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Topic: Balancing around the tempo tournament

simplypeachy
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Posted at: 2020-04-26, 21:46

One way to force a timer, by means of an economy, would be to change the build requirements of the training sites. If they require wares that are a) not part of the starting wares and b) take a full economy to produce, then training cannot even begin until it's up and running. The same could also be achieved by a similar requirement for military item sites. This has the advantage of not forcing changes to a tribe's ongoing requirements solely for the purpose of reducing early heroes.


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kaputtnik
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Posted at: 2020-04-26, 21:48

Clarifying my statement:

kaputtnik wrote:

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but ' how to balance to get more medium trained soldiers'. Creating a hero should be the exception. But i don't know how to archive this face-grin.png

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but 'how to balance the tribes to prevent to get fully trained soldiers'.


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simplypeachy
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Posted at: 2020-04-26, 21:50

Although possibly more complex than recipe changes, there could also be a win condition that prohibits any attacks until a certain game time has been reached. Players could simply agree on this rule before starting but perhaps it is preferable to have it enforced by the game.


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the-x
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Posted at: 2020-04-26, 21:50

kaputtnik wrote:

Do you have any alternate suggestion? would you prefer my earlier suggestion to move some marble cost from wineyards to mills and bakeries (therefore still keeping the distinction with "building material economy")? Or would you prefer to introduce experience for the imperial weaponsmith? or what else?

Making heroes should be expensive as possible i think. What most players do now is to work on creating fully trained heroes and let them fight against each other. Probably the one who made the most heroes wins the game. In my opinion this is not the way this game should work. If heroes are very expensive, the chance to fight with medium trained soldiers growth. Then there will be a difference if one soldier has one evade/attack/health/... point more than the other. On the opposite winning a fight with fully trained soldiers is luck.

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but ' how to balance to get more medium trained soldiers'. Creating a hero should be the exception. But i don't know how to archive this face-grin.png

Yes, making heroes should be as expensive as possible, as you can reach the full ambiente of the game, in my opinion fastest times should not be faster than 50 minutes, surely not the current 16 minutes.

"the chance to fight with medium trained soldiers growth" - this gives the game a lot more possibilities, i like this very much

Creating a hero should be the exception -> exactly


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hessenfarmer
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Posted at: 2020-04-26, 22:47

hi everybody,

huh, hot discussions here, almost instantly. Seems there is a lot of emotion in there.

So perhaps we all need to take a step back, relax and start with discussing whether and how the game could be improved for everybody. This needs some agreement about some principle things first probably. Here is my view on balnacing and the current situation.

  1. Balancing in terms of this thread means to balance the abilities of tribes, It does not mean balance the abilites of players.
  2. There are mainly 2 types of players single game players (which I would call myself) and multiplayer players. They have different needs. Balancing currently only relates to multiplayer as difficulty could be adjusted by scripting and unfortunately our AI isn't capable to really make tribes balancing an issue. However we should consider each groups needs and preferences in our approach. Basically one of the needs of single player is variety in the game (maps, tribes, missions) and atmosphere (tribe character, storyline, flavour), which might be not that important for multiplayer.
  3. Some effort has been put into balancing soldiers. User einstein wrote a python script to simulate fights between soldiers of different levels however only level 0 and level 10 (and maybe level 9) are comparable due to the variety of possible permutations in between. Currently the fighting ability of l0 vs l0 and l10 vs l10 is balanced as much as reasonable affordable. So no tribe has a outstanding advantage in fighting hero against hero. Some of the tribe are more succeptible to luck though.
  4. The needs (in terms of coal, iron, gold) to produce a hero in average are balanced as far as reasonable for the current 4 tribes. This is to make sure map ressources could be used to turn out in the same military power. I had a look in timing of production as well but this turned out to be hard. Anyhow at least time for weapon production is in range. Amazons haven't undergone all of this yet and would be different though --> probabaly harder to balance.
  5. The rest of the balancing has been done according to subjective player experience where a majority had the same subjective impressions. That is the hardest part as it can't be measured artificially as the previous areas.
  6. In multiplayer small maps have a bigger importance then in singleplayer as many people like a short (up to 2 hours game) to not spend to much time. I remember the 4 hours games in the last tournament needed to be properly aligned with private life.
  7. Due to 6 it became evident that the first hero was a crucial milestone to balance against. The next and probably better milestone would be the 2nd one though. It took us hard work to improve frisians in this direction. That was the reason to suggest this tournament where I am still thankful to WorldSavior for organising. I always knew it would be a corner case. But it delivered at least some results. E.g. nearly every player has its best time with atlanteans. But we need to have a look into the resulting economy after having the hero. (e.g. having an empire hero without any marble left and no wine economy is close to a single hero deadlock)
  8. In balancing the first hero we need to ensure that we won't overpower a tribe for medium or long games where the ability to produce highest level soldiers constantly at a high rate is key to success.
  9. So we need to define what to achieve first. As King of Nowhere tried with the propagation of his goals.

