Author Topic: Buff the Junker  (Read 12898 times)

Offline Captain Smollett

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Buff the Junker
« on: March 12, 2013, 02:22:07 am »
So I've brought up improving the junker casually to players over the past few months, and it seems that there are pretty divided opinions on the strength of the Junker.  However after substantial flight time in all ships, I've come to the conclusion that the Junker; though certainly not terrible, doesn't stand out enough in any role or contain superiority in any capability to truly be a competitive ship. 

Now if you'll please forgive me for the wall of text, allow me to present my case.

Junker strengths:

Small hull area - The Junker has the second smallest hull in the game, making the slender profile tough to hit at range for gunners not accustomed to the projectile drop of their weapons.

Good Armor - Though only slightly greater than the Pyramidion, at 700, the Junker has the second highest armor in the game

Weaponry - The Junker has 5 light weapons, one more than the Pyra and second only to the Galleon in overall weapon mounts

Blind spots - As far as weapon blind spots go, due to the large number of guns and the short hull, the Junker has one of the smallest, with only a small area behind the ship that isn't in fire arc of a gun.

The trifecta - This is the single greatest advantage of the junker.  With a very well crewed and piloted ship loaded with wide swinging weapons, the Junker can get three light weapons on target.  This however can be very risky since you'll either be taking a man off the helm or the hull, either of which can quickly prove fatal to a Junker.

Large balloon - With a large balloon and a small hull, a crafty pilot can drop below his opponent in close quarters to block potentially fatal shots from shattering him to pieces

Junker weaknesses:

Large balloon - The Junker has a giant balloon.  Any time I'm gunning against a Junker with a carronade or lumberjack, a smile quickly comes to my lips.  The giant target ensures that my opponent will spend the entire match without an inflated balloon.  Furthermore, that small hull beneath the large balloon makes it really difficult for the Junker to shoot at targets above it.  The Junker is too slow to run away, and incapable of shooting up at something close by and above it.  Unless their teammate saves them, the Junker will have a hell of a time escaping a balloon popping death.

Hull health - The Junker only has 500 hull?!  This is the least in the game.  This means that if the armor goes down, which inevitably happens in any fight, the Junker only needs to be sneezed at to die.  For example, a charged heavy flak shot will nearly one shot a Junker without armor.  Furthermore, since the Junker has 700 armor, it takes longer for it to be rebuilt, making the probability of it's demise even greater.

Junker speed - The Junker is the slowest ship in the game.  This really can make a huge difference in a fight.  When capping points, or rejoining a fight after a death (something that happens often in a Junker) seconds can mean the difference between saving a teammate or arriving just after his death into a two on one.

Difficult to crew - I will never take a junker into combat with an AI engineer.  Never.  For a ship with a small hull, the components are spread out everywhere.  To even have a chance against a skilled opponent requires some really high level crew tricks including maintaining the hull from the front ramp of the ship, and the captain maintaining his own balloon.  God forbid the turning engines break.  Since you can't ever afford to have someone off the hull (500 hull health...) you'll need you're gungineer or captain to go up and fix them.  This either leaves you a gun down, or no one to turn the ship to bring weapons to bear on your opponent for quite a while, keeping the Junker debilitated far longer than other ships.

Difficult to crew - This is worth mentioning twice, since I spend the beginning of most of my Junker matches training players (even experienced ones) the ins and outs.  This still doesn't always keep my engineers off all the shiny guns, and in position.  Successful flying of the Junker requires constant and complicated crew movements, which in the heat of combat often fall apart, leaving guns unmanned or even more commonly our fragile hull not being looked after.

