Mar 16, 2014

Shining a Light on Theoretical Energy Weapons

I've been exploring the beam variants being polled, and they're good enough to merit some playtesting by now. I've got proof of concept drafts using Variable Beams (the most popular) and Boosted Beams (tied for second most popular and far easier to design than the other choice). This is going to be a wordy post! You have been warned.

Before going any further let's recap what Variable and Boosted Beams looked like the last time we met them:

Beam (Variable)
The energy-based equivalent of either of the above, Beam Weapons can be laser cannons or blades made of light. Their output varies depending on how much Element G is pumped into the weapons themselves. With enough juice, they are harder to dodge and pierce the armor of targets much better than their more physical counterparts. You may spend as much Energy as you want when using a Beam Weapon, increasing the result of the Might Test by half the amount spent.

Beam (X) (Boosted)
The energy-based equivalent of either of the above, Beam Weapons can be laser cannons or blades made of light. Their output varies depending on how much Element G is pumped into the weapons themselves. With enough juice, they are harder to dodge and pierce the armor of targets much better than their more physical counterparts. Beam Weapons have an optional Energy cost between parentheses you can pay for to grant them an Advantage to their Might Test.

When it comes to designing Variable Beams we have to keep in mind that, even if they scale slowly, they still let you transform essentially half your Energy into Might. They give you options, and in any game with strategy elements options are powerful. To keep them at the same MP cost of other Weapons they wll need to have drawbacks, and drawbacks that hurt them at that.

A Powered Rifle user that attacks from far away can afford to safely pump everything into its damage output while a friend tanks for them, making it essentially better than an Assault Rifle. Even if it were to have something like Overheating, it would only take back a minimal fraction of how much Damage it can dish out, so it is not as simple as just slapping the first drawback you can think of on it.

The most important thing about Boosted Beams is that they are essentially two weapons in one, having a boosted and an unboosted state. You can spend energy for a powerful attack, or not spend any for a weapon that is a bit weaker than average, this is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to designing them. At least in theory.

In practice high energy costs would almost never be worth it. Let's take Radiant Fist (as you know it) but at a cost of 4 or 5 optional Energy. Not only is all that Energy not really worth a single Advantage, but without the Energy cost then it is basically a better Zweihander. A straight adaptation was not going to be possible here either.

We have a total of ten weapons to rewrite. Taking these issues into account... How hard can it be?

From Concept to Gameplay

Of our ten weapons some can be adapted very easily and others... Not so much. Let's go over them in alphabetic order.

Beam Rifle: This one is easy, since I wrote up both examples last week. Let's move on.

Beam Saber: See above. We have two of eight in the bag, hopefully the rest will be just as easy.

Charge Cannon: This is our first bump in the road. A Variable Charge Cannon needs a considerable drawback or else it becomes a Rail Bazooka that can also fire continuously if it needs to. A Boosted Charge Cannon has similar issues on top of being conflictive from a conceptual standpoint, because you can power it up with energy and with an Aim Action, with both powerups having different effects.

Grand Weapon: A giant weapon that hits for a lot if you spend more energy to make it even stronger. This is already a thing that Variable and Boosted Beams do by themselves so it doesn't have much of a place anymore. It could keep a similar role by being more efficient about the Energy to Might ratio but that is going to need a considerable drawback if it is not going to be massively overpowering.

Infinite Blade: This one is relatively simple to adapt, though it will take a little bit of tweaking. The Variable version can grant a Range bonus based on the amount of Energy spent to power it up. Likewise, the Boosted version would have a Range bonus if you were to pay the Energy cost.

Incinerator: As easy as it gets to adapt outside of the Saber and Rifle. Both versions only really need a drawback to compensate for the Weapon's extra ability. Overheating is the perfect choice, making sense conceptually (this is a giant flamethrower we are talking about) and mirroring how it can hit foes more than once.

Lux Cannon: See Grand Weapon. Finding this one a role is going to be specially hard considering that Shooting Beams are more convenient than their Melee siblings. Both of these might need a total rewrite or outright replacement.

