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Magpie

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3 months ago
Tried it out in a bunch of games playing air... feels very underwhelming.

The missiles lack 'impact'. At the moment the rearm time is insane for the damage output.
You can basically only use it for picking off a few low HP raiders.


I would either

reduce the rearm time like 50% and make it a bit more manuverable (turning is very slow rn)

OR

Increase the damage slightly and keep everything else as is.
+10 / -0
Totally agreed. It lacks panache.

One of its major problems is that it requires lots of airpads and micro just to make sure everything's getting refueled and repaired properly. Likhoses and phoenii can be similarly difficult to micro restocking when you have more than two, but that's usually a signal that I'm doing something very right or very wrong, but it's a useful signal nonetheless.

Magpies on the other hand are just hellish to micro. As far as I know there isn't a hotkey to only select armed units, so it's very easy to over-select magpies and send unarmed ones to their useless deaths. Sure, maybe they should be used more sparingly and not monospammed, but I'm not sure what its strengths are there when used sparingly, except for maybe 1v1s? But in lobpot a lot of its usefulness can just be replaced with other planes with more effect.

So a lot of the issues with magpies feel like general problems of air, but made worse by its overall lacklusterity.
+0 / -0
In my experience its strongest for picking off fragile and expensive arty units.

Compared to Raven, the speed and standoff missiles make it easier to send in response and more likely to survive, and it's very competitively priced for attacking things in the 801-1080 HP zone. (Most notably Lance and Emissary both sit here)

Compared to Likho, it's way cheaper to attack single targets with, which is real important in places where you don't want to risk a Likho. (And is noticeably tougher than Likho per cost so a few might even come back.)

But overall as it's tuned I think that even though it has a niche it's not a large one.
+4 / -0

3 months ago
To be honest, magpie is "okay" the only thing that hold it back for me is the disarm time. But for a smaller air unit, they handle AA the best, not much point in making AA against them for your frontline because their missle goes off before the AA kills it. I think the "surgical strike" aspect is great but the rearm time is tttttterible
+0 / -0
Personally I think Magpie is okay. I think it mostly exists to (better) fill a hole left by cheap Phoenix in the "Raven isn't terribly good here, but I need to have some early land impact" situation. It keeps Lance rushers (and a few other things) honest, almost always has some kind of target, and can flex-AA in a pinch.

It's certainly outperformed by Likho and Raven in the late game, but Magpie would be outright terrifying if it were better than those units at any lategame tasks.

You do definitely have to manage the rearm time and energy though. I think Magpie is probably noticeably better on maps with a lot of energy reclaim or good wind available, and you should prioritize a pretty early repair pad.
+0 / -0


3 months ago
I think Magpie is ok. The rearm might be a bit long.
+3 / -0
If the rearm was reduced it would basically be fine I think.


Raven: 80e for 800 damage single target
That is 10 damage per e.

phoenix: 80e for 720 damage in aoe + 180s burn
That is 9 damage per e.

Licho: 250e for 2000 damage in aoe
That is 8 damage per e.

Odin: 300e for 11000 damage single target
That is 36 damage per e.

But for Magpie it's 180e for 360 damage single target.
That is 2 damage per e!

I can appreciate that it is a safer unit some of the time, so should cost a little more.
So probably 7 damage per e would be suitable.
That gives rearm of 5s.





+2 / -0
as probably one of the better air players in big teams:

HOT SHIT
Phenix : is the shit - good survival and good damage
Swift : its a scout - if you use it for anything else you deserve to be shot for feeding enemy metal
Owl : radar and LOS in the sky, take one for the team and make it to save your noobs

Anti-Air :
Raptor : light fighter - good for cleaning house, 1 raptor kills an infinite number of swift with a bit of micro
Likho : heavy fighter - it only exists to kill gunship balls, any other kills it gets is a statistical error

Requires non-braindead teammate
Odin : funny fat boy - its Dgun is probably more useful then main attack
Thunderbird : amazing if team is good, otherwise useless

Useless crap
Sparrow : worse scout, why use when swift exists?
Raven : useless in every way - just make Phenix, its better in every way except damage, but can you ever hit anything with a raven?
Magpie : see above, no DPS(or alpha, cause reload) for cost - just make Phenix
Crane : can we just have the gunship con? please! - its just AA bait as it is

as a general rule : if your enemy can reclaim the wreck and make 2 new units in the time it takes you to kill 1 unit what you are doing is utterly usless

best test case is : 2 (or more) welders, if your opponent can win 1v1 with welder spam your air unit of choice is shit.
+1 / -1
Sometimes I ponder upon the challenge that must be balancing a game like ZK for teams and for 1v1.

