The project to save the Age of Heroes

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

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Should the Age of Heroes have lots of level 1 units?

Yes, all the level 1 units
12
50%
No, none of the level 1 units
4
17%
Only a few level 1 units for balances
8
33%
 
Total votes : 24

Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 18th, 2017, 9:04 am

Hello. I will uploaded the newest version of the balanced Age of Heroes to the add-on server it is called 'The Age of Heroes Rebalanced' (it should be up in 15 minutes).

Notes
-The knalgans have the footpad as the cheap scout instead of the gryphon rider, it might prove because of the lack of a water unit that it needs to be changed.
-The knalgans also have pathfinder now, but i am not sure if it is totally balanced (i don't think it is)
-The khalifate, and knalgans have no water unit
-The khalifate do not have the falcon as a cheap scout instead the rami is the scout (the falcon is good but doesn't pass level 1 so doesn't fit in the AOH)
-The humans do not have the horseman but instead the cavalryman as a cheap scout. This unfortunately means they cannot get the lancer
-The loyalist general's hp has been increased to 65
-The Saurian Skirmisher is not included for the drakes as but it might prove to be needed as a balance
-The northerners don't have the pillager which is a fire unit so they might get it instead of the troll rocklobber
-The undead shadow might need to be removed for balance
-The elves level 2 units cost a little more than everyone else's. I think they might need some revising
-The elves have been given the merman netcaster as their water unit because they are more in need of an impact unit


These are all things i have noticed that could pose potential problems or resolutions i have created to potential problems.


Please post any comments or feedback that you have!

EDIT: it has been uploaded now

@vyncyn - i have made the change you suggest with the dragoon, and i agree about leaders
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Duthlet » January 20th, 2017, 3:49 pm

Hi, it's nice to see quite a few people putting thought into this project.

Some random thoughts about the era:
To decide on the final recruit lists you should imho first define the purpose of the era. Why should people play this era rather than default era? People wrote in this thread, they like to have direct access to the awesome lvl2 units. This indicates they wish to be able to recruit all lvl2 units. To me personally it would seem weird if there was a lvl2 (from the default era unit tree) completely unavailabele in this era, i.e. neither the lvl2 unit nor the lvl1 unit it levels from were recruitable. Additionally, I'd need to face some lvl1 units to perceive the lvl2 units as awesome. To me lvl2 units fighting lvl2 units is hardly different from lvl1 units fighting lvl1 units. All numbers in the unit stats are bigger making healing from villages and poison less important, but that's about it. (If you don't change the gold settings you also have considerably less units on the field but, you should probably adjust the gold settings for balancing anyway.)

About balancing:
The_Gnat wrote:the goal of this project was to attempt to create a balanced era (with level 2 units) that in balanced maps and two teams would have a fair battle.

- Do you mean two teams here (1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3 etc.) or two sides (only 1vs1)? Note that each setting has its own issues that need to be balanced; balancing for several of them gets increasingly difficult.
- There are no "balanced maps". Only the combination of era, map and map settings can be balanced.
- For a fair battle you also need players of similar "playing strength" (can you say it like that in english?). You might have a faction, that in order to be as strong as it can be requires difficult to learn strategies, and another faction , that can be played optimally with a straightforward approach. In that case you have to decide if you want to balance for beginners or for experts (or exactly for which skill level in between).

The default era has been balanced over many years, with focus on 2vs2 iirc. As a result, in later stages 1vs1s were balanced mostly by changing the maps. It also was supposed to be balanced for the best players. The only way to achieve this, is to have the best players play with each other over and over again.
So I think if this era should be balanced for a certain group of people it is mandatory that these people play a lot of games of this era with each other.

My personal estimate for balance of lvl1 units vs lvl2 units:
I assume if this era is to be included in mainline it will use the same units as the default era and the campains. Therefore, I think the only thing that can reasonably be changed is the cost of lvl2 units, but imho even this should be done as little as possible. (I don't know a lot about balancing campaings and guess most unit cost changes can be corrected there quite easily by changing the gold of AI sides. Maybe someone who knows more about that can tell how big the changes can be there). I think the best way to balance lvl1 units vs lvl2 units are the gold settings. (Thinking of this it might be nice, but probably not easy to implement, to have different map settings for different eras. The map settings only try to balance the map for one expected era anyway.) I recommend to change the upkeep to 2 per village and increase the starting gold considerably (otherwise lvl1s might be too strong).
Gold per village can ofc also be increased, maybe to 3, but I'm not sure how important that is.

