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Ecm: A Dialogue?


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#1 Livewyr

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 08:04 PM

Ok, admittedly, this is mostly directed at Russ (and Paul if he chooses to weigh in) in light of the new and improved forum presence:


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Current ECM/Electronics interaction:
ECM alone makes you untargetable outside of 200 meters. (You can use BAP and sensor range to increase ECM detection range.)

ECM sensor block range: Infinite.

ECM is steadily countered while TAG remains trained on it.
ECM is steadily countered while an ECCM is within range. (180?)
ECM is steadily countered while a BAP is within 150m.
ECM is steadily countered once a Narc is attached to the carrying mech. (for up to near a minute)
ECM is countered for 4 seconds when hit by PPC.

---------------------------------------------------------

So that is what it does-

Now, what hard effect does that have?
LRMs by themselves are effectively useless. (not enough speed to aim any distance without lock)

Typically First strike capability. (No target indicator sound or signal once ECM mech presents itself.. so he gets, mechanically, a signal of the opponents presence first.)

ECM does not do all that much in a brawl, unless the opponent has Streaks. (It does screw up the radar/minimap as far as enemy targets.)

--------------------------------------------------------

LRM weapons require a minimum of TAG and BAP/CAP to be capable of being used in an ECM environment.
Streaks require BAP/CAP.



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Here is where the dialogue begins: (Hopefully)
I have a billion and one ideas on what I think should be done, but I am more curious as to the point of view from PGI on it.

So: Problems I see presented-
LRMs and Streaks being hard countered. (Unable to use without extra equipment)
Extra equipment requires:
Being within short range (ECCM/BAP) or focusing attention purely on countering ECM. (TAG/PPC/Narc)
Counters to ECM put the onus of engagement on the countering mech, while the ECM has no active requirement.
ECM has no range limitation.
ECM makes LRMs a feast or famine weapon system. (Or lottery balance as I used to call it.)

Question 1:
Is PGI going to take another look at the interactions between electronics, and missiles?
Question 1a:
If not; why?
Question 1b:
If so; in what regards? To what end? (And maybe when?)

Question 2:
Is information Warfare currently set as PGI wants it?

#2 El Bandito

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 08:15 PM

Another point I can add is that ECM chokes mech variety due to how good it is for 1.5 ton of equipment and very few variants can take advantage of it.

Also, trying to lock mech within ECM umbrella usually takes 3-4 seconds, far more than the advertised 50% lock time increase.

Edited by El Bandito, 10 September 2014 - 08:17 PM.


#3 DAYLEET

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:17 PM

ECM also countered by UAV, please add that.

#4 El Bandito

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:21 PM

View PostDAYLEET, on 10 September 2014 - 09:17 PM, said:

ECM also countered by UAV, please add that.



Yep, but only partially. The extra lock duration umbrella is still there.

#5 Deathlike

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 09:22 PM

I've kinda given up on this. Unless Paul is going to listen and adjust it, this fight is meaningless (and he's lurking in the CW thread anyhow).

#6 Lyoto Machida

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 10:57 PM

You will enjoy ECM as it is, you disgusting fatbody! Do I make myself clear?!?!?!?!

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#7 Black Ivan

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 11:10 PM

Put ECM back to TT intend and that's with it. It as never meant to be a cloaking device.

#8 Kmieciu

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Posted 10 September 2014 - 11:43 PM

ECM is not even about avoiding LRMs. Target deprivation makes you almost immune to them, if there is even a bit of cover.
ECM is about preventing/slowing down target info gathering. That's why it is so useful for competitive teams.

1) ECM makes it harder to focus fire on one target, both in PUGs and while being on coms. All you can say is "focus on that Gaussjager". I remember once I put 6 pinpoint alphas (2x15+4x5 damage) on a JM6's side torso and it didn't die. Turns out there were 3 of them taking turns to snipe.

2) ECM prevents you from knowing the enemy loadout. You don't know it he's using a brawler or a ranged build. You cannot determine if he's using a XL engine or not. You can't say if he's shaved his leg armor or not.

3) ECM slows down target info gathering in a brawl. That means you either wait to see the enemy weak spots, or waste our shots firing at the wrong torso/leg.


View PostEl Bandito, on 10 September 2014 - 08:15 PM, said:

Also, trying to lock mech within ECM umbrella usually takes 3-4 seconds, far more than the advertised 50% lock time increase.


I also experience this. A normal missile lock takes exactly 1 second, right? So with ECM missile locks should take no longer than 1.5 second, correct? But they do take longer. Maybe the ECM effects stack? With 2 ECM it would mean 2.25 seconds and with 3xECM = 3,375 seconds to lock a target.

