I think I recall a thread that was started about jetbikes some time ago, but it's moved off the balance forum pages now and I can't seem to find it.
If just one balance issue needs to be fixed in Soulstorm, it's Jetbikes. To put it bluntly, they are ridiculous and far too effective for what they are.
- Dirt cheap at 80/30
- 1 pop cost
- Fast move speed (42 - fastest vehicle in the game)
- Can decap points
- High damage (over 26 DPS to most infantry types, 55DPS after splinter cannon upgrade)
- Fast build time (18 seconds)
- Available in tier 1
- Upgrades in tier 2 to nearly double HP and DPS and increase FOTM accuracy to 55%
- Vehicle armour (granted it's vehicle_low, but it's still vehicle armour in tier 1)
- Low HP (400HP to start, 700HP with Night Shields, 1000HP with Shadow Fields)
The main problem with jetbikes is that they are simply available far too early and are far too easily massable. In fact, it's not uncommon to see DE players make multiple foundries to pump them out even faster. The DE doesn't even need to have a particularly solid economy to keep pumping them out either.
Races like IG and Tau are generally completed boned against massed jetbikes and can do nothing about them. Chaos, SM and SoB can handle them but require large masses of firepower or heavy weapons to do so and can only really do it if they know it's coming (and not always easy when there's usually hellions flying around). Orks are 50/50, seemingly be able to handle them in tier 1 but then get overrun once they hit tier 2. The only two races that usually don't have much of a problem with them are Necrons and Eldar - Necrons due to their race mechanics of not needing early map control and tough warriors, and Eldar with reapers doing pretty impressive damage to bikes and FoF. Necrons however have their own issues dealing with other DE units.
It's a touchy area though...because jetbikes HP is so low in tier 1, nerfing them too much will make them useless. But something needs to be done about them!
My proposed fixes:
- REMOVE ability to decap points. Seriously, this aspect about them is absolutely stupid when every other DE infantry unit can also decap. Sentinals can decap because IG don't get anything else in tier 2 that can. Wraiths can decap because Necrons don't have anything else besides scarabs. There is NO valid reason why jetbikes can decap points. None! Make DE use their infantry for this job like the other races do.
- Increase cost. Not by too much, as their low HP will make them worthless in tier 1 if they are priced too high - but 80/30 make them just about the cheapest tier 1 general combat units in the game! With just 2 generators a DE can just keep a constant production line going and it doesn't matter how many of them you kill off, they just keep coming. Think of what wartraks were like in vanilla DoW except about twice as bad. I'm thinking increase cost to 100/50 - which still makes them the cheapest vehicle in the game by a mile, but should solve the problem of their spammability nicely.