PS: My opinion on the design of the era is neglectable, as I don't consider myself to be part of the target group for this era. My opinion on balancing should be taken with a grain of salt, as I never actively balanced an era myself.

PPS: If it is beneficial for the progress of this era, I'll try to be available for some games.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Bitron » January 20th, 2017, 4:31 pm

I serioulsy thing it would be best to cut all the lvl 1 units out. I think the Age of Heroes is not about having access to lvl 2 units, but to play with them. Someone noticed, that it would be good to have some lvl 1 units für village grabbing. Well, when no faction has those lvl 1 units, it is fair again, right?
Also I dont think that any lvl 2 unit should be missing.

Im not sure if anyone else already said it but even if you change just the cost of the lvl 2 units, every campaign involving lvl2 recruitement will be affected.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 20th, 2017, 11:39 pm

Bitron wrote:I serioulsy thing it would be best to cut all the lvl 1 units out. I think the Age of Heroes is not about having access to lvl 2 units, but to play with them. Someone noticed, that it would be good to have some lvl 1 units für village grabbing. Well, when no faction has those lvl 1 units, it is fair again, right?
Also I dont think that any lvl 2 unit should be missing.


I agree with you that the age of heroes is about playing with level 2 units, However the point of this project is Balancing the Age of Heroes. We already have Age of Heroes which has all the level 2 units, but it is quite unbalanced.

Birtron wrote:Im not sure if anyone else already said it but even if you change just the cost of the lvl 2 units, every campaign involving lvl2 recruitement will be affected.


Hopefully nothing i would have to balance would make a significant enough change to effect every campaign, and thank you for posting your comments everyone's feedback is appreciated.


Duthlet wrote:Some random thoughts about the era:
To decide on the final recruit lists you should imho first define the purpose of the era. Why should people play this era rather than default era? People wrote in this thread, they like to have direct access to the awesome lvl2 units. This indicates they wish to be able to recruit all lvl2 units. To me personally it would seem weird if there was a lvl2 (from the default era unit tree) completely unavailabele in this era, i.e. neither the lvl2 unit nor the lvl1 unit it levels from were recruitable. Additionally, I'd need to face some lvl1 units to perceive the lvl2 units as awesome. To me lvl2 units fighting lvl2 units is hardly different from lvl1 units fighting lvl1 units. All numbers in the unit stats are bigger making healing from villages and poison less important, but that's about it. (If you don't change the gold settings you also have considerably less units on the field but, you should probably adjust the gold settings for balancing anyway.)


I agree, however in order not to A. over complicate the era B. make the era impossible to balance and C. drown out the level 2 units, i have currently only included 3 or 4 level 1 units in each faction.

Duthlet wrote:- Do you mean two teams here (1vs1, 2vs2, 3vs3 etc.) or two sides (only 1vs1)? Note that each setting has its own issues that need to be balanced; balancing for several of them gets increasingly difficult.
- There are no "balanced maps". Only the combination of era, map and map settings can be balanced.
- For a fair battle you also need players of similar "playing strength" (can you say it like that in english?). You might have a faction, that in order to be as strong as it can be requires difficult to learn strategies, and another faction , that can be played optimally with a straightforward approach. In that case you have to decide if you want to balance for beginners or for experts (or exactly for which skill level in between).


All your points are true and because of that i will restate my goal: "the goal of this project is to attempt to create a MORE balanced era (with level 2 units) that is able to fulfill the purpose of the AoH, showcasing many awesome wesnoth units. While at the same time being playable because it is mostly balanced for 1vs1 and 2vs2 games." I do not have any delusions that this era will ever fully be balanced for all maps and all factions versing each other in any combination, but i would like to attempt to balance it for combinations of 1vs1 games no matter what factions are playing and many combinations of 2vs2 games.


Duthlet wrote:The only way to achieve this, is to have the best players play with each other over and over again. So I think if this era should be balanced for a certain group of people it is mandatory that these people play a lot of games of this era with each other.


I agree however being a newer member of the wesnoth community i neither fit that criteria nor know players who do, so i unfortunately can not help with this.

