Default+Dunefolk era balance

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

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

Post Reply
User avatar
The_Gnat
Posts: 1537
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » April 9th, 2018, 4:16 am

Perhaps the reason the dune folk loose so much as AI is because they are a harder faction to play. Statistically they are not unbalanced but their unique set up requires abnormal strategies which the AI cannot preform.

Pentaractogon has highlighted one key issue which is the mix of lawful and liminal units which requires a unique strategy to manage. I have not played extensively as Dune folk but I would suppose that because of this combined with the liminal who struggle at most times would make coordinating attacks at certain day times very crucial. And this is one of the Al's weak areas making them worse at Dune Folk.

At the same time however I would not neglect the AI results because it does point out the key areas that need play testing which can save time.

User avatar
Elder2
Posts: 353
Joined: July 11th, 2015, 2:13 pm

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Elder2 » April 9th, 2018, 1:46 pm

I have not seen any dunefolk ai vs ai battle but my best guess is that because dunefolk has fast, expensive and rather low damage dealing units it rushes its units forward and gets slaughtered because the defending ai has advantage.

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 3517
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » April 12th, 2018, 8:17 am

A thought I had regarding Liminal - what about splitting it into two separate sets of ToD bonuses/maluses? So the current Liminal would be kept the same, which would leave anything currently using it unaffected, and instead the Dunefolk would use:
  • Dawn Liminal — +25% for Second Watch, Dawn, Morning; -25% for Afternoon, Dusk, First Watch
  • Dusk Liminal — -25% for Second Watch, Dawn, Morning; +25% for Afternoon, Dusk, First Watch
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
The_Gnat
Posts: 1537
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » April 12th, 2018, 9:03 am

While i would support the idea of this to improve strategy and game play i believe it would further over complicate the liminal faction. Lawful and chaotic are simple, neutral even simpler. If this change were made no new players would have any idea what was happening with their units, let alone be able to plan and use them well.

However, if we are talking about changes would it be worth considering reducing the units stats and then instead giving the LIMINAL a BONUS at DUSK and DAWN and no change at night? That would not actually effect the gameplay in any way but would make their stats more obviously readable.

Alternatively an idea more inline with balancing the Dunefolk: we could make it so that ALL the Dunefolk units are LIMINAL. This would avoid some confusion and also simplify playing the faction. This in turn would make it so that the faction was easier to strategize because all the units are able to fight at onece. Of course it would also create disadvantages and so would need stat changes and may require additional testing...

But since we have to do testing anyway because of the lack of balance, if we are going to make a large change we should do so before hand.

User avatar
skeptical_troll
Posts: 406
Joined: August 31st, 2015, 11:06 pm

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by skeptical_troll » April 12th, 2018, 11:43 am

I personally think that the liminal alignment should stay as is, i.e. a very simple and understandable function of the lawful bonus ( - abs() ). Making it change between TOD with same lawful bonus or implementing it with a different 0-level would just add a layer of opacity.

My take on the usage of the liminal units is that they are not damage dealers anyway, so one shouldn't plan an attack based on their alignment. The dunefolk heavy hitters are the Soldier, the Burner and the Piercer. The alignment of the healer is quite irrelevant, and the Rider is mainly a scout. I think the main point of discussion should be the usage of the Rover. Under many points of view, it is an extremely useful and versatile unit: it has mobility, decent melee and ranged attacks, it's not too fragile and if it advances to an explorer it becomes frigging amazing. It can be used to grab/threaten villages, harass all kind of units, finish off wounded enemies. I haven't tested it too much in MP, but I think that liminals can be useful in covering a retreat at dusk and delaying the attack of a chaotic enemy, or in starting an attack a turn earlier an then let the real damage dealers do their job.

Where I find the dunefolk lacking is instead the ability to hold a position. Basically only the Soldier has good resilience and resistances, but has a terrain advantage only on villages/castles, hills (not on forest/mountains) or sand, which is a pretty rare terrain on MP maps. I think for this reason one needs to be pretty aggressive in counterattack (somehow similar to drakes), making dunefolk quite hard to play. On the other hand, if you resist few rounds and manage to assemble a good unit composition with a +8 healer backing a solid squad, things should start looking shiny.

User avatar
Celtic_Minstrel
Developer
Posts: 1208
Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » April 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm

The_Gnat wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 9:03 am
However, if we are talking about changes would it be worth considering reducing the units stats and then instead giving the LIMINAL a BONUS at DUSK and DAWN and no change at night? That would not actually effect the gameplay in any way but would make their stats more obviously readable.
This change is being considered. There's even an open pull request about it.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
Maintainer of Steelhive.

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 3517
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Pentarctagon » April 12th, 2018, 11:52 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm
The_Gnat wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 9:03 am
However, if we are talking about changes would it be worth considering reducing the units stats and then instead giving the LIMINAL a BONUS at DUSK and DAWN and no change at night? That would not actually effect the gameplay in any way but would make their stats more obviously readable.
This change is being considered. There's even an open pull request about it.
Do you mean #2664? I honestly wasn't really sure what to make of it, and holius hasn't replied there in a few weeks now. Assuming your final comment is an accurate summary though, for the default schedule at least, it seems like it's flatly better than neutral?
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
Celtic_Minstrel
Developer
Posts: 1208
Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » April 13th, 2018, 12:55 am

My final comment was me musing on how I'd expect it to work rather than an analysis of what the PR actually does, though I think at least for the default schedule it does align with how the PR works. It's better than neutral, yes, but it's equivalent to lawful+fearless in overall bonuses across the schedule, the only difference being which slots give a bonus.