1v1s tend to stay at the stage of low cost units because players struggle to micro small forces over a large portion of terrain in a desperate attempt to win ground in some places and not lose it in others.

In that context, magpies are awesome because they're essentially flying raiders that deal per shot damage of skirmishers.


In teams whoever, as soon as artillery (especially envoy/pillager but also badgers and others) are out and protected by defenses, which is like 5 minutes in at most, it's already hard to justify pumping more skirms. They get outranged and are too slow.

Magpies are the flying equivalent of skirms. As soon as AA is out, magpies are neither resistant nor maneuverable enough to justify getting more and a switch is pretty much mandatory. If the game stays very scrappy on a low eco map they can have a longer lifespan, but as soon as likho becomes affordable, any magpie left alive is best retreated and used only to pick off units that somehow get past the front line and enter controlled air space. Better that than to dive them to their death for unsatisfying payoff.

I've tried massing them and they don't scale well. They don't have the raven's ability to burst key structures and they don't have the flexibility and damage of likhos, which almost never miss and almost always 1shot whatever they target (except demi/striders +).
+2 / -0
quote:


Anti-Air :
Likho : heavy fighter - it only exists to kill gunship balls, any other kills it gets is a statistical error



What? Likho is not aa. It can do aa, but it's a very versatile unit and it absolutely wrecks shield balls. The tracking+splash on their missile is good enough to kill raiders. Likhos rarely miss ground targets.

quote:


Useless crap
Sparrow : worse scout, why use when swift exists?
Raven : useless in every way - just make Phenix, its better in every way except damage, but can you ever hit anything with a raven?



Sparrow is slower than swift and has a hard time scouting the back of the enemy base for it, but its new on death ability (or D) casts a reveal zone and it's one of the few tools this game has to decloak enemy units. That alone makes it pretty powerful. Situational, sure, but not useless.


I do think ravens suffer in teams for reasons similar to magpies. Because there are so many air players (especially gunships), ground gets a lot of aa and ravens suffer from being picked off and not having critical mass to 1shot a specific target (expensive static d, singu...). Otherwise they're fine. They're fine in FFA and they're often used in 1v1 as a tech switch to snipe factories and kill enemy production.

Ravens are fine, and they're FAR better than phoenix at killing semi/striders.
+3 / -0
quote:
What? Likho is not aa. It can do aa, but it's a very versatile unit and it absolutely wrecks shield balls. The tracking+splash on their missile is good enough to kill raiders. Likhos rarely miss ground targets.


if you aren't using Likho as a heavy fighter you are doing air wrong... simple fact is that anything likho can do vs ground 5 Phenix can do better

on the other hand Likho is the only unit in the game that kills nimbus ball with ease.


quote:
I do think ravens suffer in teams for reasons similar to magpies. Because there are so many air players (especially gunships), ground gets a lot of aa and ravens suffer from being picked off and not having critical mass to 1shot a specific target (expensive static d, singu...). Otherwise they're fine. They're fine in FFA and they're often used in 1v1 as a tech switch to snipe factories and kill enemy production.


raven and magpie have separate issues

Raven : good alpha(best alpha/cost of all air), but total inability to hit anything that moves and 0 survivability (you touch AA and expect to loose half)
Magpie : No Alpha or DPS but very high survivability (for cost its survivability is similar to odin vs AA)

the reason i keep going on about Phenix is because its the middle ground, it has decent survivability (enough to hit the front and get away with only loosing 1-2 planes per run) and good ability to deal damage (DPS not Alpha). Phenix used well can literally swing whole games by burning raider balls and arty.
+0 / -0
3 months ago
quote:
anything likho can do vs ground 5 Phenix can do better

One of the most satisfying use of likho is against partially depleted shield balls. I often get annoyed by fire behavior against shield balls (for example when I have a Firewalker, but phoenix seems to have even less damage). So, I would say that using "anything" in the phrase above is incorrect.

