Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

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Max
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Max » April 6th, 2011, 10:41 pm

The Black Sword wrote:I'm pretty sure I can beat all the campaigns on hard without any saveloading(including start of scenario loading which is personally where my limit usually is) and I'm definetly sure I can beat HTTT that way.
i'm pretty sure it's more or less impossible for some campaigns if you play it for the first time and have zero knowledge of what you're expecting.

Stephanie
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Stephanie » April 7th, 2011, 12:48 am

Some people have not understood what I meant by "saveloading". I use the term to mean any of the following:

* You're about to make a risky attack, so you save the game, and if the attack doesn't go well, you load the save you made just prior to the attack. This would be "saveloading" in the most extreme short term.

* You play your turn, but things don't go well. Maybe you had a streak of bad luck, or maybe you realize that your tactics were flawed after it's too late to undo. So, you load the last autosave and play the turn over from the beginning, maybe with a completely different strategy, maybe with a slightly different one, or maybe you just do exactly what you did before and hope for better luck.

* You're halfway through a scenario's time limit and realize that your overall strategy was poor. Maybe you're playing Valley of Death, and realize that going for one of the liches would be better than sitting in your keep spamming fodder, so you go back to the beginning of the current scenario and try a totally different strategy.

* You're halfway through a campaign, and realize that your recall list isn't good enough to keep going. Maybe you focused on leveling ranged units when what you really needed were some melee meat shields. So, you go back five scenarios to re-level some different units.

* You're just starting a scenario, and you don't like the traits your recruits got, so you reload turn 1 and try for better traits.

All of the above are what I would consider "saveloading". Here are some things that are NOT saveloading:

* You're tired and want to do something other than play BfW, so you save the game with the intention of starting again right where you left off.

* You move some units, then change your mind and decide you want to put them elsewhere, so you hit undo to put the units back where they were. Obviously, you could not have gained any new information by removing shroud or fog of war, or the game would not let you undo, because that would be, you know, cheating.

* You go to make an attack, but you accidentally click the wrong tile and attack a unit that you genuinely did not intend to attack. This was not a mental error on your part, merely a physical one, so you load the last save available and try to repeat, as closely as possible, what you did until you made the mistake.
Velensk wrote:I have already gotten through HTTT without saveloading or retrying any scenarios. I can't say anything about attacking with Konrad/Defaldor without a chance to kill and I didn't save the replays but if you'll take my word for it you will already have the majority of your challenge complete. EDIT: I do not however particularly have the patience to do it five times, it's too long and easy.

I don't know who Simyr is though.
Okay, if you say that you've done it, I'll take your word for it. I'm going to try hard HttT with no restrictions other than no saveloading, and see how far I can make it. I will expect to lose a couple loyal units, but maybe that won't be too much of a problem.

I wasn't asking you to do it five times, I was putting out a challenge to get Simyr three out of five times. Simyr is a reward given for finishing the second scenario ("Blackwater Port") of hard difficulty HttT early. It's the same scenario where you get Haldiel, the loyal horseman.
zookeeper wrote:
Stephanie wrote: This contradicts what you said in the topic I linked earlier:
What? No it doesn't. No-losses means that you restart the scenario if any unit of yours dies. That has nothing to do with whether restarting scenarios is considered to be cheating or saveloading.
Please reread the quotes, there IS a contradiction in what you're saying. I was not referring to the idea of a no-loss run. I was referring more specifically to your above phrase "abusing saveload, even if not mid-scenario".
Last edited by shadowm on April 7th, 2011, 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Merged three consecutive posts.

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jb
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by jb » April 7th, 2011, 1:16 am

You misunderstand the save/load concept. Save/load is considered "cheating" when you reload to get a new RNG result.

The start of scenario saves are official save points. It is not considered "cheating" to replay a scenario from the start.

The game does not suffer from faulty design, as you suggest.

