Robot follower count is silly.

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bobucles
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Robot follower count is silly.

Post by bobucles » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:54 am

I went to try out some low level combat bots and while the bots are great the tech setup is really bad. The First Combat bot unlock lets you deploy all of ONE bot, and it costs 300 science to increase that count to 5. That's messed up. The level 2 combat bot only costs 200 science and has NO cap at all! I think I can see why players don't put much faith in low tier bots. The tech investment for launching a plural number of bots is simply too high.

Please boost and cheapen the low follower count. A starting count of 5 is fine if the next +5 costs 50-150 science.

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Demindiro
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by Demindiro » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:36 am

You start of with only one (which should be enough to take out small nests), but the research increases this to 5, so it is definitely worth 300 science :P
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bobingabout
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by bobingabout » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:48 am

Yeah, the distinction between follower robots, and non-following robots is a little silly, only 1 follower, infinite non-followers!
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bobucles
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by bobucles » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:47 pm

It's not only that, but the cost of the tech progression is all over the place. The tech unlock is essentially the same as +1 bot follower research and costs 150 grey. Follower count 1 is +4 for 300, +5 for 400, then +10 for 500?

You can research destroyer capsule while siting on 1 follower count. The other 4 bots end up being unusable until follower count is increased.

Disttractor capsules have no limit and cost 200 blue science. They effectively don't care about bot follower tech which is a HUGE deal because the research for more followers is a very heavy investment, especially starting out.
Bot follower research is just unusually expensive and starts off too weak to be worth a natural investment. Those resources could be better invested in a tank and several doses of tank upgrades. Bots are okay at the high level scaling, but the early unlock needs to be more accessible and usable. This what I would change:

- First unlock automatically grants 5 follower count. This makes sure all capsules are usable regardless of the player's tech progression.
- Follower Count I is +5 for 100 science. A cost reduction of 200 science and a buff of 1 bot.
- Follower Count II is +10 for 200 science, a cost reduction of 200 and a buff of 5 bots.
- Follower Count III is +10 for 400 blue science, a cost reduction of 100.

That's pretty much it. You get your first 30 bots a little bit faster and cheaper to make the unlock more alluring. And before you say "wait that's too strong" first a show of hands. Who here has actually unironically used defender capsules under resource pressure, and doesn't simply skip them entirely?

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Deadly-Bagel
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:04 am

Damage only gets to 100% bonus after a considerable science investment, and after that a measly 30% bonus for infinite research starting at 1,000 of each pack and doubling for each level from there. On the other hand, for the same research investment (in lower tier science packs) to get damage to 100%, the Robot Follower Count goes up by well over 2,000%.

As for the robots themselves. Distractors obviously have no follower cap and remain stationary which can have its own uses but what about the difference between Defenders and Destroyers? You would think there's some enormous difference. Well, yes, Destroyers last 2.5x as long and do laser damage, I guess they're also technically faster to deploy as they come out 5 at a time. Hope you weren't expecting more! Okay yes Destroyers do base 30dps while Defenders only do 15, however Defenders scale off Bullet Damage and Shooting Speed, while Destroyers only have Combat Robot Damage. Once Bullet Shooting Speed is at 100% (110% actually, is VERY cheap, requires only SP1, 2, 3, and millitary, and you've probably already got it anyway) then raw DPS is evenly matched, and considering that Bullet Damage research is considerably cheaper (and used by more things) than Combat Robot Damage, it might just about make up for the physical resistances on spawners (maybe not quite Big or Behemoth Biters though). Destroyers are of course still the better option, but not because they deal more raw damage.
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by BlakeMW » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:22 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:(maybe not quite Big or Behemoth Biters though).
That's the problem really. Defenders are useful until they start shooting at a Big Worm, Big Biter or Behemoth Biter. Then you have a bunch of defenders achieving basically nothing except soaking a little damage

I used to really like Defenders I can't remember if they dealt more base damage or if it was just that the damage upgrade levels were a lot cheaper (alien artifacts being free), but either way they were pretty good. Now I find it impossible to really like them, they're okay until Big Biters evolve, but unless you're using settings where tech progression is extremely fast relative to biter evolution Defenders become useless almost as quickly as they become useful. Granted there is no special research for Defenders, everything is shared with other stuff, an investment in Defenders is not lost if you move on to Destroyers (though it is a very long road to Destroyers, so there is potentially a long period when Defenders are doing nothing and Destroyers aren't available).

But combat bots and everything are a technological dead end because Nukes (for nest removal) and flamethower (for cleanup) are ultimately the only two weapons you need. Given that bots are a dead end it would be nice if the investment were a bit cheaper. And even early on they are not that useful because the Tank doesn't require much more tech and is your one-stop murder machine.

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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by bobucles » Wed Jul 04, 2018 1:14 pm

Defenders are useful until they start shooting at a Big Worm, Big Biter or Behemoth Biter.
Low tech weapons struggle against end game big biters. That's not really a problem. It's the same reason you don't use pistols and yellow ammo all game long.

The cost of Distractor capsules isn't too bad. You pay 4 cheap bots and get 3 stronger ones. It's a pretty decent deal. The cost of destroyers is too high, even if they are end game capsules. Paying 16 capsules for and 17 red circuits for 5 bots is just too expensive for what it gives.

I'd much prefer a system where the capsules lasted longer but had a finite payload to them. It would make them easier to use and much friendlier to balance from an economic standpoint. The difference between dying without firing a shot and firing nonstop for 45-90 seconds is pretty damn significant, after all. Unfortunately their timer seems hard coded and attaching a new system to bots is beyond my meager modding skills.

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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by BlakeMW » Wed Jul 04, 2018 4:11 pm

bobucles wrote:
Defenders are useful until they start shooting at a Big Worm, Big Biter or Behemoth Biter.
Low tech weapons struggle against end game big biters. That's not really a problem. It's the same reason you don't use pistols and yellow ammo all game long.
Defenders aren't all that low tech, they are darn near military 3 tech. For the research dumped into Defenders and Robot Follow Count 1 you could unlock the Tank and the Tank MG will easily kill Big Biters even using regular ammo, not to mention the other weapon systems and ramming. Also for less research you can unlock the Rocket launcher which easily kills Big Biters and for much less research you can unlock the Flamethrower which completely obliterates Big Biters even with no upgrades. Finally Distractors cost about as much as Follower Count 1+2 and are also reasonably effective against Big Biters. So at this tech level most things are effective against Big Biters.

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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by bobucles » Thu Jul 05, 2018 3:24 am

Well, the entire combat balance of Factorio is in pretty sore shape. Strong weapons are cheap, weak weapons are overpriced, and fire is a magic all kill. That's why this post is in Balance.

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Deadly-Bagel
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by Deadly-Bagel » Tue Jul 10, 2018 4:00 pm

Unfortunately it's not likely to get any better, they already did the combat rebalance. It's certainly an improvement but it's still not great.
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Re: Robot follower count is silly.

Post by Koub » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:08 pm

Deadly-Bagel wrote:Unfortunately it's not likely to get any better, they already did the combat rebalance. It's certainly an improvement but it's still not great.
There's still rebalance in the 0.17 todo list.
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