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Tincancaptain

Anyone seen the new orbats?

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I think rufus may be on to something with his idea. Drone speed. Slowing then down would help slow down the attack-relaunch cycle, make them muchc easier to maneuver against and also be the simplest and easiest change to make. No fiddling around with the rules, everything remains as it is. Just change a few movement values.

At speed 10 a drone deployed in main deployment will likely not strike until late turn 2, which makes activating the drones before the carriers a less easy answer. It delays the cycle. I really like this idea.

In a similar vain, if drones are cruise missiles (they absolutely are! :D) then perhaps remove the 4 inch range from the Torp bomber drones. Again this helps limit the speed of relaunch.

It's simple, it's easy, it deserves consideration.

Well that is drones sorted :P

On the comparison between Aristotle and other battleships, the ruler is an obvious comparison. Same number of turrets with same AD. They start off with the Aristotle being better due to more and better other weapons and enhanced defences.

But the Aristotle degrades very very quickly with damage, becoming nearly impotent after 2 crits. The ruler endures far far better, which is exceptionally important for the large vessels of the game.

I am not going to compare points because the Aristotle (and coa ships in general) should have that expensive-but-superior feel to them.

Overall, I think the ruler is the better ship (heh. Never thought I would say that :P) because the Aristotle still suffers from the dire quadruple degradation disease that used to plague the 1.1 ruler.

So how do we a) fix the Aristotle so that it fights better and B) make it a more worthy contender to the diophantus.

I suggest upping the points cost of the Aristotle to 210 and boosting its particle accelerator to a 12/10/6 spread. This means that the one redoubtable weapon it has can function as a decent damage dealer even after 2 crits, makes it a much more favourable battle unit to the diophantus due to higher initial damage stats. The points increase helps to balance this change against other battleships and still leaves open the possibility of a 230 points ish heavy battleship for the future.

If boosting the PA up to actually useful levels is not the thing (I get the impression from recent changes that PA weapons are out of favour at Spartan hq) then I suspect we would need to look at the damage spread of the turrets. Increasing the spread to 9/7/6/4 would make it very strong at rb3 (where it used to be king) and decent at rb 4, but still highly susceptible to the horrible degredation-by-damage effect.

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@Thamoz: I basically agree on the Ruler vs. Aristotle. Nevertheless the Aristotle has some very useful assets with Sturginium Rounds, PA, Wavelurk, inventive Scientists which are better than what the ruler has. However it won't help much debating which vessel is better or worse in detail, I just wanted to give a general hint that the Aristotle is not that far from being a nice ship on itself. And I am convinced that after fixing the Drones/Dronecarrier issue it would only take small tweaks to get both the Aristotle and the Daedalus back onto the battlefields. I'd very much favor going for bigger guns instead of the PA btw. I think the fleet has enough powerful PAs and the more powerful the PAs are and the farther they reach out the harder they are to balance properly.

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I disagree with upping the cost and PA power- it pushes the Aristotle towards a single role. That might be fine for factions with more non-carrier options, but doing that means that if you don't want an small model squasher, we're back to carriers. And upping the cost means that looking for a cheap large brings us to our only sub-200 point option- the Pericles, which is another carrier.

 

I'd favour upping the turret AD, or dropping the points cost. Of the two, I favour the points break, as it already has a long range option with the E-turrets.

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I see what you mean about the PA weapons. I think tweaking the turrets would be a better idea upon further reflection, especially since it will differentiate it more from the Euclid and diophantus weaponry.

You are right, the inventive wavelurking sturginium powered Aristotle does have its high points. But those things are not quite enough I think. Sturginium rounds is nice but it just lowers the chance of enemy shield spiking. It makes the firepower more reliable. But the problem is the firepower vanishes too soon. Wavelurker is very nice, but it harms the firepower tremendously (and the firepower is not all that great to start with).

