Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

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

Post by Anonymissimus » April 7th, 2011, 3:17 pm

jb wrote:You misunderstand the save/load concept. Save/load is considered "cheating" when you reload to get a new RNG result.
Why do you post this here as if it was an "official" opinion ? There is none. IMHO mid-scenario saveloading in order to change strategy is cheating too.
Mountain_King wrote:This guy is completing all mainline campaigns on hard with no save-loading.
Not true by the standards Stephanie demands. Maiklas3000 allows reloading at scenario start.

Still, nobody in this thread stating to be able to "beat xyz" has posted replays accomplishing the expert task suggested in the opening post.
Caphriel wrote:
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?
Because it tends to lead to forum statements saying that something would be "too easy", which are read by zookeeper, who then increases the gold the enemy gets, making it in turn harder (too hard ?) for people who impose strict standards on themself.
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Caphriel
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Caphriel » April 7th, 2011, 4:28 pm

Hmm, good point. I guess there should be some indication of how the author of a campaign is expecting it to be played, then.

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

Post by Insinuator » April 7th, 2011, 6:30 pm

No, there need be no indication of how a campaign "should" be played. The rules to Wesnoth are hard-coded. Trying to enforce more on people by telling them how to play is stupid. It's a game, for crying out loud! If it is too hard, turn down the difficulty. If it is too easy, turn it up.

I think the real issue here is people posting feedback about a particular campaign. A campaign designer must have enough confidence in his campaign that he doesn't feel like he has to change something every time someone whines about it. A good campaign designer has already thoroughly tested his campaign, making adjustments for balance. If a LOT of people find it too hard on the STANDARD difficulty, then maybe he should think about tweaking it.

But to change a campaign, particularly one as established as HttT, because a couple of forumites think it is too hard on Hard for them, is pandering and foolish.

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Maiklas3000
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by Maiklas3000 » April 7th, 2011, 8:39 pm

A couple of people mentioned me in this thread. Yes, I'm doing all the mainline campaigns on the hardest difficulty with no save-reloads, but with scenario restarts. I've completed all mainline campaigns this way except Heir to the Throne, Under the Burning Suns, and the last two scenarios of Northern Rebirth (where I'm currently at.) That includes Dead Water, by the way, which is mainline under 1.9. I haven't yet tried to beat Heir to the Throne (or Under the Burning Suns) this way, sorry.

It took me a while to grasp the basic tenet in Wesnoth that save-loading is cheating, but restarting a scenario is not. Playing campaigns without restarting scenarios would be appealing to me, except Wesnoth is not designed for this, at least not on the hardest difficulty for the mainline campaigns.

Restarting scenarios can be similar to save-loading. For example, in DiD 4: Beginning of the Revenge, I won with a mostly ghost force after several attempts, and someone pointed out in a personal message that I got very lucky in assassinating the enemy leaders with ghosts. I had to agree in retrospect, except it was due to repetition, not luck per se. However, the amount of "luck" I can generate with scenario restarts is relatively modest. On very difficult campaigns, I also redid some scenarios after completing them successfully, trying for a better result (more gold, more leveled troops, no loyal losses, etc.) And sometimes I had to go back several scenarios to groom my roster in order to get past a particularly difficult scenario. That's acceptable, as per the thread, WHAT TO DO if you can't beat a scenario in a campaign:.

It would be nice to put something in the game tutorial to explain the general "policy" of restarts and reloads. Just a short thing like, "If you fail this scenario or want to try for a better result, feel free to replay from start. Replaying individual turns is also possible, but discouraged, as it may make for easy and hollow victories."

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

Post by Stephanie » April 7th, 2011, 9:18 pm

Caphriel wrote:Hmm, good point. I guess there should be some indication of how the author of a campaign is expecting it to be played, then.
This was really all I was trying to say.

I want to thank Max for correcting me regarding the manual. I said in my opening post that saveloading should be mentioned in the manual, but it's already there! I must have missed it. Thank you.

Also, I stated earlier that completing HttT on hard without saveloading as I define it, and no other restrictions, would require above average luck. Having altered my strategy to use a great deal more cannon fodder than before, I now believe that this may not be the case. I have had two successful runs so far that have both made it past Bay of Pearls. I think I may have been just too attached to my units, and constraining myself to too few losses. I now leave scenarios littered with the corpses of my level 1 recruits, but at least I'm progressing.

As for my original challenge, I remain confident that getting Simyr is just not possible without substantial luck manipulation. However, I will admit that acquiring him probably isn't necessary.

I'll keep spamming horsemen and see how far I can get. At this point, with clarification from the manual, and the success of my pile-of-dead-elves strategy, much of what I said in my original post no longer applies.

Oh, and I should also state that I am running version 1.9.4.
Maiklas3000 wrote:It would be nice to put something in the game tutorial to explain the general "policy" of restarts and reloads. Just a short thing like, "If you fail this scenario or want to try for a better result, feel free to replay from start. Replaying individual turns is also possible, but discouraged, as it may make for easy and hollow victories."
Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.

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

Post by Caphriel » April 8th, 2011, 3:49 am

The piles-of-dead-elves strategy works for most campaigns. For the ones it doesn't work for, you usually can't recruit elves... :lol2:

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

Post by HomerJ » April 8th, 2011, 8:07 am

I noticed one fact during my many runs of NR, (mostly 1.6/1.4 though, don't know about changes since):
Some scenarios on the hardest difficulty can be impossible to complete with a bunch of bad luck, especially if tight turn limits are concerned.
My example of this kind of scenario is "Settling disputes" of NR, you start with minimum gold and the turn limit is so tight that you have to rush straight to the enemy's keep to even get there in time. Some bad rolls of the dice, a Troll surviving 4 shots from the ArchMage and the scepter and you're stuck.

