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View Full Version : Wins/losses offer very little differention



MrEntity
03-14-2013, 01:08 AM
So in my (according to steam) 32 hours of play in this game, I've noted something very odd - very nearly every match comes down to a few units who are half-dead (or equivalent). I find this somewhat disconcerting.

I have had my ass kicked twice (maybe 3 times) and the other player had 4 units left at the end (however damaged). I have kicked 2 peoples asses and found the same result, except in my favour. And by kicked, I mean stomped. Like, they had no chance of winning, raped them type scenario. When I was the stomped one this was because I had made 2 or 3 stupid mistakes or that the other player was using some weird, original strategy (read: team roster) I hadn't seen before.

If this game is ostensibly "If you won its because you're better" Then why is almost every match a last-minute rush to secure the win? In chess (which this games says it is somewhat based on) you don't always wind up with a pawn, a bishop, and a rook each. That almost NEVER happens. If it does its because you're playing against someone almost exactly your equal in skill. Generally if someone is better than you their kills outweigh yours in a significant fashion. And you can't tell me its due to team-rank match-making schemes - I've played against better teams and worse teams and the result is basically the same. The winner might have one more half-dead unit that the other but the end-game always plays out in a similar fashion.

SO why do all my matches wind up being 3 half-dead units scrambling to kill 3 other half-dead units (or equivalent)? Why is the game made such that almost all your wins and losses are determined by the high health of one or two units?

The only reason I can think of is that the teams are small. But that's not really an acceptable answer.

netnazgul
03-14-2013, 01:20 AM
Because. (I can't think of anything more detailed than this)

MrEntity
03-14-2013, 01:41 AM
That is very helpful - thank you.

masterblaster
03-14-2013, 01:48 AM
I dont see a problem with this issue. i think the chess comparison as described in the op is off target. practically every match i win is with 1 or 2 of my bowmasters remaining. they only have 8 health, not exactly 'high health units' as mentioned in the op.

Stoic's design approach to this game being like chess is simply based on general concepts, like the grid board and unit movement in a turn-by-turn sequence. but the similarities are very general, not specific as described in the op. conceptually, TBS is like chess in that Stoic is attempting to remove as much randomness and luck from the game as possible. but the gameplay is totally different, and i am glad that it's different.

as TBS matches progress and units are 'half dead' it simply quickens the pace of the game. i dont see any problem with that. not sure what kind of acceptable answer you are hoping to get, but if this issue about TBS upsets you enough to complain about it, then maybe go back to playing chess?

netnazgul
03-14-2013, 02:04 AM
That is very helpful - thank you.
What do you want me to answer?

Either you win, or you lose, how much characters were left standing doesn't matter - at least it's how it is now.


If this game is ostensibly "If you won its because you're better" Then why is almost every match a last-minute rush to secure the win?
As for me - the result of my games is usually being desided somewhere around 5-8 turns before the end, so any losses during this period are just planned sacrifices (to block enemy threat, gain turn advantage, etc). It's rather rare for the game to be decided in the last hits.

Although I may find it more possible in low-rank games, where character differences are minimal and the game is all about plain damage dealing, everything really spices up on power6 games (all rank1), where abilities take their place as game-desiders.

PS: Still you can have a huge character difference in the game end - simply because of the huge skill difference.

MrEntity
03-14-2013, 02:29 AM
I agree - I can often tell several moves before that it is mate in x. What I mean by last minute rush is that you're basically trying to garner as many kills as you can before you die - and you usually mangle one or two of the winning remnant. The point is that it always comes down to these couple meager survivors. Every victory is pyrhic (spelling?).

Also, I'm not complaining. I like the game. I'm just wondering why a game that is supposedly based (almost) completely on skill winds up with such close results to every fight.

MrEntity
03-14-2013, 02:32 AM
The game seems to be designed to keep the game basically equal until just near the end.

Tirean
03-14-2013, 03:17 AM
The reason the matches end up much closer than you expect is because you either;

A. You actually won with a huge stat advantage but because you see only 1/2 units left you think the game was actually closer than it was.
B. You don't understand how to take advantage of the situation your in and make silly mistakes which let the opponent back into the game.
C. Your end game sucks and you don't know how to finish the game in the shortest moves possible.

