2v2 conversation

Discussion of all aspects of multiplayer development: unit balancing, map development, server development, and so forth.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

User avatar
alpha1
Posts: 198
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:57 am

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by alpha1 » December 2nd, 2011, 7:58 pm

I agree with TBS, making one leader kill a winning condition sounds a bit too harsh, and would robe us quite a few decent games while trying to adress some potential threat (that probably wouldn't be fixed by this solution either). That game that TBS mentioned was simply one of the most epic games i've played in my 5 years on server (btw. the leader sac wasn't some intended "cheesy" strategy, it just happened ;)). There is also this saying, that a "2vs2 is not over untill both enemy leaders are dead" and I've seen (and played) a number of games that proved to be really interesting and challenging, even after one of the leaders died. It would be sad to see it all gone.

Another thing to consider is, whether the "loyal army"-strategy is really such a big problem that it would be justified to radically nerf it. It mostly seems to be a good idea to use it, when one of the partners is drake, or in games where both partners have same faction (at least it was mostly used in those cases in both TGTs). Otherwise this strategy is punishable (especially in the initial/middle stages), actually cuts the short term income, decreases the variety of units available and can be hard to pull off.

It also doesn't really cause stalemates, it MAY cause stalematish-situations with faction combinations already prone to stalemates. But thats the problem of factions, not of the strategy. And it's not necessary to "sacrifice your partner to win" either. I will even go so far as to say, that if you couldn't achieve a decisive advantage in short run, this strategy will lose it's effect in the long run as more and more of your loyal army gets killed as the game goes on. In theory it's possible for one partner to "go loyal", wait for his partner to max out his unit number with double income and then retake all his villages and do the same. I doubt it's really possible to pull something like this off in reality though (unless in some very rare cases under very specific circumstances).

I would further like to compare this strategy to "banking" in 1vs1 (since both strategies - apart from the use of the lvl2-leader in 2vs2s - involve advanced income management). Both strategies can give players who use them properly an advantage, but are not guaranteed to do so and will backfire if used wrong. Now there are people who dislike banking, call it a coward, boring and "unfun" strategy etc. On the other hand there are people who like it and don't mind using it in certain situations, when its a sensible thing to do. Now a personal opinion is a good thing and everyone has a right to have one. I however, respecting both opinions, would never demand the banking possibility being removed, for sole reason, that i might dislike it and think it's not the way 1vs1 is supposed to be played (- as an answer to the TGT-final game chat).

I agree that the loyal army strategy might make some match-ups more imbalanced than they already are, so some nerfing might be useful. But making it completly unusable sounds a bit like an overkill, considering that it would hinder good players to fully uncover their team-work strength and potential, which is (the team-work) being most fun part of 2vs2, and what 2vs2 is actually about.
If you have any wishes or suggestions concerning the TGT or just want to drop me a message, pls pm me at: alpha1_pm
I won't be able to see any messages that are sent to alpha1.

User avatar
Faello
Posts: 441
Joined: June 7th, 2005, 9:01 am
Location: Holy Office

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Faello » December 3rd, 2011, 8:46 pm

Thanks for opening the topic jb.

(I'll discuss the maps later since I'd have to put some examples and screenshots with descriptions and I don't really have the time to do that this weekend.)

Regarding the loyal army strategy: I've already pointed out in some online discussions that I've mixed feelings about this one, and I've mixed feelings mostly because erasing this possibility affects only the top players and it affects only them, because (as someone already stated) only the top players show the level of cooperation allowing efficient use of this strategy and it actually requires decent level of skill and good understanding of the game to profit from it and not fail during the process.

To understand my concerns you need to look at Wesnoth from economic point of view. Regular players see only one type of resource in Wesnoth: gold, but vets knows well that territory that your army grabs is a resource too. Another type of resource are unit's movement points - we're spending them to move unit from point A to point B. Experience points - resource that used well allows you to level your unit to a more powerful one thus actually gain a unit that is worth more and can do more on the battlefield.

