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Author Topic: The difficulty of balancing EiRR and why you should spam tanks  (Read 628 times)
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Barbi3KillzAll Offline
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Posts: 9


« on: December 04, 2019, 04:35:05 pm »

Since this mod was made balance discussions has never been conclusive and balance tweaks often swing from one extreme to the other depending on the meta and flavour of the month.

Having spent the past one week thinking intensively about balancing the mod, I'll put down some thoughts on a current serious issue. Some of it is inspired from the original vcoh game design itself.

Tanks are extremely effective for what they do in EiR but why is it so?

Implicit nerfs to vanilla units from vCoH to EIR through gameplay mechanics
Infantry
DPS
- Infantry loses DPS as they lose men and reinforcement option is taken out
Survivability
- Suppression becomes very powerful due to the lack of "retreat" button and infantry is unable to run from pursuing tanks/vehicles/threat
- Need to constantly re-crew support weapons reduces versatility of axis elite infantry
- Slow building of sandbags, tank traps which are often used in vcoh

Tanks
DPS
- Does not lose DPS until weapon destroyed status
Survivability
+ Have repair capability in repair kits (significantly better than infantry) which is available to all units without needing specific doctrines or pop cap (triage, medic bunker)
- Heavily affected by special abilities (stickies, mines) but have repair kit ability
+ Large maps favouring mobility (Not as good for slower tanks)

Therefore there is advantage in favour of tanks.

Bad resource design in EIR
Traditionally, we would think of the following regarding units and upgrades:

MP: For buying units (duh) and mostly associated with infantry and how tough it is (e.g. rifleman v airborne)
MU: For buying upgrades (mostly infantry) to improve their effectiveness
FU: For buying tanks and somewhat related to how tough they are and how hard to kill

There are many points that are counter-intuitive and I'll try to list some below:
Gren v Volks and KCH
i) Grenadiers are tougher than volksgrenadiers with better rifles/DPS therefore they cost more MP. Why aren't munitions priced in?
ii) KCH comes with STG44 (base unit no upgrade) with higher DPS but why do they cost munitions?

ATGs vs Hand Held AT
i) Hand Held AT is a direct upgrade to infantry so it make sense to cost munitions (vcoh as well)
ii) Why do ATGs (as well as other support weapons) cost munitions to buy? There is no upgrade to their ability

Following from these examples; if you argue that a units default killing ability or damage potential is strong, or could be upgraded, should cost munitions to upgrade, why don't tanks have a default munitions cost? Generalist tanks (e.g. Sherman, P4) are effective at everything they do yet they do not cost MU.

^ From these arguments it is logical to see that MU as a cost factor for DPS effectiveness is not a valid argument and that MU pricing for units need further thinking.

Implications for fighting tanks
- Tanks are one of the cheapest MU-free or low-MU options with strong versatile killing capabilities on the field
- Because of MU price on ATGs, using tanks and super heavies result in an extremely heavy MU (and MP!) drain on the enemy's team
- A tank repair kit at 60/80 munitions can repair your tank to nearly new ready to wreck havoc. No other MU upgrade in the entire game give you the same amount of utility. (Except maybe a devastating offmap that lands)

There are more issues regarding MP vs MU vs FU on supply, demand, usage that affects EIR that I will cover comprehensively in another game design discussion but the takeaway here should be:

- Most other EIR units cost MU to be effective. Tanks don't.
- Because AT options (HHAT and ATG) cost MU, tank result in a severe MU sink on the enemy that is disproportionate.

Battlefield Performance

Popcap efficiency vs infantry based AT
All veteran players knows that a single ATG is insufficient. At minimum it must be either 2 ATGs or an ATG paired with HHAT.

The problem with using infantry based AT options means you have dedicated 10 popcap to fighting tanks which are not effective for fighting infantry. Tanks suffer no such problem.

As a result you have 15 popcap left to field other units.

The issue is exacerbated for axis players because there is no threat of stickies/engine damage to prevent a daring tank raid from driving to the rear of the ATG and shooting it down.

