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Energy Draw Feedback - Yeonne Greene


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#1 Y E O N N E

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 07:45 PM

Hello PGI staff and forum friends.

After spending some time messing around in the PTS, I have some words to share about the changes being made. Lots of words! All the words! Big ones, small ones, nice ones, foul ones! Words for days!

Ahem.

Anywho, I am going to break this post up into sections, each featuring a summary of my views with a spoiler containing details for those of you who Want to Know More ™.

Posted Image


The sections will be as follows:

1. Heat Management Fundamentals
2. Energy Draw and You
3. Lasers for Sweet Justice
4. Bright Ideas for a Brighter Future

So much many much space and so little to say! Wait...strike that...reverse it, on we go!

1. Heat and Damage Fundamentals

Before I go into my views on the PTS, I think we need to set the stage and talk about heat management. There are no spoilers in this section, this is all critical.

Heat management is a central component to MechWarrior: Online (henceforth MWO). You fire weapons, they deal damage to your enemy and they deal heat to you. It serves to limit the ability to tear faces off so that other players of lesser skill can have a greater chance of success against such amazing killbots as yourselves. It does this in two ways:

A.) Heat capacity - limits the total heat you can accumulate
B.) Heat dissipation - limits the maximum sustainable rate of heat generation.

More powerful weapons generate more heat. By association, heat cap will limit the amount of damage I can do in a shot while dissipation will limit the number of times I can pull the trigger at maximum cycle. Seems simple enough, awesome. We're done.

Not so fast, sparky!

Damage is not always dealt instantly. When it is, we call it Front-loaded Damage (FLD). When it isn't, we...well, we don't have a special name for it so let's call it Duration Damage (DD). Because heat generation is tied directly to how damage is dealt, this means that there is Front-loaded Heat (often referred to as "spike heat") and Duration Heat. In easy-speak: the faster damage exits the weapon, the faster the heat gets pumped into your heat-sinks.

Weapons that deal damage and heat instantly are:
  • All PPCs
  • Inner Sphere AC and UAC
  • All LB-X AC
Weapons that deal damage and heat over a short duration are:
  • All lasers
  • Clan AC and UAC
  • Flamers
So that's all neat, but what does that mean for Energy Draw? Well, here is the guiding conclusion that you should keep in mind for the discussion:
  • Dissipation is more important than heat-capacity per unit since it increases the amount of heat/damage a Duration weapon can deal before hitting the cap.

2. Heat, "Energy Draw," and You

Energy draw is not limiting alpha strikes to any meaningful degree. Adding a split second to my total exposure time to stagger a pair of Medium Pulse Lasers with six Medium Lasers on a BJ-1X or six Medium Lasers with a pair of Large Pulse/PPC on a Rifleman is not a significant change. Even if I do a proper alpha-strike, the penalty combined with the faster dissipation masks the changes to the point where I don't handle my 'Mech any differently than I did before.

While I think that this problem can be alleviated by reducing the heat capacity or increasing the time it takes the energy bar to re-fill, I'm not sure that it should. A lot of 'Mechs are entirely dependent upon energy weapons to be effective, especially Lights, and further reductions in those two categories impacts them disproportionately. Furthemore, because a reduction in alpha puts a greater emphasis on DPS, all energy-dependent 'Mechs are at a disadvantage compared to 'Mechs capable of bringing mixed builds with ballistics or missiles at all range brackets with few exceptions (i.e. Nova with 12x cERSL at close range). Sure, we can tweak the ballistics and missiles, too, but then we have to worry about the well-being of those 'Mechs which are compulsory missile and/or ballistic boats, too. How many weapons changes are you, PGI, willing to make to get this version of Energy Draw fair and functional?

Spoiler



3. Lasers for Sweet Justice

I see that PGI is making a lot of changes to lasers. This is fantastic, I hope this means you guys are open to suggestions, because many of us have spent a lot of time and effort analyzing and brain-storming what would work while preserving the "flavor" of each faction's stuff.

