Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Published on March 13, 2017 By Draginol In Ashes Dev Journals

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## ASHES OF THE SINGULARITY IS EVERYWHERE ##

We just came back from the Game Developer's Conference.   It was a great week for the Nitrous engine (the underlying engine used in Ashes of the Singularity).

Big News: AMD is bundling Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation with more and more CPUs  The hardware bundling keeps a steady stream of new players coming into our community.

Moreover, the AMD Ryzen chips, which are 8-cores, really show off the power of the game. As more people get 4 core machines and more powerful video cards (like the AMD Radon VEGA) the more people that can play the game which in turn allows us to increase the rate of development even further.

As you know, the up-front hardware wall on Ashes of the Singularity is fairly high.  If you don't have an SSD, loading the game is slow.  If you have low resolution, the fonts are blurry.  If you don't have at least a 2GB video card, the graphics are slow.  What players get in return, however, is that the game doesn't slow down, even late game. 

Thus, the faster AMD, Intel and NVIDIA can get mainstream high-end, DirectX 12 and Vulkan hardware out there, the quicker the adoption of Ashes of the Singularity.

Now, let's talk about what's coming in Version 2.2 this month...

[[..]]

## REPLAYS ##

We've been talking about Replays forever.  Well this week, you'll be able to try them out in the Opt-In.

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## MODDING ##

If you run the game with -modding you will get a different menu.

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We still require the -modding command line parameter in order to discourage casual players from using the Map Editor until it is more consumer friendly.  However, new in 2.2 is the Modding button.  Pressing that will display a list of mods.  We'll be posting some sample ones in the coming days so you can see how to make them and use them.  Once we nail down the robustness of it, this will become generally visible and connected via Steam Workshop or GOG Galaxy.

Read here for the Modding Guide: http://wiki.ashesofthesingularity.com/index.php/Modders_Guide

 

## AI ##

Yes, the AI got an update to deal with the balance changes.

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## BALANCE ##

Some months ago we began teaming up with the General's Gentlemen.  Since then, we've brought him on board to take over the day-to-day design of Ashes of the Singularity from me.  I'm not going anywhere but with Escalation now available, it's time to bring on a dedicated designer for the game. 

Version 2.1 was released with his map balance pass.  Version 2.2 comes with his first overall game pass.  Below are his changes and the rationale behind them.

Purpose

Aside from obviously making the game more balanced and fair, these pillars served as the goal for this patch.

  • Refine the Counter system to function properly so that units are not countering more than they are supposed to, such as Athena's countering Frigates.
  • Increase strategic diversity so that games feel unique and require players to think on their feet instead of repeating the same things every match. This is mainly done by nerfing units which are overperforming and buffing units which are too weak or overpriced to make them viable.
  • Open up the late game tech: Most matches, even team games, don’t involve players making use of late game tech such as heavy air units, Dreadnaughts and Hera/Eradicator. We want players to make use of these tools and are making them more accessible.
  • Make Substrate less Radioactives intensive: Substrate suffer from having much higher radioactives costs compared to PHC. This makes them underperform on maps low on Radioactives.
  • Weaken exploitative “cheese” strategies such as Artillery Post spam, rushing air units or an Orbital Fabricator to spawn sentries in your opponent's base.
  • Improve game flow by making Base defenses less potent.
  • Make the game more welcoming for newer players

One of the most significant changes is to Prevent double capping before creeps spawn. In high level games, players are able to capture two points at the start of the game before the creeps spawn by boosting the Nexus with the first Engineer or by calling down an Emergency/Serpentine Turret.  This was not intentional, and we find double capping a frustrating dynamic and we want to remove it for the following reasons:

  • There’s no real decision making behind it, if you don’t double cap you are behind
  • It is an unintuitive hurdle for new players
  • It requires speed and precision. Ashes is supposed to be a game of strategy, not of fast clicks
  • It is easy to stuff up, especially due to lag, and if you do it is very punishing and frustrating
  • It often made North spawns on maps stronger because of the spawn direction of the Engineers
  • It required lots of practise learning which maps you can and can’t double cap on. This isn’t fun.
  • It allowed for frustrating strategies such as air rushing to be too effective and difficult to identify

Engineers will be receiving a cost reduction to allow for a much faster Factory to get into the action.

Factions

PHC

Substrate is a much easier faction to play at a low skill level due to no storage limitations and all of the units being trained from the Assembly. Even at a high level, it is difficult to constantly keep resources below 500. Increasing the starting resources of PHC gives new them a more breathing room where resources are not wasted.

  • Starting storage increased from 500 to 1000

Units

Engineers & Constructors

The Engineer and Constructor are extremely fragile for their cost of 400. Losing an Engineer in the early game can be disastrous and it often happens instantly before the player has a chance to respond. This is frustrating in general, especially for new players, but it also makes Dominator and Furies far too potent at harassment, overshadowing the Punisher and Hades. 

Engineer

  • Health increased from 120 to 250
  • Build time increased from 26 to 40
  • Metal cost decreased from 400 to 300

Constructor

  • Shields increased from 100 to 170
  • Health increased from 30 to 80
  • Build time Increased from 26 to 40
  • Metal cost reduced from 380 to 300

Frigates

Hermes

The Hermes does not perform enough recon for its cost and fragility, resulting in it being rarely built

  • Sight range increased from 600 to 750
  • Radar range increased from 1000 to 1200

Archer

The Archer costs the same logistics as the Brute, (1) despite costing more than twice the Metal, and two thirds of a Martyr. Its Logistics cost should reflect its performance and metal cost

  • Logistics cost increased from 1 to 2

Medic

The Medic’s heal rate is too high, large numbers of Medics give Cruisers and structures too much durability. It is also getting its movement speed reduced to prevent it from automatically running forward in front of other units.

