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Discussion: Massive Overhaul of the CoA

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Drones.

[...]

Not being able to do anything the turn they launch (which I don't necessarily have an issue with if they weren't powered by a model T ford engine now). All other sas can go about their business if rearmed/ increased in size.

 

Minor caveat: to be resupplied/rearmed SAS need to be in range of carriers. Usually, this means that after an attack run they have to spend a turn moving back towards a carrier for replenishment/rearmament. If a SAS squadron is next to a carrier when the carrier activates, then yes, the squadron can go about it's business (if it hasn't been activated to move towards the carrier yet).

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I didn't mean to address either ditching or the drone link feedback rule, I merely addressed that drones spawn with an activation token, thus leading them to have a similar number of activations as regular SAS (activate a drone squadron, attack a target, ditch, activate carrier, spawn new drone squadron).

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So finally managed to find time to have a game, RoF vs CoA. I was playing the French and as a mainly CoA player I was watching the scientists closely! The game was called near the end of turn 3.

The RoF took...

1x St Malo, 1x Couronne, 3x Dieppe, 1x Cherbourg, 2x Rousseau, 8x Chevaliers.

The CoA took...

1x Diophantus, 1x Aristotle, 3x Cleomedes, 3x Zeno, 8x Diogones, 3x Plutarch.

Following is my thoughts of the CoA from this game.

The Plutarchs did pretty well, managing a crit on a Rousseau in turn 1, then a crit on the Cherbourg and finishing off the Rousseau in turn 2. They were sunk near the end of Turn 2 but one did survive a linked shot from the St Malo turrets! Pretty good showing overall from these little guys.

The Diogenes were sub-par this game. Taking 4 losses in turn 1, leaving 2 units of 2 which were quickly dispatched by the Mostiques and Chevaliers in turn 2.

The Zeno performed as expected with the French smalls deploying far from them, they resorted to using their broadsides and distracting from the Aristotle. They took many beatings but held up for longer than I thought they would. One was sunk by a Rousseau on 2HP (which was subsequently shot down) another was targeted by the Couronne and the Cherbourg and heat lanced to death. The third got dive bombed for 2HP and was in a position for more bombings turn 4.

The Cleos made a decent showing, Scratching up the Dieppes and sinking two Chevaliers while remaining unscathed, any shots that came their way bounced off the shields or failed to roll enough successful AD, although nothing hugely significant was dedicated to them so no surprise there. It's a nice ship, not too destructive and just the right amount of durability.

The Aristotle performed terribly! With the CoA mission being to take out the French commodore it tried closing on the Couronne that was flanked by the Malo. The Aristotle took a hard pounding from the Couronne on turn 3 from the heat lance, then the St Malo moved up and seemingly effortlessly, prized it. Before that the Aristotle pretty much did nothing with its turrets and had no decent shots available for the accelerator. Energy version is the way forward I think.

The Diophantus only had a few attacks sent its way and they were mostly due to not having a better target, Nothing so much as scratched its paintwork though, it is truly an annoyance to even contemplate sinking and would need some hefty firepower dedicated to it.

Offensively it hit like a wet noodle. With the French avoiding lining up for an accelerator shot it didn't manage much. It really needs the Galens linking with its broadsides to pump out some real pain. I feel it's firepower does not merit dread status.

The increase in durability along with the price hike, without any offensive improvements, seems to make it a denial model in my opinion. Meaning, you won't kill much with it and would deal more damage with an equivalent points value of any other ship, but good luck trying to sink it! (Enjoy your "destroy all large/massive" card)

The ship costs far too much for my tastes. It does not put out enough AD for its price tag! Your also paying heavily for its lurking ability and its drone capabilities, but if you want one you can't really use the other (lurk turn1, rise turn2, launch turn3, drones activate turn4. By that stage the game is usually done) Additionally redoubtable carrier points are a useless feature now since you don't get the drones to launch in the first place.

And the drones... Oh the drones! They were out manoeuvred and picked off with ease. They tried to put up a fight, getting an attack run in against one of the bombers but the French SAS out performed them.

