Mar 23, 2014

A Glimpse of the Future

Battle Century G is going through the editing process. Descriptions are more clear, examples more concise, content is ordered in a more understandable fashion and in general it all flows a little bit better. This is a good opportunity to start incorporating some of the feedback. Most of it is fairly inoffensive and won't need another pair of eyes looking over it to make sure it reads properly or isn't balance-shattering.

Now, I did say a while ago I was going to keep the Beta updates to editorial or artistic improvements rather than gameplay changes. What I did not consider back then was that maybe some of those editorial goofs would affect gameplay. Difficult Terrain was supposed to halve Guard and not just Speed. Grand Weapon and Lux Cannon boost your next attack but not the current one. In theory Dueling Blade would demand that you be the one to Engage the target but it actually says that it works against any Enemy that is in a Duel. If I'm going to be fixing that, I might as well be doing other minor balance changes.

What I do not want to do is subject anyone to three different Beta versions, each with vastly different gameplay, before the actual release. The balance changes that are more dramatic will get discussed here while I test them out though. The idea is that if I'm releasing any other Beta it has to be considerably better than what came before it. It should be a definitive step forward, rather than one step forward and one step back.

Unlike this kind of Beta.

A Faster Paced Game

The one thing that most of the things getting a boost have in common is that they were designed around Operations that last at least six Rounds and plan to make it higher than ten. This is in part because battlefields can be quite big, so it would not be out of place to assume you can spend one or two Rounds just advancing towards the opposition, and partly because there are some very solid ways to stall for time either by buffing up your defenses or just by maintaining your distance. What this means that I've been working on the assumption that effects that run on Tension were a bit on the underpowered side, because they would be used when you can absolutely make sure that they're better than other options. Time for a short aside!

Humans (and gamers in particular) are really good at optimizing systems. Wherever there is a set of rules, we will find a way to exploit it to the fullest. I embrace the idea that Players want their characters to be The Best and will naturally try to gain every edge they can get. Jumping past one or two hoops to make a Character who is better than the 'standard' feels very rewarding. You're smart, you figured out how things work, and now it is paying off. In most games this kind of thing is incidental and not what you're supposed to do, because when you combine a lot of abilities that work well together you get a Character who is invincible and the rest of the group just sighs as they tell you that no, you can't make a character whose stats are infinite.

While there are many things I like about BESM. The game balance is not one of them.

This brings us to the abilities in question. I was careful to make sure they weren't almost always better than other options, but I was probably way too careful. My general stance on conditional abilities (those that need a set up or are only effective in some circumstances) is that the Player will do everything in their power to minimize their downside and maximize their upside. This sometimes works well because said abilities are costed aggressively (like Techniques) but with some other effects (Chainblade, Electro-Sapper Pods) they just take too much effort or it is too easy to disrupt them.

It is fine to jump through a couple hoops to make your conditional Weapon the better one, but it also has to have a degree of general usefulness the rest of the time. Which is to say, it can't be either useless or fantastic, there has to be a middle ground. That's what I am going to be more careful with in the future, to not preemptively make abilities that are already conditional even harder to use.

The side effect of this is that the game will be faster paced in general, but if it does last much longer than 10 Rounds some of these abilities will be clear gamewinners. I might need to put a cap on the maximum Tension bonus, or make it count down afterwards until it gets to 0 and then it counts up again, or something to that effect. Enough chatter. Here is the quick and dirty version of these changes.

General Rules:
  • Difficult Terrain halves Guard and Speed.
  • Extreme Terrain adds Tension to the DN.

This is pretty simple. The first was a thing that was always supposed to happen, and I think the abilities with Difficult Terrain will make more sense now that it has been fixed. The second keeps Extreme Terrain dangerous at high Power Levels (when games last longer) and buffs abilities that cause the effects of Extreme Terrain without instantly winning the game. Against targets with bad luck or those that did not invest in Systems and Speed it basically deals twice the current Tension in Damage, making Extreme Terrain akin to a Technique.

Skills:
  • Providence renamed to Fortune. It is now an universal Resources Advantage that will not cause further Resources Tests during the same Episode to suffer Disadvantages.
  • Sight is now a Willpower Help Test that boosts your next Awareness Test without using an Action.
  • Somatics is now a Willpower Help Test that boosts your next Fitness Test without using an Action.
  • Removed the Speed Miracle.

