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Messages - Nikola Brackman

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Feedback and Suggestions / Re: Slot Locking
« on: August 31, 2017, 09:15:28 am »
To put my serious hat on for a bit:

I understand of course that "just play alliance" is probably not a good solution for anyone in this thread, because you all specifically want to blow each other out of the sky and you can't do that if you're all on the same team.

However, I think it is a good solution for new players.  When there are only 60 people online total, there's no way you'll get eight people together for a newbie lobby without someone having a surplus of vets.  But alliance can be played with just 4 people, and they can choose an opponent appropriate for their skill level.  It's the perfect training ground.  The difficulty levels even provide a limited metric for development: someone who can only handle Normal is probably not ready for PvP.

Feedback and Suggestions / Re: Slot Locking
« on: August 30, 2017, 07:34:16 am »
Clearly the answer is to play Alliance.  The lobby can't be stacked if there is only one team. :p

Gameplay / Re: The Meta is dead, long live the Meta.
« on: July 03, 2017, 02:00:05 pm »
Interesting, definitely shuffles ammo priorities around a bit.  Charged is definitely going to unseat Burst as the go-to gatling gun ammo at medium range, both because Burst no longer gives it that magazine extension and because even a little bit of range extension helps it interact with light flak better.

I think Greased might still be a top-tier DPS ammo on the Aten and Accelerator, since those two guns are likely to be unaffected by the jitter multiplier and already effectively ignored the speed penalty.  They will continue to enjoy the DPS boost with no downside.  Which is probably a good thing, in a lot of situations those two guns really need that 60% RoF boost to be useful at all.

However, its use on the Banshee and Nemesis is now dead: both of those guns already have pretty noticeable spread, and certainly can't afford 90% more.  Those two will probably want to use extended magazine when it comes out, until then it's between burst (since they do have some AoE worth considering) and charged (both would benefit from the slight jitter reduction).

The changes are quite interesting for Hwatchas.  Burst is no longer the king of Hwatcha ammo: while it does still massively boost its disable power, because its AoE is shatter damage it no longer appreciably improves its killing power.  Likely a tossup between Greased and Charged for killing, I'd give an edge to Charged due to Greased only working at absolutely point-blank range.  The important takeaway for the Hwatcha is this: you now have to choose between boosting disabling and killing, you can't boost both at the same time.

Charged is likely to unseat burst as the preferred light mortar ammo.  While the mortar does have a fair share of its damage in AoE, 25% of the whole thing is more than 10% of half.  The magazine penalty on charged will likely make the damage a closer call, but the real thing that tilts the decision in favor of Charged is the slight range extension that allows the mortar to start firing earlier.  However, extended magazine may be a strong contender when it comes out.

Q&A / Suggested Ammo for Heavy Accelerator and Nemesis
« on: June 09, 2017, 03:55:57 pm »
I've been testing out the Heavy Accelerator and Nemesis to determine good ammo types to use on them, and would like to see what experience other people have had with them.

What I have seen so far:

On the Heavy Accelerator:

Greased is good on the Accelerator because it improves your charging just enough (from 12s to ~7s, timed on a wristwatch) that you can get a follow-up shot in before a mallet cooldown finishes, and it still does a bit more damage than a mallet can repair, allowing you to two-shot some ships despite repair attempts.

Lochnegar can be good on the Accelerator because it has just enough HP to survive self-damage, is off repair cooldown by the time it can fire again, and usually one-shots armor with the 125% damage boost.  The slower turning can be difficult to deal with if a target is evading or your own pilot is moving erratically, though.

Charged is situational: against weaker ships it can give you just enough of a push to one-shot their armor, but if it fails the target will have more than enough time to repair all the damage you did.

Burst is situational/an oddball.  Can swat planes and allow you to use the rail as an improvised disable, but definitely sacrifices killing power due to how it affects the charge mechanic.

Heavy is useless, because the Accelerator has no appreciable jitter in the first place.

Lesmok is useless, the accelerator is already so fast the bonus isn't noticeable.

