Shield drain rates measured and compared + balancing feedback

ZeroGravitas

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#1
I just did a very quick experimental test of the comparative drain rates of the 4 different shield bubbles, to quantify just how superior the Venture bubbles are. Turns out they consume about 1/4 the power of a GSO bubble for absorbing the same damage, about 1/8 of Hawkeye's! (And they'll probably receive fewer hits on a small tech, too, as a smaller target.)

@zanzistar, @Matt should it be this extreme? (I love it as a Venture fan!:)) It looks like it goes beyond being inversely proportional to shield surface area (from the block stat radii stated).

Cropper2019-09-17-06-01-15-9465621.png

Setup (R&D save attached):

Cropper2019-09-17-03-42-33-3110211.jpg

Tested using 1 GSO Coil Laser each, recording video and measuring the time spans in editor. The Coil Laser's dps is from the block stats (taken from this amazing resource): 44 damage per shot, reload time 0.4s, so 110dps raw value, but with a 0.5 multiplier against shields for energy weapons.

Screenshot_2019-03-26_at_11.png

It might be sensible to compare these numbers verses bullet, etc, damage just to confirms things work as expected.
 

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Falchoin

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#2
In my opinion, Venture bubbles are where they need to be efficiency-wise. They’re very expensive and leave the tech vulnerable to explosives. The small radius also makes them very difficult to use on large techs. If shields ever start blocking AoE damage, a revisit to the Venture shield may be needed at that time.
 

Faffywaffy

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#3
While venture shields themselves are arguably fine, venture repair bubbles, combined with the ability to stack can counteract the explosive damage. Pretty much all of my techs use that setup, and they all last longer against most explosive weapons than your typical havoc shield tech. You also have to consider how much you spend on batteries to keep a less efficient shield erect. It's a losing battle, most of the time.
 

Falchoin

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#4
Same with nearly all of my techs since BF release, when I discovered just how much better the Venture repair bubbles were. They help tremendously, but massed cruise missiles or battleship cannons will knock off and/or destroy parts stacked repair bubbles or not. Thankfully there aren’t many enemies in the general spawn pool with those capabilities. *cough*missilecountermeasures*cough*

Ahem

Either way, the question in my mind is whether repair bubbles should stack healing. I’m leaning towards no, and having values adjusted if necessary. In the area of overlapping repairs, the fastest repairs take priority. This will allow for easier game balance and minimize visual clutter, both wins in my book.
 

Faffywaffy

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#5
I had the same exact thing in mind regarding repair bubbles. There is definitely a balance issue with the shields though.

Ideally, I would want the different shield types to be a trade-off between how much damage they absorb VS how much power they drain. It could create an interesting spectrum between how much techs rely on shields vs armor. The current system just sways you towards whatever weapons have the biggest blast radius (i..e Cruise missile and Battleship Cannon) because your only reliable defense against them has such tremendous energy upkeep.

The problem also lies in the nature of explosions themselves. No sturdy blocks or damage multipliers can protect your sensitive components from being destroyed from within your tech. The only real protection is maximizing the distance between said components and the explosion. This greatly undermines the purpose of armor, which is to protect the crap behind it. This is one of the main reasons why losing your shields and repairs is synonymous with death. The whole game seems to be balanced around shields and explosives, which undermines the games' other weapons, especially lasers which have a 0.5% multiplier against shields. Ever wonder why Better Future's arsenal is such garbage? well... now you know.
 
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ZeroGravitas

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#6
@zanzistar? (@Matt) - given that the venture shield bubbles are now only 16% of their former cost, are you going to be nerfing their brilliantly low drain rate? (I really hope not! :eek: Venture love.) Or buffing the terrible drain rates for the larger shields a little? Or just making Venture the low-key god-emperor of corps?
 
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Matt

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#7

Wassaup

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#8
What would be your preference?
BUFF!!! BUFF!!! BUFF!!!

The big bubbles should get buffed! Not to insane degrees, but they should be buffed!

NEVER NERF!!! NEVER!!!

If something is awesome (at least compared to everything else), you should make other things just as awesome, so there's variety, instead of making the awesome thing as lame as the rest!
 
