Map Workshop - pimping maps

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Hulavuta
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Hulavuta » June 7th, 2010, 11:38 pm

I wonder how long it took him to write all that out.
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Rigor
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Rigor » June 8th, 2010, 10:29 am

quite a smartass huh :D id rather see him play a village steal on the map right now.

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Rigor » June 10th, 2010, 11:40 am

here goes a cross link to a replay on scarred foothills :) 40something turns, hell of a fun!

http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/download/file.php?id=41634

and here the topic

http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 48#p433548

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Rigor
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Rigor » June 15th, 2010, 8:39 pm

the new maps are included there

http://github.com/Quetzalcoatl/wesnoth- ... /wcg-1-8-7

hf and thx Q

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Kolbur » June 29th, 2010, 3:05 pm

Here's a replay on Unfolding Space between Cylon_Centurio (Knalgan) and Funkshunator (Loyalists). While it's not the most recent update of the map and not the greatest play, it still clearly shows the problem of the guaranteed village steals. Cylon is able to grab both outer villages on turn 3 and gets the upper one where Funkshunator had no chance to be there faster. The left outer village is not a guaranteed village steal but the leader is forced to recruit a scout (in this case a cav) at 3,19 to get there fast enough. This makes it impossible for player 2 to get back his other own village (the one at 20,14) in the upcoming night. I think the villages are simply too close to each other. The map Fast to Madness has similar problems. Sure, it makes for some exciting matches, but this is just an unfair advantage for player 1.
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Rigor » June 29th, 2010, 5:15 pm

ok i know that u can steal villages. but the point is, you get to recruit every turn as the handicapped player where even the slowest unit of yours will manage to get a shot at the stealing unit and that means that the guy whos stealing will face a pin-and-loss of the more or less expensive unit and has to reconsider if its really worth it. in this special game the other guy was playing really bad, like...REALLY BAD. attacking with one single cavalry during night, allowing a footie to pass into the wilderness, and attacking during an outnumber situation (with the footie in the back).

i wouldnt take this game as a reference how to steal villages on the map, thats just bad, but i got one which is better, where ceylon uses his p1 position to grab the right top village from nordmann. unfortunately we wont ever see this game because i cant find it on the replay server, but maybe ur more lucky

http://ladder.subversiva.org/gamedetail ... %3A24%3A40

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Doc Paterson » June 29th, 2010, 7:36 pm

Rigor wrote: unfortunately we wont ever see this game because i cant find it on the replay server, but maybe ur more lucky

http://ladder.subversiva.org/gamedetail ... %3A24%3A40
I'll give it to you for five dollars. ;)

Seriously, the "easy kill on the thief" argument for the allowance of guaranteed village steals was at its height about 5-6 years ago, and a number of us worked hard to disprove it (which has a lot to do with the map "rules" that get passed around today). There are many, many reasons why guaranteed steals are practically always bad.

1. Positional Advantage. One of the most significant. Okay, maybe you killed a village thief on his second turn of holding it, but several of your units are now badly placed, and will often not be able to strike during what would have been their optimal time. Remember that the thief swings the economy about 6G every turn (+2 G, -1 upkeep for Team Thief, -2 G, +1 upkeep for the other guy), and all the while his friends can set up brutal strikes on other areas of the map that are now thinly defended. That was the major tactic in many of the CC matches. Even if P1 just performs a "tag-and-go," (take the village, but run when death is likely), that's still a positional and economic gain for them, though smaller.
2. Amplification of Luck. I'm sure you know what I mean here. Bad luck when trying to clear off a village thief can seal a game. That 6G per turn stacks up, and before you know it, the thief's friends have arrived to really lock things down. Nobody likes a game where cumulative damage is slightly less than 100, and so very very heavily weighted.
3. Guessing Games. When you force a player to load up on scouts just to prevent thievery, you initiate a nasty guessing game. Player 1 can either: a.) recruit a scout or two and mess with P2's villages if they try to take them with more durable units, or b.) guess that P2 will try to play it safe and recruit several scouts, and spend most of their gold on fighter-ish units, which will have a huge advantage over all of the scouts that P2 bought, later in the game. The guessing game on Unfolding Space was absolutely savage: If P2 didn't recruit a scout to take their lower left village, P1 would steal it. If they did recruit a scout, P1 would likely kill it anyway (trap with one scout, finish with grunts, outlaws, whatever). Meanwhile, the guaranteed steal on the right would divert P2 units, allowing P1 to overpower the left regardless of what happened on the right.

