Author Topic: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?  (Read 3513 times)

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #30 on: September 13, 2016, 09:15:54 PM »
PS : I'll stress it again. I'm NOT making your playstyle go away, whatever flaws I see in it don't matter. I'm focussing on making the "vanilla" future game more fun - and think it goes via that.

This is a single player game with a variety of player preferences that need to be catered to. The reaction you're getting from people is because you are pushing your personal gaming preferences as the default and that we all should go mod it if we don't like it.

Why don't you try finding a way to recognize and include the various playstyles? For example, configurable sliders, flags, etc.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2016, 01:26:19 AM »
PS : I'll stress it again. I'm NOT making your playstyle go away, whatever flaws I see in it don't matter. I'm focussing on making the "vanilla" future game more fun - and think it goes via that.

This is a single player game with a variety of player preferences that need to be catered to. The reaction you're getting from people is because you are pushing your personal gaming preferences as the default and that we all should go mod it if we don't like it.

Why don't you try finding a way to recognize and include the various playstyles? For example, configurable sliders, flags, etc.

Hum, that's exactly the people that answer me are doing, answering me that their preference is the default. While claiming "hey you can put a slider". I'm not different from any of you guys on that point ;D. There's about 40k defaults here.

I'm only trying to find the default slider here. Of course I'm trying to push how the game was fun for me. Why would I do the opposite ?

AI War 2 will be different.  There will be BIG changes.

Here, fixed. Sorry. I hate to do that... it's disrespecful... very sorry. But it conveys the points well.

The game is already going to be completely renewed.
- From the energy mechanic, it's visible than defense will take a huge nerf, energy cap pre planet will reduce drastically the amount of defense that can be set on one planet. The capture 100 planet way of playing the game is probably already dead.
- The AI is going to retake territory.
- units will have upgrades.
- fighting will be completely redone, via squads.
- a lot of sliders have already disappeared.
- protector starships, snipers are dead already.
- minor factions are going to be completely reworked.
- champions are, for better or worse, already gone.
- from the sound of it golems could be renewable.

AIP is integral to the core experience will still be there, but the way it works will change somewhat as a result of all those changes. It has to, because the game changed, so the balance will change, so AIP will change. And... there is already a huge push in the design doc to make the game tick toward its conclusion without caring for AIP. I'm not remotely the one at the origin of that.

Oh, and, to me, the AI actually taking aggressive moves, and recapturing territory, rather than being passive unless you're doing something, like it was in AI War I, is the biggest change that could ever be. It's like a reversal of the spirit of the entire game. I see removing "low AIP" games is as just moving numbers around.

As far as I know, the low AIP route could already dead, because Chris will put mechanics forcing the player to capture 20 planets minimum. Or reinforced, but renewed because the command center is mobile, or dead because some other mechanic independant of AIP will force you to thread into the 200 -300 AIP range, whatever the difficulty level. Anyway, the only fact that low AIP mechanic was discussed around the previous years, by other people that I (I didn't exactly discover it, nor am the first one discussing it) show that there are issues with it.

I don't know where you're going with this. Are you pushing AI war II to be just AI war I with better graphics ? It's already not.


PS: the "band-aid" part never gets answered to.
PS2: I don't make much difference between sliders & mods. To me a slider is a dev-made mod. Sorry if I'm unclear on that one.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 01:45:48 AM by kasnavada »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #32 on: September 14, 2016, 01:39:12 AM »
While I wouldn't mind the "offense/defense" ratio raised (pushed towards offense) a little but (In AIWC, small armies take freaking forever to get anything done, including killing other small armies, which could make the early game sort of stale in lower difficulties), I still think it should be kept quite soundly in the "defensive" favored.
Part of what I feel is "AI War" is the slower nature of the game; the fact that you don't have to micro like a god or pause like every second to get reasonable performance out of your fleet; that you have time to "think" in battles. Also keeping the ratio on the "defensive" side helps to preserve the "player sets the pace" nature of AI War (which TBH, I'm not sure is still a design goal for AIWII like it was for AI War classic)

Thanks for your answer.
I think that everyone agrees on that point. As the AI is going to be somewhat more aggressive now, I'm not sure about the pace thing.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 03:57:24 AM by kasnavada »

Offline Toranth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #33 on: September 14, 2016, 02:24:26 PM »
AI War 2 will be different.  There will be BIG changes.

