We need to talk about the Scathis. Topic is solved

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We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moses_the_red » 08 Oct 2018, 23:45

I have been stupidly trying to make the scathis work in gap games recently. I thought that while people didn't like the scathis, and building it wasn't popular, that the balance team would not leave it in such a sorry state that it is always a stupid choice to build it. I thought that a map like gap would be the ideal place to build one, and that if I could master pulling that off, it would win me games.

I was wrong.

I looked at the stats of it and the disruptor (cybran T3 artillery) broke out my calculator and concluded that the Scathis does 3x the damage of a T3 artillery, which would justify its purchase in some niche situations.

I saw those numbers and have for a while been trying to devise strategies that allow me to build such an expensive unit on gap before I'm destroyed by the enemy's T3 artillery. I've worked hard at it.

Then I realized that I had not taken into account the adjacency bonus that T3 artillery gets.

The scathis doesn't do 3x the damage of the disruptor, with poor range and nearly double the cost. It does 1.5x the damage of the disruptor with poor range and nearly double the cost.

That is just unacceptable. I cannot fathom a reasonable argument for building it rather than T3 artillery at this point. It must be built close to the front line because of its range. It costs a substantial amount more, it has far longer build times and your compensation for all that is a slight damage increase, completely useless mobility (who in their right mind moves a scathis if they're stupid enough to build one?) and you dont' have to cover it in T3 power (which at that stage of the game, isn't a substantial cost).

I've been told that the balance team does not believe that it can be balanced. I personally do not think that is true, but IF you really 100% believe that it cannot be balanced, then you must remove it. Do not leave it in game as a sucker's unit for people to waste their time with. Just remove it completely.

As for how to balance it, I have some suggestions although I'm sure many of the players here are better at this than I. These ideas are just to start the conversation and explore some of the ways the scathis could be made useful.

1. Make it essentially a lower damage higher range version of the fatboy. Drastically lower the damage, range and AoE but price it around where the megalith is now. In my opinion it should outrange the fatboy but do less damage. Its currently a unit intended to fire T3 artillery shots, perhaps that should be changed to T2 static artillery, with about the same range but a much higher fire rate. Its no longer a close range game ender and is instead extremely powerful battlefield artillery. Its a tactical unit rather than a strategic one. Give it a shield like the fatboy has so it doesn't just die. Price it to match the megalith.

2. Nerf it even harder, but cut its costs and make it omni stealth. Price it like a Monkeylord, give it at sixth the damage of a fatboy but with double the range and make it omni stealth. Scathis is now a stealth battlefield harassment unit, kind of like a land unit version of the Novax. It lacks the punch of a monkeylord, is useless at holding back armies or T4 and becomes useless very late game unless you spend enough to build many of them (just like every land unit in the game). Its DPS output is too low to really make it a priority for anyone to kill and it isn't that hard to kill but its far enough away that players will often opt to just ignore it.

3. Leave everything as is but multiply its damage by 2.5. The Scathis is extremely expensive, fragile difficult to construct and must be built in a forward position. If the enemy allows you to build it near them without dealing with it the results SHOULD be devastating for them. Mavors and Aeon T4 artillery still have the range advantage, which is significant. T3 artillery still has the range advantage and is significantly cheaper. I absolutely do not believe that a Scathis with 3x the current damage would be OP, as hard as they currently are to get into the field and keep alive.

4. Leave it as is but increase the range to match that of the other T3/T4 artillery units. At 1.7 times the cost for 1.5 times the damage, it might be worth it.

5. Cut its cost to 85k mass, but allow it to move while deployed, and make it the fastest T4 land unit in the game when not deployed with a speed of say 4. Really make it run. Its stats would still all suck, but you can turn it on, fire off some shots and quickly move it to safety, or you could move it from firebase to firebase. You can move it to another shield if your shields go down and you're taking fire. There is probably enough utility there.

Levers that can be pulled while balancing a scathis:
- Cost
- Range
- Damage
- Movement speed (deployed versus not deployed)
- Radar Stealth/Omni Stealth
- Splash

Remember that you don't have to worry about unbalancing the game by adding something that is useful. What you have to do is ensure that the opportunity cost of a scathis is equal to the opportunity cost of other cybran options. Just making a new unit viable isn't enough to ruin balance. As long as the unit's opportunity cost for building matches other units and weapons in the game, it can be added without affecting balance.

