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The Problem With Railguns & Why Nerfing Doesn't Help

#1
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#2
I guess that when you talk about "nerfing", you mean just either reducing damage or increase ammo usage, while leaving all other aspects of the nexgun the same?

Other than that I did not 100% understand implementing changes, such as the one I suggested, would change the perspective. E.g. you say that "Decrease the damage? The railwhore can reliably hit you twice in a row and has an even bigger advantage" ... but the railwhore does have a big disadvantage if he has to hit twice, because:
- Being it by a nexgun is not that big of a deal for the victim, he will survive the shot (compared to being hit with mortar for example, which will push the enemy around)
- The railwhore, due to nexgun's fire rate, has to wait until the weapon is ready to fire again. If he did so, not using other weapons in a combo inbetween, he is defenseless

I somehow see your point, where nexgun is becoming completely useless when traditionally nerfing it to anyone BUT the railwhore who will still use it, perhaps adjusting his strategy to shoot only far distance shots where is not vulnerable to reload times etc... But he can use this strategy and use my or tZorks approach just the same way.

Remember: nexgun is a weapon that is to be used the same way as in Q3 or QL: when you are safe, e.g. from a far distance. The goal of my approach to make the weapon useless for close, fast combats only, while not destroying the weapon combos that we love, as its a feature unique to Nexuiz/Xonotic.
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#3
GreEn`mArine Wrote:Remember: nexgun is a weapon that is to be used the same way as in Q3 or QL: when you are safe, e.g. from a far distance. The goal of my approach to make the weapon useless for close, fast combats only, while not destroying the weapon combos that we love, as its a feature unique to Nexuiz/Xonotic.

I find that nex/xon is most effective at very close range, particularly in the hands of newer players. They pretty much just swing around in the air and fire a random shot somewhere, and there's a 50% chance it will hit. I've never really used the nex/xon from long distance (except for camping on blastedlands and triangulation), but when I do I find that it's actually relatively ineffective (compared to emptying a CR cartridge into someone's face).

I think Contrarian's argument only focuses on the railwhore's (I love that term Big Grin ) point of view. The noobs that run at you and fire nex/xon madly? They're exceedingly easy to beat (though they are still irritating) with just laser, SG and RL, and a bit of camping at the nex/xon spawn Wink. Soylent is great for this, because there is only one nex/xon spawn and it's very easy to control if they player you're up against isn't experienced.

What I'm really getting at is that railwhores have weaknesses too, and if mappers can put a single nex/xon spawn in clear view (gasolinepowered is a prime example of this, where the railwhores simply kill each other) in the centre of the map, I think the weapon's presence will be beneficial for game-play.
[Image: vN3NkMA]
(Idea stolen from Mr. Bougo. Hehehehe)
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#4
(08-23-2010, 12:48 AM)Contrarian Wrote: The unexpected long-term results:
Now give it a little time, and notice what happens. The cries that you've made the railgun too weak slowly melt away, while the cries that it's too powerful grow back to what they were before. You see, those railwhores... they're still around, they're still dominating and players who see it are still favoring the railgun over other weapons. Yup... the railgun is still unbalanced.
I feel that this is a key-point in your argumentation, and I just don't get it.
For me, an additional argument is missing in your "while the cries that it's too powerful grow back to what they were before".
Why would this be inescapable?

(08-23-2010, 12:48 AM)Contrarian Wrote: The railgun has a very steep curve, and it's high point for effectiveness is extremely high. The problem is that any attempt to lower that high point, invariably depresses the rest of the curve to a greater degree.
Same remark with this. Could you detail a bit more your point? Maybe by depicting a schematic curve or something.
Fat.bot.Slim
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#5
While the change to a recharging nex sounds interesting, it would basically change it to a very different weapon.

But I think in the end it is the only option to remove it (or change it sigificantly). Let the railwhores play each other in instagib games :p

Another option to change it would be maybe to do it similar to the realism shooters, e.g. attach a scope to it that really hampers sight and movement when used, but make it next to impossible to use the weapon without it (random imprecision or something like that). That way the noobs can still do the lucky shots, and the pros can really only use it from secure far away positions.
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#6
I read (ALL) of your opening post Smile

I already spoke to divVerent about this 'problem' your right, people will want to keep nerfing it until it get's to a point where it will just become completely useless even against an average player.

