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Gameplay issue: Booming = Turtling


Should female citizen gather rates be increased?  

19 members have voted

  1. 1. Should female citizen gather rates be increased?

    • No. They are fine as they are.
      9
    • They should have equal gather rates to citizen soldiers.
      4
    • They should have greater gather rates than citizen soldiers.
      6


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One of the bigger gameplay issues that 0 A.D. has, in my opinion, is that booming = turtling. It means that every game is a complete boomfest to the lategame with little to no aggression after the occasional early rush. The problem stems from citizen soldiers and the fact that they are the best economic and military unit available at the same time.

The solution I've got is to increase the gather rate of female citizens to be equal or greater than that of citizen soldiers. This should offer a dilemma between picking a safe approach with citizen soldiers or taking it risky with a women boom to have better economy. Similar in lategame, do you opt to have all women on economy to be able to field a larger army or have soldiers on economy and be safer from raids, or do a mix of units?

 

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I late game I send all of my citizen soldiers to battle, except for miners who can also defend home economy at the same time. If my base is raided I just ring the alarm. 

To prevent sneaky rams I would put some swords into the cc. 

In most of the TGs I have played most players start to push around minute 15, when they have siege and full pop. I wouldn't call that turtling. 

I can try to modify the xml file of female citizens to increase their gather rate. Do you think their health needs to be adjusted as well?

 

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3 minutes ago, Yekaterina said:

In most of the TGs I have played most players start to push around minute 15, when they have siege and full pop. I wouldn't call that turtling. 

That's my point. Most TGs there will be no action until the 15 minute mark because aggression just isn't viable due to booming being unpunishable as it's effectively the same as turtling. It makes the game quite boring.

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1 hour ago, ValihrAnt said:

The problem stems from citizen soldiers and the fact that they are the best economic and military unit available at the same time.

I think that this touches the key to the problem. More specifically, ranged infantry is the best military unit and they are good for your boom. If two players are evenly matched, the defender would have the same production and type of units as the attacker, which leaves the defender with an advantage. Going for a major infantry attack is costly on the economy and that´s why in a citizen soldier concept it has no place. I think the solution is not boosting gathering rate of women, but rather there needs to be a better rock-paper-scissor system. Generally speaking, I think the strength of ranged units is a problem in all phases and it results in simplified strategy: which unit should you make early on? Ranged infantry. I believe this offers no options to outstrategize your opponent, as the counters to ranged units all have their limitations. If melee cavalry could defeat ranged infantry, I think the problem would be solved for the civilizations that get melee cavalry in p1 (which is the reason for:)

 

Because of some recent events, I have to admit that cavalry rushes can be executed effectively if the rushing playing is the better player. But in 1v1s I feel that cavalry rushes only work out if there is a skill difference between the players.

Women cost only 50 food and can be produced from houses with fertility festival and collect wood at almost the same rate, which makes women better for booming in my view.

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Divide the citizen soldier unit class into two archetypes:

1) The "commoner" light infantry/cavalry which will be comprised of all the ranged citizen-soldiers, plus any melee citizen-soldiers not equipped with a large shield or substantial body armor during their Basic rank. These guys can be left as they are.

2) "Landed" heavy infantry/cavalry is everyone who is left. They get their economic utility soft-nerfed by having their resource carrying capacity reduced by 50% and their movement speed reduced by 3. However, to make it up, they get +10 pierce armor on top of whatever they have now.

Voila! The problem is solved but citizen-soldier concept remains intact.

 

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I think that this is probably a good gameplay change with the women, it makes the economic decisions more complex. In 0ad in the past it has always been ok just make at least 40 women for ur 8 farms and thats it. A justification could be that women don't carry shields and armor and (heavy) weapons around with them.

3 hours ago, ValihrAnt said:

That's my point. Most TGs there will be no action until the 15 minute mark because aggression just isn't viable due to booming being unpunishable as it's effectively the same as turtling. It makes the game quite boring.

^ I have noticed that big fights can happen at minute 15-20 but then after that, the gameplay gets more and more stabilized and stagnant.

 

I have noticed that the gameplay is turtly no matter if you want to turtle or not. Turtly gameplay is a factor of many things but with some key differences.

  • infrequent rushes (the purpose of the forum topic)
  • archer movement speed: this makes it possible for archers to run to defend far away defenses in large numbers. (In a23 if u wanted to turtle you needed to concentrate to a small area). 
  • availability of stone and increased HP and range of defenses leads people who don't think they can win a fight in the short term to use their time building up forts and ccs and towers and temples. Eventually there forms ww1-like frontlines where attacks almost always end in failure at great cost. And large armies just pace back and forth along the defenses

This means that an army of archers and spears can turtle under any defensive structure in your territory, and that even if an enemy moves their rams/eles and units to your weakest defenses that you can start hitting them with arrows while they are still moving about 90% of the time. Most attacks in a24 after 20 minutes wind up being retreats. Often as soon as you make an attack you are 2v1ed. The overall effect is that there is less mobility in a standard 4v4 on "medium" map than there was in an a23 pizza game. Rather than a balanced game feeling like either side is on the edge of destruction or that a gameplay choice could win the game, it feels like the game-state is inalterable and that player choices stop mattering.

