Author Topic: I think we could use some balance  (Read 218 times)

Offline Krasz

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I think we could use some balance
« on: September 17, 2015, 04:23:03 pm »
Hey guys,
Started to play again and glad to see other ppl still playing, but this came up to my mind long time ago, pretty much after turrets buff and Houses changes. I'll briefly explain my thoughts of each house current meta.

Atreides
Strongest House in my opinion. Auto-concrete tech gives advantage from the beggining, allows you to spare some time and credits in early game, which may have a huge impact in late game. Not even mentioning microvave power which helps hell of a lot in case of a bad rock selection and for fast expansion. All of this add up to very solid early game. Straight to the sonic tanks - versatile unit. Great for wiping out infantry and clusters of vehicles. Cheeky drop with just few of them may obliterate whole base in a matter of seconds. Lack of troopersis not a big deal at all for Atreides.

Harkonnen
I'd put them in between. They base on a brute force, which accurately makes it up to their name and culture. But they consist only of the most expensive units, and this is where they struggle - economy. Huge part in this takes lack of PSM detection. This means you won't be albe to create spice fields near your base (unless you pop spice blooms randomly). Also spice blooms are deadly to your units, nothing is worse than losing both carryall and harvester to a spice blow. But there is a method in this madness and it's called Devastator. Great for fighting heavy vehicles and much like sonic tanks to drop in enemy base and if enemy is quick to react just auto-destroy them near vital structures.

Ordos
Last and unfortunately least. Win early or die - thats pretty much what I think about this House. Not saying it's impossible to play or to win with them, but their lack of heavy equipment is just harsh. Light tanks + rocket tanks combo is nowhere near bad, but fighting against heavy tanks, sonics, devastators is such a struggle. Even infantry can't help because rocket tanks are almost always included in combat.
Now, you may ask why I've written about sonic tanks and devastator when there is not wrong with them. Well, I did it for the comparison, becasue now comes something new, it's big... it's scarry...  it's name is Deviator and it is... ekhm... uhhh, decent support unit... I guess? And most funny thing is that it has nothing much to support because all Ordos units are not able to soak up enough damage. If you will rely only on light equipment your units won't stand a chance against other Houses in a long shot. Only period I see Ordos doing the most is an early game.
I do think that this House has serious issues, just look at the ammount of times when Ordos are chosen volountarily. Unless there is no hiding Ordos-fanclub playing only when I sleep, this ammount is close to none.

Turrets
All RTS games I know favour attacking instead of defending, which obviously makes sense. After turrets buff this is no longer a case over here. Mass turrets > mass attackers. When regular turrets can be easily countered by rocket tanks, as you add rocket turrets to them you get modern times iron curtain. No way you will get through it with all of the vehicles and infantry. I'm even going to say rocket turrets on their own can make up to this statement - enormous range and killing infantry in one shot. Only Death Hands MAY (malfunctions, bad accuracy) be capable of effectively destroing massed rocket turrets. Although it shouldn't be like you have to use alliance to deal with such basic thing as turrets. Rocket turrets range reduction by few tiles would help a lot or/and increase power consumption of all turrets so their placement will require some consideration instead of throwing them everywhere.

In conclusion I'd rather see Houses being buffed towards Atreides or balanced to the level of Harkonnen rather than nerfing Atreides and Harkonnen to the scale of Ordos.

Also really want to hear from you guys what do you think about current game meta and balance. Every comment will be appreciated. And I hope that Drackbolt will find some time to polish this dusty diamond.

Offline Drackbolt

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2015, 12:46:22 am »
Hey Krasz, thanks for keeping the boards alive. ;)  Some responses from the dev...

I play Ordos, voluntarily even.  Basically every time I play.  Why?  Because I love their agility and I find them the most fun.  They start with their own advantages that carry into the later game and they can plug some holes with other things available later.  The Deviator is a very strong unit with support and can completely disable the heavier equipment from other factions in major battles.  That being said, yes I agree it is easiest to win with them early.  But, if you keep up harassment and prevent the enemy from harvesting, you can hold them in place while you take over the board and eventually overtake them.

I wish I could personally back up the above with my game performance, but I find it extremely distracting to play D2TGP and usually lose.  All I can think about when playing are the underlying mechanics and all the things I'd love to fix or change if I could.  But I don't blame that on the Ordos.  I see them as a rewarding faction to play, but only if you enjoy playing a certain way.  You need to emphasize your speed and stay vigilant and active through the whole game to succeed with them.

