MWO: Suggestions - The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

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Very nice words, TBK. Also bonus points for the graphs, which I neglected in my original post!
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you had me at the graphs.
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Oooh I quite like this idea, especially in comparison to all those convergence ideas...
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The problem with HP percentage based buffs is that they're largely useless for the small mechs and enormously awesome for the big ones.An Atlas becomes far harder to kill, a Locust isn't appreciably affected at all.I do like the idea of structure buffs in particular, as more structure HP results in a more interesting game where critical hits have more meaning, and mechs pull out of combat crippled more often. That's just fun. More crits, more ammo kersplosions. More armor is less interesting.However, this also changes weapon balance. Ammo based weapons become immediately less useful, so you need to look at ammo per ton amounts and adjust them similarly. This further complicates the idea.In short, it's a good approach, but not nearly as simply as portrayed.
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+1 because numbers. I exclusively play PPC/gauss mechs because why prolong a fight when you can shoot retreat for insane damage.
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As far as my post goes, I absolutely know there is a lot of other things needed to make it work- I just didn't want to bludgeon people in to stupefaction with a giant wall of text. Ballistic ammo is one, because why the *fuck* didn't ballistics get 200% ammo at the same time in closed beta that missiles did?Also, I would be down with revising the TT health scales that let a locust be one shotted by anything, just because it's 20 tons. (But also, a % based buff affects every mech equally, aside from maybe getting over a critical break point of "this component will no longer be one shotted by dual AC20s")
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One issue I could see from this is ammo issues, which somebody already touched on. Also the graphs are assuming you get hits and the PPCwarrior isn't at range poking in and out of cover. In which this case, it would work towards the boater. However I do agree the amour or possibly the structure does need to be buffed.
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I would hazard a guess that rapid fire / beam weapons need to do 50-75% more paper DPS than the precision/burst weapons in order for them to actually be balanced in practice. Instead, right now, the burst weapons (AC20, PPC, and Gauss) are also the highest DPS weapons (Well, PPCs are high damage for energy weapons, but are still less DPS than any ballistic) on paper. So it's a no-brainer that they're vastly, vastly superior in practice.But, without the health increase, you don't have nearly enough of a buffer to work these things out, either. Everything is a factor, which is why looking for quick fixes is so frustrating versus just looking at the systems as a whole.
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What happens when the Clan come with weapons that weigh less, do more damage, make less heat and heat sinks that are more space efficient so they can carry more in locations Inner Sphere 'Mech's can't?
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tl;dr - Well done, nice graphs, don't think more HP by itself will help as damage totals aren't issue, it's damage application that is.Well done post, and kudos to you for crunching the numbers you did. However, I still am not entirely sold on your viewpoint of 'convergence/high alpha/heat scales' are just bad treatments of a symptom. My own point of view, anecdotal to the competitive 8-man drop scene I've played in, is that the current issue is the massive alpha damage values that are currently available in the game can all be applied not just with a single click, but to a single component with very little 'wasted' to drop your target.I know in our unit and several others, the mentality has shifted of late from 'ZOMG you put out 1200 damage in a game you must be ballin'' to 'we want every pilot to be 300-400 damage per game tops when we win' because that's all you need to kill enemy mechs. So pilots are getting very good at using those quad PPC stalkers and 3xPPC + Gauss Highlanders to do just that- hit where they need to hit to kill you, while all at the same time being able to immediately retreat to cover/torso twist to keep themselves alive. Whereas something like the UAC/5 Jaeger you graphed out above might put out more overall damage, but unless you're actually *killing* something with all of that, your target is in all likelihood still operating at 50% efficiency or more.Even with increased HP, I don't know if brawler/DPS builds would be any better off- while it increases survivability all around, it also means they have to be banging away at their targets for that much longer too. And, as you pointed out, 12v12 just means that mechs wills start dying that much more quickly, which means DPS mechs won't get a chance to dump out their (admittedly impressive) potential. A flat HP increase would indeed help the game, I feel, but it's my opinion that there *does* have to have something else done otherwise I don't see why the meta would not stay the same- alpha your opponent out of existence before he does the same to you.
