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Lovehandles

Community Balance Patch

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Posted (edited)

*WORK IN PROGRESS*

 

Consider this thread the dumping grounds for changelogs and any feedback related to the Community Balance Patch. These changes are not 100% set in stone, and are liable to change in future releases. Release 1 is largely a test bed for the current modifications.

 

What is the Community Balance Patch?

 

A completely fair and warranted question, my fellow. In essence, it's an attempt at rounding out some of the game's rougher edges, and giving some of the more undertuned units a bigger chance to shine. This has mostly been achieved by dialing back a couple of keys units, while padding out some of the more commonly neglected units, be it due to their stats, or just high tech requirements. Ultimately, our goal is to improve over-all unit and strategy variety, while keeping the gameplay in line with the original as much as possible.

 

Can I still play with the original balance?

 

Yes, yes, and yes. The Community Balance Patch is an entirely optional setting that can be enabled (or disabled) at one's own leisure, whenever hosting a game on CnCNet.

 

Release 1 (21st March 2019)

  • Apache

Ammo has been reduced from 15 to 12. As a rule of thumb, it now takes 1 more Apache to snipe a given structure, with the buffed Construction Yard (4 Apaches -> 6 Apaches; more on this later) being the exception -- possibly also the 3 structures with heavy armour; that is, Turrets, Airstrips and SAM Sites.

  • APC

Cannot crush infantry anymore. Generally, this means they're much less suited as an anti-infantry unit, while still retaining its arguably niche role as infantry transport. The intention behind this change is to bring the other, usually support-oriented anti-infantry units further into the game's meta.

  • Stealth Tank

Health has been increased from 110 to 125, and cost has been reduced from 900 to 700.  It's essentially just an over-all increase to cost efficiency. This gives them a damage output advantage over Recon Bikes for one, meaning that their entire selling point isn't just their stealth functionality anymore. I don't think this change requires much explanation; Stealth Tanks are largely just worse Recon Bikes, but with a stealth gimmick. This buff is an attempt at making them a more worthwhile investment, while still keeping them inferior at unit skirmishes, when compared to Recon Bikes.

  • Humvee

Health has been changed from 150 to 185 -- in short, roughly 33% more than a Buggy, so their respective health pools are proportional relative to their costs. This buff gears them further up for pretty much every fight imaginable, but the biggest focus was shrinking the cost-efficiency disparity between Humvees and Buggies (they still do not trade one-for-one, due to Buggies having a damage output advantage). Additionally, they can now engage against Recon Bikes quite confidently, although Recon Bikes will still scale better.

  • Artillery

Turn rate has been increased from 2 to 5 (Same as SSM Launchers, the MLRS, and the majority of the tanks). This makes it easier to target fire with, and react to flanks.

  • MLRS

It's now a GDI-only unit, has had its health increased from 100 to 125, and only requires a Communications Center (radar) to access now. We're gunning for this unit to function as a respectable support unit against light vehicles, and an outright counter to infantry and air units (through scaling/critical mass, if not by default). GDI's analogue of Artillery, but superior in most ways, except for their minimum range, inferior damage output and lower health (relative to their cost).

  • MCV

Its sight radius has been increased from 2 to 4. The sight radius increase is intended as a quality of life change to make it easier to orientate oneself at the start of a game, and help out people with lesser map knowledge.

  • Chem Warrior

Tech prerequisite has been changed to Communications Center (radar) to improve accessibility, and give them a chance to find a place/role in the metagame. I'm expecting/hoping it to function as something along the lines of a bootleg Grenadier, but time will tell!

  • Rocket Soldier

Health has been increased from 25 to 50, to match that of Minigunners and Grenadiers. Even though they're the best anti-armour and only anti-air infantry in the game, gutting their survivability this badly isn't justified -- especially when you consider their cost, and the fact that they basically have no favourable matchups, except against Orcas and Apaches (More or less all anti-air in the game is cost-efficient vs air units). Broadly speaking, this remains the case with the buff -- notable changes being that 2 Rocket Soldiers will usually bring an Apache down to a sliver or so of health, and 3 Rocket Soldiers will confidently beat it. Light and Medium Tanks are also going to have a notably harder time using their superior speed (and range, in case of the Medium Tank) to kite them to death.

  • Engineer

Health has been lowered from 25 to 20, and speed has been lowered from 8 to 7 (for comparison, Minigunners have a speed of 8 and Rocket Soldiers a speed of 6). Previously, it would take somewhere around 3-9 shots to kill a moving Engineer with a Humvee, Buggy, APC, or even Minigunner. This change reduces that range to 2-4 shots, bringing it much closer to the original minimum. As the cherry on the top, Guard Towers and Apaches can now one-shot full health Engineers, unless they are already prone.