Broadside weapon mounts - This is probably the biggest weakness of the Junker.  Though it might not seem to be a large disadvantage having the primary weapons on the broadside of the ship, it makes a huge difference in combat.  This is due to the fact that a ship with forward facing weapons is able to dictate the range at which combat takes place.  Every weapon has its optimal range.  When sparring in a ship like a Pyra, you can keep your guns in a more favorable range than your opponents, you can skirt at the edge of combat to initiate, close in to increase accuracy if you gain an advantage, or increase distance if it seems your opponent has gotten the upper hand.  Furthermore you can fly into a fight guns blazing and run away with your bullets flying and generally travel to any location while keeping your opponent under fire.  The Junker however can only fire one light weapon at an opponent when traveling, furthermore when engaged in a broadside engagement you cannot flee.  The Junker is far to slow to go anywhere, and if it turns to move, it will lose half of its firepower.  You're more or less forced to duke it out, on an opponents terms and range, against ships with equal or greater firepower, and greater health; likely leading to that wimpy hull exploding.  The other disadvantage of engaging in a broadside engagement is that it exposes your engines.  When facing against a manticore in most ships, I can confidently eat a volley or two head on, knowing that at worst I'll lose my guns and some armor, however the Junker, due to the small hull, large balloon and broadside engagement. will be completely disabled, losing all engines, guns and eventually even the balloon from the weapons AOE.

Ship to ship comparisons - A junker fairs pretty well against a squid, a goldfish is too different to really be compared and anything can kill a Spire, however I think the case for buffing the Junker really can be made by comparing it to two of the most popular ships; the Galleon and the Pyramidion.

Junker vs Galleon - When it comes down to it, these are similar ships in concept, both with high armor, and a lot of guns on the broadsides, but the Junker is outmatched in almost every way.  The Galleon is faster, has more guns, has bigger guns, is easier to engineer, has more armor and more hull.  The Galleon excels at ranged combat, and the Junker is extremely poor at closing in on an opponent.  In a one on one engagement, the Galleon simply needs to point and shoot.  It will destroy the Junker often before it is in range to fight.  The Junker's best chance is to engage at mercury range, however the galleon can simply bring it's own mercury.  If it's brought a lumberjack as well, the Junker will not be mercing for long.  If the Junker manages to close, it's likely to find itself in the aforementioned manticore death.

Junker vs Pyramidion - This I think is the ultimate argument for why the Junker needs to be buffed.  Though both ships are designed to fight with two light weapons firing at an opponent, the Pyramidion in my opinion, is superior in almost every way.  The Pyramidion only has a hair less armor than the Junker at 650 however it has 800 hull.  The Pyra is significantly faster.  The Pyra has an armored balloon, difficult to hit head on.  The Pyra is easy to engineer, with it's protected engines nearby the hull all being able to be repaired in seconds and it's balloon a quick turn away from a secondary engineer.  The Pyra has two forward facing guns and two broadside guns giving it a wide range of combat options.  The Pyra excels at ramming with it's hardy hull and forward facing weapons while the Junker excels at dying to rams.  All this taken into consideration, an equally crewed Pyra and Junker is a huge mismatch.  If a Pyra charges head on at a Junker, and both crews hit all their shots and make all their repairs.  The Pyra will win simply due to having greater health, this is ridiculous considering all of its other advantages.

The Junker is capable of filling a few roles relatively well.  It can bring a variety of weapons with each side purposed for different types of combat but a Pyra and a Galleon can do it better. It can snipe, but a Galleon and a Pyra do it better.  It can bring 3 guns to bear, but a Galleon does it much better.  It can tank, but a Pyra and a Galleon do it better.  The Junker may have a small hull but when facing broadside, the target is about the same size as a the bow of a Pyra.

Now, I know what you're going to say.  "I fly a Junker all the time and I dominate with it."  This I'm sure is true. I consider myself a capable captain, and I've killed every ship and every level of pilot with a Junker. However at the end of the day you really have to ask yourself, why not just bring a Pyra/Galleon, because, although capable, there is nothing that a Junker is superior at.  If you watched the Fjords tournament, you likely saw a lot of Pyras, Goldfish and Galleons in use.  I'd love to see the day when every ship is considered competitive and high level play includes every ship in use equally.

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So that's my argument, here's my proposal:

Increase speed and maneuverability - As a small ship, the Junker should be faster than the Galleon and have quick acceleration.  Give it at least a 25% boost to speed and acceleration so it can quickly join the fight and have a chance at pursuing fleeing opponents.

