Rebalancing air, logically.

Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby uberge3k » 06 Mar 2013, 03:52

Following up on this post viewtopic.php?f=52&t=3205&start=90#p33013, as I intend to test out and back up every one of my thoughts there, one at a time.

Phase one: gather as much data as possible on the present balance of units.

This is fairly simple: get a willing victim, and sandbox a bunch of stuff to empirically figure out what's what.

Anyone can help with this, and the purpose of this thread is for collecting said data. Kindly refrain from making inferences based on said data without backing it up with replays yourself, as no, you can't run FA in your head like I can, and even I need replays to ensure that it's not just crazy talk.

Now then, onto the results!


TEST 1: Strategic Bombers vs SAMs

Here are the results of several combinations of strats vs SAMs:

1 SAM next to target: 1 bomber gets 2 passes before dying.
2 SAMs next to target: 1 bomber gets 1 pass before dying.
2 SAMs, .5x the SAM range ahead of ACU: 1 pass
2 SAMs, 1x SAM range: 1 pass
2 SAMs, 1.5x SAM range: bomber dies before dropping
2 SAMs, 1.5x, air scout leading: 1 pass
4 SAMs, 2 bombers, 0 pass
4 SAMs, 2 bombers, 2 scouts: both bombers make it through
8 SAMs, 4 bombers, 0 scouts: 2 make it through
8 SAMs, 4 bombers, staggered SAMs: 2 make it through
8 SAMs, 4 bombers, 2 scouts, staggered: 2 make it through
8 SAMs, 2 bombers, 2 scouts: 1 makes it through with distraction
8 SAMs, 4 bombers: 2-3 make it through, with or without distraction
20 SAMs, 10 strats: 5 make it through
40 SAMs, 20 starts: 10 make it through
40 SAMs, 20 strats, 20 scouts: 15 make it through

Replay:
692846-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(55.3 KiB) Downloaded 157 times

(thanks to TAG_Chosen for being this round's victim :))

Conclusions:

- For UEF SAMs, a total of four volleys of projectiles are required to kill one strat.
- The optimal placement of a SAM is approximately 1.5x the radius of the SAM's range in front of what you would like to protect.
- 2 SAMs kill 1 bomber before it can drop its payload at this range.
- With a ratio of 2 SAMs to 1 strat, half of strats survive. This seems to hold true at any scale.
- An additional 50% strats survive if scouts/ASF are sent ahead to distract SAMs.
- SAM placement seems to have little effect on the outcome. The exception to this is if all of the SAMs are in one perpindicular row in between the target and the bombers; in which case, "distraction" air units have a somewhat larger impact than normal.


Note that 2 sams are 75% the cost of 1 strat, and that the SAMs can continue to be used to deny air space once they've paid for themselves. And that the bomber(s) can be reclaimed once they are shot down. http://faforever.com/faf/unitsDB/unit.p ... 04,UEB2304


TEST 2: T1 Bombers vs T1 AA


This next test is a little different: testing T1 bombers vs T1 AA. No one seems to be complaining about the balance of T1 air vs T1 land, so we can likely assume that it is relatively balanced.

1 stationary T1 AA to 3 T1 bombers is 150 mass vs 240, with the counter being approximately 65% of the mass cost, compared to 75% of the mass cost of SAM vs strat. See http://faforever.com/faf/unitsDB/unit.p ... 04,UEA0103. While not a perfect ratio, these numbers are the closest we can get to an accurate downscale of the T3 tests.

The results:

1 AA vs 3 bombers: 3 bombers survive, and kill AA in one pass
1 AA vs 3 bombers: 2 bombers survive, kill AA in one pass
2 AAs, 6 bombers: 3 bombers survive, AAs killed
4 AAs, 12 bombers: 7 bombers survive, all AAs but 1 killed (survived with a tiny amount of hp)

Replay:
696877-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(11.53 KiB) Downloaded 141 times


Conclusions:
- At the same mass ratio as their T3 counterparts and in small scales, bombers are extremely effective, almost always being able to kill the turrets and survive for more bombing runs.
- When the number of AAs and bombers are scaled up, fewer bombers tend to make it through, settling out to a bit over over 50% of the survivability rate that we see at T3. However, the bombers still drop their bombs before they are killed at least killing the tower.
- Comparatively, SAMs cannot be mass-efficiently taken out by strats, and strats die before dropping a bomb much more often.

TEST 3: Strategic Bombers vs Cruisers.

