Posted 18 December 2012 - 06:55 PM
I'm just sad that the ECM has a lot of good things, and there was a lot of good suggestions, and they had good reasons, and none of them were considered at all.
PGI, answer me this, really, what did ECM do before it was this powerful and was too powerful for you?
Posted 18 December 2012 - 09:44 PM
Hi there Dr. Bunji,
You're quite correct, and whatever the final implementation ends up being needs to be balanced for FPS play, and I think 99% of the people in this thread agree with this too. Tabletop is just a useful starting point for comparison, and does contain some guidelines for how to make mechwarrior into an FPS from the original creators of battletech. I think this was most faithfully implemented in MPBT3025, a game from 2001 where everything was stock variants and followed the tabletop recommended cooldown, damage, and heat values almost to the letter. The only big improvement they made there was to double up the head armor, which was a good choice given how humans aim while dice just roll.
Did you have some ideas to share on the balance of the ECM module?
I do, but they amount to nothing but very slight changes, and the way everyone is reacting to the ECM I dont feel like adding to the avalanche of "let's nerf it untill it is dead".
I just got fed up with people saying it shouldn't do this or that without adding any arguments that related to the balance or the gameplay, instead just citing the BT-wiki as the bible.
Also Paul is on record saying the ECM is doing what it should be doing, and since he has all the real numbers of how often the ECM is deployed and so on, it feels like arguing with that is kind of moot.
Thanks for your reasonable response though, perhaps there is hope for theese forums.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:13 PM
When he made that comment there weren't a lot of numbers to even look at as yet. More then a week later they 8x8 mix hasn't really changed from the exceedingly boring ECM Atlas, Raven recipes with a sprinking of ECM commandos and other one or two other variants. We couldn't be further from battletech if we tried.
Posted 18 December 2012 - 10:22 PM
Before anyone asks, my KDR of 12.77 has been consistent (although slightly higher before ECM, around 14), it is not the reason I dislike playing. Its just boring. Its obvious which mechs are best, and 8 mans are terrible. I really truly want to play, but I just can't enjoy it any more.
Posted 19 December 2012 - 12:22 AM
If you listen to their December 11th podcast (Mechs, Devs and Beer! hurray!) they and their callers were right on the ball about ECM looking awfully like a trump card in some situations, and worrying that this was the start of an imbalance-imbalance escalation. I dare say the NGNG guys had it right! Also it's an excuse to play a mechwarrior related drinking game, so why not...
I've already made him aware of the community outcry and he said it made it into the script, so maybe we should tune in and hear what they have to say. I'm hoping they're going to take them to task for at the very least putting so many darn functions in one 1.5 ton box that has no drawbacks. Balanced indeed....
Edited by Tolkien, 19 December 2012 - 01:11 AM.
Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:52 AM
* ECM will now fully counter only the closest enemy Mech.
NARC BEACON UPDATE:
* NARC lifespan increased to 20 seconds (15 seconds previously)
* TAG range increased to 750m (450m previously)
We've been seeing alot of comments that TAG and NARC are counters to ECM, and more since the so called "buff" to NARC and TAG. People, and the DEVs also, have to understand the logical inconsistency here, and no matter how many times, and how many people, want to repeat that statement, it does not make it true.
TAG and NARC are not counters to ECM, no matter what anyone, including the DEVs, want to tell you.
-AOE (Area of Effect) system, that creates a 180 m radius bubble around the generating unit. Anything on the opposing team within that 180 radius bubble is not lockable or targetable.
-can be placed in any 2 adjacent crits,
-weights 1.5 tons,
-takes no heat,
-takes no targeting,
-no aiming whatsoever,
-permanently runs at all times.
-LOS (Line of Sight)
-have to keep the TAG on the target at all times in order to target and lock 1 hostile.
-takes 1 crit, but it is an Energy Weapon hardpoint
-weights 1 ton,
-has to be activated by holding a button down the whole time
-max range is now 750 m,
-LOS (Line of Sight) to launch on 1 enemy mech
-functions for only 20 secs, in which time you have to launch missiles and have them hit target. At range, effectively meand 1 volley of missiles.
-weights 3 tons
-requires 2 crits, and a Missile Weapon hardpoint
-requires ammo, 6 shots per ton
-missile speed of 250 m per second
-has a max range of 270 m
At best, the NARC and TAG could be used against slower mechs, like assaults, heavies, and some of the mediums, but against the lights and the Cicada, good luck. With TAG, you have to keep the module activated, so jam a key to keep it on, then maintain that pinpoint laser the whole time that you are attemping to target and lock him, and also the whole time that missles are in flight so they have a chance to impact.