Miracles as universal Advantages to a single Attribute don't work very well when they cost more than just increasing said Attribute twice, but as a Help Test they grant you from two to four Advantages per activation, which is pretty good! Resources is an exception in that with high Resources you can get away with not needing other Attributes and Skills but you need time and access to your, well, resources to use it.

Somatics got a bit nerfed from it, but it was way too good at keeping everyone else up and running, and if I'm going to have one Miracle that buffs your Fitness Tests then Somatics makes more sense than Speed. I can redo Speed in the future though, when I come up with a better niche for it.

Today is not your day my precious. But soon... Soon.

Traits:
  • Jaded lets you turn a Failure into a Success.
  • Superior Immune System lets you turn a Failure into a Success.
  • Gumshoe is tied to Humanities, Investigation and Sciences.
  • Attractive is tied to Deception, Diplomacy and Presence.

These are pretty simple buffs. There was a problem with Humanities and Sciences in that they are one of the few Skills that don't have any equipment you would need to use them, so if you are not trained in their use you can often get by just using a raw Intellect Test. You can still do that now, but getting those Skills and Gumshoe is very much worth their weight in gold. Attractive is the only nerf of the bunch, because it was a bit too vague and thus could potentially apply to everything.

Powers:
  • Synchro Attack grants two Advantages instead of a +5 to Might.
  • My Style is Impetuous lets you treat Tension as if it were 4 higher for one Action instead of autohitting Enemies for the current Tension as Damage.
  • You can do Better than That makes anyone's attack an autohit with Tension as Damage instead of granting two Advantages to the Test.

Notice that the effects of Impetuous Style and You can do Better got basically switched, with a slight tweak on top for the former too. Letting one of your friends turn a failure into a success is exactly what a support character wants, while a temporary Tension boost is brutal with Techniques and other similar abilities in the mix.

A Technique with Synchro Attack and Impetuous Style will reduce you to light. 

Upgrades:
  • Berserker renamed to The Beast. It grants an Advantage to the use of Default Weapons per each Level of Threshold missing, but also lets them ignore Active Defenses.
  • Regenerative gives Energy spent in Threshold but uses two Restorations instead of one.
  • Airstrike uses the current Tension instead of halving it.
  • Interference Bomb removes all benefit from Tension instead of halving it.
  • Flyer lets you move around in space.
  • Terrain Specialist is now like Anti-Gravity in that you ignore cover and all negative Terrain effects instead of granting Defensive Terrain.

Now we're getting to the important stuff! One of the things that was keeping Berserker from reaching its full potential was that it wanted to represent lots of Mecha that went out of control, and I had to keep it from being a Might boost that everyone would want. By tying it to Default Weapons it has a distinctive niche that you can either build around or grab in place of something that prevents Maims.

The Beast is a lot less subtle about its raw power. Much like its inspiration.

Regenerative and the various Tension-related buffs are a good example of why I'm saying the game is getting faster. What would take two Turns now takes one. That's also why I'm standardizing what the various Terrain abilities do by making them more like each other, and taking out Terrain Specialist's defensive boost. A team shield that gives everyone 10 Defense is a lot more dangerous in a game where things like Interference Bomb and Chainblade scale in power a lot faster. Stealth Field is still fantastic but less likely to make unbreakable stonewalls. This way Beam users can still compete with groups of characters who spend their Energy on special abilities like Stealth Field and Signature Weapon.

Weapons:
  • Unreliable will lose the benefit of Tension to the Might Test instead of halving Damage dealt.
  • Boosted Lance clearly states you can make use of the Duel Advantage .
  • Chainblade is full Tension.
  • Dueling Blade deals 1 bonus damage against the Enemy you are dueling with instead of the old 'gains an Advantage 90% of the time' ability.
  • Rocket Punch increases its Range by 5 when you Aim with it.
  • Whirlwind Attack is now Slow but gains an Advantage to its use.
  • Assault Rifle is so accurate you can choose Areas Maimed with it.
  • Bombardment uses the current Tension instead of halving it.
  • Electrosapper Pods deal half your Systems in Damage as a bonus instead of the difference between your Systems and theirs.
  • Missile Massacre is clarified to state that the debuff is only against the surviving Enemy.
  • Grand Weapon now boosts the current Test instead of the 'next' one but also costs 1 more Energy.
  • Radiant Fist grants 2 Advantages to the Might Test instead of one but also costs 4 Energy.
  • Lux Cannon now boosts the current Test instead of the 'next' one but also costs 1 more Energy.
  • Powered Rifle costs 3 Energy instead of 2.
  • Reactor Overdrive increases its Range by 5 when you Aim with it.