Incendiary is of questionable value.  While the accelerator can hit many targets at once, it's not nearly fast enough to refresh the stacks.

Heat sink is heat sink.

On the Nemesis:

Greased can be somewhat favorable because it speeds up the gun's slow rate of fire and takes advantage of its fairly quick reload, but the projectile velocity reduction can be pretty noticeable.

Charged aggravates its already low rate of fire,  but it can still fire a volley of three within one repair cycle so it's pretty punchy.  Potentially good.

Lochnegar is situational.  Very punchy if you double-tap someone with it, but it damages itself faster than it can be repaired so in a sustained fight, repair-breaks will be necessary.

Burst has similar problems to charged, but the Nemesis already has pretty good disable power and burst can definitely help it lock down a whole ship.

Heavy has some potential value as a range extension, since the Nemesis' jitter is similar to the Banshee (looks a bit smaller to me, but close).

Lesmok competes with Heavy as a range extension, since the Nemesis' slow projectile definitely benefits from a speed boost.

Incendiary is questionable.  A full volley might be able to set quite a few fire stacks, but burst is probably the better disable option since that will just immediately break stuff.

Heat sink is heat sink.

That's my opinions on how those two guns interact with ammo types, and overall I do like the feel of them.  Their personalities show up quite a bit in their ammo types too: the Accelerator is very much a specialist gun that does one job well, while the Nemesis feels like a nice jack-of-all-trades.  Anyone else have something to say about them?

One thing I'd like to address: the idea that the Alliance weapons are being nerfed, or should be nerfed, to fit in to PvP.

Now, I can't really say for sure if it actually is the reason for the nerfs because I don't know what Muse's angle is there.  But I can address whether they *should* be.  The answer, in my opinion, is no.

Why?  Because we already have a basis for comparing the two modes in the PvP weapons that were brought into Alliance.  With the exception of some utility/disable weapons (flare, harpoon, flamethrower)  all of the PvP weapons have proven to be quite viable or even strong in Alliance.  Gat-Flak/Gat-Mortar is a dominant meta in Alliance.  Some weapons, particularly the Mercury and the Banshee, are actually stronger in PvE than they are in PvP because the lower enemy health pushes them past a critical threshold where they can do their job in one magazine.

So, if a gun brought from PvP performs just as well or better in PvE, then what is the expected outcome if a gun is made weak in PvE and then brought to PvP?  Well, it'll probably be underpowered in PvP too.  We can conclude this from observation.

I think what's making the Aten difficult to balance is a different factor: its damage type combined with its firing profile.  As we all know, Muse doesn't like us boating a single gun.  They have gone out of their way to nerf one-gun boats into the ground before.  Unfortunately, the Aten is pretty much only viable as a boating weapon in its current form.

It's a long-range hitscan weapon that does fire/fire, a jack-of-all-trades damage type that damages all components just about equally, and doesn't pair particularly well with any other damage type.  Its range bracket also doesn't pair particularly well with other weapons, since it significantly out-ranges even the Mercury.  The only weapon the Aten synergizes with is itself.

So in its current form, it's a weapon that is pretty much entirely designed for a playstyle that runs counter to Muse's design philosophy.  The Aten pretty much cannot be allowed to be viable with that design, whether PvE or PvP.  Because this game purposefully discourages boating, and the Aten is a pure boating weapon.

I think a good way to correct that situation would be to change the Aten to fire/explosive.  This would focus its role a little bit more on breaking hull, allowing it to pair with the Mercury (and when it's released, the cavitation gun).  The lower overall armor/balloon multiplier would allow the Aten to have a higher base damage so that it can at least be good at one thing.

Although if the Aten was going to be designed to pair with the Mercury, they'd probably have to buff/un-nerf its firing arc.  Otherwise, most ships may not be able to put an Aten and a Mercury on the same target.

Of course, technically just accepting that the Aten is a boating weapon and letting it be good at that is an option too, but based on this game's history it doesn't seem to be an option that Muse is likely to take.

