No more IDF?

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obese pigeon
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No more IDF?

Post by obese pigeon » Sat Oct 31, 2015 1:51 pm

So the admins have decided to ban IDF.

My question is, has there been a huge proliferation of abusive IDF lances?

For myself, i've had to face IDF fire once or twice, but never at a crazy level (ie the entire lance is just IDF + infy in a city)

What have you people experienced?

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Ironboot » Sat Oct 31, 2015 3:12 pm

I have faced three or four IDF lances. Meaning all the units had lrms, in a city and either 3-4 inf spotters or vtol. I think the record against them was 1-2.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Ceorl » Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:10 pm

Seems abit drastic to me, since I believe the problem is related to LRM use only in city maps. That speaks more to problems concerning city maps rules rather than the fact that LRMs are imbalanced (one of the several reasons I avoid city games).

Why not, instead, reduce the % city maps are pulled on any given planet? That way a player who builds an LRM indirect lance runs a real risk of running into a map for which that trick build is not suited.
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Nastyogre
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:18 pm

Please feel free to discuss here and make suggestions to your council members. We are already discussing what might be changed to allow this to return.

Possibilities being discussed.

Return of BV Spread limits
Elimination of non-combat Vtols
Changing op requirements/allowances
Elimination of RP skills
Returning to Random levels
Elimination of Double Blind

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Klingon » Sat Oct 31, 2015 9:44 pm

obese pigeon wrote:So the admins have decided to ban IDF.
Not banned.
LRM indirect fire has been changed from default on to default off. As always, you can turn this setting on in your game should both players agree.
Was there anything else?
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Kopfjager » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:04 am

Non-combat VTOLs being removed sounded like the best option out of those Nastyogre listed IMO.

At least PBI spotters can be exterminated reasonably fast with extreme prejudice. a VTOL hovering at the other end of the map on the other hand... yeah...
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Eric von Kastell
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Eric von Kastell » Tue Nov 03, 2015 8:05 pm

Ok, this is my statement regarding this issue:

I'm not playing very often, at a maximum 3 times a week. I'm doing this since the cycle which started in spring 2013. In this whole time, I never had to face a IDF force like described above. Nevertheless, I believe, bringing up this issue is appropriate. But in my opinion, the countermeasure to switch IDF to "Default off" is kind of overdone - kind of thinking only black and white without a grey in between.

Why?
Because I think (and I experienced), that most of us are playing with LRMs without the intention to always using them with IDF.
For example, my style is it to use IDF occassionaly, e.g. if I backed up around a building to avoid too much strafing in a specific situation. Or at the beginning of a game, when my LRM unit(s) did not yet reach the position to fire directly on the enemy.

Sure, I could ask my opponent before the game, if we can set IDF to "on". But in that case, he would ask for sure, how much and what kind of LRM-units I am bringing to the game.

I understand, IDF forces are only an issue on city maps. So why don't you/we think about a solution, which restricts the players as less as possible and avoids playing IDF forces, at once?

This are my two suggestions:

1.
Make IDF "Default off" only on city maps.
Is it possible to code this?
If not, make a special rule: When the game takes place in a city, the players have to switch IDF to "Off" before they start the game, if they don't agree to keep it active.

2.
If 1. is not possible or accpeted for whatever reason, make IDF "Default on" and make another special rule:
IDF is only allowed for LRM5 and LRM10.

In my opinion, both options would reduce the power of a IDF force massively.

Any thoughts?

Best regards,
EvK

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Nastyogre
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:31 pm

I know of no way in the ops to limit them as such or by the map. I know of no way in the campaign to have a rule apply to just certain weapons through code.
We could do such things as just a campaign rule that all players would have to remember and enforce. That would be very difficult. The staff in the past, and the current Council try to have few rules that are not enforceable by code. Most rules revolve around handling things the client has errors or bugs in. (being able to back up hills using running MP, hull down rules not working correctly etc)

The stair-step army construction rule was a departure and has caused a few problems but the rule enforcement hasn't been a big problem. Now, some of the problems we are seeing with IDF, Ultra Min/Max armies and such may be related to it.

The Co6 is currently discussing changes that might convince the staff to allow IDF again. Remember however, there is nothing inherently wrong with the IDF mechanic. Some players used it in such a manner, so frequently and in such an extreme fashion as it violated the manifesto rule of treating other players with respect. The game should be enjoyable for both sides to play despite the competitive nature of this server. Thus if a player's focus on an army or of how they play is solely on winning, then they are probably violating the spirit of the rules if not the letter of the rules here. Arguing with me here about "asking players not to try to win etc" doesn't do you any good, read the manifesto again then argue with Tuco, Spork and Bloodknight. Tell me how that works out. :-)
The players may not like this, but the staff saw enough of the problem to warrant action thus we have nobody to blame but ourselves. We created the problem by engaging in the behavior, now we have to solve it by implementing controls to curb/limit/prevent it.