Additionally no SAS squadrons were reduced to 0 so any units damaged early were making it back to the carrier to replenish, by turn 3 the drones had been cleared and there were only 6 ready to be relaunched.

The difference between the SAS and the drones was very apparent, Drones were nerfed way to much in my opinion. The movement reduction alone was the main reason for their downfall, but the feedback rule on top of that broke them to the point that only a single squadron was able to launch and that was at the end of turn 3 just before the game ended.

Regular SAS is by far more reliable than drones now, being able to perform an attack run and still be on the table, thereby getting to move back to the carrier and rearm/replenish. More SAS were replenished than drones launched.

Drones are no longer a better option than SAS pilots, they aren't even close to being an alternative to SAS pilots. They can't hold off enemy SAS and they can't be relied upon to perform an attack run and have much chance of coming back, by the time you manage to move up and get an attack run in and relaunch the games likely finished anyway.

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How to fix the non energy turret Aristotle.
In this thread there where different approaches.

 

1. Change to the turrets to make them more damage resistant.

IMHO this is not needed. While wave lurking the Aristotle is the hardest Battleship out there. There is no other battleship anywhere close as damage resistant as a wave lurking Aristotle (OK, maybe the french ones). If the Aristotle gets damage early on it either was a mistake, since it wasn't wave lurking or the opponent invested a lot of firepower to do so. (As a third option it could also be luck, but that's also part of the game.)
The key here is to emerge at the right time.

2. Special Defenses or Security posts.
IMHO this is the real problem. With only 6AP the Aristotle is a very easy boarding target. However CoA also have the best weapon system to deal with smalls/boarding corvettes. The Particle accelerator. Therefore it is ok if the CoA are extra vulnerable to smalls/boarding. I think this option might be to strong or at least would come with a point increase.

So I'd like to present a third option:
Special Defenses only while wave lurking. I like this option for several reasons.
1. It protects the Aristotle against Boarding and therefore allows a more aggressive play stile. But it also has its drawback. It does not work when emerged. This keeps things tricky and the CoA always have been a tricky nation.
2. This should only need a minor or no point increase.
3. Fluff: When wave lurking the part of the Aristotle that is above water is very small. I just like the idea of jet pack marines trying to land on the mostly submerged Aristotle. Waves and water splashing all over them. The sea takes its toll. Not all make it on board of the Aristotle.

 

(side note: I don't play CoA, but they are one of my main opponents)

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If the Aristotle stays wave lurking for so long, then it never gets to use its turrets, even if it survives it becomes a little pointless. Ok it can emerge and attempt to submerge again, but only on a 6+.

Specialised defences or otherwise they won't help.

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Personally I see no problem with the CoA ORBAT aside from the Drones. I understand the Nerf and I learned to pay with it and it helps a lot when you are more careful picking our targets (like in the good old 1.1 times, now you have to be really strategical even with the drones to have a good "scalpel precision" war fleet that functions incredible good.

 

My only optional change would be that when drones are within 8" of a Drone Node model they gain a +1 on the Feedback Link MAR or increase the Movement to 14". It would make a lot of people happy and so much of a buff isnt it to be honest ;)

 

Also I love the Aristotle, I don't think it needs a change! For 180 points we have a fast (7"), highly durable battleship (Shield 2 + Inventive Scientists and Wave Lurk) with an amount of options to support him or her or it. For 5 points you have a disruption generators, well it would be nice to just advance forward, fire your main turrets and activate your disruption generator when your PA isn't effective enough. Of give it a Target Painter so that when you are really close you get a +1 to hit with your main turrets. Or go FULL ANTARCTICA FOR 20 POINTS and take Energy Turrets.....I mean 15 AD over all range Bands is good and everyone knows that :P (even in Wave Lurk you still have 12 AD over all Range Bands!) Yes it can be boarded easily but the Covenant always had the boarding weakness. I don't want the Covenant turn into an All Around fleet now, I love it how it is on the moment with a few (very few) points that could be altered because we have weaknesses in our Fleet! And a weakness in the fleet means that we have to think about how to turn that weakness into an advantage or to make sure that our weakness doesn't kills off your fleet. Tactical and strategical thinking is very important to the Covenant and I hope that they will never change that.

