Jump to content

Speaking On Missiles And Artemis

Dev Post

126 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Lowrey

    Design Consultant

  • Developer
  • Developer
  • 310 posts

Posted 28 August 2018 - 05:12 PM

Ok, so as promised, I wanted to put together a response to a number of questions that have been directed towards the team regarding the previously implemented Artemis mechanics and why we felt the need to push the changes we did for the August patch. Apologies that it has taken so long to get to, but had to address a number of internal deadlines before I could get to this post.

So the initial question wanted us to clarify comments from our recently released patch notes in regard to Artemis' behavior. As this conflicted with how Artemis was described to players at an earlier point in the development history of MWO. Particularly when it came to the following pre-conceptions:
  • Artemis should only provide it's benefits against targets in direct line of sight
  • Artemis will always replace any bonuses from Narc, even if Artemis does not have line of sight
Both of these points which where directly contradicted within the recently released patch notes. So some understandable confusion arose between our recent patch notes and the beliefs based on a former dev post have been brought up. So I wanted to take some time to go over the previous Artemis Implementation in the game and how that lead to our decision to make the changes we did.

Balance Process

Before I get into the specifics, I want to touch on what happens internally when these kinds of mechanics changes are considered for tuning.

Prior to considering any baseline changes, we conduct under the hood investigations as to how the code base interacts with the things we wish to target in order to find the best way forward. These investigations often involve bringing myself up to speed on the intricacies of the mechanic behavior in the code base so that I can conduct my work. Since I was not around with the team at the time of the initial implementation. So these investigations tend to focus on the factual implementation of all of the factors in the engine as they exist in the game at the moment and not so much on older dev posts. Mostly because as with any 6 year old production, a lot can change between the times these posts initially where released to what the current state of the game is now. And while I would not be able to tell you if or how certain things changed between then and now (I simply haven't been here that long,) I can speak to how things where operating when we opened the investigation, and how that influenced our internal decisions to make the changes that we pushed.

So with this in mind, here is what we found when we initially investigated Artemis.

Previous Implamentation

The previous Artemis tuning saw a number of preconceptions to its functionality based on an older dev post from early in MWO's production. While some of the broad points listed where consistent with the behavior in the game at the time, not everything in the post was accurate to how Artemis was working at the time we opened our investigation into the equipment.

Regarding Tracking Bonuses what was said previously was:
  • Tracking helps missiles retain lock on a target. It helps a little with stationary targets but it is mainly used to control the hit % on moving targets.
  • Its bonus' would stack dependent on certain interactions with various equipment:
    • TAG and NARC benefits would stack
    • TAG and Artemis would stack
    • Artemis bonuses trumps NARC bonuses
So a small correction to this would be that Tracking Strength does not help missiles retain lock, but it directly relates to how much the missiles can "bank" or adjust their trajectory mid-flight. And would help a bit with tracking faster targets. But past that most of what was posted regarding missile tracking was accurate. Having access to the Artemis upgrade improved the tracking on all lock on type missiles. It acted as a modifier as specified here. But this boost was only contingent on you equipping the Artemis upgrade itself, not specifically equipping Artemis enabled launchers. So it would further boost both ATM and Streak Launchers without any further investment in the launchers, and it would further stack on top of the benefits provided by TAG.

Regarding everything else, what was said previously was:
  • Artemis needs line of sight with the target in order to grant any bonuses
  • TAG, NARC, Artemis individually reduced lock-on times by 50%
  • TAG + Artemis work together to decrease weapon lock time by 75%
  • TAG + NARC work together to decrease weapon lock time by 75%
  • Artemis will always replace any bonuses from NARC. Even if Artemis does not have line of sight.
Now this is where things get dicey. While this may have been the stated intention of Artemis at some point, a number of things from this statement where not working as outlined here in the live game.

First off, the indication that Artemis needed Line of Sight with the target in order to grant any bonuses. The tracking strength and spread bonuses where only applied when a missile volley was target locked onto an opponent within LOS at the time missile volley was fired. But the target lock boosting attributes did not factor in LOS at any point. So in-game it acted as a global boost.