What we are discussing currently is:
1.Removal of Roleplaying skills (some or even all) to limit overly optimized units.

2.Bring back fairly broad BV limits to stop the worst cases of min/max. We are exploring a hybrid base # plus a % formula (very simple one) that would limit SuperMek and weenie armies. (the IDF limit relates to this due to the development of extremely specialized LRM units that focus on IDF see RP skills above as well)

3.Changing Victory conditions so if a threshold of units is reached (like 75%) the player with 1/4 of the units left loses automatically regardless of other victory conditions or the capacity to emerge victorious over the enemy force. This would allow a player that brought that Supermek to have their cannonfodder destroyed and lose the game. This would prevent even having to engage a unit that made up 50% or more of an army's BV. This would remove the impetus to bring such imbalanced forces, while the Superunit might survive, those armies would lose the games they were meant to win.

We aren't certain these are possible with current code (ok #1 is just a setting but there is disagreement over removing just some RP skills like Gunnery skills or all of them due to the BV cost imbalance)

Feel free to relay your thoughts though this is not really the best place for the debate. Best to bring your thoughts to your Council member and they can bring it to the discussion. Work out ideas? Yes this is a good place.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by obese pigeon » Wed Nov 04, 2015 12:22 pm

im not sure why there seems to be a conflation between the lack of bv spread and idf abuse. i see the two as tenuously related at best. its true that without bv spread restriction a player could possibly field an unarmed vtol with a rhino (with a few other intermediate stair step units), but that is just one specific case.

the biggest contributing factor i see is... gunnery missile. its super easy to get an army of 3 gunner IDF tanks. 2 gunner IDF tanks are certainly in the realm of possibility as well. disable this particular rpg skill and you see IDF losing significant effectiveness.

imo talking about bv spread or lack thereof is barking up the wrong tree. even if bv spread were introduced, players would have no problem fielding an IDF lance. except, in lieu of a spotting vtol, just bring 5 infy...

i had doubts about no bv spread + stairstep rule, but i've come to like it. The lances are more interesting these days, and min-max lances are not overpowered. on the contrary, most are rather crap :)

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Nastyogre
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:49 pm

@ Obese pigeon. Because the evidence of armies shown to me by staff members show there is a connection.

1. IDF forces exploited the stair-step rule to use hovering Vtols to spot.
2. IDF forces used gunnery missile to make 3 gunner or 2 gunner missile units (which you have correctly identified as the most significant part of the problem)
They are not merely loosely connected but the problems feed off of one another.

I agree that many attempts at an Ultra Min/max army are terrible. Done with the right units though and even a weak player will present a challenge.
My interest is to make sure we do enough to cause the extinction of the behavior. The last idea of changing the victory conditions removes the impetus to try and play with a "Superunit" and 3 cannon fodder.

You are right infantry are the best spotters. Changing army construction rules will end the problem of unassailable spotters. Removing Gunnery Missile will end the problem of easily specialized units. (and cheaply in terms of BV) Hit both parts of the problem and perhaps we will see IDF return. I agree with what I've seen from some players. It is a good option to have given the right situation. Designing a whole force around it is just rude to your opponent.

Interestingly, what will fix the move towards very unbalanced armies may bring back IDF. It's a bigger issue though. If we can come up with an idea that is less dramatic and would discourage IDF forces without resorting to uncoded rules, I'm all for it.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Kopfjager » Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:50 am

Allow me to input my $0.02 on this case:

First, I will admit, in another server (different era, mind you), I once ran an utterly disgusting IDF army that was literally undefeated for well over 20 games, so I consider myself pretty familiar with how to abuse IDF.

In my opinion, IDF-focused armies in the 3025 Era are much more manageable than ones from modern eras due to the lack of IDFers that also pack a mean close-in punch, that said, two key points can probably be addressed if we wish to discourage IDF armies:

1. A Spotter that can maintain LOS, ideally from well out of range.

This is naturally best achieved with a VTOL, but terrain permitting, even Infantry (especially Jump infantry) can do this. A simple way to limit this would be to simple disable these units from spotting, which drops your spotter options to mechs and non-VTOL vehicles, which either risk death by not moving, or tacking extra penalties to the IDF barrage by moving and spotting.

