This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Khoo Bo Yan 3 years, 9 months ago.
August 10, 2015 at 04:52 #688
Khoo Bo Yan
Hi, I thought I would repeat my earlier suggestion re the Mongrels’ Rocket Artillery, and add two more…
Rocket Artillery: suggest to either increase cost by 25 points to a total of 250, or reduce health to the point where it will be killed on a forest/city by everything in 1 hit (currently it can still survive 1 MLRS volley).
The next issue is a problem I find with the Iron Raiders. In general, I find their lack of indirect fire options quite unbalancing for two reasons:
1. I have had countless games on maps where the Iron Raiders are meant to thrive on (Citadel/Windbreak etc) where my opponent would just spam smoke and capture all the income before I could effectively respond. It gets especially bad against the Mongrels who can both spam smoke AND throw up a wall of free turrets (maybe those turrets should cost something!). And the Mongrels are (conceptually at least???) supposed to be weak to heavy armour!
2. On maps that aren’t completely open terrain, there just isn’t any point in using the Iron Raiders because your opponent’s artillery becomes an insurmountable advantage. So the Raiders are limited to a small handful of maps that they can’t even reliably win on. And it won’t do to create more maps for them because…well, how many permutations of wide open grassland can one possibly come up with?
The crux of the issue is the Heavy Tank. If you look at the ‘gold standard’ examples of WWII and Gulf War armoured warfare, tanks were used as the decisive MOBILE arm to punch through enemy lines and execute flanking/penetration/disruption manoeuvres. They were at the front line mixing it up with everyone else, and taking and dishing out damage in equal measure. The heavy tank (brought to its zenith by the Germans in WWII) was conceptualised as a role that emphasised firepower and armour at the cost of mobility, and would be most important in the anti-tank role. Of course now we have MBTs, but that’s only because technology improved to the point where it was possible to give a tank the best of everything with very few compromises.
The present Heavy Tank used by the Iron Raiders doesn’t really fit the conceptual role. It basically behaves like a direct-fire version of the Royal Battery’s Heavy Artillery that is optimised for the anti-tank role, very heavily armoured, more mobile, a bit more expensive, and can be boosted by support units. If the 17th Guards’ Medium Tank were the equivalent of today’s MBTs, then the Heavy Tank would be a tank that could engage targets ~6km away with even greater killing power. That’s entering the realm of fantasy! And so the Heavy Tank is consigned to sitting at the back of the map, hoping that the enemy leaves some units visible for it to shoot at, which obviously doesn’t happen too often with a smart opponent. It’s also terrible at killing infantry for its cost…
So in view of the above-mentioned issues, I have the following suggestions for the Raiders to make them more fun to play (and play against!). The goal is to keep them true to the ‘epitome of armoured warfare’ concept while not exactly taking away their weaknesses entirely.
1. Change the LAV’s name to an IFV (infantry fighting vehicle). Give it a ‘thermal sight’ capability (1 AP) which increases its visual range slightly (maybe just reveal 1 extra tile through smoke/forest/city?) and allows it to shoot through smoke. Do away with the Transport unit (I know, I feel the pain!) and transfer the Unload Grunts ability to the IFV, which will spawn a 600-health Grunts unit at the cost of 1 AP, to simulate infantry abandoning their damaged vehicles. This is just to keep the ‘mechanised infantry’ gameplay around. You’ll see why I removed the Transport unit in a moment…
2. Give the Heavy Tank a thermal sight capability as well. Shorten its firing range to that of a Stealth Tank (slightly further than that of a Medium Tank). Bring its mobility up in line with Medium Tanks (2/0/2/4/0) and increase hit points to 3000 (it’s going to get fired upon a lot in the front line). Keep the damage output and cost the same. It’s still going to be terrible at killing infantry for its price, but that’s where the next part comes in…
3. Give the Bulldogs’ Mortar Carrier to the Raiders. Why, you ask? So that they aren’t so terrible at killing infantry any more, and also because real-life armoured brigades carry mortars with them 😉 Keep all the stats the same and remove the smoke capability (because it’s too easy to abuse…). Done! 😀
4. (optional) I always wondered why the Bulldogs would get vehicle-mounted mortars when they’re an infantry faction. How about converting it to a Mortar Platoon with the same stats but with infantry movement and also slightly cheaper? It’s not like the Bulldogs needed the mobility anyway, not like their LAV…
5. (optional) MAKE BIGGER MAPS! I mean, the whole point of mobile warfare etc is to exploit SPACE. Right? Right? 😀 On a more serious note this will have the beneficial effect of making players take scouting more seriously, and planning strategy further in advance.
The net effect of all this would be to 1. give the Raiders a (partial) counter to the smoke spam tactic 2. bring their gameplay more in line with what you’d expect of commanding an armoured brigade 3. address their deficiency in attacking enemy infantry. Hope some of these suggestions make it through 😀
August 10, 2015 at 05:00 #689
Khoo Bo Yan
In retrospect having a 3000 hp beast rolling down an open field is a bit much. Let’s leave the Heavy Tank’s HP as it is 🙂
August 16, 2015 at 00:05 #694
Good suggestions, I agree that the Iron Raiders needs a touch up. I would like to implement those suggestions in the next update but there are a few technical limitations. Because ReconInForce does not demand players share the same version of the game I can’t add any new units or abilities because the player with the older version would not know how to interpret the new content. Tweaking stats and moving existing content is possible though! I could swap in the Mortar Carrier to the Iron Raiders but I have to think more about which unit it would replace. We could also move the “Unload Grunts” to the LAV (or IFV) but that would essentially just transform the LAV into a Grunts instead of spawning a new unit next to the LAV.
Allowing the Heavy Tank to shoot through smoke seems game breakingly powerful, especially with the range it has.
