Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

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The_Gnat
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » November 18th, 2018, 10:29 pm

ghype wrote:
November 18th, 2018, 1:12 pm
since multiple umc devs work on this, i am considering to merge all "modified DF" eras into one, so you can choose which version you want to play rather then have them all scattered around the server. currently there are two and soon there will be more once our suggestions are published.
Very good idea!
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 10:57 pm
Also, PR #2664 has been merged, so liminal is now +25% during dawn/dusk and 0% otherwise, rather than -25% during day/night and 0% otherwise. Unit attacks were also decreased to keep them mostly the same as prior to the PR.
Great to hear! :D

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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » November 19th, 2018, 2:10 am

To clarify, Pentarctagon's statement applies to the as-yet-unreleased 1.15.0 - that change almost certainly won't appear in any 1.14.x.
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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by The_Gnat » November 19th, 2018, 2:36 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 2:10 am
To clarify, Pentarctagon's statement applies to the as-yet-unreleased 1.15.0 - that change almost certainly won't appear in any 1.14.x.
Of course, that makes sense because it would not be backward compatible on the MP server than would it?

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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by ghype » November 19th, 2018, 2:37 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 2:10 am
To clarify, Pentarctagon's statement applies to the as-yet-unreleased 1.15.0 - that change almost certainly won't appear in any 1.14.x.
Is yet clear wether there is going to be a 1.14.6 or will 1.15.0 be the next release?
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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » November 19th, 2018, 3:47 am

They're not mutually exclusive – there could be both a 1.14.6 and a 1.15.0 release. I think it's reasonable to expect at least one of them to be out next month, but I'm not in charge of the timing, so... who knows.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » November 19th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Nobun wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 11:11 am
I never liked dunefolks, and the liminal alignment is a very bad idea, imho.
I mean... chaotic, neutral and lawful were the perfect combination of all possible (and balanced) bonus/malus system that works fine in a strategy game based on time of day.
You have (except neutral vs neutral) two turns with bonus, one turn balanced, two turns with malus and another balanced turn. This allows you to plan an attack trying to figure when it is a good time to attack and you can figure when it could be the time to retreat before the malus could be an issue.
This is not the case about liminal. It is not a matter wether is balanced or not, but liminal introduced a bad mechanic even if you consider it balanced.
In addition, liminal's fundamentally imbalanced nature requires stats for the odd faction that uses it to be skewed up or down versus the rest. A damage value of "5" for a neutral, lawful or chaotic unit will generally average out to 5 over the six turn day. But a damage value of 5 averages out to some other number for a liminal unit. Thus liminal units will have deceptively strong or weak looking stats. The only possibly fix is changing the whole game over to an eight turn day (a terrible idea).

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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by ghype » November 19th, 2018, 11:51 pm

Here is a thread that shows some reworked dune sprites, which would make them enjoyable to look at again. I think this is a step in the right direction.
What do you think?

Dunefolk Visual Rework
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » November 20th, 2018, 8:13 am

name wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 6:38 pm
Nobun wrote:
November 17th, 2018, 11:11 am
I never liked dunefolks, and the liminal alignment is a very bad idea, imho.
I mean... chaotic, neutral and lawful were the perfect combination of all possible (and balanced) bonus/malus system that works fine in a strategy game based on time of day.
You have (except neutral vs neutral) two turns with bonus, one turn balanced, two turns with malus and another balanced turn. This allows you to plan an attack trying to figure when it is a good time to attack and you can figure when it could be the time to retreat before the malus could be an issue.
This is not the case about liminal. It is not a matter wether is balanced or not, but liminal introduced a bad mechanic even if you consider it balanced.
In addition, liminal's fundamentally imbalanced nature requires stats for the odd faction that uses it to be skewed up or down versus the rest. A damage value of "5" for a neutral, lawful or chaotic unit will generally average out to 5 over the six turn day. But a damage value of 5 averages out to some other number for a liminal unit. Thus liminal units will have deceptively strong or weak looking stats. The only possibly fix is changing the whole game over to an eight turn day (a terrible idea).
It averages out like that because liminal units have only neutral or positive effects from ToD, so it doesn't really matter how many turns a day ends up being. I'm also not really convinced it's a problem that needs to be solved at all, much less by that drastic of a solution.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by holius » November 20th, 2018, 8:37 am

name wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 6:38 pm

In addition, liminal's fundamentally imbalanced nature requires stats for the odd faction that uses it to be skewed up or down versus the rest. A damage value of "5" for a neutral, lawful or chaotic unit will generally average out to 5 over the six turn day. But a damage value of 5 averages out to some other number for a liminal unit. Thus liminal units will have deceptively strong or weak looking stats. The only possibly fix is changing the whole game over to an eight turn day (a terrible idea).
A damage value of 5 for a TRAIT_FEARLESS_MUSTHAVE chaotic unit does not average out to 5 over the six turn day, yet there are no threads demanding that the WC and ghouls are reworked. Once liminal is a bonus for 2 turns instead of a malus for 4, it will become strictly equivalent in power to those "always fearless" units, so there is really no need for a fix.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » November 20th, 2018, 10:41 pm

ghype wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 11:51 pm
Here is a thread that shows some reworked dune sprites, which would make them enjoyable to look at again. I think this is a step in the right direction.
What do you think?
Great work 8)
name wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 6:38 pm
But a damage value of 5 averages out to some other number for a liminal unit. Thus liminal units will have deceptively strong or weak looking stats. The only possibly fix is changing the whole game over to an eight turn day (a terrible idea).
I recognize the confusion in stats but overall I am fine with the uniqueness of flavor and strategy it adds.
holius wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:37 am
A damage value of 5 for a TRAIT_FEARLESS_MUSTHAVE chaotic unit does not average out to 5 over the six turn day, yet there are no threads demanding that the WC and ghouls are reworked. Once liminal is a bonus for 2 turns instead of a malus for 4, it will become strictly equivalent in power to those "always fearless" units, so there is really no need for a fix.
I agree completely. And even though these units are only specific examples the point is that average damage is not necessary to be reflected by the units stats. For example if you average the Thief's knife (back stab effect) over his turns. A quarter of the time it is double which means that his stats don't avg to the right amount either. Similarly the dunefolk has an alignment based advantage in the stats. But in reality the stats average damage really doesn't mean much to strategy.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » November 21st, 2018, 3:26 pm

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:13 am
It averages out like that because liminal units have only neutral or positive effects from ToD, so it doesn't really matter how many turns a day ends up being. I'm also not really convinced it's a problem that needs to be solved at all, much less by that drastic of a solution.
There is nothing drastic about simply not using liminal alignment.
holius wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:37 am
A damage value of 5 for a TRAIT_FEARLESS_MUSTHAVE chaotic unit does not average out to 5 over the six turn day, yet there are no threads demanding that the WC and ghouls are reworked. Once liminal is a bonus for 2 turns instead of a malus for 4, it will become strictly equivalent in power to those "always fearless" units, so there is really no need for a fix.
Expanding this complexity problem with a whole new mechanic makes the situation worse. That might be okay if it was a great enough mechanic to make up for it, but as Nobun pointed out it turns out to be mediocre in practice. To review, wesnoth already has the following damage modifier categories already:

Damage resistances.
Terrain defenses.
Numerous special abilities that often double damage.
Asymmetrical rounding of up versus rounding down of damage by time of day (with no rounding for neutral units as a further wrinkle).
Random traits for individual unit instances and even whole classes of units.
The effects of local support abilities and terrain effects like leadership, healing and illuminates over time.

The BfW project was built on the concept of KISS (keep it simple) but over the years there has been increasing feature creep of this kind that makes the game mechanics more and more muddy. Do not add to the problem.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » November 21st, 2018, 5:02 pm

name wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 3:26 pm
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:13 am
It averages out like that because liminal units have only neutral or positive effects from ToD, so it doesn't really matter how many turns a day ends up being. I'm also not really convinced it's a problem that needs to be solved at all, much less by that drastic of a solution.
There is nothing drastic about simply not using liminal alignment.
holius wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 8:37 am
A damage value of 5 for a TRAIT_FEARLESS_MUSTHAVE chaotic unit does not average out to 5 over the six turn day, yet there are no threads demanding that the WC and ghouls are reworked. Once liminal is a bonus for 2 turns instead of a malus for 4, it will become strictly equivalent in power to those "always fearless" units, so there is really no need for a fix.
Expanding this complexity problem with a whole new mechanic makes the situation worse. That might be okay if it was a great enough mechanic to make up for it, but as Nobun pointed out it turns out to be mediocre in practice. To review, wesnoth already has the following damage modifier categories already:

Damage resistances.
Terrain defenses.
Numerous special abilities that often double damage.
Asymmetrical rounding of up versus rounding down of damage by time of day (with no rounding for neutral units as a further wrinkle).
Random traits for individual unit instances and even whole classes of units.
The effects of local support abilities and terrain effects like leadership, healing and illuminates over time.