I'm not sure if we'll merge #2664 specifically, but I am considering at least an approach similar to that.
skeptical_troll wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 11:43 am
I personally think that the liminal alignment should stay as is, i.e. a very simple and understandable function of the lawful bonus ( - abs() ). Making it change between TOD with same lawful bonus or implementing it with a different 0-level would just add a layer of opacity.
It's nice that it's simple, but I'd argue that it's not as understandable as it seems. The term "liminal" implies that they do better during twilight, but the actual mechanic means they do worse during non-twilight; these are not equivalent. It means that their "base" stats have the bonus baked in so that, with the penalty, they are reduced to their actual base stats during day and night. In my opinion, this is not intuitive.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
Maintainer of Steelhive.

User avatar
The_Gnat
Posts: 1537
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » April 13th, 2018, 3:37 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:02 pm
This change is being considered. There's even an open pull request about it.
I would strongly support this change or a similar one. As you have pointed out the current system is counter intuitive and it should be considered that the 'Dune folk' have arisen from the desire to standardise the Khalifate faction. I see this as another step in the same long term goal.

User avatar
skeptical_troll
Posts: 406
Joined: August 31st, 2015, 11:06 pm

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by skeptical_troll » April 13th, 2018, 8:25 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
April 13th, 2018, 12:55 am
The term "liminal" implies that they do better during twilight, but the actual mechanic means they do worse during non-twilight; these are not equivalent. It means that their "base" stats have the bonus baked in so that, with the penalty, they are reduced to their actual base stats during day and night. In my opinion, this is not intuitive.
I don't understand why one way is more intuitive than the other, it is just matter of conventions and at the moment the actual behavior is properly explained everywhere (in the help menu, or just hovering with the cursor over 'liminal' for a unit on the field). The current convention for all units is that their base damage is defined for neutral times. Why break this? Why use some opaque formulation which will make the liminal bonus completely unpredictable (for the player) for non-standard TOD and schedules?

I have the feeling that this is mostly a psychological factor, in that the players feel cheated that their units only have a malus and never a bonus, but I don't think this is a good reason to change it with an ad-hoc fix which, in my opinion, creates more problems than it solves.

Shiki
Developer
Posts: 221
Joined: July 13th, 2015, 9:53 pm
Location: Germany

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Shiki » April 13th, 2018, 2:43 pm

Personally I feel it's easier to compare Dunefolk with other factions by looking at the help topic, because for e.g. Humans it shows the average damage (or in other word, the damage without bonus or maulus),
while for Dunefolk you have to calculate because it shows the damage which they do at seldom times. (It's still not the average if it's the other way round though, but closer to it)

That said, I don't mind what way will be implemented.
Maintainer of Era of Myths.
Introduction to WML filtering and WML variables.

User avatar
Celtic_Minstrel
Developer
Posts: 1208
Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » April 13th, 2018, 5:59 pm

skeptical_troll wrote:
April 13th, 2018, 8:25 am
I don't understand why one way is more intuitive than the other, it is just matter of conventions and at the moment the actual behavior is properly explained everywhere (in the help menu, or just hovering with the cursor over 'liminal' for a unit on the field). The current convention for all units is that their base damage is defined for neutral times. Why break this?
I'm not sure what you mean by "neutral times", but basically the mechanics are currently the exact opposite of the intent. In the help, you're seeing the unit stats at their best, during twilight. For other units you don't see them at their best, you see them at a neutral level, with no bonus applied. That's why I say the bonus is baked into the dunefolk stats, because from the word "liminal" you'd expect them to have a bonus at twilight, and when you look at the help it's already accounting for that bonus.

If it were not called "liminal", then I could maybe accept the current implementation. But it is called liminal, and I can't think of a different name for it that would fit the current implementation.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
Maintainer of Steelhive.

User avatar
Celtic_Minstrel
Developer
Posts: 1208
Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » April 14th, 2018, 12:56 am

skeptical_troll wrote:
April 13th, 2018, 8:25 am
Why use some opaque formulation which will make the liminal bonus completely unpredictable (for the player) for non-standard TOD and schedules?
I wouldn't want something that makes the liminal bonus completely unpredictable. I'd want something that is predictable. I think the version I outlined in comment on that pull request would be predictable, and I think the pull request itself implements something similar (but potentially with lower liminal bonuses, so not quite as predictable). I don't think the exact details need to be predictable though, only the broad strokes — that they perform best at twilight. There's also no real need for the formulation to be transparent (though I would prefer it). In lieu of transparency and precise predictability, all you'd need is a way to view the liminal bonuses for the whole schedule all in one place. It could be added to the current place where you can already view the whole schedule, perhaps. (Well, that whole thing is going to be redesigned for 1.15 though, so who knows what we'll end up with.)
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
Maintainer of Steelhive.

User avatar
The_Gnat
Posts: 1537
Joined: October 10th, 2016, 3:06 am
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by The_Gnat » April 14th, 2018, 8:48 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 12:56 am
Well, that whole thing is going to be redesigned for 1.15 though, so who knows what we'll end up with.
What sort of plans are taking shape at the moment?

User avatar
Celtic_Minstrel
Developer
Posts: 1208
Joined: August 3rd, 2012, 11:26 pm
Contact:

Re: Default+Dunefolk era balance

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » April 14th, 2018, 2:24 pm

I don't think anyone has given much thought to planning the redesigned theme UI yet. One thing I'd like to do (not sure if it'll happen) is use more icons for things such as weapon ranges and such (the name of the range would become a tooltip in that case). This should also let it take up less space, if done well.


...this is kinda off-topic for this thread, though.
Author of The Black Cross of Aleron campaign and Default++ era.
Maintainer of Steelhive.

Post Reply