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Why Swifts (rant)

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15 days ago
Okay, who thought it was a good idea to:

1.Make Swift the fastest unit in the game
AND
2.Make Swift have a ability to get anywhere even faster
AND
3.Make Swift have a burst anti-air weapon
AND
4.Make Swift have a anti-ground weapon that hits instantly...
AND
5.that has more range then Stinger (!@!@$!@&# why?!...)

These are all extremely advatageous features of a unit. One or two would be fine, but five?
It's like no other unit in the game. It feels like it spits in the face of Zero-K's unit design. I bet somebody in 2008 when designing it thought that the most important thing is to make aerial dogfights look cool.

Swift is literally the second worst unit in the game.
A good unit should have two properities:
1.It should be fun to use
2.It should be fun when it's used on you
Swift fails at both. Let me explain:
Playing as a Swift player in aggravating. If you fail at microing Swifts for 100 miliseconds, or get a 100 milisecond lag spike, they either fail at intercepting or their unit AI tells them all to suicide into enemy AA. Normally you could tell me to "git gud lobster" and with any other unit I'd agree with you. But Swift is unlike any other unit. Normal units fight in a line formation, where you can predict and optimize their micro. Swifts fight in an extremely predictable tornado formation.

And if you play as air, lobsters are going to assume they don't need AA since you will make Swift. I mean, what are you going to make, Raptor?


Now, playing against a Swift player is even more aggravating. Why is there no raider phase in teamgames? Because unless you are playing on a high-density game where raiders are obsolete instantly, Swift kills all the raiders, and there's no skill involved.

And the Swift landing strat. Where you put Swift's ridiculous range on a pedestal and laugh in the other team's face. Using uncounterable strategies is fun. But when uncounterable strategies are used on you, writing an angry forum post is more fun then playing the game.

I said Swift is uncounterable. Swift can be made obsolete by putting AA everywhere, but it can't be countered if the Swift player is competent. It can run even from cloaked AA units.

And there's Lanchester's square law.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lanchester%27s_laws
Every other unit has some weakness where you can't just stack 100 units and kill everything. To lower the exponential effect, ZK units have some weakness. There's AoE, units can't shoot over each other, and units have low range. Even arty is somewhat vulnerable to AoE. Swift has stupid range, 100 of them can shoot at a single target, and there's no AoE AA. (Artemis doesn't count, too expensive on low-density maps)

I know somebody will read a part of this, take a single sentence out of context, qoute it, and make an good sounding argument against it. And nothing will change. Oh well.


+6 / -1
15 days ago
quote:
Why is there no raider phase in teamgames? Because unless you are playing on a high-density game where raiders are obsolete instantly, Swift kills all the raiders, and there's no skill involved.


I think this is a great point. Carefully microed raids deep into the enemy base can be countered by swift. Very frustrating.
+3 / -0
15 days ago
Okay, small correction: I don't think Swift is objectively unfun to use. It's just the combination of it being quasi-mandatory for an air player to use, it's reliance on a high framerate, it's unpredictability (and the tornado formation) and me personally not liking it.
+0 / -0
quote:
I think this is a great point. Carefully microed raids deep into the enemy base can be countered by swift. Very frustrating.

I have 2 thoughts about this:

1) What do you think about carefully microed Scythe raids in your territory? I feel like Swift is about the only thing keeping them under control.

2) This is a broader and more general issue predicated on abysmal efficiency of most mobile AA as point defense against planes, and the speeds of the planes. Just like Swift stops raiders, Thunderbird and Likho will gladly make you think twice about going in with that Ravager push. The only things that can do such dives tend to be ones immune to non-absurd amounts of bombers, e.g. terminal-stage multifelon shieldballs or minotaurs.
+1 / -0
15 days ago
I think you're exaggerating their impact on a typical game, but its true that swifts aren't a very interesting unit atm, or a unit that helps the game be more interesting. The're just a super-sonic blob you throw at air things to make them go away, or sometimes raiders to make them go away.

The forced landing thing is a exploit and should probably just be removed. Maybe disable swift weapons when landing/taking off.

