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Late game is painfully awful.


DoctorHeckle

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There's so, so much wrong with game play past the 40th-ish Blizzard minute mark. After a few agonizingly long games, I have a small list of issues that need desperate attention, mechanically speaking:

 

1. Barracks/lane mechanics. This is the most pressing issue in the game, at the moment. Moreso than the size of the hero pool, the IH ban format, item balance, anything. In a topic I made in late August (http://www.aeonofstorms.com/index.php?/topic/866-brainstorming-bigger-punishments-for-losing-barracks/) discussing the issue, but a few patches later we've still got nothing. In a game I recently played (which was sadly a 3v4, with me on the 3) we had took down 2 sets of barracks and still had to push out those lanes to help out with taking down Artifact towers (T4). This is not only not punishing for the enemy team, but it makes it so hard to do anything in the enemy base. Without the lane advantage that naturally pushes lanes into the base, you need to get TWO lanes pushing into base with you to even try to get T4 towers. Pushing straight up mid, for example, without another lane's creeps joining you in the enemy base is wholly ineffective, for this reason: All three lanes' creeps target your lone creep wave right when they spawn, which also happens to be near the T4 towers. This makes early push strategies useless (team comps focused around heroes that excel at pushing and peak around the late early game), since there's virtually no advantage to getting an early barracks, or getting barracks at all, really. This takes away a big element of base defense in the late game, eliminating the need to pay attention to creep flow.

 

2. Money is more useless than post WWI Germany's deutsche mark. In a bygone era, there used to be the option to Buy Back when you die. For those unfamiliar, this is spending some minerals (usually scaling with the hero's level) to instantly respawn. This was a way to find a use for minerals once one's build is finished. Some would say this stalls out late game base siege and team fight scenarios, which yeah, it can. Still, what else are we supposed to do with our tens of thousands of minerals in late game? Getting full pots (Adrenaline, Tea Extract, and Blinkmoth) depletes less than 1k minerals. Combines with Truesight Elixir, it's still just a drop in the bucket (< 1.5k!).

 

3. Energy is too abundant. Even on the hardest of AGI carries, energy management late game is (as I'm sure many of you have heard me say in the past) a complete joke. Just take a look after a big late game team fight in my most recent shoutcast:

 

 

Even after all of these spells are blown and abilities used, the person on the WINNING end of the team fight with the least amount of energy left is the Drake, and he still has 70-80% of his energy left. Is this how spells should be treated, late game? The damage scaling with these spells make them hit harder, yes, and I think that's a GREAT thing. But yet, the energy cost stays the same! Cooldowns can get shorter, damage goes up, but the energy cost stays the same. This means the damage per energy ratio on spells accelerates a TON.

 

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There are my grievances. However, I'm not the kind of person that would just complain about something and not suggest ways to fix it! That's just not my style. So, below, are my suggestions to my previously stated problems:

 

1. Killing barracks should spawn a "Flag Bearer" in that lane. I was thinking about a solution to the "barracks problem" I brought up in my aforementioned topic. Rather than necro my old topic, I thought I'd share that in this topic. Rather than take the DotA approach (melee/ranged creeps gain additional health and damage with reduced income) or the LoL approach (Spawn a significantly stronger creep with each wave), I feel like we could use a sort of mix of both. This is the concept of the Flag Bearer: A unit that spawns with each creep wave after barracks are taken that can't attack, but gives a signifacnt armor/spell resist/attack damage buff in an aura. If the unit is killed, then the buff is gone and the wave functions normally. This way, you need to pay attention to lanes with lost barracks, but fighting back those lanes aren't impossible, since all you'd need to do is kill the flag bearer. It shouldn't cause any more lag than there is, since it's only one unit, and it gives that extra oomph that a lane should get when you get a rax. To keep with the theme, I think making the Flag Bearer a Probe for the P side and a Drone for Z would be quite apt, since neither of those units are in the game yet in any form.

 

2. Reimplement Buy Backs, with a significant cooldown and price. Call me controversial or old fashioned, but there's GOTTA be some use for money in the super late game. Additionally, it could be reworked so that buy backs are only available after you hit 18, or that you're limited to 2-3 buy backs per game. It's something that significantly affects the late game, but I feel like it could be for the better.

