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.