2v2 conversation

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jb
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2v2 conversation

Post by jb » November 30th, 2011, 5:17 am

I am typically a man of few words, as my post count indicates. But I do read the MP forum regularly and I'm on the server a lot. I am aware of player concerns and grumbles. I also know there is a sense that developers are aloof and out of touch (my general response to this is that if you are still playing Wesnoth, they are doing something right). Most developing is done on irc, GNA, or in private. But in the wake of another successful TGT, I want to open a dialogue about 2v2 games. Maps, tactics, etc.

I'll start with a few topics:

My general feeling is that I'd love to include more 2v2 maps, and update or remove maps that are no longer relevant. Lagoon has been on the bubble for years. Castle Hop is terrific fun but to be played with a grain of salt, knowing it's not well balanced. Path of Daggers still produces exciting games despite its awkward center and long turns. Loris River stretches gameplay to the literal edge of the map. Xanthe Chaos is a real hammer and anvil showdown. I like different maps for different reasons.

I agree with Doc on 98% of map creation. Maps have to be more than simply balanced. They need to have a desirable aesthetic theme, a solid battle flow, ally setup, and considerations like game length and stalemate factor. Some things don't necessarily translate from 1v1 to 2v2. For example, 2v2 maps are generally packed with more chunks rugged terrain and fewer open lanes. This is quite intentional. More units and more sides require different layouts. The goal is certainly not to create two side by side 1v1 games. There has to be room for integration of units.


Moving on to a tactic being called "loyal army" or "free army". The idea is simple, you take all your ally's villages so your units don't cost upkeep. This allows your leader to take the field while your ally sits back and recruits. Peace and nani used it in the last TGT game to great effect. It works great with drakes. But there are downsides and it isn't always your best play. It limits your recruits to a single location and a single faction type. It can be clunky to pull off and requires great teamwork. Also, it is a mid game strategy, and in many games you get locked into a situation that doesn't allow for it. But it can work to great effect and often punishing results.

After thinking on it for some time, I have an idea I'd like to try in attempt to limit this. It's basically a shuffle in the way gold is acquired, and doesn't require any massive overhauls. Increase the base income of players to +9 and reduce the village gold to 1gpv. If half of your income is derived from base income, then it behooves you to still use your leader for recruit. And if your ally takes all your villages, he gains much less advantage. However, this will create the negative side effect of making village steals less impactful. Instead of a potential 6g swing, a village steal is reduced to a 4g swing. The power of economic dominance is reduced, while the value of kills and xp collection is increased. Still, upkeep from villages remains as useful as ever. Perhaps more useful even, especially as players trying the "free army" strategy end up wasting base income on upkeeping units.

The floor is open.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Cackfiend » November 30th, 2011, 5:51 am

Well its an interesting idea for sure and I think it would be worth creating an era with this ruleset to test it out
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by tekelili » November 30th, 2011, 6:46 am

I am happy of hear proposals to disable loyal army tactic, but reduce village income to 1 will affect too much gameplay, imho. I think units destruction will be more important over village conquer and basically will become games very long as players will have less concern in retreat from villages at bad tod and avoid combat. Anyway, test will show how it works.

My idea for solve this problem is copy units behavior when your boss die in a team game. When they enter in an ally village, flag doesnt change, so you cant change ownership of ally villages and loyal army tactic becomes impossible for practic proposes. I have thought about side effects of this change, and all of them looks to me minimal and not at all undesirables, like not lose 3 gold for team when your ally enter in your village to defend it if he is first in turn order over you.

I still see a remote chance of achieve loyal army tactic: overuse a boss in battlefront until he dies and then ally takes his villages. Maybe we should think about change victory conditions for 2v2 to "kill any of enemy leaders". As I see it, introduction of a lvl2 unit into fight is something very disruptive. in 1v1 games this has as counterweight that you cant recruit and if he dies: you lose your gold, your units wont fight anymore... you lose game! But in 2v2 currently, introduce a lvl2 unit into fight has not so severe drawbacks, your team can still use a part of his gold to recruit and your units will keep fighting and you can still win game if your boss dies. It is just an idea...

