Mainline Units

Brainstorm ideas of possible additions to the game. Read this before posting!

Moderator: Forum Moderators

Forum rules
Before posting a new idea, you must read the following:
Locked
User avatar
Darker_Dreams
Posts: 608
Joined: February 1st, 2008, 5:26 pm

Post by Darker_Dreams »

TL wrote:
Darker_Dreams wrote:The main reason I got into the discussion on many of the notes I did is because it seemed to be getting pretty dogmatic.
What do you expect? Game design isn't a science; you can't measure one design decision or another as being quantitatively better. There are any number of perfectly good directions a game can go and valid reasons for all of them, but at some point someone has to say "OK, this is how it's going to be." This was the jist of turin's post (which, after all, you said you agreed with).
My issue is that there is a difference between a statement of "I have heard equally good arguments on both sides, and feel that the game should go this direction," or "I feel the arguments on this side outweigh the ones on the other," and the appearance that "this idea cannot possibly have valid arguments for it, and the appearance that it does is simply an illusion created by your inexperience."

No one has yet answered how the term "ancient" is a blocker for Lich but not Wose.
TL wrote:
Darker_Dreams wrote:The discussion isn't, despite several individuals attempting to do otherwise, whether any specific unit (which by definition is of mainline quality) is safe to include or worth inclusion- it is whether any more level four units are acceptable...
That is fairly all-or-nothing.
Yes, but not nearly as extreme as, say, this:
Darker_Dreams wrote:This may be a deviation from the idea I've occasionally heard alluded to, which seems to be that the army is important and is comprised of effectively interchangeable units- but the existence of traits and advancement in the game gives lie to that.
So the fact that there are a few flourishes of individuality within the ranks somehow means that the army cannot be important?

Or, as originally quoted, take this:
Darker_Dreams wrote:does the problem exist because the nature of the game makes horde tactics better than strong single units (which indicates that ever worrying about leveling is a mistake) or because leveling is so useful that squandering Xp on an unadvancable unit is wasteful.
If (a), why bother having levels?
The second includes the point; why bother. I'm not suggesting the removal of levels. I also understand a balance being struck. I simply wanted to ask the question; if you're going to lock the game at a certain level, why bother with mucking around and undermining that- why not make hordes of units balanced by cost v effectiveness?
I understand there are good reasons for doing so. The purpose of the question is to raise those points- which can also support inclusion of higher level units.
TL wrote:The fact that horde tactics are often (but not always) better than strong single units does not mean that ever worrying about leveling is a mistake, nor is it an argument for removing the advancement system altogether.
So, I am not arguing to remove anything. My points are not nearly as all-or-nothing as they seem to be being taken either.
TL wrote:Currently Wesnoth strikes a balance between army-level wargame and individual-level RPG. It features some advancement in levels, but the game is not all about leveling in the sense that a typical CRPG is; the advancement system is more about strategic resource management than it is about repeatedly leveling the same few units. Adding too many level 4s works at cross-purposes with this part of Wesnoth's design.
I disagree with parts of this. However, discussion won't prove or disprove the point...
Only adding content, even in a separate era, and seeing what it does to play-style.
User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL »

Darker_Dreams wrote:So, I am not arguing to remove anything. My points are not nearly as all-or-nothing as they seem to be being taken either.
Then why on earth are you even bringing up these rhetorical questions, then? It's silly and doesn't accomplish anything. I might as well say "Yeah but if you add more level 4 why not add LEVEL FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND... MILLION?"
Darker_Dreams wrote:The second includes the point; why bother. I'm not suggesting the removal of levels. I also understand a balance being struck. I simply wanted to ask the question; if you're going to lock the game at a certain level, why bother with mucking around and undermining that- why not make hordes of units balanced by cost v effectiveness?
That is precisely what the current system is--hordes of units balanced by cost vs. effectiveness. The crucial point, however, is that cost is measured in terms of two very different resource systems: gold and experience points. This gives Wesnoth's resource management a depth it would not have if gold was the only cost to worry about.

