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Esth
11-01-2013, 06:46 PM
So, I know this topic will be controversial, I don't even know if I want it. Basically I think it is probably optimal for two skilled players to get in a good formation and pass until the other makes a mistake and moves forward, at least in some situations. This generally is not a problem because turtley players tend to be less skilled and with the advantage of first strike a good player will win anyway, but if 2 tournament players really want to play to win I think it will happen. This is because there is no reason to attack in Factions. There is no mid-map objective to take to incentivize a player into taking the first move. Really, this has been a good thing so far. It is hard to create such a scenario without granting an advantage to the first player, limiting game length, or having an objective that only matters at the end. Still, I think that in the future stalemates may become common, or at least leaves room for griefers to force a concede. Discuss? I really don't know what, if anything, should be done about this.

Aleonymous
11-02-2013, 04:37 AM
I think it does (need engagement incentives).

For two reasons, the first related to the math of the game, the second to its widely accepted enjoyment: (1) As you say, when the two opponent skills & builds & formations are even, then the "first hit principle" fundamentally applies; meaning that, whoever gets first hit (be it AB or STR), usually has an advantage. (2) Not engaging, e.g. turtling & waiting, kinda delays the matches and annoys casual players who are more interested in mid- and end-game, i.e. head-banging w bloody axes and the like :)

So, there have been some proposals that would help teams engage faster. I'll just name a few, not claiming its my own ideas.

Smaller maps, e.g. like the Wall one -- The problem is that the (randomly chosen) player-who-acts-first might get a big advantage.
Start match with some bonus WP that disappears after the first round -- That way, you have some free WP to spend, particularly aimed for exerted movement, that you will lose if you advance slowly, not attacking etc -- The problem is how to seamlessly introduce this new mechanic. We could use the existing Horn, starting with it full and having it deplete by one point at each turn you take.
Give a bonus to movement-range, when starting off far from enemy units -- The problem is to establish clear rules for this type of exerted movement. On the bright side, clicking on units reveals their movement range, so you'll know it in any case. Some other grid-based games (e.g. Card Hunter) have a similar mechanic, where walking by an enemy-occupied tile "slows down" or "terminates" your movement.
Overhaul initial deployment. For example, you could deploy your units one-at-a-time (or in pairs or triplets) taking turns with your opponent, so that both see each-other. You might start with your Varls or your first-to-act, according to the preset initiative. We could also open up the entire map for deployment. -- Obviously, all these are very big changes, that profoundly affect the existing strategies & metagame...

Wordplay
11-02-2013, 08:41 PM
I don't think that it needs engagement incentives with the current set of units. I'm pretty sure that with perfect play, turtlers should always lose - because they'll concede the first hit advantage.

The only exception is what you might call 'snapping turtles' where the player forms a turtle, lures the opponent in, then breaks out of the turtle to take the first hit. It's technically not turtling at that point (because the unit will be exposed).

I'd distinguish both from the highly positional play where each side manoeuvres for an advantageous first hit. The manoeuvring takes a little while, but it usually shortens the mid-game and late-game. If it goes on for a really long time, it probably indicates a problem with each side's build more than anything.

That said, the proving grounds map can be a bit of pain...not so much because of turtling, but because it can take forever to move units into place to engage each other, even with two players who are keen to fight.

This will likely change with the new classes - the hunter and landsman classes in particular look like they'll shift the metagame on turtling.

Anyway, are we so sure that casual players are interested in mid-game and late-game to the exclusion of early-game? Whom do we class as a casual player?

Aleonymous
11-03-2013, 11:10 AM
I don't think that it needs engagement incentives with the current set of units. I'm pretty sure that with perfect play, turtlers should always lose - because they'll concede the first hit advantage. The only exception is what you might call 'snapping turtles' where the player forms a turtle, lures the opponent in, then breaks out of the turtle to take the first hit. It's technically not turtling at that point (because the unit will be exposed).

lol :D Yeah, the "snapping-turtle" technique is what I had in mind as potentially OP. From my pov, the only way to beat it (and assuming the opp knows what he's doing), is to come up with a relative unit order (and deployment) so that your breakers act (and engage) right after opp's breakers. For instance, you=[2SM 2BM 2RM] -vs- opp=[2RM 2SM 2BM], and you arrange to engage with your RMs. This effectively reduces the life-cycle of opp's breakers by one round (or forces his BMs to waste precious WP on AB, or chance-shots).


This will likely change with the new classes - the hunter and landsman classes in particular look like they'll shift the metagame on turtling.

I'm not sure how Hunter will eventually turn out because, from what we've seen, he's definitely too OP for Factions! Walking up through already-engaged high-STR allies, to give them one more attack is... frightening! :) On the UP side, with his ability relying on allies being in-range, it's practically useless when pillaged -- similarly to FA.


Are we so sure that casual players are interested in mid-game and late-game to the exclusion of early-game? Whom do we class as a casual player?

Judging from my early experience (note: I started out as 100% casual, and I consider myself still ~50% casual), I really liked mid/late game! :rolleyes: I used to dash straight in with 2RMs for one big 6AB, followed up by 2BMs for a puncture/archer-maim/extra break, finishing it with 2WHs. It was usually decided by who made clumsy mistakes. Good matches went to close archer-archer standoffs and matches lasted 12-15mins, max.

Wordplay
11-03-2013, 08:24 PM
Agreed on countering snapping turtle. It will be much easier to counter if you have support units - strongarm or warleader. Backbiter might be a soft counter under certain scenarios, and raidmaster could also be useful - push him into range with a strongarm.

Another possible counter might be to try and push the opponent into a corner. All much easier said than done.

The main strength of the landsman in turtling, as I see it, is that if your opponent wedges you with their positioning, they can still move through your own units.

raven2134
11-03-2013, 11:00 PM
There's been enough feedback for me to consider that camping is and can be a real problem to the game. I mean the good thing is, majority of the time and thankfully in the higher levels of play players have been good mannered enough to not be wusses to do turtling or snap turtling to the extreme.

