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why alpha 24 is not nice ?


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Just now, chrstgtr said:

I personally don't use walls because I don't like them and I don't think they should be in the game. 

A very strange opinion for a historical RTS, imo. 

 

Just now, chrstgtr said:

Regardless of whether you think it makes sense or not, it is empirically true that the vast majority of top players never use walls. If anyone uses anything, it is palisades, which the vast majority of top players never use. And there have been threads/complaints calling out the players that do use palisades for their abusive tactics. 

It's also empirically true that the vast majority of players aren't competitive multiplayers, but casual players who love to build walls for a variety of reasons.

Anyway it's clear that the game's balance still needs some work, and that civilizations need to be diversified more, but as I understand, that was always in the works. Alpha 24 was just a first big, and necessary step towards addressing some longstanding gameplay issues, laying a foundation for future work.

Also, the lobby isn't exactly an official discussion platform for game dev. I can understand it's a good place to get some quick feedback from competitive players, but if your serious about development, you should use either the forum or https://code.wildfiregames.com, so that whatever is discussed is archived and easily retrievable and reviewable. Lobby discussions are far too perishable, and probably too biased towards competitive play. I mean, I'd hate to wake up one day to a 0AD without walls because I missed some random lobby discussions.

Just my two cents. 

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I think I found the op meta for this (re)release: elephants + archers, nothing can seem to stop them and and ele can counter any unit (ram, catapult, buildings, melee, archers). So civilizations without eles seems to be at an desavantatge now and some unlucky civ that need metal for archers be left to in a middle point in case of lots of metal

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3 minutes ago, nifa said:

I agree with Sundiata

also I don't see why it should make an opinion more important how good you are in playing or what rank you have

Your rating can be a measure of how well you know the ins and outs of the game gameplay and overall balance. Historians should focus on the game historical accuracy and seasoned players on balance suggestions, if one person is both he can find balance but usually is not that case. This is not a zero sum discussion, the game can be approached from both historic and gameplay perspectives, just needs for people to know what forte they have in the making of it.

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44 minutes ago, nani said:

I think I found the op meta for this (re)release: elephants + archers, nothing can seem to stop them and and ele can counter any unit (ram, catapult, buildings, melee, archers). So civilizations without eles seems to be at an desavantatge now and some unlucky civ that need metal for archers be left to in a middle point in case of lots of metal

Try Maury with then p2 ele stables that count for p3.  Instant p3 eles.  Also, ele archers are hahahahahah.  Want to know what tops Maury off?  Build a heal priest hero and "walk through military upgrades."  You do not even need a fort to build a priest now.  With priest you get 20% discount and 50% speed on upgrades for garrisoned building.  If you have 2 blacksmiths and a temple, you can hop between buildings and upgrade pretty fast.  With gather elephants you can gather metal pretty much everywhere on map.  Add the pop bonus (signficant at 200 pop) and you got yourself the making of an easy win. Maury TL:DR:

  • Archers
  • Elephant Archers
  • Elephant stables count for p3 in p2.  Always build 2-3 in p2.
  • Heal Priest Hero can speed upgrades significantly
  • OP population
  • Let's not forget range upgrade for archers.

Also, Seleucids with their ele dmg hero paired with cav archers.  Evilness.

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Just now, nani said:

and ele can counter any unit (ram, catapult, buildings, melee, archers).

What about slingers, they seem quite capable of taking down elephants. How does champion infantry perform?

 

Just now, nani said:

Your rating can be a measure of how well you know the ins and outs of the game gameplay and overall balance. Historians should focus on the game historical accuracy and seasoned players on balance suggestions, if one person is both he can find balance but usually is not that case. This is not a zero sum discussion, the game can be approached from both historic and gameplay perspectives, just needs for people to know what forte they have in the making of it.

Sure that's absolutely true, but just realize that most people don't see the game as some sort of mathematical equation. Casual players tend to be roleplaying, pretending to actually run a small kingdom, build a "city", raise an army, defeat their dreaded enemy in glorious combat, while taking in the views and such. Not looking at stat sheets. The game needs to be intuitive.

