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Am I doomed as a Romulan?
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storeylf
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Joined: 24 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2010 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:


I think it would matter greatly that we get the initial costs right. If we went with 50% for cloaks for example, would you really want to playtest games with CNHs at 132 pts or FHKs at 90 pts? I certainly wouldn't.


Yes! - If that was indeed the cost minus the cloak as it is pointed. You are aguing that plasma is weak. It could be that plasma is pointed correctly on romulans and that it is the cloak cost that is knackering them rather than the plasma. That would be part of what you would want to test, adjust the roms by the actual cloak cost, no matter how wrong you think it is. Even if a 90pt FHK turned out to powerful, you would have obtained useful information on how powerful, to go with other information obtained in other scenarios. Thats the point of playtesting.

Quote:

Nothing is stopping you from testing. IME, the only time plasma ever won was when they bolted everything at the target and got lucky. I've done Gorn vs Kzinti, Gorn vs Fed, Rom vs Fed, Rom vs Klingon, and Rom vs Kzinti.


And my experience is different. I can't remember whether I have ever bolted a plasma. I probably have, but it doesn't stand out as something that I had to do.

Quote:
A lot of people have stated that there is a problem. There was a podcast in the other thread where people at Origins were discussing why nobody took plasma and the consensus was that plasma was too weak. Hardly anyone takes plasma at a tournament and I can't recall anyone winning with plasma at a tournament.


I'm having a distinct feeling of Deja-vu now.

Some people think plasma is a problem, some don't. It's unlikely I'd take gorn or romulan to a tourney (not that I'd ever be at a long multi day tourney), for the very same reasons I explained earlier - i.e. nothing to do with plasma. The fact that a small group of origins players say plasma is an issue does not mean it is true. Neither does the fact that a race has yet to win origins have any bearing - have hydrans or tholians won yet?.

The other issue with taking Origins as some indication of brokeness is the tourney itself, it has a hard 'real time' limit, in tourney style games we've played that allows 1 decent launch and you may or may not get a second launch at all. Unless you play all your games like that you are talking 2 very different sets of playing condidtions. Taking what happens in an actual tourney as a general issue is dubious from any test perspective, but also puts a lot of emphasis on the tourney scene as opposed to general game play.

Related to that last point is why would we be even trying to balance the game around what tourney winners think, is this a game balanced for a wide audience or a game balanced for 2 people reaching a tourney final, the average ability of 2 finalists is presumably considerably better than the average competence of every one playing FedCom. I think it was SavedFromWhat (?) who indicated he thought we should aim for balancing at the highest level, whereas I think the game should be balanced for more average players. Neither view point is particularly wrong or right, but maybe you should clarify where you stand on that scale. No point arguing if we are not even arguing about the same thing.

If plasma is an issue in tourneys then you should at least consider changing the mechanics of the tourney first before changing the game/ships.


Quote:

My fix obviously applies to all plasma races because all of them would get the discount unless they're paired with non-plasma races. If all of them get the same discount, they all benefit equally. This is far more feasible than trying to reprice each ship individually.


How do you know it would fix all of them. Getting an equal discount is not the same as fixing them. There are 3 plasma races each with totally different characteristics apart from their plasma, how plasma works with each race is therefore potentially very different.

You said yourself that the 'value' of a plasma ship may vary if paired with different ships, equally the value of plasma itself may vary depending on other characteristics of the race it is carried by.


Quote:
Listen to episode 111 about 1 hour into the podcast. It has a great discussion between Paul Franz and Patrick Doyle on the weakness of plasma.


If it's the origins discussion (?), I listened to it a long time ago.
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mojo jojo
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Joined: 23 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Yes! - If that was indeed the cost minus the cloak as it is pointed. You are aguing that plasma is weak. It could be that plasma is pointed correctly on romulans and that it is the cloak cost that is knackering them rather than the plasma. That would be part of what you would want to test, adjust the roms by the actual cloak cost, no matter how wrong you think it is. Even if a 90pt FHK turned out to powerful, you would have obtained useful information on how powerful, to go with other information obtained in other scenarios. Thats the point of playtesting.


