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Aleonymous
03-25-2013, 01:17 PM
Greetings fellow vikings! This is my first post in this forum and it (basically) concerns initial deployment. Its a little long, so please abide.

Admittedly, the chess-originating idea of two opposing parties with a no-man's-land between them is an excellent choice for generally balanced matches. However, the more-than-chess nature of the game (i.e. unequal units) along with the actual deployment-mode can generate a number of awkward situations like: the fire-pit map (no introductions needed!), or like battles where defensive-teams are stacked in a corner holding their ground and just waiting for the opponent to break-lines (and pay for it). Yes, situations like these can lead to interesting matches, but also to a lot of frustration. So, in order to further enrich this experience and add an extra level of "flavor" to the game, I have the following questions/suggestions/points (please excuse re-issues!).

[0] Who acts first? Am I missing something, or is it unknown (until too late) which team will act first? The acting-order for each team is clearly the one displayed (left-to-right) in the banners when the match-finder concludes, but who will act first? Its a pain to have your WH propped for a charging-tempest and have him staggering after finding out that the opponent had the same idea, and got to act first!

[1] More-maps please! Open up more maps and make them more varied and interesting, with obstacles, hazards (coals, ice, water, swamps) etc. Symmetries are, of course, welcome, helping to keep things fair for both parties. I'll not talk more on this because there's a dedicated "Request" thread elsewhere.

[2] Alternative deployment-modes:
--[2a] Unit-by-unit: Each faction places one unit, which is revealed to the opponent, who then places his own unit, and-so-on until all units are placed.
--[2b] Varls-revealed: Those big giants are tough to miss in an opposing party, and are typically placed up front. So, each faction first places his varls which are then revealed to the opponent, and then each faction secretly deploys its archers and raiders.
--[2c] Re-arrangement stage: An intermediate stage (after the deployment) where the two parties can have a small number of re-arrangement moves (rules?), secretly or openly. Something like "castling" in chess.
--[2d] Open-space: Free-up the entire map for deployment, in any of the above modes (or the original one), and see what happens!

[3] Texas hold'em: Give the option of a small number of changes (secret or open) to each teams' build, after the opponent is chosen (prior to the deployment). For instance, each team is allowed to swap 1-2 units from his barracks or swap 1-2 units in the active-build ordering.

[4] Stalemate: One (somewhat relevant) point about the endgame. Picture this (based on a true story): both opponents are left with one bowmaster each, at the same ARM+STR+WP+EX and say 14-15 tiles apart. Each BM can make a "falcon-hit" that directly kills the opponent, but, she's too far away... Each BM has to move a little closer to be ready for the kill in the next-move, but, doing-so will give the advantage on the opponent's next turn (exertion-move + falcon-hit) to finish the match. Both players realize this and chat about it; stalemate. So what is my suggestion? Implement an "offer-draw" option. I understand that this is not in the "spirit" of TBSF, and the renown-bonus is a marginal +2 for the winner in such situations, but hey: Would you move if you were me? I eventually did. And died. Twas a good match though!

[5] Double-or-nothing: Finally, what would you say to an "offer double-or-nothing" button? For instance, this could be invoked once or twice (only) during anytime in the game and it would double the renown-value of the remaining-kills (or add a fixed bonus or something). Declining would mean forfeiting the match.

Thanks for abiding to the end of the post! I'm looking forward to your feedback.

d2r
03-25-2013, 01:42 PM
I don't think 5 is a good idea; I'm not clear how it'd be implemented. I do agree that there needs to be a more clear way of knowing who goes first, though.

franknarf
03-25-2013, 01:51 PM
top goes first

Aleonymous
03-25-2013, 02:05 PM
@franknarf: OK, thanks. So its NW (or NE) that goes first, and then SE (or SW). From what I know, playing the whites in chess is as close as match-deciders go. It couldn't be much more different in TBSF.

Aleonymous
03-25-2013, 02:13 PM
@d2r: My motive for "double-or-nothing" was that, sometimes, matches seeming won turn out to be defeats (and vice versa). So, one might get excited and offer a double-or-nothing (e.g. renown-value on say 3 remaining units) imagining that he'll get a +3 bonus. If the other opponent feels up to it, he'll take it and perhaps win (double renown) or, if he's scared, he might forfeit the match and the opponent wins (without anymore kills nor renown though!). If the one who offered the "double-or-nothing" eventually loses, well... He gets no more renown for any of the kills after the challenging.

That's my basic outline of this mode. I got inspired from backgammon matches, where luck plays a more important role, and you got to win a number of matches to win the overall session.

Butters
03-25-2013, 09:55 PM
I personally don't really feel there is a problem with deployment, but I appreciate the creative suggestions.
Alternative deployments modes look like they could generate a big mess, but may be interesting.
The double-down thing, I'm not sure either. I can see it used by the better player to bully a losing party into either losing their renown for the match (which they most likely need) or giving them more renown to farm. People might just get into double-downing at the beginning of the match to score more renown. In the end the situation you intend it for would be likely to be a minor occurrence...
The Hold'en thing seems unnecessarily complicated. If the goal is to create surprise team deployments, why not just have a game mode with hidden team composition, to be revealed only when the match actually starts ?
Sorry if I sound negative. Just going for constructive criticism here.

bruther
03-25-2013, 10:07 PM
More maps would certainly be fun, and I like suggestions 2a and (especially) 2b.

I also had no idea how to tell which player was going to move first (is franknarf right? I haven't gotten to check...), but I kind of liked that-- it means exactly that you can't count on getting to make that first move with your charging warhawk, so putting him first in your initiative and at the head of your formation is a risk. If indeed it is possible to tell which player will move first while setting up, then I would actually suggest removing that and making the player order random!

I've never experienced a stalemate standoff like you describe, Aleonymous, but it is interesting that such situations can arise; maybe a "draw" option would be nice, although I can't see it being used very often.

The only quibble I'll take with the OP is: I still don't understand why people talk about turtling up in a corner like it's a serious strategy. Is someone out there actually winning matches against seasoned players by turtling in a corner? That sounds grand to me! My archers would bust up the front line's armor, and then I'd battering ram a warhawk up and tempest their front line and watch the heavy impact fireworks-- without ever exposing any of my other units to danger! It has seemed to me all along very clearly that this combat system rewards the first strike; I don't see how anyone can be winning by trying to counterpunch from the corner. But, maybe I just haven't seen it done correctly...

