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An analysis of defence in Midair's current state

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by miri, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. miri

    miri Instant Access

    There has been a lot of discussion on these forums about the game in general, but the things I see most often brought up in the context of a desire for change seem to me to be defence related. Before I carry on I'll point out that this will be flag and not base/asset centric. There simply isn't enough functionality in the game yet to accurately analyse Base gameplay.


    Brief sum up of things we currently know or generally, broadly agree to be true:
    • Air strafing is extremely powerful at high speeds and makes cappers very hard to hit at distance
    • Air strafing makes body blocking very tough
    • Body blocking in itself doesn't feel very consistent [discounting bugs with it, we know they will be fixed]
    • Air strafing in 1v1s makes duelling a little too random at times, or makes you rely on someone running out of energy to ground pound them
    • Weapons themselves feel generally in a good place.
    • Some kind of change to the reload system needed, current system is restrictive
    • Stopping cappers on the stand is very hard and, at best, inconsistent
    So from here I'll split this into three sections: on stand, chasing and fragging.


    On stand
    Firstly let me preface this with something that not everyone will necessarily agree with me on: my belief is that in a 1v1 situation a skilled stand D should be able to stop a capper almost every time. Everyone makes mechanical errors from time to time of course but we can't account for that.

    In the current situation you have a few options:
    [NOTE: all of these scenarios assume equal skill vs equal skill; arguing 'but I can bodyblock 90km/h cappers just fine' is moot]
    • Front block + midair or chain. Very hard to pull off in the current state of the game.
      - air strafe means a lot of cappers will simply curve around you
      - cappers can midair you much easier than the reverse as you're static
      - grenade launcher blowing up on impact is a big issue here too
      - as above, hand grenade spam on inc will screw you up
      - combine all of the above with screenshake and you stopping the capper is almost impossible if they know what they're doing

    • Back block + shoot stand [i.e blocking the capper post-grab]
      - air strafe as above, but more extreme because you not only have to predict their incoming path but also their outgoing path (mostly impossible)
      - spam/screenshake from capper, but much more easily avoided in this situation as you can position yourself much later

    • Kill the capper outright on stand - very possible with disc + hand nade
      - right hand nade throw makes timing very difficult
      - where the nades shoot from/the animation makes aiming them quite difficult (to me at least)
      - the nades seem to bounce/move quite wildly and unpredictably
      - the on contact explosion seems inconsistent or the contact area is VERY small
    So there's a very obvious thread going through this - air strafing gives cappers a huge advantage. It is an advantage that is very hard to counter with pure gameplay/skill. My understanding is this is being looked at internally anyway, but I can only talk about my experience of the current state of the game.

    Other things to consider:
    - is it too easy to hit GL MAs?
    - is screenshake really necessary in any way?

    Possible changes/'fixes' using current game mechanics
    • Left hand grenade throw.
    • Buff grenades along the lines of: reduce amount of grenades from five to three, increase contact explosion radius, increase damage radius
    • Drastically reduce the power of air strafing
    • Buff body block hit box
    Possible changes/'fixes' using new game mechanics
    • Mine disc.
    A question we do need to ask is what is the community consensus - assuming equal skill should a stand D have the advantage in a 1v1 vs a capper? Should they have the ability to stop the capper entirely on stand or do we want their role be to soften up the capper for the rest of the D to finish them off?


    For me chasing right now is very close to being in a good place, but there's a few things I feel are slightly lacking. As was mentioned by Whitewhale in another thread, extremely fast routes have always been near-impossible to chase in other FPS-Z games and I do believe that should remain as is. If someone gets out super fast and was not spotted/stopped/damaged on the stand then that's a *scoot* up somewhere along the line of the whole team.
    • Disc jumps
      - I don't believe capper speed is an issue per say, but I do believe initial impulse from disc jumps isn't quite good enough to allow chasers to get close enough to a good capper. One of the massive benefits of the no repkit system is that buffing disc jumps won't buff cappers. If they want to use impulse for extra speed, they risk being one shot on the stand for the sake of that extra speed.

