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Grim110

Drones. Too good? (Edit: nerfed too much?)

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The changes may be a bit much overall.

Carrier/carrier upgrades are more expensive.

Movement reduction on drones.

50% of drones not reusable.

Ship interceptions followed by dogfights and the drones are down, likely leaving enough enemy SAS to replenish. They'll get out manoeuvred which Shouldn't be too hard with other forces having higher Mv SAS.

Considering normal SAS can attack run and just 1 needs to survive and get back to a carrier where the drones just ditch (removing half of them from the game)

normal SAS are now more infinite in supply as long as they arn't thrown away and as long as 1 wing makes it to a carrier. Drones will run out quickly I feel.

I think perhaps removing them on a 1 or a 2 (giving them a 2/3 return rate) would be more fitting given the other nerfs.

Or perhaps on a 1-3 for destroyed drones, drones that survive to make the run and simply ditch get to return as normal.

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see this is where i have less and less sympathy for drones....your complaining that only 50% come back....thats 50% better than all other nations and your carrier points are still redoubtable. what you have lost is access to spamming said drones through a diophantus x2.

drone spam is now neutered and it means COA players might have to think outside the box for carrier choices now, rather than the frankly boring and predictable choices they had.

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But if SAS attack runs are played correctly, you can unload and get back to your carrier and get back to full strength.

Drones perform an attack run and the whole squadron ditches and 50% of them are removed from play no matter how smart you play with them.

That is assuming you get to make an attack run and arn't intercepted by models or SAS, which is easier to do with reduced movement.

My first 1500 game I used two carriers, decided it was too much and wouldn't use two again. But all the changes combined, seems too harsh a change, it's a huge swing in power for the drones and that swing I feel went too far in the other direction.

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I like the concept of drone nerf in general. They were too powerful and needed some cutting back. What I dont like is the direction behind it. They are now slower, more powerful attackers instead of the "plague of locusts" I was hoping for.

Let me just look at each specific change:

Overall increased difficulty of getting drones in the first place:

Not my cup of tea, but understandable. Though now every non-Pericles ship is more expensive and the dreadnoughts are almost ridiculously costed for simple drone 9.

Slower speed:

I absolutely detest this change. Drones were not fast in the first place and this just makes them both avoidable and less of a threat.

Drone-Feedback:

I like this. But only for drones getting shot down. Thats both fair and fluffy. I dislike the bit that ditching drones somehow lose their computers or controllers or something. It doesnt sit right with me and just makes enemies ignore them more. Every time you drop bombs you lose 2-3 drones on average? What?

What I would have tried to do would be to make drones either easier to kill or removing Swarm Tactics, making that a Combat Coordinator MAR instead.

And thyphs, most carrier players get more than 50% of their planes back up in the air. If you dont lose a squad, its not difficult to replenish wings to full strength. And carrier points being redoubtable is frankly neutered by the "crit to lose a token forever" thing, which does happen quite often. We wont be able to spam drones as hard, and they now have diminishing returns without the opponent even needing to field fighters. Yes, it was boring. Yes, it was predictable. It wasnt fun either for both players. But I'm not sure its been pushed in the right direction either. Feels slightly excessive too.

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sorry i think your all misunderstanding me....i do think its tipped the scales too much but it was needed on the whole. drone spam had gone too far and diophantus spam was the norm

i must admit i very rarely get fighters back, they always get wiped out. but look at it this way if COA sends 5 drones against 5 fighters and we both get wiped out you can still get 2-3 back. I get nothing. You take a crit and loose a drone. i take a crit and loose 2 carrier points thus limiting what i can replenish.

i can see now the drone tactic to be suiciding into enemy fighters to kill them, then whatever is left launching into dive bombers

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A smart opponent would just hang back and let your drones chase his SAS. Once a ship has knocked out a drone or two then the fighter SAS get involved, with the chance being the drones are wiped out and the SAS go and replenish.

Drones could be used effectively as defence, just form a light skirmish screen or act as CAP's.

I may be throwing some Italian frigates or covenant destroyers through a portal to deal with rival carriers.

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Drones have had a lot of testing attention and fixing drones was not an easy task.

 

- speed: The -2" are an important tool to make constant drone cycling more difficult. Torps/Bombers were actually faster than other SAS before. The area covered for possible strikes with torpedo drones is approx. 10-20% smaller due to these 2".

- drone feedback: "Feedback only for drones being shot down..." was tested and dropped. It is somewhat messy and pushing drone spam hard enough was still hell to face as at some point you run out of possibilities to shoot down drones.

- CoA Carriers being more expensive: They showed to be well worth their weight and the changes (imho) help to get internal balancing right.

- Other options: Easier to kill/ removing swarm tactics have pretty big downsides each.

 

There won't ever be a perfect balance, but I am actually pretty happy how the fixes helped to improve the DW gameplay experience and overall balance. Drones needed a change regarding their mechanics, most other things are minor tweaks.