That is a lot to process. Some of the weakest 'general use' Weapons were granted a small buff. Meanwhile those that had a very specific niche but weren't all that good at it just got better at their job. Some of the clearly 'better Weapons in the game' got a slight nerf but nothing too severe. Dueling Blade isn't getting a clarification as much as a slight rewrite, but this should work better.

Honestly most of these are pretty straightforward. Chainblade and the Pods are now considerably stronger, so much that they started out as Slow but they already are conditional Weapons with a tendency to miss when they don't hit for a lot, making them much worse against Active Defenses that aren't Absolute Barrier.

Also the new Beam Techniques are downright obscene when combined with My Style is Impetuous. Like seriously. Interference Bomb is a lot better now too, so a dedicated Support Mecha can keep most of these buffed Weapons shut down, so it is not an unstoppable strategy.

Don't mind me, just trailblazing a path of death and destruction ahead.

On to the Experiment

So that's a whole bunch of stuff right there. But wait, there is more! There are some other things I am experimenting with and testing to see if they improve the game too.

Powers:
  • Removing Cool your Jets. 
  • New Power: This is my Battlefield - Choose a type of Terrain and activate the Power to create a block of 4 Zones of that Terrain type. The effect lasts until the Operation ends.

Upgrades:
  • Removing Experimental Reactor.
  • Commander Type would cost 5 Energy to activate but would not spend the Support Upgrade on use.
  • Splitting Stealth Field into two Upgrades: Stealth Field and Guardian of Steel.
  • Stealth Field would cost 10 and keep the part that adds the Tension to Maneuvering Tests.
  • Guardian of Steel would cost 20 and keep the part that shields your Allies for 5 Energy, but its reach is extended to half your Systems.
  • Electromagnetic Detonator would affect a single target and apply the 'Energy Burn' effect of Cool your Jets.

Weapons:
  • Dueling Blade would be rewritten so that it lets you make a Contested Speed Test against your opponent after use, even if you fail the Might Test. The Winner of the Speed Test gets to move the Duel in a direction of their choice a number of Zones equal to the lowest Speed of both participants.
  • Slightly buffed versions of all the Boosted Beam Weapons discussed last week.

Enemies:
  • Removing Come Forth, my Minions. 
  • Removing All Become One.
  • New Power: I Accept your Offering - Sacrifices an Allied Grunt to restore their Power Level plus their Levels of Threshold intact in Threshold, and also to deal that much Damage.
  • New Upgrade: We are Many - Spawns a Level 0 Grunt when you lose the first Level of Threshold, two Level 0 Grunts when you lose the second, and three Level 0 Grunts when you lose the third.
  • Your Fate is Sealed denies all Tension and completely blocks healing for one Round.

 Experiments may or may not be safe to try at home.

Okay that is a whole bunch of new stuff too, and is a lot more radical about the changes. That's why I'm being careful with what I actually publish, because I am trying out a lot of different tiny little things behind the scenes. Here is a quick summary of what they accomplish as a whole.

Dedicated Support users can lock down Enemies with debuffs indefinitely, to the point where they can defeat combat specialists who have no Plan B. It creates an interesting dynamic where Combat Specialists beat Generalists who beat Support Specialists who beat Combat Specialists. Whether this is actually fun to play against remains to be seen though. I've got my doubts, because at low Power Levels there is not much they can do once debuffed... But then again they are spending 5 Energy and considerable MP on those Supports, so you should be able to overpower them with one or two good blows if you can play around their abilities

This works pretty well with the new Electromagnetic Detonator and the buffed Boosted Beams. Boosted Beams either cost less or have less drawbacks than the versions previously posted, so the threat of facing a dedicated Energy-Burner is only fair.

You can now use Powers to create Terrain permanently. This is especially useful for Defensive Terrain, since it lets you set up shop with Stealth Field and Guardian of Steel. They are well worth the 30 points that they cost together.

Speaking of Terrain, with Dueling Blade you now have another tool to keep Enemies within Difficult or Extreme Terrain, or to move them out of the Defensive Terrain they've created for themselves. It is a lot more interesting than 1 bonus Damage, at the very least.

