Battles, Abilities, and Unit Control [TW4 Megathread]

EricEric Member, Administrator

How do battles feel? Battle pacing, battle micro, abilities, upgrades, items, etc.

When providing feedback, please use the following format:

  • X happened
  • It made me feel Y (or I’d like to feel Y)
  • (optional) Here’s a suggestion to improve it


  • SaravorSaravor Member

    I get a little bit frustrated when I'm right-clicking on gems and my hero's right there and no collector appears.

    A couple times, I then looked around and it looked like there was a collector, but next to the gem instead of on it.

    One time, I tried walking away and coming back, and then I was able to collect the gems fine.

  • GrizzlyGrizzly Member

    While playing, I noticed that units have quite a large "personal space" if we can call it that. This makes engagements really slow and hard to micro. Coming from StarCraft I find this extremely frustrating because this area exceed considerably the visible dimensions of the unit, imo.

  • TrapDoorSpidaTrapDoorSpida Member
    edited May 20

    @Grizzly said:
    While playing, I noticed that units have quite a large "personal space" if we can call it that. This makes engagements really slow and hard to micro. Coming from StarCraft I find this extremely frustrating because this area exceed considerably the visible dimensions of the unit, imo.

    I'd have to agree. It feels like the units kinda float around, almost like someone trying to herd 100 balloons (on a flat plane) with just their arms.

    Also the combat doesn't feel very satisfying. theres no real impact when an attack is either fired or lands. when i fired a sniper shot, i expected to feel and hear a nice bang. However, it was difficult to tell if the shot was even fired at all.

  • BR3AKRBR3AKR Member

    Battle length felt really good. Slow enough that I felt I could micro my units, but fast enough that it was still exciting.

    Upgrades, such as increasing melee damage, power damage feel... boring. It's very hard to see and feel a percentage difference to attack like that.

    Items just feel unnecessary, or overkill. I'm already spending time choosing what units I want to build, choosing ability upgrades and buffs for them and focusing on how to move around the battlefield. The kind of cooldown abilities I want to add to my hero during the game just does not interest me at all.

  • When I realized that I did not have to cycle through my different unit types to use every units' abilities it felt great. I know its something small but that feature alone will make the game so much easier to control! ^^

  • TasyrnaTasyrna Member

    The Pyrosaur flamethrower felt like it wasn't hitting its full animation area. It reliably hits the designated target area when i'm not moving, but when i move it seems like the enemies have to get really far into the flame area to start taking damage. Testing on some stationary neutrals suggested that the animation was a little larger than the hitbox, but it might also be a damage tick rate issue (ticking every 0.5 seconds instead of every 0.1 seconds, for example).

  • This is just the perspective of my first few bot games, but here are some things I have strong feelings about.

    The red and white standard hero abilities feel very unsatisfying. They just seem like abilities you have to cast as soon as possible at the start of every fight because they're good, but it's hard to see the results.

    The Deadeye, Apocalyte, Quadrapus, and Purifier all felt really fun to use! Landing snipes and destructive prophecies is awesome, and the strategy/counterplay options of the Quadrapus and Purifier seem interesting.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited May 21
    1. Not being able to see which of my units are wounded in the selection window at the bottom makes it extremely difficult to send wounded units back to base or leave the screen with your troops during a battle to check on other objectives or send units to multiple places at once.
    2. Many hero abilities feel extremely unimpactful and are simply automatic actions. Even some good hero abilities feel this way because you don't make many meaningful choices with them (Most red and white hero abilities, for example) other than aiming them at the largest nearby clump as quickly as you can in a fight. Vela's ultimate feels like a consolation prize that is mainly used to cover the shame of a lost battle - it does almost nothing within most fights, and an ultimate ability that requires you to first lose a fight to fully take advantage of pushes me away from white right out the gate.
    3. Having only 1 normal hero ability per hero makes them feel less like heroes and more like "leaders/resource gatherers". They often don't feel different than normal units outside of being visibly large because they don't have much more to do than a normal unit.
  • SynSyn Member

    @Grizzly said:
    While playing, I noticed that units have quite a large "personal space" if we can call it that. This makes engagements really slow and hard to micro. Coming from StarCraft I find this extremely frustrating because this area exceed considerably the visible dimensions of the unit, imo.