I chalk this up to elements of the game design which creates natural openings/incentives to attack, good player manner, and player experience.

However, it still does occur to me that there is a potential advantage (which we could verify easily through tests) for players waiting and baiting. There's just so much of a positional advantage when you can form a strong position and wait, compared to having to charge and have your front line sync up with your back-line keeping up.

Even mechanics which make attacking easier (aggressive RM positioning) also happen to be the same tools at a turtles disposal (who would use less willpower because they can rest/not move).

The issue with introducing map objectives is that this could tip the scale of the match too early, leading to pre-determined outcomes and play just going through the motions until a decided conclusion.

To keep things variable, I think allowing an attacking player to gain position more easily would be the way to go. Or well, anything which you do want both players to fight over on an exchange basis (i.e. not a single claim).

netnazgul
11-04-2013, 12:11 AM
To keep things variable, I think allowing an attacking player to gain position more easily would be the way to go.
We now have a character who benefits from not moving (archer and puncture). What if we bring a character whos ability will do the opposite? First thing that comes in mind is cavalier/champion who gets +5% damage per sqare covered before attacking.

LoliSauce
11-04-2013, 12:59 AM
Engagement incentives would certainly make things more explosive early, which I'm sure many people will have mixed opinions on. In my opinion, I'd like to have an alternate mode of play that introduces them, but still have the completely straightforward basic battles with only routing the enemy as your objective.

Aleonymous
11-04-2013, 05:10 AM
The issue with introducing map objectives is that this could tip the scale of the match too early, leading to pre-determined outcomes and play just going through the motions until a decided conclusion.

What map objectives did you have in mind? Like tiles that give benefits to whoever occupies them?


We now have a character who benefits from not moving (archer and puncture). What if we bring a character whose ability will do the opposite? First thing that comes in mind is cavalier/champion who gets +5% damage per square covered before attacking.

Very interesting, thought I'd say more like +1STR per-1tile or per-2tiles.


Engagement incentives would certainly make things more explosive early, which I'm sure many people will have mixed opinions on.

I agree. As you say, it might fall better as an optional case. However, these "optional battle modes" segment the playerbase which is an issue on itself.

netnazgul
11-04-2013, 06:53 AM
Very interesting, thought I'd say more like +1STR per-1tile or per-2tiles.

damn, self-editing made the message unreadable :)
I've meant Heroes of Might and Magic III unit, Cavalier/Champion (from Castle towns).

Esth
11-04-2013, 08:46 AM
A unit like that would be better implemented with bonus damage for distance between start and end than actual tiles covered. Sill, one unit that won't (and shouldn't) be in every build isn't an answer if you really think this is a problem.

LoliSauce
11-05-2013, 01:09 AM
A unit like that would be better implemented with bonus damage for distance between start and end than actual tiles covered. Sill, one unit that won't (and shouldn't) be in every build isn't an answer if you really think this is a problem.
It wasn't just a suggestion to counter another unit, but more of a suggestion to put in more units that benefit from offensive moves than setting up defenses and remaining stationary. As it is, there aren't many units that benefit highly from offensive action that can't also benefit defensive turtling, making the safer option gel best with most of the current cast. Balancing that out with some more units that benefit more from offensive action could give more motivation to play in other styles.

roder
12-02-2013, 01:42 PM
I definitely agree with engagement incentives. Not sure if you can make it inherent in the current gameplay mechanics, or you'd have to introduce other variables.

I don't agree that turtle-y players are less skilled, playstyle doesn't dictate skill level, and in fact skilled turtle players are the hardest to beat.

As everyone likes to compare this game to chess, Chess has a lot of engagement incentives, or objectives. The most important thing in chess is to control the center, that is one objective. As for engagement, gaining tempo or initiative, is basically gaining momentum over your opponent. The person on the offensive usually forces the opponent into defensive, or forces them into a counter-offensive in which both players are trying to kill each other as fast as possible instead of trying to block each others offense.

I wouldn't mind an alternative objective mode, where there are other objectives on map to promote engagement and movement. It also depends on unit types, there are, IMO, more defensive-formation units than offensive units. Archers promote staying back, Shieldmasters promote defensive formation, and raider shieldwall makes units stick together rather than promoting movement. If there were more backbiter-esque units, you'd see a lot different style of games.

StandSure
12-02-2013, 02:38 PM
I haven't encountered very many turtle players in my experience. Is this a big problem? Maybe a tournament issue, since I don't play there.

It seems to me that there are a lot of units that can attack a turtle effectively...SA comes to mind in a big way, especially promoted. WM can do a big damage to huddled units with his ability...WH even worse if he can do a Tempest that double-hits and double-shocks neighboring units. As already mentioned, BB can at least get to the back lines. Any of the archers can sit back and hit. SRM can literally break up a turtle. TS can afford to put himself in harm's way and still be threatening. Heck, I could see a RM using his ability to safely move around a clump of units.

I would think that the incentive is to get kills, which already translates to the only real valuable asset in the game - Renown. There is no bonus to keeping the most units alive, only getting the most kills. There is no one unit to protect (the chess king), nor does territory matter. Is turtling really an effective way to get kills? If it's not, should we be worried?

Aleonymous
12-02-2013, 03:59 PM
As everyone likes to compare this game to chess, Chess has a lot of engagement incentives...

Also, half the units in the chess army can only move in one direction... Forward! And they have a very good motive for that. They can become Knights or Queens! :)


Is turtling really an effective way to get kills? If it's not, should we be worried?

I see it more as an annoyance. I know that this match is gonna take longer than normal, almost two rounds to actually engage, versus one round if both are moving forth. Also, as rodereve said, skilled turtlers are really difficult to beat.