Duthlet wrote:I assume if this era is to be included in mainline it will use the same units as the default era and the campains. Therefore, I think the only thing that can reasonably be changed is the cost of lvl2 units, but imho even this should be done as little as possible.


Definitely, it is my goal to change as little as possible, currently i have 1. reduced the cost of the Elvish Marksman slightly and 2. increased the HP of the General. I unfortunately anticipate that the second change may cause campaign issues and for that reason may remove the General from leader list of the AoH.

Duthlet wrote:(I don't know a lot about balancing campaings and guess most unit cost changes can be corrected there quite easily by changing the gold of AI sides. Maybe someone who knows more about that can tell how big the changes can be there). I think the best way to balance lvl1 units vs lvl2 units are the gold settings. (Thinking of this it might be nice, but probably not easy to implement, to have different map settings for different eras. The map settings only try to balance the map for one expected era anyway.) I recommend to change the upkeep to 2 per village and increase the starting gold considerably (otherwise lvl1s might be too strong).
Gold per village can ofc also be increased, maybe to 3, but I'm not sure how important that is.


As far as maps go i do not know what exactly can/should be done to balance them for AoH, but i agree that AoH games must have at least 2x or 3x the gold and village income.

Duthlet wrote:PS: My opinion on the design of the era is neglectable, as I don't consider myself to be part of the target group for this era. My opinion on balancing should be taken with a grain of salt, as I never actively balanced an era myself.


No one opinion is neglect-able and i appreciate you taking the time to post feedback.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby zookeeper » January 21st, 2017, 12:44 am

Whether changes to lvl2 are a concern for mainline campaigns depends on how big those changes are. If an enemy leader has 300 gold with which to recruit units, and one of their recruits now costs 28 instead of 32 gold then that's very unlikely to make a meaningful difference anywhere. Same if some attack does 1 point more or less damage, or hitpoints change by +-5%.

Keeping a separate list of all stats changes would be good, and when doing that please include the original value too, so one can actually tell how big the change is.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 21st, 2017, 3:28 am

zookeeper wrote:Whether changes to lvl2 are a concern for mainline campaigns depends on how big those changes are. If an enemy leader has 300 gold with which to recruit units, and one of their recruits now costs 28 instead of 32 gold then that's very unlikely to make a meaningful difference anywhere. Same if some attack does 1 point more or less damage, or hitpoints change by +-5%.

Keeping a separate list of all stats changes would be good, and when doing that please include the original value too, so one can actually tell how big the change is.


Yes, the reason i said that changing the General might not be good is because i have increased its hp by 15.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Vyncyn » January 21st, 2017, 9:08 am

I haven't done any extensive testing yet but I've tried to play enough games to have played as every faction and against every faction (though not in every possible pairing).
I played 1vs1 on Hamlets; 200 starting gold; when playing against AI I gave him +6g income (so 2g income for me 8g in total for AI); when playing pvp I gave everyone +2g income; 70%exp, fog of war and normal gold per village (might not have been the best option for AoH)

Here are some things I noticed:
When First playing Rebels vs Drakes (didn't know AI had drakes) I recruited some Heroes and a Wose and they pretty much stomped me (only time I lost in all those games). In the next game (rebels vs drakes again, this time I knew Ai had drakes) I only recruited Marksmen and Sorceresses and easily won. Then I playes Rebels vs Drakes pvp, recruited Marksmen and Sorceresses and again easily won. Though this propably needs more testing, I think Rebels are generally too strong against Drakes. Even the Arbiter/Trasher fall too quickly against them.
Loyalist seem relatively balanced, but I still wish they had either pikeman or javelineer.
Khalifate should have elder falcon instead of their current lvl1 scout.


Bitron wrote:Someone noticed, that it would be good to have some lvl 1 units für village grabbing. Well, when no faction has those lvl 1 units, it is fair again, right?

Problem is with undeads: When they do not have bats they are missing a lot of their scouting ability; When they do have bats, but every other faction has only lvl2 scouts the undeads will have a huge advantage at village grabbing.
Similar problem with soulless and goblin impaler, as I think they are important to undead/northerners, but give them an unfair advantage when the other factions do not have access to some cheaper units.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 21st, 2017, 10:57 pm

Vyncyn wrote:I only recruited Marksmen and Sorceresses and easily won. Then I playes Rebels vs Drakes pvp, recruited Marksmen and Sorceresses and again easily won. Though this propably needs more testing, I think Rebels are generally too strong against Drakes. Even the Arbiter/Trasher fall too quickly against them.