On a related note: I think you guys missed part of the point of the flagged-P2-village concept that I've done for the mainline maps. You flagged one of P2's forward villages on that map, which misses most of the intent, which is to improve P2's early unit placement. P2 is moving forward anyway, so generally you want the flagged village to be one that they would otherwise have to send a unit "out of the way" to get, not one that they could easily pick up with a generally forward movement anyway. Mirrored villages that force P1 to send a unit back to get theirs help to offset early P1 pressure. The flagged swamp village for P2 on Unfolding Space is only giving the +2 gold; it's not doing much to augment the early-on unit placements of the players. Know what I mean?

I guess I'll close by saying that I'm seeing loads and loads of abuses on these new ladder maps, and I'm thinking more and more so that it was a mistake for you guys to rush them into the "legal" pack. Honestly, after 5+ years of balancing maps, I don't have to play on a map to recognize an imbalance, and it seemed as though my warnings here were kind of brushed aside in favor of this "you can only tell by playing it" mentality.
Rigor wrote:the only thing ive heard is that some maps might be unbalanced, but that came only from eyerouge and docpatterson
One thing that I have learned over the years is that most players just will not bother to get into imbalance-discussions if they will lead to any kind of extended debate or request to "prove it to me." Not to say that there aren't players out there who will engage you in that way, but most just want to play the game and let the maps progress without their input. Anyways, it's easy for me to point out obvious imbalances; many of these are just as clear as the Unfolding Space ones, but I definitely cannot do something like this: http://ladder.subversiva.org/profile.ph ... _Centurion

for each and every one. (Btw, all of the wins in that streak there were accomplished in spite of P2 knowing CC's faction, which alternated between Drake, Northerner and Knalgan.)

Unfolding Space: village steals, nasty guessing games, chaotic-favoring.
Fast to Madness: nasty guessing games and highly likely village steals with non-scout recruits from P2, stalematish, chaotic-favoring.
Scarred Foothills: guaranteed steals, drake-favoring, nasty guessing games, very much like U-Space.

Haven't studied the other ones much. You guys already know that I love Astral Port, and although its current balance still has a little ways to go, its creative and distinctive enough to be well worth the effort.

Maybe this seems like an arrogant post, but the intent is only to help things along and point out that the current system of deciding what is legal for the ladder is kind of reckless and perhaps sloppy. Take it as you will.

Maybe you could set up some sort of a Map Council or something of the sort for the ladder, whose job it would be to provide constant feedback and make decisions about what is or is not legal. Just a suggestion.
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Kolbur » June 29th, 2010, 7:55 pm

Rigor wrote:ok i know that u can steal villages. but the point is, you get to recruit every turn as the handicapped player where even the slowest unit of yours will manage to get a shot at the stealing unit and that means that the guy whos stealing will face a pin-and-loss of the more or less expensive unit and has to reconsider if its really worth it. in this special game the other guy was playing really bad, like...REALLY BAD. attacking with one single cavalry during night, allowing a footie to pass into the wilderness, and attacking during an outnumber situation (with the footie in the back).

i wouldnt take this game as a reference how to steal villages on the map, thats just bad, but i got one which is better, where ceylon uses his p1 position to grab the right top village from nordmann. unfortunately we wont ever see this game because i cant find it on the replay server, but maybe ur more lucky

http://ladder.subversiva.org/gamedetail ... %3A24%3A40
I know one can use the keep to recruit close to the stolen village to get it back but that only works if your leader actually is there to recruit. It is entirely reasonable to go in the other direction at the start since you have to get the village there asap too and the south western keep is the fastest way for p2. The big issue have with this map is that player 1 can try to steal both outer villages of p2 which are on the entirely opposite sides of the map without disrupting his own village grab! The p2 leader can only deal with one of those threats. If he goes north at the start, south is lost, if he goes south, north is lost.