Raiders being obsoleted by air units isn't an exclusive attribute of swifts, plenty of other planes and gunships can put a hard stop to deep raid shenanigans. One might argue that such fast response is the entire point of air units, specially of planes.

I guess mobile AA being redesigned for stooping power could be interesting. Right now they really don't do much to discourage the enemy from bombing your deep strike forces, or even just your frontline. They work better against gunships though.
+0 / -0
15 days ago
Flak
+0 / -0
15 days ago
quote:
Playing as a Swift player in aggravating. If you fail at microing Swifts for 100 miliseconds, or get a 100 milisecond lag spike, they either fail at intercepting or their unit AI tells them all to suicide into enemy AA. Normally you could tell me to "git gud lobster" and with any other unit I'd agree with you. But Swift is unlike any other unit. Normal units fight in a line formation, where you can predict and optimize their micro. Swifts fight in an extremely predictable tornado formation.


I agree this is frustrating when using Swifts (and air in general, esp. Raptors). This means if you fight over contested territory with some ground AA, you're bound to lose some Swifts since you can't micro them away as easily.

quote:
And if you play as air, lobsters are going to assume they don't need AA since you will make Swift. I mean, what are you going to make, Raptor?


This is less a problem with Swift as it is with lobsters. If you need AA, build AA... ground AA is pretty darn good and might even give your air player some help in a dogfight. Swifts are just a comfortable way to take a threat away from the team so they can focus on the ground.

If your team builds ground AA, you have room to build more interesting units, e.g. Thunderbird, which can make some big plays.

quote:
Now, playing against a Swift player is even more aggravating. Why is there no raider phase in teamgames? Because unless you are playing on a high-density game where raiders are obsolete instantly, Swift kills all the raiders, and there's no skill involved.


Swifts aren't the only thing invalidating raiders. High number of turrets, commanders (with radar, vision, and guns), and the propensity to rush riots make raiding hard in big teamgames.

quote:
And the Swift landing strat. Where you put Swift's ridiculous range on a pedestal and laugh in the other team's face.


I agree this is pretty powerful and only limited by micro rather than the game's mechanics. I think it's interesting and fun to use, but it turns Swifts into an extremely fast skirmish-raider.

The cost is that ground AA is very powerful. For example, a Razor (220 metal) will kill a Swift at 1000 range in 2 seconds. Forcing your opponent to invest in ground AA is a win in itself, but eventually it can suffocate your airspace.

quote:
Swift can be made obsolete by putting AA everywhere, but it can't be countered if the Swift player is competent. It can run even from cloaked AA units.


Counter does not always mean kill. Yes they can run from anything using afterburner, but now they're away from the front line. If they're not landed somewhere doing DPS, they're just discouraging enemy air play.

quote:
To lower the exponential effect, ZK units have some weakness. There's AoE, units can't shoot over each other, and units have low range. Even arty is somewhat vulnerable to AoE. Swift has stupid range, 100 of them can shoot at a single target, and there's no AoE AA


Thresher, Ettin are AoE AA. Swift has to land to shoot like you're saying, leaving it vulnerable, and it's hard to group them up because the landing is unreliable. If you want DPS at "stupid" range, where 100 can shoot at a single target, AND you don't want it to die instantly, see Nimbus.

Tl/dr, Swift landing can be cheesy but it's unreliable. They kill air and move fast which keeps skies clear for your team in pots. Strong because they can reposition.

Possible suggestion: maybe Raptor can be buffed into an AA-riot unit, even slower but dealing more damage? That way air superiority wouldn't necessarily be determined by # of swifts
+1 / -0

15 days ago
quote:
Why is there no raider phase in teamgames? Because unless you are playing on a high-density game where raiders are obsolete instantly, Swift kills all the raiders, and there's no skill involved.


Swift damage per Second is 36. Do you imagine how much u need swift at start to deal with 4- 5 scorcher rush? Swift cost 150 metal while scorcher 130. Ground raiders can attack air units. Do you even tried attack unit like dagger at start with swist? Not even mention that enemy may also have air? Do you know that swift cant continuously shoot at enemy raider because it just fly away?

quote:
Why is there no raider phase in teamgames?


