Introduce boosts one teir at a time rather than all at rcl6.

  • When you hit RCL6 you go from having no boosts to being able to produce and use all boosts.

    My proposal is that the ability to use and produce boosts is unlocked one teir at a time.

    RCL6 - teir 1, e.g UH

    RCL7 - teir 2 e.g. UH2O

    RCL8 - teir 3 e.g. XUH2O.

    This will give t1 and t2 boosts more utility and make getting to RCL6 less of a game changer.

  • Dev Team

    I like this idea. It's interesting what does the community think?

  • Will give more progress curve, and yeas tier 1 and 2 boost will be a little more viable, so + from me

  • Culture

    I don't think this will have much of an effect unless it also limits those rooms from using the boosts, not just building them. Otherwise people can still either purchase or transfer the higher level boosts in.

  • AYCE

    It is an interesting idea, but I'm not sure I like it.

    This will put RCL6 (and 7)-rooms at an disadvantage over RCL8 rooms with regard to attacking and defending. I think we have to find another way to make T1 ant T2 boosts viable.

    If it is implemented, I hope it will at least only be implemented for usage (boosting), and that production of T3 boosts will still be possible at lower levels. Lab operations at pre-RCL8 already feels a bit pointless (unless it is the first room), and a simple workaround is just to sell basic minerals and buy boosts.

  • This will put RCL6 (and 7)-rooms at an disadvantage over RCL8 rooms with regard to attacking and defending.

    This is true, but i don't think its an issue, In fact at the moment a RCL8 room has limited advantages over a RCL7 room in terms of attack, (you have slightly better healers / claimers and nukes), Its seems right to me that each gain in RCL level should improve your forces significantly.

    But my biggest issue with the way things are at the moment is that going from RCL5 -> RCL6, boosts make a huge difference, 4x damage, 4x healing, 70% damage reduction.

    ATM its virtually impossible to defend a RCL5 base from some of the attacks that are possible with T3 boosts from a RCL6 base.

  • Personally I think this is a step backwards. Balance really should be about not giving too much power to one set or the other. In Screeps, your power is your ability to utilize mechanics in your code, not what mechanics you necessarily have access to. What we're saying with this change is that nobody will be able to establish a room in an area with RCL8s because they won't be able to defend against those rooms, regardless of their code, because they don't have access to those.

    I want screeps to be code-centric, even more so than it is today, and this just makes it more room-centric. As @SteveTrov is pointing out, it's impossible to defend an RCL5 room against an RCL6. This a distinction in respawn areas, but quickly goes away. The majority of cases are RCL8s over there you need to defend against. If your code is good, you might be able to do so at RCL6 if you have the credits/friends to get the boosts to enable yourself.

    We're already going the route of more disparity with power creeps. I don't think adding more to a mechanic already in game is going to help that inequality, especially when your power spawn is only RCL8

  • I'm not sure, what's the main goal and what's the current disbalance of RCL6 boosting? Imho:

    • Energy capacity and number of spawns are still very significant limiting factors (effective "creeps-per-tick" is pretty low for RCL6);
    • T3 cooking with only 3 or 6 labs takes veeery long time, so producing locking is questionable;
    • Due to low "creeps-per-tick" factor (see 1st point) it's pretty tricky (and expensive) to spawn and boost effective squads non-stop.

    I see a few main scenarios:

    1. Newly (re)spawned player reaches RCL6:
      • It's his first high level room: it'll take long time for him to cook (or buy) any valuable amount of any boosts.
      • He reaches RCL6 at several rooms simultaneously: it'll still take long time + resources + code flexibility to build and equip any effective squad.
    2. This room is claimed by high-level player in direct (~20) range of RCL7+ rooms: so boosting ability almost doesn't matter due to unlimited reinforcement.
    3. This room is claimed by high-level player through a portal: almost the same as previous point, because portal-runners are sufficiently experienced players.

    None of these cases seem imbalanced enough for me to change lab core mechanics.

    • Almost every high-level player has several RCL7+ rooms to support any newly claimed room. Moreover, these players should have pretty robust code to defend against every ordinary threat (not about Bonzai's one 😄).
    • Newbie players "grow up" almost simultaneously (Respawn and Novice areas) and they have tons of more important early-game (!) mechanics to implement. Moreover, diplomacy is very important for them while growing.
    • Experienced players in Respawn areas will always have an advantage against any other players here: they have their code and credits to boost yourself, and, if they are assertive enough, boosting limitations don't matter for them.