I found 2 replays on that day where Cylon_Centurion was p1, one was the match vs Nordmann. In that match he stole the northern village with a wolf who Nordmann could first pin and then kill with two spearmen. But by sending 2 spearman there he was to weak at the southern front and lost that village in the first night rush for the rest of the game. From there he fought a losing battle. The other replay was very similar, this time Northerners vs Undead. A wolf stole the northern village, could not be pinned and got away. He did not take the southern one immediately (which he could) but got the village in the first night rush for the rest of the game again. He won from there though he was pretty lucky. Both replays show the disadvantage for player 2.

Hm, while i wrote that, Doc Paterson posted his much clearer explanation of the problems. :D
I totally agree with your 3 points, that's basically what i wanted to say too, especially the 'guessing game'.

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by eyerouge » June 29th, 2010, 9:41 pm

Doc wrote:Maybe this seems like an arrogant post, but the intent is only to help things along and point out that the current system of deciding what is legal for the ladder is kind of reckless and perhaps sloppy.
I don't think anyone will read it as arrogant as you actually reason and explain, as I think most people in this thread try to do. :)

I still share the notion of it being a bad idea to include untested maps as they skew ladder stats all around since some players will exploit their shortcomings, affecting player x's elo, which in return will effect every opponent of player x in the future, and every one of their opponents and every one of their opponents opponents and so on ad infinity.

My reservations from the start against this experiment were not based on my personal knowledge of the game or maps. I lack the insights of the veteran players and play pretty crappy myself as I seldom have time to play or learn (but that said, I still love the game and rank it among the best I've ever played).

The reservations were just based on reason and the principle of being cautious when there are a [censored] of factors that can go wrong, which seems to be very true when designing a Wesnoth map, especially as the terrain/tile placement and usage has such a huge impact on the game outcome.

While I appreciate and support Rigor in his attempts and energy, and all the loads of work that is done on new maps and satisfying the community, critics etc it still seems true that the problems are a fact. It doesn't matter how much the community wants a new map, nor that it is fun to create one. The problems are still there. And I believe Doc is among the most qualified to be the judge of it, as he has zero incentive to harass people or fail-stamp people's maps just for the fun of it. On the contrary, I believe he's rather objective and methodical in his approach from what I've seen of him in the forums, and that he usually can whoop up some pretty solid cases.

Since the ladder is the only of it's kind (hey, what happened to tesas updates? Code already supports multiple ladders being ran on the site and perhaps also team ladder for 2vs2...) around it should, for that reason alone, keep it's integrity. Only way to do that is to treat it with caution. That doesn't mean changes can't or won't come to it - it just means you have to take smaller steps.

For instance, instead of including new and broken maps for legit ladder play you guys (not just Rigor, but anyone interested in these issues and/or the ladder getting new maps more rapidly) could have held an "Exploit Fest Tournament" where there was a price to whoever won it by exploiting the most weakness on a map, or just announce a contest that whoever finds the most valid exploits on a map within a timeframe of i.e. 1 month would win whatever. Or, why not create an official system where discovering 3 exploits, on any map that is valid on the ladder, will earn you a "maphacker level". All exploits could be documented in the Wiki, where each map had it's own page etc. Anyone that becomes a "maphacker" will get the title "maphacker" and level of it next to his nick on the ladder, in his profile. (Admin can edit titles easily from within the db, maybe even the admin GUI if tesa has added it or plans on doin so - takes like 10 min to add that feature if he wants to)

Or better yet: If ladder players really want solid maps, why not pay Doc/whoever is competent and wants the job to create/mod them? People could easily chip in. Heck, there are over 100 active players on it, if even only 30 of them would donate aprox. 10 € each it would become 300 €. Not that it's a huge sum or anything, but it would maybe actually allow a person to work more seriously on the tasks at hand, at least with one map.