Increase it's hull  - The Junker is a broadside fighting ship.  It can't choose it's engagements  so it needs to be able to tank in order to at least have a chance to win the ones it's in.  Option A - Increase armor by 100 and increase hull by 200.  This will make the Junker at least have a fighting chance in a 1v1 against a Pyra giving it 800/700 vs the Pyras 650/800.  Option B - This I think is the more interesting option but a bit tougher to balance.  Make the Junker the reverse Goldfish by keeping it's hull low but giving it plus 250 Armor.  The Junker would then have 950/500 making it important for opponents to keep fire focused on the Junker so that it doesn't simply repair and return unscathed.  It would still be a quick kill without armor though and would make the game really interesting tactically since a team may be forced to make a decision between taking more armor breaking weapons to kill the Junker or more explosive weapons to kill it's teammate.

If you've made it this far into this post, let me sincerely thank you for reading it, since a lot of thought and time went into it.

I encourage you to please comment on this.  I know we have a lot of active forum members with strong and informed opinions and I'd honestly like to hear all of them.  I don't claim to know everything there is about the Junker and I'd love to hear some other opinions on this matter.



Offline Helmic

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2013, 02:51:56 am »
Don't forget that the Pyramidion can bring all three guns to bear better than the Junker too.   You don't even have to move your main engineer too far away from the hull, just turn around and whack it during reloads.  It even gives you a smaller profile for your opponent to retaliate with, sparing your enginers should a Hwacha volley get off.  It's my favorite way of dealing with Galleons, get close above and behind them and let loose.

I can't disagree about its lack of purpose, it's always seemed like an inferior Galleon to me.  I can't really speak for the specific recommendations, but I can certainly agree that it needs something more to make it stand out.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 02:56:17 am by Helmic »

Offline Lord Dick Tim

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 02:58:06 am »
First and foremost, you get a salute for this post.  The Junker is my favorite ship, it is the Cloud Whaler, yet I rarely get an opportunity to fly her.

I agree, something needs doing about the Junker, and I like all the ideas that you have presented.  I'm unsure how the suggested changes would effect the greater meta, I'd have to do some deep thinking and consider rates of fire, repair times, ect ect. 

One thing I am sure about is the meta changes dramatically depending on the kind of match thats being played, 2v2 3v3 or 4v4.  In a 3v3 the target rich enviroment and multible threats from all angles makes a Junker a power house and can quickly be the Grim Reaper of a battlefield, shredding armor and hulls as it wades into combat.  But in 2v2, the odds are really stacked against it's survivability.  I doubt we will even see one being used in the Cogs unless it is as a full merc long range support, but as stated, the Pyramidion can do this better.

Offline Helmic

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2013, 03:04:34 am »
First and foremost, you get a salute for this post.  The Junker is my favorite ship, it is the Cloud Whaler, yet I rarely get an opportunity to fly her.

I agree, something needs doing about the Junker, and I like all the ideas that you have presented.  I'm unsure how the suggested changes would effect the greater meta, I'd have to do some deep thinking and consider rates of fire, repair times, ect ect. 

One thing I am sure about is the meta changes dramatically depending on the kind of match thats being played, 2v2 3v3 or 4v4.  In a 3v3 the target rich enviroment and multible threats from all angles makes a Junker a power house and can quickly be the Grim Reaper of a battlefield, shredding armor and hulls as it wades into combat.  But in 2v2, the odds are really stacked against it's survivability.  I doubt we will even see one being used in the Cogs unless it is as a full merc long range support, but as stated, the Pyramidion can do this better.

I don't get an opportunity to play 3v3 that much, but how exactly does that work to the Junker's strengths in a way that you can't do with a Galleon?  I've had five of six guns blaring on a Galleon before for some crazy burst and disable, and while there is more variety in the light weapons they're generally weaker.  I can't imagine their better weapon arcs can overcome the Galleon's superior speed and sheer firepower.