A few quick notes about the changes in the PTS, though I do hope you take the time to read the spoiler below:
  • Inner Sphere Small Lasers cycle far too slow for the amount of damage they deal and the range they have; there are zero 'Mechs where Small Lasers are a good idea.
  • Inner Sphere Small Pulse fire too slow as well, but not to the same degree and they are at least somewhat useful on a handful of 'Mechs (LCT-3M/1E, FS9-A/K/S), though it is usually better to just bring Medium Lasers
  • Medium Pulse (and its Clan counterpart) don't synchronize with anything anymore, meaning they won't be chosen very often because they also eat up resources quickly when building 'Mechs.
  • Clan ER Large Laser and Clan Large Pulse are too similar; they deal the same damage for the same heat with a negligible difference in beam duration. This makes the cERLL flatly superior.
  • Inner Sphere Large Laser and ER Large Laser are also too similar; the only difference is one heat and, with increased dissipation, it doesn't make a difference. It is superior to take the ER Large Laser every time, which is the same problem we had when both were doing 9 damage over 1 second almost two years ago now.
Spoiler



4. Bright Ideas for a Brighter Future

I think the current form of Energy Draw can work, but I do not like how forced it feels and I do not like how counter-intuitive it is that a conventional ballistic weapon should have the same "draw" as an energy weapon. I think a better way to spin the system would be to assign every energy intensive weapon (lasers, PPCs, and Gauss) a "draw" value that is applied against the Energy pool when they go on cool-down, and the penalty for using up all of the pool is to the cool-down time on all of the weapons. For example:

I have an energy pool of 10. The Large Pulse Laser has a draw of 8, which it applies against the pool for as long as it is on cool-down, which let's say is 2 seconds. If I fire one LPL, I consume 8 energy. I'm fine and it cycles in two seconds. If I fire two LPL, 16 points are deducted from my pool for 2 seconds, but I only have 10 points. That means it applies 5 points to each Large Pulse rather than the 8 it needs, so instead of cycling in 2 seconds it requires 3.2 to cycle (2 seconds divided by (5/8)). If I go on penalty with different types of weapons, those with shorter cool-downs will be removed from the pool when they finish and the rest of them will speed up in response up to whatever their minimum cool-down is.

Obviously, we need to use larger numbers for better granularity and more dramatic effect, but this solves multiple problems.
  • Alpha strikes will not be quickly repeatable
  • Hard-point starved 'Mechs no longer need a cool-down reduction quirk to become useful since all energy weapons will have naturally shorter cool-downs
  • Energy-dependent 'Mechs can use their one effective tool without shutting down every shot.
  • Mixed builds are encouraged, as ballistic/missile DPS can complement energy bursts.
This can be augmented by tying energy pool to weight class and/or engine size with appropriate checks in place to ensure it doesn't snowball in favor of big 'Mechs (i.e. energy required to move 'Mech mass at speed X takes energy away from pool and larger 'Mechs having increasingly less efficient movement), but that's another discussion for another time.

Other concerns and/or ideas that could be interesting:

Spoiler


That's all for now, thank you for reading. Posted Image

Edited by Yeonne Greene, 18 September 2016 - 09:55 AM.


#2 Gentleman Reaper

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Posted 17 September 2016 - 08:11 PM

My god, this is pure stat porn, you've put a lot of thought and work in this, and a lot of your opinions and ideas reflect mine too, like the 0.5 cap increase on DHS. This is the kind of feedback I like to see, I hope PGI can at least take a small peak, especially for your laser changes. I'll link Russ to this on twitter.

#3 C E Dwyer

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 07:09 AM

After all that good work, and excellent feed back, would it be churlish to mention that Missiles seem to have been ignored.

Is that because you are happy with the way they work under ED, or did you * embarrassed cough* forget ?

#4 tokumboh

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 07:58 AM

Why can this not be done under the old system. Isn't the energy draw an over complication. Many people said if we want to reduce alphaing then lower the heat capacity of mechs, there is a shutdown/damage mechanics in place. You can then get rid of Ghost Heat and yet still have Awesome with 3 PPCs they will just not be able to fire them as often you could still have the DireStar but it may not last more than 2 Alphas.

We appear to adding complexity to something that is already complex enough we should be looking to simplify things, I think we could ditch ED GH and just reduce heat capacity and resolve how better control heat dissipation and we'd be in a better place.


