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The Heavy Infantry Problem

Discussion in 'Access Guide to the Human Sphere' started by Weathercock, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Hachiman Taro

    Hachiman Taro Well-Known Member

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    Critiquing the points system is fine (more or less agree Tohaa and Post Human-y Aleph are strong), as long as you're doing it accurately enough to produce less errors than the system you're critiquing. The rub is that more people belive they have the expertise to do that than actually do.
     
  2. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    It used to be that Aleph had someone who cared about it. But those days are long gone.
     
  3. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    OSS seems very solid, and ALEPH is probably the most powerful faction in the game. From my perspective the design team loves Aleph and is very content for it to be overpowered.
     
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  4. Hecaton

    Hecaton EI Anger Translator

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    I mean the community is pretty consistent, as a whole, about these things, and the community suspected these things long before we had harder numbers to back it up.

    Saying that people need the "expertise" to make valid criticisms comes off as more of a silencing tactic or excuse to ignore an otherwise well-made point; I imagine that "expertise" is a signifier for "is in a certain clique."
     
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  5. daboarder

    daboarder Force One Commander
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    A handful of posters at most. (Hi guys)

    The vocal minority doesnt really do it as a representation of the community, or of the communities opinion, especially when they continuously ignore evidence to the contrary in favour of preconceived perceptions about the game and how to play it.

    EDIT: Bets on "Competitive meta" garbage being started in 3,2.....?
     
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  6. SpectralOwl

    SpectralOwl White-Faced Invincible

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    I can't really pin it down to a good description, but HI and TAGs seem to feel disproportionately vulnerable compared to other classes. Contributors are the extra considerations for Hacking bubbles, vulnerabilities beyond other classes to certain attack types, and the sheer dependency on good dice that ARM/BTS tanking has in the game.

    I do see some general improvements incoming in the way that Hacking defense is handled though; being able to stack GADGETs, GADGET-EVOs, TinBots, Repeaters and natural BTS gives some player control over the "save" roll in the same way that they can stack or avoid mods for the "attack" rolls, which is a pretty big deal since the relative cheapness of such attack mods (CH, Marksmanship, ODD, UPGRADEs etc.)is a part of what makes HI feel outdated sometimes.

    Maybe providing Hackers or Engineers a way to directly buff ARM or BTS, or providing skills to directly benefit units with better saves (like Deflector, or Nanoscreen) could be a fun way to equalize the "ARM is overpriced" part of the equation? Of particular note, managing to stack a +9 total ARM mod would allow a 4 ARM unit to ignore non-crit rifle fire, which would make up for the huge relative expense of that jump if creating that modifier were frequently possible during play.

    Of course, there are outliers to the HI vulnerability theory. As much as it feels like my Zuyong and ORCs have to hide from ALEPH and Nomad repeaters and lurking Skirmishers, I've never felt the inclination to do the same with my Hsien or Swiss Guard. And a Jotum with +9 ARM could be best described as "nightmarish" or "unstoppable" without a Missile Launcher around. Like most things, this solution would take a hell of a lot of workshopping, but it might be fun. Anyone tried or seen anything similar, or see a glaring issue to shout down?
     
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  7. Marduck

    Marduck Well-Known Member

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    And you forgot the "I bring my cheap buddy with me for power creep". So we got most of the HI profiles covered.

    Nice to see you finally agree with me that there is no HI problem.
     
  8. Zewrath

    Zewrath Nordic Master

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    I was talking to a friend about the HI 'issue' last night and we had (at least, in my opinion) an interesting idea for certain HI types, more specifically the type like Mobile Brigada etc.

    We talked about giving them a new special rule called 'power armour', or PA for short (no, it's not very creative but stay with me here). The rule would give the HI in question +3 ARM against Normal Ammo and treat DA & Shock weapons as Normal Ammo. This means that specialised weaponry would be of greater value and there would be an actual reason to use AP ammo on MSR's, and Spitfire/Red Fury don't continue to be guns that are good against 99% of all targets in the game that are below ARM5, where a Molotok is only slightly better against specific targets but actually worse because most targets you just want to go straight to dead, as well as bringing more value to Breaker Ammo and so on.