If we are to keep the Aristotle (like most of the coa fleet) to middleing dice pools, then that mediocre initial firepower needs to be protected. To do that we either need excellent defences or redoubtable weapons. I don't want redoubtable. It is not a coa thing. Excellent defenses are much more our cup of sturginium-enhanced tea. Like the Italians we could get shield 3 to try and prevent that initial damage that hurts us so much, but I don't like copying other nations...

What do you think of giving the Aristotle evasive maneuver + 2? Make wavelurking much more likely. It fits the streamlined, sleek look of the battleship (which contrasts with the look of the other wavelurkers) and it feels very much like a coa trick. 50% chance of getting a not-quite-as-reliable-as-a-cloud-generator effect.

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On the one hand, it does mean we're relying on a single-dice ability, and 1.1 Fresnels showed us how dangerous that path is... on the other, it's a pretty good idea and fits flavour-wise. Shield(3) is also pretty good- I mean, it is a battleship, surely we can fit 50% more shield on it than we can on a cruiser.

 

I'd be careful around suggesting price increases, though- it's stuck between two carriers, so too much either way will make one of the carriers a more attractive option- which is what I think we're really trying to avoid..

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I'm all for enhancing the surface combat potential of the CoA, but only in concert with a real re-work of the drones.  

 

Would the CoA suddenly become a joke if drones used the same rules as all other airplanes?  Would people stop playing them?  Or would they just become another fleet with the conundrum of carrier vs battleship ratio?

 

[rant]

 

Hell, 90% of the time I play French and I still despise every game versus CoA carrier fleets.  It's damned near a "Why bother?" when I have to deal with multiple Alpha Strikes of dozens of drones nearly every turn.  And it's adding insult to injury that they come from Wave Lurking carriers.

 

[/rant]

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That is a little akin to saying "I hate heat lances, they constantly put loads of tokens on my ships. Would it ve so terrible if they lost their rules and just became guns."

Drones are a big part of the coa. They represent one of very few big ad pools we can generate and have been a part of our fluff and fleet since the covenant were released.

Could they be replaced by normal SAS? Yes. At the significant cost of the coa loosing a large part of its identity and feel. I do not think that reducing the diversity of the game is a good idea and would much rather the drone system remain different even if it takes a lot more work and thought to sufficiently balance it. I do not think it would take much to bring it into balance (and this thread is coming up with a few ideas for it) without ripping the heart from the network.

My thoughts still align with altering their speed as Rufus suggested (I am tempted to play test this idea a bit ) as a possible route to limiting the recycle rate and effectiveness.

As for the wavelurking, this is true for the diophantus, but not the keplers. Drones launch in the command step, before the movement step. Height levels are changed during the movement step.

Therefore if a Kepler is wavelurking at the end of its activation it will not be able to launch drones in its next activation. Which is a nice touch I think.

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Could always just ditch drone torpedo bombers and revert them back to guided missiles like we had in 1.1. Drones died on 5 and 6 in 1.1, rather than 6 for normal planes, but they couldn't be aborted. 

 

I like the concept that CoA rely on drones a lot - it fits their story. A new, tiny nation at the butt end of the world. Switching them to normal SAS is not something I'd consider good. To me they're all P-800 Granit missiles. 

 

Sturginium rounds are pretty situational, so I reckon there's the possibility of of making them unique to the Aristotle and the Daedalus (which is still the Daedalus-B, for some reason, like there's an A floating around somewhere...maybe they've just been switched, and the old Beta will come back soon...right guys?) and then using them to give those two models a bit more pew pew. I primarily play against Prussians and French - Sturginium Rounds don't work on, like 80% of the things I shoot at. OR, give them a new ammo type that is an optional upgrade? The Aristotle is decent guns tacked onto an average hull with very little capacity to weather damage well. 

 

Sebenko; CC: Swarm tactics could work, and could make the Pericles an option again by giving it a larger bubble compared to the Dio.

 

I think Spartan made a smart choice increasing points costs in Planetfall by a huge amount - it gives so much more wiggle room for adjusting models with regards to internal balance. 