 

3. Have spells that scale with INT ALSO have their energy cost scale with INT gained from items. Now this one is pretty experimental and, I'm not gonna lie, it's going to take some tweaking if it's implemented to get it right. Hear me out. It would be silly have have energy costs scale with natural INT growth, so the cost would only go up once you started getting items with INT. Additionally, the percent of INT in which the spell scales with should also determine the scale of the energy cost. For the sake of theorizing, let's say the energy cost scales with a quarter of the INT scaling on the spell. So, for example: let's take some of Queen's abilities, and factor in just the bonus INT from Higgs-Boson Capacitor (42 INT).

 

For Transfuse, she heals for 250 (+70% INT), at a cost of 110 energy at level 4 of the skill. So, disregarding her base INT, she heals for a total of 279 health, which amounts to 2.54 health per energy spent, compared to her base heal of 2.27 health per energy spent; roughly a 12% boost of healing efficiency for no additional cost. Pretty good, and it only gets better with more INT items. Consider now, that since the spell scales 70% with INT, the energy cost scales 18% with bonus INT from items. A Higgs-Boson Capacitor, then, at 42 INT jacks up the energy cost by 18% of that, which amounts to about 8 additional energy, rounding up. This puts the price of Transfuse at 118 energy to heal for 279 health, bringing the health per energy spent ratio to 2.36. That's only a 4% increase of healing efficiency. Originally I ran these numbers with a energy scaling cost of 50%, but it made it so that the spell was less efficient with more INT for the price. Still, more healing is more healing, and at only 8 additional energy, it does end drain a bit more energy than before over the course of time.

 

In the case of Banelings: they damage for 110 (+35% INT) at a cost of 160 energy at level 4 of the skill. There are 5 of them, so if they all connect it ends up doing 550, ignoring base INT and with no INT items. With a HBC, each baneling does an additional 15 damage, boosting overall potential damage by 75, bringing total damage to 625. Without HBC, the max damage per energy spent ratio is 3.44. With it, it goes up to 3.91, resulting in 14% more damage per energy spent. With energy cost scaling, the 42 INT from HBC increases the the cost of casting by 4 energy (9% of 42, after rounding). The new casting price would be 164 energy, and the new damage per energy spent would be 3.81, reducing the damage efficiency boost to 9%.

 

Let's look at the facts though. Will 8 or 4 more energy per spell cast be THAT noticeable in the late game? Queen, at max level (3 levels in stats) with no items, has a base energy pool of 1234. If you keep firing off Baneling and heals then, yes, the additional costs will pile up and start to take a toll, especially with no additonal energy regen. This is something I feel deserves to be at least TRIED in beta games to see if it would impact the game in any way. Maybe scale up the energy cost scaling? Have it include base INT growths as well? Again, I believe it would be worth looking in to.

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i agree with you on increasing energy as INT from items only increase too

 

i just think some of the aos games last wayyy too long,a normal aos game should last 40-45 mins at the greatest,but some games i play last like 1hour 30mins-2hours its ridicilous...i wish a creep progession system would be added to allow stronger creeps or buffs of some sort that would help teams push much easier without being a marine king for faster pushing or something along those lines.

 

possibly a temporary buff u could purchase that would make the next tower u attack take 250-400 true damage(one use unless u buy another buff)? a late game buff that would cost somehwere from 4000-5000 ?

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Your last point is absolutely out of context, in your analize you have rendered null and void the hp pools available for tanks and hard hard carries, the survivability trough lifesteal from damage dealers and totally forgoten the DPS factor from spell casting from the caster type heros. You didn't show any single spell that has High energy cost and utterly high damage, nor have you made a chart to compare every single spell in the game to see how it is going to affect the current meta/ overall layout of the game. IMO, increasing the mana cost in function/proportion to the int built by a hero is comparable to increasing attack speed depending on the weapon damage a hero has built or to reduce moving speed in function of how much armor/spell resist/hp a hero has built.

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Excellent post, I was considering writing my own topic regarding the late game problems of AoS.

 

That being said, I agree with your first two points but disagree with your last point. Energy shouldn't necessarily have to be a restricting point for heroes in the late game imo, because it is such a restricting factor on some of those same heroes in the early game. It's an intended benefit for casters since they don't scale as heavily as carries into the late game.

 

But yes, something HAS to be done about the problem of barracks being completely useless to destroy. It allows enemies to turtle way too easily. Games have been going on unbearably long these days. I just had a 1 hr 45 min game. 40 - 60 min should be a good point for games.

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Ok first of all, I'm always at a want for cash. My build constantly changes to match my opponents' as I reach late game. Maybe it's because I play support, but I never have my build finished by late game. As for energy, some characters don't need it and CC does not need another nerf.

 

Early game pushing should not be rewarded much either because the late game would not exist.