    Now this wouldn't be a universal rule to buff HI across the board but a something given to very specific HI types.
    Fx. a Zuyong wouldn't have the PA special rule whereas the Shang Ji would have that rule, in order represent the technological difference and superiority between the 2 armour types. This can easily be applied to other examples as well, like the Riot Grrls vs Mobile Brigada and can also be applied to different examples, like Minutemen to give them an actual reason to exists over the Marauders or have a reason to take them in Vanilla, over the Vet Kazak etc. etc.
    I honestly think this is the best fix to address the issue for the HI types who are "stuck in the middle".

    The only issue we came across was the high tier HI, as there really isn't a fluff justification NOT to give, say, a Hac Tao, Swiss Guard or Achilles PA but from a mechanical and balance stand point, those type of units really don't need that buff (although I guess you could argue the case that ODD Achillies wouldn't have that rule, whereas the Hoplite version would have the PA special rule, in order to really signify that the Hoplite armour is the more "tanky" armour type).
     
    #148 Zewrath, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  9. Section9

    Section9 Well-Known Member

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    Or, you know, you get CB to stop gaming their own points system so hard.

    Let's assume that the Hackable characteristic for HI costs about 5 points. The really cheap HI could then get another 5pts of whatever stats/skills/equipment added in. Or we raise the cost of unhackable HI by 5pts. Or we bump hackable HI down a few points and unhackable HI up (I'd want hackable HI down 3 and unhackable HI up 2 in that case).

    Or whatever other balancing option.


    It's an interesting idea, but you're right that the high-tier stuff would be tough to not give that buff to.

    And honestly, I think the most egregiously-overcosted HI are the basics, which do include Zuyong. Any HI with Frenzy or Impetuous is reasonably costed, but ones without are pretty significantly overcosted in comparison. Let's look at Hospitaliers versus ORCs. Hospitalier is +6CC, +1WIP, +3BTS, +MA2, +Religious, and -5pts, all for adding Frenzy.

    That makes Frenzy a 10-15pt discount, and a penalty you don't suffer while in a link team.
     
  10. toadchild

    toadchild EI Aspect
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    I think that a lot of people broadly agree that ARM is overpriced; I feel like a better way to accomplish what you're suggesting would be to just give (most) HI a couple extra points of ARM (without increasing the cost). This would automatically increase the value of AP against HI, as its ability to negate armor would actually matter more. AP's value could also be increased by allowing it to halve the ARM bonus from cover, although this would affect all troop types.

    Other thoughts - while ARM-targeting weapons still outnumber BTS-targeting ones, some of the BTS weapons are the nastiest ones in the game (viral, E/M, etc). I think that CB is hamstringing their unit design a bit by insisting on sticking to BTS only coming in increments of 3 even though in N3 there's no mechanical need for that. There are a bunch of BTS 3 HI that would be greatly improved if they were allowed to bump up to BTS 4 or 5, and so forth.
     
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  11. daboarder

    daboarder Force One Commander
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    the Zuyong has a 26 pt BS profile.

    The idea that is overcosted is laughable for an BS13 ARM3, BTS3 2W model that can legitimately ignore an ARO that cant do more than a single wound, and stands good odds of ignoring most AROs that do a maximum of 2W.

    the fact that then becomes an FO specialist with combi for 28 pts.....

    And you think that needs a pt discount?
     
    #151 daboarder, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
  12. eciu

    eciu Easter worshiper

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    Tarik approves! (because he doesn't lose anything by not being HI and gains "everything" by not being HI)
     
  13. Nemo No Name

    Nemo No Name Aleph Cultural Atache
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    Vanilla Aleph may well be one of the top 3 factions, mostly due to Achilles + Posthuman silliness.

