Jump to content

Balancing The Alpha Strike With A Reactive Reticle


387 replies to this topic

Poll: Poll (348 member(s) have cast votes)

Do You Agree with the OP's Suggestion?

  1. Yes (276 votes [79.31%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 79.31%

  2. No (60 votes [17.24%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.24%

  3. Other (Explained in Post) (12 votes [3.45%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 3.45%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 DocBach

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 4355 posts
  • LocationSouthern Oregon

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:27 AM

Overview:

The largest problem in this game stems from the fact that PGI has kept certain traits and rules from the board game such as the separate location damage models, then added the ability to group several weapons together and shoot them all at one location. These damage models were balanced for a board game in which weapons hit completely random locations; now that where they go can easily be selected we have created an environment that rewards boating the biggest alpha strike as possible as they are superior in nearly every way to other weapon systems.

To fix it PGI needs to make a decision; is this going to be a simulation of the board game, or a first person shooter skinned with the lore?

If the former, they need to relook how they allow alpha strikes to work. If you fire a single weapon you should have accuracy. If you want to fire off all your guns at once, don't expect the bullets to all fly through the same little hole without some work.

Homeless Bill's system was a good idea, but it was incredibly complicated and over complex when the system has been in the book already the whole time; El Bandito referenced the novels for the feel and I think that a combination of the actual rules and the fluff material would make the convergence issue much better. It would require changing the reticule's behavior somewhat depending on combat conditions.

A New Reticle For Group Fired Weapons:

The original reticle would be retained for the purposes of providing the player an aiming reference point for single fired weapons. An additional expanding and contracting reticle would be added around the existing reticle to serve as a group firing reticle. Instead of having the center of the reticule be the point of convergence for grouped weapons, each location of the 'Mech will have its own focus point to where weapons fired from that location would be converged to:

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

(thank you Unbound Inferno for creating the original reticle graphic)

The player would still have a reference on where his shot would go, because the various stadia line on the reticle would remain the same.

A Reactive Reticle That Adjusts to Combat Conditions:


To achieve a group to pinpoint precision, the firing 'Mech would have to target a 'Mech and then hold its reticle over the 'Mech for a time determined by combat factors such as heat, target movement speed, and range; if the target 'Mech breaks line of sight and the target information is lost, or the reticle is removed from the vicinity of the target, convergence begins to deconverge, much like missile locks currently do.

Pulse lasers would have quicker convergence than ballistic weapons and could continue to converge as the shooter fires them; this accuracy bonus would help differentiate them from other weapons and give them a slight advantage as lasers are a high skill weapon, but have the potential to spread their damage as they are damage over time.

C3 could be added as equipment, as its function in the board game was to allow 'Mechs on a network to use other 'Mechs in the network's targeting data to reduce the penalty of firing at longer ranges; this could be added to this system as well, so having a spotter at close range with C3 could allow a 'Mech at longer ranges to gain tighter convergence. This would allow snipers to still be accurate, if a team mate acts as a spotter, making coordination and team play more of a factor for long range direct fire support, much like LRM fire requires a spotter currently. C3's functionality would be negated by ECM.

This system would require the player to obtain a lock on the enemy by hitting R. Convergence for group fire would not occur until the player selects a target and holds the reticle over the enemy; the reticle would visibly constrict over the target, giving the player clear reference where the various locations weapons would hit if fired at the target. This would require a work around for how ECM currently works; perhaps ECM protected 'Mechs would still be non-targetable by the R key, but if the open a player could manually target them by placing their reticule over an enemy in visual line of sight.

Factors Affecting The Speed of Convergence:

The rate in which the lock constricts would be governed by several things:

- Player's Heat Level - the hotter the 'Mech is, the slower convergence would be applied, giving a real downside to running hot.

- Target 'Mechs movement speed: the faster the enemy is moving, the harder it is to hit. This speed is based on the actual movement speed of the 'Mech, not the rate of the throttle so a 'Mech moving 54kph would be easier to converge your weapons on than a 'Mech moving 90 kph. A 'Mech running 120+ would take a bit of tracking with the reticle to gain pinpoint convergence. This would help the survivability of faster 'Mechs, especially medium 'Mechs who are especially vulnerable in the current meta

- Pilot Tree Skills - give Pinpoint something to do, dammit

- Damage to Actuators - critical hits to actuators in the arm would slow convergence

- Pulse lasers - to represent the accuracy bonus pulse lasers have in the source material, pulse lasers would enjoy a quicker convergence speed than other weapon systems.