Mobility vs Infantry AT
Tanks are able to attack other areas and it takes too long for infantry based AT to respond. Flanking should indeed be rewarded but the advantage of flanking with tanks outweigh the advantage of flanking with infantry.

Tank flanking units with no/low AT vs elite infantry flanking
+ Tank move into flanks faster once a weakness/opening is spotted
+ Tanks are able to chase critical units with faster move speed + crush
+ Tanks maintain full combat effectiveness unless mines/stickies or destroyed
+ Tank are effective against heavy cover and garrisons (unless some HHAT present)
- Flanking elite infantry cannot chase down other infantry
- All infantry are able to put up some resistance/buy time by running to heavy cover or garrisons

The tanks advantage is even stronger in maps like Monte Cassino where there are very little garrisons or hedgerows and obstacles to hide from the tank.

Why is Myst's P4 + Volkspam so effective?Or why tank + inf spam works so well

i) By buying tanks you have MU to spend on inf-based upgrades
ii) If the opponent did not sink enough MU into buying ATGs they will lose eventually.
iii) But by spending MP and MU on ATGs and other AT options they have less anti-inf capability which loses to your upgraded inf spam. You proceed to recrew their support weapons and now its yours, for free. And you still get to use ur fancy upgrades.

This issue is also made worse by the fact that all support weapons are currently so expensive in MP and MU.

This applies to any combination of tank and infantry

Interim Remedies?
Reduce MU cost on ATGs to 100
This is a super expensive, pop cap intensive unit that has no purpose except to shoot tanks , destroy support weapons or buildings.
Repair kit to cost 1/3 MP and FU tank cost and not MU
This is to limit the amount of tanks (AT MU drain effect) and better reflect the effectiveness of the kit. Maybe it could cost more but "downtime" is significant as well and if it gets too expensive, its better to just suicide and call in a new unit.
Repair kits broken down into parcels
This is to reduce "repair downtime" by quickly repairing engine damage from stickies/mine.
This is to reduce the disadvantages from using vehicles now (do I repair my engine damaged Tiger?)

Light/Med repair = 2 parcels. Heavy = 3 parcels.

Putting MU into tank cost is impractical
Until a consistent pricing system is designed. I don't think it makes sense to complicate Tank pricing further.

I hope this conclusively shows you that tanks are really good and something you should always buy and to use up FU as much as possible. The "tank effect" is made worse with heavies (currently tigers and churchills)

There are more issues on AT options and tank interactions that are further driven by factional difference but that is a different topic entirely.

Doctrine abilities or other combined arms strategies are a different discussion as well.

Designate official maps to play
Having played a game on Crossroads (old EiR map) today, it reminded me of the days of just 2v2 Crossroads (because everyone knows you're bring an 88 on 2v2 Road to Carentan) and 3v3 Abbeville. However vehicle play is not as viable in the older EIR days even though pios/engys could repair tanks which is a significant advantage over repair kits because:

- Crossroads is extremely cluttered. Pathfinding was painful. I also remembered the non-stop mortar/arty wars.
- Abbeville was cluttered as well specific areas and at some points, had strategic garrisons (chateau, train station etc.)
- Lower MU environment and less doctrine toys unlock meant less toys on infantry overall.
- Heavies were often highly useful in clearing hedges in those maps.

Some EIR maps lack design elements that supports interesting play.

Monte Cassino is one of those maps that benefits vehicles/tanks more than infantry despite the nice pre-built fortified centre you're provided with.

New note: Current EIR Maps are different from Crossroads and Abbeville, being significantly more open resulting in more dynamic gameplay (hence favouring tanks). Old maps restricted vehicles/tanks from being impactful despite having the same resource and game mechanic environment.

Well designed maps are highly central part to keeping units balanced and facilitate fun and interesting gameplay

Good tank play should be rewarded
From my experience playing sniper builds, I realise snipers are super micro intensive. Tanks are super micro intensive as well to get the maximum value out of them. It should not be so easy to simply run 2 shermans/p4s to run down things so easily at such low value/price. If a player wants to micro everything out of the tank to extract the maximum value, they can. It should be just 1 tank, not 2.

