1.3.4 First thoughts

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mara
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Mon May 26, 2014 11:50 pm

SephiRok wrote: That looks like there's a bug in the implementation. The refit should cost 400 and not 444.

Basically how it should work is that everything that changes is sold at 25% of its purchase cost:
Production to credits factor = 8.0
Refit sell factor = 0.25

Tank0+Laser0 = 32 * 1.5 production = 384 credits
Tank1+Autoamtic1 = 64 * 1.75 production = 896 credits

We're refitting the whole unit without keeping anything so we sell everything at the refit sell factor: 384 * 0.25 credits = 96 credits

Refit cost = 896 - 96 = 800 credits
*0.5 for quick pace = 400 credits

Would you be happy with that? You should also consider how refitting works when swapping only parts of the unit. Say swap automatic for missile to counter an immediate mech threat. That should not be too cheap. Otherwise it just comes down to the sell factor.

You shouldn't take into account accumulated production though. If you rush a unit when it's 75% complete it's always going to be cheaper than refitting.
Couple of things based on this information.

1)I don't find that upgrading a single part is usually worth it, combat is very very rarely 1v1 in the large scheme of things (mainly attacking cities, at least in my observation), so its usually stacks of units on stacks, I actually haven't found much of a use swapping weapon types as a counter. It usually just comes down to brute force and nukes/black holes/bombardments.

2)Even at 400, in T2 and beyond, the training bonus makes this less and less attractive. Especially with the upgraded versions in the last patch. I don't have the increase per rank numbers in front of me, but I suspect late game it's a considerable difference.

3)Another bonus of keeping the old units, they soak up damage, even if a unit does 150 power of damage, if it's my T1 Tank's turn up to get smacked, I lose that instead of another unit.

Fixing the refit price is a step in the right direction. However, I think that it doesn't completely solve the value of a new unit versus refitting. I do think that maintenance costs being what they are (nearly non-existent) is part of the problem, but I don't think raising those is the right solution either. If it only costs 1 or 2 credits to keep a unit around, refitting a unit seems a bit blasé. At 2 credits, it's a great meat shield.

Based on all of this, my recommendation would be to bring the unit up to the minimum ranks of a new unit. I think that might make it worth while.
Last edited by mara on Tue May 27, 2014 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Koriko » Mon May 26, 2014 11:58 pm

I think the best option would be to have 2 refit "types" with differing costs. Refitting the devices, weapon, and armor should cost much much less than it does currently. Refitting the base unit into a higher tier should be on par with what it would take to "buy a new unit", as it is right now. That would prevent "tier hopping" while still maintaining the usefulness of refit in both scenarios. You could also make it so Togra gets free refits for just the components and not the unit tier itself so they actually can keep up with production deficit due to morale.

Refitting already puts the unit in downtime for an entire turn and costs you a ton so having it be more useful for exchanging components and less useful for upgrading tiers themselves would probably be the best way to go.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by SephiRok » Tue May 27, 2014 12:33 am

Academy buildings are refit party poopers.
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Tue May 27, 2014 12:58 am

SephiRok wrote:Academy buildings are refit party poopers.
*gentle pats*

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Koriko » Tue May 27, 2014 1:05 am

Possibly change the Academy buildings to give a certain number of unit ranks every turn to all units occupying that city up to a maximum total rank? Then make them stack the "per turn" bonus for each building. That might remove the problem while also allowing older units to benefit from the cities that built an Academy afterwards.

If that slows things down too much, this could be added to them as a secondary effect for all existing units while leaving the current instant rank bonus on production in place too. Gives a bit of choice when working cities... build units now and train them later or build the Academy buildings now and then build units after.

EDIT: WHOOPS totally forgot how much the Academy buildings got buffed. Changing the per turn bonus as follows:

Tier 1: 1 rank per turn, 2 max
Tier 2: 2 ranks per turn, 4 max
Tier 3: 4 ranks per turn, 8 max

That would allow you to hit max rank after 2 turns of "training" regardless of which setup you have.
Last edited by Koriko on Tue May 27, 2014 1:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

mara
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Tue May 27, 2014 1:32 am

Koriko wrote:Possibly change the Academy buildings to give a certain number of unit ranks every turn to all units occupying that city up to a maximum total rank? Then make them stack the "per turn" bonus so each building would give 1 rank per turn up to a total of 3 ranks per turn with all 3 Academy buildings? That might remove the problem while also allowing older units to benefit from the cities that built an Academy afterwards.

If that slows things down too much, this could be added to them as a secondary effect for all existing units while leaving the current instant rank bonus on production in place too. Gives a bit of choice when working cities... build units now and train them later or build the Academy buildings now and then build units after.
I think that this is an interesting idea, but I wonder about the repercussions. Currently there are operations that train existing units at the cost of HP and I also wonder if this would encourage unit stacking in cities even further.

