XWAU Balancing - Feedback needed

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Re: XWAU Balancing - Feedback needed

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Mark_Farlander
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:10 pm

The other effect of Hard difficulty is to make all craft components shielded, regardless of the team they belong to.
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Post by Ace Antilles » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:25 pm

Let's try not to stray too far off topic. Simple question time.

Apart from the Opts mentioned in the first list, is there any other Opts that you believe to be causing massive issues in completing the campaign?
Because either they are bigger than the TG, tougher or get some other issues maybe?

Thanks for your feedback so far.
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Post by Trevor » Mon Jun 29, 2020 9:38 pm

keiranhalcyon7 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 6:59 pm
The game difficulty levels are easy, medium, and hard. Medium uses the AI levels as written in the mission files. Easy demotes all the enemy FGs one AI level, while promoting friendly FGs one AI level (subject to clamping at minimum/maximum level). Hard does the opposite. For that reason, I believe medium was probably the most rigorously playtested at TG, and should be considered the default play mode.
Thanks Keiran, THIS was the info I wanted :)

Ok, sorry Ace, Back to topic at hand, but at least I now know to test at medium to get what was designed.
Actually, would this info be good in the Wiki?

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Post by keiranhalcyon7 » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:08 pm

I'm not sure if XWAUP has touched them, but I consider the Zero-G Stormtroopers in general and the E-Web in T7M4 to hit high above their weight. I think it would be worth checking the vanilla balance.

It could also be that you encounter these opponents while flying YT transports, which have been upsized, and are thus easier to hit.

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Post by Ace Antilles » Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:11 pm

keiranhalcyon7 wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:08 pm
I'm not sure if XWAUP has touched them, but I consider the Zero-G Stormtroopers in general and the E-Web in T7M4 to hit high above their weight. I think it would be worth checking the vanilla balance.

It could also be that you encounter these opponents while flying YT transports, which have been upsized, and are thus easier to hit.
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That was the last Opt I expected to be mentioned lol :lachtot: I have no idea if they are OP or not.
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am

I just wish to say one thing about the YT-1300 Corellian transport: the doubled laser hardpoints in turret surely made Azzameen missions easier, but this also solved a consistency issue.
As far as I remember in the vanilla version of the game the turret fired 4 laser shots per second when linked to forward position, and only 2 laser shots per second in autofire mode.
Now the turret of the YT-1300 Corellian transport fires 4 laser shots per second regardless of the settings (linked to forward position, autofire mode or defensive fire mode).
So now it's more consistent.
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Post by Will T » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:07 am

Mark_Farlander wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am
I just wish to say one thing about the YT-1300 Corellian transport: the doubled laser hardpoints in turret surely made Azzameen missions easier, but this also solved a consistency issue.
As far as I remember in the vanilla version of the game the turret fired 4 laser shots per second when linked to forward position, and only 2 laser shots per second in autofire mode.
Now the turret of the YT-1300 Corellian transport fires 4 laser shots per second regardless of the settings (linked to forward position, autofire mode or defensive fire mode).
So now it's more consistent.
That's not an inconsistency, that's a balancing measure.

The turret is faster firing forward, but you have to actually aim it. You have to fly at your target.

It's slower in autofire, but you don't have to aim, it can fire anywhere around you and it lets you evade return fire.

Without that trade off, there is literally no reason to not use autofire for everything you're attacking. It also means that attacking cap ships is trivially easy, because it's possible to fly in a way where you can hit them but they can't hit you. With four lasers per turret, you burn through them insanely fast so there isn't even time for other fighters to present a problem while you're doing that.


Honestly, even in vanilla the fact that the auto turrets are so accurate is a bit of a cheese factor. There is zero reason to ever use a turret yourself in a mission because you will never be as good as the AI firing them, and the AI flying the ship will never be as good as you.
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Post by ual002 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:05 am

The fact that all fire is accurate and only just lags behind is a cheese factor. There is 0 random dispersal.
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Post by keiranhalcyon7 » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:49 pm

Will T wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:07 am
Without that trade off, there is literally no reason to not use autofire for everything you're attacking.
Well, you dispute that you could be a better shot than the AI, but the other main reason to man the turret yourself is that the autofire can't target subcomponents. The only time I recall when this makes a significant difference, though, is strafing the Executor in T7M2.

