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Make planes less dumb?

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20 days ago
I am not sure how much it would cost CPU wise, but could we make planes less prone to mass suicide when attacking? Spectacular as it is, 2 tridents killing like 15 swifts in 1 volley is a bit much, is it not? . And it did not appear like the plane player had any chance to counterplay vs tridents there. The units which are most prone to this sort of nonsense are plane fighters (swifts and, to lesser degree, raptors), but also gnats, ravens, phoenix, locusts and revenants.
+3 / -0
20 days ago
Indeed, Ettin and Thresher also force the air player to always "micro-manage" bunch of planes as if you approach as "one big blob" you are really screwed.

Interesting the AOE of trident missile is rather large (24) I was not aware of that. For comparison the AA missile of ground units crasher/flail/angler does not have AOE at all, while tarantula has an AOE of 24 ! For AA buildings only artemis has AOE.

I think it would be good to have at least some visual effect for things with AOE considering the huge variation in what has and what does not have AOE (you can try to guess if harpy's missile has AOE :-p)
+5 / -0
20 days ago
'For AA buildings only artemis has AoE'

*cries in Thresher*
+0 / -0
19 days ago
I mentioned thresher in the first paragraph.

In the second paragraph was thinking only of missile firing units and buildings.

Did not think to check if other stuff besides Ettin and Thresher have AOE (like the laser firing things), but maybe I should :-p.
+0 / -0
19 days ago
Yes I know, poking fun.

Although if AoE is dialed/removed from AA. I really think some tone downs on health for gunships is needed, particularly Revenants/Gnats.

But honestly?

AA's balance in general is messy, and it stands to reason most AoE seems to be slapped onto AA that is continuous DPS, whilst Trident is a burst.

It's removal from Trident at least seems reasonable.

Tbh. I really wouldn't be against seeing a rework for AA in general.

Like seriously, how often do you see Hacksaws being made despite the fact they're clearly designed in mind to be anti-plane to Razor's anti-gunship design?
+3 / -0
19 days ago
The big problem with air at the moment is the fact gunships exist.

So if anyone goes gunship on your team the enemy will spam so much aa that all your planes become useless.

I would rather AA was only for attacking planes, since gunships are already low enough that everything can hit them there is really no need for AA units to shoot them.

Basically because gunships play more like an actual normal factory, they basically force making aa as part of a normal unit comp. Which badly affects viability of air fac.

This only really started being an issue when krow became more viable, I see absolutely INSANE aa spam in almost all large team games now.
+2 / -0
19 days ago
would it look strange that aa wont shoot gships?
+0 / -0
19 days ago
I'm curious as to what would happen if planes could fly higher than they currently do, because they're, like, you know... Planes.
+2 / -0
19 days ago
Wanted to post exactly the altitude think but in the end not sure it solves much. If you make them fly higher it's just making planes much stronger (they can avoid some AA). If you reduce then damage/speed/something, you make them more "disconnected" from play.

Probably making them clump less would solve more problems with less risks (less frustrating, minor boost, possibility to find dense AA without loosing all force).
+1 / -0

19 days ago
GF made some tickets to look into likho suiciding at least --

https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/issues/5173
https://github.com/beyond-all-reason/spring/issues/1245
+0 / -0

19 days ago
Making AA not shoot gunships is silly, and not ZK way. AA should hit flying things, period. Now having more gun-based AA or flex-AA units that are good vs gunships but not as good vs planes may be fun thing to try. We kinda already have that, as most forms of continous damage AA (razor, gremlin) are not as good vs planes as missile based AA, which can actually chase units.

As for splash damage, imho homing weapons in general should not have significant splash damage, and for most ground units that is the case. Notable exceptions are with Ogre and Scalpel, but overall homing missiles of ground units have very little, if any splash. With AA it is all over the place as mentioned already, which is misleading. Arguably, Ogre shots are so fast they do not need to home, and them flying across half the map chasing a swift is silly. If ogre loses some of the homing on missiles it would probably be just as good in its intended role, and not as good as counter to planes.