In Closing, Tanks are not "OP" because of just one issue. They are a result of many overlapping issues that have complex interactions with each other.

This applies to a lot of other issues and why balanace issues are argued ad nauseam because we are viewing things in too small a picture, when we should be taking a larger picture perspective.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 05:12:56 pm by Barbi3KillzAll » Logged
TheIcelandicManiac Offline
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 05:19:55 pm »

Either this is wind or the bots have become very sophisticated
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Tachibana Offline
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 06:21:18 pm »

While I agree with many of the specific points, I don't fully agree with the conclusions that (paraphrasing) "Tanks are OP for a variety of overlapping reasons".
Tanks are good, I agree, that does not mean infantry and support weapons are bad. These interactions are not entirely zero sum.

There are also a few key points missing from the general analysis.

1. Fuel based vehicle counters exist both in soft and hard forms.
Quote
There are more issues on AT options and tank interactions that are further driven by factional difference but that is a different topic entirely.
seems too flippant a consideration considering how common these fuel vs fuel interactions are. There are entire units and strategies based upon this interaction set.

2. You seem to be terribly underselling the value of infantry within EIR. The ability to control territory is the single most important thing in EIR. Consistently, through the history of EIR, the most effective and difficult to counter strats are territory/infantry based ones that often leave large amounts of fuel floating. 36 rifles/atgs, smokedropAB, spawnrush commandos. Its also not uncommon for vehicle based strats to simply be capped off the map.

At the most basic level, lets put it like this. An infantry based strategy can function with no vehicle support. A vehicle based strategy cannot function without infantry support(barring capping LVs).


As for your points on Resource allocation, you are correct, it is mostly arbitrary. My preference has always been towards a single resource pool like most tabletop games and similar pre-build RTS games like Total war/Steel Division/Red Dragon. However, that would be a massive undertaking that I don't think the current dev team really has the time for. That is assuming they even agree with the idea that a rework of the resource system is even necessary.

The counterpoint to this, however, is that it will inevitably lead to "spam". As the real function of the current resource pools is to have a functional Hardcap on unit types/upgrades. So you would trade arbitrary resource allocation for arbitrary hard caps.

Lastly, on maps. All maps will have a skew towards one build or another. The ones that need to be removed/reworked are the ones that effectively remove a play style totally. Even then, I feel people often overreact to maps. 90% of the time when you lose, the map was not the cause of the loss. Even in situations where the map plays a part in a loss, its generally not near the top of the list of reasons.

So, yes, having a general idea of a good map is nice. However, making them uniform is not something i'm really in favor of. I feel that overcoming any slight bias against your company in map design is part of the game of EIR. It is a skill to be learned and an aspect of the game to be mastered.

For example

Using a vehicle based company on Villers-Bocage, a City map many see as anti-vehicle; https://youtu.be/9eZFi5CzBEs
Using a infantry based company on Tanteville, a wide, generally open map many see as pro-vehicle; https://youtu.be/3-jk9GYYHQI

 
Summed up
- Tanks at base and their interactions with their counters are fine. Some doctrinal consideration might be there.
- The resource system is completely arbitrary and not ideal. A rethinking and re-allocation would be ideal, but unlikely given current development manpower unless someone is willing to take up the mantle.
- Removing truly bad maps is good. However, maps themselves have overall little say in the outcome of the match once those bad ones are removed.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2019, 06:23:00 pm by Tachibana » Logged

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Unkn0wn Offline
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 05:25:32 am »

I don't fully share the premise that "tanks are OP" in EIR either, as like Dire said you also need to consider F-based AT options which offer very potent alternatives to MU based AT, particularly against heavier tanks.

That being said, I do agree there's some issue with builds like volksspam + panzers/tigers inherent to EIR's resource system. Repair kits on tanks could easily go up in price. 60 - 100 Mun is very cheap for a second life on a tank. On the other hand, if we were to considerably increase their price I do think we should consider breaking them up in two as a 30 MU mine can effectively render your vehicle near-useless. I think it's also worth reconsidering the current balance between MP - MU and F as the current 8000 - 2000 - 1200 is very much skewed towards vehicles AND infantry upgrades as opposed to some of the previous resource setups we had in EIR (remember the 10k MP days with like 1500 Mun). This is easy to change in the SQL and we should have a go with small changes just to see how that impacts gameplay. I've always thought 2k Mun is a bit too much personally.

i don't agree with the idea of a instituting a singular resource like in tabletop games etc. We've actually mulled that over many times in EIR's history and always ended up deciding against it precisely because it would too fundamentally alter the way the game is played and probably result in even more ridiculous spam/gimmicky builds.