No! if it was 50%, I would just chalk it up to ADB being a terrible playtest company. I would recognize that a 90 pt FHK would be too powerful just like I would recognize that a 500 pt Fed FF would be ludicrous. And I wouldn't want to waste time playing a Rom force of 2 CNH and 2 FHK (444 pts) in a tournament test because it would be utterly ridiculous.


storeylf wrote:

I'm having a distinct feeling of Deja-vu now.

Some people think plasma is a problem, some don't. It's unlikely I'd take gorn or romulan to a tourney (not that I'd ever be at a long multi day tourney), for the very same reasons I explained earlier - i.e. nothing to do with plasma. The fact that a small group of origins players say plasma is an issue does not mean it is true. Neither does the fact that a race has yet to win origins have any bearing - have hydrans or tholians won yet?.

The other issue with taking Origins as some indication of brokeness is the tourney itself, it has a hard 'real time' limit, in tourney style games we've played that allows 1 decent launch and you may or may not get a second launch at all. Unless you play all your games like that you are talking 2 very different sets of playing condidtions. Taking what happens in an actual tourney as a general issue is dubious from any test perspective, but also puts a lot of emphasis on the tourney scene as opposed to general game play.

Related to that last point is why would we be even trying to balance the game around what tourney winners think, is this a game balanced for a wide audience or a game balanced for 2 people reaching a tourney final, the average ability of 2 finalists is presumably considerably better than the average competence of every one playing FedCom. I think it was SavedFromWhat (?) who indicated he thought we should aim for balancing at the highest level, whereas I think the game should be balanced for more average players. Neither view point is particularly wrong or right, but maybe you should clarify where you stand on that scale. No point arguing if we are not even arguing about the same thing.

If plasma is an issue in tourneys then you should at least consider changing the mechanics of the tourney first before changing the game/ships.


If it's broken for tournaments, it most likely would be worse in general. A tournament setting with a 42X30 map helps plasma significantly. An open map would make the mismatch even worse vs a direct fire race.



storeylf wrote:

How do you know it would fix all of them. Getting an equal discount is not the same as fixing them. There are 3 plasma races each with totally different characteristics apart from their plasma, how plasma works with each race is therefore potentially very different.

You said yourself that the 'value' of a plasma ship may vary if paired with different ships, equally the value of plasma itself may vary depending on other characteristics of the race it is carried by.


Short of repricing each individual ship, a general reduction in pts is most feasible. And it's doubtful that the difference in race characterstics is so extreme that the discount should differ more than a few percent between races. There are far greater differences between disrupter races.


storeylf wrote:

If it's the origins discussion (?), I listened to it a long time ago.


Nope, it's not the origins discussion. Skip the 1st hour or so since it's mostly politics. About an hour in, there's a short discussion on ADD racks and then about 1/2 hour on plasma weaknesses in FC.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:58 am    Post subject: After Action Report Reply with quote

Okay. I took Romulans out for the first time in FC against Feds and won pretty decisively. Scenario was slightly unbalanced (Snipe-B, KRT, WE vs. 2x Fed CA) but only just so to compensate for the fact that the Roms started out all scattered over the board (Feds started range 12 from the snipe).

[Noteable: the scenario specified that all ships start fully armed so Feds started with full load of overloads held and Romulans started with plasma held.]

I won't do a play by play and with some new players including me everyone made some mistakes (Feds were fairly new which caused things like splitting their alpha strike over two shields, for example), but I have some observations:

1) Fed chose to go fast the entire game and chose to fully run out plasma every time. IMHO this was a mistake because it let me dictate the flow of the game. Every time I dropped a heavy torp they'd turn and run (and--mistake--split up).

2) Fed chose to trundle around with full overloads and spent several points of energy to run away from plasma. This also was a mistake because it basically took their powerful phaser arrays out of the fight.

3) once the Feds unloaded, their power curve was horrid. But since they had chosen speed as their defense they basically didn't get to fire phasers or --critical-- reserve adequate power to avoid an anchor.

