Determining Game Balance

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Thrawn
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Thrawn »

Caphriel wrote:There's no good reason to do that; the metagame is still evolving. It's not like there's a by-the-book right way to play each matchup.
For the record, this is an excellent indicator of game balance.
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Zarel
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Zarel »

Zerovirus wrote:Huh. I must get strong ones a lot. Or I notice them a lot more.
On most units, you have a 50-50 chance of getting any individual trait, since there are four usual traits, and each unit gets two of them. So you'll, for instance, get as many strong spearmen as non-strong spearmen.

Elves have five traits, so it's only 40% chance for fighters to get strong, but that's plenty high enough to make a difference.
Zerovirus wrote:But 5-4 is actually still higher than most other base damages. The spearman has 5-3, the Grunt has, uhh... 9-2 I think. Merman fighter has 6-3...
People have already mentioned Spearman has 7-3, but I should point out Mermen (and Naga) have worse attacks to offset their higher dodge in their preferred terrain.
Zerovirus wrote:I think the only one with a higher base damage total would be the Heavy Infantryman, and that's 13-2 I think.
Spearman is higher, too (7-3). ;) And Drake Clasher (6-4). And Drake Fighter (7-3). And Dwarvish Fighter (7-3). And Skeleton (7-3). And Gryphon Rider (12-2). And technically Horseman (18-2). And Wose (13-2). If we include ranged damage, there's Drake Burner (6-4) and Mage (7-3).

And most of the rest of the units tie it. ;) Every faction's basic fighter is stronger, except Northerners, who have a cheaper basic fighter. The only units worse than Elvish Fighter are units that aren't dedicated damage dealers, like scouts and healers.

Thrawn wrote:For the record, [a constantly evolving metagame] is an excellent indicator of game balance.
Note, however, that a constantly evolving metagame just means the game is balanced in high-tier play. In lower tiers, it could still have problems, such as zergling rushes in StarCraft. Not that it's possible to balance very well for lower tier play.
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Thrawn
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Thrawn »

Zarel wrote:
Thrawn wrote:For the record, [a constantly evolving metagame] is an excellent indicator of game balance.
Note, however, that a constantly evolving metagame just means the game is balanced in high-tier play. In lower tiers, it could still have problems, such as zergling rushes in StarCraft. Not that it's possible to balance very well for lower tier play.
Well, a game w/ a constantly evolving meta-game technically means that it's impossible to tell whether it's balanced or not. However, I would say that with some small exceptions (people wondering about increased use in lvl 0 units), the metagame hasn't changed significantly since giving undead arcane damage.

The good indicator of balance I was referring to was that there are no clear-cut strategy guides that say: "If this, than that." In games with distinctly tiered characters/factions (mainly fighting games, though I'm pretty sure that there are TBS games w/ tiers), at the highest levels of play, it *can still* boil down to "I have direct counters to whatever they want to do."
...please remember that "IT'S" ALWAYS MEANS "IT IS" and "ITS" IS WHAT YOU USE TO INDICATE POSSESSION BY "IT".--scott

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TheRugi
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by TheRugi »

Whoa whoa METAGAME? There's metagaming possibility in this? How is that possible? What could you possibly do as part of your strategy that isn't originally determined by the programmers? Because I would really like to get in on some of that detail, heh heh. (damn, there's no sinister hand rubbing smiley so this will have to do: :twisted: )
Velensk
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Velensk »

Metagame isn't the ability to do anything outside the game, metagame is planning your strategy based on things outside the raw facts of the game and it can mean many different things.

A very basic example would be if there was one general strategy that has over time proven itself effective against every other strategy except one very specific counter strategy. That counter strategy however leaves a player who invests too heavily into it susceptible to several other strategies which all interact with each other in various ways but all die to the first strategy.

So when it comes to it, when you start the game which way do you want to go with? Do you go with the strategy that appears at face to be the 'best' one', do you expect that your enemy will try to go for the commonly best one and go for the counter of the best strategy, or do you go with one of the rest of the myriad that fits your style well and try to prove that you can use it to defeat somebody using the 'best' strategy or the counter?

In that case the meta-game is defined as not only the process by which you would choose those option but by what which strategies you believe counter which other strategies. Strangely, this changes over time, as new tweaks/variations of strategies come out people revise their opinions of this and change the way they play accordingly despite the fact that the game stats didn't change at all. For example, when I was a new player I thought that heavy infantry were a good counter for skeletons and thus should be recruited against any undead player. Over time I've revised my estimates, heavy infantry are still a good counter to skeletons however they are in general a liability against undead except in certain circumstances.