    • Grenade launcher
      - inheritance and/or projectile speed doesn't feel right when chasing at high speed, I always feel like my nades fall short of where I expect them to land - could simply be a L2P/experience issue, but interested to hear what others feel about this weapon

    • Chain gun
      - feels about right to me, powerful at short range and not so much at distance but still possible to finish off low health cappers

    • Air strafe
      - too powerful, as previously discussed, allowing cappers to jiggle side to side and dodge chain fire
      - also allows cappers to sometimes turn on a dime and nullify chasers on some maps

    • Railgun
      - this weapon is really hard to use, but really rewarding to hit which I feel like is the perfect balance
      - as people improve at the game this might actually fix some of the current issues with chasing, for example the stand D does 50% damage on stand, another D player finishes with Rail etc.


    In a 1v1 I feel like all the weapons work as I'd want them to and feel right. There's only one huge elephant in the room:
    • Reloading
      - as a defender I often feel totally crippled by reload, I see someone coming in high so I go for a midair then chain them as they come in, then I want to swap to grenade launcher to spam at someone skiing in, then I want to swap back to disc to defend myself from someone close or shoot at a capper and... ARGH RELOAD
      - we know passive reload in some form is coming, as good as confirmed so far as I understand it
      - do we want some kind of manual reload AS WELL though? my personal preference will always be for no reloading whatsoever, only the cooldown between shots, but this is something people have expressed a desire for so worth bringing up
      - downside to this is grenade launcher can then become quite spammy (see: T2c) but the counter point to that is that if you're spamming in one spot that has its own inherent downsides anyway
      - could also be on a per weapon basis, where weapons like GL and Rail have reload+passive reload, other weapons have the T1/2 system of just an animation between shots which you can't cancel (i.e you can't change weapon during the animation)

    • Air strafe
      - sorry, this again. The power of air strafe means in a 1v1 it is almost always better to just go for chain in the air because it's so easy to dodge midairs. For me, that's an undesirable situation.

    Combat generally speaking feels great, it's just let down by some small elements which we'll hopefully see fixes for soon. D just feels underpowered in general right now due to the simple necessity of fighting multiple enemies at once being crippled by the reload system. O generally can focus on taking out one target at a time making reload less of a factor.


    Defence feels mechanically underpowered in some aspects, but it's nothing that needs revolutionary changes. I feel it important to state the caveat that everyone's skill level will improve and generally speaking that results in defence getting better and better. With that in mind, I don't think changing some of the more mechanical aspects of the game will radically over or under power either side of the game. More balance-esque changes like weapon damage/splash etc I have no doubt will be changed back and forth throughout the development process.

    So to sum up:
    • Address air strafing
    • Add passive reload/remove reloading alltogether
    • Buff bodyblocking
    • Buff initial impulse of disc jumping
    • Experiment with grenade launcher projectile speed and inheritance
    • Experiment with hand grenade balance; left hand hand grenade throw
    • Experiment with mine disc or equivalent one shot skill shot
    Xzanth, EC_Lee, SeymourGore and 2 others like this.
  2. ellbee

    ellbee Instant Access

    ah we have fun with our banter eh m8

    srsly i think this is a pretty good write up. as you know i would like t1/2 style cool down before weapon switch and manual reload on weapons like nade launcher (which has always been a shitty spammy no skill weapon imo)
    EC_Lee and miri like this.
  3. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    you basically write up in a very great summary my thoughts from the other threads and my in-game experience.
    I completely agree 100% on all this.

    And, regarding the opinion poll on whether a good defender should always stop a good capper, I also completely agree. I want teamplay and offense coordination between HO/LO and (more than 1) FC to be the factor allowing a good grab, not only a single very skilled individual that can constantly make it through 2-3 defenders that where appositely waiting for him, even seen him coming, but still unable to stop him.
    In the current state of things any offensive role except for FC is basically pointless.

    And I would add a few points from my previous post regarding air strafing: it doesn't only help grabbing and avoiding body blocks/midairs, it also helps skiing/routing, it allows to almost never stop skiing if you don't want to (you can basically start playing rabbit during a ctf since the enemy capper can go on skiing forever in very unpredictable ways)
    miri likes this.
  4. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    t2c was shitty spammy no skill with ridicolous speed and damage even from standing still.

