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Shields are (not) fine

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47 days ago
Shields in 1v1 are just broken beyond repair. Everyone is constantly fighting against this fact (which is, like, why?), so I guess here we go with some empirical evidence and a 7000+ words sentiment, 'cause I'm sort of tired from sitting on the sidewalk and screaming at folk seeming crazy and all that.

Main points are:

  • Felon is horrible and wrong to the core. Shield siphoning is free and the synergy between Felon and Thug is just too damn good. Felon should also not be such a strong flex AA.
  • Thug is too good for its cost. Shield recharge it provides snowballs like crazy while being completely free from any e-costs. All that on top of being de facto best assault per-cost.
  • Outlaw being nerfed into the ground and its subsequent launch out of everyone build orders shows that shields do not need the unit and are actually better off without it in their composition. Thug-Felon build emergence just shows how good the combo always has been while not being weight down by other units. Who needs a diverse response to enemy threats anyway?
  • Failing to dispose of the first Felon in a reasonable timeframe/before it making cost for itself and Thugs almost always results in finding yourself in a loosing position. Shield player can always play for time, while the opponent is strictly restricted in making their move. Shield doesn't inherently need to play good, nor are they expected to not make mistakes. In fact, Shield gets a thousand cop-outs (i.e.: Snitches entire existence, Felons reliability when dealing with sudden air switches or raids, syphon allowing an easy out in case of overexpansion with a shield-ball) and, as long as Shield survives until getting a Thug-Felon composition out, they're not out. Bandit and Snitch provide too much map control. Rogues and Racketeer deny direct confrontation too much.
  • All the above requires null to minimal effort.

I would very much like at least one of the below:

  • Resolve ticket #4309 or apply a functionally similar change.
  • Nerf Thug. Either cost or an e-tax on shield recharge, pick your poison.
  • Stop Felons AA-fuckery.
  • Ask smarter people, what do I know?



Exhibits:
Current win rate for shields in my WHR grouping for 10+ min games.
[Spoiler]

Da Games (which may or may not contain unhealthy amounts of trash talk on my side, I don't remember, do enjoy if they do):

Multiplayer B1038096 2 on DunePatrolRedux v1.0, Hover vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1061303 2 on TitanDuel 2.2, Rover vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1052144 2 on Scaryland v1.02, Jumper vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1052218 2 on Fallendell v1.1, Tanks vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1052170 2 on Anvilwood v1.1, Amph vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1059667 2 on Anvilwood v1.1, Amph vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1060648 2 on Anvilwood v1.1, Amph vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1059612 2 on Intersection v4.1, Rover vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1058273 2 on Intersection v4.1, Spider vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1060306 2 on Intersection v4.1, Jumper vs Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1061334 2 on Otago 1.4, Cloaky vs Shield.
[Spoiler]

One doesn't have to have two functioning eyes (what) to see that there are some specific problematic factories. I think veh factories have a lot harder time vs the bs that shield has become, while factories with access to crawling bombs of any sort have a bit of an easier time (why would that be I wonder). I can maybe dig up more replays (no), but, I mean, how "bias" is this manifesto by this point anyway?

Some small teams example now. I do mostly focus on 1v1's, but might as well throw those in. Note that I do believe that small teams balance is light-years away from MM and shields are at least somewhat better balanced there.

Multiplayer B1060358 4 on Zed 2.5, Cloaky & Tank vs Spider & Shield.
[Spoiler]
Multiplayer B1048459 6 on Banana Republic v1.0.1, Cloaky & 2x Hover vs 3x Shield.
[Spoiler]

Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
+8 / -0
47 days ago
what if the felon had a bigger shield radius, but a range slightly inferior to this radius, so for the felon to attack, the target must be already inside the shield
+0 / -2


46 days ago
Either you're not crazy or I'm crazy with you mate. The point about the shieldbot player not needing to play good or possess much skill is the part that has always irked me the most. I'd support action on all of your points. I'll even add one and it's that vandal's HP:Cost ratio is just ridiculous.

That said, I don't want to see shields owled, I want to see them re-mastered somewhat. Their win/loss rates are a little all over the place, and they still suffer terribly vs spiders.
+5 / -0
46 days ago
at 3k elo shields stop working as a factory and are simply not used, at the moment this is one of the worst factions on my pick list for 1v1 games
+1 / -0
Too bad most people doing MM aren't from 3 ppl who actively play at 3k WHR. At such small sample it's more about player-specific mindgames and counterpicks anyway.
+0 / -0
46 days ago
Then we have a simple question, is the experience of the game the main indicators of balance?
The methods used by ATOSTIC were tested by me for 3k and it does not work, does this mean that the shields are not so strong?
+2 / -0
46 days ago
Bandit does feel weak early game, and outlaw feels pretty weak early game for responding to the threats that bandits are struggling to deal with (outlaws are slow, awkward to maneuver because they're so big, don't kill things quickly and kind of rely on shielding to be cost effective). But then felon thug feels merciless to play against with the highest sheer brute force potential and flex AA in the game. Racketeers shut down heavy units and porc, and rogues and snitches shut down most skirmishers (and porc). Shield factory is the one that most bluntly requires a timely factory switch to counter, because pretty much no factory has the firepower to stop felon+thug inherently. And that can be a requirement as early as minute 4/5. It makes the shield matchup feel like a race against time where you can never be behind on income or you probably lose.