@ual002 - The targeting AI is old enough to drink; I think it's worthy of some forgiveness. :)

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Post by BattleDog » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:57 am

I did some testing of the YT-1300 against the Murrian Transport just now - ran two furballs each where I faced off in each transport against 7 Tie Fighters. First time in the Murrian I got 59 kills, second time I got 66. First time in the YT-1300 I got 70, second time 80. This is despite the YT-1300 having only a single turret where the Murrian has two. Both handle the same and are the same speed, I had the gunner do all the work whilst I just diverted the forward guns to the engines.

Clearly, the faster rate of fire on the YT-1300 is a big advantage, basically any TIE that flew over the top of the ship exploded. Additionally, the YT-1300 has two forward guns instead of one now - meaning that in addition to a Gatling Gun on the roof it also has twice as much gun energy to siphon to shields, or can fire for twice as long before emptying the capacitors.
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Post by theonegalen » Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:15 am

I also want to point out that in some missions, I believe there are Flight Groups that don't show up on Easy or Normal levels, but only on Hard. This is always a pain when I play, because I prefer to have as many ships to fight as possible, but the idea of having to batter down capship shields before you're able to do component damage is *annoying.* Especially since capship turrets are so good at destroying incoming missiles - something not supported in almost any canon or Legends source.

Regarding the "change missions" vs "change opts" question, I would generally be on the side of changing the missions, because I want the most improved experience possible. However, that would seem to be the more difficult and time consuming solution.

I wish I had gotten back into XWA at the beginning of the COVID lockdown, because I could have put a bunch of time into obsessively rebalancing and mission editing instead of watching a bunch of anime and sitting on my butt.

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Post by BattleDog » Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:24 am

Realistically, the game was never meant to be "seriously" played on Hard; the extra Flight Groups are designed to unbalance the mission.

The game needs to be balanced on Medium.
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Post by Phoenix Leader » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:36 pm

Will T wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:07 am
Mark_Farlander wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am
I just wish to say one thing about the YT-1300 Corellian transport: the doubled laser hardpoints in turret surely made Azzameen missions easier, but this also solved a consistency issue.
As far as I remember in the vanilla version of the game the turret fired 4 laser shots per second when linked to forward position, and only 2 laser shots per second in autofire mode.
Now the turret of the YT-1300 Corellian transport fires 4 laser shots per second regardless of the settings (linked to forward position, autofire mode or defensive fire mode).
So now it's more consistent.
That's not an inconsistency, that's a balancing measure.

The turret is faster firing forward, but you have to actually aim it. You have to fly at your target.

It's slower in autofire, but you don't have to aim, it can fire anywhere around you and it lets you evade return fire.

Without that trade off, there is literally no reason to not use autofire for everything you're attacking. It also means that attacking cap ships is trivially easy, because it's possible to fly in a way where you can hit them but they can't hit you. With four lasers per turret, you burn through them insanely fast so there isn't even time for other fighters to present a problem while you're doing that.


Honestly, even in vanilla the fact that the auto turrets are so accurate is a bit of a cheese factor. There is zero reason to ever use a turret yourself in a mission because you will never be as good as the AI firing them, and the AI flying the ship will never be as good as you.
If you think 4 laser hardpoints per gun turret break the game, than I'm wondering why you didn't have the guts to reply to Darksaber here (https://www.xwaupgrade.com/phpBB3/viewt ... =9&t=12057 )

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Post by BattleDog » Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:46 pm

Phoenix Leader wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:36 pm
Will T wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:07 am
Mark_Farlander wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am
I just wish to say one thing about the YT-1300 Corellian transport: the doubled laser hardpoints in turret surely made Azzameen missions easier, but this also solved a consistency issue.
As far as I remember in the vanilla version of the game the turret fired 4 laser shots per second when linked to forward position, and only 2 laser shots per second in autofire mode.
Now the turret of the YT-1300 Corellian transport fires 4 laser shots per second regardless of the settings (linked to forward position, autofire mode or defensive fire mode).
So now it's more consistent.
That's not an inconsistency, that's a balancing measure.

