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Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

by iLikeToSnipe21

Original Post

Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Apprentice

I've been playing enough of Rivals to get my riflemen to level 12 without spending hardly anything on the game. There are two major issues I've noticed that can be easily fixed with changes that greatly increase balance, competitiveness, and fun.


First of all, there needs to be a map preview and then deck selection. It's common knowledge that some maps favor certain types of decks (i.e. tech vs rush). However, there are also maps that heavily favor certain units as well. On a few maps, the Juggernaut and arty are kings. On others with open space, units with Raider are king. It is not fun to get a map that sucks for your units. It's even worse when you then get matched on that map against a player lucky enough to have a deck built for it. This is especially obvious during events with just one or two maps. If you don't play to the map's strength with certain units you're not going to win all the matches in the event.


That's the key problem with how matches are currently setup, luck is a major factor in determining victory. My suggestion is to show players the map before the match starts, they then have 5-10 seconds to choose one of their three decks to play with. Problem solved. No more wishing for "the right map" to be selected.



The other issue is significantly worse in its impact but also has a somewhat simple fix. A six card deck is not large enough given all the units that are available. To illustrate why this is a problem let's look at the Orca Bomber and how a GDI player might counter it. First, let's start with all the GDI anti-air units:


  • Missile Squad
  • Rhino
  • Pitbull
  • Slingshot
  • Talon
  • Hammerhead
  • Wolverine
  • Zone Troopers
  • Sandstorm

Let's figure out what units can actually do something against an Orca Bomber. We can immediately exclude all the infantry from that list, they just can't stand up to a bomber. The Rhino can be taken off for not doing nearly enough DPS. That leaves us with five units to choose from, which seems decent, but let's list them out with some more details. I'm going to put next to each unit how many you need to STOP a bomber. Not eventually kill it, not damage it, but how to stop it from completing a full bombing run and getting away. This is also assuming the same level for your units and the bomber.


  • Pitbull (3-4)
  • Slingshot (2-3)
  • Talon (2-3)
  • Hammerhead (1-2)
  • Sandstorm Soccer ball

"Well that makes sense, 3 Pitbulls are about the same cost as a bomber!" Not really. That's three units to maybe kill one unit of equal cost. Not only that, you WILL lose some of those Pitbulls while the Orca Bomber might get away. I'm not talking about some newbie player who doesn't know how to use a bomber, I'm talking about somebody in Masters or Tib who knows what they're doing. At the end of the day, it just isn't economical to throw away 2-3 units just to kill one unit of near equal value. Not only have you lost your units, but the enemy has caused collateral damage against your other units. While it's true that not everybody runs Orca Bombers, you're going to get trashed in Masters or above when you do run into somebody with one. Unless you run with at least a Hammerhead or Sandstorm in your deck.


And that's the major, gaping, glaring flaw right now in game balance. There are several units in the game that can only be economically countered by a select few units. If you happen to run into an equally skilled player with one of those units and you've got no specific counter you might as well just close the game and start up another match. We've just looked at ONE unit in the game, and we already have to dedicate one of our deck slots to one of two units if we want to ever be able to counter it. Do you honestly think that the Orca Bomber is the only unit in the game you can expect to go up against that requires specific counters?


This is why we need more than six unit slots in a deck. Make it six normal slots and a seventh "support unit" slot (e.g. units like the Hammerhead), but this needs to be done. Without it you will have a large selection of units never being used at higher levels. Adding a seventh slot will increase deck variety, add depth to the game, make unique units more viable, and actually make the game more competitive and easier to balance.



There are multiple solutions to these two problems. It's not too important which one is used, what's most important is that a solution is actually put in place. I'll still play this casually when I'm sitting in the bathroom, but that's all this game is to me until the serious issues are fixed. I've got no reason to buy diamonds for events when I am forced into using certain units just to have a chance in each match.

Message 1 of 22 (548 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★ Guide

The beauty of a 6 slot deck is that no one can have the perfect deck. Every player is vulnerable and has a weakness in some way with only 6 cards. 


If if you want an OP Whale unit, you are going to have to sacrifice something vital for it. No rifleman for scouting or taking out scarabs for example early in the game to accommodate that Orca Bomber. You want scouting and the Orca Bomber, then you have to remove shockwaves and make due with just rifleman. 