Butters
03-25-2013, 10:31 PM
Yes, player on top goes first, every time. No question about that.

And no, I haven't seen turtling in a corner be effective, ever. Or any form of turtling for that matter. Don't claim to have seen it all though.

tornesj
03-26-2013, 09:48 AM
Another idea... What do you think about adding some kind of 'Initiative' stat to different kind of units and then determine the first player depending on the total 'Initiative' of the build?

I think something like that would be better than just randomize the first move

Butters
03-26-2013, 09:56 AM
Another idea... What do you think about adding some kind of 'Initiative' stat to different kind of units and then determine the first player depending on the total 'Initiative' of the build?

For some reason, I was convinced until recently that this was actually how it worked.

I'm not sure what type of build (effectively, units) should be given priority though.
Varls should be slower than raiders or archers. A 1-varl or 0-varl build should systematically start before a 2-varl build (that could make the viability of such builds significantly better).
Not sure about raiders and archers ..?

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 10:22 AM
@tornesj: Yes, it sounds interesting, and (as Butters points out) it could already be loosely implemented. I've yet to battle a one-varl team (or use one!) to make a statistical observation, though.

What you just outlined, used to be implemented in the (awesome) Fallout 1&2 games. There, the acting-order of the turn-based combat-system was as follows: Each unit had a "perception" rating used to determine acting-order regardless of faction! That meant, that if a two-faction combat (say 5-vs-2) was initiated, and your 2 units were of lower-perception than all 5 units of the opponent, you could end-out dead before even acting once!

Using a similar initiative-mechanism in TBSF (instead of the defined order in the Proving-Grounds and the "random" up/down rule for first-play) could probably help lift the two-Varl-per-team restriction, at a cost: Varls, being heavy and slow, would act last in this principle, so, by the time they'd get to play they could be seriously crippled (if placed up-front and close to enemy archers/raiders).

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 10:34 AM
I've never experienced a stalemate standoff like you describe, Aleonymous, but it is interesting that such situations can arise; maybe a "draw" option would be nice, although I can't see it being used very often.

The only quibble I'll take with the OP is: I still don't understand why people talk about turtling up in a corner like it's a serious strategy. Is someone out there actually winning matches against seasoned players by turtling in a corner? That sounds grand to me! My archers would bust up the front line's armor, and then I'd battering ram a warhawk up and tempest their front line and watch the heavy impact fireworks-- without ever exposing any of my other units to danger! It has seemed to me all along very clearly that this combat system rewards the first strike; I don't see how anyone can be winning by trying to counterpunch from the corner. But, maybe I just haven't seen it done correctly...

Stalemate standoffs like that are not very common, you're right. I've seen only one in the 50-60 matches I've played so far. Most endgame situations are clearly resolvable by "simple" mathematics. The only scenario where these stalemates can arise is when the remaining combatants are off-range and of the same type (archer-vs-archer, or both non-archers). In these cases, the "first-to-act" is not an advantage since you first gotta come in-range. Reckless charges are punished! Its still thrilling though!

Concerning "turtling" (I didn't know the term :confused:), from my experience it's not a very good strategy, at the end-of-the-day. But, in any case, its always a pain to engage such a team, wasting 1-2 rounds just advancing... The firepit map offers another good paradigm: archers on-the-other-side-of-the-pit, feeling safe and not counting on the kamikaze-charge of a full-health warhawk! Woe to them.

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 10:56 AM
I personally don't really feel there is a problem with deployment, but I appreciate the creative suggestions.
Alternative deployments modes look like they could generate a big mess, but may be interesting.
The double-down thing, I'm not sure either. I can see it used by the better player to bully a losing party into either losing their renown for the match (which they most likely need) or giving them more renown to farm. People might just get into double-downing at the beginning of the match to score more renown. In the end the situation you intend it for would be likely to be a minor occurrence...
The Hold'en thing seems unnecessarily complicated. If the goal is to create surprise team deployments, why not just have a game mode with hidden team composition, to be revealed only when the match actually starts ?
Sorry if I sound negative. Just going for constructive criticism here.

;) constructive criticism is more welcome than destructive compliments!

I agree that alternative deployments could be a pain, at start. Acting on inertia, all changes are hard to cope with at the beginning, but can prove better at the end. I'm sure the Stoic people have resulted here with a lot of beta-testing and balancing. The one big-truth behind all this is that a simpler-game is most easily learned and appreciated for its core features.

Concerning the double-or-nothing, it could also be implemented in a no-penalty approach, like most features in TBSF. Picture this: during such a "double-or-nothing" offer, the challenger eventually gets {double,normal,normal}-renown when the opponent:{accepts & loses, accepts & wins, declines}, respectively. The opposite for the challenged. In this way, no one gets to lose any renown (from what they'd normally earn) while smart-gamblers or good-estimators get the better of it. Most importantly, nothing happens if the challenged one declines! Nevertheless, I understand your fear about renown-inflation in favor of stronger/more-experienced opponents though. This is another issue altogether.

Finally, about the Texas hold'em suggestion, no need to drown me in my too-deep scenarios! Just picture the simple-version: Each player is defining a series of 9 units (in fixed order) instead of 6 (again in fixed-order) in their proving grounds. After the opponent is chosen, each player has 30sec to click/check the 6/9 units he's going to use, without altering the predefined order. Finally, each opponent knows both the units and the order, prior to the match, as presently done. That seems rather simple to implement in my opinion, while also adding some versatility to the team setups.

netnazgul
03-26-2013, 03:25 PM
Stalemate standoffs like that are not very common, you're right. I've seen only one in the 50-60 matches I've played so far. Most endgame situations are clearly resolvable by "simple" mathematics. The only scenario where these stalemates can arise is when the remaining combatants are off-range and of the same type (archer-vs-archer, or both non-archers). In these cases, the "first-to-act" is not an advantage since you first gotta come in-range. Reckless charges are punished! Its still thrilling though!
Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.


I agree that alternative deployments could be a pain, at start. Acting on inertia, all changes are hard to cope with at the beginning, but can prove better at the end. I'm sure the Stoic people have resulted here with a lot of beta-testing and balancing. The one big-truth behind all this is that a simpler-game is most easily learned and appreciated for its core features.