 

Some tangential stuff:

The other day I played a +2 hour game with some noobs that barely understood how to play. But they seemed to be having a lot of fun, just building their little settlements. There wasn't a single real battle in the entire game. I also just followed que and built a lovely little city, just for fun. There was literally no point to this game whatsoever. Yet it was one of the most relaxing games ever... A lot of people play like that. I've introduced the game to a number of real life friends and even relatives over the years and none of them ever play MP. They just enjoy casual fun, spending hours on a single map, building their perfect little town, enjoying the beauty of the maps and admiring the 3D models from all angles. They just want options and variety, even if they're not very useful, or even not useful at all. On the top of their wishlist are things like roads, different types of, walls statues, temples, monuments, plazas and gardens and other beautifications and unique buildings and stuff like that, and large unit rosters, functional formations and plenty of researchable technologies. Like, a lot. Some of it, more realistic or feasible than than the next. Stuff that would be utterly irrelevant to MP, but could still, to a degree, be accommodated in the game without compromising MP balance.

It doesn't need to be all or nothing. It's possible to create a very full game that satisfies most casual desires, while still offering the more streamlined experience for competitive players just by virtue of them knowing which units and tactics are good for winning competitive matches and ignoring the rest. The casuals don't care about a few underpowered units or  useless, frivolous buildings, and really expensive techs that no sane person would spend resources on in a competitive match. On the contrary, they love the availability of choice. Not: realizing that they've built, recruited and researched everything they could in 30 minutes or less.

Don't get me wrong. The game should absolutely be well balanced. But it should also be intuitive, and facilitate this kind of roleplaying fantasy through immersion. For example, competitive game speed is too fast (almost stressful) for casuals, but not fast enough for competitive players. Unnaturally fast moving units, or superspeed animations are really immersion breaking for casuals. It's a really big no-no, but competitive players always want it even faster. But the game-speed can be manually adjusted, so this shouldn't even be a problem. The default speed should obviously look natural, not unnaturally rushed, because it looks weird and even stressful. Competitive players often have a different idea of fun and intuitive gameplay, and often loose sight of what is fun and intuitive (and immersive) for casuals, and that's something important to keep in mind as well.

As for the historical accuracy part, I often see unhistorical (and unintuitive) stuff slip through, while very juicy historical details that could make every tech tree unique are more or less ignored. I think we should just get together and make a list of possible historically inspired techs and then pick and choose from them.

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1 hour ago, nani said:

I think I found the op meta for this (re)release: elephants + archers, nothing can seem to stop them and and ele can counter any unit (ram, catapult, buildings, melee, archers). So civilizations without eles seems to be at an desavantatge now and some unlucky civ that need metal for archers be left to in a middle point in case of lots of metal

In DE this would be countered by javelineers. But EA? Dunno. Bolt Shooters?

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11 minutes ago, Sundiata said:

Unnaturally fast moving units, or superspeed animations are really immersion breaking for casuals. It's a really big no-no, but competitive players always want it even faster. But the game-speed can be manually adjusted, so this shouldn't even be a problem. The default speed should obviously look natural, not unnaturally rushed, because it looks weird and even stressful.

Do "top players" really think a 0.4 second firing rate for Scythian Archers is cool? I hope not.

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8 hours ago, Stan` said:

@Samulis Can't you just change the volume?

Yes, we're still working on balancing sounds after we fixed some big bugs in the way sounds were being used that resulted in all of the sounds no longer being balanced. Expect more in the SoundsMod github project and of course a25. :)

Unit selection and confirmation sounds have not been adjusted at all since a23, only really gather and combat sounds.

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4 hours ago, Sundiata said:

Sure that's absolutely true, but just realize that most people don't see the game as some sort of mathematical equation. Casual players tend to be roleplaying, pretending to actually run a small kingdom, build a "city", raise an army, defeat their dreaded enemy in glorious combat, while taking in the views and such. Not looking at stat sheets. The game needs to be intuitive.

 

If the priority is to make something that looks cool and historical, then the post referencing borg, feld, and vali's involvement seems entirely misplaced. And frankly, balance shouldn't matter then since that wouldn't be the purpose. But this obviously isn't the case, so I don't understand why you are defending that position. I will also note that this discussion has come up in the immediate context of me saying that I and several other players felt our opinion was completely disregarded. To which the reply essentially said: "you are not like other players, so your opinion does not matter." Again, not trying to be petty, but I do want to point this out, especially since this thread concerns how 0AD should look in the future and is involving player feedback and I (and others) now essentially have to argue that my opinion has worth. 

