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  • Eilandeien
    Original poster 2 posts

    I. Introduction


    First of all, I love the game and the series. Been playing since ANNO 1602. I thnik ANNO 1800 is by far the best ANNO of all. "ANNO of all ANNO" as I sold it to my friends. Kudos and all respect to creators for hard work and ocean of content - I love it! That said... I have to adress GU15 combat changes. It's beyond me why I couldn't find other threads pointing this out, but I assume that's because of two reasons - first, that a decent portion of ANNO 1800 players play either modded game with custom ships and balance, or pacifist record-building runs, and the second, that many players might not yet reached new fire-weapons stage of the game.

    In short - new fire weapon balance is beyond tragic, as if there was no math or gameplay tests done. Please hear me out, because at this point its make-or-break for me and bunch of my ANNO multiplayer companions. I'll try to make it an easy read.

    II. Assumptions


    First of all, initial state of warfare balance was really decent, even if that was not main focus of the game. It seemed to follow some logical rules and assumptions:

    1. - No ships or units should become completely obsolete, everyone should have their niche, and up to this point they all had. (except maybe of schooners and sail gunships, clippers would be immortal if given second item slot).
    2. - Power balance should be preserved and thought about using common denominators and concepts like TTK (time to kill). Artillery turret is 'basic' defence in turret category, while SOTL takes role of foot-soldier for ships. Any other turret/ship is percieved as strong/weak/specialized in comparison to said common denominators.
    3. - Influence is only real 'cost' in late game. It limits things you can build, so ships strenght and weaknesses should be reflected by influence cost and vice versa. For example, when X is 400% stronger than Y, and costs the same influence it's already absurdly overpowered, and makes Y useless, as it costs 4 times the influence to be able to counter X potential.
    4. - Industrial capability of players in the game can spread among orders of magnitude. Combat strength of the units should never do that to avoid snowballing.


    III. The problem


    New Fire Weapons are ridiculously overpowered, and new effects - which I like and agree with as a concept - lasts absurdly long time and their penalties are harsh.
    Right now Famethrower Monitor/turret has both much higher base dmg of 127dps, and ridiculus damage bonus, making it x12 (1200%!), and including burning effext x24 (2400%!!) effective vs SOTL comparing to kinetic options. It's absurd amount of damage and renders SOTL totally obselete, stripping them of their role of foot line soldiers.
    More of that - not only it was supposed to be SOTL counter, (not obliterator), but in-game fight of Pyrphorian Monitor, dmg wise 70% weaker than Flamethrower Monitor, with Battle Cruiser ended in a draw! Mind that Battle Cruiser has high pool of 6000HP and is not made of wood.
    I'm all for the concept of flame weapons countering sail ships, but it should have been handled differently. As it is a base game update, it kills any balance there was as the TTK (time to kill) concept aswell. I'm sorry to say, bud introducing flame weapons in its current form is in general downgrade for the game. Badly balanced units hurts overall experience, no matter on wich side they fight. I don't want to have capability of building two Flamethrower Monitors and eliminating all late game AI/Player islands in one run.
    About the long lasting effects - they also render ship incapacitated. For instance, ship just touched by flamethrower is effectively disabled for the rest of the battle, and it is possible to just switch targets to mark all enemies, turning them into stationary practice targets. Even if ignitor decides to 'let it live', the very, very long time of these effects feels much more like a sensless, frustrating punishment that 'freezes' your units, instead of being of balanced mechanic. Concept is really good, it just doesn't match the ANNO 1800 combat pacing.

    IV. Examples


    Some math:
    - Right now in a duel SOTL have 26 dps (53 dps -50% from burning) and 4000hp, while Flame Monitor have 743 dps(!) and 2500hp, and can move up wind.
    - Let me say it again - Flamethrower Monitor have 2400%, yes, 24 times more effectivness of a SOTL in a duel.
    - Flame Monitor TTK on SOTL is 5,4s(!), while SOTL TTK vs Flame Monitor is 70,8s (47,2s + 50% from burning).

    Remember that we can deploy multiple Flame Monitors easly, as they are 25% influence cheaper than SOTL, and much more easier on resources than Battle Cruisers!

