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S..Mike

3rd Edition Fleet Construction

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39 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

Yes, but doesn't this happen in the tiered system as well?  I mean, if I only have 1 battleship I can bring in, I'm going to look for the 'optimum' choice, whatever that means.  Same goes for the tier-2 and tier 3.  The min/max player will always go for those 'best' options, regardless of the system.   With the % system that you can tweak the ratios easier.  If 60% is allowing too much battleship to show up on the board, then perhaps 45% tones it down enough.

As for diversity/character of the fleets...okay, I can accept that argument.  I don't think it lent that much 'character' to a fleet, but here we're talking tomato/tomatoe.

Neither system is perfect.  Some prefer %, others the tier.  Someone above me in the org chart will have to decide which is best to use.

My gripe with this is there's a difference between maxing out the allowed gunship/frigate/whatever slots available and binging a fleet that is 60% gunships/frigates/whatever.

Also if you limit the percentages, it limits all the options in that tier, so if a player wants efficient lists, probably the only sensible thing is to bring the most points efficient choice in that tier, making the spamming of the more points efficient options even more common. 

Of course without having fleet manuals available to us this is just a theory. I'm only trying to share my (numerous) worries about the new system, so it might help to improve the end product (which is our common goal here).

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While I share reservations about percentages over the current Tier system, the efficiency issue is really an independent issue. People will always gravitate towards the more efficient choices unless there is not much efficiency to be gained. That is why model rules/points balancing are key unless you highly limit choices. 

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Okay, taking a step backward here, but why is 'spamming' bad?  And how do you define that?  This is an honest question here.  When is a player 'spamming'?

I mean, after all, this is a game.  Depending on the level of competition, I'm either playing a 'concept' list where I take ships that are sub-par just to see what happens.  Or if I'm out to win, I'm going to max out where I can.  Is anyone out there who is wanting to take home 1st place using a sub-optimal list?  I mean, is your favorite football team playing the 3rd string just to mix things up and be 'diverse'?  ( I dunno, maybe it feels like they are! :) )

Perhaps one solution is to look to the scenario format.  No Larges.  Or all Smalls.  Or Whatever.

I don't think anyone wants to see the same list over and over.  But maybe fleet construction isn't the place to correct it.  Are we trying to solve the same problem, but in the wrong place?  How do you quantify the 'spam' problem?

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6 minutes ago, alextroy said:

While I share reservations about percentages over the current Tier system, the efficiency issue is really an independent issue. People will always gravitate towards the more efficient choices unless there is not much efficiency to be gained. That is why model rules/points balancing are key unless you highly limit choices. 

Note that the more limited the choices the more accurate points and balancing becomes.

Fewer variables and moving parts to deal with. Whihc is one reason the more constrained fleet construction was good! I never felt I couldn't take the cool toys I wanted with the old ones.

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21 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

Okay, taking a step backward here, but why is 'spamming' bad?  And how do you define that?  This is an honest question here.  When is a player 'spamming'?

I mean, after all, this is a game.  Depending on the level of competition, I'm either playing a 'concept' list where I take ships that are sub-par just to see what happens.  Or if I'm out to win, I'm going to max out where I can.  Is anyone out there who is wanting to take home 1st place using a sub-optimal list?  I mean, is your favorite football team playing the 3rd string just to mix things up and be 'diverse'?  ( I dunno, maybe it feels like they are! :) )

Perhaps one solution is to look to the scenario format.  No Larges.  Or all Smalls.  Or Whatever.

I don't think anyone wants to see the same list over and over.  But maybe fleet construction isn't the place to correct it.  Are we trying to solve the same problem, but in the wrong place?  How do you quantify the 'spam' problem?

I tend to think of "Spamming" as taking the maximum allowable amount of a model to the exclusion of other choices.  I can see this being a real problem in FA in a couple of ways.  The first is that if a squadron out-performs its points rating.  You end up with forces that are more powerful than others solely due to being able to take a maximum amount of this option.  This is also the easier to fix problem because you can just up points in an update or whatever.

A second, and more subtle issue, lies with cheap units.  FA is a game of maneuver.  If you can fill your force up with exceptionally cheap squadrons, you can gain a decisive activation buffer, and use it to pummel your opponent without resistance.  I don't think the new system is going to stop the 2x2 Frigate issue.  If anything, it might make it worse for some fleets.  I can see a Directorate fleet where I take 5 minimum squads of Frigates (just 200 points!) and then fill in my mediums with Destroyers or Gunships, which are also really cheap, and my heavies with BC's, which are again, cheap for a T1.  A fragile fleet in some aspects, I can still completely control the pace of battle.  Frigates can do cartwheels behind terrain until the opponent is out of activations, and then the snipers move in and pick a squad or two to delete.  Next turn, they're even farther behind on activations.  For some factions, like Dindrezi, their Frigates are actually both in category 1 and 2.  They are easily able to beat up on mediums and sometimes heavies.  Being able to field 40% of your forces with them is going to be both an extremely point-efficient approach as well as giving you superior activations.

