Author Topic: Talking Turrets  (Read 6430 times)

Offline Frumple

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Talking Turrets
« on: October 12, 2013, 02:27:45 PM »
First post, AI War player since around January, somewhat active over on Bay 12, yadda yadda. Heard about Bionic Dues over here, tried the demo, nabbed the game. Been enjoying myself! But, after ridiculously curb stomping my first go at it (which, being fair, was a normal difficulty Meg game... I'm working my way up the higher difficulties now), I had to register and ask... is this intentional? Are sentry turrets meant to be able to basically trivialize the majority of the game?

For reference, here's two end game sentry turrets: Trap level 210, Trap level 326. Those were from that normal difficulty Meg game, taken on the pre-final and final missions, respectively. My science bot could deploy ~40 of them. Needless to say, really, I won that game :P The enemy bots actually disabled one during the final fight! I was pretty impressed. They didn't actually manage to destroy one, but they brought one down under 2k hp and stopped it from shooting! Kudos, stomped bots.

And here's the turrets my current hard game is using: Trap level 19, seven days into the game (without any command center hits, that is). Turret deployer can spit out 32 turrets per mission, currently. It's a Rey game, so there's no particular loot advantages. I hit trap skill 12 or so (which is around the point the turrets start outranging most bots) around day 4 or 5.

And, well. They, uh. They blow everything I encounter to bits. Plus they're fairly tanky (and I've got 30+ of them, for a total of 46,080(!) points of deployable shielding that the enemy bots totally don't mind spending ammo on), and all told they bring 620 shots of 12 range death to the table. At trap level 19, seven days into the game. That's a total of 460,800 points of damage, if fully used. Now, a lot of it doesn't get used (both because they're immobile, so some get left behind with ammo to spare as the mission progresses, and because I run out of enemies way, way, before those turrets run out of dakka), but... it's doing some work. To say the least.

So... is this how things are supposed to be working? And if not, well... ideas? You could have halved or quartered the stats on those end game ones and any one of them still could have tore huge chunks out of the final mission (and I had 40ish. On one bot. I could have had multiple bots like that, yesyes.). Halving that level 19 one would still leave something pretty nasty, especially considering I've got 32 of them and that eternally useful whistle. Maybe something could be done about the scaling, so they don't get quite so... silly? Something else entirely? Enemies specifically geared to deal with them Just... thoughts? Own experiences?

I can't say I'm not enjoying it, but... it is perhaps a little silly, ha.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2013, 02:51:53 PM »
Believe it or not, someone wanted them buffed recently. :D

Trap level 300 seems crazy high, how did you manage that? The scaling was meant for much lower values of trap skill, if it's getting that high then something will need adjusting.

Offline Frumple

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2013, 03:05:27 PM »
Just piling on +X% propulsion and +trap skill... there wasn't really anything fancy or special to it. I was actually a fair bit unoptimized, with several slots going to other stuff -- like +X% computer skill or the turrets themselves, for the turrets to deploy, or +sensors so I could whistle the whole map down on my predeployed turrets. If I'd split the non-turret stuff (sensors, hacking... I did ultimately have one of my other exos pick up some of the slack, but my turret bot still had my highest hacking score at around 55 or so, and a sensor range in the sixties.) to another machine I could have gotten it even higher.

The only thing particularly out of line, such as it is, was that I was playing with Meg, so the parts themselves were a bit better quality than normal. But getting it over 100, over 200... it seems fairly trivial if you're aiming for it. You even have plenty of cash and kit left over to outfit your other bots, if for whatever reason you wanted to (I did have a siege bot with ~26 ammo for the shadow torpedo, ferex, among other things -- I used it to blow up doors from long range, so my whistles could reach further).

Offline Mick

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2013, 03:08:20 PM »
I admit in my normal run, once I got trap up to a high enough point, it didn't seem worthwhile to do much else than lure things to turrets. I turreted the final mission, and I didn't have them nearly at the level you did, just doing 2000 damage a pop was enough.

