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Balancing sides


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I feel like there are two simple solutions here that are already in the pipeline in some form or another: loot allowances that scale down as the faction population scales up, and the Dregs where none of this matters in the least (so far as I can tell).  Scaling loot provides some incentive to not zerg in faction campaigns, and guild campaigns are available for those who don't dig the faction style campaigns.  I think managing zerging with additional stat penalties/boosts at this juncture is premature.  Half of the folks here (myself most certainly included) haven't been playing long and simply don't have the stats/knowledge to be honestly competitive in a tussle, and the zerg is the only effective way for a group of newbs to win the day with the game/skills in the state they are in now.  However, once we get to a place where there will be no more wipes and the game environment is live, and players can play without the knowledge that everything they do will eventually go into the garbage can in the next wipe, then the player base will likely see far less turnover and everyone will get a chance to develop their skills (passives and as the player at the keyboard) and the zerg situation will largely correct itself.

It is easy for a zerg force to form and succeed with faction campaigns as they stand now, but that would require much more organization in the dregs, and I just don't see that happening.  Frankly, if a zerg force can be organized within dregs then they may deserve to win the day because that would be a huge pain to organize.

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Any sense of punishing zergs should be done on the backend, when campaigns end. Not during. Crowfall, as an MMO trying to do a true victory mechanic has a wonderfully unique opportunity to punish

They should also get rid of city destruction. Or, if you want to destroy someones city you gotta destroy your own at the same time; only fair.

But why shouldnt ppl which put more effort, time and skill into the game get punished? Hopping inbetween campaigns to win "all of them" cuz of a pointsadvantage is limited by imports and exports

10 hours ago, starrshipcs said:

It is easy for a zerg force to form and succeed with faction campaigns as they stand now, but that would require much more organization in the dregs, and I just don't see that happening.  Frankly, if a zerg force can be organized within dregs then they may deserve to win the day because that would be a huge pain to organize.

I find this statement confusing. Zerg forces will always form because it is an inherent and simple to understand strategy when there are no forced activities to divide player numbers, either by forcing them to choose between multiple high value POIs or  providing some form of diminishihg returns after faction stacking and I see hints of both but we will have to see how it fleshes out once more of the game is completed. But these issues only become far worse in a pure GvG like the dregs where player coalitions can be more easily reformed than in the 3-faction mode.

I don't really know any of the specific details that have been released about the dregs but since it is clear this game is all about the largest, most geared and organized zerg then it should be no surprise that there won't likely be much diversity of powerful alliances because those who want to win will just team up, because if winning is all that matters who cares if it is fun... Fun doesn't dole out the rewards.

The concerns OP has are legitimate, but I don't like the idea of flat modifiers as a tool for compensation. I'd rather see players get divided by events that could be procedurally generated based on the standing scores. Something like if an alliance loses a keep to a much larger force who has double the lead on them then this defeat precipitates an event where the losing alliance can sacrifice something to their Gods for a limited time buff that can be activated at their choosing but maybe pops up something similar to one of the siege trees, so that the opposing force has the opportunity to stomp it out cancelling the effect... if they can find it. But it shouldnt just be given to the players for losing and instead should cost them something of significant value that they still hold, like a settlement or POI that becomes corrupted by the transaction infecting that settlement or POI with the hunger in a more noticeable way and is thereafter rendered somewhat unuseable for a duration of time, giving the losing alliance the ability to hold trick/power play up their sleeve to release at a key tactical moment of their choosing to turn the tide of a battle or campaign.

Edited by Lightsig
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On 10/25/2019 at 4:01 PM, Staff said:

campaigns arent forever and if you dont want to be destroyed in another campaign just go to a different one, losers are losers they deserve no benefits for their own failures, if youre fighting outnumbered thats your own choice, if your comp got destroyed by someone elses thats your own choice, if your city got razed you should have defended better. Loser mechanics are not what this game is or should be about. 

TLDR: L2P

I agree with this on the surface but a game can't be comprised of only winners. Losers need a reason to come back and there needs to be at least the semblance of a chance at winning if XYZ change. If the hill just keeps getting steeper and those on top just get stronger and stronger, why come back?