The turret is faster firing forward, but you have to actually aim it. You have to fly at your target.

It's slower in autofire, but you don't have to aim, it can fire anywhere around you and it lets you evade return fire.

Without that trade off, there is literally no reason to not use autofire for everything you're attacking. It also means that attacking cap ships is trivially easy, because it's possible to fly in a way where you can hit them but they can't hit you. With four lasers per turret, you burn through them insanely fast so there isn't even time for other fighters to present a problem while you're doing that.


Honestly, even in vanilla the fact that the auto turrets are so accurate is a bit of a cheese factor. There is zero reason to ever use a turret yourself in a mission because you will never be as good as the AI firing them, and the AI flying the ship will never be as good as you.
If you think 4 laser hardpoints per gun turret break the game, than I'm wondering why you didn't have the guts to reply to Darksaber here (https://www.xwaupgrade.com/phpBB3/viewt ... =9&t=12057 )
Perhaps because at the time Darksaber's post represented a definitive answer from a senior member of the XWAU team?

Let's not tear strips off each other, hey? Let's just be constructive and helpful.

Aren't there other Opts like this too, like the Assault transport? Essentially TG modelled the ships with X number gun barrels and then added Y number of hardpoints. The game was then balanced for Y instead of X. The question now is whether the game should be re-balanced for X instead of Y. There's an argument for that, when you consider that the XWAU has changed a lot of other things. The size of the CORTs is an obvious one, especially the YT-2400, but there are other examples like the shrinking of the very large, and very fast, Planetary Fighter.
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Post by Will T » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:04 pm

Phoenix Leader wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:36 pm


If you think 4 laser hardpoints per gun turret break the game, than I'm wondering why you didn't have the guts to reply to Darksaber here (https://www.xwaupgrade.com/phpBB3/viewt ... =9&t=12057 )
Um, excuse me?

'Didn't have the guts'?

That's a post from a year and a half ago. I don't remember ever seeing it. It was probably during a period when I wasn't as active on the boards. It's not a question of 'guts' for fuck's sake.
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Post by Mark_Farlander » Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:07 pm

Will T wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:07 am
Mark_Farlander wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 2:07 am
I just wish to say one thing about the YT-1300 Corellian transport: the doubled laser hardpoints in turret surely made Azzameen missions easier, but this also solved a consistency issue.
As far as I remember in the vanilla version of the game the turret fired 4 laser shots per second when linked to forward position, and only 2 laser shots per second in autofire mode.
Now the turret of the YT-1300 Corellian transport fires 4 laser shots per second regardless of the settings (linked to forward position, autofire mode or defensive fire mode).
So now it's more consistent.
That's not an inconsistency, that's a balancing measure.

The turret is faster firing forward, but you have to actually aim it. You have to fly at your target.

It's slower in autofire, but you don't have to aim, it can fire anywhere around you and it lets you evade return fire.

Without that trade off, there is literally no reason to not use autofire for everything you're attacking. It also means that attacking cap ships is trivially easy, because it's possible to fly in a way where you can hit them but they can't hit you. With four lasers per turret, you burn through them insanely fast so there isn't even time for other fighters to present a problem while you're doing that.


Honestly, even in vanilla the fact that the auto turrets are so accurate is a bit of a cheese factor. There is zero reason to ever use a turret yourself in a mission because you will never be as good as the AI firing them, and the AI flying the ship will never be as good as you.
Have you tried YT-2000 Otana vs 12 Assault gunboats all at Top Ace AI?
I'm afraid the only way you have to destroy all of them would be to exploit the fact that they tend to break formation when hit.

As for cap ships... well, you can take down an ISD in an X-Wing in XWA because X-Wing Alliance is a fighter focused game.
I agree with you that we will need to have a more realistic version of X-Wing Alliance in the future where this is not possible.
And increasing the shield recharge rate of an ISD so that you cannot take it down in a fighter is a thing we can already do through Jeremy's shield recharge hook.
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Post by Will T » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:40 pm

ual002 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:05 am
The fact that all fire is accurate and only just lags behind is a cheese factor. There is 0 random dispersal.
That's... not a cheese factor.