  • Heal rate lowered to 66% of its current value
  • Logistics cost Increase from 1 to 3
  • Movement speed reduced to that of Brute

Martyr

The Martyr is too weak compared to other Frigates, especially compared to the Reaper. As well as needing a buff, it also needs to get some kind of purpose and role compared to Reaper. Given that it’s fast compared to other Frigates, it is also getting an Increase its shield regeneration rate to make it suitable as a harassment unit. A further buff to movement speed is being considered for next patch, depending on how the Martyr performs.

  • Shields increased from 60 to 105
  • Shield regeneration rate increased from 0.5 to 1
  • Build time reduced from 23 to 19
  • Logistics cost reduced from 4 to 2

Capacitor

The Capacitor has a large energy storage, but once it depletes it takes too long to regenerate. It also has far too much health which can make it exploited as a cheap damage soak. Increasing its energy regeneration in exchange for lowering health will make it perform its intended role as a support unit more reliably. It is also getting its movement speed reduced to prevent it from automatically running forward in front of other units.

  • Energy per second regeneration increased from 1 to 4
  • Shields reduced from 500 to 300
  • Movement speed reduced to that of Reaper

Cruisers

Masochist

The Masochist is too strong for its cost at and needs to have its cost raised. It also only costs 2 logistics, half that of the Avenger. This must be an oversight

  • Metal cost increased from 230 to 300
  • Logistics cost increased from 2 to 5
  • Build time increased from 24 to 40

Avenger

The Avenger had a serious underlying problem where it was very powerful against other Cruisers and even Dreadnaughts, instead of just the Frigates like it is supposed to. Most players under estimated how potent the Avenger is because of how quickly they die, but they are so cheap and with so much damage that armies of Avengers would take out anything (apart from buildings.) One of the reasons causing them to over perform vs Cruisers and Dreads was its high damage but low projectile speed, resulting in it overshooting and wasting shells on Frigates, which wouldn’t happen vs Cruisers due to the higher health pool. 

In order to make the Avenger perform the role of anti-frigate more consistently, it needed more movement speed, less damage in exchange for less health, but it also needed to get less damage in exchange for faster projectile speed. The 60% damage reduction may seem extreme, but the projectile speed buff increases DPS. It should also be priced more appropriately for a Cruiser.

  • Shields increased from 300 to 500
  • Metal cost increased from 212 to 292
  • Damage reduced by 60%
  • Projectile speed increased
  • Armour piercing removed
  • Movement speed increased from 80 to 100
  • Shield Regen Rate reduced from 10 to 1 (other cruisers have 1)

Athena:

Despite the nerfs to the Athena in 2.03, it is still much stronger than the Mauler despite being cheaper. The following changes will equalise the performance of these two units for their cost. Lowering the damage of the secondary weapons prevents the Athena from being so potent against Frigates, ruining the counter system and overshadowing the Zeus.

· Main gun damage reduced by 10%

· Radioactives cost increased from 30 to 60

· Secondary weapons damage halved

Mauler:

The Mauler has full armour Penetration which allows it to vaporise Dreadnaughts and the Hera far too quickly. (Athena has no armour or armour penetration) This can not be intentional as it makes Eradicators obsolete.

· Logistics cost increased from 4 to 7

· Radioactives cost lowered from 80 to 60

· Metal cost reduced from 380 to 350

· Armour Penetration removed

Hera

The Hera has little health but high armour, which leaves it far too vulnerable to armour piercing attacks. To buff it as well as giving it more consist survivability it’s losing some health in exchange for armour. It also costs the same logistics as the Athena, despite costing twice as much resources.

  • Health increased from 1200 to 2500
  • Armour reduced from 16 to 12 (80% damage reduction to 60%)
  • Logistics cost increased from 8 to 16
  • Build time increased from 25 to 40
  • Movement speed increased from 50 to 60

Eradicator

The role of the Eradicator is incredibly unintuitive; it is a big slow heavy Cruiser yet it fills the role of a glass cannon, with insanely high damage but low survivability. To make the Eradicator more visually intuitive and fill a role unique to Substrate, it should get armour in exchange for losing some of its damage. The Eradicator also takes too long to build and costs too little Logistics.

  • Build time decreased from 60 to 45
  • Logistics cost increased from 12 to 18
  • Now has 10 armour (50% damage reduction)
  • Main gun Damage halved
  • Movement speed increased from 50 to 60

Destructor

The Destructor is weaker than the Artemis due to a few reasons:

  1. Less damage vs buildings
  2. No Area of effect damage
  3. No indirect fire against units

The only real advantage is 1400 range instead of 1250, but this is not enough to compensate. In order to help equalise their performance, the Destructor should get a slight damage boost, especially with the buffs to many of the PHC defenses.

  • Main weapon damage increased by 30%

Caregiver

The Caregiver is currently pathetic, it currently heals pitiful amounts compared to even the Medic. It needs a huge buff to its heal rate for it to be viable, even despite the AOE heal as well as costing 30 logistics is also far too much. The Caregiver will now help sustain Substrate against the AOE damage of the artillery post.

  • Logistics cost reduced from 30 to 10
  • Build time reduced from 100 to 60
  • Heal rate increased by 400%

Apollo

Apollo was underperforming a little bit, but now with Punisher getting its shield increased, the Apollo especially needs its damage vs air buffed to match the buffs in AA defenses.

  • Anti-Air damage increased by 33%
  • Logistics cost increased from 3 to 5

Mobile Nullifier (Substrate and PHC)

The Mobile Nullifiers cost far too much resources, about 5 times the cost of the Orbital Nullifier structure. As a result, the Mobile Nullifiers are never used as there is far too much opportunity cost such as investing in Quantum Relays to use the Orbital Jam ability or leap frogging the Nullifier structures forward.

