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Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.04

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 3:40 am
by tosx
I'm still playing around with this squad, trying out different things. My first 4-island Hard run with them may have been a bit lucky, as my subsequent attempts have been pretty brutal. Most notably, there are a LOT of turns where the Force Mech can't do anything, and the squad really struggles with webs. Coupled with the fact that their damage never really increases, and I think they're still a bit too swingy.

I tried adding a Remote upgrade that allowed Grav Pulse to be cast up to 3 tiles away, and while helpful, it wasn't near enough. So I've started messing around with some slightly more drastic ideas; you can see my current favorite here:

I want to keep the core concept of the Force Mech, but give it more flexibility. This may still be too situational (if enemies clump together, all you can do is spread 1 bump damage around), but the wide range and ability do deal small AoE might be enough to offset that. I'll probably test this, or a similar idea, and see how it goes.

Two other tweaks on the table:
- Leaning back toward Smoke costing 2 cores, instead of 3. They really rely on it.
- Leaning towards swapping Reaper's No Recoil upgrade for a 1 core +2 damage upgrade. The Long Rifle tops out poorly in comparison to other Prime weapons, and without any pushing, it really needs to one-hit-kill to have any use. If that ends up too strong against bosses, I might make it "auto-kill non-massive Vek" and stay at 4 damage.

Thoughts welcome, especially if you've played them and think I might be buffing them too much :D

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.04

Posted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:23 pm
by Rusted
I absolutely loved this squad, but I felt they were a bit underpowered over my first couple runs. Until I found a couple loopholes, making them quite viable and versatile.

I put Kazaaakpleth in the force mech and kept him there, until I got to upgrade for his ability to push, not just pull (Crush). It was a late upgrade, because his pull coupled with Kaz's perk were able to keep the mech consistently active throughout the game, as I used the cores on the Reaper Mech's No Recoil and extra shot abilities and Archangel's Smoke.

I did modify something on the mechs though: I added armor to the force mech, and +1 square extra pull range making it quite versatile even in the beginning by soaking up damage dealing some mass displacement (more so in the later stages when I had his crush unlocked).

And really that was the only modification I did to the squad. In comparison to most other squads I downloaded and felt I had to tone them down (where I could), because they felt WAY too overpowered.

But let's see the details:

1. Reaper Mech.
-> Clunky at first (without upgrades)
-> Very positional.
-> Low Hp.
-> 4 damage shot at any range is just great, but is offset by the reload and the minimum range.
-> Original "reloading" mechanic.
Oh boy, did I hate the minimum range of the long rifle. I felt like having two ranged mechs in the team. Technically, due to low health I had to watch this mech to stop it from ramming into something whilst shooting, and to make sure it shoots something without getting inside its minimum range. I really like this mech, because albeit clunky to use, the upgraded gun is sufficiently strong to down wounded foes. I found the reloading mechanic absolutely gold too! This mech with fully upgraded long rifle and a Silica as pilot, becomes an unstoppable killing machine. With ACID autoloader it can deal up to 8 (!!!) damage, instakilling all bosses.
A prime mech with a minimum range (like a ranged mech), proves to be confusing and frustrating at times. Makes it extremely situational, seeing as you have to take both the push back mechanic and the low heath into consideration. Ranged mechs can fire over obstacles, but it can't. My advice would be to get rid of the minimum range of the main weapon. I would keep the No Recoil upgrade, because.. :P
Please, do not mess up this otherwise interesting mech with an insta-kill ability. It's cheap. 4 damage at any range is more than enough, not to mention if you used acid before turn it can dish out 8 damage on the target. Challenge is fun.

2. Archangel Mech.
-> Highly mobile (flying)
-> Positional.
-> Standard Hp.
-> Extremely versatile weapon, capable of making this squad shine.
I love this mech. The smoke upgrade is a must to get. The 3 core cost might be a bit too much, but then, being able to simultaneously deactivate two Veks AND displace others around them is gold. I cringed at first at the low damage, but that's because I was used to other types of artillery. This is original. I like it. Low damage? Sure, but think of the displacement value! Position this mech carefully and watch the plays <3
Lowering the cost of the Smoke upgrade to 2 cores, would enable to squad to easily gain 2 vital upgrades by the end of the first island: Smoke (duh!) and No Recoil on Reaper Mech. If you play really well (or get lucky), you might get up to 4 cores on the first island, in which case you still buy this upgrade even in the current version. Dunno what to say, it's a beautiful mech altogether.

3. Force Mech.
-> Good mobility.
-> Very positional.
-> Standard Hp.
-> Versatile weapon... when upgraded. But only after upgraded.
The only mech I actually modified, giving it an armor buff and extended pull range. Worked like a charm, paired with Kazaaak, this mech felt like a reverse Pulse Mech from Rusting Hulks. Without Kazaaak or armor... or extended pull range, this mech won't see much action... Unless you upgrade its weapon, but somehow the Archangel and the Reaper always seem to have a higher priority (at least in my case) with upgrades. This is fine.
Maybe give this mech armor and an upgrade to extend the range of the pull (+1 range = 1 core). Maybe make it so that it pulls all the way next to it (so in the case of three lined up veks, the first and the third would sandwich the second, dealing it 2 damage from the bumps). Paired with Kazaaak it makes up for its weakness until you get to upgrade the weapon. I personally don't mind tying certain pilots to squads/mechs. But I can imagine it's not something desirable for others.
P.s.: I've seen the video and I honestly dislike the new mechanic. Don't overbuff the squad, even as it is, it's pretty hard and fun to play.

