PvP balancing: Reduce maxHits on walls/ramparts, controller downgrade time

  • Dev Team

    I only want to note that the current mechanic is to lose 10%, since here were some incorrect statements that there is no lose at all. You can check it here https://github.com/screeps/engine/blob/19453d92fb2139f8f1b8cda47ea54983e149e44d/src/processor/intents/controllers/tick.js#L43

  • Interesting ideas, I do think that there should be a lot more emphasis on protecting the controller during a siege. Since one of the biggest advantages a defender has is the freedom to choose where to place all of his or her structures. This means the defender can cluster all of their buildings together in a extremely compact defensible position. The player, however, does not get to chose were the controller in a room is placed. This can force a very significant additional constraint on the defender when planning his/her base layout, but only if attacking the controller results in a serious penalty to the defender.

    Instead of (or maybe in addition to) the current effects, attackController could build up some counter, which if it reaches a certain threshold will temporarily reduce a rooms RCL by 1 for some number of ticks. This would mean an RCL8 room would lose control of 3 towers, 1 spawn, 4 labs, and all the other buildings that become available at RCL8 making defending significantly harder. The main idea here would be that this temporary downgrade would be achievable on a much shorter timescale while still requiring a strong presence in the room by the attacker. Furthermore, it would potentially promote extended conflict around both the controller and the defender's core base.

    Perhaps this idea is redundant with respect to the way attacking the controller is currently implemented, but I feel like decoupling the 'upgrading' aspect of the controller from the 'attacking' aspect would give a lot more flexibility to properly balance this mechanic.

  • I like the idea behind attackController, and I do think it's an improvement to the current system and a step in the right direction, but given that it only blocks the controller for 1000 ticks, this doesn't really improve the "standing army" problem that controllers have.

    I would suggest, however, scaling upgradeBlocked to the number of CLAIM parts used to attack that tick (with future attempts to use attackController being blocked, similar to the way multiple miners can mine a single extractor).

    With the currently suggested system, assuming a player is using a single maximum size CLAIM creep to attack the controller, it will still take over 40 such attackController cases (that is, continuous upgrade blocking, assuming a maximum size CLAIM creep to minimize the number of battles)- 40 battles that the defender must have an army up and ready to fight off anything the attacker can throw at them, and the attacker only has to win one of those battles in order to start the whole process over again.

    Allowing multiple creeps to simultaneously use attackController (even without an increase in upgradeBlocked time would help by reducing the number of battles, but that won't be consistent. Even only having to win one in twenty-two or so battles still heavily skews in favor of the original owner.

  • Add an alternative attack option for claim parts aka. DrillController, that makes the casting creep immobile and unable to be healed until it stops drilling for 20 continuous ticks, but does a LOT more damage to controller, like 5-10x as much as attack controller.

    If you have complete control of room it will allow you to take out controllers much faster, but if the enemy has even a few turrets operational he will be able to take out the drilling creep no problem.

    Alternatively, give attack-controller a range of 2 (or 3) so an attacker willing to shell out the energy can mass more of them.

  • Those seem like some great ideas, and I'm very encouraged by the discussion.

    The mechanics suggested by @dissi-mark have some nice potential but with those numbers they seem to just be a reshuffling, not an increase in potency. The proposed mechanic would have a 15-part CLAIM creep take down the controller by 3000 in one tick. Continuously attacking with a series of the same creep over 1000 ticks would also take the controller down by 3000.

    It could even make some sieges longer. At the moment you can attack with more than one creep.

    So it seems to boil down to an energy savings and a normalization of the amount of distance to the attack room. This is a step in the right direction, but the current big issues are the sheer amount of time it takes (which it could actually make worse) and the fact that it is too easy to lose all your progress as the attacker.

    I still like the general idea and the normalizing effect it has related to the distance that the claim creep has to travel. I'd just ask that it be more potent, perhaps 500 per CLAIM part rather than 200.

    As others have pointed out, it is very unbalancing that ticksToDowngrade is immediately restored upon upgrading with a single energy. It would be much better if upgrading increased it by some amount, but not completely restored it. Perhaps 1 energy would restore 10 ticksToDowngrade points.

    edit: made it a little more concise

  • YP

    Just a thought after waking up... what if there were a structure that an attacker can build in an enemy room that has some effect. Maybe that some energy / minerals to work.

  • @w4rl0ck

    We were talking about an idea that is similar to that in our alliance chat recently, I think it has some interesting potential.

    One of the reasons I suggested these things in particular is because they would basically require little more than adjusting some constants. I know the devs have their hands full with performance upgrades and new features. I thought this might allow us to bring some balance to PvP in the meantime.

  • Dev Team

    @w4rl0ck Actually, I like this idea. Something like StructureSiege which competes with the controller for control over the room, and should be somehow interacted as well. Does anyone want to elaborate this mechanic a bit?

