CO Conversion Part 2: Blue Moon, Green Earth, Yellow Comet

Last time, I laid out the basics of this exercise and covered Orange Star. Today, I cover Blue Moon, Green Earth, and Yellow Comet.


Blue Moon

Olaf

Since Penny exists, in all her terrible, rules-violating, weather-supremacy glory, I can't simply make Olaf's stuff immune to snow, let him spawn it, and call it a day.

On the other hand, Olaf's specialization in snow has always been a bit of a weird thing: incredible on map's locked to snow, unreliable if random weather is on, and if weather is off he's stuck with whatever his (S)CO Power provides. So being faithful takes a slight backseat to making him work.

2/2 stars, all units, but only when snowing. All units everywhere are immune to snow regardless.
2 CO Zone.
Blizzard: The default weather is now snow until Olaf's unit dies. (If 'random weather' is on, the weather rolls as snow, rain, sandstorm, or also snow) If the weather is currently snow, removes 2 HP from all enemies instead.

Days of Ruin's CO mechanic provides an interesting opportunity to set a different limiter on lasting effects than simple time. One of Olaf's problems in the previous games is that it's difficult to make his snow specialization fair, while making it strongly effective, even aside from the design problem that weather is really constructed as a way to make a match interesting: it's not really supposed to be obviously biased.

With this design, Olaf's snow specialty can persist in its benefits however long he can avoid losing his CO unit, with incentives in place for him to keep his CO unit near the front, in danger, as opposed to activating the snow and then hiding in the back of his forces. (The CO Zone providing big boosts but only in a modest area) This also gives Olaf an interesting aspect of momentum, momentum that can be broken.

Arguably this borders on invalidating Penny, as all she has going for her is immunity to weather/the ability to temporarily induce (random) weather, but Penny is another CO whose design is questionable in Days of Ruin from several directions.

Grit

Blobs of indirect-fire units are very strong, and Days of Ruin's mechanics don't support having Grit's directs be weakened. This inclines me to be conservative with him.

2/0 stars, all indirect-fire units.
2 CO Zone.
Snipe Attack: +4 range on all indirect-fire units.

His daily is directly inferior to Gage's, with no Defense star and being more restricted in the class of units it affects, but he gets truly incredible range when he activates his CO Power.

This might be overly-conservative, honestly, as Grit's biggest advantage in Dual Strike is having a range extension day-to-day. The damage bonus is, er, a bonus.

Colin

Colin is probably the CO least-suited to being translated to Days of Ruin. His daily effect on his units is an actual negative, with his daily positive being making units cheaper by a modest margin. He overwhelms enemies by having more units than they do and/or having some of them be higher 'tech' than them (eg fielding early Neotanks), making up for the fact that his units are somewhat inept.

-3/0 stars. All units.
3 CO Zone.
Gold Rush: Immediately grants money equal to half his current property intake. The negative stars go away for the duration as well.

-3 stars of Attack in part to counteract the hidden +1.

I used Gold Rush as his CO Power instead of the Power of Money because the Power of Money is relying on him having cheap units and good money generation to be an actually good effect. Players familiar with Dual Strike might also notice that in the actual games Colin takes his current cash reserves and increases that by 50%, rather than the effect I've given him. I've never been a fan of Colin's ability to stock up a bit to maximize Gold Rush's payoff, especially given how quick the power charges, and I feel he's less exploitable if the cash is derived from his actual income.

The idea here is roughly approximating his Dual Strike dynamic of having inferior units, but having more purchasing power than his opponents. Here he relies on rapidly charging his CO Power to generate half-turns of cash to throw more soldiers at the enemy, rather than having cheaper units up-front. Incidentally, this removes one of his bigger, more design-dubious advantages: since he doesn't have cheap units up-front, the phase of the game in which players are largely making infantry and capturing stuff is not a phase he has an advantage in. It always seemed odd to me that the developers were, in various ways, extremely careful to avoid disrupting that phase of the game -for instance, in Dual Strike, Sami with maxed out Capture bonuses is still short of being able to capture Properties in a single turn with full health units- but let Colin have an advantage in that phase of the game. You could consider this a correction of that strange decision.