Powered Rifle: Like the Incinerator, this one only needs a drawback to keep it from being always better than the Assault Rifle. Slow is the obvious choice - it makes sense that a long range beam cannon would need a moment to recharge. That it stops Powered Rifle users from being absolute kings and queens of long range shootouts is a nice bonus

Radiant Fist: Radiant Fist can afford to have its own custom rules because it is a big flashy supermove. But at the same time, I'd like to keep things simple and not make it overpowered. The Variable version is probably strong enough, while the Boosted version could afford to be a little stronger when powered up.

Reactor Overdrive: At the risk of repeating myself a lot, this one is in a similar position to Radiant Fist (see if you spot the pattern) just with the balance issues that you have to keep in mind when it comes to Shooting Beams. The ability to choose whether to hit one or multiple enemies is a powerful one, and I can't just give it Slow because that basically doesn't do anything, so this is going to force me to get creative with drawbacks. Keeping this one from having too much rules text will be the biggest challenge.

Infinite Blade and Charge Cannon were going to need a tweak. The former would have its maximum range toned down because I'm not letting a Melee weapon that costs 5 MP outreach the grand majority of Shooting ones, even if it costs a few Energy points to do so. Charge Cannon could continue to exist as the gun that you can charge up for an area of effect attack, but giving it a relevant drawback (like Slow) would conceptually make it lose its 'continuous' firing mode. A name and description change (while keeping them more or less the same weapons otherwise) might be in order.

While I could adapt Grand Weapon and Lux Cannon, I'd rather set them aside and come up with something new instead of being redundant. Its not like we couldn't use more weapon variety! The departure of Grand Weapon and Lux Cannon leaves us at a loss of Beam weapons that are bigger and badder than the others while also being repeatable. I don't have to make Weapons that hit harder than the others though, they just have to feel like they're stronger.

I ended up going conceptually with 'huge blade that chops limbs off' and 'a gun that is actually two guns' under the names of Beam Ripper and Double Blaster. The former works for anything big like axes or scythes. The latter suits double barreled rifles and shoulder mounted cannons.

Gundam: Your #1 inspiration for beam weapons in all shapes and sizes

Weapons of Assault and Battery

I touched up the descriptions of Beams a little. The only thing really worth mentioning is that 'boosting' a beam is now a verb.

Beam (Variable)
The energy-based equivalent of either of the above, Beam Weapons can be laser cannons or blades made of heated particles. Their output varies depending on how much Element G is pumped into the weapons themselves. With enough juice, they are harder to dodge and pierce the armor of targets much better than their more physical counterparts. You may spend as much Energy as you want when using a Beam Weapon, increasing the result of the Might Test by half the amount spent.

Beam Saber (Variable)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam.
A favorite for its low energy consumption, solid armor-piercing power, compact size and overall practicality. Mass produced and made standard issue for most factions.

Beam Rifle (Variable)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam.
Cheap to produce and easy to use, it makes a great all-purpose Weapon if you can get around its craving for energy.

Beam (X) (Boosted)
The energy-based equivalent of either of the above, Beam Weapons can be laser cannons or blades made of heated particles. If you pump Energy from your Mecha into them, they are harder to dodge and pierce the armor of targets much better than others. Beam Weapons have an optional Energy cost between parentheses, you can boost them with an Advantage to their Might Test by spending that much Energy. You can boost a Beam Weapon once per Action.

Beam Saber (Boosted)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (3).
A favorite for its low energy consumption, solid armor-piercing power, compact size and overall practicality. Mass produced and made standard issue for most factions.

Beam Rifle (Boosted)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (3).
Cheap to produce and easy to use, it makes a great all-purpose Weapon if you can get around its craving for energy.

Okay so we already saw these last time, but I'm including them for the sake of completeness. Let's get to the good stuff.

Incinerator (Variable)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Overheating. Passing the Might Test with this Weapon will inflict the effects of Extreme Terrain on Enemies during their next Turn.
Someone just had to devise the equivalent of a giant flame-thrower, giving birth to the best friend of terrorist organiza-tions that own giant robots.

