Author Topic: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.  (Read 1011 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« on: September 20, 2016, 10:43:38 AM »
I'm sorry to bring that back, but I'm trying to figure out what the quadrangle classes are, because it appears I was wrong. For most of you, that might be clear, but for me it isn't. So please be indulgent.

Class STRIKER
Striker > Bomber, Blitzer
Striker < Archer
Ships in this class: Fighter, Raptor, Strafer (EJet/Plane).

Class BOMBER
Bomber > Archer
Bomber < Striker, Blitzer
Ships in this class: Bomber, Anti-Armor, MLRS.

Class ARCHER
Archer > Striker, Scary
Archer < Bomber, Blitzer
Ships in this class: Corvette (MFrigate), Laser Gatling, Crippler (MPod).

Class BLITZER
Blitzer > Archer, Bomber
Blitzer < Striker
Ships in this class: Parasite, Vampire Claw, Electric Shuttle, Infiltrator.


The Striker class and the Blitzer class seems to both have a "high speed" perk, which is highly confusing.
I don't understand why the Electric Shuttle and the MLRS are where they are.
I assume the new Laser Gatling and Crippler will have a long range.
The Blitzer has a bad "specialist dump" aspect.
Overall the Striker and Blitzer groups are poorly defined and separated, IMO.



And as I can't point at a problem without trying to solve it, here is my proposition.

I would remake the Striker and Blitzer groups as two different groups with different names and logic: Brawler and Assassin. (Brawler inherit the quadrangle position of Striker and the Assassin inherit the position of Blitzer.)

Class BRAWLER
Brawler > Bomber, Assassin
Brawler < Archer
Ships in this class: Fighter, Armor, MRLS, Electric Shuttle, Parasite, Viral Shredder.
"Loves being in the middle of the fight."

Features: Range and speed are low to medium; damage and health are medium to high.
Perks: armor, regeneration, "jacket", AoE, multi-target, etc.

Class ASSASSIN
Assassin > Archer, Bomber
Assassin < Brawler
Ships in this class: Raptor, Raider, Strafer, Infiltrator, Teleport BS.
"Dislikes fight, prefers backstab."

Features: High speed, fragile (low health).
Perks: cloaking, speed, FField-ignore, repulsion, tractor-paralysis-mines-immunity, etc.

I would put the vampire claw into the Assassin class because while it could be considered
A regenerative vampire would go into the brawler class, while a furtive vampire would go into the assassin class. Could a ship change class when it gains an upgrade? Probably not. Then there could be two "lines" of melee units: one is a Brawler and has access to vampirism, replication (viral shredders), etc, while the other has access to cloaking, speed, FField-ignore, etc.

The Assassin > Brawler is much clearer.
The Assassin > Archer > Brawler is much clearer.
The Brawler > Bomber is somewhat clearer.

While I'm at it, here are the features that Bomber and Archer should clearly define:
Archer: Long range, low speed, health low to medium.
Bomber: speed and range low to medium, big damage (but low RoF).



EDIT:
Here I'll stash my most refined proposal, just to find it easily for post-KS tests.

Brawler: "likes being in the fight"
(advantage against Bomber and Assassin)
- Speed
- Range
= Damage
+ Health
Perks: armor, AoE, regeneration, reclamation.
Ships: Fighter, Armor, Electric Shuttle, Parasite, Viral Shredder, Shield Bearer...

Archer: "damage from afar"
(advantage against Brawler and Scary)
- Speed
+ Range
= Damage
- Health
Perks: engine damage, drone-spawning.
Ships: Corvette (MFrigate), Laser Gatling, Crippler (MPod), Enclave Starship...

Bomber: "destroy target structure"
(advantage against Structure and Archer)
= Speed
- Range
+ Damage
- Health
Perks: Anti-armor, ??
Ships: Bomber, Anti-Armor, Siege Engine...

Assassin: "avoid the fight and backstab"
(advantage against Archer and Bomber)
+ Speed
= Range
- Damage
- Health
Perks: cloaking, evasion, teleportation, FField-ignore.
Ships: Raptor, Raider, Strafer, Infiltrator, Teleport BS.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 12:21:18 PM by Pumpkin »
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Offline x4000

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2016, 11:26:33 AM »
Okay, this thread is simpler and one I can deal with.  I think you linked me this one in chat and I said not until during kickstarter, but I thought it was a different thread.  I can't click links without it losing my place in the thread, so I have to be careful with that.