Your also right in the more you use a weapon the more you get better with it, I use the nex because I can do the most amount of damage with it because I aim best with that weapon, when I used to play dIM he would always be able to counteract me to some high-degree by using the rocket launcher (damn he was/still is good with that weapon), but I never complained that he used it all the time, he's just really skilled with it..the problem a lot of the time with the nex is skill difference.

Personally i'd prefer to see the rifle replace the nex anyway in-game..but NOT remove the nex from the game.
[Image: 542.png]

#deathmatchers @ irc.quakenet.org

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#7
Basically, I'd say that maps that contain a Nex in a "campy" place (i.e. all but the one on gasolinepowered, which is fine even if it is a Nex) should be changed to use the rifle instead.

The Nex should basically be considered a superweapon - any place where you can get it must severely impair your position (like on gasolinepowered, again).
BRLOGENSHFEGLE (core dumped)

The Bot Orchestra is back! | Xoylent Easter Egg | 5bots1piano
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#8
Not sure if this is a good solution or not, but thinking back when I used to play battlefield 1942, the sniper rifle had no crosshairs, just the scope. I'll probably get burned for bringing this up, most people don't seem to use RMB on nex anymore. Big Grin
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#9
my solution is to make EVERY weapon equally devistating

and sometimes to those who fire it
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#10
Interesting read Contrarian; will have to re-read when im not so bloody tired. One thing tough; you talk abt 'targeting the skilled players' (and in extension making the ppl who happens to favor this gun suffer) as the only solution. There is however (at least in theory) another equally effective path towards reducing the "noob<->pro gap", and thats to make the weapon easier at all to use (eg favor the newbie instead of punishing the experienced player).

Now how to do that im not sure, maybe giving the nexbeam some thinness so ist easier to hit with (yes easier) and in return not dealing that much damage (say 90 or so per hit). This may not be a great idea, but it'd be nice to find a simplifying solution rather then a "penal" one.

The charge-up idea could bias it more towards "the hoes" again tough; as it compilation the gun a bit.
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#11
You bring up a few good points and I mostly agree with them. However, I don't agree with the notion of making nex charge up.

The long and the short of it is, it's impractical to try to decide the best way through debate. Only playtesting can truly tell us which solution is the best.
(07-18-2010, 10:59 AM)Flying Steel Wrote: How could anyone with ADHD tell its a high damage weapon if it wasn't a gigantic metal cock fucking the map whenever a player gets within 3 meters of a wall?

[Image: di-712770583645.png]
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#12
ok so, reading your answers guys, it seems that the precise Contrarian's analysis has been caught by everybody, and that most of you agrees...
... which it feels strange because some arguments seem to be missing at some point.
Folks, don't hesitate to answer the questions I raised then.
Fat.bot.Slim
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#13
There is one other problem though. If we INCREASE the effectiveness of the Nex, it becomes even more strong in the total weapon stats, making the Nex the preferable weapon choice over ANYTHING ELSE. This is what has to be avoided TOO. It's not just the nexwhores.

This is why I would suggest "scrapping" the Nex design, as it is a broken weapon idea to begin with, and preferring the rifle, which is way better tunable. The Nex stays in the code and selectable by mappers, who however should think VERY carefully about including it in their map.

tZork's idea to give the beam a "thickness" may be a good idea, but has to be accompanied with also reducing its damage a lot to not make the Nex the beat-all gun.
BRLOGENSHFEGLE (core dumped)

The Bot Orchestra is back! | Xoylent Easter Egg | 5bots1piano
My music on Google Play and SoundCloud
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#14
As much as i love nexuiz i don't play it much online because i live too far from any of the servers and my latency fluctuates greatly. The nex/xon greatly increases advantage based on frame rate and ping. This is balance issue which needs to be considered. The fact that battles with nexguns typically last 1 second means that a ping of 150ms or a momentary drop to 20fps is a fatal disadvantage. It is impossible to railwhore on my connection and crappy computer. I don't want to spoil the game for those with good setups and i'm not saying i shouldn't be at a disadvantage. Just consider that the nex REQUIRES that all players have >60fps AND <15ms ping to be FAIR.
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#15
To expand on this, the rifle has some balancing options the Nex does not that greatly improve balancing it:

