The State of the Beta (Patch 1.02)

Welcome to the first installment of the State of the Beta. This is something I’ll be doing from time to time, discussion what i feel is strongest and weakest in the current patch. I’ll explain what i build, why i build it, and why it’s effective for both attack and defense. If there is a counter to the build I’ll walk you though it, although this is the results of my BETA BREAKERS project odds are there won’t be a counter for UNITS. Some maps, on the other hand, WILL be discussed. For now I’ll deal with any basic maps I feel need mentioning for some reason. Future releases will favor outstanding player-made maps, especially once all the basic maps have been covered. The “outstanding” maps are ultimately decided by me, but if you feel there is a map worth mentioning and discussing in depth let me know and I’ll play a game or 5 on it.

While, for the time, this is my opinions and builds, if anyone has a unit, comp, defense or map then want brought up send me a challenge, message in game (LKohime in game), on Skype (I’ll eventually get around to making a skype chat for GTB peeps, I’m Helion_Pandora on skype atm) or on the forum, and I’ll look at it. These will come out once every few patches, depending on how major the patch is. For example, a patch that changed a range by 5 and gave infantry 5% more HP wouldn’t get a new release. A patch that altered the strongest units, not just nerfing one but actually buffing one over the top would get one within a day or two of it’s update.

The purpose of the BETA-BREAKERS is to prevent the same thing that happened to the GSB happening to GTB. A bit of back story; when the GSB campaign mode first came out, I quickly figured out the PERFECT build for beating it. I built one model of fighter, 50+ squads of it. They were fast, strong, and ate through EVERYTHING like a hot knife through butter. Thus my signature. I created the tactic that ultimately caused a new resource to be added to the campaign, Pilots, and perhaps even led to the creation of the Parasite Flac Cannon (not entirely sure on that one, but it seems to make sense so let me go with it.) The problem is, not only was it majorly anti-fun, it led to not countering, but shutting down other builds. It was REALLY hard to counter, so it just discouraged people. And personally? I HATE fighters in GSB! Cannot STAND them! So, I made the BETA BREAKERS. My goal is to find all of the super-imbalanced stuff, or even the slightly outawack stuff, and write it up for two reasons. 1, so people know what i and perhaps others mean in comments left on challenges, to give people a quicker (if wordy!) way to understand where the game is at any point in time, and to help Cliff know what a (perhaps?) different perspective then his thinks of balance and what could be done to help make things better.

TERMS & FORMATS: This section will be carried over from release to release, expanded on as needed.
A “Set” of any unit is the maximum deployable number of a unit (ie, 4).
The lists of parts for units are displayed in the order they’re put onto the HULL. I include which hull I’m using, as it does make a difference in speed and cost. I use slot name + the roman numeral associated with the piece of equipment.

Overall, 1.02 is a pretty good patch. It fixed the big problems and bugs of 1.01, and has relatively balanced units and weapons. With the exception of the below, the game is fairly well balanced as is.

[size=150]SECTION 2: A REVIEW OF THE UNITS[/size]
[size=120]SECTION 2.1: ATTACKERS [/size]
This really should come as no surprise to anyone right now, but missiles. missiles are just amazing as things stand. There’s a number of ways to set up a good missile attack army, specifically focusing on Medium and Heavy Tanks. Mechs, unlike Tanks, can only handle the Missile II, or HEAP launcher. Medium Tanks can use Incendiary Missiles, and Heavy Tanks get the TurboLaunch Missile. The Heavy tank especially presents a special challenge and power set, which will be mentioned shortly. Infantry are generally underpowered at the current time, as they are relatively easy to clear either with a flame thrower or missile. Machine Guns, while good, aren’t as good on the offense, as the single target v defensive infantry emplacements is too slow at killing people.

Mechs, likewise, aren’t quite as strong as tanks in this patch. The Light Mech can be useful if you have tanks (not the unit, but something that’s drawing enemy fire so they can survive), allowing them to rush ahead and grab a supply drop. Likewise, you can use them to grab agro of the defense so your units can get in range to return fire. This isn’t an issue with my main build, as i’ll explain in a moment. A Light Mech 3 Hull (Highest cost, lowest weight) can be built to a 10.15 speed, allowing it to run through enemy fire pretty quickly. However, in the current patch this is not necessarily an effective tactic. The Medium Mech can be built for speed, actually being capable of reaching a higher speed then the Light Mech. If you take a:

Medium Mech 3
Engine IV
Any targeting System
A Light Cannon (Cannon V)
Aluminum Armor (lightest armor, second best defensive value, VERY EXPENSIVE) [Armor III]
Loader III
Engine Management II
you can get a Medium Mech up to 10.82 speed. However, as with light mechs i would not suggest this. The speed meta isn’t the strongest at the moment. Heavy Mechs allow you to pack a bit more of a punch then a Medium Mech. I use a Heavy Mech with:

Heavy Mech 1
Engine IV
Targeting VI
Missile II (HEAP Launcher)
A pair of either Armor VI (Neutronium Armor) or Shields IV (Hypercharged Shields).
2x Shrapnel Dispersal II’s

I prefer this build for Heavy Mechs as an Anti-Infantry mech. By expanding the shrapnel range, you can clear an entire trench with a single salvo from a full set of these!