  • Metal Cost reduced from 1000 to 700
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 800 to 400
  • Logistics cost reduced from 100 to 40

Charon

The Charon is extremely over priced and as a result is never used. It also suffers from inconsistent survivability due to low health and high armour.

  • Metal Cost reduced from 1000 to 700
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 800 400
  • Logistics cost reduced from 1000 to 40
  • Health increased from  600 to 1500
  • Armour reduced to 16 to 10 (80% damage reduction to 50%)

Dreadnaughts

Dreadnaughts are rarely seen as amassing cruisers is far more cost efficient, as well as the huge investment of a dreadnaught results in too much lost momentum. Globally lowering the cost of Dreadnaughts will make them more viable and increase strategic diversity. The proposed 20% cost reduction is being conservative, I expect an even higher cost reduction will be necessary to make Dreadnaughts desirable and perform for their cost given the massive lost in momentum their heavy investment involves and with how strong the c

The Substrate Dreadnaughts, Overmind and Retributor especially, are underperforming due to having pitiful damage no armour when the PHC Dreadnaughts have 90% damage reduction! The Overmind and Retributor are receiving some hefty buffs, but these are necessary to put their performance in line with PHC Dreadnaughts and to make them perform for cost compared to mass cruisers.

  • All Dreadnaughts now cost 20% less resources
  • All Substrate Dreadnaughts now have 8 Armour. (40% damage reduction)

The additional shields of Substrate Dreadnaughts have still does not equate in the durability of PHC Dreadnaughts due to their additional armour.

Overmind

The Overmind is not only the weakest Dreadnaught, it also costs an insane amount of Radioactives. The opportunity cost of 5000 radioactives is far too valuable, such as 16 Quantum relays. The Overmind now has incredibly high damage output, but it is still countered by mixing in anti-drone units.

  • Metal cost increased from 2000 to 3000 (2400 after global reduction)
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 5000 to 3000 (2400 after global reduction)
  • Secondary weapon damage doubled
  • Now spawns 5 Drone Swarms instead of 3.

Retributor

These changes see the Retributor still lose a direct fight vs the Hyperion, which seems fair because of the shields. The Secondary damage increase gives it much stronger damage versus groups of Cruisers and Frigates. The minimum range was giving the Retributor inconsistent performance vs Cruisers.

  • Primary weapon damage increased by 150%
  • Primary weapon minimum range removed
  • Secondary weapon damage Quadrupled

Prometheus

With the addition of armour to Substrate Dreadnaughts, the Prometheus needed to get armour Penetration to compensate. (This will affect buildings)

  • Main Gun now has 99 Armour Pen

Dreadnaught Level up Heal [not implemented]

When dreadnaughts level up, they can get the ability to fully repair themselves instantly. This is overpowered  very frustrating for the opponent, this ability should be replaced with something else or nerfed in some way such as only healing 5000 health.

Air Units

Delaying the Dominator and Punisher Air Rush

Substrate being able to produce Dominators and Punishers from the Assembly so early on in the game creates immense balance problems in a frustrating and unfair dynamic of air rushing. It is completely impossible to see a Dominator or a Punisher rush coming, and yet it is incredibly lethal due to:

  1. Being able to snipe Engineers and Extractors instantly,
  2. Air units being so fast to avoid anti-air when it is build,
  3. PHC not having any T1 anti-air,
  4. Punishers being able to 1v1 Apollos and Constables.
  5. Even if scouting was possible in time, there is no structure to identify a Substrate air rush, unlike PHC which has the Air Factory to signify air units.
  6. A land army follow up is easy due to Assemblies producing land units as well, where PHC can not easily transition out of an air rush.

In order to deflect an Air rush without losing too much, generally 2 Constables and 2 Apollos will be required, about 1000 Metal worth of investment. This necessary investment then puts the player so far behind, on top of what raw damage is actually dealt, it allows the air rusher to follow up with a large ground army and overwhelm their opponent. Alternatively, if the victim of the air rush decides to try and skimp out with anti-air to avoid getting overwhelmed by a land army, then there could instead be an air army follow up to close the game. Or the player could pre-emptively build air defense but then not encounter an air rush at all, getting too far behind because of the wasted early investment.

The underlying problem with Substrate air rushing is the impossibility to know if it is coming or not, what kind of follow up there will be, and being left unable to make a calculated strategic decision in response. The dynamic of air rushing is a “Build order Poker” where it’s luck of hoping to do the right response but if you make the wrong move you get severely punished or can lose the game outright. Substrate being able to produce Air Units from the Assembly so early adds nothing to the game except for frustration and unfair punishment to players who have not made any mistakes.

Fury rushes are also quite problematic, but with the health increase to Extractors and builder units, it will no longer be effective compared to rushing a Hades.

Solution:
The least drastic solution to fix this problematic dynamic is as follows:

  • Dominator requires Quantum Archive
  • Punisher Requires Gateway
  • Increase health of Extractors and Builder Units

The Punisher is far more potent than the Hades, so it’s okay if Punisher is arriving later than Hades due to Gateway requirement.

Punisher

The lethality of the Punisher is too high; it has insane damage but is very fragile. This means it over performs when rushed early on but once the opponent has anti-air it gets shot down immediately. In order for it to be more balanced and have its perform more consistently, it needs to lose a lot of its damage in exchange for some survivability.

  • Shields increased from 1500 to 2500
  • Metal cost increased from 150 to 250
  • Damage halved
  • Logistics cost reduced from 20 to 15
  • Build time reduced from 70 to 60

Hades

The Hades is too expensive for what it offers, especially compared to Punisher.