Competitive games (lobby/esport/arena) have rankings and leaderboards to attempt to provide a solution. Without that in place, I'm not sure if the "campaigns end or go to another" will have the same value.

My hope is there is enough population to run multiple servers with different entry requirements and ceiling caps. Along with a reward system that looks at risk/reward not simply who has the most points after a period of time.

ACE needs customers to stay in business and a server with 100 hardest of the cores isn't going to keep the lights on. If they are increasing their stance on anti-P2W and cash shop options, then other design decisions will need to make this accessible enough to bring people in long term. Which includes losers.

At the same time I don't believe people should be rewarded for playing poorly. This needs to be a higher design layer, not charity.

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On 10/28/2019 at 11:38 PM, Makuza said:

Iam not a payed gamedesigner, but thats why we trust in ACE to find suiting solutions with a dip of brain or getting ideas from elsewhere....this is not the first game ever created which has to handle it and it actually got an advantage because of the "rust-like serverwipehopping" of survivalgames over most "itemprogress etc. is consistent forever"-titles.

Looking forward to see 5.110 :)

I have and do play Albion here and there and have seen plenty of other good ideas over the years that could work in something like Crowfall. I hope ACE has some ideas cooked up or might even borrow from us or other game designs, but I won't hold my breath. With the next milestone getting out, hopefully they can focus on some smaller to massive issues that are going to be part of this type of game that have yet to be addressed. Game devs play the same games we do and have the same experiences so I always wonder why the same mistakes or issues just repeat themselves. Maybe they have the solution or good intentions, but reality works against them? 

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It is my understanding that Dregs are Guild v Guild events, so there won't be giant random pools of newbs stuffed into the same teams by happenstance as there are in the current faction campaigns where you don't even have to be a member of a guild to participate.  It is also important to remember that this game was designed from go to foster participation between players and teams, so there will occasionally be some bigger coalitions by design (and a well-organized coalition of experienced players is not a zerg), but that it was also designed with a lot of "knobs" to tweak the campaign rules to help balance without introducing blanket stat mechanics to do so.

Right now, the raiding game is meaningless because the only thing you really win is cred, and maybe a place to craft that grants crafting buffs and a convenient place for gathering mats.  Ganking raids aren't even as much fun as they could be right now either because harvesters can just stuff their haul into the world bank as they go.  Eventually, however, campaign rules will be polished and scoring will impact the export allowances so you could still participate in a campaign and lose horribly while still having fun and bringing at least some good gear/mats out (not the case currently where the export numbers are flat and you can export whenever you want to), so the "losers" aren't actually losing out on THAT much and there will still be incentive for them to play.

I'm not trying to say this is definitively not an issue or trying to invalidate the OPs point, and I even like @Lightsig's suggestion above in particular as it feels like it better fits the idiom of the game and could be an interesting mechanic regardless of the zerg issue, but I guess what I'm trying to boil it all down to is this: this game has a lot of pieces in the design that could potentially alleviate/eliminate this issue and, given that it is currently in the Beta test state it is in with as few concurrent players as we are seeing at any given time, talking about implementing additional mechanics to address balancing when the first wave of campaign mechanics aren't even fully implemented seems premature.  I'd personally like to see how their design plays once fully implemented and populated before any additional balancing mechanics are introduced to prevent them from wasting time when it may not even be necessary.

 

Side note: while I do have a great appreciation and understanding of the development process and the delays such projects can encounter, as well as an appreciation for the design ACE has laid out, I am crazy impatient to see this game delivered and would love to not have to remind myself that it is still in development as I encounter things that are sub-par in the current test version; it's close enough to a functional game at this point that it is an easy fact to forget while play-testing.

Edited by starrshipcs
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No combat handicaps please. 

I could see other forms of "balancing sides" that mainly play on the number of people a side can have. It basically boils down to how many players can you have on your team (whether that's your faction, guild or alliance) and what percentage of a zone cap your team can occupy. 