Considering the above, team that is efficiently using the unified economy strategy against strong opponents is simultaneusly showing a great understanding of the game itself, because to make it efficient:
1)you cannot use it early because you'd not profit from it, since your army upkeep wouldn't be that high and profits could not compensate the costs quick enough thus it means that team that wants to use this strategy has to deal with their opponents on standard terms at least for a period of +8 to +10 turns thus...
2)this strategy profits are delayed in time and to profit from it you need to...
3)pay the price for using it which basically means:
-commiting some of your units to capture your ally villages (thus you're paying for it in units movement points because such a move will often require a less economic path for the unit)
- using no-upkeep troops with care (they cannot heal themselves in the villages often because it would affect the overall efficiency of this strategy thus it would be the best if they'd not suffer a lof of damage and simultaneusly they should be able to deal a lot of damage themselves so generally speaking you want some healer unit around them if you can provide one ; it's also great if you can amass experience points on them which only amplifies the positive effects of using unified eco)
-delayed income from the recaptured villages
Players that are aware of the costs try to minimise them, because they know they need to do it in the...
4)right way & in the right moment so they're doing it either by using quick, freshly recruited units moving to the frontline from the castle (cost in the mvp is lower when unit can quickly rejoin other units on the frontline and when it can use every move to recapture another village) OR they're using heavily wounded units (since their value on the frontline is lower than fresh units/they already "amortized"themselves in some way and cannot be used efficiently again without moving back & replenishing their hit points thus the actual price of using them like that is lower than in the case of the fresh unit. Another way to do it right is when opponents are using their powerphase to move forward - since your army is moving back, cost of your units activity near you ally castle//villages is probably lower thus you can do it somewhere between enemy powerphase and your powerphase and pay lower costs

Considering all of the above, I'd say that it actually requires decent amount of skill to do all of that right and still stay on your legs against a strong team that is observing your moves and reacting on them accordingly and if it requires skill, than it cannot be entirely wrong. Even if you will succesfully proceed with this strategy, opponents can do the same thing so they're not defenseless against it and I'd not call it cheesy.

I think that trying to prevent players from using this strategy would actually limit some options that are currently avaible and are used usually only by the best.

Why do you want to limit the best players?

I don't see any reason for that. I'd approach it from the other side - if the veteran players can use this strategy in high-stake games they should be forced to deal with some results of not paying the upkeep. Upkeep is basically a regular amount of gp paid to keep the unit in shape so the unpaid unit quality should deteriorate - lowering their hitpoint amount each turn would be difficult because some factions have healers, so perhaps the best way would be to cut the no-upkeep units speed by 1 point or lower their attack efficiency (10% lower cth) or think about some other/similar way to reflect the lack of upkeep effects. Instead of robbing vets from ability to smoke others thanks to their great cooperation, just make it a bit more difficult for them to pull that off.
The yellow jester does not play
but gently pulls the strings
and smiles as the puppets dance
in the court of the Crimson King.

User avatar
tekelili
Posts: 1038
Joined: August 19th, 2009, 9:28 pm

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by tekelili » December 4th, 2011, 5:59 pm

@Faello:I have been my whole life a gamer, and I always experimented same oposition from usual players to rule changes on a game they master. Basically problem is always same, despite rule change can be good or not, they are usually afraid of lost experience adquired with old rules.

Of course exploit loyal army needs skill... but is that real issue? For me real issue is very simple: Have a side with negative income and get profit from it it is just a hole in the rules. From my point view wesnoth was designed for 1v1 (or SP campaign) and when rules were converted to 2v2 this issue entried using a backdoor. And most important of all: A rule that push a player with understanding of game to become irrelevant achieving a tactic that spoil his resurces on game, cant be a good rule. Main target of a game must be get fun.

Just to no be acused of complain about this tactic due to TGT outcome, here is prove I complained months ago: http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=33984
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
World Conquest II

User avatar
Dunno
Posts: 773
Joined: January 17th, 2010, 4:06 pm
Location: Behind you

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Dunno » December 4th, 2011, 9:30 pm

Faello wrote:Even if you will succesfully proceed with this strategy, opponents can do the same thing so they're not defenseless against it and I'd not call it cheesy.
This.

I'm a big 2v2 enthusiast, and I seldom play games other than 2v2. Successfully planned loyal army is a magnificent piece of team work and whenever I see it I feel this unique thrill only Wesnoth 2v2 can give. It's very exciting because it's almost completely skill-related (no luck involved), and it makes stakes very high. Every unit during loyal army maneuver is critical and you can easily lose big by mere miscalculation. And of course win big if you do it right. So imho, there shouldn't be done anything about it-it's just the way this game works, a one of strategies. I believe every game should have some ways to exploit it, because if you "polish" it too much, it becomes a tasteless, plain, boring game you can play only one way. Village snatching, banking, elves camping in the forests-those things make Wesnoth unique. It's like making scholar's mate illegal because new players don't know it.
Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?

