[interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

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Curtis
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[interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Curtis »

(Yes, I did read the part where it said the developers discourage the addition of options to the game system.)

Something I've been wondering about for some time now is the random assignment of traits to recruits. What I'd like to see is an option when you select a campaign or start a multiplayer game, to either have traits assigned randomly (as at present) or to be allowed to choose them when you recruit. Perhaps this could be one of the selectable options in the Preferences, with 'Random' as the default value.

I've thought about this for years, but it really hit home when I played the Dead Water campaign. In that campaign a new Level Zero Merman Citizen is introduced, and it can be promoted into a new Level One Merman Brawler. The Brawler is described as being made up exclusively of the strongest and toughest Mermen, but the traits are assigned randomly, so that didn't really fit. (It also didn't really fit that they started with fewer HP than Level One Merman Fighters, but I can't help that.) So, I did massive save/reload sequences until I came up with castles full of Strong/Resilient Level Zero Citizens. Since then I've been doing the same thing in other campaigns.

This isn't just about me, though; the friend I play with has a different philosophy than I do, so he wants to emphasize different traits than I do. I prefer to make Elvish Archers dextrous and Elvish Fighters strong, thus emphasizing their strengths, but he likes to reverse that, so that each of them are more generally useful (as they were back around Wesnoth 0.8 or so). If I know I'm going to have to go spelunking, I make sure any humans I recruit have 6 MP, so they aren't holding up the expedition. Dwarvish Ulfserkers/Berserkers are essentially useless unless you make them Strong/Resilient, and Intelligent is completely wasted on them. (Another place where my friend disagrees, as he prefers his Berserkers to be Strong/Quick.) I prefer my Mages and Leaders to be Intelligent. He prefers his Mages to be Strong.

The way I hope this would work is, if you've chosen 'Select Traits' in Preferences, or at the start of the campaign or game (as opposed to 'Randomize Traits'), every time you recruit, instead of the recruit instantly appearing on the castle tile and the selection popup closing, a new popup would appear with the list of traits applicable to units of the selected unit's race and a checkbox next to each. You check two, then click 'Done', both popups disappear and the unit appears on the castle tile. (You could also click 'Cancel' to close only the second popup and select a different recruit.)

This system could be used to prevent 'trait doubling', which may or may not be an issue. In some games I've played, some recruits have shown up with traits like Strong/Strong or Resilient/Resilient. I don't know whether that was intentional, or if it was a glitch, but the checkbox system would either prevent or specifically allow that.

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Elvish_Hunter
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

Curtis wrote:Something I've been wondering about for some time now is the random assignment of traits to recruits. What I'd like to see is an option when you select a campaign or start a multiplayer game, to either have traits assigned randomly (as at present) or to be allowed to choose them when you recruit. Perhaps this could be one of the selectable options in the Preferences, with 'Random' as the default value.
The problem is that Undeads, Woses and several monsters do not get traits. Giving the other factions such a choice will mean giving a penalty to Undeads and (to a smaller extent) Rebels players.
Curtis wrote:This system could be used to prevent 'trait doubling', which may or may not be an issue. In some games I've played, some recruits have shown up with traits like Strong/Strong or Resilient/Resilient. I don't know whether that was intentional, or if it was a glitch, but the checkbox system would either prevent or specifically allow that.
I never incurred in trait doubling, and it's not supposed to happen. It's a bug and it should be reported.
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AlexanderK
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by AlexanderK »

it will be totally unfair to undead. Especially for quick, resilient and resilient, quick Dark Adepts since last one has 1 hp less and will never be chosen.

And units with resilient/healthy, strong/dexterous traits will be overused.

Curtis
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Curtis »

AlexanderK wrote:Especially for quick, resilient and resilient, quick Dark Adepts since last one has 1 hp less and will never be chosen.

And units with resilient/healthy, strong/dexterous traits will be overused.
I don't understand your first comment; could you please explain how the order in which the traits are selected would cause a difference in HP?