Much like the tracking strength, Artemis was also providing lock on boosts based on simply equipping the upgrade and not equipping Artemis specific launchers. This is because of the way the missile lock on weapons all share the same lock-on mechanic. Which meant that while LRMs where gaining a lock on boost by investing extra tonnage into the launcher, ATM and SRM's where gaining the bonus as well for zero additional investment in the launchers.

Next up, when it came to specifically lock-on boosts, Artemis and NARC where stacking with each other, contrary to what was previously communicated. In this case, the total benefits of the tracking bonus was capped at 75%, but the source (Artemis + TAG or NARC,) nor the LOS, of the attacker was factored. As a result, a NARCed target and a 'Mech equipped with the Artemis upgrade was able to get a flat 75% lock-on time reduction, regardless of LOS or if the weapon had to invest further tonnage in Artemis launchers. (Such as Streaks.) Although it should be noted that the Missile Tracking, and Spread Bonus incompatibility with NARC still remained in effect. In this case, it was only the lock on times that where unintentionally stacking.

How Did ATMs Factor Into This?

The lore behind ATMs state that the launchers all come with integrated Artemis systems. While this is never specified within our game, we do try to honor that particular bit of lore, and have rolled the functionality of the Spread boosts provided by Artemis into the core attributes of the launcher, since this was something that we could directly control outside of the Artemis upgrade equipment. The spread functionality of ATMs are tuned to replicate the Artemis based launchers regardless of if the Artemis upgrade was equipped or not.

What wasn't included into the baseline stats was the boosts to lock on time and tracking. This was to prevent stacking issues with the known behavior of Artemis providing boosts based on the Artemis assignment. As providing these boosts to the baseline weapon would have meant equipping Artemis would provide further augmentations to the lock on time, even for non ATM weapons that where equipped. In this case, the ATM's previously where only working with full Artemis bonuses when they had both the launcher + the Artemis upgrade selected. With ATM launchers using Standard Guidance selections not benefiting from the Lock on time and tracking strength boosting bonuses, but still benefiting from it's own spread bonus which where rolled into the core attributes of the launcher itself.

When it comes to the recent changes, this has not changed the ingrained Artemis spread behavior worked into the core ATM stats. The only thing it has done is unified the behavior between standard guidance selection and Artemis selections (since the launchers in both cases are identical.) There is now zero difference between an ATM launcher with standard guidance compared to an ATM launcher with Artemis guidance. With the spread boosts associated with ATMs worked into the core attributes of the launcher in order to replicate the integrated Artemis effect the system is known for in the fiction, without the need to add the supplemental Artemis upgrade.

Why This Was Changed

With the recent buffs to baseline LRM's there had been some concerns about its buffed performance that we wanted to directly address with the August patch without going back on values we where not internally satisfied with in it's previous state. While addressing these concerns formed the catalyst for pushing the change itself, these changes have been under consideration for quite a bit. In addition to the provided rational within the patch notes, the hidden benefits provided by Artemis to other systems played a big role in us deciding to finally close the loopholes. While the hidden benefits of Artemis boosting weapons it was not designed to has been a fairly open secret in the game for years, this does not make this particular interactions a desired effect on the design side. This is because it throws an instantaneous performance wall between those that know about the hidden, undocumented boosts to certain weapons, and those that do not.

The changes made with the August patch directly closes the loophole and has Artemis function the way it is meant to function, only providing boosts explicitly to the weapon systems that must assign additional tonnage and crit slots to benefit from the Artemis system, and not providing any knock-on effects that carry over into unintended weapon systems. This will allow us to further tune the baseline launchers and not have to balance the baseline to account for unintended hidden mechanics altering it's performance. Naturally, the changes to Artemis have instantly put baseline LRM, ATM, and Streak performance back into our watch list. Should we feel that any of these weapons need further boosts due to the loss of some of the Artemis benefits, we will consider them in future passes. But balancing these weapons in a way that is consistent whether you take Artemis or not is crucial to get consistent performance that all players can enjoy. Not just the ones that take advantage of a hidden mechanic. Which we strongly believe is a better way forward for all players.

