This is an ambitious and comprehensive balance proposal that is meant to be read in full; that said, this is a serious read and there is a TL;DR for those of you lacking the willpower. The thread that developed into this article has garnered nearly 150 likes and a considerable amount of positive feedback in the MechWarrior: Online forums, and I encourage you to spam the developers with this proposal if you support it. I strongly believe that this is the best (and perhaps only) solution to most of our long-standing and forthcoming balance issues, and that’s why I’ve put such an inordinate amount of time and effort into this. I would like to personally thank Tombstoner for helping solve the biggest player communication issue (weapon group reticle colors) and Phaesphoros for the terrific HUD mock-ups.
MechWarrior: Online is my kind of ‘mech combat – it’s gritty, it’s brutal, and face-offs between skilled pilots can take minutes. Unfortunately, the introduction of host state rewind for ballistic weapons had an unintended side effect: extreme, pinpoint damage now reigns as the undisputed king. Even before the latest PPC and AC/40 craze, the Splatcat was all about putting a ridiculous alpha in a relatively small location by face-hugging. It’s a problem that has persisted all the way through Open Beta and will become exponentially worse with the introduction of the Clans.
I will be the first to acknowledge that many aspects of the game’s balance need fixing: SRM damage, LRM coring/damage, SSRM coring, pulse lasers, hit detection, etc. I also won’t deny that hardpoint restrictions, penalties for overheating, tonnage limitations, and encouraging players to run lighter ‘mechs would cut back a lot of the cheese, but none of them are sufficient to solve the largest and most systemic balance problem that MechWarrior:Online (and all of its realtime predecessors) suffers from.
The crux of the MechWarrior: Online’s major balance problems is being able to deal more than 20 or 30 points of damage to a single location in a single click. Separately, neither massive alpha strikes nor convergence is a bad thing. Together, however, they create a nasty scenario where a couple of clicks is enough to vaporize an opponent. It’s bad, both in terms of gameplay and from a Battletech lore standpoint. There’s absolutely no incentive to fire two shots at 20 damage when you could fire one for 40 damage.
Most of the solutions I see being thrown around are solutions to the current symptoms of our problem: PPCs. Heat and PPCs are being debated ad nauseum simply because they are the flavor of the month. PPC boats are a serious problem, but to ignore large ballistics is a dangerous mistake. I fear that the tunnel vision about the current metagame will result in PGI ignoring the impending problems that will be introduced by new ‘mechs and the arrival of the Clans.
Not many people think ballistics are a huge problem right now, but I’d argue that’s only because we don’t have a particularly scary ballistics platform in the game. The AC/40 Catapult has to sacrifice speed, and the AC/40 Jagermech is really squishy because of its profile and XL. They’re still cheesy and too good for their weight, but they have exploitable weaknesses. If, however, PGI decided to drop a Mauler, Devastator, or Thunderhawk on us, there would be untold amounts of whine.
That exact thing could be said for PPCs: if we didn’t have any assaults that could boat 4+ PPCs, they wouldn’t be nearly as reviled. Heavies have to make serious sacrifices to boat them and don’t have the armor to take serious punishment, just like the current scenario with ballistics. When an assault starts boating something unbalanced, it becomes immediately apparent.
The minute PGI releases a ‘mech that can mount 4xUAC/5s plus change and has the ability tank a good amount of damage, the community will be shitting its collective pants. Even if they add ridiculous heat penalties to the autocannons, the Gauss rifle will continue to dominate. 2xPPC + 2xGauss and 3xGauss builds are impossible to solve with heat.
Even more dangerous than new ballistic ‘mechs are the Clan ballistic weapons. The Clan UAC/20 is a mere 12 tons and 8 critical slots. The double-tap will be able to put 40 damage on a single spot. Now imagine a ‘mech with jumpjets that mounts two of them. You’re imagining a stock Hunchback IIC, and it’s absolutely terrifying. Something drastic must be done to prevent Clan assault ‘mechs from being able to kill an Atlas with a single alpha.