Maybe because player density on map is larger then 1 vs 1 player and in such situation raider party will end in rushed ogre which need now cover smaller front then 1 vs 1? Why some peoples think that 'raider games' should be right standart?


Only annoying things what i found about swifts is that you can ground them and shoot. Of course only some players managed troll like that.
+0 / -0
15 days ago
I find swift annoying too because I like to raid early and punish all the players that dont put lotus in base. On the other hand, a good swift player is a godsend when the other guy is spamming likho and blowing the living daylights out of my shield balls.

I think Swift is overall a cool multipurpose unit that can do some occasional cheese. Countering swift can be as simple as every player in a team making 2 pickets in the field. Suddenly the swift player has a serious problem on his hands because every excursion over enemy territory means a couple of swifts lost.

But I think the real problem is not Swift.

The real problem is Raptor, and its immense suckiness.

Raptor is the unit that should keep Swift under control, yet Swifts will run circles around them and even kill them on occasion with their burst damage. Raptor desperately needs a buff. Either more baseline speed so that its not a flying tortoise, or long range AA missiles that can extend its hitting range vs Swift. Heck, perhaps Raptor could even be MORE Raptor by increasing its cost but doubling its HP so that it has persistence in the air.

If Raptor was better Swift would not be such a problem.
+1 / -0


15 days ago
I can give some quick answers to some of these.
quote:
1.Make Swift the fastest unit in the game
AND
2.Make Swift have a ability to get anywhere even faster

Combining these abilities saves speed boost from being a 'press D for logistics advantage' button. If a slow unit could speed up occasionally then you would be "forced" to micro this ability to make it cross large distances. On Swift, they can be anywhere on the map fairly quickly, so use of speed boost is reserved for tactics or to essentially teleport to a time-sensitive battle. Also, it is hard to add any way to micro or control such a fast unit. The speed boost requires no target so gives Swift use a choice with micro that is relatively easy to pull off. Retreat on Swift even auto-hoosts.

quote:
2.Make Swift have a ability to get anywhere even faster
AND
3.Make Swift have a burst anti-air weapon

Probably because suddenly flying in and busting is more satisfying that chipping away at a target.

quote:
4.Make Swift have a anti-ground weapon that hits instantly...

I expect it is a legacy of the T1 generalist/T2 specialist unit divide. Also:
quote:
I bet somebody in 2008 when designing it thought that the most important thing is to make aerial dogfights look cool.


quote:
5.that has more range then Stinger (!@!@$!@&# why?!...)

Air ranges have to be long, see dogfights. I think I have made noises about removing landed shooting in the past (probably in the form of 'make a UI for this or removed it'), but received some pushback from whoever was around at the time. My motivation to fix problems here has not overcome other people's slight preference for this to exist.

quote:
1) What do you think about carefully microed Scythe raids in your territory? I feel like Swift is about the only thing keeping them under control.

Gunships could probably do this reasonably well also.

The basic problem with Swift is that it wasn't really designed, but since the speed boost it has been a lot more fun to use than Raptor. A game in which people made more Raptor would probably be less fun simply because Raptor is less fun to use. Apart from this, I don't see an issue with crazy ideas such as making Swift the dedicated interceptor and giving Raptor some form of anti-ground utility.
+2 / -0
how about d-boost for raptor as well?
+1 / -0

15 days ago
quote:
If Raptor was better Swift would not be such a problem


Raptor and swift have different roles in game. In small spaces where swifts can't use d gun boost raptor anyway outperform swifts. Anyway now air 99% is likho and swift. Rarely players build other air units. Raven is almost absolute, phoenix as well.
Raptor is useless because i have better built one chainsaw in small map or screamer in larger map. Its aa defense which make raptors useless because its cheaper.
+1 / -0

15 days ago
Give raptor shield so it can sustain more aa fire. Raptor with anti ground capability sounds strange. Homing air - ground missile? Raptor merge with phoenix and can throw fire bombs? General purpose bomber we already have with ravens. Agg long reloading gauss rifle? Add gravity guns for grabbing enemy units to throw units in air? :D Add emp attack for raptor?
Raptor still is better against units like krow and other gunships when need continuously attack. Swift just boost speed, release missile and need run away because its from paper. And for that it need space.
+0 / -0
I think it would be great for Swift to be less generalist, so it could be stronger in its niche. Raptors with their repeated buffs will eventually outperform Swifts at AA, which will make air play much less interesting. Swift being super fast and having a button to make it go even faster makes it fun to play. Maybe it just should be limited to anti-air to warrant it being strong at it.