Thing like gauss rifles can be cured with cooldown time it is already fragile so it is not taken into brawling much

My second issue is the idea of balance. I think we are going for something that is mythical, there will be mechs that are crap, I have a set of Urbies which come out every now and then as they are fun some mechs are weak sauce we have to live with it or give them an incentive to be played. I think chassis rewards are kind of cool, I'd go for highly granular awards like every 2 hours you get top 25 of each chassis getting something tiering up to the 25 top in each weight class and the 25 top overall
we could make it for different things everything from UAV assists through to KMDD etc

#5 Gentleman Reaper

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 08:19 AM

View Posttokumboh, on 18 September 2016 - 07:58 AM, said:

Why can this not be done under the old system. Isn't the energy draw an over complication. Many people said if we want to reduce alphaing then lower the heat capacity of mechs, there is a shutdown/damage mechanics in place. You can then get rid of Ghost Heat and yet still have Awesome with 3 PPCs they will just not be able to fire them as often you could still have the DireStar but it may not last more than 2 Alphas.

We appear to adding complexity to something that is already complex enough we should be looking to simplify things, I think we could ditch ED GH and just reduce heat capacity and resolve how better control heat dissipation and we'd be in a better place.


Thing like gauss rifles can be cured with cooldown time it is already fragile so it is not taken into brawling much

My second issue is the idea of balance. I think we are going for something that is mythical, there will be mechs that are crap, I have a set of Urbies which come out every now and then as they are fun some mechs are weak sauce we have to live with it or give them an incentive to be played. I think chassis rewards are kind of cool, I'd go for highly granular awards like every 2 hours you get top 25 of each chassis getting something tiering up to the 25 top in each weight class and the 25 top overall
we could make it for different things everything from UAV assists through to KMDD etc


I agree now that heat cap and dissipation rate can replace ED if implemented properly. I think the cap should be lowered a bit more, but dissipation could go higher, maybe even higher than 0.2, so it would discourage large alphas, but allow energy weapons to better chain-fire and off-set the ballistic weapon's low heat.

#6 Y E O N N E

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 08:52 AM

View PostCathy, on 18 September 2016 - 07:09 AM, said:

After all that good work, and excellent feed back, would it be churlish to mention that Missiles seem to have been ignored.

Is that because you are happy with the way they work under ED, or did you * embarrassed cough* forget ?


Believe me, I haven't forgotten them. It's just that my work on lasers is much better developed than my work on either missiles or ballistics. Also, the way I use missiles isn't really impacted by ED.

For example, my premier Heavy 'Mech is the Marauder 5D. On the live Servers, I run it on an XL 350 with 4x MPL, 1x LPL, and 2x ASRM4. I never alpha strike with it. It's always lasers and then missiles. On PTS, I merely swap out the MPL for standard ML since they sync better and bump the SRMs up to 6-racks. It does not trigger penalty. It runs cold as ice.

Alternatively, LCT-3S. It doesn't do enough damage to trigger penalty under ED with missiles.

Really, it seems the only 'Mechs affected by ED for missiles are the Atlas and Jenner IIC, but even then the split second you add to stagger isn't that big of a deal since that ED bar recharges so quickly.

View Posttokumboh, on 18 September 2016 - 07:58 AM, said:

Why can this not be done under the old system. Isn't the energy draw an over complication. Many people said if we want to reduce alphaing then lower the heat capacity of mechs, there is a shutdown/damage mechanics in place. You can then get rid of Ghost Heat and yet still have Awesome with 3 PPCs they will just not be able to fire them as often you could still have the DireStar but it may not last more than 2 Alphas.

We appear to adding complexity to something that is already complex enough we should be looking to simplify things, I think we could ditch ED GH and just reduce heat capacity and resolve how better control heat dissipation and we'd be in a better place.


I don't necessarily disagree, and I've said the same thing in other threads. The thing is, though, that ballistics are basically immune to anything relying entirely on heat to cap an alpha strike while PPCs are hit the hardest. Like, under a fixed 30-cap system with a full 2.0 dissipation, firing two ER PPC will trigger a shut-down while firing two AC/20 is trivial. It also restricts me to firing bundles of lasers that don't do enough damage to offset the fact that their damage is not instant, which just encourages me to bring anything PPFLD. You would see AC/5/10/Gauss and LPL/PPC all day every day.