I'm not saying the above is the way to go. Just that there are many options to actually find a solution where the ladder is enriched with new maps, short of destabilizing the meaning of the Elo by including broken stuff on it.

Doc himself came up with a constructive suggestion, which I by the way am against unless of course he would sit in that council: Point being, I don't think map selection should have anything at all to do with democracy or whims of a person - it has to be something that's decided somewhat scientifically and by a person(s) with merit & knowledge.
Last edited by eyerouge on June 30th, 2010, 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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alda
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by alda » June 30th, 2010, 8:09 am

Hi, just giving you my opinion as an average ladder player.

First, I don't think adding all these new maps for ladder was a mistake. Personnally, it's still a pleasure to try new maps, and it was the only to have them played on a large scale. About balance and ladder ratings, there are already some factions or map imbalance occuring on the game so that's not a new thing (I'm not saying that these problems should be immediately solved, I know that there has already been a lot of work on balance, just that perfect balance is something almost impossible).

However, now that these maps have been quite played, it should be a good thing to decide which should be kept, and which should be discarded (unless they are improved) at one point. I have the same feelings than Doc Paterson about Fast to Madness and Unfolding Space. Not that I have really clear arguments about why they are imbalanced (Doc Paterson gave them anyway), but in a way I didn't really like to play these maps, beacause they involved some strange gameplay. I never played Scarred Foothills on default 1vs1 so I can't say. I have mixed feelings about Serpent Ford, I don't really know why, maybe because of the center that seems to advantage flying units, still it's an interesting map. And I think Elensefar Courtyard (its now mainline anyway), Astral Port and Crescent Lake are great maps :).

Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Rigor » June 30th, 2010, 8:14 am

ah finally some more action here!

ok thanks for pointing out your reasons doc why village stealing is a bad thing. if possible, as always, id like to have solutions at hand instead of rather lengthy explanations. but the good thing is, that while i was thinking about all your reasons i had an idea myself: right now ive very little time to explain it into detail, but since i think i have overheard its either the one or the other side u can put under pressure, what about

taking away the one village in the flank completely?

about the preflagging: i know what you mean, but the explanation why its there and not on another vill is to enable p2 going left or right. generally it might be a better idea to

modify p2s starting position
so he (leader) goes only into one way not zig-zag.

im a little curious how u know so much about CC, i for example only witnessed 2 games, and there are no replays online. besides, i really hope to play this guy in the evening soon, im a bit busy u c. the only hard opponents that i know this guy had were tesafilmchen, michaelmax, nordmann and artemisX - all others i dont really know. that would make 4/21 games from which i would guess he had a hard time.

id really like to go a little more in depth here but i have to get going!

thx for your time and cya in the evening

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Quetzalcoatl » June 30th, 2010, 3:12 pm

Well I make updates as grrr seems to be lost for a while now but we have some problems anyway, even if we update addon its more likely that many ppl will not download it as we don't have addon password :) . Besides that you know I don't like some of the maps like Serpent Ford for example :) . I'm also in favour of having maintainer for each map, I know Rigor you want to do so but the fact that we have some maps that their original authors aren't concerned at all makes me sad as I would like this addon to be opportunity to help to evolve most decent user made maps.

I think some of the included maps can be improved with time (I mean the maps that I won't mention soon) and unfortunately some cant :/ but this requires a lot of work in my eyes. So far I like those maps: Arcanclave Citadel (well its official map but we didn't get it in 1.8 so I added it to Random Default Map :) ), Elensefar Courtyard, Crescent Lake and Astral Port (as I made it :) ) if anybody would like to know.

