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Ecm Announcement - Feedback

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#1 Viterbi

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:27 AM

This thread shall serve as a consolidated outlet for constructive feedback relating to ECM (electronic countermeasure). While there is certainly considerable feedback on this matter that we are reviewing, we would like to take a moment to invite you to make suggestions and voice any ideas or concerns in this official feedback thread.

In an effort to reduce clutter on the forums, and so that it is easier to provide our developers with your feedback, we kindly ask that you keep responses and suggestions regarding Bryan's ECM Announcement post to this thread.

2013-03-12 - Note from Bryan:

View PostBryan Ekman, on 12 March 2013 - 10:47 AM, said:

We have been reviewing your feedback. At this point, we feel that we have read a variety of responses representing a diverse sample of opinions on the matter. We will leave this thread open for you to continue to discuss ECM, but we will be taking some time to digest the responses. Thank you for making such constructive points; we really do appreciate your feedback and will take it into consideration moving forward.

Edited by Niko Snow, 16 September 2013 - 12:37 PM.

#2 Featherwood


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:32 AM

First things first,
thank you, Bryan, you've lighten my hope for ECM fix/rewamp/rebalance, whatever. After I saw how PGI had reacted and turned situation with Coolant Flush, I have strong faith in your team.

In order to fix the game balance you (PGI) should fix few things simultaneously:
  • Revamp ECM functionality
  • Revamp Hardpoints system
  • Revamp Streak SRM aim/hit mechanics
My personal opinion on those above:
  • Remove 'invisibility' effect from ECM bonuses
  • Implement more logical Hardpoints allocation and restrictions, something like MW4 has
  • Streak SRMs must have more realistic missile fligth trajectories and missile targeting homers restrictions/limits
I draw your attention to the RVN-3L, this one gets all the advantages, so much that it looks more like game mechanichs abuse rather anything else. I would mention COM-2D, but it has not enough armour to be real pain in arse on the battlefield.

Edited by Featherwood, 11 March 2013 - 02:08 PM.

#3 Murku


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:43 AM

Expecting the player-created Bible on ECM soon, but here's an impartial (not a SSRM/LRM heavy user or ECM mech as primary pilot) opener.

ECM is without doubt a major game changer. Our anti-ECM PPCs don't make a huge impact, and there seems no downside to bringing ECM to the battlefield. It seems pretty clear some fairly big tweaks are needed before minor balancing stages. I'd begin with dividing many current ECM features among modules (making non-moduled ECM much weaker) longer PPC effects, PPC hits directly damaging ECM to an extent and BAP acting as a HARM type system for targeting ECM Disrupt broadcasters.

Edited by Murku, 10 March 2013 - 08:50 AM.

#4 Padic


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:44 AM

Thanks for the update-on-the-update!

I've posted this opinion elsewhere, but I want to reiterate it here.

I think I like for everything that ECM does to be in the game. What I dislike is that it's one tiny piece of equipment (that only a select few 'chosen-one' style mechs can use). Comparing ECM to AMS and BAP is natural based on their size and weights, but comparing the effect that even one ECM can have on the match, compared to one AMS is insane.

I'm not sure I've seen an ECM capable mech not equipping it since it was introduced. This just shouldn't be the case. Not every gauss capable mech would equip a gauss rifle, even at the peak of the gauss-craze.

I believe that splitting up ECM's functionality across several pieces of equipment would help to alleviate its issues without harming its core functionality.

EDIT: I also want to say that when fighting against ECM, I struggle with these things in descending order:
  • Identifying friends vs foes. I can't fire from range into a brawl, ever.
  • Not having access to a mech's paper doll. I want to know what he's carrying and how badly he's hurt and were.
  • Losing information about friendlies and enemies on the minimap. I often find myself wandering into the entire enemy team and thinking "where on earth did all my dudes go?!?" (this one might just be solvable by playing better).
  • Nothing else bothers me. I don't use LRMs or SSRMs, so I cannot speak to how frustrating it is to use these weapons against ECM in comparison to using them against no ECM.

Edited by Padic, 12 March 2013 - 10:49 AM.

#5 Morgana


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:49 AM

Thank you Brian for the update!

Glad to see that this is being revisited. As new things get imlemented into gameplay, adjustments become the norm. As it stands, it seems a bit unbalanced, but then again, we don't know what else may be coming into play looking forward. I stand by Paul's famous statement "working as intended at this time". Thank you for hearing our voiced opinions and we look forward to the enhancements you make.

#6 Wolfgang Landsknecht


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:51 AM

If ECM was balanced it wouldn't be a no-brainer to stick it on any mech that can carry it.