These points lead to the fact that I would ask everyone on their specific thought on the folllowing goals:

  1. It should not be possible to make a hero without having a full (except ship industry) economy. (perhaps we could define a percentage or number of buildings needed)
  2. Each tribe should be able (played by skilled players who are clearly identified now ;-)) to make a hero in the same range of time (value to be discussed I would vote for 40 +-5 minutes as you might encounter enemy earlier in a small map)
  3. The flavour and character of each tribe should be kept to the maximum extent possible. We don't wan't to end up with all tribes similar won't we. So we should aim at achieving 1 and 2 with the least amount of changes possible.

maybe this has to be done in steps first 1. then 2.


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king_of_nowhere
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Posted at: 2020-04-27, 01:16

simplypeachy wrote:

I shan't comment further on this area since my input has been misconstrued as a personal attack, which it was not.

ok, sorry for overreacting to what i misperceived as a personal attack.

anyway, this discussion has been going on for a long time. it started in 2015, when i won the tournament by first figuring out how to micromanage to turn all your resources into heroes. and i demonstrated that heroes will trounce an equal amount of resources in lesser soldiers (though i also had excellent economy). but right there, i instructed anyone on how to do the same, and it still took me over one hour to get heroes, so it wasn't a big deal.

then worldsavior came, and he started to lower the time (though his economy was also more excellent than mine). and then high level competitive game turned into a challenge to make the first hero - though of course keeping a healty economy to also get the second, and third, in reasonable time is needed. (as i often pointed out, the guy who got the first hero manged it because he had the best economy 99% of times)

and then we started seeing that the tribes were different, and we started trying to balance. some people would have wanted to get rid of the whole "micromanage heroes" thing, while others tried to accept it and play around it, and generally we tried to give each tribe even chance. since then, balancing has never really stopped.

simplypeachy wrote:

One way to force a timer, by means of an economy, would be to change the build requirements of the training sites. If they require wares that are a) not part of the starting wares and b) take a full economy to produce, then training cannot even begin until it's up and running.

there is already an attempt to do this. all training sites cost gold, which is the capstone of an economy. plus, barbarian training site costs lots of grout, empire need marble columns, amazon need balsa, atlanteans need cloth... all tribes need a lot of their more expensive ware to make their training site.

still, that hasn't discouraged anyone.

kaputtnik wrote:

Clarifying my statement:

kaputtnik wrote:

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but ' how to balance to get more medium trained soldiers'. Creating a hero should be the exception. But i don't know how to archive this face-grin.png

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but 'how to balance the tribes to prevent to get fully trained soldiers'.

problem with this is that, if it was actually convenient to make more medium promoted soldiers, then what would be the point of making heroes? one would just figure out the most cost-effective promotion level, then set to 0 the weapons and armors that are not needed. and then we may as well remove them from the game entirely.

and then the new heroes will be the soldiers with the higher convenient promotion level.

by the way, this used to be the case some years ago. the mathematical values of the various soldiers made it convenient to skip some of the higher armor promotions. for example, an atlantean hero would die in 5 hits from an enemy hero regardless of having shield 2 or only shield 1. so people figured that getting sshield 2 was useless and needlessly expensive, and stopped using it. we tweaked values to avoid having useless promotions.

and then some pieces of the economy would be useless.