Infinite Blade (Variable)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Slow. This Weapon's Maximum Range is twice the Energy spent on it.
This weapon's length is theoretically infinite. The only thing keeping it from reaching the moon is that most Gears just do not have the power to make that happen.

Powered Rifle (Variable)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Long-Range, Slow.
A Weapon for providing support fire at long distances, combining accuracy with penetration power. It can pierce through all but the most heavily armored of foes if you take a moment to align the sights.

Mega Beam Cannon (Variable)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Slow. If you take the Aim Action with this Weapon before firing it gains the Blast ability.
An oversized cannon that can blast multiple targets with one pull of the trigger. If given a moment to charge, its explosions will level buildings and outright vaporize infantry.

Incinerator (Boosted)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (3), Overheating. Passing the Might Test with this Weapon will inflict the effects of Extreme Terrain on Enemies during their next Turn.
Someone just had to devise the equivalent of a giant flame-thrower, giving birth to the best friend of terrorist organizations that own giant robots.

Extending Blade (Boosted)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (4). If you boost this Weapon, its Maximum Range becomes 10 for this activation but it gains the Slow ability for this activation.
This weapon's length is theoretically infinite. The only reason it doesn’t go farther than it currently does is because they just haven’t figured out how to keep the excessive output from breaking the device itself.

Powered Rifle (Boosted)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (3), Long-Range, Slow.
A Weapon for providing support fire at long distances, combining accuracy with penetration power. It can pierce through all but the most heavily armored of foes if you take a moment to align the sights.

Charge Cannon (Boosted)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (4). If you boost this Weapon, it gains the Blast ability for this activation but you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
A portable, pistol-shaped beam cannon with two different firing modes: Continuous and Charged. Continuous fire provides an accurate, consistent supply of firepower. The Charged mode can blast multiple targets with one pull of the trigger but will force your systems to go into cooldown for a moment afterwards.

Old friends with new faces! Their descriptions are mostly the same with some concessions here and there to adapt them in a way that works. The Incinerator risks taking Damage in the same way that it has a chance of dishing out extra points, and the Powered Rifle is made Slow to basically mirror the Sniper Rifle. Extending Blade and Mega Beam Cannon are obviously slight tweaks to Infinite Blade and Charge Cannon, but adapted to their corresponding Beam mechanic. Now let's have a look at the finishers!

Radiant Fist (Variable)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Technique, Overheating. When using this Weapon you add all the Energy spent to the result of the Might Test instead of halving it but you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
The ultimate in close range finishers, the unit’s hands are equipped with an extremely damaging system, from electric colliders to a radiation pulse that glows with an awesome power.

Reactor Overdrive (Variable)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Technique, Overheating. If you take the Aim Action with this Weapon before firing it gains the Long-Range ability and attacks all Zones within Range in a straight line aimed in a direction of your choice. After using Reactor Overdrive you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
You overload and expose the Gear’s generators redirecting the power surge towards outside rather than your own systems. The process may cause lasting damage to your own machine, but the brutal energy blast released is much more certain to do even worse for whoever is on the receiving end of it.

Radiant Fist (Boosted)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (6), Technique, Overheating. If you boost this Weapon, it gains an additional Advantage to its Might Test for this activation.
The ultimate in close range finishers, the unit’s hands are equipped with an extremely damaging system, from electric colliders to a radiation pulse that glows with an awesome power.

Reactor Overdrive (Boosted)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (6), Technique, Overheating. If you boost this Weapon, it gains the Long-Range ability and attacks all Zones within Range in a straight line aimed in a direction of your choice for this activation but you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
You overload and expose the Gear’s generators redirecting the power surge towards outside rather than your own systems. The process may cause lasting damage to your own machine, but the brutal energy blast released is much more certain to do even worse for whoever is on the receiving end of it.