My suspicion is that PGI’s plan is to avoid any assault ‘mech that can boat large ballistics simply because they have no good way to balance them – which is a really shitty solution. There’s no reason that balance issues should prevent awesome ‘mechs like the Mauler from showing up.
And if ballistics weren’t bad enough, Clan missiles will bring a host of problems: half-tonnage, no-minimum-range LRMs will make previous LRMageddons look tame, and lightweight SSRM6 packs will make the Splatcats of yesterday a laughing matter. Though the arrival of the Clans is not an immediately pressing issue, it’s better to have a system in place now than to ignore the horrible balance problems for later.
Disclaimers: PGI has my complete permission to use this system as-is or with any modifications they see fit. I would be happy to sign anything needed to prevent intellectual property from being an issue. Also, none of this has anything to do with the “Targeting Computer” piece of equipment.
My solution is to implement a scale that represents the load on the targeting computer (TCL). Each weapon would, similar to heat, have an associated targeting computer stress value (TCS). When a weapon (or group) is fired, the stress value of all about-to-fire weapons are added to the load on the targeting computer. The targeting computer load automatically dissipates at a constant rate of 100 per second.
When the load is between 0 and 100 (inclusive), there are no ill effects. When it goes over 100, all missile locks and Artemis functionality are lost, convergence stops working, and you begin to take an accuracy penalty (cone of fire) to any shots fired. Locking capability, Artemis, and convergence are not restored until the load on the targeting computer reaches 100 or below.
From 101 to 200, the accuracy penalty gets progressively worse (the cone of fire expands). Each weapon fires at its own accuracy offset so that weapons mounted in the same component fire in different directions. The pilot can continue to drive the targeting computer load up to a maximum of 500 by continuing to fire, but the effects of a targeting computer overload reach their worst at 200.
To clarify, you can’t get away with one free alpha strike; TCL values are added and penalties are applied before the shots are fired. My proposed TCS values for all weapons can be found in The Numbers section.
Convergence is the system that makes all of your weapons aim at the same spot; without it, all of your weapons fire directly forward (parallel, never crossing, out to infinity) from the place they are mounted on your ‘mech. Because all weapons fire directly forward without convergence, it has the same impact at 20m as it does at 800m. It is for this reason that I see the immediate loss of convergence as a necessary penalty – without it, snipers are the only builds affected. A PPC Stalker or AC/40 Jagermech at 100m will barely be affected by all but the most ridiculous cone of fire; the loss of convergence affects all roles and ranges equally.
Though I suggest that going over 100 immediately deactivates convergence, I would not be opposed to the gradual loss of convergence (linear interpolation between non-converged and converged) when the TCL is between 101 and 150 if the original implementation is deemed too abrupt and severe. Either way, the loss of convergence is absolutely key to this system working properly; a cone of fire simply doesn’t affect short-range combat.
A cone of fire is a small angular offset applied to each weapon. Many first-person shooters have recoil that causes your bullets to spread more – that’s a cone of fire. The spread has a greater effect the farther away you are from your target. The cone of fire I’m proposing would be tuned for around 500m. Snipers would suffer the largest penalty, while combat closer than 200m wouldn’t see a dramatic impact.
The cone of fire is necessary for a few reasons. First, it affects chassis that can boat high damage in a single component (HGN-732 with 3xPPC in the RT). The loss of convergence alone would not affect such chassis as severely. Second, it adequately punishes those who massively overload their targeting computer. Barely going over the threshold is one thing – alpha striking six PPCs deserves a far more severe punishment. Lastly, it forces snipers to exercise fire discipline. I’m okay with brawlers continuing to fight (albeit far less effectively) with their targeting computer maxed out, but I see no reason to allow sniping with an overloaded targeting computer.
The problem we face was never balanced for in tabletop Battletech. Random hit locations meant spread damage, but that kind of system is simply too harsh for a realtime shooter; superior aim must be rewarded. A new set of numbers to act as the bridge between those two realities is the only way to fully address the problem without leaving any messes to clean up.