Apart from turtling another similar and equally annoying strategy is moving one step forward then one back, or moving sideways. The psychological play is the same -- Waste time and frustrate the opponent into opening up to engage you, while you're sitting comfortably in the back with all your units cross-covered.

roder
12-02-2013, 05:38 PM
Well, its not always hard turtling (basically just not moving), its more often soft turtling, which is essentially just shuffling around units but around the same vicinity, like Aleo said, moving forward then backwards or sideways. Re-shuffling your formation is always present in every game, but I've played some games where we just shuffled for 5 minutes before any action occurred lol You can understand how some players would find that frustrating, non-engagement is a bit boring too.

I have to admit that was one quality I hated when I first started, but I don't mind it as much anymore, its sort of like shuffling back and forth until your opponent moves up too far or makes a weak point in formation, similar to how football (soccer) is where they just pass the football around until someone slips up or passes through. But other players will mind, especially newbies. The tactic is particularly effective against new players actually, because many just move a unit too far ahead of their team, and it becomes a target. Just turtle and wait for them to advance their units.

Wordplay
12-02-2013, 11:10 PM
The tactic is particularly effective against new players actually, because many just move a unit too far ahead of their team, and it becomes a target. Just turtle and wait for them to advance their units.

I think a more effective tactic against new players is aggressive all out attack. They will walk a Warhawk right up the coals in the Mead Hall, use Bloody Flail on Shieldbangers, including Shieldmasters with a Return the favour active, and prioritize taking down a crippled Varl over a well placed archer, or a full strength raider.

Sure, you'll create lots of openings with an all out attack, but the new player won't know how to capitalize on them. Even if they do, you can generally rely on them to make enough mistakes that it doesn't put you too far behind.

Turtling can be positively benevolent against beginners, as it gives them some time to get used to the interface, and maybe gives you time to give them a few hints, and answer some of their questions. They'll usually still lose, unless you throw the game, but they may get more out of it.

Then again, I suppose I've always favoured fast, aggressive builds and tactics. I would also say that my positional play is sub-par, and it's the thing that really lets me down when playing the veteran players. Generally, it's 5 mins of me trying to establish position, failing, and conceding advantage. I can think just enough moves ahead to appreciate the fatal blow that puts me behind, but not quite far enough to stop it.

At this point...I suspect I may not be a good enough player to know whether we need more engagement incentives or not - but I'm pretty sure that it's not a problem for novice vs novice, or novice vs expert.

raven2134
12-02-2013, 11:23 PM
I would say it could be an issue novice vs novice. The minute a novice picks up that they can wait and take it to the extreme by turtling it becomes no fun for the other player.

Granted, just as many novices complain that first strike wins...but I think I'd rather have more people complain about first strike than people turtling.

roder
12-04-2013, 07:05 PM
Well in terms of engagement incentives, I was thinking that there would be some objectives on the map. Possibly they'd appear as items on the map, they'd be on squares in the center area, to promote movement of both sides towards each other. This is pretty far fetched, but i'll put it out there :)

Scroll of Wills: Would give +1 willpower bonus to whichever unit lands on this square first. On a randomized center square, to avoid one side always getting closer distance or formations being placed near known squares. Disappears after first (5) turns.

Shield of Strand: Whichever unit is standing on this square gains +1 armor, unless they move off it or are pushed off.

Pilgrim's Horn: Would give +1 willpower on the horn of whichever player lands on this square first. Appears during the middle of the game. Disappears after (3) turns only.
-at first I thought this item would be too good, but its double edged. you might have to send a unit far off to obtain it, which would make it out-of-action. also one turn of moving is one turn of not damaging, which is important during mid-game.

And of course, there should be more terrain squares as environmental obstacles, also promoting player movement to use it as an positional advantage. Fire terrain, Tundra terrain that act like RoA traps, Acid Rain terrain that dissolves -1 armor.

Aleonymous
12-05-2013, 04:03 AM
Scroll of Wills, Shield of Strand, Pilgrim's Horn

Interesting proposals, that +bonus to stats; they also seem relatively easy to implement. The terrain diversity is also interesting. Presently, we have just obstacles and coals. Other negative-effect tiles would flavor up the map, i.e. penalizing movement, doing damage, potentially limiting LoS of archers (?). Another idea would be giving a extra active/passive ability to the unit occupying the tile, but that starts to sound unbalanced :rolleyes:

Anyway, the main point is to have a symmetry/fairness to those map-objective positions. For instance, note how the minimum tile-gap between the deployment zones is an even number (4 or 6). That means that if the bonus-tiles are in the middle, they're bound to be closer to one player or the other. If the gap is odd (5 tiles), it doesn't help either because the first-to-play gets an advantage. Perhaps always place two such objectives, one for each player?

netnazgul
12-05-2013, 05:01 AM
Well, its not always hard turtling (basically just not moving), its more often soft turtling, which is essentially just shuffling around units but around the same vicinity, like Aleo said, moving forward then backwards or sideways. Re-shuffling your formation is always present in every game, but I've played some games where we just shuffled for 5 minutes before any action occurred lol You can understand how some players would find that frustrating, non-engagement is a bit boring too.

In my general strategy I have units that act (active breakers, SMs that benefit from activating their ability etc) and units that react (raider vs warrior, warrior vs RoA, etc). The same counts for my enemy. So sometimes the starting position is suboptimal when units that act a closest to enemy reacting units, so I start repositioning then, sometimes this includes approach and sometimes not (depends on how much space my opponent allows me to have).

There are probably 3 stages of approach skill development - first you just all attack and lose to better positions, then you start turtling to win against all attacks but lose to good players, in the end you figure out to control your approach speed depending on situation.


Scroll of Wills, Shield of Strand, Pilgrim's Horn
No random incentives please, that will only make it all worse than it is.

Aleonymous
12-05-2013, 05:50 AM
No random incentives please, that will only make it all worse than it is.

Always fearful of RNG :D That one has been bloody-flailed too many times! Well, it doesn't have to be random, it could be very well fixed for each map, tailored to the particularities of the terrain. For instance, open maps could have a couple of "outpost tiles" in the middle that give ARM bonus etc.

