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Addressing the current High Alpha Damage Meta


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#1 Chris Lowrey

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 10:58 AM

So as Paul stated in his overview post found here, we will be looking to directly address the current state of clan Alphas and bring them closer into alignment with the capabilities on the Inner Sphere side of the tech factions. The current trends of sustainable Alphas on the clan side reaching up to 94 damage when the IS typically cap out at around 60-65 effective damage without serious build concessions is too great of a divide to have fully slanted into the corner of a single faction and we will be taking steps to bring them closer into alignment.

Base Direction

To streamline discussion on the topic, it's best to think of solutions that we will be looking into following two overall approaches that we can take when looking at individual changes:
  • Changes that result in Desynced fire as the optimal method of fire to reward the clans overall higher damage outputs.
  • Reduction in baseline Damage output to something that is much better aligned to what the Inner Sphere is capable of keeping up with.
Changes that target more de-synchronized fire will keep the overall damage outputs and performance values of the Clan weapons at their current state, but will require players to break up their fire to optimally use. This can further play into the asymmetry between the two tech factions by allowing the Clans to keep their higher baseline values, but require a higher amount of trigger discipline skill to keep the reticle on target across multiple shots to make the most out of their damage output.



If not that, then we must consider bringing the overall damage values of those said weapon systems into greater alignment with the up-front damage per-ton output on the Inner Sphere side. As these two directions form the root of what the individual changes would encompass, we are open to hearing opinions on the ideal direction for bringing this particular issue into line.

Options

What is described bellow are some of the options we are considering for addressing this. These are all individual things being explored, and should not be seen as an "all or nothing" series of changes so much as what options we have on the table to address the above points. We are divulging these things to spur discussion on the matter and monitor what is considered the best way forward to address this particular issue. Based on feedback received, we will more then likely only integrate either a single larger change to a single item, or a series of smaller changes across multiple items depending on community feedback on overall direction.

Clan Gauss Rifles

The 3 less tons needed to equip Clan Gauss rifles need to come with meaningful give and take compared to their heavier IS equivalents. Off of two clan Gauss rifles, the 6 saved tons over their IS counterparts is often plenty of tonnage to compliment the weapons with payloads that their IS counterparts are often strapped to compete with. This will be adjusted to offer fairer give and take between the two tech base's rifles.

Option 1:
  • Upfront damage reduced to something more in-line for the tonnage invested in the weapon, Other attributes adjusted to keep the same current DPS.
Option 2:
  • The Clan Gauss rifle is given a recoil effect similar to, but not as intense as, the Heavy Gauss rifle. No other attributes are changed.
Option 3:
  • The Clan Gauss Rifle and all Clan Large Class Lasers are linked into the same heat penalty group.
Clan Lasers:


The upfront damage of Clan lasers, and the ease of access the clans have at supplementing their fire with heavy upfront damage, at decent ranges, for minimal tonnage directly contributes not just to those Alpha's at the top, but a general lopsidedness in most build performance throughout the entire clan / IS lineup and often sees the Clan 'Mechs with access to a large number of energy hard points consistently outperform equivalent 'Mechs on the IS side. While the popular adage sees the belief that only a handful of 'mechs consist as "problem" 'Mechs, the reality is that as a whole, the overall performance of even an average clan 'Mech can put up are often consistently higher then what the average IS 'Mech can put up provided they have access to a certain number of energy hardpoints. This will be a change that is targeted to either raise the skill cap needed to utilized mass Clan laser fire, or will be reduced to a level that does not completely overshadow the IS equivalent weapons.

Option 1:
  • Upfront damage is reduced to IS equivalent levels. Superior range values are kept.
  • Instead of superior upfront damage, we can reduce the cool-downs, heat, and other attributes to move the natural boosted per-turn damage that the Clan weapons are historically known for in the fiction, as a higher rate of fire leaving them overall where they are now, but shifting the added damage perks away from Boosted Alpha strikes and more towards higher overall DPS. Keeping closer alpha damage
Option 2:
  • Clan Laser's heat scale triggers set to 30 damage caps similar to their IS counterparts. All other weapon attributes remain unaffected.
  • This will keep the superior damage for the weapons as it is now, but mass lasers will come with a higher skill ceiling in order to effectively utilize the entire payload in combat.
In Closing:


As stated above, we will not be looking to integrate everything at once, but instead focus on player feedback, concerns, and opinions, and move forward for addressing this particular issue. If the community can produce an alternative solution that meets the same intended goals of reducing Clan upfront damage alpha from its current 94 damage peak, to instead peak off closer to the 60-65 damage peak the IS reaches without serious build concessions, as outlined in Paul's overview post, then we are open to implementing that solution provided its technical feasibility.

