more difficulty levels and max gold limit

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sergey
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more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Hi! I am currently playing "The Rise of Wesnoth" and recently finished "The South Guard" and I have two ideas regarding difficulty levels and gold amount.

1) More difficulty levels. TRoW on "Normal" is very easy to me, while "Challenging" is too hard. Difference between difficulty levels is very significant. I had the same issue with other campaigns in the past too, so it is not TRoW only problem. One option is to switch difficulties in a mid campaign. However, I found it more interesting to use debug command to set gold in between "Normal" and "Challenging" values. I think it would be better to have let's say 5 difficulty levels instead of 3. I know that there are different tweaks depending on the difficulty and this is not a trivial change. Anyway, here is the example of the additional difficulties.
An example of 5 difficulty levels:
2) Maximum gold limit. Currently we have a minimum defined gold plus carryover. Hypothetically, if player finished a scenario very early and got a lot of carryover gold, they may recruit/recall a lot of units in the next scenario and finish it very early because of the huge amount of units. And the situation repeats. I faced this when played "The Rise of Wesnoth" and "The South Guard". In TSG it may be caused by the fact that the campaign is too easy for me. However, I still found it interesting when I used debug command to lower my gold. I am wondering if a gold limit may achieve the same result. For example, minimum gold is 200, recommended is about 250 (+50 gold carryover) and maximum is 300. If player gets more than 100 gold carryover, they start with 300 gold because it is the maximum gold value. Obviously, this change will require a lot of testing. It is already possible to implement the maximum gold limit with an WML prestart event. Additional UI information will be useful, e.g. in the scenario status window.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

gnombat
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by gnombat »

sergey wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 8:09 am
Difference between difficulty levels is very significant. I had the same issue with other campaigns in the past too, so it is not TRoW only problem.
In Eastern Invasion, the hardest difficulty level also seems to be very difficult compared to the next level.

Soliton
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by Soliton »

Most campaigns are on 40% carryover nowadays if that really is still an issue and a further decrease does not seem like a solution than maybe we should think about some completely new carryover mechanic. A maximum gold limit means to optimize you need to figure out at what turn you reach the maximum and farm experience until then. Doesn't sound fun.

Regarding more difficulty levels: if they are created mechanically from existing difficulties that might be feasable otherwise that sounds like a lot more balancing work that I assume is already not particularly perfect right now.

Perhaps it would be more useful to report issues with certain scenarios so that the existing difficulties get balanced better with more feedback. Perhaps we need better/easier ways for players to report campaign balance issues or think about automatic stats collection again.

Still if you are interested in trying to implement more difficulties in some campaign that might be worth an experiment.
"If gameplay requires it, they can be made to live on Venus." -- scott

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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Soliton wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 6:10 pm
A maximum gold limit means to optimize you need to figure out at what turn you reach the maximum and farm experience until then. Doesn't sound fun.
Good point, I agree.
Soliton wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 6:10 pm
Perhaps it would be more useful to report issues with certain scenarios so that the existing difficulties get balanced better with more feedback. Perhaps we need better/easier ways for players to report campaign balance issues or think about automatic stats collection again.
Balance feedback heavily depends on player's skills, it's hard to say if the scenario is imbalanced or I am making mistakes. Also, some scenarios are intentionally easier to collect gold or farm experience.
Soliton wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 6:10 pm
Still if you are interested in trying to implement more difficulties in some campaign that might be worth an experiment.
Do you mean mainline or UMC experiment? I have 5 difficulty levels in my UMC campaign. I played it on 3rd and 4th difficulties, 5th is too hard for me. Konrad2 finished it on 5th difficulty, which is a good sign - it is very hard, but not impossible. Other people played it on 1st and 2nd difficulties. I would be glad to experiment with a mainline campaign.
Soliton wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 6:10 pm
Most campaigns are on 40% carryover nowadays if that really is still an issue and a further decrease does not seem like a solution than maybe we should think about some completely new carryover mechanic.
Do you have any ideas on an alternative carryover mechanic? By the way, I noticed that many people don't know that they can change difficulty in a mid campaign. Perhaps a tip of the day regarding that will be useful.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

Tad_Carlucci
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

An alternate carryover mechanic might be to 'age out' carried over gold. This probably works better with a high percentage. I'll use 100% but that's just because it's easy.