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That is a little akin to saying "I hate heat lances, they constantly put loads of tokens on my ships. Would it ve so terrible if they lost their rules and just became guns."

Drones are a big part of the coa. They represent one of very few big ad pools we can generate and have been a part of our fluff and fleet since the covenant were released.

Could they be replaced by normal SAS? Yes. At the significant cost of the coa loosing a large part of its identity and feel. I do not think that reducing the diversity of the game is a good idea and would much rather the drone system remain different even if it takes a lot more work and thought to sufficiently balance it. I do not think it would take much to bring it into balance (and this thread is coming up with a few ideas for it) without ripping the heart from the network.

My thoughts still align with altering their speed as Rufus suggested (I am tempted to play test this idea a bit ) as a possible route to limiting the recycle rate and effectiveness.

As for the wavelurking, this is true for the diophantus, but not the keplers. Drones launch in the command step, before the movement step. Height levels are changed during the movement step.

Therefore if a Kepler is wavelurking at the end of its activation it will not be able to launch drones in its next activation. Which is a nice touch I think.

 

I'm all for enhancing the surface combat potential of the CoA, but only in concert with a real re-work of the drones.  

 

Would the CoA suddenly become a joke if drones used the same rules as all other airplanes?  Would people stop playing them?  Or would they just become another fleet with the conundrum of carrier vs battleship ratio?

 

[rant]

 

Hell, 90% of the time I play French and I still despise every game versus CoA carrier fleets.  It's damned near a "Why bother?" when I have to deal with multiple Alpha Strikes of dozens of drones nearly every turn.  And it's adding insult to injury that they come from Wave Lurking carriers.

 

[/rant]

 

Oh.  Yeah.  I kinda guess you are right.  But it's not like the CoA ships/fleet are toothless without the drone horde.  Just not as interesting to their commanders. 

 

And there's always the option that my tactics against them suck. ;)  Regardless, I'll be interested to see what if anything happens.

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I was certainly caught off guard on this updated, I did not even see it till late last night when I was going to bed and had to do a "wait what" double take.  When I play, I play to have fun, or win (usually both mostly on the fun side of things vs the win side) and some units just "appear" to not be able to help with either.

 

My impressions are fairly grim, competively (which is how my group typically plays) why would I ever take a lg/massive naval vessel other then a Diophantus?  Better PA then anything(this bothers me that the Dio has a better PA then the dread, seriously?) , wave lurk, amazing broadsides, torps, and now optional 9 drones? I havent played the Aristotle since 2.0 beta cause it is just lackluster, with both energy turrets and regular it was neutered before it could do much of anything in my experiences with it.  Now with the Dios bump and the PA being "adjusted" it gets up there with the "Dead2us" Daedalus where it just does not help me have fun or win cause it brings next to nothing to the table when compared to its contemporaries in the orbat.

 

Drones When I played in 1.0/1.1 to me (I may be off) drones did not feel like a cornerstone to the fleet like E turrets or PAs did, those were our signature weapons.  Drones to me felt like their own version of TFT MARS mixed together for a different bit of flavor.  In 2.0 they have become the absolute cornerstone of our strategy.  Not a mixture of E turrets, sturginium round turrets or PA's, it very much feels drones first, everthing else third...

 

I do have a suggestion to fix drones though and it runs similar to the speed suggestion.  What if drones had to stay within a certain distance of their "Drone Network" say within 24" of a "Node Relay".  It would open up some new tactics in dealing with drones such as some nations staying farther away and using long range bombards  (OE, Raj, FSA) or using blockade tactics with fast movers (keeping a node relay from being able to stay in contact with a far out squad of SAS).  If the drones get out of range then they ditch or ditch permanently (either way is really fine to me).  Just a thought, not necessarily a good one.

 

Not too happy with the change to the Fresnel either, the reduction, or the point increase would have been fine.  I understand that they are not intended to be so auto include but as pointed out in the previous posts, we do need something that can crack a BB or better, a PA sure as hell is not going to do that, nor any rockets or torps we have, our turrets are so so but as pointed out lose effectiveness rather quickly.