    Using the t1 nade launcher was an art form imho. I loved that weapon, never really got the same feeling again. So much variance between using it while standing still and at high speed, the bounces, the timing... You had to become intimate with it, the same as with the disc, but in a different way. it was like the little brother of the mortar. Too bad they just raped him in the following sequels
  5. ellbee

    ellbee Instant Access

    yea to be fair it was the t2c version of it i was talking about.
  6. Nark

    Nark Instant Access

    I want to see:

    • Left-hand Grenade Throw, which allows you to shoot your weapon at the same time as throwing nades, coupled with much slower refire rate on nades (you can't spam them) & a bit more damage.
    • Bodyblocks need to be made more consistent, I was looking at my shadowplays of me playing D and like every other block I go for really looks and feels like it should be a stop, but the guy just slips right under my nipples on my PoV or something. I don't know if this is ping-related but it looks like this even on European servers. I feel like the bodyblocking hitbox is far too small and makes it an extremely unreliable way to get a stop on a capper, also generally bodyblocking also means that you are forgoing the ability to get more reliable damage on stand, so it needs to be more consistent as an alternate option or this part of the game is never going to realistically be a thing.
    • Capping air-strafe/etc. nerfs, obviously
    • Passive-reload helps the defense & chasers more than any other roles and is absolutely going to be required in some form. Currently: chasers have to take discjumps while switching to chain and don't have a lot of time to get a reload in before the cappers touch the ground on the way home. Stayhome has to be able to dodge and attack the enemy offense without "wasting" his explosives on them because he will need it for the capper and there's no time to do manual reloads when you're avoiding enemy offense.
    • Don't necessarily agree on Minediscs, I feel like there are definitely other ways to balance defense plays versus enemy cappers in lt/base as well as versus heavy offense in base. The changes I listed above might even be all that's needed at this point in regards to cappers.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
    Gorthaur likes this.
  7. widow

    widow Instant Access

    All are good, I like if we start with few af them to see how balance change and then add BB buff and others if needed
    • Buff initial impulse of disc jumping
    • Experiment with grenade launcher projectile speed and inheritance
    • Experiment with hand grenade balance; left hand hand grenade throw
    Catch a FC with gren launcher at high speed is almost impossible atm, don't know if is 100% inheritance, anyway I think must increase projectile speed.
    Maybe just with inheritance to maintain in duel actual feeling. Just because MA with gren launcher is ok now, give more speed can change it in a second ringlauncher.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  8. miri

    miri Instant Access

    All good points that I agree with, especially the bodyblock stuff.

    Want to make a point of clarity RE: mine discs. It's just a 'go to' thing that many of us have seen work in the past to balance against OP cappers and HO. However, I'm absolutely not suggesting it's the way to balance. In fact, what many have said that's actually a bad balancing tool is a PoV I'm coming around to. As we discussed in IRC - looking at it from the perspective of watching the game, making FPS-Z as a genre more desirable to watch casts of etc, chasing is much more entertaining than watching a capper get blown up on the stand.
  9. XU1

    XU1 Instant Access

    100% agree with Miri.

    Also, fall damage will help nerf cappers.
  10. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    I am not a super fun in making the grenade launcher a second ringlauncher. Actually I used to love the very occasionally grenade midairs in t1/t2c, but here they just feel too easy/often. I agree that their speed should be tweaked specifically when chasing, and probably increased, but I would also like it to have a more arc trajectory, a bit like the mortar or the t1 grenade launcher. It should a weapon that requires to predict and time ahead your shot many meters ahead or where the capper is, not a weapon where you want it to aim right at the capper and hit him straight. At least, that's how I would like it to be. For direct shots you have indeed the ring already.

    Also because tweaks to the grenade launchers could also help offense clearing up the flagstand even easier than its already now, so we need to be careful there.

    Even if I agree that hand grenades should work more like the older titles (throwing them while shooting, slower rate of fire but higher damage) I would not like that they would become the primary way to stop a capper to grab.
    In general I favor precise , slow rateOfFire shots/weapons compared to spammy explosives.

