Faction by Faction Analysis: The Good, the Bad, and the Run-on Posting
This thread is based on older versions of the game! There have been several major balance patches since I wrote these things so please understand this is mostly concerned with legacy content and a lot of my points no longer apply!
This post has been building for a while now. I wanted to separate my thoughts on factions from outside noise, so I'm going to try to organize it all here under a few clear headers. I feel like most of the factions/units have crystallized enough for us to have a good idea of how units can/should be used, at least in the current game mode and metagame.
I like Red. Red is at once both simple and versatile. It's easy to explain to new players. It's easy to pick up and play. Eris and Vex feel like very different heroes despite both being range-y damage dealers. I like that a lot.
I think Red is a fairly complete faction. It has few weaknesses (outside of one big one) and many clear strengths. There are only a few units that feel like they aren't yet pulling their weight, and no units that feel outright over-powered in the current meta.
The biggest concern for Red is how much better they get when the map objectives encourage skirmishes rather that huge entrenched 3v3 battles. Red felt like the best faction back when that was the norm, and if the game goes back to that style of play they may again feel somewhat too good.
What Works for Red
- Red is a balanced faction that can both solo and support well
- Is good in 1v1s but also can DPS behind teammates well
- Does not feel like it hard-counters other builds any more - more fun to play against
- Has powerful Tier 3 Casters that can answer some common problems
- Apocs are one of the few things that can fight White's tier 3 (under the right circumstances)
- Has powerful and interesting Tier 2 between Lancers and Dervishes
- Caveat: Siege feels very poor in the current meta
- Caveat: Lancers felt possibly overtuned before Conduits pushed siege to the sidelines
- Can hit-and-run effectively, controlling large portions of the map
- Caveat: Not very useful in the current meta where roaming the map is rare
- Units feel flavorful and work well together - good synergy and feel good to micro
- Sandstingers vs. Spitfires represents an interesting choice in playstyle
- Simple and clear gameplan
- Feels good early, middle, and late game: Lots going on at all Tiers and stages of the game
- Interesting choices in the midgame: Do I spend money on Red's strong Tier 2, or cut corners for their great casters at Tier 3?
- Many of Red's interesting choices are made within a game itself rather than at deck creation
- I'd love to see more of this from each faction
- Blue has this a bit as well
- Red feels, for the most part, like a fairly balanced and interesting faction to play as and against at all skill levels
What doesn't feel like it's working for Red
- Red has no clear way to kill Big Tanks - especially Bramblethorns
- Entire army cannot typically kill a Bramblethorn solo
- Even 2 Red armies focusing fire often can't kill microed Bramblethorns, especially if Grath is present
- There seems to be no unit in Red's deck that helps address this
- As a "DPS faction", this feels like a major liability to have no option for
- PROPOSED SOLUTION: What if Red had a way to apply stacking "weakened armour" debuff or the like with some unit?
- Vex's ult still feels overtuned
- Can kill armies in 1 shot
- Can't be dodged from up close - Vex can always just suicide trade. Not fun to play against
- Startup is fine if you're not adjacent to Vex but there are many occasions where you can't realistically do anything to avoid being pressed up close
- Would feel less problematic if armies weren't mostly Tier 1: If more T1.5 or T2 troops that didn't get 1-shotted, might be less unpleasant in current form
- PROPOSED SOLUTION: Have ult deal (at most) 70% of a unit's max HP or something similar
- Eris basic's cooldown reduction effect doesn't feel like it adds much except complexity
- Missing a shot is annoying but happens rarely
- Mostly just disrupts rhythm
- Frustrating without inviting much counterplay
- PROPOSED SOLUTION: Remove on-miss penalty. This may cause unintended problems with spamming, but seems worth testing
- Casters all feel lumped at Tier 3, with a lot of overlap between abilities
- Red had lots of ways to control space and clear out T1 chaff
- Igniters the closest thing to support casters
- Otherwise lots of AOE damage. Choices at T3 thus feel somewhat restrictive - trying to pick the best of similar options
- PROPOSED SOLUTION: Pyrosaurs may be more interesting with a different set of abilities rather than fairly redundant waveclear. What if they helped with Red's problem killing Big Tanks?
- Beetles and Scarabs both feel fairly useless
- Most Tier 1.5 feels very weak at the moment. Beetles are pretty par for the course
- DPS melee like Scarabs feels very weak in Atlas because Upgraded Marines (which Atlas is full of) typically chew through medium-HP melee units with little effort
- PROPOSED SOLUTION: Tier 1.5 feels like it needs a rework - in general these units feel like wastes of Shards. Scarabs on the other hand I'm unsure how to improve - is there a place for medium-HP melee DPS?
- Red's power level seems rooted in map objectives
- Not necessarily a downside, just something to keep in mind
- The wider the range of points of conflict, the stronger red feels