The huge CO Zone simultaneously makes it easier to charge his power but harder to minimize the disadvantage of the negative stars -with a smaller Zone, he could minimize how much his units are impaired with carefully planned turns. A larger zone makes that impractical.

Sasha

Sasha is almost as bad as Colin at being a poor fit to Days of Ruin. It doesn't fit to have her generate extra cash from properties, and Market Crash's existence is rooted in a number of assumptions in how CO Powers work that don't apply to Days of Ruin at all. This basically leaves War Bonds.

0/0 stars.
3 CO Zone.
War Bonds: Damage done to enemies is given to Sasha as cash, specifically 50% of the unit's cost for a full kill.

The basic idea is that Sasha charges her CO Power quickly to then generate extra cash from the fighting, replacing the passive cash advantage she has in Dual Strike. As with Colin, this has the incidental effect of taking away her advantage in the capture phase of the game, though she was less advantaged there in the first place anyway. The 50% cash value is just because that's what War Bonds does in the actual game. If I did this as a serious project, it would be a number open to fine-tuning, potentially up to 100% value if I felt she was too weak in actual play.

Green Earth

Eagle

Eagle is a bit weird, in that he's technically an air-focused CO, but his (S)CO Power is an exceptional ability that works with literally anything that isn't a form of infantry. His main balancing factor is the long charge time on his Super CO Power, letting others wear him down so he doesn't have too huge a force to take advantage of the effect. As it happens, this isn't actually all that hard to translate into Days of Ruin.

Admittedly, it's not practical to translate his aircraft-specific Fuel advantage, but the Fuel advantage is honestly pretty ignorable in practice (To the point I routinely forget he has it!), outside of very occasionally mattering with Battle Copters. Air units burn most their fuel through movement, not through their per-turn burn. So not translating it isn't a big loss.

2/2 stars, air units only.
0 CO Zone.
Blitzkrieg: All non-infantry units immediately get a second move.

Like Tabitha, the 0 CO Zone size means it takes forever for Eagle to charge his CO Power. Unlike Tabitha, he's not, personally, an unholy monster capable of punching heinously above his weight. This makes him very much focused on his CO Power, which is good since it's so ridiculous.

In practice it might actually make more sense for him to have a Zone of 1. Part of why the long charge is important in Dual Strike is that CO Powers charge anytime fighting is occurring, and do so faster when you're on the backfoot, with the only way to prevent an enemy from activating their power being "Be Sasha, use Market Crash." If he had a faster charge, you'd tend to see his opponent start gaining an edge over him, only for Eagle to completely reverse the situation in one turn. In Days of Ruin's model, he has to work to charge his meter, and can be prevented from activating it at all by being killed before activation. Instead of being a guillotine hanging over the foe's head, inevitable and unavoidable, it's quite preventable, and unlike Tabitha he's not got the stats/ability to be competent in literally any unit that makes it very difficult to simply snipe Tabitha before she activates Firestorm.

But again, this is the sort of thing I'd look into if I was seriously working on this as a real thing.

Drake

Drake's always had a weird, random rain specialty thing that's just sort of... there, which has always bothered me given that for Olaf snow is his whole thing, where for Drake it's thrown in alongside having a more typical specialty. As such, I'm not even going to bother trying to translate this pseudo-specialty in rain.

3/1 stars, naval units only.
3 CO Zone.
Tsunami: Cuts the existing fuel reserves of all enemy units in half and does 2 points of non-lethal damage to them.

Basically, Drake charges fast, dominates sea battles, and keeps smacking the enemy with unavoidable damage while tanking their Fuel. Honestly, hitting the enemy's Fuel isn't as useful in Days of Ruin as it is in the prior games, as Rigs are more useful than APCs and Temporary Airports/Seaports do away with the repair/resupply chokepointing that could hamper air and sea units, so I'm not sure how useful that aspect of Tsunami would be in practice, especially since his primary competitor for naval dominance would be Greyfield, who restores Fuel with his CO Power, not to mention Ammunition and Materials.