  • Metal cost decreased from 270 to 240
  • Radioactives cost decreased from 330 to 260
  • Logistics cost reduced from 20 to 15

Furies and Dominator

Furies and Dominators do not scale against heavy air units in the way that base defenses do, despite their heavy radioactives cost. Giving them a small amount of armour penetration will add more strategic diversity in countering heavy air units, where players will now have alternatives to only static defense. This also equalises their performance against both the Strategic Bomber and Air Harbinger.

  • Furies and Dominator now have 15% armour Penetration

Dominator

The Dominator underperforms for its cost compared to the Fury.

  • Shields increased from 1800 to 2100
  • Metal cost increased from 100 to 120
  • Radioactives cost decreased from 280 to 260

Strategic bomber

The Strategic Bomber is too durable against non-heavy anti air. It will still remain incredibly durable vs low tier anti-air, but not practically unkillable. There is also an issue where sometimes the Strategic Bomber will not be able to drop its bombs in time due to its small sight range. Increasing its sight range will allow it to acquire targets easier and perform more consistently.

  • Armour lowered from 16 to 14 (80% damage reduction to 70%)
  • Health increased from 4800 to 7000
  • Logististics cost lowered from 100 to 60 (Same as Harbinger)
  • Sight range increased from 500 to 800

Harbinger

With the buffs to air defense, the Harbinger needs its health increased to match the Strategic Bomber and better perform for its huge cost.

  • Shields increased from 4000 to 6000
  • Sight range increased from 500 to 800

Pan, Searcher & Instigator

The air scouts are far too weak, they get shot down before they can get any proper scouting done and they don’t have enough of a sight range advantage over Air Interceptors for them to be viable compared to the much more durable Furies and  Dominator.
Their weapons are also completely unnecessary as they are almost no damage. Air Scouts should have their weaponry removed to not mislead new players who might mistake them for gunships or try to use them to harass the enemy. (This has happened to me before) This change is about visual clarity and making the game more intuitive.

Pan

  • Health increased from 500 to 1500
  • Weapons removed
  • Logistics cost increased from 1 to 3
  • Sight range increased from 1000 to 1200
  • Radar increased from 1200 to 1400

Instigator

  • Health tripled
  • Metal cost lowered from 800 to 500
  • Logistics cost lowered from 20 to 10
  • Build time reduced from 80 to 40

Searcher

  • Movement speed increased to match Pan
  • Shields increased from 300 to 1400
  • Weapons removed
  • Sight range increased from 1000 to 1200
  • Radar increased from 1200 to 1400
  • Metal cost increased 100 to 120
  • Radioactives cost of 10 removed

Air Marauder

The Air Marauder and Air Rampager suffer from incredibly low damage. Especially with the damage buffs to anti air, these Gunships need some love.

  • Damage increased by 50%
  • Logistics cost increased from 4 to 15

Air Rampager

  • Damage increased by 50%
  • Health and shields doubled
  • Logistics cost reduced from 30 to 15
  • Rainmaker range increased from 400 to 800 (to match other weapon)

Buildings:


Nexus

Moving the scout planes to the nexus will allow for more scouting early on, players can see their opponents strategies and react instead of the “Build order Poker” where players blindly counter each other without knowing. It is incredibly frustrating losing to something you couldn’t counter because you couldn’t see it coming in time.

  • Pan and Searcher can now be built from the Nexus

PHC Nexus

The PHC Nexus is too durable with 10,000 health and 95% damage reduction

  • Armour reduced from 24 to 18 (95% to 90% damage reduction)

Advanced Assembly & Dread Launch

Dreadnaughts are already so expensive and take a long time to build that they are not viable most games, the Dreadnaught production structures don’t need to have a whopping build time on top of that.

  • Build time decreased from 180 to 70

Metal & Radioactives Extractors

The fragility of extractors makes them destroyed in the blink of an eye. This can be frustrating in general, but it’s especially problematic because it makes makes Furies and Dominators too potent at harassment, when they are supposed to be interceptors. For harassing extractors, players should be investing in Hades and Punishers.

  • Health increased from 50 to 200

Aviary & Advanced Air Factory

It’s strange how structures are locked behind the Dreadnaught launch bay and Advanced Assembly despite the units being much weaker than Dreadnaughts. Having to invest in the Dreadnaught Launch bay is too costly and makes going for heavy air units too risky. Removing the build restrictions will open up these structures and create more strategic diversity and with the nerfs to Strategic Bomber and buffs to AA, this will be necessary to make these structures viable. The build time is also too long.

Advanced Sky Factory

  • Now only requires Air Factory
  • Build time reduced from 80 to 60

Aviary

  • Now only requires Assembly and Quantum Relay
  • Build time reduced from 80 to 60

Sensor Array and Listening Post [Experimental, not so important]

The radar towers are often neglected due to only providing minimal detection range, yet their negligible cost never makes them a strategic decision. Increasing the performance of radar range makes them desirable; revealing enemy movements will create a fun dynamic of outmaneuvering your opponent and attacking and defending becomes more reactive. The range increase also makes investing in radar range upgrades worthwhile, where currently the opportunity cost of Quanta is too valuable.

Increasing their cost and lowering health will make Radar Towers a strategic investment which form as a contention for the players and incentivise bombing runs.

  • Radar radius increased from 1800 to 2500
  • Radioactives cost increased from 20 to 80

Sensor Array

· Health reduced from 600 to 300

Listening Post

· Shields reduced from 500 to 200

· Health reduced from 200 to 100

· Metal cost increased from 80 to 120 (To match Sensor Tower)

Orbital Buildings:

The prices for Orbital structures is extremely inconsistent and does not reflect their value. This results in little player decision making, lack of strategic diversity and the late game tech tree being too inaccessible. Some buildings have negligible costs and are built with no consideration, while the higher tier Orbital Structures cost an insane amount and are mostly neglected as a result. While it makes sense for more potent structures to cost more, in practise these structures cost too much when combined with how expensive the units they unlock are. For example, an Air Eliminator costs 450/600 on top of the 640/360 cost of the weapons Lab. Likewise the requirement for Orbital Bombardment and Detonate doesn’t need to be so costly given that they cost a whopping 400 Quanta.

