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scythetwirler

[Gameplay] Alpha 18 Balance Feedback

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This thread is for collecting feedback on Alpha 18 Release balance and gameplay. I will try to update this post with the most common/prominent/verified responses.

Approved for SVN:

  • Ranged unit damage nerf (lesser nerf for skirmishers). Landed in r16759.
  • Mauryan Champion Swordsman damage nerf. Landed in r16760.
  • Decrease Crush Armor for female citizens. Landed in r16757.
  • Decrease HP of female citizens. Landed in r16757.
  • Decrease peacock HP. Landed in r16757.
  • Reduce phasing costs and phasing time. Landed in r16758.
  • Increase fortress cost and build time. Landed in r16760.
  • Nerf garrisoned ships. Landed in r16776.
  • Buff Melee cavalry (most likely HP) Landed in r16775.

Ideas for Discussion:

  • Nerf Archer walkspeed.
  • Decrease overall game time.
  • Decreasing female citizen train time
  • Catapults: Underpowered or overpowered?
  • Buff sword cavalry damage against buildings
  • Numerical balance between female citizens and citizen soldiers

A separate thread will be created in due time (for tidiness) for feedback on the SVN balance.

Edited by scythetwirler
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On the subject of catapults, I think the damage they do is fine, but they need to have less health or can be captured by the enemy. I played a game where at one point The ai had 5 catapults and I charged with my cav but it still took them a while. Also battering rams: what beats them?! OP in my opinion.

Edited by Giotto
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I tend to use females for all resource gathering, except wood, as food is plentiful (and wood scarce). I'm not sure this is intended.

For realism/gameplay we could consider a kind of balance between females/males. For example the ratio should always be almost equal (otherwise negative effects/or just impossible to train male units when you have 5 females and an army of 40 men)...

Feedback/small things:

- Peacock has too much health. One or two hits from female should be able to finish them off.

- Some roman soldiers (hastati or ...) don't carry resources (wood) when they run back to a gathering point

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Your suggestion to discuss

-Decrease female HP at the start but increase with technologies.

-Decreasing female citizen train time ( may be with techonologies)

-Catapults: improve range and attack a little bit

My opinion

Ram is very OP, I can win a match training several rams ( only some units can stop them)

I can raze enemy territory with them and few archers protect them.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen

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I might be useful to have a few criteria for when the game actually IS balanced. Looking back the forum's archive one might get the impression it never happened or that goal is kinda unachievable. Picking two random aspects and stating 'not balanced' is useful to point out rather huge issues. But somewhere there is a threshold balancing has to stop, because it's done, at least for a given template space. Otherwise the result is overshooting and starting over and over again.

Regarding this release the rams caught me off guard and I'm looking for a counter strategy. Maybe all what's needed is a list saying: If you feel X is overpowered - try Z.

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Approved for SVN:

  • Ranged unit damage nerf (lesser nerf for skirmishers).
  • Mauryan Champion Swordsman damage nerf.
  • Buff Melee cavalry (most likely HP)
  • Decrease Crush Armor for female citizens.
  • Decrease peacock HP.

These are excellent news Scythe! In the Ideas for discussion I'd really like to talk about adding a damage boost to buildings for sword cav too.

Edit: thanks for adding Scythe

On the subject of catapults, I think the damage they do is fine, but they need to have less health or can be captured by the enemy. I played a game where at one point The ai had 5 catapults and I charged with my cav but it still took them a while. Also battering rams: what beats them?! OP in my opinion.

What cav did you use Giotto? Spear or Sword? Sword is the counter to catapults.

My opinion

Ram is very OP, I can win a match training several rams ( only some units can stop them)

I can raze enemy territory with them and few archers protect them.

Rams are countered by Champions dealing Hack damage. However, not all civ have access to champions with hack damage. Therefore there are two points of view imo:

- Rams cannot be countered by all civ so it's OP

- The civ choice becomes a strategic decision and when you play against a civ with rams, choose a civ with hack damage champions or choose a civ with slingers phase 1 or 2 and play very agressive so your enemy doesn't go to phase 3. Or play yourself with a civ with rams.

I prefer the second point because I beleive that with 12 unique factions we can't have 100% of the matchup balanced, we'll have strong and bad points for each civ and the choice of the civilisation should be a strategic decision.

Edited by Alekusu

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With Ptolemies have problems to deal against Assyrian Ram ( persian) only celtic and elephants have crush attack.

I play as random civ.

Edited by Lion.Kanzen

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Yea, I think it was spear cav. Will try swords. I definitely agree that choosing a civ over another is great. You should have to decide between hack champions and the other benefits of a civ without them. Civs should be unique in that respect.

Edited by Giotto
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I'll try to with-hold an opinion about the womans changes, (without testing) but i think it will just buff booming too much. There is already a rather nice spectrum.

Booming>Turtleing>Rushing>Booming.

buffing any one of those play-types in any way will be too destructive to game balance, i think.