Additionally, while we know that many like to utilize other forms of social media to express feedback, in this instance we request that the primary discussion for this topic be centralized within this thread as there will be multiple eyes on these discussion topics.

#2 AgentIce

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:49 PM

[Redacted]

Edited by Tina Benoit, 11 June 2018 - 01:22 PM.
Nonconstructive


#3 0111101

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:54 PM

I take it you won't be considering anything in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document then?

https://docs.google....2xIIfVKM4o/edit

#4 Kanajashi

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:58 PM

View Post0111101, on 11 June 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

I take it you won't be considering anything in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document then?

https://docs.google....2xIIfVKM4o/edit


Paul mentioned in his post that the community's balance document was a good starting point for the discussion and to direct feedback towards Chris in this forum thread.

Edited by Kanajashi, 11 June 2018 - 12:59 PM.


#5 Windscape

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:59 PM

id rather see buffs to weapons like the IS guass and light guass rifle than nerfs to the clan gauss.

buffs for damage, range and duration for IS LPLs and duration and maybe cooldown buffs for LLs would keep them in line w clan equivalents.

for a long time, the IS has always had the DPS, heat, and cooldown advantage, while the clans had high alpha and smaller slot/ton count. i would like to keep it that way.

also, the balance guide posted above is a must look.

Edited by Windscape, 18 June 2018 - 01:58 AM.


#6 Tranderas

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:01 PM

You don't seem to understand that the reason clan has higher alpha and marginally higher dps is to compensate for the fact that IS has armor quirks. It's not raw DPS vs DPS- it's dps as a percentage of a mech's health, and alpha vs sustain, and ability to deal damage that is effective vs trivial damage.

Your initial assumption- that clans have higher damage per heat than IS so clan is imbalanced- is flawed on these grounds. Therefore, any conclusion you make from it is also inherently flawed.

You need to go back to the drawing board on this. And honestly, if you want to reduce the effect of high-alpha clan laser vomit and increase time to kill- both of which are goals you and Paul have put forth- the best place to start is giving us mobility back. The ability to twist torsos to spread damage among multiple components is a direct counter to the clan strategy.

Further: If you want clans to stop using laser vomit so much, you need to give them something to use as an alternative. The changes you've proposed in the past, and in this post, would make IS objectively better than clan. Instead of taking a nerf bat to everything that you deem too powerful- which, as established above, is an incorrect assumption to begin with- buff some other things. Give me a different weapon system that's just as good. Don't nerf lasers or gauss, buff UACs or ACs. Give me a series of mechs with SRM quirks. Give me AC quirks. Stop making me feel smaller and less powerful in this game about piloting massive, powerful robots.

#7 SHIN BRODAMA

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:03 PM

View Post0111101, on 11 June 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

I take it you won't be considering anything in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document then?

https://docs.google....2xIIfVKM4o/edit


This. The work has been done by people with far more attention to detail than anyone else who has looked at this. 1,500 community feedback comments poured over after the initial release. Refined. Presented to PGI.

And this thread is the result? Wtf?

#8 PHAROSMJD

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:06 PM

Go with the changes in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document. IF burst remains a problem, lower the heat cap.

#9 Paul Inouye

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:09 PM

View PostSHIN BRODAMA, on 11 June 2018 - 01:03 PM, said:

This. The work has been done by people with far more attention to detail than anyone else who has looked at this. 1,500 community feedback comments poured over after the initial release. Refined. Presented to PGI. And this thread is the result? Wtf?


View PostPHAROSMJD, on 11 June 2018 - 01:06 PM, said:

Go with the changes in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document. IF burst remains a problem, lower the heat cap.


View Post0111101, on 11 June 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

I take it you won't be considering anything in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document then? https://docs.google....2xIIfVKM4o/edit



From my post:

Paul Inouye said:

We are not going to grandly scale all ‘Mechs and weapon systems upward to meet this level of damage output as that would lead to severe power creep and degradation of gameplay even in its current state. This touches on a community based balance document that has just started circulating. That document is a full upward trajectory of power creep. This does NOT mean there isn’t valuable information in there. There are some number changes we can make and underutilized weapon systems pointed out in the document and the points made about them are very useful feedback that we will address as we move forward.