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Regarding Drone speed: For quite a while, I have done a bit of thinking about how to fix drones and I think speed is a key. Thamoz has actually summed up the basic ideas behind the suggested change in his post. I'd still like to sum up what made me suggest this:

 

My Assumptions: Drones are too good now. Drones can dominate the battlefield. Drones are frustrating to play against.

Solutions should: Be as simple as possible (few changes). Tackle the problem where it sits. Keep the unique flavour of CoA SAS aka drones.

Suggested Solution: Lower drones speed by about 4" (one can always fiddle with the speed of drone fighters if that should be necessary). If you don't think that could change the game of drones, simply put a squadron of drones (or any other SAS proxy) on your gaming table and use a hand full of dice to mark the area they could reach with a drone strike for 14” and then for 10”.

 

This would:

Make constant relaunching and consecutive drone strikes way harder to do.

Make it more important where to place the drones (and carriers) and thus make it harder to camp carriers behind islands or similar…

Somewhat cut down the huge area control effect drones have.

Give opponents more time for counter measures (evasive manoeuvring, AA, etc.), which would reduce the frustration opponents experience.

Give drones a significant disadvantage compared to other SAS while they still have unique and distinct strengths.

Make drones brutally effective RBII threats (14-18" (including the launch)), while more or less removing the rather silly RBIII Alpha strikes. I think this would fit the ORBAT nicely as it is a gap between the long range gunnery and the close ranged PA powerhouses.

Make the Combat Coordinator features from CoA vessels like Big Fuel Tanks from Hyperbius more valuable.

Enforce a somewhat more tactical approach in drone gaming as they should stick closer together and attack in deadly swarms instead of just reaching to the far side of the world or wherever else they want.

Keep the strong AD Pool drones have available

 

It does not solve two issues I personally have with current drone rules though:

1 Is a minor thing which is a bit frustrating: The weirdness of (torp)bomber drones having higher AA thanks to Swarm tactics.

2 The fact that the drawback effects of the drone network rulesets are not working (= don’t have any meaningful in game effect).

 

This would also:

Need playtesting. Especially the question if fighters drones would be outrun by opponent air vehicles. But btw, CoA Air does this with enemy fighters all the time.

 

R

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I'd like to add my opinion based on some games I did previously against a CoA list with the Keppler carriers.

 

I played the KoB with 2 heavy bombers and a unit of heavy destroyers. My opponent was sporting a Diophantus (duh) and some Fresnels among other things.

 

In the game I fielded 1 assault carrier. All of my SAS were fighters to counter the drone spam. In the game I received 1 alpha strike on a dominion, but for most of the rest of the game I was able to delay the oncoming alpha strikes for quite a bit. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't in a position to target the carriers directly and the drones were able to whittle down my fighter SAS mainly due to Swarm Tactics, after which the alpha strikes started up again.

 

For this reason I am of the opinion that it isn't the Drone movement which is the problem. If you concentrate your SAS as fighters, you can counter the drones albeit with quite a bit of effort. However Swarm Tactics means that you're always going to lose that battle and the alpha strikes will push through.

In our opinion taking away Swarm Tactics will go quite a long way in balancing out the drones without changing the feel too much.

Slowing down drones significantly will affect their feel too much in my opinion.

 

In our test game we really liked the kepler rule that you can't launch drones while wave lurking, so we felt that this should also be applied to the Diophantus.

 

As far as the Aristotle is concerned: I am of the opinion that this is a weak BB compared to other BB's. It loses AD very quickly with damage compared to any other BB (again as seen in test games we've played). The PA does not compensate for this.

 

IMHO the Aristotle would be well served by making it cheaper (say 10-15 pts) and giving it the option for 6AD e-turrets instead of 5AD for a significant points amount (since this is quite the upgrade). That way both "builds" would be interesting without breaking game balance.