 

Instant respawn ruins the losing team's chances. Imagine finally killing that unix after he gets godlike, only to have him back on the battlefeild flobing with you a few seconds later.

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its extremely hard to push against a dustin since he can QEW then R QEW again... your creeps will melt before they touch your tower, and the topic regarding energy i agree, knowing they anybody can spam spells without the regard for enegy is kinda bad imo

And how would you kill a 7/9k hp tank? o.0
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seeing as for instance raynors lvl 3 ult already costs 500 mana a pop and his lvl 18 natural mana is like 1300 how about a big fat no to your third idea.

 

Honestly I'm unsure why the old bonuses for barracks were removed in the first place.

 

As for buy backs... i miss them, but at the same time, thats just going to drag the games on even longer, if you manage a substantial team wipe at late game you can end it right then and there, if the other team can buy back well your back to a stalemate and wasn't your first point a complaint touching on the sheer length of games?

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Saying that if u stack intel ur spells should cost more energy is like saying. the more weapon damage u have the slower u should auto attack. and why we are at it, the more health u have the slower u should move. it all sounds like a perfect mix right? !!!sarcastic!!! but im sure u get the point. why should u be punished for stacking what ur class of hero needs to stack.

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There should always be something useful to do with extra minerals, otherwise you get teams that just turtle very hard with carries long enough to max out or near max out on items themselves. In pub games it is especially annoying because you can have a big advantage yourself in farming or kills, but your teammates are not willing to finish off the other team because they are either poor farmers or else don't think attacking the enemy base should happen until they are maxed as well (which will never happen).

 

I really hate losing games when I have 20000 minerals or more in the bank (usually due to chicken allies who are not willing to attack) and cannot at least give some of it to my allies for the sake of them actually trying to end the game at the right time.

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stack health pots lol (the duration adds per pot, so if you buy 10 of em at once, you will have the health pot effect for 10x as long as just one potion)

itll last 30 secs worth of 10x hp pots or 1 hp pot that lasts 300secs?

i thought once you used a pot the old one goes away? except for energy with hp together

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If you reimplement buy backs, without considering the problem with towers being WAAAAAAAAAAY too strong, and creeps not pushing when you take rax, the game will never end in close games. Currently the entire game is about get to late game about even ish, and take better fights, have better positioning than the other team.

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raxing the enemy used to push the lanes and halve the mineral bounty for the team that got raxx'd

 

this was before towers dealt true damage

 

hence the complaint was, even a single team wipe at around the ~20 minute mark would lead to 2+ towers and the corresponding raxs going down, and from then on the game was pretty much over

 

so we suggested respawnable raxs like in LoL

 

At the same time, so that agi carries wouldn't be able to tank towers better then actual tanks, we suggested making towers deal true damage.

 

--

 

In response, ekcol did something. we aren't entirely sure, but raxing doesn't reduce bounty anymore, and i don't think it makes your creep any stronger. games are still winable, but they do take a painfully long amount of time now. However, keep in mind that a fair amount of this is probably due to uncertainty about item builds due to the new items, leading to uncertainty with pushing and committing in a team fight in the middle of the enemy's base. Also keep in mind that a lot of ppl just want to farm to late game to try out a new or unique item build, now that there are so many new items, and are thus less motivated to push to win (I know I am)

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raxing the enemy used to push the lanes and halve the mineral bounty for the team that got raxx'd

 

this was before towers dealt true damage

 

hence the complaint was, even a single team wipe at around the ~20 minute mark would lead to 2+ towers and the corresponding raxs going down, and from then on the game was pretty much over

 

so we suggested respawnable raxs like in LoL

 

At the same time, so that agi carries wouldn't be able to tank towers better then actual tanks, we suggested making towers deal true damage.

 

--

 

In response, ekcol did something. we aren't entirely sure, but raxing doesn't reduce bounty anymore, and i don't think it makes your creep any stronger. games are still winable, but they do take a painfully long amount of time now. However, keep in mind that a fair amount of this is probably due to uncertainty about item builds due to the new items, leading to uncertainty with pushing and committing in a team fight in the middle of the enemy's base. Also keep in mind that a lot of ppl just want to farm to late game to try out a new or unique item build, now that there are so many new items, and are thus less motivated to push to win (I know I am)

"Pushing to win" is extremely hard vs a lot of heroes now, because fighting under a tower is basically suicidal, and the defender will always have the advantage of the tower, and usually an easier time positioning themselves correctly. I've found that it's almost a necessity to get a pick off or two before you can actually push for towers. The base design also makes it extremely hard to push the T4 towers, they're so far back, and there's so big distance between them, that it's really hard to navigate when you're trying to push the last 2 towers, especially if you only have 1 set of rax.
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Regarding the first 2 points, may be these could be solved with one fix allowing players to buy temporary upgrades for their creeps. For example:

- buying one more creep pack for the next wave

- increasing the damage dealt by the next wave

- increasing the armor of the next wave

- increasing the speed of the next wave

- and do on...