The Technique duo of Radiant Fist and Reactor Overdrive did not change all that much. They're very strong and might even require toning them down a little, but being expensive and more or less single use means it should work out fine. Now let's pay a visit to the new kids on the block and offer them a cup of sugar. Is that still a thing? It sounds so weird to someone who knows people they've only met over the internet better than their neighbors.

Beam Ripper (Variable)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Slow. You choose which Areas this Weapon Maims
The Foundation's 'Beam Rippers' are giant beam weapons taking the shape of axes, scythes or other similar oversized blades. They are unwieldy devices that eat Element G like breakfast, but prove invaluable when it comes to subduing Cryptids. Chopping the key body parts of giant regenerating monsters turns out to be pretty useful when you're trying to capture them alive.

Double Blaster (Variable)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam, Overheating. When using this Weapon choose one option of either adding all the Energy spent to the result of the Might Test instead of halving it or attacking two Enemies instead of one, you gain the chosen ability for this activation. After using Double Blaster you do not regenerate Energy during your next Turn.
A double barreled beam weapon that can be split into two separate rifles, making it as good as two guns in one. It is not just versatile but powerful, perhaps too powerful for its own stability, tending to overload and self destruct after consecutive uses.

Beam Ripper (Boosted)
Melee Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (5). If you boost this Weapon, then you choose which Areas it Maims for this activation.
The Foundation's 'Beam Rippers' are giant beam weapons taking the shape of axes, scythes or other similar blades. They are unwieldy devices that eat Element G like breakfast, but prove invaluable when it comes to subduing Cryptids. Chopping the key body parts of giant regenerating monsters turns out to be pretty useful when you're trying to capture them alive.

Double Blaster (Boosted)
Shooting Weapon (5)
Effect: Beam (5). If you boost this Weapon, choose one of having an additional Advantage to the Might Test or attacking two Enemies instead of one, you gain the chosen boost plus the Overheating ability for this activation.
A double barreled beam weapon that can be split into two separate rifles, making it as good as two guns in one. It is not just versatile but powerful, perhaps too powerful for its own stability, tending to overload and self destruct after consecutive uses.

They're powerful alright, but you cannot carelessly spam them so you have to juggle between different Weapons. Double Blaster in particular is very strong, and if you alternate between Aiming and Attacking with it you maximize its strength while minimizing its drawback... But a foe can alternate between Attacking and Maneuvering to counter you, or ruin your key Turns with a well timed debuff to your Energy.

(Incidentally, Support options could afford a slight buff to make sure this is a viable counterstrategy for longer than 2-3 Rounds. I'm on it.)

Particular care was taken with the Shooting Beams to ensure they are competitive with the other firearms. Powered Rifle would let you shoot +2 Beams from waaay in the distance with impunity if it weren't Slow, but keeping it from firing consecutively lets Assault Rifle keep its niche as a constant source of Damage. You could make a similar argument for Extending Blade as well, and these both play pretty well together if you alternate between using one and the other. The Mega Beam Cannon, Double Blaster and Reactor Overdrive can shoot multiple targets but complicate things for you in your next Turn and two of them have a strong kickback. Rail Bazooka has better Range and doesn't do a number on your reserves, while Riot Weapon can be repeated with ease.

The Glittering Crux of the Matter

This is a proof of concept draft. The numbers could be off, but they seem reasonable after some examination. I will be playtesting these on my own to see whether they work better or not. If you choose to do the same, tell me how it goes.

Tuning up (or down) the rest of the armory would bring all Weapons more or less in line. Dueling Blade goes down, while the Electro-Sapper Pods go up. I won't be changing them much, just enough to keep their power level close to each other and one option does not outshine the rest. I don't want to be rewriting stuff from scratch, I'd rather tweak what is already there. Beams are an exception that I'm willing to experiment with to see if it works.

I don't think it is possible to have a game where all options are perfectly balanced with each other, not if we want something with more nuance to it than Rock Paper Scissors, but I can definitely craft a wide variety of strategies that all are more or less useful depending on the kinds of challenges you face.

