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Hectra Union Faction Breakdown

Posted by miragefla, 11 September 2016 · 306 views

Hey, everyone. If you know me/chatted with me, you would know I'm a massive RTS fan who has also had some experience in design concepts and even implementation through mod work, particularly in Company of Heroes 2 where I even got referenced in a recent balance patch. 
But that's not what we're here to talk about, we're hear to talk about designing RTS factions!
I've already did some basic designs for the human faction in my sci-fi universe of Septus, but here in this blog I will be going into detail of how this faction would function in an RTS.
First post of this blog, I will start with a gameplay breakdown of how the human faction would operate. I would then go onto on writing basic gameplay design concepts, rules, etc.
And yes I changed the name to the Hectra Union from the Hectra Empire as it fits their theme/background better :P
Hectra Union (Humans) Breakdown
General Description
The Hectra Union is the human faction of Galctica Septus with their designs being a mix of modern 20-21st tried-and-tested designs and advanced concepts of future weapons that mix with tracked and wheeled vehicles along with VTOLs, battle walkers, aerial battleships and combat drones. 
Example of designs:
UB-15 After Gunship
ZVK-B Razor Tank
Gameplay-wise, to emphasize their rapid advance into the Septus region, they are an aggressive, fast-moving faction with a myriad of abilities to aid them in combat to help compensate for either their lack of raw power or high defense and high costs. They are capable of striking from everywhere thanks to their deployment and mobility options, but they will always have a single centralized base with small sub-bases established as rally points.
Tech and Build Structure
Starting with the heavily armoured Central Headquarters, Hectra constructs Foundations with their fast, but lightly armoured Surveyor. These Foundations, once placed, allow structures or defenses to be placed on them and are relatively quick to place and are cheap. Production structures are limited to deployment around the Central Headquarters. Forward Outposts can be established outside of the the Central Headquarters vicinity to allow for the forward placement of defenses and also act as additional landing zones once completed.
There are four main structures in the Hectra faction that are responsible for allowing the deployment of specific units with Hectra only needing a single Garrison, Relay Zone, and/or Heavy Support Centre to deploy their units en masse as Hectra ground unit deployment is based on their Lander system. Airfields follow a more traditional route, calling down strikecraft, transports, and gunships based on a single production queue per structure. Airfields are capable of housing 6 planes, though gunships can be deployed in an unlimited number.
Any Hectra structure can be placed down so as long as the resources are available, though only the Garrison is cheap enough to deploy early on. Furthermore, each production structure has an upgrade assigned to it that unlocks the next tier units. There are two upgrades for the Garrison and Relay Zone and one for the Heavy Support Centre and Airfield.
Should the Central Headquarters be destroyed, it leave Command Foundation that can request another HQ if enough resources are available. This foundation cannot be destroyed.
Speed and Mobility
Unlike many games, the humans are one of the fastest faction compared to either the DSA and Zox Empire. Even the standard Hectra soldier is faster than their more heavily armoured counterparts found in the other factions allowing them to quickly take good positions before the heavier troops can reach them. Their vehicles are also quick to relocate around the field with good speed, acceleration, and rotation rates which includes their heavier vehicles such as the Goliath Support Walker, the After Gunship, and the Razor Tank.
To help move large groups of infantry or the heavy troops found in their army, the Hectra Union has no general IFV/APC on the ground. Instead, the majority of their vehicles are capable of carrying troops into battle without the need for upgrades or adjustments. Even the main battle tank of the faction, the Razor, can carry a squad onbaord allowing them to not only get soldiers to the front more quickly, but also have a squad to support the tank at all times. Most can troops can ride inside most vehicles safely, but a few vehicles leave the troops exposed to hostile fire or only provide basic protection from incoming small-arms when riding on the vehicle. In exchange, these troops can use these certain vehicles like mobile firebases. An example of this is an unupgraded T-10 Tenner which starts out as an open-topped transport that also gains dual heavy machine guns when garrisoned by a squad.
Mass Deployment 
Despite being on of the fastest faction, almost all Hectra units, except for their aircraft have a slower deployment time as all their ground forces are deployed from landing craft that requires time to arrive and unload and then requires time to return to base. Furthermore, the faction only has one lander at the start, though more can be purchased to allow units to be deploy while another is returning to base. To compensate, Hectra ground units can immediately be purchased and will be stored in a landing craft which have fifteen slots. Infantry and light vehicles take up three while the heavier vehicles take up anywhere from five to ten. When the Lander arrives, all the units assigned to the lander will disembark one at a time and be ready for combat within a few moment of each other that allows the faction to catch-up in production when ordering units in bulk.
Landers can be deployed to anywhere within the range of any base structure, outpost or certain units that have been upgraded to provide a landing radius so as long as the area can fit the land and the terrain allows it. If the landing radius is changed for any reason or removed, the Lander will still attempt to make its way to the position. 
Note Landers can be shot down by interceptors or heavy AA weapons, but if they are destroyed, units that arrive will still arrive at their destination but receive 75% damage of their total maximum life as the container carrying these units are dropped down to the exact location. If it's destroyed while units are unloading and they are still in the hold, they receive only 25% damage instead. Landers themselves have only moderate protection against incoming fire.
Lander that are en route to target cannot have their deliveries cancelled, but units in a Lander that has not yet been deployed can be instantly cancelled for a refund. Landers also have a set deployment time, there is no way to speed-up or slow down the deployment of Landers. It takes 40 seconds for a Lander to arrive and 25 seconds for the Lander to become available again.
This system is heavily-based of Star Wars: Force Commander's system of unit production.
Multiple Individual Unit Upgrade
Many Hectra units have multiple upgrades that allow their role to be altered or new capabilities to be added. 