    Collision size and pathing are issues. When your allies are fighting with you it's hard to get units into/out of the fray because their units' huge collision size traps you in.

  • LazrusLazrus Member

    I agree that the units are hard to control in the sense that they float too much. Of course controlling the army using a hotkey is helpful but sometimes they don't follow through with commands. An enemy AI would be attacking a structure and I would hotkey army and attack and sometimes half or all will follow and then sometimes stand there while I face off with the AI and a delay occurs between standing there and then attacking (for the units). I guess i'd like to see more easily controllable units and game motion fluidity. Love the game though. This is alpha testing anyway, so a lot can change ! (:

  • tedstertedster Member

    Unit mortality feels so high that it's difficult to get a feel for fights as some factions. Units die incredibly quickly, even at the very start when there's only a handful of units, which punishes small mistakes very harshly with a limited amount of feedback. It can be hard to tell where a mistake was made when your entire army can suddenly vanish.

    Relatively high mortality feels like a good goal for this style of game, but right now it feels like a bit too much to have time to process what is happening in some fights, even smaller engagements.

  • BLToasterBLToaster Member

    I feel my hero or minions are getting 'caught' a lot of times extremely easily even though there seems to be available paths to move around through.

  • PL55PL55 Member

    @BR3AKR said:
    Items just feel unnecessary, or overkill. I'm already spending time choosing what units I want to build, choosing ability upgrades and buffs for them and focusing on how to move around the battlefield. The kind of cooldown abilities I want to add to my hero during the game just does not interest me at all.

    Same. I was looking at my items and I felt like there really was not any point in getting them over other things.

    Other than this, I posted in another part of the forums about until collision and how it just is an annoyance.

  • MilleaMillea Member

    It feels annoying when I am unable to click on gems that are currently bouncing

  • tedstertedster Member

    @Millea said:
    It feels annoying when I am unable to click on gems that are currently bouncing

    I agree 100%. It would be fantastic if there was a "collect nearest resource" ability on heroes. This would also prevent the rather serious issue of entire armies moving when you try to right-click gems that are nearby, especially when there's a battle going on. It wouldn't change balance at all to have a "tag nearest gem" feature with a set radius, but it would make the game much less frustrating and more fun I feel.

  • XaszXasz Member

    1) Having teammates follow you around and click the gems/ore pile things from camps you just cleared is really frustrating.

    2) Fighting against a team that uses trebuchets well feels really frustrating. The zone control you get from extreme ranges from trebuchets feels very "unfair," especially if the treb hero is being well supported by other short range zone controllers like lava spitters. It was the only moment in any of my games where I felt legitimately helpless and without options - I was just playing a minigame of "try not to die to all the trebs everywhere."

    Otherwise I really enjoyed day one of PVP!

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited May 22
    • Units are very small in this game. This is a good and a bad thing, I think. It lets more action happen in tight spaces but it makes individual units feel less controllable and important, at least till high tiers/big models. Even in the early game it can be difficult to select and save a T1 unit that is being attacked by 1-2 things because it's just tiny and occluded by other units.
    • I feel like creep abilities both do too much damage and give you too long to react. You typically either lose a dude outright or completely slaughter a creep without loss. This is maybe fine, but I'd kind of like to see something in between - for example creep starts channeling a damaging ability on your dude that increases over time unless you retreat, rather than the binary system that is currently in place.
    • Fights have a lot of binary effects in general - abilities that one-shot guys or miss. It feels to me like there might be too many of these, and not enough incremental effects.
    • Combat effects feel inconsistent in sight and sound. The Kingpin's "scarab", for example, doesn't look or feel like something to be concerned about, snipe does not create a particularly distinctive sound or visual, and many ranged attacks look similar or are hard to see. This is a small issue but it makes it take longer to intuitively parse battles, and when things are coming in from offscreen it can be difficult initially to process exactly what everything is. Being an alpha, I guess this will change dramatically and am not really concerned about it, but other people have noted it and I wanted to throw my 2 cents in.
    • Early game battles feel like they are over far too quick. Later battles feel like they are over slightly too quick. This may be because there is not really incentive to be doing things elsewhere on the map, or because unit mortality is too high, but it always feels like in 5-7 seconds someone has suffered massive losses and I'm either really happy or really screwed.
    • Despite this, battles tend to be pretty fun, but they also feel relatively one-sided a large percentage of the time.
  • WherewolfWherewolf Member
    edited May 23

    Eris player here.