Your Fate is Sealed would be fine as a single Turn super debuff in light of PCs having their own repeatable debuffs. Lastly there is the switch between the Minion Spawn ability and the Minion Sacrifice one. I haven't gotten to try it out yet but it sounds like it should play much better for both sides: PCs can shoot down the Grunts before they get a Turn in and the Boss can sacrifice them for a better effect right out of the gate.

But I haven't tested these yet. No one gets to skip that step.

One Last Paragraph (or two)

This turned out quite long, but at least the purpos of the new poll should be clear. Battle Century G is coming along quite nicely, though there is still a lot of art in need to be done. In the meantime I can keep you up to date on things and also offer you a chance to try out changes to the rules as much as you want. 

Again, I'm not going to make any big sweeping changes until I'm absolutely sure they're for better. I'm pretty sure the few first tweaks posted are pretty much either inoffensive improvements or worth the changes. The experimental stuff is more out there though, so if you are curious I can write it in its own errata pdf until it is either confirmed to work as intended or we discard it as a failed experiment.

28 comments:

  1. Oh boy a whole bunch of neat changes, this sounds grea-

    >Removed the Speed Miracle.

    Welp, pack it up guys, we're done here, it was good while it lasted.

    (Seeing how my GGG guy is a Speed Miracleman with a whole plot surrounding the nine current miracles, this is a hell of a downer!)

    Jokes aside though, a lot of these ideas seem really cool. Some impressions on them:

    -The Extreme Terrain buff is excellent. Good idea, and suddenly Fire At Will has a use as a potential AoE finisher for the support characters.
    -The Genre Power changes all make perfect sense. I think these choices will tend to make techniques far more palatable, and in general a reliable offensive power was long overdue considering offensive specialists sort of were reduced to 'welp I spend a GP on Try Again' after a while.
    -Brilliant upgrade changes, too. Berserker is finally worthwhile now that it acts like a Boss Archetype, and piercing active defenses means it has a niche since you can go superheavy on your own active defenses and still end up with a juggernaut machine that doesn't need energy offensively to kick ass. The tweaks to support upgrades and Regeneraitve will make them much more useful, too. Finally a way to pinch-heal yourself that doesn't require a healbot or Biological to be decent!
    -Every single one of the weapon changes is pretty smart and help turn the weapons into more than just interchangeable statblocks. The assault rifle tweak in particular is inspired, because now it has a reason to exist beyond 'uhh, shit, I need some sort of vanilla good-but-not-too-good ranged weapon to compare the rest to'.
    -As for the experiments, This Is My Battlefield was long overdue I think. This is the stuff Genre Powers should be doing! Cool Your Jets was always an odd duck because it had that anti-pattern of 'I want you to kill yourself through energy use, but I'm going to let you kill yourself less so I'm not too mean/I want you to not use energy, so I'm going to halve your reserves, and then I'm going to attach some piddly damage on top because SURELY this will dissuade you more than getting your stuff shut down'. This Is My Battlefield's effect isn't totally clear from that 'idea text', but the concept is very legit and I love it.

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  2. -Does the new Commander Type allow you to use two upgrades at once, still? And when you say it doesn't spend the Support upgrade, do you mean it wouldn't require rearming, wouldn't consume a use, or both?
    -The Stealth Field/Guardian of Steel split is good, and makes tanking more of its own role in an unique way. Good idea. The EN cost seems a little prohibitive, but the gist of it is good.
    -Boosted Beams can only be good news, especially if they're buffed a bit. Honestly most of them (except the Ripper, that one sucked) were almost there - in particular, the Super Shotgun Cannon was, I feel, a 'big win' because it was a new take on the Overheating mechanic that made it insidiously dangerous by hurting you over time instead of something that straight up blew your face of whenever you used the associated ability, since you had every incentive to spam the SSC from round 1 onwards instead of saving it. The trickiest ones are going to be, I feel, the Powered Rifle and the two vanilla beams, oddly enough. In an environment where even the Assault Rifle has a useful secondary ability, they'll need either exceedingly aggressively costed energy prices ('pay one energy for an advantage'), or possibly both that and a small bonus of some sort for the Beam Saber, which always has that pesky issue of having to yield ground to the Infinite Blade first because you need a weapon that can attack on the approach, and then to its bigger brothers because what you really want is a mean punch once you can finally close in. Meanwhile the Powered Rifle is just tricky because it fills a niche as a sort of assault rifle and sniper rifle hybrid with bonus power, and the two weapons are almost entirely incompatible in how they operate. Maybe it and the beam rifle need to be more closely associated to their non-energy counterparts instead?
    -The new boss archetypes are excellent ideas. Overall, I think I greatly approve of the results of these tweaks, too - much more interesting and fair.