Agree that it feels bad losing to felon+thug because it's so much easier to control than anything else.
+2 / -0
46 days ago
quote:
Then we have a simple question, is the experience of the game the main indicators of balance?
The methods used by ATOSTIC were tested by me for 3k and it does not work, does this mean that the shields are not so strong?

I have zero desire to open the can of worms that is whatever the hell is going on in top MM WHR.

There aren't "the methods used by ATOSTIC", what ATrankATOSTIC does is get a lobster and gift everyone who watches or plays atm another brain tumor. This isn't confined to one player. I have relayed what I'm playing myself and playing against every day I flush myself into MM. I've heard same shit from THrankPootis, INrankTheWarning, - you name a player around top 20-50 he's probably thinking the same.

If you do not use shields, you won't start using them after later buff. The stats show that you really should. Idk if this is map ban related, mindset related, no-player-who-loves-shields-present or whatever the hell related when talking higher WHR. Besides, if I'm being forced to collect a garbage can worth of replays from a month worth of games then it only stands to reason you show some too.

I've no idea what the balance should be measured against. If it were up to me, the pot would've long had its separate meta. Or gone, it would probably be just gone tbh. I have no idea whats going on "up there" in high 3k society. What I do know is that in my WHR group, MM vs a similar skilled player is almost always cranked in favor of whomever happened to get shield, especially against one of the better RPS choices.

quote:
Bandit does feel weak early game...

I've no idea where this is coming from, Bandit is the map control raider. The only which are close to competing with it are Pyros and Ducks, and the latter is one day away from getting nerfed into the ground. Thing for Bandit is, it currently doesn't have to win the map or efficiently raid. You actually benefit immeasurably from just boxing yourself in, getting mediocre at best economy and then busting out the Felon to open up the map, at which it excels. Then come mid-game, I'd consider Bandit the most reliable out of pretty much all the raiders.

Outlaw is just out of the menu, and shield is only better for it, seemingly. From the moment the Felon exits the factory the game revolves around the whims of Shield.
+0 / -0
46 days ago
I don’t know, before I liked to play with shields for 3k Elo and they worked and allowed me to compete with SErankGodde, I even had a victory over his rovers, now the shields do not work. Maybe there will be one or two games where anybody win on the shields, but these are probably exceptions. I lost to shields, but it was a long time ago and due to macro errors, in only two games
+0 / -0
46 days ago
If what you are complaining about is nerfed, the shields will be complete shit, but I love this faction, sadly
+3 / -0
I personally would find an argument based on Shieldfac needing design changes far more compelling than an argument that Shieldfac is overpowered as a starting 1v1 plop in current/recent patches, based on the data I have seen.

For instance I would point out that taking stats only for games which last beyond 10 minutes tells us basically nothing about whether the plop is overpowered.
+2 / -0
46 days ago
quote:
I personally would find an argument based on Shieldfac needing design changes far more compelling than an argument that Shieldfac is overpowered as a starting 1v1 plop, based on the data I have seen.


Yeah, my position on Shield factory is that they could use some design changes. I don't like playing against the factory and I find it kind of boring to play because they're so slow and hard to completely mess up.
+1 / -0
As an aside, in the two patches before the current one (1.8.12.1 and 1.9.1.1) Shieldfac was 5-9 against Amphbots in games with both players above ~2200 rating; in the current patch (1.9.2.0) Shieldfac is 5-1 against Amphbots in that rating category. As far as I know the only changes in 1.9.2.0 to either factory directly are

- Duck got tuned in a way which seems to mostly be a buff
- Outlaw's walk animation was improved

so I am not sure whether this shift is due to

- just random luck, we are not dealing with large numbers after all
- changes in the set of people who play regularly
- changes to turrets, starting resources and guardian com
- Outlaw's increased swag
+1 / -0


46 days ago
"Rover sucks vs shields" seems to pan out with the following parameters:

- Loser WHR > 3000
- Winner WHR > 3000
- Date since July 2020

FWIW this is not super sensitive on date. Moving the date-from slider all the way to 2021 keeps rover stomped in this bracket.
+0 / -0
46 days ago
Are we going to nuke units into oblivion again, because 4-5 people at the highest level of 1v1 find them problematic to deal with?