 

 

Also I still think we need a Wave Lurking Diogenes Frigate :D
We made some rules for them at my LGS (Make them 30 points each with Wave Lurk and we have Diogenes Mk. 2) and everyone likes them, they are not specially good but you can make a full Wave Lurk fleet which Covenant Players really like at our club

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...

Often I see posts on here that I don't agree with but can see where such an opinion comes from. But this time I truly wonder if we are playing the same fleet!

Taking it step by step:

1.1 drones were terribad, so much so that I rarely if ever used a carrier. Careful picking targets is one thing, but with current rules and smart carrier play, I see no way a drone network will ever fare well against a equivalent SAS swarm. Current carrier play has evolved away from SAS ranging far from the fleet and more towards them staying within support distance of carriers. This creates a reliability that we do not have. It was balanced by relaunchability, which is now luck based.

Drones do not feel right at the moment, they do not feel swarmy, they do not feel disposable, they do not feel reliable.

Your idea to add +1 to the feedback roll when within X of a carrier is a nice one, I like it a lot. I would vary X depending on the type of carrier (longer range for fleet carrier, shorter range for medium carrier etc)

If you combined that with either:

Speed increase back to 14" (flexibility at the cost of reliability)

or

Drone feedback only occurring due to enemy ack-ack. (Makes player action matter and does not punish a CoA player for making attack runs)

I think we would be in a better place.

 

Now for the Aristotle, and this is the bit where I think we play different fleets.

Main turret Aristotle has decent-but-not-great firepower. Lots of different weapon systems. Firepower is neither lacking nor overwhelming. This is very CoA. The degradation due to damage is where the firepower becomes unusable. 3 points of damage and you can ignore an Aristotle (and board it at your leisure).  This needs to change whilst retaining our flavour and not boosting the AD spread.

It is fast, faster than a lot of equivalent ships, and advance engines seems quite suited to it.

...but durable????

Durability must be split into 2 parts: durability against shooting and durability against boarding.

Against shooting it is fine, the wavelurker option being a nice trade between protection and actually useful firepower.

Against boarding it is just dreadful. Yes, we are the elite CoA and should be vulnerable to boarding except in our specialist boarding units. But there is vulnerable to boarding and then there is the Aristotle. It is as easy to board as a battle cruiser. Easier than some! 6AP is only 1 more than the Hippasus. It is the same as the Hood! Being vulnerable is fine, but we are successfully boarded by incidental attacks!

Now you are right that we should not be all rounders, but the Aristotle should be closer to that! It is one of very few all purpose ships in our ORBAT. It is not specialised, so needs to play a more general roll.

My solution? Well, how about taking inspiration from the EotBS phase generator. For the Aristotle, make wavelurking give the vessel security posts (2) (which I think fits better than specialist defences in this case). Then we still have to trade firepower for defence.

 

I realised the other day that I have never had an Aristotle survive a game in 2.0. Every game I have taken one in it gets boarded. I have used them running up the flanks, run them in the middle of fleets, run them supported and run them in the back field. All my Aristotles have died to boarding. They are viewed as a ludicrously easy 400 ish points. I spent a while at the start of 2.0 thinking good things of the battleship, then trying to find excuses for it since I liked it so much... now... well, it sits next to the Daedalus and watches the battles from the case.

 

New e-turrets may change this though! Decent redoubtable long range firepower! It is exactly what made the Fresnels so good...

Oh yeah, 2 Fresnels costs fewer points and are harder to get rid of. And have greater firepower.

What makes the Energy Aristotle worth it is that it can now fill the large/massive slot without feeling like a waste (or being a dreadnought). And you can attack a Kepler for better AD levels.

 

A final note... in all seriousness, you have used the Disruption option? When have you had an Aristotle outside of 8 inches of your own (shielded and thus vulnerable) ships yet within 8 of the enemy??? And if you managed that, how on earth did the Aristotle survive? So far ahead of the fleet and completely isolates, such an Aristotle has a lifespan of approximately 2 activation. The Disruption generator is a strange anomaly which does not fit the fleet in any way, shape or form.

 

Mini-rant over.