Finally, about the Texas hold'em suggestion, no need to drown me in my too-deep scenarios! Just picture the simple-version: Each player is defining a series of 9 units (in fixed order) instead of 6 (again in fixed-order) in their proving grounds. After the opponent is chosen, each player has 30sec to click/check the 6/9 units he's going to use, without altering the predefined order. Finally, each opponent knows both the units and the order, prior to the match, as presently done. That seems rather simple to implement in my opinion, while also adding some versatility to the team setups.
Even considering this modes to be viable, this would not be implemented for long as it's too hard to code and insert into the current game system and devs are more concentrated on finishing single player.


Concerning the double-or-nothing, it could also be implemented in a no-penalty approach, like most features in TBSF. Picture this: during such a "double-or-nothing" offer, the challenger eventually gets {double,normal,normal}-renown when the opponent:{accepts & loses, accepts & wins, declines}, respectively. The opposite for the challenged. In this way, no one gets to lose any renown (from what they'd normally earn) while smart-gamblers or good-estimators get the better of it. Most importantly, nothing happens if the challenged one declines! Nevertheless, I understand your fear about renown-inflation in favor of stronger/more-experienced opponents though. This is another issue altogether.
Man, you played too much poker ;) double-or-nothing seems to be not that suitable for this game, it's not about gambling (unless you are in awe of Thrashers).

loveboof
03-26-2013, 03:57 PM
top goes first

Yes, player on top goes first, every time. No question about that.

I'm probably just being a bit dumb, but what about the matches that play left to right (or vice versa - depending on your side)... Or are all the maps roughly top/bottom, just at slight angles?

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 04:14 PM
I'm probably just being a bit dumb, but what about the matches that play left to right (or vice versa - depending on your side)... Or are all the maps roughly top/bottom, just at slight angles?

Its NW (or NE) that goes first, and then SE (or SW).

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 04:32 PM
Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.

Even considering this modes to be viable, this would not be implemented for long as it's too hard to code and insert into the current game system and devs are more concentrated on finishing single player.

Man, you played too much poker ;) double-or-nothing seems to be not that suitable for this game, it's not about gambling (unless you are in awe of Thrashers).

I'm beginning to think you guys are right! Strict math-driven mechanics are probably better received for this kind of game than chances. :cool:

What I had in mind was old-school RPGs where the hits' magnitude was decided on dice-rolls like 1d12 or 3d4, 2d6. That meant that weapons with the same max-power (12 in this example) had different probability-distributions (mean values etc) in the available damage-ranges. There was critical hits & misses too. All that added a different spice to the combats, the element of surprise, luck! In TBSF, with chances mostly out of the picture (at least, until late endgame), there's bound to be a perfect build and a perfect strategy, i.e. a lose-proof approach to the game (the Klutz...;)). Anyway, I'm sure that continuous play-testing, feedback and re-designing will help to keep the game challenging and in balance!

Concerning all those strange suggestions etc, I agree with you, netnazgul, that it's better to leave the devs alone to deliver the SP game a.s.a.p.

Aleonymous
03-26-2013, 05:29 PM
Had a non-conventional stalemate today while streaming - 0/17 Warmaster vs 3/7 Bowmaster (both rank1, Warmaster with 2ex). These are the rare case of course (in fact, I could have 7/7 archer by making another move 3 turns before), but they should be dealed with somehow.

Forgot to ask: Who won? From your tone, I guess it was the opponent's WM... :rolleyes:

netnazgul
03-27-2013, 06:16 AM
It was a friendly and we both called it a draw :) Then I moved archer first, so it was a recorded friend loss for me

Aleonymous
03-27-2013, 07:06 AM
So, if I'm getting it right, the BM (3/7, effective range 3+5=8) needed two hits to kill the WM (0/17, effective-range 4+2ex=6), where the latter only needed one. Yeah, that sounds pretty unconventional, but, I guess that the more-experienced you get, the more further-away you can identify such stalemates (or checkmates).

That scenario brings me again to the "hit-and-run", a feature completely expelled from TBSF. Actually, is there a thread for it, or was it dumped from day1, in alpha/beta? I see the practicality of it (i.e. it simplifies gameplay quite a lot) but I admit I'd have it also the other way around, i.e. allow both run-n-hit and hit-n-run. OK, it would be a pain to hunt-down archers hitting-and-running, and yes, it is kind of "off-putting" that archers get the most kills than most other units. But, in any case, here's how I'd do it:
(1) Penalize movement-range for hit-n-run, e.g. -1 or -2 tile from normal.
(2) Prohibit hit-n-run entirely when special abilities, especially actives but also some passives (e.g. puncture) are used.
(3) Nerf the archers altogether, especially their str, but also armor.
That change-combination could re-balanced the game, perhaps... :confused:

Korrigan
03-27-2013, 08:44 AM
Hi Aleonymous, thanks for your feedback, it's always good to share new ideas.
You pin-pointed the fact that right now they got their own schedules and ideas for the game, and even if they will listen, it's unlikely that these ideas could be put in the game any time soon, except if there was a general demand from the community.

Now, I think we will have more maps appear on a regular basis, there will be plenty of them created for the simgle mode.

For your other options, what could be expected would be a "spicing up" of the competitions, like adding alternative deployment modes, restrictions on troops, etc, for some competitions or events. Adding it at the base of the game would be to much of a change.

The stalemate issue is still a very unlikely occurence to me. the only way to avoid this from my experience would be to add a "sudden kill" mode activating when only two caracters remain, like random flaming arrows falling from the sky to avoid players being static. The unlikeliness of two archers at same life level finishing a game is still uncommon enough to not raise the nessecity of this kind of tweak, which would create a lot of coding anyway.

Finally, I think there is no interrest in a stalemate concept as some players would use it to disguise losses by asking their enemies to stalemate (happens in many games, some people can go as far as bribing for this, and it is very annoying). "Hey, I got 60+ victory chain, can we just stalemate? you lose nothing and I'll give you a -insert tradable random in-game valuable here-".