In Faction campaigns:

  1. If faction balance gets out of whack close being able to join the most populated faction until the other two factions fill up and re-establish the balance. 
  2. Allocate a portion of the zone cap to each faction on a zone by zone basis. Instead of 33/33/33 I'd rather see it capped so your faction cannot have more than 50% of the zone occupied. So you may have 50/50/0 or 25/25/50 or anywhere between. 

Unfortunately both of these things are exploitable by putting alts on the opposing factions. Alt abuse is a rather unavoidable problem in faction campaigns. If you don't like it, play Dregs where you can choose. 

In Guild (Dregs) Campaigns:

  1. Limit guild and/or alliance size by total members. 
  2. Assign a portion of the zone cap to defending guilds and another portion to attacking guilds if sieges are something that are "declared". If sieges just happen based on the schedule like they do in faction campaigns then assign a portion of the zone cap based on control of assets (forts/keeps....maybe outposts?) within the zone while leaving another portion of the zone cap open. 

As much as we'd all like to say "just increase the zone caps to where it doesn't matter" I'm afraid that's not reality with the performance limitations. Albion has a lot of similarities to Crowfall in that it's an open world sandbox and also utilizes the Unity Engine. They've long fought with zone caps (which are 350ish players AFAIK). We've already seen zone caps become a factor in Crowfall as well. ACE will have to do something to address it. 

 

Blazzen <Lords of Death>

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I do u know if this is completely stupid but couldn't the solution be something like this:

 

On each server the split will be like this:

Based on the last campaign the guilds are divided into the factions depending on their score. 

Loosing side gets

Best pvp guild, 2rd best crafter guild and 3nd best harvester guild

Middle side gets:

2nd best pvp guild, best grafting guild, 2nd best harvesting guild. 

Winning side gets:

3rd best pvp guild, 3rd best crafting guild and best harvesting guild. 

That way I think you could ensure that the best guilds don't just team up and steam roll everyone 

Edited by PinkFluffyPanda
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3 hours ago, starrshipcs said:

Eventually, however, campaign rules will be polished and scoring will impact the export allowances so you could still participate in a campaign and lose horribly while still having fun and bringing at least some good gear/mats out (not the case currently where the export numbers are flat and you can export whenever you want to), so the "losers" aren't actually losing out on THAT much and there will still be incentive for them to play.

This assumes much at this point. 

3 hours ago, starrshipcs said:

this game has a lot of pieces in the design that could potentially alleviate/eliminate this issue and, given that it is currently in the Beta test state it is in with as few concurrent players as we are seeing at any given time, talking about implementing additional mechanics to address balancing when the first wave of campaign mechanics aren't even fully implemented seems premature.  I'd personally like to see how their design plays once fully implemented and populated before any additional balancing mechanics are introduced to prevent them from wasting time when it may not even be necessary.

Still it ACE's own definition of "pre-alpha" but regardless I agree. Need to at least see the next milestone which essentially puts most of the puzzle together with remaining likely coming post-launch. During alpha/beta they hopefully figure out a good scoring/reward system that makes losing a fun option.

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2 hours ago, blazzen said:

No combat handicaps please. 

I could see other forms of "balancing sides" that mainly play on the number of people a side can have. It basically boils down to how many players can you have on your team (whether that's your faction, guild or alliance) and what percentage of a zone cap your team can occupy. 

In Faction campaigns:

  1. If faction balance gets out of whack close being able to join the most populated faction until the other two factions fill up and re-establish the balance. 
  2. Allocate a portion of the zone cap to each faction on a zone by zone basis. Instead of 33/33/33 I'd rather see it capped so your faction cannot have more than 50% of the zone occupied. So you may have 50/50/0 or 25/25/50 or anywhere between. 

Unfortunately both of these things are exploitable by putting alts on the opposing factions. Alt abuse is a rather unavoidable problem in faction campaigns. If you don't like it, play Dregs where you can choose. 

In Guild (Dregs) Campaigns:

  1. Limit guild and/or alliance size by total members. 
  2. Assign a portion of the zone cap to defending guilds and another portion to attacking guilds if sieges are something that are "declared". If sieges just happen based on the schedule like they do in faction campaigns then assign a portion of the zone cap based on control of assets (forts/keeps....maybe outposts?) within the zone while leaving another portion of the zone cap open. 