kaputtnik wrote:

Maybe for playing on small maps, but in general skipping a large portion of the economy does not work on medium or big maps.

it's not even just small maps.

in the 2019 tournament, i was facing the-x on ice wars. which is one of the biggest, latest-contact maps. i felt safe enough, because i know the-x has a dangerous early rush but is weaker later. and yet, in 40 minutes he was able to cross the distance and almost kill me. So, if on one of our biggest maps there is contact in 40 minutes, this ideal of "late contact when everyone has several heroes made with all calm" doesn't really apply often.


in fact, I believe that we should not make heroes more difficult to get, but we should make them easier.

if we make them difficult, then still someone, eventually, will get one. and then the game is done. or both sides will make one, they will fight, whoever gets lucky wins.

if we make them easy, both sides will have some heroes. one side will manage to make them a few minutes earlier, but it won't matter too much for onlyu a few minutes. and winning/losing a single 50% fight won't have too huge an impact on the game.

we should do that, or remove heroes entirely.

making them harder to do only makes them more important. making them weaker/too expensive is akin to removing them entirely.

but really: this whole mess sparked the moment some powergamers started to study optimal strategies for this game. it's unavoidable. we can change things all we want, but unless you ban worldsavior and me (and probably also the-x and a few others) there will always be powergamers powergaming and figuring strange tricks to get an advantage. trying to stop those tricks will only cause different ones to arise. may as well try to ride it as best as possible

These points lead to the fact that I would ask everyone on their specific thought on the folllowing goals:

  1. It should not be possible to make a hero without having a full (except ship industry) economy. (perhaps we could define a percentage or number of buildings needed)
  2. Each tribe should be able (played by skilled players who are clearly identified now ;-)) to make a hero in the same range of time (value to be discussed I would vote for 40 +-5 minutes as you might encounter enemy earlier in a small map)
  3. The flavour and character of each tribe should be kept to the maximum extent possible. We don't wan't to end up with all tribes similar won't we. So we should aim at achieving 1 and 2 with the least amount of changes possible.

maybe this has to be done in steps first 1. then 2.

yes. i said this same thing in the first post, though i naively assumed that everyone would be on board with it.

I only took a shorter time (30 minutes) because that would require the least changes, as 2 tribes are already there and the others can be put there easily enough.

I'm not sure we can force 40 minutes without significantly altering all the economies, or putting some strong artificial obstacles in the way.


by the way, I think I got the perfect easy idea for making first hero unimportant. Giving EVERYONE heroes FROM THE START!

Think about it: your starting stock of soldiers will include 10 heroes, and a few more with lesser promotions. Oh, you made an 11th after only 20 minutes? It hardly matters.

I would not want this to be the norm. So I think we could add a new starting condition - elite army, or something like this.

then we would be free to make tournaments wit the classic rush to get first hero, and casual games where we can relax and have a slow start... but if we want a casual game and to not have to worry about getting a first hero? we pick that starting condition.

especially if we do implement some bonus to the defender.

then both sides start with sizeable armies, and can't attack the opponent, and a few quick new soldiers won't make enough of a difference. and then both sides are forced to play the economy war in full strenght.

and the best thing is, it would be completely optional as a starting condition. nobody can complain that the game is being pushed in a direction he does not want, because if one does not want to use it, one can simply not pick that starting condition.

this would not remove the need to balance the classic start, but it would give a good way out to all those of you who don't want to have to worry about early heroes.

Edited: 2020-04-27, 01:17

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simplypeachy
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Posted at: 2020-04-27, 02:31

king_of_nowhere wrote:

ok, sorry for overreacting to what i misperceived as a personal attack.

anyway, this discussion has been going on for a long time.

<snip>

I apologise for saying it was a "knee-jerk reaction" as clearly this is something that you and others have seen for some time, and have put a lot of thought in to. I have (somehow) missed almost all of that discussion; perhaps it was in the tournament threads which I may not have read. Kudos for continuing to look to solve a problem that has persisted for so long face-smile.png

simplypeachy wrote:

One way to force a timer, by means of an economy, would be to change the build requirements of the training sites. If they require wares that are a) not part of the starting wares and b) take a full economy to produce, then training cannot even begin until it's up and running.

there is already an attempt to do this. all training sites cost gold, which is the capstone of an economy. plus, barbarian training site costs lots of grout, empire need marble columns, amazon need balsa, atlanteans need cloth... all tribes need a lot of their more expensive ware to make their training site.

still, that hasn't discouraged anyone.

