Proposals for the next version

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zookeeper
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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by zookeeper »

Vyncyn wrote:When I played the campaign (in a previous version) the Liches were named, so you could see who was Mal Ravanal. Did they change this?
That's pretty much why it was changed (all the way back in 2008). [1][2]

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Vyncyn
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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Vyncyn »

zookeeper wrote:(all the way back in 2008)
seems like I haven't played mainline campaigns in a while :lol:
zookeeper wrote:I'll see what I can do, but if you have more specific and balanced suggestions beyond the ones in the feedback thread then that wouldn't hurt.
An easy (but boring) way to fix it would be to have Ravanal always appear as 3rd or 4th revealed lich (maybe depending on the campaign difficulty)

Or disable him from spawning as one of the first liches, but increase bounty for killed enemy leaders.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Inky »

Thanks for the reply zookeeper!
I think a little RNG is good, otherwise players could just game the system if they always knew Mal Ravanal would be a certain lich.

Along the lines of what Vyncyn suggested, maybe something like Mal Ravanal being the 2nd or 3rd revealed lich (easy) / 3rd or 4th (medium) / 4th or 5th (hard)? :hmm: (I got the impression that the scenario was too difficult, even for Hard, if he was one of the very last ones.)
I hadn't tested other difficulties but from reading the cfg file it looked like the difficulty setting really didn't make much of a difference, compared to how lucky you got with revealing the liches, so the above idea would hopefully address this.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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Vyncyn wrote:
zookeeper wrote:I'll see what I can do, but if you have more specific and balanced suggestions beyond the ones in the feedback thread then that wouldn't hurt.
An easy (but boring) way to fix it would be to have Ravanal always appear as 3rd or 4th revealed lich (maybe depending on the campaign difficulty)
That's what I figured (and have already written), but the problem with that is that it's still quite a tomato surprise if/when a player figures that out. You can rush a few liches with cavalry to reveal them, and know for certain that the next one will be Mal-Ravanal, so effectively you get to choose which one of them will be him. Maybe it's not a huge problem, but it'd be nice if some kind of better solution could be found.

Random idea: don't hide Mal-Ravanal, but allow him to avoid danger by teleporting, making it really difficult to corner him. Maybe his teleportation lets him switch places with any of the other liches, or maybe there's more villages around their encampments and he uses teleport to avoid danger unless Dacyn stops him. Something along those lines could work.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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zookeeper wrote:An easy (but boring) way to fix it would be to have Ravanal always appear as 3rd or 4th revealed lich (maybe depending on the campaign difficulty)

That's what I figured (and have already written), but the problem with that is that it's still quite a tomato surprise if/when a player figures that out. You can rush a few liches with cavalry to reveal them, and know for certain that the next one will be Mal-Ravanal, so effectively you get to choose which one of them will be him. Maybe it's not a huge problem, but it'd be nice if some kind of better solution could be found.
An alternative is: after defeating 3/4 liches (depending on the difficulty) Mal Ravanal is revealed as a random one among the others. The story excuse could be that the liches are holding a magic spell to conceal their identities but this spell is broken once you kill few of them, or Mal Ravanal reveal himself voluntarily out of pure arrogance (to show that he's not afraid of losing anyway). The former probably makes more sense.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Vyncyn »

zookeeper wrote:That's what I figured (and have already written), but the problem with that is that it's still quite a tomato surprise if/when a player figures that out. You can rush a few liches with cavalry to reveal them, and know for certain that the next one will be Mal-Ravanal, so effectively you get to choose which one of them will be him. Maybe it's not a huge problem, but it'd be nice if some kind of better solution could be found.
People who want to cheat will cheat anyway, the current system could also be abused by save/loading.
Skeptical_troll's suggestion would fix this, though it might be harder to code as Ravanal could be revealed by two different conditions (revealing everyone or killing some liches).
zookeeper wrote:Random idea: don't hide Mal-Ravanal, but allow him to avoid danger by teleporting, making it really difficult to corner him.
This could have unforseen consequences on the difficulty, making it either too easy again or too difficult.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Battlecruiser_Venca »

What about to giving player some advantage (like +1 damage to all attacks) per killed lich? Something like that the liches' power is weakening...