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That's where actual weapon balance comes in to play. As you've said, and as everyone can really really obviously see, being able to do large pinpoint bursts of damage is really really good, and rewards being a good shot. A perfect game score would even be 8 kills, only 264 damage- All headshots.That's why you have to make the burst weapons do much lower actual DPS, just like, well, every single game with a sniper rifle in it ever. Pinpoint vs DoT is not a new problem in game balance at all.
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The way it is in eve works. It's not always about alpha but efficiently applying damage. Really rail guns vs blaster should be though of rifles vs shotguns. Then you have artillery aka bombers. Get the point ? Now due the the communication effecientg reps and dps can be applied allmost instantly. If you want to make things interesting to bring close and longe range to par you need something like a firewall. Something creating a wall to stop incoming dps . Enemy sniping fleets would need to move around or have some kind if close range fleet or bombers to kill these firewalls . So in allmost every engagement you will need a mix of long and short
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Fair point, though I would say the difference to games that normally employ sniper rifles the disparity between the damage the weapons are dealing and the amount required to kill a target isn't as pronounced as in MWO, partially due to the entire 'giant walking robots' and partially due to the ability to spread damage as a target.I agree entirely with you in that the whole system definitely needs work, I just don't know if reducing the DPS potential of 'big bore' guns is the way to go- I am curious, would you approach this by reducing damage per shot or increasing cooldown?
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Also, forgot that in a large quantity of FPS games the 'high alpha' style sniper weapons are a) very disadvantaged up close and b) usually require you to severely crimp your situation awareness to make a shot, whereas in MWO they don't really. Will be interesting to see what happens after the SRM damage buff tomorrow.
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I think I would want to fall on the side of PPCs, gauss, and AC20s being longer cool down / high damage weapons, if just from a "feel" perspective. Especially with the latest sound tweaks, they just sound like they should be really powerful (but slow firing) guns.As far as the up close disadvantage, I could see several options there. The min range could be extended to 180 meters, or you could take some feedback damage from firing on something inside the current 90 meters, or, you could fire and do damage inside 90 meters, but your PPCs would "jam" like a UAC/5. Any would probably work out. I think gauss already has a pretty big up close disadvantage due to it's fragility and explosive nature.
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The problem with all convergence ideas is that single firing a big weapon or group firing small weapons will still allow for firing without convergence. Making those suggestion easily circumvented. Fixed weapon offsets for Torso Weapons for instance would be beneficial for this game.It's as simple as that. If you can circumvent an extra mechanic intended to limit pinpoint damage, all you do is make people go for chain fire.
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If they implement clan tech exactly as in tabletop, everyone will switch to clan mechs. Given the resources they've poured into the IS stuff so far, I suspect they won't implement clans exactly as in canon.
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Which is the point of such a mechanic.People who argue for a mechanic which forces chainfire (whether of small groups of weapons al la your PPC one-two or of individual weapons) argue that the issue isn't alpha, its the fact that perfect convergence allows pin point alpha against one hitbox.Increasing HP across the board means that effective damage is more important. IE the only damage that really matters is damage that went to destroying a hitbox (preferably a hitbox that destroys the mech): this means that pinpoint alpha will still be strong even with buffed HP. Pinpoint alpha allows a large amount of damage to be easily targeted against the one hitbox which is > than a larger amount of damage which is difficult to target against the one hitbox.What is required is that both approaches are applied: both limit pinpoint damage and buff HP.Take your PPC 1-2. If I'm good (unlikely, but humor me) I take 20 Dmg on two different components due torso-twisting like a mofo. Due to you buffing HP, 20 dmg is less likely to be OMGWTFBBQ but it also forces the damage to be spread in a manner reasonably analogous to what would have happened if I'd (instead) 8 x AC5 rnds. Whereas without limiting pinpoint alpha I still take that 40 DMg on the one component, whereas the 8 x AC5 rngs are probably spread over most of 2-4 components.Re: the HP buff. My preferred option is an absolute (not % based) buff to internal HP (as buffing armor makes life harder on underarmoured stock mechs). I think 50% of a 50t mech's internals (ie +16pts to the CT) added to every mech (so a 25% HP buff to a 50t mech, a 50% buff to a 25t mech and a 12.5% buff to a 100t mech); but obviously numbers are able to be adjusted.Alternatively, allow the same tonnage of FF as for Std armour (ie c. 10t on a 50t mech), thus giving FF a purpose (up to 14% more HP depending on fit) and buffing light and medium mechs (since many light and meds can fight both endo and FF whereas most hvy and assaults can't).Also: if you buff armour you need to simultaneously buff ammo values. I'd argue you need to buff ammo values > than you buff HP as - right now - you need more ammo than designed to make ACs viable. For instance, almost all stock mechs with ACs are understocked on ammo.
