Welcome to the patchnotes for the 3655 patch.
We all had to wait very long for this patch, but the technical and organisational structure to deliver it is finally ready. The changes have been in testing since May, first by the tester team and later in the public beta, and a lot of feedback was given and considered during this time. New changes got suggested and added, while others got removed or adjusted.
Based on feedback from the community we also decided to split the patch into two parts rather than releasing everything at once. The first part is planned to be released on the 29th August and will contain most small changes and the new bombers. The second part will mostly be about the HP changes to structures and a few things that couldn't make it into this patch.
The initial focus of the patch was to address the controversial topic of first bomber and hoverbombing as game mechanics that frustrated many players, especially new ones, to the point where they stop playing. On the other hand, many players enjoyed these game mechanics who consider that they enriched the game with more options and possibilities.
As the patch got delayed during the server transition and other problems, we used the time to add more content and work on more changes to keep the progress going, even though none of it made it into the game until now.
During the creation of this patch, the metagame, and the desire of the active community regarding what balancechanges are needed shifted a lot.
The changes that are included in this patch are:
Special thanks to Keyser and JaggedAppliance for creating the balance test mod and their contribution to the balance team, Icedreamer and Exotic_Retard for assisting with coding and to the whole balance testing team for alpha testing all changes.
Light Assault Bots:A suggestion taking from the balance forum, while it would be desireable to give labs a more persisting role in the game, this is extremely hard to do.
What we can do however, is to give them a very small buff to make it a bit less punishing to build them early.
Deceiver:With all the demands for Cybran nerfs, we looked for areas where such are possible without removing what makes the faction so fun to play, and without accidently going too far. This idea was brought up in the balance forum by washy aswell.
Increasing the cost of the mobile stealth field to be equal to the cost of mobile shields is one of several small nerfs to Cybran in this patch that look small individually, but should make a difference together.
Fire Beetle:This is the second of such changes, and at the same time making it harder to abuse fire beetles by transporting them directly on top of ACUs, which was, and unfortunately keeps being (but at least to a lesser extend), a major problem.
Lobo:Another idea from the balance forum by washy is actually reverting a very old change. The Lobo used to have 205 hitpoints a long time ago, but back then, UEF was very dominant thanks to this, so it was reduced to 200. Today, it is maybe time to bring UEF some of its lost power back.
This is an attempt to buff UEF in a way that makes the faction more diverse and interesting instead of just adding more raw power to some units. In some situations this buff will be useless, but in others and with a smart UEF player who incorporates it into his strategy, the fact that opposing ACUs now need 3 shots instead of 2 to kill Lobos could be very powerful. This isnt trying to pretend this change is not very small, but it is a good example of how buffs should try to increase diversity in both - factions, and the game - while nerfs need to be done in a way that keeps this diversity.
Scathis:The scathis has always been in an akward spot between comparatively cheap and mobile artillery and a powerful gameender, that is useless on bigger maps but devastating on smaller ones. While we are not solving this underlying issue, we can at least make it less devastating and remove the possibility for Cybran players to end teamgames much easier than other factions.
Selen:We are implementing something similar to the ui mod "Selen Deselect" and give the selen a new toggleable button. The button will cloak and stealth the selen, like hold fire used to do, and lowers the selection priority so you won't accidently send it away with your army when its supposed to stay hidden in a key position.
When toggled the selen will drain 5 energy to reduce the power (no pun intended) of the new selens, but it will likely (and is intended to) still be a buff to Seraphim as whole.
Mobile T1 Anti-AirMostly a convenience change, but with some balance impact: The stats of mobile t1 AA get doubled (with slight adjustments). Where you needed 2 units before, you need only 1 now, but it costs twice as much.
The stats doubling is to reduce rolloff, make it cause less pathfinding issues in larger armies, require less apm to move your AA around and to generally improve that the unit felt rather weak and useless before. If you used it before, you'll probably know this feeling, and this change is improving it surprisingly much. The unit feels actually useful now and you can see it killing air units!
