The role of the Mass Fabricator

Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Veta » 17 Mar 2013, 16:25

The greatest barrier to using fabs in FA is their initial cost, and by cost I mean the associated cost of the power generators necessary to run them. They're a major investment that almost never translates to as much economic leverage as upgrading MEXs, MStorage, RAS, RAS SCUs. Fabs have one strength in that they can be built where the player chooses, in this way they can be protected and as such merit their low hp and volatility. Lowering Fab cost to something like 2000e [down from 4000], 100m and moving them back to T1 would be interesting and much more reasonable. Remember that the cost of increasing your mass output by 1 then would be tied to the cost of 1 MFab + the cost of 8 T1 Pgens [which is 6000e, 600m]. So these changes are altering the real energy cost of fabricating 1 additional mass by considerably less than 50% of its 4000 cost, instead the energy cost of 1MFab + 8Pgen is going from 10000e to 8000e, or 20% less energy cost.


T3 MFabs are completely broken, they are less efficient than T2 Fabs in every way. Their production should be 18m [up from 12], their cost would change to 50000e [down from 65000], 1800m [down from 3000], and their consumption would be 2600 such that it is slightly more energy efficient than 18 lower tier fabs (which would make the same mass at 2700 energy consumption but cost considerably less energy upfront). With the buffs to mass adjacency this would make for a pretty solid late game Factory adjacency, not as good as a MEX but viable if you want additional mass efficiency.


Unfortunately a lot of these stats and balance are dictated by volatility and adjacency bonuses which in my opinion have caused more problems than the strategic depth they have added. For the uninitiated they're just another thing that 'is the way it is' and must be learned.
FA is a game of economic micromanagement (what StarCraft players mistakenly call 'macro') and tactical trumping (e.g. T2 PD countering T1 Spam).
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Plasma_Wolf » 17 Mar 2013, 18:22

Using massfabs is cheaper than using SCUs for mass production. The advantage obviously is that SCUs have more up and are mobile, so they can run away from TMLs and long range artillery.

Having T3 massfabs produce 18 mass/s is a bad idea. That way they'll make the same amount as T3 extractors for a lower cost in mass (far lower if you also put the mass cost reduction through). The higher energy cost will be a moot point then. (I didn't mention this, but the cost of a t3 Pgens must be included - total cost would be 5040, 440 more than the cost of a single t3 extractor, if it is build as such, bear in mind that if you use 2 t3 Pgens as adjecency for the mass fab, you'll bring the upkeep to less than 2500e/s. if the cost is reduced to 2600, one will be enough.)

In short, such changes are way too much. The lack of efficiency in the mass fans was put in to prevent massive turtling as was possible in SupCom. That is why there needs to be an obvious difference in extractors and fabs.
The stats are fine as they are at this point to my mind.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Veta » 17 Mar 2013, 19:46

It's not problematic that the T2 Fab is more efficient in upfront energy and mass cost and also more efficient in consumption? Why should anyone ever make a T3 Fab, have you seen a T3 Fab in a competitive game?

If you find yourself with an abundance of power, that is to say you already made a mistake and made too much power or worse lost a major drain on your power like an air factory, T2 mass fabricators are useful in making lemonade out of your lemons by translating that power into additional mass. Even so they're very rarely built in any competitive games. Why? It's always more efficient to micromanage your MEXs. Why? Mass Fabricators carry with them the cost of additional power generators. Why devote all this power to a measely 1 mass when I'll just need more power later.

T3 Fabricators are even worse though, they're less efficient in every way to a T2 Fabricator - the exception being that they provide slightly greater adjacency. It is somewhat misleading though to say a T3 MEX only produces 18m/s and costs 4600m when in reality it is proper play to never upgrade a MEX to T3 before surrounding it in storage (another example of how arbitrary adjacency makes the game) and MEXs produce mass while they upgrade, mitigating its burden on your economy. An unassisted storage-surrounded T2 MEX will produce 1725 mass in the time it takes to upgrade from T2 to T3 afterwhich it will pay the rest of its mass cost off in 106 seconds, if you upgraded a T3 MEX instantly it would take 170 seconds to pay itself off. On the other hand, assuming you had 2500 spare energy production, the T3 Fabricator I suggested would pay its mass cost off in the same time it currently takes a T2 Fab: 100 seconds + build time + build time of pgens + mass cost of pgens. Assuming you instantly built the Fabricator and T3 PGen the T3 Fabricator I suggested would still take 280 seconds to pay itself off and substantially more in a real game.

T3 Pgen: 57600e, 3240m, +2500e/s
T3 Fab suggested: 50000e, 1800m, -2600e +18m/s
=107600e, 5040m, -100e/s +18m/s
Upgrade to T3 MEX:
=31625e, 4600m(-9*build time), -54e/s +27m/s

Something else that is important to note it requires a much more developed economy to construct extra PGens then Fabs than it does to upgrade or cap additional MEXs. I don't think the game should be one of economic escalation like vanilla, I do think fabs are useless right now and could see a minor buff. This subject wouldn't come up so often if that wasn't the case.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Plasma_Wolf » 17 Mar 2013, 23:28

The problem remains the same. With such a change (which is not really a small buff - 50% for the t3 fab), you will greatly reduce the need for expansion and promote the turtling strategy.

