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The Hacking Issue and AHD

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by Nemo No Name, Oct 26, 2018.

  1. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    Hacking, oh hacking. It was one of a big draws to me, back when I was considering which game to start with. Chance to have a separate cybersphere that is relevant for the battlefield sounded great.

    Turns out, meh. I mean, sure, Hacking can be very useful, but it hugely depends on what faction you are facing. Generally speaking, hacking is just to buff your remotes, and maybe there'll be one or two units on the enemy side you can affect. Maybe. With the advent of KHDs, this basically turned into even bigger liability - it's another attack vector.

    And the thing about hacking that feels the worst? The low tech faction, that is supposed to be bad at hacking, is essentially one that wins from all of this. Their ability to simply completely ignore Hacking isn't a bad thing, in fact, it's a big bonus because unless you have REMs to buff up with your Hackers, you just paid a ton of points for "Specialist Operative" skill.

    This, in particular, hits Assault Hacking Devices most. These things cost 6 points and 0,5 SWC for Specialist Operative skill against Ariadna, as well as most Tohaa and Haqq lists. I mean, they're really scary against TAGs, I admit, and HIs and REMs have their reasons to fear them.

    Except, it's not like TAGs and HI are top of the powercurve, is it? They're are at best mid-level, with most being significantly underpowered. Whereas things that are riding the crest of the powercurve - marker states, cheap regular orders, visual mods - the device is glorified Specialist Operative skill. Oh, it has Spotlight? A WIP 15 Hacker using Spotlight (in his active turn, mind you! No AROing with Spotlight because hey, that might be useful!) against an average WIP13 target is actually in a disadvantageous roll-off. Seriously CB?

    This is why AHDs are bad. KHD didn't change much in that respect - AHDs were only brought when you didn't have the FO option, or in the rare case when you know you're playing someone who likes his HIs and TAGs and you want to remind them why they are a bad choice.
     
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  2. theradrussian

    theradrussian Well-Known Member

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    100% agree but I fear you are about to get dog piled for addressing one of the elephants currently in the room :P
     
  3. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    There were complaints when N3 first came out that AHDs were too good against HI/TAG armies and people felt like those just weren't viable. KHD sort of addresses this by making it more dangerous to get an AHD into position to do something with it, except that as you point out even in a vacuum a lot of HI and TAG units are overpriced for what they do.

    I also want to add that there are too many programs that do approximately the same things; choices need to be impactful to be interesting. As it stands, it's a matter of memorizing which of several nearly identical programs is best in ARO and which in active turn, as opposed to choosing from among several unique capabilities.
     
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  4. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    While I completely agree, I think that's a separate issues and didn't want to cloud the point I was making.
     
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  5. Ben Kenobi

    Ben Kenobi Well-Known Member

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    To be honest, if I remind correctly, CB stated they want to see more HI on the tables.
    But I don't know if they are going the right way atm. We will see when IA is released and we know exactly, what the new rules really do.

    But I can't understand the problem of @Nemo No Name.
    Reason could be I'm playing Tohaa :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
     
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  6. Zsolt

    Zsolt Well-Known Member

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    The point costs of Hacking devices are also messed up. 0.5SWC + 8pts for HD, 6pts for AHD, 0SWC and 3 pts for KHD, not sure, but around 6pts and 0.5SWC for DHD and 4pts and 0.5SWC for WHD. Not sure how much EVO costs, likely around 15pts and 0.5SWC (21-8+price of Repeater and Minesweeper). Compared to KHD, everything is just way too expensive.

    The DHD and WHD doesn't even do anything, they are just expensive Spec ops and some odd classifieds and +3WIP in ITS. The 0.5SWC cost is just ridiculous. They really should cost 0 SWC and like 1-2 pts.

    While KHD helps keeping HI/TAGs safe from hacking just by their mere existence, they messed up AHD badly.

    If the original problem was that HI and TAGs need some buff, then give them some. The problem with HI/TAGs is not hacking, but that they are expensive, fragile for their price, and it's just better to spam camo, discounted stuff and orders.
     
  7. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    If hacking is going to be a counter to HI, then HI need to be strong enough on their own that an explicit weakness is warranted.
     
