PDA

View Full Version : Miranda - Where do we go from here?


nesnl
04-10-2009, 10:13 PM
I want to make a thread to discuss the present state of Miranda and the future of Miranda. I know that it hasn't been very long since the latest patch, but I have played with the current changes and wanted to start a thread for not only the current changes, but also for the overall feelings about what possible changes could make this plane work the best.

I want to preface this by saying that as of writing this I have just shy of 12,000 kills with Miranda. Now this doesn't necessarily make me an expert, but it does make it so that if something is changed or tweaked I notice pretty fast and I feel I am able to assess the possible effects and issues that it creates probably faster than someone who has little experience with the plane. I think too often these types of threads get clogged up with people who either never play the plane, either by choice or because they haven't unlocked it yet, or from people who are just not very skilled and just want to complain about skilled Miranda players. These are not reasons to justify the Miranda to be "overpowered" but rather just saying that some players might not be able to formulate the best opinions on what is best for the way this plane is balanced.

This is how I categorize the two different projectiles:

Bouncy shot - Allows the user to shoot and "forget" in that they can immediately leave the combat area after the shot has been fired. It can also be bounced meaning that the Miranda does not have to be in any type of compromising position if it doesn't want to be against any other plane in the game (minus another bouncy shot Miranda). However, if you miss it does no damage.

Laser - Must be applied to the target at all times doing damage and therefore the Miranda cannot leave the combat area and continue to do damage. The laser does not bounce or reflect and therefore the Miranda must be in direct line of sight of the target. If you miss initially you can correct your aim and still do partial damage.

These above mentioned categories, to me, mean that the bouncy shot should effectively do less damage per unit energy cost than the laser. Since the laser requires not one, but two factors that compromise its own survival in order to do damage it should do more damage per unit energy. Since both the laser and the bouncy shot require the same amount of energy per charge (I am fairly positive this is correct) then the total damage of an full duration direct hit laser should do more damage than a bouncy shot. For those of you who will say that you can correct a laser and still do damage while a bouncy shot cannot be corrected, I still think it is fair outweighed by the compromising effects of how the laser is fired as well as the fact that even though you can correct the laser, it will in the end do less damage than if it were a direct hit. So the worse you are at aiming still results in less damage as is the case with any plane.

I am, reluctantly, in support of the non-piercing laser. The game, I feel, needs to create an environment where the players can feel like there is as little randomness as possible. While the piercing laser is often not random, it does give the sense of being random when people think it's an effect strategy to just "sweep" the laser back and forth across a bunch of enemies. This strategy ends up not being very effective because just sweeping over an enemy means that the laser is only actively doing damage for a very short period of time and therefore not very much damage at all. In my experience when I was shooting two or more planes at once (outside of the 34 person games on the GOON servers) it was because I was intending to shoot the plane at the end of the laser. The fact that there is someone in between was just a consequence of having to get to that other plane even though the plane at the end of the laser in all likelihood probably felt that they were receiving random damage for just happening to be in the way of who they thought I was shooting. However, as I have learned in life "perception is everything." If the majority of players, most of whom don't play the miranda, always feel like they are just getting randomly hit by a laser that just happened to pass over another plane and kill them, well that is no different than *if* that actually was the case.

So now that the laser is non-piercing it should give the laser, or rather the recipients of the laser's effects, less of a random feel. This brings up the fact that the laser needs to be "painted" onto the target. As a shot needs to be constantly adjusted for the duration of the shot, a more skilled player will do more damage over that duration. This means, in my opinion, that a player who can keep the laser on target should be rewarded for that. What i mean by this is that a full duration laser should do a substantial amount of damage, especially that it is non-piercing now. As I said before, the Miranda is compromising its own life by firing the laser as it's in direct line with the enemy plane and must stay that way for the duration. If the result of flying into an oncoming enemy and a full duration laser ends up with the enemy plane only at 10 or 20% health then what good does that sacrifice in survivability do? As we all know the Miranda has a very small health pool, this should be offset with the capability of doing damage. If not, then it's health needs to be buffed to compensate for that. However, I personally don't want to see it go that direction. I think it should be high damage output and low health in order to reward skill that results in being able to shoot enemy planes while not getting shot yourself. However, I am not saying that it should be an over the top amount of damage. Where that damage line lies I am not sure but obviously not higher than an Explodet with heavy armor and not lower than the health of a Miranda or Loopy.

nesnl
04-10-2009, 10:14 PM
This brings me to the point of how the damage of the laser is delivered. The reason I am not talking much about the bouncy shot is because I felt it was fairly balanced as it was. The bouncy shot has, unfortunately, taken some of the same nerfs to the laser as these nerfs are overall nerfs to the Miranda as a whole. The laser has three factors that determine its damage. The overall damage of the total duration of the laser, the length of the laser, and the duration of the laser when it is fired. The first two are obvious issues of how much damage you can do in total and to what range. However, the total damage is tied to the duration as the duration determines the DPS (damage per second). The duration effects the play in two separate ways. First, a longer laser results in more time for the player to correct a missed shot while at the same time giving the other planes more time to get out of the way or out of range. Second, a longer duration laser means less DPS and therefore more time for the other plane to either react or deal more damage of its own. This of course means that a shorter duration laser deals its damage quicker meaning higher DPS. This results in planes having less time to react and less time to deal out damage of their own. So assuming that a total damage output for the laser is decided upon the question becomes what is more balanced, the shorter or longer duration? Personally, I think the answer is a shorter duration laser. Even though this means that a laser will kill faster, it rewards being accurate. A less skilled player who has to sweep the laser to its target or constantly readjust its path will pay a higher price. Combine this with the fact that the Miranda is already paying two fold in terms of survivability against the bouncy shot (as discussed above with the fact it has to stay in the battle and has to be in line of sight of the enemy), I think that making the laser longer duration only adds to those issues.