  • Temple of Nod

Cost reduced from 3000 to 2000. This is a simple accessibility change, meant to give Commandos and the Nuclear Strike a bigger chance of making an appearance outside of situations that essentially just amount to stalemates.

  • Advanced Communications Center

Cost reduced from 2800 to 1850. This is a simple accessibility change, meant to give Commandos and the Ion Cannon a bigger chance of making an appearance outside of situations that essentially just amount to stalemates.

  • Weapons Factory

Health increased from 400 to 480. The cardboard box has been reinforced with a double-folded sheet of toilet paper, equalising the amount of Orcas and Apaches it takes for a snipe (4 for both). Considering the massive difference in resilience between the Weapons Factory and Airstrip, I would colour this a justifiable buff. It needs to be vulnerable, but not to the point that brainlessly diving it will be almost effortlessly rewarded. Last, but not least, a Nuclear Strike CANNOT kill it anymore, but will leave it smoldering with a sliver of health. I believe the burn damage will usually kill it, unless it's repaired in time.

  • Ion Cannon

Damage has been increased from 600 to 640. This is a very focused change that's essentially just meant to make it so the Ion Cannon can still one-shot a Weapons factory. I am 99% sure this will not make it capable of orbitally annihilating anything it couldn't previously, but let me know if you can think of or know any potential candidates.

  • Construction Yard

Armour type has been changed from Wood to Light, and its sight radius increased from 3 to 6. This means Construction Yards will now take less damage from certain damage types/sources, namely High Explosive going from a 75% to 56% modifier, and Fire from a 100% to 69% modifier. The sight radius increase is intended as a quality of life change to make it easier to orientate oneself at the start of a game, and help out people with lesser map knowledge.

  • Visceroid

Health has been lowered from 150 to 1, it has been fully disarmed, had its ability to crush infantry removed, and in turn, been made crushable itself. This is really just to keep them from ruining the odd game now and then. Ideally, they would be removed completely.

 

Edited by Lovehandles
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awww, don take the Visceroid out hahaha, That is a classic creature!!!! They are rather annoying though :)

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11 hours ago, Xero said:

awww, don take the Visceroid out hahaha, That is a classic creature!!!! They are rather annoying though :)

The Visceroid will be forever immortalised in the original game -- something this optional balance patch can't, and won't change :~)

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Posted (edited)

What is going to be the role of this patch? Is it intended to replace the official game, or is it just a mod for fun? I see a divide coming, not many nod players will want to play this patch, and many GDI players will want to play it.  Where does it fit in with competition are some people going to be competing with this patch and some with the real game?

 

Im sticking to the real game I hope others follow suit, this to me is just a fun extra in the options, I hope that doesn't cause offence Lovehandles.  I just want to be good at the actual game and not a mod of it.

 

White has been making maps so he can win from the start his earliest creations were maps that had a massive distance to the point that the AI broke down, (scared to engage with nod players so he created a huge distance) then came the GDI bias maps that were sized to his resolution and settings and not balanced for nod despite that claim, and now the game itself is being changed.  Hes like one of those new guys that makes a special set of options so he can an unfair undeserved win, but he carried on  doing it for over a decade? This seems to be a continuation of that theme, but now the freaking game itself is being changed which probably later down the line there will be a a sly attempt to force it on everyone as an official patch, as the maps of his didn't not become popular.

 

I mean apaches are not only nerfed a massive amount but also rocket infantry boosted and mrls + mammoths available too, it seems a GDI bias mod to me.  It doesn't fill me with confidence that the rest is well thought out when apaches are nerfed that much. It strikes me not as Lovehandles work, but Lovehandles being persuaded by white too much.

Then add to that the countless hours people have put into learning engie offence and defence, or certain builds like the heli - troop  build and mastering the overpowered units, it might ruin the many hours of effort people have put into skill development.

 

Its all dandy if its just a fun extra but I sense this is an attempt a making an official patch or competition mode, and "some people" will treat it as just that, or try to creep it into that position ,  causing a divide in a tiny community which could be a problem.

 

Edited by chem
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So is everyone playing on this patch now? Will I only see games that are being played on patch in the lobby or will I see all games?

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22 minutes ago, Sentinel12 said:

So is everyone playing on this patch now? Will I only see games that are being played on patch in the lobby or will I see all games?