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Doc Paterson » June 30th, 2010, 4:17 pm

alda wrote:
About balance and ladder ratings, there are already some factions or map imbalance occuring on the game so that's not a new thing.
That's not a great argument, saying that it's okay to have unbalanced 1v1s because we (supposedly) already have unbalanced 1v1s in mainline. You can't just ignore the concept of degrees of balance, and that most of the maps that are in mainline have been tested extensively and fine-tuned over the course of years. Maybe we should allow "Lunar Landing," designed by BIG_LIZARD_PWNZ, to be used for ladder games....

http://s153.photobucket.com/albums/s230 ... t=dood.jpg

After all, what's one more unbalanced map in the midst of other unbalanced maps? ;)

There are one or two maps that will be in the next trunk (Arkanclave Citadel and Elensefar Courtyard) that will likely undergo balancing adjustments as time goes on, but I'm of the opinion that they're distinct enough to be well worth the work.
alda wrote: However, now that these maps have been quite played, it should be a good thing to decide which should be kept, and which should be discarded
I agree completely, and I'm wondering why it was originally stated that maps that didn't seem to be good would be quickly rotated out of the ladder pack. It seems to me that the vibe is moreso that they stay regardless of continuous criticism, and are just tweaked/regenerated again and again. Am I wrong? What does it actually take for one of these maps to get dumped?
alda wrote:I have the same feelings than Doc Paterson about Fast to Madness and Unfolding Space.
alda wrote:And I think Elensefar Courtyard (its now mainline anyway), Astral Port and Crescent Lake are great maps :).
They really are, in my opinion. They are great examples of maps that stand out from other maps, have interesting play dynamics, and aren't just a rehashing of the same old visual themes.
Rigor wrote: ok thanks for pointing out your reasons doc why village stealing is a bad thing.

if possible, as always, id like to have solutions at hand instead of rather lengthy explanations.
I generally admire your energy and drive in regards to map development, but this attitude here seems a little lame, because you're saying "I'd rather not have the explanations, just give me the answers." I know you're not "in charge" of this whole new-ladder-maps thing per se, but, and correct me if I'm wrong, you're the closest thing to it. As the guy calling the shots here, you should be trying to master this stuff for yourself, instead of trying to pull people into it who aren't as interested in it as you are. I really, really dislike Unfolding Space, as you know, so I don't want to do any specific work on it myself. I can though try to help in some general ways by explaining why certain things are unbalanced. Hopefully that approach helps the map-making community as a whole, and ultimately gives people more freedom to be creative in their own ways.
Rigor wrote:but the good thing is, that while i was thinking about all your reasons i had an idea myself: right now ive very little time to explain it into detail, but since i think i have overheard its either the one or the other side u can put under pressure, what about

taking away the one village in the flank completely?
I think that it would likely be bad to have such a large space with no village(s), because you open the door for cheap units like bats to hang out in those areas, threatening to steal other villages, which causes you to chase them, diverting more expensive units, which is in a way an economic loss for most factions and a negative play experience. Outside of that, and more simply, they can just lend themselves to boring situations. An exception might be if a fun guessing game could be created as to whether any units passed through that area to get to another area of actual importance, but that would likely require use of impassible terrain.
Rigor wrote: about the preflagging: i know what you mean, but the explanation why its there and not on another vill is to enable p2 going left or right. generally it might be a better idea to
modify p2s starting position
so he (leader) goes only into one way not zig-zag.
Not sure I entirely get what you mean here, but are you saying that you want P2 to be able to safely send many units to the east and not have to worry about sending an extra one to the west, to flag that village? I think the problem of their west village falling easily to an early focused attack will still be there.
Rigor wrote: the only hard opponents that i know this guy had were tesafilmchen, michaelmax, nordmann and artemisX -
Rigor wrote:im a little curious how u know so much about CC, i for example only witnessed 2 games, and there are no replays online.
It must be that either:

1.) I made it all up- ;) or
2.) When I look into the mirror, I see a silver metal face looking back at me.