Also, you write about the mistake of building too much power, and how the changes to t3 fabs would give the opportunity of rectifying that mistake: the game should not be balanced on mistakes.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Raghar » 18 Mar 2013, 04:13

Considering a block of FAB3 has actually energy surplus, your proposal would actually hurt a competent commander.

FAB3 are sometimes neglected because majority of maps have too many MX, and when a commander can get at about 12-20 MX, he has enough to pursue his goals. Few FAB3 might be nice, but they are too long term strategy.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby ZLO_RD » 18 Mar 2013, 10:00

at 1st i thought that, any sort of buffing mass fab leads to simsity gameplay, when just build massfabs and defend is better strategy then using units, but t3 arty breaks massfab turtle, cause you may not have much space for shields, and massfabs are low hp with huge deathweapon, so you cannot just continue build massfans and defend whole game, but smart basebuilding can be very powerfull
Just a thought...
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Veta » 18 Mar 2013, 10:16

Raghar wrote:Considering a block of FAB3 has actually energy surplus, your proposal would actually hurt a competent commander.

FAB3 are sometimes neglected because majority of maps have too many MX, and when a commander can get at about 12-20 MX, he has enough to pursue his goals. Few FAB3 might be nice, but they are too long term strategy.


I agree and that's how it should be - the place of the fab right now is what I described: an economic tool to make use of your overabundance of power. Perfect play would dictate that you never need fabricators with such a role, just like you would never need additional energy storage beyond what is required for OC. T3 fabs must be superior to T2 (or T1 if they were moved back as I suggested) or they will never see use. The T3Fabs I suggested would have value as T3 mass adjacency and if you somehow found yourself at 2500+ power without air or a teammate to gift that power to it would also be used to provide additional mass. The latter is obviously very unlikely but what could see play (especially in combination with the engie/factory redesign) is factories surrounding a T3 Fab for adjacency, when they are not near any MEX points. Using T3 Fab Adjacency would be a function of urgency as a T3 MEX would always be superior, furthermore T2 (T1) Fabs would maintain their roll as turning a slight overabundance of energy into 1 mass, with the slight reduction to their energy cost they would be more elastic in nature and easier to get down. So, say your T3 Factories are in the middle of nowhere (poor planning) you could make the best of this situation by giving them a Fab Adjacency.

The Fabricator can be a great addition to the game if its adjacency and initial cost is balanced well.
Last edited by Veta on 18 Mar 2013, 14:08, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Plasma_Wolf » 18 Mar 2013, 10:59

Again: units should not exist for the option to be built in order to rectify a mistake. Certainly not at the rates you described. With that 2600 E/s drain, T3 fabs will be spammed again, though only at a slightly lower rate than in SupCom. You'd still build up an abundance of energy if you do (adjecency will reduce the energy drain of mass fabs to less than 2000)
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby Tango_X » 18 Mar 2013, 13:49

Many of you are quick to judge what would happen if the stats were improved. I for one would love to see better mass fabricators tested.
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Re: The role of the Mass Fabricator

Postby A_vehicle » 20 Mar 2013, 03:28

I like what I am seeing.

I agree, mass fabs are broken. They should be units that you can fall back on if you begin to lose the land war but are out producing your opponent in energy. What they are now are black holes that you dump energy into that spill out a little bit of mass on the side. I would like to see T2 mass fabs lowered to T1, which was what they were originally. They should also have a low mass cost, say 20 to 30, because;
1.)They are about the same size as T1 mexes, so they can't cost much more than them and have less armor or weight without bending the player's suspension of disbelief, and
2.)At one point they cost zero mass, allowing for interesting maps with no mass points where players would rely almost exclusively on fabs.

T3 mass fabs should provide their current mass income, but their energy drain should be reduced to at least 2500 and should have their other build costs (not build time) reduced by, say, 50%, more or less, because;
1.)They currently drain 3500 energy to make them cancel out the income of a T3 pgen. The problem is, the T3 pgen's income rate was cut from 3500 to 2500 a long time ago, while the T3 fab's drain was not,
2.)A boost to the mass income of the T3 fabricator would make the T3 mex seem wimpy and redundant, despite the fab's otherwise inferior status, and,
3.)The T3 fabricator farm cannot keep up with SCUs with resource allocation upgrades because they are immobile, not as well armored, fail catastrophically (explode and kill their farm),are unarmed, have no intel advantages, don't build anything, etc.

The T2 mass fab does more damage with its death explosion than it has health in order to emphasize their status as mass farming units. On the other hand, T3 fabs have more health than their death explosion deals, meaning you have to kill two in order to trigger a chain reaction instead of the one with T2 fabs, thus emphasizing their heavier weight compared to T2 fabs.
Keep these stats in mind when you analyze them.
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