    And that gives us facts like:

    1. - Purple armor upgrade increasing SOTL lifetime in a duel by merely 0.5s(!)
    2. - 5 Flame Monitors will destroy 1 SOTL per second(!), while their influence cost (only 'real' cost tbh) equivalent is 3 SOTLs! Math says "NO."
    3. - Negative burning effect paralyzes ships for around 2:14, (being 25! times longer than expected lifetime of SOTL in a duel) with second and third effect lasting I think 10-20 minutes in total.
    4. - SOTL reload time is 10s, so in example above if You have SOTL fleet less than 10 (80 influence), they will get obliteraded by the fleet of 5 Flame Monitors (30 influence) without even getting a chance to fire second shot (and we do not even count devastating reload penalty from burning effect).
    5. - Also in example above, SOTL fleet will manage to do at most 530HP of damage to one target, and that is 20% of one Flame Monitor hitpoints, while themsleves will loose 40.000HP of damage in total.
    6. - Burning ships effectively cannot move (-75% penalty), while Flamethrower Monitor not only can move up the wind, but is equipped with a wide coverage turret, allowing him easly to avoid any damage after setting enemy on fire (even though SOTL looses a duel while its cannons are realoaded in 54% after first shot).


    VI. Solutions


    To restore playability to the combat/late game part of the game, You need to make damage more thoughtfuly balanced, predictable, managable, linked to game economics, while holding true to the points in "I. Assumptions". Here's my proposal:

    1. - For the units of the same influence cost, their combat power should be similar, as influence determines how many can be deployed at once. Let's assume ships specialized vs specific ship types, could deal still huge 300% of their base damage vs one type, and suffer 50% damage penalty vs others. That would mean that specialized ship is 3x more efficient in fighting their appropriate targets, while being forbidden from playing jack-of-all-trades. (Looking at You, Flame Monitor with 127 base dps from hell!).
    2. - To have common denominator, we look at SOTL as "basic soldier" class. Anything stronger is "strong", anything weaker is "weak".
    3. - To keep damage of fireships managable, but still very powerfull, as their role was to counter SOTL rush, lets give them just sligthly less base damage than SOTL, around 48dps. Then we apply bonus +200% to wooden ships, and penalty of at least -25% vs metal ships, also increase its influence cost to 8 to be on par with SOTL. We get 144 dps unit, that costs as much a 26 dps SOTL on fire.
    4. - We end up with 24 influence fire fleet being able to counter 120 influence SOTL rush (remember burning penalty!) It is still overpowered in my personal opinion, but not as much game-breaking as current 18 influence fire fleet being on par with dps of 685 influence SOTL fleet!
    5. - For combat status effects to have strategic meaning, but to reduce feeling of sensless punishment and frustration for player, I wouldn't necessarily nerf them that much, but they current time (that is 'forever') cannot stay that way. I would recommend these changes:
    6. - Phase one: 3 seconds duration, 30% reload and 45% speed penalties. (acts like a suppresive fire, doesn't allow to 'mass tap' the enemies to disable 15+ ships with one flamethrower).
    7. - Phase two: 15 seconds duration, 20% reload and 30% speed penalties.
    8. - Phase three: 30 seconds duration, 10% reload (or not at all), 15% speed penalty at most. Fights in ANNO 1800 just dont last that long, and especially not now, when as mentioned TTK for unimproved Flame Monitor vs SOTL is 5,4s.
    9. - All other fire ships need similar retouch - changinge flame weapons raw damage to be on par of their kinetic equivalents, then adjust the bonus to wooden ships to never exceed +200% additional damage. Right now much weaker thand Flamethrower Monitor, the Pyrphorian Monitor is able to efortlessly destroy 3 SOTLs and end 1v1 fight with a cruiser in a draw. That's very bad.


    VII. Conclusion


    Flame weapons adjusted in a way I suggested, already would allow fire fleet in equal numbers obliterate SOTL fleet without a single loss (and SOTL currently costs more influence, remember!). Them being 2400% stronger than SOTLs is not only ridicolus, but also strips away joy from playing, as if it was dev-tool for insta-killing units in game editor. And remember that monitors are not only durable, but inaffected by wind, what already made them excellent predators.

    Once again, absurd. I'm so afraid right now for the future of the game. It dived from my favourite one, to nearly unplayable. I do love it, I do have high hopes for it. With every season pass You gave us more content and mechanics than would be expected. Kudos for that. But current state of warfare is soul-crushng and frustrating beyond limit. Focused on punishing and using only one type of ship with base dps so high, its omnipowerful vs ships both wooden and steel, military and civilian, and any kind of harbour defences. I have no way on convincing my friends to come back for another session after GU15.

    Please, make it right, I know You can. I do offer all my insight, math, opinion and balancing knowledge I have (I am something of a game developer myself). All I want is what's the best for ANNO.

    Thank You so much for reading all of it. With all respect, devoted annocholic.

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