An analogy in software engineering: modular code is good code. As the requirements of a piece of software grow and change, a programmer is often faced with two choices – the lazy way and the right way. The first consists of sprinkling conditional statements and other additional code into existing systems to enable them to handle the new problem. It’s the easy way, and it’s not always bad when used for small things that won’t need to be expanded or changed later.
The right way consists of writing a separate system to solve the new problem. If the problem is a significant one – particularly one that existing systems were not meant to solve – it’s always wiser to use the latter approach. It’s a precision fix to a problem that doesn’t affect other code modules – much like what this solution does for balance.
Moreover, it makes later additions to the game much easier to handle. Having this set of numbers separate from the others allows proper balancing for different problems; it is a decision the developers would not regret, particularly when Clans come out to play.
My solution is comprehensive enough that all alpha-based cheese, current and future, is effectively eliminated. I challenge you to think of a single cheese build that would survive. Sure, the 4xPPC Stalker and AC/40 Jagermech will be around, but they’ll take twice the skill to use (and they’ll simply never be as effective as they can be now).
The key is preventing players from doing it in the first place, and that’s exactly what my method will do. With my system, players have a choice between accuracy and extreme, immediate damage; I don’t believe they should ever have both.
The system is designed to be completely isolated from every other part of the game; fire discipline is the only thing players will need to adjust. Aside from a distinct lack of instant vaporizations and slightly longer matches, gameplay shouldn’t see any other collateral effects.
The HUD will require a few minor changes to clue the player in about what’s going on. There needs to be a meter showing the current TCL and indications for convergence loss and cone of fire. The most important thing is that the player should always know whether firing a certain weapon group will ever push him over 100% load on the targeting computer. The weapon group icons around the reticle have had their colors changed to represent the TCL value after that group is fired (blue for 100 or below, yellow for over 100, and red for over 200).
Keep in mind that these numbers are meant to demonstrate the spirit of what I’m going for. Though I think these numbers are a pretty good indication of what relative balance would look like, it’s important not to get caught up in the minutia; this is just a starting point.
My TCS values are based primarily on two things: damage and pinpoint capability. For instance, the TCS of four medium lasers (20 damage) is equal to the TCS of a single PPC (10 damage) because lasers take more skill and effort to keep aimed at a single component; unless you and the target are still, laser damage almost always spreads. The same logic applies for SRMs and LRMs, and it’s why their TCS to damage ratio is so low. My numbers may not be perfect, but they’re a pretty damn good starting point.
The following are examples of how TCL would interact with various ‘mechs. They’re meant to paint a picture of how shots need to be staggered and how alpha strikes will affect different builds.
Firing three at once (TCS == 150) would result in the loss of convergence and a moderate accuracy penalty. Firing all four simultaneously (TCS == 200) would result in the loss of convergence and the maximum accuracy penalty. A 6xPPC Stalker could reach a TCL of 300 by firing all six at once, but the maximum accuracy penalty will occur at 200.
You could chain-fire the PPCs at a rate of one every half-second (you’d need eight PPCs mounted to do that continuously) and maintain a neutral TCL.
Because of the massive drawbacks (engine and heat issues), there will no longer be any reason to take a 6xPPC Stalker. 4xPPC Stalkers will be around, but not nearly as cheesy because they’re forced to stagger their shots instead of pinning you in the center torso twice.
The Splatcat can fire four of its six SRM6 packs simultaneously (TCS == 100) without incurring an accuracy penalty. The remaining two could be fired a half-second later to avoid any penalty.
A Splatcat that fired all six at once (TCS == 150) would lose convergence and take a moderate accuracy penalty. The loss of convergence would be particularly damning for a Splatcat because its ears are rather far apart.
Most of the time (by my best estimation of what good pilots will do), Splatcats will fire each ear individually (TCS == 75). They’ll still be able to pour on the pain, but the obscene alpha of their former days will remain in the past.