To bring the discussion back to the purpose of the thread, even if the point was to just the game look cool and historical, it can be done in ways that also address gameplay concerns. Here, being that a large portion of players do not like this alpha for many of the reasons stated above. I hope it is properly addressed. 

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8 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

Regardless, is having 12 civs that are boring and really just one civ better than having 6 OP civs that are fun and 6 civs that need a buff? You can ignore that 6 bad civs, but you don't get the choice is all 12 civs are basically the same.

I get your point and it's a fair one. Keep in mind one thing though, before we're able to differentiate civs we need a baseline, this baseline was achieved even if in detraction of other aspects.

Now we know how to differentiate civs with champs, cav, slingers, ranged, melee all fair against each other (and no dancing!).

To be frank I'd have been more careful with the champ and techs rework but I stand for the team with their decision.

The only thing we should have instead is some way of pushing balance updates more often (as I mentioned with weekly builds). E.g. increase a bit the bonuses brits had, give or buff some good tech for persia (as mentioned with nicean horses) and we should be able to test it on a weekly basis and iterate over it. The advantage of having a baseline is that you can make changes to each civ at a time. e.g. after that buff now a civ will be better than others, and that is cool we can now buff and differentiate another to be comparable (but in a different aspect) and then so on.

 

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1 hour ago, chrstgtr said:

especially since this thread concerns how 0AD should look in the future and is involving player feedback and I (and others) now essentially have to argue that my opinion has worth

I feel ya. The heroes standardized health was something I never was a huge fan of (without other adjustments). Some other concerns: sound, lack of communication on the a24 release (all that effort for the 1v1 invitational thrown away), etc.

Hopefully something that could be improved. Unfortunately that threw me off completely.

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1 hour ago, badosu said:

The only thing we should have instead is some way of pushing balance updates more often (as I mentioned with weekly builds).

If it is really only about balance tweaks, wouldn't it be possible to do this via mods ? Like an weekly (or monthly) official multiplayer mod that takes care of those concerns and is used to test the balance. This mod could either be supervised by the wfg staff members, or what may be more sensible, by the top multiplayer.

All that would need is the willingness of these players to communicate and someone who knows how to handle the technical side. Then every week, you could just get the newest version of the multiplayer mod and be up to date.

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That is not a bad idea actually, would require collaboration with the development team though.

To have a mod apart from 'public' that contains all balance changes in a25. All new development is done there then the files are replaced before release.

That would work only until incompatible changes (that can't be done on a mod) are implemented in A25.

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8 minutes ago, badosu said:

That would work only until incompatible changes (that can't be done on a mod) are implemented in A25.

Unfortunately, that's likely to be basically week 1.

I am trying to think of a good solution, but it's not that easy, because there will be engine changes as well. If we were to release a bundle per week or 2 week, you'd have a high change of bug/OOS complicating the balancing test. It might still be worthwhile, but we'd definitely need an auto-updated of sorts.

I do feel a mod to track A25 changes would be more appropriate, but it'd definitely have to be custom-made for A24, and hope that engine changes don't completely change gameplay.

---

The problem is that fundamentally, the game is still an alpha in development, and to an extent perfect balance cannot be achieved, or it will prevent some changes for good. Every alpha will feel different, and likely will be unbalanced in some way.

4 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

If the priority is to make something that looks cool and historical, then the post referencing borg, feld, and vali's involvement seems entirely misplaced. And frankly, balance shouldn't matter then since that wouldn't be the purpose. But this obviously isn't the case, so I don't understand why you are defending that position.

There is a simple truth at play here: the 'dev team' is different people, and these people work towards different things. 

4 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

Again, not trying to be petty, but I do want to point this out, especially since this thread concerns how 0AD should look in the future and is involving player feedback and I (and others) now essentially have to argue that my opinion has worth.

I'm really not certain where you picked that up from, but I believe the replies you got say one thing: all opinions matter, but where they are expressed matters most. Again, I will remind you that 'the dev team' isn't 50 people working full time. At the present, it's basically 5 people working a few days per week and mostly after their actual work.

We just don't have the time to listen to every feedback everywhere. If you want to contribute to balancing, you have to make a bigger effort than "I dropped some comments in the lobby", unfortunately (talking about the lobby in particular, I don't think we have lobby logs, which is something maybe we should improve).

4 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

I hope it is properly addressed. 

And it will be.