If this goes well I'll be doing more posts in the future about stuff I'm testing out and not just the end result of said testing.

19 comments:

  1. Having a single mechanic for all beam weapons is nice but it sacrifices some of the variety. If you use boosted or variable beams some old weapons just can't be implemented in it. Most notably lux cannon and grand weapon as you noticed. Boosted and variable beam weapons can also be used without energy as weaker normal weapons which makes them lose a lot of their flavor. Making them cost 5 XP kills some of their flavor too and makes them just stronger normal weapons that eat energy. I liked them costing 10 XP and performing roles of 2 normal weapons.

    You also went overboard with energy requirements of the boosted weapons. The old ratios were too good but the new ones are unuseable.

    Beam Saber (Boosted) - 3 EN for +2 ATK vs 0 EN for +1 ATK with (nerfed) dueling blade. You effectively gain +1 ATK for 3 EN. Terrible.

    Beam Rifle (Boosted) - same shit as above if you count long range on assault rifle as +1

    Extending Blade (Boosted) - only mechs using it are melee specialists. Otherwise you'd want an actual ranged weapon. Using it in unboosted state is worse than normal melee weapon so it can't fulfill role of primary weapon for melee mech. So the only useable state is ranged version. It's basically a slightly more expensive powered rifle that doesn't need systems to be long range. Boring.

    Powered Rifle (Boosted) - if you make it slow it defeats the purpose. You'll need to aim with it so it'll end up as +6 for 3 EN. Sniper rifle gets +6 for 0 EN with aiming. Slow weapon with only +2 ATK for 3 EN is meh. Can you take two instances and fire them interchangeably to negate the slowness?

    Charge Cannon (Boosted) - for 4 EN you get +2 ATK slow blast. vs Rail bazooka 4 EN for +2 ATK or 0 EN for long range. Rail bazooka seems better but it's not completely lopsided.

    Radiant Fist (Boosted) - actually kinda decent as ultimate finisher. 6 EN +4 ATK vs zweihander is steep but you assume this kills the enemy off so it hardly matters.
    Reactor Overdrive (Boosted) - 6 EN is crazy. I'd rather fire riot weapon twice which gives me tension bonus twice too but without overheat and for 0 EN cost.

    ReplyDelete
  2. First things first, this is what the Variable Beam Ripper says and I'm positive it isn't right. Right now it's just 'Beam Saber, except worse'.

    "Beam Ripper (Variable)
    Melee Weapon (5)
    Effect: Beam, Slow.
    *The Foundation's 'Beam Rippers' are giant beam weapons taking the shape of axes, scythes or other similar oversized blades. They are unwieldy devices that eat Element G like breakfast, but prove invaluable when it comes to subduing Cryptids. Chopping the key body parts of giant regenerating monsters turns out to be pretty useful when you're trying to capture them alive.*"

    That aside, it pretty much encapsulates my dislike for the Variable system. What's the point of it, honestly? You have to spend four energy to exceed a Dueling Blade, or match an advantage-granting weapon, which means you get blown up. Once you can afford to buy EN 6 (incidentally, Variable Weapons make you NOT want to buy Energy because it provides an overpriced Might bonus - 3 MP plus a weapon's cost for a +1, 10 MP plus a weapon's cost for a +2, and *fucking 21 MP* for a +3, which means you literally do not want Beam weapons until you can max out your Might THEN invest in EN.), you can finally start to exceed normal weapons with your overcharge...but it still gets you blown up, because you have literally zero energy remaining. Oh yeah, and the kicker? Variable Beams are SO DAMN OVERPRICED that it's actually cheaper to buy Weapon Specialization rather than the EN needed to make them good, I shit you not. Just look at a nerfed Dueling Blade + Weapon Specialization: It costs 25 MP to the Beam Saber + EN 6 26's, for literally the same damage except now you can have, you know, defensive systems. Or you could buy +2 or +3 Might at literally any level and it would cost less than the Beam Saber and its EN. Seriously, I don't get why people voted for Variable Beams. They are garbage. GARBAGE. They are so fucking bad that they should get STRONGER bonus features to compensate for the fact that the EN-to-Might tradeoff is so irredeemably pathetic and only halfway decnet at PL 5+ due to overpricing, not be worse than standard weapons. If the goal was to push Beams into being something that could be used reliably at lower levels, it failed, miserably so. It's bad. It's really bad. It's RIDICULOUSLY bad. I am going to repeat myself: Variable Beams need to be 1:1 on Energy until at least EN 2 because they are straight up worse than vanilla weapons otherwise. There is no other fix for them that will make them good and balanced. Is it kludgy? Yes. I don't care. It makes the math actually work, and right now it doesn't in any way so it's priority number 1 to apply this fix. To recap: Melee Variable Beams are worse than a Dueling Blade at all levels, don't let you apply Weapon Specialization if you're using them as intended, and do not let you use Active Defenses properly or even the Overcharger so you can actually BE at Melee range and thus use your shit. They are straight up meaningless anda waste of wordcount, with Ranged Variable Beams being barely better.