The biggest buff is however, that they won't die to a single bomb anymore. The speed change is adapted to tanks, so AA will not lag behind your army anymore and desperatly try to catch up. This resulted in a rather big speed increase for Seraphim and UEF, which is also very useful against early bombers and another indirect buff to this factions.
All mobile T1 Anti-Air:
Hover tanksIn the last patch, we reduced hover speed on water to solve them beating ships, or holding them off too easy. With the experience since then, the nerf looks to have been a bit too much and we can finetune this numbers more now.
T2 FlakTogether with the hover speed nerfs last patch, flak speed for Seraphim and Aeon was reduced to keep them convinient to use with the new hovertanks. As hovertanks get changed, flak will again get changed together with them for the same reason.
However, the lower speed on land turned out to be a good change independent from the original reasoning. Thereforce we expand this change, and use the opportunity to add the same convinience for using flak with land units as we did with hovertanks the last patch. All Flak will get the same speed as the main tank used by the faction, but hover flak will keep the fast speed on water to be used easily with hover tanks. If you want to give feedback on this change, you can find the discussion among the others in the FAF Forum
EngineersThe engy values from engymod were very careful designed to avoid a couple of potential issues. This issues didn't became true so far. As result we can make t2 and t3 engy efficiency as good as t1 engies. This means you dont need to invest more ressources if you want to assist with higher tech engies for the same buildpower anymore. They still have some downsides by needing a higher tier factory, having less speed, and less ability to finetune how much BP you get over time.
It is worth observing if that leads to one of the biggest potential problems i tried to avoid when making engymod: too easy base defending with the ability to spam the required defence in no time. (Similar to the vanilla antinuke problem - you wouldn't need an antinuke, because you can still start one when you hear the nuke being launched and it'd finish in time with massive assist)
T1 bombersThe t1 bomber has a couple of different issues we're trying to solve here:
a) First bomber in combination with hoverbombing is not necessarily OP, but can be very frustrating for new players, and is OP on lower levels in a sense that you need to learn more (have more "skill") to counter it than you need to use it. The solution we are using after long discussions and tests is to remove hoverbombing and replace it with increased possibility to micro for experienced players. This will also solve the "logic" issue of hoverbombing that many people have, without removing possibilities of the game. Hoverbombing possibility is removed, but new micro possibility takes its place. However, it is harder to do, and has less impact, so much less people will be able to use it to their advantage
b) First bomber is extremely swingy, either giving the player who does it a huge advantage or sets him back a lot. The goal is to bring it closer to normal raiding units like labs. They will still be very swingy, due to the high investment for the airfactory and the bomber, their potential power need to be accordingly strong, but a combination of cost, higher buildtime, the anti air buffs and other things like radar removal, should make it easier, especially for inexperienced players, to deal with first bombers. Due to this and the hoverbombing changes there will probably (did anyone say hopefully?) be less first bombers, but the changes are trying to make them less frustrating without having to remove the option completly.
c) Unmicroed bombers were rather weak, often flying over enemy AA far away from targets, having low dps due to big circles and generally doing a lot of undesired things...microed bombers on the other hand could be extremly strong. The goal of this part of changes is to make microed bombers a bit worse (in this case more expensive) and unmicroed bombers better (they turn much faster and thus have higher dps, drop much more reliably and do less stupid things).
This set of changes needs to be tested with special focus, as it is rather big and complex it is hard to find a good balance between the different problems and solutions. The current bombers could be a bit too strong, and it might also make the ability to micro them pointless, as you wouldn't get much additional value out of it. Please remember that this is just the beta and not the final patch, and you can help finetuning this numbers if they are not good yet!
AhwassaThe Ahwassa gets the same treatment regarding hoverbombing as the t1 bomber, without the other dimensions of the t1 bomber changes. This means removing hoverbombing and increasing normal microability in return. This is done especially to prevent hovering outside of SAM range, you can probably still drop a bomb outside of sam range (we tried many solutions to solve it for good, but so far none worked. We will keep searching in the future), but it should be much harder to do now to avoid taking fire.