On Maps, I agree with Dire we shouldn't be forcing too much uniformity. It's good to have some diversity (urban maps vs rural, etc) in layouts and what they might offer in terms of playstyle as long as its nothing too extreme. Maps like RTC can probably be considered "extreme" in how they cater to support weapon spam (narrow map, easy to lock down areas) and allow flak dominance. I think over the years most of us have an implicit understanding of what constitutes a good map. We can and should probably codify that somewhat (attempts were made over the years and I wrote down my thoughts in the other thread)  and subsequently trim down the list of maps we have on offer, only offering maps that we're confident will offer a fairly balanced experience for both sides, regardless of the company build you're bringing.
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Barbi3KillzAll Offline
EIR Recruit
Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 03:27:57 pm »

I don't fully share the premise that "tanks are OP" in EIR either, as like Dire said you also need to consider F-based AT options which offer very potent alternatives to MU based AT, particularly against heavier tanks.

While I agree with many of the specific points, I don't fully agree with the conclusions that (paraphrasing) "Tanks are OP for a variety of overlapping reasons".
Tanks are good, I agree, that does not mean infantry and support weapons are bad. These interactions are not entirely zero sum.

I've looked at the facts, done the analysis, tried various play styles etc. Your current system supports the Tank + Inf spam strategy for many overlapping reasons. Whatever your takeaway is, it's your call. I want other play styles to be viable as well just as much as you want and without changing some of these fundamental, historical systems, for the reasons I've specified, it will remain the way it is.

I call it "Tanks are OP" but you can call it by any other name.

That being said, I do agree there's some issue with builds like volksspam + panzers/tigers inherent to EIR's resource system. Repair kits on tanks could easily go up in price. 60 - 100 Mun is very cheap for a second life on a tank.

Its a combination of the resource system, repair kits and the tank's inherent design and MU drain effect that makes that specific tactic effective. If you slowly break up the various aspects of it, other play styles will become as viable and competitive.

On the other hand, if we were to considerably increase their price I do think we should consider breaking them up in two as a 30 MU mine can effectively render your vehicle near-useless. I think it's also worth reconsidering the current balance between MP - MU and F as the current 8000 - 2000 - 1200 is very much skewed towards vehicles AND infantry upgrades as opposed to some of the previous resource setups we had in EIR (remember the 10k MP days with like 1500 Mun). This is easy to change in the SQL and we should have a go with small changes just to see how that impacts gameplay. I've always thought 2k Mun is a bit too much personally.

Breaking up the repair kit in general is a good thing. It reduces the element of luck and risk by a tiny bit, giving a small second chance, it also makes tank more powerful again in that regard and reduces the fear factor for axis tanks pushing allied positions.

The MP MU FU resource should be lowered but I think all upgrades etc need some rebalancing first. Lowering MU now will favour the tank + inf spam tactic even more because of lack of MU for ATGs and HHATs while upgraded infantry overruns ur positions.

So, yes, having a general idea of a good map is nice. However, making them uniform is not something i'm really in favor of. I feel that overcoming any slight bias against your company in map design is part of the game of EIR. It is a skill to be learned and an aspect of the game to be mastered.

On Maps, I agree with Dire we shouldn't be forcing too much uniformity. It's good to have some diversity (urban maps vs rural, etc) in layouts and what they might offer in terms of playstyle as long as its nothing too extreme. Maps like RTC can probably be considered "extreme" in how they cater to support weapon spam (narrow map, easy to lock down areas) and allow flak dominance. I think over the years most of us have an implicit understanding of what constitutes a good map. We can and should probably codify that somewhat (attempts were made over the years and I wrote down my thoughts in the other thread)  and subsequently trim down the list of maps we have on offer, only offering maps that we're confident will offer a fairly balanced experience for both sides, regardless of the company build you're bringing.

