Energy Draw Public Test Session

by Alexander Garden in [ Announcements ] on, Aug 17, 2016 10:00 PM UTC 338  comments

Information Post for Accessing the Public Test servers

Energy Draw PTS Sub-Forum
Please direct all of your feedback into that sub-forum


UPDATE! CHANGE LOG FOR THE AUGUST 23RD UPDATES TO ENERGY DRAW PTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.


Greetings MechWarriors,

We are excited to announce that a Public Test Session for the Energy Draw system will be starting on Thursday, August 18th, at 3 PM PDT (10 PM UTC).

This is the first Public Test of the Energy Draw after extensive internal testing, and we are very much looking forward to your feedback. We want to stress that the Energy Draw features you’ll see in this PTS is subject to feedback and change. The Energy Draw system will not be placed onto the Live servers until it is determined to present an improvement over the existing Heat Scale mechanics already present on the Live servers.

Does the Energy Draw system address the loopholes and issues inherent in the current Heat Scale system? Is the information presented in your Pilot HUD sufficient to understand the Energy Draw mechanic? Does the inclusion of Energy Draw help to increase TTK? These are some of the questions we are looking to answer through this PTS, based on your feedback.

In addition to Energy Draw this PTS features a few balance adjustments, including a global increase to Weapon Cooldown periods for all weaponry (excluding Machine Guns and Flamers), a reduction to the efficacy of Cooldown Modules, changes to AC/5 weaponry, changes to IS and Clan Large Pulse Lasers, and a number of changes to Gauss Rifles.

For details regarding PTS access and additional PTS information, please consult the information thread here.


PTS Structure Notes

• All Quick Play matches will be 4v4.
• Solo and Group Queue matches will be supported. However, you will need to Group up in groups of 2 or 4 to find a match.
• The Matchmaker will not be in effect (no PSR or Weight Class matching).
• Private Matches will be accessible.
• Faction Play will not be accessible.
• All PTS accounts will be boosted with currency and Premium Time to aid with testing (this does not apply to the Live servers).


The Core Design Principles behind Energy Draw

The Energy Draw system has been designed with three fundamental directives:

• Introduce greater risks and penalties for powerful and frequent Alpha Strikes, with minimal impact on existing heat-conscious gameplay styles.
• Improve upon the existing Heat Scale system by providing players with more direct insight into their heat levels, damage potential, and any potential heat penalties.
• Expose this system in the Pilot HUD to provide players with direct oversight of these systems.


Glossary

There are some key terms that need defining to better understand and explain how the Energy Draw system works.

Weapon Energy Value: The amount of Energy consumed by a weapon.
• Specific Weapon Energy Values can be found in the ‘Initial Weapon Energy Values’ section of this post.

Maximum ‘Mech Energy Value: The maximum amount of Energy available to your ‘Mech.
• Every ‘Mech in the PTS build currently has the same Maximum ‘Mech Energy Value of 30 Energy.

Current ‘Mech Energy Value: The current amount of Energy available to your ‘Mech.
• If you’ve just fired a weapon with an Weapon Energy Value of 10, you would then currently have 20 Energy remaining in your ‘Mech (until your Energy refills).

Energy Refill Rate: The rate at which your Current ‘Mech Energy Value will refill.
• Every ‘Mech in the PTS build currently has the same Energy Refill Rate of 20 Energy per second.

Heat Penalty: The penalty incurred when exceeding the total amount of Energy currently available to your ‘Mech.
• In this PTS build, the Heat Penalty is set at .5 points of Heat for every point of Energy over which you have exceeded your Current ‘Mech Energy Value. For example, exceeding your Current ‘Mech Energy Value by 10 Energy would incur a Heat Penalty of 5 Heat.


New Energy Draw HUD Elements

Three Energy Draw elements have been added to the Pilot HUD.


1. Energy Status Bar

The Energy Status Bar indicates your current allotment of available Energy (see Current ‘Mech Energy Value in the Glossary).
As long as the Energy required to fire your weapons does not exceed the amount of Energy available in your Energy Status Bar you will not incur a Heat Penalty.

2. Critical Energy Indicator

The Critical Energy Indicator lights up when you have exceeded the amount of Energy currently available in your Energy Status Bar.
When this indicator lights up, you have incurred a Heat Penalty.
When the Critical Energy Indicator is lit you will not be able to able to fire any weapons, unless you activate Override.