Offline Lord Dick Tim

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2013, 03:14:02 am »
Turning believe it or not, it's about the turning.  The Galleon is just easier to avoid in this situaiton, or to put another target between you and it.  It's size makes it an always visible target on the battlefield that can rarely suprise or ambush.  The Junker still has this to its strength.
Perhaps it is really just me, but I find the Junker in a 3v3, with the wider guns arcs and smaller profile, a much more dangerous ship then in 2v2.

Offline Pickle

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 04:39:15 am »
The Junker is a average-poor close quarters ship in the hands of the average player, but by far the best long-range sniper platform of any ship in the game (double Mercs having a far greater range and accuracy than the Heavy Flak broadside of a Galleon).  In theory, the Pyra should be the equal as a sniper platform but the Junker has a better layout for crewing. See the Junker Fight Club thread for how this works if you've not tried using the Junker this way.

The Junker does work well with an AI crew, it's far superior to the Pyra in this respect - the Pyra having the worst layout for AI.  On a short-handed match with AI crews I'd take either the Junker or a Goldfish over the other ships.  The AI crew is particularly good on the Junker when maneouvering with Hydrogen and Chute Vent at close quarters.  If you want to take a Junker into the heat of the battle, these two tools are essential.

In an average match the only ship that causes me concern when flying a Junker is the Pyra due to it's speed and forward facing guns, I know that against average crews I can take out any ship on the map with the Junker if my opponents allow me to play the match to my own terms.  In a premier team match, the Junker still has it's place but you need a coordinated team that matches the skills of the opposition.

There was a discussion on the old forum about buffing the Junker, and I think my choice remains the same - if the Junker gets a buff my preference is for a speed buff to match the speed of the Galleon.  If not speed, then a minor arnour buff.


There are some comments in the opening post that don't make sense to me.. the one about armour/hull health.  It doesn't matter how long it takes to repair the armour, as long as there is some armour it's protecting the hull.  The comment about Junker vs. Galleon and range, the Mercury has the longest effective range of any weapon, and the Junker can bear two onto a target whilst the Galleon can bear one.  It's not unusual to be in a long-range match with a Galleon with their Heavy Flaks bursting black smoke 50 yards short of your Junker, whilst you're scoring effective hits against specific components on the Galleon.  A Junker can close on a Galleon with the front gun bearing on the target, whilst a Galleon cannot close whilst training a gun onto target, except at very oblique angles of approach.

I've introduced several players to the Junker as a long-range sniper after it was introduced to me, and about half are struck by how effective it is and stick with it for several matches.  Admittedly it's most effective against Captains that don't appreciate it in that role and are left three map squares away wondering, "WTF is happening to my armour/hull?"  Any sensible opposing team will get together and rush a long-range Junker, trying for a 2v1 CQB where the sniper Junker is vulnerable without team support.



----
The Gameplay sedction of the GOIO website still describes the Junker as having a stern-chaser light mount to deter pursuers.  That would be an even better buff than either speed or armour.

Offline N-Sunderland

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 09:22:40 am »
The Gameplay sedction of the GOIO website still describes the Junker as having a stern-chaser light mount to deter pursuers.  That would be an even better buff than either speed or armour.

That would actually help a lot when countering carronade Squids.

Offline Jinrai

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 12:41:15 pm »
I agree completely with this post, I think the Junker would be way more viable with some extra speed/manouverability.
Saluted OP for the carefully constructed theory he layed down here. Agree with Hubert on the fact that the Junker has more extreme range
potentiality than the Galleon, but the Galleon has the advantage on long/mid range.
Never thought of a mercury setup on a Junker, I'm certainly going to try that out soon.

Thanks for this great discussion :)

Offline Cpt. Yami

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 01:17:27 pm »
I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Junker was the first ship I ever flew, and it has been my favourite ship since the beta. That being said, it does suck compared to other ships.