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You nailed it it's the critical break point that matters, not the %.+50% internals on a HBK is 16pts. Or surviving 1 more Gauss shot. On an Atlas it;s 32pts, or 2 more Gauss shots. On a COM it's 8, or less than an AC10.That is not affecting every mech equally.
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Buffing internals over armour also benefits stock mechs.Many stock mechs are underarmoured, % buffs to armour simply make them effectively more underarmoured.
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PPCs are only high DPS within (usually) the first 10 seconds.After approx 10 seconds of combat, heat becomes the limiting factor and lasers start to out DPS them.Both AC20 and Gauss are limited by rnds/t which makes their use in prolonged combat problematic or a major fitting overhead.Extending combat will make heat management matter more: making effective DPS will be more important than peak DPS / paper DPS.
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In canon omnimechs can't change anything outside of the weapon pods. Given how customisable MWO IS mechs are, if you give IS mechs access to clan weapons then you can make competitive IS mech builds (this becomes trivial if IS mechs can also access Clan Endo, DHS, FF and Light XLs).Nevertheless, Clan wpns will likely have higher peak DPS (ie high burst damage in the first c. 10s of an engagement), and you'll be stuck buffing HP again to compensate.This is why you need to limit pinpoint damage as well as buffing HP.
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You may be right that just forcing more chain fire is not sufficient, but you might not be stating the full reason why "forced chain-fire" can change a lot of things. The more shots you need for the same damage output, the more likely it is that you spread your damage across the target's hit location. This means it's generally better to try to cram as much damage as possible in a single shot. Even if that single shot misses the intended hit location on a mech, it will at least severly weaken another one. You can choose to prioritize this new location now and will still achieve some results (location destruction) then someone that dealt half the damage to the intended location and half the damage to the wrong location.But this benefit can only be really had if you use weapons with similar flight characteristics, and ideally weapons that deal damage in an instant (ballistic, PPC) rather than over time (laser, MG). And this means - boating is great.Raising the amount of hit points on mechs will not change this aspect of the dynamic. It's still highly desirable to use "boats".Coupling a Forced-Chain-Fire system with an overall reduction of recycle speed might also be a good idea - it is basically indirectly increasing hit points. It can be a good idea for the sole reason that chain-firing forces you too shoot at a lot more, and if weapons cycle too fast, it becomes too stressful to manage - trying to get of 8 separate laser shots in 4 seconds is... challenging.
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Clean and simple, I like this idea above the other suggestions. I do not want any little gimmicks added to the mechanics and this IMO goes right at the root, very nice.
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I'm pretty curious what you guys (Gwaihir especially) think about variying modifiers for armor/internal health for various sections of the mech. For instance, they're all at 2x right now, but what if CT's were 3x, LT/RT were 2.5, and arms and legs were 2x, or something to that extent. As you mentioned mechs need to spend more time damaged, missing weapons, and trudging on, and I think this can be a factor in accomplishing that, while also offering a reason to target an arm more often. Full disclosure this is not my idea and I Suspect dates back to CB.
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This is why I hope to the Elder Gods that PGI reads out forums than their own.I've been part of intelligent conversations about this; but pretty well none of it happens on the official forums. You get a decent OP then enter the legions of mouthbreathers; or equally, shit OP, 1 decent post usually about 3/4 of the way down the first page.
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I think you don't realize the effect more HP will have on lighter mechs (like the cicada that you left off those graphs). Most don't have high alphas or DPS because they are all energy heavy builds. Not that PGI seems to have considered those mechs either in their latest 'heat patch'. A 4 MPL build is all but unplayable after the patch, it will also fail in the HP increase, it doesn't have the HP to stay in a fight for a long time and it can neither alpha nor sustain DPS for long periods. So it will die, and it may get lots of assists until then, but it's unlikely to kill anyone.The only cicada builds I can see working in the HP buff meta is the stealth sniper with dual PPC/ER PPC. It can sustain DPS for a good while and the ECM will help it 'hide' from opposing fire. The 'high alpha' Cicada 2A/2B 2xLL & 4xML brawler and it's cousin the X-5 1xLL & 3 ML + 2xSSRM2 will both have issues staying in a fight.Hitting the cockpit while moving at 120+ kph in the game is beyond me. So pinpoint accurate fire isn't a solution either. Sniping headshots in a basically stationary mech is not as hard (more so if we had a better zoom), but like in real life it's much easier to hit the center of mass. This is made worse by the often odd hitboxes for many mechs which reduce 'cockpit' boxes to less then their visual location.While I wouldn't mind an increase on HP, I think it needs to be a sliding scale with lighter designs getting more of a boost then heavies to offset the higher DPS usually seen in them.
