The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

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The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Shanks13 » Fri 23 Mar 2012 08:06

Long-time lurker, first-time poster giving his thoughts on why matches (specifically 1v1 matches) are effectively broken in Wargame. I think this is something of a novel explanation.

The main problem, as far as I see it, is the way a match is setup. There are two means of winning. You can either destroy all your opponent's command vehicles or you can score a given amount of points. It seems like a neat setup, but because of the "economy" in the game, these victory conditions end up generating the spam-based gameplay that has apparently become standard.

To put it simply, the victory conditions encourage spamming. It's a no-brainer. You have no economy to manage. You start on essentially exactly equal footing with your opponent. Since micro is fairly limited in this game, maneuvers in the field are of limited effect on outcome, and probably only really have an effect on games where two players are equally skilled and are using equally good strategies. With those factors removed, the game is boiled down to using the most cost-effective units. That's why the Marder spam works, amongst others. It doesn't matter how many points you lose as long as your opponent loses more (or loses his command). Consequently, not employing the unit that gives the most bang for your buck and has the fewest "weaknesses" makes a lot of sense. I won't blame people for doing the most intelligent thing, but it's terribly boring. And regardless of how costs are tweaked, I don't think this problem can be solved as long as the current victory condition of "score X points" exists, if scoring is based on unit kills. Costs can be increased and then those units simply won't be used. There will always be a unit that is the best for the cost, though, and in efforts to dissuade spam by increasing cost or decreasing availability, you end up screwing up the balance of a "normal" match that doesn't involve spam. There is no way to win here.

As far as spam goes: Yes, it is a serious problem. Anyone who claims that spam can be beaten by a skilled player is wrong. I've beaten a handful of players I certainly shouldn't have beaten with spam strategies (primarily the Marder spam). And having been on the receiving end of various spams, I can say that yes, had I known what was coming, I could have won. But the reality is that there is no way to know what spam might be coming. I can pretty well determine I'm going to get spammed if my opponent is done deploying in about fifteen seconds. I don't know what spam it will be, though, and a smart spammer won't end deployment until a fair amount of time has passed. This generates a new problem, and I'll get to it shortly.

The destruction of command vehicles ends up being a very poor victory condition, mainly because of how the "economy" is structured. Since there is no need to gather resources to begin with, command vehicles are instantly vulernable. This necessitates the purchase of a second CV in order to attempt to lessen the odds of a knock-out punch. The problem here is that CVs are a hefty investment, and the purchase of two basically means that players act on the assumption that they will lose one, and that's ridiculous. The viability of spam coupled with the vulnerability of CVs is a recipe for disaster.

I don't want it to seem like I think CVs are too weak or that it's a bad victory condition, because really, it's not. It's not dissimilar from other RTS victory conditions of "destroy the main base." The problem is that because a) there is no economic build-up, b) CVs are expensive, and c) CVs are inherently vulnerable and highly visible (in terms of their territory location), early assassinations, usually from spam, are far too viable and remove the combat aspect from the game. The game ends up boiling down to protecting your CVs while trying to snipe your opponent's CVs. Maybe that's fun for some people, but it's not in the spirit of an RTS game, I don't believe.

Going back the problem spam generates: Knowing the spamming and CV assassinations are the most effective strategies, the setup for the game changes. The objectives become picking a spam/assassination strategy of your own and detecting what strategy is being employed by the enemy. This boils down to either spamming and hoping you can kill enough units or get the CV before your opponent does the same to you, or rushing out recon before deploying anything more than a defensive shell of units and only deploying once you know what's coming. Very much a prisoner's dilemma.

The problem with two people blindly rushing each other is obvious. It's just that--a blind rush. There's nothing interesting about it, nor is there any skill involved. You might think, then, that it's obviously best to sit back and figure out what's coming. If it's a spam with an obvious counter (helicopter spam), then yeah, you'd be right. But if it's something that is essentially counter-immune, you've got a problem (Marder spam). Furthermore, if your opponent isn't spamming, then you've let your opponent have a time advantage is setting up on the field. My point here is that, under current conditions, the game is practically a dice roll, and there is nothing interesting or skillful about rolling dice.