The current patch as of April 9th also brought a new issue to the Miranda. This issue affects both the laser and the bouncy shot. It is the fact the weapon rate charge up is reduced to half when the Miranda is at 0 energy. This to me is a huge problem. Energy, in any plane is constantly changing (unless you are at 100%) so getting a feel for the timing of this recharge of energy is the only way a player can effectively learn when they can or can't fire again. However, with this new addition in the patch this timing is effectively changing all the time and would require an entirely new and constantly changing sense of energy recharge timing. This to me is beyond not only what a player *should* have to do but it is also beyond the scope of the way this game portrays and delivers relevant information to the player. This "feel" for the timing of what you can and can't do, of when you will and won't be able to fire, is common to all planes in the game and not just the Miranda. If that timing is constantly changing it results in too much randomness. However, if the laser or bouncy shot is allowed to charge when the plane is at 0 energy, or rather at a level of energy lower than the amount needed to charge, then the Miranda basically plays with little energy management for the most part. If the player can charge its shot and reverse both at 0 energy then the only real energy cost is the energy needed to "warp." So the question is, is it balanced to allow the Miranda to charge its shot at 0 energy as well as reverse at 0 energy? I personally felt that there was nothing wrong with this system when it was in place prior to this last patch. Although it has its obvious advantages it has the disadvantage that without a full charge the shot effectively does little damage. The problem with the current system of reducing the charge rate in half when at 0 energy or making it so you can't reverse at 0 energy introduces too much randomness into the play of the plane. Players won't be able to get any sort of timing down like with the other planes. It will always be a guessing game of when the recharge of your shot will be halved or if you won't have enough energy to reverse out of crashing into a wall. The cost of having low energy is also paid by not being able to warp. All the other planes can just constantly after burn if they want to throw all their energy into it. The Miranda is confined to either top speed unless it has enough energy to perform a "warp." In the end, I am not entirely sure of the final solution to this issue. I will think more about this one and also hope that other people weigh in on what they think are some potential solutions. I think that the most important aspect to this is that the play of the plane must feel consistent in that the actions of the plane are predictable over all situations.

Here are a couple ideas/things running through my head:

* I think the current time anchor line is a slight bit shorter than optimal length. If it were maybe half an inch or so longer it might make the feel of this better.

* How about a reflecting laser? This could work like the bouncy shot in that it would reflect off objects and planes and continue at a trajectory equal to the incident angle (with as many possible reflections up to its maximal length). This would give the Miranda a slight survivability boost in the laser mode which might justify the current reduction in damage. This would also provide a reflected laser off a shield that could kill the Miranda or other teammates.

* How about possible laser "splash." What i mean by this is that when the laser is actively hitting something like a plane or an object it creates a small radius of damage that would damage nearby planes. Like an electric field splash or something. This would provide an added benefit for being able to keep the laser on target while the benefit would not be present when the laser was not on target.

* This is more of a question about the reverse and the system used for reversing at 0. I noticed that if you sit in one place with full energy and hold down the D key you will continue reversing at the current rate of every 0.66 seconds. However, when the Miranda drains most of its energy, or is at 0, the reverse rate seems to slow down by a couple tenths of a second. Is this done on purpose or is this a bug? I think that if the cooldown is 0.66 seconds then it should be 0.66 seconds no matter the energy level. Also I support bringing this back down to the previous level of 0.6 seconds.

* Remove the Biplane's heavy cannon piercing effect. If the goal of getting rid of the piercing effect of the laser is to reduce AoE damage and randomness in the game then it makes no sense to me that the Biplane's heavy cannon remains as the only weapon with pierce.

That's it for now. Please post your thoughts and/or ideas and I will post more later as I think of more things.

Post needed to be cut in half was 14000 characters with an apparent 10000 character limit.

TheCapedAvenger
04-10-2009, 10:22 PM
I disagree.

ZellSF
04-10-2009, 10:48 PM
What i mean by this is that a full duration laser should do a substantial amount of damage
It does. Laser is probably too powerful as is imo.

DiogenesDog
04-10-2009, 11:12 PM
This post was a little rambling and unfocused, but let me see if I can sum up all the important material quickly:

- You feel that reducing the charge rate at 0 energy makes the Miranda feel inconsistent, which makes it harder to play by feel and get into a rhythm. And ditto for the reverse cooldown.

- You feel like a shorter duration laser emphasizes aim and rewards player skill more than a long duration laser.


I don't think the consistency thing is a real issue. The idea here (I assume) is to add more real energy management, but in a way that still feels decent with the unique needs of this plane. That seems reasonable to me. If players are getting their rhythm screwed up by this, then they should manage their energy more carefully? :o I noticed that you don't really seem to have any suggestions for addressing this, unless I missed them. What system would you prefer? The alternative would be to prevent reversing or firing altogether, which would be a significant nerf.

Shorter duration is outright more powerful in most cases, and I don't agree that it benefits skilled players more. Yes, it means you have to be slightly more careful about your aim when you trigger it, but it also means that you can't need to maintain focus as long, which is also a skill-based activity.

