Author Topic: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)  (Read 3423 times)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #30 on: August 07, 2014, 11:47:06 AM »
Ok, I've updated the first post in this thread for the 1.012 stats and also added a table with the bosses :)

Would probably have done it yesterday, if the website hadn't taken a vacation...
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #31 on: August 07, 2014, 03:47:51 PM »
My general feeling regarding boss bots at the moment is that their health may be way too high all across the board, effectively leading to dealing with bosses being either impossible or samey (at least on higher difficulties).

As an example the TethysBots in my current game on Expert are level 10 with the 20000+ shields, 2000+ damage, 9 range and 50 ammo plus their special (which is interesting to deal with e.g. by deliberately hitting them with low damage weapons). But this all doesn't count much as effectively the only way to deal with them is virusing them: The damage output of my long range weapons is way too low to be able to kill one of these before it gets in range and even by stealthing away and trying again I would need 10+ shots to deal with one of these for instance - an unlikely amount of ammo if dealing with up to 7 of these.

Effectively the majority of usual and interesting ways to deal with bots (mines, turrets, long range fire, sneaking up on them for a high damage shot from behind cover, overload, ...) do not usually work for bosses in my games, making them really hard and fairly boring :-\.

I also feel that the bots likely would not loose much of their threat potential even if halving their shields. These are still hard or at least costly to deal with if they occur combined with regular bots - at least in my book. I am curious as to what Misery will have to say about this. For me their stats are so superior that they effectively degenerate to one single boss type that I have to deal with the same way - always, which very much cuts the potential of how different bosses actually are or could be...

EDIT:
By the way, how does shield scaling actually work across levels? Expert states there is a multiplier of 3x for each level for bosses. If the base shields for e.g. TethysBot are 1200 and it gained 9 levels to reach level 10, how does that end up with 21041 shields?

« Last Edit: August 07, 2014, 04:00:10 PM by nas1m »
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #32 on: August 07, 2014, 05:07:49 PM »
I typed out an explanation of how it works, then saw discrepancies between that and what I saw in-game, and dug for a while... turns out that in one of my recent updates I messed up the logic in health-computation (and somewhat in attack-computation) that's supposed to apply different (and lower) scaling to bosses than non-bosses.  So bosses were getting the full non-boss scaling, and loving every minute of it.  My guess is that with these fixed, you'll see about 1/3rd to 1/4th the hp you saw from a level 10 TethysBot.

Thanks for saying something :)
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #33 on: August 07, 2014, 05:11:00 PM »
You bet ;). Did you see my question regarding handcrafted content from the new conduct thread? Would be interesting to know whether such a thing could be enabled in the future...
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #34 on: August 07, 2014, 05:14:19 PM »
Custom city maps is possible, though probably a lot of work if you're doing a new background.  But the engine already supports it, we just only wound up doing the one map.

Custom mission maps... I'm not even sure what that would mean, since the mission maps are procedurally generated.  I guess it could be done as those maps can be serialized to and from disk, but they'd be very brittle in that the density of bot seeding, mines seeding, etc couldn't be changed the way the mapgen algorithm can currently be changed.
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Offline Misery

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #35 on: August 07, 2014, 08:25:59 PM »
My general feeling regarding boss bots at the moment is that their health may be way too high all across the board, effectively leading to dealing with bosses being either impossible or samey (at least on higher difficulties).

As an example the TethysBots in my current game on Expert are level 10 with the 20000+ shields, 2000+ damage, 9 range and 50 ammo plus their special (which is interesting to deal with e.g. by deliberately hitting them with low damage weapons). But this all doesn't count much as effectively the only way to deal with them is virusing them: The damage output of my long range weapons is way too low to be able to kill one of these before it gets in range and even by stealthing away and trying again I would need 10+ shots to deal with one of these for instance - an unlikely amount of ammo if dealing with up to 7 of these.

Effectively the majority of usual and interesting ways to deal with bots (mines, turrets, long range fire, sneaking up on them for a high damage shot from behind cover, overload, ...) do not usually work for bosses in my games, making them really hard and fairly boring :-\.


I also feel that the bots likely would not loose much of their threat potential even if halving their shields. These are still hard or at least costly to deal with if they occur combined with regular bots - at least in my book. I am curious as to what Misery will have to say about this. For me their stats are so superior that they effectively degenerate to one single boss type that I have to deal with the same way - always, which very much cuts the potential of how different bosses actually are or could be...


Hmm, I actually used pretty much every conceivable trick in the book when dealing with them.

I generally use a set of specific ideas when dealing with boss missions:

1. Dont enter one unless all Exos are in Epic form.

2. Dont enter one without having prepared very well for it; weapons full of equipment and as strong as possible, plenty of additional stealth, all that fun stuff.