Sorry if I rambled a bit, hopefully you get what I'm trying to say (mainly that the problem isn't the units as much as it is the victory conditions). I really want to continue enjoying this game, but under current conditions, I don't see how that will be possible. Nor do I think making some minor changes will solve the problem.

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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Satire » Fri 23 Mar 2012 08:33

Shanks13 wrote: Since micro is fairly limited in this game, maneuvers in the field are of limited effect on outcome, and probably only really have an effect on games where two players are equally skilled and are using equally good strategies. With those factors removed, the game is boiled down to using the most cost-effective units.


You lost me here; positioning and maneuvering greatly affect the outcome of any game.

You are right that spammy, cheap units need to be dealt with however; they do. In regards to command unit sniping... I play 1v1 all the time and hardly any of my games come down to command unit sniping? If you don't recon the map and have defense around them... That isn't really a problem to do with the game.

But I agree that victory conditions need to be changed... 1500 is too low, if you started with 500 rez then sure. But at 1500... A game comes down to the first engagement essentially; given that the battle was bloody for one side. I liked Tiggas suggestion that the points should increase when more money is pumped into the game via holding zones. That combined with increasing the point cap.
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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Jereth » Fri 23 Mar 2012 09:43

Shanks13 wrote: there is nothing interesting or skillful about rolling dice.


I take it you aren't a fan of wargaming, which I think is where you're frustration stems from. As a long time fan of miniature wargaming, Wargame is like a dream come true, and I take offense to your comment about my dice. People have been killed for less :P

And yes it is a roll of the dice. The fun part is picking what dice to use, and knowing when and where to roll them.

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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby DeuZerre » Fri 23 Mar 2012 10:01

Shanks13 wrote:But the reality is that there is no way to know what spam might be coming.


Ouch. Iwill be blunt: How can you not see a rush coming? Air recon is the fast way of knowing. Get a fast air reco, send it to the most obvious rush road, and you will see if he is a dumb rusher or not.
Shanks13 wrote:The destruction of command vehicles ends up being a very poor victory condition, mainly because of how the "economy" is structured. Since there is no need to gather resources to begin with, command vehicles are instantly vulernable. This necessitates the purchase of a second CV in order to attempt to lessen the odds of a knock-out punch. The problem here is that CVs are a hefty investment, and the purchase of two basically means that players act on the assumption that they will lose one, and that's ridiculous. The viability of spam coupled with the vulnerability of CVs is a recipe for disaster.


I now only use armoured commands, I don't keep the lousy jeep. For barely higher investments, you get exponential survivability. If you buy a second command just to survive, you are doing something extremely wrong somewhere, as their main importance isn't to be there as a victory condition, but a way of gaining an edge on the long term. I start with a total of 3 CVs most of the time, and I win more than I lose. The point of the CVs system is to prevent blind offence, including spams and rushes: You are forced into spending points in commands and protecting them in order to reduce the impact of attack only, or you end up vulnerable.

Around half of my wins end up with assassinated commanders. Not because I spammed, but because the bases aren't defended. One air recon and an apache/havoc give long range ATGMs, and swift death against positions with absolutely no anti-air. Or an infantry drop crawing to the commander. And that's pretty much my whole air force in any game. I ONCE air spammed with a friend. We wouldn't have needed to: The bases were undefended.

Against ground spams, remember that you are absolutely not forced into fighting him with the forces you have. Dodging in most maps is easy on 1v1, and on 2v2 while one holds the line, the other one breaks the rear.

Against air spams, once you see it, forget about the objectives and go hide.

Shanks13 wrote:Sorry if I rambled a bit, hopefully you get what I'm trying to say (mainly that the problem isn't the units as much as it is the victory conditions). I really want to continue enjoying this game, but under current conditions, I don't see how that will be possible. Nor do I think making some minor changes will solve the problem.


No problem, that's what forums are for. I don't feel that the victory conditions are wrong, as as they are right now, they call for balanced army compositions. Thay give an opportunity to beat rushes.
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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Slaughtersun » Fri 23 Mar 2012 10:14

That was a very well written post.

I rather don't agree with your conclusions, however.

Anyone who claims that spam can be beaten by a skilled player is wrong. I've beaten a handful of players I certainly shouldn't have beaten with spam strategies (primarily the Marder spam).