- there is a big penalty to overusing it (reload, or burstfire timeout, depending on configuration)
- using it at close range puts you at a disadvantage if you miss (reload, or burstfire timeout, too); normally this would make it TOO useless at short range, but the secondary fire mode "empty the magazine" can partially compensate for that (if player is confident of his aim, he can use that to score a quick kill even at short range, but then has a LONG refire time)
- using it at very long range for camping, basically in places where the enemy can see you at 1 pixel height, is a bad idea too (gravity, which the user can compensate for, and at even higher distances a slight inaccuracy)
- ammo is generally scarce, as it takes by an order of magnitude more ammo than the MG, the only gun sharing the same ammo type; these two guns sharing ammo means that collecting a gun to get rifle ammo only can be done at few places, and bullets pickups are generally not placed much by mappers because MG-spam is annoying too

So, the rifle is effective at middle to long range. At very long range, only the Nex is effective at all. At short range, it is an incredibly stupid idea to use it, as the reload (or burstfire timeout) will kill you. Therefore, a nice defense weapon, without too much advantage when camping with it.

As for its visual design - I have nothing against changing both rifle and MG to an "energy"-like ammo type (i.e. replacing the word "bullets", and changing graphics of its ammo model, its icons, and the weapon models to futuristic style). I suggest "antimatter" Tongue but for the reason stated above, it's a good thing that it shares ammo with the MG and that should stay.

To compare, the issues with the Nex are:
- no penalty to overusing, camper can repeatedly nex-spam the whole match given he gets enough cells
- useful at close range
- useful at very long range (when using zoom scripts to zoom more than 16x)
- ammo is everywhere (cells) - no matter how much ammo we make a Nex shot take, all the camper has to do is to collect all the electros and crylinks on the map

Basically, an all-round gun. And THAT is the problem.

A balancing attempt for the Nex was damage falloff, to make it less useful at very long (or very close) range. But this still doesn't seem to be enough.
BRLOGENSHFEGLE (core dumped)

The Bot Orchestra is back! | Xoylent Easter Egg | 5bots1piano
My music on Google Play and SoundCloud
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#16
BTW, to also evaluate the "Nex with pre-warmup phase before shooting":

- no penalty to overusing
- less useful at close range (less flick-shots, or only weak ones)
- useful at very long range (having to charge is no big deal there)
- ammo still is everywhere

Actually, this idea MAY help balancing it out (but it would have to be weaker than the rifle still, given its still given high usefulness in any situation), but I'd like to hear more opinions on this. Having to fire with RELEASING the fire button can be quite irritating, and this is what I do not like about the idea (the charging-up rocket launcher annoyed quite a lot of people in UT99 because of this).

As for handling "overchargin" - what if the charge is a first increasing function, then decreasing again, etc. till it ends up at a fixed "intermediate" point, and constantly taking a bit of ammo while charging?

[Image: ca36f42dd98f798bf70a12d5f140fcec.png]

It will start out at 10% damage when immediately releasing, charge up to 100% in 1 second, then discharge to 30%, then charge up to 85%, etc., so the shot needs good timing if you want to deal maximum damage. If you hold the charge for very long, it will do a 60% charged shot.
BRLOGENSHFEGLE (core dumped)

The Bot Orchestra is back! | Xoylent Easter Egg | 5bots1piano
My music on Google Play and SoundCloud
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#17
When I was screwing around with the balance in my copy of Xonotic, I made it so that if you wanted the railgun to be effective at anything less than long range, YOU HAD TO COMBO WITH IT. At long range it kept it's upper hand because most weapons didn't have enough accuracy or velocity to hit the person wielding it, but at the same time the damage wasn't over the top on it and you still needed an alright aim to effectively use it else your opponent would get within range to become a threat to you.
ECKZBAWKZ HUGE LIST OF ACHIEVEMENTS GOES HERE....


Oh wait.
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#18
Interesting posts, but implementing the rifle into maps instead of the nex looks like the easiest solution from what divVerent wrote above, has better balancing options.