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The one real thing I can see with clan omnimechs compared to IS mechs as laid out should be no restriction on type of weapon mounted. There are literally no 'variants' in omnimechs in TT, Instead they have 'common layouts' with literally any weapon going anywhere it could fit.Clan tech itself was and should always be superior to IS tech, So acquiring 6 ERSLs for your IS mech to use should always result in a superior result than 6 SLs in a IS mech now. And if a clan pilot wants to they should be able to run crazy 12 ERSL builds or 16 ERSL builds.I also see DHS, Endo, and FF being defaults for Omnimechs. I think Endo and FF in particular will likely be another big IS/Clan difference as IS mechs should not be able to use Clan Endo or FF easily (if at all). Even in the last years Fasa ran BT IS mechs couldn't field Clan Endo or FF and I don't recall them ever running Clan DHS either.
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Well, since I stumbled here, I might as well break your idea:If your idea is implemented, high alpha will still be the best way to go, but this time you need teamwork to destroy mechs. You need 2 alpha mechs concentrating on one, and it'll go down just as fast. Also, the whole idea of a high alpha mech still remains valid: you hide behind a rock, building, mountain or hill and only show your face for a split second to shoot. High dps (no alpha) builds would still need to have considerable face-time with their opponents to overtake high alpha builds, but they would never get that chance. Actually, it would be even easier for high alpha builds, as they could poke their head out even more without risking serious damage.And, in the process of hitpoint buff, you would completely break all mechs below heavy. Lightest mechs could still be taken out with one alpha, and with the weaponry the lights have, heaviest mechs could just completely ignore them. At least now they usually have to swat lights down before they continue poptarting, and that breaks their concentration, adding the metagame of utilizing a few lights properly. Singular weapons are already useless enough with the exception of the few biggest guns.A better way to discourage high alpha builds would be to add more mechanics for the weapons and more synergies between different weapons. For example:"Dual-Gauss: Your reload time is doubled because these weapons have such complicated reloading mechanics, and installing 2 of them in one mech requires heavy circumvention of internal structure."or"Flamers increase the damage of lasers by 10% for x seconds, because they literally melt the top layer of the armor, reducing its capability to reflect."or"4 PPC's: Reload time tripled when shot together, because even if the reactor can output enough energy, the mech wasn't designed to conduct all that energy to that many high-power weapons at a time."Then we could have quirks that circumvent these rules, but only for certain mechs and variants. For example, Awesome 8Q and 9M were designed to carry PPC's. Certain Stalker variants were designed to carry multiple lasers. These mech variants already have many disadvantages that outset their high alpha power. Awesome is wide as a barn, doesn't carry jj's and usually doesn't move that fast, and it has its weapons split all over.Even these would not fix the issues of 2 PPC + 1 Gauss -poptarts, though. And those are actually the builds that are the most broken. But at least most of the general populace of MWO would be happy.
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Because - due PGI - stock mechs are the first introduction to the game for most players.I advocate game balance where noobs don't get stuck in fucking retarded death traps. I'd settle for 'non-optimised' deathtraps.
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Agree, with the stipulation Clan Mechs should also not be allowed to alter anything outside of 'pod-space'. Ie. on a Nova you're stuck with a 250 Light XL and with all the jumpjets.Exception, to balance they'll have to allow you to change armour (but not add or subtract FF) amounts or good-bye Loki.
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When a lot of people talk about MW4, a lot of the complaints were about the massively buffed HP.So basically Microsoft may have gone too far in one extreme, whereas PGI didn't do it enough?
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Well some Mechs still have very big cockpit head hitboxes (I'm looking at you catapult). And certainly this issue will not be removed by a single tweak. It's a complex game with complex damage rules and states. Which is part of why this game is awesome (even in it's current state).Increasing PPC heat by a bit, adjusting Gauss Rifle and AC/20 rate of fire will help. Smaller ACs will still need a bit of love. But I guess apart from some stuff as Hitpoints and Heat Capacity we won't need big sweeping changes or brand new mechanics. Just a few little adjustments here and there.Until the Clans enter the fray... Yay 2x ULTRA AC/20 on a Hunchback IIC :/.