To add, my version of ED was also looking to create an organic method for improving the utility of 'Mechs with few hard-points. I do not like quirks. They are just as forced and artificial as the current take on ED in the PTS. I think it's better to have mechanics that cover all of the bases. Plus, my version makes more sense from a physics stand-point, and I enjoy increased realism in my games.

Quote

Thing like gauss rifles can be cured with cooldown time it is already fragile so it is not taken into brawling much

My second issue is the idea of balance. I think we are going for something that is mythical, there will be mechs that are crap, I have a set of Urbies which come out every now and then as they are fun some mechs are weak sauce we have to live with it or give them an incentive to be played. I think chassis rewards are kind of cool, I'd go for highly granular awards like every 2 hours you get top 25 of each chassis getting something tiering up to the 25 top in each weight class and the 25 top overall
we could make it for different things everything from UAV assists through to KMDD etc


Balancing the 'Mechs and balancing the Tech are two different, but related, things. The idea should be that I can take a Timberwolf and equip it with either exclusively Inner Sphere or exclusively Clan gear and it should be just as capable with either. Right now, equipping a 'Mech with Clan gear is flatly superior in the absence of quirks, and that is what I am addressing in the laser tables above. Note, the problem isn't constrained to just lasers.

Gauss Rifle isn't being nerfed because they're afraid of it being used in a brawl, it's being nerfed because its long-range effective DPS is high enough that it makes it very hard to respond to unless you also have Gauss. Two PPC and a Gauss is still one of the highest effective DPS builds on the live server. To add, it breaks any balance mechanism dependent upon heat since it generates virtually zero. You can add a Gauss rifle to boost any loadout's damage, which gives a huge advantage to heavier 'Mechs. Heck, even my BJ-1DC can bring a Gauss to augment five Medium Lasers.

View PostGentleman Reaper, on 18 September 2016 - 08:19 AM, said:


I agree now that heat cap and dissipation rate can replace ED if implemented properly. I think the cap should be lowered a bit more, but dissipation could go higher, maybe even higher than 0.2, so it would discourage large alphas, but allow energy weapons to better chain-fire and off-set the ballistic weapon's low heat.


Energy weapons on chain-fire don't offset the ballistics and their low heat. Firing a large alpha and then retreating does. Ballistics are DPS machines, and the best way to counter a DPS machine is to fire a big volley and then cover, since being unable to hit you at all ruins DPS.

Edited by Yeonne Greene, 18 September 2016 - 08:57 AM.


#7 Moonlight Grimoire

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 09:41 AM

I actually really do like these ideas, the math is solid, the reasoning is sound, and this does what PGI wants and a number of players want. It also explains why heat cap of 30 isn't the ideal solution (unfortunately, but, hey, more useful than a vague statement from PGI).

So I would be up for testing this as PTS6, probably would be about right. Also glad that your adjustments see the cLPL drop from stupid damage it has on live down to something more reasonable so it does not have monstrous DPS during it's burn.

#8 Gentleman Reaper

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:32 AM

My one worry is how the IS large laser family compares to the Clan medium laser family. Versus the C-ML, LL does one more damage, a bit more range, a bit faster cooldown, but more HPS, and of course being five times the weight. This doesn't seem like all that much a difference in effectiveness, are you sure that would be balanced?

Also I think LPL should be 9 damage like in TT, all the other lasers have accurate lore damage values now, except the LPL.

Edited by Gentleman Reaper, 18 September 2016 - 10:33 AM.


#9 Y E O N N E

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Posted 18 September 2016 - 10:55 AM

View PostGentleman Reaper, on 18 September 2016 - 10:32 AM, said:

My one worry is how the IS large laser family compares to the Clan medium laser family. Versus the C-ML, LL does one more damage, a bit more range, a bit faster cooldown, but more HPS, and of course being five times the weight. This doesn't seem like all that much a difference in effectiveness, are you sure that would be balanced?

Also I think LPL should be 9 damage like in TT, all the other lasers have accurate lore damage values now, except the LPL.


I admit, I was trying to go with what PGI was doing a little bit with the previous table, so here are some of the values I was considering:


The Inner Sphere Large Laser has a significant range and DPS advantage over the Clan ER Medium. Bringing more cERML to close the DPS gap will make you quite toasty indeed and will also eat up your hard-points. The cLPL is your best option for countering the isLL, in a 2:3 ratio.