 

R

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A smart opponent would just hang back and let your drones chase his SAS. Once a ship has knocked out a drone or two then the fighter SAS get involved, with the chance being the drones are wiped out and the SAS go and replenish.

 

 

That's exactly where your E-Turrets kick in... ;).

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Rufus,

 

They where not tested well, I play with a test group and when we played the changes it was so obvious that the new drone rules where to much, the -2 movement is huge.  The Coa player can not be offensive with his drones, 50% was to much, plenty of people said getting back on a 3+ was better, especially with all the other huge changes to the Coa fleet. 

 

This is no different to what happened to the Ottomans going into edition 2.  Yes the Ottoman mine rules where broken in 1.1, so lets hammer the whole fleet.

 

Thyphs we must really be playing different games, I see SaS squads getting back and resuppling with 1 counter a lot, and then you get them all back.  Hell playing testing the new rules, the Coa hardly ever finished off a SaS squad, just because of the movement, they where hardly ever able to dictate tempo with the drones.

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Having had time to think about the changes.

 

This seems all very likely to work well at balancing Drone heavy lists, or Drone spam if you will. It is a way to curb the top end when 40 odd tokens are buzzing about and a combination of standard losses and attrition means those extra lost Drones help to lessen the late game power.

The problem is this alteration is poorly implemented for the other end, the low end. A naval fleet that takes say a single Epicurus along as it's only Carrier (or a Diophantus), that's not many Drones on the board. Now they are few in number and a single successful attack run by Bombers/Torpedo Drones, just one single successful run has the a reasonable chance of significantly reducing their board presence. Having a limited resource gutted for being played well is not a good mechanic.

These alterations do not encourage Drone light lists unless you try to completely avoid them. They actually push you into taking more Drones to compensate for increased losses. In no way does this support Drone light lists, it punishes them. Alterations made to one type of list has now punished another style of list. It is for that reason I do not like the overall direction of these changes because it again narrows options and further pushes the breadth of options into a corner.

It corrects one end of the scale while hammering the other end.

 

A bottom end should have been introduced to allow lists with much fewer Drones to sustain those Drones, because the impact of unavoidable unmitigated losses is a negative one for the investment.

Either that or alterations, Fighters staying at 14" to allow some initiative and 1-2 for permanent losses. As it is this is just the same old "MOAR DRONES!" or none at all, it doesn't allow for the middle ground.

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... I wonder if this is the design direction chosen for the covenant. That they have to run drone-heavy...

No, hear me out, without a carrier a Drone squad was always categorically worse than a normal SAW since a normal SAW would survive performing an attack run.

Additionally, out of the 7 aerial and naval large/massives, 5 of them are drone carriers. Of the remaining two, one is a dread and the other is a lacklustre battleship (although the new e-turret version might prove popular, it just does not have the AP or AA levels to live on the front line. Hell, a lot of battlecruisers have as much AP as the Aristotle, and we all know how easy they are to prize!)

So, making a naval list without a carrier is difficult/futile. Drones without a carrier are sub-standard.

But, we have a lot of carrier options, so making a VARIED list with multiple carriers is easy/effective. Lots of drones from lots of carriers is now nerfed to a non-overpowered level.

These changed may well have increased the level of drone spam by making drones reliant on being spammed! (ok, this may be exaggeration.)

 

My problems with the changes to drones are simple (and in some cases, already mentioned by others.

1. Good play with or against drones is not really rewarded, the 50% perma-death is just left to chance.

2. Slow fighters are not able to react to counter enemy SAS movement/positioning in a proactive fashion.

 

Really that is it. I think the chosen limiting mechanic (roll 1d6 to see if the drone gets to come back!) is inelegant and much better solutions were suggested by the community.

 

There is just one more problem I would like to rant about. And this is, at least for me, a serious rant.

We. Have. Too. Many. Dreadnoughts.

Hell, now we are the only nation with a dreadnought in our starter box!

I generally like the new points costs and values for our carriers, they were bloody good before and are bloody good now! I think their prices really do reflect their capabilities now.

But adding that word "dreadnought" to the Diophantus... it has serious knock-on effects.

Firstly, our non-dread options are lacklustre (and making their competitors cost much more points does not fix this issue!!!!)

                                                      - Pericles - a decent vessel, but weak and gives away a hell of a lot of points to the enemy if it dies! Not a frontline vessel.

                                                      - Aristotle - A decidedly meh vessel which can now do well at sniping (not something we needed it for, by the way.) but has AP 6... AP 6, defending 185 points of vessel. Seriously. And it lost 1 AA in the update, just to poor more salt into the open, festering wound that is the memories of 1.1 Aristotles.

                                                       - Arronax - non-core at sea and not very effective outside of a land game

                                                       - Epicurus - Decent but not what I would consider a front line unit, not considering strategic value.