If archers were slower and forts/ towers were weaker, then archer turtling could only be exerted over smaller territory areas. One reason why people infrequently build expansions in a23 was because it was harder to defend 3 things rather than 2: your expansion, your main base, your ally's base.

I have a more extensive post about this in "un-used buildings" topic.

@ValihrAnt Many thanks for bringing up this conversation, I think this is one of the biggest problems of a24 and one that makes other problems worse.

the gameplay needs to reward action and manuevering

 

 

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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5 hours ago, ValihrAnt said:

The solution I've got is to increase the gather rate of female citizens to be equal or greater than that of citizen soldiers. This should offer a dilemma between picking a safe approach with citizen soldiers or taking it risky with a women boom to have better economy. Similar in lategame, do you opt to have all women on economy to be able to field a larger army or have soldiers on economy and be safer from raids, or do a mix of units?

 

Good assessment of the problem as always. 

 

But I don't think this proposal will work. The reason why players boom the way they do is because small rushes aren't effective enough or quick enough. Players can boom women until they make a barrack to make men. If a rush comes at that point they can fend it off with production from the CC/barrack. And if a rush comes before a barrack is up then the rush is so few men that it doesn't do enough damage and can easily be fended off with just a few men being produced from the CC. The difference in men and women training times also make women much more effective since they are both cheaper and quicker produce, so rushes have to kill a lot of women to be effective. 

 

I also think this proposal would actually backfire because most players will do the boom and reach late game earlier (because of better women) at which point they can punish players that slowed themselves by rushing. 

 

I think a better solution is to make rushing less economically costly, so rushing players aren't so far behind booming players. I think this can be done in three main ways:

  1. Increase loot for kills: this will make good rushes much more effective since you will have a better eco because you rushed. It will also punish bad rushes, which is the way it should be. Most importantly, this won't change the incentives for players to make more men early just to fight off rushes (i.e. this means rushes are still possible because players' won't turtle from the start without any penalty). This is my preferred change. 
  2. Increase men's gather rates and/or decrease women's gathering rates: The change in rates would need to mostly occur with wood. This means that rushers would have a better eco because they had more men than women early. But, as I said above, this will also result in some people making men for the sole purpose of fighting off rushes, which means booming will still equal turtling.
  3. Make women and men's training times the same: This will mean women are less effective at booming, so rushing won't be as costly from a unit production time. But again, this will also result in some people making men for the sole purpose of fighting off rushes, which means booming will still equal turtling.
Edited by chrstgtr
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I think it is good for the game to have rushing be more viable, and to make being unprepared for rush more risky. As bad as I am at rushing or being rushed, I think it helps to offer different strategies. 

But if you are seeking to eliminate the turtled gameplay that is currently in alpha 24, the best way would be to adjust unit stats, building stats and resource needs. The game should go from being an overstabilized system to a neutral system, or perhaps it should even have some mild aspects of instability. In a23 an enemies mistake would not guarantee victory but provide you an opportunity to press your advantage. In a24 a mistaken play or a 5000 IQ play both means that both parties retreat, rebuild back to 200 pop and then the game is the same as it was before the commencement of action.

Most of all I just want to know if people understand what I mean, agree with me if this is a problem, or have other solution ideas.

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It does not make a lot of sense to have this discussion on a purely theoretical basis.

Here are the mods:

better-gather-rates.zip

inrease-loot.zip

Personally I think both options could work. And also farmlands or reduced number of gatherers per field.

@chrstgtr since you wrote about two of your mentioned options, that you don't believe they will change anything (so booming is still = turteling), I didn't include them.

Edited by maroder
updated mod files
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1 hour ago, maroder said:

@chrstgtr since you wrote about two of your mentioned options, that you don't believe they will change anything (so booming is still = turteling), I didn't include them.

Even increasing loot would be a huge meta change--especially late game when you are near constant fight. I honestly don't know if it would work. It's a tricky problem to solve. 

 

Separately, I talked to Vali in the lobby and he agreed that he didn't think his proposal would work because it did not consider barracks like I pointed out. 

Edited by chrstgtr
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what's the biggest change from a23 in this regard? is it training times? I think training women has become too convenient, and loosing some of them, even in early game, is not much of a trouble.

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Hmm, everyone seems to be talking about rushing and how to make it viable again. Could someone explain to me how a lack of rushing from 2:00-10:00 contributes to turtleing in minutes 13 and onward?

