Cov/ UNSC balancing issues

The halo universe is imbalanced. Naturally it has to be so, otherwise it would not of been as exciting a story. The COV would have faltered at Harvest. They would have never captured Reach. There ships wouldn't be the big scary destroyers of worlds.
They have to be stronger and better, faster and futuristic, more so than the already futuristic 24th century UNSC space ships.

There is just one issue, its not to fun to play.

Now try and understand, that I understand, that this is cannon. It must be so to stick with the story. Whether in the books, games, short movies, or comics the UNSC is always on the back foot.The only time humanity is a step up is with Infinity, And as far as the gameplay is concerned that's alright. But when my fleets burn like butter from plasma that is directed PERFECTLY upon them, I don't think to myself "wow how realistic to the story!".
I rage for 5 MIN as I wonder how the hell I can get A uperhand.

Do I love the MOD? YES! Is it fun to play? You better believe it is! Is it fun to watch my fleets fail time, and time again? I would say no.

So how can it be fixed?

The biggest thing I can think of for a quick and easy patch is UNSC shields. As this is of course non cannon a bit of specialty would need to be implemented.
The COV have permanent shields, that regenerate constantly. They are both strong and fast, but the UNSC has nothing in the way of shield tech ( minus the infinity of course).
what could be implemented is a high level research tier that creates a shield ability. UNSC ships will still travel shieldless but in engagements the ability would auto enable for a moderate amount of time. The shields would not last long (maybe they would use anti-mater??) and would not be as powerful as COV shield tech.

The emphasis would be on Hit and Run style tactics. It would also allow for UNSC ships to engage there COV counterparts on, at least, tactically even playing grounds.
Both frigates and cruisers would receive this ability.

There is just one problem... I don't know the problems.

  • What issues would arise from this idea?

  • Would SINS allow for a shield ability( to say would it allow for a ability to create shield on a entity that normally doesn't have them)?

  • How hard would it be to implement?

We aren't doing shields on UNSC vessels in war time, full stop.

That being said, the UNSC will suffer massive casualties, that's just how humans are at this point in time; to offset this they have a few research items that boost ship construction time and can get a very powerful economy rolling.

The UNSC needs some intensive management to pull off correctly; the initial MAC volley will determine their success in a given naval engagement. But this is a powerful tool that can allow them to instantly wipe a significant portion of an enemy fleet. If you want a play style that's less attrition based, you would be better suited playing as the Covenant.

Please understand that I do not want shields on UNSC forces either. Rather an ability that grants shields for a short period of time.
I understand why shields would be a hot topic, and after hearing about the previous controversy surrounding the shields topic I can understand the curtness of your reply. Please let me explain further because I believe an answer to both options are available.

There are many styles to play in order to win, with capital ship on capital ship being only one way. One way that the UNSC will lose. If you look at all the play styles, Aggressor, Fortifier, Research, Econ, and even Live player styles like Fighter Spam or Quick Colonization, one fact remains. The UNSC will lose.
If right now you disagree consider this. If a full stack UNSC enters a system with full Cov defenses, what is the first move? Unless you can take down the beacon before reinforcements arrive you have both defenses and offenses to destroy. That is Possible, until the Cov full stack arrives. Then your fleet is gone. They launch torpedos which are just as strong (near as makes no difference) to the MAC. Simple example but concise and true nonetheless. Any play style that the UNSC can use the Cov can use as well with the added benefit of permanent shields. Therein lies the balancing issue.

So by now you are thinking that this guy doesn't have a clue, or maybe that you are tired of hearing about shields. This I understand and like I said above previous controversy can predisposition anyone from hearing a good idea, especially if that idea has been changed implemented and changed back. That is why a ability for capital ships is a good compromise.
Those who would rather upgrade Nukes and offensive capabilities still can, while those looking for more ship defense can complete the high tier research to equip said ability. All Cov ships have permanent shield, while only UNSC capital ships would, at late game, have the ability to pop shields for a short time. As its an ability the computer would trigger 9/10 times It would be triggered too soon or too late, meaning it wouldn't be totally reliable on a tactics standpoint, and all UNSC frigates would still be shieldless. This would still require intensive management to work correctly.

I honestly believe these editions would both silence the majority of the haters, balance the playing field, and still allow for the UNSC to be the underdog that we all know and love.
Either way I will still love and play the Mod as it is fun and enjoyable.
All that I ask is that you think on the points I have made.

Shields on UNSC vessels, ability based or not, are absolutely not happening, period, no discussion. Covenant defenses,, and specifically the patrol station, can very much be dealt with by the UNSC through a number of methods, from un-counterable cloaked Saharas, to Artemis classes doing a shoot and scoot, to "sacrificial lamb" fleets to absorb the brunt of a Patrol Station fleet or even kill the station beforehand, to other methods players have developed over time. Further, the UNSC has a number of play styles that the Covenant cannot replicate or pull off as effectively, such as any style that uses attrition warfare, any style that makes use of irregular warfare/sabotage (Sahara), and defensive/turtling combat (SMAC network/Anchor is superior to Patrol Station/CDA).

