  Of course if we went the other direction and these units were going up against an enemy using lasers like NOD it would be a different story.  The Titan Tank is meant to be an older type of tank and the down side to this is its armor is not designed to handle Energy type weapons where the Mammoth can brush those laser shots off and keep going.

You see the point to all of these changes is not to complicate the game more than we have to its to give the players choices and a reason for playing this game.  Typical strategy games follow the standard Rock/Paper/Scissors of units.  Others it's more about managing your resources and your base than actually fighting the battle.  What we're aiming for here is a game where you need to not only be aware of what your fighting but also how you spend your money.  You may be able to roll in with 12 mammoths and win the day but our goal is for players to try and work for that perfect "balance" of cost to performance depending on their enemy and how their forces are shaping up.  If I was playing against a player that was building nothing but Mammoth Tanks as an apposing GDI player my plan would then to be to hit them with Cruise Missiles from Orcas to weaken them up a bit and then move in with a large Pitbull / Grizzly APC force to hit them hard and fast.  I would also keep a small squad of either A10 Orcas or Firehawks in the wings to use as a mop-up force.  The diversity of my force would allow me to move faster and strike harder than my enemy who is focusing on the best Armor and Weapons that he can get.  As a player fighting me if I saw my enemy building that force that focused on fast air and cheap ground the counter to that would be to look at units like the Sphinx / Griffin / and Predator Mk 3 and Mk 4 tanks.  These units would be fast, able to keep up with the cheaper units and dish out some serious damage.  The Griffin would be a perfect unit to use against the fast Firehawks, slowing them down with its long range sonic cannon and allowing for the Predator Mk 4 to line up a kill shot with their Rail Cannons.

All of this brings me to Class and Roll.  We're sticking with the Class idea though we have dropped the Repair class as really it felt like we had to force units into these rolls instead of them just naturally falling into them.  That means the units you see are either going to be Assault or Offense.  What this means is simple, an Offense unit has had their frames reinforced giving them more HP and allowing them to survive in the field longer.  An Assault unit has had it's range and weapon output increased giving it more power and the ability to strike first in a normal situation.  The other side of the Class is its Type : Troop / Fast Attack / Heavy Support.  The idea here is simple, if it's a Troop its a normal type of unit.  if it's Fast Attack its able to move at very fast speeds compared to normal units.  Finally Heavy Support may be a bit slower but it's the big guns, able to deal a massive amount of damage out.

Roll is the last part of this story.  The roll of the unit has 2 parts to it, the Roll and the Notes.  The Roll is a suggested way of using the unit, so if a unit says under it's roll that it's "Experimental Anti-Scrin" unit this should clue you in to what its used for.  This means its weapons are designed to deal extra damage to organic types of enemies so the Scrin and enemy infantry would take extra damage from this unit so even if your not fighting the Scrin if your opponent is focusing on infantry like NOD can or heavy GDI Infantry this unit would still be useful.  However against the Earth Federation : UC faction it wouldn't find much use as most of the UC forces are mecha based.

Notes also help you understand either features or limitations of a unit.  These can be notes that either tell you the unit "Detects Stealth", is an "Infantry Transport Unit", or as simple as "Must return to airfield to reload".  Notes are there so that you don't buy a unit expecting one thing and getting another.

So thats the 2nd half of our breakdown of the factions.  If you have any questions or comments feel free to post them up or email me.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Weapon Types and Armor, what they mean to the player.

I have gone over in detail before what different weapons and armors are in the game but with the latest changes being put into place I think it's time for a refresher as to what each weapon has going for it and where that is important.

Cannon - A Cannon is a Kinetic weapon that is typically used to deal a high amount of damage to vehicles and structures.  It is the most basic weapon type out there for these rolls.  Artillery Cannons have a blast radius applied to them.

Rocket - A Rocket weapon damage type is much like a Cannon.  Its a Kinetic weapon but it does have a few advantages.  It can have a blast radius applied to it, it can be targeting or non-targeting depending on if it's considered a Missile or a Rocket, and it typically does better damage against air units but weaker against really big air units like Kodiaks or Scrin Capitol Ships.  Rockets can have additional weapon types also, these are considered payload rockets.  The GDI Sonic Rocket Barrage weapon on the Sonic Gear is an example, at the point of impact it does Rocket damage but it does Sonic blast damage as well.

Gun - A Gun type weapon is a Kinetic weapon that is typically used against infantry and lighter units.