Another simple example would be learning enemy players and guessing what they'll do based on previous experience. For example, whenever I play Rigor I always recruit a extra precautions against rushes. Exact same game, same situation, me as random vs a random player on some map I've played dozens of times and yet my recruitment pattern inexplicably changes. Rigor could in theory play just like any other player and my extra precautions could become a slight efficiency liability. However, in my experience Rigor gets a kick out of risky rushing especially Hodor rushes (though to be fair he is good enough at them that they aren't all that risky) and I know that if he tries it and I haven't prepared it will be very hard whereas if he tries it and I am prepared it could give me decent advantage early.

A final simple example would be mood. Sometimes I feel like doing a reckless rush and other times I feel like playing a game of rough attrition. The game doesn't change, however this factor outside the game determines how I play.

There are far to many aspects of the metagame to cover in any post though. Hopefully this explains it enough that you can figure out the rest for yourself.
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Caphriel
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Caphriel »

:lol2: I wasn't even trying to address game balance. My point was only that there's no point in adding new units to add new strategies when the current strategy space isn't fully explored yet.
Zarel wrote:
Thrawn wrote:For the record, [a constantly evolving metagame] is an excellent indicator of game balance.
Note, however, that a constantly evolving metagame just means the game is balanced in high-tier play. In lower tiers, it could still have problems, such as zergling rushes in StarCraft. Not that it's possible to balance very well for lower tier play.
Wesnoth is balanced only for high level play by design, though, right? And starcraft is a different case, because it's an RTS, which means that the player may know the hard-counter, but be unable to execute it (Why, you simply must micro your scvs to keep the zerglings from reaching your marine, while continuing to build more units. It's simple. What do you mean you don't have 200 APM? :roll: )

Another example of metagame play is Loyalists vs. Drakes. After the first scouts see each other, the players have a choice: The Drake player, knowing that Loyalist pierce units beat drakes, will want to counter them with saurians. But the Loyalist player knows the Drake player wants to do this, so he will want to get units to counter saurians (cavalrymen, mages, fencers, etc.), which perform less well against drake units. But the Drake player knows the Loyalist player wants to do that, and has the option of recruiting drake units to counter the anti-saurian units, and so on. To some extent, these decisions must be made as soon as the players discover each other's factions. Other factors that contribute are who is playing, what map is being played, and what your initial recruit was (which is another metagame-area.)
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Zarel
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Zarel »

Too much metagame usually makes for poor gameplay, though. Taking Velensk's example of one overall-best strategy with one counter strategy, if the choice turns out to be too powerful, the game turns from 30 minutes of playing a game, to a few seconds of choosing a strategy and 30 minutes of learning whether or not you chose the right one. In most games, this is alleviated by the fact that a good player playing a strategy can still beat a poor player playing its counter.
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Re: Determining Game Balance

Post by Eskon »

In good games, this is alleviated by the fact you can switch strategies mid-game, given time (you never get into a situation where it takes 30 minutes, or even 5 minutes, to learn if your strategy is the wrong one - unless you are really, really bad at scouting).

Games like Warcraft III for example, if a "mass" strategy if recruiting one powerful unit can't be met with the proper counter right away, you either lose instantly - because the out-countering army takes out your town hall (hard to come back from), your hero building and your heroes (also hard to come back from) or both (usually a win) - or you barely manage to hold on long enough for the counters to arrive on the field, which puts you back in the game, usually with a beating. Also important is the existence of "soft" counters alongside the hard counters - units that, counted by the dollar, are still decently effective against the threat, just not the most effective at the job. And Wesnoth is exactly like that - you lose to being outcountered only if you can't pull back and recruit counters without giving up a lot of villages, or leader safety. If you manage to hold on and get your hard counters out, you might still be able to give the advancing army a sound beating and equalize (or at least not lose too badly). And Wesnoth has hard counters and soft counters - take Woses, which in the Northerner army are hard-countered by orcish archers, and soft-countered by grunts. Or skeleton warriors - hard-countered by heavy infantry and mages, soft-countered by cavalry. Ghosts, which are only soft-countered by Knalgans (balanced by the fact that Knalgans have the ultimate hard counter to the dark adept, and of course a myriad other things regarding that matchup). And so on.
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