Leartes
03-27-2013, 09:11 AM
My thoughts on most topics touched in this thread:

Maps - I want more as well and fortunately we will get more sooner or later. I bet they want people to fight outside of strand as well and we don't have maps for that yet.
Deployment/Teamselection - I dislike everything that seperates the player base. Currently it is hard to find matches on powers beyond 6. Imagine if you have 5 modes additional to the power to chose, it'd be a nightmare.
Double or Nothing - Has nothing to do with the basics of the game. If you really like the concept you can always run a custom tournament via friends match system and double-or-nothing the points in the tournament system there. Apart from that it is (imo) to alien to the general concept of renown, as the players fame, earned honestly by knocking out people (not by doing cheeky gambling tricks).
Hit&Run - I'm happy normal units can't do this. You'd have more actions to do in every turn and it would remove a lot of the interesting decisions of moving out of formation to strike vs moving to a well protected spot. I hope that there will be a unit in the future which can perform some form of hit&run (maybe attack before moving OR after moving, not both per turn). Thematically it would fit the centaur announced for saga 2 (or 3?). Also you can currently kite opponents with archers with using wp and obstacles for some time (which is a good thing imo).

Aleonymous
03-27-2013, 04:05 PM
Well met, Korrigan!


You pin-pointed the fact that right now they got their own schedules and ideas for the game, and even if they will listen, it's unlikely that these ideas could be put in the game any time soon, except if there was a general demand from the community.

I understand that when changes initially suggested via player feedback (e.g. forum, beta) makes it to a future version/build of TBSF, that will be because there was a general demand for them. And not because some weird guy pointed it out! I guess that our role here, is, as you say, to provide feedback and insights onto game perspectives. In any case, I'm not sure if Stoic would prefer a relatively small following of hardcore fans (e.g. the Kickstarter Backers) or a larger following of more mainstream/casual gamers (like myself). It's who you target!


The stalemate issue is still a very unlikely occurrence to me. the only way to avoid this from my experience would be to add a "sudden kill" mode activating when only two characters remain, like random flaming arrows falling from the sky to avoid players being static. The unlikeliness of two archers at same life level finishing a game is still uncommon enough to not raise the necessity of this kind of tweak, which would create a lot of coding anyway.

Don't know about the "sudden kill" stage you're proposing, but I generally agree that there should be some extrapolated form of "pillage-mode", adapted for a one-on-one battle with almost equal probability of win/defeat (its easy when options are narrowed to a few moves), in order to alleviate stalemates.


Finally, I think there is no interest in a stalemate concept as some players would use it to disguise losses by asking their enemies to stalemate (happens in many games, some people can go as far as bribing for this, and it is very annoying). "Hey, I got 60+ victory chain, can we just stalemate? you lose nothing and I'll give you a -insert tradable random in-game valuable here-".

Yes, I'm confident that these issues, loosely related to "TBSF economy", have to be tackled in a firm and consistent manner. Nevertheless, true-stalemates can be algorithmically identified, so its easy to filter out such "draw arrangements". The competitiveness in multiplayer games plays a major role in their longevity and following, so I'm sure that Stoic are trying to keep things fair and challenging, at the same time, for a wide range of gamers.

I'm wondering what they have in mind for TBSF, for the not-so-distant future when there'll be a lot of people with full 18-power-teams, and still a lot of renown to spend...

Aleonymous
03-27-2013, 04:26 PM
Deployment/Team-selection - I dislike everything that seperates the player base. Currently it is hard to find matches on powers beyond 6. Imagine if you have 5 modes additional to the power to chose, it'd be a nightmare.

You're right, that is a very important to keep in mind. For instance, I'm living in Greece and I mostly play in the late evenings, so it's just european opponents for me. The peak hours, where the MM finds matches in 5-10 seconds, are weekend mornings when its late evening in the USA (Friday & Saturday). Otherwise, thank god there's the chat to kill some time!


Double or Nothing - Has nothing to do with the basics of the game. If you really like the concept you can always run a custom tournament via friends match system and double-or-nothing the points in the tournament system there. Apart from that it is (imo) to alien to the general concept of renown, as the players fame, earned honestly by knocking out people (not by doing cheeky gambling tricks).

I'm finally sure that there's not a lot of chancy gamers in TBSF :D. My "double-or-nothing" suggestion has got a -3 score, from an equal number of comments/responses (the rest were neutral or n/a). I guess its the fusion of chess-logicality with "Winter is Coming"-honor that forbids even thinking of that!


Hit&Run - I'm happy normal units can't do this. You'd have more actions to do in every turn and it would remove a lot of the interesting decisions of moving out of formation to strike vs moving to a well protected spot. I hope that there will be a unit in the future which can perform some form of hit&run (maybe attack before moving OR after moving, not both per turn). Thematically it would fit the centaur announced for saga 2 (or 3?). Also you can currently kite opponents with archers with using wp and obstacles for some time (which is a good thing imo).

The vibes I'm getting from this thread (not from you specifically, Leartes!;)) is that there's a general mistrust and skepticism about any change leading to a more open gameplay, a gameplay with more available options. I'm not sure why is that. I understand that the simpler/easier answer (by Stoic) to dismiss a suggestiong would be something like "let it be, its fine as it is, why bother?", but I'm guessing that the gamers' denial is mostly due to a threat-of-the-unknown. It's not like you're gonna lose your precious ELO-advantage, or something. You adapted all through the betas and the updates, you're gonna adapt again. Actually, there's a lot of anthropological studies directly relating intelligence with adaptability.

Anyway, I'm getting off-track and itchy, so I'll just cool-off and take a stroll in Strand. I'd love to see such hit-n-run units, like the Centaur!

Leartes
03-28-2013, 03:16 AM
The vibes I'm getting from this thread (not from you specifically, Leartes!;)) is that there's a general mistrust and skepticism about any change leading to a more open gameplay, a gameplay with more available options. I'm not sure why is that. I understand that the simpler/easier answer (by Stoic) to dismiss a suggestiong would be something like "let it be, its fine as it is, why bother?", but I'm guessing that the gamers' denial is mostly due to a threat-of-the-unknown. It's not like you're gonna lose your precious ELO-advantage, or something. You adapted all through the betas and the updates, you're gonna adapt again. Actually, there's a lot of anthropological studies directly relating intelligence with adaptability.