    Scarabs were a little bit underwhelming. I expected them to either do more damage, or have some crowd control on their jump, or something. The big beefy tank was valuable, no doubt, but I was never super pleased to build them.

    I love everything about Sandstingers and Devilkins. Satisfying to use, punishing if you make mistakes, requires good map awareness and decision-making. The unit-specific upgrades feel excellent, and it's easy to tell how big of a difference they make...

    ...unlike the general attack/defense upgrades. I have no idea how much they're doing or not doing for me, and after a decent number of games, my best idea is just to get them when I feel like I have bonus scrap. I also don't really know when to build what resist. Is there an easy way to tell what type of damage you're taking? Are attacks that deal physical damage visually different from magic damage attacks? I just build damage to avoid this issue and because I just wanted to kill things quickly anyway.

    I agree that charms should be on the same building as upgrades. It might not be possible in the future if you go back to having more of each type, but on this build it felt a little silly to have two "upgrade" buildings. The cooldowns on the items also felt really long. I love my Rabbit's Foot, but 150 scrap felt like a lot. I didn't try most of them though, so I might be underestimating them.

    I don't like the number of abilities that are linear skillshots. I'd like a little more variety. Things like Diana's (from League of Legends) Q, which fires in an arc, or something. More interesting shapes could lead to more thought being put into unit positioning, beyond the usual "make sure your units are in an arc so that everything can fire, pull back the weak dudes."

    Tiny thing, but I really like the visible ground wards that heroes can place. As a fragile character, controlling vision was a nice mini-game to enable either more or less aggressive play.

    Also random: I love Medivacs in SC2, but I couldn't think of many uses for Transports in Atlas, so I never even tried them. Kingpin movement maybe? I dunno what else. It doesn't feel like there's much airspace to abuse with these guys.

    My one non-Eris game was as Celesta. I don't have much to say besides that building Purifiers into Deadeyes was a sad time, and I'm curious if there was some good response that I was missing. It felt pretty bad either losing them or losing other guys to body block for them :(

    Edit: One more thing: I found it a little bit hard to tell exactly what the attack range is on melee units. A few times I was kiting back with Sandstingers, and took damage when I thought I was out of range.

  • tedstertedster Member

    I have an issue with the Kingpin unit that I've been trying to parse for a while now and I think I've figured out what bothers me.

    Shuttle-Reaver is one of the most exciting and iconic high-level Brood War strategies, and a lot of people were sad it never made its way into SC2. Kingpin is a clear Reaver throwback, though with a smarter scarab and no need to queue up additional shots, but also no worker lines to one-shot. The idea seems to be to force the opponent to make tough micro decisions (having to split off crappy units to eat Scarabs) while also providing a juicy, slow moving target in the Kingpin to produce tension.

    The Transporter in Atlas fills the role of the Shuttle, allowing you to spend additional micro and resource to move your Kingpins around quickly and protect them from enemy snipes. It feels like a pretty accurate throwback, to be honest, and I was really happy when I first saw it.

    However, I do feel like the Kingpin is an incomplete unit without the Transporter. In a game with limited deck slots, I'm not sure the Kingpin can be a good choice without also always taking the Transporter. And one of the things Sean mentioned in a blog article was the goal of Atlas to cut down on potential Bad Choices for players to make. This feels like a potential Bad Choice scenario, especially since newer players are unlikely to have the micro skills necessary to use Kingpin/Transporter well.

    I do like the idea of the Kingpin a lot more than some of the other all-or-nothing unit abilities in the game- it will still do some damage once that Scarab has been fired, but the other guy can do various things to mitigate it. I just don't yet like the restrictions on army building that it feels like it forces so far.

