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Ultimatum is OP, needs a nerf, etc

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Something funny happened today: normally, when you think a unit you have never used is OP and then you finally use it, you walk away thinking its not so OP after all.

With ultimatum, quite the opposite happened: I could be wrong but I think today was the first time I used one, and dear god is it OP. Its way more OP than I thought it was.

-It walks faster than I thought.
-Its really agile with its gun. It shoots like a darned gunslinger.
-Range is bigger than I thought.
-Deals damage way easier than I thought. Just one touch from the disintegrator gun, even near max range, deletes a strider.
-It really doesn't take that long to recloak and be able to get away

To be fair it was a somewhat ideal ultimatum environment since it was the very late game, situation was really chaotic, and the enemy was pushing a lot of striders and heavy units with little to no escort into our territory. It still felt like ultimatum was way too good at punishing enemies for this.

Using a few ultimatums made me more aware of how much of a BS unit it is. It massively punishes players for perfectly reasonable late-game inattention, while rewarding one player's obsessive microing of a single unit. It feels way out of place in an RTS.

I think Ultimatum's gun should be reworked. It has too much potential for BS. I think it could just have a non-piercing shot that deals 20K damage or something and then has a long reload time.
+1 / -0

3 months ago
I worry that owling Ultimatum is going to reinforce the whole "selfish player builds some big unit at the back then sends it in without escort to enlarge their epeen" attitude.
+8 / -0
I would much rather have that then arty porc meta currently. if you want to take out striders or demistriders, make scorpion. it can 1v1 dante, merlin and funnelweb. If a paladin or detri gets built, let it run wild a bit. Traditional antiheavy units, air, or just assault swarms can kill striders decently, without the need for a cloaked 2k instagib unit. Bit of a rant, but I really dont like ulti as it is currently.
+2 / -0
I don't think this would actually kill the arty porc meta. We would just have two sources of cancer rather than one, even if one of them has some impact on the other as well.
+1 / -0
3 months ago
quote:
I worry that owling Ultimatum is going to reinforce the whole "selfish player builds some big unit at the back then sends it in without escort to enlarge their epeen" attitude.


That still loses against a reasonably competent/well off opposition. The game is designed so that lone suicide striders will lose, and there is an overabundance of mechanics ensuring that besides ultimatum. Their cost inefficiency, the many anti-heavies, their vulnerability to swarms, their vulnerability to air attacks, their vulnerability to long-range artillery, their vulnerability to a few other assassination units/tactics, etc.

Plus, lone striders would still be vulnerable to an ultimatum with a more reasonable weapon.

I believe a less exponential ultimatum would at least weaken the arti porc meta. The unit casts a long shadow, even if its not always built the possibility of that it could be discourages heavy frontal assaults.
+0 / -0

3 months ago
quote:
That still loses against a reasonably competent... opposition.

How often do you see those though?

I think there is a reasonable case for making Ultimatum somewhat less effective against things like Minotaur. I do not really think it should be substantially worse against, say, Detriment.
+0 / -0
3 months ago
No Nerf Needed. In Character Issue.
+2 / -0
3 months ago
I see teams counter striders competently all the time. The teams that suck too much to do that won't survive to see a Detri. Detri just requires the same basic tactics but on a bigger scale. To be fair Detri was changed recently so its hard to say atm.

In any event 2k to 22k is a big difference, if you needed 3 ultimatums to kill a Detri, it would still be a great counter to a non-escorted Detri.
+0 / -0
3 months ago
I think Ultimatum is perfect as it is.

People think it's OP because they don't scout. A flea screen or light units screen picks it up immediately and the Ultimatum will die so fast to massed fire it's not even funny. It is VERY easy to flush 2000 metal down the drain with Ulti. Weak play makes Ulti strong.

Secondly, Ultimatum fills a niche in ZK that is essential.

ZK is a game that is based on skill and unit choices.

Very often Ultimatum is the only counter to clawing back a game that has snowballed and where striders are making mincemeat out of lighter units. Ultimatum is what stands between huge balls of Minotaur and a balanced gameplay. Ultimatum defends us - to some extent - against teams rushing heavy striders as a viable strategy. Get rid of Ulti and lobpot is going to devolve into "porc until Detriment is finished" games. As much as I love porc, I'd rather not see gameplay devolve into that.

My 2c.
+4 / -0
3 months ago
It's also easy to throw 2k away with a likho, though. And Likho is much more exposed to its counters than Ultimatum is. Ultimatum is pretty much the unit with the most likelihood of killing significantly higher percentage of its cost in metal. And it comes in the form of a cloaked instagib with backup bomb just in case it gets caught to ensure anything near it dies. And the RoF is high enough that it can pretty plausibly do something like kill a cyclops plus a minotaur before going down (which matters more in 1v1 than team games, usually). And being a good counter to minotaurs is not really what that unit should be intended for.

I can't imagine changing ultimatum to make it a little less oppressive would really make team games "devolve into porc spam" because that's already what they do. There feels like there ought to be room to make Ultimatum a bit less generally good than it is right now at least. Even if the bomb was removed and the weapon took 30 seconds to reload, killing most striders in one shot, it would still be more than worth building.
+2 / -0


3 months ago
quote:
Get rid of ulti and team games will devolve into porc until detri is finished


How is this different than the current porc/hold line until starlight/drp is finished meta?
I seriously think you're over selling ultimatum. A moderate nerf would be welcomed. It should honestly lose to small units instead of being able to kill the flea ball chasing it.
+1 / -0


3 months ago
It could probably be slightly worse. Maybe some cost or reload.
+4 / -4
3 months ago
quote:
People think it's OP because they don't scout. A flea screen or light units screen picks it up immediately and the Ultimatum will die so fast to massed fire it's not even funny. It is VERY easy to flush 2000 metal down the drain with Ulti.
I keep hearing this excuse for ultimatum, but its not true. For starters maintaining a screen is very hard when your enemy is attacking frequently or bombarding you with artillery. The cost of constantly replacing a screen adds up fast. There is an attention cost as well.