Hence why I'm bringing as much of these discussions public and into a written forum format as possible to allow for diversity of opinions and to track what everyone is saying.

I've given some thought and I agree with those things, but it is not great to return to flamethrowers + schreck spam on maps flooded with buildings. It just doesn't make for interesting play.

Given the new warmap play style and idea I've floated across. Having maps around some themes: rural europe (Road to Carentan, Operation Martlet etc.), Town/urban (Nuenen, Forest) allows for variety, specific companies tailored for aggressive / meeting engagement / skirmishing play etc. It still doesn't change the fact that maps should still be well designed and layout to factor for different types of play etc, not just dumping splats and things in.

1. Fuel based vehicle counters exist both in soft and hard forms. seems too flippant a consideration considering how common these fuel vs fuel interactions are. There are entire units and strategies based upon this interaction set.

Yes but that's like saying use OP unit to fight OP unit. Plus getting a generalist unit is better for versatility of combat.

2. You seem to be terribly underselling the value of infantry within EIR. The ability to control territory is the single most important thing in EIR. Consistently, through the history of EIR, the most effective and difficult to counter strats are territory/infantry based ones that often leave large amounts of fuel floating. 36 rifles/atgs, smokedropAB, spawnrush commandos. Its also not uncommon for vehicle based strats to simply be capped off the map.

At the most basic level, lets put it like this. An infantry based strategy can function with no vehicle support. A vehicle based strategy cannot function without infantry support(barring capping LVs).

Except that the popcap system we have, its a +/- total change of 1 for at least 20 minutes. I've changed my playstyle to just focus on attrition because sacrificing units for cap is just not worth it. Look at intelligence game reports. There are the games where territory held is 30-70 until the last 5 minutes where the out attrition happens and the entire game flips. It just isn't rewarding for people who push and gain territory.

I am a VERY BIG advocate for infantry. I love snipers, I love support weapons, elite inf rushes etc. that I think is the core of old EiR play and vcoh play but as fun as it is, you're better off playing attrition warfare.

Since we're play 2v2s and 3v3s, you can always rely on you friend's infantry around to do some capping. A lot of people play vehicle based strategies it is just not apparent. I want pure infantry play to be more viable... they aren't at this moment.

Infantry based strategy can function without vehicle support but a lot less effective and efficient. A vehicle based strategy is relying on your ally to do the dirty capping work but if everyone in a 2v2 and 3v3 does that then you naturally lose the capping game (as you should)

i don't agree with the idea of a instituting a singular resource like in tabletop games etc. We've actually mulled that over many times in EIR's history and always ended up deciding against it precisely because it would too fundamentally alter the way the game is played and probably result in even more ridiculous spam/gimmicky builds.

As for your points on Resource allocation, you are correct, it is mostly arbitrary. My preference has always been towards a single resource pool like most tabletop games and similar pre-build RTS games like Total war/Steel Division/Red Dragon. However, that would be a massive undertaking that I don't think the current dev team really has the time for. That is assuming they even agree with the idea that a rework of the resource system is even necessary.

The counterpoint to this, however, is that it will inevitably lead to "spam". As the real function of the current resource pools is to have a functional Hardcap on unit types/upgrades. So you would trade arbitrary resource allocation for arbitrary hard caps.

Single resource or multi resource systems can work, it just takes a lot of time to build the rules to make it work. We keep what we have because its a bit easier to work with unless theres someone who can come up with the full system and rules on how it'll work and yes its a function of time issue.

Yes I'm proposing elsewhere to make resource caps less arbitrary and more objective.


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Mysthalin Offline
Tired King of Stats
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 05:03:10 pm »

I believe your analysis has a very fundamental (but understandable) misunderstanding of what the resources actually do and what they are meant to achieve, particularly when it comes to fuel.

Fuel, in my view, acts as a method of soft-cap for how many vehicles can be fielded in a given game by a given player, and individual vehicle fuel prices are balanced primarily against each other. E.g. How many Tigers versus Shermans do we want to see from a single player.

