One of the most dramatic and instantly noticeable changes to the game in TALON Mod 1.3 is structure build times, structure strengths and the new structures added. We're excited and a little nervous to see what people think about the changes. Excited because we think the changes make a big positive difference to how the game plays, but nervous because we think there is an adjustment required and some people just won't like it. But hopefully many will give the changes a chance, and appreciate that the Mod is now even more strategic and interesting as a result. Some of the benefits of these changes include;
- Less linear approach to build order
- Infantry plays a bigger role in the game
- Tier 2 units come into the game more now
- There is more time to scout & harass early on in the game
- Tiers feel much more defined as stages in a round.
Structure Build Times
We've always wanted to bring units that generally sit in the background into the game more, and have succeeded to do that with artillery units and AA units in the past by making defenses stronger and removing AA abilities from units that really had no reason to have them (Tanks). But many units were still being overlooked. Infantry weren't getting used much and neither were a lot of tier 1 & 2 vehicles such as stealth tanks, beam cannons, seekers, etc.
The main reason for this was because it was possible to reach tier 3 so quickly due to the structure build times (and costs) that it made sense to go straight for Tier 3 and get the best units. As part of our testing we found that in the vanilla game you could have your first tier 3 unit built in just over 2 minutes into a game! If you can build an Avatar in 2 minutes why would anyone bother with anything else?
The solution as far as we were concerned was to make it impossible to reach tier 2 and tier 3 until a specific amount of time had been played. By significantly adjusting structure build times this has been achieved. It now takes a minimum of 10 minutes of gameplay to reach tier 2 and 20 to reach tier 3. This means that at tier 1 there's now a lot more incentive to use infantry and tier one units.
At first it feels incredibly slow to do anything, but that's because gameplay has always been a mad rush to do everything (build all structures ASAP, crank out units etc.). Now though you have time to scout and harass your enemy without having to obsess over building a new structure every few seconds. Base building is now an ongoing process throughout a game.
Structure Build Order
Now that structures take a lot longer to build, a player has to decide what to build and when to build it. If a GDI player for example wants to upgrade and have more infantry options then they can make the Armory. But doing so will mean that they will have to wait longer to build an airfield, crane, Command Post etc. This means that players have to decide how to specialize and if they want to specialize in some areas rather than others early on in the game.
So it's a choice of do you want specialized infantry or air units, a Crane to boost structure production or a Radar structure to get your mini-map and scan abilities, a Command Post to reach Tier 2 or a Space Command Uplink to access additional special powers and units.
Overall it forces you to make decisions about how you build and those decisions affect how effective you are at dealing with specific situations, and this adds more complexity to the game, which makes it more interesting. We promise you this, you'll experience a never before felt sense of accomplishment when you reach tier 2 and tier 3!
We wanted all factions to have multiple options for battlefield intel and it made sense to have a building dedicated to these abilities. GDI and Nod got a new radar structure and Scrin's Mothership has been converted into a flying intel center. By default all of these structures (unit) will unlock the minimap. But after that there are options to research Radar scans, Orbital scans and Stealth Defense (an research ability that detects stealth near the radar structure / unit).
The Operations Center (Command post /nerve center) has been turned into a structure that not only unlocks tier 2, but one that allows a player to use radar jamming and countermeasures. These abilities cost, so they can be used to not only jam a radar but to force an opponent into draining their economy if they wish to counter the attack. Radar jamming now lasts a relatively long time so it's not something that you'll barely pay attention to.
We increased the strength of structures in previous versions of the mod, but we have made them stronger again. It just felt more fun and more realistic to be shelling the hell out of a base for more than a few seconds. Defenses have not changed in this regard.
Beyond the strength of the structures we also gave GDI repair drone upgrades on most buildings as well as more garrisoning options. Nod received more mine defense options and Scrin now the ability to research Ion Storms.
And finally; some structures (Conyards / Superweapons) have big explosions!