Here, fixed. Sorry. I hate to do that... it's disrespecful... very sorry. But it conveys the points well.

The game is already going to be completely renewed.
- From the energy mechanic, it's visible than defense will take a huge nerf, energy cap pre planet will reduce drastically the amount of defense that can be set on one planet. The capture 100 planet way of playing the game is probably already dead.
- The AI is going to retake territory.
- units will have upgrades.
- fighting will be completely redone, via squads.
- a lot of sliders have already disappeared.
- protector starships, snipers are dead already.
- minor factions are going to be completely reworked.
- champions are, for better or worse, already gone.
- from the sound of it golems could be renewable.
Yes, I know.  None of those have to do with the core game mechanic I was discussing:  Raising AIP raises AI response, and too much AIP means you die.  While there has been discussion of modifying how AIP works (multi-factor AIP, temporary AIP, local AIP, faction-specific AIP, etc) the core mechanic is still on the list to be there:  Too much AI attention = death.


AIP is integral to the core experience will still be there, but the way it works will change somewhat as a result of all those changes. It has to, because the game changed, so the balance will change, so AIP will change. And... there is already a huge push in the design doc to make the game tick toward its conclusion without caring for AIP. I'm not remotely the one at the origin of that.

Oh, and, to me, the AI actually taking aggressive moves, and recapturing territory, rather than being passive unless you're doing something, like it was in AI War I, is the biggest change that could ever be. It's like a reversal of the spirit of the entire game. I see removing "low AIP" games is as just moving numbers around.

As far as I know, the low AIP route could already dead, because Chris will put mechanics forcing the player to capture 20 planets minimum. Or reinforced, but renewed because the command center is mobile, or dead because some other mechanic independant of AIP will force you to thread into the 200 -300 AIP range, whatever the difficulty level. Anyway, the only fact that low AIP mechanic was discussed around the previous years, by other people that I (I didn't exactly discover it, nor am the first one discussing it) show that there are issues with it.

I don't know where you're going with this. Are you pushing AI war II to be just AI war I with better graphics ? It's already not.
Here's the core issue:  There will always be some strategy that works at high difficulties.  It will involve being very careful and precise, and optimizing the player's gains while minimizing the AI's gains.  I don't know exactly what this strategy will be in AI War 2.  But it will exist.
When this strategy is played at lower difficulty levels, it will be even more successful.  At low enough difficulties, it will make the game so easy as to be trivial.  The solutions to this are to either raise the difficulty you play at, or play a sub-optimal strategy that you find more fun.
Whether the AIP is shifted to have a larger minimum or not is just sliding numbers around.  A gameplay range of 200-700 is the same as 0-500.  If AIWClassic suddenly doubled all the AIP gains, and halved the effects of AIP, the game would play the EXACT same as it does now, but you'd have everyone with twice the AIP.  The same 'low AIP' strategy as always would be the best.

Unless you can come up with some game mechanic that actually makes the game work fundamentally different at different difficulty levels.  There are some I can think of.  I just down think it's a good idea.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #34 on: September 14, 2016, 03:52:32 PM »
Quote
Here's the core issue:  There will always be some strategy that works at high difficulties.  It will involve being very careful and precise, and optimizing the player's gains while minimizing the AI's gains.  I don't know exactly what this strategy will be in AI War 2.  But it will exist.

Yes, it will. No issue with it. I thing I'm being misunderstood here. I can't blame that there is an optimal route to victory... there's always going to be one.

The issue I have is the other way, it's that the current optimal path has "gameplay issues", tied to being low-AIP.


Let's say that in a game there is 5 mechanics, aimed at providing difficulty to the player. Players have fun, some are more "efficient" than others. Some set their own challenges. Then some guy finds a strategy that enables him to win on from low to very high difficulty... By completely removing the effect of 3 of the 5 mechanics that aimed to provide difficulty, because of a probably unpredicted "flaw" in the game design.