The manpower cost of these tanks then acts as the main drain on flexibility of the rest of the company. Hence panthers and fireflies have a very favorable MP to fuel Ratio, given their specialist roles - while something like P4s and shermans (which are more versatile) drain your manpower more for the fuel spent. This may not have been a conscious choice at any point in EiR's history, but it's one that happened naturally - and one that works. Is it perfect for everything? Nope, 76mm shermans should probably cost a little more manpower for what they do, and light vehicles across the board could probably be right-sized to be less manpower intensive.

I also fully support Dire's view that capping strategies are the ones that win fundamentally. You listed my "volks + P4s" strategy as a call-out, but your call out gets the actual intention behind the strategy completely wrong. The core principle of that strategy is that territory is everything, and the volks achieve that. The P4s have one job - and that job is to enable the volks to capture and hold territory. Kill MGs, mortars and bully light vehicles - with a bit of tank on tank action as and when appropriate. But the ultimate aim is for the volks to cap and hold - all while pulling a bit of double duty and trying to complete any given job with the least resources invested.

I fundamentally reject the notion that an excessive amount of AT is needed just to deal with tanks as well. My volks companies are unique in that they try to leverage zero AT guns - but I do not need to steal any to still be successful. Most of my other effective companies will rarely use more than 2-3 ATGs with maybe 2-4 stickies (as US), or a pair of PIATs and boys AT rifles (as CW) to provide adequate AT - and this is not in any way excessive.

To take the same CW company for a spin, my 6 Churchills and 1 command tank have a combined cost of 4590 MP 585 MU. The AT within the company adds up to a mere 1860 MP, 760 MU. In a hypothetical scenario, I believe the AT in this company would be perfectly capable of denying the same company's tanks their role of pressuring the frontline if used intelligently. Sure, there's a fairly marginal cost difference of 175 munitions in favour of the tanks - but an undeniably massive 2730 MP difference in favour of the AT.

Quote
I am a VERY BIG advocate for infantry. I love snipers, I love support weapons, elite inf rushes etc. that I think is the core of old EiR play and vcoh play but as fun as it is, you're better off playing attrition warfare.
Snipers and support weapons are the definition of attrition warfare.. It pains me to say this, but I think your overall complaint does, sadly, stem from just not being able to sit in a doomfort and rack up kills with a sniper with no counter outside of artillery.
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Olazaika1 Offline
EIR Recruit
Posts: 40



« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2019, 04:43:36 am »

Do I need to bring out my 24 sticky bomb company again?
Because I'm gonna fucking do it, i swear to god i'm gonna come back to this fucking mod and rape his asshole with nothing but infantry if it shuts up barbi3 for good.


Shitposting aside, tanks are not overpowered. They are micro-intensive units that take up a lot of pop and are balanced on risk vs reward. Mediums and Heavies are excellent for whittling down your enemy and fighting through attritional warfare, while LV's are good for flanking maneuvers and cleaning up pushes.

Using specific examples will not help argue this case, as arguing in hypotheticals will only bring "but what if i brought this instead of that". The actual issue that you're facing has everything to do with your own gameplay style. You're incredibly sedentary and reactive in a game which promotes aggressiveness and being proactive. Tanks are an issue for you, and other players of similar style, due to you either over-reacting or under-reacting to their threat. I'm sure you'd be great at 1v1's, where you'd know what the enemy has in the company, as you'd know exactly what to expect, but in a game as dynamic as EIR:R, you have to surprise the enemy, not the other way around.

I really don't mean to insult you by saying that. There are certain playstyles that are simply not viable in EIR, and while I understand your frustration, you ultimately have nothing else to do but improvise, adapt and overcome.

i still fucking hate all of you who posted in this thread.

including you unkn0wn, you're a belgian turd waffle
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lol dats true get rekt



I like balanced companies

you can't just post a replay every single time I fuck up the opening
GrayWolf Offline
EIR Veteran
Posts: 1637



« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2019, 06:11:39 am »

I think I have to come back to show people the definition of balance  Roll Eyes
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