I disagree with your second statement. As far as I know, very few races can have dextrous (maybe only Elves?) As I said in my initial post, the fellow I play with would use strong quite a lot, but mostly for units with weak attacks to make them less weak. I would use a lot of intelligent and quick, but he thinks intelligent is worthless. Each player's army could then reflect his own personality.

And I don't quite understand why both AlexanderK and Elvish Hunter feel this would be unfair to the Undead faction. Supposedly the traits have been balanced over the years, so none is appreciably more powerful than the others, and most Undead units don't have traits now. If not having traits now isn't unfair, how will it suddenly become unfair?

My argument here is based on realism. When you recruit an army you can look over the candidates and say, "For this mission (scenario) we only need people who can run faster than I do," or "The hints for this campaign tell me to spam Citizens to promote to Brawlers. Since the description of Brawlers says that they are the strongest and toughest Mermen, only strong/resilient Citizens need apply."

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lipk
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by lipk »

The problem is that not all traits are similarly good for a given unit type. Take the elvish archer. You can't say that a strong, quick archer is just as good as a quick, dextrous one. If they had the option, players would always choose the best combinations (why not?), which on average would make the unit stronger. Undead doesn't have traits, so you can't make them better by choosing appropriate skills for them. So it's unfair.

Curtis
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Curtis »

lipk wrote:The problem is that not all traits are similarly good for a given unit type. Take the elvish archer. You can't say that a strong, quick archer is just as good as a quick, dextrous one. If they had the option, players would always choose the best combinations (why not?), which on average would make the unit stronger. Undead doesn't have traits, so you can't make them better by choosing appropriate skills for them. So it's unfair.
But there's no agreement on which ARE the best combinations. I think dextrous is more useful on the Elvish Archer and strong on the Elvish Fighter, to accentuate their strengths. Keith wants to reverse them to mitigate their weaknesses. I like to make scouts of most factions quick, but Keith likes to make the slowest units quick, and he doesn't like the loss in HP for units that often have fewer to begin with. Keith doesn't like intelligent at all, and I agree that it's generally less useful, but I especially like it for Mages and can tolerate it for units that can promote twice.

Who is to say which traits are more appropriate? Let the market decide.

AlexanderK
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by AlexanderK »

Curtis wrote:I don't understand your first comment; could you please explain how the order in which the traits are selected would cause a difference in HP?
I said according to my experience, there is no difference quick, intelligent and intelligent quick for drakes, but for Dark Adept is, maybe because quick modify health in percentage (-5%) and resilient in absolute numbers. so 5% of resilient is more than 5% for any other. if you will play undead you will notice it.
Curtis wrote:I disagree with your second statement. As far as I know, very few races can have dextrous (maybe only Elves?)
Yes only elves has dextrous. but so what? if you hire archer you rather take dextrous than strong. And healthy is only for dwarves, but you will rather prefer healthy, resilient/strong guardsman than quick, intelligent, because it's harder to kill him due to huge amount of hp and +10 heal on village. And you will always chose strong for ulfserker, because it's kick ass.
Curtis wrote:And I don't quite understand why both AlexanderK and Elvish Hunter feel this would be unfair to the Undead faction. Supposedly the traits have been balanced over the years, so none is appreciably more powerful than the others, and most Undead units don't have traits now. If not having traits now isn't unfair, how will it suddenly become unfair?
imagine you play loyalists, you can choose fearless for your heavy infantry and successfully fight undead even at night.
Curtis wrote:My argument here is based on realism.
realism? it's a game, not a war simulator and game must be fun.
Curtis wrote:But there's no agreement on which ARE the best combinations.
Strong is always best for ulfserker, strong is always best for naga, strong is best for any kind of drake. resilient is always best for footpads.

