The Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest

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

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Temuchin Khan
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Post by Temuchin Khan »

Doc Paterson wrote:A human was playing as the monsters, right?
Actually, no, it was the AI. I should have specified that.
Doc Paterson wrote:I think that perhaps the monster team should have easier access/increased pressure into and around player 4's area.
Actually, that alone would probably fix the problem. Ignore my other compaints.

The number of entrances to the cave system near player 1, for example, is probably fine as it is.

EDIT: Incidentally, I did try to make a map similar to Cynsaun Battlefield, but I was not satisfied with the results. Maybe I'll try again, maybe not. We'll see.

EDIT: Earlier in the thread, someone was commenting that we need a terrain other than cave which slows Drakes. Maybe that terrain could be the mountains. The logic would be that they have to fly up before they fly over, so it takes longer, especially since Drakes aren't particularly good fliers anyway, for the most part.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Wintermute wrote:One of the great things about the ToC is that you have lots of players trying as hard as they can while being observed by lots of other players. I think it's a great forum for uncovering unforeseen problems and also for players of all skill levels to learn from the successes and mistakes of others. One of the things that I've learned (the hard way :wink: ) is that you can't win with kills alone - it's all about the Benjamins.

I also came away from the tourney very suspicious of Silverhead Crossing. My experience is not one that I would like to repeat: I was side 2 loyalists (with a shock trooper), against orcs, starting of course at dawn. So right there, playing on 1.2.4 is perhaps the root of the problem, as the shock trooper and the fixed dawn start are already remedied in 1.3.2. Still, I was curious how other players faired on Silverhead, and was surprised by the results. I went to the replays and observed that side 1 won 8/9 of the ToC3 games played on Silverhead, while the one game that bucked the trend was training dummy's orcs over Mythological's loyalists, and mythological then went on to win the other two games in the series.

This isn't enough data to confirm any kind of problem with the map, but It is enough (I think) to warrant a closer look at the overall map balance. What do other people think?
Cackfiend wrote:
Wintermute wrote: What do other people think?
personally ive had much better results as player 1 on silverhead

i also wish the map was symetrical... 2nd players keeps are in bad positions imo... among other things

in conclusion, i really dislike silverhead and its been one of my least played 1v1 maps for a reason
I want everyone to read this very carefully:

1. It will never be symetrical. The core concept is to have a balanced map that is not symetrical in any way. Also, I'm sure you know this, but there aren't any symetrical 1v1 maps in the official pack. Only the general overall shapes of a map's layout are loosely symetrical- In other words, seen from a great height, a map would look symetrical.

2. Neither of the previous two TOC tournaments revealed any sort of problem with Silverhead Crossing. My view of the map is that the player one side is more straightforward, and that the player two side takes experience and study to understand. A lot of players played this map for the first time during the tournament, and perhaps failed to realize a few important factors-

a. Player one has greater average distances between their 4 keeps. This is extremely significant, weakens the span of their defense, and enhances player 2's ability to feint in one location and hit hard in another.
b. Player one's southern village pickup is significantly slower than player 2's.
c. Player 2's large keep is much, much easier to defend than Player 1's large keep, as it is shielded by pieces of cave wall that prohibit P1's flanking/trapping ability. Sure, this isn't always a big deal, but it is certainly something to consider, and is often important.
d. It takes Player One's units longer to reach the center than it takes Player Two's units. If P2 were to be powered up a little, it would likely include accelerating even further their ability to deploy quickly (north south, or center), reach their other keeps, and/or further slowing Player One. On a related note, Player One's initial (largest) keep is placed in such a way that the surrounding terrain slows the general deployment of their units. Like Player Two's enhanced defensive capability, this factor may be more significant in some games, less so in others, but is nevertheless a small piece of the underlying balance that can manifest mid to late game.