In this particular case, I think it's ok as is, because it is the "Nightmare" difficulty, so I would expect that there can be luck based events that will render you helpless.


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

Post by Velensk » April 8th, 2011, 1:10 pm

Irrelevant side note, by why give an Archmage the scepter? They already get a powerful ranged attack without it.
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Re: Cheating, difficulty, and a challenge to expert players.

Post by monochromatic » April 8th, 2011, 1:31 pm

[quote="Velensk"]Irrelevant side note, by why give an Archmage the scepter? They already get a powerful ranged attack without it.[/quote]

I think he is using scepter to describe the Arch Mage's ranged attack? :hm: (he's talking about NR, so)
Last edited by monochromatic on April 9th, 2011, 2:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by HomerJ » April 8th, 2011, 2:21 pm

:doh:
Guys... Archmage 4 attacks -> Troll still alive -> Royal Guard Scepter (20-4 at day) -> Troll still alive -> :evil:

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

Post by Skrim » April 8th, 2011, 3:58 pm

Yeah, 'scepter' in NR being the Rod of Whasitzname, which is typically given to the loyal Royal Guard.

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

Post by Dave » April 8th, 2011, 4:41 pm

Stephanie wrote: Hard. I had been playing on medium difficulty and going for no lost units (no "cannon fodder" tactics), but was dismayed at how often I had to saveload, so I started playing on hard with the restrictions that I can't saveload AT ALL
This thread sounds like the inverse of a conversation I had with my nephew recently that went something like this:

him: "I don't really like Call of Duty. It's way too easy. I played all the way through in only a day."
me: "Oh. What difficulty setting were you playing on?"
him: "Easy."

...

Anyhow, I would say these are the general guidelines we use when setting difficulty levels:

Easy: should be possible to win every scenario with no recalls
Normal: should be possible to win the game comfortably with no save-loading
Hard: very difficult, for top players. Who knows how well it is possible to do?

Is hard possible to complete without save-loading? Perhaps. It's hard to say!

Wesnoth is a game that different people like playing in different ways though. Not save-loading is a way I enjoy playing, but it's not the only way. Hard level is meant to give an extra challenge for experienced players. Trying a challenging scenario, losing handily, and then thinking, "hmmm maybe I need to change strategy in this one, let's try something else..." is a fun part of Wesnoth.

To be perfectly honest, making and balancing scenarios on different difficulty levels is a lot of hard work. I suspect many scenario designers test mostly on normal, and then "dial things up" a lot on hard and put minimal effort into testing it in detail. Also, many scenario designers are reasonably good players but recognize there are players better than them, so they feel a need to make the hard level above their level of skill.

What I'd suggest, Stephanie, is if you're interested in this, you try your hand at balancing Heir to the Throne out a little on hard level. Make it so it's possible but difficult to beat fairly, and then submit a patch with your changes. We absolutely do need high-level players to be involved in scenario design.

David
“At Gambling, the deadly sin is to mistake bad play for bad luck.” -- Ian Fleming

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

Post by Stephanie » April 8th, 2011, 9:11 pm

Dave, I'd be happy to do that, though I'm probably not the best campaign player. I haven't tried modifying a scenario or campaign yet, but I wouldn't be opposed to spending a couple hours learning WML and the editor. At the very least, I can make some replays available. If I succeed in finishing HttT without saveloads/scenario-restarts, then it will be proven possible, and we'll be able to say definitively that it's not too hard.

Also, here is a thread from 2007 on the same topic, for those who are interested:
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=19070

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

Post by salade » April 8th, 2011, 9:33 pm

I think reload isn't cheating for most cases. One of the exceptions is if you save and reload intended to check certain information that is not intended to reveal to you, as it is similar to run in debug mode and execute a command that remove the shroud (idk if there is such a command, just an example), or look at the savegame WML for enemy's info. When you complete a game with reload, the reload count is a part of your final result. You could set a high standard to require no-reload completion, or set an even higher standard to require zero-death completion. It's all up to you.

for me, save/reload is acceptable but should be the last resort when the game is failing or gone too bad. In MP campaign World Conquest, many newbies just quit after losing a hero unit, and I bet they will reload if the game is single player. Losing key units won't affect a successful completion, nor even make the campaign significantly more difficult, so a reload in that case is really unnecessary. If you can't accept imperfect gameplay, it's better to play a very easy difficulty. Unlike single player game that reload is your own business, quitting or reloading in multi-player game affects other people.

A reload means fail. if a game/map/campaign is designed in a way that it won't require reload, i.e. you won't fail. is it too boring to play a game with no chance to fail?

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

Post by beetlenaut » April 9th, 2011, 1:17 am

Stephanie wrote:I wouldn't be opposed to spending a couple hours learning WML and the editor.
Usually, balancing can be done by adding/subtracting gold, and changing the number of turns. You can probably figure that out in five minutes, and it won't be made easier by using the dedicated editor. The "hard" setting of HttT is pretty well balanced in my opinion, but I agree that getting Simyr is impossible without good luck--You have to play recklessly to get it done under the turn limit. I would suggest playing through some of the harder campaigns before submitting any adjustments though. I remember being astounded that anyone could get through HttT on hard, but now I find it pretty easy. I've done it only recruiting shamans, and also with only scouts. (I didn't save replays. Sorry.) Northern Rebirth though, now that's hard!
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