    And one more: honestly, are there any significant number of incidents "RCL6+T3 vs RCL5" in real world?

  • Personally, I see very little utility in using lower tier boosts. This is particularly the case with the ghodium boosts. Consider the Ghodium Oxide family which reduce damage taken by TOUGH parts. This is the most extreme example, but a similar cost/benefit argument applies to every other boost.

    For T1 you need to mine or trade 5 minerals and carry out 4 reactions.

    For T2 you require 2 more minerals and carry out 2 more reactions. For 40-50% more materials/work, you go from an effective 43hp bonus on a tough part to a 100hp bonus on a tough part. This is a 130% improvement for 40-50% more minerals. Given the choice between T1 and T2 tough part boosts, I would prefer to use half as many boosted tough parts and have a larger effect while spending less minerals and carrying out less reactions than I would on 2 separate T1 tough parts. T2 >> T1.

    For T3 you require 1 more mineral and carry out 1 more reaction. For 14-16% more materials/work, you go from an effective 100hp bonus on a tough part to a 233hp bonus. This is again more than doubling in effectiveness compared to T2, but with an even lower incremental cost than it was to go from T1 to T2. Therefore if I have a choice between a 2 T2 tough parts, or 1 T3 tough part, I will always choose the T3 tough part as I will spend less minerals, carry out less reactions, and have a stronger effect. T3 >> T2.

    But X, H and O are usually more expensive on the market and possibly less prevalent on the map

    To an extent this is balanced by the relative prices (and possibly abundance) on the map. Only, however, to the extent that minerals are acquired by trade. Where minerals are mined by a player it takes exactly the same effort to acquire an X as it does to acquire an L or an O. So a player who expands his empire in such a way as to control rooms with minerals in proportion to his usage is not exposed to this form of balancing by cost. So I would argue that it's effect on the game is quite low.

    Then how should these be balanced?

    At the moment, I perceive no trade-off in always opting for T3 boosts other than more complex logistics chains.

    IMO the effects of the increased tiers of boosts should suffer from diminishing returns, or the mineral cost and lab processing effort should increase at a faster rate than the benefits of the extra tier. Even if the mineral cost and lab processing effort scaled exactly in line with the benefits, the higher tiers would still be preferred over the lower tiers, because you can cram more boosted parts into one creep. It's usually more challenging for opponents to deal with 1 super-creep than 2 less powerful creeps.

    With dimininishing returns on the cost-benefit ratio of higher tier boosts, players would have a more interesting decision to make. (Or more accurately, they have a decision to make for the first time).

    Rebalance TOUGH boost on effect strength?

    Recall that a T1 tough gives +43hp, a T2 tough gives +100hp and a T3 tough gives +233hp, we would need to ensure that the benefit of the higher tiers is less than that of the T1 tier. So moving from T1 to T2 should give no more than +43hp and probably less (due to the benefits of compactness, and less additional minerals and processing). I suggest +75hp in total for a T2 boost (a damage reduction percentage of 43%). Likewise a T3 tough part should be worse than three T1 tough parts which means that no more than another 43hp on top of the T2 boost. Because the incremental cost of the T3 is so much less than that of the T2, the benefit should be even lower. I propose merely another 25hp for a total of +100hp, or 50% damage reduction.

    To recap: T1 remains as it is a 43hp boost / 30% damage reduction T2 moves to a 75hp boost / 43% damage reduction T3 moves to a 100hp boost / 50% damage reduction

    Rebalance TOUGH boost on mineral cost?

    If we instead leave the strength of the effect the same, we need to increase the amount of minerals used. I propose that we do this by doubling the boost from the previous tier (which would require either using 3 source labs in a job or creating new compounds).

    T1 boost remains as it is and costs 5 minerals and 4 reactions. T2 boost would become OH + 2 * GO. This would cost 7 more minerals and 6 more reactions. T3 boost would become either X + 2 * GHO2 (8 more minerals and 7 more reactions) or X + GHO2 + GO (6 more minerals and 5 more reactions).

    Are TOUGH boosts an outlier?