Please do not triple post.
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Velensk
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Velensk » April 7th, 2011, 1:42 am

As mentioned before, you are using a different definition of save-loading than everyone. I'm still sure that I could beat HttT without doing what you call save-loading but I don't consider it cheating to restart scenarios. Every strategy game I've played where the campaign mode is a series of scenarios allows for that and I don't see why Wesnoth would or should be any different.

I don't think I've ever gotten that Knight as I generally don't bother to attempt to finish the scenario early. I don't see why it matters.
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Stephanie » April 7th, 2011, 2:14 am

jb wrote:You misunderstand the save/load concept...
Okay, thanks for what I assume is the official word on this topic. Perhaps this can be added to BfW's in-game documentation to prevent similar confusion in the future?

Interestingly, I came back to say something that ties into what jb said--namely, that if you recall a unit, you can undo the recall by pressing 'u', but if you recruit, you can't undo, presumably because doing so would allow you to change the traits your units get.

But... since reloading from the start of a scenario is considered acceptable, then is it considered cheating if the first thing I do in a scenario is recruit a unit, and if I don't like the traits, just reload the beginning of the scenario again and try for different traits? For that matter, what if I just play a scenario with the exact same, or largely the same, overall strategy and just keep at it until winning with sheer luck? There are practical limits to this, I know, but it seems to me there is still a large grey area regarding what is, and isn't, cheating.

You say that you want feedback to make the game better, so I'm telling you, playing the game without a clear understanding of what the rules are is frustrating at best, and impossible at worst. If I lose, I don't know whether it is because of bad strategy, or because I am misunderstanding how players are expected to play the game.

I guess I'll just have to check at the end of each scenario that my statistical luck doesn't deviate too much from expected value. I can't think of anything better, but it still doesn't sit right with me.
jb wrote:Please do not triple post.
Sorry, I thought it would be preferable to a huge text dump. I'll not do that in the future.
Velensk wrote:Every strategy game I've played where the campaign mode is a series of scenarios allows for that and I don't see why Wesnoth would or should be any different.
BfW is different in that, more than any other such strategy game, performance in previous scenarios determines the difficulty of the current scenario. I am talking specifically about the recall list and initial gold. This is why I tend to view a campaign as an indivisible whole.

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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Dixie » April 7th, 2011, 2:23 am

As has been said before: to each player his own. Why should we enforce some arbitrary ruleset? Why should we say: play the game this way, or be a lame cheater? So what? Maybe you're an hardcore completion-freak (no offense meant), maybe I like to saveload every now and then and maybe some other guy just likes going through the storyline and uses debug mode to give all of his units 500 HPs, so what? Play the game the way you have the most fun playing, and never mind other people. It's only single player, after all.

A lot of tabletop RPG rulebooks have a "Golden Rule", which basically is: "if you find the game more fun with or without a certain rule, then by all means change the rules and enjoy your game". I stand firmly by this principle. Games are made to be fun, play it the way that maximizes that fun for you.

Another solution to your problem: learn WML (fairly easy) and modify the campaigns so that they match your expectations better. The game's open source and pretty modable: you are welcome to change it in any way that suits you.
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Caphriel
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Caphriel » April 7th, 2011, 3:07 am

Stephanie wrote:But... since reloading from the start of a scenario is considered acceptable, then is it considered cheating if the first thing I do in a scenario is recruit a unit, and if I don't like the traits, just reload the beginning of the scenario again and try for different traits? For that matter, what if I just play a scenario with the exact same, or largely the same, overall strategy and just keep at it until winning with sheer luck?
Dixie wrote:As has been said before: to each player his own. Why should we enforce some arbitrary ruleset? Why should we say: play the game this way, or be a lame cheater? So what? Maybe you're an hardcore completion-freak (no offense meant), maybe I like to saveload every now and then and maybe some other guy just likes going through the storyline and uses debug mode to give all of his units 500 HPs, so what? Play the game the way you have the most fun playing, and never mind other people. It's only single player, after all.
This. There is no such thing as cheating in single player Wesnoth.
Stephanie wrote:You say that you want feedback to make the game better, so I'm telling you, playing the game without a clear understanding of what the rules are is frustrating at best, and impossible at worst. If I lose, I don't know whether it is because of bad strategy, or because I am misunderstanding how players are expected to play the game.
This is a more reasonable complaint, although I'm still hesitant to accept the idea that the manual/documentation should contain any suggestion as to how players ought to play the game.