Kazthefirst
03-14-2013, 03:31 AM
The reason is the initiative system where each person alternates turns until one one guy on a team is left.

This punishes dropping enemies and rewards wounding them as much is possible and efficient. Of course, the consequence is that you end up with a lot of wounded guys in the end doing their best to end the fight.

If the turns didn't alternate, then dropping enemies would quickly swing the battles as one side would quickly gain relative advantage.

netnazgul
03-14-2013, 03:37 AM
I agree - I can often tell several moves before that it is mate in x. What I mean by last minute rush is that you're basically trying to garner as many kills as you can before you die - and you usually mangle one or two of the winning remnant. The point is that it always comes down to these couple meager survivors. Every victory is pyrhic (spelling?).

Also, I'm not complaining. I like the game. I'm just wondering why a game that is supposedly based (almost) completely on skill winds up with such close results to every fight.
Also your characters do not die, at least according to the lore. They just get unconscious or something

piotras
03-14-2013, 06:33 AM
Yea, this game plays differently, but I find that it's fun and unique. Don't look at the number of units by the end of the game, but at their stats. It's often that you see 4 vs 2 scenario match where the person with 2 is the winner, while the the opponent runs around with barely breathing kept there just for the sake of turn advantage.

Many people find it weird at first, but if this game didn't work like that there would be absolutely nothing special (gameplay-wise) about the game. It's nice to see a fresh approach, although it has it's quirks.

pix
03-14-2013, 08:13 AM
You seem to be trying to imply that because a match is close, the result is essentially luck, and that's simply not the case. You either reduced the enemy's health pool quicker than they reduced yours, or you didn't, and the game lets you know through the use of the words 'victory' and 'defeat'. That seems like plenty of differentiation to me.

EriktheRed
03-14-2013, 10:04 AM
Chess is played to checkmate, not to the death.

netnazgul
03-14-2013, 02:25 PM
Chess is played to checkmate, not to the death.
except that DeathChess variation...

MrEntity
03-14-2013, 07:09 PM
A) I was taking stats into account. I said "being 3 half-dead units scrambling to kill 3 other half-dead units (or equivalent)" I meant that to be a general rule for the stat count.

B) Chess is played to checkmate, yes. But unless you're playing a grandmaster or something, this is usually accomplished through attrition - and the weaker player is more likely to make moves that give their pieces away.

C)I'm not implying it is luck. Or at least I didn't mean to. Skill is fairly clearly the arbiter (unless you're both working with probabilistic attacks).

What I meant was... hmm..

Let me explain by relating the best reason I can think of to answer my original question:

Chess has 16 pieces in somewhat redundant roles. This game has 6 in slightly more varied roles. If the game threw away pieces as absolutely as chess does, then it wouldn't really work. You can come back in a chess match from a significant lag. In this game, having a couple dead guys when the other team has all his guys left is pretty much a guaranteed loss (assuming high stats on both sides).

My question was asking for something like that for an answer. I LIKE this game (though it will be much improved by more base and ranked classes) I wasn't stating its mechanics as a problem, per se - just questioning the underpinnings of why they wound up this way.

Shiri
03-14-2013, 07:27 PM
It has a lot to do with the fact that a unit doesn't die in 1 hit most of the time, unlike in chess, meaning a unit automatically defends itself by armour breaking its attacker, allowing it to be mauled by other units.

Since every unit is generally able to do something, the measure is just efficiency rather than a more binary "are they able to achieve anything at all." Compare a situation with three pawns in chess against one enemy knight with an archer against three raiders (maybe two backbiters, say) here. Or even better, look at what happens when a bad player runs up a shieldbanger. Often that guy is gonna do some small amount of damage just by existing. Those enemy pawns might never get close enough to do LITERALLY anything (as opposed to the figuratively "anything" of a maimed banner saga unit) without being picked off pointlessly, in chess.

Similarly, if I move a queen to kill a piece in chess, if that piece wasn't vulnerable at that exact moment, the next move can be used to pull her back, essentially resetting the situation but with you down a unit. Conversely, if I run my warrior up in the banner saga, most of the time that means he can be hit by SOMETHING, and the hope is just that the tradeoff was worth it. That is to say, attacking for most non-archer units is a COMMITMENT to a trade here, whereas in chess that is frequently not true because many positions you can attack into are not themselves vulnerable in a way that doesn't make things even worse for the victim.