The main reason being the fact they swapped the hull and armor around. It used to have 700 hull and 500 armor, but they swapped it for some reason and it has suffered ever since. Having 700 armor really isn´t that much since the tradeoff is having a weaker hull on a ship which isn´t that impressively fast compared to others. Let´s take for example a junker facing a galleon. In most instances other ships would have the speed needed to fully or partially dodge a dual flak broadside, giving your engineer(s) ample time to rebuild the hull. The junker however does not. Once its hull is down, you better have either hydrogen of chute vent equipped, because that is the only way to survive the oncoming onslaught. 700 armor goes down in 3 seconds because every decent captain will have atleast 1 light flak or other explosive dmg weapon aboard his-her ship. Any ship, not just the galleon as I used as an example. And I have used double merc loadout before, and it does work IF you have either people who can use them. Not necessarily though, AI are good shots too. But in 2v2 and 3v3 a duo merc loadout only works effective if you're flying with some capable allies. Else you'll just sit by the sidelines taking potshots at enemy airships which are anihilating your friends. And I doubt that Muse intended this ship just to be a sniper platform.

Offline Captain Smollett

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 02:25:01 pm »
First and foremost thank you to everyone for reading and replying to this.  It's always good to hear from the community.

The Junker is a average-poor close quarters ship in the hands of the average player, but by far the best long-range sniper platform of any ship in the game (double Mercs having a far greater range and accuracy than the Heavy Flak broadside of a Galleon).  In theory, the Pyra should be the equal as a sniper platform but the Junker has a better layout for crewing. See the Junker Fight Club thread for how this works if you've not tried using the Junker this way.


The Junker does work well with an AI crew, it's far superior to the Pyra in this respect - the Pyra having the worst layout for AI.  On a short-handed match with AI crews I'd take either the Junker or a Goldfish over the other ships.  The AI crew is particularly good on the Junker when maneouvering with Hydrogen and Chute Vent at close quarters.  If you want to take a Junker into the heat of the battle, these two tools are essential.

In an average match the only ship that causes me concern when flying a Junker is the Pyra due to it's speed and forward facing guns, I know that against average crews I can take out any ship on the map with the Junker if my opponents allow me to play the match to my own terms.  In a premier team match, the Junker still has it's place but you need a coordinated team that matches the skills of the opposition.

There was a discussion on the old forum about buffing the Junker, and I think my choice remains the same - if the Junker gets a buff my preference is for a speed buff to match the speed of the Galleon.  If not speed, then a minor arnour buff.


There are some comments in the opening post that don't make sense to me.. the one about armour/hull health.  It doesn't matter how long it takes to repair the armour, as long as there is some armour it's protecting the hull.  The comment about Junker vs. Galleon and range, the Mercury has the longest effective range of any weapon, and the Junker can bear two onto a target whilst the Galleon can bear one.  It's not unusual to be in a long-range match with a Galleon with their Heavy Flaks bursting black smoke 50 yards short of your Junker, whilst you're scoring effective hits against specific components on the Galleon.  A Junker can close on a Galleon with the front gun bearing on the target, whilst a Galleon cannot close whilst training a gun onto target, except at very oblique angles of approach.

I've introduced several players to the Junker as a long-range sniper after it was introduced to me, and about half are struck by how effective it is and stick with it for several matches.  Admittedly it's most effective against Captains that don't appreciate it in that role and are left three map squares away wondering, "WTF is happening to my armour/hull?"  Any sensible opposing team will get together and rush a long-range Junker, trying for a 2v1 CQB where the sniper Junker is vulnerable without team support.



----


Hubert, while I agree with you that the Junker makes a good sniping platform. I truly believe that the Pyra is superior at this role.  Duel merc on the front of a Pyra allow much more versatility in combat.  If an enemy approaches the Pyra, it can back peddle keeping the enemy out of range.  If the enemy closes, the Pyra can fly forward, pass the enemy and then fly backwards to its teammate all while maintaining fire and positional advantage.  A Junker can't reposition and is forced to make a turn and try to duke it out. 

I suppose I should clarify my statement on not taking an AI crew on the Junker.  I'll almost never take any ship into combat without at least one main engineer.  But with a Junker I won't take it into combat without two.  The reason for this is that on a Pyra, Galleon, Goldfish etc, one human can do a significant amount of engineering on their own and the AI does a good job running around where that human isn't.  On a Junker however the human has to stay on the hull and the AI get's a bit lost.  It will climb all the way to the top to fix the balloon and go all the way to the bottom of the junker to fix the rear engine.  This means that frequently the AI isn't even in the part of the ship you need them to be in at all.  On a Pyra I just set them to gun and flip on F3 every time I need them to hit the balloon, then switch them right back.  Furthermore with so many guns on a Junker both enemies are often within arc.  It's really difficult to get the AI to shoot at the one you want when on a Junker.  Other ships you just turn your ship out of arc of the second opponent.