Message 2 of 22 (526 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Apprentice
@Marine_CorporaI I don't want a "perfect deck", I want a competitive deck. This game is not "competitive" if I can build a balanced, well thought out deck and have no chance of winning due to my opponent happening to have the one deck that counters mine. Any game with a deck system needs to be balanced in such a way that you always have options.

If the devs are going to introduce units that you MUST have one of a certain set of units to counter then we need more deck slots. This isn't something as dumb as "I can't compete with air units because I brought no anti-air units". There are units in the game that can only be effectively countered by a handful of other units, and they aren't even hard to get units like the Avatar. It's at the point where you can't have a 100% viable deck as GDI past Masters without the Hammerhead.
Message 3 of 22 (520 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Novice

I do hate some maps, but bofore we get to the complex solutions, we could just have a new map pool for some of the leagues.


You don't have to counter an Orca Bomber on the bombing run. Spread your units and maintain some map presence. Players most likely can't do that, if they babysit a 2x harvester or if they took some major losses early on, but there are ways to hunt down an Orca Bomber. You could send a booster Pitbull after it, when reloading.

Message 4 of 22 (511 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

[ Edited ]
★★★ Guide

And you can also trick a bomber to drop bombs early so that it runs out of bomb before reaching you and bombing its friend on the way

Message 5 of 22 (502 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Apprentice

There are a lot of good tips for dealing with different units but some of them, like tricking it to bomb early, is a lot easier said than done. A lot of this sounds good on paper, but it really doesn't work when going up against an experienced player. Personally, I would love to use Orca Bombers but I just haven't gotten the cards to do so. With the practice I have been able to get with them I can tell you that going up against a smart opponent with them makes a strategy like this useless.


But I don't want this to just be about one unit. The problem is that with the units that have been added you cannot have a truly good deck without seven slots. Again, I don't want an unbeatable deck, that would unequivocally be bad for the game. I just want to have enough flexibility to have a balanced deck that doesn't have critical weakpoints. In the current state of the game, no matter how well you try to build your deck there will always be at least one other deck that will absolutely crush you if your opponent is of at least similar skill.


You might think "but that's what balance is!", you'd be wrong. Balance is having good, fair competition. You can't have that with 6 unit decks and random maps. Luck is a deciding factor in Rivals; that's really, really, really bad for an RTS.


There has been talk about how this is supposed to be a competitive game. I would love nothing more than to see it actually become one. But right now, it is anything but competitive. The events with lower level caps and limited map pools help a lot. That in itself is proof that this game has a fundamental problem with randomness/luck. However, in the higher end of the events my experience has been that there is a very stiff, successful meta with little room for variation. It's not a symptom of unit balance, it's caused by a lack of options.


I'm an RTS veteran. I've been playing the C&C series since 1995 when it was first released on DOS. I've been a top 2% player in Company of Heroes back when it was popular. In Rivals, I got to the top 50 in Tib League before it got filled with P2W level 15 players and had unit access tied to medals. I know what I'm talking about. This is NOT a competitive game, but it has the potential to be a great one.


So, that's my rant. I'm just fed up with seeing so many RTS games come just a few steps away from AAAA greatness and falling short. I'll keep on hoping for Rivals to fix its flaws, but I'm not holding my breath.

Message 6 of 22 (457 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Apprentice
Seriously, it's been 12 years since Supreme Commander. 13 since Company of Heroes. I'm kinda sick of seeing all these new games fail to live up to the standards of a decade ago.
Message 7 of 22 (452 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★ Guide

@iLikeToSnipe21 wrote:

I'll keep on hoping for Rivals to fix its flaws, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yes. This. So very hard this.

Message 8 of 22 (424 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★ Guide

@Mister_Crac wrote:

@iLikeToSnipe21 wrote:

I'll keep on hoping for Rivals to fix its flaws, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yes. This. So very hard this.

Well, the only way for C&C Rivals to be what everyone wants is that they developers should be swimming in money. We need more of those P2W players so the developers have more than enough cash to patch and balance everything. I'd donate 10 to 20% of my salary just to ensure the game gets fixed. All I want is a promise that EA can fix this and make the game better than yesterday. The game is good overall, but need lots of improvements. The improvements are all our requests and bug fixes.

Message 9 of 22 (419 Views)

Re: Two suggestions to instantly improve game balance

★★★★★ Apprentice
@EinarThePillager I'd love to support this game more. But I could either spend a day at Disney or get a new unit up to level 10. I've got no incentive to actually support this game yet.
Message 10 of 22 (414 Views)


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