Personally, this is what I'd change for each of the current factories:
- Cloakbots: [Spoiler]
Personally, I think the Cloakbots underutilize their stealth capabilities. Although this might've been done for the sake of making them a beginner-friendly faction of units for beginners to start off with, I personally suspect that (aside from, perhaps, the Iris) beginners don't care about utilizing the Cloakbots' cloaked units' strengths well enough to warrant keeping them and the non-cloaked units in the same factory. Sure, beginners might develop an understanding of how the more basic units, like the Glaive, Ronin, Reaver, and Knight, work, along with an appreciation for them, and sure, beginners might see some use out of Phantoms or Gremlins, not to mention frequent use of Conjurers, I suspect that those players simply wouldn't care about the very self-cloaking capabilities that those cloaked units possess to want to use, say, Conjurers, Phantoms, and Gremlins over their non-self-cloaking counterparts, like, say, Welders, Lances, and Vandals respectively.
Because of this, I'd like to propose changing the Cloakbot Factory's lineup to one consisting mostly, if not entirely, of units with their own self-cloaking devices, with each unit being geared towards taking better advantage of the tactical and strategic options provided by their cloaking devices. (Although the Cloakbot Factory is widely considered to be the factory of choice for newcomers, I believe that their non-cloaking units, such as the Glaive, Ronin, Reaver, and Knight, would be better represented in different factories, whether it's the more straightforward Shieldbots, Rovers, or Tanks, or a new factory concept altogether, such as, say, Spambots.)
Some general guidelines for this new Cloakbot factory's doctrine:[Spoiler]
- 1. All units must possess their own cloaking device (to fit with the general stealth theme).
- 2. Try to keep costs reasonably low, but not necessarily low enough to be considered a spammer faction. (If low-cost cloaking turns out to be a balancing issue, then they could be made more expensive without necessarily buffing any of their other stats to balance them out.)
- 3. High damage-per-shot and/or splash damage is recommended, while rate-of-fire should preferably be kept low (to keep costs down, and encourage more spamming), since burst damage is more valuable for cloaked units, who would most likely have the initiative over their enemies.
- 4. HP should be kept relatively low to not only keep costs down, but also to ensure that enemies have a fighting chance at punishing those cloaked units that dare to reveal themselves within striking range.
- 5. Speed and range are not high priorities, even for countering skirmishers or artillery, since cloaking helps ensure that slower, shorter-ranged units can sneak up to faster, longer-ranged enemies before being noticed. (Lack of speed and range also means that de-cloaked units can be punished more harshly. However, if a lack of speed is a serious balancing concern, then perhaps units could be given quirks where they gain speed boosts while de-cloaked?)
- 6. Preferably, each unit's weapon's projectiles must hit their targets instantaneously (so beams and high-velocity projectiles are preferable for non-melee units), since de-cloaking gives enemies a brief opportunity to return fire. The only exceptions to this rule are if firing doesn't break cloak (such as with the Phantom), or if the unit is a suicide unit (such as the Scuttle).
- 7. Status effects are greatly discouraged, since this faction's doctrine emphasizes hit-and-run burst-fire tactics, and does not necessarily have the tools needed to capitalize on those status effects. Also because de-cloaking gives enemies a brief opportunity to return fire. (The only status effects that are exempt from this ruling are damage-over-time effects, but even then, only for use by suicide units.)
Units that I'd add:[Spoiler]
- Rebel (cheap cloaked scout/infiltration unit, replaces Glaive and Scythe): [Spoiler]
Designed as a replacement for both the Glaive (whose hit-and-run design concept I believe would fit in better with the Shieldbots or Tanks due to its focus on speed, regeneration, and high rate-of-fire instead of stealth and burst damage) and the Scythe (which I personally find to be too expensive for what it's worth), the Rebel is basically a cheaper, downgraded Scythe that could serve as not only an infiltration unit (similar to the Scythe), but also in the same kinds of dirt-cheap scouting roles that the Flea, Dart, Puppy, and Dirtbag would all serve in. While it would be made much cheaper than the Scythe (possibly no more expensive than a Glaive), it would also have its dps and (especially) HP nerfed to the point where sending them in to infiltrate and assault enemy bases would become even more of a suicide mission than it already is with the Scythe.