If I was going to nerf them, I think I'd hit the amount of ammo they come with.

Turrets are like having mines that shoot at long range and can fire multiple times... why would you ever use mines?

Offline Darloth

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2013, 07:27:40 PM »
I have similar feelings on turrets after completing one game as Meg, on Normal.

My ninja exo could deploy 30 or so at level 40, but even 6 or 7 turrets could, by themselves, entirely annihilate everything in an Assassination or Lion's Den mission, no questions asked.  Just deploy the turrets, switch to science to let off a huge sensor ping and then hold down space as everything trundles up to get shot at range 25.

The range really needs to go down, I think - they shouldn't ever be outranging the player's longest guns, and should ideally be sniped by sniper-bot-style enemies.

I'd also accept lower ammo counts... but I think I'd prefer higher ammo counts, shields and damage, and severely reduced deployment numbers (along with range normalized to standard enemy range).  Make mines something you can spam, but turrets something you might only have... say, five or six of.  Then their placement is more important, since their range isn't commanding anymore, but a well placed turret or two can still do wonders.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2013, 07:31:20 PM »

I'd also accept lower ammo counts... but I think I'd prefer higher ammo counts, shields and damage, and severely reduced deployment numbers (along with range normalized to standard enemy range).  Make mines something you can spam, but turrets something you might only have... say, five or six of.  Then their placement is more important, since their range isn't commanding anymore, but a well placed turret or two can still do wonders.

This is somethign I'd be in favor of. A great way to remove of "edge cases" will allowing some value to be only to allow only so many turrets at once. Great turret deployment numbers would allow to "reposition" turrets, but prevent the very exploitable situation of setting up over 20 turrets over one chokepoint.
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Offline Frumple

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2013, 08:03:38 PM »
Heh. You usually only need two or three (if that) stacked within range of a corner the bots have to come around to wreck everything piecemeal, if it comes to that. Don't even remotely need 20 stacked up in one area... even with an open area, 4-6 will do. Deleting a half dozen bots per turn is generally more than enough :P

One thought, though, would be to have a much smaller max number of turrets as per Darloth's suggestion, but be able to redeploy them, probably keeping stats (ammo/shields) persistent across redeployments. Placement would still be important, but there'd be less incentive to slap everything down and lure the whole map into a single choke point. Might make 'em a bit more dynamic.* Sounds more annoying to code than just slashing numbers, unfortunately.

Different thought would be to keep things mostly as is, but have the turrets degenerate per turn (losing shielding and ammo, or maybe just the trap skill boosts), so you can't just slap a half dozen down, whistle, and do a lil'finger jig on the spacebar until everything's dead. Wouldn't be particularly fond of that, m'self, though.

As for which stat to drop, if not an overall reduction... range would actually be the one I'd be least concerned about, I think. It's ridiculous, yeah, but also the easiest low stat to completely or near completely mitigate via good placement (on most missions, anyway). Range two or range two hundred is functionally the same if the turrets are shooting things as they walk around corners. Deployment numbers and raw damage are probably the biggest issues, with shielding coming afterwards. Ammo's also a thing, but that's multiplied by raw amount of turrets.

Still. Capping turret range at, say, 15 or so might not be out of place. Low range is fairly easy to work around, but having absolute dominion over everything within line of fire of the 'rets is a bit much, heh.

*Side thought: Maybe one of the exos (or epic exos) could gain the ability to throw/deploy turrets a few spaces out? Brawler or somethin' should totes be able to judo toss enemy bots, anyway.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2013, 08:23:11 PM »
but there'd be less incentive to slap everything down and lure the whole map into a single choke point.