A Jagerboom that fired both AC/20s simultaneously (TCS == 200) would lose convergence and incur the maximum accuracy penalty.
Waiting only a half-second to fire the second AC/20 would result in a TCL of 150, the loss of convergence, and a moderate accuracy penalty.
Like the Splatcat, the loss of convergence will have a rather large effect on the Jager because of the distance between its arms. An accurate Jagerboom is effective; an inaccurate one is squishy and useless. You’ll still see them around, and they’ll still be a threat. They just won’t be nearly as demoralizing as they are today.
At this point, a lot of you are probably thinking, “This sounds like an awful lot of work…” As someone who programs video games for a living, I feel relatively qualified to speculate about how much work this would actually take to implement.
All the time estimates for programming are very generous. The only possible problem I forsee is the way their firing / convergence system works. It might require some refactoring to make all weapons add their TCS to the TCL and have an accuracy penalty applied before they fire, but it’s difficult for me to imagine that would be a huge change.
The art side of things is a bit vaguer since I don’t have much first-hand knowledge. Based on my experience working with artists, I figure a week is a reasonable amount of time to get a few HUD and Mechlab icons planned out and drawn. The HUD could be an absolute disaster, but I would hope it takes less than a week to hook up a couple simple elements.
Testing would be, by far, the biggest time-suck. This clearly needs to be tested thoroughly before being released into the wild. Personally, I think this is the perfect candidate for the upcoming test server.
Worst-case scenario, we’re talking about three weeks for two programmers and two artists. If everything goes smoothly, it should only take one programmer and one artist a single week. Knowing what I know about game development, the worst-case scenario is probably more realistic. Regardless of how long it takes, you simply can’t put a man-hour price on game balance.
In this section, I have done my best to answer every possible concern about the TCL scale. If you have lingering doubts, they are probably addressed below. Feel free to disagree, but I challenge you to present a better alternative.
Rather than simply not knowing exactly where the next shot will go, the pilot has the choice between accuracy or extreme, immediate damage. Because the HUD allows the player to see whether their next shot will overload the targeting computer, there’s nothing random about it.
In effect, TCL actually increases the value of good aim by forcing many builds (particularly snipers) to shoot more frequently. Additionally, fire discipline will be much more necessary to be an effective pilot. It’s one thing to be penalized by shutting down in the safety of your pack; it’s another to have your shots going all over the place.
Forget about the numbers, the rate of dissipation, the details of the accuracy penalty, and all the other minutia – when you boil it down to the player’s interaction with the system, it’s a simple choice between staggering fire for accuracy or taking a one-time aim penalty for extreme, immediate damage. Players won’t need to micromanage the TCL or time their shots perfectly – they just need to cut back on the alpha spam. Again, weapon cooldown and heat will remain as the only limiters on damage over time.
Furthermore, if you’ve played an FPS with recoil, you’d immediately understand what’s going on; it’s intuitive and perfectly catered to the mass market. Even without that experience, it would take someone perhaps two minutes in the training ground or shooting at a wall to figure out precisely what’s happening.
You want to know what doesn’t have mass market appeal? Getting one- or two-shotted in a game that takes two minutes to just get to the fight.
One huge benefit my strategy is that it will only require players to change one thing: fire discipline. Whereas movement/heat penalties, highly-penalized group fire, and the wait-for-convergence strategy will all fundamentally alter combat and force players to make large changes to how they play, this solution will allow this entire balance problem to be de-coupled from every other system in the game.
Additionally, I think a lot of players are craving more depth and will actually enjoy having an additional simulation element. It’s a sorely-needed later of tactical depth in what has largely become a mindless, point-and-click shooter since ballistic host state rewind.
I realize that everyone wants a simple solution to our balance problems, but it’s just not going to happen. There is no magic wand – believe me I’ve been searching. The gap between tabletop random and shooter precision is massive; a system is needed to be the plug adapter between them, so to speak, and that’s where the TCL comes in. My solution is not light-weight, but it does solve all of the major issues without leaving little messes to sweet up.