I'm not sure you understand my meaning. Cheese strategies in a game are exploiting certain game mechanics to circumvent an expected challenge. Another XWA example is a battle where you have ordnance and your mothership is present in the region (eg.B3M6); you can dumbfire all your torps at a cap ship, fly to the mothership, land and rearm, then fire all your torps as soon as you leave the hangar and keep repeating.

You're never out of the hangar long enough to get shot, and you basically get unlimited torps.


The fact that your weapons are accurate to your crosshairs isn't a cheese factor, it's a fully intended gameplay mechanic. No one ever complains that hitscan weapons in FPSes are a cheese factor, they're normally worked in from ground up as part of the game's balance. XWA's weapons aren't even hitscan, they have travel time and you have to lead them, as you said.

The fact that weapons don't randomly disperse is not only a solid bit of gameplay design and good anti-frustration feature, it's also an inherent part of the game's balance. Ship hull and shield stats, maneuverability and weapon power is all based around the idea your shots go where the reticle tells you. It's accurate to the films, too. Whenever Luke or Vader lined up an enemy on the targeting computer, the shot hit. It's logical too. Star Wars weapons are basically energy or particle weapons in space, why wouldn't they be accurate? They're not bullets affected by the barrel of the gun, they're not affected by wind or air resistance.


The auto turrets are absolutely a cheese factor though. When you fight enemy ships in XWA, if they have guns that work and orders to shoot you, there's an expectation that there should be an exchange of fire. If you want to go up against a Lancer frigate, you should expect to take damage in return. And if you attack one in an X-Wing, you will. The AI is perfectly capable of hitting ships flying straight at it to line up their fixed forward arc guns.

But if you attack one in a YT-2000, all you have to do is hit F, fly around it orthogonally and wait. The AI is bad at hitting ships flying in parallel to it. Mostly because it doesn't know how to lead. This is probably because the AI was developed over the course of a game series where the player only ever flew fixed forward arc weapons. TG introduced player controlled turrets into XWA, but I guess didn't have time to completely overhaul the AI to account for that.

So they balanced it in a simpler way. If you fly straight at it, you can fire at it faster but it will be easier for the AI to hit you. If you orbit it and use the turrets, they fire slower but you're safer.

keiranhalcyon7 wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:49 pm

Well, you dispute that you could be a better shot than the AI, but the other main reason to man the turret yourself is that the autofire can't target subcomponents. The only time I recall when this makes a significant difference, though, is strafing the Executor in T7M2.
I mean, that's a pretty niche case.

BattleDog wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:57 am
I did some testing of the YT-1300 against the Murrian Transport just now - ran two furballs each where I faced off in each transport against 7 Tie Fighters. First time in the Murrian I got 59 kills, second time I got 66. First time in the YT-1300 I got 70, second time 80. This is despite the YT-1300 having only a single turret where the Murrian has two. Both handle the same and are the same speed, I had the gunner do all the work whilst I just diverted the forward guns to the engines.

Clearly, the faster rate of fire on the YT-1300 is a big advantage, basically any TIE that flew over the top of the ship exploded. Additionally, the YT-1300 has two forward guns instead of one now - meaning that in addition to a Gatling Gun on the roof it also has twice as much gun energy to siphon to shields, or can fire for twice as long before emptying the capacitors.
Interesting stuff.

It's nice to have a concrete demonstration of the difference.

At the very, very least I feel like this shows the default should be to have the XWAU YT-1300 match the TG stats and tell people if they want an 'accurate' hard point count that they'll have to modify the opt themselves (not a difficult process at all), rather than currently force people who want things to stay balance to be the ones having to remove the hardpoints.

Mark_Farlander wrote:
Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:07 pm

Have you tried YT-2000 Otana vs 12 Assault gunboats all at Top Ace AI?
I'm afraid the only way you have to destroy all of them would be to exploit the fact that they tend to break formation when hit.

As for cap ships... well, you can take down an ISD in an X-Wing in XWA because X-Wing Alliance is a fighter focused game.
I agree with you that we will need to have a more realistic version of X-Wing Alliance in the future where this is not possible.
And increasing the shield recharge rate of an ISD so that you cannot take it down in a fighter is a thing we can already do through Jeremy's shield recharge hook.
I'm sorry dude, but I don't understand what any of that has to do with anything I said.