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  8. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    I think everyone is a bit too much focused on the TAG and HI part. Yes, AHDs hurt those. But problem is what when there's no targets for it...

    If AHD could do against armies which bring none of those (and little to no REMs). AHD in particular is ridiculously overcosted when you realise they are almost literally Specialist Operative skill against armies like Ariadna, Tohaa, Haqq. And realistically, many of the other factions all too often will have a hacker or two and maybe a few Flashpulse / Baggage REMs.

    In a way, they're mostly useless even if enemy brings a TR REM, simply due to fact you still have to get into range of it (and chances are it's staying in or near its Deployment Zone). If you can get into 20cm of the TR REM to hack it, why not just shoot it? With Surprise Shot and low range, chances are good you can murderise that bot just as good if not better by shooting it directly.

    The real problem is, AHDs do nothing against most troopers in Infinity. Zero, zilch, nada. And all too often, they can do little or nothing against whole or almost whole army arrayed against you.
     
  9. natetehaggresar

    natetehaggresar Backlogged Painter

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    I completely agree with your points. I think AHDs are too expensive, and too niche.

    I think that its not an immense imbalance. A AHD is ~2% of your points in a 300 point game, and its only 4 or 5 points over what specialist operative costs. (and its IS better than specialist operative, against people who brough nothing to hack, it can complete 5 classified objectives and as you mentioned can get scenario WIP bonsues)

    I would love to see AHDs buffed, or made less expensive. But IMO CB has a lot of things that I wish they would address first, mostly just clearing up gameplay mechanics ambuigities.
     
  10. Alphz

    Alphz Kuang Shi Vet. Retired.

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    I think isolated needs to become a 2 level state like imm.

    Jammers would then do iso-1, which would last until you reset.

    Tweak oblivion to do iso-2, which needs an engi.

    Add a new program mainly to AHD which targets unhackable units, hits bts and causes iso-1.

    Bam, you fix jammers and hacking all in one.
     
  11. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect

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    I haven't had a chance to play against Hecklers or Cobras yet, but I'm pretty sure the Jammer is ok on them in a way it is not ok on the Ghazi Muttawiah.
     
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  12. Alphz

    Alphz Kuang Shi Vet. Retired.

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    Its disgusting on ghazi, but its still a weapon with no downsides and a massive middle finger to elite armies.

    The nerf to jamming however, is partially related to my suggestion to proliferate it to AHD profiles. I don't think hecklers, cobras and ghazi would be much worse if jamming could be reset. Its still as giant order sink from a unit you potentially can't easily access to hurt - creating this 16" deadzone on the table.

    AHD was that to TAGs and they brought in KHD to counter. Jammers will get their time, but maybe AHD can benefit from the changes.
     
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  13. Sedral

    Sedral Invincible Officier

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    This topic was brought up a few times on the old forum:

    http://infinitytheforums.com/forum/topic/49332-do-you-think-hacking-is-still-enjoyable/

    http://infinitytheforums.com/forum/topic/48001-why-do-i-want-an-assault-hacking-device/

    It's worth the read!

    Ironically, KHD also made most specialist HI completly disappear, since most of them are hackers. I hardly remember the last time i played my crane hacker in a tournament. I miss him :(
     
    #13 Sedral, Oct 27, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2018
  14. MikeTheScrivener

    MikeTheScrivener O-12 Peace Kepper

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    I think we're entering a new stage of the game with third offensive and beyond. With these recent releases we are seeing cheap, HI link teams, core and Harris. (think kriza, hollow men, you know IA is packing a HI link). We're also seeing a flux on HI "center pieces", think Asura, ORC, ect. With the rework of MO, and even Morats we are seeing HI mixing in with a light infantry core, which is a no-brainer option to take in my opinion. Ramah, a HI/supersoldier focused faction is also on the horizon.

    I think the AHD is going to become a little more relevant. Dealing with a B2 BS 17 Feuerbach ORC supported by Fusiliers is going to be hell. but launching a pitcher, hacking him and shooting him as he tries to reset is a very very real answer to that ARO.

    AHDs and by extension normal hacking devices are always going to be risky to take because of the possible killer hacker on the table, but I feel as though it is going to become worth it when we start to see a mix of various units walking around the table. I think CB is trying to push for more factions to have access to KHDs though, which slightly alleviates the problem.
     