To me, the most important piece of complexity is the player’s interaction with the new system. As addressed in the rebuttal above, it’s as easy to adapt to and intuitive as any other solution that’s been put forward. Is this proposal complex in concept and implementation? Sure. Is it complex in terms of player interaction? Absolutely not. As stated above, it simply boils down to staggering fire; the TCL will not need to be micromanaged like heat.
What you may view as an arbitrary scale I see as the missing link between tabletop balance and realtime balance. It’s always been needed, it’s always been missing, and it’s why pinpoint damage has been a problem in all realtime MechWarrior titles.
As you’ll see in my Rebuttals II section, there are very few alternatives capable of solving the problem, and all of those that can are more draconian than what I’m suggesting. I believe that comprehensiveness is key to any fix; simply sweeping this problem under the rug for a few more months by nerfing PPCs is an inane waste of time.
My estimates could be off as I’m not familiar with their codebase or how their asset pipeline works, but if my boss asked me to make this happen, those are the time estimates I’d give. If you don’t believe my time estimates, triple them and tell me it’s not still worth it.
Furthermore, most other solutions are an equal amount of work to implement. What PGI is doing right now (heat penalties on a per-weapon basis) is an equal amount of numbers, programming, and Mechlab changes. The only thing objectively more complex about the TCL is the HUD.
SRMs – They need to be at 2.0 damage or close to it. Once that happens, you’ll see Splat back in style. And I don’t see any reason that sort of build shouldn’t be hostage to the same restrictions as everything else. The Splatcat would have been a lot less cheesy if it could only fire one ear a time accurately.
SSRMs – They need to seek the center torso less, but again, why should this type of weapon be exempt from penalties? I’m thinking Timberwolf Alternate Configuration D (4xSSRM6 + 2ERPPC) when I’m thinking that streaks need the same limit as everything else gets.
To account for the fact that all of them spread damage, the TCS to damage ratios of missiles are very low compared to other weapons. Once Clan LRMs and Clan SSRMs make an appearance, attitudes on missiles being exempt will change rapidly.
You aren’t supposed to go over 100, the TCL dissipates extremely quickly, you have to actively fire a large amount of weaponry in a short timespan to exceed the threshold in the first place, the HUD lets you know what’s going to happen before you fire, and unlike the harsh penalty of shutting down, it just means one volley is inaccurate. Stop whining, cowboy up, and take another shot.
The only compromise that I feel would still be effective is the gradual removal of convergence from 101-125 on the scale. Essentially, it would be implemented as a linear interpolation between the converged and non-converged aim locations. For instance, a TCL of 105 would cause your weapons to be 80% converged, while a TCL of 120 would only let your weapons converge 20% of the way.
Furthermore, it dissipates so rapidly that heat and weapon cooldown are still, by far, the limiting factors in damage per second. This system might confuse players for a round or two, but the way it works is extremely intuitive, and the HUD will do an adequate job of conveying the consequences before the action is taken. Once players are used to slightly staggering their fire, it won’t be an issue.
Additionally, a preemptive penalty is the only way to ensure players can’t get off one free alpha strike; causing it to work like recoil would make this entire system pointless
In this section, I offer rebuttals to every alternative system I’ve seen presented. If you think you have something that would work better to solve our current problems, chances are extremely high that I found it inferior for one reason or another. Even if you disagree, you’ll know why I stand where I do.
It will punish players for certain alpha strikes, but it won’t prevent them from doing it. Even assuming the heat balancing goes well, the penalties will have to be ridiculously severe to truly deal with things like the 4xPPC Stalker. It still doesn’t solve that single, massive, focused burst that’s enough to leg a light whether by a skilled or lucky hand. It just means they’ll have to be a little smarter about picking their shots.
Refer to “The Coming Storm” to see my thoughts on why solving ballistics is so important. Heat penalties are completely incapable of solving the problem for ballistics (particularly the Gauss).