And:

Quote

In short, we’re opening a wider discussion avenue for balance on a step by step basis and that all starts with the 94 Damage Clan Alpha. As for the community suggestion document, it's a good place to start these discussions. I ask that feedback be directed into the post that Chris puts up so we have a focused area to look at it all. There's a compromise position between both the community feedback document and our needs from the development side of things and that's what this new form of feedback and implementation is going to address.


#10 Cybercobra

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:12 PM

[Redacted]

like shake on gauss?

taking clans damage away and giving them nothing in return?

not even considering boosted agility to help improve survivability?

more ghost heat?

all of those things look like you are trying to drain the fun out of the game.

now on a different note, take option 1 of the lasers here.

change the lasers from raw alpha to high DPS.

now that seems perfectly logical and reasonable on paper.

but think about it for a moment. clans are in general much less tanky than IS mechs, meaning that if you turn them into DPS mechs that have to really engage in combat with IS mechs then the IS mechs will win becouse they will outlive them most of the time.

the only way to combat this is to give them such powerfull DPS that they overpower the IS tankyness. which makes the IS being tanky pointless.

i implore you. please consider these things VERY carefully and really listen to your higher end players, i know that sounds pretentious but they are the folks often knowing what is happening in the game.

[Redacted]

Edited by Tina Benoit, 11 June 2018 - 01:19 PM.
Staff Abuse/Condescending/Insults/nonconstructive


#11 0111101

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:13 PM

View PostKanajashi, on 11 June 2018 - 12:58 PM, said:


Paul mentioned in his post that the community's balance document was a good starting point for the discussion and to direct feedback towards Chris in this forum thread.


And you find this response acceptable?

How about instead of reinventing the wheel every time there's a balance problem, they just go with what 1500+ people put forward as an acceptable first step for balancing the game and see how it pans out. Just this once.

#12 Metachanic

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:14 PM

Quote

Option 2: The Clan Gauss rifle is given a recoil effect similar to, but not as intense as, the Heavy Gauss rifle. No other attributes are changed.


Of the options presented, this is probably the most palatable. It would not have a serious impact on gameplay beyond forcing pilots to hold their gauss fire to the end of a laser burn. Somewhat more demanding, and a decent trade-off. However, I am leery about changing the Clan Gauss Rifle for fear of making the rare builds that use nothing but this weapon less desirable. Reticle shake seems like a reasonable compromise position.

I would propose a 4th option more in line with the character of the Clan faction and present game state; make the Clan gauss rifle more fragile, whether through lower HP, greater size to soak more critical hits, more explosion damage, or an even higher chance of exploding. Yes, I recognize that it is already quite fragile, just seeking further options.

This would achieve several things; hardpoint-starved IS machine gun lights will have an easier time countering some of the strongest builds in the meta, and it will require pilots to play carefully enough to get their damage out before their armor is open, a very risky play given the rarity of durability quirks on the Clan side. Those same quirks should be kept in mind with respect to any proposed changes, assuming that a massive quirks pass isn't on the way.

All that said, I do not think the Clan Gauss Rifle is in serious need of changes. Lasers alone are problematic, the addition of a Rifle or two is just heat-free icing on the high-alpha cake. Best, in my opinion, to leave Gauss Rifles alone and focus balancing efforts on lasers for the time being.


Quote

Option 1: Upfront damage reduced to something more in-line for the tonnage invested in the weapon, Other attributes adjusted to keep the same current DPS.


Unsurprisingly, I'm in favor of this option, since it's basically what's in the Community Balance Proposal. If high damage is the problem, reduce the damage. Maintaining the DPS of the weapon will somewhat increase the face time require to deal the damage, again creating the same high-risk trade-off faced by Clan Gauss Rifle users. One could even argue for a simpler change; reduce the damage only, see what the effects are (does the Clan Large Pulse Laser become remotely interesting?), then address the sustained DPS in a future pass.

Note that if IS maintains their widespread durability quirks, then Clans will need to maintain some kind of alpha and DPS edge to compete. As dramatic an edge as today? No, but it's quite possible to make this pendulum swing too far.

In an ideal world, I'd like to see the following changes as opening steps.

Clan Gauss Rifle
  • No changes.
Clan Heavy Large Laser
  • Reduce damage to 16.
  • Improve heat to 15.
Clan ER Medium Laser
  • Reduce damage to 6.5.
  • Improve heat to 5.9.
  • Improve cooldown to 4.25.