Example:

S1: Starting Gold: 100 / Ending Gold: 120. Carry-over: (120-100)=20
S2: Starting Gold: 90 + Carry-over: 20. Ending Gold: 120. Carry-over: (120-110)=10
S3: Starting Gold: 100 + Carry-over: 10. Ending Gold: 40. Carry-over: 0

etc.

This makes carry-over a use-it-or-lose-it thing.
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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 9:17 pm
An alternate carryover mechanic might be to 'age out' carried over gold. This probably works better with a high percentage. I'll use 100% but that's just because it's easy.

Example:

S1: Starting Gold: 100 / Ending Gold: 120. Carry-over: (120-100)=20
S2: Starting Gold: 90 + Carry-over: 20. Ending Gold: 120. Carry-over: (120-110)=10
S3: Starting Gold: 100 + Carry-over: 10. Ending Gold: 40. Carry-over: 0
This approach may have the same issue as described by Soliton. If player knows that they won't get gold carryover, the optimal strategy would be to farm XP till the end of turns and this is not fun.
Soliton wrote:
October 22nd, 2019, 6:10 pm
Most campaigns are on 40% carryover nowadays if that really is still an issue and a further decrease does not seem like a solution than maybe we should think about some completely new carryover mechanic.
Early finish bonus and gold carryover prevents gold and XP farming till the end of turns. We could change the default 40% carryover depending on village number. E.g. with 20 villages and 40% carryover player gets 8 gold for each early finished turn. We could use 30% for 30 villages and 20% for 40 villages.

I have a more drastic idea. Basically the gold carryover is a reward for not farming gold and XP. On the other hand, it may shift and eventually break the balance (campaign becomes more and more easy or more and more hard). What if we give another reward, which doesn't significantly affect the gameplay, but is fun enough to motivate people to not farm XP? First of all, we could completely remove the gold carryover. Secondly, for each early finished turn player gets a gem. With gems player may enhance main characters. Main characters will still have their advancements, and gems will allow to get some additional tweaks.

Let's take "The Rise of Wesnoth" for example. Nerf Haldric first: no leadership, 6 movement points to 5, sword 11x4 to 10x4 and so on. Allow him to buy enhancements for gems: leadership, +1 movement point, +1 melee damage, fearless trait, maybe some resistances and better defense, but not make him overpowered. Similarly nerf Jessen: no leadership, no distract, etc. She may get them back, plus some other things like skirmisher, a dagger with backstab (by the way she has a dagger according to her portrait), invisible when less than 20 HP (she already does something similar in early scenarios when she dies, which is a scripted event), etc.

"Under the Burning Suns" already has custom advancements. We could theoretically change it to the system that I proposed. Characters will have normal advancement plus custom stuff purchased by gems.

P.S. Completely removing the gold carryover decreases importance of village grabbing. That's not cool. On the other hand, grabbing villages is still important to decrease AI's gold and to be able to reinforce with fresh recruits/recalls during current scenario.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

Tad_Carlucci
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

I would challenge the idea that gold carry-over discourages XP farming. The early completion bonus should do that.

Perhaps I don't recruit enough, or perhaps I'm too willing to put units to the sword when recalling them is pointless, but I find I'm usually carrying around more gold than I spend. (So I take villages almost exclusively to deny them to the enemy.) I find, whenever there is an early completion bonus, that immediately becomes my goal. Generally, in the first few scenes, I use 'natural selection' to develop a small number of units. Often this is not my leaders, who I tend hold back and protect, but more disposable units (which I can replace, if needed). When they get to max level, I start brewing replacements. So I do like opportunities to grind a bit of XP (and, sometimes, will allow the enemy a few villages to enable grinding). I tend to set up for grinding specifically because I've accumulated so much gold that it really does not matter if I get more.

That said, I like the idea of reducing, if not eliminating, the early completion bonus and/or gold carry-over, in favor of a points system.

One of the requests from the Steam folk has been some sort of achievement reward. If we do add more Steam integration, we could use those early-completion rewards for that purpose. To include non-Steam players we could include these rewards on the main menu.

"Spending" a few points for a buff sounds like a good idea. The question is: do we allow the player to expend those points on future campaigns, or only for the remainder of this? What about an MP option allowing their use in a match?