I have the feeling that turtley gameplay and endless 4v4s are caused by (see earlier post) unit speeds, stone availability and defenses power. If rushes happened more and they were equal on both sides of a 4v4, then I feel the game would reach the same inalterable state just at a later time. Although a successful rush by one team could potentially put a player out of the game and make the game winnable on a short term.

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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17 hours ago, chrstgtr said:

Even increasing loot would be a huge meta change--especially late game when you are near constant fight. I honestly don't know if it would work. It's a tricky problem to solve. 

True. But I quite like the idea that one gets rewarded for effective rushes. On the other hand, an ineffective rush would also set you back even more.

 

43 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

If rushes happened more and they were equal on both sides of a 4v4, then I feel the game would reach the same inalterable state just at a later time.

Rushing should set the other players back, so that they cannot turtle effectively afterwards (because they are already behind in resources/population). But yes it is not the only thing that contributes to that.

Edited by maroder
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35 minutes ago, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I have the feeling that turtley gameplay and endless 4v4s are caused by (see earlier post) unit speeds, stone availability and defenses power.

In my logic, if units move faster then the time spent traveling to your opponent is less and that would reduce to economic cost of being away from work for some time. I think the main issue is not the speed, rather it is that the unit with most range(=area it can control) is also the most useful. Reducing archer speed to 9.0 will not make a big difference in my view.

I do think the strength of defenses is an issue. Without p3 there is no realistic way to take a garrisoned opposing tower.

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fortifications are already being nerfed significantly. archers too. I don't like the idea of slowing them down and I think their speed has been leveled with other ranged units for good reason.

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Hey guys, 

Thanks for considering my comments, and it is great to hear the changes in store for fortifications and archers. @ValihrAnt has a great new mod out that brings back ranged unit speed differences, not as severe as the differences in a23 but enough to make a difference. If you guys are opposed and/or not sure about the changes we can arrange a 4v4 or 3v3 to test out his mod and see if we think unit speed differences help or hurt the game.

My theory is that since archers are great for defending buildings and for big battles it should be hard to simply cover your territory in towers and forts and be able to defend each one from an attack. Not only have towers and forts been buffed of range and HP, they have enabled/enforced wide-area turtling not seen before a24. It used to be that a fast and powerful attack on a weak point in defenses would lead to a large and urgent threat to the base and economy, but now it results in a 2v1 encirclement of archers/spears. My hopes for a25 are that p3 fighting is as dynamic and exciting as it was in a23, but with the good changes from a24 such as blacksmith and general melee/ranged balance. The changes should encourage movement, maneuvers, and risk taking, not resource hoarding, turtling and endlessly waiting for the enemy to attack you so you can use your local defenses to win that battle.

1 hour ago, maroder said:

Rushing should set the other players back, so that they cannot turtle effectively afterwards (because they are already behind in resources/population). But yes it is not the only thing that contributes to that.

I agree, I think if rushing is a viable strategy, then the games are less likely to reach that endless and inalterable state I have talked about. I think we should definitely still consider the mechanics that cause the game to reach such a stable equilibrium too.

 

Do you guys get what I mean when I say things like inalterable/over-stabilized game state?

Edited by BreakfastBurrito_007
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Upon having thought about this more, I think the better way to solve this problem is to offer more military options in P2. Things like the now gone Athenian P2 champs or the Spartan Skiritai, or the now very weak Gaul Naked fanatics. In combination with more accessible military upgrades it should combine to make aggression in P2 more viable and reward good scouting, but obviously would require a lot of effort and change to get there.

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Just now, Player of 0AD said:

Isn't there a difference between building many defensive structures/units and not doing so?

Most players in a 4v4 don't start off spamming forts and towers, but the feel the need to once they lose a battle, especially if it is against a player with their own fort.

Often, there is excess time because most people are waiting to be attacked rather than attacking and excess stone because it is not an upgrade cost. The stabilized game state I talk about means that an attack by either side usually results in retreat and rebuilding army while waiting for the enemy to try their luck versus ur defenses.

 

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22 minutes ago, ValihrAnt said:

Upon having thought about this more, I think the better way to solve this problem is to offer more military options in P2. Things like the now gone Athenian P2 champs or the Spartan Skiritai, or the now very weak Gaul Naked fanatics. In combination with more accessible military upgrades it should combine to make aggression in P2 more viable and reward good scouting, but obviously would require a lot of effort and change to get there.

I agree with this.

I'm going to save this comment.

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It does seem like a logical progression. P1: Citizen Solider -> P2: Citizen Solider + Champions -> P3: Citizen Solider + Champions + Siege.

Then every phase has new options to attack and break a defense.

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instead of champions, could we take basic siege to age 2 instead? rams as they are in game are good for age 2 I think. Would it be so bad if we had anti-siege* in age 1 and rams in age 2 already? It would basically be like AoE age 2 to 4.

*swords, if we really want to keep pikes dealing the same kind of damage arrows have

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