#13 Eisenhorne

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:15 PM

I don't understand WHY the discrepency in alpha strikes is a problem in the first place. The 94 pt damage alpha can be achieved by 2 clan mechs as far as I know, the Dire Wolf and the Mad Cat II. When fired, it heats the mech to like 70%... it's not sustainable fire.

The Annihilator can achieve a 80 pt pinpoint alpha strike, and can fire off like 3 of them before it's overheating. Granted, the ANH has a much shorter range, but armor quirks make it strong enough to get there.

Why can't you just let the factions be different? Clans have higher damage, but less armor, and are much hotter. Inner Sphere does less damage, but has more armor, runs cooler. Why try to homogenize it so both factions feel the same?

#14 West Santin

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:16 PM

Regarding to ClanGauss Rifles :

Option 1 : What would be the other adjustments ? In the current state beside the tonnage and slot advantage clan gauss has no other advantage over IS Gauss.

Option 2 : I could see that as an option when HAGs are implemented kinda like the heat up for RACs

Option 3 : So after killing Gauss/PPC combo Gauss/LL is next ?

What about Option 4 : Taking those suggestions of the community theory crafter more serious and look into other weapons like Clan ACs / UACs too so those weapons become viable weapons you can actually choose.
They'll add some variety by themself once they are viable alternative.

Only looking into C-Gauss won't be the one-trick pony regarding clan ballistics at all.

#15 Phyrce

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:20 PM

View Post0111101, on 11 June 2018 - 12:54 PM, said:

I take it you won't be considering anything in the Community Panel's Weapon Balance document then?

https://docs.google....2xIIfVKM4o/edit

Paul addressed the document in his post. it leads to a buff of 74 weapons while nerfing only 4. The power creep associated with that would be detrimental to the game design as the TTK would be insanely reduced with such a change. That would heavily degrade game play overall as everything would be "how big of an alpha can you make and will it one shot an atlas?".

As to Chris's mention of clan gauss rifles. Option 2 and 3 are easily worked around specifically taking something like a Mad Cat MKII Death Strike into consideration, currently one of the most played assaults. If you use option two (screen shake or recoil) its a non change, most players are using their lasers first and firing the gauss after. For number 3, while there are builds that can use large lasers the majority are going for multiple medium pulse/er lasers which again wouldn't address the issue you mentioned. You would need to go with option one where you keep the DPS but reduce the PPFLD that Gauss is associated with.

For the lasers, I personally would prefer the higher DPS style of play (option one), but I could see that getting out of hand very quickly. One build i can point out quickly is the Hellbringer Virago. I have 2 Heavy Large and 4 Heavy Mediums with a 76 point alpha that I can manage quiet effciently. With a cool shot I can pull of 3 of those strikes now in very rapid succession killing most mechs if my aim is on point. With a higher DPS play style I wouldn't need a coolshot and would just be firing those lasers more consistently. In a brawling scenario that would be almost more of an advantage than what players have now with clan lasers. If I were to face that virago and i am able to torso twist effectively I can spread that damage and brawl that mech in particular very well. But with a high DPS style of play that Hellbringer would become a brawling nightmare to deal with. I think there needs to be a heat penalty for firing that many lazers of any kind. It would raise the skill ceiling being able to manage appropriate fire groups. In the case of the virago, if i was forced to fire say 3 of my lasers (Large and 2x Medium) it would reduce the overall alpha while simultaneously improving brawling. I am not saying remove the ability to alpha entirely, but it should almost certainly come at the cost of shutting down so that 1 shot had better REALLY matter when i make that decision.


The other thing I don't see mentioned is the superiority of Clan UAC ballistics. While mechs like the KDK-3 have lost a lot of effectiveness, that isn't due to the weapon system so much as more competitive chassis being released and an overall knowledge from the player base increase that KDK-3's need to be taken out quickly. I would like to see the insane DPS curve of stacking multiple UAC's toned down with higher heat on the weapons or penalty for firing multiples, at least in a way that isn't completely negated by macroing the firing times. Another option would be the reduction in crit chance on UAC's.

I can't pretend to be knowledgeable enough to provide true insight past my own experience. Hopefully some of this can be correlated to some data that you guys have available to you.

#16 Rydiak

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:20 PM

View Post0111101, on 11 June 2018 - 01:13 PM, said:


And you find this response acceptable?