Thank you this is very helpful, this is what we need to do!

The marksman and sorceress are both strong against drakes because they A. the sorceress is +30% damage against drakes, B. both units have a cth ability making the drakes good defenses useless.

Option to balance:

1. We can add the saurian skirmisher (lvl 1 skirmisher) but that is more likely to make it better against other teams, and not better against the elves.

2. We can decrease the cost of the Fire Drake by 3 or 4 gold, this would allow the Fire Drake (the primary ranged unit of the drakes) to be bought more, thereby retaliating with more damage when the elves attack the drakes

What do you think of these ideas (every ones feedback is welcome)

Vyncyn wrote:Loyalist seem relatively balanced, but I still wish they had either pikeman or javelineer.


Ok, just for testing i have replaced the swordsman with the pikeman in the newest version. I can change this back if necessary but the loyalists have the Duelist and Lieutenant who both have blade weapons.

Vyncyn wrote:Khalifate should have elder falcon instead of their current lvl1 scout.


The only reason i have not added the Elder Falcon instead is because then you can not get the Saree (horse archer), but i will make that change.


Problem is with undeads: When they do not have bats they are missing a lot of their scouting ability; When they do have bats, but every other faction has only lvl2 scouts the undeads will have a huge advantage at village grabbing.
Similar problem with soulless and goblin impaler, as I think they are important to undead/northerners, but give them an unfair advantage when the other factions do not have access to some cheaper units.


Yes i agree and will not be removing the level 1 units currently in each era unless further evidence is supplied that shows that it is not needed for balancing.

(note: i will upload a new version once i have an idea how to balance the Elves vs. Drakes)
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Samonella » January 22nd, 2017, 2:30 am

Hey, I just played a couple games with the new Age of Heroes. I'm certainly no multiplayer expert, but here are my two cents about the whole thing.

If you're trying to make the era balanced, it seems like the logical thing to do is mirror it as closely to the default era as you can. Just take the level two that most closely represents each level one, and tweak cost, xp, etc to balance it out. To illustrate my point, take the drakes vs rebels you were just discussing. In the default era, the rebels don't have any powerful arcane attacks (like the sorceress) so it should be no surprise that adding one skews the match-up. There are many other examples of units that have no equivalent in the default era (lieutenant, dwarvish pathfinder, rocklobber...) Not to mention that there's no telling what effects a mix of level 1s and 2s will have.

Basically, you're making whole new factions from scratch. I'm not saying it's impossible to do so and make it balanced, but I think it will be very hard. And it will be even harder to get enough play-testing for this project to get legitimatized. Making a purely level-2 version of the default era would be a much more realistic goal, or at least a more realistic first step.

Anyway, good luck, whatever you decide to do. Oh, and btw the add-on description says "two" where I think you meant "too."
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 22nd, 2017, 2:45 am

Samonella wrote:Basically, you're making whole new factions from scratch. I'm not saying it's impossible to do so and make it balanced, but I think it will be very hard. And it will be even harder to get enough play-testing for this project to get legitimatized. Making a purely level-2 version of the default era would be a much more realistic goal, or at least a more realistic first step.


Thank you for commenting! Originally that was my plan and i will continue consider whether that may be the best path but here are the reasons i am currently not trying to do that:

1. The point of the age of heroes is awesome heroes and a mirror of the default era would leave out many awesome units that people want to play with. (unfortunately i most likely will have to leave out some units but preferably as few as possible)

2. The contrast between level 1 and level 2 units emphasizes the awesomeness of the level 2 and having level 1 units in the era (i believe) makes it better because it allows for many more strategies to be player (accommodating playing styles of more people)

3. I want to have enough units to fulfill all the different roles that represent each faction, for example leadership, healer, etc

Samonella wrote:Anyway, good luck, whatever you decide to do. Oh, and btw the add-on description says "two" where I think you meant "too."