Imo there is a fine balance line in games like TBS. Every decision is about evaluating pros and cons. Moves that deal good damage and leave you in a strong defensive position are bound to be imbalanced.
Additionally, I think TBS has a huge amount of move-options. This is due to the lack of zone-of-control. It is really hard to properly defend your units and all moves are about interesting decision between safety, threat, set-up for other units and damage. Stuff like "break and move 2 steps afterwards" on a raider would be crazy imbalanced as you can just a) move back in a defensive shieldwall formation or b) move out of the way for the warrior charging in next turn. You'd have to change every unit and most abilities to work with something like that. And the game is too far (and too good) to do such huge changes now. Especially, since it is unsure if the changes improve anything. I'm sceptical that a game with this kind of move+attack options would be very defensive with a alot of stalemate situations where no one wants to move.

Aleonymous
03-28-2013, 11:10 AM
Imo there is a fine balance line in games like TBS. Every decision is about evaluating pros and cons. Moves that deal good damage and leave you in a strong defensive position are bound to be imbalanced.

I totally I agree. As I see it, they've implemented & fine-tuned the game mechanics around three simple principles: (1) Move+Act or Act-only, (2) Damage = STR-ARM , AB=Fixed, (3) WP+EX. In and of themselves, these principles are well robust, and as you say, the game is totally balanced with all "special" moves built around them.


Additionally, I think TBS has a huge amount of move-options. This is due to the lack of zone-of-control. It is really hard to properly defend your units and all moves are about interesting decision between safety, threat, set-up for other units and damage. Stuff like "break and move 2 steps afterwards" on a raider would be crazy imbalanced as you can just a) move back in a defensive shieldwall formation or b) move out of the way for the warrior charging in next turn. You'd have to change every unit and most abilities to work with something like that. And the game is too far (and too good) to do such huge changes now. Especially, since it is unsure if the changes improve anything.

Again, you're right. A lot of things would need revisiting and re-thinking, and "the game is too far (and too good) to do such huge changes now".


I'm skeptical that a game with this kind of move+attack options would be very defensive with a alot of stalemate situations where no one wants to move.

Well, one this regard, I'll disagree. I think that combat "to the death" should be much more defensive than a reckless charge that just tilts this particular battle to your side. For instance, I find it distracting that most (good) matches leave you with one character standing, and at low health. I'd like a game where, under proper-handling, it is possible to keep the majority of your team alive (a "Flee" button?). Moreover, as Stoic puts it for the single-player game, TBS is about getting deeply involved with ("really caring for") your characters. As an anecdote, when I was about to play my first battle, and didn't know how the game worked, I was really worried that units that die in a battle are gone for good, and you're left with who survived, or had to "buy" fresh ones! When I saw what happens, I just said "ah, ok, so my WH died but he took a couple of archers with him, fair-trade".

raven2134
03-28-2013, 11:31 AM
Hi Korrigan and Aleonymous :). Thank you very much for posting! Even with the public launch of the game, the community I think is still humble and we can use every friendly and constructive voice and contributer we can get :).

Now, I and I think Stoic hasn't jumped into this thread because of some overlaps this thread has had with older topics and suggestions that have been brought up in beta, and in the past few weeks. It can and will often happen that moderators, community managers, and especially the developers, wait and see how the community discuss things and whether "it handles itself" (members who've been part of previous discussions chime in and summarize/guide the discussion in light of the past one).

Be sure though, that the threads people start and discussions happening are being read and considered. Personally, I don't think there's a thread (except netnazgul's life work -and some fan fiction that I really want to read) that I haven't given a very thorough go-over.

All the topics in this thread have actually been discussed before, and of course, additional and new feedback is always welcome. In fact, I think the thread has turned into a lively discussion and brainstorm. I hope the rating hasn't given you the wrong impression. I think in this case, it's because the topic is not a new one.

Again, thank you for giving feedback about the game, and taking the time to respond very thoroughly. Right now, Stoic is focused on bringing all the essentials/fundamentals for Factions into the fold, so they can get even more done on the single player game. Because of this, they are focusing on features that are of greater necessity.

They are however planning other exciting features and things for Factions down the line.

Hopefully, the other community members can direct you to past threads (I should do this but erm...I'm busy on short vacation :) -excuses I know...). That said, I hope you find a good spot in our community, cos even if the discussion hasn't quite been affirmative on the suggestions, it's been quite polite and still friendly (which is notable in general for game forums anywhere).

Thanks again!

Aleonymous
03-28-2013, 02:57 PM
Well met, raven2134.

I admit that I didn't thoroughly go through all the previous posts/threads on the topics I initially addressed or were raised by fellow vikings. Was it written somewhere before that "I acknowledge..." check-box during registration :rolleyes:? Its something that I was planning to do, but well, forums are like discussions: they start-off somewhere but can end-out in entirely different subjects.

I do hope TBSF does well and stays a "live" game for as long as possible. Really, I think that MP/online games should take more deeply into account the players' feedback and wishes, compared to the SP ones, in order to keep attracting the masses in the long-term. I understand that TBSF is an offspring of TBS, and in this manner it can't deviate too much from it. TBS is a SP game, human-vs-PC, so all these mechanics can work just fine with the PC's AI etc. But, even when/if the Saga trilogy is done, the MP version (TSBF, or what it will evolve in) can still be alive and thrilling. Adaptability. That's the reason why I keep "pressing" the lines. :o

Arnie
03-28-2013, 09:28 PM
Greetings fellow vikings! This is my first post in this forum and it (basically) concerns initial deployment. Its a little long, so please abide.

Admittedly, the chess-originating idea of two opposing parties with a no-man's-land between them is an excellent choice for generally balanced matches. However, the more-than-chess nature of the game (i.e. unequal units) along with the actual deployment-mode can generate a number of awkward situations like: the fire-pit map (no introductions needed!), or like battles where defensive-teams are stacked in a corner holding their ground and just waiting for the opponent to break-lines (and pay for it). Yes, situations like these can lead to interesting matches, but also to a lot of frustration. So, in order to further enrich this experience and add an extra level of "flavor" to the game, I have the following questions/suggestions/points (please excuse re-issues!).

[0] Who acts first? Am I missing something, or is it unknown (until too late) which team will act first? The acting-order for each team is clearly the one displayed (left-to-right) in the banners when the match-finder concludes, but who will act first? Its a pain to have your WH propped for a charging-tempest and have him staggering after finding out that the opponent had the same idea, and got to act first!