As a general observation I think air can be used in more ways than you have listed. As you seem to have a strong opinion don't think we need to derail the thread by a discussion.

I do agree that magpie feels underwhelming and can be used in teams in a very small time frame. Maybe they could at least recharge without a pad (like if they land somewhere in the grid)? This would reduce a bit the cost of the pads, not sure if it would make a difference.
+0 / -0
quote:
As a general observation I think air can be used in more ways than you have listed. As you seem to have a strong opinion don't think we need to derail the thread by a discussion.


yes, i don't deny you can use air in many ways, its a flexible lab. The real question is "should you" from the perspective of optimal play?

imo optimal build queue for air is

3 Swift (scout whole enemy)
while true{
  3 Phenix
  if Phenix > 50% unit by cost {
    if enemy has gone for swift ball {
      2 Raptor
      }
    else if big spotted or snipe-able AA {
      1 Odin
      }
    else if shield ball {
      1 Tbird
      }
    else if Nimbus ball {
      2 Likho
      }
    else if owl < 1 {
      1 owl
      }
    if AA survival < 80% && no ground lab{
      make ground lab
      }
  }
}

+0 / -0
Well this has derailed a bit...

If you think thunderbird is good against shield balls then you don't play much air. Felons just melt thunderbird before they can even fire most of the time. Easiest way to deal with shield ball is wait for them to drain energy by sending in some tanky ground units. Then bomb with licho.



An unfortunate side affect of Krow being buffed is that everyone now absolutely spams AA which makes air basically impossible. I rather wish there was less mobile aa to make it a bit easier for air to be more tactical. I.e. you can use arty to take out static air defenses and actually bomb stuff.

In particular the cloaky AA seems a bit too good in teams. It only costs 140m, instantly hits and never misses and can't be oneshot by magpie. When massed they absolutely MELT air units. It's cloaked as well so you can't even avoid them.
Edit: I just noticed there is a buff for both gremlin and magpie added on github.. 15s is still WAY too long. Buffing gremlin is likely to make it very oppressive in teams games.



Anyway back to magpie... if we just reduce rearm to 5-6s that would basically put it in line with the rest of the air units rearm vs usefulness.
+1 / -0
quote:


Raven : good alpha(best alpha/cost of all air), but total inability to hit anything that moves and 0 survivability (you touch AA and expect to loose half)



You do know that the raven's bomb aims right? You can reliably hit pretty much anything except raiders or perhaps the faster riots/assaults like ravagers. Not sure if the tracking is good enough to take out moving ravagers, but I would bet not.


Most of your opinions don't sound like they come from experience.
+0 / -0
Yup im a noob, i play air and i loose!
http://zero-k.info/Battles/Detail/1797765

im also one of the better air players, and probably the sole reason raven was nerfed so hard you cant use it even 5 years later
+1 / -0

3 months ago
quote:
im also one of the better air players, and probably the sole reason raven was nerfed so hard you cant use it even 5 years later

What nerfs exactly? I went and looked at the repo and commits relating to air and anti air from about 5 years ago and the only changes relevant to Raven from that time that are still in-game are Hacksaw and Toad buffs and the airpad energy drain, nothing else.
+1 / -0
quote:
I just noticed there is a buff for both gremlin and magpie added on github.. 15s is still WAY too long.

Maybe a bit too long, but Magpie is too cheap and hard to kill to have anywhere near the efficiency of Raven. There is a threshold point here where swarms of Magpie steadily pick off enemy units early in the game, and the enemy can't get enough dedicated AA because they would be overwhelmed by ground forces. A rearm time of 5s feels like it would be below this threshold.

I propose we just ignore GBrankddaboqepp.
+5 / -1
lol why do i even bother... i should already know that the dev preference in ZK is to relegate planes to a "support" role.

i miss ModStats, we once had the tools to base arguments on actual numbers. Has anyone rebuilt a tool to aggregate unit performance across games for ZK?
+0 / -0
i wonder, could Magpie be more expensive in exchange for faster reload?
It fills the niche of skirmplane decently well, though the seeking missiles give it little wiggleroom for more bang for buck.

Would an unguided Magpie version be interesting? (flying rogue esque)
+0 / -0
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