User avatar
nani
Posts: 111
Joined: March 12th, 2009, 10:43 am

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by nani » December 4th, 2011, 10:20 pm

It might be the case that peace and me using this strategy three times (iirc) in TGT3 might be the source of the loyal army discussion.
I wanna tell the "reasons" we had for doing it:
  1. On Clash against the Landfishes: My white mage was in the mood to fight undead at front.
  2. On Clash against Nerds R US: peace wasn't motivated to fight woses with undead, and I mean it just like that, he was lacking motivation to continue at that point. ;-)
  3. On Loris against Nerds R US: after peace's long journey, we decided I should move north since he'll be totally busy killing at day instead of getting the vills .
Summing up: Except of case 1, our decisions didn't have a strategical background, if you can call 1 a strategic decision, that means we always decided to use this strategy one or max two turns before it happened.

Personally I wouldn't wanna change anything. As someone stated earlier, the strategy is barely used in "normal" 2vs2s,
and even if, the enemies can counter it, as Faello stated iirc.
Additionally I don't think maps like POD, Xanthe, Loris, ... let's say no other decent map than clash offers an easy opportunity to perform it,
unless something unexpected happened before. As Dunno stated, I like watching matches with leaders at front as well, it adds thrill.
It would be a shame if something would discourage good players to do it, even in pro-matches not even 10% of all matches contain it.
I gotta admit I didn't read most of the discussion and the proposals, I just wanted to add that we didn't plan to use it,
it was like most of our actions, spontaneous decisions based on +/- motivation that sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. (we had stupid losses as well)

AI
Developer
Posts: 2394
Joined: January 31st, 2008, 8:38 pm

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by AI » December 4th, 2011, 10:29 pm

All the gold-sharing options posted here so far sound conceptually complex, so I'd like to suggest a simpler alternative: have gold be a team resource rather than a side resource.
Obviously, it would have to be optional, decided at game-creation time, but it CABD in WML (though it might be hard to show income and upkeep properly) and I'd be willing to give implementing it a shot in 1.11 if that's actually wanted.

Having said that, I don't really have an opinion here (nor the informedness to form one), so this'll probably be my only contribution to this thread.

User avatar
tekelili
Posts: 1038
Joined: August 19th, 2009, 9:28 pm

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by tekelili » December 4th, 2011, 11:22 pm

I already said it in other thread but forgot say it here. For everybody that dont see a problem of game design in loyal army, just remember them that upkeep rule was created to limit units on field, and number of villages has a relationship with map size according with this rule. With loyal army tactic, amount of gold a team collects every turn related to units have in field becomed cheated, and overrides upkeep rule proposal. Do you think 2v2 map sizes and number of villages were designed for amount of units loya army tactic can deploy on battlefield?

and I dont think "it is just how Wesnoth works" is a good reason for not improve design. Currently, a "skilled 2v2 player" can disable with a wose ambushed a skirmisher reach a place using a team_skirm_mate unit as blocker. Skirmisher could be able to reach target avoiding wose ambush using mate_unit hex as path, but as currently autopath dont choses hexes filled wit friendly units, skirmshir wont be able avoid ambush. Exploit this issue is a matter of skill, but that doesnt means is a good rule. It is just a fail on game design that wasnt fixed still due to amount of work involved.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
World Conquest II

User avatar
Dunno
Posts: 773
Joined: January 17th, 2010, 4:06 pm
Location: Behind you

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Dunno » December 5th, 2011, 11:13 am

I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear enough. My point is, loyal army is not a game-breaking strategy and requires a lot of skill. Just watch The Most Epic 2v2 Wesnoth Game Ever (DoD vs N&S on Xanthe, 37 turns of constant action resulting in a draw; see alpha's post above) and you'll see that if both teams are equally experienced, loyal army can be countered using more "conservative" tactics.
Oh, I'm sorry, did I break your concentration?

User avatar
alpha1
Posts: 198
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:57 am

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by alpha1 » December 5th, 2011, 6:00 pm