Verdict: Incapable of solving ballistics, lots of unintended side-effects, will mess with the most delicate system in the game, punishment – not prevention.
Lowering the heat cap would require harsher penalties for overheating to be effective; otherwise, you’re just making the first alpha shut them down instead of the third. With that in mind, I think it would make the game quite unforgiving to new players. It’s going a bit far in my mind if a single salvo with all equipped weapons could do serious, self-inflicted damage.
I also think alpha strikes are an awesome, valid tactical choice. Seeing a ‘mech fire everything in a desperate bid to put out some damage is fun to watch. I simply think that alpha strikes and regular shooting should have a difference: one is for putting damage on a specific target and the other is for putting huge amounts of immediate damage on any part of a target – not just an act of suicidal desperation.
Increasing dissipation could make the experience smoother, but it would certainly have a few unknowable effects on gameplay. High damage per second would be king, and heat management would, in some ways, be less necessary.
Verdict: Punishment instead of prevention, too harsh, relegates alphas to a sad, lonely corner, will affect the pace of gameplay in unknowable ways, and utterly ineffective against ballistics.
I’ll be doing an article at another time about hardpoint restrictions. Regardless of where you stand on the idea, it doesn’t solve Canon boats, and that’s a rather large shortcoming.
Verdict: Somewhat effective at mitigating the problem, does not solve Canon boats, does not solve the real issue, could be harsh and irritating depending on implementation.
Unlike autocannons, the Gauss Rifle canonically only fires a single projectile. Making it work as the only instant-damage weapon simply makes it the only offender and thus the ideal choice for boating. If it gets the burst treatment like autocannons, it goes against lore and severely gimps the weapon’s capacity for sniping (which is, after all, what it was meant to do).
Gauss aside, UAC/20s and other high-damage combinations are still going to be a problem. Whether or not you’ve got to hold it on target for a little while, 80 points of damage to a single spot is too extreme. While damage over time makes it more difficult to do, it doesn’t come close to making it impossible. Though that band-aid might work for a while, the Clan invasion will rip it right off.
Additionally, this does absolutely nothing to counter missiles. Although they aren’t a big problem now, Clan LRMs and SSRMs will bring a world of pain that must be addressed somehow. The damage-over-time solution effectively eliminates weapon diversity to cover up the problem, and I’d argue that a more robust, permanent solution is far superior.
Verdict: Only partially effective at solving the problem, removes weapon diversity, does not affect missiles.
Furthermore, movement penalties beg people to camp. If you think the sit-and-snipe metagame is bad now, can you imagine what it would be like if the game actually rewarded you for standing? How are mediums supposed to do their jobs? Why does my Awesome 9M need a huge nerf? Rewarding the act of camping is unbelievably foreign to me. Movement is a good thing and should be rewarded – not punished. I see absolutely no reason to penalize good maneuvering. All this solution does is make the big alpha boats inclined to camp.
MechWarrior: Online is not like other shooters. In other shooters, the gameplay is fast-paced, characters are maneuverable, and shooting people that are moving is rather difficult; quite the opposite is true in MWO. Camping is already encouraged by the nature of the game, ‘mechs are not maneuverable, and I can’t think of a single positive effect accuracy penalties for movement would have on gameplay.
Verdict: Ineffective at solving the problem, rewards camping, punishes aiming skill, and penalizes all the wrong builds and playstyles.
Verdict: Ineffective with large ballistics, punishes the wrong things, will undoubtedly mandate a weapon rebalancing.
Assuming non-convergence is a step too far; gameplay would be too slow, it would take a toll on skilled aim, and it would ultimately drive away mainstream gamers. On top of that, it still doesn’t solve the problem. It just makes those big boats wait a second or two to fire (6xPPC Stalkers and the like already take time to line up a good shot if they know what they’re doing).
Verdict: Delays but does not prevent or punish, drastically alters (slows) the pace of gameplay, removes twitch-aiming skills, obsoletes torso twisting, and irritates players.