The BfW project was built on the concept of KISS (keep it simple) but over the years there has been increasing feature creep of this kind that makes the game mechanics more and more muddy. Do not add to the problem.
There is, from the sounds of it, some discussion ongoing somewhere else about possible ways to balance the Dunefolk. If one of their suggestions is to remove liminal for balance reasons, then removing it will be considered. It will not be removed because it's slightly more complicated than the other three alignments, however - as others have said as well, it both adds a uniqueness to the faction that also goes along with their theme of being desert people, which I think is a greater benefit.
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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by holius » November 21st, 2018, 8:46 pm

name wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 3:26 pm
To review, wesnoth already has the following damage modifier categories already:

Damage resistances.
Terrain defenses.
Numerous special abilities that often double damage.
Asymmetrical rounding of up versus rounding down of damage by time of day (with no rounding for neutral units as a further wrinkle).
Random traits for individual unit instances and even whole classes of units.
The effects of local support abilities and terrain effects like leadership, healing and illuminates over time.

The BfW project was built on the concept of KISS (keep it simple) but over the years there has been increasing feature creep of this kind that makes the game mechanics more and more muddy. Do not add to the problem.
Can you tell which feature(s) added in the last 13 years modified significantly the Default Era ? You may check the Database Unit for 1.0 vs 14.0 : it already add the 6 factions we have today, with more or less the same mechanisms. So if you think that the MP players can not handle to discover one keyword every 10 years, I suppose the development of BfW should just stop.

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Re: Dunefolk balancing rework ideas - discussion.

Post by Elder2 » November 22nd, 2018, 1:16 am

Generally speaking name is right. I wonder what is his MP nick.

holius, I could name at least 2 that made a huge change and like 2 that made a smaller but still significant change off the top of my head. However that is probably not what name meant and these were just improvements in default balance. Generally adding another faction just because you can do so is not an argument.

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Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by name » November 23rd, 2018, 7:20 am

Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 5:02 pm
If one of their suggestions is to remove liminal for balance reasons, then removing it will be considered. It will not be removed because it's slightly more complicated than the other three alignments, however - as others have said as well, it both adds a uniqueness to the faction[...]
It is not a fun or easily balanced design for the reasons outlined by Nobun above. On top of that it is unnecessarily complicating. The additional complexity might not be a bad thing if a new mechanic delivered game play value enough to offset said complexity. That just is not the case with liminal.

Its uniqueness is likely due to it being a clearly inferior choice to the other three alignments given that there are only three largely even ways to divide a six turn day. It was not a stroke of genius to realize you could attempt to squeeze one last alignment out of the system by putting a weird emphasis on twilight. Rather it seems like an attempt to make the faction appear unique at face value by giving it yet one more alignment rather than relying on the worthwhile uniqueness that can be achieved through interesting unit design choices that exploit the mechanics already available.
Pentarctagon wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 5:02 pm
that also goes along with their theme of being desert people, which I think is a greater benefit.
It maybe goes along with a theme of being misinformed about their own theme. That is, I suspect there is some serious confusion here between yearly temperature range and daily temperature range in the desert biome. A big 0 to 40 C (32 to 104 F) swing might happen over the course of a year, but a daily shift is a much more modest 16 C (28 F).

In other words, if it is hot during the day it will be pleasant late at night and you would be chaotic. If it is cold during the night then it will be pleasant during the day and you would be lawful. If it is between, the temperature is moderate at any time of day.

holius wrote:
November 21st, 2018, 8:46 pm
So if you think that the MP players can not handle to discover one keyword every 10 years, I suppose the development of BfW should just stop.
I think you are missing the point that the game already has quite enough mechanical complexity to confuse new players and surprise intermediate ones. Any further increase in the game's opaqueness needs to be justified by an equal value contribution in game play rather than a mere gimmick like liminal is.

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