The majority of players in MWO agree that the high-alpha long-range meta is a problem and that something needs to be done.

Interestingly most suggestions focus on fighting “non-canon” builds (not conforming to 30 year old tabletop honor rules), which are guilty of “boating” a certain weapon type (aka use multiples of the same weapon, and nothing else). In MWO, you can fire your weapons as a group, including firing them all at once. Chain-fire fires the weapon in a group with a half a second pause in between shots, except for weapons with a beam duration; chain firing those will fire the next weapon after the beam duration has ended.

The Bad

PGI’s intended solution works along those lines. Paul Inouye (PGI's Lead Designer) wants to discourage firing all of the weapons at once. Instead of forcing chain-fire on players, however, PGI is introducing a heat penalty to firing more than a specific number of specific weapons at once. This makes chain-firing or spacing of shots more heat efficient. Depending on the severity of heat penalties, it will be a lot more efficient to group your weapons into small enough packs to stay below the penalty size. Then, you just fire those groups half a second apart. You can even use basic software that comes with most mice to get the perfect timing.

The Ugly

Another idea touted as the perfect solution by many clueless players is the "overloaded targeting computer". It also tries to force people into chain-firing or spacing their shots - albeit through a different mechanic - and boils down to being able to fire some of your large weapons (2x PPC, 1x AC/20, 1x Gauss Rifle) every other second. Otherwise, you suffer a "Cone of Fire" effect. Of course, smaller weapons can be fired together without punishment. Which, at least, isn’t that punishing for light and medium Mechs.

A similar idea is the ever changing reticule. Of course, the denizens of the brown sea love this idea, even though it can also be easily circumvented by shooting your big guns within short succession. It’s another horrible idea to get the spread-out fire from a 30-year old Tabletop game into a modern FPS. While a lot of words were used, it boils down that your reticule has different aim points for different weapon hardpoints spread over your Mech. Much like World of Tanks, the reticule shrinks in size the longer you target an enemy. This can easily take 7 seconds against a fast light Mech. However, when you single fire a weapon, it uses the central aim point.

Why They Fix Nothing At All

The irony is that chain-firing or being forced to space shots will not reduce the total volume of fire being sent downrange. It will only increase lethality, since even high-alpha builds will now have to expose themselves for longer and thus will receive more return fire. Or they might be able accept the heat penalty for firing all of the weapons at once (the most common problem is four PPCs). While this might reduce the alpha damage, players will simply throw a “left/right” punch with their Quad PPC Stalker; two PPCs at a time, fired shortly after one another. Let’s compare the overall firepower of the dreaded quad PPC Stalker before and after Paul's “fix”. If you’re wondering why I’m not talking about the 6PPC Stalker, it’s that it has  been a gimmick build in serious play. Encountered in the wild it can sometimes play out its strength, but overall it’s a gimmick build.

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The damage output available with the new mechanic is essentially the same. This is the most inefficient way to not fix an issue. If you can aim, it’s possible to play after the boating “fix” hits with just a small adjustment. The sad part is that the introduction of 12v12 will provide full teams with even more firepower than they have now available to them.

All of the suggestions want to limit the amount of damage produced by a single click, thus allowing Mechs to live longer. These suggestions do increase the incentive to stagger your fire or use chain fire, but they only delay destruction of Mechs by a small amount of time. The actual problem - we can have teams with a high amount of heavy and assault Mechs carrying huge amounts of firepower relative to their hitpoints - won't get solved. This leaves heat efficient designs with smaller alphas in a bad spot. These heat efficient designs carry less front-loaded firepower, but can sustain their damage output for extended durations, unlike high-alphas. DPS builds are supported by historical data; in November 2012, Mechs lasted longer because the hit detection wasn’t perfectly working. This made sustained firepower and brawling a more viable option. To get back to this more balanced state, some users have suggested increasing hitpoints, as removing HSR would be tremendously stupid.

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I'm an elistist ass that prefers his table to be sorted alphabetically. When I'm not shooting Gundams with my fiancee, I'm actually putting my horrible opinion into barely legible articles (Don't read my stuff, thanks)