You'll still see all games; it's an optional setting you can enable when hosting a game, like crates and capture the flag. (-:

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Posted (edited)

Flame tank is underused because its not so great, perhaps it could also get a buff for this patch? Armour/speed increase? Its such an enjoyable unit like the MRLS but rarely has a place. Make it the fearsome unit its meant to be?

Since GDI get enhanced bazookas and mrls how about nod apaches stay the same power re their ammo?

My God with APCs that cant crush AND a weaker Engie whats Pence supposed to do? This is like an aniti Chem and Pence mod

Edited by chem

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There is no patch for TS, because the whole community would go nuts, if you change the ballance. And Firestorm is mostly rejected because of its even poorer balance. The game is fine how it is.

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This thread should be called 'Private Balance Mod' instead of 'Community Balance Patch'. I can elaborate on why, but it seems pretty obvious to me.

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Not a surprise. Yuri's Revenge has the Yuri rebalance patch, Tiberian Sun has the veterancy patch that makes underused units more useful and Red Alert has the Slow Unit Build option so Tiberian Dawn is getting its own changes as well. But something still bothers me a little about this...

I am aware GDI sucks in this game, but these changes do seem too GDI-biased like for example : nuclear can no longer destroy a weapons factory but an Ion cannon is given more damage to deliberately still allow them to destroy it and MLRS taken away from Nod despite they are the ones that doesn't have an AGT. And why are stealth tanks cheaper than flame tanks? I've seen them in action more and have a more dangerous situational role.

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The patch is completely optional.

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Just to reply to the philosophy of the patch (but maybe we can open a whole thread for that to keep it all clean)...
As Ferret points out, this patch is optional. We'd like to get it to a point where it can be used competitively, but as it stands, it's pretty much just an experiment.

We're not assuming that these current changes will fix everything, no one's claiming that. This is the first wave of ideas to get an understanding of what the game might be like with the most overused and underused tech units tweaked. Some changes may well be chucked out, that's why we're testing.

The most obvious culprits;

-Apaches were too strong. (Their gun was too good among a variety of targets, and it was placed on a unit with the very best mobility)
-APC's fast crushing overshadows other anti infantry weapons, BUT APCs have their own role that isn't anti-infantry. (Wasn't designed to BE a fast crusher, but instead an infantry transport)
-WF too weak.
-Chem and MLRS too high tech.

Most of the changes are based around that. And I think most people will agree that those statements are true.
If you simply think back on previous matches, it's pretty obvious to see that people often forget all other tech units than flyers and APCs. Even in GDI v GDI, most people will opt to use their own orca, rather than try to make AA to counter.
If too many changes are made at once, it actually becomes hard to balance down the track. So please test what's there instead of making assumption about the power changes.
That's far more helpful for everyone. If you're not interested in this patch, then I see little purpose of you posting in this thread.

"This thread should be called 'Private Balance Mod' instead of 'Community Balance Patch'. I can elaborate on why, but it seems pretty obvious to me."
Actually a pretty good point. I think the name was just copied from the YR patch. But if the community is at least on board with having a patch of some sort, which is why this thread exists, then I guess it's not the worst name given.

"Flame tank is underused because its not so great, perhaps it could also get a buff for this patch? Armour/speed increase? Its such an enjoyable unit like the MRLS but rarely has a place. Make it the fearsome unit its meant to be?"
It is underused, but it's hard to know how powerful it is, because it's overshadowed by the APC. Without a unit overshadowing other anti-infantry units, we can get an idea of the current strength of it and other anti-infantry units in the nod arsenal. Also, no one knows what it's like to have flame tanks backed with chem warriors, light tanks and beefy rocket soldiers. (this is why too many changes cannot be made at once)

"Since GDI get enhanced bazookas and mrls how about nod apaches stay the same power re their ammo?"
Rocket troopers, despite what some people think, are owned by both teams, and are useful vs medium tanks. They're frequently used in GDI v GDI.
Regarding their use as AA vs Apaches, the HP of the rocket soldier is not the biggest barrier to using them as AA. Mostly it's cost and speed. This just means that if you make a bunch and put them together, that the apaches don't just kill them and then go to town elsewhere. It means that rocket soldiers can, in good number, zone the apaches from an area. 
The apache ammo is chosen the way that it is to be good against specific targets, outlined in the apache changes. This is the reason for a very specific HP for the WF. It's to help to keep the apache useful. The apache is still lowest tech and produces extremely fast. The same cannot be said for the MLRS.