    Yes they are. Almost every other boost has a benefit that accrues additively with each tier (e.g. ranged attack gives you +100% at T1, +200% at T2 and +300% at T3). While TOUGH boosts increase effective HP roughly multiplicatively each tier. A T1 tough part is equivalent to 143HP (1.43x an unboosted part). A T2 tough part is equivalent to 200HP (~1.43x the benefit of the T1 boost). A T3 tough part is equivalent to 333HP - 1.67x (!) the benefit of a T2 tough part. This makes the T3 tough boost stronger than any other boost in the game.

    Even though the tough boosts are an outlier because they improve so strongly with higher tiers, almost all the other boosts suffer from a low incremental cost as you go up a tier and gain a large benefit.

    There are two other outlier boosts though - Lemergium Hydride and Ghodium Hydride. These are outliers in the opposite way because they have diminishing returns - their benefit goes 50%, 80%, 100% as you go through the tiers which is a smaller improvement each time. These are used for repairing ramparts and for upgrading controllers, so I suspect the line of thinking that led to these diminishing returns is that they form part of the 2 most common end-game energy sinks.

    Is locking boosts to room tiers the answer?

    It would no doubt lead to more usage of lower tier boosts, however it would do this by reducing the options of players and forcing them to use lower tier boosts, rather than giving players trade-offs about which boosts to use. Because of this I would prefer to rebalance the cost or benefit of all of the boosts so that the best answer isn't (almost) always T3. Choosing to use T3 boosts should be a much tougher (ha!) decision than it is at present.


  • SUN

    My biggest worry is that taking and holding land inter-shard will become that much harder since a foothold is that much more vulnerable.

    I don't even have code capable of creating lower tier minerals (Solitary ghodium included; I need it so rarely and in such small amounts I just buy it off the market)

    You can make T3 minerals at RCL 7 (like I do) without having to rely on an external room at very high lab utilisation; If you work for it you can earn your T3 minerals much lower than traditionally available sans market. I feel like it'd be a step back to take that away. But I am biased in that regard.

    Maybe if it where respawn/noob zone only? That'd stop the frustrating 'Get minerals and win' sort of thing that could happen; but if you have the code to handle that havn't you earned your victory?

    And isn't that what safe mode is used for? Shut down the attack and make them waste (at their level) the small amount of minerals they have?

  • Dev Team

    @wtfrank Nice thinking! Updating benefits sounds better to me than updating costs, since it doesn't break existing code. Would you like to write down the new boosts table with the corresponding calculations behind it?

  • bump, @wtfrank & @artch - any progress on this?

  • Another option is have a lab cd that decreases with RCL. So level 6 can only produce boosts slowly and takes longer to boost. Kinda like how spawning is limited in earlier levels by number of spawns and energy, boosting would be too.

  • Another option is have a lab cd that decreases with RCL.

    boosting is already heavily limited by the number of labs you can have at each level.

    However, this also does not stop someone buying boosts.

    Anyhow I think its fair to say that the community has spoken and the majority do not want my suggestion to be taken forward and thats fine.

    If any changes are made to boosts I think great care will need to be taken if the effectiveness of T3 combat boosts is changed. Changing T1&T2 to make them more useful seems like a much better choice than changing T3 and upsetting the current balance.

  • @stevetrov Sorry might not have been clear, but I meant adding a boosting cd to lower level rooms. So that you can only boost every 50 ticks or so at level 6. That severely limits the power output of a level 6 room due to both smaller creeps + less frequent boosting.

  • Ah that makes more sense, thanks for the clarification.

  • Dove-tailing @wtfrank 's comments, I think there is also the consideration that T1 and T2 boosts take up more space in players' storages and terminals. T3 is the most space-efficient way to store boosts, so T1 and T2 boosts need to be relatively more powerful to compensate the player for the space they take up. If T3 boosts give a 300% benefit, they should cost more than 300% to make. The payback curve right now is concave (a little more gives a lot) and it should be convex (a lot more gives a little) instead.

    @tedivm also made a request a couple weeks ago for there to be an increase in the number of concurrent trade orders a player can have. I think this would help unlock the marketplace for T1 and T2 boosts. Part of why I don't build/use T1/2 boosts is that there is no marketplace for them. So any illiquid boosts I make and don't use just eat up space in my stores.


  • Dev Team