However, since speed isn't all that necessary for a faction that specializes in stealth, yet could still be desirable for scouting purposes (and in the event that the unit's stealth is compromised), perhaps we could also give the Rebel a special quirk to it: While this Scythe replacement could be given a speed as high as any other scout unit like the Flea or Dart (possibly even higher due to the Rebel's and Scythe's lack of range), this would only apply while the Rebel is uncloaked and not attacking. While cloaked or attacking, the Rebel's speed would be quite slow (like, say, as slow as 40 elmo/s). This would ensure that, while the Rebel could stealthily intercept enemy skirmishers and artillery decently enough (since skirmishers and artillery tend to be rather slow themselves), and while groups of them might be hard-hitting-enough to be able to swiftly tear apart any raiders that recklessly stumble upon them, once the Rebel is de-cloaked, it's going to have trouble escaping from enemies that it can't deal with while out in the open.
- Guerilla (cloaked skirmisher, replaces Ronin): [Spoiler]
Replacing the Ronin (which I personally find to be uninteresting compared to other, more useful skirmishers like the Rogue, Buoy, or Moderator, and which would, in my opinion, fit in better with a more spammer-oriented faction with an emphasis on mutual support), is the Guerilla, a more befitting cloaked skirmisher that, basically, performs like a cheaper Moderator, with an instant-hit weapon that gives the Guerilla the ability to capitalize on its initiative whilst minimizing the chances that enemies will be able to counterattack when the Guerilla de-cloaks while firing. However, compared to the Moderator, the Guerilla's weapon would only deal damage comparable to a Ronin, without any additional status effects. Moreover, the Guerilla's range would be among the lowest of any skirmisher (as low as, say, 400 elmos), and its speed would also be rather unimpressive, with both stats just barely high enough for it to reliably kite enemy riot units, such as the Mace or Ogre, and slower assault units, such as the Knight and Thug. (Like the Rebel, the Guerilla could be given a speed boost while de-cloaked, but only if a lack of speed, or having too much speed for a cloaked skirmisher, is a serious balancing concern.)
- Partisan (cloaked aoe riot unit, replaces Reaver): [Spoiler]
Personally, I feel that, even if given a cloaking device, the Reaver's concept as an anti-swarm unit just wouldn't fit in well with the Cloakbots, since I believe that burst damage is far more useful and important for a faction that specializes in stealth than rapid-firing capabilities. (In fact, I'd argue that a powerhouse faction like the Tanks would benefit more from such a concept than a subversive guerilla faction like the Cloakbots.)
In the Reaver's place, I'd like to propose the Partisan, a riot unit with more of a focus on aoe burst damage (like the Ripper or Ogre). Much like the real-life irregular force that it's named after, the Partisan would remain cloaked until enemy units stumble into range, where it could then launch a potent aoe attack at a rate of, say, no frequently than once per 2.5 seconds, and with enough damage to kill, say, a Duck in 1 hit, and a Kodachi in 2 hits, but not necessarily a Scorcher in 1 hit. Moreover, as far as riot units would be concerned, the Partisan would have rather low HP (as low as, say, 600 HP). These stats would be balanced out by making the Partisan a bit cheaper to build compared to most other riot units (unless the ability to cloak is OP enough to warrant not making it any cheaper).
- Renegade (cloaked anti-heavy/assault unit, replaces Knight): [Spoiler]
As much as I like the concept behind the Knight (a slow tanky unit with relatively short range, but an instant-hit weapon that can stun enemies, making it especially effective against high-weight raiders), I feel that stunning enemies (or applying status effects in general) just wouldn't fit with the modus-operandi of a hit-and-run guerilla faction like the Cloakbots. Personally, I feel that, like with the Reaver, such a unit concept would've fit in better with a powerhouse brute faction like the Tanks.
In the Knight's place, I'd like to propose the Renegade, a unit that's a bit better at killing its enemies more quickly, especially for its relatively low cost. Drawing inspiration from the Brotherhood of Nod's Stealth Tanks, specifically from Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars (where their rocket salvos could bring down even GDI's Mammoth Tanks in a couple seconds), the Renegade would possess a cloaking device for sneaking up close to its enemies (including skirmishers and artillery, which could otherwise kite the slow Renegade to death), and a salvo of four powerful rockets that could bring down a Stinger in just a couple volleys. Unfortunately, these rockets would have a short range (as is typical of assault units), and would take a while to reload (though not as long as, say, a Lance or Phantom), which would leave the Renegade susceptible to a counterattack. Moreover, in order to achieve this much firepower without necessarily making the Renegade much more expensive than the Knight, it's HP would've been reduced to no more than half of the Knight's HP, so that it could be able to survive no more than 1 shot from a Stinger.
