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KineticOperator

Old Dogs, Old Tricks. Dealing with TLT Spam

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...the folks doing the play testing were for the most part truly veteran players. They have been around for quite a while, and didn't just read about some "old school" builds they also learned how to use and counter those lists.

So from my perspective this is one of the most interesting statements in this whole thread because while seemingly an innocuous statement of the virtue of the play testing schema FFG has, it is also perhaps an indication of, if not a problem, the reason why so many things get through play testing result in "QQ" threads, whether or not they are in fact OP.

The simple reality is that most people do not play at a top level, and the overwhelming majority of people do not approach the aforementioned "skill ceiling" of their lists, even if they play competitively. So play testing amongst "truly veteran players" creates an interesting set of results. From the standpoint of highly skilled competitive players, things may get through play testing being "not broken" because those players truly have the skills, both in list-building and in flying to employ strategies necessary to defeat the upgrade du juor. They can use things with a higher "skill ceiling" to their advantage. And so on the level of high end competition, all seems well.

For top tier players, TLTs may very well be balanced. They hit the "skill ceiling" when using them and run out of places to incorporate their skill. They waste it, and so for them, TLTs get dragged down a peg. That doesn't necessarily equate to good for the game as a design element element however. 9 out of 10 players will not hit the skill ceiling with any list.

Take two average players of equal skill. One flies TLTs, the other interceptors. It doesn't matter if the TLT ceiling is low and would be limiting to a top player, neither player here is going to run into that disadvantage. The downside of skill ceiling is nonexistent. The upgrade du jour will affect casual play, small local tournaments, etc and gradually reduce in effect as the amount of competition rises.

Now, the game should be balanced with competitive play in mind. However, it behooves the designers to, I think, be very cautious about upgrades/ships with low barriers to entry, but a significant impact on the meta (such as TLTs). Even if they have a skill limit that keeps them from taking down regionals and nationals, in a game of equally skilled average players, they will seem dominant. These types of upgrades affect a lot of players and will result in a lot of negative player experiences. I've railed about NPEs numerous times - it is almost irrelevant if the thing in question is unbalanced or not if it creates a NPE.

Two players of equal skill, and one with a pre-nerf phantom takes down nearly the other guys entire list. Fat turrets flying in circles - all the nuances and tiny advantages are lost on the majority of players - it appears to be a dice fest. TLT spam appears to be a wall of mostly unavoidable damage. Highly defensive ships that simply cannot be killed by another single ship (I'm looking at you Corran Horn with R2-D2 and evade). All result in NPEs, and so while they might be competitively balanced at the high end, these things the types of things that are better avoided than included.

Long story short - High Impact upgrades should be designed to be high skill (high skill floor). Upgrades that have high impact with a low barrier to entry will cause a lot of headache, whether they are balanced or not.

Edited by GiraffeandZebra

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Is it possible that the Alabaster Hippo Ballet is viable against TLTs?  Or does the large ship MoV rule change make the Lambdas too much of a liability?  Just seems like they throw lots of red dice and have lots of hitpoints, as well as being pretty darn good blockers...

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Bounty Hunter + Tactical Jammer

Bounty Hunter + Tactical Jammer

Soontir Fel + PTL + Autothrusters

 

I really don't see getting all that much use from the Tactical Jammers.  (Although I've never tried to use two of them, I've never had my efforts to use one of them rewarded.  EVen 1 point's worth.)

 

I don't think that's a bad TLT-counter, although I'd be more likely to pick either:

 

(a) TL for Soontir, for ranging purposes, or ...

 

(b) APL for a BH, and just have it charge in and mix things up.

 

 

Tactical Jammers in this match up should actually work out great. Normally the ship that would obstruct an attack is the better target for your opponent anyways. However, against TLT your opponent may be forced to shoot through a Firespray to hit another ship beyond range 1 because of the TLT croissant.

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Is it possible that the Alabaster Hippo Ballet is viable against TLTs? Or does the large ship MoV rule change make the Lambdas too much of a liability? Just seems like they throw lots of red dice and have lots of hitpoints, as well as being pretty darn good blockers...

My gut reaction is yes, as long as they stay cheap or work with your last in some other way.

Doom shuttle and the buzzsaw are builds I see doing reasonably well when paired with a swarm.

Relatively cheap and would take 2 solid turns of shooting to destroy. I think the swarm could do a reasonable amount of damage in that time.

Edited by Rividius

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