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12 minutes ago, wraitii said:

Unfortunately, that's likely to be basically week 1.

I mean, if changes are only stats, new techs, buildings, artwork etc.. Why would engine change affect it?
 

13 minutes ago, wraitii said:

If we were to release a bundle per week or 2 week, you'd have a high change of bug/OOS complicating the balancing test. It might still be worthwhile, but we'd definitely need an auto-updated of sorts.

You already have `mod.io` :-). Every week a new version is released.

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1 minute ago, badosu said:

You already have `mod.io` :-). Every week a new version is released.

I mean we already have an auto build for windows and people don't play, yet all you have to do is redownload svn if you don't want to deal with anything :)

That being said, I do think it would be a good thing to get more play testing, more regularly. Maybe not at the start of a new release cycle though - we want people to play the last alpha to see how it works/find meta, and we want to merge stuff then that might need some more feature work. But when things are starting to be different we could definitely release 'previews' to the next alpha.

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26 minutes ago, wraitii said:

I mean we already have an auto build for windows and people don't play, yet all you have to do is redownload svn if you don't want to deal with anything :)

I think you underestimate the power of user friendliness. I think redownloading SVN has been one of the more challenging things I've ever done technically in the last few months. I'd wish I was joking.

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9 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Do "top players" really think a 0.4 second firing rate for Scythian Archers is cool? I hope not.

All archers have a reload time of 1 s in A24.

4 hours ago, badosu said:

The heroes standardized health was something I never was a huge fan of (without other adjustments).

The proposal to give all heroes the same health ( https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2682 ) was abandoned; instead ( https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3250 ), healer and infantry heroes have 1000 health, cavalry heroes 1200, elephant heroes 1500 in A24.

3 hours ago, maroder said:

If it is really only about balance tweaks, wouldn't it be possible to do this via mods ? Like an weekly (or monthly) official multiplayer mod that takes care of those concerns and is used to test the balance. This mod could either be supervised by the wfg staff members, or what may be more sensible, by the top multiplayer.

All that would need is the willingness of these players to communicate and someone who knows how to handle the technical side. Then every week, you could just get the newest version of the multiplayer mod and be up to date.

That's possible and that was actually done in the past. If I recall correctly, @Grugnas and @Hannibal_Barca both wrote balance mods for A22 and @borg-, @Feldfeld, and @ValihrAnt each did for A23; there might be a few others too. Mods have advantages (can be quickly changed, easy to use, suitable for playtesting) but also their limitations (unpredictable lifespan; opaque decision-making process; tempting to include unrelated changes); basically they stand or fall with their author and mostly reflect the vision of a single person.

What changed during the development of A24 is that people who used to write their own mods decided to become more involved and participated in proposing and reviewing patches on Phabricator. Yes, a lot has changed in A24, and sure, not every single change may have been an improvement. Nevertheless, the fact there is change is in itself already progress.

A24 isn't perfect, it's very much a work in progress, and right now people will need time to get used to the new version. However, I sincerely believe A24 as a whole will be considered to be a better product than A23 by the vast majority of players in a month or two.

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13 minutes ago, Nescio said:

However, I sincerely believe A24 as a whole will be considered to be a better product than A23 by the vast majority of players in a month or two.

As someone who cannot play multiplayer, due to bad internet connection, i can confirm that. Normally i play vs one or two AIs and i am very happy with a24. The graphics looks much better, there is building snapping and the balance feels more balanced (I can now win with the Kushites). And i don't experience much lag, since there are only three player.

 

19 minutes ago, Nescio said:

That's possible and that was actually done in the past. If I recall correctly, @Grugnas and @Hannibal_Barca both wrote balance mods for A22 and @borg-, @Feldfeld, and @ValihrAnt each did for A23; there might be a few others too.

Good to hear. But i think it should be kind of an "official" mod to get many people to try it / find out about it.

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Hopefully this thread can address a few of the complaints I have read there: 

I won't go into details about the others yet. Personally I'm fine with the gameplay being slower, including unit movement speed. Sometimes in a23 I had the feeling maps for teamgame were quite small, the enemy could be reached very fast (in bigger map size settings was not an option due to lag). Now with the slower movement this looks more like AoE2 in term of 'map size feeling', and I think this alpha puts more emphasis on map control in general, something I felt was missing in a23.