Would you want the dev to re-enable the 3 mechanics that didn't work, by clearing out the "flaw" in the game design ? Or to implement 5 new mechanics to provide more difficulty when using the strategy that bypassed what the dev put in the game to provide difficulty in the first place ?

Example, if in Warcraft 3 the optimal way of playing was without heroes ? I'd want heroes back.


Back to the low AIP discussion, the ultra low AIP "worst abuse" for me was some guy winning the game with only one planet and people which played constantly at AIP floor. As I saw it, Arcen tried to block that with CSGs, deep strike counter-attacks, reduction in some of what's available to the player, energy management... loads of stuff, but the low AIP strat had gained a big following. Or something else. They also introduced some special mechanics specially for 10/10 games, if what I read of Kahuna's game is correct. Also introduced difficulty mechanics which that are not based on AIP (and plan to do more in the sequel). I've no clue if all of those mechanics are tied to said strategies being in place, but they do counter it from small to large extend... so. I count them as being in part for that.

My opinion is that in addition to CSGs, AIP reduction should have been nerfed enough so that the AIP floor was irrelevant, and the core worlds made stronger. Oh, and, when I speak about moving number around here, I speak about moving the AI responses to account for the AIP reduction being gone, the mechanics that scaled to AIP being boosted. It's a total rebalance of the game - hence I wouldn't advise it for AI War I. Too much work. But, for AI War II, complete balance is to be redone... so why not. Yes, moving numbers from 0-500 to 200-700 with no changes is pointless. I don't wish / aim to make the game more difficult "just because", and acknowledge that modification to AIP will imply huge balance rework.


Another issue I have about the low AIP route is the image I put in copy. It's the schematic representation, as I see it, of the relative power of the player against the AI (or AIP) during such a game, based on the low AIP games I played / AAR I've read. The "step" at the end is the core killing. (Of course, it's way more bumpy than that in reality, I'm trying to be VERY schematic here). What I'd prefer, from a "design" view, would be that both view go up a lot more "proportionally" to each other, depending on the difficulty level - because I sincerely think that players would have more fun with such a route, that "resists" more. I don't like games where the start is very hard, and then you know you've won because all of a sudden the game stops being harder.


Of course, whatever happened over the years is probably waaaaaayyyy more complicated than that, and possibly I'm missing information and / or issues. Possibly I'm dead wrong, or right, or out of the box, or it's completely irrelevant because something else will happen. That said, my opinion is about the only thing that I fully know... so. I'm pushing my agenda. As partial as my view is, it's the only one I got. About the AIP reduction being nerfed, there is possibly a huge thing about it that eluded me for years, and I'm dead wrong about it.


Conclusion:
Simply put, my opinion of the low AIP route is that, from what I've seen, it "disables", or neutralize heavily, mechanics that aim to provide difficulty to the game (more at lower diff levels than at high level, which is an issue for me), and it's cheesing the difficulty curve of the game. I'm therefore against letting it be the "default" option. Some other cheese will arise, but at least "more" of the game will be there accross all difficulty levels.

And, yes, sorry. I don't always say it, but the game's going to be moddable, and, Arcen has since forever answered to even some blatant balance issues with "ok, let's make it an option". So I kind of forget to say it now. Sorry about that. I don't need / want to remove any options from you. I am beginning to be a bit touchy about this subject because I don't remember seeing arguments stating that the low AIP route is great or fun to play. I remember people stating that "it's necessary because high diff, and I love high diff", which is solved, and could be attained, by rebalancing the game, and "don't touch my playstyle", which IMO is irrelevant (see first phrase of paragraph). I litterally don't care what's in "options" to make your life harder / easier. I'm focussed on making the "vanilla", the "default" options as fun as possible. That's about all I wish for AI war 2. ToO bring people in, and have fun, if possible with vanilla options.

If you disagree with me that the current low-AIP mechanics should be the "default" mechanics, I'm open to discussing it. Otherwise, I hope I covered the subjects.


PS: I did find my fun on one of the "non-optimal" routes. That AI War is a great game because it has options is an opinion I share, even if apparently, it does not seem so to other people speaking to me.