  • why an additional structure. As Dissi said: I personally always saw the controller as a way to control the room. It should be considered the most important structure in the room in stead of the "oh yeah that thing" structure it is now.

    so something like when attacking a controler you're granted temporal building rights in the room. Still, there can't be 7 towers, but if you destroy one of his - you can build your own as well as ramparts and such... The room battles will take a whole other perspective than the static one there currently is

  • @artch

    Some ideas for StructureSiege:

    • Disallow safemode while it is in the room (safeMode can always be popped before it is completed)
    • Have upgradeBlocked while it is in the room
    • Give it .energy and .energyCapacity properties and allow some of the same functions as a StructureTower
    • Energy might also be used to attack the controller to reduce ticksToDowngrade
    • Make it expensive to build but also give it enough hits that it can't be knocked down in just a few ticks (perhaps 1m hits)

  • YP

    I like the idea of the structure over the CLAIM creeps because of the limited range you can use CLAIM creeps effective and it's very expensive. I understand that limiting the claim range is important .. but I don't think that it's the same for the downgrade part.

    My basic idea of the SiegeStructure was that it has to be build near the controller, and slowly degrades the room while it has energy.

    • maybe give it the possibility to upgrade the siegetower to a higher level by upgrading the tower and accepting higher minerals to make the decay faster
    • or let it work like a rampart .. it uses energy but also decays slowly if not repaired and it has a maximum hp count

  • Given the nature of construction I wonder how practical that will be.

    • Simply stepping on the siege construction site will destroy all progress
    • If it obeys the standard placement rules, then basic exit walls/ramparts will prevent placing the site
    • Towers can attack the structure anywhere in the room

  • YP

    @warinternal said in PvP balancing: Reduce maxHits on walls/ramparts, controller downgrade time:

    Given the nature of construction I wonder how practical that will be.

    • Simply stepping on the siege structure will destroy all progress
    • If it obeys the standard placement rules, then basic exit walls/ramparts will prevent placing the site
    • Towers can attack the structure anywhere in the room

    I don't see the SiegeTower as a Structure that is build while there is still a Tower or a Spawn active in the room but something that takes place after the room is basically lost. If it works like a Rampart it would be build with 1 HP .. but still easy to destroy if not protected

    It needs to be refilled while working and repaired.

    I also think it should be limited so it has to be build like in range of 3 to the controller to be able to interact with it.

  • Dev Team

    It might be constructed right on top of the controller, like an extractor on top of the mineral.

    Or, it may be a more widely used siege structure that assists not only with overtaking the control, but also with directly attacking the room, like a siege machine in the front of ramparts line.

  • Dev Team

    Also, we need to consider power creeps in this regard. Some features may/should be moved to power skills rather than structure mechanics.

  • @artch

    we need to consider power creeps in this regard

    I can see the sense in waiting to see what solutions Power Creeps will bring, rather than add mechanics that might eventually be unnecessary.

    Since we don't know when that will be, is there anything that seems reasonable to you to adjust in the meantime? Even just increasing the potency of attackController would go a long way toward addressing this issue. CLAIM parts are already very expensive and distance-limited. It seems like the current potency is below what is justified by the cost.

  • Maybe some sort of mechanic that makes a siege stronger over time if the threat is not answered.

    For example, maybe each SiegeTower you build in a room decreases the cooldown on building another one. Or maybe the tower itself can be upgraded over time to be more potent.

    SiegeTowers seem a little kludgy.

    It would be really cool if you could build artillery emplacements or battering rams that are good at wrecking walls but weak/useless against creeps.

  • @bonzaiferroni Thanks for making this post. I think this is the right approach on both fronts. You could adjust the controller downgrade to accelerate if there is no allied buildings in the room or for consecutive levels lost.

  • Excellent discussion!

    I'm very happy to see that the devs and community manager are receptive to some of these ideas. It does give the feeling that an improvement (or several) might be applied. Thank you for that.

    My two cents. Two small and easy changes would have a massive impact on how interactive warfare is:

    1. Increase the effect of attackController by a factor of 2 or 3 (can be increased further later if necessary)
    2. a. Pushing energy into the controller no longer resets the timer, it adds 100 ticks to it
      b. Pushing energy into the controller no longer resets the timer, it adds 10x energy
      c. Pushing energy into the controller will only reset the timer if the controller has not been blocked in the last 10k ticks, otherwise, it just adds 100 ticks

  • Culture

    @atavus said in PvP balancing: Reduce maxHits on walls/ramparts, controller downgrade time:

    a. Pushing energy into the controller no longer resets the timer, it adds 100 ticks to it

    I really like this suggestion, this way it takes time to "fend off" the damage. I would suggest it to be ~50 ticks per work maybe? This means you will always have to upgradeController every 50 ticks, or lose the room!

    The siege structure is also a really nice suggestion. I think that this could be implemented without PowerCreeps and later move it so only PowerCreeps can build them.
    This way the mechanic can be field-tested before the actual release of PC's.

    I would suggest that you could bring up minerals to the StructureSiege to upgrade it, and make it have multiple levels. I'll have to think about what it would do, maybe an AoE effect every tick or something.