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zookeeper
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Re: Proposals for the next version

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skeptical_troll wrote:An alternative is: after defeating 3/4 liches (depending on the difficulty) Mal Ravanal is revealed as a random one among the others. The story excuse could be that the liches are holding a magic spell to conceal their identities but this spell is broken once you kill few of them, or Mal Ravanal reveal himself voluntarily out of pure arrogance (to show that he's not afraid of losing anyway). The former probably makes more sense.
Ah, that seems like a pretty good idea. Really easy to do, too... just needs some extra dialogue to explain it. :hmm:

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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Inky wrote:I think a little RNG is good, otherwise players could just game the system if they always knew Mal Ravanal would be a certain lich.
While this is true that scenario randomization disables player precognition abilities and that leaving too much for RNG can make scenario impossible and a piece of cake at the same time this is not the key problem here.

The comment before enemy leader death event clearly states that designer intention was to refrain player from clearing area mindlessly from enemies.

Code: Select all

#discourage players from just killing all the liches…
Which doesn’t make sense with current setup. Solution employed there actually implies killing every engaged enemy leader to find out location of the antagonist.
zookeeper wrote:
skeptical_troll wrote:An alternative is: after defeating 3/4 liches (depending on the difficulty) Mal Ravanal is revealed as a random one among the others. The story excuse could be that the liches are holding a magic spell to conceal their identities but this spell is broken once you kill few of them, or Mal Ravanal reveal himself voluntarily out of pure arrogance (to show that he's not afraid of losing anyway). The former probably makes more sense.
Ah, that seems like a pretty good idea. Really easy to do, too... just needs some extra dialogue to explain it.
For this reason proposed above solution also won’t do. It just fixes the count.

The approach that would be in line with designer intentions ordered by its technical complexity would be:
  • 1. Dacyn presence near the attacked lich (3 hexes or so) increases greatly (twice or by fixed percent) a chance of revealing the Ravanal.
    2. Dacyn instructs player to not run in frenzy and destroy undead since he needs to identify Mal-Ravanal. After given amount of turns Dacyn identifies ancient lich precisely if player manage to hold strictly to his instructions. And vaguely if he didn’t. This is one of those three Liches.
    3. Dacyn shows player the pattern of three liches that should be killed to find out Mal-Ravanal. The last lich in the pattern is the one. If player kills the other lich then marked a new pattern is set.
Inky wrote:The South Guard Elven Path, Delfador's Memoirs (and maybe HttT): I feel the final battles for these campaigns are extremely anticlimactic.
Sorry I don’t know what anticlimactic is. But for what I’ve observed most likely this is when the last scenario feedback thread is not filled with insulting posts of frustrated players that can’t beat the level. :lol:
For what is worth I think that technically speaking HttT has quite good ending because it allows you to win easily if you have collected any of the advantages gained along the way to Weldyn.
Like:
If you have them you can claim your earned victory with no big effort. This makes all these rewards hidden here and there worth a trouble to get. The list above is not a full list. ;)
Inky wrote:Northern Rebirth: Tell the player about the immortal white mage thing (or better yet, remove it, but this is wishful thinking)
Ehh… You do realize that we already have three versions of those sticking around, right?
The stable version, the development version and the custom one. All you need to do is to play them all to find out which one fit best to your expectations and post a good quality feedback preferably with replays to back up your claims.
But asking to play three incarnations of Northern Rebirth in a row and posting about one is apparently too much to ask since most can’t stand playing Northern Rebirth even once. :mrgreen:

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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zookeeper wrote:Ah, that seems like a pretty good idea. Really easy to do, too... just needs some extra dialogue to explain it.
A compromise which does not require extra dialog and preserves the designer intentions would be: Ravanal is a random lich between the 3rd and the 5th discovered. Basically, you just prevent him to be among the first two or the last two. Tomato surprise is avoided, difficulty will still randomly vary but within some reasonable limits. It will also be quite hard for players to figure it out without looking at the .cfg file.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Wesbane »

skeptical_troll wrote:Basically, you just prevent him to be among the first two or the last two.
Nothing of this kind. Probably I was not clear enough. All of this solutions give player control over how they want to proceed. Be on the mercy of fortune or shape their own fate:
  • 1. Now each time you kill the lich the roll is made to see that there are no unused names for undead leaders or that loop was broken. This is a variation on this mode. The difference is that probability of finding Mal-Ravanal can be increased by player, by keeping Dacyn in shock squad. It is also more likely that Mal-Ravanal will be discovered before attacking the last lich. Whereas currently it is more likely that Mal-Ravanal will be the last one.
    2. In this one Dacyn will tell you exactly which one of the liches Mal-Ravanal is if you don’t kill any of the enemy leaders till Dacyn will be able to establish that. If you do so however he will say: Sorry, but you didn’t cooperate so I can only tell you that Mal-Ravanal is one of those three guys. (Any of them can turn out to be him).
    3.In last one, the most challenging to play and code Dacyn says: Kill lich 7, 2 and 4. Exactly in that order. If you do that lich number four will be Mal-Ravanal. Kill leader I didn’t mention and I will give you other three leaders to kill.
    It would work like this Dacyn give command to player to kill lich 6, 3, 4.
    Player kills not listed lich 2.
    Dacyn: Kill lich 5,7,4.
    Player kills lich 5 before lich 7.
    Dacyn: Kill lich 4,6,3.

skeptical_troll wrote:A compromise which does not require extra dialog and preserves the designer intentions would be: Ravanal is a random lich between the 3rd and the 5th discovered.

Not much of a compromise. It is like instead of setting an objective kill up to all liches to find Mal-Ravanal to kill up to 5 liches to find Mal-Ravanal. Though it holds to comment in scenario code.

Code: Select all

#discourage players from just killing all the liches…
Currently construction of the scenario demands killing all of the liches. In your version, at least three of them to satisfy victory conditions. It still remains a chaotic hunt for random lich without a way to change the outcome.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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Wesbane wrote:For this reason proposed above solution also won’t do. It just fixes the count.
What reason? Anyway, I don't see why it wouldn't do. Dacyn would tell you that in order to break the concealment spell, you need to kill X of the liches (could be as little as 2), after which the identities of the remaining liches are revealed, and it will be randomly (or according to some criteria) chosen which one will be Mal-Ravanal. This way, the basic idea of Mal-Ravanal hiding among one of the liches would be kept, but the system couldn't be abused by a knowledgeable player and the randomness wouldn't cause much of a difference in difficulty.

The original designer intentions don't matter that much, considering the original version of the scenario required the player to do nothing besides mouseover each lich to check their name and attack the one called Mal-Ravanal. :augh: The current mechanics were only added years later.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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zookeeper wrote:What reason? Anyway, I don't see why it wouldn't do. [...]
Yes you are wright about it. Though I was thinking more about a way to make battle longer not shorter as in this solution.
zookeeper wrote:The original designer intentions don't matter that much, considering the original version of the scenario required the player to do nothing besides mouseover each lich to check their name and attack the one called Mal-Ravanal.
Why? Does that mean that if maintainer grab campaign he can delete and add what he wants because all of it belongs to him now? I don’t think so. While words, code and art does not count the concept behind it does unless its entirely stupid. And the job of maintainer is to make that original concept to work and stay true to it with as little changes as possible.
And yes the comment is later addition. Which also proves that this concept never worked. So if you plan to go ahead with this please also change the confusing commentary from
#discourage players from just killing all the liches…
to
#make game harder with each fallen lich...
or something else that describes actions taken in scenario more accurately.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

