Power Creeps update

  • @pundemonium LOL I feel like some of your listed cons are in jest, but I wanted to note that all of the mutations would have to be compatible, just like they would be in HoTS. And my idea was that just like in HoTS, the effects would modify the original power, not make a new power, so when you used OPERATE_TERMINAL with all its mutations, it would apply all the mutated effects. For example:

    OPERATE_TERMINAL: Decrease transfer energy cost by 30%. Effect duration 1000 ticks, cooldown 500 ticks. Consumes 100 ops resource units. Must be melee range to use this power on a terminal.

    • Mutation 1: The affected terminal also gains 200K capacity for the duration.
    • Mutation 2: The cooldown of the affected terminal is also reduced by 5 ticks for the duration.
    • Mutation 3: Sending resources from the affected terminal to a room you own costs an additional 20% less.
    • Mutation 4: The affected terminal becomes a valid target for link transfers in the same room for the duration.
    • Mutation 5: Range increased to 5.

  • SUN

    @gankdalf I have a hard time taking myself seriously.

    Also re: The terminal example that's assuming the one creep took all of the operate terminal powers. I guess it isn't that big of an issue (or at least least any system is going to have some problems with overlapping power selections)

    That said it becomes progressively more of an issue the more you restrict the selections on a given level.

  • AYCE

    I've been thinking about an alternative to a MOBA-style, where the current tree can be used.

    What about using basically the same system for selection as we have now, but also allowing lower level choices to be taken later on.

    I've not played around with it that much, but it seems to fix the problem I have now that I have to consider all the future choices when making a choice. Instead I can consider the three I can choose between, or a previously non-chosen upgrade. I've gone back and forth about if choosing a skill lower on the tree will unlock the next tier, or if one have to choose one at each level. If one has to choose at each level, raising the max level to maybe 30 might make it very interesting.

    As I've said, I've not deeply analysed this idea, but thought I'll throw it out there for consideration.

  • @pundemonium Ah I think I get what you were saying. You mean if a power creep with Mutation 1 (200K capacity) and another power creep has only Mutation 3, they would have to define the interaction if both use it, but I would just assume that they couldn't stack, so the power creep to use their power 2nd would just get a BUSY error preventing the stacking.

  • AYCE

    Regarding EXTEND_MINERAL:

    I'm wondering how this will work in practice, and how useful it will be. Typically I'll be clearing the minerals in the rooms I own within 5k-10k ticks, and then the regeneration-cooldown will start ticking for 50k ticks. How will EXTEND_MINERAL work on a mineral on cooldown?

    One solution might be just adding the minerals to the available minerals (which is 0 when the cooldown starts), but actually mining these before the cooldown is up will be tedious and potential CPU- and energy-inefficient (up to 100 minerals every 100 ticks). If this is the solution I think the minerals should be added to the amount generated after the cooldown in up.

    Another solution is that EXTEND_MINERAL is not possible to use on a mineral on cooldown, but that will make EXTEND_MINERAL a very underpowered skill. Using the skill will require moving around to rooms that has mineral up, and my approach will basically be that a PC has a home-room it is responsible for. A roaming PC with EXTEND_MINERAL will be very hard to utilize well.

    A different solution might be to change the EXTEND_MINERAL to a new skill that reduces the cooldown. An efficently mined mineral will be on cooldown most of the time, and from my calculations the skill can be changed to "Decrease mineral deposit cooldown by 20/40/60/80/100 ticks. Cooldown 100 ticks.", with basically the same gains as it has today. With an average mineral of around 50k-60k, this will provide about 1 mineral extra each tick (feel free to correct me if my calculations are off).

  • Another thought on EXTENDED_MINERAL and other skills with a limited duty cycle (i.e. you can't use them 100% of the time), that springboards off of Gankdalf's observation above that the Operator class is basically two classes glued together:

    The "attack" skills on Operator should probably be balanced so they are much more powerful, otherwise they are kind of useless. I'm only attacking 1% of the time, so there's no reason to build a PC around attacking unless it unlocks a huge benefit. It makes much more sense to take the simple "I make your econ better" skills which you can use 100% of the time.

    Not sure in what cases an "attack" operator is actually better than just having a couple of T3 creeps, which already have no problem tanking 6 towers.

  • On the topic of making skills less min/maxy, operate_tower should give a tower multishot instead of boosting its stats some predictable amount.