 

Cheers,

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some very good discussion here, with lots of level heads! nice work everyone.

 

My group is playing two games vs COA this week, It will be interesting to see how the drones affect the game.

 

for what its worth, I like the losing swarm tactics idea. (oh and reverting the carrier 9 back to carrier 6).

 

I think movement 10 might be a little too rough of a transition. (same with 24 inch drone control bubble, I think that would force drones to be only defensive)

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Drones in 1.1 were ok because they were easier to destroy and not superior to everyone else's sas. Now they are better than most nations sas. A start would be removing swarm tactics, even maybe making them dr1, or giving the enemy +1 to hit them with aa, or make the drones -1 to hit with all attacks.

 

Whatever happens its quite clear change is needed.

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Dr 1 would kill the network. It just would. Dive or Torp bombers would be wiped out or reduced to impotence by any ack ack level of 6 or higher on their attack run. Any other source of ack ack would slaughter them.

+1 to hit then would have a similar, if less drastic, effect.

-1 on their to hit roles and the removal of swarm tactics have a different problem: the coa as a faction need those dice levels somewhere and drones is all we have.

To elaborate a little, to crit a cr 13 dread (or any cr 11/12 vessel with strong defensive mars or generators) you need on average 17 dice (hitting on 4s). The coa can only get that many dice via 4 turrets linking at rb 2 (Aristotle) the dread linking 3 turrets at rb 3 or 2 (prometheus), a full zeno squad broadside link at rb1 (zeno), a full Plutarch link in rb1 (Plutarch) or drones. Of those options, only the dread and the drones are likely to achieve such a strike.

We have lots of tricks and lots of excellent ships but our ad pools tend to be low. Only the drones give us a decent answer to really heavy armour outside of matching it with the Prometheus. Taking away swarm tactics or messing with the to hit value will make a hole in our faction that we would really struggle to fill.

On the other hand, it has been mentioned that swarm tactics on the defence makes them a more daunting unit to attack with other SAS. Is it possible that a slight act or rebalancing could be accomplished by editing the swarm tactics Mar to only take effect on the attack rather than on both attack and defence?

People keep harking back to 1.1 drones, which were by far the worst tft in the game back then. Carriers in 1.1 were clunky and the tft system was only workable by a few nations. Drones then did not work and the coa did not really need them.

Now we do need them. I agree they have the capacity to become broken, but they are still the easiest to destroy of all SAW (on average) of all the nations because they do not have any defensive mars unless supported by combat coordinators. I do not think the solution lies in tampering directly with drone firepower or survivability. It is not the drones that brake, it is the system behind them that brakes when too many carriers are present to relaunch.

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What about Swarm Tactics (Bombs/Torpedoes) only on them? Personally I find the idea of the drone bombers swarming a capital ship thematically pretty cool, but swarm tactics (in my experience) is probably too good for AA - you can field drones in squads of 3 and be throwing 8AD vs 10AD from each Carrier 6 vessel - more than enough to cripple a 5 strong flight from an opposing carrier 6. 

 

I'd be wary of stripping the Drones ability to smash enemy models until we get a decent slugger of our own (ie, if drone main ordnance is to be effected, make it happen whenever we get our HBB, and make it a floating bastion of pain, rather than the support vessels our new stuff has been so far). 

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I do agree that drones to one damage is a terrible idea. The goal here isn't to make drones unplayably bad....I think they just need to not be the hands down "max-power" build for CoA fleets.

 

I actually really like the idea of "all drones must be within 24 inches of a drone network capable model" as a mechanic. However that means measuring more, keeping track of something that may be too cumbersome. i like it....but I am not sure it would fly as a rule change. Less movement is a much easier rule to manage. Because no extra effort or tracking of anything is needed. I would start by testing a 2 inch movement reduction. or a 3 inch. And see what happens.

