Welcome to the 9th installment of the Battlehouse Dev Blog, a place where fans of all Battlehouse games can enjoy regular behind the scenes peaks into the minds of Battlehouse Developers. Without further adieu, here’s bh-nirgal with some more development updates for TR and DV:
Thunder Run and Days of Valor Developments
Let’s take a moment to recap a recent change. As part of the release of the TOC12 infantry buildings and the new L16 for non-elite infantry, we reworked one of the least-used elite infantry units (Elite Stinger Gunner) and put it on sale.
One of the things we do behind the scenes is examining the stats of deployments of unit types, adjusted for their unit space costs, and trying to encourage a reasonable distribution of deployments. Obviously some units are better for base defense, others are preferable for AI events, and others are probably better suited to attacking bases. We expect player favorites to emerge.
When one unit is the most common by a disproportionate amount, or when a unit barely makes a blip in the stats, we try to adjust things to give players incentive to adopt and deploy more variety. Sometimes, we discover that the popularity was due to a bug. For example, the Elite AH-64 was stunning aircraft a while ago, but was only intended to stun turrets. Other times, it is far more powerful than any other unit of its type, as it was when the Elite TOS-1A outclassed all other long-range ground attacks. We sometimes have to adjust the popular unit, but we normally don’t want to completely remove something the players are enjoying. Because of this preference, we usually buff other units rather than directly nerf a unit.
The Elite Stinger Gunner was chosen for a major refit because it was both very rare in deployments and was also originally designed as a direct counter to helicopters. The Elite AH-64 happened to be a disproportionately popular unit, with well over half of all unit deployments being Elite AH-64s. We balanced the new Elite Stinger Gunner stats to make it so that it could not kill an Elite AH-64 of equal upgrade level in one shot, but could be killed by the Elite AH-64 quite easily. This meant that massed Elite Stingers would win against lone Elite Apaches, but some clever maneuvering with Elite Apaches would keep winning.
There were two problems with this. First, the Elite Stinger Gunner’s unlock requirements were balanced for a pre-Hardware era. It is much faster to unlock an Elite Stinger Gunner to maximum level than an Elite Apache, so the average encounter was usually between higher level Elite Stingers and lower level Elite Apaches. The second is that there were far more Elite Stinger Gunners on AI single player bases and AI multiplayer map bases than we realized.
We debated making an AI-only “classic” Elite Stinger while giving the players the new Elite Stinger, or swapping all Elite Stingers on AI bases for basic Stingers, which are closer in stats to the old Elite Stinger. We chose the latter option so we could get it to players faster, but the idea of “Mercenary” units with legacy stats going into AI bases is something we’re strongly considering for future adjustments.
Moving forward, we’re going to try to keep players in the loop on planned changes to existing units, especially when they affect event bases.
During the week that the TOC12 patch enables new Maintenance Bay and Motor Pool levels (coming soon!), we’ll be updating the Elite BDRM-3. Our analysis shows that it is the least used elite vehicle, and multiple players have requested an update. We’re hoping to make it more in line with the Elite Stryker, except that it will deal less damage per shot and focus more on spreading damage around with its AoE attack. I’d like to make the fire damage it causes weaken a target against long-ranged attack, so it would make sense to send a BDRM-3 “shock team” in ahead of an artillery barrage. Since there are a total of 453 Elite BRDM-3s spread across all of the event bases, this is probably a good candidate to test the “Mercenary” concept so that AI base difficulty doesn’t change. Ideally, you’d see the AIs with the current version of the Elite BDRM-3, only renamed “Mercenary BDRM-3”, while players would get the updated stats version.
Short version: Expect the unit to be much harder to kill and to debuff enemy defenses, but not be a very long-ranged unit. Full details will be in the eventual patch notes.
During the week that the TOC12 patch enables new Maintenance Hangar and Airfield levels (coming after the Maintenance Bay and Motor Pool updates), we’ll be updating the Elite AH-1. Our analysis shows that it is the least used helicopter. It has been difficult to find a niche for this unit, so I’m thinking that it will play “overwatch” against incoming anti-aircraft fire. Think of the anti-missile stat on some buildings, except it only affects ground to air missiles instead of air to ground missiles. Since only the Stinger, Elite Stinger, and Elite Nimr use ground to air missiles (all other Anti-Air is bullet-based), the Elite AH-1 will also have a defense boost similar to the Elite MQ8B’s offense boost. Deploying an Elite AH-1 with your group should be an interesting option with these changes. It won’t be the most powerful unit around, but it will increase the survivability of others.
Short version: Expect the unit to become harder to kill and to buff friendly air units against anti-air attacks.
Discord Dev Tracker Recap
It was a busy week in Discord. Here’s the recap of the dev-tracker channel:
- Nirgal kept us updated on work done on two highly-requested UI features, the ability to view building stats while upgrading, and the ability to have buildings that require zero build time to bypass the building queue. Both patches were completed and sent to the rest of the dev team for review.
Stay up to date every day on what’s being developed on the dev-tracker channel here.
Looking for an update on where the Dev Team currently stands regarding various recent community suggestions? Check out our “Voice of the Commander” trackers here:
Like what you see in this Dev Blog, or have suggestions on things you’d like to see addressed in our “Voice of the Commander” trackers? Let us know over on our Thunder Run Discord Server!