    I think this is the first time I feel uniformly happy with the ideas presented, and I cannot make my endorsement of them fervent enough. There were a lot of assumptions in BCG that just failed to match my experiences with it and GGG (Tension being so highly appreciated when hard fights only went as far as round five as a norm, for instance), and these changes indicate a shift in perspective from the assumption of a slow-burning game to a much more rapid one, with properly strong rapid blitzes and equally mighty countermeasures for them. So long as little power creep ensues, this can only be a good thing for the game. I really want to see what comes out of these ideas going forward, and you'll have my undivided attention if you want to throw iterations of them out for critique. Thumbs up!

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  3. New chainblade analysis:
    Using it straight up means 0% tension on unrelaible and 200% on reliable for an average of 100%. It's still good for attacking super tough foes that would tank all the damage on 100% tension anyway.

    Using it with 2 dice means you take -1 for 2 dice instead an advantage.
    However you get expected 150% tension.
    You gain back the -1 on tension 2.
    At tension 4 you are at +1 (same as dueling blade)
    On tension 6 you are at +2
    etc.

    Overall I like the chainblade changes very much. It's a great weapon for tearing through tough foes but unreliable as it should be.

    It's a tough choice between it and dueling blade.

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  4. Lux cannon and grand weapon nerfs are good but unless reactor gets removed too they might be too energy hungry compared to other beams.

    Radiant Fist and Reactor overdrive got buffed which is nice but they still have the problem of costing 10 XP when they're one-use which makes them a hard sell.

    Powered rifle made more expensive to make the beam rifle look less terrible. Probably good but if reactor gets removed it might be too much.

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  5. I think giving support upgrades full tension scaling makes them too similar to weapons and possibly OP. They're still useless at the start but scale much quicker. Better option might be half systems + half tension.

    Extreme terrain DC getting +tension makes it too extreme. Incinerator and fire at will apply it to enemy not terrain so you can't move out of it and get hit twice. Without tension expected damage from terrain is around 0.5, the same as normal attack. Giving it full tension is turning fire at will into spammable 2x tension ultra long range attack. Incinerator becomes 3x tension annihilator. Only absolute barrier works on extreme terrain and you need to raise both speed and system so building defense is 2x more expensive compared to might vs guard. Make it half tension or even better apply only once per turn, either at beginning or end.

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  6. Electrosapper pods changes were aimed at making them more useable for support mechs but they became too good for non support mechs. With basic 4 systems they get +2 damage. That's almost like advantage from beam but they cost only 5 XP not 10 and don't use any energy.

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  7. Interference bomb is a probably OP. In a system where tension is your main edge over enemy defenses ability to completely deny it in huge AoE every turn is too good. It completely shuts down the enemies. If they don't have beam weapons they're almost useless.

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  8. We are Many Boss upgrade: Level 0 grunts can easily be abused. If you give them 4 threshold they can tank one or two attacks making them very tough compared to their massive numebrs. They just need to live long enough and tension will make them very dangerous. Other extreme is making them disposable 0 Guard 0 Threshold glass cannons. They get 20 points for reducing those so they have enough xp for offensive power equal to or greater than level 1 grunt. With their numbers they can do burst attack that can take down a PC in a single round.

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  9. Splitting stealth field isn't very good idea. Maneuvering action is rarely used by itself. Why would anybody pay 10 XP to get +tension to it? +1 guard would be better I think.

    Increasing guard of other players with Guardian of steel is incredibly powerful ability because it stacks with active defenses. Increasing range from 1 to half systems seems ok. It increases practical useability while still limiting reasonable range to 3 where everybody fits inside a blast template. Getting systems to 8 and getting it to 4 range so everybody can split out beyond a blast template would make it super good though. Systems 8 is expensive though so I guess it's worth it.

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  10. While you're tweakign genre powers: Take One for the Team could use a buff. Right now it's just bad. It just moves the damage around, not reduces it at all. It should just make the attack target you instead letting you use your guard and active defenses. It would make tanking at least somewhat viable.