3. For almost as long as I can remember, the primary criticism of Silverhead, from good players, was that the player two advantage was too strong. This was largely due to the disparity between their defensive capabilities. Non-defensive oriented units, such as Drakes, are granted other advantages by the structure of the map- the large water barriers, the patches of heavy terrain in the south and certain portions of the north, the ability to hide behind fog in the northeast and northwest, etc etc etc.

4. I'm pretty sure that most of what is being perceived is due to two things- 1.) An oversimplified view of the map, fascillitated by repetitive use of simpler, "defend now/attack now" maps like Charge and Blitz. 2.) The coincidental pairing of better players and the player one side in Round One of TOC3. There are a few notable exceptions to this (it's my opinion that Soliton's match is one such example), but pretty much all of those cases can be explained by mistakes that those players knew they made.

5. This is a very complex map, almost certainly the most complex 1v1 in the official pack. It's easy to make mistakes on a map that you've played only a few times, and the truth is that players often want a simple, straightforward game, like one that they'd get with Charge or Blitz. The most recent 1v1 statistics study that I did revealed that the single largest factor for a map being played at any one given time on the server was how many other players were playing it at the same time. During times when a player chose Silverhead, several others would tend to choose it- Likewise for Charge, Blitz, Den, Hamlets, or any of the others. I myself often don't choose Silverhead because I'm just not in the mood to think that hard, but I do believe that it's a very solid, very rich map that often creates very atypical, very dynamic games. Every map in the pack is a work in progress, and this one is certainly no exception. I'm sure that it's not perfect, but I do think it's close enough to make the disparity close to irrelevant. I continue to make small changes- Right now, for example, I'm attempting to power up Loys a little bit on it, but only for the Loy vs. Undead match.

If anyone wants to discuss these things with me, they should do it in the thread that I designated for such things, the "Multiplayer Map Reader's Digest." Just saying, "this is unbalanced" won't accomplish anything, so if you want to talk about changes, be specific, and be prepared to defend your claims.

:)
Last edited by Doc Paterson on May 23rd, 2007, 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Becephalus »

I think it is definitely the trickiest 1v1, and the cheap fast units with orcs are nice there. I know the first few times I played there the winner was basically random. But now I feel as though I understand it a bit better.
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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

I've done quite a few updates in recent weeks, and today I uploaded them to my filehosting site. For anyone interested in glimpsing the future:

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22bluewaterprov

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22hamlets

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22meteorlake

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22onis

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22sablestone

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may ... rossingmod

Yes, there are a few small changes to Silverhead Crossing, most notably an assist to Player Two's 4 move leaders. All Player Two leaders can also now reach the center keep in one move.
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viorc
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After glimpsing the future...

Post by viorc »

Doc Paterson wrote:I've done quite a few updates in recent weeks, and today I uploaded them to my filehosting site. For anyone interested in glimpsing the future:

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/may22sablestone
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rowrWcGGGwGGGcGGccGGc
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[/map]
I am not sure if newbie's comments are welcome on this part of the multiplayer development.
I do not know what kind of imbalance the changes in sablestone delta are correcting but I think turning the center into a block of slow terrain is damaging the map.
I liked the openness of the previous versions where units could easily cross the map in any direction. That was a nice feature of this map and helped make it special.
This is said with full respect for Doc Paterson's work (and after playing the new version ;) ).

If this kind of comment is inappropriate, just say a word and there will be no more from me
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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Well,

One, I wanted to make water units slightly more useful, in general. Two, and on a somewhat related note, I wanted to tone down Drakes a very small bit (an estimated 5-10 percent adjustment to their power level). With this in mind, the changes may make more sense to you. As for the center, it has always consisted of varying degrees of "slowing terrain."

You may also notice the conversion of a few shallow water hexes to river ford, to increase non-flying unit mobility very, very slightly.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/September4Charge

A new Charge for those inclined to sample. I'll try to describe and explain some of the changes in the near future.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

I've done a major revision to Caves of the Basilisk, similar to the last revision of Charge/The Freelands, in which the sides were opened up to facilitate dynamism and break up overly defensive stalemates. The statues were moved to accommodate the dimension changes, so you'll need to replace the old config with this one, if you want to play the map as it was intended.