Modifiers to Convergence Speed:

The base modifier for convergence speed is based on the level of experience tier;


Basic Qualified 'Mechs have a 4 second to maximum convergence base time
Elite Qualified (Pinpoint Skill) have a 3 second to maximum convergence base time
Master Qualified have a 2 second to maximum convergence base modifier


Long Range adds 4 to the modifier
Medium Range adds 2 to the modifier
Minimum Range adds 1 to the modifier for each 30 meters of minimum range, ie a weapon with a minimum range of 90 would have a 2 modifier or being 30-60m

Firing at a 'Mech that is stationary to 10kph subtracts 4 from the modifier
'Mechs moving 10-20kph have no modifier
'Mechs moving 20-50kph have a +1 modifier
'Mechs moving 50-70kph have a +2 modifier
'Mechs moving 70-90kph have a +3 modifier
'Mechs moving 90-120kph have a +4 modifier
'Mechs moving > 120kph have a +5 modifier

Heat Level at 20% adds a 1 modifier
Heat Level at 40% adds a 2 modifier
Heat Level at 60% adds a 3 modifier
Heat Level at 80% adds a 4 modifier

Pulse Lasers Subtract 2 from the modifier

C3 would allows a spotter to remove the range modifier, 'Mechs in the C3 network would use the range modifier for the 'Mech in the closest range of the target.

Clan Targeting Computers provide a -2 second modifier to convergence time.

The time to gain maximum convergence is this formula

Base Skill Time + Modifier/3= amount of seconds required to gain complete convergence

So an Elite Tier Stalker that is stationary at long range decides to try to use group fire to attack a Centurion 9D moving 108kph at 30% heat. To gain maximum convergence it would take

3 seconds Elite base time to maximum convergence + 4 for long range + 3 for target movement speed + 1 for heat/3 = 5.6 seconds to gain maximum convergence.

The Centurion is moving at full throttle so convergence of attacks against it are much slower; he is returning fire at the stationary Stalker.

3 + 4 for range - 4 for firing on a stationary target = 3 seconds to absolute convergence.

This means that firing a group of weapons against a 'moving 'Mech takes much longer to converge weapons to pinpoint precision like we have now; an alternative would be to firing in chain fire mode if accuracy at long range is desired, without necessitating the firing 'Mech expose themselves for long periods of time.



What It Could Look Like:

Posted Image

This picture is a mock up of what the convergence would look like - he is moving and though he is at close range for his weapons, his high heat level slowed the convergence spreed of his groups down but he chose to fire a group of weapons anyways - see how the damage would be spread over the enemy 'Mech? Nearly every other shooter has similar systems of expanding reticules to display inaccuracy caused by running, ect so new players familiar with shooter games should have no problem adapting to it, especially as it is not a randomized cone; the reticule has the points of aim for the locations with the stadia lines of the crosshairs.

Group fired snap shots or shots fired at non-targeted enemies would be fired at an accuracy penalty as the targeting computer did not have time to converge properly. However the reticle would still provide the pilot with an idea where his shots will go, and since shooting errors are angular in nature the effective of shooting a group with the larger, unconverged reticle at short ranges would be much less severe then attempting to shoot at an unconverged target far away, and the player always has an option for single fired weapons, which are not affected by convergence and have a separate, constant aiming point.

Posted Image

In this picture we see where left/right torso point of impacts will be, even if the reticle converges fully. Even with full convergence achieved, there is some deviation between the points of impacts of weapons in opposite torso locations.

The new system would force the player to have to choose - if he wants precision when firing a group of weapons he either has to offer himself up as a stationary target which would allow the enemy's computer quicker convergence on him, or fire a single weapon rather than a large alpha strike. If he wants to put out brutal force, he can fire a group, but the damage would be spread over the 'Mech.

This new system would not be a random cone of fire; the player has very distinct points of aim at all times for his weapon systems, and is in control of managing his speed and heat to achieve maximum potential for firing weapon groups, but in general should mitigate the trends we have been seeing where 'Mechs are being cored completely to the center torso by large, long range alpha strikes -- sometimes in a single volley.

