My name is James Ford and i'm the lead designer of ARMED!.
It's been about three weeks since ARMED! was first released and about time for a balance patch! I would love to get your feedback on the balance issues raised below and the proposed changes to address them.
It seems that massing Tanks has become a dominant strategy.
Tanks are not intended to be your primary army: they are intended to be front-line damage-soakers as well as provide anti-air protection for your Artillery. The primary damage dealers were intended to be the HoverTank, Artillery, and the Striker. The Mech is, similar to the Tank, intended to be a late-game damage-soaker at the front-line of a battle, when the enemy has become highly entrenched with static defenses.
However, HoverTanks and Strikers simply aren't fulfilling their role very well.
While the Striker actually does significantly more damage than a Tank it has half of its Health, plus no potential for shields. If you could keep Strikers away from Tanks they would indeed kill units like Artillery very quickly, but since its FireRange is two, the same as a Tank, this is in practice nearly impossible to pull off.
The HoverTank actually does less damage than a Tank, has no shields, and has no armor (the tank takes one less damage from all attacks do to its ArmorRating). Not to mention, the HoverTank must be right next to the enemy in order to fire. With the range upgrade it can attack from one away, the same as the Tank, but this upgrade is not free. The HoverTank is burdened with all of these penalties because it has three very powerful abilities the Tank does not:
- It can cross water and other obstacles a Tank cannot.
- It has full ArmorPenetration, which is to say, its damage to armored targets like the Mech, some Structures, and the Tank is not reduced.
- It deals damage to EVERYTHING in the tile (or two with the range upgrade).
However, what I have noticed in online play, is that players are getting very good at "splitting" their Tanks, so they are not in the same tile. This effectively negates the primary ability of the HoverTank, to deal AoE damage. In a one-on-one fight even a single Tank can defeat a HoverTank, while costing less money!
There is also a significant initial investment required to even begin production of HoverTanks or Strikers, which is contributing to them not getting much use.
How can we address these problems? Well I have some ideas...
Reduce HoverTank Health from 100 to 25, but give it 75 shields with no upgrade required. The HoverTank is suppose to be a "raider" and since shields regenerate this makes it more likely to survive multiple fights.
If the HoverTank is hitting only a single enemy with its attack, it deals double damage. This will allow it to be prive-effective versus single targets and not "require" bunched up enemies to do anything significant.
Change the HoverTank's special action to instead cause it to explode dealing damage to enemies, if it dies during this turn. The current special is simply not very useful, and exploding on death makes more sense for a close range fire-based weapon.
Increase the HoverTank's movement speed by one. This would put it at the same movement speed as as the Drone and Striker. With a close range weapon and not a lot of armor, it really needs to close quickly with the enemy as well as making sense for a "raiding" vehicle play-role.
Remove the Reactor (Factory-upgrade) from the existing upgrade chain and instead have it as an isolated node. Would allow you to have both Hanger and Reactor, allowing you to build aircraft from your first Factory without giving up the ability to produce significant numbers of ground units.
Reduce the cost of Hanger from 400 to 250. Costing the price of 4 tanks just for the ability to make aircraft seems too high.
Reduce the cost of Mech Lab from 400 to 250. Same logic, sure the Mech is strong, but it costs 500 already.
Reduce the cost of AircraftAttack from 400 to 200. Plus one damage is really not that significant, should not cost the price of four tanks.
Change the Striker's special-action to something more useful. The current special "Immolate", or something similar to it, makes more sense on the HoverTank, the Striker shouldn't even be anywhere near that close range to enemies, if it is then it's already dead. I am open to ideas of what its new special should be.
Increase the Striker's AttackRange from 2 to 3. This makes it one greater than the Tank and one less than the Artillery. This should make it more useful as a mid-line damage output unit, defending your Artillery from Striker's with Tanks will no longer happen "automatically" since they no longer have equal range.
Give the Striker 25 shield points (no upgrade required). The Striker has 50 Health, a full half of most other units. This makes it die way too fast for such an expensive unit. It should still be somewhat fragile (but high damage output), but giving it a little shields should make it survive better from fight to fight.
Another issue is that games sometimes seem to last way too long. This seems to occur most frequently on Riverted against equal skilled opponents. One match in the office lasted 45 minutes. This is much too long for a phone game; we would like games to last between 10-20 minutes.
I am considering making some map changes on Riverted to address this. In particular, thinning some of the trees and expanding the central bridge to be 2 tiles wide. The intention here is to make it somewhat easier to get forces to the other side and attack, as currently, the defender can setup a very hard to crack defensive wall.
We are also considering more radical changes to address game-length, such as a victory point system. But, this won't be happening before the balance changes already mentioned come out because I feel that increasing the usefulness of the Striker and HoverTank will already give the "attacker" more advantage than before, potentially leading to fewer "unpassable blockade" positions.
ARMED! Needs You
So how do you feel about the game?
Am I exaggerating the issue and in danger of making HoverTanks and Strikers way way too good? What about Riverted, does it feel too easy to defend or just right? Do you have any other pet-peeve balance issues that I missed?
Please let us know and thanks for playing ARMED!.