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ZeroGravitas

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#9
What would be your preference?
• Keep the venture shield drain very low (nerfing it by no more than 50%).
• Make the venture shield bubble disproportionately expensive for it's small size, but less expensive than it was.
• Reduce the GSO shield and repair bubble prices significantly.
• Buff the drain rates on the bigger shields a little, maybe. Depends if there are other fundamental changes to these core game mechanics in mind...
 

xboi_one

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#11
i feel like its quite well balanced in this sense as even for small-ish techs the HE bubble is still better against your average tech of almost any size, due to the lack of mid air tracking for bullets and having a missiles having a severe disadvantage against shields along with the fact that HE shields (along with BF shields to an extent) and the VEN shield efficiency Can now be about neutral for bigger techs with the wasted space that would have otherwise just gone to space for the shields can go to a furnace or Dynamo GEN (will provide an example if that helps for the smaller tech)
 
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ZeroGravitas

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#12
I'll pass this on to @kae who is in charge of balancing the Shield Bubbles.
Oh, interesting. So is this a QA area, or is kae taking up some design responsibilities? :)

HE bubble is still better against your average tech of almost any size, due to the lack of mid air tracking for bullets
I'm not entirely sure what you're saying here. But it's worth also noting that the big size of the HE and BF shields is a dissadvantage, on small techs, when it comes to bullet spam, because they act like giant fishing nets for stray damage. So their drain rates are *even higher*, in practical terms, than the basic figure (above) accounts for.

Anyway, I'm moving this thread to the feedback section, because that's what it is (rather than a guide, per-say).
 
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kae

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#13
@Matt You forgot your spoiler tag >:C

The Venture shields have a stat that looks way out of place making them way too strong at absorbing damage, I'll think about lowering their capabilities a bit and increase the price small amount, see how they feels. They were way underused according to our analytics so I want to keep them still fairy strong and affordable for now.

I'll look at the pricing of the GSO bubbles too, but keeping other bubbles the same for now. We can always change them in the future once we get more data :)
 

ZeroGravitas

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#14
Ok, I'm cross-posting here to continue our discussion from the 1.3.3.1 Patch Notes thread.

While the energy consumption per damage taken stat has been increased, all other stats except for size are still better than the other shields
*All* other? I can only think of passive charge drain...? (Its block health is the weakest and mass is the same as GSO's.)

Different shields should have different uses and no one shield should be the best at doing all the things.
However efficient its damage drain rate is, the size of the bubble will always make it terrible against splash damage (as @Falchoin points out).

And obviously way more effort to use these to fully cover a medium to large sized tech. In fact, one could argue that you might compare the price of multiple Venture bubbles verses (far) fewer of the other corp's. (And its price was only cheap after the recent change to it.:p;))

They were way underused according to our analytics
So, even with their drain value being glitched-levels of powerful, for however long, they caused no noticed problems and were barely used.

Even if someone like Lathrix made a great video showing off how overpowered they are (were), it would take ages for the player base to catch on and shift the overall block usage at all.

Of course, if you devs are imminently going to be showing these block stats (shield drain and mass, etc) directly and conveniently in game, that would change far quicker! (Please say you are, that would be fantastic.:D)

Anyway...

This should be changed from 0.15 to 0.5 bringing it more in line with the other shield bubbles.

Ven 0.5
GSO 0.75
BF 1.0
HWK 1.25

Let me know how it feels, cheers!
They feel mediocre... That 2x improvement over Better Future's does (for example), admittedly make my updated Russian Raider (with Ven shields) worth while compared to the original (with BF).

But in general I'd probably just stick with GSO shields, now. E.g. at the front of my Marauding Elephant, in place of the (more efficient) 2 venture bubbles (which I'd replaced it with after testing drain rate).

So, if we scaled drain rate by the bubble's relative surface areas (for a nice, mathematical justification), we might have these values (extending on spreadsheet in top post):

Cropper2019-11-08-05-03-39-1584973.jpg
[Note: "radius" is actually a diameter value, but the maths will scale the same.]

Centring on keeping Better Future the same would take us to around where Falchoin was suggesting (at 0.35 to 0.4) for venture. Also it would improve GSO a little, but make Hawkeye even worst (which is probably a little harsh...?). Or you could keep HWK the same and scale down the rest a little more, still...

Maybe longer shield battles would be not so bad these days, after the removal of all the biggest battery pyramid techs from the enemy population (some time back)... :)
 
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Ry5

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#15
One thing that hasn't been mentioned that I think is relevant. When you are building a Venture based tech you tend to run into a lot more complications like with the batteries having more limited attachment points. Without there being a stat advantage I don't see why anyone would use Venture vs the other techs unless it was purely for cosmetic reasons. In the past the lighter weight was a balancing feature venture had on it's side, but that was long before hover pads, and anti gravity tech were implemented.

I had the same exact thing in mind regarding repair bubbles. There is definitely a balance issue with the shields though.