Thanks :mrgreen:


@everybody: Samonella has a good point though perhaps (not ideal but an alternative idea). Another idea for balancing Drakes vs. Elves: instead of having the sorceress on the elvish recruit list we add the red mage instead. The default era has the mage which deals fire damage, this would still fulfill the role of 'powerful ranged unit with mage ability' but it would not be so effective against the drakes. What are your thoughts?
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Vyncyn » January 22nd, 2017, 8:22 am

The_Gnat wrote:@everybody: Samonella has a good point though perhaps (not ideal but an alternative idea). Another idea for balancing Drakes vs. Elves: instead of having the sorceress on the elvish recruit list we add the red mage instead. The default era has the mage which deals fire damage, this would still fulfill the role of 'powerful ranged unit with mage ability' but it would not be so effective against the drakes. What are your thoughts?


Personally I'd prefer the sorceress, but Samonella has some good points. If you want a balanced era without changing the units too much you'll have kick to some units out.
I wouldn't go that far as to only have 1 advancement represent though. Here are my thoughts about some units:

Sorceress: Will have to go. Replacing it with the Red Mage is the easiest way to balance Rebels vs Drakes.
Dwarvish Pathfinder: Was just an idea if the knalgans are too weak, which I don't think is the case. Should be removed.
Rocklobber: Could go or stay. Haven't tested it that much, but to me he doesn't change balance much.
White Mage (loyalists): He is strong against undeads and Drakes, but if you remove him the loyalists won't have access to healing at
all. If possible keep him and the Red Mage.
Lieutenant: While he isn't represented in default, I think he has his place in AoH (especially if you don't feature the swordsman). He
isn't strong enough to unbalance the faction, but can still add some variety.
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » January 22nd, 2017, 9:19 pm

@ Vyncyn, i agree with all your suggestions and will make changes and reupload the add-on. I do not think i will remove the rocklobber, because the northerners have a deficit of ranged unit anyway. Thank you!
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » February 21st, 2017, 3:16 am

First of all here https://units.wesnoth.org/1.12/TheLegen ... eroes.html is the link to the unit tree on the database (you can tell who is the recruits because they are the lowest level shown for each tree, basically if you see a level 1 unit it can be recruited, if you see a lvl 2 unit, it can be recruited)

Also the khalifate are having a problem against the northerers, particularily the trolls which cost 6 less than most khalifates, and with the rocklobber they also have ranged attacks. Does anyone have any thoughts? I tried overwhelming the trolls with scout but the cost too much or hit too little. ..

Maybe I am just bad at playing ;)
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby The_Gnat » April 3rd, 2017, 8:44 pm

I prefer not posting too many times in a row but I was wondering if it would be a good idea to have the slayer advance to the nightblade in this era? The reason I ask is: since it is an era of high level units and the nightblade has been mainlined it might be a good idea. Alternatively I believe the reason the nightblade wasnt add fully to mainline is because it is quite powerful, would it be too powerful in this era to give orcs the possiblility of a 3rd lvl assassin?
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Re: The project to save the Age of Heroes

Postby Deusite » July 3rd, 2017, 7:06 pm

Vyncyn wrote:
The_Gnat wrote:White Mage (loyalists): He is strong against undeads and Drakes, but if you remove him the loyalists won't have access to healing at
all. If possible keep him and the Red Mage.


I doubt that it's possible to keep the White Mage and balance it against Drakes. White Mages are very strong against Drakes (weak to arcane) and Saurians (weak to magical). His major weakness is low HP but backed up by Pikeman, who are also strong against Drakes, he will be untouchable. Drakes already have to play carefully to counter a heavy Spearman recruit. Pikeman + White Mage has no counter imo.

Generally I would be wary about units that introduce new specials, attack types and change the tactics that can be used. The bandit probably shouldn't be added to make up numbers as he is too effective against skeletons. IIRC this is why the Footpad was nerfed. Drake Thrasher could be an issue for the same reason, since they don't have a frontline unit with impact in Default. If you include lvl 1 and lvl 2 scouts elsewhere I don't see why not to include the lvl 1 Gryphon Rider to make up the loss. Shadows and Goblin Pillagers also stand out as needing testing. Maybe leaders + lvl 1 heavy recruits as well.

The Elvish Archer upgrades need careful considering imo. The Marksman upgrade would be a significant change when playing against factions that rely on high terrain defence, especially Knalgans. Rebels do have Mages in default but they are more fragile. The Ranger's ambush I think would be easier to balance as Rebels already have Woses.
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