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  11. You can consider capping tension at 10. Most fight should be over before it reaches the cap but for those fights that don't it keeps things from getting completely out of hand.

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  12. I've definitely never ever seen a fight go to Tension 10...and this was even when a party of six that had Reinforcements and Assistants was pitted against a Mk. II super overpowered boss with custom equipment, eight mooks, and a conditionally active backup Mk. II on the side. Longest it went was seven rounds. A Tension-to-10 cap would probably just be common sense I think, though Impetuous Style should include a note saying it can break the cap.

    As for why you'd take Stealth Field anonymous, IF Commander type lets you use a support power without taking an action or needing to reload, then, you can Maneuver to more or less make yourself an untouchable font of heals/damage/disruption without needing to boost all three of Guard, Energy and Systems. It's sort of pretty helpful that way. Otherwise, yeah, it's a little hard to find a use for it...as a normal option. As a backup 'I need like a +10 bonus to Guard RIGHT NOW' pick, it's excellent. If a fight has structured 'beats', it lets you anticipate them and prepare unbreakable defenses when you need them, which is to your favor.

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    1. Commander type will never give you free action AND no reload. It's one of those. You get half tension to your guard from stealth field. What's that? +2, +3? If you maneuver in response to enemy aiming they can just keep aiming keeping you in a deadlock.

      Actually aiming doesn't have next turn in description. Just next attack. Needs to be fixed.

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  13. The wording's ambiguous, so I could see it allowing both things, which seems most reasonable considering its enormous energy cost. And Stealth Field adds half tension, sure...on top of half 1d10, plus half average of speed and Systems. Meaning it pushes an action from an average of 4.25 on a standard Gear to 5, 6, or 7.25, AKA 'I can go completely off the table as a target for a round unless you massively exceed my Guard'. This is *mean*. It's extra mean given that you can use active defenses on top of it to counter boosted attacks, and beyond infuriating when fighting Biological mobs that can just afford to deliberately stall for ten rounds using Stealth Field, their heals and some defenses and then unload stupidly big area attacks. Attaining practical invulnerability is not something that should be underestimated, particularly when you can naturally share it with a pal in a pinch through the Maneuver action's special clause.

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    1. You can maneuver without stealth field. It only lets you add tension bonus. That's like +2/+3.

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    2. Also. To get that 7.25 expected maneuver guard value tension needs to be at 6. How hard it is to hit a guy with +7 Guard when you have +6 attack from tension?

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    3. And it's actually 4.75 base, not 4.25

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  14. Oh yeah, and this conversation reminds me: Something that came up on a rereading of the rules is that Restoration upgrades are Range 1. Is that really necessary? Considering that literally everything else in a support's kit wants them to stay in the mid to far backline and aid from a safe distance, it's kind of weird that they have to dive into danger and get shot to pieces to patch someone else up. Sort of makes it pointless to spend on heals, especially considering how, for many units, the only things states that matter are '1 TP or more' and 'dead'.

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  15. Sorry about Speed! I figure that it, along with the other halves of Providence and Somatics can be reborn with more unique rules when I'm comfortable with everything else. I can write up some quick readaptations if you want but I want the 'officials' to be much better when (and if) I come up with a better way to do them.

    The buffed Supports are really strong, yes, but you're spending a good chunk of XP and an Action to make them reusable every Turn, and even then they have a limited amount of uses.

    Getting hit for basically 2x Tension hurts, but not as much as getting hit with a real Weapon backed up by 20 XP and some Energy. A lot of 'on hit' Weapon effects are now devastating so you really don't want to get hit at all. Deciding whether you want Absolute Barrier or one of the other Active Defenses is a much more defining choice.

    The most dangerous one is, yes, Interference Bomb. There are ways to play around it, but if the scaling makes it too strong it can just halve Might in an area of effect. I could roll that into the update right now, if that sounds alright.

    The experimental Commander Type would make the support completely free to use outside of having to spend 5 energy. It is very, very powerful but that's two thirds of a Power Level and 5 Energy every Turn not being spent on something else. It might be too extreme in that it either works wonders or doesn't at all and I don't want PCs countered to oblivion. Specially dangerous when you add Stealth Field to the mix.

    Stealth Field is a lot better with Defensive Terrain. A whole lot. But it does cost an Action so tanking is all you're doing (unless you're getting a 'free' action out of the experimental Commander Type).

    The other way I could make the Pods work is to make it do extra Damage for every point over 4-5 in your Systems. It is slightly less elegant but it gets the job done while keeping a barrier to entry.