3. Heat Intensity Indicator

The Heat Intensity Indicator changes color to help convey the intensity of your ‘Mechs current Heat level. This does not inherently tie into the Energy Draw system, but is an additional HUD element to help convey the relative urgency of your current Heat levels.

 Red: Critical Heat Level
 Orange: Severe Heat Level
 Yellow: Increased Heat Level
 Green: Nominal Heat Level


How Energy Draw Works

While the system may appear complex based on the amount of information in this post, the Energy Draw system is fairly simple at its core.

Each ‘Mech now has an Energy value, represented in the Energy Status Bar. The total amount of Energy a ‘Mech can possess is 30 Energy (in this current PTS build). This value is currently the same for all ‘Mechs. A full Energy Status Bar therefore means you have 30 points of available Energy in this PTS build.

Most weapons have a Weapon Energy Value. It is this value which determines how much Energy is drawn from the Energy Status Bar when the weapon is fired.

If you consume more Energy than you have available in your Energy Status Bar, the Critical Energy Indicator will light up to indicate that you have incurred a Heat Penalty. This Heat Penalty applies an additional .5 Heat for every point of Energy over which you have exceeded the Energy currently available in your Energy Status Bar.

Consuming the exact amount of Energy currently available to your ‘Mech will also cause the Critical Energy Indicator to light, though very briefly. You don’t incur a Heat Penalty when consuming the exact amount of Energy currently available to your ‘Mech.

Unless you activate Override, you cannot fire a weapon while the Critical Energy Indicator is lit.

In this PTS build, the Energy Status Bar refills at a rate of 20 points of Energy per second. This is called the Energy Refill Rate.


The Overall Goals of Energy Draw

The overall goal of the Energy Draw feature is to create a gameplay dynamic wherein a player can choose to focus on burst damage through Alpha Strikes, or sustained Damage per Second (DPS) through staggered fire. We’re aiming for each dynamic to have its own pros and cons and use-cases depending on in-game actions, rather than raw ‘Mech builds. The system is not meant to completely discourage Alpha-centric builds, nor is it intended to favor DPS builds. The goal is to present distinct pros and cons for specializing or favoring in one firing approach over another.

To that end, we are aiming to balance the overall tactical loop of Energy Draw system along these lines:

• Focusing on Alphas Strikes or powerful burst damage will guarantee massive damage at the expense of long term DPS sustainability. While your immense volley of damage will make people think twice about facing you down, the risk of emergency shutdown should always be on your mind. It will certainly be on the mind of your enemies.

• Staggering your fire and operating within ‘safe operating limits’ of Heat will allow for greater overall DPS. However, as with an Alpha-centric approach, over-specialization toward DPS focused weapons and gameplay will limit your overall burst damage potential and may put you at a disadvantage in certain combat scenarios.

• Learning to ‘ride’ the Energy Draw system and effectively adapt to its mechanics should reward players that are able and willing to master the system.

Even with all of the potential changes we are presenting in this PTS, this is only the first step in reinforcing this loop. We will be closely monitoring feedback from this PTS, along with auditing all weapon systems and the way these new mechanics affect them.

Additionally, we must stress that any and all changes presented in this PTS are not final. We will be examining the feedback provided by those that participate on the PTS and make adjustments to better refine the overall goals stated above.


Initial Weapon Energy Values in this PTS

Most weapon types possess a Weapon Energy Draw Value. It is this value that determines how much Energy is drawn from the Energy Status Bar when firing the weapon.

• Direct Fire Weapons: Use 1 Energy point per 1 point of Damage

• In the context of Energy Draw, Direct Fire Weapons include: Lasers, Auto Cannons, Ultra Auto Cannons, Gauss Rifles, and Inner Sphere PPC’s/ERPPC’s.

Example 1: An Inner Sphere Medium Laser has a Damage value of 5. Every time a single IS Medium Laser is fired, 5 Energy points will be taken from your Energy Status Bar. Firing four IS Medium Lasers simultaneously will draw 20 Energy from your Energy Status Bar.
• With the current Maximum ‘Mech Energy Draw Value set at 30 Energy, and assuming they have a full Energy Status Bar, the Pilot in the above example would have 10 Energy points remaining (until the bar refills).

