CBP Alpha 7 Patch Notes

To try to better communicate the reason behind changes, I’m trying out a slightly more fleshed-out set of patch notes to accompany the summary published on the mod’s Workshop page.

Each balance change will include a few lines providing context as to why the change was made, something that was often difficult to do within a single cell on a spreadsheet.

All the minor bugfixes etc which don’t affect gameplay are also listed in their entirety.

MAJOR TECHNICAL CHANGES

  • CBP Launcher is now bundled in with the mod, and is the recommended way of loading and unloading it. It supports ten languages1 and is completely open source. Combined with the simple-but-functional CBP Setup GUI, usability should be significantly improved for players who regularly load and unload the mod. The default launcher can optionally be automatically replaced as well, without requiring manual file relocation by the user. The old manual load/unload method remains completely supported, meaning if you can’t run CBP Launcher for any reason (such as Linux users), you still have 100% mod access, including full multiplayer compatibility.2
  • help.xml, as well as interface.xml and setupwin.xml (two files not previously used before Alpha 7) are now implemented at the direct-mod level, replacing the default game files while the mod is loaded. Before doing this, backups of each respective file are made so that at any time a user can restore the original files when the mod is unloaded. This is expected to improve game sync substantially in multiplayer games,3 while also allowing players the flexibility of using non-English help files or modifying their game’s UI without causing sync issues.

BALANCE CHANGES

Pre-Gunpowder ranged Heavy Infantry damage vs Supply Wagons

  • Immortals (I) bonus damage vs supply wagons 20% -> 16%
  • Anusiya (II) bonus damage vs supply wagons 20% -> 16%
  • Athanatoi (III) bonus damage vs supply wagons 20% -> 16%

This minor change is primarily to smooth the transition to their Gunpowder (IV) upgrade (see below). Remember that all of these units have a 0% bonus by default, so this is still a modest improvement.

Age IV Gunpowder Heavy Infantry UUs damage vs Supply Wagons

  • Tercios (IV) bonus damage vs supply wagons 20% -> 8%
  • Arquebus Immortals (IV) bonus damage vs supply wagons 0% -> 8%

Normal Heavy Infantry (such as the Elite Pikemen which the two above units replace) have an 80% damage bonus against Supply Wagons, a bonus which both Tercios and Arquebus Immortals miss out on because they are not melee units. In Alpha 1, Tercios were given a +20% bonus in an attempt to reduce this disparity without going overboard.

Further testing with improved control over animation variance4 suggests that the Tercios buff previously given in Alpha 1 makes them too competitive in DPS compared to Royal Tercios (V) and Fusiliers (V), so the bonus is being scaled back. Similarly, the improved testing shows that Arquebus Immortals would benefit from receiving the same small buff.

Note that at +8%, these units still deal much less DPS to Supply Wagons than same-age melee Heavy Infantry such as Elite Pikemen, a reasonable tradeoff for having a ranged gunpowder weapon.

Machine Guns vs Civilians

  • Machine Gun (unit category) additional damage modifier to Civilian units 40% -> 50%

The initial testing that raised a major alarm about Machine Guns being able to snipe off Patriots contained an error of omission: the appropriate level of Strategy technologies were not factored in. By the time a player is fielding Machine Guns, they also have access to (and are likely to quickly research) Strategy, the third tier of the techs of the same name. With Strategy researched, Patriots are no longer able to be instantly sniped by Machine Guns, and so the damage reduction does not need to be as significant.

There are three points I’d like to draw particular attention to regarding Machine Guns being given reduced damage in CBP (putting aside that their damage is increasing slightly this patch):

  1. The reason that Machine Guns are particularly problematic against Patriots (compared to, say, vehicle-based Ranged Cavalry) is due in part to their range combined with their damage. It’s perfectly okay for a Patriot to be in danger while on the battlefield, but the player controlling the Patriot should have a chance to respond appropriately to damage threats. Being killed in a few seconds from 19 units away (Advanced Machine Gun + CEO) can make this response quite difficult. Remember that Patriots have a really slow turn speed, so if they get stuck next to some units it’ll take them a while to retreat.
  2. Machine Guns are still the premier anti-Patriot unit even with 50% reduced damage against Civilians, dealing higher DPS than any other same-age unit tested (including Jet Fighters (VIII), Main Battle Tanks (VIII), Armored Cavalry (VIII), and Assault Infantry (VIII)).
  3. A 50% reduction does not significantly impact their reliability against units such as Citizens as Merchants because their damage bonus against these units is extremely high to begin with. Their overall damage multiplier against these units is still roughly 400% as of CBP Alpha 7.

