Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Wintermute » October 22nd, 2013, 7:43 pm

While I await polished data (please send in the form of 3.5" floppies - thanks!), feel free to post a few thoughts on what tweaks you'd like to see for the khalifate. I'm happy to mess with it a bit and release it for another round of testing.

As for other races... I could get behind changes, but it's beyond the scope of this thread.

Let me just throw it out there in the form of a general question:

1. Khalifate should remain a separate addon, just keep tweaking it separately and don't mess with my mainline!
2. Much more work needs to be done balancing the Khalifate before it will be playable with default in a serious way, stay the course.
3. Some tweaking needs to be done balancing the Khalifate, but it's mostly "ready" and I would like to see it move into mainline and finish revising it there as needed.

And for those folks who have been recently testing the khalifate, it will have probably been within the Alternate Era, so:

4. As #3, but I like the whole package of Alternate Era (default + khalifate + balanced leaders) and want to see khalifate moved toward mainline inside the Alternate Era.

What do other people think about where we are?
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Rigor » October 22nd, 2013, 9:07 pm

3 for me. there is this degree of perfection everybody always wants to achieve, leading to nothing at all - adding them is already so overdue!
btw, here is MY sourvey, filled out the 21. of APRIL (i dont know which year, was it this one? - seems aeons ago)
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Temuchin Khan » October 25th, 2013, 2:33 am

I also vote for #3. Add them to mainline already! Any more tweaking that needs done can be done after that!

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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by shadowm » October 25th, 2013, 2:41 am

Temuchin Khan wrote:I also vote for #3. Add them to mainline already! Any more tweaking that needs done can be done after that!
It should probably be noted that (as far as I recall) they were removed from mainline on 1.9.10 because we hit the feature freeze for 1.10 and there were concerns about breaking version compatibility if the Khalifate needed to be tweaked again after that point stats-wise (graphics and animations are irrelevant for MP/replay synchronization). Of course this compatibility was broken a couple of versions later because of a whiteboard protocol change anyway.

In any case, you should probably consult in the developers ML since while there’s no concrete feature-freeze plan published for 1.12 yet, it’s been about the same amount of time it took for 1.10 to enter this stage. I personally wouldn’t be terribly concerned about version compatibility until the RC stage, but it’s not my call.

(For players reading this, future balancing changes for 1.14 and so on are not to be ruled out. Many units in Default have seen a lot of balancing changes since 1.0 was first released in 2005.)
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Anonymissimus » October 25th, 2013, 2:30 pm

shadowm wrote: It should probably be noted that (as far as I recall) they were removed from mainline on 1.9.10 because we hit the feature freeze for 1.10 and there were concerns about breaking version compatibility if the Khalifate needed to be tweaked again after that point stats-wise (graphics and animations are irrelevant for MP/replay synchronization).
In my memory it was more the fact that some expert player, whose name I don't recall atm and whom mainline relies upon for balancing questions, decided they're not balanced enough.
Anyway, IMHO the Khalifate can only be moved to mainline again once that we are 100% sure we don't need to remove them again, as doing so heavily breaks compatibility with any UMC using them; in both directions, atm UMC relies on Era_Khalifate, back then it was mainline, not considering their possible removal. So, it's not okay for me at all if "some balancing tweeks need to be done yet" etc.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Wintermute » October 25th, 2013, 5:35 pm

Let me clarify that I am just trying to get feedback on the balance side of things, I'm not sure when, practically, adding them to mainline could happen.
Anonymissimus wrote:
shadowm wrote: It should probably be noted that (as far as I recall) they were removed from mainline on 1.9.10 because we hit the feature freeze for 1.10 and there were concerns about breaking version compatibility if the Khalifate needed to be tweaked again after that point stats-wise (graphics and animations are irrelevant for MP/replay synchronization).
In my memory it was more the fact that some expert player, whose name I don't recall atm and whom mainline relies upon for balancing questions, decided they're not balanced enough.
Anyway, IMHO the Khalifate can only be moved to mainline again once that we are 100% sure we don't need to remove them again, as doing so heavily breaks compatibility with any UMC using them; in both directions, atm UMC relies on Era_Khalifate, back then it was mainline, not considering their possible removal. So, it's not okay for me at all if "some balancing tweeks need to be done yet" etc.
As for removal from mainline... It would be hard for me (perhaps others could do it) to ever say that they would never be removed from mainline again, because to this day I am not sure why they were removed from mainline exactly. I have heard several different things from several different people and since I was IIRC away for the summer I returned to find them gone and have never really figured out why. If anyone really knows the full scoop, please PM me about it but I would love to know. ;)

If the above the idea that "some balancing tweaks need to be done yet" is a problem for a large block of developers then I can make this quick and say that the Khalifate will never be added to mainline. Considering that the default era is currently in the state of "some balancing tweaks need to be done", there is no way that any new faction would get to the point where it was better than that.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by The Black Sword » October 26th, 2013, 10:37 am

Er, 4? I'm a little biased about 4. :P

I'd like to see the Khalifate go mainline but I don't think they're in their final version yet. The old lawful khalifate I was fairly happy with, but I don't think we have changed a single stat since the liminal change? Nor have we seen all that many games, there were just 15 in TAF, spread about 6 matchups, plus a few played at the end of WTT(the majority of games in WTT being in the pre-liminal era) and whatever single games people have played.

