PTR Changelog 2018-08-28

  • Ah, that's an interesting exploit. It seems to me it's not cost effective as it stands, it just saves CPU and spawn time. I'm trying to figure out how much that matters compared to how much the cool non-standard boost ideas are being nerfed. For example there are a few ways to deal with SK room invaders:

    1. Have guards up 100% of the time (expensive)
    2. Spawn a unboosted response (slow but cheap)
    3. Spawn a boosted response and recycle it after the job is done (fast and not much more expensive than 2).

    If the recycle rate drops to 70% option 3 (which nobody much uses anyway) won't be nearly so good of an option.

    Another cool idea is to use harvest boosts for extreme CPU reduction. Place the spawn next to a source, build a big creep with harvest+a small amount of carry+boosts, clear out the source in 5 ticks then recycle. It's not a huge gain in CPU but it's also non-zero. Post nerf it's just not economically viable.

    One-way carry boosts are another use case of limited time boosts. Given this seems one of the few uses of carry boosts it's strange that this nerf would hit it too.

    I don't know if having a separate recycle rate for energy and boosts would work?

  • @artch The core problem is that energy has really poor mobility, hauler cost ratio compared to what they can carry per lifetime is pretty low. Even for haulers recycling them is, or was, a signifcant portion of their delivery.


  • Alternatively, what if a spawn's energy recycling ability was capped to the room's energyCapacityAvailable? At low RCL that's much too small to get much use out of recycling heal creeps produced by a different room.

  • @artch Out of curiosity, if this is a sandbox game specifically designed to let players do whatever they want and some players identify a way to transport energy more effectively (I too agree that energy is too immobile), then why is it an issue? Is there a reason that energy was intentionally made so difficult to transport?

    Alternatively, a lot of players use recycle to recoop boosts for temporary use creeps. Is there any way to use the 70% for the energy recovery, but leave boosts at 100%?

  • I see now.

    In that case, I feel SemberRabbit's proposal has real merit. 70% energy, 100% boosts would nerf that particular mechanic but retain significant value for strategies involving boost use.

    I'm not sure in what specific case that heal haul strategy was used, but a rough analysis indicates it would only be useful in:

    • rooms with no terminal (so pre RCL6)
    • rooms within short distance (low ttl would make it less useful compared to regular haul)

    That seems a pretty limited strategy as is, but maybe I've misunderstood the point. Is someone using this to transport energy between rooms with terminals? Or are we talking about inter shard transport?

  • Nvm, just found out on slack the specific case where this mechanic is actively used (and encouraged).

    Temple nearby rooms (very short distance) in the energy gap at RCL 4-5.

    So, I'll stick to the original suggestion by semper. Please make the efficiency decrease impact energy and not boosts. Or cap the energy return based on room energy available capacity to permanently disable this issue.

  • Dev Team

    @atavus HEAL hauling is good for scu, feels useful for the whole claimer range (600 tiles away)

    cap the energy return based on room energy available capacity

    That won't help, a player still can spawn smaller MOVE/HEAL haulers and achieve the same bandwidth/scu.

  • Dev Team

    Is there any way to use the 70% for the energy recovery, but leave boosts at 100%?

    Yep, that would complicate some code, but it's possible. The aforementioned scenarios of boost+recycle usages are convincing enough.

  • Dev Team

    OK let's keep mineral return rate at 100%.


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  • Dev Team

    @likeafox See the post above, boosts recycle is not touched.

    Honestly, do you really think that the HEAL hauling is something that falls under the category of clever tactics, and not an abuse of a mechanic that hasn't been well thought on launch which is improved now? There is no strict scope of what is right, but there is some balancing process, and I don't think you would really want it to stop at some point, it's good for any game.

    Also, it's the PTR purpose to help us polish (or even revert) the upcoming changes. So yes, some PTR changes may be a bit not fully thought out, and it's perfectly fine.


  • I don't understand what's the problem of using HEAL parts as a way to transport energy, but assuming there's a good reason to prevent that, why penalise everyone using recycle? If the goal is not to discourage the use of recycle in general, why not just cap the energy recovered by body part to .7 * 250 * ttl / 1500?

  • Disclaimer: I don't currently use recycling of HEAL parts to move energy to my temple room, but I have been previously aware that it is possible.

    I am surprised that this is considered an abuse, rather than an innovation. One of the coolest parts of the game for me is trying to figure out a way to use the existing mechanics in a way that no one has ever thought of before. I feel like the game designers should be patting themselves on the back for making systems that foster emergent gameplay. It's OK if recycling wasn't intended originally to be used this way. I would have to code a special solution to take advantage of HEAL recycling; basically we have a new "feature" for free, just from player cleverness.

    If HEAL recycle effectiveness was absurdly better than regular hauling, I think a nerf would be appropriate. As-is, it feels like a punishment for innovation. I am already thinking of several features I use that might be similarly punished, and feeling concerned. Ultimately it falls to the developers to determine where the line between "abuse" and "innovation" falls, but I wanted to put my two cents in.


  • You raise an interesting point about it being on PTR. This may not be completely on topic but perhaps an easy way for players to thumbs up or down a feature change on PTR that gives the devs some insight to how a change is received and whether it needs further research or review? I guess the forums could work for that but perhaps add a reply with each individual feature so it can be thumbed up or down?

    Course it'd be nice to have reasoning behind up / down as well but I am thinking in broad terms for conveying a general sense of acceptance by the players.

    Or something else? Just spitballing ideas cause I like the concept of "Let's try this out and see how well it works even if we haven't thought it all the way through."

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  • What are the criteria to determine if the use of a mechanic in a way it was not intended is an abuse? Or is that always considered an abuse?

    There's something I've been thinking about implementing, but it would be a lot of work and it's definitely using a mechanic in a way it was not intended. Now I'm afraid of putting a lot of work into it, making some big changes to my code and to all my rooms and then suddenly the rules change and it doesn't work anymore.

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  • Dev Team

    This is not an innovation, it is simply another popular way to do things. There are even code snippets shared in public. There is no revelation in this tactic, we've observed dozens of people doing it.

    To balance something means making two (or more) opportunities equally worthwile. Currently it is imbalanced because HEAL hauling is undoubtely and significantly more effective than regular hauling in many situations. We don't ban or prevent HEAL hauling by this change, you're free to continue using it if you wish. But now it is aligned with other opportunities, your choice is harder, the decision is less clear - it means it is more balanced. Our goal in balancing things is to increase the number of worthwile in-game choices, and eliminate situations where the correct choice is obvious.

    Also, 70% return just feels correct, it is standard loss for "used" items.


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  • Thank you @artch for taking our feedback into consideration and being so engaging in this discussion.

    @likeafox @omnomwombat I think a very valid point of reference to this discussion is how the (now established) mechanic of temple rooms came about.

    The meta and tactics of the game have evolved over the years and it's worth pointing out that temple rooms were not a thing until good old @bonzaiferroni actually came up with the tactic.

    It's also worth noting, that originally bonzai had been relying on a undocumented mechanic that you could send energy to any terminal regardless of the room's level. So originally, the temple room was pretty simple to code and a very powerful tool to get around the RCL8 limitation.

    At the time there were a lot of discussions around the balance of this particular behavior. In the end, it was decided that the concept of this temple room is a clever tactic/mechanic that should stay, but the "terminal abuse" needed to be patched. Since that time (3 years ago?) the concept of temple rooms has continued to be refined (as seen here), but patching the terminal abuse was undeniably a valid balancing adjustment.

    Sometimes the line is pretty blurry between bug, abuse and feature. I would suggest that in such cases it is acceptable for the devs to make a choice towards what fits with their vision.