Moving Forward

As many have pointed out, although these changes do close the various loopholes that Artemis provide, the current implementation of the system can appear fairly lackluster in its current form. This is something that after observing the recent release we can get behind and consider further changes to enhance Artemis, but there is an important note that I wish to put out there: Artemis has often been a system whose use is treated as a raw upgrade. Either the effects granted are good enough to use, there for, you put it on nearly everything to the detriment of builds that don't utilize it, or it simply isn't worth the tonnage, and there for not taken at all. Ultimately we need to balance the game around the viability of both the baseline missile launchers, plus the various interactions with other enhancement equipment including Artemis. So while Artemis is being investigated for further improvements, I do wish to put out there that these improvements will be geared towards more situational buffs to the equipment so its inclusion is not as much of a binary upgrade over standard launchers, as it would be about rewarding skilled use of Artemis based systems.

While that is all I will say on this matter for now, I have also been cleared to throw out a tease that we are also looking into further changes to certain mechanics to push for more of a divide between direct fire lock-ons, and indirect fire lock-on missiles. Of which may or may not be related to our investigation into Artemis improvements. Posted Image As brought up in the opening section, these are currently "under investigation" and so there for have no exact ETA. But stay tuned as we will be looking in that general direction in the future.

I hope this clears up much of the confusion around the patch notes and points the discussion towards a better way forward for Artemis accounting for the various things we have brought up here.

#2 Brain Cancer

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The 1 Percent
  • 3,747 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 02:22 PM

The big pain, honestly, is the longer lock times. Most data for Streaks and ATMs has been from play where people had the obvious Artemis switch set "on", which means taking those parts away without baking them directly into the lock system is kinda dodgy.

Why not set the base stats for all systems higher and give non-Artemis weapons a penalty instead? That way, weapon systems that should be better at a basic level can stay that way, Artemis LRMs will still be as effective as they should be, and only weapons that are inherently less effective will remain that way.

#3 ChenGGez

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • The Sureshot
  • The Sureshot
  • 112 posts
  • LocationPlaying MWO on a 15" laptop

Posted 29 August 2018 - 02:47 PM

Ubiquitous ams use was the goal of the lrm buff correct?

If players still think the cost of AMS is too high to equip why not reduce the weight of AMS and it's ammo and balance its performance from there?

After all these LRM changes there has yet to be a satisfactory answer on LRM balance, perhaps the solution does not lie with tweaking LRMS further.

#4 Stinger554

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Hungry
  • The Hungry
  • 383 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM

Thanks for the write-up Chris.

Quick question for you: Is there a possibility of decreasing overall lock-on time for ATMs(or even streaks) through buffs to their stats to slightly compensate? I understand why it was not included before since the Artemis upgrade would have made the lock-on time ridiculous; just curious because while I will always recommend people take LTag I don't necessarily want it to become mandatory.

Edited by Stinger554, 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM.


#5 HammerMaster

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Benefactor
  • The Benefactor
  • 2,223 posts
  • LocationNew Hampshire, USA

Posted 29 August 2018 - 03:07 PM

View PostChris Lowrey, on 28 August 2018 - 05:12 PM, said:




I hope this clears up much of the confusion around the patch notes and points the discussion towards a better way forward for Artemis accounting for the various things we have brought up here.

I DO appreciate your wall of text response.
PLEASE do keep all missles on the "watch list" (to include lock cone and lock times)
PLEASE do cave and BUFF in LOS missiles (instalock, fast velocity, direct flight path, tight spread)
PLEASE do cave and NERF out LOS missiles (SLOW lock, lower velocity, arc flight path, HUGE spread)

Now.
Not please.
***** flipping fix jezuz box ECM autobreak missiles and giving UNINTENDED Null Signature System effects.
Fix free C3 style lock on so people don't riot over TRUE rules ECM.
Thank you sir.