And regarding your solutions... what exactly are you trying to solve with the reflecting laser or the splash? I really don't know where you're going with these. They're just outright buffs, and the second one in particular just seems like it has almost the same problems as the pierce laser but without being intuitive.

I don't know. Your post(s) feel like you're just sort of generally unhappy, but aren't really sure what the problem is or what to do about it. I'm not sure what kind of response you expect to get to that. :o

Blank
04-10-2009, 11:26 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcilUa6j2O4&feature=related

lamsbro
04-10-2009, 11:27 PM
You mentioned a lot of interesting issues, here are my thoughts on some of them:

1) Laser duration - I prefer shorter lasting or player determined durations for lasers, for 2 reasons. First, it rewards initial aiming accuracy more. Longer lasting lasers make it pretty easy to walk the laser in even if you were initially far off. Second, it decreases the likelihood that people accidentally shoot you with a laser (random damage is bad). With long duration blasts you may still be firing even though your target is already dead, and accidentally hit someone you weren't even thinking about.

I suggested this at some point before, but I'll mention it again. It might be interesting if players could control the duration of their laser blast. Firing would work similar to how it does now, you store up a charge by holding 'f', and then you begin to release that charge in the form of a laser by releasing 'f'. The difference is that if you decide you want to stop the discharge of the laser you can immediately halt it by pressing 'f' again, which causes the charge to start building up again. Just an idea.

2) Ammo charge up is reduced when Miranda hits 0 - I didn't know this, I'd be interested to hear the details of the mechanics. My guess is they did this to punish Miranda for taking advantage of low energy reverses, although I think low energy is its own punishment to some extent (means you can't fire or warp).

3) Removing Biplane Pierce - Im not sure if they removed laser piercing because of the AoE issue or because they needed something to nerf.
I think the AoE issue is a legitimate one, but its also nice to have some diversity in the weapon attacks. I'm happy with laser being non-piercing and would be happy if biplane piercing were reduced, so that each plane the projectile passes through reduces the damage it deals by a certain %, maybe 50%. That way bodyguarding is only partly countered by piercing, as opposed to being actively punished because grouping increases likelihood that a shot will hit multiple planes.

lamster
04-10-2009, 11:38 PM
As far as Laser goes, the most interesting/unique thing about it is the painting/targeting mechanism, so I think it's best to really focus on making that element fun and viable, and in this case removing the also interesting but complicating factor of pierce (which brings with it the perceived randomness and scaleability balance issues). I'm very open to suggestions on defining a fun role for it; at the moment I'm considering reducing the range and increasing the damage to amp the target commitment element. In terms of pure power, based on the numbers and tactical requirements, I'm inclined to agree that it's generally underpowered at the moment.

Quick explanation of Reverse:
Like every ability, Reverse has a cooldown and energy requirement (0.66 seconds, 280 energy). Unlike other abilities, Reverse can be activated whenever the cooldown requirement is met, even if you don't have enough energy, incurring a cooldown penalty of up to 2x depending on the fraction of energy you had available. Examples:
500 energy, reverse -> 220 energy, 0.66 sec cooldown
140 energy, reverse -> 0 energy, 0.99 sec cooldown
0 energy, reverse -> 0 energy, 1.32 sec cooldown

I agree that control consistency is extremely important, but every other ability has to satisfy two factors (cooldown, energy); removing the energy requirement from Reverse altogether feels like a bad move. However, enforcing cooldown/energy the same as other abilities leads to very frustrating situations where you expect to be able to reverse just before hitting a wall but just barely can't afford it.

The change to charge-up time is another attempt at injecting energy management consistency; charging normally drains Miranda's energy at 1.6x his regen rate, so assuming charge-up has a max rate and linear response to non-max energy injections, charge should accumulate at 62.5% max rate at 0 energy (I guess I should buff it from 50% now that I look at the numbers).

Despite the rhythm problems, I think energy consistency is the right approach since it leads to more interesting player decisions. Ultimately, special exceptions for charge-up and/or reverse unfairly shifts the plane's balance towards those abilities, encouraging the player to operate in 0-energy situations and removing a lot of interesting choices. With all abilities properly balanced around consistent energy usage his "3rd ability", teleport, becomes a meaningful and balanceable addition to his arsenal.

nesnl
04-10-2009, 11:57 PM
THIS IN RESPONSE TO D-DOG'S POST:

Yeah it was hard to write the post in a way that made sense without just saying the "feel" or "rhythm" of the plane is messed up. I felt that each aspect needed an explanation of its problems and the causes of those problems which I think made it overly detailed in cases where it might not needed to have been.

However, you seemed to have got the idea of my post for the most part. As for the response, I guess we are going to have to disagree on the differences between the duration of the laser and which is better or worse. As for my ideas about the laser reflection or splash of the laser, I am trying to offer solutions to the now reduced damage / non-piercing laser other than just saying "increase damage, make it pierce again." If you are going to argue that the splash is the same problem as the pierce laser that sounds like you would have a problem with all splash damage like explodet missile, mines, bombs, grenades, etc? I mean they all do splash damage but have never been described as the same problem as pierce. I have also never seen them described as not intuitive. I guess the splash/reflection ideas were just me brainstorming for ideas of indirect alternatives of buffs rather than just sticking with straight damage buffs.