    OSS is carried on the backs of old stuff - you need very little of the new stuff (maybe Shukra for CoC / CI). Dart is excellent but realistically Dasyu Boarding Shotgun performs that role good enough anyway. I think the design team doesn't care and just shuffled in a few new stuff and called it a day.
     
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  14. Cartographer

    Cartographer Well-Known Member

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    The Zuyong is significantly more optimised that most of the problem HI, largely thanks to its PH 12; the Brigada BSG costs 33 points for +2 PH, +1 ARM, V:Courage while losing out on 2 breaker pistols.
    If CB just stopped dishing out high PH on units with no dedicated means of using it (grenades, cc weapons, AD etc.) I feel a lot of the more vociferous complaints would cease.
     
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  15. Hachiman Taro

    Hachiman Taro Well-Known Member

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    You imagine is about right. The problem with this kind of problem is that whether you have that expertise or not you would have a similar experience (i.e., you would think you do). So it's impossible to fairly include oneself in such a group. Actually the way around it is more like the opposite to what you say - to actually listen to better arguments wherever they come from and modify your opinions based on them. People who do that well are probably more likely to know more. It's not about a clique (or if it is it's working poorly IMHO).

    I think this is an interesting idea in the sense that as a skill / equipment it could be targeted towards the actual under performing profiles. And adding a skill to solve a balance issue (at least going forward) is a CB-like thing to do. To get around the problem you describe (mediocre but not high end units could use it, but that needs justification) I think I'd call it "Ablative Armour" and make it disposable. So the idea is that mid range HI sometimes have extra Ablative plates fitted in high impact situations. The amount of uses could vary and work a bit like lesser symbiomates - every time you take a hit on ARM a use is gone. High end HI have less need for it, and therefore don't get it fitted. Maybe it could come with a slight downside (eg -1PH) while active to further justify this.
     
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  16. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    I think Shock Immunity for Medium Infantry is possibly the best solution for a small nudge to the classification. It won't increase certain heavy medium infantry whom are already Shock Immune, and aside from a single specific HI, it is a trait HI already has in general and as such won't give medium infantry an ability which in addition over heavy infantry like Bravery does. But... ahem... that one HI kind of would need it as well ;-)

    Glancing towards Booty, I don't think Ablative Armour would need any complicated mechanics like shedding. Sure, an ABH with +3 ARM gets a bit difficult to wound, but the time you lose bookkeeping it isn't worth the small likelihood of the opponent saving an order on it. Even on 2 wounds. I'm imagining Ablative Armour or Power Armour could also be similar to a skill like Tactical Awareness, that is applied to specific profiles meeting specific criteria (I don't know about you, but I'm leaning towards the units trucking shotguns around as breaching units).
    The benefit of keeping it limited to specific profiles is that it's justifiable to have the skill be embarrassingly cheap. The drawback is that it could push traffic towards single profiles.
     
  17. AngryPanda

    AngryPanda Well-Known Member

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    Well, they fixed it for Nomads, so basically the part that matters got fixed. I wish this would be a joke.
     
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  18. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    Nah, Imetrons are the same Netrods are, but for AVA in vanilla Aleph (3 Netrods, Vs 2 Imetrons all across the CA factions). CA but Better came from the Greeks Vs Morat, I'd say, and the posthumans being something related to the Ghost: Mnemonica.

    The problem here being that the "point system" is considered something akin to a state secret, so it's impossible to provide any kind of improvement when the "formula" is secret and then manually tweaked.

    OSS is boring, if you have more than one faction. The Dakini Fireteam is the only "unique" thing it has, and you invest 6 slots there (because the apsaras). The reason OSS feels powerful are the Posthumans and some elite troops like Dart... And the "comparative" advantage of being one of the only two factions able to field 2w non-heavy infantry inmunne to Isolation, something that has increased in value because now almost every faction has E/M weapons and Jammer presence has triplicated.