Posted Image

I also worry about the similarity between the isERLL and isLL. Is 190 m enough to distinguish the latter? Adding another 30 m for the isERLL to give it 720 m reach only increases its score by 0.01, but then I wonder if players will accept that the isERLL has the same range as the cERLL (personally, from an in-universe perspective, I always felt that they should be matched...the Clans already have improved damage and weight efficiency).

I also wouldn't be averse to a completely different take on pulse lasers, where they fire continuously at high DPS, basically being a laser machine-gun limited by heat.

#10 tokumboh

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 12:11 AM

View PostYeonne Greene, on 18 September 2016 - 08:52 AM, said:

I don't necessarily disagree, and I've said the same thing in other threads. The thing is, though, that ballistics are basically immune to anything relying entirely on heat to cap an alpha strike while PPCs are hit the hardest. Like, under a fixed 30-cap system with a full 2.0 dissipation, firing two ER PPC will trigger a shut-down while firing two AC/20 is trivial. It also restricts me to firing bundles of lasers that don't do enough damage to offset the fact that their damage is not instant, which just encourages me to bring anything PPFLD. You would see AC/5/10/Gauss and LPL/PPC all day every day.

To add, my version of ED was also looking to create an organic method for improving the utility of 'Mechs with few hard-points. I do not like quirks. They are just as forced and artificial as the current take on ED in the PTS. I think it's better to have mechanics that cover all of the bases. Plus, my version makes more sense from a physics stand-point, and I enjoy increased realism in my games.


Ballistics are not the same as energy weapons are not the same as missiles, This is where I believe that people are missing things. Making them the 'same' is where our problems begin. The physics would say that ballistics and missiles would have low energy draw because they carry their propellent in the ammo. Is the aim to make them all equivalent DPS or DPS/Heat or what. The point is that there is a choice to be made

You trade heat for limitation on ammo for ballistics and you also pay a weight penalty for carrying them, Comparing a AC20 with 270 range to an ER PPC 810 seem somewhat unfair at any level they are different weapons (we're aiming for mythical balance again)

My view is that every time we add a level of complexity we add even more imbalance which we seem to counter with more complexity and we go around in circles. It is what the current set of PTS's seem to me


AS to Gauss Rifles, my comment is that if you want to lower the DPS you can. The aim was that it should not be a brawling weapon it was a sniper weapon and as such it should not have much heat but should have relatively low DPS
and that is fine. One can have the argument about the charge mechanic and the fact it is a fragile as hell so it is not the best thing to take to a brawl. So in effect I was agreeing with you




View PostYeonne Greene, on 18 September 2016 - 08:52 AM, said:

Balancing the 'Mechs and balancing the Tech are two different, but related, things. The idea should be that I can take a Timberwolf and equip it with either exclusively Inner Sphere or exclusively Clan gear and it should be just as capable with either. Right now, equipping a 'Mech with Clan gear is flatly superior in the absence of quirks, and that is what I am addressing in the laser tables above. Note, the problem isn't constrained to just lasers.

Gauss Rifle isn't being nerfed because they're afraid of it being used in a brawl, it's being nerfed because its long-range effective DPS is high enough that it makes it very hard to respond to unless you also have Gauss. Two PPC and a Gauss is still one of the highest effective DPS builds on the live server. To add, it breaks any balance mechanism dependent upon heat since it generates virtually zero. You can add a Gauss rifle to boost any loadout's damage, which gives a huge advantage to heavier 'Mechs. Heck, even my BJ-1DC can bring a Gauss to augment five Medium Lasers.



Energy weapons on chain-fire don't offset the ballistics and their low heat. Firing a large alpha and then retreating does. Ballistics are DPS machines, and the best way to counter a DPS machine is to fire a big volley and then cover, since being unable to hit you at all ruins DPS.


Some of what you say is due to the approach and the lack of limitation to hardpoints essentially I believe that the 78 slots system does not work it make no sense it is why crazy loadout can be done which actually means again we are putting in a level of complexity to stop people from taking advantage of something that shouldn't be allowed in the first place.

It is the reason you can take a gauss with 5 ML on a BJ-1DC when in reality it never packed anything more than AC5 in lore
in essence we are using as many 'tricks' and systems as possible to balance something that can not be properly balanced as the user has so much choice.





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