This has been my biggest complaints to turrets. Once you find a good choke, lure enemies toward chokes, kill, rinse and repeat. On low difficulties it is so repetitive they are ignored since it is not necessary, on high difficulties it is a no brainer since it is necessary. In practice, their usage is universal. Once one adapts to a given difficulty, they find ways to game turrets. Nerfing them won't remove the use of "whistle to chokepoint" method.
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Offline Frumple

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2013, 08:32:41 PM »
Ehn... whistle to chokepoint method is pretty much the optimal strategy for everything, not just turrets. Mines, virus-using, long ranged attacks, close ranged attacks... everything. Cutting the enemy down to one or two critters at a time is almost always the best thing you can do. To boot, with stuff like the brawler's dissolver (anything AoE, really), you can even blow stuff up around corners (through walls, too, of course), almost completely mitigating any risk. So long as there's not a scorpionbot around, anyway.

That's... really just a basic facet of any game with highly asymmetrical numbers, though. Anything to make the match up closer to even is highly preferable.

Offline Darloth

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2013, 08:34:44 PM »
Some bots with unusually effective movement abilities (for ex: move 2 squares each action - do not shoot twice) might add a wrinkle there, though this really isn't the thread to suggest them I think :)

Offline Mick

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2013, 08:48:15 PM »
There needs to be a way to nerf turrets without destroying their scalability completely. I don't think you can hit any one stat though.

If you upgrade turrets to a high level and manage to get them into a good location, then you should be rewarded for that. However, it seems that almost everywhere is a "good location", because turrets are so hard to overrun. High level = high ranger = less hits on the turrets (or none) as well as more shields. It feels a bit silly when a turret has a longer range than my sniper, hits harder than my siege bot, and has more shields than my assault. It's like a super exo!

Here are my thoughts.

- Put a timer on their attack, say they fire every four rounds or something. This means that you can no longer whistle the entire world and feel secure they can't get overrun because only 1-2 bots can get in range at a time.

- They should have very weak shields. You should be punished if you place them in a location where bots can actually reach them.

- Limited ammo, each placed turret is like the equivalent of a who new weapon worth of ammo on a exo, which sorta trivializes the whole ammo scarcity issues if you use them.

- I think it's OK if they have strong range, so probably not much tweaking there.

With the above changes, you may no longer be able to setup turrets and then go hide in a corner somewhere. If you lure enemies into a turret killzone, you may have to actually contribute to the fight yourself with your exos. With weak shields, they could be much more vulnerable to stealth bots and long range firing bots that can hit them, so you can't just brainlessly hit the next turn button.

Obviously the goal here shouldn't be to make turrets useless, but it should be to better define their role as a way to support your exos instead of replacing them.

Offline Elcs

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2013, 07:25:35 AM »
I felt cheap on Hard using Turrets with ~100/110 trap skill when I completed the final invasion at around Day 30 on my first complete playthrough. I had to do the final attack in 2 parts, in which I dropped maybe 90 turrets to take out around 350-400 bots (guess, not accurate)

Even despite their obvious power they still could find themselves having difficulty with the Doombots or Wyvernbots.

They seem to scale up perhaps too fast with +Trap Skill and realistically, they completely negate the usefulness of mines which I chose to use very early on and quickly realised where nowhere near as good as the aforementioned turrets. Not to mention that turrets became about twice as powerful as my single target exo abilities ANd they outranged/outammoed me too, as well as each one being sturdier :D

There's something "wrong" and I'd love to see it being balanced in the right way, whatever that may be.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2013, 08:25:21 AM »
Back when we were talking about the turret stat growth, nobody considered trap skill numbers as big as we're seeing now. So most likely either the scaling per trap skill or the amount of trap skill going out is going to have to come down, for starters. (Even at 10% per point the numbers get really large when you've got 200 trap skill. Maybe the progression needs to be on a curve that slows down as you get more trap skill.)

The range increase they're getting needs to take a major nerf, or just go away entirely. Turrets should not outrange snipers, ever.

Offline Histidine

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2013, 08:33:06 AM »
Wasn't trap skill supposed to have been greatly reduced late in the alpha? >300 trap skill sounds like the numbers were changed in the wrong direction, actually.

Keith, what does it look like on your end?

Offline Penumbra

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Re: Talking Turrets
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2013, 10:58:55 AM »
Could this be fixed with adding a diminishing returns mechanic to the stats?