Finally, TANKS. These are, at least from my play testing at the moment, the strongest base unit in the game. Light tanks strike me as severely under powered at the moment, suffering from poor speed, a lack of defensive options that don’t push their price up to that of a medium tank, and relatively poor weapon choice. The lack of an Agumentation Slot is the death knell for light tanks at the moment, creating a hull that is, for the moment, outshone in every role it could take.

The Medium Tank is the bread and butter of the current army. I’m using the following build for my Medium Tanks:

Medium Tank 1
Engine 3
Targeting VI
Missile IV
Armor IV
Loader VI
Long Range Fire II

This is the unit I’ve been using to make up ~67-75% of my army. It’s got 1080 range, meaning it out-ranges anything but a TurboLaunch defense, it packs a punch, and it’s reload time is quite low. While it is slow, it’s range more then makes up for it. If you deploy 2 of these, a repair truck, and the last 2 medium’s make a DEADLY combo. You don’t want to lead with an agro-magent. The strength of this build in part comes from it’s extreme range. This lets you blow through the defenses fairly easily, especially in high-point maps. I’ll get to these later.

Finally on the offense, we have Heavy Tanks. These are the units you send in for two reasons: You have WAY too much supply, so dropping ~3k won’t hinder your medium tank spam or you need something to throw the strongest offensive weapon, with the most ridiculous range, at the enemy. My Heavy Tank build is rather similar to my Medium Tank, although much slower at only a 3.32:

Heavy Tank 1
Engine IV
Targeting VI
Missile V (TURBOLAUNCH!!!)
2x Armor VI (Neutronium Armor)
Loader VI
2x Long Range Fire II

This design will be seen again in defense, although slightly modified. This build dominates defenses. A Turbolaunch has a base range of 970; the dual Extended Range augments give it a max range of 1358, a range that is un-matched by any other setup. You can run this unit with other augments, i prefer either Damage Enhancement or Explosive Force II to maximize damage. Shield Impact II can be used if enemy shielded units are giving you problems. By making this design so slow you can make this a unit to hold the forces behind it back, as well as letting them soak up damage. Good micro allows you to use groups of 4-6+ to destroy any single defensive emplacement in pretty much one pass. By using these and the medium tank build above, you can destroy most defenses pretty quickly if you mix in 1 repair truck per 8 units.

[size=120]SECTION 2.2: SINGLE UNIT DEFENSE? Almost![/size]
On the defense, there’s really one choice for turret at the moment from my experience. This is the only turret I place extensively, focusing on layered defenses. Just one of these, unsupported, will fall quickly. A group of 3 or more of them, covering each other preventing any one from being focused down easily, can be devastating. I use a Large Missile Turret as the base, which shares a cool-down with the other Large Turret.

Large Missile Turret
2x Shields III
Targeting VI
Missile V
Loader VI
2x Long Range

This basic unit covers 90% of the defensive emplacements. The weaknesses of this turret is they are rather poor against shields and infantry. Again you can use the same enhancements as the tanks above, but the extended range gives you the ability to bombard enemy units before they get in range. To make up for the weakness against shields, i employ a single infantry design to take out shields from defense emplacements.

Boots I
Armor III
Assault Rifle (Ballistic Gun V)
Loader II
Targeting III
Shield Impact II

This unit lets you destroy shielded units. You need to have fairly good micro with them. Switching to the next shielded unit allows you to maximize your missile’s damage output.

The attacking army I gave an outline to above has beat colonial in all but 1 campaign map, and in every online challenge I’ve attacked. The defensive force can hold any challenge I’ve defended on, and on one map holds with a mere 6 emplacements (Plus at most 2 squads of infantry, although I’ve never actually needed them.)
This army and defensive comp does not have a good, solid counter at the moment. A sufficiently adaptive human defender or attacker, who properly micro’s and counter places units can beat them, although any mistake can and 95%+ of the time will end in failure. The defensive layout is weakest early game, as once there gets a critical mass of the TurboLaunch Turrets on the map that can cover each other and a repair yard, they pretty much clean most things up. Light Mechs aren’t high priority targets by the targeting AI, so they can slip through. Again, good micro can solve this problem. I tend to grab a launcher closer to the light mech who has just killed a larger target, but doesn’t need to reload yet. That way the kill gets me the reload, so it can focus a fresh magazine on a larger, harder target.