Example 2: A Clan U-AC/10 has a Damage value of 10. Every time a single C-U-AC/10 is fired, 10 Energy points will be taken from your Energy Status Bar. Firing four C-U-AC/10’s simultaneously will draw 40 Energy from your Energy Status Bar.
• With the current Maximum ‘Mech Energy Draw Value set at 30 Energy, and assuming they have a full Energy Status Bar, the Pilot in the above example would not just expend all of their available Energy in a single volley, but would also immediately incur a Heat Penalty of 5 for exceeding that maximum (by 10 Energy, in this case). Double-tapping their C-U-AC’s while the Critical Energy Indicator is still lit would incur additional Heat Penalties, and would put this Pilot at a severe risk of emergency shutdown.

• Cluster Fire Weapons: Use .75 Energy point per 1 point of Damage

• In the context of Energy Draw, Cluster Fire Weapons include: LRMs, SRMs, and LBX Auto Cannons.

Example 1: An Inner Sphere SRM6 has a Damage value of 12.9. Every time a single SRM6 is fired, 9.67 Energy points will be taken from your Energy Status Bar. Firing three SRM6’s simultaneously would take 29 Energy points from your Energy Status Bar. Firing four SRM6’s simultaneously would take 38.7 Energy points.
• With the current Maximum Energy Draw Value set at 30 Energy, and assuming they have a full Energy Status Bar, the Pilot in the above example firing three SRM6’s simultaneously would consume almost their entire Energy Status Bar, but would just barely get by without incurring a Heat Penalty. The Pilot firing four SRM6’s simultaneously would not just expend all of their available Energy in a single volley, but would also immediately incur a Heat Penalty of 4.35 for exceeding that maximum (by 8.7 Energy, in this case).

Example 2: A Clan LB10-X AC has a Damage value of 10. Every time a single LB10 is fired, 7.5 Energy Points will be taken from your Energy Status Bar. Firing four LB10’s simultaneously will draw 30 Energy from your Energy Status Bar.
• With the current Maximum ‘Mech Energy Draw Value set at 30 Energy, and assuming they have a full Energy Status Bar, the Pilot in the above example would expend all of their available Energy in a single volley. However, as the Pilot has not exceeded 30 Energy they do not incur a Heat Penalty as a result of this.
• In this current PTS build the Critical Energy Icon will still light up very briefly when you have consumed exactly 30 Energy (or the exact amount of your current available Energy), because for the brief moment during which the indicator is lit you will not be able to fire a weapon.

 Clan ERPPC: 13.5 Energy points

This value accounts for both the Direct and Splash Damage properties of this weapon.

• Machine Guns, Flamers, TAG, and NARC Launchers do not draw any Energy.

Individual Weapon Energy Draw Values will not be visible in the MechLab in this PTS build, but we are planning to make these values visible in the MechLab UI where necessary upon final release of the Energy Draw system onto the Live servers.

Design Notes: For this initial public testing phase we are closely approximating what the existing Heat Scale system allows. Energy Draw has been designed with any potential need for adjustments and future refinements in mind, and its values can be adjusted on a per-weapon basis as needed. For this initial test phase however, we have aimed at keeping the transition between the two systems as simple as possible to assist with learning how Damage output and the new Energy Draw system work together.


Heat System Balance Adjustments

• Inner Sphere and Clan Double Heatsink threshold and dissipation rates have been normalized

• 1.5 Dissipation
• 1.5 Capacity

• Clan Double Heatsink Component Health reduced from 10 to 6.6.
• New ‘Suicide’ Condition

• An Energy Draw Value of -120 or more will result in Suicide.

Design Notes: With Direct Fire Weapon Energy Draw values in this initial build being equivalent to their Damage values, we felt that if no compensatory changes to Heat systems were implemented to compensate Clans would receive excessive drawbacks, given their current Double Heat Sink threshold values. While the Clans will still need to master the new Energy Draw system to truly utilize their full damage potential, we chose to normalize the DHS values between IS and Clan to put them on more equal footing.
As an alternative balance measure, we are reducing one-third of the Component Health for Clan Double Sinks to account for their more compact size. This change in Component Health equalizes the total Component Health for Crit spaces used across the tech levels for Double Heat Sinks.