3. Dont virus anything right away.  Can very much lead to a loss here.  Suddenly you wake up a bunch of things you dont want.... often including another boss.  There are exceptions to this though.

4. DO use everything else.  I remember that mission in the screenshot I posted.  That mission was won by doing a few specific things:  1. Mines to soften up some of them, 2. turrets to do further ddamage from there.  I always keep trap level for one of the Exos as high as it can possibly go, usually the sniper if I dont have a ninja.  As such, chances are I can do ALOT of damage with these things.  Turrets though arent just for doing damage; they can also hold a bot's attention, as the enemy bot will always take at least one turn to destroy a nearby turret, and often more turns than that to get into range to do so.  A bot doing this is a bot that isnt shooting you.  Particularly with the Vipers, this holds them in place long enough for me to deal some major damage to them.  Heavy weapons are good during this point.  When I've got something coming at me without having turrets around (did this with the Tethysbots), some high-powered shots as they approached, followed by reliance on the sniper's double-shot thing, and the Science Exo's chaingun.  With the range on these set properly, these allow you to perpetually deal damage without allowing the enemy bot to ever get close, if you use them just right.  I do this alot against really heavy bots.  And since these are priority weapons, they're more buffed than most others, getting the strongest equipment.  Combining these of course with even more turrets and mines when possible helps alot.  Generally I go into these with ALOT of mines and turrets to spend.  Ideally, I'll be dealing a few thousand damage to any given target per turn (usually including turns where I'm not directly firing at them), by using all of these different elements.  And of course stealth helps with positioning, though if you're using alot of turns in a row for it, you're probably in a bad position.

The real thing that can be nasty is the open areas that these missions tend to take place in.  It can make positioning.... interesting.  Makes using the Brawler interesting too.

But yeah, that was typically my method of dealing with them, changed up a bit depending on which Exos I had on my team.  Vipers being considered the most dangerous of the bosses, they would be dealt with the most carefully.  The sniper-shot/chaingun technique simply doesnt work on them.


Now all of that being said, regardless of wether they're being properly difficult or not, if they're also being BORING, then yes, something could do with a change.   Boring isnt fun, after all.  And if you're not as effiecienty equipped, then yeah, even if you've got a very good situation with the level generator and positioning of everything, it can still be just plain time consuming to take those guys out. 

Exactly what an overall shield drop will do to these guys in terms of difficulty, I'm not sure.   Part of the challenge with them WAS the simple fact that they had so much shielding.  You couldnt just quickly snipe them out of existence.  You had to use more than just that, while dealing with whatever ability they had. 

So that'll take some experimenting before I give much more feedback than that.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #36 on: August 07, 2014, 08:38:03 PM »
Thanks for the insight into the life of a professional boss slaughterer ;)

To clarify, the fixes in 1.013 (which is out as of a few hours ago) to boss health were just to bring them back down to what they were in the last official version (1.008).  In fact the health bugs were probably only introduced in 1.011 (July 24th, two weeks ago).

I'd definitely like to know how they feel in 1.013 before considering further balance changes to them.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #37 on: August 08, 2014, 02:58:45 AM »
Thanks for the insight into the life of a professional boss slaughterer ;)
I can only second this, Misery. Thanks for the peek ;).

Regarding boss health it sounds like the fix made in 1.013 could well be enough to solve my gripes.
I will have a look as soon as I get around to playing again.

Will the fix affect existing games?
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #38 on: August 08, 2014, 09:22:40 AM »
Regarding boss health it sounds like the fix made in 1.013 could well be enough to solve my gripes.
I will have a look as soon as I get around to playing again.

Will the fix affect existing games?
It will, yes.  Actually most of my testing with it was loading existing games.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2014, 08:35:59 AM »
Another note on HideBots:

Their range is currently capped at 5 to prevent them from being able to fire at the player while stealthed (I believe they appear as soon as the player is in 5 squares).

I would advocate to either bump their "reveal" distance to 6 or cap their range at 4.
In my current Expert game my low-shield Exos regularly get one-shot by these at the moment they reveal themselves - fairly frustrating ;)...   
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #40 on: August 26, 2014, 04:17:04 PM »
A note on DeathBots:

Is there really a need for them too have such a high base health (800 compared to 500 for e.g. the DoomBot)? Their special ability and murderous range are fine as far as I am concerned, but these are an insane number of shields quick.

Maybe bringing them down to roughly DoomBot level would be a good idea?
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Bot Balance next steps (as of 1.012)
« Reply #41 on: August 26, 2014, 04:19:53 PM »
A note on DeathBots:

Is there really a need for them too have such a high base health (800 compared to 500 for e.g. the DoomBot)? Their special ability and murderous range are fine as far as I am concerned, but these are an insane number of shields quick.

Maybe bringing them down to roughly DoomBot level would be a good idea?
Sure, I'll make a note of that.

In general I didn't do much with the special-seeding bot stats.
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