  • ShadowShadow Member

    Just my quick feelings on specific units from my games:
    Trebuchets: Honestly i didn't mind them that much, that said they had a huge impact in terms of zoning and they have just too large a payoff for the opponent while still being super safe.
    Green blobs of death: Maybe i'm just not playing dps enough squads but these feel impossible to kill....
    Kingpins: Feels very reliant on transporters, that said i feel like i have more issues with transporters than kingpins
    Transporters: Loading everything into one feels good, unloading is a nightmare however... Theres no order to it, and they unload very slowly so while loading one is quick and done, feels nice and clean and easy, unloading feels awful and sometimes you'll accidently move and leave things in the transport and then you don't know whats in it or how long you need to wait to unload and it feels bad
    Purifiers: With a coordinated team they feel really oppressive because they're hard to get to, have an insane range, and (at least feel as though they) attack anything that walks within their huge range regardless of vision. The only counterplay to them feels like a suiciding unit they rushing them, but as long as at least 1 tank is there they'll just slow down the attackers and the purifiers will kill them.
    Red: Vex feels very strong while Eris feels very weak.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited May 23

    I feel like the Apocolyte upgrade is very unappealing compared to similar options.

    • The upgrade requires me to have used 2 of my deck choices just to take advantage of it. This feels really bad to me because it shoehorns me into a build or I lose access to the only upgrade for my big spellcaster
    • Apocolytes can already store two charges of their Nuke. Adding an additional Apocolyte is cheaper than adding the upgrade + a Dervish, and it gives me access to two additional nukes Right Now. On top of that, cooldown is rarely a major issue compared to simply having more immediate access to Nukes so you can paint more of the battlefield or force retreats at the start of the fight. Fights almost never last long enough that the first wave of nukes aren't enough to finish the job (or the opponent kills your dudes, or one side has to retreat). There is never a case where I'd rather have the upgrade than another Apocolyte, so this only feels useful when I'm capped out on mages, AND have both units in my army, AND have nothing else to do with my resources, which comes up incredibly rarely even in 40+ minute games since my army is so scrap-intensive. It doesn't feel like a meaningful choice.
  • AlNawAlNaw Member

    I feel excited at the micro opportunities in this game so far. All of the units seem unique and bring something interesting to the battles, and trying to fit it together and execute makes room for a lot of fun. There were times where I don't think I fully understood a unit until I built it in a PvP match and took it into a fight. I also feel like I am missing a ton of potential synergies in my army by not understanding these units.

    I think this will all sort itself out when I'm able to play a lot of games and watch better players, but in the short term some basic build ideas/army comp explanations might give me a starting part. Not that this had any impact on my enjoyment of the game, but having me as a teammate might frustrate someone who feels like they have figured this stuff out.

  • AlNawAlNaw Member

    One more thing that just occurred to me. In a couple of my early PvP games, I got caught way out of position and completely ruined. This made me feel real cruddy and like dead weight on my team. This doesn't feel like a problem with the game, but it being 3v3 means the weight of my mistake is made worse by the feeling of being the weakest link in the team. It'll teach map awareness skills early on, but it is a pretty brutal lesson to learn.

  • I will take a brief moment to talk about the battle micro because that is an area of this game that I think needs a lot of improvement. On a scale of 1-10 where I think battle micro is, 10 being where I want it to be, I was probably give this a 4/10. The pathing of an army is so clunky that there is no point trying to micro my front guys to the back, because by the time they start to maybe get close to finding their way to the back, they are dead. I know you guys aren't trying to re-create Starcraft, so I want to avoid sounding like "Be like Starcraft" but Starcraft's blink stalker micro is the epitome of battle micro. I wan't more blink stalker feeling and I think that can be fixed by pathing fixes. :D It feels really awful when you want to save someone, but they are stuck on the front lines anyways.
    That's my 2 cents.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited May 24

    I feel like the problem is less with the pathing (small units feel slightly too fat for their models though, which does feel bad) but more that they die too fast for microing to be very useful. The engage is way more important than what the army does once it is there, which doesn't feel as interactive, and it's because most units can't survive long enough to be pulled back. I don't think that's going to change regardless of how fluid the pathfinding becomes, at least for anything but the beefiest of units.

    I'm personally really glad there isn't blink-stalker style micro, but I really wish there was more ability to move units around in battle outside of forming good concaves and initial attacks.