But the real heart of the problem is the energy management problem which you derived from my post. I think I did a poor job of explaining how the new mechanic really impacts the plane but to make it as simple as possible if it takes X amount of time to charge your laser, it now can take anywhere from X to 2X depending on how much energy you have left. I think I made it sound like it was one OR the other when it is in fact the entire range between those two values. This range makes it feel completely random and not easily predictable. My solution is to go back to the old system and figure out another way to balance it. The plane is at a disadvantage enough that it has to charge it's shot, which is unique to that plane. If you impose typical energy management solutions to this plane it will affect it in an entirely different way. For example, if you take any other plane and press fire when it doesn't have enough energy to fire then nothing happens. However, when the energy recharges to a level that gives it enough for a shot then the results are instantaneous, the shot fires. However, if you imposed this onto the Miranda then it would basically mean that the Miranda couldn't even start charging until it had enough energy. Then it would have to shoot and spend more time dealing the damage while most planes the damage is instantaneous. So you can see the obvious problems with trying to impose traditional rules on this plane. Typical plane is: wait for energy -> deal almost instantaneous damage. Miranda would be: wait for energy -> wait for charge -> deal damage over time. In the end, I wasn't necessarily saying I have the answer, I was merely saying that this new system is the wrong direction in my opinion and wanted to say *why* it is the wrong direction. Half of the post was just letting people know that there is a problem and that I will do whatever I can to help fix it. (hopefully with everyones help)

Anyway, hope this helps clear some things up for you! As always I like your feedback it means a lot! Keep it coming!

Carbon
04-11-2009, 12:04 AM
Note: This post was written after several hours of playing the latest patch, my opinion is probably going to change after playing it more.

I've been playing Miranda regularly since I got to 60 on my first account and I have to say that the Miranda right now is not very appealing due to the reduced recharge at 0 energy. I feel that the laser is actually about right at this point, but the bouncy shot really suffers from the recharging because you usually need multiple shots to kill an enemy that isn't smoking, and this will put you in the low recharge or "sitting duck" zone for a while.

Miranda, in my opinion, is the plane with the highest skill ceiling due to the bouncy shot, reverse and time anchor all working very differently than any other skills in the game. The plane with the second highest skill ceiling is biplane, which is basically on par with the miranda but doesn't surpass it due to all is abilities being very similar to one another. Loopy also requires a lot of skill, but thats flying skill moreso than accuracy.

The miranda WAS a bit over-powered in the previous patch and extremely broken in the patches that I saw before that, but I feel that in a game so full of explosive spam it was a breath of fresh air to play a ship that needed a lot of accuracy, which is why the biplane and miranda are fun; you need to be able to aim and time your shots to get kills (except the laser, you don't need a whole lot of accuracy with it). This isn't to say that the other planes don't need accuracy, but you can't get many spam kills unless you just fly in circles and spam bouncy shot through chokepoints (you get more kills by actually playing though).

Anyway, I feel that the lowered charge at 0 energy is suitable for laser but not so much for the bouncy shot since you need to fire more often to kill planes.

protest boy
04-11-2009, 01:28 AM
From what I could tell in my limited testing of the miranda last night, it seems like the 2x charge time only comes into effect when the miranda is absolutely out of energy. It was sort of difficult to time it just right and go for a charge when it was at 0 and not some sliver of energy. Maybe I'm not understanding things right but it seems like for the most part, that nerf isn't going to come into effect that often (which seems like a good reason for getting rid of it, if it helps players time things better).

I would be strongly against any of the buffs (reflection, AOE) that were mentioned. The laser is still super powerful just because of the instant damage it can do at a distance without having to consider projectile time of flight.

I am strongly against removing the biplane piercing heavy cannon. However, I would be open to a slight damage reduction for each airplane it passes through (maybe -25% at the most). It's not right to compare heavy cannon to laser piercing and determine that if laser piercing is removed, so should heavy cannon piercing. This is for several reasons:

- Heavy cannon is just one tiny projectile of damage. If a plane is not lined up with your aim when you make the shot, the projectile will not connect. A piercing laser on the on the other hand has a duration to it, is wider than the cannon shot (I think), and the aim can be adjusted mid-shot. Therefore it is FAR more likely to connect with multiple planes due to the piercing action than the biplane heavy cannon.

- Secondly, the piercing action makes it unique to the game. Removing the heavy cannon pierce makes it a very boring weapon.

There are other minor reasons but they're not worth going into since the two I mentioned are such important factors to consider.

Karl
04-11-2009, 01:34 AM
heavy cannon pierces a maximum of 4 targets and loses 25% of it damage for every pierce.

nesnl
04-11-2009, 02:32 AM
From what I could tell in my limited testing of the miranda last night, it seems like the 2x charge time only comes into effect when the miranda is absolutely out of energy. It was sort of difficult to time it just right and go for a charge when it was at 0 and not some sliver of energy. Maybe I'm not understanding things right but it seems like for the most part, that nerf isn't going to come into effect that often (which seems like a good reason for getting rid of it, if it helps players time things better).


From the way I understand the mechanic it works like this:

If you are at zero energy then the charge rate is reduced by 50%. So that means at any point if you reach zero then it goes to that 50% reduction phase. For example, let's say it takes 25 energy to charge your laser (not sure how the numerical system works with the energy). If you are at 0 energy then the total duration of that 25 energy charge will by at a rate of 50%. Now let's say you are at 10 energy. The first portion of your charge, the part that uses up the first 10 energy will be at a normal rate, but once your energy hits 0 then the last 15 energy needs for the charge will be at a rate of 50%.

You can see how this creates a random effect. Depending on when you start your charge, a larger or smaller portion of your energy is dedicated to the normal charge rate or the slower charge rate.

Lam or Karl correct me if I am wrong on this.