                                                       -Daedalus - ........................................ Do I really have to say anything her

Now, I am sure I am not alone in not wanting to play a dreadnought in every game. But I feel my options for doing this have been catastrophically reduced!

Secondly, a lot of tournaments still (wrongly, in my opinion) ban dreadnoughts and several groups think they are a bit beardy to use.

So lets play the fun game of "Make a naval covenant list without a dreadnought!"

 

Aristotle (because there is no real other option)

Pericles or Epicurus (because we need a carrier)

Rest of the list goes here

 

With a no dread restriction, that is pretty much how any CoA naval list will start. Time or battle orbs may appear occasionally.

End result? We have no solid centre to our lists outside of our dreadnoughts.

 

So please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease Spartan... give us back the Diophantus. Keep its point cost, drop its CR and DR back to 6/11 and take that horrible "D" word off of its name!

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... I wonder if this is the design direction chosen for the covenant. That they have to run drone-heavy...

No, hear me out, without a carrier a Drone squad was always categorically worse than a normal SAW since a normal SAW would survive performing an attack run.

Additionally, out of the 7 aerial and naval large/massives, 5 of them are drone carriers. Of the remaining two, one is a dread and the other is a lacklustre battleship (although the new e-turret version might prove popular, it just does not have the AP or AA levels to live on the front line. Hell, a lot of battlecruisers have as much AP as the Aristotle, and we all know how easy they are to prize!)

So, making a naval list without a carrier is difficult/futile. Drones without a carrier are sub-standard.

But, we have a lot of carrier options, so making a VARIED list with multiple carriers is easy/effective. Lots of drones from lots of carriers is now nerfed to a non-overpowered level.

These changed may well have increased the level of drone spam by making drones reliant on being spammed! (ok, this may be exaggeration.)

My problems with the changes to drones are simple (and in some cases, already mentioned by others.

1. Good play with or against drones is not really rewarded, the 50% perma-death is just left to chance.

2. Slow fighters are not able to react to counter enemy SAS movement/positioning in a proactive fashion.

Really that is it. I think the chosen limiting mechanic (roll 1d6 to see if the drone gets to come back!) is inelegant and much better solutions were suggested by the community.

There is just one more problem I would like to rant about. And this is, at least for me, a serious rant.

We. Have. Too. Many. Dreadnoughts.

Hell, now we are the only nation with a dreadnought in our starter box!

I generally like the new points costs and values for our carriers, they were bloody good before and are bloody good now! I think their prices really do reflect their capabilities now.

But adding that word "dreadnought" to the Diophantus... it has serious knock-on effects.

Firstly, our non-dread options are lacklustre (and making their competitors cost much more points does not fix this issue!!!!)

- Pericles - a decent vessel, but weak and gives away a hell of a lot of points to the enemy if it dies! Not a frontline vessel.

- Aristotle - A decidedly meh vessel which can now do well at sniping (not something we needed it for, by the way.) but has AP 6... AP 6, defending 185 points of vessel. Seriously. And it lost 1 AA in the update, just to poor more salt into the open, festering wound that is the memories of 1.1 Aristotles.

- Arronax - non-core at sea and not very effective outside of a land game

- Epicurus - Decent but not what I would consider a front line unit, not considering strategic value.

-Daedalus - ........................................ Do I really have to say anything her

Now, I am sure I am not alone in not wanting to play a dreadnought in every game. But I feel my options for doing this have been catastrophically reduced!

Secondly, a lot of tournaments still (wrongly, in my opinion) ban dreadnoughts and several groups think they are a bit beardy to use.

So lets play the fun game of "Make a naval covenant list without a dreadnought!"

Aristotle (because there is no real other option)

Pericles or Epicurus (because we need a carrier)

Rest of the list goes here

With a no dread restriction, that is pretty much how any CoA naval list will start. Time or battle orbs may appear occasionally.

End result? We have no solid centre to our lists outside of our dreadnoughts.

So please, please, please, please, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease Spartan... give us back the Diophantus. Keep its point cost, drop its CR and DR back to 6/11 and take that horrible "D" word off of its name!

+1000

Particularly around tournaments banning dreadnoughts. The title is a bit of a misnomer anyway as its got the dr and cr of a dreadnought but nothing much else.

I try not to get involved in negativity as it is up to the designers/testers and ultimately owners the direction any game will take. These latest changes have seriously screwed the CoA over.

I have fully acknowledged before that drones were too strong and suggested changes myself. However, putting up the general cost of carriers while nerfing movement, and creating a totally random method of recycling is a step too far. One of the three mechanisms, possibly 2 would have done.