TL;DR

Add a reticle for grouped weapons fire that converges like a missile lock; the the different stadia (crosshair) lines on the reticle would be the points of convergence for different locations. The speed on which the reticle converges is based on combat conditions such as heat level or target speed. Chain fire would be unaffected, group fire before convergence lock is gained still does damage to a target, just not concentrated to a single location. Pinpoint convergence is still possible if you hold your sights on a target long enough and don't break the lock either by moving your crosshairs off the target (ie torso twisting, engaging a new target, the target breaking line of sight, ect).

Edited by DocBach, 25 July 2013 - 06:56 AM.


#2 stjobe

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • Phoenix Overlord
  • Phoenix Overlord
  • 6780 posts
  • LocationOn your six, chipping away at your rear armour.

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:36 AM

Good write-up, clearly argued, and a damn sight (pun intended) better than the system we currently suffer.

Kudos.

#3 MustrumRidcully

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 9890 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:38 AM

I like the idea, the question might be -is it simple enough that it would be implemented fast and easily?

It requires revamps of the UI, I believe that alone could make it too complex.

We've got several good solutions lying around on these forums. We also have a few poor.

And I fear most of them are:
- "Not Invented Here"
- Require effort and resources to be implemented

So... I guess we'll get that heat alpha boat penalty system the devs cooked up. :(

Edited by MustrumRidcully, 25 June 2013 - 07:40 AM.


#4 Terror Teddy

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 2876 posts
  • LocationSweden

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:42 AM

I would like something like this.

I would even advocate for the hated "cone of fire" in regards to convergence for when a mech is moving (which would depend on a mix of mech weight and speed.

The current x2 armour value would have to be changed though since mechs would be a lot more survivable.

#5 Phaesphoros

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 513 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:43 AM

So, what is the aim of introducing this system? What are the effects in different scenarios?
(I could guess some answers, but IMO that should be in the OP.)

#6 DocBach

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 4355 posts
  • LocationSouthern Oregon

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:46 AM

View PostPhaesphoros, on 25 June 2013 - 07:43 AM, said:

So, what is the aim of introducing this system? What are the effects in different scenarios?
(I could guess some answers, but IMO that should be in the OP.)


I would say the aim would be, like the topic states, balancing alpha strikes with spreading convergence and using the reticle to let players know how well his group fire would be converged, meaning spreading the alpha strike damage out.

#7 stjobe

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • Phoenix Overlord
  • Phoenix Overlord
  • 6780 posts
  • LocationOn your six, chipping away at your rear armour.

Posted 25 June 2013 - 07:47 AM

The good Doc hits the nail on the head though (much like Roland did in another thread): The damage and armour values are balanced for random hit locations. You cannot keep one and not the other and somehow think it will still balance out.

Same with the heat system; heat generation and heat dissipation was balanced for 10-second turns and instant removal of (number of heat sinks) heat to get at a residual heat value that would be what affects your 'mech. Tripling rate of fire and not adjusting the heat dissipation has played merry hell with that system's balance.

So yeah, we need to remove pin-point damage somehow, and Doc's idea is well-thought through. We also need to curb the high-heat alphas, and I fear that the only way around that is to re-do the heat system with a much lower heat cap and increased dissipation.

Then, of course, everything needs to be rebalanced, so I'm not holding my breath for anything of the sort...

#8 Phaesphoros

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 513 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:01 AM

Edit: Oops, sry, this has become too negative =(
Here's a smiley in advance :)

View PostDocBach, on 25 June 2013 - 07:46 AM, said:

I would say the aim would be, like the topic states, balancing alpha strikes with spreading convergence and using the reticle to let players know how well his group fire would be converged, meaning spreading the alpha strike damage out.

What it achieves is to nerf grouping weapons in different locations. An AS7-RS would be much more powerful than an AS7-D or -K because it has 2 energy hardpoints in each arm.

It'd also lead to use less and bigger weapons over more and smaller weapons. An HGN with 3 PPC in the same torso section or even the HBK-4P with 4 PPCs in the hunch (yeah, it's a joke build..) could still "alpha" 30-40 damage into one location.

Light mechs would get another shield (they're easy to destroy with high-alpha weapons, but it's much harder using lasers).

