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Thread: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

  1. #1

    Default The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    This has come up a bunch of times in different threads so I think a dedicated topic might be interesting.

    The new macro mechanics are supposed to offer up choices. That's one of the things that is supposed to distinguish them from old school worker management. So for instance the Orbital Command has both MULE drop and Scanner Sweep. You will have to pay attention to your energy use. Similarly, the Queen has several defensive spells in addition to Spawn Larvae, so you have to make a decision about your priorities.

    The Dark Pylon has a couple of abilities in addition to the economy-boosting Proton Charge. The problem, as people have been pointing out for a while, is that these abilities would be most useful when cast from a forward pylon, while Proton Charge should be cast in your base. Also, Dark Pylons are pretty cheap.

    This creates a really bad breaking point in the balance. On one hand, the competing abilities might not be good enough to warrant building additional Dark Pylons. This means that only Proton Charge will be used, eliminating decision-making and becoming busy work. On the other hand, if the abilities are awesome people will simply build lots and lots of extra Dark Pylons to fuel these while also keeping Proton Charge constantly cast. Again, that becomes busy work.

    Here are a few ideas I have for methods to address this. Should be a good starting point for discussion.


    • Increase Dark Pylon cost. Part of why the Terran and Zerg mechanics involve more choice is that you are limited in how many casters you can have (CCs are expensive, Queens are costly and require supply). If you can only reasonably afford a very small number of Dark Pylons, and the competing abilities are very useful, the choice will be more difficult.
    • Global Dark Pylon energy or cooldown. No matter how many Dark Pylons you build, you still have to choose between abilities. This eliminates the problem with building proxy Dark Pylons while keeping others dedicated to Proton Charge. Milder versions might grant a small increase in global energy for each additional Dark Pylon (1 DP is 200 energy, each additional one adds 5, for instance).
    • Make the competing abilities base-centered. Currently, both of the other abilities would be more useful at the combat front which encourages proxys. Changing the abilities deals with the proxy Dark Pylon issue but doesn't really stop the problem with building enough to use both abilities constantly. Perhaps in combination with an increased cost?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    I agree on all counts.

    However, my preferred option is still to eliminate it completely.

  3. #3
    areese87's Avatar Junior Member
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    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    I agree that change is necessary.

    Option 1 seems to be the easiest, and possibly the best. Option 2 is a possibility, and Option 3 is the busiest, as it requires completely new abilities. I'd be open to 3 if someone could provide some ideas.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    How about we merge the two, but make it so that a Pylon has to disengage its psi-field in order to be able to regenerate energy (starts with 0 as well)?

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    Quote Originally Posted by areese87 View Post
    Option 1 seems to be the easiest, and possibly the best. Option 2 is a possibility, and Option 3 is the busiest, as it requires completely new abilities. I'd be open to 3 if someone could provide some ideas.
    I think options 1 and 3 would have to go together, the more I think about it. Because if Dark Pylons are very costly you will not want to build them in forward proxy locations since they would be vulnerable to destruction. The abilities would have to be very powerful to make the risk worth it, and that could cause problems. If you only ever can afford to build the pylons in your base, and the abilities are still combat-oriented, it will just push people to only use Proton Charge again.

    One reason I think option 2 has potential is that it fits in with the Protoss "energy fields" flavor. The Dark Pylons would all be tapping into the same Psi Matrix, and building more would just give you greater mobility for the spells (similar to regular proxy pylons giving you greater mobility for Warp-In). It also gives some interesting faction differences: Terrans have abilities with infinite range, Zerg have abilities on a mobile unit, and Protoss can extend their abilities where they choose using their Pylon tech.

    Actually, if some form of global cooldown/global energy was used, the abilities could even be shifted to regular pylons, which might simplify things a bit. On the other hand, it does seem like Blizzard wants to require an extra building decision to be made for the macro mechanics (Orbital Command, Queen, Dark Pylon) so that might not work well.

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by MattII View Post
    How about we merge the two, but make it so that a Pylon has to disengage its psi-field in order to be able to regenerate energy (starts with 0 as well)?
    Merge which two?

    I'm also not entirely sure how this would solve the problem. I might not be understanding your idea fully. If you have to choose between providing Pylon power (or did you mean psi as in supply?) it just means people will build regular pylons in addition to Dark Pylons, assuming the Dark Pylon abilities are worthwhile. I guess it seems like this is just a more complicated way of increasing the cost.
    Last edited by SpiderBrigade; 05-09-2009 at 10:51 PM.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    Love the idea of the global cooldown. Simple, but meaningful. And with the energy costs adjusted so that any ability used utilizes at least half of the Dark Pylons' collective energy I can see it becoming a building the use of which involves a lot of timing and strategic choice. Of course making the Dark Pylon itself much more expensive won't hurt either.

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    I think if you do the cooldown thing you don't need to increase the cost - in that case you actually want to encourage players to get Dark Pylons in as many locations as they want, because the more places they could be casting the abilities the harder it is to choose which will be the best use of the energy
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBrigade View Post
    Edit:Merge which two?
    Pylon and DPylon.

    I'm also not entirely sure how this would solve the problem. I might not be understanding your idea fully. If you have to choose between providing Pylon power (or did you mean psi as in supply?) it just means people will build regular pylons in addition to Dark Pylons, assuming the Dark Pylon abilities are worthwhile. I guess it seems like this is just a more complicated way of increasing the cost.
    It was definitely Pylon Power I was talking about. I also meant, that the Dark Pylon abilities should be switched to the Pylon, but they come with 0 power at the off, and to generate energy you have to switch off their Power fields.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    Quote Originally Posted by SpiderBrigade View Post
    I think if you do the cooldown thing you don't need to increase the cost - in that case you actually want to encourage players to get Dark Pylons in as many locations as they want, because the more places they could be casting the abilities the harder it is to choose which will be the best use of the energy
    Considering just how useful things like the Argus Link and Null Shield are (not even mentioning the Proton Charge). A Dark Pylon definitely has to cost more than 150 minerals. Besides, it has the added benefit of making the player think well where exactly he wants his Dark Pylons to be placed.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Main Problem with Dark Pylons

    Creating competing base centered abilities is a excellent approach. I think the first step to theorycrafting some other base-centered ablilities is to figure out what base-centered advantages suit Protoss. For instance unit production is a base centered advantage that suits zerg which is why spawn larva works so well. Any thoughts people?

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