Edit to Kori's edit: I do agree that it would have to be fairly quick to be worth while, I wonder though how it would affect things in the long run. I also worry that this makes unit stacking even worse. Yes I'm aware that Field training can take them past the academy maximum, but I think it's still something to think about, as it changes the value of the operation for existing units.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by SephiRok » Tue May 27, 2014 2:21 am

Anything with a max unit rank will still mean buying a new unit will net you free power over refitting a unit which already reached the max rank.
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Stalker0 » Tue May 27, 2014 2:23 am

I personally do not find the energy park to be too weak.

The fact that you don't needs workers to operate them is a major major advantage. I can take a small city and put up parks to get some cash in the short term. Now once the workers are up I would consider replacing them, but they have a solid use.


Talking about morale and credits for a moment, I think one of the easiest first steps is to remove morale from credit adjustment. Leave that as Tax only. That serves three purposes:

1) It strengthens credits, which I agree do need some buffing. I use credits, but I don't really sacrifice other resources to get them in general. Maybe with a +50% credit city, but that's the only time.
2) It weakens morale, which many consider to be too good right now.
3) It streamlines the game and removes confusion. Currently the credit system is the only one that has two competing factors, and I don't think its necessary. Considering that I am losing morale...and effectively losing all other resources to gain money...I am already balancing a strategic resource in gaining credits. There is no reason to muddy that choice by also adding a secondary modifier.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Koriko » Tue May 27, 2014 2:56 am

SephiRok wrote:Anything with a max unit rank will still mean buying a new unit will net you free power over refitting a unit which already reached the max rank.
I agree, but that just means refitting must be far more cost effective than buying a new unit. I don't see refitting every being a major feature but more of a "lets go replace these junk units with something slightly better" for a much lower cost than buying more units.

My only worry is tier hopping if refit becomes too cheap. I suppose the removal of upgrading chassis through refit and making it solely for the components (which is what I envisioned refitting to do more than anything else) is an option. Or maybe make it so chassis refit costs a turn, plus more credits, while normal refit costs only some credits and no turns?

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Stalker0 » Tue May 27, 2014 2:58 am

So after many games on 1.3.5 here are my general thoughts:

1) I like the new academy buildings. They are high priority on my list to build now. I will say that the AI does not seem to be using them much. My units are almost always out ranking the baseline AI units.
2) I think the new field training is too strong. Generally what I do is after my early war or my first wave of alien assaults, I grouped my guys up, and start slapping down a few field trainings. Within a small span I have a large group of Rank 11 units, which just mows through the Rank 1-3 units the AI usually has at this point. I think the reduction in damage was good, but the cap of 11 is too high.
3) Terraforming wise, I still think the Purifier and Suburb bumps tend to neuter those capping mechanics. I only worry about pollution now with Solar Dynasty, the -3 credits is no worry at all for reclaiming effectively +2 morale. I do appreciate the overall use of terraforming now. My formers are always doing something now, as opposed to previous games where they would often sit for large swaths of the game.

I do find it odd that mineral improvement terraforming is the Tier 2 tech, and food improvement Tier 3. I find minerals more important than food myself.

4) I build the ATVs a bit more...but not that much more. I do build watercraft a lot more now, being able to conquer cities with them certainly made them stronger.
5) I will agree with the board consensus that the Divine Ascension is too strong, and Togra too weak. That said, I would focus on getting the core mechanics where you want them and then adjust the races accordingly. I would hate to see core mechanics adjusted just for the sake of balance....that would be the equivalent of using a hammer instead of a scalpel to do surgery.

One quick option with Togra, gives them +50% to ALL research, not just scientists. So they would get +3 science from their headquarters instead of +2. It would give them a stronger head start in science at the beginning of the game, and scale slightly as they gained more science buildings.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Tue May 27, 2014 3:29 am

Koriko wrote:
SephiRok wrote:Anything with a max unit rank will still mean buying a new unit will net you free power over refitting a unit which already reached the max rank.
I agree, but that just means refitting must be far more cost effective than buying a new unit. I don't see refitting every being a major feature but more of a "lets go replace these junk units with something slightly better" for a much lower cost than buying more units.

My only worry is tier hopping if refit becomes too cheap. I suppose the removal of upgrading chassis through refit and making it solely for the components (which is what I envisioned refitting to do more than anything else) is an option. Or maybe make it so chassis refit costs a turn, plus more credits, while normal refit costs only some credits and no turns?
I think that's just the nature of refitting, it's about mitigating the difference to make it more usable. Maybe an easier idea might be to list the pros and cons of Refitting versus buying new, and see if you can make it a value-added proposition somewhere.