Now, yes, the mainline unit tree could be expanded to encompass units that were even more powerful, for even higher experience cost. There already exists an example of an era that does something similar, but in terms of gold cost--the Age of Heroes era. And if you've ever watched any MP games with Age of Heroes, particularly with mismatched players, you have witnessed firsthand the effect of such an expansion: it is a newbie trap. Age of Heroes lets you invest more gold to recruit units of a higher level than you normally can, but these powerful and expensive units are best used sparingly, a lesson which new players tend to be slow to learn. (Indeed, this effect can be witnessed to a lesser extent in default era MP; newbies often recruit a disproportionate number of more powerful and expensive L1 units such as horsemen, gryphons, woses, mages, etc.) Adding recruitable L2 units for more gold is not a worthless addition, and it does add a lot of strategic diversity to Age of Heroes, but it comes at the cost of balance and newbie-friendliness.

Wesnoth in any mainline era/campaign lets players invest experience to get higher level units, up to level 3 and 4. This does add strategic diversity... but it does make balancing harder than it would be if things were limited to 1 or 2 levels, and it does provide more pitfalls for newbies. The devs think this is a worthwhile trade up to this point, else they wouldn't have bothered creating level 3 and 4 units in the first place--but that does not mean they want to continue any farther in that direction.
User avatar
irrevenant
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 3692
Joined: August 15th, 2005, 7:57 am
Location: I'm all around you.

Post by irrevenant »

Darker_Dreams wrote:No one has yet answered how the term "ancient" is a blocker for Lich but not Wose.
The term isn't. The level and stats are. The Ancient Wose is Level 3, the Ancient Lich is level 4.
User avatar
JW
Posts: 5046
Joined: November 10th, 2005, 7:06 am
Location: Chicago-ish, Illinois

Post by JW »

irrevenant wrote:
Darker_Dreams wrote:No one has yet answered how the term "ancient" is a blocker for Lich but not Wose.
The term isn't. The level and stats are. The Ancient Wose is Level 3, the Ancient Lich is level 4.
He's refuting the argument based on the time element. "Ancient" is used in both the Lich and Wose cases, so there is precedence for ignoring this element in mainline.
User avatar
turin
Lord of the East
Posts: 11662
Joined: January 11th, 2004, 7:17 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Post by turin »

Darker_Dreams wrote:if you're going to lock the game at a certain level, why bother with mucking around and undermining that- why not make hordes of units balanced by cost v effectiveness?
This question is both not what you originally asked and makes absolutely no sense. I really can't respond to it except with variants on the preceding sentence.
For I am Turin Turambar - Master of Doom, by doom mastered. On permanent Wesbreak. Will not respond to private messages. Sorry!
And I hate stupid people.
The World of Orbivm
User avatar
Mist
Inactive Developer
Posts: 753
Joined: February 15th, 2007, 8:44 am
Location: Milton Keynes, UK

Post by Mist »

I think I'm starting to lose the plot here

All level 4 units you argue so much about are shipped in core pack
All of them are actively maintained artwise
They can be integrated into unit tree with pretty simple WML if the content creator wishes so
Doing what you want will have absolutely no bearing for MP maps that don't need an era
And will immensely screw balance in some mainline campaigns (player controlled Ancient Liches in DiD anyone?)

So why do you insist on something that will do no noticeable change for player but cause a huge headache (and workload) for campaign maintainers?

For abovementioned reasons I'm pretty tempted to lock the thread here and now, anyone has a brilliant reason for me not to do so?
Somewhere, between the sacred silence and sleep.
Disorder.
Angry Andersen
Posts: 205
Joined: September 15th, 2006, 1:22 pm

Post by Angry Andersen »

Mist wrote:I think I'm starting to lose the plot here
I agree that the discussion has moved to some rather theoretic points, so I will try to sum up the current points concerning the original proposal as I see them:

PRO:
-It is confusing that some mainline units are available at times and sometimes not.

-There currently is a HUGE difference in the number of lvl3 & 4 units available for different factions

-Units already exist and are being maintained, e.g. the necessary work is manageable

-version 1.3 is moving towards stable, so it would be the right time to consider such changes for version 1.5

-campaigns of a certain length need some variety of high level units to allow for interesting choices. So far rebels and loyalists provide for this very well, but some of the other factions are pretty limited. E.g. WCs, Bats and to some extent ghouls are not so viable choices in later scenarios of a campaign when fighting lvl2 and 3 opponents. This very much narrows the choice of units.