I don't have a huge amount of time for this particular subject, but some of this is definitely not nitpicking.  I'll paraphrase what I think some of your stuff boils down to:

Quote
Strike vs blitz is confusing
I'm not married to these terms, and they are not my favorite either.  Really what these are is "air superiority" and "rusher" or "brawler" or something like that.  Even "special teams."

Quote
What is strike?
These are fighter jets.  They're meant to to come in and wreck anything else in the sky.

Quote
Why are MLRS in the Bomber class?
The bomber class is the air-to-ground anti-structural type of class.  MLRS ships are not interesting in any way in the original game, because the ability to strike many ships is accomplished in a variety of AOE fashions.  But the abiltiy to have multiple precision-targeted bombs against structures IS interesting.

Quote
What is blitz?
That's what gets tough.  Overall this is "miscellaneous," to be frank.  Some of this stuff is very fast and is meant for close range combat.  Some of it is AOE, and more slow.  Some of it is for sneaking or doing other strange stuff.  Some of it is reclamation.  The only really appropriate name for this class would be "Oddball."

But not ALL the oddball ships go here, so even that doesn't fully work.  The reason I like the term blitz (though understand overall I still hate it) is that all of these ships share the attribute of being surprising or otherwise first-strike or turning the tables.  AOE stuff can do unexpected amounts of damage in the right circumstances.  Melee-range stuff is inherently "jump out and get you" kind of surprise.  Parasites are self explanatory.  Infiltrators' sole purpose is surprise.  Etc.

Speed has nothing to do with it: sometimes the surprise factor comes from speed, other times it has to do with cloaking or simply the ability to yank out something really nasty in the right circumstances after slowly getting into position.  "Surprise class" or "Boo class" are maybe the most apt names, though they suck. ;)

Quote
Strike class, again?
These ships are all fast, sure.   And some of them will have more hybrid roles, like you somewhat have with some fighter jets that actually a bit deserve the A designation more.  I'm thinking that the F119 would fit in here if we're talking real military, even though the reason they named that F instead of A was to attract the top pilots who wanted the F designation.  From a practical standpoint it was a hybrid ground attack (not bomber -- there's a difference) and anti-air and spy craft.  It's kind of a raptor, honestly, in terms of AI War.  Kinda-sorta.

Quote
Don't these lines get blurry?
Heck yeah, and that's kind of the point, to a certain extent.  The ability of you to predict exactly why one ship is class A versus class B will often be poor, because you could make an argument for a ship being in either class based on its broad characteristics.

However, to fill out the numbers in each part of the quadrangle, certain ships will go one place versus another.  We need more basic archers, so laser gatlings go there.  They could arguably fit in the strike class, but it's more interesting to give them slightly more range (they used to have that anyway, until they were nerfed years ago).  This really returns them more to their roots a bit anyway, which makes me happy for whatever reason.

But the big thing is that once you start encountering these in-game, the distinctions STOP being blurry.  They're balanced around their roles, and their roles inherently give multipliers, so it won't take too long before you realize "hey, don't send laser gatlings against parasites, they get rushed and eaten alive."  But at the same time: "hey laser gatlings are like an anti-aircraft firing squad against fighters and raptors and so forth."

Quote
Inherent lack of clarity
One thing it's easy to forget is that you all have a lot of built-up knowledge from AIW Classic that was in no way obvious at the start, but that you built up.  And thus various things are easy for you to remember offhand, and "make sense enough" that you might not question them (much, haha).  But for a new player those things can be hugely opaque.

The new quadrangle is in no way immune to that, and the blurry lines between roles in some cases somewhat makes it worse (what class is crippler, again?).  However, I posit that it's a lot easier to learn one new data point (crippler is archer) and have the follow-on ramifications of that be simple and easy to understand (I remember the relationship of archer to other stuff, and/or a quick cheat-sheet is right there on the tooltip for me).  Versus in AIW Classic there was a lot of data to memorize AND the follow-on ramifications were complex and had to be memorized or even computer-generated in terms of lists of best and worst against.