Right now the opportunity cost of a scathis is NEVER worth it compared to other options. You're always better off building T3 artillery, megaliths, nukes, soulrippers, T3 land, mass fabricators SCUs, bombers, gunships... pretty much anything that isn't a scathis. Just making the unit viable won't f*** balance up as long as it is only as useful as other weapons that are available for the same cost.

In my opinion, I think the decision to make it match the old vanilla supcom scathis was a good one. If I were sole arbiter of balance (a position I am admittedly not at all qualified for) I'd probably try to balance it in its current intended role. That said, if it is decided that it cannot be balanced in that role and you don't want to try to make it viable in another role, then it must be removed from the game.

The very worst thing you can do is leave it as a broken unit that has no role whatsoever and only serves to ruin games played by newer players that don't understand that it is a completely worthless unit.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moonbearonmeth » 09 Oct 2018, 06:45

Not too cut up on the actual content but...

Image
Ask me about my amazing content production to watch while you wait in a lobby.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby WhoIsThisNoob » 09 Oct 2018, 06:48

Doesn't Scathis stun units?
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby FtXCommando » 09 Oct 2018, 07:18

Your first two ideas don’t work precisely because you are turning the scathis into a novax. If it has equal range to T2 arty, it basically wont be possible to counter with anything in any arsenal outside of a nuke. It also means that the only way to balance it is to make it so shit that the fact it has no counter doesn’t matter. Now you just made the Cybran novax.

Your 3rd idea was the old scathis, basically. It just meant any 10x10 teamgame turned into a scathis rush and scathis is still useless in 20x20.

Your 4th idea doesn’t account for the fact the scathis strength is the constant barrage that allows it to demolish shields, not really the damage. 1 7000 damage shot being fired every 10 seconds gives shields immense time to recharge, 700 shots being fired every second does not.

The fifth idea isn’t an idea.

Plenty of units in this game are noob traps and suboptimal usage of mass. Don’t see why the scathis is so special it would warrant removal.

The whole issue with the scathis is that it operates in a weird zone where it can be ridiculous on 10x10 games but useless on 20x20 maps. Pretty difficult to find a compromise without just giving up and making the unit into something else like a T4 Medusa.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moses_the_red » 09 Oct 2018, 10:25

moonbearonmeth wrote:Not too cut up on the actual content but...

Image


Thank you for your totally useful contribution to the topic.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moses_the_red » 09 Oct 2018, 10:59

FtXCommando wrote:Your first two ideas don’t work precisely because you are turning the scathis into a novax. If it has equal range to T2 arty, it basically wont be possible to counter with anything in any arsenal outside of a nuke. It also means that the only way to balance it is to make it so shit that the fact it has no counter doesn’t matter. Now you just made the Cybran novax.

Your 3rd idea was the old scathis, basically. It just meant any 10x10 teamgame turned into a scathis rush and scathis is still useless in 20x20.

Your 4th idea doesn’t account for the fact the scathis strength is the constant barrage that allows it to demolish shields, not really the damage. 1 7000 damage shot being fired every 10 seconds gives shields immense time to recharge, 700 shots being fired every second does not.

The fifth idea isn’t an idea.

Plenty of units in this game are noob traps and suboptimal usage of mass. Don’t see why the scathis is so special it would warrant removal.

The whole issue with the scathis is that it operates in a weird zone where it can be ridiculous on 10x10 games but useless on 20x20 maps. Pretty difficult to find a compromise without just giving up and making the unit into something else like a T4 Medusa.


I think there is some room between "fatboy" and "cybran novax" which is the basis for my first suggestion. That said, a cybran novax which essentially is my second suggestion would be more useful than the scathis as it is now. I see people build and use novaxes from time to time. The idea of expensive, not too powerful but difficult to counter units is viable.