Here is the config:
http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/2p_ ... silisk.cfg

And here is the map:
http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/2p_ ... silisk.map


Also, an update for Weldyn Channel/Blitz:

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/oct ... dynchannel
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Doc Paterson
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Post by Doc Paterson »

I made a very small change to the map file of the new version of Caves of the Basilisk. The link that I posted above will now take you to the newest version.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Some very small changes to Weldyn Channel ;), Bluewater Province and Silverhead Crossing. Nothing earth shattering here, just some factional and dynamism-oriented tweakings.

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/oct ... dynChannel

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/oct ... erprovince

http://star.walagata.com/w/paterson/oct ... adcrossing
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Several maps are going to have to change to accommodate "bats with traits," most notably Den of Onis and Silverhead Crossing. I probably should have realized the effects of the change sooner....

Stay tuned.
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Post by Doc Paterson »

Some serious updates. :)


I widened Sulla's Ruins quite a bit to enhance dynamism, and made a few other fun-oriented tweaks. If you're going to try this update, you need to use both the config (to relocate the statues) and the map file. Make sure that this map file replaces the old one, or you will be left with quite a mess.

Config

http://www.mediafire.com/?ettsxgjtxyx

Map

http://www.mediafire.com/?1jlmdwhqxkg


* * * * *

Also-

Updates of Den of Onis:

http://www.mediafire.com/?3c9ny930lmh


and Silverhead Crossing:

http://www.mediafire.com/?0lomjbvhybn
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Post by Doc Paterson »

A massive bundle of map updates; 33 total. :shock:

The vast majority of these changes are oriented toward the new map-border system, and address the visual oddities that have occurred on the edges of previous maps. In a few cases, this allowed for the removal of the void borders around certain maps (Weldyn Channel, for example). While I was doing this, I was inspired to make several balancing mods that I'd been meaning to do for some time now.

v = visual/aesthetic changes only. For the most part, this designates a border-fix.

sv = significant visual/aesthetic changes

mb = minor balancing changes



Caves of the Basilisk: v
Cynsaun Battlefield: v, mb
Den of Onis: v
Fallenstar Lake: v
Hamlets: v
Hornshark Island: sv, mb
Sablestone Delta: v, mb
Silverhead Crossing: v, mb
Sulla's Ruins: v
The Freelands: v
Weldyn Channel: v, mb
Alirok Marsh: v, mb
Island of the Horatii: v, mb
3p Morituri: v, mb
Bluewater Province: v
Castle Hopping Isle: v, mb
Clash: v
King of the Hill: v, mb
Lagoon: v, mb
Loris River: v, mb
4p Morituri: v
Paths of Daggers: v, mb
Siege Castles: v, mb
The Wilderlands: v, mb
Xanthe Chaos: v, mb
Forest of Fear: v. mb
Amohsad Caldera: sv, mb
Hexcake: v
Waterloo Sunset: v
8p Morituri: v, mb
Merkwuerdigliebe: v, mb


All of these are under their original file names, so you need only select and drag them into the maps folder, overwriting the old ones.

As always, if you want to discuss any of these changes, post up.
Attachments
Nov20 map updates.zip
(36.95 KiB) Downloaded 246 times
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grrr
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Weldyn Channel

Post by grrr »

I fail to see the advantages of the new center area on Weldyn Channel. No regular land unit can reach it, you need fliers or naval units to get there. OK, so drakes can now retreat there, but was that necessary at all?

To me it looks like some more advanced strategies on this map have been killed. I liked the possibilities to attack from center or to reinforce your other side quickly =(
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Post by Blarumyrran »

i must say i miss the bridge as well.
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