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The Clusterizer - Official Discussion Thread

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There are solutions for this and l offer up Eve as an example.  Camping choke points is an example of "Play to Crush" and "The battlefield is a lonely place all by yourself".

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10 hours ago, Hanseshadow said:

It's not fun, when it's the only gate between you and your destination and you can't rally help to break the camp.  We'll keep an eye on camping issues.  However, camping a gate is a valid tactic to reduce support from arriving, when a keep is under siege.

The next map we have designed has multiple gates on the beachhead going to different zones (however, this can change...we haven't tested it, yet).  All of the zones have at least three or more gates leading into them.

If someone on your faction lets you know that a gate is camped, you can go around the zone through other gates and then gate back towards your destination from a different direction.  Your faction could choose to counter a gate camp by circling around behind them or simply continue on to your destination.

Ultimately, this type of intervention from the developers might be seen as a bridge to far. You can't stop a superior force from guarding all of the entrances to its domain (or from preventing people from escaping). Superior forces should be able to accomplish this in Crowfall. This game is supposedly a strategy game afterall. Choke points and using them to prevent invasion are a natural extension of the strategy game. 

I feel trying to make it so that players can freely traverse anywhere they want without fear of being stopped is a futile task.

Personally, I'd rather see the effort expended in trying to solve the obvious zerging problem. Not your department Hanse, I know, but I'm more worried your game currently favors the team with more bodies. Little if anything has been talked about in stopping it. 

What I mean to say is, being able to gate camp your opponent is a symptom of the larger disease. Zerging is the disease.

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3 hours ago, Scree said:

Ultimately, this type of intervention from the developers might be seen as a bridge to far. You can't stop a superior force from guarding all of the entrances to its domain (or from preventing people from escaping). Superior forces should be able to accomplish this in Crowfall. This game is supposedly a strategy game afterall. Choke points and using them to prevent invasion are a natural extension of the strategy game. 

I feel trying to make it so that players can freely traverse anywhere they want without fear of being stopped is a futile task.

Personally, I'd rather see the effort expended in trying to solve the obvious zerging problem. Not your department Hanse, I know, but I'm more worried your game currently favors the team with more bodies. Little if anything has been talked about in stopping it. 

What I mean to say is, being able to gate camp your opponent is a symptom of the larger disease. Zerging is the disease.

I think the issue that the developers want to prevent is giving campers unfair advantage owing to the incoming players having a handicap from the likes of loading screens/loss of momentum. 

I agree with you that choke points are a storied and material part of strategic warfare. However it’s frustrating when the campers can appear to have an advantage granted by the mechanics of the game. 

However I’d be interested to hear why you then seem to abhor players taking a strength in numbers approach. Often battles are fought and won on numbers.

So why does camping not strike you as an issue while zerging does? 

Also what would the possible solution to zerging be in your mind? 

Thanks,

Fabulex

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8 hours ago, Fabulex said:

I think the issue that the developers want to prevent is giving campers unfair advantage owing to the incoming players having a handicap from the likes of loading screens/loss of momentum. 

I agree with you that choke points are a storied and material part of strategic warfare. However it’s frustrating when the campers can appear to have an advantage granted by the mechanics of the game. 

However I’d be interested to hear why you then seem to abhor players taking a strength in numbers approach. Often battles are fought and won on numbers.

So why does camping not strike you as an issue while zerging does? 

Also what would the possible solution to zerging be in your mind? 

Thanks,

Fabulex

The landing points on a runegate parcel are randomized and spread out around the central gate (256x256 meters).  It's not easy to camp the landing points with a small number of players.  Since we haven't had neutral runegates, we haven't had concentrated combat at an outgoing gate.  It's something I'd like to see tested in 5.8.  Like a constant barrage of tornadoes flying across the gates? :) 

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12 hours ago, Fabulex said:

I think the issue that the developers want to prevent is giving campers unfair advantage owing to the incoming players having a handicap from the likes of loading screens/loss of momentum. 

I agree with you that choke points are a storied and material part of strategic warfare. However it’s frustrating when the campers can appear to have an advantage granted by the mechanics of the game. 

However I’d be interested to hear why you then seem to abhor players taking a strength in numbers approach. Often battles are fought and won on numbers.

So why does camping not strike you as an issue while zerging does? 

Also what would the possible solution to zerging be in your mind? 

Thanks,

Fabulex

I think having superior numbers is absolutely a part of the "throne wars simulator" they are building. Creating lasting alliances in this game will be more art than science, but the obvious outcome is an increase in allied numbers. We've talked about how to stop zerging on the unofficial Crowfall discord nearly a hundred times since this game began development. It boils down to a few viable options, but it's important to discuss some unviable ones to "catch everyone up".

What won't work;

  • Guild member/alliance caps; they are artificial and don't prevent "collusion". If the cap, for example, is set to 50 players... guilds will just organize into groups of 50. If the cap on alliance members is set to 5... you'll just force friends to form multiple alliances that still work together even if in-game systems don't recognize it.
     