I'm level 40 and I play to win. I will typically buy 16 to 20 Marder VSTs in any game. I will continue doing this until the rules change. I would prefer the game to be somewhat more tilted toward heavy tanks but that's just a preference based on realism-- I play the rules of the game as they stand.

I rarely have a three game winning streak. Every day I have several people completely kick the crap out of me.

I expect that they'll be changing the stabilizer/vet issue (at least I imagine they will) and that will go a long way toward balancing the game back toward more expensive weapons platforms.

But those changes will have ramifications that will ripple out throughout the other rules of the game. When they make that change, that change will disrupt the equilibrium of the game and people will find some new spam or cheese tactic that exploits the new balance changes or rules.

This will happen until the servers are closed down. It happens in every single game on the market from Starcraft to Peggle. Well, maybe not Peggle. But you get the point.

I very rarely lose to ground spam. When I lose it's usually to attrition. I use heavy recon and when I see ground spam I counter it with helos and cheap ATGMs. When I see helo spam I counter it with AA helos and flak vehicles.

Here's a tip. ATGM spams are cheaper than Marders and stop Marders dead.

Just saying, it may not be as bad as you think. I'd like to see the game changed but more for realism reasons than anything else, I really don't think it's all that bad as it stands.

He's right about ditching the default command jeep, unless you can keep it extremely safe that thing is just asking to lose.

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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby troublmaker » Fri 23 Mar 2012 12:10

When I download a replay for the purposes of doing a cast of it I usually pick people who are high rated, top 20 minimum. Sometimes I'll show some Top 50 games if nothing is really coming up.

I'll usually record about 4-5 games and only put up one. This is because out of those 5 games only one is really all that interesting. The vast majority of them are just spam rushes. It seems kind of pathetic to see the top five players in the world losing to spam rushes. Then those same people will pop up on the forums and talk about the ways you can detect these rushes.... yet at the same time getting fooled by these.

I don't mean to say top 5 are all like that. I see some of them often complaining about these very rushes.

The problem with solutions to spam rushes is that most of them suck. If you build a recon helicopter and send it forward you are just as likely to lose it to anti-air units and start the match off 80 points behind. Usually in high level rushes what I see is two helicopters will greet each other and both players will move their helicopters away in fear of their helicopters getting rushed down by anti-air.

Every high level player knows that everyone will right click their anti-air on a helicopter because that's what they feel like doing. So no, rarely can you ever scout these rushes. If you do scout it, it is almost luck.

An even when you do scout it, so what? In order to actually do something about these rushes you have to have command points left over. That means the overall forces on the ground will always be weaker than your opponent.

I rarely if ever see high level players not cap out their total pre-war forces on the ground. It seems like the advantages of capping them out out-pace the advantages of not having enough.

Usually when I see failed rushes it fails just because the guy getting rushed just luckily has tones of anti-tank weapons against a tank rush or luckily has tones of anti-infantry vehicles against an infantry rush or luckily has tones of anti-air against an air rush.

People are encouraged to do these cheesie rushes because the required score for the game is so low and because there is not a big enough reward for taking territories. Either commands need to be cheaper or the zones need to be worth more.

Fixing these two things would not be hard. I'm sure people who enjoy tactical games would rather play longer matches where resources actually matter instead of trying to prepare for every rush and sit there doing nothing the whole game.

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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby DeuZerre » Fri 23 Mar 2012 12:38

troublmaker wrote:Usually in high level rushes what I see is two helicopters will greet each other and both players will move their helicopters away in fear of their helicopters getting rushed down by anti-air.


Which is sensible. I don't see what is wrong with that, really: You plan your first moves, send the air recon, both meet, and that causes several thinks: Both retreat at a safe distance while keeping sights of the other one, but preventing a clear view of your own deployment. If you didn't send the air recon, the other side would know exactly where your troops were and you wouldn't. it's a no-brainer. If it ends up as a rush, you can sstill see them rather fast.

If you do scout it, it is almost luck.
Because scouting requests a bit of micro? In your situation of "I meet his air recon, fear away" you can still move sideways, or hover back over a forest with a clear line of sight.

An even when you do scout it, so what? In order to actually do something about these rushes you have to have command points left over. That means the overall forces on the ground will always be weaker than your opponent.


And that is why you do not engage until you are ready.