With NARC, it's even worse, you have to get within 270 m, account for lead since it travels at 250 m a second, and hit that fast moving target. Also, to even equip it, it required you to have a missile hardpoint, sacrifice it to fit the NARC, uses 3 tons and a minimum of 1 ton of ammo, for a total of 4 tons. Which gives, if you were able to actually get one on a target, a 20 sec window to react, target, fire, and impact with weapons.
Try this against a 120 kph Commando, see what happens. We have, was good for a few laughs, then the guys stripped the NARCs from their mechs. So effectively, other than a D-DC Atlas, NARC and TAG are non viable against ECM lights and the ECM CIcada. At best, they are marginally useful against heavier non-ECM mechs, but with the amount of time you have to be exposed to actually get line of sight with a TAG, or the active time of a NARC, the ablity to effectively use missile fire against ECM covered mechs makes neither one, not combining their use, an effective counter
So forget the party line that TAG and NARC are counters to ECM, it's nothing of the sort...
Edited by Lupus Aurelius, 19 December 2012 - 10:00 AM.
Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:47 PM
Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:53 AM
In this thread alone, we have:
Over 100 pages....
Over 2000 posts....
And that is not counting all the other threads and posts concerning ECM. The only thing missing at this point is this:
What, if anything, is going to be done with ECM, PGI?
You have the data, the feedback, the opinions. Hopefully, you are not remaining silent in the hope that it will eventually peter out and people will get attracted to the next item of public outcry.
There has been more input on ECM than ANY OTHER ITEM ON THESE FORUMS.
I would call that the most significant issue concerning ingame mechanics...
Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:24 AM
It's been a wild ride, and I've only been on it from about page 60. I'd like to thank all the contributors to the ECM debate both pro and con, especially those that were willing to have good natured back and forth. Given the huge amount of text we've got in here, it stayed pretty on topic most of the time which is a great thing.
I can't be all positive right now though as we still need to see how the devs are going to respond to the huge community outcry that came largely from the people in this thread who really dug into the issue and more or less insisted on knowing how these sorts of balance decisions are coming out so one sided. For the good of the game it's not good to have the game balance swing from one extreme to the other with each patch.
I know we are still in beta, but this is now open beta. There are banners all over the internet bringing in 'normal' players who might not get the best impression from this, and may not come back if they get jerked around too hard. I would say the time for "game changers" like the ECM in front of a captive audience is passed.
Since they already have my $120, I'm hoping that this won't be the norm for the remainder of the project and I hope it will be a strong success, but my biggest concern these days is actually the core concept of "role warfare".
Role warfare is a noble concept to try and make everything from the lightest light to the heaviest assault have a place on the battlefield, and it's seldom accomplished in video games. Most video games that give you 50 tools to do a job will end up having 5 that you really like to use and 3 that are so powerful (in one way or another) that not using them is a bad idea - in my personal opinion ECM as introduced was one of these types that just has so many benefits and next to no drawback that it functionally narrows the field of what is viable.
So in some ways while the devs are trying to square the circle and make a light be a counter to an assault - one of the functions of ECM made lights much less fearful of heavy/assault streak carriers, they are simultaneously undermining themselves by having those same items winnow the field of choice down to a tiny fraction of what it could be. Since the ECM patch there has been a pretty strong trend of players to the ravens, commandos, cicadas, atlas DDCs (with a good number of hero ilya's on top). The worst part of this is I believe the problems will just be aggravated by the introduction of new modes of play. In reading about the upcoming play mode it sounds as though speed will become an even greater asset in this play mode which will once again introduce an element of imbalance that might not be reconcilable without doing more crazy stuff to the game. This problem is just going to get harder to keep in check as more scenario variety is added.
There's also something wrong from a marketing/product point of view with role warfare. Right now a player can buy any chassis they want within a reasonable amount of time, and while the assaults are more expensive, they are not 100x more than a heavy. Having them priced so high would be unjustifiable in light of the 'role warfare' dogma of having every mech tonnage class have a role at all times. The problem is that an Atlas should cause fear when you encounter it alone in a ruined city, and it should make you feel supreme when you pilot one on the field - this is completely lacking from the play experience and from the 'progression' that would normally be found in a battletech game. Right now assault mechs are like the dopey large kid in your gradeschool class who gets punched in the back of the head all the time and is too slow to react. One doesn't evolve from light to medium to heavy to assault, you change from chassis to chassis with whatever the flavour of the month equipment, patch balance, or new play mode has made 'best'.