  • Any sort of system that "scales" based on how many members you have in a guild. The same solution for the above problem, will work here too. For example; at 500 members a guild requires 2x the amount of a food a 499 member guild does. The solution is to limit your guild sizes to 499, effectively bypassing it. Even if you have a scaled solution, guilds will break down to the lowest possible denominator to maximize their efficacy.

Some possible angles of attack;

  • Reliable food production comes from Farms. Farm "placement" on a city grid is capped. These farms might provide sufficient food for their target guild/alliance size (lets say, 500 members). To expand beyond this, the alliance would need to construct a second city to grow the necessary food. Farms would also need to be vulnerable at all times (not protected by Tree of Lifes) so that enemies could constantly raze these farms in acts of sabotage to fight the superior sized force.

    This alone wouldn't be sufficient, because if a guild has enough people to warrant a second city, then the nuisance of needing to protect a second city might not be sufficient to split up their superior sized forces.
     
  • Combat; This is my golden answer to breaking up zergs. Right now the game caps AoE to 5 players. This might be for technical reasons, it might be for balance reasons. Whatever reason was given, however, rewards large groups of players. Their need to be powers which react to the presence of large groups of players.

    Let's use the classic example of Chain Lightning. If Chain Lightning is used against a single target it causes 100 damage (ineffective). Chain Lightning, however, scales upwards the more people it hits. If 2 players get hit, it does 150 dmg to both. 5 players? 400. 10 players? 1000! The scale itself can obviously be finetuned.

    Similarly to the damage scaling, so too could the cooldowns/recycle times of powers be adjusted. Let's use a different example; Fireball. Fireball hits 1 target (or misses) and has a standard cooldown of 10 seconds. If Fireball hits 3 targets, it's cooldown is lowered to 8 seconds

The two above ideas don't explicitly punish you for putting together an alliance. The food production angle ensures that your alliance is organized, and not some mass herd of mindless sheep. Alliances should require organization and planning (just like in real war!). This angle doesn't punish large organizations, but does intertwine the complicated nature of politics with the real world job of a Quartermaster. It also potentially splits up the size of an enemies force; they would be required to defend 2 cities (or 3... or 4...) to maintain their fragile supply chains. This is an important requirement of breaking up zergs. If they can simply send their entire army around without fear of defending their held territory, the gig is already up. Crowfall implemented smaller capture points to try to encourage small group/solo play. It isn't enough to do this (GuildWars 2 tried it, and everyone just ignored them).

The second angle of attack with Combat also isn't a solution in itself. It rewards the small guy with more efficiency, but it won't win a battle on its own. It's merely meant to make the fights less lopsided. Right now, the team with more players wins, and while skill does play a part... we haven't seen the types of lopsided battles that could happen quite yet. (20 v 10 is a far cry from 200 v 50).

This shouldn't be a one-approach solution to trying to curb Zerging. It should be approached strategicly, cautiously, and with multiple methods to attempt to curtail the power of sheer numbers. 

Edit: Missed your Camping vs Zerging question; The answer to this is simple. Zerging is offensive, Camping is Defensive. No one wins a game camping, but more to the point look at Hanses answer. Gate Camping already minimized through the virtue of people being teleported at random within the 256x256 parcel. It would require a huge defensive force to camp on their side of the map, to prevent opponents from entering the territory. The only solution would be to camp the outgoing location, which means potentially being in enemy /unfriendly territory.

Camping can also be done at various strengths and compositions. You could simply leave a scout on your gate, and that would be "gate camping" to some degree. I don't see it as nearly predominant a threat (especially considering they might have multiple paths through every zone to prevent it).

Edited by Scree

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8 hours ago, Scree said:

I think having superior numbers is absolutely a part of the "throne wars simulator" they are building. Creating lasting alliances in this game will be more art than science, but the obvious outcome is an increase in allied numbers. We've talked about how to stop zerging on the unofficial Crowfall discord nearly a hundred times since this game began development. It boils down to a few viable options, but it's important to discuss some unviable ones to "catch everyone up".

What won't work;

  • Guild member/alliance caps; they are artificial and don't prevent "collusion". If the cap, for example, is set to 50 players... guilds will just organize into groups of 50. If the cap on alliance members is set to 5... you'll just force friends to form multiple alliances that still work together even if in-game systems don't recognize it.
     
  • Any sort of system that "scales" based on how many members you have in a guild. The same solution for the above problem, will work here too. For example; at 500 members a guild requires 2x the amount of a food a 499 member guild does. The solution is to limit your guild sizes to 499, effectively bypassing it. Even if you have a scaled solution, guilds will break down to the lowest possible denominator to maximize their efficacy.

Some possible angles of attack;

  • Reliable food production comes from Farms. Farm "placement" on a city grid is capped. These farms might provide sufficient food for their target guild/alliance size (lets say, 500 members). To expand beyond this, the alliance would need to construct a second city to grow the necessary food. Farms would also need to be vulnerable at all times (not protected by Tree of Lifes) so that enemies could constantly raze these farms in acts of sabotage to fight the superior sized force.

    This alone wouldn't be sufficient, because if a guild has enough people to warrant a second city, then the nuisance of needing to protect a second city might not be sufficient to split up their superior sized forces.
     