-The full inclusion of lvl3 outlaws has been a big success as far as I can see!

CONTRA:
-Balancing 1: The units we are talking about might need rebalancing. I agree that this might be the case, but then balancing them properly is desirable irrespective of whether they are fully included or not.

-Balancing 2: Balance in current campaigns could be broken: Why then do lvl4 mages and sylphs not break balance in the same way? I do not think that this point is so dramatic. Also the example of the campaign DiD is poorly chosen: I asked the campaign developer to include the ancient lich to make the last scenario more worthwhile and he very much agreed that this would be desirable!

-Simplicity: Adding new units confuses newbies: since we are talking high-level units, fully including these units is unlike adding new recruitable units: a new player will have to play quite a few scenarios in order to gain sufficient experience, by then he will know his basic units well enough.

-Feature creep: The features are already there. Furthermore, I would very much oppose adding more loyalist and rebel high level units. The same goes for lvl5 units. So this is not just an uncontrollable inflation. Actually my suggestion is very limited in scope and moves to a more even line of what is accepted and what not: The current loyalist and rebels factions set the absolute upper limit: 1-2 lvl4 units per faction and no lvl5 units.
AI
Developer
Posts: 2394
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 8:38 pm

Post by AI »

The main point of "breaking balance in campaigns" is that the AL would have to be rebalanced, which could break campaigns that rely on them being all-powerful.

I won't argue the rest of your points.
Rhuvaen
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1272
Joined: August 27th, 2004, 8:05 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by Rhuvaen »

Angry Andersen wrote:I will try to sum up the current points concerning the original proposal as I see them
You again fail to put forward a proposal here. All I can see in the original post is
Angry Andersen wrote:Is there any support for clearing out some of these inconsistencies?
Which is not a proposal, is it?

So what is the proposal, exactly? (before this derails again into different side suggestions)
Angry Andersen
Posts: 205
Joined: September 15th, 2006, 1:22 pm

Post by Angry Andersen »

Rhuvaen wrote:
Angry Andersen wrote:I will try to sum up the current points concerning the original proposal as I see them
You again fail to put forward a proposal here. All I can see in the original post is
Angry Andersen wrote:Is there any support for clearing out some of these inconsistencies?
Which is not a proposal, is it?

So what is the proposal, exactly? (before this derails again into different side suggestions)
Good point! I somehow assumed it would be clear, but I should probably be more specific:

I think it would be very desirable, if all mainline units had the same leveling options in all mainline content and that these options should be fairly intuitive. If this is not generally possible, then at least clearing out some of the inconsistencies might be good (i.e. single campaigns might sometimes require deviations for story reasons).

This includes:
- make the ancient lich an advancement of the lich
- make the armageddon drake an advancement of the inferno drake
- consider balancing and modifying the death knight so that it becomes a lvl3 advancement from the skeleton
- the human sergeant (lvl1) is listed on this page as a human unit but not as a part of the loyalist faction, while its higher level versions are in both. Is this another possible inconsistency?
- Descent into Darkness introduced a lvl3 version of the ghoul. Is there any support for mainlining such a unit?

So basically, I'm suggesting that some other mainline units should be generally included in the same way as the lvl3 outlaws were. This might of course involve some balancing changes.
Considering the large and very well made balancing changes already done to the undead faction and the outlaws in the present version, I don't think these balancing needs should be exaggerated.
User avatar
TL
Posts: 511
Joined: March 3rd, 2007, 3:02 am

Post by TL »

Angry Andersen wrote:I think it would be very desirable, if all mainline units had the same leveling options in all mainline content and that these options should be fairly intuitive.
How is this not currently the case? The only real exception I'm aware of here is Descent into Darkness, which uses both the lich and ancient lich as unique story-specific units--going so far as to use modified versions of the dark adept line to prevent you from getting more than one lich, or getting a lich before you're supposed to.

Other than that single special case, the ancient lich/armageddon drake/death knight are pretty much universally non-achievable and non-playable in mainline. Consistency does not seem to be an issue.