I would very much want to know if it's an intended design or not.

View PostEl Bandito, on 10 September 2014 - 09:21 PM, said:

Yep, but only partially. The extra lock duration umbrella is still there.


This is true. All mechs under ECM umbrella detected by UAV take longer to lock. In my opinion, it is a bug. UAV was supposed to counter all effects of all ECM in the area.

PS. Why do I feel BAP is not overpowered? Because I don't put BAP on all of of my mechs, despite having the ability to do so.
Why do I feel ECM is overpowered? Because I would definitely put ECM on every mech I use - especially clan ECM (1 tonne, 1 slot). ECM capability is a defining feature of a mech variant.

Edited by Kmieciu, 10 September 2014 - 11:51 PM.


#9 Hans Von Lohman

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:43 AM

I personally feel that ECM and lock on missiles (LRM and Streak SRM) are linked. ECM defeats those lock on fire and forget missiles so much that you nearly MUST take the Beagle Probe or TAG laser or don't bother.

For me The Beagle probe is not as big of a deal. It doesn't use a hardpoint. A TAG laser does, and if you mech only has 1 or 2 energy hard points then the idea of using one for a TAG laser seems unfair.

So, I would rather they change the LRM's so you can fire without a lock and steer the missiles yourself by just pointing the gunsite at the target like a TOW missile from the Battlefield games. To balance this out I would then be OK if indirect missiles would have a much slower velocity then they currently have.

#10 Lyoto Machida

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 12:52 AM

View PostKmieciu, on 10 September 2014 - 11:43 PM, said:

ECM is not even about avoiding LRMs. Target deprivation makes you almost immune to them, if there is even a bit of cover.
ECM is about preventing/slowing down target info gathering. That's why it is so useful for competitive teams.

1) ECM makes it harder to focus fire on one target, both in PUGs and while being on coms. All you can say is "focus on that Gaussjager". I remember once I put 6 pinpoint alphas (2x15+4x5 damage) on a JM6's side torso and it didn't die. Turns out there were 3 of them taking turns to snipe.

2) ECM prevents you from knowing the enemy loadout. You don't know it he's using a brawler or a ranged build. You cannot determine if he's using a XL engine or not. You can't say if he's shaved his leg armor or not.

3) ECM slows down target info gathering in a brawl. That means you either wait to see the enemy weak spots, or waste our shots firing at the wrong torso/leg.




I also experience this. A normal missile lock takes exactly 1 second, right? So with ECM missile locks should take no longer than 1.5 second, correct? But they do take longer. Maybe the ECM effects stack? With 2 ECM it would mean 2.25 seconds and with 3xECM = 3,375 seconds to lock a target.

I would very much want to know if it's an intended design or not.



This is true. All mechs under ECM umbrella detected by UAV take longer to lock. In my opinion, it is a bug. UAV was supposed to counter all effects of all ECM in the area.

PS. Why do I feel BAP is not overpowered? Because I don't put BAP on all of of my mechs, despite having the ability to do so.
Why do I feel ECM is overpowered? Because I would definitely put ECM on every mech I use - especially clan ECM (1 tonne, 1 slot). ECM capability is a defining feature of a mech variant.


100% this. PUGs especially are at a huge disadvantage, since there is no built in VOIP and no way to designate targets without typing stuff out.

Even a series of blue dots lined up over the mech you have targeted to show how many other mechs were targeting it would go a long way towards coordinating focus fire without even having to say anything. A side benefit would be that LRM launchers would have a somewhat reliable way of determining how reliable that lock is. Piloting LRMs enough will make that instinct stronger through experience where you don't really need that icon but it will help savvier players that don't have a good sense of how solid a lock is. Of course, this won't tell you that a friendly ECM mech is about to cloak them or that your missiles are going to hit that overhang in Tourmaline but it's better than nothing.

But obviously, PGI wants it this way so all our are base belong to them, in actuality. At least with those dots, it would help somebody set up us the missiles.

#11 Kjudoon

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:29 AM

A very well thought out and clear OP.

The one thing that gets me more is the inconsistency of ECCMs. I've had Tag, BAP and Artemis fail to work as described when in proper parameters on multiple occasions since the great LRM Buff/freakout/nerf back in May-ish.

ECM needs to be changed or fixed, and you lay out some good stuff as to why, but it is one half of the issue too, and the other Elephant in the room creating feast/famine is the broken functionality of AMS. I will leave that for another thread though.

ECM also seems to be able to control the fate of the game based on which side has more. SO many matches I've seen where the greater number of ECM units was the difference in the game, even in LRM light games.

I am worried PGI will take the "Working as intended" line when it is a major balance issue.