I'm happy to debate the balance here, but I will not respond to personal attacks (especially ones that are based on flat lies) or hysteria.

"nuclear can no longer destroy a weapons factory but an Ion cannon is given more damage to deliberately still allow them to destroy"
Supers are often used alongside flyers. The splash from the nuke can well wipe out rocket soldiers around it, and even shut down power to AGTs. Having a Nuke that doesn't kill the WF, in particular, doesn't hurt the overall power of the nuke by that much, for that reason. Currently the splash from a nuke almost wipes it out, and fire on the factory often finishes it off.
The WF is a hard change; the obvious thing to do was to just buff it's HP, but by doing that, it'd mean that it'd no longer be susceptible to attacks it's meant to remain susceptible to (like the Ion).
This change at least makes the two super weapons somewhat different in what you get out of them, rather than the nuke feeling more like an ion with splash.

"MLRS taken away from Nod despite they are the ones that doesn't have an AGT"
Both the APC and MLRS are GDI vehicles that are given to both teams in multiplayer. Even though Nod has a similar vehicle in the form of the SSM. This change is to help both teams remain asymmetrical in the game. I'm still unconvinced that the MLRS will be the moving AGT people believe it'll be (far less HP and about 50% the damage output).

"why are stealth tanks cheaper than flame tanks?"
There are plans to buff the flame tank, but it's hard to know where to put it when there are so many other changes happening. See the above reply ""Flame tank is underused because its not so great, perhaps it could also get a buff for this patch? Armour/speed increase? Its such an enjoyable unit like the MRLS but rarely has a place. Make it the fearsome unit its meant to be?"" 
There's also some dispute as it if it should be speed or HP that it gains.

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185 health for the humm-vee is wrong.
It is a classical mistake, so no worries there, ok?

+33% health does not mean +33% time.
It depends on the opponents damage.
Which results in the number of shots needed.
Which also need "first strike" to be subtracted.

There are several types of balance that you can consider.
Depending on the game that you want to make (or rebalance)

Chaos balance:
You need to consider the opponents army composition.
So every NOD unit versus the Humm-Vee and every GDI unit versus the Buggy.

Perfect balance:
It is different for when you consider same army fights as well, which would sound fair for the multiplayer.
But if you do that, you would exclude proper balance between the humm-vee versus buggy.
So, consider opposite faction only: Which is the Chaos balance.
Unless you plan to play maps with both factions for all players: Which prefers the Perfect balance.
Most designers pick the average score, accepting partly imbalance on either side.

Practical balance:
Players pick the best choice for battling units.
What do you use against the buggy and hummer?
See how the number of shots are important here.
Arrange them from top priority to lowest priority.
ROF is also important here.

Keep in mind, the practical balance against AI is completely different.
This explains why the original game is as how it is.

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Also, body is only 50% of the unit. What do you do about the hummers weapon?

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+33% health does not mean +33% time.
(until it does during a fight?)
It depends on the opponents damage.
Which results in the number of shots needed.
Which also need "first strike" to be subtracted.

We know. No one said that it's 33% stronger.
It still loses to buggies, but, while it was sometimes a soft counter to bikes, it can now fill that role a bit better. It means that hummers are not outright the worst light vehicle, in the case where we're talking pure light vehicle fights. But it has less use later on, than say the recon bike. It also doesn't scale as well.

We were choosing to look at hummer vs bikes and buggies as it's their most important role (unless we maybe count sniping flamer troops). Hummers already die to their flat counters... Even buggies die to light tanks, the hummer is still a worse version of the buggy, just not to the same extent.

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Well, I was simply assuming that you guys did simple reasoning to that. But if it is a coincidence of choice regarding the aspects that you had chosen. Then you may consider it, not said.

Has it been tested yet? Did it feel right?

It would be pretty neat if the +33% is a coincidence towards practical balance. Aka, the situation of the hummers against buggies+bikes.


+33% health does not mean +33% time.
(until it does during a fight?)

I did not assume here that it was only a hummer vs buggy fight.
I am not so sure about the bikes though.

Do you understand my reasoning for doubting?

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Posted (edited)

I'm not 100% sure what you were doubting, is my main issue.

You're saying that 33% extra HP does not mean 33% extra overall power?

We've been testing buggies vs hummers in all sorts of situations. That testing is continuing. Feel free to fire the test up with someone and test them based off of build speed ratio or cost ratio or even just put the cash up high on an average map and play pure hummer vs pure buggy.