Returning to AA, today we have the following options for "scary to air player" AA that is not actually intended as such:
  • Felon kills anything that flies, and has shields to tank bombers. Lobbed felonball can eat like 20 fighters in seconds.
  • Shielded dominatrix ball is amazing at snatching bombers.
  • Ogres can snipe planes if they are not careful, and their AoE makes them good vs bombers trying to dive emissary or just fly over.
  • Tachyon accelerator weapons are great at sniping planes and gunships in all conditions.
  • Desolator is surprisingly good AA, as is faraday, and both are antiswarm turrets. Stunned planes and gunships are super silly, maybe flying units should be immune to emp?
  • Krow is really good AA as it just does not die to planes and can kill a fair few fighters without support.

Now some units from the above list have no business hitting planes (desolator, felon, ogre), but they do anyway. Making planes fly higher would fix that quite nicely. Also it would make the most scary forms of lose-your-army-in-one-shot less of an issue for planes, thus making their role more distinct from gunships.

A thing we could try here is to give planes a "flight level" toggle. If set to fly high, they are e.g. faster by 20%, have 30% improved range on bombs and rockets, and fly above most flex AA. But then all real AA has 50% better range vs them. If set to fly low they fly at gunship level and get hit by everything as usual, but dedicated AA has "normal" range. This would make for interesting plays where e.g. raven can fly over ogre to kill emissary, but now that bomb takes so long to fall emissary may have enough time to drive off. Same with likho, it can drop nuke from further away, but ground units have more time to scatter/jump away. Phoenix set to fly high would be downright useless unless target is stationary. Raptors would be able to catch gunships more easily and trade some survivability vs AA for that speed bonus, also they would be able to chase bombers into enemy lines without fear of cloaked felonball just erasing them in milliseconds. Swifts would be forced to climb to high level before using boost (as they are fast enough already).
+2 / -0
19 days ago
Dedicated AA is kind of weird to me, in that it arbitrarily targets only "air" units, even if they are landed and obscured by radar as being only a blip on the ground, and yet completely ignore jumping or launched units, even though they're as high or higher than an air unit?!
Even more amusing is when AA will shoot and damage ground targets if there's a plane behind them, showing that they are capable but unwilling.

As for the reckless behavior of planes, I think the fighters should have something like a weapon overheat, where they do an attack run and then break off to recharge for another? The way the air superiority fighter just zeros in ceaselessly is strange.
I noticed Owl has some avoidant behavior to inch away from threats, so maybe something like that?
+5 / -0
18 days ago
quote:
AA that is not actually intended as such:
Moderators, phantoms and juggernauts should probably be added to such a list.

But I think that is a separate discussion. Except ogre and desolator none have AOE that can kill any number of planes in one shot.

Yes, probably a rethink would be good, but is there any short term solution to solve the AOE problem?

Two ideas would come to mind:
- (if possible) make a missile have a damage that can be spread against what is in area of effect (so 1 missile has 100 damage will deal at most 100 damage to all units in AOE, not 100 damage to each unit in AOE)
- leave AOE only for Artemis (which is kind clear as a "complete air denial turret")
+1 / -0

18 days ago
I think planes are fine.

When the enemy has too much aa, switch out.

The only thing that needs fixing is this mentality that a player is "playing air". A player should be playing what works. If air can strike without being shot at then great. But once the landscape shifts and planes are no longer able to even dive on the front line without getting instantly destroyed, make a plate and help with impalers. Assist eco. Start/assist a super. Switch to striders. Make a silo.

Whatever it is, at any given time, that is good for the team and isn't what you're currently doing, switch to that instead.

You know what sucks? When both sides have tons of air and neither side is able to use it until one side decides to try to breach, and then they have to face a giant fleet of bombers/gunships just hanging back passively.