TL;DR:

Non-energy Aristotles are nothing but a liability, they need some sort of increased boarding suvivability and a way to cope with damage reducing its firepower.

Energy Aristotles get a pass since they can stay at extreme range, which makes them much much harder to board. Their downside is the competition against Fresnels.

 

 

EDIT:

Wow... reading this back I remembered a post a while ago where someone was proclaiming the virtues of the Aristotle. My response was happiness at someone getting some joyous use out of the lovely old ship. I must have grown grumpier and more cynical with experience.

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I would never lower myself to that extend (he says, shuffling his small french force into the dark corner). Besides, my collection of prized st malos, couronnes cherbourgs and toulons says otherwise :P CoA large and massive vessels might be going through an awkward phase but our medium section is more than capable of seeing off the silly French without their help :P

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...

 

A final note... in all seriousness, you have used the Disruption option? When have you had an Aristotle outside of 8 inches of your own (shielded and thus vulnerable) ships yet within 8 of the enemy??? And if you managed that, how on earth did the Aristotle survive? So far ahead of the fleet and completely isolates, such an Aristotle has a lifespan of approximately 2 activation. The Disruption generator is a strange anomaly which does not fit the fleet in any way, shape or form.

 

I agree i've never been able to make the disruption or the target painter work with the Aristotle,  now saything that what if (i guess this is pure wish crafting) we could put a generator on a thales as like a mk 2 so the squad could run up and disrupt before shooting and doing everything else just an idea i had... stupid terror ship.

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Yes I have used both of the generators very effectively and multiple times (maybe we are playing different Fleets.....in different universes maybe :P) but I to be honest I don't get the negative comments on the Aristotle. I love the vessel and use it everytime, in every force list I have. It is my main Large choice and only in specific games where it wasn't allowed (like no large battles and such).  And my Aristotle survives 8/10 games when I play with it. YES boarding is a treat but that is why I use Galens and CAPs, It works wonders and iyou opponent things twice before boarding with escorts and a CAP. Have a Hyperbius and/or Hippasus close to enhance the Drones survivability and your done. And I know, needing all these additional models to defend the Aristotle is a lot but it are just examples. I normally have 1 Aristotle+Energy Turrets and 1-3 Galens. For between the 225-265 points you have a good battleship with additional support and adding a CAP is free.

 

Still everyone plays the CoA different. I play DW now for almost 3-4 years and the CoA has seen changes but well, you have to ADEPT sometimes instead of complaining or creating some homemade updates to better your feel about an ORBAT. If we all did that then we could better stop playing the game via all the rules and just go do something else. I don't say creativity is bad (because I really like some homemade models, rules and scenarios here) but sometimes we just have to accept changes, and adept! The Covenant is just like I said still a scalpel fleet and not a sledgehammer, but with a few big changes since the last update. And I also agree with your idea Thamoz, increasing their movement to 14" and give models within 8" of a medium carrier/drone node model and within 12" of a large/massive carrier a +1 on the feedback rule would make them balanced. They have slower movement then the rest of the fleets (which is logical because controlling a whole wing is more difficult then controlling 1 aeroplane) and it also give the Covenant player a synergy in it fleet when they want air dominance. You have to stay close to your Carriers/Controllers (I still think that the Hyperbius SHOULD have the Drone Node MAR, it is a Drone Controller after all) to ensure your air dominance because otherwise your drones will be removed much faster. Still these are all my personal opinion and I think some people will agree with me on my thoughts (or partial agree) but I think that the Covenant is a good fleet on the moment and with the improvements of the Drones it will be a perfect fleet for what they stand for. Of course there are a few black spots like the Epicurus that could have an 8" deploy range, the Hyperbius that should have the Drone Node MAR, the Euclid should be improved a lot because I cannot disagree on all the negative commentary about that one....it really needs it multi-purpose role back where it started with and maybe even a Diogenes Mk II wave lurker  ^_^ but the fleet is good as it is!