  • @shedletsky I don't think the attacks need to be more powerful. Some of those offensive functions are already getting into the "that could be broken" category. I just don't like how they aren't really a mix-n-matchable choice, since they cannot be used at similar locations, and dilute each other with no actual choice involved.

    And tower multishot sounds very odd, and not sure how it fixes anything.

  • AYCE

    About offensive use of operator.

    The skills DRAIN_EXTENSION, OBSTRUCT_SPAWN, OBSTRUCT_TOWER and to a lesser degree DRAIN_SOURCE will be used in hostile owned rooms, which for end-game players basically means RCL8. With 6 towers this means up to 3600 dmg each tick. With range and OBSTRUCT_TOWER this can be reduced a bit, but usually you have to account for at least 3000 dmg each tick. A T3-boosted healer with 30 HEAL can heal for 1400 each tich, which means you need 3 at melee range. If the defender has active defenders or PC (with OPERATE_TOWER) it is even more tricky keeping the PC alive.

    What I'm saying is that PCs also need some sort of dmg-reduction to be viable in the offense.

    The SHIELD is up to 25k every 20 ticks, which means a bit over 1k reduction every tick. But it requires energy and is stationary. It can help a bit, but not enough to counter a well defended room.

    The OBSTRUCT_TOWER as it stands now only reduces one towers output by 50 %, which is not that useful. I think this should at least obstruct all towers in the room, if not it will be useless at RCL7 and RCL8.

    DRAIN_SOURCE is underwhelming, it basically means disabling one source for the opponent for each level. I think this should be changed to BLOCK_SOURCE that extends the cooldown with a huge amount. Dedicating a high level PC to just disabling a few sources seems to have little effect. Parking a normal creep with harassment-code seems to be a better choise.

    The OBSTRUCT_SPAWN is meh, expensive to maintain and only delays active defenders by a little bit. I think it should have a much larger debuff, like 100s of % at lvl 5.

    My attempts at designing an offensive operator results in a very expensive (in power level-terms) creep with underwhelming abilities of making a small shield, reducing tower dmg of one tower, and delaying spawning a little bit. The only use would be draining extensions, if it can get close enough. And it will be hardcountered by any rooms with active defenders or power creeps.

    My conclusion is basically that is can be used on low-RCL-rooms, but my power levels will go to economic operators. What I would have loved to see is the ability to disrupt terminal, labs or links, that might make them viable for RCL8-fights.

  • @kasami Although the rampart has X number of hits, it could potentially be repaired (maybe?) which is considerably easier to pull off than HEAL even though it only lasts 50 ticks.

    Other than that, I had similar thoughts on the offense powers. Although I had assumed "entire room range" had meant "all towers", but I guess it does say OBSTRUCT_TOWER (singular).

  • AYCE

    @gankdalf said in Power Creeps update:

    @kasami Although the rampart has X number of hits, it could potentially be repaired (maybe?) which is considerably easier to pull off than HEAL even though it only lasts 50 ticks.

    For defense I see multiple uses for SHIELD, depending on how it will work. Like blocking passages, splitting up units and protecting own units.

    However on the offense, even if it can be repaired, the logistics of having repairers present, hauling in minerals etc is unsustainable for long-term fights.

  • Culture

    @kasami By virtue of those skills being useful, they won't be melee range, so saying the power creep must absorb 3600/tick from towers is incorrect since the player should be keeping the power creep near the border. I'll agree that DRAIN_SOURCE will be quite useless as nothing is stopping the defender from transmitting more power into the room. A skill to disable terminals temporarily would prove far more useful. Perhaps the same idea can be fulfilled with multiple creeps using DRAIN_EXTENSION, but again DRAIN_SOURCE is still pretty subpar.

    On the topic of OBSTRUCT_SPAWN, perhaps it should instead halt spawning for 1/2/3/4/5 ticks per 2 ops with a 5 tick cd? It's already a very expensive skill considering how close you have to get and how many ops it costs for such a short effect.

  • @Kasami Well the power creep itself can carry a pretty ridiculous amount of energy, even if you just give your dismantler 1 CARRY, they could keep the rampart up for the entire duration easily by pulling energy from the power creep.

    @Hernanduer I mean... Destroy energy in all extensions in 10 squares range. You have to be pretty close to bunker towers to make that very effective

    If you add an Operator to the normal Heal+Dismantle combo, give the Dismantle 1 carry... if you reach the wall of a bunker, they lose all their extensions for a very long duration, since the dismantler can keep the rampart alive.