I believe that while certain mechs should have the ability to carry it out-of-the-box, others should be enabled to carry it with a module. If the additional module slot becomes worth as much as the ability to carry ECM you've reached balance.

Edited by Wolfgang Landsknecht, 10 March 2013 - 06:13 PM.

#7 SerEdvard


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:52 AM

ECM in it's current state simply does too much for it's weight/size, making it a "must have" piece of equipment. ECM currently doesn't have enough trade-offs to make a player consider not equipping it.

My ideas for balancing ECM:
- The ECM bubble should protect units from indirect targeting, but a unit with direct LOS should always be able to target enemy units under the bubble.
- Separate ECM's offensive and defensive abilities into separate modes. (i.e., "disrupt" vs "protect" vs "counter") Protect mode would form the ECM bubble that hides friendly mechs and makes it more difficult to achieve missile locks against them (defensive), whereas Disrupt mode would scramble enemy communications, targeting, and navigation (offensive).
- A mech carrying ECM in "disrupt" (offensive) mode should itself suffer the same disruptive effects (reduced missile lock time, no mini-map, etc.)

These changes would still make ECM a very powerful piece of equipment but bring it's capabilities in line with other battlemech equipment.

#8 Jason Parker


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:52 AM

As far a ECM goes there are only two concerns I have:
  • The combination of speed, ECM and Streaks in a single mech appears to be overly powerful.
  • I dislike the stacking mechanic of ECM. Just leads to arms races of who has more ECM. One ECM in Counter mode should be able to counter all ECM's in it's range in my view.
Other than those two points I am fine with how ECM works versus targeting and versus LRM/SSRM lock on.

I used to be favoring a buff to BAP that would enable finding unECMed mechs without LoS within a close to medium range. This viewpoint of mine has changed. Realizing how City combat is one of the pillars of the game (just to remind you and everyone else that this is what you've said) to keep circle strafing fights at a minimum I see how BAP enabling others to track you between the buildings would make that part of the game completely unfun.

So in short the two points I listed are what in my view needs to be adressed and then ECM would be near perfect in my opinion.

Edited by Jason Parker, 10 March 2013 - 09:12 AM.

#9 JuiceCaboose


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:53 AM

I think that starting with the TT base for it and implementing it exactly like that, and tweaking it from there would be a good way to start. Here's a quote from sarna.net

The Guardian ECM Suite was introduced in 2597 by the Terran Hegemony[1]. Designed to interfere with guided weaponry, targeting computers, and communication systems, the Guardian is typically used to shield allied units from such equipment by emitting a broad-band signal meant to confuse radar, infrared, ultraviolet, magscan and sonar sensors.[2] Affected systems include Artemis IV, C3 and C3i Computer networks, and Narc Missile Beacons. A Guardian can jam a Beagle Active Probe (or its Clan equivalent), but the probe-equipped unit will be aware of the jamming. The Capellan Confederation expanded the utility of the Guardian even more with the introduction of Stealth Armor.[3]
The greatest drawback to the Guardian is its limited range, which extends out to only 180 meters. Sensors can sometimes override this jamming, though by that point the enemy unit is already within visual range and can track the opposition with their own eyes.[2]

So, it's pretty close where it is right now. The key differences being 1.) not every mech can equip it, which technically isn't correct. 2.) It doesn't stop streaks or LRMs from functioning. 3.) It doesn't block mech-to-mech communication, though it does disrupt more advanced kinds - C3, mainly.

I think a good way to start is to allow the mech to be detected out to 300m, and allow targeting data to be shared of it if the mech in question is outside of 180m. Let streak and LRM lock ons take the extended amount of time they currently do, but allow them to happen. TAG functionality stays how they have it right now.

I do like the idea of BAP being able to counter it to a degree, since BAP can be carried on every mech. If you don't change ECM's implementation don't make it a full counter. Like, let it decrease lock on times to regular if it's within the area of effect of the probe, and allow targeting information to be shared normally.

Edited by JuiceCaboose, 10 March 2013 - 08:56 AM.

#10 SgtKinCaiD


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:56 AM

The main concern with the ECM is not the ECM in itself, it's the abuse of it. When the ennemy team has one ECM and your team none, it's not a big deal. The problem rises with the gap of ECM between both teams. I regularly play in 8v8 and while we do not want to min/max our team like this, we often encounter teams composed of at least 2 ravens 3L and 4 atlas-d-dc . That's 6 ECM for an 8 men team, and guess what it will be in 12v12 ? Even more ECM. And as the matchmaking does not take into account the number of ECM, how can you have a balanced match when there are 3 or 4 ECM on one side and none on the other ?