Max
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Max » April 7th, 2011, 7:21 am

btw: the manual does mention this topic:
At the start of each scenario, your game state is normally saved. If you are defeated, you may load it and try again. Once you have succeeded, you will again be asked to save the next scenario and play that. If you have to stop playing during a scenario, you can save your turn and load it again later. Just remember, a good Battle for Wesnoth player never needs to save during a scenario. However, most beginners tend to do so rather often.
- Don’t abuse saved games. Long ago, Wesnoth only allowed saving the game at the end of a scenario. Mid-scenario saving was added as a convenience to use if you had to continue the game another day, or to protect against crashes. We do not recommend loading mid-scenario saved games over and over because your White Mage keeps getting killed. Learn to protect your White Mage instead, and balance risks! That is part of the strategy.
- If you must load a saved game, we recommend going back to the start of the scenario, so that you choose a new strategy that works, rather than simply finding random numbers that favor you.
- But remember, the aim is to have fun! You may have different tastes than the developers, so do what you enjoy most! If you enjoy loading the saved game every time you make a mistake, looking for the perfect game where you never lose a unit, by all means, go right ahead!
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by zookeeper » April 7th, 2011, 7:22 am

Stephanie wrote:
zookeeper wrote:What? No it doesn't. No-losses means that you restart the scenario if any unit of yours dies. That has nothing to do with whether restarting scenarios is considered to be cheating or saveloading.
Please reread the quotes, there IS a contradiction in what you're saying. I was not referring to the idea of a no-loss run. I was referring more specifically to your above phrase "abusing saveload, even if not mid-scenario".
Right, okay. I can't know what exactly I was thinking of when I wrote that, but I'd guess I was referring to repeatedly restarting the scenario until you get favourable traits for your recruits or get lucky against enemies you start close to, which obviously still amounts to what we call saveloading even if technically you're just restarting the scenario which is supposed to be ok.

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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by HomerJ » April 7th, 2011, 7:26 am

Caphriel wrote:This is a more reasonable complaint, although I'm still hesitant to accept the idea that the manual/documentation should contain any suggestion as to how players ought to play the game.
Ought to play sounds a little of. If someone has a good time saveloading his way through a campaign to keep all units alive and such, why shouldn't he?
Let's give our audience some credit ("How about a giant mouse trap?" "I love it!"). Actually in the beginning, I used to play that way for a little. But then it got boring so I restricted myself to cope with losses and bam -> whole new game to be discovered!


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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by thespaceinvader » April 7th, 2011, 8:48 am

Note: the game is balanced such that the easy mode is the mode which you SHOULD USE if you are a new player. It is not like many games where you start on medium or hard because you're an experienced gamer. If you're new to the game, you should play through the novice campaigns on easy mode - they're balanced with the intention that new players, even experienced gamers, should do this.

It's expected that, until you've learned the tactics and strategy of the game, Hard mode will be too hard for you.

If you want the game to be easier, play on an easier difficulty until you're better at it.
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Velensk » April 7th, 2011, 11:50 am

BfW is different in that, more than any other such strategy game, performance in previous scenarios determines the difficulty of the current scenario. I am talking specifically about the recall list and initial gold. This is why I tend to view a campaign as an indivisible whole.
I don't see why that would make a difference. Many of the stratagy games I've mentioned are like that. Fire Emblem, Warcraft III (to a minor extent), UFO AI, and a couple others make the difficulty in scenarios relative to how well previous ones were preformed. In fact, this would be a very good reason to allow restarting from the start of a scenario as these campaigns can be of incredible length and poor preformance might not be immediately fatal but take until the next breaker level to kill you. That is a lot of time investment for frustration if you're going to have to start from the beginning because of mistakes you made five hours of gameplay ago (which was then ten hours into the campaign to begin with).

