The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

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Doc Paterson
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The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 21st, 2009, 1:43 pm

Okay, the old MMRD thread was ancient and outdated beyond all reason, so, for the good of the nation, I'm starting this new thread. I think that it will better reflect the balancing knowledge that I/we've accumulated over these last 5 or so years, and won't require newer players to sift through a heap of old and mostly irrelevant discussions. Our understanding of map balance was somewhat primitive in the days when the original MMRD thread began, and I think I'd be doing a disservice to our less experienced players by letting that old thread (which was in a horrible state of disrepair) sit towards the top of this forum. For the sentimental - don't worry, the old thread still exists. I'm unstickying it though, and putting this one in its place.

* * * * * * * * * *

That said-

I'm going to remind people about the core purposes of this thread, which are the same as they always have been:

1. For me and my assistants to keep all of you updated on changes to the multiplayer maps.

2. For everyone to discuss balancing concerns, and/or draft modifications for any of the multiplayer maps.



* * * * * * * * * *

Here's what I need from anyone who thinks I should make a change to an MP map:

1. REPLAYS (preferably more than one) demonstrating what you're talking about. Replays that in any way involve the pwnage of new or weak players will be considered poor evidence. ;)

If you're presenting a potential player-side issue, give me a match with you as player one, and a match with you as player two. If you're presenting a potential factional-on-x-map issue, I'd like a replay of you playing as that faction, and playing against that faction.

2. A detailed description of your case. Something like "Drakes are unbeatable here..." is not particularly useful. :P

I'd also encourage anyone making a case for unbalance to also give recommendations for ways that their perceived problems could be addressed. (Ideas are always welcome, even if they are more oriented towards aesthetic and fun-factor than balance.)

* * * * * * * * * *
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 21st, 2009, 1:55 pm

Seems there's been some talk among some ladder players that Howling Ghost Badlands is too tough as player two.

I'm looking it over regardless, but if anyone wants to make a case, please go right ahead.

One of the core concepts there was to have the center function as a rotary, with players moving around it instead of getting pushed completely back. This was the idea behind the small 3-hex keeps, that a leader could move clockwise or counterclockwise around that center, recruiting at the various "stops" as they did so. I can imagine this getting abusive though if certain P1 factions were to successfully block both options. I might ultimately have to just do away with these two keeps (for anyone who doesn't know which I mean, they're the two with the wooden fort look). Slight movements of a few villages might also be something to think about.
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Caphriel
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Caphriel » August 21st, 2009, 3:15 pm

I can't provide a replay at the moment (I can try to find one later if you want) but another player and I discussed this at length over a game. Particularly, he noted that a Northerner as player 1 can reach the villages on the left that should be player 2's about the same time P2 reaches them, which is also nightfall. By recruiting more units at the 3-hex castle on the left and bringing his leader along, P1 can reasonably capture 2-3 villages and push the enemy leader back to their large stone castle, without unduly weakening their right flank.

I haven't played the map much, but in the games I have watched, I have noticed that in many factional matchups, P1 beats P2 to the leftmost village along the center line. The only times it doesn't seem to be a problem is when P1 is Lawful and P2 is Chaotic, thus making it unsafe for P1 to advance that far.

In general, that village seems to be difficult for P2 to hold. The natural flow seems to be for players to move to the smaller wooden castle, which is away from that village for P2. Additionally, P1 can sometimes block P2 from getting to the keep at the larger wooden castle on the left. Anyway, generally the players end up attacking on opposite flanks (which I think is awesome compared to massive buildups on one side and light skirmishing on the other), but P1 has an advantage because his defense is more prepared and his attack hits before the enemy defense is prepared. I rarely see games that don't have a rapid engagement.

That's my two cents :)

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 21st, 2009, 4:07 pm

Thanks for the well-articulated response, Caphriel. As for this:
Caphriel wrote:I haven't played the map much, but in the games I have watched, I have noticed that in many factional matchups, P1 beats P2 to the leftmost village along the center line.
That's definitely sloppiness on P2's part, because there certainly are no guaranteed village steals. The issue is whether or not P2 can be unfairly pressured in that region, and whether or not the guessing game of "should I recruit x amount of scouts to make sure his scouts don't steal my villages.." is too nasty. There's a good chance that it is indeed too nasty.