[1] More-maps please! Open up more maps and make them more varied and interesting, with obstacles, hazards (coals, ice, water, swamps) etc. Symmetries are, of course, welcome, helping to keep things fair for both parties. I'll not talk more on this because there's a dedicated "Request" thread elsewhere.

[2] Alternative deployment-modes:
--[2a] Unit-by-unit: Each faction places one unit, which is revealed to the opponent, who then places his own unit, and-so-on until all units are placed.
--[2b] Varls-revealed: Those big giants are tough to miss in an opposing party, and are typically placed up front. So, each faction first places his varls which are then revealed to the opponent, and then each faction secretly deploys its archers and raiders.
--[2c] Re-arrangement stage: An intermediate stage (after the deployment) where the two parties can have a small number of re-arrangement moves (rules?), secretly or openly. Something like "castling" in chess.
--[2d] Open-space: Free-up the entire map for deployment, in any of the above modes (or the original one), and see what happens!

[3] Texas hold'em: Give the option of a small number of changes (secret or open) to each teams' build, after the opponent is chosen (prior to the deployment). For instance, each team is allowed to swap 1-2 units from his barracks or swap 1-2 units in the active-build ordering.

[4] Stalemate: One (somewhat relevant) point about the endgame. Picture this (based on a true story): both opponents are left with one bowmaster each, at the same ARM+STR+WP+EX and say 14-15 tiles apart. Each BM can make a "falcon-hit" that directly kills the opponent, but, she's too far away... Each BM has to move a little closer to be ready for the kill in the next-move, but, doing-so will give the advantage on the opponent's next turn (exertion-move + falcon-hit) to finish the match. Both players realize this and chat about it; stalemate. So what is my suggestion? Implement an "offer-draw" option. I understand that this is not in the "spirit" of TBSF, and the renown-bonus is a marginal +2 for the winner in such situations, but hey: Would you move if you were me? I eventually did. And died. Twas a good match though!

[5] Double-or-nothing: Finally, what would you say to an "offer double-or-nothing" button? For instance, this could be invoked once or twice (only) during anytime in the game and it would double the renown-value of the remaining-kills (or add a fixed bonus or something). Declining would mean forfeiting the match.

Thanks for abiding to the end of the post! I'm looking forward to your feedback.

Thanks for the input/ideas here!

0) Who acts first?: You will not know unless you know the map. Each map has one side always go first. When you see that you're in the upper left of the Wall Map you know you'll for first...if you know the game. But we did not give a player a well marked note as to who is going first. In the future when there are more maps it'll be even harder to understand who's going first. In light of this assemble your team conservatively ready to either attack or defend. :)

1) More maps!: Yes we agree! More maps will find their way into Factions as we develop more for the Saga. Stay tuned...

2) Alternate Deployment modes: We looked into all these modes pre beta and decided on the one we're using now. We like how each team assembles their formation and then the fog of war is lifted because it forces players to come up with formations that are good defensively and offensively without knowing where there enemy is. Now the "open space" where you can deploy anywhere on the map is pretty cool and I'd love to someday get that in for a specific map to see what people think!

3) Texas Hold 'em: We toyed with this idea for a bit, but really liked the idea of players assembling a team that is well rounded and then fighting whatever is in their way. This system stream lines getting into a match, which is always a concern, and makes the pre-match unit choosing more important. Knowing who I'm going into battle against often changes the way I deploy my units. I'd be kinda bummed if I saw a different build suddenly in front of me. Also players would get into the habit of "hiding" their 2 favorite units until the match making any strategy for deployment pretty pointless.

4) Stalemate: Good, good point here. To be honest we had this as high priority on the schedule to fix, but since then no one's really brought it up as a concern so we've put other things ahead of it. We shall continue to monitor...

5) Double or nothing: Sorry, If I understand correctly you're saying that either player could offer 'double or nothing' and then the winner gets double the kills and the loser gets nothing for kills? But if the other player doesn't want this then they forfeit? Is this correct? I love the idea of betting on renown somehow, but not sure this is the way I'd do it...explore some more ideas!

Thanks for the post and sorry it's taken so long to reply. Since we've shipped we've been awfully busy so sometimes I just lurk for a while to read what other players are thinking.

Aleonymous
03-29-2013, 03:12 AM
Hello Arnie. Thanks for your response. I'm sure your time-table is really cramped with the TBS1-production, so the full-length reply was kind of unexpected!

All clear about points [0] & [1] (First-to-Act & Maps).

Concerning points [2] & [4] (Deployment-modes & Stalemate): They've been thoroughly assessed and I feel well covered. Since I've not been around too long, I haven't quite followed their evolution (alpha/beta etc). Nevertheless, you confirmed my guess that a lot of consideration has been put into them and, so, the final design is surely a product of feedback, fine-tuning etc (and not some strategic "decision").

Concerning point [3] (Texas Hold'em), further down the post, a more conventional approach to it was proposed: In the Proving Grounds (PGs), each player is defining a series of 9 units (instead of 6) in a predefined order. Now, at match-maker, after the opponent is chosen (i.e. when the "Valhalla Horn" is heard), each player has 30sec to click/check the 6-out-of-9 units he's going to use (+ a "Done" button). All 9 units of each opponent are visible to the other at this stage. Lets say (for simplicity) that the predefined order from the PGs cannot be altered here, e.g. if someone likes varls-first and archers-last, he/she'll have to lay this out carefully in the PGs. Of course, the type-restrictions apply. So, after each opponent has selected the 6/9 units (and clicked "Done"), the units and their order is finally revealed to the other, prior to initial-deployment, as presently done. That seems rather simple to implement (imo!), while also adding some versatility to the team builds. But, as previously said, first-things-first: more content (units,maps etc) will keep our minds busy in the game and away from such "subtle" aspects (and rambling in the forums!).