Another thing to consider is swapping in the Flame Tank to fulfil more of an “anti-infantry” role with the Iron Raiders. Also the Flame Tank could use a one tile increase in range because I think it is under-utilized by players.
A final roster of the Iron Raiders might look like this:
What are your thoughts on these changes plus some tweaks that improved the individual units?
August 16, 2015 at 01:49 #696
Khoo Bo Yan
If you think about it, there is already a unit that can shoot ‘through’ smoke- it’s called the Heavy Artillery (and it’s cheaper than a Heavy Tank!) xD But that’s not really my point. I was hoping that the Heavy Tank’s range would be shortened to that of the Stealth Tank’s range (which is slightly further than a Medium Tank can shoot), while its movement brought up to speed with other tanks. Then shooting through smoke wouldn’t be such a problem, especially if you had to expend 1 Action Point to activate this ability.
Similarly with the LAV and the Unload Grunts ability, I meant for that to be a last-resort move which players would use if the LAV was on very low health (otherwise who would swap an LAV for a Grunts unit- and a partially damaged one at that?). The LAV plays a very similar role to infantry for the Raiders- it’s just more mobile and slightly more powerful at the expense of vulnerability to anti-armour weapons and higher cost.
BUT since we can’t add new content (bummer!) I think I would settle for the following lineup:
LAV (this needs to stay)
Heavy Tank (with mobility and firing range adjusted as earlier suggested)
EITHER Captain OR Supply Truck
Mortar Carrier (as suggested, without the smoke ability)
The choice between the Captain and the Supply Truck is a little tricky. On the one hand, the Captain’s offensive boost is critical for Heavy Tanks to kill infantry in one hit. Then again, we’ve added the Mortar Carrier to fill the anti-infantry role. The Supply Truck was critical for getting the slow-moving Heavy Tank to move faster and to allow it to do massive damage in one turn; but now that the Heavy Tank moves as quickly as other tanks, the Supply Truck is less needed (and may not even be able to keep up with the tanks!).
So we are left with the remaining uses of these two units: the Captain’s defensive boost and the Supply Truck’s ability to help push fresh units from deployment to the front lines more quickly, as well as repair units. If you ask me, both are equally useful; the Captain is easier to use (and deploy), and thus will get used more frequently, but the Supply Truck is more unique to the Iron Raiders. I suspect experienced players will appreciate the Supply Truck more. It’s up to you 🙂
The Flame Tank doesn’t really fit into Iron Raiders gameplay because of its relatively poor mobility, plus the LAV is too crucial to be replaced. So I wouldn’t bring it in. Regarding your concerns about it being under-used, I think the main problem is mobility rather than range. It’s fine on roads but slows to a crawl on grass. Add to that the fact that it’s a unit that’s designed for killing enemies on forests (infantry), but cannot itself enter forests! I think giving it better mobility over grass would be sufficient (letting it enter forests makes it too powerful IMHO). Also, I wouldn’t worry too much if the Flame Tank continues to be used less often than other units- it’s a specialist tool like the Sniper and the AT Gun, so this is to be expected. It’s just not spam-able like the Stealth Tank and the Rocket Artillery, so Mongrels players don’t naturally gravitate towards it.
September 21, 2015 at 03:18 #756
Khoo Bo Yan
VERSION 2.0 REVIEW OF CHANGES
Garren, please only read this after you’ve taken a nice long break from the hard work of putting out version 2.0 🙂
Brief recap of where we started:
1. Changes to unit stats not possible, but cost changes and swapping units around are possible.
2. Issues with the Iron Raiders being too weak against infantry
3. Issues with the Mechanized Mongrels having some ‘overpowered’ units and one under-utilised unit (Flame Tank)
4. ?Infantry mortars vs vehicular mortars for the Bulldogs
In view of (1), (4) is impossible to deal with for now, as is the issue with the Flame Tank’s stats (?increase range vs ?increase mobility). (3) is otherwise relatively minor and doesn’t affect gameplay too much.
(2) On the swapping of the Captain for the Mortar Carrier in the Iron Raiders unit lineup:
The intended effect on fighting infantry and smoke concealment has been dramatic. Heavy Tanks now have to worry a lot less about getting swarmed at close range by infantry, and are much better protected from enemy armour and AT Guns. Armoured Scouts are now free to perform their intended scouting and mopping up role. LAVs are freed from having to brawl with infantry in the woods (which they obviously aren’t very good at) and can instead focus on sneaking through to kill artillery. And so on.
There has however been an unintended effect, which is that in essence, the Heavy Tank has been nerfed. One might argue that defensively, the lack of the Captain’s defensive bonus is more than offset by the smoke cover from Mortar Carriers. Offensively, however, there is no substitute. This is most keenly felt when targeting enemy infantry at long range or enemy armour on cities. Furthermore, the Mortar Carrier is 50 points more expensive than the Captain, and was already needed to help with the abysmal performance against infantry; I don’t think we properly thought through the effect on the Heavy Tank itself (at least I didn’t).
So I’m proposing that we reduce the cost of the Heavy Tank by 50 points. The logic is that without the Captain, the Heavy Tank is less of the do-everything super-unit that it used to be (especially with a defensive bonus on a fort xD). That’s exactly what we intended since ReconInForce is a game that rewards the intelligent use of different units in different roles, but now it’s just adjusting the price to match. Mind you, the total cost of a sensible Iron Raiders deployment will still have increased because Mortar Carriers will need to be deployed in greater numbers than Heavy Tanks anyway.
Once this is done I don’t think there is anything left to do on the part of balancing for the Iron Raiders. I still advocate making the Heavy Tank behave/feel more like a tank by increasing mobility and reducing firing range, but it’s nothing urgent. The other changes can likewise wait/may not be necessary.
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