No, I haven't flown a YT-2000 against 12 top AI Gunboats..... Why would I have? That's not something that ever happens in a mission. What does that have to do with anything in mission balancing? Is there some assumption that you should be able to beat that? If so, why?

I didn't once say that we need a more realistic version of XWA. I'm... of completely the opposite opinion, actually. I think you should be able to take down an ISD. And as I've made clear in a bunch of other threads, I believe it's currently too hard to do that. I just also happen to think that one element has gone too far the other way.


Also, just want to apologise to Ace and Force for the massive post. I promise I'll limit my posts in this thread to only report on balance issues I've found from now on. Just wanted to say my piece in response to a few people.
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Post by ual002 » Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:43 pm

Im talking AI fire. Not player fire.
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Post by capitanguinea » Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:26 pm

actually I remember a campaign mission onboard Otana, where, if you are very late doing things, or do a lot of damages, a full squadron of Gunboat would arrive on you and start firing torpedoes... Not a pleasant memory because Nav Buoy in that moment was at more than 8 clicks...

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Post by BattleDog » Sat Jul 04, 2020 12:38 am

ual002 wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:43 pm
Im talking AI fire. Not player fire.
It's still not a cheese factor - my gunnery fire is exactly 100% accurate too, unless the enemy moves.
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Post by ual002 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 1:19 am

Sorry, I mean the AI cap ships firing at you. It could use a little random dispersal. That was what I was trying to say.
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Post by Safe-Keeper » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:17 pm

I'd love a kind of realism mod, for lack of better words, of XWA in future. Especially the way you can so easily destroy Star Destroyers, that were seen chewing up fighters in ROTJ, is ridiculous. In my view, the devs should've taken the opposite approach, and made ISDs incredibly tough kills that required a concerted effort of ships (at the very least a squadron of fighters), rather like how in most of Skyrim you can't kill dragons, and killing a dragon (IIRC) is this climatic thing you get to do at the end of the game.

You can take way too much damage in XWA, too, in ANH you see X-Wings get destroyed by the first hit they take, rather like fighters in real life, that can crash from a single lucky hit. Deflector screens (which came to be called shields at some point unless the two are different things and fighters have both) probably just add a few more "hit points", like armour on a real-life fighter. Like how a P-47 could take more hits than a Zero, but both could be disabled by a lucky hit or two.

I worked on a custom campaign once that I'd love to start up again when I get around to reinstalling XWA, and one of the things I did for it was rebalance stats so that platforms and cap ships can take far more damage, and even make most of them Invulnerable for most of the missions. Not being able to just blow up anything you wanted to really changed the dynamics and feel of the missions.

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Post by DarHan » Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:33 pm

Just pointing out, but in Skyrim, killing a dragon is something you learn to do early on, and by the end of the main plotline, the game is throwing them at you in pairs just to keep things fair.

Not too far from what ISDs feel like in XWA, on second thought.
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Post by aceazzameen87 » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:29 pm

Hi! Regular lurker drawn out by all the fantastic progress lately, just wanted to comment on balancing. Some of the changes have resulted in odd difficulties-- the combination of the super star destroyer, new rebel platform opt and the experimental increase in laser hard points especially leading to some unintentional hilarity.

These seem to have been carefully adjusted over time as the pack has matured, but I'm glad to see a formal thread about working on cohesive balancing.

The only major difficulty I have experienced that hasn't seemed to be commented on was that the TIE turbolaser Bizarro variant seems to hit much harder than vanilla. It's possible to beat the mission they are introduced in with XWAU, but requires very strict flying and almost no room for error or surprise. Were there changes to the unit's AI or OPT changes for the weapon hardpoint, or have my reactions just slowed over time?

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Post by Safe-Keeper » Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:48 pm

Okay, I stand corrected on the dragons. My point stands, however :P .

The main balance change that feels wrong IMO (the above post reminded me) is how ridiculously powerful the CR-90 correllian corvette has become with the new cap ship turbo lasers.

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