tekelili wrote:With loyal army tactic, amount of gold a team collects every turn related to units have in field becomed cheated, and overrides upkeep rule proposal. Do you think 2v2 map sizes and number of villages were designed for amount of units loya army tactic can deploy on battlefield?
Nah, i don't think normal amount of units + 6-7 loyal units cause any significant problems on a clash sized map. Mind you the village holder won't achieve the max number of units for some time (he will also have effectively less units on the battlefield in previous turns, cause some of the units will be busy grabbing villages). And as i already explained in my previous post the unit-number will equalize as the game goes on.
The "unit amount/upkeep purpose"-argument seems to be sorta weak anyway. I don't think 1vs1 maps were designed for amount of units, a player spamming lvl0 can field. Or you could also argue that banking is a way to avoid the reason why upkeep was implemented (and allows a player get more units than he would be usually able to)... By that kind of logic they should be made unavailable as well, only because they are used not 100% the way they were perhaps intended to be used.
nani wrote:It would be a shame if something would discourage good players to do it, even in pro-matches not even 10% of all matches contain it.
To draw an example from previous TGT, in which i participated. MrHase and me played 9 games alltogether. In 2 of them we used loyal army strategy, one time against Rigor and his partner when the game was almost over and we wanted to spead things up and one time against plk2 and Nordmann where we lost despite (although not because) of it. As you can see even against solid opponents (we played 2 games vs Rigor, 7 against plk2 and Nordmann) in rather high lvl 2vs2s this strategy was used only twice and didnt particularly influence the outcome of the game.
I wouldn't call that 37 turns game a pure example of loyal-army strategy, since i lost my leader before it actually started and we didnt really intend to use it there. Although you can probably use it as an example of how the loyal army dwindles as the game goes on without causing any overpopulation problems.
If you have any wishes or suggestions concerning the TGT or just want to drop me a message, pls pm me at: alpha1_pm
I won't be able to see any messages that are sent to alpha1.

The Black Sword
Posts: 373
Joined: October 13th, 2008, 4:35 pm

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by The Black Sword » December 5th, 2011, 6:21 pm

I've read over the posts and I don't feel any of them contradict my points in the TGT thread http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... &start=510.
Generally, they all pretty much say; its a legitimate strategy, which I've agreed with.
This is also a bit of a reply to alpha's "fun" response in the TGT thread.

Obviously during the game you don't make moves based on what's fun or not but when you're deciding to change/improve a game you look to get the right balance between "fun" and depth of strategy IMO. This would take away some(and be clear, not a huge amount) strategy from the game but would improve the fun direction IMO.

Apart from that I think I'd just be repeating points I've already made.

It seems that we have some people would prefer the mix without the loyal strategy and some who would prefer it included. Given your points haven't contradicted mine and mine haven't contradicted yours, I doubt either of us are going to convince each other otherwise, in any case I wouldn't say either side is wrong, just a different preference. What would usually decide in this situation, developer preference, mass vote(seems like a bad idea to just allow anyone)?

@Faello, your solutions seem to me to have a similar goal as the increased base income suggested by jb, ie. weakening the effectiveness of the strategy, except a lot harder to implement and less intuitive.

Side Note: Also a bit of a reply to some of the TGT comments. I certainly wouldn't say we lost the final game due to Tentacles employing this strategy. I think by the time it started to become effective they'd destroyed our north army anyway and it was already gg after that. Me and tek have used it in games where appropriate, TGT Final game 1, our game vs CDeath come to mind, but I would prefer it if we didn't have that option, while I could still advise tek in in the TGT game, my turn became a little less exciting when I was down to 3 units.

PPS: Because alpha made another damn post :P
I don't see many parallels between this problem and banking. Most importantly banking won't have the effect of 1 player going extinct. The main similarity is probably that neither tactic was intended to be there. Banking also only works in already stalemateish games where you could argue the factions are the problem(mainly mirrors). Nevertheless, if you have a good solution to that situation I wouldn't mind hearing it. :wink:

User avatar
tekelili
Posts: 1038
Joined: August 19th, 2009, 9:28 pm

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by tekelili » December 5th, 2011, 10:30 pm

I am with all TBS said previous post: No sense keep arguing when people doesnt try reaply your reasons.
Kinda discouraging hear reasons like "it only represents 10% of games" :? If we exclude mirrors in 1v1, orc vs loy is only a 7% of games... should we ignore them and dont try improve balance?
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
World Conquest II

User avatar
Alarantalara
Art Contributor
Posts: 782
Joined: April 23rd, 2010, 8:17 pm
Location: Canada

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Alarantalara » December 5th, 2011, 11:46 pm

I have one caution I would like to make with regard to the "loyal army".
If one leader is killed, then this instantly becomes the only available strategy. It also appears to be considered a disadvantage since games in which a side that loses a leader wins are often highlighted for attention in the forums.

I would suggest that any rule change that makes the strategy worse should try to avoid additionally penalizing a team that has lost a leader. Increasing the base income appears to be a change that does increase the penalty for a side that loses a leader.

User avatar
jb
Multiplayer Contributor
Posts: 493
Joined: February 17th, 2006, 6:26 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by jb » December 6th, 2011, 2:34 am

Again, we're not talking about making any changes to basic mainline gameplay. We are focusing on tournament play.