Grenade - A Grenade is a Kinetic weapon that may not have the range of other weapons if they are thrown they are very effective against biological targets like Infantry.  They have the ability to clear out structures that may be garrisoned by infantry as well.  Finally grenades always have a blast radius making them effective at dealing with swarming infnatry units.

Sniper - A Sniper type weapon is a special Kinetic weapon that deals a massive amount of damage to infantry and biological units.  Sniper weapons are typically long range though some payload weapons can have the Sniper sub-class blast radius to show that the weapon is specifically designed to kill infantry and biological units.

Fire - A Fire type weapon is a Heat based weapon that continues to burn or is a stream type weapon.  It deals a low amount of continuous damage to units and is especially effective against biological units and certain enemy armor types.  For example Mobile Suits without shields are more suseptiable to fire damage than when they have their Arm Shields.  Scrin Energy Shields are extra useful against Fire weapons but once the shields are down the Scrin Units burn quickly.

Plasma - Plasma weapons are another Heat based weapon that typically deals not only a massive amount of damage to a target but also have a splash effect of fire on them.  Plasma based weapons are some of the strongest in the game, but armor designed to protect against Fire also protects well against Plasma.  Plasma is also effective at overloading energy shields like the Scrin use.

Laser - Laser weapons are the most common Energy based weapon out there.  They are the Energy equivalent to Cannons.  A unique aspect of Laser weapons is that they can also be seen used as an Energy equivalent to a Gun weapon giving them a certain level of flexibility not normally seen.

Beam - Beam based weapons work a lot like Laser and Cannon based weapons.  They are Energy based but react differently depending on the type of unit they are used against.  Against exterior armor / plate armor / energy shields / arm shields they work just like any other projectile.  This means that they can have their efficiency reduced due to the armor/shield.  However once past that armor/shield and when dealing with the Frame/Main part of the unit Beam based weapons always have a 100% efficiency rate meaning it doesn't matter what the frame is made of most of the time as the Beam Weapon will treat it all the same.  This will show how a Mobile Suit with a Heavy Beam Shield is much better protected than the same unit with a Small Arm Shield against beam weapons even though both units are using the same frame.

Lance - Lance weapons are energy weapons used by the Scrin.  They are incredibly powerful, cutting through enemy armor quite efficiently.  Armor that is designed to protect against Energy weapons are only half as effective as they normally are against Lance weapons.

Sonic - Sonic weapons are a unique Energy weapon developed by GDI.  They are not very effective against armored units but do add the side effect of slowing units down and causing them to fire at a slower speed.  If enough sonic weaponry is brought against a heavily armored unit the combined power can effectively stop the enemy unit in its tracts.   Against infantry and tiberium based units Sonic Weapons are incredibly effective.

Rail - Rail weapons are typically used by GDI.  They are incredibly powerful weapons and always have a 100% efficiency rate against enemy armor.  That means that there is no armor out there that can stop or lower the damage output of a Rail shot.  For GDI this is key as they do not have many effective ways to get through Scrin Shields except though Rail Technology.

Those are how the weapons now work in the game.  Each one is unique and has it's own use and place in the game.  But the only way this works is if it's tied to the Armor of the units as well.

Armor will have 3 different ratings on it.  K is for Kinetic, H is for Heat and E is for Energy.  This means if you see a unit has a Frame of K30% H 20% and an armor of K60% E 40% the units armor is effective against Energy and Kenetic weapons but once the armor has been cut down / removed / is no longer effective the internal frame can only protect a bit against Kenetic and Heat based weapons.  If a player was to build a lot of units with this kind of armor setup they would have to be wary of enemy units that are equipped with Heat based weapons as they will cut though the armor quickly and then Energy based weapons as they would destroy the frame quickly.  An enemy unit that would have this kind of loadout would be the Avatar for example.

Armor also has the chance of having a bleed-through effect.  Some armor is just not very good at protecting against certain weapon types.  For example the Titan Tank, being an older tank and having not been designed for dealing with Energy weapons is exceptional at protecting against Kinetic weapons but if it gets hit by an energy weapon like a Laser not only will its armor take some serious damage it will also take bleed-though of 50% to the frame, meaning half the damage dealt go's to armor and half to frame.  As the unit is destroyed if the frame is destroyed weather or not the unit still has armor on it this makes the unit very susceptible to energy weapons.

I hope this breakdown of the way the games balancing system with armor and weapons.  Next week we will go over Strength / Armor Levels / Assault vs Offense and Class type and Roll.  See you then.