Usually when I see failed rushes it fails just because the guy getting rushed just luckily has tones of anti-tank weapons against a tank rush or luckily has tones of anti-infantry vehicles against an infantry rush or luckily has tones of anti-air against an air rush.


Most possibly true.

People are encouraged to do these cheesie rushes because the required score for the game is so low and because there is not a big enough reward for taking territories. Either commands need to be cheaper or the zones need to be worth more.


And the game would become "who has the biggest meatgrinder" instead of being tactical when teams are balanced. There would be more spam with incread income. That's why High points games are spamfests. I often have games that start (out of ranked) at 1.5 K with a victory at 2.5, etc... You can tune it nicely enough.
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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Falconek » Fri 23 Mar 2012 13:51

DeuZerre wrote:I often have games that start (out of ranked) at 1.5 K with a victory at 2.5, etc... You can tune it nicely enough.


I think, that at current state of the game this is best setup for 1 vs 1 (1.5k on start, 2.5-3k for victory) and this should be default for ranked games also.

For future improvements I would like some objective based conditions (I.E. you gain victory points for holding a zone for certain time) and at least little increase in income from zones - so you don't need to wait 7 minutes before 2 point zone pays back for the cost of command unit.

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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby marechal_darsh » Fri 23 Mar 2012 14:08

troublmaker wrote:When I download a replay for the purposes of doing a cast of it I usually pick people who are high rated, top 20 minimum. Sometimes I'll show some Top 50 games if nothing is really coming up.

I'll usually record about 4-5 games and only put up one. This is because out of those 5 games only one is really all that interesting. The vast majority of them are just spam rushes. It seems kind of pathetic to see the top five players in the world losing to spam rushes. Then those same people will pop up on the forums and talk about the ways you can detect these rushes.... yet at the same time getting fooled by these.

I don't mean to say top 5 are all like that. I see some of them often complaining about these very rushes.

The problem with solutions to spam rushes is that most of them suck. If you build a recon helicopter and send it forward you are just as likely to lose it to anti-air units and start the match off 80 points behind. Usually in high level rushes what I see is two helicopters will greet each other and both players will move their helicopters away in fear of their helicopters getting rushed down by anti-air.

Every high level player knows that everyone will right click their anti-air on a helicopter because that's what they feel like doing. So no, rarely can you ever scout these rushes. If you do scout it, it is almost luck.

An even when you do scout it, so what? In order to actually do something about these rushes you have to have command points left over. That means the overall forces on the ground will always be weaker than your opponent.

I rarely if ever see high level players not cap out their total pre-war forces on the ground. It seems like the advantages of capping them out out-pace the advantages of not having enough.

Usually when I see failed rushes it fails just because the guy getting rushed just luckily has tones of anti-tank weapons against a tank rush or luckily has tones of anti-infantry vehicles against an infantry rush or luckily has tones of anti-air against an air rush.

People are encouraged to do these cheesie rushes because the required score for the game is so low and because there is not a big enough reward for taking territories. Either commands need to be cheaper or the zones need to be worth more.

Fixing these two things would not be hard. I'm sure people who enjoy tactical games would rather play longer matches where resources actually matter instead of trying to prepare for every rush and sit there doing nothing the whole game.


That's the reason why I have proposed quota system to fight against the brainless spam tactics.

- a deck should have a minimum of 15 slots
- each slot determined the limit of the category of unit that you could use on the battlefield

If you pick 5 slots of heli (but it could be tank, infantery, recon etc.) in a full deck of 25 slots you will be limited to 20% of heli on the battlefield. for a 2000 points it will represent 400 points max in heli category on the battlefield, for 3000 points it will represent 600 pts etc.
During the battle, you could reinforce only the units which haven't reach the limit. Example if you lost 125 points on the 400 points of heli you could reinforce with a new heli(s) at 125 points maximum.

With this simple rule, each players will deploy a balance army according to their deck and the games will be more interesting and fun.

I suggest also that every players should beginning a battle with 3 free command centers instead of one.
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Re: The Problem with the Game - The Victory Conditions

Postby Dobb » Fri 23 Mar 2012 18:24

I don't know about you but I seen some good tactical spam too, so sooner or later, people will learn on how to tactically move their cheap units around.

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