Kinda rambling a bit there but hopefully that is the kind of dissection you're looking for.

BattleSloth
03-14-2013, 09:49 PM
I'm puzzled by the original post. As a fairly inexperienced player, I can see that the whole point of the mid-game is to set yourself up to win in the endgame. The de-emphasis on focus firing is one of the game's best innovative selling points. The endgame is also my favorite part, where I'm either trying to figure out a way to make a comeback, or making sure my opponent can't turn the tide.

MrEntity
03-15-2013, 12:10 AM
It has a lot to do with the fact that a unit doesn't die in 1 hit most of the time, unlike in chess, meaning a unit automatically defends itself by armour breaking its attacker, allowing it to be mauled by other units.

Since every unit is generally able to do something, the measure is just efficiency rather than a more binary "are they able to achieve anything at all." Compare a situation with three pawns in chess against one enemy knight with an archer against three raiders (maybe two backbiters, say) here. Or even better, look at what happens when a bad player runs up a shieldbanger. Often that guy is gonna do some small amount of damage just by existing. Those enemy pawns might never get close enough to do LITERALLY anything (as opposed to the figuratively "anything" of a maimed banner saga unit) without being picked off pointlessly, in chess.

Similarly, if I move a queen to kill a piece in chess, if that piece wasn't vulnerable at that exact moment, the next move can be used to pull her back, essentially resetting the situation but with you down a unit. Conversely, if I run my warrior up in the banner saga, most of the time that means he can be hit by SOMETHING, and the hope is just that the tradeoff was worth it. That is to say, attacking for most non-archer units is a COMMITMENT to a trade here, whereas in chess that is frequently not true because many positions you can attack into are not themselves vulnerable in a way that doesn't make things even worse for the victim.

Kinda rambling a bit there but hopefully that is the kind of dissection you're looking for.

Yes, yes yes!

Thank you. Those were the words I was looking for.(It doesn't exactly answer my question, but its as close as we've got)
Chess is a BINARY system where pieces are either alive or dead and their on-board status is directly related. This game exists on a continuum, where those pieces that are hit are only REDUCED in value, not completely destroyed. And adding my comment re: number of pieces, this is fine. I feel I mostly understand what the devs were thinking. Not completely, but sortof enough

netnazgul
03-15-2013, 01:49 AM
You can come back in a chess match from a significant lag. In this game, having a couple dead guys when the other team has all his guys left is pretty much a guaranteed loss (assuming high stats on both sides).
You know, if you are in the situation where you have twice less the units your opponent has and both having high stats - you have played horribly wrong up to this moment and simply there can be no comeback for that. That still doesn't mean that your opponent can't make a lot of horrendous mistakes costing him the loss in the second part of the battle, it's just very unlikely.

raven2134
03-15-2013, 08:32 AM
I think it's cool that Mr.Entity is trying to deduce developer's intent based on the game mechanics and what he sees play out as the result of a match.

Mechanically, it's as you and Shiri have analyzed.

Intentionally, however, it was Stoic's desire to create a system that encouraged close games, which is why we not only have alternating turns, but a specific order to units where we cannot choose what to move any time a player's turns come up. This is also 1 big difference from chess.

In chess, the players take turns, not the pieces. In TBSF, it is the pieces, the characters, that take turns, not the player directly (again because he cannot choose which unit to move as he wants). This adds to Shiri's observation, of trade-offs. In chess you can move pieces consecutively and sequentially in order to jump in and out of a position of vulnerability (but at the cost of another piece). In TBSF, once a piece has moved, it is committed to its position for a full cycle.

What this all means, the alternate turns, stats, and assigned turns, is that matches end up being close. We have mechanics which rubber band the flow of the match in subtle ways and allow the outcomes of the game to converge, but at the same time player advantages remains both reversible but also defensible.

Hence when two players of close skill match up, the results aren't a sweeping victory, it's a close shave. And mistakes (because of only 6 units) can make or break a game. This kind of experience usually creates a very positive effect on player psychology. The winner does not get bored due to lack of challenge, and the loser does not walk away from the game from the gravity of a very bad loss (more often than not, bad losses are still possible). The trick was to achieve this without belittling the victor's efforts and excellence of play, which I think Stoic has managed to accomplish.