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Wesbane wrote:
zookeeper wrote:The original designer intentions don't matter that much, considering the original version of the scenario required the player to do nothing besides mouseover each lich to check their name and attack the one called Mal-Ravanal.
Why? Does that mean that if maintainer grab campaign he can delete and add what he wants because all of it belongs to him now? I don’t think so.
Of course not, no one's said that.
Wesbane wrote:While words, code and art does not count the concept behind it does unless its entirely stupid.
Well, that's my point. The original concept should of course be retained whenever possible, and that's always the starting point for any scenario rewrites, but in this case there basically was no original concept beyond "Mal-Ravanal doesn't think you know who he is, but actually you do". While it isn't perhaps completely ridiculous story-wise, it didn't really allow for gameplay other than "go kill him". Opinions likely vary regarding whether that counts as "entirely stupid" or not. :whistle:

In any case, all of these identity-concealing/revealing mechanics still keep the basic setup of the scenario the same (surrounded by overwhelming undead, need to find and kill Mal-Ravanal), so I don't think they're actually too much of a deviation from the original.
Wesbane wrote:And yes the comment is later addition. Which also proves that this concept never worked. So if you plan to go ahead with this please also change the confusing commentary from
#discourage players from just killing all the liches…
to
#make game harder with each fallen lich...
or something else that describes actions taken in scenario more accurately.
Sure.

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Re: Proposals for the next version

Post by Inky »

To respond to some of Wesbane's earlier comments:
Wesbane wrote:
Inky wrote:The South Guard Elven Path, Delfador's Memoirs (and maybe HttT): I feel the final battles for these campaigns are extremely anticlimactic.
Sorry I don’t know what anticlimactic is. But for what I’ve observed most likely this is when the last scenario feedback thread is not filled with insulting posts of frustrated players that can’t beat the level.
The scenarios being easy is part of the problem, but I also feel that what makes these final scenarios unsatisfying is something more fundamental to the scenario's design.
  • South guard elven path: This scenario is won by moving one of your leaders to a certain hex, and since she is so fast you can do this without a single combat ever taking place!
  • Delfador's memoirs: Part of the issue here is the map which is extremely linear, and has some long 1-hex bottlenecks. There are some dead ends but they are just empty - I think something could be done with them. Then there is the enemy lich, who turns out to be just a generic level 3 lich, the kind you've been demolishing all campaign (he should be a level 4 ancient lich, I think), and his army is so pathetic you almost feel sorry for him.
  • Heir to the Throne: There is very little tactical options available here - inevitably the way the scenario goes is that the combined enemy armies immediately converge on you in the upper right corner, you have to defend until they're gone, and then you walk up and kill Asheviere. Something like enemy reinforcements could make the battle more interesting - and I've always felt a scenario titled "The Battle for Wesnoth" should be really epic in order to live up to its glorious name :D
Wesbane wrote:
Inky wrote:Northern Rebirth: Tell the player about the immortal white mage thing (or better yet, remove it, but this is wishful thinking)
Ehh… You do realize that we already have three versions of those sticking around, right?
The stable version, the development version and the custom one. All you need to do is to play them all to find out which one fit best to your expectations and post a good quality feedback preferably with replays to back up your claims.
But would I be correct in assuming that the white mage situation is the same for all 3 versions?

Removing the immortality: My reason for this is admittedly not a very solid one - I just think the mechanic feels silly. For me Wesnoth is all about careful positioning, tactics and some roleplaying, and blindly throwing your mages into a horde of enemy units so they can die over and over to delay the enemies is the opposite.

Telling the player: If you don't tell the player about the immortality, how are they supposed to find out? A skilled player won't put their loyal mages in a situation where they can be killed.

It can be argued that the campaign can be won without using the immortality, but it would be a significant increase in difficulty, so I think it should be the player's choice to do this kind of challenge, and not because they didn't know about the mechanic.

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