MechaStellar VER 8.7 Design Goals – Balance Patch

Super Robot Wars by Dorasu –

Here’s an indepth look at some of the design decisions that went into the Balance Patch, Unit Profile adjustments and Weapon adjustments. For your convenience I have included the relevant summary line item list for each of those categories from the previous post as well.

Balance Patch

  • Gave Melee & Attacker units Melee+1d10
  • Gave Sniper units +4″ Sensors and removed Move-1 penalty. Gave Assault +1 Move.
  • Adjusted Tier 2 Performance units (5+) to have an additional +1 Move for MS & +1 Power Titans but also an additional +10 Cost.  This is a wash for more Titan units.  Several units were rebalanced to anchor on their previous cost or move to a new one.
  • Size modifiers have moved to the top of the profile and still provide a cost adjustment, instead of an active ability they provide passive benefits to EQ, HP & Melee and a penalty to Evade for very large units.
  • Adjusted Movement for Frame 3+ units to avoid penalizing those with higher Reinforce level.  For many units this means their movement fluctuated by +/- 2.  This also allows the RX78-2 and other heroic units to start with base movement of 10 while preventing low HP grunt units from receiving even larger speed boosts.
  • Rewrote AT Fields, Infernal Form, Energy Barrier and Generating Armor to have a Momentum cost to activate allowing opponents of these armies to have an additional way to bring these units down by sapping their Momentum, similar to tactics employed against I-Fields.

For unit roles we had been considering bumping up the Attacker role by another +1d10 Melee to further differentiate them from the Raid role which is a similar high movement combat role. With the addition of the Glory system to Melee and giving Melee units another +1d10 we thought it would be the perfect time. Sniper’s received a +4 Sensor bonus to compensate with the changes to Minovsky particle scattering, and we removed their -1 Move penalty since we wanted the GM Sniper Custom and GM Sniper II to be a bit faster. Lastly, units with the Assault special tag (Gerbera Tetra, Dra-C, Kampfer, etc.) received an increase of +1 Move.

After some discussions we decided that we wanted to Titan units to gain +3 Power when they go up a tier (previously they would gain +2 Power when ascending a Tier).  Switching over to +3 Power would make it very easy to switch over to a new an upgraded weapon since weapon upgrades go Power 1/4/7/10 etc. For instance if they could previously use a Power 4 Broken Magnum, then they could now use a Power 7 Broken Phantom, similarly they could from a Rocket Punch to a Drill Pressure Punch. 

Upgrading the Tier bonus for Titans also meant upgrading it for MS, who previously were +2 Move upon ascending a new Performance tier (5+) and would now move up to +3. Initially we were a bit hesitant since we had spent the last 6 months fine tuning movement values to try and avoid the large strata we had previously. Fortunately, with Movement values for all units constrained to a smaller range the extra +1 Movement was not too bad, and helps us save on points as we continue working on suits from Zeta Gundam.

Since the Performance Tiers were upgraded we also had to increase the cost modifier to keep things balanced and to avoid situations where a Performance 5 units could perform better than a Performance 4 unit at the same or lower cost. Thus all the Performance 5+ units received another +10 cost modifier. Units that are assigned a cost anchor, for example the GM Custom and GM Cannon II which are anchored at 200pts had to be rebalanced in order to lower their cost again.

Similarly, most heroic units were balanced around 500pts we adjusted most profiles to maintain that.  Thankfully large units (Size 1+) were getting a bonus slot due to the changes from Size to make it a passive bonus instead of an active bonus, dovetailed nicely with a +10 cost increase which could be immediately nullified. 

Some MS and some Mazinger units had to be adjusted considerably to keep their old costs, apologies to the 0083 enthusiasts out there since the GM Custom and GM Cannon II saw some of the biggest hits with lower movement and HP to compensate.

Regarding movement, one thing we wanted to optimize was Movement for some of the heroic units, notably the RX 78-2 Gundam.  We devised a solution where Heroic Units (Frame 3+) would not have movement slow downs for Reinforce the way that Grunts (Frame 1-2) units do.  So long as the Reinforce level stayed equal or lower than the Frame level then it would not affect their movement.

Lastly, we ended up rewriting Barrier type abilities after testing out a weaker version with some draft units.  While we were fine with AT Fields being oppressively hard to get through since it perfectly fits the on screen appearance of an NGE Angel, we found it was too good on other units even in a watered down version. 

While not wanting to weaken those barriers specifically, we decided to have them function similar to I-Fields being dependent on Momentum.  This way the player has to put some thought into whether it is worthwhile to spend Momentum on their barrier, a crafty opponent can try and bait them into activating the barrier, burning their Momentum then redirect their remaining attacks into other more vulnerable targets.