2. The ability to get specialized, accurate pilots with ease.

This is mostly due to how the server allows us to pick our leveling at will, and even if we remove the RPG skills, it's still reasonably easy to get a 3/5 pilot in short order by buying NAG/Gunnery 3. The best ways to handle this would probably be to go back to random leveling (Maybe allow pilot switching within the same weight class for mechs?) or to rework the exp costs of those skills. Even removing the NAG/NAP effect of letting you level lopsidedly might help the situation somewhat.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Jackal » Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:37 pm

Random leveling was very unpopular. Turning random leveling back on just so that we can have IDF again seems like a double loss (you'd be bringing back something many people hated just so you could have something else that many people hate). I'd rather leave IDF turned off forever than do that.

OTOH, I think removing Gx skills -- which in many cases lead to extremely under-BV'd units (and is a problem both with IDF and non-IDF armies) -- would be a step in the right direction. It would prevent cheap, under-BV'd 3 gunners, and would also prevent the possibility of 2/5 gunners. We could also make NAG more expensive in terms of BV so that those vulnerable IDF units have to survive more battles as 4/5's. That would cause many IDF units (LRM carriers, etc.) to die-off before they 'reach maturity.'

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by BarukKhazad » Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:07 pm

Note the minor bv difference between the unarmed Kharnov (143 bv) and an AC2 Warrior (292 bv). Going after the unarmed vtols will not remove the possibility of a Warrior being used as a spotter.

I enjoyed running a Kharnov in an army to move Foot Heavy Mortar and Motorized Heavy SRM infy to harass the enemy's fire support unit. I've done the same using ground APCs to gain "control" over clumps of woods. It is a tactic that works well against mek armies that have poor anti-infy weapons.
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Ceorl
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Ceorl » Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:24 pm

Oh yes, please don't remove cargo VTOLs. I love loading them up with jump infantry and dropping behind enemy lines.
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obese pigeon
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by obese pigeon » Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:36 am

Nastyogre wrote:@ Obese pigeon. Because the evidence of armies shown to me by staff members show there is a connection.

1. IDF forces exploited the stair-step rule to use hovering Vtols to spot.
2. IDF forces used gunnery missile to make 3 gunner or 2 gunner missile units (which you have correctly identified as the most significant part of the problem)
They are not merely loosely connected but the problems feed off of one another.

I agree that many attempts at an Ultra Min/max army are terrible. Done with the right units though and even a weak player will present a challenge.
My interest is to make sure we do enough to cause the extinction of the behavior. The last idea of changing the victory conditions removes the impetus to try and play with a "Superunit" and 3 cannon fodder.

You are right infantry are the best spotters. Changing army construction rules will end the problem of unassailable spotters. Removing Gunnery Missile will end the problem of easily specialized units. (and cheaply in terms of BV) Hit both parts of the problem and perhaps we will see IDF return. I agree with what I've seen from some players. It is a good option to have given the right situation. Designing a whole force around it is just rude to your opponent.

Interestingly, what will fix the move towards very unbalanced armies may bring back IDF. It's a bigger issue though. If we can come up with an idea that is less dramatic and would discourage IDF forces without resorting to uncoded rules, I'm all for it.
so i read your post a number of times just to truly figure out your concerns and your position. it seems you are concerned with (1) IDF abuse in general, and especially concerned with the specific case of low bv vtols being used as spotters. the other thing you are concerned about is (2) min-maxing. i feel that (2) should be discussed seperately so lets stick to (1).

i think we are all in agreement that GM makes it easier to build these lances, notwithstanding what kopf pointed out regarding NAG + a gunnery level, so lets just leave that for now.

My main disagreement is that you propose removing stairstep since it was 'exploited' to create said abusive lances. in my mind, that is akin to using a thermonuclear warhead to take out a small cell of insurgents. Sure, the nuke is going to do the job, but you are going to have a fair bit of collateral damage. A more surgical solution like what kopfjager suggested would be far more appropriate for such a specific case imo

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Fri Nov 06, 2015 4:41 am

I think the analogy of a nuke is a poor one, it's a matter of perspective. I consider griefing other players pretty serious. I'd rather we make it significantly more difficult to do so. Again, there is nothing inherently wrong with IDF, it's how it was used. So we remove the ability to engage in the worst cases of IDF. I'm not a big believer in half-measures either. I am sympathetic to the idea of not going overboard.

You don't think min/maxing and IDF is related. I do. I've seen it. Cheap units we couldn't take together before stair-step combined with easily specialized units to create and IDF force.
The problem persists if we remove just one part, potentially anyway. So remove 2 or 3.

Since I know you can read the Co6 forum, you know there isn't much support for doing much else except removal of the Gx skills. I think all the RP skills are broken and that Ultra min/maxing (which is also a behavior that amounts to player griefing) and that it will continue to occur.

If my perception that the two are linked was wrong, I would expect the admins (the staff who acted) would come and disabuse me of that fact. Considering the armies shown to me by the admins (as a council member and Chairman of the Council) have included examples of both, I would guess that they think the two are related as well. They may not be, then again, in some ways it doesn't matter, they think so, so they acted. We aren't going to see IDF come back unless the admins think that we have properly addressed the problems.