    Boosted Beams, meanwhile, are not quite as bad, but they still have...issues. Shortlist to follow:

    ReplyDelete
  3. (Continued)

    A) The Powered Rifle has no reason to exist when the Megacannon does. It's extremely rare that you'll have to get into sniper duels over 20+ squares, which is the only time you'd rather use a single-target, Slow Long-Range weapon over a Slow Blast. This to me doesn't say that the MBC needs nerfed - it says that the Powered Rifle (and by extension the Assault Rifle) are hot garbage, something that does not surprise me at all.

    B) It just occurred to me that the Incinerator does not specify the size of the area it pastes with Extreme Terrain. Shouldn't that be covered somewhere? This isn't a Boosted Beam specific critique, I only just actually LOOKED at the weapon now. With Extreme Terrain being what it is, it's kind of hot garbage (har har), because Blast attacks clean chaff better and other weapons are actuall boss-killers, but that's something that isn't specific to it, but rather to the Extreme Terrain rules. Fix those and I think the Incinerator seems...fine?

    C) The Extending Beam 'works', I guess, but it's way less fun if it doesn't have consistent ranged fire. It means it doesn't actually do its 'OK, so I want to attack on the approach' job, meaning it doesn't really have a point. Find another drawback for it, please, Slow doesn't fit here.

    D) Why did the Reactor Overdrive get massively nerfed compared to the Core version? Instead of being 'hit all zones in one direction', it's now 'hit all zones in a straight line'. With such a stupidly high Energy cost, it doesn't have a reason to exist with that catch. I'd rather have a Missile Massacre than a Boosted Overdrive, because let's face it, how often are you gonna catch more than two dudes with it? This is a dumb nerf. Change it back to 'hit a direction. All of it' and we can start talking about whether it's decent or not. Or at least, make it have a Blast-sized diameter, please.

    E) Boosted Ripper needs buffs. '50% of the time on a mildly successful result, your ability does nothing' is godawful, and then it's just 50% or 33% useful when you score multi-maims! Give it an ability that isn't obsoleted by rolling evens, please.

    That's my take on it. Overall:

    -Variable Beams need 1:1 trade for at least the first two EN points.
    -Some Boosted weapons need tweaks.
    -Please no Variable Beams, seriously they are hot fucking garbage and the math does not line up when it costs two goddamn energy to boost Guard by 5 argh argh argh

    Overall, solid work!

    ReplyDelete
  4. B) Incinerator has no area. It just sets enemy on fire. "Enemy suffers effects of extreme terrain."

    D) I don't think reactor overdrive was ever meant to be interpreted as a cone that hits everything in one direction. It was always a line. Clarification would be nice though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beam weapons don't need a huge complete overhaul of the system. They are balanced pretty well right now if you remove the reactor. See my post here.

    http://gimmicklabs.blogspot.com/2014/02/let-games-begin.html?showComment=1392293147246#c8981190316513940431

    Just bump beam saber and rifle to 5 XP and it's mostly balanced.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And making beam techniques 5 XP too.