Well my vote is to put the rifle in anyway, but with regards to the nex..I guess that could make quite a interesting 'superweapon'.
[Image: 542.png]

#deathmatchers @ irc.quakenet.org

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#19
@Lee:
That is a better idea than drastically changing the function of the Nex, set the amount of damage based upon distance, the closer you are, the less damage it does. This forces a player to use those combos, but allows the nex to function as it should...a sniper rifle.

@Ihsan:
Xonotic has one of the best lag compensation systems I've ever seen. I can still play reliably at a ping of 120ms...with the nex, in minsta. So my ping of 30-60 responds perfectly. At around 150, it becomes hard to play.
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#20
I must say i do not think the crifle is the solution. Once enough ppl get proficient with it, it will be the same old crying game again i fear. What guns is and aren't on custom maps and their ammo supply is hardly a reasonable argument; i mean say i hate the rl, i just spam out maps with lr's and ammo for it all over? no, (official) maps should adapt to weapon/ammo; not the other way around. Custom maps dont and cant count as a argument in this discussion.
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#21
I agree with the crifle solution, actually. Yes, people can get proficient with it but proficiency will only get you so far.

However, crifle reloads every time you switch to it iirc - fix this.
(07-18-2010, 10:59 AM)Flying Steel Wrote: How could anyone with ADHD tell its a high damage weapon if it wasn't a gigantic metal cock fucking the map whenever a player gets within 3 meters of a wall?

[Image: di-712770583645.png]
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#22
Why do all complain about a much too strong nexgun? IMO the mortar has always been the most powerful weapon if you were good with it (dmg through walls, explodes rockets, pushes opponents in the air, high speed, wide range) and therefore always the first choice in any closed maps (particularly in aggressor, finalrage, reslimed).

The only thing i'd do to the nex is to reduce dmg under 100, so you could not make an instant kill in most situations, and reduce push-factor drastically.

I just think many players like the nex so much because it has anti-lag (including me with a ping of 90 on most servers), and therefore use it generally more often than the RL, hagar, mortar, electro, etc due to an existing ping disadvantage.
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#23
Well if crifle got in, I think FrutieX wanted to add a reload button to it so you could reload it yourself when you were out of battles, which makes sense. Any possibility of a manual and auto-reload function div0?
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#deathmatchers @ irc.quakenet.org

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#24
-Lo- touched an important thing here; if all weapons where unlagged the nex (and mg, sg) would be far more 'balanced' without further changes.

As for rifle reload, unless the mag capacity reaches a silly low capacity with a long reload, its not going to change much. afaik not to many dm'ers and pvp'ers cry abt ze rail. Its ctf that spawns most of the complaints, and often when multiple ppl are using it in a defensive capacity. With multiple users the reload gets spread out and the nerf effect more or less gets removed.

Another point to consider is if its not so that most guns are to hard to use; after all almost anything has a better damage per second output then the nexgun has. Personally i hate to see the weapons go more and more complicated to use, reloads and even ballistic trajectory adds a difficulty of use that more or less (imo) just makes the game less enjoyable for the sake of "balancing by uselessness". One has to ask what the point is of a perfect weapon equilibrium is when the games to boring you'd fall asleep after 5 mins of game-time. For me easy to use, with the occasional touch of crazy is much more enjoyable then some system to bring everyone, regardless of experience Wink, to the same mud-gray level. hm bit of a rant i guess.. but it needed to get let out xD

Lastly id like to point out that the dominant use or rails in ctf's are closely connected to the speed and evasive skills of the attackers/carriers. With the possibility to outrun/manouver almost any projectile weapons on foot(!) its simply a bad idea to even try to use those; doubly so on the large, open kinda maps that seem (or well seems at the time i still played Nexuiz ctf anyway) to be so popular on public servers.
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#25
I'm with tZork there. Introducing weapons that are a pure art to just use (I am not talking about aiming) is nothing I'd like either ... the nexgun preload is the maximum of "extra skill" things that should be added to a weapon. But if you have the crifle, you have all this stuff like magazines and gravity which makes it very difficult to use for its intended purpose, that is, long distance.

I like how divVerent pointed out the problem the nex has, even with tZork's/my suggestion of having a pre-loading time of the nex: the ammo which is everywhere (cells).

So why not work on that point? Give the nex its own ammo. That's for sure easier than turning the rifle half way into a nexgun by replacing bullets with other stuff (antimatter or what div mentioned).
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