From what I remember, that was the reason they were taken out of mainline. After the liminal change, there wasn't enough time to get testing done, so it was very likely the khalifate would need changes in the future and then the feature freeze came in so they couldn't be put in 1.10.

Anyway, the feedback, here's the few replies to the survey I did get.
The Khalifate questions:
Khalifate:
1. Do you find the Khalifate fun to play with and against?

2. Do you think Khalifate should be developed (including tournaments) separately or in tandem with Alternate era?

3. If you could make one change to the Khalifate, what would it be?
The answers:
1. Unfortunatly I didn't encounter khalifate in my games :P

2. I guess seperably would be with default era. Since development mostly means balancing it should be developed with alternate era. I don't see any point trying to balance them in the setting of a unbalanced era, and 6mp leader certainly are unbalanced.

3. I don't know much about them, but their AE leaders could be more interesting. Maybe a curing leader would be nice for them.
1. I found that Khalifate was slightly better than other factions, thus creating not perfectly balanced games. Moreover it is less pleasant to play with these units because they have no animations.

2.No opinion.

3.Less HP for some of their units.
1. Absolutely.

2. In tandem.

3. Give units who have 60% on hills those 60% on peaks as well. It is too confusing otherwise and there are not many peaks on most maps so its not a major difference, its just more in harmony to the KISS principles.
I didn't get too many responses :wink: . The other thing to note is that none of the Khalifate matchups had 1 side winning an excessive number of games(never a difference of more than 1). Though the sample size is pretty small as I mentioned.

My own response would be:
1. Yes, very fun.

2. Together with alternate era(again that bias!)

3. Change the Jundi's axe to 5-3.
Jundis are too good IMO. We often had that complaint before the liminal change and then we made them more powerful, changing both ranged and melee attacks from 4/5/6 to 5/6/5 during day/dusk/night. The only matchup that I think the Khalifate aren't favourite in is vs UD, precisely because UD are the ones with the Jundi counter.

Some individual matchup thoughts:

vs Drake: Khalifate lawful units are all weak vs drakes, the arif and naffat, the khaiyal is not cost effective in general. So it generally plays out with Drakes attacking at day, khalifate at night/dusk. Jundi tip the balance though, very good at both attacking and defending and quick too. I think the Khalifate have a slight mobility advantage because the best drake attackers are clashers.

vs Orc: The drake matchup always sits on a knife-edge, this one is a long grind. First night orc attacks don't tend to do well vs Jundi, then the trolls come out and the healers for the khalifate and neither side has especially much breaking power. It is a bit more fun than elf vs dwarf though, because both sides can still attack, its just very hard to score a kill. I've mostly played this matchup from the khalifate side and felt they had a slight advantage though. They're a lot faster than the trolls and have a bit more breaking power(in addition to the arif/naffat, I often buy a khaiyal or two, hoping for strong to get a 9-3 mace at day).

-I played this matchup recently vs amikrop, played out pretty much as described above, I had the advantage from a failed first night attack and was slowly increasing it, but we agreed a draw on T20 rather than save, the game had at least 2 more day cycles left.

vs Loy: I'd probably say this is the closest matchup. Khal can attack sort of at night, with the healer, but often have difficulty killing anything and fearless HI can cause problems. Loys can attack at day, but it's also very difficult, because both sides have great killing power this time. Still, I don't think the Jundi change would change the dynamics much.

vs UD: As I said, the only matchup where the Khalifate have trouble IMO. Skels counter their Jundi and Arif and their Naffat and Khaiyal are underwhelming. Both are very fragile and expensive but neither have the hitting power of a mage or burner either. The jundi change would certainly have a negative impact here where you want to melee adepts with them quite often. Some small buff to the Naffat or Khaiyal is probably necessary anyway IMO.

vs Elf: As usual, khalifa can attack and elves can't. The elf attack is even worse than usual though. What can you use to hit Jundi on defensive terrain at night? And their healer is better than yours. I played this many times with tek as the lawful khalifate and I was convinced they had the advantage. I don't think the dynamics changed much because the main offensive units Arif and Naffat are still lawful. Jundi still do enough damage for their purpose and are now even better on defense.

vs Dwarf: Interesting one that I need to test more. Dwarves can't win a straight fight due to the healer and the speed difference. Outlaws are pretty bad thanks to the Arif. The one trump card is the ulf. Lawful jundis at night used to do 3-3 to him, the new liminal ones do 4-3 which is a lot trickier proposition.