Also, I know I said this to lam before but I am going to post it here. What if the laser had a similar mechanic to the heavy cannon. It regained its pierce effect but did 25% reduced damage per target and could only hit 4 targets at once.

protest boy
04-11-2009, 04:30 AM
heavy cannon pierces a maximum of 4 targets and loses 25% of it damage for every pierce.

Perfect! don't touch it! :)

DiogenesDog
04-11-2009, 09:46 AM
Bleh, the piercing on heavy cannon actually bugs me a lot, although not for the consistency / balance reasons that Maimer brings up. Just aesthetically, it makes it weaker feeling and less satisfying than most weapons imo. Almost like it's just lag and you actually missed the guy.

Maybe all it needs is some particles and sfx when it passes through someone? I dunno. But it comes into play infrequently enough that I'd be okay with just axing it and maybe adding some recoil backpush to the target it hits. I think the actual firing sound fx could stand to be a little more boomy too.

For Star Control fans: basically, I want to turn this into the Druuge of Altitude. :)

Triped
04-11-2009, 09:39 PM
Bleh, the piercing on heavy cannon actually bugs me a lot, although not for the consistency / balance reasons that Maimer brings up. Just aesthetically, it makes it weaker feeling and less satisfying than most weapons imo. Almost like it's just lag and you actually missed the guy.

Maybe all it needs is some particles and sfx when it passes through someone? I dunno. But it comes into play infrequently enough that I'd be okay with just axing it and maybe adding some recoil backpush to the target it hits. I think the actual firing sound fx could stand to be a little more boomy too.

For Star Control fans: basically, I want to turn this into the Druuge of Altitude. :)

Yeah, I agree it needs some visual indicator of a hit. I also think it should knock the biplane back a little more when the shot goes off.

Blank
04-11-2009, 11:37 PM
Yeah, I agree it needs some visual indicator of a hit. I also think it should knock the biplane back a little more when the shot goes off.

IIRC, this effect was actually reduced a patch or so ago? maybe longer... cause it makes for an incredibly ineffective weapon :|

Triped
04-12-2009, 12:20 AM
IIRC, this effect was actually reduced a patch or so ago? maybe longer... cause it makes for an incredibly ineffective weapon :|

I think I just want to recreate the fusion cannon in Descent. :)

lamsbro
04-12-2009, 12:44 AM
I'm considering reducing the range and increasing the damage to amp the target commitment element.

I think it would be a mistake to reduce the range, miranda already has a short-range attack in the form of afterburn/teleport. Since the changes I've found teleport to be a more effective attack than the laser in almost every situation. Making laser shorter range will just remove one of the elements that makes it different from teleport, if anything I think the range should be a little longer.

Phasma Felis
04-12-2009, 05:23 AM
Bleh, the piercing on heavy cannon actually bugs me a lot, although not for the consistency / balance reasons that Maimer brings up. Just aesthetically, it makes it weaker feeling and less satisfying than most weapons imo. Almost like it's just lag and you actually missed the guy.

Maybe all it needs is some particles and sfx when it passes through someone? I dunno. But it comes into play infrequently enough that I'd be okay with just axing it and maybe adding some recoil backpush to the target it hits. I think the actual firing sound fx could stand to be a little more boomy too.

For Star Control fans: basically, I want to turn this into the Druuge of Altitude. :)
I can totally get behind that. A weapon like the Heavy Cannon ought to have some serious presence. Right now you hardly notice when somebody fires it--except when it hits and you explode, of course. :)

DevilsAdvocat
04-12-2009, 05:27 PM
well, returning to the original topic of mirandas, i think that the reduction of the charge time is pointless, but for an entirely different reason. when the miranda is out of energy, it cannot us its warp. until now this thread has just referred to the warp purely as a mode of transportation. However, recently i have found it to find it useful not only for the mobility which it allows in battle, but also as a weapon. imo the warp is an underutilized tool that should be used to kill low life planes, specifically when carrying a bomb. Since i think of this as a weapon, and a very useful one, i think that the inability to warp when out of energy is limiting both my mobility and my attack capabilities. Since the miranda has no normal afterburner, the cutting of its warp is more than sufficient to punish.

Pillars
04-15-2009, 05:50 PM
As far as Laser goes, the most interesting/unique thing about it is the painting/targeting mechanism, so I think it's best to really focus on making that element fun and viable, and in this case removing the also interesting but complicating factor of pierce (which brings with it the perceived randomness and scaleability balance issues). I'm very open to suggestions on defining a fun role for it; at the moment I'm considering reducing the range and increasing the damage to amp the target commitment element. In terms of pure power, based on the numbers and tactical requirements, I'm inclined to agree that it's generally underpowered at the moment.

Quick explanation of Reverse:
Like every ability, Reverse has a cooldown and energy requirement (0.66 seconds, 280 energy). Unlike other abilities, Reverse can be activated whenever the cooldown requirement is met, even if you don't have enough energy, incurring a cooldown penalty of up to 2x depending on the fraction of energy you had available. Examples:
500 energy, reverse -> 220 energy, 0.66 sec cooldown
140 energy, reverse -> 0 energy, 0.99 sec cooldown
0 energy, reverse -> 0 energy, 1.32 sec cooldown

I agree that control consistency is extremely important, but every other ability has to satisfy two factors (cooldown, energy); removing the energy requirement from Reverse altogether feels like a bad move. However, enforcing cooldown/energy the same as other abilities leads to very frustrating situations where you expect to be able to reverse just before hitting a wall but just barely can't afford it.