Weapon Balance Adjustments

With the Energy Draw system promoting staggered fire to maximize Heat Efficiency, a global increase to the Cooldown duration for most weapons has been implemented, along with some individual weapon tweaks.

These changes have been implemented to better reinforce the new Energy Draw mechanics, and attempts to further reward players who learn to use the new Energy Draw system most effectively.


Global Weapon Cooldown

• Weapon Cooldown duration has been increased by 15%.

• The only weapons not affected by this change are Machine Guns and Flamers.


Cooldown Weapon Modules

Weapon Cooldown Modules have been reduced in efficacy.

• Weapon Cooldown Level 1: 1%
• Weapon Cooldown Level 2: 2%
• Weapon Cooldown Level 3: 3%
• Weapon Cooldown Level 4: 4%
• Weapon Cooldown Level 5: 5%

Please note that in this current PTS build the MechLab text descriptions will not reflect these Weapon Cooldown Module changes!

Design Notes: We feel that the current values for Weapon Cooldown Modules on the Live servers are too effective, particularly when compared to Range Modules. The above alteration to Weapon Cooldown Module boosts is being made to support the design goals for the new mechanics seen in this PTS, but additionally to better balance the usefulness of Range and Cooldown Modules relative to each other.


Autocannons

Inner Sphere and Clan AC/5’s, Clan LB5-X AC’s, and Inner Sphere and Clan U-AC/5’s are receiving some tuning adjustments in this PTS.

• Heat increased from 1.0 to 1.5
• Cooldown increased to 2.3

Design Notes: Heat and Cooldown values for AC/5 weaponry have been adjusted to better fit within the context of the new Energy Draw system, as these weapons had very few drawbacks under the new system. AC/5 weaponry still provides good damage potential for very little heat cost, but its DPS capabilities and heat have been tuned to bring it more in line with the heavier AC classes.


Lasers

• Reduced Damage of Inner Sphere Large Pulse Laser from 11 to 10 (thus setting the Energy cost at 10).
• Reduced Clan Large Pulse Laser Max Range from 1200 to 840.

Design Notes: For initial testing of the Energy Draw system we wished to preserve both the 1:1 Damage- to-Energy ratio, while allowing the current 3 IS LPL firing limit without incurring a Heat Penalty to remain intact.
The Clan Large Pulse Laser has been given similar Max Ranges to other Clan Pulse Lasers to better define it against the Clan ER Large Laser.


Gauss Rifles

• The Gauss charge mechanic has been removed.
• Gauss Cooldown has been increased to 6.71.
• Max Range has been reduced from 1980 to 1320.
• ‘Mechs are now restricted to equipping no more than 2 Gauss Rifles*. ‘Mechs with more than 2 Gauss Rifles already equipped will be considered Invalid, and will be unable to launch into matches.

*Current UI on this feature is not final.

Design Notes: With Energy Draw encompassing most all weapons, we felt it was time to remove the previous de-syncing Gauss Charge mechanic and allow the Energy Draw system to dictate what players wish to pair the weapons with. We have made adjustments to the Gauss Rifle to both account for the removal of the charge mechanic, as well as its role in the Energy Draw implementation in this PTS.


In Closing

To close out this post we would like to again stress that this is the first Public Test of the Energy Draw after extensive internal testing, and most all aspects of this feature are subject to feedback and change. The Energy Draw system will not be placed onto the Live servers until it is determined to present an improvement over the existing Heat Scale mechanics already present on the Live servers.

Does the Energy Draw system address the loopholes and issues inherent in the current Heat Scale system? Is the information presented in your Pilot HUD sufficient to understand the Energy Draw mechanic? Does the inclusion of Energy Draw help to increase TTK? These are some of the questions we are looking to answer through this PTS, based on your feedback.

We very much appreciate you reading through this post, and will greatly appreciate your participation in this Public Test Session. We look forward to hearing your thoughts.


For details regarding PTS access and additional PTS information, please consult the information thread here.

Energy Draw PTS Sub-Forum
Please direct all of your feedback into that sub-forum

The PTS servers and client will not be accessible until the official start time of 3 PM PDT (10 PM UTC).

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