The buggies still seem to own, from what we're seeing... just not quite as much.

We want it to be a zoning tool, not an equal to the buggy. So that's somewhat good, but we need to decide on exactly how strong it should feel.

Edited by AchromicWhite
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You're saying that 33% extra HP does not mean 33% extra overall power?

Yes. Exactly that. As strange as it might sound to you.
It depends on the situation (practical balance), counter fire and the damage itself does as well.
At first I was doubting what your goals where.
At first it looked like you where trying to get buggies equal to hummers, henceforth the +33% health looked doubtful to me.

But that is not your goal.
Your goal is clearly stated now that hummers have to be a bit better than they used to were.
But are not going to be equal to buggies.
Then +33% is all good.

There is only one situation where +33% health means doing roughly +33% damage (or power as how you put it). And that is when they are dying for sure.

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Ford has been doing some research on TD and can confirm that certain units (NOD) have a faster build speed relative to their cost. 25% less time to be exact. I wonder how this could play into the balance of the game?

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2 hours ago, AndrewFord said:

Ford has been doing some research on TD and can confirm that certain units (NOD) have a faster build speed relative to their cost. 25% less time to be exact. I wonder how this could play into the balance of the game?

That is incorrect, but not TOO far from the truth. Take a look at this thread where I looked at this anomaly in full, at least as it stands in the vanilla game. 
https://forums.cncnet.org/topic/8015-production-speeds-for-structuresunits/?tab=comments#comment-62160

Interestingly, the TI automatically changes when the cost of units are changed. And there is NO actual recorded build time in the unit's stats (like I'd started to suspect). I suggest that perhaps it's a % decrease, that's also somehow rounded.

I'd like to continue research on it, but obviously am currently working on this patch/mod.

To speak a little how this plays into the balance, it means that nod can deploy vehicles faster, which also means that they spend faster. This leaves GDI with less vehicles nearer the start, but with more money kicking around to plug into infantry. Which is OK, due to GDI infantry, at least in the early game, being better than Nods and melding well with their tanks in the mid game.

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image.png.eb55bf563e3d4749300aa63585e14bc1.png

I've found the code in the executable itself that alters the build time formula if a unit has a certain bit-flag is NOT enabled. 25% of the cost is reduced when calculating the build times with these units.

image.png.25c878e25685be857913270513eeed31.png

This is used for ALL units/structures that are built. TL:DR, Cost/108 = frames per interval. Although not shown, multiple factories simply loops the amount of time to add with seemingly NO cap.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, AndrewFord said:

image.png.eb55bf563e3d4749300aa63585e14bc1.png

I've found the code in the executable itself that alters the build time formula if a unit has a certain bit-flag is NOT enabled. 25% of the cost is reduced when calculating the build times with these units.

image.png.25c878e25685be857913270513eeed31.png

This is used for ALL units/structures that are built. TL:DR, Cost/108 = frames per interval. Although not shown, multiple factories simply loops the amount of time to add with seemingly NO cap.

Be really good to put this under the other thread that I stared on unit/structure build times, rather than cluttering this one up.
That's really interesting, but I also know that all build times are locked off into large time intervals. Those being the full length of the shortest production times; all walls, silos, minigunner, grenadier, flamer (I think that's all...). So it also rounds the build times. Maybe to 150 credit intervals? Unsure.

Yes, I don't think that there's ultimately a production time cap for multiple production facilities...

Little confused on exactly what you're saying about the frames.

Edited by AchromicWhite
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Posted (edited)

Ok, let's say I am making a medium tank. So I would calculate 800/108 = 7. So the time interval is 7. The game adds +1 per frame, per factory that exists, to this time interval until the build progress value reaches 7 and then the clock image animates. It is possible to have the clock image animate twice if you have enough factories. This is measured in Integers not floating points, so decimals cannot be used meaning there are certain breakpoints for lowering the time interval by 1.

Also, sorry for the slightly off-topic posts, but I do think the build speed can come into account with balance where any unit that benefits from the faster build time should naturally be less cost-effective (buggys vs humvees for example)

 

All vehicles that benefit from fast build time

Buggy, Bike, Light Tank, Flame Tank, Stealth Tank, Artillery, MLRS. (Dinosaurs too xD)

Edited by AndrewFord
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Yeah, MLRS, but not MSAM, right? (SSM not "rocket launcher")

mmm, this is not so much a post on general balance, this is about the patch. It is important info to keep in mind, for sure. But we did already know about it.... it is nice to see the exact calculation, though.

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