Another nasty idea to promote engaging is making all tiles in the original deployment zones "WP-draining". So, if you rest while standing on those (or just move within that zone), you lose 1WP at the end of your turn.

netnazgul
12-05-2013, 06:01 AM
Why the hell would giving ARM bonus negate turtling? It will only amplify it for a person who got the bonus :)

netnazgul
12-05-2013, 06:02 AM
Another nasty idea to promote engaging is making all tiles in the original deployment zones "WP-draining". So, if you rest while standing on those (or just move within that zone), you lose 1WP at the end of your turn.
Yeah, you approach you opponent and lock him in his deployment zone, so he is either forced to stay in it losing WP or forced to attack you exposing his units. You stay turtling both ways. Well done ;)


To sum up - most of the aforementioned decisions result from not being able to beat the game usual way. But this doesn't mean the game isn't beatable, most of the times it means you hadn't enough vigor to beat it. Still you try to fix the thing you don't fully understand, introducing questionable kludges that will most likely make it even worse for yourself cause they don't actually fix the problem (the actual problem being your own approach to the game, not the mechanics).

raven2134
12-05-2013, 08:25 AM
Interesting suggestions. Map incentives and terrain have been a frequent suggestion.

Some thoughts:
1. I don't like the idea of randomly spawning incentives or map objective placements. This too easily favors 1 side or the other if it spawns near one of the players. There's no easy or simply way to control this.

2. People have before suggested map modifiers (like bonus armor or special terrain). Granted, this is a tough suggestion as well. It's not going to be easy to balance and it does deviate from the very minimal current design of movement and combat. Part of the issue with map objectives in general is, it could end up just being a race. Whoever started first and gets to tile X first pretty much wins the game.

In general map objectives change the flow of the game so that it becomes less about the fight (and positioning) and more about claiming territory (if it becomes important enough to matter).

This is pretty much why this continues to stump me. Haven't thought up a way to curb extreme behaviors from combat itself. At least not in a situation where we can have build matchups that require 1 player to turtle.

Aleonymous
12-05-2013, 08:30 AM
Why the hell would giving ARM bonus negate turtling? It will only amplify it for a person who got the bonus :)

ARM bonus will be given to units standing in the bonus tiles that can be found in the middle of map, not in/near the deployment zones. Turtling --if I am not mistaken-- is defined as waiting in the back on your zone, or in a corner...


Yeah, you approach you opponent and lock him in his deployment zone, so he is either forced to stay in it losing WP or forced to attack you exposing his units. You stay turtling both ways.

You're getting this all wrong. Firstly, attacking or using a special ability should not count as "waiting"; so, you wont be WP-drained if you start crunching that offending enemy unit that comes up to lock you in. Secondly, even without that "rule", it'd gladly concede 1-2WP to draining to kill a silly warrior that comes hit my shieldbangers. Thirdly, how exactly could you lock an opponent in his zone? Units are carefully deployed and move one at a time, so every unit can "escape" their zone. It's just that the deployment meta will need to be revisited; now it's just "keep a 7 tile gap" and/or "pick a corner if you wanna frustrate opponent and play a longer match".

If that is no enough, well... I wish you gl hf the next time you meet a skilled player with a Yth/Butters-type build ;)

Aleonymous
12-05-2013, 08:51 AM
Part of the issue with map objectives in general is, it could end up just being a race. Whoever started first and gets to tile X first pretty much wins the game.

For me, it's a question of how many people are offended by the two aspects of the battle: (a) That subtle 1 stat-point that can make that huuuuuuuuge difference or (b) Fundamental mechanics like turtling, turn-advantage etc. The case (a) applies only rarely, e.g. for "that unforgettable K_B vs. Tirean match". Case (b) applies much more often and can deter new players.

Now you'll say "baby steps" and you'll be right :) Well, we're just trying to propose some things that could improve the game experience for everybody. I am afraid that tearing off some bad parts is to be expected, sometimes, no?

Let's take a lesson from the past. An apt example. How many of you were for/against the Pillage mode, when first proposed? How many of you are for/against it now?

netnazgul
12-05-2013, 09:22 AM
ARM bonus will be given to units standing in the bonus tiles that can be found in the middle of map, not in/near the deployment zones. Turtling --if I am not mistaken-- is defined as waiting in the back on your zone, or in a corner...
In more common means turtling can be just a slow movement, so I'm not that wrong :)

Makind deployment zones draining WP will reverse the issue in a way that you're disfavoured to move back while your opponent is able to run there. Also it's a kludge and non-obvious in terms of lore and UI.

raven2134
12-05-2013, 09:34 AM
I think Pillage example is different.

A bad map feature system could make things worse. It doesn't stop emphasizing an extreme, which is the issue.

So both teams need to move...

Case A
Team 1 gets there, then turtles. Not gg.

Case B
Opponent that requires defensive approach to combat gets there first. Also not gg.

Stacking advantages is not the solution I think we need. Even-ing the playing field is what we're looking for, and that is indeed what Pillage from it's very being, was. It could not stack an advantage. I would say, it flipped the table when it was upside-down, making it right.

Slimsy Platypus
12-05-2013, 10:22 AM
Turtling only seems to happen (from my experience) at lower power levels and from newer players. The only time I've seen it occur in highly competitive play with experienced players is to defend against raidmasters as typically approaching a stone wall makes it more difficult to mitigate the potential moves the raidmaster has.

I would hate to see additional bonuses from tiles. My personal preference would be to keep the depth of the combat in the tactics and not adjust it towards interpreting how to best take advantage of bonuses that will add to the quantity of things new players have to remember.