Ideally, I would want the different shield types to be a trade-off between how much damage they absorb VS how much power they drain. It could create an interesting spectrum between how much techs rely on shields vs armor. The current system just sways you towards whatever weapons have the biggest blast radius (i..e Cruise missile and Battleship Cannon) because your only reliable defense against them has such tremendous energy upkeep.

The problem also lies in the nature of explosions themselves. No sturdy blocks or damage multipliers can protect your sensitive components from being destroyed from within your tech. The only real protection is maximizing the distance between said components and the explosion. This greatly undermines the purpose of armor, which is to protect the crap behind it. This is one of the main reasons why losing your shields and repairs is synonymous with death. The whole game seems to be balanced around shields and explosives, which undermines the games' other weapons, especially lasers which have a 0.5% multiplier against shields. Ever wonder why Better Future's arsenal is such garbage? well... now you know.
Also this insight shines some light on something I have been bumping against with this game for a while now. It would be great if there was a real armor set of blocks, but as you put it, there would have to be an aoe damage dampening effect for ANY block to act as an effective armor. Armor blocks in the game right now do not really make any sense. You have these blocks with tons more HP and don't have attachment points (which makes sense if they served their purpose) but in realistically every battle scenario in this game the battery behind the armor will explode before the armor has taken a fraction of the damage it could have potentially absorbed/mitigated.
This game feels like when you play a RPG character with a mana shield skill. The mana being energy in this game... and that is the only effective defensive skill in the entire game.
Lastly I didn't know lasers were less effective against shields, over time I just found I was having much more success with the HE Auto cannons vs laser weapon platforms on my techs. I guess that is the reason why.
Since I prefer to self limit my usage of aoe type damage weapons it seemed logical that lasers would be an effective set up, but I could never seem to make it work well. So thank you for that bit of info...
 
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kae

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#16
*All* other? I can only think of passive charge drain...? (Its block health is the weakest and mass is the same as GSO's.)
My bad, that's what I get for typing a quick response before I leave on Friday :p. There are a few more stats that it has going for it, but they're far less valuable than the ones stated.

So, even with their drain value being glitched-levels of powerful, for however long, they caused no noticed problems and were barely used.
While they were underused before, they also had a massive price tag(19,533 BB) on them, the initial change making them far too cheap was done without knowledge of the battery being over-tuned with it's low damage to energy consumption stat. Now that the price has been lowered to a more reasonable number I assume a lot more people will be finding out about them.

I would love to have more stats available in game for you to play around with, it's definitely been suggested before, but it's currently not on the list of priorities and would require further UI work right after finishing up our new redesigned UI :(

All the points that have been raised do make sense.
I'll bump the energy consumption per damage point down a bit to 0.35, hopefully that will make them strong enough to be worthwhile using on small to medium techs while maintaining their weakness to splash damage.

Thanks for the feedback!
 

ZeroGravitas

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#17
I'll bump the energy consumption per damage point down a bit to 0.35
Oh cool, thanks. Fair compromise. :) Comming for 1.3.4 or later?

but it's currently not on the list of priorities and would require further UI work right after finishing up our new redesigned UI
Oh, that's a shame. Also, do you devs consider UI work "finished"? No work on this or changes to this for next milestone (dev cycle)...?! I'm sure you know my thoughts on that already. And I assumed Nadim would be moving on to work on the remaining old style menus/elements...?
 
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Matt

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#18
Oh cool, thanks. Fair compromise. :) Comming for 1.3.4 or later?

Oh, that's a shame. Also, do you devs consider UI work "finished"? No work on this or changes to this for next milestone (dev cycle)...?! I'm sure you know my thoughts on that already. And I assumed Nadim would be moving on to work on the remaining old style menus/elements...?
We're collating all the UI feedback right now. Then we'll meticulously go through it and make any changes we feel are needed in time for the next major update.
 

Wassaup

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#19
Okay, so 1.3.4 is out and I'm happy with how the VEN and GSO shields turned out...

...BUT...

We kinda' forgot the issue of the GSO repair bubble. The thing is more expensive, than the shield now! That... that's just wrong. Please, reduce it's cost to about 3000 BBs!
 

MrTwister

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#20
So the war corporation's shields require 8x energy to absorb same direct-fire damage as venture and 2x gso? I knew there's fishy wonky stuff going on, but didnt imagine to such magnitude.

Guys, the balancing in TT is utter ... It's official. And seeing how things going over a long time it doesnt look like it will ever change for the better.

By the way, inflating or scaling down the blocks based on their "popularity" from usage statistics is just plain silly and is showing disregards to both realism/common sense and a lack of vision and concept, lack of the "big pucture".
 
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