4) Romulans with cheap cloak should use it against Feds as needed. The +4 range makes a huge difference as it makes the overload range so much closer as they are not allowed to fire them outside range 4. This is particularly true if the entire Rom fleet is not cloaked. I kept the KR out of cloak most of the time (ended up cloaking for part of turn 2 just because I had the excess energy to pre-pay it on T1-Impulse8) and so they really couldn't barrel in on top of the cloaked ships without running into plasma.

5) Snipes are just as funny as I remembered them. It was hilarious watching it tool around at turn mode 2 vs the Fed at turn mode 5 and just under-run him and circle right up behind him. Burn outrageous firepower and your HET to kill a cloaked ship or leave a Plasma G and 4 Ph1's on your #4?

Results: 1 CA disengaged unharmed, 1 CA blown up. 1 War Eagle crippled. Minor internals (bleed thru from phasers) on Snipe and KRT untouched. Since it's a campaign upgrading my KRT to a K7R is the fruits of my victory (I was assigned the KRT as it fit the 150 point starting BPV).

I am not declaring victory for cloak or plasma yet as my foe made many more mistakes than I did.

They were able to run out any plasma they wanted to. The only plasma that hit was the anchored ship (1 R, 2 F's and an S on the same shield *grin*)
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:

If it's broken for tournaments, it most likely would be worse in general. A tournament setting with a 42X30 map helps plasma significantly. An open map would make the mismatch even worse vs a direct fire race.


To use one of your phrases, If you can't understand the difference between 2 totally different environemts then we have little room for discussion.

But to ask again - where do you stand on what level the game should be balanced at, the average player level or the origins finalist level.

No doubt top tourney winners want the game to be balanced for their level of play. Equally most people buying and playing a game expect it to find it balanced for them. Who do you think should win out in any balancing being done?
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Kang
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember also that tourney play is, by definition, squadron play. Sometimes PV weaknesses can be smoothed out in that sort of battle.

Even if the tourney winners had their say, still it would only relate to squadron actions and not to 1 vs. 1 actions.

And, to answer Lee's question, in economic (i.e. sales) terms surely the general player should be the one the game is aimed at; there must be many more general players than tourney players since only a small fraction play in tournaments.

I also recognise, Lee, that your question may have been rhetorical Smile
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kang wrote:
Remember also that tourney play is, by definition, squadron play. Sometimes PV weaknesses can be smoothed out in that sort of battle.

Even if the tourney winners had their say, still it would only relate to squadron actions and not to 1 vs. 1 actions.

And, to answer Lee's question, in economic (i.e. sales) terms surely the general player should be the one the game is aimed at; there must be many more general players than tourney players since only a small fraction play in tournaments.

I also recognise, Lee, that your question may have been rhetorical Smile


No, it is a genuine question. My view point is that the average player is the one we should be aiming at, and I would assume makes most commercial sense. However, its natural to personally expect the game balanced at your own level, so the guy who won the tourney expects the game to be balanced, as do you and I, or indeed the novices who just bought the game and are questioning how underpowerd a klingon is to a fed. Neither do i have the information that would allow me to say whether it does or does not actually make most commercial sense to aim at the average gamer who might buy the game, or at the top level fanatics. It is certainly more likely that fanatics are the most vocal (er Embarassed )

[edit] Of course, whilst it is possible that commercailly the top X% of players spend more than the rest combined, If the game was balanced for them and gained that reputation then you have a game that becomes more 'niche' than it already is, and in the long run put off players who might have otherwise got into it. My personal opinion would be leave that level of play and balance to SFB and let fedcom be the game aimed and balanced at a somewhat more casual level of market, get them into FedCom and let those after 'more' be led into SFB.

Its perfectly valid to hold either view point IMO. But if we hold different view points then we are effectively arguing about different things.
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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
mojo jojo wrote:

If it's broken for tournaments, it most likely would be worse in general. A tournament setting with a 42X30 map helps plasma significantly. An open map would make the mismatch even worse vs a direct fire race.