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lipk
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by lipk »

But there's no agreement on which ARE the best combinations. I think dextrous is more useful on the Elvish Archer and strong on the Elvish Fighter, to accentuate their strengths. Keith wants to reverse them to mitigate their weaknesses. I like to make scouts of most factions quick, but Keith likes to make the slowest units quick, and he doesn't like the loss in HP for units that often have fewer to begin with. Keith doesn't like intelligent at all, and I agree that it's generally less useful, but I especially like it for Mages and can tolerate it for units that can promote twice.

Who is to say which traits are more appropriate? Let the market decide.
The fact that you have a friend who'd choose to boost a secondary weapon's damage by 2 instead of buffing the primary's by 4 doesn't prove that it makes sense at all. And most people DO agree on the best traits for many-many units. The market's already decided, you just missed it because you're playing only against Keith :wink:

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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by beetlenaut »

I guarantee this will never happen in mainline, because the worst sin for a new idea is to mess with the balance: It's been very carefully tweaked for years. Also, it goes against the philosophy of having traits to begin with. However, it should be possible for you to create an era that does exactly what you want! You would need to learn WML, but it's much easier than a whole programming language, and many people have used it to do things like this. It might be a good team project for you and your friend.
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Curtis
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Curtis »

AlexanderK wrote:I said according to my experience, there is no difference quick, intelligent and intelligent quick for drakes, but for Dark Adept is, maybe because quick modify health in percentage (-5%) and resilient in absolute numbers. so 5% of resilient is more than 5% for any other. if you will play undead you will notice it.
That makes sense. I almost entirely play Loyalists, Rebels and Knalgan. Keith almost entirely plays Undead and Northern. Neither of us plays much Drake.
AlexanderK wrote:Yes only elves has dextrous. but so what? if you hire archer you rather take dextrous than strong. And healthy is only for dwarves, but you will rather prefer healthy, resilient/strong guardsman than quick, intelligent, because it's harder to kill him due to huge amount of hp and +10 heal on village. And you will always chose strong for ulfserker, because it's kick ass.
We were wrong about dextrous; I recently played the Dead Water campaign, and half of the Drakes I fought were dextrous, which was an unpleasant surprise.
AlexanderK wrote:imagine you play loyalists, you can choose fearless for your heavy infantry and successfully fight undead even at night.
Where can I find a list of which races can have which traits? I've only ever seen fearless in chaotic units (and one campaign-specific loyal sidekick character in Dead Water).
AlexanderK wrote:realism? it's a game, not a war simulator and game must be fun.
First, good fantasy must have it's own consistent reality. Second, not having to deal with a pointless frustration would make the game more fun. (At least I have more fun when I can play the game and not have to worry about playing against the game.) Third, a game doesn't need to be balanced. Roleplaying games rarely are, and millions of people have fun with roleplaying. I read the Wesnoth mission statement last night, and part of it said that this game was meant to be more roleplaying than war simulator.
AlexanderK wrote:Strong is always best for ulfserker, strong is always best for naga, strong is best for any kind of drake. resilient is always best for footpads.
I agree with most of your examples, both here and above. Having fought against them, I can say that dextrous is better for many — or most — Drakes. And I don't see why resilient is particularly advantageous for Footpads.
lipk wrote:The fact that you have a friend who'd choose to boost a secondary weapon's damage by 2 instead of buffing the primary's by 4 doesn't prove that it makes sense at all. And most people DO agree on the best traits for many-many units. The market's already decided, you just missed it because you're playing only against Keith.
I'll give you that one. :roll:

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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Shinobody »