Strats are only slightly more expensive than cruisers, so they seemed like a good combination to 1v1 with:

- 1 strat vs 1 cruiser, stationary: strat wins with 1500hp. (Note that this is dependant on the cruiser and the bomber, as their HP and damage all differ slightly - eg, some cruisers will die in one shot vs some bombers)
- 1 strat vs 1 cruiser, with the cruiser being micro'd : cruiser wins easily.
- 2v2: cruisers win again
- 4v4: 2 cruisers left, due to trying to type while micro'ing
- 8v8, Seraphim: 2 cruisers die due to accidentally running into bombs

Note that Seraphim has the weakest cruiser; they require two passes to kill a strat, due to half of their AA being a flak weapon that is ineffective vs T3 air. They can still win, you simply have to dodge the strat's bomb twice in a row, which is quite easy to do.

Replay:
696912-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(28.13 KiB) Downloaded 158 times


Conclusions:
- Cybran has the best strat to attack navy with, since its splash is the largest and it has the possible advantage of stealth. If the strats are not detected until they've dropped, it's probable that the cruisers will die, but in a real game it's also highly improbable that the strats will survive the 1st pass as the passes are so large and will likely take them over some form of AA.
- If the cruisers are moving or being even slightly micro'd, strats will lose without doing any damage. Strats can only hope to break even if cruisers are not moved at all.


TEST 4: Cruisers vs T2 Gunships.

Gunships are often considered to be a great counter to cruisers, and justifiably so. Here, we find out exactly how good of a counter they are:

- 1:8 cruiser:gunships, without micro: Gunships win, 6 surviving.
- 1:8 with the cruiser running away: The cruiser survives with 1k HP.
micro: survive with 1k hp
- 2:16, no micro: 7 gunships survive
- 2:16, with micro: 7 survive
- 2:16, with even better micro (dodging back and forth a bit once the gunships have caught up, and manually targetting gunships to avoid overkilling): only 3 survive
- 4:32: 2 cruisies survive, one with just 300hp
- 4:32: 8 gunships survive, since they were micro'd better (move orders instead of attack orders, so they would keep up with the cruisers better)
- 1:8 sera, cruiser: no micro, survives with > 50% hp vs heavy gunship micro

Replay:
697202-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(31.41 KiB) Downloaded 144 times


Conclusions:
- T2 Gunships are very effective against cruisers in small groups.
- Their effectiveness is diminished the larger the engagement is.
- Seraphim cruisers easily kill the gunships due to their flak weapon.
- Any navy with hover flak also has the capability to easily defend against them.


TEST 5: T3 Gunships vs Cruisers.


The logical progression from the prior test:

- 1:1 Cruiser:T3 Gunship: The cruiser wins with 800 HP, without any micro.
- 2:3 with no micro: 1 gunship survives.
- 2:3, with micro: 1 cruiser survives, with 1400hp.
- 4:5, with micro: 1 survives.
- 1:1, sera cruiser, with micro: Cruiser wins with 50% HP remaining.
- 2:3, sera cruiser, with micro: Gunships win, just one remaining with 15% hp. Nearly a draw.
- 4:5, sera cruiser, with micro: 3 cruisers remain.

Replay:
697289-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(20.29 KiB) Downloaded 147 times


Conclusions:
- T3 gunships are somewhat less effective than their T2 counterparts.
- The outcome of engagements are heavily determined by whether or not the cruisers target the same gunship or multiple gunships. This can be mitigated with micro.
- Seraphim cruisers, as before, are significantly better vs large groups. They are slightly lacking in small engagements.


Test 6: Cruisers vs Torpedo Bombers.

Next, to ensure that the direct counter of navy is working as intended:

- 1:8 cruiser:torp bomber: Cruiser dies, 6 torps remain.
- 1:8: Cruiser dies, 6 torps remain. Running away doesn't help, since the torps drop their payload well before there's any hope of any of them being shot down.
- 2:16: 10 torps survive.
- 4:32: 17 torps survive.
- 1:8, sera cruiser: draw
- 2:16, sera cruiser: 8 torps remain.
- 4:32, sera cruiser: 17 torps remain.

Replay:
697330-TAG_UBER.fafreplay
(18.26 KiB) Downloaded 143 times


Conclusions:
- Yup, they work quite well!
- Seraphim has a slightly better chance to kill more of them before the cruiser dies.
- There's no way to kill the torps before they drop their payload.



PHASE TWO.


Phase One unveiled a few small flaws with the current air balance, primarily with gunships being slightly too effective at killing navy and strats being slightly too ineffective in their role. These are issues separate and distinct to the larger issue of the static nature of air, which will be addressed later.

My next goal is to conclusively determine what the current balance is between air, land, and navy.

The idea is simple: A team goes all-in with air, land or navy, vs a team playing traditionally. Seton's is likely to be the best testing ground for this.

Now, real games, and especially teamgames, are much more difficult to analyze compared to sandbox testing since there are so many variables. Due to the exponential nature of FA, small differences such as minor imbalances between players or minor mistakes made by better players can affect the result of the entire game. However, if we have a suitable sampling size (ie, at least 2-3 replays per tactic) we have a much higher chance of getting an accurate result.