It is not like replaying scenarios isn't time consumeing in and of itself without needing to replay the entire campaign as well. Sure you could just replay it forever until you get 'perfect' luck and if you find this fun, whatever it's not like it matters to anyoen else (most people just prefer to get a move on). If you are worried about this capability diminishing the accomplishement of a campaign then remember that it is possible to dig yourself in so deep that amount of luck you'd need to succeed would be so extreme as to require a ridicules expenditure of time for whomever needs to force their way through. You can always challange yourself to beat the campaigns without it, though saying that a game is poorly designed because it is not built for the way you challange yourself is simply silly.

Generally, we mostly recommend avoiding the practice of going back a single turn after bad luck (or in some cases, insufficent good luck) to reroll the dice (what we tend to refer to as save-loading) because of a belief that this breeds bad player habits/tendancies. People who do this tend to get addicted to it/reliant on the ability to have the dice rerolled until they are favorable when it is pretty much always possible to play in such a way where the overall odds are consistantly in your favor. A number of people have claimed on the forums that they thought the game was intended to be played that way or balanced to play that way which is simply not the case and we believe that they do themselves no favor by playing the game this way. That being said, we do not forbid them to play this way nor take active measures to stop them. It is a game and they can/should play it however they find it to be fun.

It is my view, that having fatal mistakes force you back to the beginning of the scenario is a sufficent price that people will seek to learn how to play well, but without being as overly frustrating/time consumeing as needing to restart the campaign. Then again, there are others who think that it is far too frustrating and that going back anything more than a couple turns is a waste of their time. It all depends on how hard you want to go on yourself which is something we will leave entirely up to you.
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by cookie » April 7th, 2011, 2:30 pm

jb wrote:You misunderstand the save/load concept. Save/load is considered "cheating" when you reload to get a new RNG result.

The start of scenario saves are official save points. It is not considered "cheating" to replay a scenario from the start.

The game does not suffer from faulty design, as you suggest.
Actually I would like to suggest and ask about something that did come across my mind earlier today when I read a thread. http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 20#p484820
As you notice on Multi-player, you can save and load games and as you notice on Wesnoth that you are able to open ANOTHER cilent of Wesnoth. Now some of you, (the smart ones) might get where I am heading now. It would be regarded as cheating on Wesnoth if a certain player would save and reload their game on the other client. Now, I most likely am not the first to figure this out. (But if I am, YAY! HAHAHA! IM A GENIUS!) I was simply wondering if there would be a way to prevent this other than having a really, really fast timer. If there is please enlighten me. Although the answer is likely 'No'. And if so I would like to point out this problem and hope that one of you fine developers and Crew of Wesnoth will be enlightened of this thought. And just because I stated this here. I do not encourage use of this method.

(If you don't understand what I just typed. I'm saying it as save and load in terms of cheating. As in to check what the other players/opponents have done previously, before you do your own turn. For example. Discovery of opponent's random-ed fraction, movement of units.)

Sorry if this is in the wrong area and topic and if it has been stated previously. AND any other rule I might of not noticed.
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Caphriel » April 7th, 2011, 3:11 pm

HomerJ wrote:Ought to play sounds a little of. If someone has a good time saveloading his way through a campaign to keep all units alive and such, why shouldn't he?
That's what I was saying. That the manual shouldn't tell players that they shouldn't do they, because if they have fun playing like that, why shouldn't they?

cookie, this was about single-player Wesnoth :wink:

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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by cookie » April 7th, 2011, 3:15 pm

Caphriel wrote: cookie, this was about single-player Wesnoth :wink:

Yes, I know. But it had the topic of cheating and save and reload. The thread also had many or several Wesnoth Officials interested so I guessed it could be less bothersome to post my own thread and let them discover my interesting revelation slower. But maybe it would just be hidden from other posts. Ah what a very confusing decision I've made.
Last edited by cookie on April 7th, 2011, 3:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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