    That's why, aside from the nerfs to air control/strafing that are necessary, I would focus more on body block (that is just funny and satisfying to execute anyway), midairs stopping velocity, and in case experiment with some kind of mine disk (that again, could be something else). The body block imho could already be improved tremendously just by the nerfs to air strafing.

    Regarding the mine disk:
    The concept of a one-shot skillshot that requires proper timing and not being interrupted by enemy fire while being executed is something I really like. The old mine disk was not too unbalanced when used to prevent a grab: if pulled off you would kill a capper, but if somebody was spamming your flagstand while you tried that you could risk blowing yourself up. And you could still miss the timing. Now the bad/nasty parts of it were others imho: dying for random mines around the map is simply annoying and people abused it for also many other situations like random fragging/duelling or while being on the offense (to not talk about spawn killing , so *scooting* annoying). Moreover it probably had a too wide explosion range, so even if you weren't completely precise, you could a lot of times manage to kill the capper.
    If these issues would be tweaked/solved I would actually be very ok with it.
  11. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    I still think it's not a bad concept per se, just that its implementations were a bit too abused and OP.
    Make it a very high risk-high reward skillshot, were the chances to blow yourself up instead of the capper are high if the enemy offense is coordinated, and I wouldn't say its bad per se. It doesn't even have to involve mines. Just a tool for a defender to kill the capper if the defender spots him in advance, he is in good position and he doesn't get distracted/attacked by other offense players.

    As I said multiple times, I don't want to make grabbing and chasing less prominent in the gameplay. I want possibly the same amount of grabs and chases. I simply want that the offense need to work for the grabs together, coordinated, instead of just being a constant fc-grab-chase-regrab loop.

    Grabbing should be the norm if the offense work together and have the right tactic/coordination/timing.
    Grabbing should not be the norm for solitary 1vs2 or 1vs3 scenarios. (except maybe for surprise regrabs situations)
    miri likes this.
  12. miri

    miri Instant Access

    Well put.
  13. pyrogunx

    pyrogunx Instant Access

    Agree with everything except the one shot kill. I'd rather see a buff to some other areas to further reduce the health and let the skill be in the finisher than a OSK.

    The DJ especially might feel more rewarding to use if it provided more impulse. Right now it feels like the health cost vs. the impact isn't really worth it from an offensive standpoint and isn't quite enough defensively.

    I'd also add to the GL, more arc with a wide explosion radius, even if it means reducing the damage some. The GL feels too comparable to the RL today.

    With the Railgun, curious from others. I've spent a good deal of time with it... I find it really satisfying to use but I feel like something doesn't quite feel right in being able to get the "timing" down. Could entirely be that I suck with it, but was wondering if others are experiencing the same thing (finding it more difficult to get the timing).

    I think @miri also brings up a great point in the games design. In a 1v1, equal to equal scenario, what should the game favor (if any)? I personally would say that a 1v1 O vs. D should favor defense, requiring true offensive coordination and team play. But it's an important question in determining how that setup happens and where the game is oriented. IE: If it's more O favored, more attention given to chasing and that's where most of the game takes place vs. offensive coordination around the flag grab and then escort of the cap.
    miri likes this.
  14. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    Agreed on DJ, and GL points.
    Nothing to say on Railgun, I almost never used it yet.

    Regarding the 1vs1 and the OSK, in deciding where you stand keep also this in mind.
    In this 1vs1, the capper is a player spent for increasing its team score, the most valuable way to spend a player in a limited team. And even if he fails the grab, he can still often contribute to the action by distracting/spamming the offenders for another capper, or kill/damage the chasers if somebody already grabbed. Or, if the enemy team has also a capper with the flag, they can just help retrieve it. There are so many ways they can still be useful even when they fail.

    The defender instead is just a player that normally doesn't really contribute to the score. Most of is time is spent statically waiting on the stand with the sole purpose to stop the capper. If he fails, and he is not a chaser, his best hope is that his team regrabs and then he can help protect his own capper. Even worse if you are a HoF, if you fail you basically are useless.