  • NonordonNonordon Member

    Massing a single unit, with sometimes a second stronger unit seems to be the norm (I could be very wrong and just remember it that way). That feels bad to me as the units that get massed are usually T1 units (for good reason). The unit massing goes into the late game when I especially feel like there should be more variety. It makes games feel repetitive like I've already played it before (don't know how in the world it could not feel that way though with the type of game it is and the amount of options at the moment).

  • SpookySpooky Member
    edited May 25

    moved to appropriate thread :-/ oops

  • wyakazwyakaz Member

    Units feel small, which is possibly something that I just need to get used to. I personally would prefer fewer but larger units and sturdier units.

    The hero's vision ward thing is cast at the location I select and my hero will walk in range to place it. Units seem to cast their abilities from where they stand towards where I've clicked. They do so even if they won't reach where I've targeted (this does fit the ability descriptions).

    This feels fine with sandstingers where I'm trying to run away or trying to catch up.
    It feels bad when trying to stun using a Terrapin Trooper...they'd move towards where I want them but I miss out on the stun. Also, they all use their abilities at once..if they all stun one target that still feels like a waste.

    Pretty sure I just need to get better at micro though.

  • tedstertedster Member
    edited July 2

    I agree that many units feel too small and that fewer/sturdier units would feel better to me. I'm not sure how to reconcile supply and pathing at that point, but I would be interested to see it.

    I've got strong feelings on Terrapin Troopers. Reposting from my daily diary thread:

    Terrapin Troopers wouldn't feel so bad to use if they weren't so small and difficult to micro. I feel it is unnecessarily difficult to get Troopers to do what you want them to do - they are as small as zerglings and thus feel fragile but are supposed to be tanky. They have collision problems, moreso than most other units. But the worst thing of all is that they have an activated ability that feel poor unless you individually select a trooper, which is way too hard to do. Even having 2 Troopers selected can make their Q feel bad as they often run into each other and do nothing, and if you misclick and accidentally have them all selected your entire battle line is now out of position and has wasted abilities.

    The best way to use Troopers is to individually select them, one at a time, and use their ability, over and over and over rather than being able to use abilities with your whole army selected. But this isn't the way activated abilities normally work in Atlas. What's worse, it does so on a T1 unit - the units that should have the easiest barrier to entry because it's available at the start of games and is what new players will fall back on the most often.

    Whether or not Troopers are any good, they feel rough for me to use and require me to spend entire battles babysitting them while performing repetitive and precise micro tasks.The don't feel fun to me - I would never play Grath explicitly because of this unit and how frustrating it is for me to deal with.

  • celphycelphy Member
    edited July 3

    I wanted to look up the names of things in the atlaspedia but it doesn't open for me atm. Luckily the poster above me mentioned the trooper and I'm sure it's the same unit. I agree with next to everything he says about the unit.

    I'd like to add to it:

    • Trooper gets stuck a lot in battles
    • Trooper has an ability to engage the enemy
    • The ability gets stuck on friendly units
    • The ability is a rocket jump of sorts
    • > That feels bad. I want my tanky rocket dudes to slam into the enemies frontline. No matter if a friendly hero decides to stand in the way or not. That would feel a lot better.

    And I'd like to give a very short feedback about the first impression of heros in Atlas (I played the guy from the tutorial and one of the green ones with the musket:

    • In MOBAS there are heros
    • In Atlas there are heros
    • In MOBAS heros feel strong and have a lot of abilities
    • In Atlas the hero isn't the focus and it has two abilities
    • In MOBAS you have an ability that can be used as an "evade" when you really want to leave (often)
    • In Atlas heros need to be pulled back a lot sooner because of lacking that ability

    -> It feels like I have to babysit my hero a lot more than in a MOBA if that makes sense. I need to always micro open a path for retreat. I need to actively monitor his health. I feel like im in the midst of battle, deploy reinforcements, get my troopers stuck on an enemy hero :P, does my hero have enough life? - dodge skillshots, split, focusfire, hero life? and so on. But different than in a moba my hero isn't the focus and doesn't feel as powerful/important. It feels like more of a chore.

    I wanted to wirte something about quicktravel/recall but I have yet to test the teleporter unit so I'll skip that.

    €: Eris (red bow hero) is so damn satisfying to play. Her ability feels strong, must be carefully placed and feels very skillful if you hit it a lot of times in big battles. The ultimate has the potential to clear entiry armies.

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