I have created one of the worst/best (depends on which side of the table you stand) list for the recent hard pounding event in Sheffield. I'm fairly competitive as are the group I game with regularly and I know the gentlemen in Sheffield aren't shy about such things either but even then drone spam didn't win me the tournament or even all of my games. It made up for a lack of large dice pools which we really haven't got still.

I'm sure I'll make up a decent enough list again and I like to think I'm a decent enough player but the CoA are nowhere near the top fleets now. The list I used at hard pounding (1250 points) is now 1500 points and isn't even viable as its way over 60% on the large/massives now. Are we really saying that drone spam made the CoA 20% better than what it cost?? I've been through the changes for all nations and reviewed posts and there has been a bit of a points increase in general but nowhere near what has happened to CoA.

We still have nice units to use but they're very expensive so there will be gaps in what we can do overall now.

I will play test the new lists. I will feedback. My initial thoughts are I'm glad I have other fleets to use though

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I would like to see the CoA get a Heavy Battleship. Maybe something wavelurking with a raised fore turret and a lower rear turret - just two turrets to avoid the Aristotle's big problem. If it has low AP, give it specialised defences so it can't board, but is tricky to board also.

I haven't played with the new drone rules, so can't really comment on them.

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I agree with Thamoz and oml - originally I got caught up in the "drone nerf" but as a little time has passed and I could take stock I too feel that its a step too far.

 

Movement nerf wasnt needed and the 50% chance of death should have been limited to shot down drones not ditching ones.

 

Time will tell, but this hasnt resolved the COA problem as Thamoz has pointed out, the old issues still are apparent. All we have done is swapped a Diophantus spam into something else carrier related in order not to make drones utterly uselss

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Actually I cant help but feel reflecting on the COA ( Ill not live this down from Thamoz ) That perhaps they have been a victim of poor planning that started almost a year ago.

 

I feel this entire situation has been building with the escalation that is SAS in general. Some nations like COA and the Danish have access to some stupid amounts of SAS, while other nations have alot poorer options like EOTBS.

Now this might all come out in the wash in another 12 months, but in the here and now a drone nerf has only had to happen because of the decisions made by Spartan.

 

1) Stupid access to carrier (9) - Seriously, the Diophantus would have been tolerable as a carrier (6) and perhaps a small points increase to 220. Why couldnt the Diophantus have been the COA Heavy battleship and not a Dreadnought

2) Over egging of medium Carriers - What basis is there for making a single medium carrier (4) models often 1/4 or 1/3 the size of a Massive Carrier only has 2 carrier points less, oh and you can have 2 or 3 in a squad. They should have been Carrier (3)

 

I think by making it easier for SAS and Drones to be spammed you have created a rod for your own back.......Balance in moderation, not Uber power stuff and then make it worthless. Another Well known Games company did this for years...and are suffering years of abuse.

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I agree with Thamoz and oml - originally I got caught up in the "drone nerf" but as a little time has passed and I could take stock I too feel that its a step too far.

Movement nerf wasnt needed and the 50% chance of death should have been limited to shot down drones not ditching ones.

Time will tell, but this hasnt resolved the COA problem as Thamoz has pointed out, the old issues still are apparent. All we have done is swapped a Diophantus spam into something else carrier related in order not to make drones utterly uselss

Thank you

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The ruler, chanura, mars, liberty, kaiju, ragnarok, khatanga, borodino, Kaiser Karl and st malo disagree with you :P I often see these ships (or field some of them myself).

In combination with a carrier, certainly, but definitely making a good account of themselves. Though I suppose most of them are heavy battleships rather than normal battleships...

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No but i think Presedente has a good point...the game has become an arms race for SAS. I often take 3 carriers and some form of battleship. for french thats the st malo, for my KOB its an allied Khatanga....the rest has be carriers....the game revolves around activations....SAS gives that. Anyone who thinks being outactivated by 6 or 7 is ok doesnt play competatively enough, because if you out activate your opponent and have a couple hidden squads of requins or kazimovs, if you win priority next turn basically just pick a large to prize...ok i exagerate slightly....but it happens.

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No but i think Presedente has a good point...the game has become an arms race for SAS. I often take 3 carriers and some form of battleship. for french thats the st malo, for my KOB its an allied Khatanga....the rest has be carriers....the game revolves around activations....SAS gives that. Anyone who thinks being outactivated by 6 or 7 is ok doesnt play competatively enough, because if you out activate your opponent and have a couple hidden squads of requins or kazimovs, if you win priority next turn basically just pick a large to prize...ok i exagerate slightly....but it happens.

I take your requins and kasimovs and raise you korsors........still, the same principles apply. If you can get some last key moves in one turn unanswered it sets up the next turn in your favour and you are in a much stronger position (unless the dice say no)

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I take your requins and kasimovs and raise you korsors........still, the same principles apply. If you can get some last key moves in one turn unanswered it sets up the next turn in your favour and you are in a much stronger position (unless the dice say no)

which is why i hate and rate your danes highly

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