Saying that a scathis is too powerful on a 10x10 doesn't really make sense. Yes its powerful, but its balanced by its cost. A 10x10 will generally have less mass than a 20x20. We ARE talking about a 110k mass unit. If it effectively works as an "I win" button on a 10x10 well I don't really see anything wrong with that. Lots of things should be "I win" units on a 10x10, the scathis' cost in T2 static artilery is probably an "I win" on most 10x10s, so is its cost in nukes, T3 battleships, T3 subs, T3 bombers, TML or T3 artillery.

This is an interesting point. I've always thought that damage splashes through shields. So if you have a shield with say 100 health on it, it will break on the next shot and subtract the health from the damage done to units below it. I could swear that this is how it works. I know I've had situations where I got hit by a projectile with a shield up and it went through the shield AND destroyed/damaged everything underneath it. Am I wrong on this? Does the 100 health shield completely block the shot even if its a 1700 damage disruptor projectile? If damage gets through shields, and if shield recharge is constant (which I think it is) then I don't think you have an argument with regard to higher impact frequency being better. I'll whip up a sandbox tomorrow and test this though.

The fifth suggestion - drastically increased mobility - is a suggestion although admittedly it alone would not be enough to fix the scathis.

There are plenty of units in the game that are situational, but there are no units that are so obviously and completely outclassed by other units in their intended role as the Scathis. Everything is not just useful but optimal in a given situation, at least in its intended role for its race, except the scathis which is completely outclassed by the cheaper longer ranged disruptor.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby Blodir » 09 Oct 2018, 12:58

Gonna be referring to old scathis here because i havent played with the new one.

The problem with the scathis is that it shares the same role with t3 arty. It could be taken to a variety of directions, but imo it should have the role of firebase killer with longer range than t2 arty. Here's how i imagine the dynamic: fatboy < t2 arty < scathis < fatboy. For this we'd need the following changes: decresed model size, increased deployment and targeting speed, decreased cost, decreased range, decreased damage.

This would also give it some potential to be useful in 1v1 games.
Last edited by Blodir on 09 Oct 2018, 13:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.  Topic is solved

Postby Farmsletje » 09 Oct 2018, 13:01

moses_the_red wrote:Saying that a scathis is too powerful on a 10x10 doesn't really make sense. Yes its powerful, but its balanced by its cost. A 10x10 will generally have less mass than a 20x20. We ARE talking about a 110k mass unit. If it effectively works as an "I win" button on a 10x10 well I don't really see anything wrong with that. Lots of things should be "I win" units on a 10x10, the scathis' cost in T2 static artilery is probably an "I win" on most 10x10s, so is its cost in nukes, T3 battleships, T3 subs, T3 bombers, TML or T3 artillery.

In theory if your opponent builds a t3 arty or scathis or whatever else thn that means you could've just spend the same amount of mass on t4's and crush him. However in practice that doesn't work. The defender has a big advantage in supcom and that's why we still see buildings like t3 arties appear.

The main difference between a scathis and other units is that a scathis is almost impossible to stop (if buffed) while other units have their counters. In 1v1 games this isn't as big of an issue since the amount of income is pretty limited (compared to teamgames) and map control is very important. In teamgames however it's already very easy to turtle and most maps are split in half. Assuming it has been a balanced game so far and everybody has full t3 eco at min 30, 1 team will be able to rush a scathis in 2,5 min only which will be able to crush the entire enemy team.

Yes, saying that a scathis is too powerfull on 10km maps does make sense and no, it isn't balanced by cost compared to its power (the old scathis).

moses_the_red wrote:This is an interesting point. I've always thought that damage splashes through shields. So if you have a shield with say 100 health on it, it will break on the next shot and subtract the health from the damage done to units below it. I could swear that this is how it works. I know I've had situations where I got hit by a projectile with a shield up and it went through the shield AND destroyed/damaged everything underneath it. Am I wrong on this? Does the 100 health shield completely block the shot even if its a 1700 damage disruptor projectile? If damage gets through shields, and if shield recharge is constant (which I think it is) then I don't think you have an argument with regard to higher impact frequency being better. I'll whip up a sandbox tomorrow and test this though.