      Delete
    2. My point is, it'll be easier to tweak the existing versatile system than overhaul everything into a single system that tries to include all the different ways energy can be used to improve weapons. Even with the new "unified" system every weapon has text explaining specifics of the weapon so it's kinda pointless. Don't try to make all beam weapons work the same way. Do the opposite and make them different and interesting.

      Delete
  6. "Passing the Might Test with this Weapon will inflict the effects of Extreme Terrain on *Enemies* during their next Turn."

    Definitely meant to have an area I think. Otherwise this should be 'enemy'.

    And no, I don't think Reactor Overdrive was meant to be a cone...it was just meant to be a MAP attack, range 'ALL (1 Direction)', in SRW terms. One edge of the map to the other, no escapes and no limits if you're in the direction the weapon's pointed at. Makes it, y'know, actually useful, instead of being a gigantic energy sink for little gain (since for 6 EN you could just Weapon Specialization an attack and deal more damage after accounting for enemy active defenses, otherwise), so I prefer it that way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Only MAP attack like that was Ideon Gun that required very specific circumstances to be used and was broken even then. You could wipe out entire maps of grunts with aimed, signature weaponed, "that power that gives +4 to roll" overdrive on turn 2.

      Delete
  7. Which, to be fair, is *exactly* what you should be getting out of a super move you spent a turn charging up, burnt two GP and all your energy on, and invested stats on to even be capable of using. It's really, really lame that Beam Techniques are so mortally neutered by the Custom Defense. Adding 5 to Guard for 2 EN means that your big killshots can and will be countered by all and sundry past a certain very early point, and the Beam Weapon design needs to take into account that you will very likely be spending 6 EN to get cockblocked for a third of that price. The Radiant Fist can get around this by just adding tons of bonus damage and that's cool, but it's more fun if the Reactor Overdrive is a huge 'KILL EVERYTHING' move instead of being a ranged copy of the Fist. Gives it more of an identity and prevents it and the Lux Cannon (slash Super Shotgun Cannon now that it got changed into the Gear version of the DooM SSG) from conflicting with each other and pretty much making it so at any time either one or the other is a bad choice to use.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Charge Cannon's a bit off here. We're looking at, absolute bare minimum effect, 8EN (if you only have 4). Add to this every point of energy spent elsewhere, as you recover no energy next turn.

    There's also the odd... lack of charging. One big staple of charged weapons (wavecannons being a prime example) is great, but expensive versatility. Charge Cannons should probably be that sort of weapon.

    Charge Cannon (Boosted)
    Shooting Weapon (5)
    Effect: Beam(4). You may pre-emptively Boost this weapon with the Aim Action. If firing in this way you may reduce the advantages gained by 1 to gain the Long Range ability. If you choose to do so you may spend the Boosting cost a second time to also gain the Blast and Slow abilities.

    That's 4EN for +2, or 4EN and an aim action for +4 OR +2 Long Range, or 8EN for +2 Slow Long Range Blast.

    Variable indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I can't believe I accidentally a whole chunk of text on the Variable Ripper. I had to laugh at that. Okay, fixed it up.

    Other clarifications:

    -Taking more than one of the same Weapon doesn't sound all that exploitable so I'll say yes for now. I'll take a better look at it later then add a 'yes you can' or a 'no you cant' to the manual proper.
    -Incinerator was always a single target weapon. It hits one guy and sets them on fire. The 'enemies' bit is just part of the text being pre-editorial.
    -Reactor Overdrive always hits in a straight line up to your range. I did miss giving it Long-Range though, which I'm fixing right now.

    I don't have a lot to say about Variable Beams because, like I said when introducing them, they take quite a bit of power to make them work. It is kind of the nature of the beast.

    Boosted Beams are a bit more negotiable though. Their Energy costs are, I admit, on the conservative side. I could take them down a point, or add one more point but remove a drawback like Slow or the loss of Regeneration.