A current example of a positive difference would be: You can refit AND build a new unit in the same turn in the same city, increasing power more than usual. The Con: Unfortunately, due to cost, thats not likely to be useful all that often.
Stalker0 wrote:I personally do not find the energy park to be too weak.

The fact that you don't needs workers to operate them is a major major advantage. I can take a small city and put up parks to get some cash in the short term. Now once the workers are up I would consider replacing them, but they have a solid use.


Talking about morale and credits for a moment, I think one of the easiest first steps is to remove morale from credit adjustment. Leave that as Tax only. That serves three purposes:

1) It strengthens credits, which I agree do need some buffing. I use credits, but I don't really sacrifice other resources to get them in general. Maybe with a +50% credit city, but that's the only time.
2) It weakens morale, which many consider to be too good right now.
3) It streamlines the game and removes confusion. Currently the credit system is the only one that has two competing factors, and I don't think its necessary. Considering that I am losing morale...and effectively losing all other resources to gain money...I am already balancing a strategic resource in gaining credits. There is no reason to muddy that choice by also adding a secondary modifier.

I never thought of this before, a good idea, but I tend to use forests instead, being Terra Salvum, 1 food 2 stone and -1 pollution, on top of not being destroyed by aliens early game means WIN!

I think though, that Arctic tiles really need a look at, they're really really detrimental as a whole compared to temperate starts. Having tiles that give nothing, or 1 ore, makes you vastly weaker than your opponents. The only way to get reliable food is forests and coastal water in Arctic regions, which, for the latter is already sucky, and for the former, limiting in the long run. All 3 regions need a reliable source of food.

Desert also suffers from this. IMHO Starting zones should be fairly even. This is especially true with the current hive density.(which should be looked at aswell).
Stalker0 wrote:So after many games on 1.3.5 here are my general thoughts:

1) I like the new academy buildings. They are high priority on my list to build now. I will say that the AI does not seem to be using them much. My units are almost always out ranking the baseline AI units.
2) I think the new field training is too strong. Generally what I do is after my early war or my first wave of alien assaults, I grouped my guys up, and start slapping down a few field trainings. Within a small span I have a large group of Rank 11 units, which just mows through the Rank 1-3 units the AI usually has at this point. I think the reduction in damage was good, but the cap of 11 is too high.
3) Terraforming wise, I still think the Purifier and Suburb bumps tend to neuter those capping mechanics. I only worry about pollution now with Solar Dynasty, the -3 credits is no worry at all for reclaiming effectively +2 morale. I do appreciate the overall use of terraforming now. My formers are always doing something now, as opposed to previous games where they would often sit for large swaths of the game.

I do find it odd that mineral improvement terraforming is the Tier 2 tech, and food improvement Tier 3. I find minerals more important than food myself.

4) I build the ATVs a bit more...but not that much more. I do build watercraft a lot more now, being able to conquer cities with them certainly made them stronger.
5) I will agree with the board consensus that the Divine Ascension is too strong, and Togra too weak. That said, I would focus on getting the core mechanics where you want them and then adjust the races accordingly. I would hate to see core mechanics adjusted just for the sake of balance....that would be the equivalent of using a hammer instead of a scalpel to do surgery.

One quick option with Togra, gives them +50% to ALL research, not just scientists. So they would get +3 science from their headquarters instead of +2. It would give them a stronger head start in science at the beginning of the game, and scale slightly as they gained more science buildings.
3) I agree, I just hope the water improvements (are there going to be any?) help make costal cities better

4)I build them mid to late game to clean up hives after planes do the dirty work (why can’t planes take hives?)

I also think that watercraft while more useful, currently make costal cities even worse. They already got a short straw with resources.

5)I also agree with the fact that the mechanics should come before faction bonuses, so long as we don’t forget to fix them in the end.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by SephiRok » Tue May 27, 2014 12:25 pm

Mmm. I see the issue why it's 444 credits and not 400. To compensate for starting weapon costs being 0% and consequently refitting Automatic0 <-> Missile0 costing 0, we inflated weapon swap costs by 25%. Which screws it up comparatively to unit class costs and purchase costs. Not very good. Can't see a better way than Automatic0 <-> Missile0 refit costs being 0 right now.
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Tue May 27, 2014 12:30 pm

SephiRok wrote:Mmm. I see the issue why it's 444 credits and not 400. To compensate for starting weapon costs being 0% and consequently refitting Automatic0 <-> Missile0 costing 0, we inflated weapon swap costs by 25%. Which screws it up comparatively to unit class costs and purchase costs. Not very good. Can't see a better way than Automatic0 <-> Missile0 refit costs being 0 right now.
Interesting. Do you think that'll cause any issues in the long run? I don't see it being a huge issue due to how fast those tend to get replaced. If not a bit kludgy, perhaps you could set refit costs separate from build price?