If you don't want people to turtle give them a good move that puts them in a questionable position. That is the fun of Factions. If you run towards someone with 2 stone walls don't be surprised when they don't make holes in their formation and pass turns. I'm not entirely convinced right now that turtling is a real issue rather than an annoyance. During the vigrid tournament there want a single instance of turtling, and I think that is a prime example of competitive play with experienced players.

roder
12-05-2013, 12:09 PM
Sure it might not make sense for tile bonuses to appear on current maps that weren't designed for them, but for future maps, if a map had a defined center, it would make sense to be something there.

May not realize that there are already many random factors in maps already. Getting top or bottom of a map not only gives first-turn advantage, but also other differences. Mead Hall itself is an asymmetrical map, bottom side has two corner obstacles and a much larger one in the bottom right corner as opposed to a smaller one in the top left corner. Same-side battles and opposite-side battles on Great Hall are also very different. But trying to figure out which side your opponent spawned on is part of the exciting unknown when playing the map.

If all maps were just open fields and both teams just had a straight path to each other, you may say that it focuses on pure combat, but why couldn't combat also include taking positional advantage of the terrain of battle. Many historic battles have been won just by controlling a hill or small height advantage. Imagine if there was a hill map where the hill is only accessible from a few paths. That might be interesting.

Yeah the on-map items might be too far-fetched, but I am not opposed to more structural obstacles and terrain properties like fire, slowing, traps, armor-dissolving, maybe even so far as (but will be too OP) healing properties. :eek::eek::eek:

Esth
12-10-2013, 07:09 PM
Yeah, the only thing this thread has convinced me of, is how bad most of these solutions would be for the game. The best I can come up with is some sort of chess-like repitition rule and even that seems difficult to implement fairly. Or perhaps actually removing the edge rows from the map over time? ugh.

Kletian999
12-11-2013, 03:06 PM
In more common means turtling can be just a slow movement, so I'm not that wrong :)

Makind deployment zones draining WP will reverse the issue in a way that you're disfavoured to move back while your opponent is able to run there. Also it's a kludge and non-obvious in terms of lore and UI.

Hello again Factions Community. I think you could gradually "Shrink the map" with "crushing crowds of onlookers". In other words, the fact the fight breaks out draws enough people that the people in back are pushing the frontline spectators closer to danger while Viking honor prevents you from attacking or hiding behind them.

Another thought: Chess doesn't allow you to pass; what if units couldnt rest if they had full WP?

During Vigrid, while there wasn't full on turtling there was some times when my opponent held back long enough to annoy me that my "first strikes" became losing moves. I would welcome some kind of aggression rewarding mechanic.

Aleonymous
12-11-2013, 04:39 PM
Chess doesn't allow you to pass; what if units couldnt rest if they had full WP?

This is interesting, but as netnazgul says, its kind of difficult to implement. For instance, what would happen if the timer ran-out and you hadn't moved? The unit would move in a random tile? What would be lore behind that?

I think that the only "safe" way to give incentives is via unit-abilities. Presently, SW and RT and perhaps the only two abilities that are directly related to engaging or, more generally speaking, moving upwards. So, as someone suggested, units that gain bonus to their attack if they move first are good ideas.

I remember some discussions about a "shadow-walker" ability, that a unit becomes invisible and moves to a tile hidden to the enemy. The unit remains hidden until his next turn or until discovered (e.g. if an enemy gets into a range of 1-2-3 tiles of him, or if hit by something -- e.g. RoA/SnB). How would such an ability fit here?

StandSure
12-11-2013, 04:54 PM
Just a thought - Rook's ability (maybe universal for hunters?) is great incentive to engage. (Basically marks an enemy and causes all units in range to attack the marked unit.) Most likely, though, this is too OP for Factions, and will not be implemented that way, I would guess.

roder
12-11-2013, 08:34 PM
I think that the only "safe" way to give incentives is via unit-abilities. Presently, SW and RT and perhaps the only two abilities that are directly related to engaging or, more generally speaking, moving upwards. So, as someone suggested, units that gain bonus to their attack if they move first are good ideas.



I agree, there should be more pro-engagement abilities. The common incentive to engage right now is whoever has less archers, should engage because they'll get chipped more and more the longer they delay lol thats why I use 3 archers, the longer the game is drawn out, the higher chance I'm going to win in the end (because the more rounds that pass, the more rounds of armor-breaking that have passed).

So there should be some units that have pro-engagement abilities that fall into 2 categories:

1) Units that have very strong potential right out the gate, but wavers as the game goes on. This incentivizes the player to attack right away to use the full potential of the early-game unit, before it weakens.

-the warrior is sort of an example of this, because you want to use him before he gets maimed, but because of that reason people sometimes avoid engagement with warriors and leave them in the far back until they gain turn advantage
-a unit that gains +stats the more allies and/or enemies around it
-a unit ability involving high movement and reach

2) Units that have very weak power at the start, but grows in potential as the game goes longer. This incentivizes the other player to attack right away while you have a weaker unit, before it grows in strength.

-archer's passive ability is sort of an example, but we know because of their ranged break potential, they are also good early/mid-game.
-unit that starts with 0 willpower and cannot perform their strong ability, and must rest to gain WP, trying to collect enough before the engagement begins
-unit that gains +stats the more kills they get, or the more allies and/or enemies that die

StandSure
12-12-2013, 09:50 AM
-a unit that gains +stats the more allies and/or enemies around it

I like this idea in particular, kind of an offensive Shieldwall. It seems to especially fit well in the discussion if the bonus is by enemies, though, as an allies bonus might just encourage more passive, turtle play.
For some reason I am thinking of the Berserker - maybe he can fly into a rage attack if he is adjacent to at least 2 enemies. It could even be a passive, like Shieldwall...maybe literally a similar armor bonus, but when flanked by enemies, called "Battlefield Awareness" or something like that.