To use one of your phrases, If you can't understand the difference between 2 totally different environemts then we have little room for discussion.

But to ask again - where do you stand on what level the game should be balanced at, the average player level or the origins finalist level.

No doubt top tourney winners want the game to be balanced for their level of play. Equally most people buying and playing a game expect it to find it balanced for them. Who do you think should win out in any balancing being done?



I do recognize the difference in environments. I had a WYN vs ISC a couple of months ago where the ISC landed a number of plasma because of the tournament barrier. If it was an open map, the PBB would've taken trivial damage from the plasma and the slaughter would've been even more lopsided.

I think FC should be balanced at a good player level (not necessarily the top 2%). It's kinda like Klingon vs Fed. A novice Klingon player will be slaughtered by the Fed until he discovers how to saber dance and use the disrupters most effectively. FC should be balanced at a reasonably high level so that newer players have something to strive for.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:

I think FC should be balanced at a good player level (not necessarily the top 2%). It's kinda like Klingon vs Fed. A novice Klingon player will be slaughtered by the Fed until he discovers how to saber dance and use the disrupters most effectively. FC should be balanced at a reasonably high level so that newer players have something to strive for.


I agree with this 100%.

If we balance for the guys who plot full overloads and push their ships to range 2 and hope for good die rolls it will not be satisfying, long-term, for anyone.

It is much easier to just give a novice a slightly bigger ship while they learn so they can have fun (and also thereby provide a little challenge to the more experienced players) while learning the basic mechanics and absorbing some advanced tactics from observation.

You will always have 'quasi-exploitative' loophole tactics that the top 2% will use to their advantage. But in tournaments that will become obvious when 60% of the entrants all show up with the race that has that advantage and the 30% are playing the races it doesn't work well against. That will lead to a rules adjustment.

In my experience in SFB 90% of the balance issues were in game mechanics and it is easier to playtest and adjust a faulty mechanic than it is to re-do the BPV formulas and re-point all the ships. A flat x% may not work across the board (from race to race and ship class to ship class... hell for all I know the BPV value of a plasma differs between the old, kestrel and new series of Romulan ships--let alone adding in Gorn, late Feds, Orions and ISC).

One final note making investigating Plasma worthwhile. The very nature of FC seems to be 'start fast, play fast'. Plasma arming cycles and tactics dictate a longer, less action-packed fight which may bore and frustrate new players.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:

I do recognize the difference in environments. I had a WYN vs ISC a couple of months ago where the ISC landed a number of plasma because of the tournament barrier. If it was an open map, the PBB would've taken trivial damage from the plasma and the slaughter would've been even more lopsided.


Shocked

For the origins tournement there are at least another half dozen things that make it highly dubious to assume what applies there applies to games in general. It might apply to the games you play, but not game play in general.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:

I think FC should be balanced at a good player level (not necessarily the top 2%). It's kinda like Klingon vs Fed. A novice Klingon player will be slaughtered by the Fed until he discovers how to saber dance and use the disrupters most effectively. FC should be balanced at a reasonably high level so that newer players have something to strive for.


Ok - but what do you consider good? Is he closer to the 'average' player who can generally beat about half the other players, or closer to the top 2%? e.g. are you talking top 40% or top 5%?
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 21, 2010 7:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
You will always have 'quasi-exploitative' loophole tactics that the top 2% will use to their advantage. [...]. That will lead to a rules adjustment.


Unless I'm misreading/misunderstanding you isn't that resulting in the game being balanced to the 2%?

Quote:

One final note making investigating Plasma worthwhile. The very nature of FC seems to be 'start fast, play fast'. Plasma arming cycles and tactics dictate a longer, less action-packed fight which may bore and frustrate new players.


Or indeed older players....

MWest once said essentially the same - plasma is broke cos it results in a long/boring game. (Probably misquoting, but that is what stuck in my mind).