PS2: possibly this post sounds like I'm criticizing the huge design work that has been made over the years. I acknowledge that it's much more complicated than what I make it sound like and, if anyone is "bruised" by it... sorry. Not my intention.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 04:30:13 PM by kasnavada »

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2016, 04:34:42 PM »
I case people want to answer this, I edited parts of it for clarity purpose. I think I'm done, but I don't know any other way to point others to reading the final version. Sorry for making the "new post" icon to blink.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #36 on: September 14, 2016, 09:47:01 PM »
<lots>
Let me see if I understand better now:  You don't object to the low AIP playstyle itself.  What you dislike is how the AIP reducers (Datacenters, Co-Processors, SuperTerminal) make the mid-game stretch boring.  Is that more accurate?

In that case, I would agree that AIP reducers need to be looked at.  The Datacenters (and usually Co-Processors) are a "Must Get" every game, and barring some weird map quirks, the player will get them without much difficulty.  If something is always done by everyone every game... maybe it needs to be adjusted, and the game rebalanced around the assumption that they're already taken.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #37 on: September 15, 2016, 01:22:15 AM »
That's about it.

Given that "AIP" is the way that the difficulty is done (more or less), "low AIP" route is always, more or less, going to be the optimal way. However I do have qualms against the current implementation of what the low AIP route is.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #38 on: September 15, 2016, 08:39:11 AM »
<lots>
Let me see if I understand better now:  You don't object to the low AIP playstyle itself.  What you dislike is how the AIP reducers (Datacenters, Co-Processors, SuperTerminal) make the mid-game stretch boring.  Is that more accurate?

In that case, I would agree that AIP reducers need to be looked at.  The Datacenters (and usually Co-Processors) are a "Must Get" every game, and barring some weird map quirks, the player will get them without much difficulty.  If something is always done by everyone every game... maybe it needs to be adjusted, and the game rebalanced around the assumption that they're already taken.

They do tend to create interesting things to capture, though. Having objectives around that are important isn't a bad thing.

I prefer the SuperTerminal over them in terms of implementation because Data Centers are so easy to hit, but the SuperTerminal can get very out of hand if you get careless with it. It's got a higher risk/reward ratio.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #39 on: September 15, 2016, 08:54:42 AM »
I'd rather have capturables that gave upgrade, ships, metal... no shortage of rewards here.

With all fabricators, data center, hackable thingy (that gave / took away enemy ships), other capturable like the zenith power station, zenith ship cache, metal cache... on a 60 planet map, there was 1 capturable per planet or something. Possibly time to cut a bit in that ?

I do like capturables though. Not sure how I feel about that.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #40 on: September 15, 2016, 09:39:52 AM »
Some of those don't need to exist anymore. Design backup servers and such were added when hacking was added, but this time that could be integrated into the hacking UI itself and not require a physical thing that you have to fly a hacker to. Power works totally differently, so it's not clear if the ZPG will even be in the game at all or what it'll do.

AI Progress reduction is important, so some kind of target that does that is always high priority. To me, the SuperTerminal is an obvious one to keep in some form. CoProcessors are next. Data Centers are kind of the least interesting because they're just "send a raid starship to shoot it for AIP reduction" and there's no reason you would ever *not* do that ASAP.

This is probably veering off into something that should be its own thread, however.

Offline Toranth

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2016, 11:40:45 AM »
I prefer the SuperTerminal over them in terms of implementation because Data Centers are so easy to hit, but the SuperTerminal can get very out of hand if you get careless with it. It's got a higher risk/reward ratio.
SuperTerminal, I like - It's fairly limited in effect, but it is a lot of fun (and !!FUN!!) to use.
The Data Centers, though... So few HP that even a single shot from a Raid Starship can kill them, and Raids shoot through Forcefields, so not even that can protect them.  There are games I don't touch the SuperTerminal.  I don't think there been a game that I didn't get all the Data Centers, though.

Offline kasnavada

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Re: Offense / defense ratio in AI War II => Needs to change ?
« Reply #42 on: September 15, 2016, 11:57:17 AM »
:D ;)
I don't have the energy to "pilot" a thread on AI reducers. Also, it seems I got a talent to be misunderstood around this issue. So, could you please ?

Offline Tridus

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