When going all the way, Raptor doesn't even need to exist imo, it just clashes with Trident. The anti-scythe/anti-raid role could be filled by Locusts instead, giving Gunships and Air more reason to exist alongside in Teams.
+2 / -0
Okay, time for some responses:
quote:
1) What do you think about carefully microed Scythe raids in your territory? I feel like Swift is about the only thing keeping them under control.

Thunderbird, Likho works. Gunships work too. Raiders, Faraday work too. Scythes are weaker then they seem since you kill them, you can safely reclaim them alongside the things they killed.
quote:
2) This is a broader and more general issue predicated on abysmal efficiency of most mobile AA as point defense against planes, and the speeds of the planes. Just like Swift stops raiders, Thunderbird and Likho will gladly make you think twice about going in with that Ravager push. The only things that can do such dives tend to be ones immune to non-absurd amounts of bombers, e.g. terminal-stage multifelon shieldballs or minotaurs.

That's really good note. I've always felt like that ZK is supposed to not have dedicated AA, and only stuck with dedicated AA because designing air without AA wasn't feasible.

quote:
Raiders being obsoleted by air units isn't an exclusive attribute of swifts, plenty of other planes and gunships can put a hard stop to deep raid shenanigans. One might argue that such fast response is the entire point of air units, specially of planes.
Yeah, gunships can put a stop to deep raids too, but al least raiders can fight against Locusts and other gunships aren't super fast. I don't think fast response it the entire point of air units, Likho and Ravens often do deep raids, but fast response is one of the many things Swift is really good at.

There's an assumption that air should be fast. This is why Phoenix sucks: It's a riot faster then raiders. That shouldn't exist. I feel the devs somewhat realize this, so they decided to make it useless instead of making it slower then raiders. (A slow, high HP phoenix unleashing massive fireballs on swarms... but instead we have this)

But Phoenix isn't the only riot that's faster then raiders. Swift is a riot too. To be more exact, 10 Swifts become a riot unit that can be anywhere on the map where AA isn't.

quote:
Flak
Just point at your base and press D.
+0 / -0


15 days ago
quote:
take a single sentence out of context, qoute it, and make an good sounding argument against it


Would it be too meta to make a good sounding argument against this?
+3 / -0
15 days ago
How can I make swifts land on the ground?
+0 / -0
15 days ago
set the idle state of your planes to land
+1 / -0

15 days ago
quote:
Swift is uncounterable


i dislike swifts as an AA option. that is why i mostly go raptor. they DO outperform swifts in air battles if you use them right. the swift player must withdraw into its own AA coverage or dies. note. this is valid, if your raptor count reached a certain level (5 to 8) and you micro the raptors.
+0 / -0
quote:
Swift is uncounterable


There is many counter to swifts. It's screamer in long range and flak in close range. Also swifts tend to fall of against massive gunshit balls with tridents and rapiers. Banisher as riot counter swift. Every gauss unit. Raptors in masses. They are from paper. Imgine how much you need swift to deal even with one krow who have insta hit lasers and huge pool of hp? Any ground aa unit destroy them even cheapest ones. Even scythes can hit them. Not even mention that enemy air player also can build them.
Main problem in all this story is cheap anti air buildings. I just build artemis in late game and nobody will come close. But swift? It sucks in late game. They can't take much damage when fronts becoming very close and there is any aa unit at field. Even raptors die out. Only one unit which can be used in late game is likho because it have good hp pool.


Only place where you cant counter swifts is super speed metal map. Then is only two possible ways - they destroy entore base with their numbers or game just crashes/lag out.
+0 / -0
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