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I agree Projectmanhatten5 I think people all to often jump on the forums and cry foul, pre update everyone was saying drones are to powerful and op and we can't deal with them and they are boring to play with/against.  Yet in your post you've highlighted a decent way to deal with them.  Now I'm not saying that a nerf wasn't warranted but this update made me think.  If we had the keppotole last orbat I doubt that we would've seen such prevalent drone spam lists because people would've just stuck with them.  Which then would've probably not led to such a massive nerf (the dio probably still would've went up in points).  Regardless adapting to changes to the rules is going to be one constant of gameplay because things will always be tweaked, just such drastic sweeping changes just make it harder to find a balance because it just swings things so much.

 

Speaking about being a scalpel I had a friend enlighten me a bit about how to do dice pools, and for my last 2 games with my keppotoles I've never used their full dice against a large I've always split it to 9 and 12 dice.   Best case you get a double crit, on average I find I crit with the 12 and do an extra wound with the 9, if dice rolls are terrible I may just get a single wound but you usually end up either the same if you rolled all of them together or better because unless you roll a double crit on your 18 dice which while possible, but I find harder then just doing the 3 wounds and every extra wound helps.

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Target painter generator is good, I like the option and have used it a fair few times (though the so-equipped Aristotles did not survive the battles...)

Disruption... Well I am glad someone is getting some use out of it :)

Looks like we will have to go our seperate way on Aristotle opinion. Adding 3 escorts and a CAP certainly does help with the boarding thing but I feel that putting that many resources into protecting it is not really worth it. I seldom if ever use escorts (although now Galens are cheaper I might try running the Aristotle like you suggest) so maybe this explains the difference a little. Thing is, fully escorted the Aristotle again comes into direct competition with the Diophantus...

Ah well, I shall have to try it and see. I hope I have as much joy in it as you clearly do :P

 

On the subject of CAPs, I can see them gaining even more value for us now (and they were pretty damn good before!) considering how unlikely we are to get a first strike in with our fighters or effectively intercept bombers. 

 

As for the wishlisting and homebrew ORBATs... I kinda like seeing (and indeed suggesting) them. We know the devs and the beta testers use these forums, we know that our ideas get seen. Occasionally... just very occasionally, maybe one of our cool ideas gets into the game. Maybe an idea we post sparks a creative spark in the minds of the devs. These forums (certainly a lot of the threads in the CoA section) are minefields of creativity that come up with some excellent stuff. I don't think we really expect our homebrew ORBATs to be played with by others, but it generates discussion and is fun besides!

 

Sebenko had an idea for a target-painter equipped Plutarch that I think is an excellent one. You have your wavelurking Diogenes, which I like since I agree that a total-wavelurker fleet would be awesome... but I wouldn't want it to be the diogenes :P Jubjub made a whole ORBAT and some of the stuff in it is excellent in my opinion. We had a whole thread for drone balancing ideas (a lot of which were more elegant solutions that the current feedback rule -.-) and have had threads for model ideas, some of which were really excellent. This isn't unique to the CoA forum, others have gotten into the scientific spirit too!

 

We, the CoA, have had a crutch knocked out from under us. We got used to being able to rely on drones and playing them a certain way. Knee-jerk reaction and complaint happened of course and this was to be expected in such a situation. But then people started to play with the new rules and some battles have been had and reported... and opinions have not changed. This is only a few weeks after the change and more time and battles are needed to adapt to the new rules before we can really cry foul... but there has been scant evidence of the changes being well received...

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Well I understand the idea better now with the Homebrew ORBATs but maybe we could create a Topic with the Title: Community Ideas for the Developers. Makes it easier for them to see our idea's categorized. But then people shouldn't be just uploading full fan made ORBATs but just some ideas or so. The developers are busy due, in the Beta group, we are spamming with idea's and suggestions but not all are seen, commented on or used because they are just too busy, like with the Drone Node giving a bonus to the Drone Relay Feedback. I have suggested that to. But just make that kind of topic for Derek, James and the others, it is more easy to be spotted for them ;)

 

A fast Target Painter idea is fun but Plutarchs are not (in my opinion) the models for that. They are destroyers with a main offence roll and giving them a TPG makes them a more support role. My personal suggestion would be a medium model (Fresnel? Exchanging its Heavy Energy Turret with a Target Painter?), it can advance deploy and is more logical that a medium model would be given a TPG. Smalls are to fragile to carry that kind of tech IMO.