About 2v2 maps, I think clash, PoD, Loris and Xanthe are great maps for all reasons jb said. I think compentitive game among very strong players can show that beter "move this village 1 hex" or "here better mushroom than forest". This will be difficult due to lack of top 2v2 games, so I expect this will be a very long term issue. Said this, only 4 really good 2v2 maps looks very few to me. I feel we need at least 4 more. Ruins of Terra Dwelve is quite untested, but it points in a direction that I like and I feel it fills a hole in current 2v2 maps styles.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by nani » November 30th, 2011, 10:26 am


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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Colouredbox » November 30th, 2011, 10:58 am

"Castle Hop is terrific fun but to be played with a grain of salt, knowing it's not well balanced." Don't you dare! :augh:
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by jb » November 30th, 2011, 3:01 pm

tekelili
When they enter in an ally village, flag doesnt change, so you cant change ownership of ally villages
As I noted in the other thread, this is not an option. We are not going to change the core mechanics of the game.

me
We're not going to change the way the game works because that would be disaster for SP campaigns, not to mention well out of the range of my authority. So please don't even offer up options like having ally rest on village doesn't take control.

tekelili
Maybe we should think about change victory conditions for 2v2 to "kill any of enemy leaders"
I thought about this option as well. I think it's worth considering.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Doc Paterson » November 30th, 2011, 5:11 pm

Very well said by jb. I hope that the interest that people have shown here and in the TGT thread translates into time spent with your map editors, creating new maps and making/testing alterations to current ones. ;)

I like the increased upkeep idea- My only concern being that certain matchups could be more stalematish or overly defense-oriented if the significance of villages decreases.

To me, the most elegant solution would be to simply make the partner pay their teammate's debts. If one of the two "owes" the bank, the other has their income reduced by that amount. I suppose this could fall under "alterations to the core mechanics of the game," so maybe it's not viable.

Alternately, it would be funny to give the opposing team a super-tax-collector unit for every 50G owed. :lol2:

As for the overall balance of 2v2s, I think I've shared my thoughts on that about a hundred times. :)

Some interesting discussions of 1v1 and 2v2 balance can be read here: http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 20#p310520


One more miscellaneous thing: I know I said that I don't really (currently) want to do any work on 2v2s, but let me amend that. ;) I'm willing to work on Bluewater Province, which I've always thought had great potential. Part of its lack of popularity, in my opinion, is similar to an issue that Arcanclave faced, in that its complexity can make it unappealing, if you're not up for that sort of game. Anyways, I'd like to discuss that one, and hopefully collect some replays of the 1.9x version, which is noticeably different from the 1.8x version.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by soul_steven » November 30th, 2011, 5:18 pm

It seems to me a tactic like "loyal army" is only going to happen in top players games. Are you referring to making 2v2 always this way or making a add on so that say next TGT we have this era to fall on for serious games? As per another request I had (if this is for add on not normal default gaming) Has there een any talk of making it so that a team can not get the same faction (ud and ud for example) or is that not possible, not a issue to anyone else? To me it really undermines the team aspect of the game if your playing with the same units and gives you a severe disadvantage.

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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Scatha » November 30th, 2011, 7:02 pm

When I read about the problem, and before reading the conversation elsewhere, I also came up with the "share income" solution. I think that this and/or sharing upkeep are the most natural solutions. They each have a couple of rough spots around the edges where you have to make a decision, but generally they'll give you a pretty normal experience.

Shared income:
Easiest way for this to work is, on your turn, to give half your income (rounded up) to you, and half your income (rounded down) to your ally.
The question is how it should work when one leader is defeated. Either you continue to give half your money to that person, which is pretty close to defeat if you can't close the game very quickly, or you get it all now, which means that it's still possible to achieve the loyal army (but harder! which could be enough)