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1 hour ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

Perhaps one solution is to look to the scenario format.  No Larges.  Or all Smalls.  Or Whatever.

I don't think anyone wants to see the same list over and over.  But maybe fleet construction isn't the place to correct it.  Are we trying to solve the same problem, but in the wrong place?  How do you quantify the 'spam' problem?

This is one of the reasons I have asked you about the victory conditions.
So far in Firestorm Armada most of the time you could achieve victory faster if you could eliminate the opposing fleet faster, and this is the assumption I was making (I'm not necessarily talking about a simple kill mission, but in most missions it really helped).
The other assumption I was making was that it is nearly impossible to balance this many ship profiles (and I haven't touched the allied ships yet), and the percentage system with its complete freedom is more susceptible to abuse.

-The tier system made it possible to allow a few profiles that are accidentally or even deliberately more powerful or more points efficient than other profiles in the same fleet, gently nudging the player towards a "fluffy" fleet, while keeping it manageable for the opponent, to his wallet, and pleasing to the eye (I find a fleet with variety more pleasing to look at, but that's only a personal opinion, there's of course a place for hordes of the same unit).
-Playing with diverse fleets makes the game more interesting for both the player and the opponent. If you can win easier with a fleet that revolves around a single unit/idea, players will gravitate towards that option. It is much easier to keep fleets diversified with built in restrictions, if it leaves enough space for experimentation.
-If I think about "spamming", I think about lists that revolve around a single cornerstone unit type that is taken to the allowed limit (most of the time). This way they define the one thing the list is good at (alpha strikes, death stars, endless activations, disco balls of death, etc.), steamrolling the opponent or failing spectacularly. Currently you can do this, but you have to take multiple unit types to achieve the same thing - the tier system forces you to build somewhat more diverse lists making lists less points efficient, but as the units they contain have more tools, the games themselves become more interesting.
-Yes, in the old system your hands are tied, you cannot experiment to your heart's content, but the balance will be so much easier to maintain (yes, I could believe in a fleet manual that is immaculate, but even if the beta team manages it, a single unit hastily added to the game can ruin all of that work, and let's be honest, Spartan has released units hastily in the past once or twice).

39 minutes ago, Paladin21 said:

For some factions, like Dindrezi, their Frigates are actually both in category 1 and 2.  They are easily able to beat up on mediums and sometimes heavies.  Being able to field 40% of your forces with them is going to be both an extremely point-efficient approach as well as giving you superior activations.


I also wanted to bring up dindrenzi frigates (and aquan cuisers, many gunships and dreads (in some metas)). In the old system they were really good, but they were restricted in the fleet composition. I know a rebalance is coming, but there will be new units that are really good, or really good for their cost, and it's fine. The current system can handle them. Can the new do the same? If it can, I'm really ok with it, bring it. But please try to break it before release as hard as you can, or the players will do it later, making the design team's work harder. I believe the old tier system made FSA more or less futureproof, even if it's age starts to show, it can serve as the foundation of a new, improved system with new ideas injected in, while keeping the same benefits.

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5 hours ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

Yes, but doesn't this happen in the tiered system as well?  I mean, if I only have 1 battleship I can bring in, I'm going to look for the 'optimum' choice, whatever that means.  Same goes for the tier-2 and tier 3.  The min/max player will always go for those 'best' options, regardless of the system.   With the % system that you can tweak the ratios easier.  If 60% is allowing too much battleship to show up on the board, then perhaps 45% tones it down enough.

As for diversity/character of the fleets...okay, I can accept that argument.  I don't think it lent that much 'character' to a fleet, but here we're talking tomato/tomatoe.

Neither system is perfect.  Some prefer %, others the tier.  Someone above me in the org chart will have to decide which is best to use.

I see your point....

But certain squadrons were limited so you had to mix things up, some initial thoughts 

  • Most systems have moved away from % - discussing locally not liked
  • There can be some minor issues and the 'faff' with working points out is needless
  • Perhaps if we stick with % some squads may be 'special' limit 1 per full 1500 for example - so things like the assault carrier or heavy Carrier can still be pokey 

I know what you're saying there will always be a perceived 'optimal' but I wonder if going this way will stress it heavily 

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Every army building ruleset can be abused for the sole purpose of min/maxing. In our club, this problem is solved socially. :) If you always play with the cheesy lists, noone wants to play with you again. (Given we play outside a tournament)

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55 minutes ago, Brimat said:

Every army building ruleset can be abused for the sole purpose of min/maxing. In our club, this problem is solved socially. :) If you always play with the cheesy lists, noone wants to play with you again. (Given we play outside a tournament)

Every ruleset can be abused, some more so, some less so. I hope our feedback will nudge 3.0 to the less abusable pile. A few thoughts about this:

-Playing with cheesy lists of course will make you finding opponents hard. But escalation can happen, and if a ruleset cannot handle cheesy lists even previously friendly playing enviroments can get to a point where it stops being fun, (and hopefully people can conciously deescalate afterwards, but such an event can be traumatizing to a community).