As far as armor times, I'm specifically talking about rebuild time.  When armor breaks it takes different amounts of time to rebuild depending on the overall max armor.  For example a squid takes about 3 seconds to rebuild and a goldfish takes about 4.  The higher the max armor the longer the rebuild.

As far as a sniping match against a galleon goes, it's true that you'll outmatch a galleon with just Flaks over really long range however the Medium sniper weapon is the Lumberjack, not the Flak.  A good gunner can hit clear across the map with a Lumberjack.  For proof of this watch the second Paddling vs Gentlemen match on the Fjords.  The Gentlemen hit the very first Lumberjack shot clear across the map hitting squash as soon as the match began.  The Junker is far more susceptible to this than the Pyra due to its significantly larger balloon.

Anyways thanks again for the replies.  I'd love to hear from even more of the community on this issue.   Maybe this will gain enough prominence for Muse to see it and perhaps eventually buff the Junker into competitive use.

Offline RearAdmiralZill

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 02:32:38 pm »
If im not mistaken, the Hull/Armor values changed with 1.1.4, as well as the speed. (I could be wrong though and need to look at numbers again.) It used to be 200/800 and now its 400/700, which is technically a buff. I was also under the impression that the Spire was slower than a Junker. Apart from the blueprints, I dont really look that hard into numbers and go by "feel."

Aside from all that, here are some things that I keep in mind with my Junker.

1. If the armor breaks, you are 95% going to die, and that is usually because of the hull placement vs where your closest engie is.

2. Putting mercs on anything but the front mount is wrong, in my opinion. The arc is way small, so flanking it is pretty simple to do. The only reason i think it works is that people ignore it too long and your teammate nabs the kill while the armor is breaking. Again, opinion.

3. Its a tank. Yes, your guns break like they are made of chinese metal, but if you have an engie camping the hull and the pilot is keeping good eyes on his balloon, you can work through the damage you are going to take. I always plan for my junker to have no guns or engines working after a fight. But i'll still be alive, tanking dps.

These are just from my experiences. Its honestly hard to say what a Junker needs. I think its the design that holds it back from being a "meta" ship. Its a jack of all trades kind of experience thats never going to be the "best" at one thing. Buffing it too much could lead to it turning into this monster of a thing that is "best" at everything. Ive done some crazy stuff with the current Junker too.

Offline Sgt. Spoon

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 02:41:47 pm »
Fun fact: The Junker was the first ship to be overpowered in GoIO
The more you know~

Offline Squash

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 05:58:56 pm »
An intelligent buff would be improving number values, making the junker faster, and/or improving its permahull. In the spirit of the junker i'd think the permahull should be upgraded rather than the armor.

A silly buff that I think would be great would be decreasing its hull armour but radically increasing its permahull to have more than the galleon. I think it'd be a significant buff and would work well with the Junker character.

A really terrible idea buff which I would love is changing its gun layout. Why should it be symmetrical? It's a Junker. What if you replaced the two light guns on the right side with a single medium gun?

Offline Sgt. Spoon

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2013, 06:26:54 pm »
A really terrible idea buff which I would love is changing its gun layout. Why should it be symmetrical? It's a Junker. What if you replaced the two light guns on the right side with a single medium gun?

why does that idea sound so cool

Offline N-Sunderland

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Re: Buff the Junker
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2013, 06:29:38 pm »
A really terrible idea buff which I would love is changing its gun layout. Why should it be symmetrical? It's a Junker. What if you replaced the two light guns on the right side with a single medium gun?

why does that idea sound so cool

It'd look ridiculously grotesque. Maybe you should do one of your famous Photoshops to show us how it would look :P