I'm not going to recycle arguments that have already been made, other than to say IMO the simplest and least invasive solution is to boost base income. Lets try to frame the conversation around this concept.

Here are some options:

I detailed a version where base income was increased by +7, and village gold reduced to 1gpv. The rational was that on average there are 7 vills per player on a typical 2v2 map. In hindsight this change is more drastic than I would like.

TBS offered another option that keeps village income at +2, while also removing 4 villages (one for each player) from the map.

Combining TBS and my idea, there is a third option (and my new favorite). Simply raise base income, regardless of villages.

Default base income is +2. If base income were increased to +4 and villages remained unchanged, this would nullify the advantage of "loyal army" up to 4 units (excluding level 2 & 3 units). The side effect of this option would be more gold in play for everyone, which I think balances itself.

I think its a small problem with a simple fix. Please lets not overreact by offering complex solutions.
Keep It Simple Stupid = KISS
My MP campaigns
Gobowars
The Altaz Mariners - with Bob the Mighty

User avatar
alpha1
Posts: 198
Joined: February 29th, 2008, 12:57 am

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by alpha1 » December 6th, 2011, 8:29 pm

I wrote a lengthy answer on TBS post, but i think i'll refrain from posting it (to TBS's great joy :P) and come straight to the point.
jb wrote:If base income were increased to +4 and villages remained unchanged, this would nullify the advantage of "loyal army" up to 4 units (excluding level 2 & 3 units). The side effect of this option would be more gold in play for everyone, which I think balances itself.
I really like this idea, it both nerfs the loyal-army strategy, without making it completly unavailable, and helps to avoid it for people who dislike it. It has further advantages that we need neither map/game mechanic changes (that can cause unforseen problems in the future), nor cumbersome add-ons to implement it, since it can be set with few clicks before the game starts. This way we can remain flexible and correct the base income value in future tournaments on the fly, should the need arise.

I share Alarantalara's sentiments about the side with only one leader being further weakened, but i guess a compromise solution can't be reached without some kind of sacrifice.
If you have any wishes or suggestions concerning the TGT or just want to drop me a message, pls pm me at: alpha1_pm
I won't be able to see any messages that are sent to alpha1.

User avatar
Faello
Posts: 441
Joined: June 7th, 2005, 9:01 am
Location: Holy Office

Re: 2v2 conversation

Post by Faello » December 6th, 2011, 10:19 pm

I agree with alphy, I think that the jb's idea is the most reasonable and balanced, I'd stick with it.
tekelili wrote:@Faello:I have been my whole life a gamer, and I always experimented same oposition from usual players to rule changes on a game they master. Basically problem is always same, despite rule change can be good or not, they are usually afraid of lost experience adquired with old rules.

(...)From my point view wesnoth was designed for 1v1 (or SP campaign) and when rules were converted to 2v2 this issue entried using a backdoor. And most important of all: A rule that push a player with understanding of game to become irrelevant achieving a tactic that spoil his resurces on game, cant be a good rule. Main target of a game must be get fun.
Well, for me using "loyal army" strategy is interesting, it's another way to play the game that makes it entertaining (both to play & obs) so I don't think that it takes the fun from it. Preventing players from using it by putting some constraints on them would actually just take that option away and force standard way of playing upon them thus 2v2 would lose some of it's flavour that it has now. Remember that we're not talking about some 1 unit-zerg rush tactic here, we're talking about something that has actually developed together with raise of the players skill level and reflects the level of cooperation between the players in the team.

2v2 is all about cooperation so I'm sorry if it dissapoints you tek, but I'm against nuking this strategy. It's both fun to play and watch. Try to watch our 28turn training game that is still pending (and I still hope that we will be able to finish it :) ) and tell me that it's boring, because imo, it's one of the most entertaining 2v2 games I was able to play and both teams used this strat there iirc

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

btw. I'd like to discuss another idea which is fog of war. In my opinion fog of war should have more impact on the game because at this moment having high speed units is often enough and no scouting manouvers are necessary to gain intelligence on enemy army movement and positions.

What I would like to propose is to cut all units vision by 1 mvp for the tournament's purpose and see how it affects the game. I think it could make some aspects of the game more entertaining and valuable (like setting the traps). What do you think about it guys? How difficult would it be to code it? Is it worth trying in your opinion etc.
The yellow jester does not play
but gently pulls the strings
and smiles as the puppets dance
in the court of the Crimson King.

Post Reply