Dutch nation powers

  • For every 100 resource banked, receive +5 corresponding resource income, which can exceed Commerce cap by 20% -> 25%

The reason that Dutch received changes in the first place was to reduce their power somewhat in Standard while buffing them slightly in Nomad – or at the very least making them power-neutral in Nomad. It seems the initial nerf of this particular part of their nation power may have been slightly too aggressive to achieve this goal. Reviewing additional pro-level Nomad games showed that players floated >500 of a resource more than initially expected, in part because of the high cost of Library techs in Nomad.

As such, the nation power has been nudged up to be half of its original value. This also has the added minor benefit of making it more clear why a resource is exceeding the commerce cap since no other sources with this effect have a value which is a multiple of 5.

Elephant costs

  • War Elephants (II) base cost 120 Food / 70 Wealth -> 110 Food / 70 Wealth
  • All elephants (II-V) ramping cost 3 Food / 3 Wealth -> 3 Food / 2 Wealth

With object masks restored to a more functional state in CBP, War Elephants (II) and Mahouts (III) still win most 1v1s against other units, with the only 1v1 loss coming from Crossbows in III. However, the high cost of creating the units typically means that for every elephant produced, another player can match with two units of their own. Given that elephants are more of a specialised unit than a spammable unit (when masks are not bugged to high noon), it seems sensible to nudge their cost down slightly – particularly given that Monarchy gives a more sensible 15% cost reduction in CBP as well.

War Elephants have received an additional small buff to their base cost for a couple of reasons. They lack the range and damage bonuses given to the Mahout line (e.g. high damage vs Citizens), while at the same time they’re produced earlier (Age II) than any of the Mahouts – meaning that the ramping cost buff would have less effect for them that early into the game.

Elephants may get more tuning in the future, but because of limited playtesting data from almost no pub games being played on CBP, these changes are broad/generalist and quite conservative for now. It seems the units were generally considered to be balanced before Skybox / MS broke object masks, so I want to be very wary of over-buffing them just because some people got used to the insanely broken bugged version in EE.

BUGFIXES, ENHANCEMENTS, AND MISC CHANGES

Changes which affect multiplayer gameplay balance are marked with (!)
Changes which were ported from Misc Fixes are marked with *

RoN bugfixes

  • (!)* Fluyts (IV) now correctly spawn projectiles if they attack while moving.
  • * Fluyts (IV) and Clippers (V) have had their firing animations manually re-timed so that their original animations can be used again.
  • (!)* Okwari no longer receive ~10% too much damage from the Armored Car line of units.
  • (!)* Carracks have had their attack delay reduced from an insane ~1.9 seconds by 800ms to ~1.1 seconds. This change has no effect on their long-term DPS, but will make them less unreliable in short fights.
  • (!) Advanced Fighters no longer deal less damage than Jet Fighters against certain targets.5
  • (!) Elephants (all ages) no longer deal 30% less damage than intended to Barks (I) and Triremes (I).
  • * All modern-era Spies now play the correct sound during Counterintelligence (previously some were silent).
  • * The snow variant of the Major City used by some nations no longer has a graphical glitch in the window area of the bottom left of the sprite.
  • * On the loading screen, the Rules and Map Info header is now centered.
  • * The Iroquois’ heavy infantry UU line now correctly plays the heavy infantry selection sound, not the light infantry selection sound.
  • * The tooltips for the Strategy tech line researched at Forts now explicitly mention that they improve Ambush and Create Decoys.
  • * The tooltip for the Senate now explicitly mentions that the Patriot has slightly more range than a normal General.
  • * The tooltips for each of the Patriots now explicitly lists their bonus range (+1 for “green” Patriots, +3 for “red” Patriots).
  • * The tooltip for Capitalism has been updated to briefly reference the economic production benefits which The CEO provides (which was already previously added to The CEO’s tooltip).
  • * Napoleon campaign: Fixed a scripting error that prevented Savoy from voluntarily joining if you won the Piedmont scenario. (thanks to Timid for noting this issue).
  • * Napoleon campaign: Fixed a typo in the Sweden scenario.
  • * Napoleon tooltip updated to correctly indicate he has quadruple (not double) craft.