How about instead of reinventing the wheel every time there's a balance problem, they just go with what 1500+ people put forward as an acceptable first step for balancing the game and see how it pans out. Just this once.


Because changing nearly every weapon system in the game at once could spell absolute disaster for balance. Paul and Chris know this, obviously, because they design games for a living. Balance changes should be small and iterative.

My only complaint is clan alpha vomit has been dominant for a very long time now, but I am glad that it is finally getting attention from PGI.

#17 Drunk Canuck

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:20 PM

How about buffing other weapons for once in your lives? Stop nerfing EVERYTHING just because some salty Mechdad's got uppity because they face tanked an enemy while firing lurms and RAC's. Seriously, continually ruining gameplay and making certain builds unviable with outrageous nerfs like heat penalties between certain weapon systems is asinine and shows how absolutely incompetent and unwilling you are as developers to actually raise stats on under performing weapons.

Do you know why SPL's have fallen out of favor? Because you nerfed those into the ground by reducing their damage all because of a few light Mech's who are now useless because they have no good weapons and don't have the tonnage or armor to go toe to toe with bigger Mech's and so speed and low duration lasers have been pretty much the go to meta for lights since the Jenner F came out over 5 years ago.

How about reducing jam chance on ballistics? Increase velocity on the AC20? Get rid of the dual AC20 heat penalty that Paul shoved down our throats, amazingly, all because of one or two Mech's that were outliers at the time (Catapult K2 and JaegerMech's). How about increasing SRM max range for IS Mech's and upping their velocity?

There's literally a couple of hundred different options other than nerfing two weapons, and instead of actually tweaking stats on a multitude of weapons, you'd rather take a proverbial dump on two weapons themselves because it's easier. That shows nothing but absolute laziness.

Oh, and here's the one nerf I've been suggesting since Clans came out and has continually been the strongest performing weapon on average and that's the ER Medium Laser. Bring it's damage down to 6, and leave it alone. Gauss Rifles are already easy to blow up, it doesn't take an idiot to crit out Gauss on squishy Clan Mech's, but apparently since you want to balance around players who are the ultimate in terrible at this game, these sorts of things are apparently impossible for them.

Another pro tip, bring back 8v8 and fix your match making system to a zero sum system where losses and poor performance grant negative points, rather than continually positive. It just brings poor quality players into matches where they don't belong and I'd rather wait for a quality match against similar skill level players than deal with players who don't want to listen and prefer to cower in the back in their assaults.

It's almost ironic that some of the most powerful Mech's in the game are IS Mech's, especially in the assault category. And well, you nerfed some of the best IS heavies with the Skill Tree and rescale, so that shouldn't surprise anyone. I remember a time when I could slaughter Clan Mech's running laser vomit in my IS heavies like the Thunderbolts, Grasshopper's and Warhammer's. Now you've gone and ruined those Mech's by removing the quirks that made them viable. Sure, they weren't considered the best for comp because of IS XL's, but that was also well before we had LFE's

Edited by Drunk Canuck, 11 June 2018 - 01:24 PM.


#18 Solzen

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:21 PM

If the lasers get nerfed, do the gauss need a nerf? After all who are the major outliers? The Blood Asp and the MKII, right? And what makes them so powerful? High Alpha lasers paired with the rifles, correct? So if you are nerfing that pairing, why do we need to nerf the rifles? All you will do is hurt the single gauss toting mechs that are not on the same level. I would highly recommend giving this more thought before touching the gauss rifles. See what happens with the lasers and then consider the gauss again. Changing both at the same time could be a disaster.

On that note I do support Option 1 for the lasers.

#19 AgentIce

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:30 PM

The biggest issue that has sabotaged all attempts at balance has been the huge heat capacity that mechs have.

Both sides can Alpha their entire loadout with no consequence.

All mechs get 30 heat cap for no reason other then the TT rules have a ~30 point system of increasing penalties for overheating.

Cut the heat cap in half.
only 15 points base + 1 per heatsink. And only 1 per SHS or DHS.

Edited by AgentIce, 11 June 2018 - 01:30 PM.


#20 Phyrce

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 01:33 PM

Im actually pretty shocked that everyone seems to be clinging to the "but muh alpha strike!" mentality. If i wanted a head shot kill type game id go play that. People are crying out about allowing the game to be "Different" while simultaneously trying to turn it into COD with robot suits. Simply stunning.





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