Having fought against them, I can say that dextrous is better for many — or most — Drakes.
How dextrous can be better for Drakes... If they can't be dextrous.
Because they'd have "dextrous" breaths. Despite fire breath having nothing to do with hands.
You got me so curious that I have checked the files of Dead Water, but Drakes seem to recruit completely normal units, not modified or anything. And Drakes can only have global traits, like quick or strong. Any such occurrence would be a bug (pretty weird one, too) and if you are sure it was so, you should report it.
Where can I find a list of which races can have which traits?
Per your request, your copy of Wesnoth has file "units.cfg" in your wesnoth directory, under path "data/core". There, you will find WML definitions of every race in Wesnoth, along with traits they can/can't have..
Third, a game doesn't need to be balanced. Roleplaying games rarely are, and millions of people have fun with roleplaying. I read the Wesnoth mission statement last night, and part of it said that this game was meant to be more roleplaying than war simulator.
Funny, I thought you got it backwards. Game is supposed to be turn-based wargame FIRST, tactical RPG elements come second. And multiplayer balance is kinda important to developers, and they won't break/disrupt it without good reason. BTW - I always thought that RPGs try to have all possible classes more or less balanced and if they don't achieve it, it's a flaw? Weird.
And I don't see why resilient is particularly advantageous for Footpads.
Footpads should get resilient because they could tank better that way. (They are already really hard to hit because of elusivefoot movetype, and they get more HP than thieves, and decent retaliation against melee and ranged... So basically, for Knalgans they are quite decent choice for holding villages, especially through the night, more so since they are way cheaper than Guardsmen).
Also, quick Footpads could serve as village-grabbers (unit needs 8mp to fulfil that role effectively), making very costly Gryphon Riders completely obsolete.

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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Curtis »

Shinobody wrote:How dextrous can be better for Drakes... If they can't be dextrous.
Because they'd have "dextrous" breaths. Despite fire breath having nothing to do with hands.
You got me so curious that I have checked the files of Dead Water, but Drakes seem to recruit completely normal units, not modified or anything. And Drakes can only have global traits, like quick or strong. Any such occurrence would be a bug (pretty weird one, too) and if you are sure it was so, you should report it.
I see a lot of weird things in my games. I'm currently stuck halfway through the last scenario of Hammer of Thursagan, because I found the book that was supposed to allow me to activate the teleporters in the north and pass through the wall in the south… but the wall doesn't open (the teleportation part works, though). So, I'm trying to figure out if it's worth my while to back the game up fifteen turns or so and rush all of those guys waiting by the southern wall up to the north end of the map and put them through the teleporters. Probably it is.

Dead Water also had multiple weird things happen; aside from the dextrous Drakes, there was the fearless Hunter. And there have been other things, like the strong/strong Elvish Fighters, and quick/quick Elvish Scouts and Griffin Riders I alluded to previously.

Basically, in my games stuff just happens. I've gotten used to it.
Shinobody wrote:Per your request, your copy of Wesnoth has file "units.cfg" in your wesnoth directory, under path "data/core". There, you will find WML definitions of every race in Wesnoth, along with traits they can/can't have..
Very nice; thank you. I see that only Trolls can be fearless, but I ran into a couple of fearless Undead in Dead Water. Maybe they were coded in as campaign-specific units (as I assume was the case with the loyal/fearless Hunter)?
Shinobody wrote:Funny, I thought you got it backwards. Game is supposed to be turn-based wargame FIRST, tactical RPG elements come second. And multiplayer balance is kinda important to developers, and they won't break/disrupt it without good reason. BTW - I always thought that RPGs try to have all possible classes more or less balanced and if they don't achieve it, it's a flaw? Weird.
This is quoted from Wesnoth Philosophy II:

"However, the core Wesnoth team does not intend to migrate Wesnoth to a fundamentally different play style. But, that said, I think it would be a great idea for *someone* to. … These resources could be re-used to make a 'civilization-style' hex game. Or a 'tactics' game (Wesnoth is already somewhat of a tactics game, but one could take this in different directions). Or more of a 'wargame'."

On the other hand, from the FAQ we have your quote above, so it could go either way.

You're right about attempting to balance the CLASSES in most RPGs (some are classless, and some don't care), but almost no effort is made to balance the GAMES. In the RPGs with which I'm familiar Good is always made stronger than Evil, so that Good will ultimately triumph. Nearly every scenario seems to degenerate at some point into a monster-bashing fest, which wouldn't be possible if the player characters weren't vastly more powerful than the non-player characters (npcs).