In other words, think of sandboxing units vs units as a way of getting the fine strokes right, while testing in real games is to get the broad strokes right. At the moment, nothing has been changed yet - I'm simply collecting data to ensure that the ideas that I have for future changes are indeed firmly grounded in reality.

Now, what will the results mean? They should ideally prove that "a team with a plan will demolish a team without a plan", with all tactics being roughly equal in effectiveness. Air, land and navy shouldn't be too much stronger than each other, as each should be a totally viable way of winning the game. I do predict that an all-air strategy will likely end the game the fastest, however, simply due to the fact that it moves much faster and once air superiority is gained it is quite difficult to make a comeback in the context of a teamgame.

So, how can you help?

- Participate in the games that I will be organizing to test this.
- Organize your own games and post the replays.
Ze_PilOt wrote:If you want something to happen, do it yourself.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby FunkOff » 06 Mar 2013, 04:46

I agree with your first test: sams vs strats seem well balanced.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby Sunny » 06 Mar 2013, 05:11

uberge3k wrote:- The optimal placement of a SAM is approximately 1.5x the radius of the SAM's range in front of what you would like to protect.


This is not possible. 1.5x sam's radius is 90, the range of t3 arty. IMO, 1 SAM should kill 1 stratbomber, preventing it from dropping, being built in advance in range, no more, than 44 (2 ACU gun's ranges) to fit real scale of real T3 bases. This means, SAMs need to be buffed 3-4(range or dps) times for this to be possible.
This is close to how SAMs in Vanilla do with stratbombers.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby rootbeer23 » 06 Mar 2013, 09:11

conclusion: strats suck at taking out SAMs.
no wonder they are used like mercies on ACUs.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby pip » 06 Mar 2013, 11:57

It's a bit preposterous to state that t3 bombers are not good at taking out their own counter (and why should they be good at doing that??), as it would be to say gunships are bad at taking out static flaks.

However, I would gladly trade 3000 HP out of the incredible 10500 HP SAMs have with + 20 range.

For me, and Ubergeek's protocol and tests results seem to confirm my thought, improved stats for SAMS would be :
- 7500 HP (same as Ravager), so that they are more vulnerable overall to sea and ground attacks, but also a superior aerial force.
- 80 range to be able to target t3 bombers a bit earlier
- 1.5 AOE so that they can take out ASF blobs (units overlapping each other) more effectively (that moderate AOE would have not big impact upon other units if you carefully attack with slightly spread out your bombers and gunships).
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby rootbeer23 » 06 Mar 2013, 12:11

pip wrote:It's a bit preposterous to state that t3 bombers are not good at taking out their own counter


as long as they are bombing SAMs they are not bombing other important targets.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby Niernen » 06 Mar 2013, 16:32

pip wrote:It's a bit preposterous to state that t3 bombers are not good at taking out their own counter (and why should they be good at doing that??), as it would be to say gunships are bad at taking out static flaks.

However, I would gladly trade 3000 HP out of the incredible 10500 HP SAMs have with + 20 range.

For me, and Ubergeek's protocol and tests results seem to confirm my thought, improved stats for SAMS would be :
- 7500 HP (same as Ravager), so that they are more vulnerable overall to sea and ground attacks, but also a superior aerial force.
- 80 range to be able to target t3 bombers a bit earlier
- 1.5 AOE so that they can take out ASF blobs (units overlapping each other) more effectively (that moderate AOE would have not big impact upon other units if you carefully attack with slightly spread out your bombers and gunships).


I would also like to see a health reduction with an increased range. The SAM doesn't need all that health, given the units it usually deals with.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby IceDreamer » 06 Mar 2013, 19:24

Ub3r, as it is a simple change, could you see what happens if RateOfFire of SAMs are doubled along with halved damage? In my head this would not affect VS high HP units, but would reduce overkill VS blobs as they can retarget faster.
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby Pathogenic » 06 Mar 2013, 20:10

ShadowKnight wrote:Ub3r, as it is a simple change, could you see what happens if RateOfFire of SAMs are doubled along with halved damage? In my head this would not affect VS high HP units, but would reduce overkill VS blobs as they can retarget faster.


I would support this
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Re: Rebalancing air, logically.

Postby FunkOff » 06 Mar 2013, 20:11

Pathogenic wrote:
ShadowKnight wrote:Ub3r, as it is a simple change, could you see what happens if RateOfFire of SAMs are doubled along with halved damage? In my head this would not affect VS high HP units, but would reduce overkill VS blobs as they can retarget faster.


I would support this


This change would probably make SAMs worse because they don't often get more than 1 salvo against fast moving T3 aircraft.
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