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My view on the new drone rules.

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[...] I don't like the dice roll in the first place, there's never been a game where it hasn't just been awful for either me or my opponent. [...]

 

I am sorry if you feel like that. For me it has not really been an issue during testing and in my (few) games since the official release of the new drone rules. Maybe it boils down to accepting the roll as given and start adapting the way one plays drones to this rule. As in a typical game it boils down to something between 15 (low drone usage) and lets say 35 rolls (drone spam) there are bound to be some extreme results, but even in a low drone list probabilities are pretty low that these are extreme to an extent that would cause real trouble either for the CoA or for the opponent. Or to put it in other words:

 

Even with 9 of 10 drones respawning it is better than the old rule and even with just one single group of three drones respawning they still profit from their special ability. Even without a single drone squadron able to respawn (which never happened to me yet) they can still be well worth their point and the opponent has to deal with them differently compared to other SAS as they could as well respawn.

 

Its not a perfect system, but in my experience it does work out rather well.

 

R

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I just played a 41 drone game, the drone feedback rule had almost no effect on the number of drones I was spitting out. I was running out of targets faster than dones.

 

The rule is bad. it just is. I very much doubt that every one of the games I've played has been an extreme result, but I've only had two results with the drone feedback rule- either it does nothing and I keep all my drones,  or I run out almost instantly.

 

It has nearly no effect on drone spam lists, while hitting low-carrier lists harshly. It has done the opposite of intended. Should I adapt how I play drones into spamming them more?

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There is another aspect of it too...

One of the major ways to control CoA drone spam was pressuring the carriers. CoA carriers are (and were) very valuable and high priority targets, as well as in some cases being powerful vessels in their own right. Pressuring a carrier meant the CoA player had the choice of activating it now before it suffered bad things (or so it could take that lovely shot before the enemy moves) or activating drones to attack and relaunch for another strike next turn. This was a fair choice when the number of drones to relaunch was predictable, as you could weigh the risk and reward. Now I have had times where I have waited with the carrier activation (to get some drones to relaunch... you know, making use "advantage") and used the drones to strike, only to lose the majority to feedback. Which necessitates waiting another activation so I can try again before activating the carrier... thing is, by that point the pressure on the carrier can have evolved to the "use it or lose it" stage.

Before, I could judge my risks and make the choice, now I rely on luck... I don't like that change, I would rather have things be the consequence of tactical play.

This problem is exacerbated in lists with only one carrier.

Now you may be thinking this is hardly a problem, afterall other nations face similar choices of activation... however I would argue that the carrier-bubble of other nations, where SAW can sit within 4 inches of the carrier and be fairly safe (and thus can wait to strike at the right point) gives them a decided edge now. We cannot hold back in safety, if we try our drones can be picked out of the air and permanently lost... yet at the same time, they don't have the speed for aggressive play.

There is a part of me that thinks this makes sense, since we can use energy weapons to force our opponents into closer range, where the speed of drones is less of a problem.

Bleurgh, sorry, I am rambling. I hope we see some more detailed battle reports that give us a wider picture of how everyone in the CoA (and against the CoA) is doing.

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Any chance Spartan might review and amend the points for the CoA carriers? As has been said in this thread I think this is a much bigger issue than the change to the drone rules.

I just finished painting my Diaphontus but doubt I'll ever use it now it is a Dreadnought and so expensive :-(

Cheers

Andy

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Well to me when I think "dreadnought" I think of a big flag ship with a bunch of weapon systems and armor. The Dio was just points effective. It didn't kill everything on the board, it took a bit to kill it but nothing crazy. I also don't like having a "support" "dreadnought"......... kind of like out "support" battle cruiser.... If we have firepowered classes give me the firepower.... if its a support ship class it as such. Dio just needs to drop in points about 10-20 and drop the dread class. They already brought up the aristotle so we dont need to change both of them. This gives us the option for long range firepower or a dependable drone launcher. Since most of the carriers are too expensive or weak for me to use them currently. 

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I think all the carriers need a good going over, mostly to improve them. The only one that seems to be okay where it is (and actually agreed by both sides around here) is the Kepler- does what it says on the tin, isn't too tough.

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I may be reading the rules wrong, but it looks like a regular carrier essentially has an infinite supply of fighters/bombers etc. And can just keep pumping them out. But drones are now finite and can be killed off permanently as they attck. That seems like a big disparity. Is that correct?

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I may be reading the rules wrong, but it looks like a regular carrier essentially has an infinite supply of fighters/bombers etc. And can just keep pumping them out. But drones are now finite and can be killed off permanently as they attck. That seems like a big disparity. Is that correct?

A regular carrier faces the problem that they can only replenish squadrons, not make new ones. Drone launchers do not have this problem.

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Ah, so if a squadron dies, its gone for good, that makes more sense. Even with the feedback drones still look like a good option. I can imagine wings getting hammered on the way in to attack, then on the way back out

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That depends really on how lucky you are. The feedback rule is very fickle and that's what most people don't like about it. You can lose the majority of your drones to feedback or very few and everything in between.

 

Personally I don't see any other way to balance the drones though and I haven't seen any suggestions that were either reasonable or practical.

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We had a whole topic full of reasonable suggestions that seemed practical enough to me...

Feedback is an annoyance and an inelegant solution that removes the swarming feel of disposable drones... which is what the whole point of drones was in the first place. It isn't wrong, it is just a poor solution.

In terms of balance I have more problems with their reduced movement than I do feedback, since it hamstrings any attempt to use drones in an aggressive fashion.

 

If SAW are used far from their carriers, where you can attack them on their way in to attack you and then hammer them afterwards, then drones outperform them. Most people seem to have adapted to this by keeping their SAW close to carriers until they are ready to strike, which slows them down a little bit but allows them to be refreshed if you try and weaken them before they strike. This does tend to have drones play differently to other SAW (which is a good thing) but, combined with the movement nerfs and feedback, makes drones a lot less reliable. They can be very fun, and if feedback is on your side then you can outlast and eventually overpower the enemy in the sky enough to rain fiery drone-death on the enemy. If feedback is not on your side then you can make very skillful use of drones and still have them come up sub par.

 

My advice: play conservatively with the bomber drones and remember that they are one of our only weapons that can take on enemy large/massives effectively. Use the fighters to protect the bomber drones and try to intercept enemy fighters before they strike at them if you can.  Also remember that fighters can make a very useful CAP for your large/massives if they are in danger of being boarded (which, generally speaking, they are!)

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Yep, I've offered a few myself, I think any (one) of these would work instead of the current rule (and only one, please. Not all of them like last time we were suggesting drone fixes):

 

  • Drone 'tax' for each squadron relaunched.
  • Voluntary ditching action plus returning half the squadron's starting strength to the drone stocks when the squadron is removed from the board
  • Give models with Drone Relay a "coordination range", outside which drones are always lost and within which drones are always returned (on the downside, would encourage a more similar play style to normal SAS, with close carrier support)

I also think that the reduced movement is terrible for fighters. I like the idea of all drones having the same movement, but 12" makes CoA fighters very poor indeed, and makes moving them out to clear the sky ahead of bombers much more difficult.

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