So in other words, I think that there's no way to have the "perfect setup," per se.  But a setup that is quick to pick up and that you can soon accept "okay, that's the way it is" and start dealing with the ramifications is good.  Why is a knight in chess called a knight?  Why does he move in an L?  There are no inherent reasons behind that that I know.  Arguably the bishop could better be called a knight, since he "charges into battle in a fast way."  And rooks... move?  Etc. 

There's a certain point past which "you learn the rules and then it becomes natural" in any game that deals in abstraction.  My goal is to make that point as low a barrier to entry as possible, without damaging our ability to have actual meaningful complex interactions that you discover more slowly over time (if you were a new player).  AI War Classic started complex and only got more complex, and to some extent I think that actually caps the real strategic variance that can be achieved since the base-level complexity can distract us from more interesting issues and opportunities in everything from unit design to AI design to galaxy and planet design.

Final note: I'm not saying "this is the way it has to be and the only thing I'll ever accept."  I could even be convinced to add a fifth "true" class and make this a tetrangle, if the reasoning was solid enough.  But the good news is that everything in this thread is 100% data-based and has no bearing whatsoever on the actual design of the code for the game.  So it can be tuned and tweaked endlessly during kickstarter -- and alpha, when we can test things in practice.

I'm open to other suggestions, in particular about the names here, though.

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Offline tadrinth

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2016, 05:02:47 PM »
It's a little weird, but, maybe 'Thugs' instead of Blitz? Blitz is really 'things that beat up on bombers and archers' and thug kinda captures the idea that they beat up on things that aren't great at defending themselves at close range.  Either because they're so durable that they can close no matter what you do, or because they pop out of nowhere and ambush you.  A thug isn't dangerous to a real warrior, though, hence they are countered by strikers. 

I don't think it would be too crazy having a core triangle that many ships fall into, but then some less common oddball categories that are outside and interact in kind of strange ways. The issue with AIW1 was that *everything* was its own category with its own bonuses.  AIW1 had the ship type complexity lobby setting, and lots of games have progressive complexity unlocks nowadays; AIW2 can start new players with just the triangle-category ships and then add the other oddball categories into their experience later. 

I don't really get archers being good vs big scary mobile stuff.  If the big scary stuff is short range, then I guess you're just kiting it?  But it seems odd that weapons which are good at taking down fast, maneuverable air superiority stuff would ALSO be good at taking down giant freaking golems, or whatever.  This is one thing I like about mymy ammo type + defense type system, though; as long as things are clear about how they stay alive, you can make them as big as you like without the counter always being archers or bombers.  IE, if you have a 'assault craft' defense category with things like 'is hard to lock onto' and 'is heat resistant', then you can make a HUGE thing using that defense type, and its still countered by fighters because shell ammo doesn't need fancy locks.  More description of that system:
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,18969.msg206749.html#msg206749
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,18969.msg206759.html#msg206759
http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,19084.msg206789.html#msg206789

Online chemical_art

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2016, 05:28:05 PM »
I would suggest calling "blitzer" to "specialist". All of the ships follow a very specialized job. That is their common element.
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Offline TheDeadlyShoe

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2016, 08:06:56 PM »
i do think the names need work, especially if they are going to show up ingame.

'Strike' is vague, and to me does not evoke the air superiority role as described. It sounds more like it'd fit for Bomber or Blitzer units!   'Bomber' is straightforward and evocative, but it's also the name of a unit; this seems like a potential point of confusion, since none of the other roles have that similarity.  (on that note, if you're going to use Bomber, why arn't you using Fighter for Strike?)  'Archer' fits, but its medieval overtones are out of place with the game and with the rest of the nomenclature.  'Blitz' is very role-evocative, but is also kind of confusing and does not interact well with the other role-names - Blitzing has little to do with Archers in the popular imagination, and it's unclear why Striking would be effective against Blitzing.

STRIKE

"Fighter" - Evokes air superiority- is nametyped like bomber - generic 'combat' roles
"Interceptor"/"Intercept" - Similar to fighter, a little unwieldy, but doesn't have nametyping confusion. Very evocative of defending the slow-group from attackers.
"Superiority" - Very aggressive, but a little more undefined and flexible than the 'air combat' terms.

