This post is a work in progress and will be released on monday
The season 7 config has been released. This post discusses the philosophy behind how we came up with it, and how terminal should feel on this config.
New Unit: Factory
- 30 health
- 4 cost
- Generates 1 MP per turn
- Upgraded: Generates 1 SP per turn as well
- This unit is the centerpiece of the new season. All subsequent changes are based around it
With more ways to generate bits, it is possible to reach the critical number of EMPs needed to destroy an entire base much earlier. This keeps them from going to crazy
- Renamed Demolisher
- Damage reduced from 8 to 6
The health of structures has increased across the board to make them better able to stand against larger groups of both pings and EMPs
- Renamed Wall
- Health increased from 60 to 75
- Upgraded health increased from 120 to 150
- Renamed Turret
- Health increased from 75 to 90
- Damage cosmetically adjusted from 16 to 15. This makes no difference with encryptors out of the game, and is just a cleaner number.
While unchanged, Scramblers will be much more useful as there will be many more units for them to intercept, sending them out will be less punishing as you will have more bits to work with, and saving resources by skimping on turrets will let you invest more into factories. This season is hopefully the scramblers chance to become the intercepting all star it was always meant to be
- Renamed Scout and Interceptor
The ping is unchanged, but should the king of closing out games when the enemies defences are crippled
- Renamed scout
With units relying on sheer numbers rather than encryption, players take more damage. Players have slightly more health to compensate. The number of starting cores has been reduced so choosing to skimp on your initial defences to build factories is much harder.
- Player health increased from 30 to 40
- Starting cores reduced from 40 to 20
When making a new config, we have to weigh the size of the change with the cost to make sure it feels ‘balanced’. If the changes are too small, the new season is not fresh and exciting. If the changes are too large, balance can become a problem. Because both players have the same resources, a balance situation doesn’t manifest as ‘unfairness’ as you are not pitted against powerful cards, weapons, or characters as in other games. The real balance issues, as we have discussed in the past, manifest as lack of diversity in strategy or in extreme snowballing, where a small win can have massive consequences. As well as other negative things like that.
In the past, we have leaned towards focusing on the ‘pristine’ balance and strategical diversity we have enjoyed through most of its lifetime, and have not taken much risk that might jeopardize our design goals. However, in recent seasons, we feel the config has not changed enough and the game has felt too stale.
Other games embrace the far-opposite side of this spectrum. When the new ‘Demon Hunter’ class was released for the card game hearthstone, a dozen or so of their cards needed to be nerfed in the first month. League of legends notoriously consistently releases champions in an over powered state, and reduces their power over time.
As part of the design philosophy of this season, we will be trying out this approach, and seeing how it feels for terminal.
This season should feel focused around the new unit, the Factory. This unit replaces the Encryptor, and fulfills a similar role: Allowing you to invest SP to increase your attack power by generating MP. Shielding is out for this season, but with a large number of factories, you can generate enough bits to demolish your opponents frontline, turn after turn. Interceptors (Formerly Scramblers) may be the only way to defend against these massive onslaughts in the mid-late game, and they will be less punishing to send out since you should have more MP at your disposal.
Without encryptors, attacking units will feel weak in the early game, and can be used to try to chip away at opponents walls, earning small advantages. Both players will try to hold off these attacks with as few defences as possible while trying to build up their factories, enabling larger and larger attacks faster than ever before. With enough resources, players will be able to send huge waves of pings to charge through enemy defences, or EMPS to destroy their opponent completely.
Ideally, while we expect most strategies to use factories, we hope to see aggressive strategies that focus on non-upgraded factories to quickly send out many units, and control strategies that build up huge bases with upgraded factories that help build more upgraded factories.
Our main concern is the durability of the corners, which is something we will consider patching sooner rather than later, likely by increasing destructor cost and strength. Besides this, there are a dozen different ways this config can ‘go wrong’ and create a low-diversity meta. We will keep an eye on things and are planning a rebalancing around mid October, if it seems like it will be needed. Ideally, it will be as small a change as possible to restore diversity if some single strategy seems uncounterable.
Some specific things we are looking out for:
- Snowballing: Do early wins have a disproportionate impact on the rest of the game?
- Diversity: Are there multiple reasonable base configurations and strategies? Does each one have strengths and weaknesses? Are games all lasting basically the same amount of time?
- Units: Does every unit have a clear use?