  15. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    I still think that the AHD needs a couple more programs. Lockpicker and Brain Blast. Lockpicker is actually to support the 'Assault'/infiltration side of the game. Brain Blast so that it has a lethal counterattack.
     
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  16. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    Leaving Jammers aside for a moment;

    One thing to adress is the balance between various hacking devices and their role on the battlefield.

    First of all, every hacking device should have its special rule.
    • KHDs ignore Firewalls.
    • WHDs have quasi-SSL1.
    • EVOs have their bunch of special bonuses and Gadgets.
    • AHDs should have +1 Burst on their programs in Active Turn. This would boost their offensive potential, while still leaving them vulnerable to KHDs. Alternatively, AHD could add Breaker effect to all its programs.
    • DHDs should have the old rule of treating all allied HDs as Repeaters, and Shield programs should work on hackers targeting friendlies. This way DHD would actually have a function; defending friendly hackers from hacking attacks. All factions should have access to them in one form or another.
    Hacking program tiers should be rearranged as well:

    CLAW-1: basic offensive programs to use against hackable targets.
    • Blackout
    • Gotcha!
    • Overlord
    CLAW-2: more advanced or specialized offensive programs, basically an utility tier.
    • Expel
    • Lockpicker
    • Spotlight
    CLAW-3: top-of-the-line programs, to replace the CLAW-1 tier.
    • Basilisk/Carbonite (those two should be combined, really
    • Total Control
    • Oblivion
    SWORD-1: no changes, basic attack against hackers.
    • Brain Blast
    SWORD-2: additional intermediate tier.
    • Sucker Punch
    SWORD-3: current SWORD-2.
    • Redrum
    • Skullbuster
    • Trinity
    SHIELD-1-3: no changes, aside from Breakwater/Counterstrike/Zero Pain working against hackers targeting other friendly troops as well.

    ASSIST-1-2: renamed GADGET-1-2 tiers. Lockpicker moved to CLAW-2. Additionally Controlled Jump should stack with EVO bonus.

    Now, about access to various programs:

    • HDs: all tier 1 programs plus ASSIST-2
    • AHDs: CLAW-1-3, SWORD-1
    • KHDs: SWORD-1-3
    • HD+: all tier 1-2 programs
    • DHDs: all tier 1 programs plus SHIELD-2-3
    • WHDs: no idea, really.
    This should be augmented by the use of UPGRADE programs, of course.

    Additionally there should be more utility programs which shouldn't need the target to be hackable. Something like the aforementioned lower tier of Jamming, turning target Irregular for a turn. Things that 1) could be used against non-hackable force and 2) made Ariadna feel like they're missing out on the whole infowar thing, and make them value available hackers more.
     
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  17. Sangarn

    Sangarn TRIUMcorp CEO
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    Great post @Stiopa 100% agree with you

    an suggestion for ariadna problem:
    Oblivion should be able to target "non-hackable" profiles, with a -6 maybe or else
    or all AHD program become Oblivion when targeting "non-hackable" target instead off IMM you get isolated
    most will argue that isolated is better than IMM so it's probably not balanced (except veteran kazak who are just laughing at my post ...)
     
    #17 Sangarn, Oct 28, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  18. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    While I agree with some of Stiopas proposal, I think an easy and quick fix would be to introduce a new, CLAW-2 or CLAW-3 program that is same as Spotlight, except:
    • useable in ARO
    • better Burst (I'd go as high as B3)
    By the fact it is useable in ARO, it would suddenly make AHDs actually be a threat to everything, not just Hackable targets. By giving it high Burst in Active turn, it would make it useable if still a bit risky, since at -3 chances are enemies would have 1 die at higher target value than your multiple dice at slightly lower target value.
     
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  19. Stiopa

    Stiopa Trust The Fuckhead
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    Ah yes, I forgot to write about Spotlight as well. Basically it needs to be usable in ARO and lose the -3 penalty.

    I wonder if CB attempts to track things like underutilized hacking programs as well.
     
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  20. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    I don't see how they could track which programs are utilised more or less.

    Also, I don't think it should lose the penalty, especially if it gets to be used in ARO. That way, it's more dicey if enemy leaves it done unopposed. For active turn, higher burst could compensate for this.