The change to charge-up time is another attempt at injecting energy management consistency; charging normally drains Miranda's energy at 1.6x his regen rate, so assuming charge-up has a max rate and linear response to non-max energy injections, charge should accumulate at 62.5% max rate at 0 energy (I guess I should buff it from 50% now that I look at the numbers).

Despite the rhythm problems, I think energy consistency is the right approach since it leads to more interesting player decisions. Ultimately, special exceptions for charge-up and/or reverse unfairly shifts the plane's balance towards those abilities, encouraging the player to operate in 0-energy situations and removing a lot of interesting choices. With all abilities properly balanced around consistent energy usage his "3rd ability", teleport, becomes a meaningful and balanceable addition to his arsenal.
Yeah, there's a tension here between control consistency and energy management. You might be able to achieve both using some other approach, but I'm not sure what that would look like.

It does feel a bit strange for an ability to have three separate cooldowns depending upon the energy state of the plane [especially since there's no visual indication of the cooldown.] In some ways this means we've transferred the problem of players crashing into walls from lacking energy to being in an unanticipated cooldown state...though we have, at least, added some semblance of energy management in the process. It's not clear to me at the moment if the energy management feels particularly rewarding or fun, though.

innerlyte
04-18-2009, 08:47 PM
Any more ideas or news on a solution? I think the plane became more or less balanced when the piercing effect was removed (although now, hardly anyone uses the laser anymore -- might still need revision), but the new energy management system further nerfs both primary weapons as well handling. Maybe a shorter and more consistent cooldown period could be implemented, because the plane feels a little sluggish and unpredictable. Thoughts?

lamster
04-18-2009, 10:13 PM
I'm very open to trying something new with the laser (an overall buff is probably appropriate), and somewhat willing to keep messing around with energy management stuff. Ideas welcome :)

Vi*
04-18-2009, 10:50 PM
What if, because of the energy matter transfer involved, the miranda became super light during lasering and would have an incredibly small turning radius-- allowing easier aiming of the laser while it is on?

nesnl
04-18-2009, 11:21 PM
I am going to try to post some more thoughts here as concisely as possible, but in having a conversation with Pillars about this it seemed hard to get the idea across without sounding too convoluted.

The problem with the Miranda is energy management. It seems to be hard to strike a balance between proper energy management with making the plane fun to play and not seem to be effected by too much randomness.

The Miranda is unique in that it is the only plane that has its energy recharge rate changed based on its actions. This energy recharge rate is reduced while charging up the weapon. The dilemma is in the fact that maximizing the use of any plane should revolve around maximizing the potential of all of your energy (this is true for any game with some type of 'limited' resource that a user must decide how to use it). For the other four planes in the game if you use all your energy you pay no penalty; that is your energy recharges at a normal rate and you incur no larger cooldowns. For the Miranda right now, this is opposite. Going below a certain threshold of energy is penalized in two ways: you incur a larger cooldown for your reverse and you recharge your weapon at a slower rate. So while getting to 0 energy on the other 4 planes is merely just running out of energy, with Miranda there is basically the idea that you are being penalized for getting down to 0 energy.

With the new system of adding in the reduced charge time, you are now making the user pay two-fold for being at low energy. It is a vicious cycle which basically works like this: reversing reduces your energy which makes charging the weapon charge takes longer, since your weapon takes longer it means you have a longer time with no energy which means you are on a longer cooldown for reversing. It just goes back and forth, the weapon charge affects the cooldown of the reverse and the reverse affects the weapon charge. It just ends up feeling like this huge penalty for the Miranda user like saying "you used all your energy?! Now pay the price!" while to all the other planes you are saying "you used all your energy?! No problem!"

Possible solutions:

1. Get rid of the cooldown for reverse. Let the energy management and penalty be paid for by the weapon charge. Basically, using your reverse (especially with no cooldown) will constantly be draining your energy down and therefore increase your weapon charge rate. At least with this method you end up with a more normalized game play. The cooldown for the reverse won't feel random and at least you have the visual indicator for the weapon charge (which is kind of a cooldown indicator).

2. Get rid of the increased charge time for the weapon. This would work the opposite of the previous idea. The penalty and energy management would stem from incurring longer cooldowns on the reverse ability. Even though this would make the movement feel more random, it would at least let the user shoot their weapon on a consistent, and therefore non-random, basis.

3. Get rid of the whole "reduced energy recharge rate" idea and let it play more like a normal plane. You could let it reverse at a standard cooldown and only let it charge its weapon when it had enough energy to do so. That way if you kept reversing you wouldn't be able to charge your weapon.

Part of the problem is trying to come up with an idea that works for both the Bouncy Shot mode and the Laser mode. Something that works for one mode doesn't work very well with the other mode. Keep in mind that you changed two variables at once in the last patch. You made it non-piercing and also made the reduced charging rate at low energy. Why not try simply eliminating the reduced charge rate and see how it plays with the non-piercing effect?


On top of the fact that you are being penalized for using your energy, there is indication whatsoever of what cooldown you are on. So you often times you are on a cooldown with your reverse and you have no idea when it is going to be available again.

DiogenesDog
04-19-2009, 06:25 AM
Here's my major point of disagreement:
For the other four planes in the game if you use all your energy you pay no penalty; that is your energy recharges at a normal rate and you incur no larger cooldowns. For the Miranda right now, this is opposite. Going below a certain threshold of energy is penalized in two ways: you incur a larger cooldown for your reverse and you recharge your weapon at a slower rate. So while getting to 0 energy on the other 4 planes is merely just running out of energy, with Miranda there is basically the idea that you are being penalized for getting down to 0 energy.