EE bugfixes

  • (!)* Barks (II) and Triremes (III) no longer deal and receive damage as if they’re Age VII units. This means they are no longer more powerful than their immediate upgrades, and they no longer decimate Fishermen and Fire Rafts (II) quite so much.

CBP bugfixes

  • (!) The small nerf given to Archers (II) and related UUs in Alpha 4 was incorrectly given to Royal Hwarang (III) instead of Elite Hwarang (II).
  • Heavy Fire Lances now specify their lower cost in their tooltip.

Enhancements

  • In both the multiplayer lobby and staging area, a small reminder is shown that CBP is enabled.
  • CBP now encodes its version into replay files (..but a compatible reply reader has to be used to read the information, none of which currently exist). I’m trying to think ahead here so that, for example, a custom replay reader could be injected into the replay screen to provide additional information on replays that you select (including the version of CBP they were played on).
  • CBP-modified data files now include an XML comment to identify them as such, which may be useful for automated detection of CBP vs non-CBP files.
  • New (currently-blank) textures have been added into the menu UI to work around a visibility issue when using the default textures (this is visible in the update announcement from Alpha 6x to Alpha 7, since the texture of the announcement is not on top). These will be used for update announcements after Alpha 7, replacing the previous method of adding text to default menu textures.
  • Rise of Discordance icons/textures only have been integrated into CBP (no taunts included – meaning there are no conflicts or compatibility problems with Rise of Babel), but more importantly, an additional icon/texture has been added which can be accessed with #ICON169. This should be helpful for identifying appropriate multiplayer lobbies since you can put it into the game title and only other CBP players will be able to see it. An option will be available in the updated launcher to automatically add this icon to your game lobby name while you have CBP loaded; a working proof of concept shows that  this is already doable, it just needs additional dev time to fully implement.
  • One more version of the RoN logo (wrapper_main_logo_01.tga) has had the CBP version indicator added to it.
  • * Optional change: Added the ability to zoom out slightly on the Napoleon CtW board / world map.

Misc

  • * The Ironclad (a campaign-only unit, thus having no bearing on multiplayer balance) has received the following adjustments:

    • Animation retiming (now same as Fluyt/Clipper)
    • Shots per attack salvo increased from 1 to 2 (to better match its animation)
    • Can now attack while moving like all other light ships
    • Attack effects (e.g. smoke) and attack sounds retimed to match above changes
    • Missing damage modifiers applied, with the exception of modifiers involving air units (which has no typical gameplay effect because Ironclads never interact with air units during normal gameplay)
    • The L mask (although having no gameplay effect) has been applied to the Ironclad because other ships (including light ships) have this mask. It just means that if CBP (or someone else’s modified version of CBP) ever changes damage based on the L mask, the Ironclad will receive that change too.
  • (!)* The projectile speed of Arquebus Immortals has been increased from 300 to 350; this is simply a followup on the previous bugfix which was relying on incorrect wiki information for the appropriate value. It has virtually no gameplay implication, because 300 is already too fast to dodge even at the unit’s maximum firing range.
  • building_graphics.xml (which was never actually modified) has been removed from CBP.

 


 

  1. Machine translations for all but English so far though. Hopefully community members can pitch in with improvements.
  2. Secondary files as noted in the next point will now need to be moved manually though, similarly to how Optional Changes work.
  3. RoN actually modifies help.xml while it’s running, but when this is done as a local mod it causes sync issues. As a direct-mod certain files (like help.xml) can be modified without causing sync issues.
  4. Virtually every unit has multiple attack animations, some of are faster or slower than average. By testing each unit against multiple Supply Wagons in succession, and by buffing the Supply Wagons with the tier 3 Logistics tech, this variance can be greatly reduced to prevent good or bad luck from skewing the results of the test.
  5. The most important unit matchups this affects are: Missile Cruiser, Advanced Battleship, Aircraft Carrier, Fighter Bomber, and Jet Fighter Bomber). A comprehensive list including all minor variations would be quite long, because some of the reduced damage was against masks, not individual units.

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