Guessing from the mock-up it'd be next to impossible to focus damage on a single section, even if you don't use high-alpha weapons. This takes away a lot of the skill part which is unique to MWO: concentrating your fire on certain parts of a 'Mech. Yes, it would be more like TT... no comment on that

Quote

To achieve a group to pinpoint precision, the firing 'Mech would have to position himself in optimal effective range -- the range profile from the lore rules says 90m is optimal range for medium lasers, 180m is medium range, and 270 is maximum range, lasers fired at 90m would have maximum convergence,

To further limit the range at which a ML is effective IMHO is not a good thing. It will lead to a buff of longer-range weapons.

Quote

Homeless Bill's system was a good idea, but it was incredibly complicated and over complex

I understand that HB's solution is more to read, and adds a layer rather than an effect -- but as far as I can imagine its consequences, it's simpler to use: you wouldn't have any effects if you don't do something bad and you can always see at the weapon group icons if shooting a group is something bad. If you've done something bad, well bad things happen and you have to wait a short time to restore normality.

Edited by Phaesphoros, 25 June 2013 - 08:03 AM.


#9 DocBach

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 4355 posts
  • LocationSouthern Oregon

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:10 AM

View PostPhaesphoros, on 25 June 2013 - 08:01 AM, said:



Guessing from the mock-up it'd be next to impossible to focus damage on a single section, even if you don't use high-alpha weapons. This takes away a lot of the skill part which is unique to MWO: concentrating your fire on certain parts of a 'Mech. Yes, it would be more like TT... no comment on that



More or less the mock up was to show how the different locations would be fired at the different aiming points; as described the reticle should be able to focus further but the heat level makes it slower to achieve. As for grouped weapons in single locations being more powerful, they would be more potent than several weapons fired from multiple locations, but still would be much less powerful than what we have here now.

And idea I have thought though is making the convergence only for grouped projectile weapons such as PPC's, Autocannons, Gauss rifles and SRM's; lasers could converge quicker to give them a bit of an advantage as they are currently a high skill, but low reward weapon and it is more difficult to focus all of their damage to a single location.

Single fired weapons that don't require the computer to get ballistics and calculations to land a group fired from weapons in different locations would still be pinpoint accurate; the player would just have to make a choice between damage or accuracy. If the former he can fire a group, but the damage will be spread, varying on the level of convergence he obtained before making the shot. If the latter he always has the option to single fire and use the constant reticule that provides point of aim, point of impact accuracy.

Edited by DocBach, 25 June 2013 - 08:14 AM.


#10 MustrumRidcully

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 9890 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:16 AM

View PostDocBach, on 25 June 2013 - 08:10 AM, said:


More or less the mock up was to show how the different locations would be fired at the different aiming points; as described the reticle should be able to focus further but the heat level makes it slower to achieve. As for grouped weapons in single locations being more powerful, they would be more potent than several weapons fired from multiple locations, but still would be much less powerful than what we have here now.

And idea I have thought though is making the convergence only for grouped projectile weapons such as PPC's, Autocannons, Gauss rifles and SRM's; lasers could converge quicker to give them a bit of an advantage as they are currently a high skill, but low reward weapon and it is more difficult to focus all of their damage to a single location.

Also, the beauty of it is - what does a Hunchback 4P currently get for putting all his weapons in a single side torso?
About "nothing" might be it. Just a big liability. But with convergence limitations, there is suddenly value in having this weak spot. The HBK doesn't need to fear that he'd be obsolote against a mech that equip 8 medium lasers, neatly spread out across the torsos. These two mechs would have different advantages and disadvantages, no clear winner.

This sounds like an improvement to me.

#11 Roland

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 7342 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:19 AM

View Poststjobe, on 25 June 2013 - 07:47 AM, said:

The good Doc hits the nail on the head though (much like Roland did in another thread): The damage and armour values are balanced for random hit locations. You cannot keep one and not the other and somehow think it will still balance out.

Well, the armor values were actually doubled, so if more randomization of hit location was put in, it MAY need to be removed.. but since it'd not be totally random, it might be ok as is.

#12 Lucky 7

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 209 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:34 AM

I really like this. No long winded discussion from me, this is good.

#13 DocBach

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 4355 posts
  • LocationSouthern Oregon

Posted 25 June 2013 - 08:43 AM

View PostRoland, on 25 June 2013 - 08:19 AM, said:

Well, the armor values were actually doubled, so if more randomization of hit location was put in, it MAY need to be removed.. but since it'd not be totally random, it might be ok as is.