But also the general dps increase that could be achieved by hovering is now harder to do, while the need to do it is reduced aswell, as unmicroed Ahwassas are turning faster and drop more reliable too.
Cybran T1 Anti-Air Turret:This bug got introduced with the frigate AA changes, because both use the same projectile. Reverting the above changes also fixed this bug with the Cybran T1 AA tower.
Tactical Missile Launchers:This is mostly a convenience change to help new players not accidently wasting mass by building 20 missiles. But we took the opportunity to give Cybran another "faction diversity"..now the unit is called TML-4 for a reason..;)
reduction of the clip size:
Tech 2 Stationary ArtilleryThis is a rather small change, as the unit stays very expensive, but its feeling a bit in the direction how its possible to make it a bit more useful without making it too strong (which could happen very quickly, as there is no unit that can counter it with more range unlike for other defence buildings)
Aeon TMDWe are fixing Aeon TMD so its no longer possible to shoot missiles over it and hit targets behind the TMD. Thanks to Exotic_Retard for the code for this.
Factory Cost changesT2 land rush is nerfed for a slightly longer t1 phase, and indirectly a nerf to t3 rush too. (Remember how i wrote in the introduction that there was a period with big demand for t2 nerfs while this patch was made - this is a result from this) The values, especially BT look big, but old BT for a t2 factory was equivalent to 6 t1 tanks, now it's 8.5 which is still very little. Balancing the cost and time of the t2 upgrade is very tricky due to the mapsizes, if it should be still possible to rush t2 on small maps without it being too easy on normal sized ones the options of nerfs and buffs are very limited, and it'll alwys be a bit too easy on big maps, and a bit too hard on small maps to rush t2 (or to just tech in general).
On top of that, we want the land tech transition to be a little bit more risky and gradually rather than the current instant switch from t1->t2->t3. For this, we increase the cost and time for support factories slightly. This changes won't automatically achieve this, but it will be a step into this direction.
Navy factories get the same treatment t3 land and air got in engymod, BP and price increase to reduce the amount of engies required to have a normal "base production", even on maps with not very much mass you'd always see a lot of engies around the factories. Imagine it like a bigger amount of "in-built" engineers.
T2 Land HQs
T2 Land Support Factories
T3 Land Support Factories
T2 Navy HQs
T3 Navy HQs
T2 Navy Support Factories
T3 Navy Support Factories
All ACUsThe regen on t2 and t3 made nano, regen field and shield upgrades often redundant and made t2 too strong in combination with gun and in teamgames (or both). The T3 BP reduction is a small nerf to t3 comdrops.
The hp gets reduced from t2 to prevent it making it significantly harder to snipe or attack ACUs, and together with the removal of regen, it can make it more possible ot attack a low health ACU again after a failed attack. In general, this change should promote more agressive play in teamgames and reduce the drawn out ACU-Standoffs a little.
Aeon ACUWe buffed the sensor upgrade before already, but it is still not a considerable alternative to gun. We will keep buffing it until it gets used. :)
As side change, sensor, cybran stealth and potentially nano in a change that'll be added later, have the same cost now.
Enhanced Sensor System:
Cybran ACUA nerf that also adds more consistency to cybran regen. The base regen is (back) to 15, and every veterancy gives now +4 (while other factions get +3, but more absolute HP due to higher base HP). Especially in earlier stages, the cybran ACU is now as weak as it used to be if you can't make smart use of the extra regen.
Personal Stealth System:
Siren:This feature removes the toggle on Cybran mobile t1 AA, t3 AA and the cruiser and replaces it with a system that switches targets automatically (with priority on air). The cruiser gets some nerfs to prevent it from becoming too strong, other AA should be fine but if you find it to be too weak or too strong, please let us know! Special thanks to exotic retard and the Equilibrium mod for helping with the code for this.