I originally thought of giving Drake a defensive set of bonuses, as that's his classical statline in the games he's actually in, but then I noticed I'd made him into "Greyfield, but doesn't effect copters or Sea Planes and has a different CO Power." Making him more offensively oriented is an attempt to make the two more distinct, though I suspect in practice it boils down to Drake tending to be the better choice in naval warfare, as naval warfare in the Advance Wars games tends to lean heavily in the direction of glass cannons hard-countering other glass cannons.

Honestly, as a serious project in which I also rebalanced the Days of Ruin COs, I'd probably embrace the Rain specialty and turn Penny into a Sandstorm specialist, to help distinguish Drake.

Jess

Jess' focus on ground vehicles is pretty easily translated... except that I'm holding myself to not invalidating existing Days of Ruin COs, so Will gets in the way again. I could try to focus on her Fuel-and-Ammo-restoration effect, but Greyfield already does that and throws in restoring the new Materials resource.

3/0 stars, ground vehicles only.
1 CO Zone.
Overdrive: Ground vehicles gains +1 to movement and bolsters their attack by a further 20%.

In the end I settled for having Jess have a smaller CO Zone, but a stronger, more general effect, when compared against Will. She also loses out on a point of movement in exchange for greater firepower in her CO Power, giving her a different focus.

Javier

Javier's primary focus in Dual Strike is that he gets Defense out of Com Towers, but this is a poor effect to focus on, as Com Towers are not necessarily present on a map, and Javier's balance ends up centered around how many Com Towers maps have/are allowed to have. Due to Days of Ruin's changed Defense mechanics, he at least can't become nigh-invulnerable just because a map has 10 Com Towers, but it's still a problematic specialization.

Meanwhile, protection against indirect unit fire is a surprisingly useful effect, as indirect units provide a lot of battlefield pressure. So let's have Javier be an anti-indirects fellow.

0/5 stars, all units, but only against indirect attacks.
3 CO Zone.
Tower Shield: All units are immune to indirect-fire attack for the duration.

The overall result is that Javier tends to be able to push through defensive cores, especially when he gets Tower Shield charged. An enemy who responds to fighting Javier by reducing their usage of indirects is an enemy who is limited their forces in a predictable way, so even if his bonus ends up with little direct use in a match, the way it shapes the enemy's play is useful in its own right.

For those who skipped the technical explanation: units in Javier's radius take roughly 1/3rd less damage, ignoring terrain stars. Noticeable, but not completely invalidating indirects.

Yellow Comet

Kanbei

Kanbei's core dynamic is that he has fewer, better units. This is difficult to translate in the context of Days of Ruin, and is worsened by its tweaks to unit costs and map design assumptions: Days of Ruin is predicated on the idea that each player has two Bases and one HQ, which is barely able to afford two Infantry. Even if I was willing to incorporate a cost increase to his units on the level of it breaking DoR's CO design rules, it would be a more problematic breaking of its map design rules.

As such, I instead focused on how he has a powerful, slow-charging Super CO Power in Black Hole Rising and Dual Strike. Which is, admittedly, a flipping of his dynamic in the original Advance Wars, where his CO Power is actually horribly underwhelming and he's reliant on having a strong daily instead.

1/1 stars, all units.
1 CO Zone.
Samurai Spirit: CO Zone bonus becomes 10/10 stars.

This is a Kanbei who is pretty lackluster day-to-day, with a poor Zone size and weak, albeit universal stat boosts, but an incredible -if somewhat bland- CO Power that is good for any map and any matchup. It's not an ideal translation, and I suspect if I got really creative I could come up with something better, but it's workable, I think.

Sonja

Sonja is another CO who is difficult to translate because of her day-to-day effects. Enhancing line of sight to units in her radius is a bad mechanic, and her Dual-Strike-specific reduction of enemy terrain stars by 1 as a passive effect is a problematic design decision in Dual Strike's system and an even worse fit to Days of Ruin's system. Exacerbating the issue is that Lin is already the Fog of War specialist of Days of Ruin, and there's not many paths available for a good approach to Fog of War specialization.