If a shield has 100 hp left and a 1000 dmg projectile hits it then there will be 900 aoe dmg that will affect units inside the shield. You just don't always see this because not all units have aoe and if they do it can be too small to penetrate deeply enough. The easiest example of this is the ahwassa which kills entire bases/armies protected by low hp shields because the aoe is so massive that it still hits everything even though the shield stopped the projectile
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moses_the_red » 09 Oct 2018, 20:07

Farmsletje wrote:
moses_the_red wrote:Saying that a scathis is too powerful on a 10x10 doesn't really make sense. Yes its powerful, but its balanced by its cost. A 10x10 will generally have less mass than a 20x20. We ARE talking about a 110k mass unit. If it effectively works as an "I win" button on a 10x10 well I don't really see anything wrong with that. Lots of things should be "I win" units on a 10x10, the scathis' cost in T2 static artilery is probably an "I win" on most 10x10s, so is its cost in nukes, T3 battleships, T3 subs, T3 bombers, TML or T3 artillery.

In theory if your opponent builds a t3 arty or scathis or whatever else thn that means you could've just spend the same amount of mass on t4's and crush him. However in practice that doesn't work. The defender has a big advantage in supcom and that's why we still see buildings like t3 arties appear.

The main difference between a scathis and other units is that a scathis is almost impossible to stop (if buffed) while other units have their counters. In 1v1 games this isn't as big of an issue since the amount of income is pretty limited (compared to teamgames) and map control is very important. In teamgames however it's already very easy to turtle and most maps are split in half. Assuming it has been a balanced game so far and everybody has full t3 eco at min 30, 1 team will be able to rush a scathis in 2,5 min only which will be able to crush the entire enemy team.

Yes, saying that a scathis is too powerfull on 10km maps does make sense and no, it isn't balanced by cost compared to its power (the old scathis).

moses_the_red wrote:This is an interesting point. I've always thought that damage splashes through shields. So if you have a shield with say 100 health on it, it will break on the next shot and subtract the health from the damage done to units below it. I could swear that this is how it works. I know I've had situations where I got hit by a projectile with a shield up and it went through the shield AND destroyed/damaged everything underneath it. Am I wrong on this? Does the 100 health shield completely block the shot even if its a 1700 damage disruptor projectile? If damage gets through shields, and if shield recharge is constant (which I think it is) then I don't think you have an argument with regard to higher impact frequency being better. I'll whip up a sandbox tomorrow and test this though.


If a shield has 100 hp left and a 1000 dmg projectile hits it then there will be 900 aoe dmg that will affect units inside the shield. You just don't always see this because not all units have aoe and if they do it can be too small to penetrate deeply enough. The easiest example of this is the ahwassa which kills entire bases/armies protected by low hp shields because the aoe is so massive that it still hits everything even though the shield stopped the projectile
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Re: We need to talk about the Scathis.

Postby moses_the_red » 09 Oct 2018, 20:08

First, thank you for your well thought out post. I'm going to disagree with much of what you wrote here, but it was a great post that definitely adds to the discussion.

In theory if your opponent builds a t3 arty or scathis or whatever else thn that means you could've just spend the same amount of mass on t4's and crush him. However in practice that doesn't work. The defender has a big advantage in supcom and that's why we still see buildings like t3 arties appear.

The main difference between a scathis and other units is that a scathis is almost impossible to stop (if buffed) while other units have their counters. In 1v1 games this isn't as big of an issue since the amount of income is pretty limited (compared to teamgames) and map control is very important. In teamgames however it's already very easy to turtle and most maps are split in half. Assuming it has been a balanced game so far and everybody has full t3 eco at min 30, 1 team will be able to rush a scathis in 2,5 min only which will be able to crush the entire enemy team.


I don't think this is true. It would be true if the scathis was just a more powerful T3 arty, but its not. The scathis must be built on the front line to be effective, even on a 10x10.

Setting aside arguments such as "Well 2 T3 arty does more damage than a scathis now at only 30k more mass and 1 T3 arty does significant damage while 1/2 a Scathis is useless" or "Doesn't this argument just as easily apply to the T4 artilleries?" or "Doesn't this mean we should nerf T2 static artillery as its overpowered on 5x5s?" there's also the point that this is just wrong. The Scathis has to be built in a forward position, so it is always vulnerable. You can't both put it as far forward as it needs to be to do its job on a 10x10 AND adequately defend it from say attacks from bombers.