This from a part-time-boomer. :)

Edited by auron2401

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I'm loving a18 so far! Thanks for all the work you guy did to make it happen.

What I like:

-Buildings are harder to kill. This means to have to actualy plan your assault on towns, and makes the game about strategy, rather than just speed. A well designed and defended town once again useful!
-Formations are back, and I love the defensive pikemen. They look great in the fancy tight formations.
-Spear cav are more effective against archers. Really helps balance them out. I've had success sending 10-15 champion cav against large groups of archers.
-It does feel more balanced now, with spam being easier to counter. If someone spams spears, I make ranged cav and kill them all. If they spam archers, I make spear cav and mow them down. If they spam sword cav, I make pikes and kill them all. I always likes this dynamic in a16, and its great to see it somewhat back.


What could be improved:
-Rams and elephants are tough to kill. Maybe have them stop moving when attacked by hand to hand units? I had some luck using pikes to stop elephants from reaching buildings, since they seem to stop tier target from moving.
-Archer spamming is still prevalent. Maybe make spear/sword cav even more effective against them?
-Buildings are maybe too tough to kill in age 2. Maybe make CC and barracks strong, while making houses and storehouse weak? I like the idea of a tough to kill CC, but it would be nice to be able to raid and kill storehouses and the like.
-I think the bolt shooters need a redo. They just don't work well in the game. They were really weak in a16, and now they are so cranked up its werid. They are just too slow and expensive with the pace of the game. Have you thought about having a much shorter deploy time and faster fire rate? They are supposed to kill units, but with the 5 second deploy and 5 second fire rate, they just cant keep up. By the time they get setup, the target is long gone. Is this why the bolt moves a million miles an hour?


I've only played about 10 games so far, but I'm really enjoying this one more than a17. I know everyone seems to hate counters, but I think its great when every unit has a strength as a weakness. My idea of fun balance is not that every unit is equal in a 20 vs 20 battle, but more 10 cav killing 20 archers, and then those 10 cav getting killed by 6 pikemen. And then those 6 pikemen get killed by 20 archers. Its not always about having numbers, but having the right units as the right time. I really like the circular wheel of counters.

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@Scythe

I think I found an OP simple strat that is almost unstoppable:

With Prolemies:

At the beginning 4 women on fruits, 4 soldiers on chicken, 1 camel on chicken. (then 2 soldiers on wood and 2 soldiers making houses)

First units from CC, 5 camels,

--> go with 6 camels.

Because you can outreach the CC with the camels, it's really really strong (probably OP). I tried many times with webj (I think 4 games)

and against ffm (1 game) and won quite easily all these games.

The thing is you can harass women working on fruits without taking any damage from CC. And the only way to stop this is if you do the same BO at the beginning (but everybody starts playing by making women and building a house)

I think it can be balanced if the archers/cav archers/camel don't outreach towers and CC anymore..

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Sorry for double post,

I played yesterday with Hapoo on skirmisher map (Alps Valley). I think for ingame "testing" of the gameplay and balance, these map are much better. It is more balanced (especially no extra fruit on only 1 player for example that would make his skirm cav rush much stronger than his opponent)

Look at sc2, nobody plays on random maps and I think the reason is that the balance of "premade" maps is much better.

btw I don't know who made this map (Alps Valley) but it's really beautiful.

Edited by Alekusu
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Nobody plays random maps on sc2 ranked because they cannot. Besides, sc2 is much much much easier to balance when they DO make random maps than games like 0ad and AOE. starcraft resource management is literally made for babies. (2 resources, almost always next to each other. only dropsite makes your workers. done.)

Not that it's bad. just very simplistic. (thus easy to balance)

Also, they can make beautiful maps without them being chopped down and butchered. mappers in sc2 don't need to worry about trees being harvested. (except for certain arcade games) mappers in 0ad and similar games do.

I do agree though, maybe we should set up a ranked/tournament standard? only Skirmish maps are ranked?

Even unbalanced maps that are pre-made have better balance than random maps (as a general rule)

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yeah first we should try these maps and make a list of the potential good maps for multiplayer (I'm really bored of mainland ^^)

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Again sorry for double post.

Here is my list

1. Alpine Valley

2. Corinthian Isthmus

3. Cycladic Archipelago (treasures but seems fine)

4. Lorraine Plain (needs test to check the balance)

5. Neareastern Badlands (Huge but enemies are very close at the beginning)

6. Punjab

7. Zagros Mountains (Might lag, very huge)

The others are imo not good for multiplayer (treasures/too big/too many trees so laggy/unbalanced)

alex

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Cycladic Archipelago (treasures but seems fine)

Game simply needs gamesetup toggle for entity with treasure class. This should be trivial, no?

I don't see problem with treasure per se. It all about placement. Use start cav to go get treasure or hunt or scout? Just one more option. All about placement.

Neareastern Badlands (Huge but enemies are very close at the beginning)

Alekusu, since you have access Delenda Est, try out Neareastern Badlands (2) in Delenda Est. I made is smaller and better for 1v1 ranked. I also edit Punjab to get rid of couple of ponds for some more land area near base.