Before the strawman of old players having equipment the new players can't match comes up, I have to bring up what was done in Multiplayer Battletech 3025. In that game you started in a light, and only lights could be used on about 50% of the planets in the game! This meant that no matter how long you were in the game you had to be a good light pilot, and even though the older pilots had the bigger mechs, they could *not* use them unless the front lines moved closer to a capital world. Mediums became usable behind the first two rows of worlds, then heavies later, then assaults on only the capitals and district capitals as I remember. The front lines rarely got there, but an assault mech could chew through multiple lights if they were brave/foolish enough to drop against it. So rather than having 'role warfare' that game preserved the feel and balance of tabletop as well as just about every other mechwarrior game to date.
Issues like lag shields were still present in MPBT3025, as with any online game, but thanks to the fact that units only had doubled head armor, one well aimed shot from a PPC could kill many lights! Light mech battles were fast and brutal, and a lot of fun. At the same time heavier mechs still felt responsive and easy to control, like they were the kings of the battlefield.
This meant that there was a good marketing and 'end game' progression from light to medium to heavy to assault that made you feel powerful to drive a big mech (I played for 2 months and got 3 lights, and 1 medium), but at the same time the new players were able to feel useful and get into the fight right away. This was such a clean model that I am crestfallen that PGI did not adopt it. It just seems so natural.
Another thing they did that made a lot of sense in MPBT:3025 was that they allowed only stock variants. This is a big step down from what this game is trying to accomplish in terms of options, but the devil is in the details. Many people despised the streak cat, and I hate to say it but boats of some description, and cheese builds will always be with us if customization is allowed. I love mech customization and even have a copy of Battle Mech Designer 10 (BMD10) running under the windows XP virtual machine, but I am willing to admit that trying to give users a billion customization options and expecting us not to find game breaking combinations is naive. Even with the fully implemented Battle Value system which goes way beyond tonnage and gets very non linear, customization can imbalance the original tabletop game. Expecting it to not happen here with this level of tuning and tweaking is naive.
In the same vein as the above, MPBT3025 also kept it to 3025 technology - no pulse lasers, no ultra autocannons, no ECM, no LBX, no indirect fire LRMs, none of that. This much smaller tech base still had 20+ different weapons in the game but the smaller pool meant infinitely less balance headache for the devs. The devs here are cutting out a truly herculean task for themselves by giving the players so many damn options and expecting us not to break their 'balance'. Again, doing this is naive.
To summarize, I think that the devs are good people with their hearts in the right place, and that the truly do want to create the premier mechwarrior game our generation will see. At the same time the last few patches have convinced me that they do not have a handle on the magnitude of the complexity of the system they are trying to design, nor the resources to execute on their vision.
I implore the devs to have the courage to give us more by giving us less. To have the vision to see where role warfare and customization and clan technology will take the game, and to reverse course before it's too late. I am proposing nothing less than making this game much more similar to what MPBT3025 was by removing customization, removing clan tech (at least for the time being), and focusing on delivering on a much narrower front.
I would rather play a modernized and streamlined MPBT3025 that will evolve and grow with PGIs ideas than the game that seems to be the logical result of 'role warfare' continuing to try to square the circle. There would be a lot of crying and gnashing of teeth since they would have to take away a lot of the options we have now, but I honestly think that role warfare and excessive player freedom to customize will end this game before it can get off the ground.
Sorry for the long rant that's only tangentially connected to ECM, but I had to say it. I know many of you won't agree with me, but I still believe strongly that this is the best path forward.
Some of us know you are right Tolkien
Hopefully PGI will come to understand this too. Btech:3025 was the most amazing if not the best mech experience ever, and nearly perfectly matched TT with gameplay to create an epic mechwarrior game. MWO has great feel & maps but stuff like jumpjets & boating as well as hardpoints & mech personality need to be further refined to give each mech a better personality.
Much as I love open from mech3, mech4's hard point system had its benefits, and some adaption of that here would possibly be interesting. however, Ideally heavy boats that specialize in 1 weapon system will suffer drawbacks, like heat being more pronounced via a lowering of heatcap & raising dissapation so that 6 large laser boats can only shoot 4 larges ata time without going boom.
Mech3 had a great heatcap system this way, and once you take out fluid flush and bring in a more MWO type dissapation (ie water/ice not making heat non-existant) I think that would do tons to curb the boating and encourage more stock builds that rely on alpha strikes as the last resort as it should be, rather than the norm. The stalker showcases this pretty well and how easy it is to push way beyond the MWO heatcap and do unbelievable damage if your a crack shot.
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