Scenario fall-back starting points?

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Oberiko
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Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Oberiko »

I've read quite a few topics regarding players (especially new ones) reaching a certain scenario and then giving up after finding they don't have adequate resources to beat it. Has any thought been given to implementing some kind of scenario "fall-back" starting point?

What I mean by this is an option for players to restart a specific scenario not with what they came to it with, but with a pre-determined set of units and gold which the scenario designers/maintainers feel is adequate.

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Simons Mith
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Simons Mith »

Oberiko wrote: Has any thought been given to implementing some kind of scenario "fall-back" starting point?

What I mean by this is an option for players to restart a specific scenario not with what they came to it with, but with a pre-determined set of units and gold which the scenario designers/maintainers feel is adequate.
That's a very good idea. It would make a handy sanity check for what resources you're supposed to have in a scenario.
 

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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Sangel »

Personally, I believe that the recent changes to gold carry-over have helped reduce the situation where this would be necessary. Nevertheless, it's an interesting idea.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Turuk »

Oberiko wrote:What I mean by this is an option for players to restart a specific scenario not with what they came to it with, but with a pre-determined set of units and gold which the scenario designers/maintainers feel is adequate.
Currently, there is always a minimum starting gold, which is what the scenario designers feel is at least the smallest amount necessary to get you through the scenario, and you will always get that. Any bonus you receive from the gold carry-over is exactly that, a bonus.

As far as a pre-determined set of units, that would take away from the notion of building up forces throughout the campaign. Any player could just play as recklessly as they wanted for each scenario, as they know they can just count on getting a new force in their next scenario, which would be strong enough to let them win that one. This would change the dynamic of how campaigns are played entirely.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Mist »

Turuk wrote:Currently, there is always a minimum starting gold, which is what the scenario designers feel is at least the smallest amount necessary to get you through the scenario, and you will always get that. Any bonus you receive from the gold carry-over is exactly that, a bonus.
Actually you're not entirely right. Minimum starting gold is usuallly (it's not allways tested, and even when it is, it's not an exact science) the amount that can get you through a scenario assuming you've got at least average or better recall list at this point. If you lost or didn't get certain critical units earlier (that's critical from campaign design view, note it doesn't have to be obvious to the player at the time they are lost) minimum amount of gold will not suffice, with TRoW as the most glaring example.
Turuk wrote:As far as a pre-determined set of units, that would take away from the notion of building up forces throughout the campaign. Any player could just play as recklessly as they wanted for each scenario, as they know they can just count on getting a new force in their next scenario, which would be strong enough to let them win that one. This would change the dynamic of how campaigns are played entirely.
Yes it would. Then again it doesn't automaticaly make it a bad thing(tm), it's an idea worth considering for a campaign designer for easier difficulties. After all, if you go through the motions of coding this you might as well code a limit on number of times it could be used.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Turuk »

Mist wrote:Actually you're not entirely right. Minimum starting gold is usuallly (it's not allways tested, and even when it is, it's not an exact science) the amount that can get you through a scenario assuming you've got at least average or better recall list at this point. If you lost or didn't get certain critical units earlier (that's critical from campaign design view, note it doesn't have to be obvious to the player at the time they are lost) minimum amount of gold will not suffice, with TRoW as the most glaring example.
Which would be why I put:
Turuk wrote:what the scenario designers feel
...and not what the scenario designers know for a fact will get you through it. I also specifically addressed the issues of gold and recruits separately as it would make sense that you are expected to have a recall list of some level the further you go on throughout the campaign.
Mist wrote:After all, if you go through the motions of coding this you might as well code a limit on number of times it could be used.
Right, but that would imply that the designer would want to go through the motions of estimating and balancing an adequate force for each scenario so that the player can just decide to reload with them and go. Given that the force would have to be unique to each scenario as they get harder, how does it solve the problem if you make this, code in that it can only be used 3 times, and the player uses them up too soon and plays in a manner so that they still need it later on? Then that brings everything back to the point of the player not being able to beat a scenario from having a poor recall list from shoddy playing or playing at a level beyond their capability.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Gambit »

I imagine that this start gold, set by the devs, is also tested by the devs? I also imagine that they would be rather elite wesnoth players... :hmm:

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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Mist »

Gambit wrote:I imagine that this start gold, set by the devs, is also tested by the devs? I also imagine that they would be rather elite wesnoth players...
Wow, that's a new concept :) No, not really. Devs, at least those that do WML and single player campaigns, are decent to good level, but nowhere near elite level as understood by guys like Gallifax, Wintermute and Noy. Having skills and know-how enough to write a campaign doesn't mean you know how to make it really balanced and by no means makes you an elite player :D
Yes, it does get tested, but it doesn't mean the levels are set correctly, especialy for difficulties above and bellow the given devs abilities. That's one of the reasons we're actually interested in feedback ;)
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Oberiko
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Oberiko »

Turuk wrote: As far as a pre-determined set of units, that would take away from the notion of building up forces throughout the campaign. Any player could just play as recklessly as they wanted for each scenario, as they know they can just count on getting a new force in their next scenario, which would be strong enough to let them win that one. This would change the dynamic of how campaigns are played entirely.
If a player wants to go balls-out reckless during the campaign, I think that's perfectly fine; it's not the way I play, but I also tend to prefer tactical shooters over one-man-armies like Doom w/ God Mode.

Note that I'm not stating a player will have necessarily a great line-up, for example they would probably start with the minimum gold and lose all of their non-story-essential loyal units. As opposed to a player who has been doing well since the beginning and has an "excellent" force, in the fall-back scenario, the player essentially moves to an "adequate" force. Assuming the balancing is done right, using said fall-back force will result in a scenario that is beatable, but not a cakewalk.