    I feel like before they were too expensive. Limited Insertion compensated that, but then the new wave of sectorials (post-Uprising) came loaded with E/M and/or Isolation-capable gear, so their comparative value went down again.

    Personally, I would change HI to lose WIP all along the board on those HI that are not Elite (like Hsien, Asura, etc...), but get BTS and ARM in exchange, and a tinbot. Reducing PH is a cheap, unrealistic way to optimize: the POWER armor improves their physical performance!!!
    Sure, the HI troops will lose performance in the "grab objectives" and "use technical stuff" department, but this creates a niche for HI Specialists, less shooty but more WIP-capable, also providing a reason to make mixed fireteams with MI and LI: The HI are the hitters, or the multipurpose.

    As for the ARM value, I *feel* that a value of 5 is a minimum for basic HI, with 4 being the minimum for discount HI. This goes up to 8-7 in cover, which is something you need to look for always.

    As for the points system, it needs a revision, of course, since by changing the meta introducing new weapons and spreading old ones (the SMG being an example of the former, which I think it needs its damage dropped to 12 at least, and the Jammers/ EM templates being an example of the latter), the value of each defensive measure changes.
     
  19. Mahtamori

    Mahtamori Well-Known Member

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    @xagroth why would Zuyong, Mobile Brigada, Riot Grrls, Suryats, Wu Ming, Kriza, Yan Huo, Moblits, Mormaer, etc have lower WIP than Alguaciles, Zhanshi, Morat Vanguards, Metros, etc? The one outlier I can find is the oddly low WIP of Minutemen, but otherwise HI seem to share WIP with their host faction's basic Light Infantry.
    (Pan-O knights and ISS agents don't, but they are also elite)

    There isn't any points to save here and only the implication that HI makes you weak-willed, however I can see MI having an overall quirk of having unusually high WIP be a thing (Tigers lead the way!)
     
  20. xagroth

    xagroth Mournful Echo

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    You are equating automatically WIP value to intelligence/will, instead of the abstraction of a mix of intelligence, training and specialized gear.

    Look at it this way: we are reasonably sure 1 WIP costs as much as 1 BS, in terms of points cost. We also know that PanO troops are not much more drilled or turned into better shooters than other factions, it's in part thanks to aiming aids.
    So we can assume star assuming that light infantry has a wider array of gear they can access to (can change gear on the fly), while the HI deployed in Infinity is taken for specific roles (needs some maintenance with gear to change modules), and are geared for it: less interaction that does not involve shooting or resisting BTS/hacking attacks. Also, if you are trained as a soldier, you are not trained to perform a lot of actions (please remember units like Alguaciles, Moderators and Securitate are *police* units, while haqquislam tries to educate as many people as possible, etc...); plus it's less realistic to think about someone able to shoot around and at the same time keep an eye on the infoware sphere.

    Why is this so? First, unless you are on a really adverse place, you don't need your experts to be heavily armored, armed and trained: you send "grunts" to secure the zone, and then send the experts, or if the experts need to be there while the zone is not totally secure, you send them with escorts.
    Also, this would point to armor with less multipurpose/modularity options, while LI can be familiarized with a wider array of gear, since changing from one to another means grab a different bag.

    Finally, it's a simple choice of "one stat needs to be sacrificed" to try to lower the cost of the HI troops. The only one that can go down, and have a measurable impact, is WIP: CC is needed, not as much as BS, but all soldiers go through basic hand to hand; PH needs to be high since we are talking about armor that improves phisical performance, wounds 2+ define HI, etc...

    And, I already mentioned that this would open the door to HI specialists, that would be another unit but able to link with the main one, so you won't be paying WIP 14 on 3 Hospitalers that are there only to shoot, only on the "Hospitaler Medic". And the reduced WP gets compensated with some extra BTS (less chance to Reset, but more chance to ignore the attack).
     
    #160 xagroth, Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019