Replays would still be helpful, because while I've played the map a lot, I've not done so too recently (with my current internet limitations), and might not have experienced developing abuses.


The most likely outcome here is that I'll move those villages a very small bit, and do away with the small, wooden keeps.

I'd appreciate more discussion/feedback from you guys on this, and ideally, some replays.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Soliton » August 21st, 2009, 8:16 pm

"If gameplay requires it, they can be made to live on Venus." -- scott

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by mabeenot » August 21st, 2009, 9:14 pm

Doc Paterson wrote:(Ideas are always welcome, even if they are more oriented towards aesthetic and fun-factor than balance.)
On the aesthetic side, I like the use of burned villages in HGB to give the feeling that this area has seen some warfare in the past. However, the first time I played HGB I didn't know for sure whether the big tent in the corners and sides of the map were wreckage or usable villages. I ended up wasting time sending a scout to one of them.

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by nani » August 22nd, 2009, 11:59 am

  • Matter: CotB western swamp village position.
  • Proposal (mainly by Dauntless but I'd say I might agree): moving it from 11,11 to 11,10 -> see screen.
  • General Reason: Slightly too harsh p1-disadvantage ... here for example, in match-up Elves vs Drakes.
  • Problem: a) Arrangement of the nearby high-defense-hex block. b) ...and of course the question whether there can be perfect evidence. :wink:
Quick reviews of attached replays:
  1. Elves offer the village and never get it back.
  2. Elves defend the village, but after all lose the east.
    (I postet the working 1st part of the match, complete one is corrupted due to reload)
  3. Elves defend the village and win by getting suitable hits in general (->sorceress).
Opinions welcome.
best regards, nani

p.s.:
  • Priority for it to be done is low in comparison to the HGB issue. :)
  • Global RNG was ok in every match here iirc.
Attachments
screen.jpg
screen.jpg (43.23 KiB) Viewed 9732 times
CotB_-_Elves_vs_Drakes_-_nani_vs_plk2.gz
Replay #3: me(Elves) vs plk2(Drakes)
(26.44 KiB) Downloaded 480 times
CotB_-_Elves_vs_Drakes_-_Dauntless_vs_nani.gz
Replay #2: Dauntless(Elves) vs me(Drakes)
(30.67 KiB) Downloaded 491 times
CotB_-_Elves_vs_Drakes_-_Dauntless_vs_leocrotta.gz
Replay #1: Dauntless(Elves) vs me(Drakes)
(32.98 KiB) Downloaded 502 times

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 22nd, 2009, 6:19 pm

Soliton wrote:http://www.wesnoth.org/replays/1.6/2009 ... (11433).gz (first game I played on that map)
Ha, this almost seems like evidence for it being balanced as it is. :)

Nice win, Mr. Player 2.

Regardless, I've made a few changes that will be committed in the near future. I think the middle wooden keeps are just too dangerous. (I've cut them, and done a few other very small things.)
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 22nd, 2009, 6:26 pm

mabeenot wrote:
Doc Paterson wrote:(Ideas are always welcome, even if they are more oriented towards aesthetic and fun-factor than balance.)
On the aesthetic side, I like the use of burned villages in HGB to give the feeling that this area has seen some warfare in the past. However, the first time I played HGB I didn't know for sure whether the big tent in the corners and sides of the map were wreckage or usable villages. I ended up wasting time sending a scout to one of them.
Well - That's a mistake someone doesn't make twice. All part of the training process, learning what is and is not a village. ;)
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Killer595 » August 22nd, 2009, 6:46 pm

hey, i just made a post on HGB, but i'll repost it here:

whenever i go into a ladder game that's hosted on HGB it feels like a set-up, and usually it is. assuming both players are of equal or similar skill level, and have equal or similar luck, player 1 will most likely win. if these criteria are met and player 1 is chaotic, player 1 *will* win.

i was playing nelson today, and as usual, expecting a turn 4 evening-rush of ridiculous proportions. it turned out the match was his orcs vs my drakes. after turn 5, i called foul and said there is no way drakes can win this match-up as side 2. he bet me he could win, so we swapped sides and i easily won two games with orcs. the game was more or less decided by turn 5, though we fought on until there was absolute certainty. in game 4, we switched again (i forgot to save this one, but it's uploaded on the ladder) and he beat me, though i had a chance to kill his hero (which i did not take).

then i played a game vs grrr, and we switched it up more - i was p1 drakes, he was p2 orcs. he had a good start, but i came back hard. another p1 win.

so, after playing 5 games, there was not a single p2 win. so i'm going to jump to a major conclusion and say p2 can't win in any match-up if both players are of similar skill and luck. if anyone would like to challenge me on this, message me in-game, but you will take the p2 seat.

games posted here:
http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 49#p378449
if a good move is made for bad reasons, is it still a good move?