There is also a discrepancy between the costs for PHC and Substrate, where Substrate suffer due to a far higher Radioactives cost but less Metal. Substrate are more Radioactives intensive for PHC for a few other reasons, so this can be quite crippling.

Orbital Fabricator

  • Radioactives cost increased from 10 to 100
  • Metal cost reduced from 400 to 380
  • Build time increased from 20 seconds to 30

Power Regulator

  • Metal cost increased from 60 to 250

Energy Projector

  • Metal cost increased from 140 to 260
  • Build time decreased from 35 to 30

Weapons Lab

  • Metal cost reduced from 640 to 500
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 360 to 300
  • Build time decreased from 60 to 50

Orbital Command

  • Build time decreased from 120 to 80
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 1200 to 600

Energy Modulator

  • Metal cost increased from 120 to 280
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 240 to 80

Gateway

  • Metal cost increased from 240 to 350
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 200 to 100
  • Build time increased from 20 to 30

Orbital Drone Relay

  • Metal cost increased from 240 to 500
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 450 to 300

Subspace Streamer

  • Build time decreased from 140 to 80
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 1150 to 650

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Base Defenses

Base Defenses dictate far too much of Ashes; their potency stagnates the game by easily locking down sectors of the map early on for cheap and create a long, tedious and ineffective dynamic of trying to clear them out. There is also a huge discrepancy between the potency of base defenses, mainly favouring Substrate. The following changes close the gap in performance, but also distinguish the different types of anti-air defense.

Most of the base defenses suffer from a minimum range which prevents them from firing at enemy units which are too close. At first glance, players would assume this is a bug (I did) because the animations and models of the defenses don’t display any reason why these defenses would be unable to attack things up close. Instead the turrets just sit there, with the weapon pointed at the enemy but not firing for a seemingly arbitrary reason. The minimum range which many defenses suffer from don’t add anything to the game other than frustration and confusion when a player's defenses stop firing and they have no idea why.

  • All base defenses have their minimum range removed (Apart from Artillery post and Drone MRV/Shredder)

Smarty System

The Smarty System is very weak and has pitiful damage, it pales in comparison to the Annihilator.

  • Health increased from 600 to 900
  • Damage doubled

Barrager

The Barrager is in a weird spot where it has so much durability with 95% damage reduction, yet its damage is lacklustre. To give it more consistent performance I am exchanging some of its armour for damage

  • Armour reduced from 20 to 14 (95% to 70% damage reduction)
  • Weapon damage increased by 50%

PHC Artillery Post

While the nerfs in 2.03 help the Artillery Post more balanced, it is still quite overpowered. From a design perspective, it feels less like an Artillery, and more like a ultra long range base defense. In order to make it feel more like a proper artillery unit, it should have its projectile speed lowered and be less accurate to make it weaker vs mobile armies but still as powerful vs buildings and static armies. The range is also just too high, when Substrate has no equivalent and there is no shield structures like in Supreme Commander to absorb the shells

  • Projectile speed lowered to 33% of its current speed.
  • Accuracy reduced to make it weaker vs mobile armies.
  • Range lowered from 3500 to 3000
  • Damaged lowered from 300 to 250

Drone Bay

The Drone Bay and Repair are both far too cheap for the impact they have. They overshadow all other PHC base defense once they are unlocked.

  • Metal cost increased from 240 to 350

Repair Bay

  • Metal cost increased from 140 to 300

Annihilator

The Annihilator and Heavy Annihilator are so cheap yet dish out insane amounts of damage, stopping armies many times over their cost.

  • Damage reduced by 33%
  • Metal cost increased from 180 to 200

Heavy Annihilator

  • Damage reduced by 33%
  • Metal cost increased from 240 to 300

Disruptor Cannon

The Disruptor Cannon was too durable for its damage output. It would take almost a minute and a half for an Artemis to destroy it.

  • Health Reduced from 4000 to 3000 (Also has 2000 Shields)

Drone MRV

The Drone MRV costs very low metal but high Radioactives, making is rather inaccessible. It could also do with a bit more health so it’s not destroyed by Artillery units so easily.

  • Metal cost increased from 160 to 260
  • Radioactives cost reduced from 180 to 130
  • Shields increased from 300 to 500

Shredder Turret

  • Shields increased from 300 to 500

Blossom Launcher

There is no reason why the Blossom Launcher costs Radioactives when the Constable doesn’t. This is another example of why Substrate is unnecessarily more radioactives intensive than PHC, and makes balance inconsistent on map types.

  • Radioactives cost of 30 removed
  • Metal cost increased from 160 to 220
  • Shields reduced from 1500 to 1000
  • Build time reduced from 40 to 35 (Constable is 30)

Skyender

Skyender is incredibly underwhelming with only 100DPS, it doesn’t compare at all to Starburst or Air Eliminator despite costing so much radioactives. The armour piercing makes it anti-heavy air while the Starburst is suited for anti-light air due to its splash damage and cheaper cost.

  • Damage increased by 600%
  • Ranged increased from 1500 to 1800
  • AOE reduced from 150 to 120
  • Build time reduced from 240 to 160


Starburst

The changes in 2.03 have overbuffed the Starburst which now insanely overperforms compared to the far more expensive Starburst and Air Eliminator.

  • Damage reduced from 200 to 50

Constable

The Constable is too fragile compared to the Blossom Launcher and with little damage, it is easily taken out by Bombers.