I think Greek Acropolis (2), Acropolis Bay (with some changes, see Delenda), Libyan Oasis (2), and Median Oasis (2) are good maps for 1v1 rank too.

The random maps are too simplistic always putting 1 stone mine and 1 metal mine right next to start CC. This is Starcraft way, not good for 0 A.D. In Starcraft you do not have Storehouse and Farmstead. In 0 A.D. placement of Storehouse and Farmstead is crucial, so making mines farther away from start CC is better game design.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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Yes a toggle for the treasures would be good.

I don't like treasures for two reasons:

- In "high" level games, it's not just one more option, getting more treasures than your opponent will be the only objective and the one getting more treasures will win (I mean an extra bush makes the difference in "high" level games, so treasures...)

- I like the fact that phase 1 is focusing on building an economy and not a race for treasures.

If we have toggle for the treasures, my list would actually grow a lot.

I'll try your maps wow.

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I would like to make an exception to this disabling of treasures. In Northern Island (landed yesterday in SVN) it is an element of the map and the treasures shouldn't be removed.

Both players have the shipwreck near their base and then their is a treasure island with a few hundreds of resources meant to give a small bonus to the player who is first with the ships.

Maybe an option in Atlas to override that treasure toggle?

Edited by niektb

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I've played a few more games and had some more thoughts:

-I do miss the unit ranking. It was a nice incentive to keep your units alive. Was this removed to get rid of the bug where a unit became invincible while performing that short animation when they rank up?

-I know it would probably be a huge undertaking, but it would be neat if infantry and cavalry would get of of the way of siege equipment automatically. Its difficult to get elephants and rams though the middle of large battles. Could the size of the elephant/ram footprint be reduced to allow them to better navigate tight spaces?

-I know the spear cav attack is a band aid, but its weird. It would be nice if they could have a regular 1 second attack like all the other units until the fancy attack is implemented. Its strange to see them just standing around in the middle of battles, and its hard to tell if their even fighting.

-The small roman bolt shooters are kind of useless. Any experienced player will just pick them off with cav before they even get deployed. Have you thought about getting rid of the deploy time, and just let them operate like ranged infantry or cav?

-Weaker non CC and tower buildings would be great. All of the games I've played so far have reached age 3 before players started fighting. Houses, barracks, and storepost are just too tough to beat with age 1-2 units, and its not worth losing 50 guys to kill a barracks. I like long games against evenly matched players, but I also like being able to finish off weaker players early by raiding with skirmies and horsies.

-Fort spamming. With games being longer, people are plopping down random forts everywhere. Maybe limit them to 3-5, and make them cost over 1000 stone? They are so cheap, its like playing wackamole. You tear one down, and they just plop another one up somewhere else. It would cut down on the spam, and force people to strategically place and defend them.

-Formation on/off toggling is perfect. I can leave my pikes in a tight box, while my horsies can run around them in no formation. It seems to help when moving siege equipment too, since they dont double back to form up.

-Survival of the fittest should be removed form random maps. It seems more like a starting condition, rather than a map type.

-Nomad is fun. It really breaks up the starting routine, and forces players to fight early. These are only games I've played where people fought before age 3.

-This probably more of a general idea, but it would be cool if gang attacks against powerful units had a multiplier effect. Like any hero should be able to kill any regular unit 1v1 without taking any damage. But if that hero gets ganged up on by 20 guys, he goes down quick. It would be a great dynamic for elephants too. They should kick @#$% against singe units or small groups, but struggle against massed infantry. I surrounded 2 elephants with 30 pikes in a recent game, and I lost 14 pikes before they brought down the elephants. Those elephants should’ve been toast, as the pikes formed a complete circle around them. I also surrounded a roman hero cav with 15 champ cav, and I lost like 5 or 6 of them before they brought him down. It could also be neat for forts. If I mange to totally surround a fort with like 30-40 guys attacking it, I should get some kind of siege bonus attack for my efforts. That could also help with age 1-2 building killing.

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The Athenian Champion archers are way too overpowered.

I did some atlas test, and champ sword units seemed to counter them well, but it doesn’t work that way in games.

I think the more cramped battles in actual games give them cover, and the sword units have a hard time getting to their targets. I lost 30 champ swords, 35 citizen swords, and 30 horse archers against maybe 15 champ spears and 40ish champ archers. I killed the spears, but only managed to kill a few archers. My horse archers melted away within a few seconds against the champ archers. So I lost 95, and he lost maybe 20. And I was using the units that were supposed to counter his.

The only thing I've found you can counter them in actual games with is by more than doubling up against them with horse archers or sending an equal number of champ sword cav. And even then, I lose a hell of a lot of horsies. And those sword cav cost more than the archers.

You need to lower their hack armor to give sword units a better chance against them. They don’t carry shields, so they should be vulnerable to hand to hand attack. Maybe also lower that attack rate.

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