  • Switched Mobile Armors to MS vice Titan class (Higher Evade, Lower HP). Rebalanced Mobile Armors.
  • Updated Escaflowne units from Titan profiles to MS Profiles
  • Updated Will of Getter and clarified how many victory points Getter Robo is worth.
  • Updated Defense Array where a Warship may use one weapon and one [AA] weapon against targets, to avoid all AA batteries focusing on a single skilled pilot for instance.
  • Major revision to Stellar Warships whose mega particle guns have increased shots and rapid fire now.
  • Adjusted Pilot Traits on various units

While writing the SRW Module we noticed some issues where if we wanted to apply some Classic Super Robot traits to Titans it would also apply to Mobile Armors which ended feeling kind of weird.  We took a look at whether or not we could convert our existing Mobile Armors (and future ones) to the MS Class instead of Titan and were happy with the results.  It also means behemoths like GP03 & Neue Ziel have less to track since they no longer need to worry about power consumption.  Escaflowne was swapped over to MS type as well to better reflect the agility and lethality present in their universe.

We had the question come up a few times that people weren’t sure how many Victory Points Getter Robo was worth. Was it worth only 4 Frame points since it had 3 forms or was it worth 12 pts? Was it worth 2 points for an Ace Pilot or 5 Points because of all of its pilots? These were great questions! It was an oversight not to include that previously, so now on the Getter profile it tells the total Victory points it is worth when defeated. We had planned on Getter being worth large amounts of Victory points since right now it is the only unit that can do multiple activations, a very powerful ability in the hands of an experienced player. The large amount of VP is a worthwhile trade in that consideration.

Warships received considerable balance adjustments for this months update.  Warships remain a very difficult design space while trying to keep them lore accurate but also balanced and most importantly fun to use.  In Mobile Suit Gundam which a large part of the game is based on, Warships are very susceptible to being destroyed by Mobile Suits, with Mobile Suits completely changing the warfighting paradigm by completely dominating space fighters and warships. 

In order to match this on the tabletop we wanted to ensure that Mobile Suits would very good at killing a Warship, to this end Warship HPs are carefully contained that way Char in a Zaku or Amuro in the Gundam for instance can take out a Warship by himself in a single attack run.  We also had to make sure MS themselves in significant danger of being wiped off the field.  If a Salamis or Magellan could wipe out several Mobile Suits a round, that wouldn’t make for a very lore accurate game and that’s something we wanted to avoid. 

Previously we had ships fire only 1 shot per weapon, and only 1 weapon per mobile suit.  (Although we noticed a loophole with Anti-Air [AA] weapons and fixed that this month that way you couldn’t point 6 [AA] turrets at a single Mobile Suit]. 

While the single shot worked great for Mobile Suits, and also against other Warships so they wouldn’t annihilate each other too quickly we did run into a significant issue, namely Titans. We had kept our initial Design vision that if Warships were meant to be susceptible to MS then they would also have to be effective against something else, and in this case that ended up being Titans who tended to have lower Evasion than a Mobile Suit. 

The problem we ran into was that our Warships were not being very effective at being Titan Killers, as we found out in test games against GoLion and King J-Der in particular.  These units had extremely large HP pools and decent enough Evade that they could fly up the battlefield tanking those hits before wrecking all the warships.  Lore accurate?  Absoultely!  There’s nothing more fun than watching GoLion roaring through a ship and then slices open another Galra ship a moment later.  But we also have to make sure the Warship players have fun too hah!  Especially so when we add iconic starship shoes such as Captain Harlock.

To this end Warships ended up with more shots per Mega Particle Cannons (MPC) and also rapid fire.  In the past we ran into significant balance issues with MPCs.  We strive to keep the Musai and Salamis balanced against one another, in the same way we try to keep the Zaku II and GM balanced against each so both players have grunt units that perform well enough at destroying their equivalent grunt on the opposite side of the table. 

While they both have 6 guns, the Musai has all 6 pointed forward while the Salamis has 3 forward and 3 behind, which means that even with a broadside attack two of those guns will be unable to fire.  Having MPCs go with one shot per cannon ends up heavily favoring the Musai, so we scrapped that in the past and opted to go with twin (or triple cannons) being higher damage. 

Now that we were returning to multiple shots per cannon we had to figure out the right balance to make sure Musai and Salamis still performed well against each other.  We also had to make sure that additional shots didn’t make them lethal towards a MS, going back to our first principles. 

We eventually ended up going with 2 shots standard for any cannon, with a single cannon gaining +1 shot on rapid fire, and a twin cannon getting +2 shots on rapid fire.  This way the double cannon does have some advantages but not an overbearing advantage. Still that can be a lot of shots at a Mobile Suit so we had to make sure that if they were facing 4 shots they had good odds against them. 

With the change to Minovsky particles switching from an accuracy penalty to a target evade reroll it let GMs and Zakus reliably avoid being hit by a Warship while outside Sensors Range+10 (24″ for OYW Warships).  This allows them to freely move up the field without fear of being instantly deleted, and the reroll instead of the accuracy penalty means that for every unlucky initial roll you can reroll out of it.  Well, unless the dice gods chose to forsake you.

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