Regarding the strength of defensive buildings, yes they did get a series of upgrades and are probably too strong right now.  But, I don't see them as impenetrable to a good player.  Saboteurs are awesome when put into the right place since they are stealthed at long ranges (take out a few Refineries or Windtraps late game with some troops ready to move in, and your opponent isn't likely to survive).  Missile Launchers may not out-range rocket turrets 1-to-1, but en masse there are almost certainly more of them in range in a given region than enemy turrets (unless they've literally built a wall of rocket turrets and nothing else, which takes a lot of power and will crumble quickly under fire).  You yourself also said that airdrops with Sonic Tanks/Devastators can ruin bases.  Then of course there's Death Hands, which can certainly equalize matters with a bit of luck.

Rocket turrets can one-shot most infantry, but not all of them.  They are also fairly inaccurate; they aren't homing like they were in the old game (although if you tell your troops to Move into them, that's your own fault), and their rate of fire is low.  It's actually ideal to attack lines of rocket turrets with Foot units.  Rocket turrets are also not "Defended", so they take extra damage from Foot units.

The most important thing about attacking enemy bases is never attack across the breadth of the line, and have a backup plan.  Attack the juts, the outreaches of the rock area where you can focus on fewer buildings and fewer defense formations can target you.  Flank attacks or a second group of different units who can move in when the situation changes is also critical.

Regarding the "dusty diamond"... I've said it before, but the game engine and associated libraries were outdated many years ago, and there just isn't much that can be done to modernize it.  It's not in a standard language and I made plenty of mistakes while coding it, because I was teaching myself to code by doing it.  I've had other people look at the source code and no one wants to learn an entire new language they'll never use again just to work on this game (nor do I think they should).  In particular the networking library is a bear to work with and I cringe when I think of trying to get a dev env working with it again.  Sadly, it's also the one area that needs a complete overhaul the most.  It's very hard for me to even make balance changes when what really needs to be done is staring me in the face and mocking me every time I look at it.  So, there are many other projects I've got lying around I'd rather work on, much as I do love D2TGP and what it's become.

Cheers :)

Drackbolt
Creator/Programmer - Dune 2: TGP

Offline Krasz

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2015, 03:25:26 pm »
Thanks for the extended answer!

I am aware that with complex tactics, good thinking and situational awereness you are able to overcome many things, but thats what I always try to do, and do it as best as I can. Issues I pointed out were things which I couldn't effectively handle during games with good opponents. Maybe I'm wrong or overreactive but thats why I really wanted to hear other players opinion, unfortunately it doesn't seem like people are checking in here anymore.

Regarding last part of your answer. Does it mean there will be no changes and no new content anymore? I do undertand that the biggest obstacle is the coding of the game itself, I myself deal with various controllers programming and I know it's time consuming job and even smallest mistake made at the beginning may be blowing everything later. I just wonder if you are planning improving the code or is it just not worth the effort?

Offline Drackbolt

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2015, 10:34:41 pm »
Hopefully someone else will show up and talk here... I didn't mean to wash the conversation away. ;)

It's definitely not "worth" it to work on the old code any further, and hasn't been for a long time (which is why I haven't been updating much at all).  That doesn't stop me from getting bored occasionally and making some tweaks here and there, but most of the time I just want to avoid it.  For instance, there are lots of bugs surrounding the network library I used, and they pop up all over the place.  Last time I played Frontliner I had a bug stopping me from getting another Harvester out, and it put me far behind.  It's really hard to turn back to it and try to balance the game better when I know it's permanently screwed up in other ways.  If the network bugs were specific issues I could track down that would be one thing, but the problems are systemic.  To add on top of that, it's locked into old rendering and sound technology because of the dying language used so it will never catch up to standards, and of course it's what I would generously call spaghetti code with kludge sauce.  When I've got so many other cool game ideas stuck on a waiting list, including new technologies to learn (Unity, Paradox, Unreal Engine, etc), even my love for Dune 2 isn't enough motivation.
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Offline frontliner

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2015, 12:06:57 pm »
Hey man,

I'll keep it short. I think Ordos needs something to be more bad ass in terms of damage dealing. I also feel that Atreides benefits more from technology then it really should. Also I think turrets are too strong.

Offline Drackbolt

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 07:46:22 pm »
Welp, I had some free time to waste this week I guess. :P
Creator/Programmer - Dune 2: TGP

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Re: I think we could use some balance
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2015, 07:46:22 pm »