Many mediums and other ‘mechs rely on shoot-and-scoot tactics. Many of them would be at a huge disadvantage if they were forced to chain-fire their weapons. Bursts of damage aren’t a problem – huge bursts of damage all hitting a single location are. We need a scalpel; this solution is a battle axe.
Verdict: Capable of solving the problem, wildly unpopular, many unintended consequences, extremely irritating and/or confusing for many players, needlessly harsh.
Causing group fire to take a convergence or accuracy penalty is simply too harsh in my mind. Though it would be more true to tabletop in that only the AC/20 could put 20 points of damage on a single location, I think group fire is too intuitive and useful to take the nerf bat to. New and veteran players alike benefit from being able to group weapons, and its removal (or severe punishment) is extremely unpopular with the community.
Additionally, most of the complexity from my system will be necessary to make it work properly. To prevent people from creating macros to circumvent the chain-fire requirement, some sort of global cooldown would be needed. And that system would need to take into account what weapon type is fired since weapons like machine guns and AC/2s have an extremely high rate of fire. At the point where you have a global cooldown on a per-weapon basis, you’re essentially describing my system without having a good explanation or way to communicate it to the player.
Another big problem I have with removing group-fire’s ability to be accurate is the impact it will have on the striker role. Strikers are ‘mechs that rely on the ability to pop out, fire off a quick alpha strike, and duck back into cover. Mediums, Dragons, fast Awesomes, and others would all be unduly punished. None of them have a ridiculously cheesy amount of firepower, but their ability to get it off quickly is essential to the way they play.
Verdict: Effective at solving most problems, does not affect missiles, needlessly nerfs strikers, no less complexity in practice, more drastic effect on pacing, goes slightly too far in my mind.
Verdict: Mostly capable of solving the problem, wildly unpopular, ineffective against certain chassis, several unintended consequences, extremely irritating and/or confusing for most players, needlessly harsh.
Verdict: Half of the solvency of removing convergence wholesale, double the problems.
In my mind, it would actually make the problem worse by encouraging more high-alpha builds. Because getting off as much damage as possible as quickly as possible at the range of convergence would be the goal, there’s no better way to achieve that than to run cheesy, high-alpha builds.
Fixed convergence in a game where the player is unmaneuverable (relative to other shooters) just becomes extremely annoying. It’s a simulation element that many players (especially casual / cross-overs) will hate. The negative effect it would have on pacing far outweighs the limited solvency it would achieve.
Verdict: Ineffective at solving the problem, extremely irritating, unintended effects on pacing and gameplay.
All of these fixes ignore the real problem. They just try to reduce the problem’s frequency instead of addressing the root cause. I’m not saying I’m against some more work on matchmaking, but it’s also not going to fix this problem.
Verdict: Does not solve the real issue, possibly makes the issue appear less often, unintended consequences, possible negative effects on matchmaking, would require an inordinate amount of balancing.
It makes weapon balancing inconsistent. You’re solving the same problem two different ways for two different weapon types, and you’re not really solving the problem at all for missiles (missiles aren’t bad now, but the Clans will make them bad). It means balancing pinpoint damage will be that much harder because you have to make two or three systems solve the same problem with the same relative strength. It would end up being an absolute nightmare for the balance team.
Communication to the player would also be difficult. Either you let them fire a huge ballistics alpha and then recoil happens (which doesn’t solve the problem since the first shot was pinpoint) or you preemptively penalize them without any sort of explanation. You’d need most of the new HUD elements from my solution to do a less effective job of communicating what’s going to happen.
Verdict: Only partially effective, inconsistent, hard to communicate.
Verdict: Ineffective at solving the problem, lots of unintended consequences, annoying for the player.
Verdict: Doesn’t even try to solve the problem, massive, unintended consequences, direct nerf to heavier classes, probably not feasible.
Verdict: Ineffective at solving the problem, drastic repercussions on gameplay.