 

It would just need some tuning about the price.

 

Edit: I forgot to add that the destroyed barracks could unlock some of these upgrades

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"Pushing to win" is extremely hard vs a lot of heroes now, because fighting under a tower is basically suicidal, and the defender will always have the advantage of the tower, and usually an easier time positioning themselves correctly. I've found that it's almost a necessity to get a pick off or two before you can actually push for towers. The base design also makes it extremely hard to push the T4 towers, they're so far back, and there's so big distance between them, that it's really hard to navigate when you're trying to push the last 2 towers, especially if you only have 1 set of rax.

 

i agree the base design makes it hard to push t4 towers with only 1 set of rax, however that is mroe of a base size limitation

Pushing to win is not that hard except for the t4 towers because clumping around a tower to defend is suicide if the pushing team has any good initator with a small hadron collider (and given the bottleneck that is the entire base, the defending team can't really help but cluster together)

 

 

Regarding the first 2 points, may be these could be solved with one fix allowing players to buy temporary upgrades for their creeps. For example:

- buying one more creep pack for the next wave

- increasing the damage dealt by the next wave

- increasing the armor of the next wave

- increasing the speed of the next wave

- and do on...

 

It would just need some tuning about the price.

 

Edit: I forgot to add that the destroyed barracks could unlock some of these upgrades

 

Wait for vespene gas feature (which will be awarded for things like denies, and allow upgrading things like creep and tower strength, if all goes as i think it will go)

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I agree. This is a major problem. I think you nailed it with the lane mechanics being the primary problem but missed the other key point which is the ease of late game scaling. I think the problem ultimately boils down to two issues that need to be addressed.

 

1. In previous patches the game was designed for snowballing. The current version dramatically diminishes the value of a strong opening game.

 

In the 3.54 version of AoS, if a team went down 3 towers and ~7 hero kills, the game was pretty much over. One or more heroes on the other team would grab better items and continue to grow their advantage (snowballing). With late game mineral increases on units, you can easily make up this difference by turtling up, riding it out to the late game, and farming enemy units as they come into the base. (Don’t know the exact timing but in 4 of the last 5 games I’ve played, waves and creeps have been giving out 100 minerals per kill). It is feasible in the current version to go down 4 towers and ~10 hero kills over 30 minutes, turtle up and collect enough money off of the units coming into your base to match the items of the other team. Meanwhile their “advantage” turns into bank accounts of 20k+ that are almost entirely useless.

 

The more evenly matched heroes are, the longer the game is going to go. It is way too easy to max out on items now. Games last forever because everyone is maxed or close to maxed by the 40 minutes mark and neither team has a large enough advantage to easily push through and win.

 

2. Teams aren’t punished enough for wiping. This issue ties directly into the lane mechanics problem identified by the original poster.

 

In the end game, if you trade three for five in a team v team battle, there is a good chance that you will get next to nothing for it. The first two heroes to go down on the opposing team usually die about 30 seconds before the last hero is killed (accounting for heroes trying to escape and the push/pull of a team engagement), so the two remaining heroes have about 70 seconds to push before they must face superior opposition from the other team (same number of heroes plus a tower). Unless the winning team is fortunate enough to have a tank and AA hero as the survivors, back-dooring will not be viable and pushing will be the only option. Between the position of the creep wave (usually close to the middle), the time it takes to get there, and the fact that the first wave will probably have taken too much damage to allow for much of a push, the wiped team is generally respawning about the time the winning side is getting in position to actually do some damage.

 

I’ve been in a couple games now where both sides went back and forth with engagements like the one described without either team making any substantial progress on the actual base. Both games were ultimately decided by players growing bored and leaving the game, thereby swinging the outcome.

 

The game should be structured such that, if you wipe twice in the end game and the other team has two or more heroes remaining, you lose. I actually think the fix here is a simple one: wave speed (not spawn time or attack speed, but movement speed) should be increased substantially in the end game when no enemy heroes are around (enemy hero stipulation is to prevent faster waves from running down dying heroes), allowing for faster pushes into the base when unopposed.

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