Another concern with the ECM : do you see many of the non ECM-variant of the raven/commando/spider on the battlefield except for the necessary xp grind ? No. All the variants should have the ECM (not sure for the Atlas though).

If the choice was mine, I would make the ECM light mechs only, thus giving them 2 majors roles : scouting and shielding their team. I admit there would be a problem with the jenner and its weapon loadout though.

#11 Kell Commander


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

I would modify your first point to this:

View PostJason Parker, on 10 March 2013 - 08:52 AM, said:

  • The combination of speed ECM and Streaks AND SPEED in a single mech appears to be overly powerful.

I do however agree with this point 100%.

View PostJason Parker, on 10 March 2013 - 08:52 AM, said:

  • I dislike the stacking mechanic of ECM. Just leads to arms races of who has more ECM. One ECM in Counter mode should be able to counter all ECM's in it's range in my view.

ECM and streaks on an Atlas are not really a problem. It's when you have them on the Commando and Raven that there is an issue. The stacking effect with multiple Atlas though is very bad.

Other than that I like the ECM the way it is now that a PPC blast will turn it off.

#12 Jabilo


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:57 AM

I do not see any significant issues with ECM when taken in isolation

There is a reason people are angry and that is because the perfect storm of light mech speed, ECM and streak missiles is clearly over powered.

It has go to the point where to drive a Raven is a one button easy mode I WIN against any other light mech (and Cicadas) apart from another Raven or a 2D.

I say this as a 3L driver (if you can't beat them...)

Driving any other light mech is an exercise in futility at the moment and it is a huge shame, because it limits variety and that is bad for the longevity of the game.

I do not know the answer on how to balance this, it may be ECM needs tweaking or it could be that other mechanics (streaks?) need tweaking.

Maybe BAP needs buffing to directly counter ECM?

What is clear and unavoidable is that there is a serious balance issue here.

Good luck with your balancing and thanks for finally opening a dialogue on the issue.

Edited by Jabilo, 10 March 2013 - 08:59 AM.

#13 Bryan Ekman

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 08:58 AM

Great feedback so far. Keep it coming!

#14 Vassago Rain


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:01 AM

My only issue with ECM is that ECM mechs themselves are becoming rare outside LRM atlases and suicidal ravens, so if you play a lot in the ghetto, there are times when you're **** out of luck.

We need some carriers that can't boat either massive speed or LRMs.

#15 Limidas


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:01 AM

I think the ECM is to powerful for it's tonnage, and makes it a no brainer to equip it. If it had a bigger weight you would have to actually sacrifice something to get it, right now you can just unequip your AMS and the 1 ton of ammo and you won't even feel the burden of the ECM weight!

I do see the problem for the light mechs, if it gets too heavy what about making 2 different ECM's


Stealth ECM: 2,5tons giving only the stealt ability to the mech that is carrying it, and makes it impossible to get missile lock on. (No signal jamming and no stealt for other mechs).

ECM suit: 4,5 tons doing what it does now.

Edited by Limidas, 10 March 2013 - 09:08 AM.

#16 Vassago Rain


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

Oh, and yeah, agree with all the above guys. You'll get maybe two pages of useful feedback, then the LRMboats will be all over this thread to declare how this isn't 'canon,' and 'not like muh battletechs on sarna, the most legit source of CBT on the internet!'

#17 Monky


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:05 AM

ECM has a few essential problems for the way it works.

1. New player friendliness is near 0 - for a piece of equipment you essentially just load on to the mech, you get no effort info denial. New players are (as evidenced by anyone I've tried to get to play MWO) completely bewildered by this without prior warning and explanation of how to counter. This can potentially drive people away.

2. Putting a missile lock countering mechanism in the game is perhaps too strong. With Streaks unable to fire at all, LRMs forced into dumbfire mode, you've knocked 2/3 missile weapons types on their *** just by loading it on your mech. Further, if you want to use streaks, ECM is your golden ticket to do so with near impunity, which is an uneven mechanic in the current setup as not everyone can use it. LRM's do have some utility being dumbfired and TAG does help with its extended range.

3. Inventing mechanics to balance ECM is the wrong way to go. You've already buffed TAG, PPC, adjusted ECM health, what next? Ideally, this is where you throw in the towel on adjusting other things and realize 'it's a little too much' and start adjusting ECM.

