Comet's Comprehensive Review of Changes

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Comet_
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Comet's Comprehensive Review of Changes

Postby Comet_ » Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:07 pm UTC

Welcome, Fellow UnVanquisher! Brace Yourself for a Long Post!

QUICK EXPLANATION: This post is only talking about Norfenstein's Modifications in Alpha 44. All feedback that I give is not a firm belief that I have, but is rather simple observations I - and others - made while playing the newest release. I am a firm believer that feedback is near useless without suggestions on how to fix the problem. However, since this is the feedback sub-forum I will keep it simple and use this guideline: OVERVIEW>FEEDBACK>SIMPLE REVIEW.

Overview


Norfenstein added eight major gameplay changes in Alpha 44. I'm sure I wasn't the only user to be taken aback by all of these changes because there had hardly been any indication that we could expect such a large gameplay change like this. That being said, many other users and I feel like this change was a little too much too fast. I feel like this is part of the reason why kharnov's voting thread is so clearly split in opinions. This also explains why I have taken more time than usual to compile my opinions; there is a lot to go over; whether its a large gameplay change or a small change like 'Construct Anywhere'.

As I played more of the new Alpha I found, increasingly, that I was able to understand the changes on a more practical level. The changes are simply attempts at solving already existing problems in the games. I have found that the largest problem many people have with Unvy and Trem is that the games last way too long for a first-person shooter. A few of these changes actually attempt to tackle this huge problem, but, in my opinion, most of them fall short. Another large problem is the camping aspect of the game. There are many different reasons to stay in your base to defend. The goal of all changes regarding this problem should be to make sure that people who do decide to stay in base are there for the right reasons (IE Healing, Purchasing upgrade, and base defense).

Despite all of the negative sentences in the past two paragraphs, I would like to take a chance to emphasize that I love that we are finally tackling gameplay problems and that Norfenstein's mods are definitely taking the game in the right direction. Even if the changes weren't perfect, Norfenstein set out to fix the biggest problems in the game and through that we have gained a better understanding of what needs to be changed and how to do it. Now lets get to the feedback!

Feedback


NOTE: My first two opinions you may have heard before if you read kharnov's poll post. If you have, feel free to skip it and continue, but know I did revise my opinions slightly.

Free Upgrades: I don't like this change. The main goal of the change was to fix the speed of the game as well as to forcefully speed the flow up a bit too. Sure, this change speeds up gameplay but it also creates a lot of huge problems when it comes to balance: Top-tier aliens and humans are simply too strong for a change like this, Luci suit and tyrant spam is about all I got out of this change and that was frustrating enough in the pre-Alpha 44 versions, and when aliens get Adv Mara, they simply win the game no matter if it is free upgrades 1 or 2. This update also takes away the feeling of individual kill reward which is a staple of the first person shooter genre. It feels good to shoot people and have the game cheer you on when you do good. One good thing that did come out of this change, however, is that it made me realize that movement is such a huge balancing factor in a game like this. I will continue to bring it up throughout the post.

Pros:
Faster paced gameplay
Faster games
Makes campers lose horribly
Humans are ridiculously strong early

Cons:
Aliens become too powerful late game
Every stage progressed makes previous iterations essentially useless (Why get a MD when you can Luci with no penalty for team killing or killing yourself with splash)
No penalties for anything... ever.
Team with better movement is winner (Aliens usually)
Game becomes which team can get control of map, not which team is better
Once trapped in base, forever trapped in base
Building aspect feels like its gone


Removal of Stamina: Best change and also the least noticeable! This change tackled the problem of stamina not only slowing the human team down but also the fact that individual bindings for run and walk is just bad design. Three different movement speeds just does not work; it is two different bindings which clutter up used keys, seem overly complicated to new players, and are completely redundant. It is clear to me, after this change, that humans should naturally be in "sprint" and then have an optional "walk" toggle key. I also love bunnyhopping places; it reminds me of quake.

Pros:
Humans are no longer held back by stamina and can freely move without constraint
Humans can now bunny-hop freely finally giving them a good and interesting movement mechanics
Simplifies movement and allows room for advanced movement mechanics *hint hint*
Encourages bunnyhopping which is a good way to avoid aliens

Cons:
Human still "jogs" places. A normal running speed buff would make the game faster paced and more balanced
Encourages bunnyhopping, however bunnyhopping is very awkward in Unvanquished because of the lack of strafe.


Simple Momentum: I know this is my own feedback post, but Viech said it better than I could and so I am just going to quote him.
Viech wrote:The people voting for "Simple momentum": Do you actually enjoy the fact that killing enemy non-spawn structures doesn't give you anything, neither credits nor momentum? I think it's nice to have an additional motivation to do what sometimes needs to be done to break base. It's possible that a perimeter turret is everything you can kill with your current team upgrades and I don't see why it should feel more like a necessity than a success.
Simple momentum set out to fix the problem that you got no reward when base rushing so it felt like you were throwing earned evos/credits into the trash. This change did work to some extent, but it made many people realize that its unfair to give credits and evos for only one building without giving them for the other buildings. I do like this change, because it has made it clear what the next step is towards fixing the base rush black hole that sucks your evos away as well as the momentum system.