Shared upkeep:
A few different ways this could work:
  • If combined with shared income (above), it could be that if your ally's leader dies, you assume the responsibility for their upkeep.
    - This has reasonable behaviour, but is a bit complicated as a rule ...
  • Could be that on your turn you pay upkeep for half your units (rounded up) and half your ally's units (rounded down), with relief from villages equal to half of your villages (rounded up) plus half your ally's villages (rounded down)
    - Again, pretty complicated
  • Could have that at the start of your turn, if your ally has negative gold, you first pay off their debts (not taking you below zero)
    - This precisely deals with the problem case, and has no effect in normal play, which is great
    - It makes losing a leader a little harsher in games with small armies (such that the player with the surviving leader is not at their upkeep limit), since you have to pay the upkeep against the surviving units without getting to set it against your upkeep limit. You could have another rule to avoid this, but frankly it's a pretty small deal.
My preferred solution above is the one in bold. It mostly has no gameplay change at all in normal play (exceptions are when a leader dies with small armies (and the leaderless player not having much gold saved), or if one player is simply losing all their villages to the opponents -- but this results in what you might think is an accidental abuse of the loyal army in any case. You can extend it to more than 2 players on a team, which is a nice feature.

Edit: On looking again, I see Doc makes exactly the same proposal :)

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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by tekelili » November 30th, 2011, 11:53 pm

jb wrote: We're not going to change the way the game works because that would be disaster for SP campaigns, not to mention well out of the range of my authority. So please don't even offer up options like having ally rest on village doesn't take control.
I wont fight if this a dead path, but just in case I wasnt understood, I am not proposing change core code. I am just proposing change 2v2 maps rules. I offer myslef to do a code that added to 2v2 maps disable allies from change village ownership. As first example that comes to my mind: Top Scrolling Survival scenario has its own rules disabling upkeep for human players and that doesnt destroy single player campaings. Anyway, I am not even proposing this become mainlain, we could use this as rule for TGT games for testing proposes. TGT is played without random tod when mainlain 2v2 maps have currently random tod as map settings.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by jb » December 1st, 2011, 1:46 am

Just to be clear, I don't anticipate changing any of the gold mechanics in mainline. The "free army" strategy isn't a debilitating enough problem to warrant any sort of drastic change. Mostly I'm interested in testing theories for high level competition games. If, in time, it becomes obvious that there is a clear solution then I may consider implementing it. But I'm certainly not going to guinea pig things in mainline. For now lets focus on situations like TGT or other competitions.

I appreciate the creative thinking, and I think some creativity is indeed needed. I'm not a fan of any sort of gold sharing. I think it's Un-KISS. Sharing gold gets too complicated too fast. It has a danger of opening up new unforeseen exploits and really just changes the basic game too much. For me it's too much of a leap this early in the process, like knocking down a wall to kill a fly. I'm much more interested in working within the confines of the current system. Part of my responsibility is to find a compromise that works for everybody, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the game.
soul_steven wrote:Has there een any talk of making it so that a team can not get the same faction (ud and ud for example) or is that not possible, not a issue to anyone else? To me it really undermines the team aspect of the game if your playing with the same units and gives you a severe disadvantage.
I think this would work much better as an add on package, similar to the way 1v1 handled it. There is no sense in adding restrictions for those who don't want them. But for those who prefer to have unique team factions an add-on such as this could certainly be useful.
Doc wrote:I'm willing to work on Bluewater Province, which I've always thought had great potential. Part of its lack of popularity, in my opinion, is similar to an issue that Arcanclave faced, in that its complexity can make it unappealing, if you're not up for that sort of game.
Great!

Indeed Bluewater has come a long way. I think part of my gripe about this map is simply how wide it is. From my past experiences nearly all the action takes place within 3 or 4 hexes of the center area. Often in an all-around-the-mulberry-bush way. And there are still 11 hexes beyond that! The wide edges in the middle can provide for some interesting mini-scout wars, but it's not viable to mass any sort of assault that far away from the action. There is not much to conquer out there on the frontier anyway, and if you did mass an army out there, the enemy most like will just undercut you in the now soft underbelly center. One thought, maybe expand that inner area by 2-3 hexes or some other alteration. Specifically the impassible walls. If players were forced to the edge to get around, it might make the wide edge more viable.

It's hard to put my finger on it exactly. Perhaps you can explain the complexity and similarities to Arcanclave?
tekelili wrote:TGT is played without random tod when mainlain 2v2 maps have currently random tod as map settings.
Perhaps it is time to revert the all the maps back to a standard ToD.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by alpha1 » December 1st, 2011, 3:21 am

To clarify the TGT stance on random ToD.