    Restoration has a Range of 1 as a safety device. Healing is not just powerful, it potentially undoes someone else's entire last Turn. If you're going to be keeping everyone else alive forever I want it to have an element of risk to it, especially since most of your stuff works from long distances.

    And I forgot about Take one for the Team. I'll make it a bit more attractive too. Thanks for the reminder.

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    Replies
    1. What about 3x Tension damage on incinerator. Why take a technique when you have shit like that? Why take anything else really?

      Mechs have guard and active defenses. That 20 XP and energy you're putting into your weapons goes into guard and defenses on the other side. Tension is still your main edge over the enemy.

      Extreme terrain has no real counter outside extreme fortification. Most active defenses don't work against it and you need to increase two attributes instead of one for defense.

      What's the point of support upgrades if they work the same as weapons and are balanced to the same point?

      If the experimental commander type would give both free action support and free reload for energy it'd obviously be broken.

      Maneuvering gives you basically +5 or more guard for 0 energy, making it equal or better to the best defenses. And all the while you're hitting for 2x tension piercing ultra long range attack every turn. You also are completely immune to maiming for free. Reactive boosters for free too. You don't even need stealth field.

      I mean that clearly outperforms anything normal mech can do. It's completely obvious.

      Stealth field is still bad even in defensive terrain. You get +10 guard normally on it. It's more than enough for almost all purposes. An extra +3 or +5 is usually overkill and certainly not worth 10 XP.
      Maneuvering is worth the most on low tension when it can completely negate enemy attack. When you wait until high tension to get significant benefits from stealth field enemies are getting twice that bonus to attack making it not very effective.

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  16. It's not so completely obvious that support upgrades beat everything else. For one, I think they're External Upgrades (they are listed as 'Separate' on the PDF, but that sounds like a goof, there IS no 'Separate' category). You're absolutely not maim-immune with them. For another, 5 energy being spent on things that aren't defense means that you're hella easy to shoot down (Aim, Beam, SSC = +8 to hit. Add Impetuous Style for +12 before adding any base tension. Let us take a moment to remember that on the absolute best possible roll, with maxed out Systems and Speed, a Stealth Field can only add 10+Half Tension. If your Might matches or exceeds the enemy machine's Guard, then you're going to do anywhere from 1 to 8 damage, if not more with that shot, and that's if the target is taking the rather unsustainable tack of getting EN 5, maxed out Systems, maxed out Speed, and maxed out Guard, AKA a super endgame build. At PL1, it's more like you're going to be hitting for 3 to 12 damage against a stealth fielder minimum, potentially borderline-oneshotting the target and almost assuredly scoring fatal maims.), if your target cares about smashing your face in enough. That seems like the system working as intended to me.

    Meanwhile, the Incinerator has a bunch of levels you can pull to balance it, IF it's broken (and I'm not so sure it is). First off, Impetuous Style only adds Tension for one action. Even IF you can use it as a Reaction power to buff the extreme terrain, you still have to hit with the Incinerator, which is no easy task, and it may not even apply to Tension anyways (does 'the start of your turn' count as an action? And 'the end of your turn'? To me, they clearly don't, and if they do, either one or the other does not benefit from the bonus). Second, Incinerator still costs energy, so if it's too good, ratcheting that cost up a bit can balance it so you cannot spam it and still put up good defenses until way late. Third, on a Standard Chassis mecha, you statistically are going to take a whopping one (1!) damage from both Incinerator burns before accounting for tension. That is a seriously tiny amount. Tension elevates it by 2 per round, which is a pretty...slow burn (ba-dum-tish!).it can hurt, but that's why you find solutions and react to the enemy's gameplan. It's honestly much less scary than an Impetuous Technique, which is going to do +8 damage when boosted, minimum. I think it's healthy for the game if Extreme Terrain is not a nuisance, and now Extreme Fortification is allowed to be good instead of suicidally stupid. There's moves and countermoves and all the fun stuff you could want in this setup. If it turns out to be too broken, hey, you can always make Interference Bomb and Can't Let You Do That apply to all Tension effects instead of just Might tests!

    (cont.)