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 23rd, 2009, 2:49 pm

Cackfiend wrote: no but seriously i have heard very bad things about this map for p2

but another problem with your tests is the matchup drake vs orcs...

a good orc rush will beat drakes almost every time when the orc is P1 and the maps are close like most 1v1 maps are

ive tested the matchup probably about 12 times in the past 2 weeks and its simply too unbalanced for drakes when P1 is orcs... now if only random time of day was used in all ladder games we wouldnt have such a problem
I'm mostly with you on the issue of grunt-rushes being nasty for Drakes, but I cannot do random TOD for all maps....It was a mess during the time period that we tried that- largely because Northerners and or UD do need to have that hard push at first night to avoid getting blown away at day. What I can do is adjust starting TOD on a case-by-case basis. HGB for example, is ultimately going to be starting on second watch, to take a little pressure off of non-chaotic defenders. I'm also probably going to tweak the situation a little by having P2 start with the village behind their starting keep already being flagged, so that they'll have an extra unit at their front. This technique may be useful on other maps as well - We'll see.

* * * * * * * * * *

On that other subject, Nani: After giving that COTB issue much thought, I've done some small changes there as well. That whole region will actually be a bit different in the next update.

I'll try to post some of these within a day or two.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Rigor » August 23rd, 2009, 10:01 pm

Doc Paterson wrote:HGB for example, is ultimately going to be starting on second watch, to take a little pressure off of non-chaotic defenders.
great idea but doesnt solve the situation for elf rushers.

about the first vill being flagged: would be really unusual for me but maybe thats the key to balance that map.

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Doc Paterson » August 24th, 2009, 1:34 pm

Rigor wrote:
Doc Paterson wrote:HGB for example, is ultimately going to be starting on second watch, to take a little pressure off of non-chaotic defenders.
great idea but doesnt solve the situation for elf rushers.

about the first vill being flagged: would be really unusual for me but maybe thats the key to balance that map.
That was actually a brain glitch from me, above - I've changed the starting TOD to afternoon, not second watch. Chaotics have a shorter window for their first attack. As for the elf rush, I think you're forgetting some of the other things I mentioned. Here's a list-

1. P2 starts with their back village flagged, allowing them to have an extra unit at the main front, if P1 rushes. (There's a great chance that I will give P2 a pre-flagged village on most or all 1v1s. I think it's a nice, subtle, and certainly not overpowering compensation for going second. Two might even be appropriate on some. If you want to speak on this, please do.)

2. The little wooden central (3-hex) keeps are gone. A rushing leader will no longer be able to keep in such close range for an extended period of time, as it's a much longer trip back. I've made other, minor terrain changes as well.

3. Starting TOD changed to afternoon.
I will not tell you my corner / where threads don't get locked because of mostly no reason /
because I don't want your hostile disease / to spread all over the world.
I prefer that corner to remain hidden /
without your noses.
-Nosebane, Sorcerer Supreme

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Rigor » August 24th, 2009, 3:34 pm

i did not forget i just took this one and only point into consideration. ur ideas about not taking the village cuz its flagged already seems to be a good start.

HGB was interesting and dynamic because of the central keeps. not talking about balance now. sometimes on maps which are like mirrors, for example hamlets, its hard to play seriously there with certain players who give u the creeps with their defensive (u attack me first) behaviour.

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Re: The Modern Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

Post by Caphriel » August 24th, 2009, 3:46 pm

On some maps, I think starting with a pre-flagged village would make me prefer player 2's position if I wanted to try early aggression. The combination of 3 extra gold early on (possibly 6 if the village is one normally out of easy reach) plus not having to flag that village could under some circumstances, depending on faction, map, and which village is flagged, actually put two extra units at the front.

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