    It all boils down to an argument of Damage per Turn versus Burst Damage, and I'm being careful with trying to make sure that Beams are not superior at both options. They have the higher base damage from in-built advantages so I've tried to engineer them more towards the burst side of things. The Beam Ripper is devastating if you take out more than one Threshold Level with it, because you choose -all- Areas Maimed, not just the first. Not regenerating Energy after using a ranged weapon is not much of a problem if you just obliterated the opposition (or have someone tanking for you). And so on.

    But in the end this is just an experiment. If the old Beams work better with very slight tweaks and taking Experimental Reactor out, we'll just go with that.

    Thanks for the feedback guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is no tanking in this game!

      Delete
    2. There is tanking, but you can play around it with some effort. It is not the same thing.

      I'm not trying to be pedantic, I just don't think being able to play around it is a bad thing. If you attack outside of a duel you're giving the enemy free turns and if someone is sharing maneuvers with the rest of the group they need to be brought down ASAP.

      Tanking does not lock down the enemy or force them to fight you, that's true. But it does make ignoring tanks a pretty bad idea.

      Delete
  10. That leaves Beams without a reliable Blast until the high PLs though, which is unacceptable. The Blasty beam needs to be usable from PL 0/1 onwards, not PL3/4.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The problem with Variable Beams isn't so much that they take a lot of power, as it is the fact that they cannot compete with just increasing Might at any point, because upping a stat at double price is just too costly (and that is effectively what happens with the Energy-to-Might conversion). It's just hard to find a scenario where you'd want to take a Beam Rifle/Saber if it's Variable, over any other weapon with a Might boost attached, especially if said weapon could gain an Advantage. This is something that needs fixing, because otherwise Variable Beams are a trap choice. Boosted Beams are a different story because you can at least afford to have a very reliably powerful weapon, and leverage your energy offensive through it. That's fun and useful, which is all you need out of a weapon.

    Now for the Beam Ripper, the issue is that it's a bonus that only kicks in and matters when a few things happen.

    A) You're winning by scoring Maims.

    B) Your opponent doesn't have Integrated Weapons or Invincible Alloy.

    C) The Ripper is the attack that gets the maiming shot and not something else.

    It's a lot of assumptions to make, for what is generally little payoff. 'Strong' Gears will pretty much never comply with B (don't Bosses have Maim immunity in the first place? The 'big melee beam' is worthless against the enemies you'd want to use it on, if so), which means that you're pretty much getting a disadvantage with nothing to show for it. Unless anti-maim effects are vastly nerfed, the Ripper isn't worth it right now. Maybe if it could make Maims actually function against Bosses it'd have a niche? That's something no weapon does currently, and which is worth building around.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Variable beams are flawed concept from the start yeah. 2 EN for 1 ATK means you pay 5+6=11 XP for increasing energy from 4 to 6. It will always be cheaper to just get +1 might for less than 10 Might.
    Getting +2 atk for your starting 4 energy is not a good deal when defensed have ratios between 2 DEF:1EN to 3 DEF:1EN.

    Choosing maiming areas is worth almost nothing. It's very hard to maim two areas with one attack. If you maim one area you have 50% that you can choose the area anyway. Also with integrated weapons and invincible alloy being as good as they are maiming is almost non-issue for most mechs.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Bosses are not immune to Maiming, it is Boss Weapons that are immune. The referenced Cryptids do have the common weakness that they're all Biological and as such their stats can be chopped in half.

    But yes, in general I've been approaching them from a best case scenario and not from... All the other ones. My biggest worry is of making it too easy to to combine the higher base damage output with something like Specialist's barrier negation. But I'm going to take a risk and enable that, then see if it is too good. If you're all correct, it won't.

    I'll also bump up a few other things I might have been too careful with, mostly support Mecha material, to encourage more diversity. Now I also have a new question to ask myself: "Am I being too careful here?" so this was a bit eye opening.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You should definitely try bumping up the things that feel weak. You can always nerf them again if it turns out a mistake. It takes a few balance passes to figure out the right values.

    ReplyDelete