As much as we'd all like to say "just increase the zone caps to where it doesn't matter" I'm afraid that's not reality with the performance limitations. Albion has a lot of similarities to Crowfall in that it's an open world sandbox and also utilizes the Unity Engine. They've long fought with zone caps (which are 350ish players AFAIK). We've already seen zone caps become a factor in Crowfall as well. ACE will have to do something to address it. 

Sort of funny and sad that technical limitations will limit population issues to some extent. "Off the shelf engines make development so much faster though..."

IMO doing any sort of artificial team limits will upset more then it pleases. People want to play the game with the people they want. Doing work arounds of having 20 guilds with 50 people instead of 1 with 1000 isn't much of a difference and organized guilds won't be stopped. Then again they also had a whole fealty tree or whatever planned for guild dynamics and have yet to do the bare minimum for guild features for a game built around GvG.

I believe balance should be around rewarding risk/reward and effort in whatever ways possible. If 1 guild wipes out the entire server in a week, the campaign should end and they should get X reward. If 10 guilds go at it relatively even for 2 months with 1 eventually knocking the others out, they should be rewarded much greater. Same could apply to factions and the hugely lopsided scoring we've seen.

This takes some creativity and really looking at the numbers, but that is what making this type of game requires. 100 step crafting is not the answer to what has held open world pvp games back. Holding uncle bob and zergs back is needed and despite the hype, ACE doesn't appear to have an answer yet.

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59 minutes ago, APE said:

Sort of funny and sad that technical limitations will limit population issues to some extent. "Off the shelf engines make development so much faster though..."

That is inevitable whether or not the engine is off the shelf.

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2 hours ago, Jah said:

That is inevitable whether or not the engine is off the shelf.

Camelot Unchained would disagree. Most semi popular MMOs with what could be considered "large" scale PVP would disagree. Lag and performance issues will happen regardless with enough people on a server, in an area, or on the screen, but a half way decent PC should at least have a playable experience.

Albion Online also uses Unity and I believe the cap is 500 but not sure and due to the zone size and camera perspective it works. Hopefully ACE optimizes the snot out of this as <500 caps would be laughable at launch for a game claiming to have a Throne War.

From my testing of CU, I can't wait to see how it performs at release and can only hope enough people play to see how crazy it can get.

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36 minutes ago, APE said:

Camelot Unchained would disagree. Most semi popular MMOs with what could be considered "large" scale PVP would disagree.

Neither CU nor any other MMO can handle unlimited players in the same area. They all face similar challenges. Some may achieve higher numbers than others, but they are all constrained by technical limitations.

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30 minutes ago, APE said:

Albion Online also uses Unity and I believe the cap is 500 but not sure and due to the zone size and camera perspective it works.

My experience isn't this. More then 50, sure. If there was hundreds, you could be sure many of those players would be disconnected or in the process of that. Sadly, my ping is about 140ms to them and the combat just doesn't flow right, along with sporadic disconnect issues in large combat . After having the chance to run at 30ms a wee bit ago, I simply cannot go back. 

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2 minutes ago, Jah said:

Neither CU nor any other MMO can handle unlimited players in the same area.

Yes ofc if we are talking about what if's and infinity, but the fact remains unity adds more limitations. We cannot change the limitations of speed of light in pipes. Changes to packet routing can help, but the real improvements can only be done by the dev's developing their own backend to deal with communications between clients and servers. Folks choosing unity have some limitations baked in. CU does not, as such can easily handle hundreds. 

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1 hour ago, APE said:

Camelot Unchained would disagree. Most semi popular MMOs with what could be considered "large" scale PVP would disagree. Lag and performance issues will happen regardless with enough people on a server, in an area, or on the screen, but a half way decent PC should at least have a playable experience.

Albion Online also uses Unity and I believe the cap is 500 but not sure and due to the zone size and camera perspective it works. Hopefully ACE optimizes the snot out of this as <500 caps would be laughable at launch for a game claiming to have a Throne War.

From my testing of CU, I can't wait to see how it performs at release and can only hope enough people play to see how crazy it can get.