Edited by HammerMaster, 29 August 2018 - 05:03 PM.


#6 Chris Lowrey

    Design Consultant

  • Developer
  • Developer
  • 310 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 03:41 PM

View PostStinger554, on 29 August 2018 - 02:57 PM, said:

Thanks for the write-up Chris.

Quick question for you: Is there a possibility of decreasing overall lock-on time for ATMs(or even streaks) through buffs to their stats to slightly compensate? I understand why it was not included before since the Artemis upgrade would have made the lock-on time ridiculous; just curious because while I will always recommend people take LTag I don't necessarily want it to become mandatory.


Because lock-on time is a shared attribute between all of the lock-on weapons, there would be no way for us to isolate this property without it feeding into the other weapon systems under it's present tuning.

So lets say we gave ATM's or Streaks a native +50% lock-on boost. Then boosting the lock-ons your LRM's would only be a matter of equipping a single ATM 3 or Streak 2 launcher since the weapon locks themselves are shared between all of the weapons. Its part of the reason why the Artemis loophole was working the way it was.

While we are keeping everything on the table in regards to our investigations into improvements and nothing is far enough along that we can rule anything in particular out, that is the primary thing we would have to solve before we can consider a change along that line.

#7 Nightbird

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Formidable
  • The Formidable
  • 4,294 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:06 PM

View PostChris Lowrey, on 29 August 2018 - 03:41 PM, said:





If you want a demonstration of how LRMs are working today, send me a PM. There's always something extra in seeing it in person.

#8 Chris Lowrey

    Design Consultant

  • Developer
  • Developer
  • 310 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:10 PM

View PostNightbird, on 29 August 2018 - 04:06 PM, said:


If you want a demonstration of how LRMs are working today, send me a PM. There's always something extra in seeing it in person.


Video links are often better for me, as bolting down designated time for ride alongs is always going to pose a challenge since I'm often busy with other stuff internally. But I can always watch a VoD on a break.

#9 Gen Lee

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Bad Company
  • 203 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:13 PM

Crap, I was hoping there was a way to give ATMs their quicker locks back. I've been running TAG with my ATMs ever since the patch, and not only does it take longer to get locks, it takes at least 5 seconds or more to get a lock on anything with ECM while not losing contact with the TAG. That is too long, IMO, for a weapon that is designed to be stronger the closer you are to the enemy. By the time you would be able to get your own locks, chances are you've already sustained way too much damage from being exposed too long. I prefer getting my own locks for ATMs, because relying on others' locks is unreliable, especially since ATM ammo per ton is less than half what LRMs get per ton.

It used to be a lot easier to get a lock on someone, and fire as you move back to cover. Now, it's all I can do to get a lock even without my TAG leaving the target. I've had to give up on getting locks half the time and just dumbfire my ATMs as I move to cover, hoping that they find their mark. I sincerely hope PGI plans on doing something to the ATMs to make them worth carrying them again. The weight and size alone should be reduced if ATMs lose two out of three mechanics that make them useful, especially at closer ranges. As it is now, about the only time you can make good trades with ATMs is if your target screws up, and even then it's still dangerous to expose yourself long enough to get a lock.

Edited by Gen Lee, 29 August 2018 - 04:15 PM.


#10 Davegt27

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Ace Of Spades
  • Ace Of Spades
  • 6,194 posts
  • LocationCO

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:22 PM

I removed almost all of my streaks from my Mechs so problem (and loop holes) solved

thanks

#11 Jonathan8883

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Shredder
  • Shredder
  • 698 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:22 PM

I'm surprised there's no mention of the ~64% lock-on cone nerf, which forces missile-carriers to stare down their opponents for 1-2 AC/laser salvos worth of time to obtain a lock.