Its even harder to maintain a screen when attacking, considering you generally want to lead with the strider since its the toughest, most impactful unit (another reason why I feel the idea of that striders should need screening is silly. Frontline striders should need support, but not screening, not units literally in front of them. They're the tip of the spear. A Dante marching way behind an army of knights won't be able to do much)

Also, formations will break during the chaos of combat, giving ultimatum easy targets when playing defense. Unless you always retreat your heavy units as soon as their screen is dead, but then I don't know why you bother with heavy units.

Also keeping ultimatum alive is way, way easier than advertised. Its more survivable than a phantom, and phantom is very survivable. It even has a smaller decloak radius. The only weaker point is that ultimatum needs to get closer to do its thing and reveals itself upon shooting, but it often only has to do so once to pay itself back. If it escapes that is a bonus. Ultimatum is also a lot better with dealing with being discovered, it can eliminate a group of raiders or assaults chasing it no problemo so long as their range is not significantly greater.

In most cases ultimatum only suicides if it wants to, because an unprepared enemy will probably not have the tools at hand to insta-gib a cautious ultimatum. If you have things like lances or snipers then sure, but you won't always have those.
+5 / -0
https://imgflip.com/i/4nhxw4
+5 / -0
3 months ago
quote:
Also keeping ultimatum alive is way, way easier than advertised.
In the past abusing a unit (meaning: repeatedly using it to win many games), and put the links in a discussion, seemed to be a good way to convince people something needs adjustment.

I think it boils down to a matter of preference: do you prefer larger or smaller units. People that like larger units hate ultis, people that like smaller units like ultis. In most large games I have seen, for a successful ulti, there are a couple that die without doing almost no damage.

Would be great to have more statistics per game, for example damage per cost invested in unit type.
+1 / -0
3 months ago
I don't necessarily have beef with Ultimatum, but I find Manored's point about the concept of having to screen heavy units rather interesting. In theory they should be able to take quite a few blows, but in practice they have to worry about being one-shot?
+2 / -0
NLrankmalric essentially sums up the argument. Do you like small or big units?

PERSONALLY speaking an Ulti nerf actually helps my style of play. I like porc and a cleverly used Ulti can rapidly tot up its cost in towers. I like shieldballs and and Ulti can really, really wreck a shieldball's day. I have a specific high HP trollcomm I like using and lowering Ulti's damage (say, for instance) would allow it to survive an ulti attack.

All I'm saying is that Ultimatum has a very niche and specific apex predator role and be careful of what the consequences of making it significantly worse will be.
+0 / -0


3 months ago
Linked games would be excellent. I think whether Ulti is a problem depends on what it is countering efficiently. If it's countering Paladin then I think it's fine, the attacker can make some screening for that. If its efficiently countering Cyclops or even Minotaur then it is probably a bit too good. It would seem like a defensive Ulti would make Minotaur assaults pretty difficult.

Maybe a nerf is a good idea for that weekend tweak event idea that RUrankFirepluk sometimes talks about, but there are still a lot things to figure out. People would need knowledge and some time to adjust to a test to say much. Perhaps it would need to be for a whole week. Perhaps there should be some sort of suggestion and voting system for it.

For the record, here are the recent changes:
  • 15/06/20 - Fixed aiming against targets at different altitudes (cylinder -> sphere).
  • 28/05/20 - Fixed possible being unable to aim through ground.
  • 04/09/19 - Added shot leading.
  • 16/06/19 - Damage increased by 66%, speed increased by 6.8%.
  • 09/12/16 - Added sonar.

The release notes don't seem to say why.
+2 / -0

3 months ago
Ultimatum being a high APM investment with high payoffs is important for FFA. There it can easily happen that you have to fight a neighbour with a sizeable economy and should still be able to hold your ground. Playing wide and aggressively spreads a player's attention over a larger front, which means smaller players have more APM to spend. Units like the ultimatum allow this APM to be turned into attrition which keeps the game balanced.

So while I don't think it needs a nerf, if you do nerf Ultimatum, I would prefer to increase the APM cost, not cut its potential.
+3 / -0
In FFA there is the "everyone is fighting the same guy" effect to weaken the leader's lead, and there are myriad ways to harness that APM advantage. Scythes provide a similar effect in a lot of cases.

quote:

I think it boils down to a matter of preference: do you prefer larger or smaller units. People that like larger units hate ultis, people that like smaller units like ultis. In most large games I have seen, for a successful ulti, there are a couple that die without doing almost no damage.
I disagree, I like both, rarely make striders, dislike ulti because it feels cheap and discourages aggressive play.

https://zero-k.info/Battles/Detail/995975

This was the battle that inspired this post. I made some use of ultimatum towards the end (last 10-20 minutes). It was probably not particularly impressive, it was my first time using it and the enemy wasn't exactly making it hard, but it felt really, really cheap. I will need to review it later to point out the highlights.
+0 / -0
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