CU is capable of a vast amount of bots and players going at in a relatively small area with amazing frame rate.  CU runs like butter, it’s a shame the game is forced factions and so much of it is planned to be post launch (stealth Class, scout class, shapeshifter class, pet class).  I gave CU as much $ as I gave CF.  I’d rather play dregs but if I have to I’ll play CU forced factions. 
 

@Jah CF is the better concept of a game.  CU is capable of hundreds of players in a fight and running at 60+ fps.  

Edited by mandalore
40 minutes ago, Andius said:

W/HoA were held up as like these mystical forces of highly skilled players with legendary theorycrafters chained to a desk in some deep dungeon holding all the arcane secrets we could use to win if only we knew them.

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4 hours ago, Jah said:

Neither CU nor any other MMO can handle unlimited players in the same area. They all face similar challenges. Some may achieve higher numbers than others, but they are all constrained by technical limitations.

You are correct that no game can run "unlimited" players, but it is a bit silly that they can't handle a couple hundred players in the same zone, let a lone the same area/battle/siege. Maybe this will improve pre or post launch, but makes it seem more like a glorified lobby game then a Throne War.

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4 hours ago, mystafyi said:

My experience isn't this. More then 50, sure. If there was hundreds, you could be sure many of those players would be disconnected or in the process of that. Sadly, my ping is about 140ms to them and the combat just doesn't flow right, along with sporadic disconnect issues in large combat . After having the chance to run at 30ms a wee bit ago, I simply cannot go back. 

I don't play too frequently, but they improved performance a decent amount form beta and early post-launch to now. Even though they said it couldn't improve much due to technical limitations. Guess they figured out how to do programming magic. Due to the server location and design, sadly players can have a wide range of performance. I take a hit in performance when lots of players are on screen and in a zone, but for the most part it is still acceptable due to the nature of click to move and the simple design of combat/movement. For a game that works on mobile, it is okay to me. Seems like a much better format for Unity and not the attempt at doing "action" combat in a more traditional game world like Crowfall.

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3 minutes ago, APE said:

You are correct that no game can run "unlimited" players, but it is a bit silly that they can't handle a couple hundred players in the same zone, let a lone the same area/battle/siege. Maybe this will improve pre or post launch, but makes it seem more like a glorified lobby game then a Throne War.

Sure, but the way this tangent came up was when Blazzen said "As much as we'd all like to say "just increase the zone caps to where it doesn't matter" I'm afraid that's not reality with the performance limitations." That ends up being true whatever the number is.

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2 minutes ago, Jah said:

Sure, but the way this tangent came up was when Blazzen said "As much as we'd all like to say "just increase the zone caps to where it doesn't matter" I'm afraid that's not reality with the performance limitations." That ends up being true whatever the number is.

Guess so. I'm not a fan of trying to artificially control numbers regardless, but if they were to, would look much different depending if the maps could handle 100-500-1000+ players. What I do know is ACE needs to work on this area or Crowfall will be a joke to anyone giving it a second look. Looking at what CU or just about any other game 5-10-15+ years old can do doesn't do this game any favors.

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3 hours ago, mandalore said:

CU is capable of a vast amount of bots and players going at in a relatively small area with amazing frame rate.  CU runs like butter, it’s a shame the game is forced factions and so much of it is planned to be post launch (stealth Class, scout class, shapeshifter class, pet class).  I gave CU as much $ as I gave CF.  I’d rather play dregs but if I have to I’ll play CU forced factions. 

Once the core game is ready, I can't see individual roles taking a tremendous amount of time to pump out (even 3 at a time). Even with the delay of several roles, I believe launch will still have more options then Crowfall.

I enjoyed DAoC and WAR (as much as I could) along with RvR so factions work for me. It solves or removes several issues that happen with GvG formats. On paper and what they've shown so far looks a lot more promising then what ACE has focused on. Time will tell though as both have a ways to go before launching.

Dregs/GvG sounds fun but with the lack of full loot, small zone/populations, lackluster siege/combat/character building, not likely I'll play at all if CU pulls off half of what it is planned.

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