To further investigate this question, lets divide 10x10s into two categories. Open (Wonder) and closed (gap).

On an open map, I think this argument just falls flat. Because the map is open, your front is much larger, and so the defenders advantage must be spread across a much larger area. This makes T4 and T3 land armies far more viable than on closed maps, and is why you don't often see T3 artillery built on 10x10 open maps. T4 or plain old T3 spam is just a much better option in most cases. I think we can safely say that on open maps, a scathis is balanced by its mass, buying T3 and T4 land units should be not just be equally useful, it should be better in pretty much all cases. Covering the front on an open map with enough shields and point defense to prevent a break through of 110k mass in T4 or T3 land units just isn't going to happen unless the enemy has a huge mass advantage over you or your tactics are horrible.

Closed maps, are a different story. Gap is king of 10x10 closed maps, and I have played a lot of gap games and spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to safely build a scathis there so I feel like I have some insight on that one subject. Land on gap late game is not viable. T3 and T4, and the reason is nukes. You have to cram your T3/T4 army through the small central gap, and nukes will just ruin your day. The distance between someones nuke launcher and the gap is very small, so they're highly likely to hit your army and then its just over. If some portion of your army remains, it is unliekly to be able to break through the shielded ravager wall the opponent has set up, or if they prefer mobile units, their massive Percie/Brick concave. I concede that 110k mass in land units on a map like Gap might not be enough to overcome the defender's advantage.

That said, this doesn't take other strategies into account, and this is absolutely a different story once you do take those other strategies into account.

Ways to kill a scathis that are cheaper than 110k mass:

- Build multiple nukes launchers with nukes. Cost 54k mass.
- Build T3 artillery behind the scathis' range and use it to snipe the scathis and or commanders and or wreck their economy. Since you get one up before the scathis you'll have done some damage before its even turned on.
- Tele, a cybran com with tele-maser should work, but you could also use tele-scus. Seraphim SCUs with nano + tele + shield cost about 20k each and do 400 DPS with 50k health. 3 of them is 60k in total mass cost, deals 1200 DPS and only has to do 15000 damage since they have the death nuke. If they have an absurd amount of PD/Ravagers or multiple monkeylords sitting on the scathis just target shields which are tightly packed and have 500 health. You should kill several with the death nuke alone, use that in combination with other methods. If that doesn't work for you target their SMD and nuke them. Tele is a very effective counter to "game enders" of any type.
- Bombers. 20 T3 bombers is 40k mass. More than half can die or have their damage mitigated by shields and you'll still kill the scathis on the first pass. Remember that a Scathis must be built close to the front, so bombers are far more effective against a scathis than they are against T3 arty.,
- Drops, 20 bricks and the t3 transports to drop them costs less than 30k mass. You might think that drops aren't viable but again, the scathis is in the front. As long as they didn't spend 110k mass on the scathis AND somehow achieve complete air superiority this should be viable. Drops are a terrible strategy for killing T3 artillery, but they are viable for a scathis.
- TML. You can build 50 TML for 50k mass, and because the Scathis must be built in front they will be in range of it.


I can imagine people complaining about the scathis when a team pulls it off, but it is difficult to pull off, requires a great deal of planning, teamwork and investment, is fragile and countered in ways that T3 artillery simply isn't and doesn't provide many of the advantages of other weapons in the "high end" artillery class, even on 10x10 maps.

I imagine the Scathis, when properly balanced, gets the appearance of being OP because it will end games. That doesn't mean that it can't be countered or that it actually is OP. It just means that its a unit that MUST be countered, which isn't that different from regular old vanilla T3 artillery which delivers much of the payoff with far less hassle.

I think doubling its damage output would fix it. It would be a unit that is vulnerable and must be built close, that costs 1.7 times as much as regular T3 artillery but delivers 3x the damage to a smaller area, an area so much smaller that even on 10x10s the difference is significant.
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