-Competitive enviroments (the kind where many tacticas, fan missions for tournaments and other community driven projects are frequently born in), will be more susceptible giving in to the dark side of ruleset abuse. Newbies will search for guidence in such an enviroment may lead to escalation everywhere.

-It's surprisingly easy not to abuse a ruleset. It's not surprisingly hard to create one that's immune to abuse. I feel we all are here to give feedback, to help the latter, so we can freely do the former.

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On 7/29/2017 at 11:23 AM, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

This is what real militaries do.  Someone shows up with a sling, I'll get heavy leather armor.  Then we get a shortbow, then steel swords, cavalry, and pretty soon your lobbing nukes at each other.  

I'd love to play in a universe that allowed me to play current Storm Zone battles OR go back and play the Battle of Dramos a couple hundred years ago (or wherever it falls in the revised timeline :) ).  But that's nearly impossible.  Games that go from slings to heavy armor to shortbow then steel, etc...are games that suffer from power creep--newer is always better.  Firestorm has done better than any other system I know minimizing that-it'd be a shame to lose it.

I don't have a problem with %'s per se, just with the inevitable min/maxing a system this simple allows.  Why is that (also known as spamming) a problem?  Because it inevitably means tourny environments are very limited, and some ships will fall into disuse (bad for the game and sales).  Yes, it happens now--it will happen faster and more frequently with this in place.  In an ideal world every ship is costed perfectly for it's ability, so it wouldn't be a problem.  In reality that never happens.  Some ships are going to turn out to be more points efficient than others.  The tiers (or even helix system ala PF) were another point of control to limit that (even knowing it can never be completely eliminated).  It even gives you a way to adjust the play environment without nerfing a ship that people love by allowing you a different way besides points/stats to restrict it.

Personally I think the relatively minor issues around this aspect of the the current tier system could be tweaked fairly easily, for example instead of allowing most T3's to be SQ 2-4, they can simply be 4.  It would be easy to play around with ship classes and min types per tier as well.  And I liked the faction variability that was in the system (personally I would expand on that).

The bigger problem with the current tiers had to do with battle log integration (things like a single battlecruiser almost never being worth it), rather than tiers and fleet building.  IMO.

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I really don't know enough about percentage systems to give a good opinion. I can see though how it would be easier to spam things, but using one type of ship will open you up to being countered by your opponent I would think.

What about (I'm probably going to get drawn and quartered for this one) going to a something similar to what they used in Taskforce? Where you could have X number of Tier 1, X number of Tier2 and X number of Tier3 per battlegroup. Obviously they would have to have several different types of battlegroups. It would be flexible yet you wouldn't be able to spam quite as much as could with percentage. Just an idea.

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The percentage system does feel like a step back.  Those of us that have been hanging around since V1 remember the percentages back then, but back then at least the percentages weren't all the same.  Different races had different numbers, like Sorylians able to spend 80% on cruisers, because in their fluff it was how their fleets normally worked, emphasizing mediums as their cruisers were top tier at the time.  

Giving everyone the same numbers only really works to me if all the options are rather similar.  And they're not as it stands.  New stats might be changing things a great deal, and could be invalidating this entire thing, but really, the Tier system was a good idea, it worked.  I've introduced a dozen players to the game, and list building wasn't a challenge for them.  I just gave them the fleet listing, and let them go to town.  Everyone made lists comfortably.  I think percentages will complicate it more, rather than less.  

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This Percentage system is fine, it's fine.

It does take the game further from a narrative game and closer to a crunchy wargame. Which is fine.

What ever happened to the wonderful flavour of Natural Allies.... Yes it is Fluff, but I like Fluff

oh well time for my 800p Relthoza fleet with 2 x Weaver Battlestations. Taking no FSD on them too :);):P 

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Based on these discussions, and with consultation with the lead designer, the 3rd Edition of Firestorm Armada will use this percentage based system.  Once we have more play experience from the community at-large, we will evaluate if the min/max levels should be adjusted.

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My (extremely competitive) local group will get on testing this as soon as we get some ship stats.  I look forwards to seeing what random weirdness people come up with when they don't have much in the way of restrictions.  I've already expressed my opinions, so I won't belabor the point here except to say that I fully expect you'll have to release several revisions of fleet stats and/or percentage adjustments (possibly per-fleet).  As long as you're responsive to identified issues, it will be fine.