  • Health increased from 900 to 1200
  • Damage increased from 75 to 100

Falcon Anti-Air

The Falcon Anti-Air is so weak that there is no reason for players to go for it compared to the Air Eliminator or just spamming Constables. It will still remain unique to the Air Eliminator because of its Splash damage compared to the single target damage of the more powerful Air Eliminator

  • Health increased from 900 to 2700
  • Armour increased to give 50% damage reduction
  • Damage output increased to 240%
  • Rate of fire increased to 133%
  • Cost increased from 150/30 to 400/150
  • Build time increased from 45 to 90

Air Eliminator

The Air Eliminator suffers from inconsistent durability due to low health, but high armour. This leaves it unkillable with standard damage but too vulnerable against Armour Piercing attacks such as Artemis or Destructor.

  • Armour reduced from 20 to 12 (95% to 60% damage reduction)
  • Health increased from 1500 to 4000
  • Build time reduced from 240 to 160

Sentinel

The Sentinel was too durable compared to other base defenses, especially given its high damage.

  • Health reduced from 4500 to 3500

Oblivion

The Oblivion was suffering from inconsistent survivability; less health but more armour actually makes it weaker than the Sentinel against armour piercing attacks such as Artemis and Disruptor, the units which are normally killing them.

  • Armour reduced from 20 to 12 (95% to 60% damage reduction)
  • Health increased from 3000 to 4000

Pulverizer

Given that traditional counters to base defenses such as Artemis and Destructor are ineffective against the Pulverizer and Exterminator due to being out ranged, the they need their durability lower to make countering it more balanced and fair as well as putting it in-line with the Sentinel and Oblivion.

  • Shields reduced from 4000 to 2500 (Has 1000 health)

Exterminator Turret

  • Health reduced from 6000 to 3000 (has 1200 Shields)

Regenerator

The Regenerator seems like a potent choice, but being locked behind the most expensive tech building, the Subspace Streamer, makes this building rarely used. Moving the tech requirements to the Energy Modular will make the Regenerator arrive at a more suitable time, but it also more intuitive and thematic to the role of the structure.

  • Tech requirements moved from Subspace Streamer to Energy Modular

Emergency & Serpentine Turrets

Deploying Emergency and Serpentine Turrets as soon as the game started allowed players to double cap territory.

  • Now Require Quantum Relay or Quantum Archive

Orbitals

Drone Swarm

Drone Swarm is not just overpowered, it’s an inconsistent and frustrating ability. The drones die very fast to anti-air, but if an army has no anti-air the drones will completely murder them since they have high damage, can chase units down and last a long time.

  • Increase Quanta cost from 200 to 250

________________________________________________

(Not Implemented)

  • Lower life span of to 40 seconds (negative regenerating health?)
  • Lower damage vs buildings by 25%
  • Double drone health (All Drones should have their health buffed)

Nano-Mesh Armour [not implemented]

Nano-Mesh Armour is a very cheesy ability. It is a no-brainer for Dreadnaughts which drastically increases their survivability, while it can be incredibly abusive on the Zeus combined with Medics and the inability to manually target units. If a Zeus has the Nano-Mesh armour and it has Medics healing it, it is practically unkillable from all attacks other than

Full armour Piercing like a Nemesis. When armies are formed, players are not able to target fire specific units which prevents them from focusing the medics or the supporting frigates, which effectively can make an army with  a Nano-Mesh Armour Zeus unkillable due to the limitations imposed on by the player. Nano-Mesh Armour should be reworked to make it a more consistent and a less frustrating ability. The two possible solutions I have in mind which would fix this are:

  • Change the single target bonus to a small amount of armour to all units in an area [or]
  • Change its bonus from 2000 health instead of +8 armour.

Call Engineer

Call Engineer is too cheap for how much value it can provide.

  • Quanta cost increased from 30 to 50


EMP Pulse

The EMP Pulse is too powerful for only 100 Quanta, especially as many core Substrate units such as Mauler have only a fraction of their health as they do Shields. The damage should also be reduced so it’s not so potent versus Dreadnaughts and Heavy Air Units.

  • Quanta cost increased from 100 to 150
  • Damage reduced from 10,000 to 2000

Nano-Transport

Just like the Charon, Nano-Transport is an overpriced ability which is completely neglected.

  • Quanta cost reduced from 300 to 200

Plasma Storm

Plasma storm is able to decimate entire armies on its own. With the cost reductions to Weapons Lab and Drone Swarm cost increase, Plasma Storm needs its cost increased.

  • Quanta cost increased from 200 to 250

Kill

Kill is far too powerful. It can takes a very long time and amount of resources produce a Dreadnaught, they shouldn’t be countered instantly by an ability. Kill will still remain powerful vs Dreadnaughts, but now there is opportunity to pull back a wounded Dreadnaught.

  • Damage reduced from 10,000 to 7000

Nano Mesh Armour

Nano Mesh armour can be very exploitative in certain scenarios, especially combined with Medics and how Substrate don’t have anti armour units until Eradicator or Punisher. It is also a no brainer ability when applied to Dreadnaughts. We are working on a way to make it perform more consistently and less exploitative such as giving it health instead of armour or making it a small armour buff in an area. Either of these approaches will take time to develop unlike most changes which are as easy to implement as tweaking numbers in a line. In the meantime, we are increasing the cost of Nano Mesh Armour to mitigate abuse.

  • Quanta cost increased from 50 to 100

Beyond Version 2.2

We are play-testing the Juggernauts, or I should say, the first two (one PHC, one Substrate).  They will be released for free but we will be releasing Episode 3 at the same time which will be DLC.    The Juggernauts/Episode 3 are currently on track for May.  Why not April?  April is pretty booked right now for us.  Sins of a Solar Empire: Rebellion anniversary edition is nearly done and we will be getting close to the release of Galactic Civilizations III: Crusade.  But there might be a version 2.3 in-between with additional balance, modding, performance and bug fixes that come in.

