Good game design promotes interesting decisions and systems mastery. If I am better at aiming a Gauss rifle, I can do more damage with it. If I see someone aiming a Gauss rifle at me, I can decide how to respond — seeking cover, twisting my torso, or shooting back.
The eLRM Shiva is a bad piece of game design.
With 60 eLRMs and an iNARC, this Shiva can be flown with the following flowchart:
0. If you're badly damaged/out of ammo, RTB.
1. Otherwise, iNARC a target. Approach from straight above. You'll hit 9/10 times.
2. Break off and ascend. Fly in a circle outside ground weapon range. Press left mouse. You don't need to aim or anything.
3. When the target is dead, repeat from 0.
There's only one other rule: if you detect a hostile ASF, burn back to your base. If it chases you, it dies to base AA. If it doesn't, shoot eLRMs at it from your base.
With these simple rules, you can post obscene scores! Tonight I hit a glitch at the start of the match and my score was set to **-180**, with no money. I worked up to an eLRM Shiva and placed first by miles, killing a Daishi, several Awesomes and Maulers, a Demolisher, a Madcat, a Catapult, an Epona, and lots of other shit I can't remember — all without *ever being seriously damaged*. And lest you think the other team was total shit, I started on their side, and we were stomping so hard I had to switch for balance!
Here are some possible counters to the eLRM Shiva:
1. eLRMs. These can lock onto the Shiva while it is flying in circles spamming its own eLRMs. Unfortunately, they are too slow and clumsy to connect (as tested by prolific eLRM spamming on Death Valley, or whatever that big ol' desert map is called). A skilled pilot will take no damage from them.
2. eATMs. They are fast and can *mostly* keep up with the eLRM Shiva's range. Unfortunately, they have very low DPS.
3. Kill it while it's iNARCing. Possible with Gauss/LPL/PPC fire, but unlikely to kill a fresh Shiva.
4. Buy an ASF and chase the Shiva. It's completely helpless in air to air, so it will either die or run home.
The Shiva does not reward more skilled play. You do not have to aim or manage your heat while chain-firing eLRMs. Imagine the Shiva as a weapon in an FPS: a seeking bullet that strikes your target, then teleports you above the map and tells you 'click until you win!'
Compare this to the Shiva A, which requires precise aim and risky passes — but rewards the skilled pilot by hitting like a truck. Wonderful design! If only it weren't completely outclassed by the eLRM Shiva. Or the bomber Shiva, which can one-shot many assets entirely, but has to pass over the target to do it — a great tradeoff.
Again: good game design promotes interaction. What interactions are there between the eLRM Shiva and its target? None. The Shiva pilot doesn't even need to look at the target. The target can't do anything but hide. What interactions are there between the eLRM Shiva and another ASF sent to kill it? None. It has no choice but to run away.
The eLRM Shiva is a boring piece of design. It says "stop what you're doing and fly an ASF, or die."
Here are some counterarguments raised on Discord:
*The eLRM Shiva can be countered by ground fire while iNARCing.*
A single pass isn't a great window to kill a Shiva, especially when it can break off at 800 meters. The Shiva then enters Itano Circus Orbital Bombardment Death-Ring Assault Mode, where no ground fire can reach it. That's boring for the Shiva pilot and frustrating for the ground targets. No compelling interaction.
*The eLRM Shiva can be countered by another ASF*
True — driven back, but not easily killed. But what does this add to the experience of the other 13 players on the defending team? What new, interesting choices do they have to interact with the eLRM Shiva? None. The eLRM Shiva remains an 'I win' button with a self-destruct switch you can only press by buying another ASF.
*Angel ECM can burn off iNARCs*
Hell yeah it can! I love this! Unfortunately, aECM doesn't work on yourself: you gotta rely on an ECM buddy to keep you clean. That's two players cooperating well to counter one player clicking left mouse and making 200,000 c-bills. And the eLRM Shiva can pick another target.
*You're bad, and if you were good, you wouldn't think the eLRM Shiva was bad design*
I don't have a problem killing eLRM Shivas: I buy a Visigoth or a Sulla and go shoot it down. But I don't make any *interesting decisions* doing it. When I'm in my Daishi and I get iNARC'd, I know I'm dead. When I respawn and buy my Visigoth, I know I'm going to kill or drive off the Shiva. Boring. But when a Shiva A dives at me, I know I need to quickly set up a snapshot while trying to protect my center torso from its 900m alpha strike — a great skill challenge.
As a general design rule, ASF should not have eLRMs. eLRMs (like Longtoms and Arrows) are interesting on the ground because they can be charged or flanked: they are mounted on slow, vulnerable assets. They remain interactive. ASFs, however are fast, have access to easy quick repairs, and can stay above the interaction range of ground assets if they mount eLRMs. That's bad! Interaction is good!
That is my analysis! My credentials are that I am a very good player (but not as good as 123456 or Proxema) and I really love this game. I have kicked far more ass with the eLRM Shiva than I have been kicked by it, so I call for this nerf against my own best interest. Fin.