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16 minutes ago, Paladin21 said:

My (extremely competitive) local group will get on testing this as soon as we get some ship stats.  I look forwards to seeing what random weirdness people come up with when they don't have much in the way of restrictions.  I've already expressed my opinions, so I won't belabor the point here except to say that I fully expect you'll have to release several revisions of fleet stats and/or percentage adjustments (possibly per-fleet).  As long as you're responsive to identified issues, it will be fine.

Thank you.  Good feedback with experience trumps all of our hot air. :)

I haven't talked here about review schedules, but we do intend on a regular review and State of the Fleets update.   

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I just noticed some of my fleets are no longer compliant with the percentages. Natural Allies being the first issue. 

Kurak Alliance, Zenian League an Marauder fleets are also affected. 

Old Rules

Unlike Alliance Fleets, Zenian Support Fleets do not contain any models from the three major races, instead, they are comprised entirely of models from this Fleet Manual.

As you will see when looking through the following Statistics Pro les, the models within this Manual are grouped into different factions; the Ba’Kash, the Kedorians, the Rense System Navy and Works Raptor. To construct a Zenian Support Fleet, you rst need to select one of these to be your Core Faction.

Your Fleet’s minimum required Squadrons from each Tier MUST be chosen from the models available to this Faction, and your Fleet Admiral must be placed on a Tier 1 model belonging to this Faction.

Apart from this, you may ll out the remainder of your Fleet using the models available either to your Core Faction, or the other factions within this Manual. The Fleet follows the normal Fleet Building rules and procedure as laid out in the Fleet Building section of the rulebook, with the Composition Tables found on the following page governing how many of each type of Squadron can be elded, and which Tiers they fall into.

As with the standard and Alliance Fleets, which Composition Table you should use is determined by the Maximum Fleet Value (MFV) you have agreed with your opponent. 

 

I have several fleets that have a Patrol Fleet box combined a Patrol box from another race. They are not compliant with the 60% minimum from core race.

The new Percentages will seriously reduce the Flavour of Non-Major Race Fleets

 

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25 minutes ago, Spartan_FA_Mike said:

Based on these discussions, and with consultation with the lead designer, the 3rd Edition of Firestorm Armada will use this percentage based system.  Once we have more play experience from the community at-large, we will evaluate if the min/max levels should be adjusted.

Unfortunate

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I hope so @Paladin21

Mixed Marauders, mixed Zenian, mixed Kurak and Natural Allies. I hope these will all still be possible at the current mix ratio's under the new rules.

It has always helped the races that have a very limited selection of ship types

Even by saying that in a Zenian Support Fleet, a Large, Medium and Small must be taken from the core race. All other minor Zenian races count as part of the main Fleet. No Allies to be taken. All other Small/medium/large/massive percentages apply

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They've gone to percentages to open up fleet builds; the Support Fleets and Marauders should have *even more* flexibility as they're conceived as irregular forces.  I'm not in favor of a take-anything-you-want approach, but think that you should probably be able to field Marauders with basically the entire book (sorry Pathogen) counting a single entity with perhaps some point differentials to "encourage" you to take a more pure force but allowing you a great deal of latitude (at the cost of efficiency) if you're more inclined to build a fluff fleet.

For support Fleets, maybe have your Admiral be on the highest-point model (which is your "core") and then similar to Marauders with all-in on choices but with increasing penalties for failing to actually support a single force.  I'd say that you could take choices from the main races too, but only medium/smalls.  They might loan/sell you a cruiser squad or some frigates, but the Dreadnought isn't for sale.

In my mind, I'd see such a system letting you hit the 50% mark currently met by Natural Allies with no negatives and then have increasingly large penalties if you try to push things too far into mishmash land.

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In concept I see what you are saying. But Tarakians have 3 Ship types. Full squads, no fruit that's 580 points. Shy of the 600 needed for 1000p. Far from the 900p needed for my Kurak Alliance 1500p fleet. 

The "all in" or "open book" letting you take a wider selection is the old way. I would like to see that continue. I am not saying take Anything you want. No Terran's in an Kurak Alliance Fleet for sure. I don't see why an alliance can't take an allied Dreadnought. Many "Pure" fleets can get 2 Dreadnoughts in a 1000p force. Relthoza can have 3 Battlestations in 1000p fleets

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I'm gonna try to ninja this by saying that Natural Allies currently sit in the same list as their parent Core 6- I cannot imagine that those factions left in the Support Fleet lists after Natural Allies are cut out won't be treated similarly. As for an alliance fleet centered around a Core 6 fleet, since the Natural Allies can occupy as much or as little of the core fleet's 60%, as long as you are using the natural ally mixed fleets are more doable, not less, now. 

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