Abusing maps can be very fun for a while, but after that many games, it does start to get unpleasant. CC saw you around when he had a few of those games open, and would have loved to play you then had you joined any of them, but is usually busy during your evenings. Besides, is there really more to prove here? We're talking no losses in any of those 10 games on the map, in spite of several with horrible luck, in spite of playing good players (you left out Henry the 12th in your list, who regardless of his lower rating, has imo become pretty good), and in spite of those players knowing CC's faction, while he did not know theirs, and, perhaps most significantly, in spite of many of them knowing exactly what kind of rush he was going to do (from watching previous matches, and still being unable to stop it). Wouldn't you think that at least one of those good players would get a win, or any of these players could have won with some great luck, which surely would occur in 10 games?

Now here's an interesting thing, and I think it's a good lesson for anyone in the "field" of map making/map development: None of those good players said so much as a word about the map (U-Space) being unbalanced- In fact, they all seemed to believe that they were beaten fair and square. Honestly, and this is something that I've observed over the course of almost 6 years here, There's very very rarely a connection between good players and players who have a great understanding of 1v1 map balance. Even the majority of our Legendary 1v1 players from the past didn't think much about what specific changes to a map could improve factional or playerside balance; they were generally best at analyzing in-game situations and doing their best to win within its framework. Most of the time, when discussing balance with them, they'd say something like, "I don't know much about this, you should just do what you think is best." And that's taking nothing away from them; they were great players who shaped the balance in a second-hand sort of a way. Anyways, it seems to me that you're assuming that good ladder players are going to explain to you exactly what is wrong with these maps, but I don't think you'll have much success there. Not to say that there aren't good players out there with a discerning eye for specific imbalances (Kolbur, for example), or that you won't make a little progress in that way, but I agree with Eyerouge in that a democratic process/"people will tell me"-style approach for map development is practically doomed to failure.

What are your thoughts on this Map Council idea? I think that greater organization, though that's tough, would definitely be to your guys' benefit here.
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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Yoyobuae » July 1st, 2010, 11:19 am

Doc Paterson wrote:Now here's an interesting thing, and I think it's a good lesson for anyone in the "field" of map making/map development: None of those good players said so much as a word about the map (U-Space) being unbalanced- In fact, they all seemed to believe that they were beaten fair and square. Honestly, and this is something that I've observed over the course of almost 6 years here, There's very very rarely a connection between good players and players who have a great understanding of 1v1 map balance.
Or maybe it's because blaming a loss on any external factors (faction balance, luck, etc) instead of your own shortcomings is taboo in Wesnoth. I assume this believe has also been extended to map balance.

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Re: Map Workshop - pimping maps

Post by Doc Paterson » July 1st, 2010, 3:57 pm

Yoyobuae wrote:
Doc Paterson wrote:Now here's an interesting thing, and I think it's a good lesson for anyone in the "field" of map making/map development: None of those good players said so much as a word about the map (U-Space) being unbalanced- In fact, they all seemed to believe that they were beaten fair and square. Honestly, and this is something that I've observed over the course of almost 6 years here, There's very very rarely a connection between good players and players who have a great understanding of 1v1 map balance.
Or maybe it's because blaming a loss on any external factors (faction balance, luck, etc) instead of your own shortcomings is taboo in Wesnoth. I assume this believe has also been extended to map balance.
(Oh, I didn't realize that players were no longer complaining about luck, factional balance, or external factors of any kind. :P)

Quite the zero-evidence, negative/pessimistic response you managed there. Cramming that much passive aggression into a mere two sentences is pretty impressive, and I congratulate you for that, but still, these kinds of the-whole-community-sucks comments aren't helping anyone.
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