As it sits the Gx skills will probably become unavailable to select. I don't think this will change the admins mind about IDF. Then again in might.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by celegance » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:03 am

My .02. I stopped playing for a while after a heinous luck streak and the only thing that attracted me back was removal of IDF.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Tuco » Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:34 pm

Nastyogre wrote:We aren't going to see IDF come back unless the admins think that we have properly addressed the problems.
For the record: we have not said that.
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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:04 pm

Tuco wrote:
Nastyogre wrote:We aren't going to see IDF come back unless the admins think that we have properly addressed the problems.
For the record: we have not said that.
True. It's entirely possible you won't let it at all. I guess that's my perception from the discussion in the Co6 forum. "I trust you will analyze the situation and perhaps find a better solution to the problem. " additionally I am not interested in seeing "Justice's Axe Swing" again as indicated by this.

"Lastly, if you want the IDF setting turned on again but don't find a solution to the problems behind it, we will still do it but it may result in other staff actions..."

So you are certainly right, we could request the return and it would return. If the problems came back I am positive we would see less gentle actions by the staff.

I'm certainly not going to request IDF come back unless we see some solutions to curtail the worst cases of opponent abuse. It's why I argue for stronger measures than much of the rest of the Co6. As it sits, we will see something incremental that may address the problem. There is mixed support for IDF overall in the C06, so we may make some changes and not see IDF return anyway. The next council, elected in January, may have to deal with it.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by TigerShark » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:04 pm

A lot of the issues with IDF come from two sources, as I've seen in the past:

(1) Tech level or unit selection not allowing for a proper counter;
(2) Force size

Regarding the first point, you have more of a permanent problem which won't be fixed due to the era being played. The Late Succession Wars simply didn't have a lot of Beagle Active Probes, so hidden IDF units are incredibly difficult to find in built-up terrain. This is solved with airborne units, like Aero and VTOLs, but those units are either non-existent or uncommon. You also don't want a game which REQUIRES one unit type to be played.

Regarding the second, this is something which can be remedied. A lot of the issues with IDF can be chalked up to: "I don't have anything to counter my opponent's army at this BV." People will play a 3,200 BV game and encounter a large unit with several "weenies", allowing it to be fielded at a low BV. How can this be fixed?

- Minimum BV of X
- Minimum Tonnage of X

This forces the armies to be more diverse, pulling them from "lowest possible BV, lowest number of units, best possible units" to "best possible army." If the smallest game you could play were, say, 4500 BV, that hidden ARC-2R could easily find a counter from much larger opponents than a few Locusts and Phoenix Hawks. Every server has run across this problem when having open-ended armies and every server has had the same solution, thus far. Shack, Legends, WoK and my own all had/have minimum BVs to prevent exploitation.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:09 pm

BV spreads are effectively BV minimums. a 1400 unit with a 700 BV spread max can only be taken as low as (700*3=2100 2100+1400= 3500)
I'm not sure how else to have a BV min besides spreads, except by rule. We typically prefer code.

The Co6 is discussing ways to limit exploitation and preserve the stair-step construction which is interesting and reasonably popular.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by TigerShark » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:37 pm

Nastyogre wrote:BV spreads are effectively BV minimums. a 1400 unit with a 700 BV spread max can only be taken as low as (700*3=2100 2100+1400= 3500)
I'm not sure how else to have a BV min besides spreads, except by rule. We typically prefer code.

The Co6 is discussing ways to limit exploitation and preserve the stair-step construction which is interesting and reasonably popular.
Set the minimum BV of an Operation to X. That's already coded.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Rushvin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:21 pm

If the gunnery missile skill is a major issue increase its BV increase cost may reduce its use/abuse. It will at least force some of such units using it to be at a higher BV then previous to reduce the effect on lighter units without the armor to survive the darkening of the skies with missiles.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Nastyogre » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:21 am

GunneryX skills are now no longer available for purchase. They cannot be reasonably removed. The Council is comfortable with those that exist currently continuing to do so until the pilots are killed/captured.

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Re: No more IDF?

Post by Eck » Sat Nov 07, 2015 7:50 pm

I haven't encountered them yet, but I'm sure an all IDF army on a city board would be more than a little annoying. I wish it could be on by default because I think it's cool.

Here were some ideas I came up with:

If tracking down the Indirect Fire units is a problem. Maybe the indirect fire code could be altered to include the hex where it originated from.

You could require one spotter for each firing mech. Sure the IDF min/maxer will just include 4+ infantry units for his 4 mechs, but if you start killing off the infantry it starts neutralizing the effect.

You could reduce the range of spotting so that the spotter is for sure in harms way.

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