Feedback and Suggestions / Re: Alliance gun balance idea
« on: April 20, 2017, 10:37:04 am »
I think the main reason Alliance weapons have such low damage is that they are all fairly long-ranged and easy to use, two factors I've generally seen Muse treat as being in opposition to damage.  After all, two of them are hitscan, one is guided, and the fourth has a fairly flat trajectory and huge AoE. 

However, it's a philosophy I've noticed they have a hard time applying as illustrated by the history of the Mercury field gun, which has ranged from hilariously OP to utter garbage in the past, before settling in its current state where they pulled in the range and severely limited its firing arcs to allow it to do decent damage.  An example of the opposite are gatling and mortar, which do tons of damage.

That said, the lightning gun was recently buffed and is now quite amusimg with loch and crowbar (because it only has one shot anyway).  I suspect most of the Alliance guns will be going through a balance rollercoaster just like the Field Gun did.

Most of the Alliance weapons seem to be in a good place against normal ships though, they only run into problems with the boss (and honestly so does the Mercury), and there only with the armor.  Though the lens array is a little bit over-nerfed and could stand to have its max damage raised a bit, since with the arc nerf no ship can focus three of them.  In fact I've generally found that any weapon balanced for PvP does fine in PvE if you exclude the boss, even carronades (blenderfish is quite effective against non-boss ships).  It just might end up being a given that you need at least one gatling on your team specifically to crack boss armor.

Q&A / Re: Do tar-clouds (and incidentally, gas mortar rounds) stack?
« on: April 07, 2017, 10:20:40 pm »
If I remember right, burst affects the damage field but not the visual effect.  So firing a burst gas cloud means it can hit ships that are not visibly in the cloud.

I'd expect loch to do the same thing: the visual effect will remain the same size, but the damage zone will only be the inner 50%.

Mercantile is the side that'll really get screwed when Arashi and Yesha are added.  From the looks of the map they're going to divide the Arashi desert along north and south... meaning every single faction in the game will share a border with Mercs. 

So Mercantile will be the only faction that can get stomped by a 5v1.  Chaledon only having to share borders with two factions (Mercs and Fjord) will have a huge geographical advantage.

Q&A / Re: Do tar-clouds (and incidentally, gas mortar rounds) stack?
« on: April 07, 2017, 10:46:14 am »
Interesting.  So if the clouds don't stack.... lochnagar gas for the win?  That way you only have one cloud, but it does 125% damage.

The -50% AoE would make it a lot harder to hit with though.  Incendiary gas is probably still the best option, to use it as a pure disable weapon rather than primary damage.  Burst can also be good for controlling a large area of course.

There does seem to be an odd disconnect between Chaledon's very low target numbers, which suggests a low pop, and their extremely high effort production which suggests the opposite.  Down south, Chaledon is often capable of pushing two to three fronts simultaneously faster than Mercantile can push one.

I guess it might be possible that they have some dedicated group of tryhards that are exploiting the bajeezus out of infiltration speedruns in a passworded faction-only lobby.  That method can allegedly crank out about 20k effort every 5 minutes or so with 16 people, and only one of them has to be particularly good (the squid pilot).  The squid crew only needs to be decent, and everyone else is just there for the free war effort.

Battles may end up coming down to which side can exploit that method the most ruthlessly, though that situation seems rather... anti-fun.

General Discussion / Re: Captain Centric Game Modes
« on: April 02, 2017, 10:19:23 am »
I actually have the opposite opinion of crew size, I would like a 5-6 man crew and feel like most of the ships are actually built for that range.  A slightly larger crew would make going gunner-heavy more viable too, since several gunners working together could bring enough repair capacity that the engineer mostly has to worry about fighting fires.  Though IMO a gungineer will still be superior to a gunner unless the class abilities make their way to skirmish.  Most loadouts just don't need three ammo types, especially when you can substitute charged rounds with the buff hammer.

I will agree though that any new game mode is 90% only relevant to the pilot.  The rest of the crew just does pretty much the same thing no matter which mode it is.  For the crew, new content is guns and ships.