The best overcommiting to air can do is wait until the front is lost and then help to contain the breach. You know what overcommiting to air doesn't do? Break the enemy's front.
+3 / -0
18 days ago
quote:
A player should be playing what works
That's a good observation for a player.

I think the discussion here is about "what should a game designer do to make the game better". Is it fine that some AA units have AOE and some others don't, while air units tends to pile-up on top of each other? Can something easy be done?

For me just saying "micro-manage your air-units so that they never stay close to each other" is a subpar solution.
+0 / -0
I think "if you want to attack a Reaver/Ogre with raiders, spread them out so you don't lose them all at once" is a reasonable thing to ask of a player. Perhaps needing air units to spread out against flak etc. is different, perhaps it isn't. I don't know that Trident needs AoE.
+5 / -0
18 days ago
Yeah AA should just shoot units above it and not just air. It's a bit of magical-status-thing now.
+0 / -0

18 days ago
To save AUrankAdminGoogleFrog some time I have dug out some posts from his wiki archive:

Why can't AA shoot units that are launched into the air?

Air factories can be countered by anti-air, and this is fine

Probably less relevant:

Air design vs Starcraft

Air design and esclation

(I reserve the right to disagree with components of those posts, but I expect that I mostly agree with them.)
+4 / -0

18 days ago
quote:
And it did not appear like the plane player had any chance to counterplay vs tridents there.


Maybe not attacking AA with air is an option?

quote:
Felon kills anything that flies, and has shields to tank bombers. Lobbed felonball can eat like 20 fighters in seconds.


Luckily yes, because vandals don`t.

quote:
Basically because gunships play more like an actual normal factory, they basically force making aa as part of a normal unit comp. Which badly affects viability of air fac.


I don`t get the logic behind that statement as it is worded. I guess you mean "gunships are better air than planes atm." A normal unit comp would have aa anyway, the thing is that most front-players cannot afford enough aa. I regularily lose all my troops to phoenix, then when I build aa, I get overun by ground-forces. Or my aa gets killed by licho, phoenix or revenant before it can reach the numbers to actually fend of attacks.

In general air is so strong at the moment that I would really be up for some slight nerfs. Revenant is absurdly tanky and can dish out so much damage that it is an absolute staple in teams right now. Idk why not more people complain about it. Phoenix counters almost the complete cloaky-factory, I have seen it burn fencer-lines and even hermit-swarms. On top of that, air got more flexibility with the addition of magpie, and even more on top of that, odin is so good that it allows an air-player to simply win the game singlehandedly by bombing supers or singus as soon as there is any opportunity. And sometimes that opportunity comes be just pushing the front a few meters... If you as an air-player think your factory is too weak, you should be forced to play only cloaky for a month or so. Because it seems you lost all perspective.


+2 / -0
18 days ago
quote:
Perhaps needing air units to spread out against flak etc. is different, perhaps it isn't.
The turn rates (slow for air swift has 138, fast for land - example glaive has 494) and speeds are rather different, plus the fact that air does not "stop".

Maybe I am the only one, but I had no clue that there were (big) differences in AOE. Yes, for ogre is somehow obvious it has big AOE (as you have experience with it from fighting ground),

The wiki and the source code seem to be out of sync:

Tarantula
http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/Tarantula - says AOE 24
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/spideraa.lua - says 48

Flail
http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/Flail - has no AOE
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/hoveraa.lua - says 64

Crasher
http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/Crasher - has no AOE
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/vehaa.lua - says 32

Zephyr
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/shipaa.lua - says 8 (ok, lasers have AOE?!)

Gremlin
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/cloakaa.lua - says 12 (so, not all lasers have same AOE)

Chainsaw
http://zero-k.info/mediawiki/Chainsaw - has no AOE
https://github.com/ZeroK-RTS/Zero-K/blob/3c5ffba1b00b19c2bb11b7533ce849ecb37b0e68/units/turretaafar.lua - says 24

I would think that 33% more AOE, or 50% less for an AA missile should be more obvious...
+3 / -0
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