I think the armor should remain doubled so 'Mechs feel like gigantic kings of battle that can take massive punishment. This change to group fire combined with the double armor would slow the rate of death quite a bit and give 'Mechs back that feeling.

Edited by DocBach, 25 June 2013 - 08:44 AM.


#14 BarHaid

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Phoenix Storm
  • Phoenix Storm
  • 699 posts
  • LocationMid-Cascadia

Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:21 AM

This is good stuff! You should cross post this in Suggestions. The more often the Devs see this, the better.

#15 8RoundsRapid

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 301 posts
  • Locationupriver

Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:35 AM

NIce post, Doc. And Roland, I liked yours as well. Too bad PGI doesn't have some of y'alls common sense.

#16 Mercules

    Member

  • Elite Founder
  • 3418 posts
  • LocationPlymouth, MN

Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:50 AM

Better than the convergence I was thinking might work, which was none other than arms.

The Heat Penalty and Range Increment ideas really add to it. Alphas would still rule for some people but they would be less able to put 2 Alphas into the same location with any reliability in a short amount of time. Alpha - Cool Off- Alpha might work and that is actually true to the mythos of Mechwarrior/Battletech.

I like the idea of movement penalties, JJs should really expand the convergence outward instead of the screen shake that seems to nauseate some members of the community. A Jenner cruising along at full speed would hit a bit less but moving at 3/4s would have a better shot of hitting. This would also make running away a viable tactic. Light who is not shooting back chooses to go full out. Heavy chasing him can't hit going full out so drops to walking. He gets maybe a good shot before the Light is gone instead of being able to chase the light with full accuracy making running away a death sentence.


This is actually more of what I expected when I first bought my Founder's package.

#17 Scout80913

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 56 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 09:52 AM

I agree that this might not be perfect, but it is a huge step in the right direction. As stated above, you should also post this in the Suggestions section.

Nice work!

#18 Lightfoot

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 3253 posts
  • LocationWest Coast

Posted 25 June 2013 - 10:16 AM

Politely, no.

As is so often pointed out to me. You can't make an interactive game into a board game, or vice versa, you can only use them as reference points.

What you are suggesting would turn Assaults into unstoppable titans and Lights into tin cans. So to include fuzzy aim mechanics into the game now would require an entire rebuild. You see that right? You would in essence be turning all grouped weapons into LBX's, which does nothing to Assaults, but splatters fast Lights.

What is wrong with MWO is that the recharge rates are doubled so the battles are lasting half as long. That's all that needs to be fixed. Battles need to last longer, 'Mechs need to be tougher. Do that with triple armor or shrink the vital hitboxes. Problem solved.

An Alpha-Strike spreads the damage of unlike weapons across a moving target anyway. It's not something you use unless a mech has shutdown or is coming straight at you. Both of these things your 'mech training officer told you not to do. Your 'mech training officer told you to fire in groups so the damage does not spread.

Edited by Lightfoot, 25 June 2013 - 10:21 AM.


#19 DocBach

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 4355 posts
  • LocationSouthern Oregon

Posted 25 June 2013 - 12:59 PM

View PostLightfoot, on 25 June 2013 - 10:16 AM, said:

Politely, no.

As is so often pointed out to me. You can't make an interactive game into a board game, or vice versa, you can only use them as reference points.

What you are suggesting would turn Assaults into unstoppable titans and Lights into tin cans. So to include fuzzy aim mechanics into the game now would require an entire rebuild. You see that right? You would in essence be turning all grouped weapons into LBX's, which does nothing to Assaults, but splatters fast Lights.



Because the speed of the convergence is slower if the target you are converging on is moving quickly, lights would actually receive more protection against fire from grouped weapons. Perhaps you didn't understand the concept, but the idea is damage would be spread out more, since the convergence would not be as quick, lessening 1-hit KO's we get now.

#20 Undead Bane

    Member

  • Legendary Founder
  • 535 posts

Posted 25 June 2013 - 02:47 PM

I will just bump that, because it is better than what we suffer now from by like a lot.

But, as usually, not a single dev will give a single ****. Because "no imperfect convergence, we mean it" position they have been standing at since the very beginning of CB.





1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users