This isn't a penalty, it's a huge advantage. As annoying as the reduced charge rate is, it's vastly preferable to not being able to act at all. Not being able to fire either of your attacks is definitely a nastier penalty than a worse recharge / cooldown rate. It's just that it's more intuitive, so people tend not to think of it in those terms.

On the specific solutions:


#1 - Worth a try imo.

#2 - Meh. Not a harsh enough penalty.

#3 - This suggestion really highlights the source of the problem, which is that the Miranda doesn't have a fixed energy cost for its main weapon. With any other plane, this would make sense. But with the Miranda, the initial energy cost is extraordinarily LOW (just take a look at how many of the uncharged shots you can spam). The real cost is in the energy that you're not regenning while you charge. So this would basically not be much of a limiter at all.


Maybe #3 along with a much higher initial energy cost, then mess with the regen-while-charging stuff to compensate for the bumped up initial cost? That'd make it feel more like other planes (you need X minimum energy to fire your weapon, and X is high enough that it's a real limiter).

Another possibility would be to just go back to the original stuff where it had no special energy management attributes at all, then add some kind of feedback to show when reverse is available. And now that the energy bar is attached to the plane, you could mess with that directly. Maybe make the bar change colors when it's too low to reverse? Something on the plane? I dunno!

But all that said, I really don't think the current problem is a huge issue. It only affects high level players, and they're all savvy enough to learn the system and eventually get used to it.

gameguard
04-20-2009, 02:05 AM
I dont really know how imba the miranda was before i started playing, but Its not too bad as it is right now. The real penalty is the slower recharge rate when you are charging. In a fight dogfight, you really wont have any energy after you shoot, reverse and charge another shot. You just have to live with that. Just learn timing of the longer cool down. Also, it takes very long to charge another full shot so in many cases I just fire off the semi charged shot when I get the right angle. Basically, in many cases you wont have any energy stored up during heavy fights (you can still be very effective with 0 energy). Other times, it comes down to energy management. If you dont charge another shot, your energy goes up fast enough to teleport away or something.

Spirtz
04-20-2009, 04:29 AM
correct me if im wrong but for as long as i can remember the miranda was the tricky one, never the best fire power but was suposed to be hard to get a hold of. a behind the sceenes plan if u well. by the way i think the warp should come back.

nesnl
04-20-2009, 03:28 PM
This isn't a penalty, it's a huge advantage. As annoying as the reduced charge rate is, it's vastly preferable to not being able to act at all. Not being able to fire either of your attacks is definitely a nastier penalty than a worse recharge / cooldown rate. It's just that it's more intuitive, so people tend not to think of it in those terms.


I know that at first glance, especially without much time behind the wheel of this plane, that this might seem like the case. I am not going to type out the reasons again because it will just end up sounding more convoluted that it already was, but just remember that there are now three penalties associated with Miranda: reduced energy recharge rate while charging the laser, increased cooldowns for reverse when done at low energy, and now the reduced charge of the weapon at low energy. (I realize that the third penalty is basically tied to the first but in a sense they are different). At first it might be hard to conceptualize how these penalties interact with each other and increase the effect of each other, but I think the best way to do it is either play the plane a bunch or try to think about individual situations and how doing certain actions will affect the plane.


#3 - This suggestion really highlights the source of the problem, which is that the Miranda doesn't have a fixed energy cost for its main weapon. With any other plane, this would make sense. But with the Miranda, the initial energy cost is extraordinarily LOW (just take a look at how many of the uncharged shots you can spam). The real cost is in the energy that you're not regenning while you charge. So this would basically not be much of a limiter at all.


I was confused a little by this part because of the whole "initial energy cost is extraordinarily low" part? I agree that the cost of the weakest shot possible is a low energy cost but are you also saying the cost of a fully charged shot is low?

DiogenesDog
04-20-2009, 07:12 PM
Blah, I've played plenty with the Miranda. And while it's my weakest plane, I still have something like a 1.5 kill ratio, which is respectable (not sure of the exact number, I'm at work). I still say that it's not a disadvantage to be able to fire your weapons in situations when you're out of energy.

And on the energy cost: while the total cost of a charged shot isn't low, the cost to START charging has to be low for the system to work at all. This makes it hard to hold it to the traditional limitation (can't fire at all) and have it be a real penalty (since you'd have to be COMPLETELY drained to not have enough energy to start charging).

lamsbro
04-20-2009, 11:37 PM
I don't understand what the big deal is. As far as I can tell the way it works is this: the laser consumes energy during the charge up phase, lets say its 5 energy per second. The miranda energy bar recharges at a slower rate than that 5 energy per second, something like 2.5 energy per second.

If the Miranda has 0 energy and you let the laser charge up at 5 energy per second you are giving the Miranda twice the energy regen rate it would normally have, but only when that energy is used to charge the laser. This is how it used to work.

In the last patch it was changed so that Miranda laser charge up was directly related to energy availability. If the Miranda has 0 energy now, and starts charging a laser, it doesn't charge up at normal speed because that consumes more energy than the miranda has. Instead it charges up at 1/2 speed, because the amount of energy regenerated is only half of what the Miranda normally consumes while charging up. This seems perfectly reasonable, but the real question is how does it affect gameplay.