You might argue that the weakness of the individual npcs is compensated for by their numbers or hidden gimmicks available only to the bad-guy masterminds. Consider, however, that every scenario and every campaign is specifically designed so that the players win in the end. Wesnoth campaigns/scenarios are a prime example. If they were balanced then half the players would be halted by the first scenario, and half the remainder by the second, and so on, so that only one player in a thousand could 'win' a ten scenario campaign. Who would play that? That's why Wesnoth campaigns allow the players to chose a level of difficulty — so that the player can be guaranteed to win.
Shinobody wrote:]Footpads should get resilient because they could tank better that way. (They are already really hard to hit because of elusivefoot movetype, and they get more HP than thieves, and decent retaliation against melee and ranged... So basically, for Knalgans they are quite decent choice for holding villages, especially through the night, more so since they are way cheaper than Guardsmen).
Also, quick Footpads could serve as village-grabbers (unit needs 8mp to fulfil that role effectively), making very costly Gryphon Riders completely obsolete.
That all makes sense, except that your last sentence does not match my experience. (I know, find more opponents!) I agree that Griffin Riders are costly — too costly, considering how easily they die — but on a constricted map a 10MP Griffin Rider is enormously more useful than an 8MP Footpad. Footpads lose movement for bad terrain, which can quickly result in an 8MP unit moving only 4 or 5, and Dwarves should always be playing on restricted terrain. On open maps I pretty much agree with you, though I have recently played on some where the villages averaged 9-11 hexes apart. Even 1MP can make a big difference on some maps. One reason I love the Elvish Scout is that his 1MP advantage over the Wolf Rider nearly always seems to result in the Rebels grabbing villages more quickly than the Northerners.

Thank you very much for taking the time to discuss philosophy with me.

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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Drakefriend »

Curtis wrote:You're right about attempting to balance the CLASSES in most RPGs (some are classless, and some don't care), but almost no effort is made to balance the GAMES. In the RPGs with which I'm familiar Good is always made stronger than Evil, so that Good will ultimately triumph. Nearly every scenario seems to degenerate at some point into a monster-bashing fest, which wouldn't be possible if the player characters weren't vastly more powerful than the non-player characters (npcs).

You might argue that the weakness of the individual npcs is compensated for by their numbers or hidden gimmicks available only to the bad-guy masterminds. Consider, however, that every scenario and every campaign is specifically designed so that the players win in the end. Wesnoth campaigns/scenarios are a prime example. If they were balanced then half the players would be halted by the first scenario, and half the remainder by the second, and so on, so that only one player in a thousand could 'win' a ten scenario campaign. Who would play that? That's why Wesnoth campaigns allow the players to chose a level of difficulty — so that the player can be guaranteed to win.
However, Multiplayer balance is very different in intention of campaign balnce, which you are talking of. In a campaign (or an RPG), the aim of balance is to have the game difficult enough to keep it a challenge, but easy enough so the plot is able to be advanced. However, for Multiplayer, the aim of ballance is to make the gameplay of the players in a given battle comparable, so here it means that the factions have to be approximatly the same power, so any setup can is fair.
Last edited by Drakefriend on January 10th, 2012, 9:33 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Caphriel »

Curtis wrote:Very nice; thank you. I see that only Trolls can be fearless, but I ran into a couple of fearless Undead in Dead Water. Maybe they were coded in as campaign-specific units (as I assume was the case with the loyal/fearless Hunter)?
You might want to reread that. Trolls can get the fearless trait randomly, but so can heavy infantrymen, and walking corpses and ghouls always have the fearless trait.

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Re: [interface] Making Random Assignment of Traits Optional

Post by Drakefriend »

Though this is actually a part of the unit's file and is not listed in the main trait list.
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