All of this allows the Hectra player to adapt or tune things to the situation at hand and makes it very difficult for the opposition to predict any single strategy/tactic as units can fulfill multiple roles and change their equipment in the field.
This system is not perfect, aside from the disadvantages of role swaps for some units, these upgrades are permanent with no way of reverting the alterations once the upgrade has been completed. Furthermore, this adds additional cost to the Hectra units that are deployed and they require time to be completed.
Examples: After Gunship's upgraded with rocket pods allows the unit to launch salvos of rockets from considerable range making it an aerial artillery unit; the T-10 Infantry Carrier can give up its passengers capability to carry a fixed-gun system that allows for both direct and indirect-fire to deal with soft targets from a distance; Grenadiers can be converted to jet troops who are more effective against heavy infantry thanks to rapid-fire rail rifles and able to cross terrain with ease but lose their Suppression ability, effectiveness versus light infantry and their VK-15 Disposable Missile Launcher ability.
Indirect Means of Attack and Disruption
Even if Hectra lacks the large guns and armour of the other factions, the faction has many other ways to engage the other factions, safely. This includes the large number of indirect-fire and artillery type weapons the faction is capable of obtaining, allowing many Hectra units to engage target hiding behind obstacles or terrain from a considerable distance.
Furthermore, there are also the many ways Hectra units can hinder their foes. Some of their abilities include disabling hostile forces in a target area, disrupting physical/guided projectiles from striking within a certain area, or causing units to temporarily lose their target unless told manually.
Examples of Indirect-Fire: Hunter AGM Systems are mobile tank destroyer that fire their AT missiles in a top-down style attack allowing them to track and hit units behind obstacles. Chameleon Sniper Teams can request Smart Mortar Barrages tracks targets within the ability's radius for a set duration.
Examples of Disruption: An upgraded Razor tank can temporarily gain the ability to intercept incoming missiles and physical projectiles at a moderate pace while Tempest Bombers can drop smoke that not only lowers accuracy of units firing through them, but also significantly reduces the damage energy weapons do when they pass through the smoke. Goliath Walkers start with EMP cannons that can lock-down vehicles from attacking and even moving depending on their type.
High Cost for Utility and Abilities
Many Hectra units are relatively expensive despite their weapons or armour as much of their cost is due to their special abilities that they have access to or those available later down the line. In most cases, the faction can not cost-effectively trade if they attempt to brute force the enemy or going into battle without utilizing every unit to its maximum potential. The faction must strike when they have the advantage or be using everything they have to weaken the enemy in a combined-arms fashion.
Examples: Grenadiers have a similar cost to Vishtan, but lose in unmicroed, straight shootouts the majority of the time unless in superior positions where Grenadiers tend to delay or start the engagement right on top of their most heavily armoured foes. UB-15 After Gunships costs are on-par with other gunships in terms of cost while lacking similar offensive power by a considerable margin until further investment is added.
With its large number of fast units and ability to deploy nearly anywhere on the map, the Hectra playstyle is meant to be one of constant aggression, flanking and re-positioning. If an assault is failing at one area, the faction can launch another before the enemy is able to respond. They might not be able to hit as hard as the DSA or Zox troops, but they can wear down the opposition and cripple them through the use of speed and mobility to gain favourable engagements. The fact their infantry can ride onboard most of their vehicles also allows rapid map control and capturing of Zones and Critical Locations.
Support abilities and adaptability play a critical role in ensuring Hectra players can win engagement. Every unit in the Hectra faction has some sort of ability that can help win engagements either during combat or setting up a favourable one up before a big assault. Adaptability allows for the army to also gain tools/assets without the need of calling-in additional units and surprise their foes by sudden changes in how the Hectra composition operates. 
One of the most vulnerable aspects of the faction, however, is their main base. While their army can constantly be out in the field and respositioning as needed, the Hectra base and all production is locked into one area, their starting zone. This means that enemies can force engagements by launching attacks on the Hectra base that can either crippled the faction, or force the enemy into a head-on engagment where the Hectra faction generally falters at unless everything is being used to their full ability which is more micro-intensive and can be more costly for them with the price of their units. Destroying Forward Outposts also limits the Union's options to flank and limit the faction's ability to take map control and flank leading to more direct engagements.
With their units being weaker in direct combat for their costs, the Hectra players must be willing to trade territory on occassions to allow their units to bypass the main force to hit critical areas or draw their opponents in so they can be flanked by the faction's superior mobility. They also have a heavy emphasize on kiting to inflict damage before disengaging to minimize damage. Out of all factions, however, turtling against the Hectra Union is the most difficult due to its variety of indirect-fire weapons meant to break up formations should certain areas prove too difficult to outmaneuver/bypass. 
In terms of unit compositions, the Hectra Union relies on a heavy mix of combined arms. Even with their adaptability, there is no single unit, even with upgrades, that is ideal in all situations as not producing certain units means you're losing vital support abilities that would have been provided and turn the tide of battle. The only unit that can fulfill all combat roles to some extent, the Razor tank, is simply too expensive and too much of a generalist to deal with its hard counters alone with its upgrades adding more to an expensive unit.
The Lander system means, initially, that the Hectra must be efficient in what they want to deploy. Decisive action must be taken to ensure the correct units are brought in for the right situation and it means they're the only faction whose units can take damage before they even reach the battlefield. Late-game, the Lander system allows for constant attacks and mass reinforcement that no other faction is capable of matching.

October 2017

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