Revamp: lvl 3 ant abilities

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Inspired by a thread on the Steam forums:

Currently, the only good lvl 3 upgrade is the Mortar AoE bonus, as it's quite effective at what it does, making the upgrade process worth sacrificing the otherwise higher single-target damage acquired when spamming lvl 1.  While it could be argued that balancing of upgrades should focus on making upgrades better than making more ants, I think it could also be fixed via making the lvl 3 bonuses more unique, so that they can be opted for in at least some cases.  For example, in 2.2 insane I'll prefer to use lvl 1 mortars early on for straight up damage in the early-game, but then start getting them to lvl 3 as the amount of enemies I face at once increases. 

None of the following are meant to be the only options, but are just there to give an idea of what incentives could be added to obtaining lvl 3 as a proof of concept. 

I also present some of the current issues with the ants I recommend adjusting. 

Possible changes:

Formica Fusca; Soldier; Melee:

Currently, increased attack speed isn't much better than a raw damage boost, meaning the bonus is both unvaried and ineffective compared to lvl 1 spam. 

  • Lvl 3 grants weak venom, providing a decent anti-resist option, and adding synergy with Formica Ereptor using Formica Rufa venom. 
  • Lvl 3 grants high armor penetration, providing a good anti-resist option. 
  • Lvl 3 could also grant any of the bonuses suggested for Rufa Melee Soldiers, as the two are both close-quarters roles, and defensive bonuses might help to encourage a mix of lvl 1 and lvl 3 units.

Formica Rufa; Soldier; Rapid-fire Shooter:

While decreasing movement speed is nice, it becomes fairly ineffective when fighting larger groups, and is completely useless against the larger enemies, who both resist slows significantly and happen to have some of the higher movement speeds to start with. 

  • Lvl 3 slow, if applied enough, grants either a full immobilize to enemies for a short time, or a stun, improving the effectiveness when invested in against fast and large enemies. 
  • Lvl 3 applies a debuff that extends the CD times on enemy abilities, helping to alleviate enemy healing, CC, and AoE damage. 
  • Lvl 3 applies a debuff that slows enemy attack speed. 

Formica Rufa; Soldier; Melee:

Surprisingly, they are the only ant in the game with an edge at lvl 3 vs the equivalent amount of lvl 1 foes.  This is due to a combined increase of damage and health.  However, since Rufa colonies rely on Shooters for damage, only the increase in health matters, and it happens that lvl 1 spam has a greater impact in total HP than upgrades.  This can be confirmed by adding any significant amount of shooters (in equal numbers and strength) on each side of the battle arena, which always results in a victory for the side using lvl 1 Melee Soldiers. 

A second issue is that Workers tend to outclass them in effectiveness, as they can take approximately the same amount of hits at equivalent food costs (5 Workers for every 2 Melee Soldiers), while Workers, by virtue of having greater numbers, can collect far more resources.  Thus, Melee Soldiers receiving a good lvl 3 ability would help to make them the optimal tank unit for the Rufa. 

  • Lvl 3 grants temporary immortality upon low HP and/or death, allowing them to hold off even high damage enemies.
  • Lvl 3 grants a damage resistance, either taking the form of a large amount as a temporary buff upon taking damage, or a small amount of it permanently, to help fight enemies that rely on physical damage. 
  • Lvl 3 grants a low change of evasion in-combat.
  • Lvl 3 grants a permanent and substantial regeneration effect, allowing them to survive better against low damage, or damage scattered between targets (such as multiple uncoordinated enemies or AoE). 
  • Lvl 3 grants a low chance of "resurrection," allowing either a delayed revive (may be difficult to code), an immediate return to full HP on an otherwise killing blow, or simply a conversion of damaging hits into a healing effect.
  • Lvl 3 grants a damage reflection, having a chance to return damage either proportionally or as a static amount, possibly even mitigating that incoming damage in the process.
  • Lvl 3 could also grant any of the offensive bonuses suggested for Fusca Melee Soldiers, as the two are both close quarters roles, although this could lead to workers remaining ideal tank units, and break down the DPS and tank dichotomy the Rufa are intended to have.

ALL; Worker:

Currently, the increased movement speed is relatively pointless, and it's better to merely build additional workers.  A new ability should help to provide an edge of some kind over lvl 1 workers, but should also avoid giving them additional combat bonuses so as to maintain the effectiveness of ants like the Rufa Melee Soldiers

  • Lvl 3 grants an immunity to debuffs such as CC, helping them to be unhindered at all times while not becoming too strong in combat compared to other defensive abilities.
  • Lvl 3 decreases threat to a level below the default/passive threat level, allowing them to avoid combat far more easily if any Soldiers are present.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 08:50:00 PM by Rayalot72 »
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.

If I'm not mistaken, Slug Disco has stated that balancing the ants will come at a later date, near the game's completion, but I'm more making this post in advance, or in the case that the policy on this changes. 
« Last Edit: November 01, 2018, 08:55:34 PM by Rayalot72 »
And on the sixth day, God created ant in his own image, and gave them dominion over the earth and all of its creatures.  Amen.