- Usurper (cloaked mine-laying artillery unit, replaces Sling): [Spoiler]
Since more specialized base-assaulting artillery units like the Sling and Impaler generally don't seem all that appealing to use compared to more flexible and valuable fire-support artillery units like the Badger, Lance, and Firewalker, I'd like to propose swapping the Sling out for the Usurper, which is basically a Badger with a cloaking device (since the Badger's ability to lay self-cloaking mines from a distance seems to fit in well with the Cloakbots' modus-operandi of stealth and guile, and since giving the Usurper a similar weapon would befit its name of usurping territory from the enemy). Since speed and range aren't high priorities for cloaked units like the Usurper, it wouldn't mind having its range lowered down to, say, 700 elmos, and it could optionally be forced to not only de-cloak when firing, but also to stand still while firing (like the Fencer), so that it would have trouble kiting enemy skirmishers. As an added anti-stealth bonus, the Usurper's mines could apply a damage-over-time effect on any enemy units that move too close to them, preventing any cloaked units among them from re-cloaking until the damage-over-time status effect wears off.
- Hooligan (cloaked burst-fire anti-air unit, replaces Gremlin): [Spoiler]
Basically, the Hooligan is what you'd get if you replaced the Gremlin's rapid-firing lasers with a single-shot anti-air laser cannon that can do, say, at least 100 damage-per-shot (enough to down a Swift in 3 shots), but has a long reload rate of, say, 4 seconds, and a range no higher than, say, 750 elmos (to keep costs down).
- Martyr (cloaked incendiary bomb, replaces Imp): [Spoiler]
Replacing the Imp EMP bomb (which I believe would fit in more with less stealth-oriented ranger factions such as Rovers or Hovers) would be the Martyr, a crawling incendiary bomb that could remain cloaked, even while moving (much like the Skuttle), and could sacrifice itself to explode into a large pool of napalm to wear down groups of enemies more efficiently than a Snitch.
- Ferret (cloaked anti-stealth mine layer, replaces Iris): [Spoiler]
With all of the units in this new factory possessing stealth capabilities, there doesn't seem to be much of a need for the Iris, at least for the units from this factory. However, since the Iris's field-cloaking capabilities see much use with units outside of the Cloakbot Factory, I'd much rather want to move it to a different factory altogether. (On second thought, I'd want to add different counterparts to the Iris to multiple factories, since it seems too universally useful to not warrant sticking it to just a single factory.)
Taking the Iris's place is the Ferret, a cloaked mine-laying unit that's designed as a countermeasure to enemy stealth units. It operates in a similar manner to the Outlaw, in that it creates disruption pulses that slow enemies within a significant radius, revealing them if cloaked, whilst leaving friendly units untouched. However, the Ferret one-ups the Outlaw in that it drops disruption mines, which detonate (with a blast radius of, say, 150) after, say, 5 seconds, all whilst remaining cloaked (much like the Phantom), preventing enemies from pinpointing its position for a counterattack.
- Informant (cloaked mobile radar, also replaces Iris): [Spoiler]
Aside from the Iris, the Owl seemed to be one of the most invaluable units for any army to have, regardless of composition. Because of this, I'd like to try to include similar units for every factory type, starting with the Informant, a scout unit equipped with not only a personal cloaking device (as with the other Cloakbots), but also with a field radar with a range of, say, 1200 elmos for deep scouting purposes.
Units that I'd retain without changing anything about them (aside from perhaps some new names for them):[Spoiler]
- Conjurer (possibly renamed to Insurgent)
- Phantom (possibly renamed to Hitman)
- Shieldbots: [Spoiler]
Personally, I'd argue that the Shieldbots would be an even better candidate as a beginner-friendly faction concept-wise than the Cloakbots currently are, since their easy access to shields would help with mitigating each of their units' weaknesses (such as the Thug's, Felon's, Aspis's, and even Convict's shields offering protection to nearby Rogues and Bandits, along with eachother). Aside from that, while the Shieldbots' Bandits, Rogues, Thugs, and Felons may not be the best units at what they do, they aren't too terribly bad in their fields either, and could still hold their own when faced with enemies that could counter them.
Still, I think more could be done to make the Shieldbots even more beginner-friendly. With that in mind, I've opted to redesign the Shieldbot faction into more of a beginner-friendly balanced brute/ranger faction with some generalist characteristics, and a mix of light subversive units and heavy powerhouse units.
Some general guidelines for this new Shieldbot factory's doctrine:[Spoiler]
- 1. All units must possess their own shield (to fit with the general theme of offering protection towards eachother). There are exceptions, but only if the non-shielded unit has another means of offering protection towards its fellow units (such as a cloaking field).
- 2. Since this is meant to be a more balanced beginner-friendly faction, low-cost units will focus on burst damage (high damage-per-shot, low rate-of-fire), while more expensive units will focus on sustained firepower (high damage-per-second, high rate-of-fire.)