The great majority of folks play multiplayer games and in big games shields are not overpowered, in fact, they feel weaker than ever right now. There's just so many ways to kill shieldballs that I'm frankly surprised that the pros are struggling. I don't even really make my giant shieldballs anymore because I know sooner rather than later some guy will hit a home run and nuke 10k of metal in one fell swoop.

May I suggest that rather than nerfing shields YET AGAIN, that either units from other facs be buffed or entirely new units be developed that can deal with shields? Maybe give Ravager an "armoured mode" where it can't fire but its HP are buffed by 50%? That way it can tank the Felon damage and give the other rovers a chance to get into range.

Or what about giving Fencer the option to take 2-3 seconds to switch to "EMP mode" in order to deal more damage to shields specifically?

This trend of dumbing aspects of the game down is depressing. Eventually we're going to have dirtbag monospam without the terra component, because, as everybody knows, terra is broken powerful and sinking Detriment with caretakers isn't cool or fun /s
+6 / -0
Shieldbot fac design has been broken since the outlaw was changed to have fast moving waves imo. There are almost no good counterplays to a shield ball above a certain size in most facs.
+1 / -0
46 days ago
Silo, cloak roach, cloak imp, ultimatum, mass lance, mass tremor, flying snitch, likho spam, phantom spam, sling spam, grizz balls ... heck the other day I held off Anir's massed shields with 5 Crabs and a line of faradays.

A better question is why the other player didn't raid the slow-as-mud shieldbots to oblivion before the shieldball got enormous.

Frankly if a shieldball becomes massive I want it to be terrifying, the same as I want Paladin and Detriment to be good.
+3 / -0


46 days ago
ZArankAstran, the problem is pressure. This is likely all obvious stuff that you already know but in teamgames, the variety of units at your team's disposal allows for all of those counters to shields that you describe.

In 1v1, the higher up the ladder you go, the higher the pressure becomes. That pressure could be front line pressure, expansion speed pressure, raiding pressure - it's all there in some form or another. The counters that you describe to shieldballs typically involve temporarily reducing your own counterpressure, very often causing your collapse. Think of it like that episode of DBZ where Gohan and Cell are doing a beam at eachother for 30 minutes. Even the tiniest faulter, and it's "Say goodbye~!~!~!".

Thunderbird is usually the deciding factor in this situation - did you make one before they had 2 felons? Were you economically able to follow up on your first strike successfully after your reduced pressure input and cost of switching? If not, that increased level of effort isn't going to matter much when they begin to spread out a tonne of vandals and bandits and start sending more felons.
+3 / -0
46 days ago
Fair post by Dregs. It also explains why he never has a lotus in base at the start of the game ... because those 90 metal are needed in the form of raiding units. Then I guess the question is: is it possible to make shields less oppressive in high 1v1 matches while retaining their character and usefulness in multiplayer.
+1 / -0
quote:
For instance I would point out that taking stats only for games which last beyond 10 minutes tells us basically nothing about whether the plop is overpowered.

I took that stat range because this is how long most if not all the games I've played and listed lasted. It does show something, and that's that shield has almost double the score for other facs mid/late-game. It also shows this:[Spoiler]Shields do not discriminate, aside from silly hill-map plops and jumps (which actually have a fighting chance, with Pyro geing able to compete for the map, Skuttle and Jack being more or less reliable in disposing from early shield-balls and later Juggle decimating main line Felon-Thug ideas). You can clean the game-time numbers and still more than clearly see a bright spot. You previously said there weren't enough games with shields, well there we go, I've generated at least 2 dozens more. [Spoiler]
Idk how good that other data is, early game finishing ideas were my usual response (I can easily recall, say, Multiplayer B1052181 2 on DunePatrolRedux v1.0). 1/4 of added pre-10 min games ending with 57% in shields favor with extra salt if you happened to not be jumper or spider.

quote:
so I am not sure whether this shift is due to

Outlaw went completely out the window of any 1v1 setups by now, like you just don't build it, it's a non-unit. That helped the Felon-Thug build grow, and amph just doesn't have a way to deal with it.

quote:
The great majority of folks play multiplayer games and in big games shields are not overpowered, in fact, they feel weaker than ever right now.

I do think that higher WHR players resources in big team games are better spent elsewhere. But thats just the enviroment there, you're shut inside a short number of factories and if you fail to take the most effective one for the map, which also happens to allow you to respond across as much of the map as possible, you're screwed.

Shield-ball gets an automatically big red cross on their back. Any players worth their shit in lobpot will try and death-kill it. There's a dedicated air player. There might be a dedicated arty player. And even through all that the top-3 of your team is now dealing with some lob in the enemies bunch who simply got a pack of shieldy boys together and racked up a ridiculous looking kill-count already.

quote:
This trend of dumbing aspects of the game down is depressing.

I do agree with that.

Sure, I'd take the redesign. It's just nowhere in sight, and it's not as if nobody knew or talked about all that.
+1 / -0
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