So that's all for now! Let us know what you think.


Comments (Page 3)
on Mar 15, 2017

Agreed that nullifier ability should block all orbitals within it, suggested the same thing myself some time back. In a 3v3 I played one of the other team dropped the blocker then at least 2 of them were chucking all these orbitals in there which I could do nothing about. It's too powerful like that.

I really don't like the fact that it also blocks off a nuke attack which has already been initiated. Again it is if you are fast enough to do it, which is not what this game is about, and also normally it means the Sub can get theirs off much more often than the PHC as the PHC countdown is so much greater. The quanta lost is also very high compared to the cheap block. It almost removes the nuke from the PHC arsenal tbh.

on Mar 15, 2017

Stardock - I'm not a good enough player to find fault with any of this amazing list of tweaks and improvements.  THANK YOU and GENERAL'S GENTLEMEN for the huge amount of TLC you're giving Ashes.  It continually renews my interest in the game, and has justified the cost several times over.

on Mar 15, 2017

GeneralsGentlemen


Regarding Strat Bomber and Harbinger, they are in a weird spot because they can't target ground units. I would like to change that because it gives them far too limited usability, but that's not urgent. 

 

Want.

on Mar 16, 2017

So after a little playtesting the 2.2 opt-in: Falcons got way overbuffed - they vaporize a Punisher instantly on contact. Also, engineers and constructors' build time has not been changed - it's still at 26 seconds. Worker health also remains unchanged. Did anyone double check this stuff? Hopefully there are not more omissions - these were just immediate and obvious ones.

Actually, Punishers were not changed either - still at 100/1500 health/shields so no wonder they die so fast with Falcons getting their buff. Someone needs to go through and check all the changes again I think...

on Mar 16, 2017

Ekko_Tek

So after a little playtesting the 2.2 opt-in: Falcons got way overbuffed - they vaporize a Punisher instantly on contact.

Punisher lethality in general is very high, which is why they are getting the shield increase (Which didn't come in yet.) But it's possible we over buffed them, I will do a bunch of testing over the next few days. This is exactly what the opt-in is for.

Ekko_Tek

Also, engineers and constructors' build time has not been changed - it's still at 26 seconds. Worker health also remains unchanged. Did anyone double check this stuff? 



It was pretty confusing because this was thread was the March Dev Update with the planned changes, this wasn't the announcement for the 2.2 Opt-in.
This thread was the 2.2 opt-in announcement with all of the changes listed. Next week the opt-in will be updating and we should get the rest of the changes, or you can the full balance preview mod in the mean time. Admittedly 2.2 has been a little shakey due to the change ups of me taking over as designer, but that's all getting smoothed out. There's also more stuff to come in 2.2 which haven't been announced yet such as new maps and more map fixes.

 

on Mar 16, 2017

Ekko_Tek
Worker health also remains unchanged. Did anyone double check this stuff? Hopefully there are not more omissions - these were just immediate and obvious ones.

Actually, Punishers were not changed either - still at 100/1500 health/shields so no wonder they die so fast with Falcons getting their buff. Someone needs to go through and check all the changes again I think...

hahaha i bet u thought the avengers were also getting a HP nerf (according to draginol's post)? since u take everything as its said it must be true? no where in the thread does it confirm that any of these changes have been actually implemented in the opt in already.. i thought it was pretty obvious to someone of such superior intellect.. and dont get mad, im just teasing u

on Mar 16, 2017

GeneralsGentlemen

Punisher lethality in general is very high, which is why they are getting the shield increase (Which didn't come in yet.) But it's possible we over buffed them, I will do a bunch of testing over the next few days. This is exactly what the opt-in is for.

Keep in mind that Falcon has tripled his cost with the proposed changes and at that cost it should perform at starbust lvl. Both AA sub and phc should perform the same.  If you test and nerf the balance of Falcon that should reflect also in its cost.

 

on Mar 16, 2017

GeneralsGentlemen
Next week the opt-in will be updating and we should get the rest of the changes, or you can the full balance preview mod in the mean time.

this thing is looking great so far! great to use gunships and scouts! as well as easier access to orbital unlocks..

on Mar 18, 2017

Played some of the opt in and the game feels a little slow. 

I would suggest to make the harvester harder to produce, because substrate macro is insane now. It is better in current patch, but in opt in it destroys phc in economy:

1. harvesters produced non stop from nexus where as phc has to compromise between making defenses and refineries.

2. assembly is op and it allows much more flexibility than basic phc factory. 2 squad of martyrs can cap two nodes, two reapers the same so if we do the math phc has to produce 3 units (brute, archer medic) to cap a node at a v. slow pace so by the time phc has produced 6 units and capped 2 nodes, substrate should have 4 nodes and that is with just 1 assembly.

3. after that the same assembly that produced t1, can now produce avengeres.

ex: assembly vs armory sub makes his first avenger and he can solo cap with him a crazy number of nodes or even cap a turinium with support while phc needs min two cruisers to take on a turinium (apollo and athena or zeus). Also phc does not have cruisers that can solo cap so again substrate is outexpanding phc mad

4. if all things fails there is always I win button aka drone swarm and cheap defense.

So either way you put it, phs is doomed to be outcaped and outproduced I hope you can make some gameplay changes to adjust this flexibility.

 

Need I remind you folks that back then when Ashes of Singularity was first released, substrate had twice the rad cost and it outproduced phc cruisers 3 to 1. Ask Das Unding and other phc top players and they can confirm that none of phc had really a chance when matched against Danail or other top sub players.