(There is the ghast from DiD as well, but its art isn't current with the 1.3 ghoul line and is rather short on frames, so it's not exactly ready to be dropped in as is.)
Rhuvaen
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1272
Joined: August 27th, 2004, 8:05 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Post by Rhuvaen »

I think the point of consistency that you're arguing here is pretty artificial, and limiting.

There are many units in core (as opposed to campaigns) that aren't available to the player - either in a campaign as a leader or recruitable unit, or in an MP era. But there's nothing stopping anyone from designing a campaign or era that makes them available if it is fitting for the setting.

Some of the units you mention have similarities to units that are available to the player - they were conceived as an extension of something that was already there. That in itself doesn't force us to make them a logical advancement of the units they are similar to. If that were the case, then it would be practically impossible to have such units in core, rather than in campaigns.

Instead, whether a unit is in core or campaigns is largely dictated by it's overall quality, usefulness in other context and historic reasons.

Since MP developers can only use core units (not campaigns'), putting such a requirement on core units seems like an additional restriction. Already there are many units that are not available here (in MP), and cannot be made available except by copying and distributing them as an era. Raising the bar for including new units in core by putting artificial demands on core doesn't help.

So at the moment we have a situation of great flexibility (units in core can be used freely by content developers - although there could be more) and containment (they don't automatically leach into all the content unless specifically excluded).

I'd argue that consistency is something that concerns each individual campaign or scenario designer, and that they should decide what to include in their creation, using the base setting as a starting point to work from. Saying that there shouldn't be units in core that are "special" and as such don't have their natural place in the base setting seem needlessly prohibitive.
Last edited by Rhuvaen on February 19th, 2008, 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Noy
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1321
Joined: March 13th, 2005, 3:59 pm

Post by Noy »

For **** Sake listen AA.


The main point was brought up by me.
We don't want more lvl 4s because it takes the focus away from lower level units.



Adding more would just abet unit bloats as irrevenant noted after me. Moroever many of your arguments ARE quite flimsy. As someone else noted, saying "oh its unituitive" doesn't make sense because newbies don't enter into the game and think "omg all factions don't have lvl4s? WTF?" To be honest thats what an elder newb personage like yourself says. We don't cater major game design elements to the wishes of new players, or ridiculous comments like that.

And stop using the inclusion of high level outlaws to support your arguments. The outlaws are level threes, which were added because that was an inconsistency. When most factions have lvl 3s it makes little sense one faction had none at all. There are only two lvl4s, and if I could over again, I'd remove them. As they are I think they actually are fairly good and taking them away at this point would be a loss.

Are we clear? No its not going to happen. When three developers show up in a thread and tell you its not going to, ignoring them and their points puts you in pretty bad stead.
I suspect having one foot in the past is the best way to understand the present.

Don Hewitt.
User avatar
Noyga
Inactive Developer
Posts: 1790
Joined: September 26th, 2005, 5:56 pm
Location: France

Post by Noyga »

In wesnoth i think we have 3 kind of units :
1) units that are designed to be recruitable by players
2) units that are designed to be special heros used as the leader of your faction.
3) unit that are designed to be used as random monster played by the computer.

2) is often slightly of balance, especially if used as a recruitable unit or in MP, except if the scenario is designed for this.
3) are often slightly more powerful than an usual unit so they can be unbalanced if used as a leader or a recruitable unit, except of course if the scenario is designed for it.

I think the Drake Armageddon belongs to 2) or/and 3) and the Ancient Lich to 3)

In short not all units are designed for all usages.
And like Noy said, we also don't want to have L4 units everywhere, but rather have L4 branches be an exception.
"Ooh, man, my mage had a 30% chance to miss, but he still managed to hit! Awesome!" ;) -- xtifr
joshudson
Posts: 501
Joined: January 17th, 2006, 8:04 pm
Contact:

Post by joshudson »

Ok maybe a little off-topic, but from higher up:

TL wrote:
Indeed, this effect can be witnessed to a lesser extent in default era MP; newbies often recruit a disproportionate number of more powerful and expensive L1 units such as horsemen, gryphons, woses, mages, etc.
Every tried playing Gryphon swarm on Weldyn channel?

Oh, and if you're the same TL that I've played online, you play very well.
CHKDSK has repaired bad sectors in CHKDSK.EXE
Locked