#12 Tristan Winter

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:35 AM

I'm crossing my fingers that we can resume discussion on ECM, because right now it's causing more grief than fun, as I see it. Unfortunately, Paul has said multiple times that they're very happy with where it's at.

Hopefully, Russ has a different view now.

#13 RedDragon

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:44 AM

Can we please just get direct-fire only LRMs? Then we wouldn't need overpowered ECM. And the crying about LRMgeddon would cease. And we had a real use for light spotters (indirect fire only possible with NARC/TAG?).
It's a scenario in which everyone would win.

#14 Dracol

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 03:54 AM

ECM's ability to decrease detection range allows for flank attacks / sneak attacks.

Unless the ability to turn radar on / off to decrease detection range is implemented, personally I would want ECM to continue to provide its anti-radar ability.

#15 EvilCow

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 04:11 AM

Could I offer an alternative implementation?

1) ECM only affects the mech carrying it.
2) ECM removes the red triangle but the mech can still be targeted manually if within range.
3) Lock time on ECM equipped mechs is slower and lost more easily (not instantly like radar deprivation).
4) ECM reduces the targetable range of 30%. BAP increases it.

In addition:
5) A passive mode for radar is introduced.
6) While passive the triangle is not visible, the mech can be targeted manually at normal range.
7) While passive LRM indirect fire is not possible unless 1) tagged 2) narced.

Please consider.

#16 Dracol

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 04:31 AM

View PostEvilCow, on 11 September 2014 - 04:11 AM, said:


2) ECM removes the red triangle but the mech can still be targeted manually if within range.


I'm not exactly sure what you meant, but this is how I interpreted it:

- ECM equipped mech does not appear on radar, nor identified with a red triangle, when in the field of view of an enemy. If that enemy aligns their reticle onto an ECM equipped mech they'd then become targetable as normal.

This would be like giving all mechs tag, but with out the laser pointer and locking ability would be lost as soon as the reticle was moved off target..... not a bad idea.
Tag would then become a LRM booster, instead of an ECM counter.

Edited to expand on the idea:
Lights would be hard to target by LRMs without aid (tag, narc, UAV) but team mates could still warn each other without need comms. Long range scouting could happen by more light mechs if ECM was open to all, since visual spotting of a light would be required to make the initial targeting.

Assault would still be subject to LRMs since they move slow enough to hold a reticle on. Heavies and mediums a little harder but still doable.

Edited by Dracol, 11 September 2014 - 04:37 AM.


#17 EvilCow

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 04:47 AM

Good point Dracol, the detection range should be affected by the mass of the target. This would give light mechs an enhanced role. I would find an use stealthy locusts for sure.

Also, your interpretation of my point is correct.

Edited by EvilCow, 11 September 2014 - 04:48 AM.


#18 SI The Joker

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:29 AM

View PostEvilCow, on 11 September 2014 - 04:11 AM, said:

Could I offer an alternative implementation?

1) ECM only affects the mech carrying it.
2) ECM removes the red triangle but the mech can still be targeted manually if within range.
3) Lock time on ECM equipped mechs is slower and lost more easily (not instantly like radar deprivation).
4) ECM reduces the targetable range of 30%. BAP increases it.

In addition:
5) A passive mode for radar is introduced.
6) While passive the triangle is not visible, the mech can be targeted manually at normal range.
7) While passive LRM indirect fire is not possible unless 1) tagged 2) narced.

Please consider.


Loved every idea except this one:
1) ECM only affects the mech carrying it.

Leave the bubble. I saw another person say the size of the bubble should depend on the mass of the mech. Small mech = bigger bubble.

#19 Cyberiad

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:32 AM

My opinions:
Target sharing (via just pressing R to target) shouldn't be a thing and instead be facilitated by either a TAG or C3 equipment. C3 slave and master shouldn't magically exist for free on all mechs. ECM should just reduce detection range like in all previous games. BAP should increase detection range/counter ECM. LRMs should not have a minimum range, but instead just be really inaccurate at short ranges. PGI has made things needlessly complicated and binary (either it works or it doesn't) for the sake of the "role warfare" buzzword. Buzzwords are bad.

#20 EvilCow

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 06:35 AM

View PostSI The Joker, on 11 September 2014 - 06:29 AM, said:


Loved every idea except this one:
1) ECM only affects the mech carrying it.

Leave the bubble. I saw another person say the size of the bubble should depend on the mass of the mech. Small mech = bigger bubble.


I like this solution too, the current size should be a best case IMO.

The advantage of a lesser ECM would be that the device could be given to more mechs even if the proposed implementation would still make it a highly desirable add-on.





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