- 3. Give each frontline unit (including raiders, riots, and assaults) their own shield gun, so that, in addition to giving them some additional firepower whenever they get into a knife-fight against enemies, their shield energy won't go to waste in the event they come face-to-face with an enemy that doesn't fight back (such as a lone mex or power plant).
- 4. Make sure that each unit with a shield gun has another weapon to fall back onto, since combat analysis has shown that even the best-shielded units can and will have their shields depleted when they come under fire.
- 5. Status effects are generally discouraged for combat units in general (in an effort to avoid overcomplicating this faction to the point where it's rendered not-so-beginner-friendly), whereas damage mods (such as piercing and damage reduction over distances) are permitted where they'd make sense for the unit's role in question.
- 6. Keep each unit's shield-to-health ratio at 1:3 or more due to balancing concerns. The Aegis is an exception.
Units that I'd add: [Spoiler]
- Officer (cheap shielded scout/riot unit, replaces Dirtbag): [Spoiler]
Yes, this is another unit concept that's similar to the Legionnaire's concept (which I 1st talked about here
) as a slow and short-ranged but cheap unit that could pull double-duty as both an early-game scout and as an anti-raider riot unit when used en-masse (similar to basic infantry units from other rts games, such as from any of the Command & Conquer games, or the Space Marines from StarCraft), but I believe it to be a solid unit concept that I'm kind of disappointed to find absent from this game (since it seems like a missed opportunity).
Anyways, this particular unit, which would replace the gimmicky Dirtbag (which would've probably seen more love within the Spider Factory), would come with a weak personal shield (with, say, 50 HP) to prolong its otherwise frail existence (of, say, 150 HP), and to help recharge other shielded units, and would be armed with 2 weapons: a light rapid-fire shield gun (with a dps of around, say, 25, and a range of, say, 325 elmos) to allow it to sacrifice some of its shield energy (at a slow rate) for some additional damage, and a light missile launcher (that fires, say, a volley of 4 homing missiles, each with a damage-per-shot value of, say, 50, a cooldown time of, say, 4 seconds, and a range of, say, 350 elmos) to serve as a backup weapon in case the Officer's shields are too depleted to be able to use its shield gun.
- Ranger (cheap shielded raider, replaces Bandit): [Spoiler]
The basic concept behind this unit (which would replace the Bandit) is that it would use its weak but quickly-regenerating personal shield (with, say, 50 HP) to provide a bit of protection for its fragile body (with, say, 150 HP), while it quickly closes the distance (at a similar speed to the Glaive) to use its primary weapon, a shotgun (with a range of, say, 200 elmo), which I'd find to be more ideal than a rapid-firing weapon for lower-weight raiders (which tend to benefit more from a subversive hit-and-run playstyle). It would also carry a weak rapid-firing shield gun (with a range of, say, 150 elmos) as a secondary weapon that it could whip out to finish off badly-damaged enemies, or to use when there's no significant opposition. In this sense, it would function similarly to a Glaive, only with more burst damage (similar to the Dagger and Duck).
To help facilitate the same kind of hit-and-run playstyle as the Glaive without increasing its cost too much, I'd give the Ranger a quirk where its otherwise-slow shield regeneration rate (and possibly, to a lesser extent, it's health regeneration rate as well) is boosted only while outside of combat.
- Deputy (shielded skirmisher, replaces Rogue): [Spoiler]
Simply put, the Deputy is a Rogue with a weak personal shield added on (in exchange for sacrificing some of its health) to support other units.
- Sheriff (shielded riot/assault unit, replaces Felon and Outlaw): [Spoiler]
Simply put, the Sheriff is a Felon that's been redesigned as a far cheaper, but still high-weight, riot unit (the Shieldbot Factory 2.0's primary high-weight riot unit to be specific, since the Outlaw, well, kinda sucks as a riot unit), with less range, firepower, health, and shield HP (and a weaker shield gun that doesn't drain its shield as quickly). However, to allow it to continue fighting when it loses its shield (which combat tests with the original Felon have proven that it happens quite frequently in the heat of battle), the Sheriff was given a shotgun (similar to the Scallop), which could be useful for not only countering swarms of raiders, but also for assaulting enemy positions.
- Marshal (shielded raider/assault unit, replaces Thug): [Spoiler]
Replacing the Thug (which I feel would be too redundant when placed alongside both the Marshal and the Sheriff) is the Marshal, an expensive high-weight raider/fast assault unit with a similar concept to the Blitz and Ravager, where it would use its bulky shield and heavy armor to weather enemy fire while it quickly closes the distance and pounds away at enemies with its combination of a rapid-firing heatray (that does more damage the closer to the target, in a similar manner to the Scorcher's heatray) and a powerful shield cannon that can sacrifice a chunk of the Marshal's shield energy to deliver a hard-hitting blast of energy that, due to its high damage-per-shot and low rate-of-fire, is optimized for use against other high-weight units and structures, but is poor at dealing with cheap lightweight units such as scouts and raiders (and scout/riot units like my Legionnaires).