Finally, concerning point [5] (Double-or-nothing). I'm kind of relieved that your response is not (so) negative, because the idea was not so well received in this thread :(. In view the general feedback, I subsequently proposed a more "win/win" implementation of this renown-gambling, closer to the no-penalty spirit of TBSF (Com[pli]ment: I especially like the fact that renown is mostly given by kills+underdog+extras, and in a lesser extent by winner/loser. Let ranking-obsessed players have that!). So, picture this: During such a "double-or-nothing" offer, and according to accept/decline & match-outcome, the challenger eventually gets {double,normal,normal}-renown when the defender:{accepts & loses, accepts & wins, declines}, respectively. The renown bonus is either for the remaining kills only, or just a +bonus at the end. In this way, no one gets to lose any renown (from what they'd normally earn) while smart-gamblers and good-estimators get the better of it. Most importantly, nothing happens if the defender declines! This "offer" could be activated only once, and perhaps after the battle is a little bit advanced (e.g. after 2-3 rounds). I understand the possible-fears about renown-inflation in favor of stronger/more-experienced opponents, but, shouldn't that be wholly taken care of by careful-design of the match-maker? I mean that, if MM works like it should, I think that entry-level players would like the idea of winning some more renown, while the experienced-players (that probably don't generally care about renown) will just see this as an extra flavor to taunt their friends/opponents. Additionally, this feature could spice-up the tournaments, provided that a "renown-earned" ranking is added in the Hall-of-Valor: from what I'm getting, since tourney-matches are few, and top-players' performance is marginally-close, this could give the extra edge!

d2r
03-29-2013, 10:21 AM
Seems to me that if "double or nothing" is to work, then you should get zero renown (like friend match) if the defender accepts and wins, double if they accept and lose, and normal if they decline. Then it becomes a gamble.

Otherwise, there is literally no reason not to propose it. You have nothing to lose, even if they refuse. So it just becomes a renown mine with an occasional payout.

Aleonymous
03-29-2013, 10:36 AM
Seems to me that if "double or nothing" is to work, then you should get zero renown (like friend match) if the defender accepts and wins, double if they accept and lose, and normal if they decline. Then it becomes a gamble. Otherwise, there is literally no reason not to propose it. You have nothing to lose, even if they refuse. So it just becomes a renown mine with an occasional payout.

Hello d2r. That was my initial proposal, but it received quite a tongue-lashing, so I opted for a less penalizing approach, the "renown mine" as you put it. :)

If we'd like to keep the amount of "renown earned by kills" constant in each game (i.e. 6+6 rank1 units, means 11 renown max. to be divided among the players: typically +6 to the winner and max +5 to the loser), then the "double-or-nothing" could be implemented as follows: The winner gets ALL the renown from the subsequent kills of both players, and the loser gets NONE. In this way, there's no inflation, and the stakes are more "balanced" (higher at the beginning when the battle is still open, and lower near the endgame, when things are mostly decided).

franknarf
03-29-2013, 10:48 AM
The winner gets ALL the renown from the subsequent kills of both players, and the loser gets NONE. In this way, there's no inflation, and the stakes are more "balanced" (higher at the beginning when the battle is still open, and lower near the endgame, when things are mostly decided).

I haven't read your earlier walls o' text, Aleonymous, but I like the sound of this idea (which, just to be clear, does not involve an actual doubling). It wouldn't be anywhere near the top of my wishlist for the game and I don't think I would ever use it, but it probably wouldn't break anything. Then again, the game is fast-paced and you could throw your opponent off-guard by spamming them with mid-game offers.

Aleonymous
03-29-2013, 11:02 AM
I haven't read your earlier walls o' text, Aleonymous

:D you're right Frank, they do seem intimidating to take from up-front!


I like the sound of this idea (which, just to be clear, does not involve an actual doubling). It wouldn't be anywhere near the top of my wishlist for the game and I don't think I would ever use it, but it probably wouldn't break anything. Then again, the game is fast-paced and you could throw your opponent off-guard by spamming them with mid-game offers.

That's the spirit, and the other about spicing up the Tourneys. I think I read somewhere that Stoic will implement a "Renown-Earned" ranking in Hall-of-Valor (all-time? current-tourney?)

raven2134
03-30-2013, 04:42 AM
Regarding that idea, would anyone actually refuse? I think that's the issue. If there is no downside, then people will always accept. If a rational player should always accept and this feature will then always be on, isn't it equivalent to buffing the winner's renown bonus?

I think a betting mechanic is cool. But we need to flesh the idea out more. I would say, that rather than bet the game's renown, renown can be spent and then this can be multiplied by a factor if you win, and this is available for both players.

Ex. At turn 20 the game asks both players to make bets. You can bet 10 renown and the winner has this multiplied by 1.5. Placing a bet always costs 1 renown. If you lose (so as not to make the outcome of the match moot, you get your placement back). In effect you spent 1 renown to wager.

Besides this though, I think we would also need to give some thought how to avoid exploiting any suggested betting mechanic.

Any other betting ideas? What if we could bet on who kills who. That I think is fun and crazy. You get +2 renown if you guess right before the match,

netnazgul
03-30-2013, 06:40 AM
Placing bets is rather irrelevant to the lore here. Say "Hey, my ugly opponent, let's make a deal for this - winner gets more fame and booze than he usually gets for a win and loser's grace and courage in battle will be forgotten! I don't know how can we achieve this, but I think we can persuade fellow habitants of Strand to pretend that."

Sounds weird :)

Aleonymous
03-30-2013, 09:52 AM
(1) I would say, that rather than bet the game's renown, renown can be spent and then this can be multiplied by a factor if you win, and this is available for both players. Ex. At turn 20 the game asks both players to make bets. You can bet 10 renown and the winner has this multiplied by 1.5. Placing a bet always costs 1 renown. If you lose (so as not to make the outcome of the match moot, you get your placement back). In effect you spent 1 renown to wager.

(2) What if we could bet on who kills who. That I think is fun and crazy. You get +2 renown if you guess right before the match.

You first thought is interesting. Setting renown-bets, at some fixed point(s) in the game. The first player sets the renown he's willing to gamble (+1R for betting), e.g. some fixed prices values 5,10,20. If the second player accepts the bet, he must place the same amount in the pot (without spending the 1R). If the first player passes the betting, the second one has his turn to bet, with the above rules inverted. At the end of the match, the winner gets all the renown in the pot. If one player declines the bet or no-one challenges, the match goes on normally.

You second idea does give a wild spin to the match, but seems tricky to implement...

In overall, I think that it's important to keep the renown-inflation low. As for "protecting" players from being fooled-out of their renown, well, vikings are grown-ups and should be responsible for their actions! Perhaps if each-player's track-record (elo, win/loss etc) is clearly-shown, it can forestall foolish betting.