Before launching the 1st Edition, Faello and me were concerned that random ToD (which was somewhat of a novelty back then) may lead to some match-ups being more unbalanced than they were with fixed ToD. In order to test this theory, we made some playthroughs with factions, that we expected to be most susceptable to ToD irregularities. We came to conclusion that random ToD effectively decreases the strength of chaotic factions (often weakening their first night push) and empowers lawful factions (allowing them more time for a build up). This (especially the weakening of the first night push) may already cause some problems with neutral factions, however these problems take dramatic proportions, when one side is predominantly chaotic (2x chaotic/chaotic+neutral) and the other is lawful. In such situations lawful players will often be able to grab their villages while their opponents are unable to attack and swiftly proceed with their own attack crippling their opponents beyond repair, or if the time is too short, just build up and face the 2nd night push prepared (this build up also favoring lawful factions since they generally have stronger but more expensive units). We also observed quite a few games like that, where chaotic factions either couldn't attack properly or had to just stay there and take beating (or fall back and lose a lot of villages).
Ofc, random ToD won't always cause balance problems, but since we want to minimize the amount of games where the winner is decided not by skill but by lucky faction combo we decided to revert ToD back to the previous, fixed, state.

tl;dr: We have fixed ToD not because we like/dislike the random one, but for balance reasons. Chaotic factions need their first night push, otherwise there might be balance issues, up to games being decided by lucky faction throws and not by skill. In order to avoid that the fixed ToD was implemented.

/me goes back to the TGT-discussion thread
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Doc Paterson » December 1st, 2011, 4:19 am

jb wrote: Indeed Bluewater has come a long way. I think part of my gripe about this map is simply how wide it is.
Oh man, I am kicking myself right now, because all this time, I thought that I'd committed a certain "newer" version of this map, like half a year or so ago. :P

So imagine my surprise when I think "Hmm, doesn't sound like he's talking about the current version of the map..." and open 1.9.10 to remind myself of what my newest version was like. Surprise, what I've been thinking of as the old version is still the current version. Iyieyie. I thought at first that perhaps it had been reverted to an earlier version by someone, but nope, after checking the logs I can see that I just never had it committed. :augh:

Well suffice it to say, it's changed quite a bit more, and among several other things, it's significantly "thinner."

About Arcanclave, I wasn't saying that they were actually similar in their structure or the way that they play, just that both were highly complex and had atypical dynamics from their respective 1v1/2v2 families.

Anyways- Here's the Bluewater that I thought was in 1.9x. :P
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by jb » December 2nd, 2011, 7:26 am

Doc Paterson wrote:Well suffice it to say, it's changed quite a bit more, and among several other things, it's significantly "thinner."
Well it was a pleasant surprise when I opened the new version. I'll try to get some playtesting on this one over the weekend, if i can find enough players.


Similar to you, I failed to upload the new loris river that soul_steven helped tweak. So, here it is updated for 1.9.11. I'd like to get some testing on this one too.
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Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by The Black Sword » December 2nd, 2011, 4:11 pm

Changing the base income seems a good and elegant solution. I'd agree with tek though that reducing village income may have too much of a negative effect. I have 3 points
1. 9g is perhaps not necessary. Even wasting 6g per turn would cut down the effectiveness of the strategy to a point were it would be questionable to consider. Yes you could perhaps have ~15 loyals units, but given all the other drawbacks and if your opponents attack in their next powerphase and trade some of these loyal units its probably not going to be worth it.
2. Would +3g per player per turn drastically change the unit density on the 2v2 maps?
3. Could we possibly eliminate 1 vill per player on each of the mainline 2v2 maps?

That could take you up 7g which may be enough without changing the vill dynamics.
I agree it seems a solution worth testing.

I think changing victory conditions to kill 1 enemy leader is a bad idea. It doesn't have much of an effect of the "loy army" problem and changes other stuff I quite like. Didn't the Ducks sack one of their leaders in the semis of the last TGT vs North & South to gain the advantage?

SS's point about teams not having the same faction is also good I think. I don't mind it every now and then but 3 games in a row in the TGT Final... :wink:

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