Of course, I don't agree, I find such games far more exciting than two sides charging in and exchanging overloaded alpha volleys, see who comes out best on the dice, all so you can have a game in under an hour. I want a fast flowing game, not neccessarily a fast game. I find drones/stingers slow games down far more than plasma, not much chance of a game in under an hour with them around.
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storeylf
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 1:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mojo jojo wrote:
storeylf wrote:
Your assumptions are in the very text above. You've assumed you are going to make mince meat of the roms (they didn't)


Because the stingers must have fired during fade in/out.

[etc etc]




I couldn't really figure out how to respond to this post where you imply you have some ability to transfer your view through time and space to watch my opponent, except you must have been watching another game because it wasn't anything like how you described.

However, it did occur to me that I am obvioulsy missing something that you are not. Hence, please examine the following (assuming the piccy shows).

It shows a pretty standard romulan group of 2 KE and 2 SN. The 6 stinger counters each represent groups of 3 stingers (spread out for stacking purposes) - a total of 18. Both sides are approaching each other (the stingers to 'sit' on top the roms) and they are now at range 2. Assume it is start impulse 5, the KE therefore has 18 power left, the SN 4 power left, every one can slip, HET etc, all weapons are armed and can fire. The roms declared uncloak at end of 4 so they are in fade out at the moment.

There are 18 stingers, all can be on top of the roms, the roms are uncloaking. from what you are saying the roms are mincemeat. Please take me through how. Obviously I can see from the above that you are not going to fire in the coming impulse 5 direct fire as that will still be fade out.

i haven't made the situation complicated as it is just an attempt to understand basics of how 18 stingers mincemeat the roms.

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mojo jojo
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:


i haven't made the situation complicated as it is just an attempt to understand basics of how 18 stingers mincemeat the roms.



Put 3 Hydran mother ships into the picture, give me their power and speed, let me know the Romulan speed, then you can declare your 5.2 move and I can respond.

Put some hex coordinates also to make it easier to track the moves.
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wedge_hammersteel
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

malleman wrote:
Yes, I don't take Romulans as prisoners. To easy to mistake for Vulcans.


I thought Romulans were Vulcans, technically.
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duxvolantis
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

storeylf wrote:
Quote:
You will always have 'quasi-exploitative' loophole tactics that the top 2% will use to their advantage. [...]. That will lead to a rules adjustment.


Unless I'm misreading/misunderstanding you isn't that resulting in the game being balanced to the 2%?

No. What I am saying is balance the game, in a big picture sense, to the advanced gamer because that is going to provide the most benefit for the most players. I take it for granted that the tactics that rely on egregious (but obscure) rules loopholes will get fixed when the top 2% notice them and all of a sudden 11 out of 16 entrants to Origins all fly the same race after that race swept the tournament using it the year before.

With plasma we are not talking about a quirky loophole but rather a major weapon system used by 1/3 of the major empires. If it is broken it needs to be fixed and it probably should be fixed with a game mechanic adjustment rather than a BPV adjustment.
storeylf wrote:
Quote:

One final note making investigating Plasma worthwhile. The very nature of FC seems to be 'start fast, play fast'. Plasma arming cycles and tactics dictate a longer, less action-packed fight which may bore and frustrate new players.


Or indeed older players....

MWest once said essentially the same - plasma is broke cos it results in a long/boring game. (Probably misquoting, but that is what stuck in my mind).

Of course, I don't agree, I find such games far more exciting than two sides charging in and exchanging overloaded alpha volleys, see who comes out best on the dice, all so you can have a game in under an hour. I want a fast flowing game, not neccessarily a fast game. I find drones/stingers slow games down far more than plasma, not much chance of a game in under an hour with them around.


I've played giant multi-day battles in SFB with late era double-drone-control, stacks of stingers and so on. I don't mind a long game. Smile

My concern about plasma not being fun is that if I start fighting it the way the rules essentially dictate it must be played to be effective I will have very long fights. And nothing is going to be more frustrating to a newbie Fed captain than to slowly lose a 6-hour battle where the opponent stays outside overload range the entire time.

I do find it a little irritating that the rules dictate that I cannot fire an S torp on turn 1 (unless I am reading it wrong). That is lame for sure.
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