The fact that it's still a problem proves you're correct, and choosing this route would also require changes to loadout and tribe economies, so in some ways it's at least as invasive as the solutions you put forward in your first post.

it's not even just small maps.

in the 2019 tournament, i was facing the-x on ice wars. which is one of the biggest, latest-contact maps...

<snip>

I hadn't realised this either, so the problem does seem wider than my replies suggested.

in fact, I believe that we should not make heroes more difficult to get, but we should make them easier.

if we make them difficult, then still someone, eventually, will get one. and then the game is done. or both sides will make one, they will fight, whoever gets lucky wins.

if we make them easy, both sides will have some heroes. one side will manage to make them a few minutes earlier, but it won't matter too much for onlyu a few minutes. and winning/losing a single 50% fight won't have too huge an impact on the game.

Aha I was thinking that very thing as I read your post! Simple to implement, adds no complexity but again it adds a military aspect and it kinda feels like cheating the way out of the problem... face-smile.png

I would not want this to be the norm. So I think we could add a new starting condition - elite army, or something like this.

then we would be free to make tournaments wit the classic rush to get first hero, and casual games where we can relax and have a slow start... but if we want a casual game and to not have to worry about getting a first hero? we pick that starting condition.

Starting conditions do seem to be the easiest and least-invasive solution to implement. They also have the advantage that they do not change the focus of the game while at the same time making different play styles have preferable outcomes that don't affect all players and games.


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kaputtnik
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Posted at: 2020-04-27, 08:18

king_of_nowhere wrote:

kaputtnik wrote:

Clarifying my statement:

kaputtnik wrote:

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but ' how to balance to get more medium trained soldiers'. Creating a hero should be the exception. But i don't know how to archive this face-grin.png

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but 'how to balance the tribes to prevent to get fully trained soldiers'.

problem with this is that, if it was actually convenient to make more medium promoted soldiers, then what would be the point of making heroes?

Heroes will ever be the strongest soldiers, so creating a hero will be ever the goal.

one would just figure out the most cost-effective promotion level, then set to 0 the weapons and armors that are not needed. and then we may as well remove them from the game entirely.

and then the new heroes will be the soldiers with the higher convenient promotion level.

This was not the intention of the idea. The idea was to force the players to spend more time on training and make it more resource consuming. In the end it should be possible to create a hero, but it should be more time consuming. In the meantime (while focussing on training) one faces the opponent and fighting with half trained soldiers comes into account, which means less luck.

But to be honest: I am not very familiar with all the promotion levels and i do not exactly know which armor/weapon produce which level of promotion. I am a friend to this game because of the nice graphics, the cozy gameplay, discovering a map step by step. So i am maybe not the person who should talk about hero creation face-wink.png Anyway i believe some people like the game in the same manner as i do.

if we make them difficult, then still someone, eventually, will get one. and then the game is done. or both sides will make one, they will fight, whoever gets lucky wins.

The players who manage to get, eventually, heroes, has managed his economy better. No difference than what we have today.

by the way, I think I got the perfect easy idea for making first hero unimportant. Giving EVERYONE heroes FROM THE START!

Think about it: your starting stock of soldiers will include 10 heroes, and a few more with lesser promotions. Oh, you made an 11th after only 20 minutes? It hardly matters.

I would not want this to be the norm. So I think we could add a new starting condition - elite army, or something like this.

Also a nice idea face-smile.png


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hessenfarmer
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Posted at: 2020-04-27, 15:50

hessenfarmer wrote:

Only thing I know for sure is I disagree with the blueprint mentioned by Nordfriese. I'll try to explain why in the next time.