The net effect on the player's decision making is that charge up laser is a less attractive option at low energies than it used to be. As a result, the other energy choices: teleport, non-chargeup fire, reverse, and letting the energy accumulate, should occur slightly more often at low energies than they used to. I think its important that each of these "energy options" be viable in many situations, the only one that seems to lack viability is non-chargeup fire which perhaps could use a boost. Everything else seems well within the "viable" margin of error.

gameguard
04-25-2009, 01:59 PM
non charge shots are really good cus u dont even need energy to spam it. It does nice damage too. If anything, the teleport could use up slightly less energy.

lamsbro
04-25-2009, 04:40 PM
After a little more thought, I think its the charge-up laser that could use some tweaking. It's too weak. I think I've said this before, but I would like the laser duration to be more directly controlled by the player or to be shorter duration, but do more damage per second.

nesnl
04-25-2009, 05:22 PM
After a little more thought, I think its the charge-up laser that could use some tweaking. It's too weak. I think I've said this before, but I would like the laser duration to be more directly controlled by the player or to be shorter duration, but do more damage per second.

I think what you mean to say is that you want the duration of the laser should be user controlled and therefore would affect the total damage, but the damage per second of when the laser is on a target should never change.

lamsbro
04-25-2009, 09:30 PM
What I mean is that the laser does too little damage per second. The laser should continue to cause a constant amount of damage per second, but that damage should be more than it is currently.

nesnl
04-25-2009, 10:28 PM
I thought you were saying that you wanted the Miranda to have some variable DPS based on what the user did. I think what you said makes more sense now.

JamesTechno
04-26-2009, 11:46 PM
I decided not to say anything until I played against the new Miranda for a while.

Now that I'm sated, my thoughts agree with Lamsbro.
I want the laser to do just a little more damage per second. It is a little on the skimpy side now that it doesn't have puncturing. I don't know if that's cause im flying more often with heavy armor or cause it does less cause it contacts with the target airplane less due to it's less area-collision (programmer thinking, sorry).

My vote is for a hair-pin increase of damage per second to the laser, with monitoring afterward, to see if its good.

protest boy
05-19-2009, 06:22 AM
It seems like the miranda's laser as it is now can kill a loopy in one shot. Maybe only with bars, I'm unsure. It has been made easier to do this also since the duration of the shot has been shortened so one doesn't have to maintain contact for as long to get out the maximum damage.

There needs to be a balance between having to aim correctly when the shot is first released, and having to maintain the laser on the target over the duration of the shot. They both take skill. Right now it's too far towards the 'initial aim' side of things.

ham
05-19-2009, 09:13 AM
i wish i could read

Triped
05-19-2009, 02:03 PM
It seems like the miranda's laser as it is now can kill a loopy in one shot. Maybe only with bars, I'm unsure. It has been made easier to do this also since the duration of the shot has been shortened so one doesn't have to maintain contact for as long to get out the maximum damage.

There needs to be a balance between having to aim correctly when the shot is first released, and having to maintain the laser on the target over the duration of the shot. They both take skill. Right now it's too far towards the 'initial aim' side of things.

Other planes can also kill Loopy with one shot. Heavy cannon biplane kills in one D-F mash instantly.

Blank
05-19-2009, 02:41 PM
At this point, comparing anything to the loopy is a waste of time since the plane is horrible :| Every other plane has insane 1-hit (or close to it) potential except the loopy. I'm not saying the loopy needs one, but when you've got the lowest HP in the game and 0 defensive moves outside of your speed... you're basically screwed.

Triped
05-19-2009, 03:05 PM
When I play heavy cannon in a server full of demo users, I feel like that shotgun assassin at the end of Scarface.

DiogenesDog
05-19-2009, 05:04 PM
I think the new laser might actually be able to kill a biplane in one shot even. :(

in any case, I think it's clearly better than the trickster or warp variants.

jeppew
05-19-2009, 05:31 PM
you could kill loopys in one sweep before aswell, you just needed to stay on target much longer. Can't recall if you could kill biplanes aswell but it's not too far-fetched, the damage increase was just 15%.

the only thing i dislike about the miranda right now is that every other plane can atleast use their boost when on 0 energy but the miranda can't do anything, so being stuck in a fight when drained is just instant death.

Blank
05-19-2009, 05:40 PM
It has a 0 energy escape option, reverse. And considering it's boost also functions as an attack, I can't see any justification for making it cost nothing.

jeppew
05-19-2009, 05:43 PM
It has a 0 energy escape option, reverse. And considering it's boost also functions as an attack, I can't see any justification for making it cost nothing.

i don't want boost to cost nothing, that would be crazy. but at 0 energy the cooldown on reverse increases by alot practically making it useless in a dogfight.

Blank
05-19-2009, 05:54 PM
don't dogfight with miranda.

DiogenesDog
05-19-2009, 07:02 PM
yeah, I gotta say, I'm okay with this unique disadvantage that the miranda has. it's a goofy plane, and trying to make it like the other planes would weaken its appeal imo.

evilarsenal
05-20-2009, 08:57 PM
im going to look at ur book one day that u just posted and say that, as a miranda whore since back in the day... miranda was the most unfair plane ever and took little skill to kill others... the only plane that nearly compared to it was loopy but a good miranda would kill anything

this modern game... made it fair, every plane has its advantage and disadvantage and i love that part

I'm not as skilled anymore due to the simple fact that miranda's arent the best so i'm thanking lamster for making the weaker to impose improvement on my part... i suck so much now and learning this new miranda is good, make it the worst plane plz