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  17. (continued)

    I thought you said support upgrades were, for the most part, bad? As I see it, they now fill a reall neat niche, and I think that's healthy for the game considering just how hard some of them sucked before. The 'eternal healer' is now playable and halfway decent if you buy Commander Type and Supply Delivery and then focus on Energy spamming (finally a way to play a decent medic!!!!!!!), supports are not Ensnaring Trap bitch-spammers (because make no mistake, it beat EVERYTHING ELSE by a mile beforehand), and in general the playing field is wide open. Hell, now you can do some sick-ass trick combos as you gain XP like a super glassy attacker that mixes beams like the Super Shotgun Cannon and Ensnaring Trap or Fire At Will for a new type of lategame fighter! It's just a real healthy change for the game with all the playstyles it opens, and personally, I think 'the Commander is worth the risk'.

    Now, for the rest of the stuff, I think the Sapper Pods are fine the way they are. I think they could be better (how about draining EN equal to half your systems? That's something no other weapon does right now, and an extremely valuable effect when Cool Your Jets is not stealing its thunder in a boring way). Same with Inteference Bomb. Fundamentally, these experiments are just that, *experiments*. Testing is needed to determine just how broken they are in actual practice. In fact, these rules are what I was expecting out of BCG overall, and once the Buffed Boosted Beams make their debut, I think the game will be in a properly 'complex' state where it's not a game you can mathematically solve to finally take it out for a test-drive with my group. Now is the time to be daring! LEt's reach for the stars, and help make the best game we possibly can together, as designer and testers!

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  18. They were bad before but literally doubling their power (or something like hextupling for extreme terrain) moves them straight to OP status. The balance is somewehere in the middle.

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  19. I think we've got a fundamental disagreement here, and that's fine. I'm planning on doing some live playtesting soon (as in, as soon as the buffed versions of boosted beams hit), so we should be able to determine what's OP and what's alright pretty soon. I expect we'll see a wide variety of archetypes too, as a bonus, so it should provide a decent sample of what most machines are capable of at PL3ish.

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  20. "costed aggressively" means the opposite of what you think it means. When you make something expensive because it might be abused and OP it's not aggressive It's very defensive and playing it safe. If you miscalculate the option will be just bad and nobody will use it. Aggressive costing is making stuff too cheap because it's situational or has a hard counter. It's a high risk because if you miscalculate, it might be too good and dominate the game.

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  21. ...Did anybody mention aggresive pricing for Commander Type? I run a CTRL+F search of 'aggressive' and variations and got nothing. It's not really costed aggressively, just heftily to prevent abuses. It does allow for some super neat lategame combos, though - for instance, combining a Double Blaster and Assisted Targeting power for a +8 damage whammy from afar (or a +6 to two targets, if you prefer), which is pretty neat.

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  22. Something I just realized and I think it's worth sharing: The Powered Rifle either needs to lose the Slow keyword, or it needs a buff, if it's going to operate under the Boosted Beams paradigm, What is its Beam effect? It adds an additional advantage if you pay its energy cost. What's the problem with it? It's always Slow, even if you don't Boost it, which means that you always WILL be Boosting it...and if it's your main weapon, Aiming with it on off turns. This makes it play exactly the same as the Sniper Rifle, and it even has the same effect, but the Powered Rifle's advantage costs energy instead of an action that you were already going to use to Aim. In other words, if it keeps the Slow keyword, the Powered Rifle has no reason to exist. One way to balance it out would be to make it so it only gains the Slow keyword when Boosted, but that means it starts inching into the Assault Rifle's niche again, and I think it's possible to do better than that. What if it gained double the normal reach from Aiming (so, +10 Range), for instance, or an extra +1 to Might? These sort of bonuses would give it a little bit of an edge for the extra cost, but nothing so gamebreaking that the Sniper Rifle couldn't compete, particularly given that it's not just possible but *easy* for a character to fire it off every round using Commander Type and Assisted Targeting. Personally, I would prefer it if it lost the Slow keyword and got a few tweaks to separate it from the Beam Rifle and Assault Rifle, but these would be good way sto change it if you wanted to keep it a marksman's weapon.

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  23. Separate Upgrades are immune to Maims. Using one for essentially free might be the equivalent of the current beams being the top choice for spending XP after Power Level 3 or 4. It has basically been a significant factor in all tests so far, but it is one that adds a ton of variety so that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

    Powered Rifle would need a slightly more distinctive niche if it is going to cost the same as a Sniper Rifle and fill a similar niche, yes. I've got it covered though, I think.

    And thanks for the enthusiasm! It helps a lot.

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