ARCHER

"Ranged" - Similar to Archer without the medieval connotations, but makes it awkward to introduce a close-range ship in that quadrant.
"Blaster" - City of Heroes used this term for those who were powerful but vulnerable, which seems to fit.
"Fleet" - Since the big ships are collapsed into LARGE, there's no reason 'Fleet Ships' need be anything but unlabeled, 'normal', or 'small'. Those are more straightforward anyway.  "Fleet" has naval overtones that describe the interaction with Strike/Bomber fairly well - dominates fighter, but vulnerable to bombers.
"Bombardment"- Good for describing ranged attacker, but unfortunately conflicts with Bombing in every possible way.

BLITZ

"Assault" - A fairly generic term that nonetheless fits well for melee types, and it makes sense it'd be vulnerable to 'air superiority'. No clear interaction with Bomber though.
"Strike" - It would work here, haha. 
"Berserker" - Medieval terms would describe their interaction with Archer quite well, but have other problems.
"Cavalry" - A bit more flexible and modern than Berserker.  Lacks something though. Perhaps "Knight"?

Offline x4000

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2016, 08:25:41 PM »
Specialist is perhaps the best suggestion I've seen so far.  So many of these things are cool names, but more for a ship rather than a whole part of the quadrangle.

Hell, we could rename some of the units in some of the categories and make the categories:

Strike -> Fighter (so then Raptor is a type of fighter, and "Fighter-the-ship" becomes something else slightly more specific but also basic-sounding.")
Bomber -> Well, yeah, stays bomber.
Archer -> I'm tempted to just say Cruiser and leave it at that, although it's a bit mixed-message in terms of naval vs air, etc.
Blitz -> Specialist is definitely growing on me.

And it is obvious that plenty of things are specialists within their niche (raptors are a specialized form of fighter), but the stuff in the specialist category is MORE specialist than whatever its role would otherwise be.

The tricky thing is between bombers and cruisers, really.
- Bombers and so forth are for hitting structures, and are like traditional air bombers.  The B12, etc.
- Cruisers/Archers/whatever are really modeled more on naval vessels that fire from range for "semi-precision" strikes.  To be less confusing that could potentially be Sniper, at least so sound more modern, but that sounds REALLY long-ranged.

Fighter, Bomber, Sniper, Specialist?

Eh... it's getting there.
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2016, 08:42:49 PM »
Archers are more artillery than anything else.  I'd avoid naval classes as names (thus the Corvette needs a name again).

 
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 01:51:35 AM »
Fighter, Bomber, Sniper, Specialist?

Eh... it's getting there.
Fighter --> Assault

Bomber --> Siege

Sniper --> Artillery

Specialist is fine.

This has the side benefit of being real world nomenclature for the roles.

Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 02:16:59 AM »
Archer / Bomber / Brawler / Assassin?

Really? Nobody picked that up? Sad. :'(
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Online chemical_art

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 02:17:59 AM »
Fighter --> Assault

Bomber --> Siege

Sniper --> Artillery

Specialist is fine.

This has the side benefit of being real world nomenclature for the roles.

This certainly feels better. But siege seems to imply what artillery would do: Outrage a target so as to cause havoc. I would be more tempted to go along "demolition" but that would imply an almost melee range. "Bomber" just seems too perfect a word. Maybe the quadrangle ship bomber should instead get a name change and the class is known as bomber? Such as "standard bomber". This could be further extended for consistency as "standard fighter" and "standard corvette" so as to clarify they are base units without upgrades.

EDIT: On further reflection I would just go with assault staying as fighter. Seems standard and clear enough. Assault can imply for example melee units or neinzul units. If that is not the case the name is too vague. As for artillery...bombardment?
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 02:26:02 AM by chemical_art »
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Offline Cinth

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 02:20:46 AM »
Archer has some role overlap with Bomber.  Name overlap wouldn't be uncalled for.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2016, 03:37:03 AM »
Fighter --> Assault

Bomber --> Siege

Sniper --> Artillery

Specialist is fine.

This has the side benefit of being real world nomenclature for the roles.