-archer's passive ability is sort of an example, but we know because of their ranged break potential, they are also good early/mid-game.
-unit that starts with 0 willpower and cannot perform their strong ability, and must rest to gain WP, trying to collect enough before the engagement begins
-unit that gains +stats the more kills they get, or the more allies and/or enemies that die

Anything that starts out weak and gains strength would discourage engagement, I think. You would want to hold back until you could use full strength.

raven2134
12-13-2013, 09:26 PM
Reverse shield wall sounds good yea.

KamikazeDurrrp
12-16-2013, 09:28 AM
A unit that gets stronger the more enemies that surround it.....yeah let's just think about that for a second.... Imagine a SB that got stronger the more enemies that surrounded it, imagine any warrior that got stronger the more enemies that surrounded it. Needless to say that is an awful idea.

roder
12-16-2013, 09:50 AM
A unit that gets stronger the more enemies that surround it.....yeah let's just think about that for a second.... Imagine a SB that got stronger the more enemies that surrounded it, imagine any warrior that got stronger the more enemies that surrounded it. Needless to say that is an awful idea.

yeah actually all you need to do is imagine it a little further, if you're surrounded by 4 enemy units, how long will that unit last. furthermore, your analogy really doesn't make sense, because its like saying, imagine a SB/Warrior (the strongest units in the game) with runthrough, stonewall or bird of prey, how OP, right? no, those abilities individually aren't overpowered, you'd need to balance the unit, thats why archers have less stats overall because of their ranged ability. you just need to think a little more into it

raven2134
12-16-2013, 10:20 AM
Guys, I think it's better not to label and idea as "awful" or "bad" or even "good"

The point is too discuss and brainstorm. To see what the possibilities are. The greatest asset to innovation is a crazy idea. The pitfall to that is how to make a crazy idea practical, but that's what we're here to discuss. Maybe as some people I've chatted with have pointed out, the subject of the thread isn't actually a problem to the game, but that doesn't mean there's any harm to discuss possibilities.

If we narrow our vision and stop thinking creatively, then the game definitely won't be able to improve. In respect to whether this is a problem, well that's something we should carefully reflect on and evaluate. Do possible suggestions/solutions create more problems than they solve? If they do, then the current game probably doesn't have so much an issue on this.

Let's try to provide alternative suggestions we think might be better if we don't agree with something said, or reason out well why exactly a suggestion won't work :). That will serve everyone well.

KamikazeDurrrp
12-16-2013, 10:51 PM
Clearly I was to harsh at first and very hyperbolic without trying to explain why I didn't agree with a "reverse" shieldwall. Let's just think about this scenario. Let's imagine we have a group of these "reverse" shieldwall units, and you know the more enemies that attack you, the "stronger" your units get. What are you going to do? I would just bunch my units together, and dare for you to attack me. Engaging against that, what do I do? Do I have to send in my units one at a time? That would clearly mean sending that unit to it's death. Do I send them all in at once? If I do I am only going to make the enemy stronger by doing so. In the end, the only thing I could do is use multiple version of that same unit itself, or resort to cheap shots with archers and warriors. This is why a "reverse" shieldwall doesn't work. You're only going to make the game more confusing to the newer players and frustrating towards the older players and it still doesn't solve the problem of preventing turtling because the best way to use such units is to put them close to each other and wait until your opponent is dumb enough to attack you.

In fact, I disagree with a lot of the ideas that I am reading in this thread because they just make the game more volatile or don't actually solve the problem of turtling itself, sometimes even make it worse. Having units with additional stats in the beginning just unfairly reward things like Warrior/archer first and make people play defensively until the "strong" period is over. If we go overboard with additional stats at the start then the game would turn into something where it is determined by who attacks first and with most power. If units gradually get stronger as the game goes on you're just going to wait until you're units are at their strongest and then attack. I know stuff like this seems appealing at first, but when they become available then they don't actually add to the depth of the game but instead pidgeonhole you into using the best option available to you. Also such mechanics would frustrate newer players just due to the sheer volatility of it.

If we really want to get to the heart of the problem, we have to ask why do people turtle? Certainly the reason has been touched on that it is easier to do. But there are a couple of things that people miss. First of all, back to the chess analogy. First of all in chess, you're forced to move, and, second you're not forced to move a specific unit in a specific turn order. Plus there are pieces in chess that can basically move across the entire board while movement in the banner saga is much more restricted. I know there are a lot more differences, but these really stand out to me as to point out why people turtle in tbs. As roder pointed, a unit standing by itself is an easy target for getting picked off, which is not necessarily true for chess because the areas that pieces control in chess are much larger. This means as a player I usually want to wait till every unit is set in place first before I attack. If I mess up, with turn order advantage it is incredibly easy for my opponent to make up for not attacking first with attacking more often. It's just much easier to have a set formation, and wait for you opponent to attack into you, hence why there is so much turtling. If attacking first was so great, why is stuff like warrior/archer first not more popular? Once I see someone has a warrior first, I immediately play passive and just wait until I can attack when it is advantageous to me, ie turtle. Admittedly, this is why I believe the RM is the strongest unit in the game because you can close the gap without worrying about getting attacked unless it is on your terms.

If you want my opinion, I would just make it so attacking first would give you 1 wp. That doesn't sound like a lot, but 1 wp makes a huge difference in terms of making up for turn order or positioning advantage that you're going to eventually lose once the ball gets rolling. It also wouldn't make the game too volatile as it is easy to predict and account for. Other than that, I would really restrict the area that you can set units from the start. Why are people allowed to put all their units in a corner? That's just really silly to me. I've also toyed around with the idea of giving people 1-3 wp to work with from the start, but I'm curious to see how the 1 wp for first hit works out first.