Pros:
Encourages aggressive playstyle which is a good solution to many existing problems
Gives momentum for destroying spawns

Cons:
Doesn't give momentum for other objectives such as arm or turrets.
Doesn't offer credits/evos to aggressive players that destroy buildings


Anti-Camping: There is a reason why I put this directly under Simple Momentum, and that reason is that I believe that one change can fix the problems that both of these mods set out to correct. In my opinion, giving a reward fall-off for someone who is defending their base doesn't make sense. So, as much as I hate camping, I will say that I also do not like "Anti-Camping". The way I see it there is two big ways to combat the problem of camping: 1. Give attackers rewards to allow for longer/more rewarding experience or 2. Take away the reward from the defending players to make sure people don't camp. Example one most relates to Simple Momentum change and example two relates to the anti-camping change. What playtesting this change has told me, is that I prefer example one over example two because it feels better and doesn't add unnecessarily complex features to the game. A new player can join the game, hear that the objective of the game is to destroy the enemy's base, and then completely understand why they are getting rewarded for completing the objective. However, if we tried anti-camping as our main way to combat camping, people would just get confused why they are unable to stop the incoming alien/human attacks and getting rewarded so little evos/credits.

Pros:
Addresses the issue of camping
Penalizes campers

Cons:
Penalizes everyone, along with the campers
Weird functionality means that defending forward bases has the same reward fall-off
Since game equilibrium is closer to human base, it affects one team disproportionately


Simplified Locational Damage: I like this change, but only when it comes to the smaller classes. This change set out to fix the problem and overall conundrum that dretches and mantises were able to get head-bites when on the floor which anatomically does not make sense. The same reasoning that brought this change to us in the first place is also the reasoning why this change doesn't make sense with the larger aliens. Tyrants, dragoons, and marauders should be able to head bite and deal extra damage. The way that the game is now, tyrants have to hit a battlesuit 5 times consecutively in the front to kill it, which, in my opinion, is one too many. Same thing with dragoons but to a more severe extent. The change is good... Just for the smallest aliens.

Pros:
Dretches no longer headbite from the floor
Reward for flanking as aliens, no matter the evolution
Simplifies the earlier classes to where they control and attack more intuitively

Cons:
The change hurts nerfs big aliens greatly
Marauders are hit the hardest and now almost useless


Construct Anywhere: I'm not a GT god tier builder. I do not build unless it is necessary; the build timer is approx. the perfect amount time it takes for me to go completely ADHD and decide to leave the base to do something else. That being said, I have played Tremulous and Unvanquished long enough to understand the builders role in the game thus far. And I really think that this change is the first step towards improving the builder's role in the game. In Unvanquished, it is much less painful to build than in Tremulous and I really appreciate the dev team for putting in the work to make building actually fun. However, the role stays the same as builders are rarely ever seen outside of the base. The idea with this change was to allow forward bases to be constructed more easily and to give the builder a more active role and central position on the team. Did the change work? In my opinion, no. But I don't think it is the change that is wrong, in fact, I think the change is very good. The problem that I see is that there isn't enough utility in forward bases, especially for humans, for someone to justify leaving base with only a con kit and the crappy blaster rather than a bad ass lucifer cannon or chaingun.

NOTE: I am not a huge builder, as mentioned before, so just mark all of these are observations. Out of all of the pros and cons, the ones about building and the builder class are the ones that I'm less sure about.

Pros:
Freedom of construction allows for more aggressive plays with building classes
Taking the builder class in the right path

Cons:
Game doesn't really benefit from no creep in any significant way
Works to entrench the enemy which has been a problem with the game from inception
Random turrets are surprisingly good and random acid tubes suck
Not a large incentive to actually utilize the change


Unlocked Buildables: No. I do not like this, takes the fun out of building and the base more or less stays stagnant throughout the game. Combine this change with Build Point Pool (touched after this) and you will be frustrated when building a base.

Pros:
Simplifies building so you can get straight to building the best base

Cons:
Counter-intuitive design allows players to build the expensive buildings like hives and boosters but a limited build point pool at beginning of the game stops you from making more than three
Booster at beginning of game is unbalanced and not OK
Aliens have better high tier buildings, so they benefit more than humans
Takes out the aspect of multiple base designs in one game and makes the role of builder more bland


Build Point Pool: I like the intentions of this change and how it is encouraging the teams to go out and take control of the map for build points. I do have a few problems with the change, however. One of my problems is motivated by a player I played a 1v1 with on SpaceTracks on the test server; his complaint was that the build point pool seems like it is too reliant on drills/leeches. He makes a good point; if you were to employ an aggressive tactic with the team, it is highly likely that you wont be focusing on making drills and leeches so your team will perish due to an overly weak base. The low build point pool also makes it so you can only build a few of the high tier structures from the unlocked buildables change. Early bases in this change are kind of a joke.

Pros:
Good idea for a change
Encourages taking a lead and using it to your advantage with map control
Team that is winning usually will have a better base

Cons:
Aliens usually are the ones with leeches all over the map because its easier for the alien team to gain map control
Implementation seems slightly off and needs some more balancing
Team that goes aggressive and takes control of the map can get disproportionately ahead of the other team to the point that a comeback isn't possible because the winning team's base has 100 more BP invested into it


Simple Review


In Order of Appearance:
1. Free Upgrades: No.
2. Removal of Stamina: Yes, favorite change thus far.
3. Simple Momentum: Yes, best way to handle camping. Needs further changing though.
4. Anti-Camping: No, wrong way to handle camping.
5. Simplified Locational Damage: Yes and No, revert Simplified Locational Damage for big evolutions.
6. Construct Anywhere: Yes, however game has no good offensive structures. Serves as a way to entrench a team, which is not fun.
7. Unlocked Buildables: No.
8. Build Points Pool: Yes and No, I like the change but could easily go back to how it was before.

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