IMHO, the most important thing for the game is that it is fun for the player; learning that you have to redo several scenarios, or even restart the entire campaign, is likely to be more frustrating then anything else. Asides, any player who really wants to cheat, AFAIK, already has the option to directly edit their save files.

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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Velensk »

I understand the frustration of needing to start a campaign over (it's especialy bad when you need to do it with your own campaign when you've already played through it a half dozen times testing). However I realy appreciate challange in games, and I do not think that you should be able to win if you do not play well enough to win. Growing/Maintaining your army is part of the game, if you cannot succeed in that then the game shouldn't need to come back and rescue you.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Turuk »

Velensk wrote: I understand the frustration of needing to start a campaign over (it's especialy bad when you need to do it with your own campaign when you've already played through it a half dozen times testing). However I realy appreciate challange in games, and I do not think that you should be able to win if you do not play well enough to win. Growing/Maintaining your army is part of the game, if you cannot succeed in that then the game shouldn't need to come back and rescue you.
Exactly, also it would require all campaign authors to devise a suitable force for every scenario that was balanced for the scenario so that the player could win and yet not have an advantage. Good luck convincing the authors to sink that amount of time and effort into a campaign when there is a current system that works.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Taimat »

What about something like a check for the level 2 and three units in recall lists?

You mentioned playing through campaigns half a dozen times to test - That would give a fairly decent indication of the amount of leveled units needed.

As an example, lets say the author reckons that roughly 10 levels of units are needed to beat it (10 level 2s, or 5 level 3s etc.). If someone has Like 5 or 6, add a bit to the starting gold. Conversely it could be lowered slightly for people with more than what might be required to keep the campaign difficult. Or do something similar with the gold of the enemies, I dunno.

So if they have six level 2 units and four level 3s, it counts up those into a separate variable (6+8=14, then check that 14 against a number set by the guy who wrote the campaign (20 for sake of argument), 14 is a fair bit less than 20, give a little more gold to player and/or take a little from enemies)

I have no clue how hard it would be to do in WML, so right now im assuming it wouldnt be that hard/long and tedious. Im just basing it off how I'd do it in something simpler where you could just set it easily.

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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Velensk »

Trust me, testing that number of times does not tell you how many leveled units are needed. Not all level 2 units are equal or the same. You could have 50 level 2s and still have trouble with TRoW if you don't have enough gold, or they arn't the right type. Infact, in my campaign (War of the Dragon which is not on 1.6 yet) by the end of the fourth combat scenario you have probably leveled to max, or lost every single unit you had untill that point.

I would not ever wish to add minimum unit requirements to my campaign. I know that my camapign was hard (or at least most of the testers thought so), but I want it to be that way and I don't want it to bale out people who arn't good enough to get through it. It is also requiring me to pick a build that is "sufficent" when there are many builds that could work.
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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Taimat »

IT wouldnt be perfect, and it wouldnt help the most extreme of cases like the one you mentioned, thats true. And having the wrong type is true too. As is the thing about people who arent good enough to get through it being spoonfed. But Wesnoth is fairly swingy - someone who played decent enough could still lose certain units that would have made the next scenario winnable just due to luck. Or someone makes a mistake early on (I was just playing through eastern invasion, and had a spearman block the troll entrance to the main chamber because I only saw one whelp and assumed there might be another behind, both of which he could survive. Then the leader got lucky and hit both times, and Dacyn had three whelps on him. Bad example, but you get the idea. Fog/shroud can make things difficult.).
Gah, getting off track :/

MY point is that it wouldnt bail out people arent good enough for the scenario. It would, however, help someone who played decently but got an unlucky break the scenario before. Other than that, it would in effect tweak the difficulty slightly to better suit whoever is playing it. Assuming that I'm not the terrible player I am, if me and you were of a similar skill level, with you being a little better, it would make it slightly easier for me and slightly harder for you. Keep it challenging but not frustrating. I dunno, just figure it would make things a little more fun. A great player would still steamroll through an easy campaign, and a bad one would still be unable to finish a really hard one. It would just adjust things to better fit the skill level of whoever is playing.

Just comes down to the worth of it IMO. If it was only a few extra lines of code, it would probably be worth the effort. If it would take ages, probably not worth it.

I need to stop writing so much without realising it. Sorry about that :D

Edit: After rereading my post I missed something. Im not advocating the whole 'give people a fresh start if they mess up badly' thing.

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Re: Scenario fall-back starting points?

Post by Velensk »

It may be that if you are playing a scenario you might lose a critical unit to bad luck/play, or it may be that you lose a whole string of units because of bad luck. In those circumstances all you have to do is replay that scenario. What I had thought that this proposal was trying to prevent was the need to start a campaign over from scratch because you just havn't done well enough to pass a certain point.
If a common peice of bad luck is enough to ruin the campaign for you, then you still havn't been playing well enough. If it requires uncommon luck to ruin it, then just try the scenario again and chances are that things will go better for you.

Unless I'm miss-reading it, the proposal is one of three things
A: Campaigns automaticaly give you the units you need to succeed each level. This would make things far too easy. A lighter version would be that campaigns give you some units throughout so that you never are lacking of leveled units. This still does not strike me as an ideal way of doing it.
B: The campaign reads your army to see if you have too few leveled units and if you don't it gives you a predefined set of units. This strikes me as cheaply baleing out a player who hasn't done well enough.
C: The game comes with a set of saves for each campain scenario which you can load up if you're stuck. This would take out the joy of customisation and the incentive to do well in each scenario.
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