As should probably be clear from reading the above, the most overpowered weapon in the game at the moment is the Missile. At the moment, their HUGE range and relatively quick fire rates, especially when boosted by a command center/truck, makes them a nearly insurmountable obstacle on either attack or defense. I can think of two quick changes to hopefully alter the indisputable dominance of missiles in the current patch. First is to drop their ranges by perhaps 5%, and make any range extending augmentation have half the effect on them. This would mean a single range augment 2 would put the launcher at just above it’s current range, making it still FEEL like a long-range bombardment weapon, but reign back their power to a more manageable level. Second, drop the rate of fire by perhaps as much as 20%. The opening salvo on some of the larger maps can, when slowed down to .2 to give you time to target every group of tanks, destroy many if not most or in some extreme cases ALL of the advanced defensive emplacements. By making these changes, perhaps with not these same numbers, a greater balance could be achieved.
SECTION 3: MAPS[/size]
There’s the first map, the tutorial map. Then there’s the second map, the FIRST real map. Vimy Ridge, Strategy 66h. This is, from my playing experience, THE single best map for the defender. Using the defensive unit described above, i can place 6 units on the map and hold off nearly ANY assault. The 3k Defensive Supply is enough for 4 of the missile Turrets. The first part of the defense is the hardest part. The three in the rough diagonal at the very beginning should all be taken, the one at the very inside of the corner and the two above and to the right of it. The closet of the three horizontal below them should be taken. The remaining two, in order, should be taken. Then put it to x4 speed, collect win. I’ve only had this NOT work once, and all that required was placing 4 more of the missiles to create a second defensive line. If you aren’t sure what map it is that the challenge is on, look for me making a comment about “the standard 6” or “the usual formation.” Give it a try, You’ll see what I mean.

The only army I have trouble with on this map, at least in the beginning, is a fast Light Mech and shielded Medium Mech build. It gets ~300-400 though before my extended, 10 emplacement build is finished. If i can figure out how to post a specific defensive play up, I’ll put up one to show everyone what I’m talking about. (The same goes for a recording of an attack, so you can see my attacks with my army.

(A note: The author IS open to bribes, although the amount of the bribe AND who gave it will be posted!)
This section is dedicated to the player-made maps I’ve seen people working on the most, or the most interesting ones, etc. This is NOT a place to criticize someone’s work! Any negative commentary is meant in the spirit of helpful critique, NOT an attack on anyone or any map. That being said, our first featured map is Cederic’s Guernsey Assault! This multi-pathed map features 8 single square spawning points, a rather complex rallying ground leading into 3 main pathways, each branching into two more paths for a total of 6 paths. Expect heavy Infantry from the defender, as well as command modules of some variety of another! On the attack try and focus your attack at one end-game plan: trying to batter every last route down leads to defeat. The more flexible you are as an attacker, the more likely you are to break through! As the defender: Infantry are a boon early in this level, identify the key points and fortify them fast! Then build up your turrets, and infrastructure caps the deal to make one tough map for an attacker! While the map does favor attackers in my experience, a good eye and fast adaptations are key to success on either attack or defense!

If you feel like I’ve missed anything, please post letting me know! This wraps up the first SotB, thanks for reading!

Alright, finally up and done! come and get it!

I’ll update this to reflect the balance changes from 1.003 when i get up. The extreme range is all that will drop, although the actual damage dealt may well go UP from this. We’ll see

Excellent assessment.

On Vimy Ridge I’ve had more success with putting turrets into the middle of the top-right loop - again, missile turrets. This gives the same weight of firepower but puts them nearer to a Repair Yard if needed and also gives you more time to build the subsequent ones before the first units get past.

Missiles with extra range are indeed scary. My default turret is actually a medium one, with Incendiary Rockets (hence the barbecue), as that’s cheaper than a large turret so you can deploy more, faster. Less total range but the weight of firepower tends to matter more (unless you’re facing very long range units).

Fast mechs are very useful against the AI - throw in some light mechs and you can escape down a corridor before the AI builds anything. I do have a 10.02 speed medium mech (slower than yours due to stronger shields) that I only use on lightly defended corridors; it has an astonishing VP point-to-deployment ratio. I’ve also got a “fast” heavy mech build, which I tend to use as the follow-up to a medium mech rush. It doesn’t have much survivability but is quick enough to benefit from the enemy trying to shoot the medium ones. On the whole though that build approach feels balanced, and medium/heavy mechs can hold their own on the battlefield.

Heavy tanks are indeed durable and nasty. I’ve gone for slower ones than you, and vary my augmentations a little more, but a solid wall of armour using missiles to sweep all before it and making support units stay packed close behind continues to be a strong strategy.

Thanks for the feedback on the custom map. I’m shying away from further heavy balancing until the full game release, rather than rebalancing with each patch, but the desire is obviously to make it possible to post a strong attack or defence as an online challenge.