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by SephiRok » Tue May 27, 2014 12:40 pm

It sounds like the lesser evil. I'm inclined to remove the weapon swap inflation and increase the sell factor for replaced stuff to 50% from 25% atm (xour refit would go from 444 to 352), but will discuss it with the team first. See if there's a good way to fix the academy issues as well. Togra are probably getting buffed refit costs from -25% to -50% as well.
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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Tue May 27, 2014 12:46 pm

SephiRok wrote:It sounds like the lesser evil. I'm inclined to remove the weapon swap inflation and increase the sell factor for replaced stuff to 50% from 25% atm (xour refit would go from 444 to 352), but will discuss it with the team first. See if there's a good way to fix the academy issues as well. Togra are probably getting buffed refit costs from -25% to -50% as well.
That would be a step in the right direction for Togra. They need all the help they can get. 352 seems more reasonable with the Togra's 50% off. I could see using it more often for 176.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Apheirox » Wed May 28, 2014 5:22 pm

Stalker0 wrote:I personally do not find the energy park to be too weak.

The fact that you don't needs workers to operate them is a major major advantage. I can take a small city and put up parks to get some cash in the short term. Now once the workers are up I would consider replacing them, but they have a solid use.

[snip]
Energy Parks seem highly problematic to me. Yes, they're great for tiny, newly founded cities that aren't working all tiles yet because in that situation they're simply providing free credits. However, that's also all they're good for. Once your city grows you'll want them replaced by the other improvements which all provide much better output (1 resource from Construction Bay/Field Lab/etc = ~4 credits before multipliers, which should be held up against the +2 credits from EP which can't receive multipliers). That relegates the EP to a niche role - and only if you have former work time to spare (and even then planting a forest might be more worthwhile).

At the very least I'd allow them to be affected by the Gold Vein +50% resource so that they at least have a long-term role in dedicated credit-making cities. I can't agree that having an improvement you'll always want to replace after just a few turns is good design due to how weak it is over the long term.

Far more importantly than this particular improvement, though, I simply don't understand how SephiRok (or the rest of you, for that matter) doesn't appear to take more offense with the credit/morale issue I outlined earlier. As was shown by SephiRok's calculations, morale outputs a good deal more $$$ than credits even in a situation that favors credits (where we assume the average citizen outputs only 2 resources - when realistically, in a game situation, the base output from resources is significantly higher than that due to tile improvements and earlier multiplier buildings, as I described, as well as other factors such as bonus resources widening the gap between morale and credits even further). Morale is stronger than Credits to the point that minimizing tax rate is universally a good idea - this flattens the game and doesn't leave much room for strategy.

It does makes sense that morale/resources beat credits because if credits were better you'd just run 100% tax always and purchase everything. Credits are much more versatile. However, in the current environment where morale is significantly better than credits to the point that even tax-based Noxium outputs more by forgoing taxes to the greatest extent possible... Well, I think it's important to change and get right as it sits at the very core of the economy, with every other aspect of the game hinging upon how morale/credits work. As others have already pointed out, the order of doing things should be first getting core mechanics right, then balancing the factions based on that. To me it seems like a big mistake considering stuff like slightly increasing the Togra refit bonus over this, but I digress.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Stalker0 » Wed May 28, 2014 6:06 pm

Apheirox wrote:
Stalker0 wrote: Far more importantly than this particular improvement, though, I simply don't understand how SephiRok (or the rest of you, for that matter) doesn't appear to take more offense with the credit/morale issue I outlined earlier. As was shown by SephiRok's calculations, morale outputs a good deal more $$$ than credits even in a situation that favors credits (where we assume the average citizen outputs only 2 resources - when realistically, in a game situation, the base output from resources is significantly higher than that due to tile improvements and earlier multiplier buildings, as I described, as well as other factors such as bonus resources widening the gap between morale and credits even further). Morale is stronger than Credits to the point that minimizing tax rate is universally a good idea - this flattens the game and doesn't leave much room for strategy.
As I mentioned earlier, I think credits should be separated from Morale and be a function of tax only. That is one less thing morale effects, and makes higher taxes truly = higher credits.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by mara » Wed May 28, 2014 6:10 pm

It wasn't so much a lack of concern with credits and morale. I agree, credits are really undervalued. I just highlighted an issue (refitting) that, upon being informed of a potential bug, I did what I do as a QA tester and tried to replicate the issue. Morale in general needs to be looked at a little deeper mechanically.

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Re: 1.3.4 First thoughts

Post by Apheirox » Fri May 30, 2014 1:54 pm

Can't accuse the devs of not paying attention the community's concerns - it seems everything discussed in this thread has been addressed with 1.4.0. This level of support is unparallelled. Cheers to Proxy Studious & Slitherine!

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