The argument against a 5-3 axe was that the melee and ranged attack should be the same for flavour reasons. But half the time, a Jundi will be strong and they will be different anyway. With a 5-3 axe they'll have the same melee and ranged attack 50% of the time, just like before.

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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by abhijit » October 26th, 2013, 11:06 am

Looks like I forgot to send in my response to the survey.
Anyway, here are my answers.

1. Yes, absolutely. In the tourney, except for the first game where I had no idea about jundis, the rest were quite fun, especially the two games of the final.

2. With the alternate era. Although I will also support a 'Invasion from the Khalifate' tournament where the Khalifate from lands unknown ( or rather unknown in the modern wesnoth era ) have come to claim their righful place against other wesnoth factions. This can help get in more khalifate games, which was an issue in the TAF.

3.
The_Black_Sword wrote:...Some small buff to the Naffat or Khaiyal is probably necessary anyway IMO
Agreed on the naffat.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Anonymissimus » October 27th, 2013, 3:58 pm

Wintermute wrote:If the above the idea that "some balancing tweaks need to be done yet" is a problem for a large block of developers then I can make this quick and say that the Khalifate will never be added to mainline. Considering that the default era is currently in the state of "some balancing tweaks need to be done", there is no way that any new faction would get to the point where it was better than that.
I'm just expressing my personal opinion.
However, it's a large lobby I'm speaking for, the UMC authors. It was a quick decision back then and the following forums whining among UMC authors was not taken into consideration, so...
The default Era isn't going to be removed from mainline, that is.
However, in my local Era_Khalifate checkout I don't see any balancing commits in the last year. I can only conclude that it's not ready.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Wintermute » November 2nd, 2013, 12:03 pm

Thanks for the great feedback TBS and others! Yes, there has been some resistance to even lightly nerfing the Jundi, mostly on concept: the idea of the faction is that Jundis are great and you want a lot of them, with some support units. At this point, I agree with you and I'm inclined to change their melee to 5-3 and just see how it goes. I'm curious what anyone else thinks about that. I also wonder about things like the 60% on peaks - some of the movetypes have already been consolidated or simplified, but their wonky movetype is also a huge part of what makes them unique so let's keep that as is for now and focus on the Jundi. I'm hopeful that would bring them more into line with the rest of the races and then we can tweak the specific counter-unit hp values a bit to nerf or buff things as needed.

I would also think to buff the Naffat with some hp. If anyone has thoughts on that they are welcome to post them or come by #wesnoth-khalifate to chat about that or other changes. As you say, the sample size from the last tournament is still small so I'd rather move incrementally and see if problems persist.

Reaction seems mixed to how things should be developed (inside or outside the Alternate Era), but my opinion is that any playtesting is good playtesting. @TBS: Are you keen to run another tournament? If things are moving there then let's keep them moving. If not then I'll look for someone to run a default+khalifate tournament. Or heck, we can do both. :D
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by taptap » November 6th, 2013, 6:37 pm

Velensk wrote:Question: Is the Khalifate still being groomed for inclusion in mainline? I don't see the era with the normal releases.
I can say that much: I would love to see a Khalifate campaign by Velensk, whether UMC or mainline doesn't matter that much.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Velensk » November 6th, 2013, 6:45 pm

That's somewhat funny as I actually am working on the campaign, but it is for the Era of Four Moons freemen. Thematically I could translate it over to being a Khalifate campaign without there being too many hangups but that isn't what either is designed for.
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by The Black Sword » November 9th, 2013, 11:31 am

@TBS: Are you keen to run another tournament?
I've been super busy recently, at the least, I'll need to wait until the TGT ends anyway. I'd be interested in another tournament though.

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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by abhijit » November 18th, 2013, 2:23 am

While we wait for TAF 2nd edition or a khalifate tournament, here's a nice game played b/w The_Black_Sword( elf ) and me ( khalifate ) on Den of Onis.

Note: alternate era is required to watch replay.

Edit: Humble suggestion: increase Naffat's base hp.
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Nice use of leader specials
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Re: Khalifate gameplay thread (feedback on balance and bugs)

Post by Temuchin Khan » November 18th, 2013, 2:27 pm

I have tried to remove any Wesnoth-incompatible symbols from the list of Khalifate names. Hopefully, this will enable the Khalifate names to work in-game.

EDIT: I deleted the file, since the developers thought it wasn't needed. All's well that ends well!
Last edited by Temuchin Khan on November 22nd, 2013, 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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