#12 Dame Irulan

    Member

  • Pip
  • 10 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:29 PM

While I appreciate the thoughtful writeup, close LRM play still is out the door now. Short range locks are too difficult to get and to hold. Artemis isn’t worth its tonnage anymore either. Just not running any homing missiles at all anymore and the only ones I see in queue now are LRM-80 Supernovas hanging back at map edges and mindlessly button mashing endless blue streams. Yeah, that’s not too fun unless I’m in a sneaky light pounding on them. And I haven’t seen IS LRMs in a drop at all, since the patch.

Edited by Dame Irulan, 29 August 2018 - 04:32 PM.


#13 Navid A1

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Wrath
  • Wrath
  • 4,522 posts
  • LocationVancouver, BC

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:31 PM

Thanks for the response Chris.

To me, it seems like that tracking bonus and spread reduction of artemis are sacrificed due to how lock-on times was performing.

If you don't mind me asking, can you briefly mention what benefits artemis upgrade provide right now?

#14 Chados

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,942 posts
  • LocationSomewhere...over the Rainbow

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:34 PM

I believe the only bonus it has now is a 25% spread reduction.

Sad.

Thanks for the explanation, Chris. I’ve parked all my missile mechs for the duration, I’m afraid.

Edited by Chados, 29 August 2018 - 04:34 PM.


#15 justcallme A S H

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Ogre
  • The Ogre
  • 6,726 posts
  • LocationMelbourne, AU

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:37 PM

Overall feel of this change was that it was to kinda nerf LRMS a bit? Given the mass complains about LRMs since their two recent buffs (which oddly still remain)

What's happening in effect is SSRM and ATMs have taken a massive hit while LRMs haven't really been that badly affected.
The flow on effect is thst now Atermis is essentially wasted tonnage on a LRM equipped mech. This has led to further increased DPS via more hear sinks or larger launchers - in some cases I've looked at - it's both.

While I understand and appreciate what this change is doing. It's not really addressing the major complaints and just bringing new ones.


#16 Hiten Bongz

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • The Blazing
  • The Blazing
  • 163 posts
  • LocationTexas

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:40 PM

It saddens me that such a big sweeping nerf was implemented onto Live servers seemingly without thoughts of repurcussion, TBQH. Buffing ECM at the same time as well as reducing lock cone "50%" AND increasing lock times for all lock-on missiles effectively turned "one" already large sweeping nerf into a super ultra mega hyper nerf.

Not cool, man...not cool. I understand that the target of the changes were directed towards LRMs (as usual) but you guys managed to outright damage the other lock-on missile systems without so much as affecting the passive/map edge LRMers.

- 5+ seconds to lock on to an ECM target now, while having to maintain pixel-perfect accuracy on the target or your lock is just GONE. Do not pass Go do not collect $100. Start over with your 5+ seconds for another attempt at a lock. Just...whaaat? Decently piloted ECM lights are having an absolute field day with this right now, often just dancing around without a care in the world;

- ATMs/Streaks take a disgusting amount of time to lock up a target even without ECM, these are missiles for SHORT RANGE, you need fast locks not "la la laaaaa today junior!" By the time you get a lock and the missiles are flying they are behind cover again while you've taken a ton of damage with nothing to show for it. ATMs have a "sweet spot" that now an enemy mech can actually cross through before you get a lock...LOL.

- Lock cone nerf only hurts the SHORT/MED RANGE MISSILES, it does nothing whatsoever to curb passive LRMers hanging on the map edge not sharing armor and being good teammates. In fact, increasing lock times and reducing the cone actually encourages even more passive playing (sit back and hide, use your teams locks, don't share armor, etc.)

- Not all mechs have extraneous hardpoints to dedicate to a non-damaging TAG laser (looking at you, Sun Spider)

- Artemis no longer worth it for anything, waste of tonnage. LRM boats dropping it for more tubes and ammo. ATMs and Streaks, meanwhile, can do nothing to make up the massive loss in usability.

- ATMs stuck with the extra tonnage and crit slots for integrated Artemis, which now only have 1 out of 3 bonuses left. The one bonus that is left is not worth it's weight.