Anyway, sorry for being a bit rude in my earlier post. If you took it personally, just know that I disagreed with the idea, not you. I just wanted to show I do put a lot of thoughts in why I agree or disagree, and it's more than just "oh it's different and I don't like things that are different". Besides, I got scolded by raven so........ :D

roder
12-17-2013, 01:00 AM
i didnt take it personal, we're talking aobut a game, that would be absurd haha i have come to accept that we both disagree on many things, it just so happens that I think I'm right in our discussions :P but regarding reverse stonewall, there are many surround effects already in the game, such as shieldwall, thrasher's ability. and it doesnt seem to be overpowered in any regard. there are ranged units in the game, that would chip away at these reverse-stonewall units without them getting their bonus, and if they run in to benefit from their surround ability, well they are surrounding their unit with enemy units, it will not last long, especially until an entire team order when you can use it again. so it doesnt seem so cut-and-dry how you'd just win with these units, you'd have to strategically position them into the enemy team without them dying/getting maimed.

Aleonymous
12-17-2013, 05:46 AM
I will agree with raven that turtling is not such a big issue, really. After all these discussions, I've come to realize that only way to address this issue is by introducing new abilities. This post is gonna be in this direction; no more proposing weird new game mechanics :D

Raiders' Shieldwall and Archers' Puncture are two very good examples of (passive) abilities that we can build from. The Shieldwall gives ARM bonus to clustered allies and Puncture gives an STR bonus to attacks against broken units. On the other hand, Warriors' Heavy-Impact is an AoE (Area of Effect) ability and Shieldbangers' Return-the-Favour is an ability that harms offending enemies. Breaking these core abilities apart, and using their "parts" to imagine other abilities, we have

Raiders: Positional abilities --> Bonus stats when surrounded by allies, or by enemies, or when going solo.
Archers: Scaling abilities --> Bonus stats with respect to the target's, or your own, ARM/STR/WP stats (and their starting values)
Warriors: AoE abilities --> Damages multiple enemies or aid multiple allies
Shieldbangers: Retaliation abilities --> Penalizes enemies from attacking you


Current abilities -- As you can see, some units' active-abilities fall into a different base-class (e.g. SnB is AoE, Malice & BR are fundamentally positional), some abilities combine features (e.g. RT is both positional and AoE, RoA is both positional & scaling) while others fall on completely new grounds (e.g. FA tweaks turn-order; Malice does that too, in a sense).

New abilities -- We've already had the promise of the Grudgewielder class, whose ability scales with the amount of damage he has taken. There's also Thread-the-Needle, that is a hybrid Positional/Scaling/AoE ability. Wardog's & Champion's ability ain't known but there's fair evidence that suggests that the former is offensive (probably synergizing with HI --> AoE) while the latter affects turn-queue.

New classes -- We have the Landsmen who can move through allies and the Spearmen who have increased ranged (both strongly positional abilities). Especially the Hunter can be a real help against turtlers. You move your big warrior in for that big hit, then come up behind (and through him) with the Hunter and give that warrior one more go, before he's neutralized.

Now, what can new things can we build from those paradigms? I won't start extensively brainstorming (again, :o), but I will just hint at a AoE/positional ability that can potentially help against turtling. It is called "Cast Fear" and it could have either of these effects (you choose):

Send the attacked unit back in turn-queue (or just miss his turn out of fear)
Cause all enemies in its AoE to move back (or at random directions -- ok, perhaps not, you RNG haters! :p).
Damage WP, for a single unit or adjacent ones or in a AoE.

raven2134
12-17-2013, 06:28 AM
Wasn't scolding anyone in particular KD Haha. I was responding to some chatters also who we're a bit anxious about the thread.

I have to point out to order Thrasher was overpowered which is what prompted the changes to bloody flail. Same with all melee 4 raider setups, which is why we got team limits because shield wall stacking bonuses were too strong. So in General, a reverse shield wall has to be carefully considered in a stacking environment/scenario, just as KD is pointing out. However, I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to have 1 unit type that could behave along those lines, if stacking is an issue, it could always be a varl.

Aleo, best to recall saga abilities will not carry over into factions as is. Going to be some major balance and possibly revamping to get the saga abilities multiplayer balanced.

I like your new ability idea, something that makes an enemy target move randomly. Seems like a really nice thing to mess with enemy formations and counter turtling :).

Aleonymous
12-17-2013, 07:37 AM
saga abilities will not carry over into factions as is. Going to be some major balance and possibly revamping to get the saga abilities multiplayer balanced.

Indeed. Rook seems fairly OP by all standards. The prime characteristic is the hybrid melee/ranged attack but, on the "UP" side, his ability seems to be melee-only... Having ranged Mark-the-Prey would be just too much.


I like your new ability idea, something that makes an enemy target move randomly. Seems like a really nice thing to mess with enemy formations and counter turtling.

Glad you like it (;)), because I can already feel RNG haters (yes, you, netnazgul :p) coming up at me. Seriously now, it sounds difficult to implement such an ability. Especially when the units are clustered. Only solution is if this "damage" is like HI, i.e. spreads to the adjacent units. So, firstly the outermost ones move and then the inner ones.

raven2134
12-18-2013, 03:22 AM
I think maybe it should be single target, not Aoe.

Maybe to balance things it should make a random enemy move. If it needs even more give and take, maybe it could cause 1 unit on both teams to move randomly.

Or maybe it could even be like a teleporter trap. A unit which walks over a tile or stays on a certain area gets moved to another designated place.

Aleonymous
12-18-2013, 05:25 AM
Continuing on this "novel abilities that incentivize engagement" track...

Thinking about presently available "solutions" against turtled opponents, by far the most useful is SnB. The main ingredients of this ability are (1) range & (2) AoE. So, I think that another ability in this spirit could help the situation.

Moreover, what really screws up the synergies of a carefully turtled formation is (1) positioning & (2) turn-order. Concerning positioning, the archetype example is Ramming that huge SB from the vanguard into the back lines, exposing those soft archers behind him. That's why I suggested this random-move ability. Now, concerning turn-order, we've discussed in the past the possibility of an anti-WL unit, that screws up enemy turn-queue (e.g. to move a breaker after damagers). That was deemed quite nasty. Another ability that indirectly toys with enemy turns is PK/Malice. Based on those two observations, I suggested this ability that just makes an enemy unit skip a turn, or allow him only to move but not to attack.