- Inquisitor (shielded area jammer, blinding support artillery unit, replaces Snitch): [Spoiler]
In order to give allied Shieldbots an opportunity to sneak closer to enemy units without the assistance of an Iris area-cloaker (which they couldn't use thanks to the fact that active shields prevent cloaking), and in order to flush out enemy units from a safe distance (such as Phantoms, albeit momentarily), not only is the Inquisitor equipped with a wide-area jammer (similar to the Iris, though possibly a bit smaller), but it launches, at a long distance, clusters of small flash bombs (with more spread than a Firewalker) that, while dealing very little damage (equivalent to an Outlaw's Disruption Pulse), can temporarily blind enemies, reducing their line-of-sight to zero. However, even when blinded, units could still detect enemies based upon not only line-of-sight data from allied units that aren't blinded, or from allied radar (which is why the Inquisitor has a radar jammer), but also based upon said enemies' decloak radius. In addition to blinding enemies, or revealing cloaked units (as weapons with large aoe tend to do), but the light pulses from these bomblets can severely weaken enemy shielding due to sheer numbers of projectiles (similar to the Tremor), and could possibly even be useful for smoothing terrain.
Although the Inquisitor unit would come with a shield, like other artillery units, it'd probably still fall easily to any units that manage to close the distance towards them. In fact, its shield would probably see more use in recharging nearby allied units' shields than it would in blocking more than a small amount of counter-battery fire.
- Executioner (shielded long-range anti-heavy/anti-air artillery unit, replaces Racketeer): [Spoiler]
The Racketeer seemed too complicated to use to properly fit within a faction with a beginner-friendly generalist doctrine (though the Racketeer's quirkiness could lend itself use within, say, a Spambot Factory with a spammer unit-specialist doctrine). Therefore, I opted to replace the Racketeer with a more beginner-friendly artillery unit that, while more expensive, is actually able to deal hefty amounts of damage to enemy units with its long-range hard-hitting homing missiles, which could target both ground and air units, and hit with about the force of (and with possibly the same sound effects as) an Artemis, albeit with a painfully-slow rate of fire (as is typical of long-range anti-heavy artillery units like the Lance and Phantom).
Unfortunately, like other anti-heavy artillery units like the Lance and Phantom, the Executioner would suffer from slow speed, low HP, and a general tendency to overkill cheaper weaker units, especially raiders. Heck, despite carrying a shield, like the Inquisitor's shield, it would probably see more use in recharging nearby allied units' shields than it would in blocking more than a small amount of counter-battery fire.
- Watchman (shielded anti-air unit, replaces Vandal): [Spoiler]
This is just a tweaked Vandal with a weak personal shield that can provide shield-sharing assistance to other units when it's not busy shooting down aircraft.
- Detective (shielded mobile radar/area de-cloaker, replaces Outlaw)[Spoiler]
Although the Inquisitor could reveal enemy stealth units with its bomblets, it's still susceptible towards sneak attacks, since it has a long reload time, and since it needs to actively target an area for bombardment (like the Badger, Firewalker, and Tremor). However, as poor as it may be at killing off high-weight raiders, the classic Outlaw doesn't have this vulnerability, and neither does its successor, the Detective.
In addition to retaining the Outlaw's disruption pulsar, the Detective comes with more utilitarian options than the Outlaw, such as a light personal shield (as with the other Shieldbots), and, more notably, a field radar with a range of, say, 1350 elmo, which would allow the Detective to give allied artillery units, such as Inquisitors and Executioners, valid targets for attack as the main force changes position.
Units that I'd retain without changing anything about them (aside from perhaps some new names for them):[Spoiler]
- Convict (possibly renamed to Warden)
- Aspis (no rename necessary)
- Rovers: (To be determined)
- Tanks: (To be determined)
- Hovers: (To be determined)
- Amphbots: (To be determined)
- Jumpbots: (To be determined)
- Spiders: (To be determined)
- Ships: (To be determined)
- Gunships: (To be determined)
- Airplanes: (To be determined)
- Striders: Probably won't talk about them here, since their build options consist of only late-game super-units.
If you'd like to talk about adding new factories altogether, go here: (To be determined)
If you simply want to talk about new ideas or concepts for units, go here.
+1 / -1