Let's get creative.

1/0 stars, all units.
2 CO Zone.
Superior Intelligence: Sonja's units ignore all defensive bonuses on enemy units, including those provided by terrain, experience, and even COs, and terrain no longer hides enemy units from Sonja's forces.

Less overtly Fog-specialized than Lin, but where Lin has a strong, general boost -2/2 stars is pretty good- Sonja has a weak daily boost, relying instead on having a faster-charging CO Power with a more consistently useful, powerful effect. The part where she gets to ignore CO-derived Defense is possibly a bad idea, as it pretty obviously has a matchup effect where she's strongest against COs who rely on Defense boosts, such as letting her cut right through Waylon's CO Power. Hmmm.

Sensei

Sensei is a bit odd in Dual Strike on a number of levels. He boosts Battle Copters much more than he boosts infantry units, instead of using one value for everything he benefits like most COs do, boosts APC and Transport Copter movement, and his CO and Super CO powers mass-spawn Infantry or Mechs, respectively. It's a weird combination all-around, and Days of Ruin doesn't support a particularly faithful translation of it for several reasons.

On the plus side, an infantry/copter focus is not a combination Days of Ruin already has, so I don't have to worry about him being too similar to an existing CO.

2/0 stars for Infantry, Mechs, Cycles, and Battle Copters.
3 CO Zone.
Airborne Assault: Spawns a Mech in each (open, Mech passable) space adjacent to Sensei. Any Infantry, Mechs, or Cycles Sensei owns that already exist in these spots are restored to full health instead.

Airborne Assault is possibly overly conservative, but Sensei's ability to mass-spawn Infantry is shockingly powerful in Dual Strike. The fact that they spawn at 9 HP instead of 10 prevents them from immediately 2-turn capturing, at least, but it creates the problem that Sensei gets to generate money: simply combine two 9 HP stacks of Infantry, and Sensei has 800 credits right there. A typical map tends to have something like 10-15 cities for each Base, and usually you can get a hold of two Bases, so that's 800*20-30 AKA 1600-2400 credits generated for free, on top of 10-15 Infantry you can throw at the enemy to slow their advance and just generally cause trouble -and whose deaths then feed into spawning more of them!

Sensei is strong in Dual Strike, much more so than I think the developers realized, so I'm being cautious in this translation. Possibly too cautious, admittedly, as Days of Ruin's mechanical changes weaken the dynamic some -your casualties don't charge your CO Power in Days of Ruin, for instance- but ultimately the cornerstone of what makes mass-spawning of Infantry so good is that the game is just not constructed to make it possible to readily clear out large numbers of units, even of the weakest kind, and Days of Ruin doesn't actually address that, so... conservative it is.

I'm not happy with how this CO Power scales poorly, making Sensei at his strongest on smaller maps, but Days of Ruin prefers smaller maps than the previous games, so arguably it's a good fit to the game's own design trends.

Grimm

Negative Defense is a bit more dubious of a design in Days of Ruin's dynamic. In Dual Strike, for instance, Grimm just plain has worse APCs. In Days of Ruin, he can keep Rigs outside of his CO Zone as a workaround.

On the other hand, I'm not sure how to capture Grimm's nature as a glass cannon without resorting to negative Defense. I actually think Grimm is a surprisingly interesting CO in actual play, even though his mechanics are very straightforward, so I consider it more important to keep the glass cannon thing than most anything else. Especially since he doesn't have anything else.

4/-2 stars. All units.
2 CO Zone.
Haymaker: 30% more attack for everything beyond the default.

Defense is -2 because at -1 it would only cancel out the hidden +1.

Unsure about this approach to Grimm. In practice I worry he'd tend to play as a sort of Other Grit, dodging around his Defense penalty by keeping Grimm in back, bolstering Indirects, which is already something Grimm leans toward in Dual Strike. If I could come up with a different idea that fit Days of Ruin's system, I'd jump on it in an instant, honestly.

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Next time, I cover Black Hole's COs.

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