I'm very disheartened that these changes went live all of a sudden. I read them and said to myself, "Oh so now they're just going to murder every lock-on missile system in an attempt to reign in LRMs - again." Sure enough, it's done nothing to harm the passive LRM boats, but just outright made my handful of ATM mechs more difficult, less fun, and more dangerous to play for no good reason at all. These changes were a complete backfire in my opinion. That said, I sincerely hope that you guys are planning individual buffs to these now-very-underwhelming missile systems, such as giving them lock speed buffs and target cone buffs or whatnot, in order to bring their functionality back to previous levels. Remember, these are SHORT/MEDIUM RANGE missile systems and lock speed and targeting ability is much more important to them than those chucking missiles from 1km away. There's some good mechanics for Streaks that could be implemented that are missing, and ATMs should be using HE ammo and not the long range ammo.

My 2c.

Edited by Hiten Bongz, 29 August 2018 - 05:36 PM.


#17 Chris Lowrey

    Design Consultant

  • Developer
  • Developer
  • 310 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:46 PM

View PostNavid A1, on 29 August 2018 - 04:31 PM, said:

Thanks for the response Chris.

To me, it seems like that tracking bonus and spread reduction of artemis are sacrificed due to how lock-on times was performing.

If you don't mind me asking, can you briefly mention what benefits artemis upgrade provide right now?


As of right now, 25% reduction to spread. It is a flat upgrade for SRM's, for LRM's / baked in ATM's, it is dependent on direct LOS with the target under a weapon lock a the time that the volley fires.

This bonus still stacks with the bonus' provided through TAG provided the volley is still under LOS when the volley fires, but it will not stack with the spread bonus' provided by NARC.

As mentioned, Artemis is under investigation for some improvements as long as we ensure that there are significant trade offs to it and move it away from the "raw upgrade" aspect that it was seen as before.

#18 justcallme A S H

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Ogre
  • The Ogre
  • 6,726 posts
  • LocationMelbourne, AU

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:50 PM

View PostChris Lowrey, on 29 August 2018 - 04:46 PM, said:


As of right now, 25% reduction to spread. It is a flat upgrade for SRM's, for LRM's / baked in ATM's, it is dependent on direct LOS with the target under a weapon lock a the time that the volley fires.

This bonus still stacks with the bonus' provided through TAG provided the volley is still under LOS when the volley fires, but it will not stack with the spread bonus' provided by NARC.

As mentioned, Artemis is under investigation for some improvements as long as we ensure that there are significant trade offs to it and move it away from the "raw upgrade" aspect that it was seen as before.


Ah you told me in the last thread that LOS wasn't required for Artemis spread bonuses after you'd checked. (I said they were LOS only)

Was that not the case after further checking or was it changed as a part of this change?

Edited by justcallme A S H, 29 August 2018 - 04:51 PM.


#19 Tier5ForLife

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • Survivor
  • 481 posts

Posted 29 August 2018 - 04:52 PM

Wow, I understood a lot of the OP's post.

I have to also ***** about the extra long time it takes for an ATM lock. And for Streaks.

I always use a Tag and I put an ATM, an LRM and a Streak on the same mech and videoed it.

The LRMs locked quickly and went for the enemy mech. The ATMs missed over and over. The Streaks rarely fired.

#20 HammerMaster

    Member

  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • The Benefactor
  • The Benefactor
  • 2,223 posts
  • LocationNew Hampshire, USA

Posted 29 August 2018 - 05:08 PM

View Postjustcallme A S H, on 29 August 2018 - 04:50 PM, said:

Ah you told me in the last thread that LOS wasn't required for Artemis spread bonuses after you'd checked. (I said they were LOS only)

Was that not the case after further checking or was it changed as a part of this change?

Artemis is LOS only he says?
Also?
Why is Chris looking at 1 ton per launcher tradeoffs and NOT 1/1.5 ton trade offs of broken ECM?

Edited by HammerMaster, 29 August 2018 - 05:09 PM.






1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users