This certainly feels better. But siege seems to imply what artillery would do: Outrage a target so as to cause havoc. I would be more tempted to go along "demolition" but that would imply an almost melee range. "Bomber" just seems too perfect a word. Maybe the quadrangle ship bomber should instead get a name change and the class is known as bomber? Such as "standard bomber". This could be further extended for consistency as "standard fighter" and "standard corvette" so as to clarify they are base units without upgrades.

EDIT: On further reflection I would just go with assault staying as fighter. Seems standard and clear enough. Assault can imply for example melee units or neinzul units. If that is not the case the name is too vague. As for artillery...bombardment?
Siege seems more about bringing down fortifications to me. I do agree that artillery seems too close to siege though, so let's change that to ballistics. So:

Fighter --> Assault

Bomber --> Siege

Sniper --> Ballistic

Specialist.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2016, 05:05:41 AM »
Air superiority => Conveys that it's there to clean up ships.
Demolition => Conveys that it's there to clean up.
Ranged => There to outrange stuff.
Specialist => everything that does not fit.


Offline x4000

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2016, 09:54:21 AM »
So many suggestions, and I can't respond to each and every thing. 

Quote
Brawler

I'm against this one since it implies specifically short ranges, which is not the case for that class.

Quote
Air superiority
I really like it, but it's really strange to say in space where there's no air.

Quote
Ranged
I also really like it and thought of from the start, but it implies that other things don't have a range.  It's not as much a problem as brawler, so I could see going with this end the end, but it's not my favorite.

Quote
Corvette
Understood on staying away from naval stuff.  I think that makes sense.

Quote
Ballistic
To me this tends to have really specific physics meanings (trajectories are often implied), and I agree that this overlaps with bomber a bit much.  Siege has much the same problem.

Quote
Demolition
This seems PERFECT.  It gets right at what that group is supposed to do (formerly bombers).  It makes extra sense compared to bombers since it would include MLRS, etc.  I can't express how excited I am by this one. :)

Quote
Specialist
It seems like there's a lot of general agreement that this would work well.

Quote
Assault
I'm undecided on this one.  To some extent it also gets mixed up with Seige, since it sounds like you're attacking something, versus hunting something, if that makes sense.  The main role of air superiority isn't to assault a fixed position (that's demolition), but rather to hunt down various other kinds of ships.  "Hunter" as a ship class seems kinda odd, though.

Quote
Archer has some role overlap with Bomber.

I just wanted to clarify that this isn't really true, though it's debatable.  These guys are not anti-structure (not demolition) at all, and I think that distinguishes them.  Instead these guys are more like AA guns, in going after those fighters/hunters.  So they have some overlap with fighters in that fashion.

Then again, bombers/demolition are about breaking "hard targets" (simply immobile ones), and the archers have overlap with that in that they are made for breaking a different kind of "hard target," (though in this case mobile and big and scary).  So I see your point about the overlap there, ultimately.

Quote
Assassin
Something like that could work for the fighters/strike group, since they not only hunt, they are there for killing individuals (not structures).  It still doesn't sound quite right to me in the same way that the word archer doesn't "feel right" to me (despite that one being my suggestion for a different class.


TLDR:
Air superiority/Strike/Hunter/Assassin/AssaultFighters/?? - still not a good name yet, though we're getting closer with some.

Demolition - awww yisss. :)

Corvette/Ranged/Archer/Siege/Sniper/Ballistic/?? - again we're getting close, and Siege would be perfect if it did not imply building destruction.  But still not there.

Specialist -- seems like that's a winner.
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Offline Pumpkin

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Re: Chris, please explain the quadrangle classes again.
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2016, 11:09:31 AM »
Quote
Brawler

I'm against this one since it implies specifically short ranges, which is not the case for that class.
:'( :'( :'(
I would remake the Striker and Blitzer groups as two different groups with different names and logic: Brawler and Assassin. (Brawler inherit the quadrangle position of Striker and the Assassin inherit the position of Blitzer.)
I didn't proposed new names. I proposed a new separation of the ships in Striker and Blitzer/specialist. I dislike the "specialist dump group" and find the "striker" nearly worst, as an "everything else dump group". So yes, I proposed the name "brawler" with a brawler theme.
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