Also I main engineer.  It is fun and you do get to use the guns if you're fast and know what you're doing.  Having an agreement with another engineer to divide the ship up helps: less running for more fixing, you won't interrupt each others' cooldowns, and on a lot of ships you'll each get a gun or two to yourselves.

Hmm... a somewhat weird idea, but what if we combined Engies and Gunners into a single "crew" class?  So basically there'd only be two classes: Pilot and Crew.  The Crew would have four equipment slots that they can fill with either ammo or engineering tools, would have all the stamina abilities of both engies and gunners (so they can sprint, force angles, and accelerate reloads), and would have access to all the non-Pilot cooldown abilities.

An individual crewmember would be able to specialize to their role using their loadout.  A gunner-style loadout would go heavy on ammo and bring an offensive cooldown like Cataclysm, an engie-style loadout would go heavy on tools and bring a defensive cooldown like Mechanized Reload.  Or someone could fit as a jack-of-all-trades, bringing two ammos and two tools.

Of course this would mean that with the exception of the Pilot being special, we effectively wouldn't have classes at all.  But it would address issues with getting people to switch classes, as well as situations like "I know you're a gunner, but you have a wrench and I need you to use it", or "I know you're an engineer, but you can still man guns so get on there".

Of course, maybe this is just crazy talk.  I can already see at least one issue would be a "gunner" bringing a buff hammer as his third ammo type, for example.  And it'd be hard to balance against other ammos because it stacks with them.

It would handily do away with the whole "everyone wants to be gunners, but everyone needs to be engies" thing though.

The Lounge / Re: Prove you're oldfag
« on: March 04, 2017, 10:01:50 am »
Hmm, random things I remember:

No cooldown on extinguishers/chem.

Pyra was new.

Spire was new.

Mercury breaking armor in one hit.

Loch heavy flak.

Squid flamethrower meta, heat-sink rounds being mandatory.

Carronade meta.

No matchmaker/Lobbies of Icarus.

The breif reign of the Lumberjack when it was released.

Banshee couldn't hit the broad side of a galleon.

Heavy clip being essential for light flak.

General Discussion / Re: Alliance hype thread
« on: March 03, 2017, 12:10:14 pm »
From what I've seen playing the betas, Alliance is looking good alright.  The latest iteration is much more enjoyable than last time, and scales to different group sizes noticeably better.  Definitely good signs heading toward release.

That scaling is especially important, because by scaling to group size, Alliance can solve what I consider the single largest problem Guns of Icarus faces: consistently finding appropriately challenging matches for you or your group.  If a group of four can just log in and know that they can go into Alliance for reliably fair but challenging matches, that'll significantly improve the overall experience.

It's definitely a difficult situation, after all there's only so much a matchmaker can do when you only have 200 people online at a time at most.  Even more so for PvP, where at a minimum you need two ships (eight people! well, or two pilots and six bots) to start a match.

However, for Alliance in particular I do think the matchmaker should be more aggressive about forming new lobbies, especially on Novice or Normal difficulties.  Novice and Normal are reasonably doable in a solo ship with a bot or two, so there you can get away with throwing someone into a new lobby first and finding crew for them later.  For the same reason, it should prioritize pilots when forming a new lobby so that they can just go ahead and launch with a bot crew.  A gunner/engie finding himself in a new lobby, if he's not confident in his ability to fly, might end up sitting around waiting for a pilot or going back into queue.  Get ships in the air, then fill them up.

Of course, when forming a new lobby it should make an attempt to pull several multiple pilots from the queue at once when possible so that it can form two-to-four ship lobbies most of the time.  Partially because Alliance generally does seem to be balanced around having two or more ships most of the time, and also because doing that will give the matchmaker more open slots to stuff gunners/engies into.

I expect Alliance will give you guys a lot more wiggle room when it comes to the matchmaker, because strictly speaking you can start a new game with just one guy as long as that guy is bringing a ship with him.  Of course, that means Alliance and Skirmish will have to use different algorithms, because the latter has to actually find an opponent...

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