 

Eliminating swarm tactics causes an issue, it would need to occur in conjunction with some other improved ability to "have a big attack dice pool". CoA is fairly short now on ways to build a dreadnought critical hit capable attack. Swam tactics drones dropping bombs is one of their few ways to take down really big targets. (You hit them a few times for damage only probably to soften AA, then drop a heavy bomb load or two.)

 

I would argue one of the best CoA attacks going now to hit an enemy dread for a potential crit is actually the 12 dice mine a Ptolemy squadron can drop.

 

What we seem to be seeing is a player base who wants more reasons to use less drone-centric fleets, but who upon seeing the recent ORBAT changes, see attack dice nerfs to the Prometheus, Fresnel, etc,  but a massive upgrade to the Diophantus. (Which in turn does not get the PA nerf either.)

 

So...the trend feels like it is steering players into more drone centric builds, when that is not what is desired. This does not mean drones are hated, or need to be just changed to SAWs....it does mean that some re-examination of the design direction might be called for in the case of CoA. I will say that having Diophantus capable of launching two squads of 3 drones, or one of 5, is a whole different capability than a squad of 5 and 4 all in one go. I for one do not think it is a 15 point capability in comparison to the power level of other models for their points. When you take that and the new Kepler into account, it seems to push that "Game of Drones" vibe to levels that are undesirably good when compared to other builds.

 

I did have one other thought. How about if Diophantus lost the ability to launch drones while wave lurking? And back off on some of the nerfs please...maybe 12-12-6 for PA on the Dread? And either take the cost of Fresnel back to 90, or un-nerf the attack dice. One of those is okay...both may not be suitable. We need CoA to be good with "drone light" build concepts too. It's healthier for the game if it is so!

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I think I will add my vote to the speed reduction idea.   It does not mandate a rewrite of the drone network rules (my first idea) and makes it harder to recycle drones till the enemy gets closer, a place we generally do not want them to be!  I also think changing swarm tactics for SAW bombers and torp-bombers to bomb and torp only is a decent balance to them (and will make my opponents quit giving me dirty looks when my bombers mug their fighters :)  ). 

 

Like many I think the Aristotle needs ... tweaked.  When I asked my Russian opponent what he though of the Aristotle earlier today he just laughed at it.  He admitted it was a pain to hurt with it's 5 ups to hit, it's shield 2, and Inventive Scientists.  The problem he noted, was that it is just tends to not be a threat.  If it is wave lurking it is a brick but has abysmal firepower (it should for as tough as it is at that point).  With even a few points of damage though, the four turrets mean it degrades very fast.  He felt that was easy for his Russian fleet to put a few hits on the Aristotle and then not have to worry about it.  I tend to like the point reduction idea as right now it feels like it is not worth it's points over the course of a full game, it has an average start and a lackluster finish.  I also like the idea of the option to buy the v1.1 strength 6 e-turrets but at a hefty cost. 

 

The Daedalus needs ... a role.  Yes it has the High Payload mines and you can run it with some Alea, but that really feels more like a situational gimmick than a role.  The Ptolemy are fast enough to get ahead of our fleet and make a nuisance of themselves with their mines, the Daedalus can not.  Because of that it does ends up feeling like poor version of the Epicurus ( you guys are probably tired of that comparison ;) ).  I like the idea I heard earlier about making the Daedalus a CoA command vessel.  Maybe a variety of Generator options and Combat Coordinator abilities so that players can match the Daedalus to their play style.  Say, if they like smalls the player can buy a Coordinator ability for smalls ect.  It would be in keeping with the synergy feel of the CoA without a need to power up the Daedalus, and I am sure it would please Thamoz and our other synergy happy penguins to no end :D .

 

Lastly the Dio, yeah 15 points for 9 SAW on an Assault Carrier feels ... over the top.  It might not feel that way in another fleet but with our drones as they are right now I would say it should be at least 30.

 

Heh, we just got our ORBAT update, found out that we can break the game by spamming better than our opponents and have spent two days trying to nerf our own fleet for balance and fun.  I love these forums :lol: !

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