The following posts is aimed at giving all the details regarding the course of the gameplay change in the title: Behemoths, and the way they interact with Demo charges.
Having caused numerous complaints, whining and cursing devs for years before the release of XR 1.0, on various threads and but mostly ingame, the so-called 'behelaming' or 'behecamping' which refers to the Behemoths' ability to abuse their strength and damage around spawnpoints (subs and flags in particular), finally received, in 2011, its own discussion thread started in the newly created Re-balancing Suggestions
forum:S20: Behemoth spawn point camping usefulness decreased.
This thread, that did not escape the usual Newerth drama, proved to actually be a good place for discussions where very good ideas were bounced around, dissected and in the end, somewhat of a consensus was reached. Later, a group of admins (Daemon, Clemens, Shagroth, Tirza, Groentjuh, with the occasional input of Darkbread, Mchief, Gridfon and DJ) debated the issue further and settled upon the best change that was available at the time, which was implemented in the Evolution sandbox mod and later found its way in XR 1.1.
But what was it all about? These were the main reasons that caused complaining and the desire for a fix to be devised:Flags:
- -Behemoths could spawn at flags and camp them, effectively making it almost impossible to recapture.
- -But even if humans somehow made a successful suicide run to capture a flag, Behes would shortly get it back.
- -Behemoths could just spawn first when a flag was captured and clean the area of mines and Demo charges set by humans.
- -Behemoths (used by some comms, no less) would spawn to defend the Sub against demorunners.
- -With their damage and HP, they used to take any fighting chance away from demorunners trying to guard their Demos.
- -Not only that, but Behemoths would just spawn and 1-hit-1-kill (1h1k) the Demo charges around the Sub.
- -The above tactics became a real problem in CWs, where everybody knew behespawning was the best way to defend against demoruns and many clans, players and comms just kept on abusing it.
It is obvious that it was a complex problem and there was no easy solution. Least of all, just taking everything away from the Behemoths and rendering them useless. Throughout that discussions thread, a number of fixes and compensations were discussed. What we ended up with was a fix with multiple layers. It fixed the most important problems while keeping the siege units balance.Problem 1
: Behe flag camping and more importantly, capturing.Solution
: Behemoths lost their ability to capture flags.Compensation
: The Nomads ejecting from Ballis and Catas lost their temporary invulnerability, severely lowering their chance of actually escaping death after their siege vehicle was attacked, so they can go back to rearm or go forward to capture flags.Problem 2
: Behe steamrolling demorunners. Solution
: Behe damage vs. units was lowered, so that now, Lvl9+ Savages and Lvl5+ Legos could block and survive a hit.Compensation
: After blocking that tree trunk, human units lose their ability to jump and their speed is reduced by 20%. They survive the hit, but they can't run as far.Problem 3
: Behemoths 1h1k-ing Demo charges.Solution
: In lack of a better idea at the time, the Behemoths would cause the Demos they hit to explode. This would deter Behespawners from hitting Demos around Subs.
The problem with the solution to Problem 3 was that by fixing one issue caused others to appear. Also, the technical difficulties of implementing the fix proved insurmountable and a hack-fix-workaround was used as a last ditch effort. For some reason, because of how convoluted and messy silverback code is, Clemens, with all his usual obsessive dedication, failed to repair it. The !damageradius function, a GS function needed to cause the Demo to explode when hit, simply ignores the unit that hits and kills the object causing the blast, in this case the Demo charge. The Behe that killed the Demo was the only unit immune to its blast!
But because something had to be done, we came up with a workaround, although an unclean one: we figured out the average damage a Behe would get from a Demo exploding, and we forced a damage of 3000hp to artificially be inflicted on the Behe hitting the Demo. If another Behemoth B was actually closer to the Demo explosion (inflicting 6500 damage at it center, thus being able to kill a Behe at gates, for instance), when Behemoth A hit the Demo, the rapidly decaying splash damage would cause Behemoth B to actually take less damage (say, 1500) than Behemoth A, that was further away! And that haunted us.(GameScript - the scripting language that governs many items/states/weapons behaviour, like the wards to explode when targets are in range etc.)
Now, even though from 2012 to 2014 the change was in the Evolution sandbox mod, it wasn't played enough so it failed to produce proper feedback. Most such changes can only be properly tested on mainstream pubs anyway, because of, well, lack of players! As such, some other issues came up when it hit the general population.
So, while the solution to the 3rd Problem did prevent Behes from spawning at Sub to kill Demos, it had side effects.
- The solution was hacky and inconsistent. Behes hitting Demo could be damaged more than Behes closer to the demo.
- It lowered Behemoths' offensive ability, since humans quickly figured out that Behe trains and pushes can be countered with a Demo spam Behes can do absolutely nothing about.
- Moreover, using Demos defensively against Behes, combined with Demohugging (standing right on demo) would force Behes to actually not want to hit either (Demo or Lego) or get the 3000 damage penalty.
As you know, although enough players liked this new situation, there were many that didn't, especially comms, and especially the offensive Behe nerfing. That was not the intention of the fix, which aimed at preventing Behes from spawning at Subs and killing Demos placed by demorunners. Other counter-fixes were considered, like giving Behes researchable upgrades (armor, speed), but they would only unnecessarily complicate things further. And lately, another problem (that i've mentioned) began annoying players more and more: Demohugging. Legos would abuse-protect Demos by placing them and standing right on top of them, making them immune to Preds hitting them. And since Behes were shy at attacking Demos anyway, that's OP right there. Again, technical difficulties prevented devs from fixing it from within the silveback code - a deep rewriting solution would be needed and it would side-affect god knows how many things! There's the discussion that tried to figure out a way to fix that:Discuss: Demo Pack
And a good idea did come up! This solution:
- Would prevent the Behes from killing demos around Subs;
- Would revert the unwanted offensive Behe nerf that took place;
- Would give Beasts a way to bounce Legos off their Demos so those can actually be defused by foot units;
- Would get rid of the hacky solution previously implemented;
- Would bring behaviour consistency accross the spectrum.
And the solution was: To make Demos die after 3 hits from any melee unit
. This means, the faster the unit, the better suited to defuse it; also, that Behemoth don't actually have time to do it, but they can push the Demohugging Legos aside.
The solution was coded, tested and implemented as soon as possible. Fortunately, it was done days before any NSL game took place, and it was announced in the changelog and by me personally, ingame, a bunch of times. It did not occur mid-season, and if any NSL game would have actually taken place, the change would have had to wait until the NSL ended. And in the latest NSLs, Humans tend to have the upper hand when similarly skilled teams face off, so delaying it would have further favored the Humans. If it were devised sooner, it would have been added sooner. But lazy people are lazy and many prefer whining ingame to posting suggestions and arguments on forum.
So, there it is. It goes to show this was not an issue taken lightly. But if y'all know a better way to take care of this, go post!