 

And for the Wave Lurking Small, I prefer the Diogenes for 2 main reasons: 1 it looks like a Sub Marine/Wave Lurker. Everyone that I know and say the Diogenes asks me if it is a submarine or thinks it is a submarine. and 2 the weapon layout is perfect for a Wave Lurker! Torpedoes and (lower) Broadsides, it is just perfect for it. Or maybe a new model made by Spartan Games but I have made some Wave Lurk models for the Diogenes and it is just a base with the top of the Diogenes Frigates on it (sort of Small KoB Subs) made out of 2 SAW tokens and the Diogenes tops on it. I play with them very often in our club and they like it to :)
But that is just a Homemade thingy ;)

 

But I think Spartan Games is taking our feedback very seriously but we cannot expect that they will keep changing the ORBATs everyday because we think that there is a problem in it. Because that is too much work for them and then everyone will have their small word in it and they have seen our feedback on the Drones so they will change some about it, I have fate in them as always ;)

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Most spartan ORBAT changes I have no problem waiting for at all. Testing and examining the repurcussions takes time and I see no reason for them to update the ORBAT every few week... except for the Coeus :P that is a very very very expensive model that cannot be used on water as the rules stand! That, when it is on sale with a water base and a description that says it can work on water. This needs an immediate fix, no matter how busy they are with other things!

... maybe I should see if they are still accepting beta testers...

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It's always interesting discussing new ideas but I must admit all of the 'this is my new orbat' stuff was starting to irritate. (Not that I haven't joined in mind) I just feel it started getting out of hand. This is the orbat and it isn't likely to change significantly in the next 18 months so we do just have to roll with it. Unfortunately real life has got in the way of playing more than one game but I found I was using units that hadn't seen the gaming table since 1.1 which isn't a bad thing. However, as Thamoz has stated above, from the battle report feedback a lot of my initial fears (and those of others) have ended up being founded. Maybe it's just that we play in more competitive meta's locally, or just different meta's full stop. I'd like to be a beta tester in the near future. We are naturally competitive locally and probably push the limits of the game more than most so feedback like that may help game development. I only know one person who is a tester and he knows how competitive we are, even amongst friends. Im not saying testers aren't competitive (any gamer has an element of competition in them). I just know how we play the game and while not everyone enjoys it we thrive on trying to lose by the least amount to thyphs French!

Just a thought for current testers, how often do you play against other gaming groups at hard pounding etc? I know they're probably all over the world and may have events I know nothing about but maybe it's time to get us (some of us anyway) involved? If there's a way to come up with some uber concoction we'll probably find it lol

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I think it does show a general opinion from most that, yes, changes were needed, but they weren't the changes we actually got. One definitely gets the feeling that with the test teams, the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing- after all, when we got the initial Drone Launcher (9) Diophantus, the response we got from the beta testers was a general "What? never heard of that before."

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I think we're having a little misunderstanding. I'm not saying that the Covenant are by any means a weak faction. With the new ORBAT, could I:

... win? Yes.

... have confidence in a tournament? Absolutely.

... have fun? No issues there.

Its not about the power. Heck, its about everything BUT the power. Instead, my reason for all of this is because I dont like the change in the feel of the faction. The way you imagine, feel, and get attached to your models. The way you write, design, and envision your characters and fleet. To me, my ships are far more than just models on a table. I dont think I'm unwarranted in saying that the Covenant feel different as a whole.

Now, of course, I dont expect any changes. I have no expectations of Spartan (or anybody, really) to adopt anything I design. Nor will I start playing my own ORBAT because I like it. I fully respect the decisions of the developers, but all the same, I wanted to spark some thinking to get a little insight on how the rest of the community felt about the Covenant. Thats why the thread is labelled Discussion, yea?

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I appreciate that Jup and no sleight was intended. It's forum wide following the changes and I'm expecting the same for the allied nations in the relatively near future. I rarely comment outside of CoA and Danes, unless I'm winding someone I know up. The whole feel of the covenant has changed. I felt similar moving from 1.1 - 2.0 but that was more about new units being created. You're right when this seems more about the core functionality of the fleet

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