As promised I try to explain why I disagree with the concept in the blueprint. Mainly because it does not fit to every tribes character. At least Atlantean are supposed to be the best educated tribe in the game. So it makes no difference in terms of experience whether their buildings or their workers should need experience. it simply doesn't fit. And it somewhat equalizes (reduces variety) all the tribes playstyle which is not desirable in my view. Second I fully see the point in King of Nowheres argument that this experience gathering is just an artificial obstacle. Furthermore it won't help anything about the Problem in principle. It still would be crucial to get more military power than the other player (as these issues mostly arose in 2 player matches, in a 3 player one could have a sit and wait until the others are weakened strategy). So we would probably end with zerg rushes on small maps as the only winning strategy.
third this concept in a balanced form would make a real good basis for a new tribe. MarkMcWire already implemented some sort of this in his experimental europeans tribe. (Unfortunately I had not that much time lately to test them any further or to translate the basics of the discussion thread to english). The concept was like some sort of industrialized tribe which gets more performant with experience, like produce more out of less when workers are experienced.


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the-x
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Posted at: 2020-04-27, 17:02

Yes, to your post last night king of nowhere, I still wonder why we didnt make something like the triple circle system, as it solves most of the problems you showed above, indeed i had the feeling that you were against it, cause it was new or maybe cause it could weaken the hero handling part which you discoverd in 2015?

What a very fevoribly solution would be the one of kaputtnik: That a hero is the ultimative goal which good players can only achieve very rarely. It is a further challenge to us and it is something special in a game (like the goal in football, were you waiting very long for, if they defense right)

I mean yes i do completely understand your love for the hero. but it disadvantegs new players and that you give your knowledge to all is simply not true, as not even I know anything ybout your nice hero handling strategy, for what i feel a bit disadvanted cause that is the reasoen world wins most of the games in the past we had in 1v1 against me, though my eco is a lot stronger and more precise, world builds faster and goes stronger on wood and building quantity.

Of course its understandable for that we should keep this hidden knowledge, but in most cases this turns out not so nice because it seems not everyone has a chance, even if they try hard. Of course i also understand your wish to keep it like 2015, but we can add new challenging elements, which would make a lot of fun to explore.

-


ektor wrote:

I fully agree that the game needs to be completely overhauled so that it is indeed necessary to develop a complete economic system - before - we can get a hero!

Because without that, the basic idea of the game, in my humble opinion, loses all meaning.

Thats almost the same like my opinion. The basic Idea of the game has been always that its a stragegy game rather than a roleplay game.

If we tap all focus on this one hero, not only new players cant compete at all with us, i rather like a fun and long game where at the end experience wins than a short hero move through.

also is smalles strategic options even more cause if you only have the resources for your hero, you dont have any options than to build this hero.

-

A maybe nice solution to include also hektors and kapuittniks ideas might be:

  • a hero as the ultimative goal, hard and late to reach

  • cheap training sites and easy upgrades at the beginning to have some upgrades even at maps like crater when the first contact happens

  • the last speer upgrade superexpensive, the one before hard to reach and may be after something like 60 minutes in the game

maybe also some path you decide to go and then any interaction between the two competitive players


kaputtnik wrote:

I see it similar like simplypeachy, whereas i wouldn't write it that drastically. The last tournament was just an edgecase. This can't be used to balance the tribes. Maybe for playing on small maps, but in general skipping a large portion of the economy does not work on medium or big maps.

Do you have any alternate suggestion? would you prefer my earlier suggestion to move some marble cost from wineyards to mills and bakeries (therefore still keeping the distinction with "building material economy")? Or would you prefer to introduce experience for the imperial weaponsmith? or what else?

Making heroes should be expensive as possible i think. What most players do now is to work on creating fully trained heroes and let them fight against each other. Probably the one who made the most heroes wins the game. In my opinion this is not the way this game should work. If heroes are very expensive, the chance to fight with medium trained soldiers growth. Then there will be a difference if one soldier has one evade/attack/health/... point more than the other. On the opposite winning a fight with fully trained soldiers is luck.

So in my opinion the question shouldn't be 'how to balance the tribes to get fully trained soldiers' but ' how to balance to get more medium trained soldiers'. Creating a hero should be the exception. But i don't know how to archive this face-grin.png

Edited: 2020-04-27, 18:49

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