4. As far as ECM itself - taking into account what's said above, Here is my interpretation of something that is 1.5 tons and 2 crits that is useful but not mandatory to take; It cancels the effects of Artemis and NARC on anyone it shields. It slows missile locks against anyone it shields by 100% unless they are lit by tag, then only 50%. If a mech is trapped in the ECM bubble of an enemy, they are cut off from the info network like currently except for very near mechs, i'd go with 180 meters for FRIENDLY FIRE FROM NOOBS/CONFUSED DUDES prevention. (this is the stealth mechanic - you sneak up on someone, cut them off, and narc/tag them until they go boom). This prevents people from being bewildered but cuts them off from the greater battle, IFF is not communications based but your own targeting comp of course, cause you're ECM jammed. ECM could also reduce targeting info decay time by 50%, give false armor readouts to the enemy, and be able to throw out a bogus lock signature (point at ground within 180 meters of you and press a button to spawn a false beacon for 30 seconds, enemy will blindly lock this thing and waste ammo. It's right out of tabletop and a great spoof tool. These things should show up on their radar without having to be locked by a friendly as no one with LOS is going to lock one, should have decent mix of damaged/undamaged mech target readouts/loadouts and be able to spoof a player name).

Edited by Monky, 10 March 2013 - 09:12 AM.

#18 Rippthrough


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:07 AM

2 solutions I've seen posted elsewhere which I agree with.

1.) Any mech with it's ECM in offensive mode also suffers from the scrambling effect, leaving it unable to lock missles.

2.) One ECM in counter mode should negate multiple ECM's in offensive mode (the actual number it counters can be fine tuned for balance perhaps), because at the moment, any light fight is simply, who brought more 3L's.

And one more for consideration:
3.) If you have direct LOS on a mech (i.e, your targetting reticule is over it), then allow target info/red box reticule to be generated (although perhaps still don't allow missile lock)

Edited by Rippthrough, 11 March 2013 - 10:36 AM.

#19 Tichorius Davion


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:11 AM

This is my experience as an LRM Catapult driver.

Despite being the dedicated Missile Support boat I can not fulfill my duty as a Missile Platform in the event of too much ECM coverage.

As it stands a single Fast, light, ECM equipped mech can cripple me without even having to touch me. Once I enter the bubble my C4 and C1 is reduced in its abilities solely to my lasers. It is less of a problem for a C1 but A1 and C4's take the heat for this.

Unlike other Missile Hardpoint carrying mechs they do have much in the way of self support. With Missile Mediums they can achieve much with their higher speed and varied armaments. With Missile Assaults they carry much more than missiles and generally use Missiles as a secondary rather than primary source of Damage Outputs.

The prevalence of ECM over LRM's has caused the push of the SRM A1 Catapult over an LRM or SSRM Catapult. That is another matter.

Overall my Experience as a LRM user is this.

I stack Artemis, BAP, and increased sensor range. I often times find that I will have to actively seek out targets because either I am under ECM coverage and can not gain solid locks. If the enemy team is under ECM coverage then I seek them out for Direct Line of Sight targeting.

As a Support Boat I should not be thrusting my mech out into the open to have to do my job. Most of my time is spent Positioning and Repositioning without any shots fired. I do not like to waste shots. Many LRM Pilots that I know and play with make up for ECM by increasing the amount of ammo they carry. They resort to back to back fire and use unreliable locks to fire.

The worst part of it is when we make pot shots with LRMS. I sometimes resort to dumping ammo and using pure instinct and estimations to dumbfire my LRM's at a target. Why? Because either it is a mech with ECM coverage or I am under ECM coverage and can not fire anything with a high degree of accuracy.

As an Addendum; I dislike the use of Tag on my C4. The reason why? I already dedicated BAP, a Module slot, and Artemis for the best possible locks and sensor detection. Removing one of my two Medium lasers that still give me a reasonable amount of power to defend myself and assist my teammates when my Ammo runs out is unreasonable. Unfortunately, Light mechs with Tag are a rarity.

View PostVassago Rain, on 10 March 2013 - 09:05 AM, said:

Oh, and yeah, agree with all the above guys. You'll get maybe two pages of useful feedback, then the LRMboats will be all over this thread to declare how this isn't 'canon,' and 'not like muh battletechs on sarna, the most legit source of CBT on the internet!'

I only dislike the current incarnation of ECM because it can invalidate one entire sector of weapons at a very low cost. No one likes it when you have a useless teammate. It is worse when that teammate is forced to move out of position and can end up in a hopeless situation.

Edited by Tichorius Davion, 10 March 2013 - 09:17 AM.

#20 EvilCow


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Posted 10 March 2013 - 09:12 AM

I agree with many points already done in previous posts. In my opinion the main issue with ECM is that it is the single best piece of equipment you can get and also the best counter to itself.

Too much tactical advantage in a single, compact, lightweight component.

I would recommend splitting the functionalities among different pieces of equipment and make the effects less "black or white", for example making a lock more difficult to obtain and easier to lose not simply impossible.

I still want everything the ECM is able to do, it adds depth, simply not in a single component.

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