The claim that plasma torpedoes are "just as strong (near as makes no difference) to the MAC" does in fact give some credence to this statement, as this absolutely false when comparing UNSC and Covenant ships of equivalent cost and role. A great example of this is the SDV versus the Halberd. The SDV does 625 damage per shot while the Halberd does 1800 damage per shot, with their respective primary weapons. In other words, the UNSC has extremely high alpha damage, which allows them to wipe out large chunks of an enemy fleet before they can bring their firepower to bare, or important in the case of the Covenant, kill ships before they have a chance to make use of passive health regeneration (ex. shield restoration). Further, unlike the Covenant whose ships all have variable cooldowns, the UNSC MACs, on all ships save the Infinity, all have a cooldown of 60 or 70 seconds, allowing for coordination between volleys.

I would highly recommend looking into all of the tools at the UNSC's disposal as it seems evident that they are not all being used to their full potential which is leading to the thought that the UNSC is underpowered, when that could not be any further from the truth.

last edited by Lavo

ok, fair enough. What guides to tactics and strategies are available? I made a post for tactics and strategies but so far no replies have been made. Have people already put something up?

@Lavo said

We aren't doing shields on UNSC vessels in war time, full stop.

That being said, the UNSC will suffer massive casualties, that's just how humans are at this point in time; to offset this they have a few research items that boost ship construction time and can get a very powerful economy rolling.

i do have one issue about saying this is a "war time game" the infinity simply did not exist at war time, it was post human/covenant war. at that point the UNSC would have started to use the forerunner technologies they recovered during the war and after that they found on ONYX.

with that said i believe that after you research the Infinity you should be able to research something that allows capital ships and the heavy prowler to gain shields. i say the heavy prowler because in the HALO book "The Thursday War" it is mentioned by parangosky that she wanted to apply the shield tech to the "UNSC Port Stanley" which is a heavy prowler.

obviously giving every UNSC ship a shield would give them an unfair advantage over the covenant due to the fact the UNSC has massive firepower and superior planetary defense.

to sum up my argument, i believe it is lore friendly that large UNSC ships and some select small ships get shields. this is based off of things mentioned in the HALO book series, mainly the Kilo-Five trilogy.

last edited by MONONOKE

ok so i talked to my friend who always plays the UNSC. he says a good strategy is mainly halcyon cruisers, make your capital ships carriers and obviously the infinity.

I can see that this a hot topic and I don't think that shields are a good idea the covies are meant to win they are technologically superior to humans but I do see the points that have been made. The weakness of the UNSC can make the games verses the covenant a mad house and I became couriuse about how much it would take to kill a covi so I did a test to check this.

I placed two reclaimer difficulty UNSC AI's against an easy COV AI. The reclaimers were on the same team and the fleet size totalled about 50 cap ships of varying levels but no lower than level 4 and a support fleet that numbered 150 ships easily so 200 ships in total. This is a fleet I would class as impressive and yet it was completely outmatched by a covenant fleet of 70 ships most of which were support ships, lower level cap ships and one freshly made titan.

I do not know the status of the military research of the two UNSC AI's as I did not check but with in the first volley of plasma torpedo's from the 50 cov ships left after the first MAC volley the 200 ship fleet went down to 110 ships.

The MACs then took out another 20 cov ships but the next torpedo volley halved the remaining 110 ships to 55 by now the cov support ships are mostly dead but the UNSC cap ships are down to about half there original number all having suffered heavy damage.

This is the only time I have ever seen an AI start to retreat and as we all know no one can run and fight at the same time so the battle became a massacre.

Out of the 200 ships that went in only 20 got out alive however all were severely damaged. This is how it should be and I hope it is how it remains.

The UNSC did eventually win by rushing the enemies capital planet but that was another 2 hours later with another 2 similar battles only difference being the UNSC did not retreat and had slightly lower numbers.

sorry for any spelling mistakes hope this is useful in some way.

last edited by SIERRA075

@sierra075 said in Cov/ UNSC balancing issues:


Well its lore accurate at least, not sure whats causing the YUGE imbalance. I suppose one of the Playtesters would know.

The UNSC AI is far weaker than the Covenant's because the former's ships are based around alpha damage and being deployed in groups. This contrasts entirely with how the AI in Sins works where it is designed around protracted attrition warfare, meaning that it will send ships in piecemeal. Covenant ships, given their superior durability and DPS focused weaponry, will tend to function far better with how the AI operates.

but even the covenant couldn't take on 200 ships with only 70 avalible to them in that battle its just not possible

Actually mathematically those numbers fit with canon.

didn't know that as the cov have been beten with less by the likes of keys and cole

May I suggest limiting the Covenant to a single 100k+ combined shield/hull strength ship at any one time (on easy difficulty only) in vs ai play?