First time game turned and was almost at the same lvl when refinery was introduced and that allowed phc for an almost even fight in late game and that was about it. It's good you release patches but the game at it's core has its balance broken, because it allows on race to rush and cap the whole map with impunity (v low cost on static defense, v fast build time for that defense while capping with few units).

 

 

on Mar 18, 2017

Neinhalt_Sieger
I would suggest to make the harvester harder to produce, because substrate macro is insane now. It is better in current patch, but in opt in it destroys phc in economy:

1. harvesters produced non stop from nexus where as phc has to compromise between making defenses and refineries.

2. assembly is op and it allows much more flexibility than basic phc factory. 2 squad of martyrs can cap two nodes, two reapers the same so if we do the math phc has to produce 3 units (brute, archer medic) to cap a node at a v. slow pace so by the time phc has produced 6 units and capped 2 nodes, substrate should have 4 nodes and that is with just 1 assembly.

3. after that the same assembly that produced t1, can now produce avengeres.

ex: assembly vs armory sub makes his first avenger and he can solo cap with him a crazy number of nodes or even cap a turinium with support while phc needs min two cruisers to take on a turinium (apollo and athena or zeus). Also phc does not have cruisers that can solo cap so again substrate is outexpanding phc mad

4. if all things fails there is always I win button aka drone swarm and cheap defense.

So either way you put it, phs is doomed to be outcaped and outproduced I hope you can make some gameplay changes to adjust this flexibility.

Need I remind you folks that back then when Ashes of Singularity was first released
 

i agree SS is able to cap more nodes, faster than PHC. but that doesnt mean harvesters should be harder to produce, since what happens IF the SS player DOES NOT MANAGE to cap more nodes than PHC? maybe the map doesnt allow it, or fighting starts too soon etc, if u make harvesters even harder to produce than in that case SS will have an even weaker economy..

SS relies on capping nodes quickly to get a good economy.. that is mainly due to reapers being too effective when it comes to capping(vs brutes and archers) so if the reaper was nerfed, or the brute, archer was made more ffective at capping it would help solve this issue

if u say "well what about the martyr" it still performs poorly at combat, so even if it is an effective capper, if someone just builds them to cap, then u as PHC should be able to counter them directly

the new PHC turrets are a lot better than they used to be.. dont underestimate them. have u even tried them? that barrager is effective vs air units as well as land.. (for now)

i also agree the drone swarm is OP (mainly since it is too variable)

i agree it does feel like SS is superior in the opt in + preview balance mod. (btw have u even applied the balance mod?) https://www.dropbox.com/s/3mc98pgoy9e6skf/GGBalancePreview1.1.zip?dl=0 if u havent then try it..

also please bro, u and all these fanboys, need to start trying the other race out. PHC needs to play from SS perspective and vice versa, theres a lot of weaknesses on both teams that the other team doesnt realise, they only look at strengths.. SS still has higher rad drain (due to punisher and eradicator costing so much rad, and these are theire only AP units) the economy boost abilities of SS are far inferior to PHC in the longer term..

it doesnt matter how broken the balance USED to be. i dont see the relevence that SS used to be even stronger? so what? do u forget the athena and arty insanity? glass house much?

 

on Mar 18, 2017

The only advantage harvester has is being mobile so you can juggle metal vs. rads as needed. You can only build one at a time and at the cost of not being able to produce a worker whereas PHC can build multiple refineries simultaneously plus can call down a worker with quanta as needed. Refinery gives more resources than harvester. Additionally, refineries contribute to the global 10% eco boost a captured Turinium generator gives whereas Harvesters do not. 

PHC does not have cruisers that can solo cap? What? Why can Avenger solo cap but Zeus cannot?

on Mar 18, 2017

have you seen the speed of a zeus? really? and the ability to cap will be nerfed harder with slow medics. you dont need many workers when you can autobuild your economy from HQ.

 

on Mar 18, 2017

Ekko_Tek

The only advantage harvester has is being mobile so you can juggle metal vs. rads as needed. You can only build one at a time and at the cost of not being able to produce a worker whereas PHC can build multiple refineries simultaneously plus can call down a worker with quanta as needed. Refinery gives more resources than harvester. Additionally, refineries contribute to the global 10% eco boost a captured Turinium generator gives whereas Harvesters do not.

I think Harvesters costing less Rad to build can be seen as an advantage early game.

Btw, I just looked them up in the 2.2 opt-in and the refinery boosts by 20% and the harvester, which takes less than half the time to build says it boosts by 15%. Are those recent changes? I thought the Harvester boost was less than that.

I didn't know about refineries contributed to the global eco boost, interesting to note, thanks.

on Mar 18, 2017

Neinhalt_Sieger

have you seen the speed of a zeus? really?

Yes, Zeus is slower. That still doesn't mean PHC "doesn't have a cruiser that can solo cap". Most 1v1 ranked maps have points not that distant from each other. On a map like Deneb for example, this will translate into something like a 1.5 minute difference for what the Avenger can accomplish solo vs the Zeus solo (clearing 5 points in each in the first 10-11 minutes).

on Mar 18, 2017

Quesocito

It's not that I am fanboy, I can play substrate the same I could play zerg or toss in starcraft.

 

What I am trying to tell is that by design substrate is made to win games in a very "retard proof way". 

With this patch basically there are two scenarios:

A) substrate gets twice as much nodes than phc in the first 10 minutes and it's over.

the match stays equal because the sub player somehow is not on the same skill lvl with phc and still has a very big chance to come up on top with stellar macro and overall cheaper cost of units.

My experience with sub now revolves in mad turtling with arties countering destructors. it's always has been like that only that last years we didnt have arties and relied on cronus.

There is much to be done with this game and I am waiting for the 3th faction. sub is and was disgustingly op for as much I can remember this game.

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