    So from one side you have a very valuable and flexible role vs one that is designed only to prevent the first one to do his thing. This in my opinion makes me really go for wanting the defender to win, and to be honest not only win but also prevent not only the cap, but the grab as well. If you let the capper even grab most of the times in a 1vs1 situation even if he survives with only 10% of his HP he has still plenty of velocity and time to throw the flag far away, where teammates might be waiting.

    T1 and t2c had one shot kills and still had plenty of grabs and chases. Even if you kill one with a one shot kill, there are usually 4-6 players in the enemy offense in a normal game, and you won't kill all of them like that. I personally never experienced it as OP in that scenario.
    A one shot kill is very punishing indeed, but make them risky, make them hard to pull off normally, make them impossible to pull off under enemy spam/fire, and I really don't see the problem with it. And to be honest, some of mid-air-mine-disks were pretty satisfying to pull off.
    Again, as miri stated, i am not arguing that it is THE solution or THE only solution, I just know it kind of worked in the past, and if improved (less strong, less abused in all the situations) I don't see wrong with it.

    What I completely agree with is that one shot kills, especially mine disks, used offensively like for killing HoFs, recovering flags from cappers standing on the ground, used inside enemy bases to keep camping there are horrible and the design should avoid them.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  15. Bootswiththefur

    Bootswiththefur Instant Access

    I agree with this post. Need to tread carefully though because making stand d too strong will lead to very boring, static, TAesque gameplay.
    MastroLindo likes this.
  16. Mindflayr

    Mindflayr Moderator Staff Member

    Very Interesting. I loved the GL since t1. 2 years of it being my most used weapon in t1, then it became my most used weapon in t2c. there were very few players in those games who i felt were near me in skill with it, but i never had an issue with it between the 2 games feeling drastically different. So I wonder how much game bias there is there.

    That said it did feel OP in t2c and abusive if you knew how to use it.

    Quick check for those with DJ Impulse concerns. Not meaning to offend anyone but i still see plenty of people Djing like they would have in previous games (straight down) which with Lag Compensation gives you a lot of upward velocity and minimal forward velocity. Basically you should almost never be Djing straight down in MA. On almost any map i can DJ to the enemy stand if i have any forward momentum when i take the DJ as long as its done properly. Only standing still Djs feel week to me at all. That said, with Skiing physics likely to slightly change and other movement physics alterations, a buffer standing DJ wouldn't be the end of the world. And I do find for Offense/Capping I rarely use a DJ at all as even though i find the impulse decent the lack of repkit doesn't make the health trade-off worth it. Just concerned with buffing it and having cappers be able to map-jump even easier than currently if they get a clean grab and can take a dj.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  17. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    Also agreed with you that we shouldn't go towards static, "1grab per game" type of gameplay. That's why I am very carefully overstating over and over that I don't want less grabs and less chasing. Just that grabs should require a team effort.
    I simply don't believe that the two things should contradict each other if executed properly.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  18. MastroLindo

    MastroLindo Instant Access

    GL: I actually liked both versions, but I do agree with ellbee that somehow the t2c version felt much much easier to use. Very fast speed, low arc, high splash range and damage, high rate of fire. I remember that for weeks I could not even hit one single good shot with the t1 version until I mastered it (and it became my favorite weapon too), the t2c version I was able to do quite a lot after 2mins with it. And I have the feeling midair's version is a bit more towards the t2c one, just a bit limited in range and with the 3 ammo limiit

    DJ: I agree with you that if you have already a bit of momentum disk jumps can be actually very powerful already. My remarks (and probably the one of others) are specifically in the chasing situation where the capper is already going 200+km/h and you need to start chasing from basically standing still.
  19. widow

    widow Instant Access

    I dislike to reduce air strafe, maybe I'm wrong but actually it's the only way against mid-air (since mid air is almost easy).
  20. Mindflayr

    Mindflayr Moderator Staff Member

    I think what a lot of us feel is that Air Strafe is OP when going full speed on Caps allowing you to Dodge CG while maintaining speed or Bend around HoFs/BodyBlocking LD. If there was a way to keep air strafe almost the same for Dueling and Low-med speed situations, but nerf it for high speed capping it would be a win-win. At least thats how I feel. I like what it adds to dueling and Llama/egrabs (when necessary) but I shouldn't have that same Maneuverability on high speed cap routes.