Regarding a balance patch mod, there are a few problems with that.
- Potentially difficult to get people to use it
- Very easy to disagree with the changes there
- Most importantly, it will necessarily diverge from the changes of the new a25 version. First of all, a number of the changes that would go to the balance mod would not be changes that can get in the next version of the game, due to consistency and historical accuracy requirements. Secondly those changes would be more like a patch, and not enhancements to gameplay, which is still an objective for the next version of the game (= more divergence). Thirdly, engine changes can affect how the game is played. All in all, those points will make it so that the balance reached with such a patch will have to be thrown away for the next version of the game, so they could end up not being helpful for tuning the a25 balance.

To end this post, I would like to point out that the state of the balance  of this a24 version has not been figured out yet (see the thread I linked to have explanations and examples). I also think like @Nescio that we should give it one month or two before being too critical with this new version. There are a few things I don't like of course but all in all I think a24 is an improvement.

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On 26/2/2021 at 3:52 AM, chrstgtr said:

If the priority is to make something that looks cool and historical, then the post referencing borg, feld, and vali's involvement seems entirely misplaced. And frankly, balance shouldn't matter then since that wouldn't be the purpose. But this obviously isn't the case, so I don't understand why you are defending that position.

I didn't reference borg, feld or vali's involvement. I think their work towards balance changes in Alpha 24 is a really great start. Perhaps not perfect of course, and there's always room for improvement, but it definitely seems like an overall improvement from the looks of it, and I'm glad they were so heavily involved. I was responding to you, and then went on a tangential note to emphasize some things that I don't think get emphasized enough.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but when these opinions include that we shouldn't have walls, that the game plays too slowly, that we should increase turn rates again (potentially reintroducing dancing on non-hero units), architect elephants (elephants building), that the game benefits turtling etc, then I feel compelled to point out that those opinions are at odds with what most players think is enjoyable, and are opinions too heavily biased towards competitive play only. Don't get me wrong, I really don't disagree with everything you've said. But complaining that a game now takes 25-28 minutes for example, just sounds really weird to any non-multiplayer. Most of us don't play this game to get it over and done with as quickly as possible...  

By the way, I think unit rotation speeds look and feel fantastic now. 

Anyway, on the point of civ differentiation I agree, but as already said, we'll probably see more of that again in Alpha 25. But why focus on these random things like walls for the Iberians (why do they get walls, of all people?). Free houses for Ptolemies (why should they get free houses, of all people). Why should only Macedonians have arsenals? I'm personally in favor of differentiation through unique tech trees. Let most or all civs get the same basic techs, but then add a level or two of unique civ-specific techs that are actually rooted in the history of that civ, not this random stuff. 

Anyway, I'm not trying to single you out or anything like that. It's nothing personal. But the game also gets feedback here on the forum, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, the official Youtube channel as well as comment sections on random Youtube videos about 0AD, comment sections on random internet articles about 0AD etc. If we cater too much to these hardcore MP desires from a number of individuals, we also risk alienating a large number of players who have often complained that the game actually plays way too fast, to the point of being stressful and overwhelming, and if you pay close attention to the lobby, even there you will see plenty of games that are far less competitive in nature, being played by people who just enjoy hour(s)-long games building and experimenting and exploring  and fooling around in a way that would make pro players laugh out loud, but they are an important part of the demographic as well, and there's nothing that stops us from catering to both.  

 

On 26/2/2021 at 3:52 AM, chrstgtr said:

I will also note that this discussion has come up in the immediate context of me saying that I and several other players felt our opinion was completely disregarded. To which the reply essentially said: "you are not like other players, so your opinion does not matter."

Clearly it does, otherwise we wouldn't be having this discussion. It's just that your opinion isn't the only one we have to take into account. There are probably hundreds of thousands of 0AD players each with their own opinion of where the game should go. 

 

On 26/2/2021 at 3:52 AM, chrstgtr said:

Again, not trying to be petty, but I do want to point this out, especially since this thread concerns how 0AD should look in the future and is involving player feedback and I (and others) now essentially have to argue that my opinion has worth. 

Of course. You seem to underestimate how many opinions there are about 0AD. Your opinion, nor anyone else's can be taken as a design document. People don't just automatically agree with someone because of who said it, even if you're a top player... Most players aren't top-players and their opinions matter as well, so you'll always have to elaborate on the argument you're trying to make and defend it. That's normal in any discussion. 

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