  • Combat; This is my golden answer to breaking up zergs. Right now the game caps AoE to 5 players. This might be for technical reasons, it might be for balance reasons. Whatever reason was given, however, rewards large groups of players. Their need to be powers which react to the presence of large groups of players.

    Let's use the classic example of Chain Lightning. If Chain Lightning is used against a single target it causes 100 damage (ineffective). Chain Lightning, however, scales upwards the more people it hits. If 2 players get hit, it does 150 dmg to both. 5 players? 400. 10 players? 1000! The scale itself can obviously be finetuned.

    Similarly to the damage scaling, so too could the cooldowns/recycle times of powers be adjusted. Let's use a different example; Fireball. Fireball hits 1 target (or misses) and has a standard cooldown of 10 seconds. If Fireball hits 3 targets, it's cooldown is lowered to 8 seconds

The two above ideas don't explicitly punish you for putting together an alliance. The food production angle ensures that your alliance is organized, and not some mass herd of mindless sheep. Alliances should require organization and planning (just like in real war!). This angle doesn't punish large organizations, but does intertwine the complicated nature of politics with the real world job of a Quartermaster. It also potentially splits up the size of an enemies force; they would be required to defend 2 cities (or 3... or 4...) to maintain their fragile supply chains. This is an important requirement of breaking up zergs. If they can simply send their entire army around without fear of defending their held territory, the gig is already up. Crowfall implemented smaller capture points to try to encourage small group/solo play. It isn't enough to do this (GuildWars 2 tried it, and everyone just ignored them).

The second angle of attack with Combat also isn't a solution in itself. It rewards the small guy with more efficiency, but it won't win a battle on its own. It's merely meant to make the fights less lopsided. Right now, the team with more players wins, and while skill does play a part... we haven't seen the types of lopsided battles that could happen quite yet. (20 v 10 is a far cry from 200 v 50).

This shouldn't be a one-approach solution to trying to curb Zerging. It should be approached strategicly, cautiously, and with multiple methods to attempt to curtail the power of sheer numbers. 

Edit: Missed your Camping vs Zerging question; The answer to this is simple. Zerging is offensive, Camping is Defensive. No one wins a game camping, but more to the point look at Hanses answer. Gate Camping already minimized through the virtue of people being teleported at random within the 256x256 parcel. It would require a huge defensive force to camp on their side of the map, to prevent opponents from entering the territory. The only solution would be to camp the outgoing location, which means potentially being in enemy /unfriendly territory.

Camping can also be done at various strengths and compositions. You could simply leave a scout on your gate, and that would be "gate camping" to some degree. I don't see it as nearly predominant a threat (especially considering they might have multiple paths through every zone to prevent it).

I think you raised some very interesting points Scree. 

Artificial caps 

I agree with you on this I think that there no way an arbitrary cap on things like guild or party size will work because as you say players will just group up to maximise their efficiency. Any issues around camping and zerging have to be addressed elsewhere. 

Supply chain

Certainly food is going to play a big part in guild/alliance/group strategy. I recall Todd saying in multiple live streams that i've followed that they intend to have farms be a target for players to attack in order to cut off an enemy's supply chain. After all an army marches on its stomach as they say. 

We just have to wait and see how effective this will become as a form of gameplay once more balancing is achieved. I've noted from my experience in 5.7 and from following discussion that the chicken  ticker can feel very punitive at times. So there may end up being a need to balance making it harsh enough to matter as a form of war planning but still not making it so cumbersome as to make the whole game feel unreasonably punitive re food consumption. 

For example starting to lose 50% of your chicken ticker bar after 30 mins of harvesting work isn't going to feel enjoyable. Let alone starving after 5 mins of combat activity. 

Scaling/AoE tuning 

First of all (I'm asking this because I have limited technical know how) how resource intensive is scaling tech? Do ArtCraft already have scaling tech that they can call on or would this be a new tech they'd have to develop? 

I understand what you're saying in regards to trying to keep things fun and competitive for players who might not be able to call upon 500+ players. It's never going to be fun if people just get rolled over by any group which is a requisite % larger than them. The danger in tuning AoE to scale based on how many people are around is that you kind of remove an element of skill do you not think? 

I know that ArtCraft have said that they want there to be an element of skill to victory. That you should practice and learn from your experiences campaign to campaign. Would simply having to manage where best to place your AoE reticle not rather remove an element of skill if players know that a high density of players will get rekt if they co-ordinate the AoE with their pals? 

Or do we think that AoE management like this is a form of skill in of itself and should be catered for rather than discouraged? 

Camping vs zerging 

Practically speaking you're absolutely right, camping probably won't be too much of a problem given the reasons you state above. Since it's random spawn it would be like trying to catch rain with a colander. Full coverage would require too many players too much time. 

So the issue moved to zerging and as you rightly infer it's a balancing act between catering to strategic gameplay around building and maintaining alliances for strength in numbers vs how will ArtCraft offset 1v1 balancing against group v group balancing. 

This is why I was asking about the technical cost/feasability above as I just don't know how possible/expensive it would be.

 

I look forward to hearing your/everyones thoughts.

Thanks,

Fabulex 

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