ETA: And, should we not use some form of cryto signature on the points so people don't just hand-edit a file to give themselves a few bazillion for all the buffs they want?
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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 1:07 pm
I would challenge the idea that gold carry-over discourages XP farming. The early completion bonus should do that.
Yes, but early finish bonus is included into the carryover. Without gold carryover the early finish gold bonus doesn't make sense. That's what I meant.
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 1:07 pm
"Spending" a few points for a buff sounds like a good idea. The question is: do we allow the player to expend those points on future campaigns, or only for the remainder of this? What about an MP option allowing their use in a match?
I think that the points should be available only for the current campaign.
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 1:07 pm
ETA: And, should we not use some form of cryto signature on the points so people don't just hand-edit a file to give themselves a few bazillion for all the buffs they want?
It is easy to modify campaign code or use debug command, so I am not sure about exposing those points to Steam and cryptography signature.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

TRoW-A Final Spring.jpg
49 villages in "A Final Spring" TRoW scenario! Early finish bonus is 51 gold per turn. With 40% carryover it is about 20 gold per turn. Besides that, because of so many villages player will get a lot of gold during the scenario. That should be very hard to balance IMO. I think it will be much better to increase minimum gold in the next scenario and set carryover percentage to 20%, or even 15%.

P.S. Adding more difficulties should be the easiest change of the proposed. Changing carryover percentage depending on the amount of villages is harder, because it also requires minimum gold correction and playtesting. Points for improving main characters instead of gold carryover is the most complicated of the proposed things.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

Tad_Carlucci
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

Adding 3 more difficulties is probably about as hard balancing 3 existing levels.

Ease or difficulty of the work, however, should not be a big part of the conversation.

I am really liking the idea of awarding points for early completion. Designing the UI will take a bit of work. But I'd consider allowing them to purchase buffs for any recruit or recall. Perhaps it could be a right-click menu item for any unit on the map? Sure, it would take a bit of re-balancing. We might consider rolling it out over a few releases, instead of hitting all campaigns at once. That way we could get some experience with the issues before going all-in.

One approach to consider would be a UMC version of a mainline campaign with this change.
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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 10:37 pm
Adding 3 more difficulties is probably about as hard balancing 3 existing levels.
In the first post I described how to mechanically insert 2 more difficulties between the existing ones. I came to this idea because "Normal" is often too easy for me and "Hard" is too difficult, so I personally would prefer to play something in between.
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 10:37 pm
But I'd consider allowing them to purchase buffs for any recruit or recall. Perhaps it could be a right-click menu item for any unit on the map?
Interesting idea. I am worried about overpowered units, perhaps we should allow only one buff per regular unit? We could add a restriction that buff is possible right after recruit/recall or when unit stands on a keep near the leader. To start with we could just use right-click menu item for any unit on the map at any time. Buffs for the main characters are more interesting for me though.

Do you think that such points system is sufficient replacement for the gold carryover? If we won't open a door for overpowered units it will be much better for balance than the gold carryover in my opinion.
Tad_Carlucci wrote:
October 23rd, 2019, 10:37 pm
One approach to consider would be a UMC version of a mainline campaign with this change.
I am thinking about making UMC TRoW with 5 difficulties, adding the points system and removing the gold carryover (I will increase starting gold appropriately).
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

Help with the difficulty names for the TRoW please. Currently there are:
- Fighter (Easy)
- Commander (Normal)
- Lord (Challenging)

Technically I will insert new difficulties between the existing, however I think that current Challenging is rather Hard. My version:
- Youth (Easy)
- Fighter (???)
- Commander (Normal)
- Lord (Challenging)
- King (Hard)

Any remarks? I don't know how to name a difficulty between Easy and Normal - Medium, Pre-intermediate? Would it be better to rename Normal?
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

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lhybrideur
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by lhybrideur »

Maybe make Beginner Easy Normal

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sergey
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by sergey »

lhybrideur wrote:
October 25th, 2019, 2:35 pm
Maybe make Beginner Easy Normal
I played it on Challenging and I feel that it can be actually named Hard. Not sure if it would be ok to rename Easy to Beginner.
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.

gnombat
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Re: more difficulty levels and max gold limit

Post by gnombat »

In version 1.14 the names of the difficulty levels are always taken from these six values:
  1. Beginner
  2. Easy
  3. Normal
  4. Challenging
  5. Difficult
  6. Nightmare

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