Placing bets is rather irrelevant to the lore here. Say "Hey, my ugly opponent, let's make a deal for this - winner gets more fame and booze than he usually gets for a win and loser's grace and courage in battle will be forgotten!"

Netnazgul has got a firm point there. Renown is the "coin" staked & exchanged in the gambling process, but in doing so it kinda feels... weird! If only there was some "material possession" that could be earned and gambled... Perhaps, a prisoner-of-war? Winner getting to "capture" one of his enemies units?

raven2134
03-31-2013, 12:40 PM
Maybe you can take prisoners :p. Each player picks the other player's unit. Whoever wins gets the other guy's character? haha I'm just spitballing here.

Aleonymous
03-31-2013, 03:31 PM
Maybe you can take prisoners :p. Each player picks the other player's unit. Whoever wins gets the other guy's character?

That'll be crazy! Imagine losing your favorite unit! Perhaps TBSF could later implement battles-for-rescue, e.g. storming/challenging the barracks of an opponent etc. Wild!

Another deal would be to allow betting somehow related to the kills of your team's units. You would be allowed to bet Renown up to the kills of your least-deadly units (e.g. if you have units with 4|56|79|12|3|124 kills, then you can bet up to 3 renown).

franknarf
03-31-2013, 03:53 PM
[totally off-topic:] Speaking of taking enemy units, let's have a Crazyhouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazyhouse) mode!

Aleonymous
04-01-2013, 01:55 PM
[totally off-topic:] Speaking of taking enemy units, let's have a Crazyhouse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazyhouse) mode!

I'm (personally) all-in for such wild-scenarios, but I think the community greatly prefers investing on tactics and consistency, and not on diversity and pluralism (a lot of adjectives there! :)).

Imagine what will happen when the single-player game is launched, where there will be much more material to draw/inspire from! :rolleyes:

Aleonymous
04-12-2013, 08:42 AM
If anybody's still reading, I'm reviving this post with a more reasonable (and minor-scale) suggestion regarding initial deployment:

I've noticed that in the five maps currently available in Factions, the minimal allowable distance between the lines of the two combatants varies between 4-7 tiles. However, as the tiles are not marked on the map during initial deployment (and neither is the zone where your opponent is setting-up), the dangers or opportunities arising from this 3-tile "uncertainty" is not known to inexperienced players. Yesterday, I was playing with a power-4 team in order to promote a couple of cheaply-bought r0 units, and I ended up destroying my opponents' game with my warhawks from turn #2. Of course they surrendered (:rolleyes:) and I didn't get the kills I required...

TL;DR = Is it possible to clearly-mark all the tiles, as well as the zone where the opponent sets up, during initial deployment?

raven2134
04-12-2013, 08:45 AM
You mean show the other side tiles? That's actually a cool idea. Not sure if it can be squeezed in, but I'll ask about it. How do we avoid confusion from knowing which side we're supposed to set up in though?

Shiri
04-12-2013, 08:47 AM
Make the squares you're not setting up in red-bordered?

Evil Laughter
04-12-2013, 08:48 AM
Red tiles? It would tie into what happens during the battle, and consistency is good.

Edit: beat me to it

raven2134
04-12-2013, 08:51 AM
But movements tiles are always blue. for whichever team you see moving. Its the team colors that are different only. I worry about how this could bug stuff up.

Evil Laughter
04-12-2013, 08:53 AM
Rather than thinking where they can move to, think of the tiles in his deployment zone as pieces existing there in potentia and then it makes sense.

raven2134
04-12-2013, 09:22 AM
It does make sense. It's the implementation I'm concerned about. Sometimes what looks simple isn't as simple as that :)

Aleonymous
04-12-2013, 09:39 AM
A picture is worth a thousand words:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/99633386/TBSF_Initial_Deployment_Zones.png

Kuba
04-12-2013, 10:53 AM
Great idea Aleonymous. I was thinking about same, but you were faster and created very nice picture :).

Aleonymous
04-12-2013, 11:28 AM
you were faster and created a very nice picture

My PhD supervisor is gonna block TBSF forum (like they block facebook on companies) if he finds out how much time I "waste" on doing stuff like this pic! :D

Anyway, the most "dangerous" map due to this uncertainty is The Wall (http://bannersaga.wdfiles.com/local--files/maps/map_wall01.icon.png), the very first Factions map... I'm sure every nub has "felt" it; I did! :o

raven2134
04-12-2013, 11:48 AM
This is good for new players. Once you're past the first few games, you pretty much know to set up 2nd or 3rd row - whichever map it is.

trisenk
04-12-2013, 12:15 PM
A picture is worth a thousand words:

+1 to this. I never remember how many tiles there are between deployment zones and end up approximating by stretching fingers using my zone as a reference ;) It looks really silly.

Kuba
04-12-2013, 01:03 PM
To Aleonymous: Then pretend you study Factions from educational point of view: possible combinations, strategy and decision making etc... :).

I have little suggestion about deployment too. When deploying units, I can see portraits of my team in lower left corner. It would be nice to see portraits of opponent's team in lower right corner. I can see opponent's team only for few seconds and then usually forget his composition during deployment. If portraits were available, it would possible to look at it and then adjust position of my team.

Aleonymous
04-12-2013, 01:24 PM
When deploying units, I can see portraits of my team in lower left corner. It would be nice to see portraits of opponent's team in lower right corner. I can see opponent's team only for few seconds and then usually forget his composition during deployment.

+1. Yup, this is another issue I often have too: "is his backbiter acting before or after the siege-archer, and that last guy, was that a warrior or a warmaster?"

@Kuba: I'm afraid my thesis is quite far from those areas of research! :)

Leartes
04-12-2013, 04:18 PM
I have little suggestion about deployment too. When deploying units, I can see portraits of my team in lower left corner. It would be nice to see portraits of opponent's team in lower right corner. I can see opponent's team only for few seconds and then usually forget his composition during deployment. If portraits were available, it would possible to look at it and then adjust position of my team.

Very good suggestion. While waiting for a game I usually browse the net and when I hear the horn I'm often too late to see how my opponents team looks like. (Does he have a back biter, does he have siege archers, does he use warhawk battering ram...)