  • @artch said in Power Creeps update:

    OK, we'll try to draft some possible builds using this system, and see if it's any better. The downside I see here is that different classes have different max level, so limits and conditions will be different for each class as well.

    If that's a downside, wouldn't ops being a resource applicable solely to operators be a downside too?

    The idea "you cannot upgrade this skill until you take 3 another skills" might be tricky to visualize.

    And side note, I agree that a MOBA style setup would be easier to understand. If you think players would have an issue visualizing that, you could easily list the current cooldowns on top:

    GENERATE_OPS lvl 3 (3 cooldown levels remaining)

    OPERATE_SPAWN lvl 2 (1 cooldown level remaining)

  • Dev Team


    The following powers are changed:

    • GENERATE_OPS generates 1/2/4/6/8 ops.
    • OPERATE_EXTENSION levels increase energy throughput, not cooldown.
    • OPERATE_OBSERVER grants unlimited range with different duration.
    • OPERATE_TOWER consumes 10 ops.
    • OPERATE_STORAGE consumes 100 ops.
    • OBSTRUCT_SPAWN renamed to DISRUPT_SPAWN - adds ticks to current spawning time.
    • OBSTRUCT_EXTENSION replaced with DISRUPT_TERMINAL - blocks all incoming transactions.
    • OBSTRUCT_TOWER renamed to DISRUPT_TOWER - effect duration 5 ticks with no cooldown.
    • DRAIN_SOURCE renamed to DISRUPT_SOURCE - doesn't destroy energy, but increases regeneration time.
    • SHIELD description explains that the rampart is non-repairable.

    As for the MOBA-style levelling system, we're working on a parallel branch of the Power Planner tool demonstrating another approach. We will continue discussion when this branch is ready.


  • @artch said in Power Creeps update:

    OBSTRUCT_EXTENSION replaced with DISRUPT_TERMINAL - blocks all incoming transactions.

    This is exactly what I feel the game will need. Right now theorycrafting says it's impossible to take a room unless you take down the empire, as repairing is so much easier than damaging. If you can seige it and prevent energy coming in via the terminal, then fights will move into the field, where the defender still has a good advantage due to towers and a "castle", but no longer is it unassailable.

    It'll play much more like real world seiges of yesteryear. I like it!


  • @tigga Yeah... although I did like the DISRUPT_EXTENSION idea as well, especially since the power creep actually had to reach a densely populated extension area to use it.

    From the looks of it, the operators will just sit on the edge of the room for a tick or two disabling stuff, and then pop back out. Effective at disabling the terminals, which makes rooms individually siegable, but at the same time, doesn't really create a very interesting situational use for the power creep.

  • Ah I'm glad @artch went for the disable terminal, I think thats a much more effective siege mechanic. Although you'll need to be very careful with maintaining the block, since 1 tick off will ruin it. Kinda like attacking controller nowadays.

    Any thought in having powers overlap with offense and defense? Like having the tower power be used to either buff or debuff towers, rather than splitting them into two different abilities? Might make it so creeps are less binary since right now you'd probably almost always take either defensive or offense on one creep.

    I'd like to add a suggestion for power creeps in general:

    Passive: Power Infused Hide

    Power creeps are resistant to energy damage and have a flat 30% damage reduction vs towers.

    I'd like to also offer the possibility that a power creep death drops some power per creep in a tombstone and costs the user that much power from their account. That way something defending against power creeps gets rewards, and players who are far behind in power can use those to level up. Would have to be balanced so that people with lots of power lose more, people with little power don't lose much.

    Edit: Maybe losing something cube root of your total power, so that if you have 10million power you are losing ~200 power per power creep killed. Not enough to be seriously damaging, but enough that it feels bad to lose a creep.


  • @davaned I like the idea of having the OPERATE and DISRUPT powers be combined, since it would also fix the issue I was talking about earlier, however I am not sure I like the idea of losing permanent power, if the system is potentially getting released without full automation it will mean I have to micromanage my power creeps quite often during combat.

    Would be kinda cool if the devs gave power creeps some type of mitigation against lasers in general, although I feel like DISRUPT_TOWER kinda serves that purpose now, and with every useful offense power having basically infinite range, I am not sure they will ever actually need mitigation.

  • Dev Team

    @gankdalf said in Power Creeps update:

    every useful offense power having basically infinite range

    Only DISRUPT_TOWER and DISRUPT_TERMINAL have infinite range. DISRUPT_SPAWN has range 20, and DISRUPT_SOURCE range 3.