That's a mouthful. But I really like this squad. I think they are in a good spot now with some minor improvements.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.04

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 12:41 pm
by tosx
Awesome feedback! I'll try to lay out my thoughts and how they line up with your experience:

  • Putting Kaz in the Force Mech is, I think, a pretty good indicator that it's not doing its job. Kaz solves a lot of the team's issues (inability to deal with webs, raw damage, damage+push, softening up targets for a 4-damage Reaper). I want the squad to be fun/viable without needing such a crutch. So Force Mech needs some kind of weapon change. I don't know that it needs armor.
  • My worry with the current Long Rifle is that if you ever saw Rocket Fist in the shop, it's just a much better weapon. It has better range, same damage, no limit AND push when fully upgraded. The minimum range and limited uses are pretty important aspects of the Long Rifle to me; I wanted it to feel like a powerful sniper rifle. Also while I liked No Recoil in my first run, the recoil actually saved me a few times in other runs by letting me bump spiderlings and blobs. I don't think Silica alone is a compelling reason for No Recoil to exist.

I just tried a 4-island hard run with a tweaked version. I did well, pretty similar to good runs with other squads. I think I liked most of what I saw. Changes were:
  • Reaper had a 2 core +2 damage upgrade instead of No Recoil.
  • Archangel's Smoke cost 2 cores.
  • Force Mech had yet another version of Grav Pulse:
Create a singularity on a tile without units, anywhere within 2 tiles of the Mech. Pushes adjacent units from that tile.
1 core upgrade: +1 range
3 core upgrade: Crush. Can now target units, which pulls adjacent tiles into them. Pulled units with less HP than the target are instantly killed.

What I liked:
- Long Rifle still felt useful in the endgame.
- New Grav Pulse worked pretty well. It's very flexible, but not targeting units is a big limitation compared to most ranged mechs. I no longer had problems with the Force Mech having nothing to do.
- The Crush upgrade may not be necessary, and may be too powerful, but I found it surprisingly thinky. It can deal an obscene amount of effective damage if you get lucky, but a lot of enemies have more HP than you, so you have to use with care near Mechs. It also lets you set up interesting combos by having other Mechs wound stuff so it can be crushed.

What I'm still undecided on:
- While I liked the balance of the 6 damage Long Rifle compared to other late game weapons, I'm not 100% sure the squad needs it. I think there might be some other, more interesting upgrade that would keep the rifle attractive without making it quite so simple to deal with problems. Other ideas I've had:
  • 1 core Scope upgrade: can shoot through buildings and friendly units. (Plays up the sniper feel, removes some targeting restrictions while keeping the minimum range.)
  • 2 core Piercing upgrade: deals 4 damage to an enemy behind the target as well (Probably too situational, since you rarely have a choice of where to shoot from).

That's an equal mouthful, but in short: I think they're moving in a good direction, being less dependent on pilot gimmicks to be viable :D I'm not uploading any new versions in a hurry (maybe I will for the Smoke cost), but if anyone is interested in testing any of these interim versions, let me know and I'll send you a link!

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.05

Posted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:55 pm
by Everglass
I concur to the fact that early on, the current iteration of the Force Mech is pretty difficult to get productive turns with. As an un-upgraded Grav Pulse has a narrow range of optimal situations where the weapon can be useful, requiring you have to position yourself exactly two spaces away from a target you wish to displace and if you're bumping that unit with another, it's only dealing a single point of damage to both, often not enough on it's own to prevent a vek from attacking a tile. You won't always be able to get value out of hitting multiple targets either.

A possible change to the weapon that would maintain the spirit of the current iteration is to have the base version both either pull targets two tiles away or push if it's an adjacent one. This would allow the weapon to maintain it's current capacities, either displacing two tile away targets or bumping them if there are units adjacent, while also give the mech the capability to push units without it's core upgrade. This would give the base version needed versatility while also closing the distance in power spike between base and the crush upgrade.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.05

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:33 am
by tosx
That was an early idea I considered, but I never liked that it would be a straight improvement over the Pulse Mech at the start. Non-damaging abilities have limited enough variety that it's kinda challenging making new but not superior effects.

I've been pretty happy with the current v0.06 version, in the 5 islands I've tested it with so far. It feels useful and different enough.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.05

Posted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:12 am
by Everglass
Ah yes, I forget about the Pulse Mech, he's a great staple to understanding the minimalist approach the game designers were going for. To be honest, I kinda enjoy Grav Mech jankiness in his role in the Eclipse Squad but I should give the alternative version a try and see how the redesign feels.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.05

Posted: Fri Apr 26, 2019 12:56 am
by tosx
I should probably save folks some time by clarifying what's in the v0.06 mod:

- The push/crush version of Grav Pulse (seen here)
- The Reaper's No Recoil replaced with a 1-core Scope upgrade allowing you to shoot it through buildings and allies.

So far I'm liking the Scope a lot more than the +2 damage upgrade I tried before.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.06

Posted: Mon May 06, 2019 11:16 pm
by tosx
Decided to make the WIP v0.06 into an official version. Made 1 minor sprite spacing adjustment too, so you may want to redownload if you had the old v0.06.

The old v0.05 is still there in an archive folder, if you find the new Force Mech too strong, but I had a lot of fun with it. I could see eventually tweaking the Crush upgrade to something more positional and less "kill kill damage", but not until/unless I have a better idea.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.09

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 8:44 pm
by ijocks
hey tosx, minor bug to report, I instantly earned the double smoke achievement by previewing the smoke upgrade out of combat, probably not the intended spirit of the achievement.

Re: [Squad] Eclipse v0.10

Posted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 9:37 pm
by tosx
Thanks, I didn't realize that they could trigger in the previews; should be fixed.