Finally, inspired from other games like XCOM, we could implement this fear/panic effect with an RNG-controlled response that does either of the three: (1) skip turn entirely, (2) attack a random unit, ally or enemy, in his range, (3) move randomly. In this way, there is the risk that the targeted unit ends up doing a good move, e.g. attacking the enemy or moving in a location that blocks something etc.

Esth
12-18-2013, 09:43 AM
Lets try to keep random effects to a minimum, outcome should be dictated by skill not luck

roder
12-18-2013, 10:07 AM
Send the attacked unit back in turn-queue (or just miss his turn out of fear)
Damage WP, for a single unit or adjacent ones or in a AoE.


Ooooo I like your first suggestion, sort of like a reverse Forge Ahead (:P lol why dont we just have antithesis of each units ability ,reverse stonewall, reverse rain of arrows (instead it drops a gift for you :), reverse tempest (insteads hugs everyone around him). Lol but on real note, I think we should definitely have more support units. Like buffs, either by target or placing temporary buff on tile (which unit can be pushed off of) or just passive buffs (like shieldwall). Would allow for more synergy/combos.

I also like your 3rd suggestion, something that attacks enemy WP is really cool idea, especially if it was like a backbiter-esque but it took WP instead :D

raven2134
12-18-2013, 10:28 AM
Could make it a trap then. It teleports a unit to a specific location. Traps have that effect of being skill based but with a random factor, because it's the player that decides how to use it, but its the opponent who has to fall for it.

gaelvin
12-18-2013, 12:22 PM
How about something like "Malice" but, instead of drawing the attacker to the unit using the ability, another target can be chosen.

roder
12-18-2013, 12:24 PM
Haha that is why skystriker is my 2nd favorite unit, the mind games are the most fun part! 1st fav unit is Strongarm though, just a beast with stats and how can you not love bashing someone with your shield and send him flying :cool:

yeah im not sure about random location though haha maybe if they are feared, they just are sent running back to their original square xD not normal walking animation though, must have arms flailing up at their sides lol

Esth
12-18-2013, 12:28 PM
This is a good point. Unpredictability due to hidden information is generally far more interesting than RNG.

Aleonymous
12-18-2013, 01:23 PM
Lets try to keep random effects to a minimum, outcome should be dictated by skill not luck

When an ability has RNG that is properly tuned (i.e. it can go either way), then there is skill in assessing whether it's worth using it or not. Like with Bloody Flail.


I think we should definitely have more support units

The landsmen are supposed to be support units. Warden is a WP-backpack and the Hunter is... more special! Still wondering if STR- or ARM-healing abilities will ever make it to Factions/Saga.


Traps have that effect of being skill based but with a random factor, because it's the player that decides how to use it, but its the opponent who has to fall for it.

Gambling... I like RNG, so how could I dislike that?


How about something like "Malice" but, instead of drawing the attacker to the unit using the ability, another target can be chosen.

Hmmm, you mean that the "Maliced" unit would not attack the "Malicer" but instead head for another tile or another unit (ally or enemy)? Interesting...

gaelvin
12-18-2013, 02:39 PM
Hmmm, you mean that the "Maliced" unit would not attack the "Malicer" but instead head for another tile or another unit (ally or enemy)? Interesting...

That's the idea... I would think it would be a target of your (the "Malicer's") choosing. So, for instance, you could direct an enemy unit at one of your own units which has a high ARM, so that the STR hit would be minimal, and prevent that enemy unit from targeting one of your more vulnerable units.

Aleonymous
12-18-2013, 03:05 PM
That's the idea... I would think it would be a target of your (the "Malicer's") choosing. So, for instance, you could direct an enemy unit at one of your own units which has a high ARM, so that the STR hit would be minimal, and prevent that enemy unit from targeting one of your more vulnerable units.

The problem with this is to find a nice "lore" reason behind such an action :confused: If this ability makes the "maliced" unit attack the closest unit (ally or enemy), it could be thought as a frenzy/panic response...

roder
12-18-2013, 04:05 PM
The problem with this is to find a nice "lore" reason behind such an action :confused:

the Provoker's day job is ventriloquist :) perfect. i think Malicer might be too powerful, like directing attack on BtP SM, or RM under stonewall, and i think the best commonplace scenario would be making them kill off your maimed units xD

Maybe not directing attacks, but trying to scare off attacks. Like a unit that picks an ally to shield and take the blow if they are attacked, or a unit that picks an ally and counterattacks if the unit is attacked (the attack still goes through though).

Love how this thread turned into a unit suggestion thread :D like Create-a-unit type threads though

Rocksitter
01-26-2014, 03:37 AM
Just a quick thought maybe something like if your unit has not mover forward each round you lose Wp until you have moved forward then effect goes away.
and remember you want to get to Valhalla hahahahah only a coward hides in a corner and loses his will has the enemy charges at them....

Sloul
01-29-2014, 07:52 PM
Another possibility would be to throw a pack of 4 to 6 AI in the middle of the map, one half would be tagged red and the other one tagged blue.
Either you decide to turtle and the other player will probably rally his AI allies, and so, get a few more units fighting for him (but not controlled by him). Or you jump in taking the risk to loose some ''turtle'' advantage.

But I can one con for players deciding to support their AI allies, it would be the potential loss of HP, ARM but most probably WP spent in the skirmish. Though they will gain WP back with deaths, but maybe not as much as total they lost.
Still, I think it would be one way to do it.

Another thing is that, in the end, maybe it will tend to be a bit less based on skill, and a bit more on luck, since players can't control AI (also might be a bit more challenging for Skystrikers).

bombom
03-01-2015, 10:22 PM
Great! thought I'd say more like +1STR per-1tile or per-2tiles.
I think allowing an attacking player to gain position more easily would be the way to go.

spicykorean
04-22-2015, 11:32 PM
We just need new units and abilities, period.