- Implement a short timer until heavy artillery can be bought at the start of the game to prevent early game arty spam rushes.
- Implement a timer for when control of the last zone is lost to prevent people from hiding the last CVs to stall the game.
- Make units far from enemy units invincible to friendly fire to prevent most intentional team kills.
- Remove score indicator when killing inspotted units on destruction to lower the affordance of random arty spam.
- Rework the inheriting system for when people drop out of matches so not one player inherits all units all over the map.
Hello. Me and a couple of friends have been playing wargame now since AirLand Battle and while we find it to be one of the best games we've ever encountered in terms of gameplay and balance we have however found some serious issues. Especially when it comes to fellow player behaviour and we have been working out some solutions which we haven't seen brought up on the forums before.
We would like to propose the following changes for a future patch or perhaps the next wargame installment.
Note that we mostly play, and thus this applies mostly to, 10v10 tactical destruction games. Thus, some of the suggestions might not be applicatble to other game modes.
We would love to hear about possible side effects these ideas would have on other game modes.
Also criticism in general is appreciated since there likely is other issues or better solutions we havn't thought about.
We all know the tactic, immediately when the game starts, a player puts a fire ground order with his/her heavy artillery on a spot where the player on beforehand has calculated that the enemy force moving out to the front line is going to be at the time of impact.
This has the potential to sustain massive damage on the enemy early game forces (which are in our oppinion more valuable than late game ones). Especially on maps where this zone contains bridges or other bottle necks.
Implement a timed delay (1-3 minutes) untill it is possible to order heavy artillery/mlrs systems (possibly even other heavy units, but that's more of a balance feature rather than issue and thus we won't discuss it here).
Alternative solution: Have more initial deployment zones/deployment zones not nessecarily locked to cap zones to allow for more early game routes.
This is considered to be THE most cheesy tactic in the game currently. In principle it's a zero-risk/high-reward tactic, and compared to the late game artillery there is no counter other than perhaps waiting it out (which also is VERY costly in the initial game period).
Thus it has a tendency to break the game and ruin matches, affected players drop off, serious players on the offending team face no opposition and get a bad game. Again, it breaks the game for everybody, the only one at gain is the offender who get to see their virtual kill score rack up (see issue #4).
It is also highly unrealistic: well yes, artillery may be used to lock down paths for the enemy however this requires intelligence of the enemy's whereabouts, objectives and routes, which isn't supposed to be known at the time other than due to the game meta (deployment zones and paths).
We believe this to not be an intended gameplay feature.
Possible counter arguments:
"Don't use that path, lockdowns is a valid tactic"
- Yes, it might be a valid tactic, when it is KNOWN or estimated through fair means (i.e. recon) of where the enemy is moving.
And it is still to rewarding and game breaking compared to cost/risc.
"Don't whine, it's part of the game"
- Yeah, again, we don't beleive this is an intended game feature, wargame is not Artillery Simulator 5.
"What about initial bomber/helo rushes?"
- These can easily be countered with AA and other air units, artillery cannot.
The game has been almost won, all enemy zones are neutralized and a majority of the loosing team has dropped. However one player remains, dead determined to punish the winning team by hiding it's last command unit in the woods, forcing the winning team to spend upto 30 minutes searching
When one team don't own any zones, start a timer (1-5 minutes). If no zones has been capped by then, that team looses.
Does this even need one? It's just a player beeing an asshole for no reason and ruins the game for everybody else.
This is definately not a gameplay feature.
Possible counter arguments:
"But i might recap a random zone, deploy units and win the game!"
- Very, very unlikely, I've yet ti see it happen. And even if it would happen 1 in 1000 turns, it's not enough compared to how often this issue is exploited.
Disable team kills for units not even close to danger close action (i.e, a certain radius from an enemy unit).
There is no reason to be able to team kill units on purpose. Accidental team kills can and should happen (danger close should be a risk),
thus the requirement of proximity to an enemy. However, in normal games, units far behind the front line should not be in risk of blue on blue fire other
than from tardy players. Thus it would not affect normal game play.
Possible counter arguments:
"Arty players are stealing my FOB resources and doesn't stop when I tell them to! I need to destroy their arty units."
- No you don't, turn your FOB off instead.
"I need to make my mortar units fire their smokes more spread out by scaring them"
- That's bad user experience design. Ask Eugen to make it possible to shoot mortars with more spread.
"This can be exploited to find sneaking enemies near the main base!"
- That would just be a bad and way to complicated tactic. Buy recon instead.
This is more debateable whether it is an issue or not. But we find that too many players play dedicated artillery or air support - nothing wrong with that. However they keep shelling more or less random positions, cashing in points, destroying units which are not even actively fighting while at the same time not really supporting their team.
Don't display the kill score when killing a non spotted unit, as is the case with napalm kills (a bug probably). Points would still count towards the victory score (in destruction)
We believe that currently there's to much random arty / air spam on conquest. Much of this we believe is due to the simplicity and cheap rewards of using these kinds of units on random targets and just watching the kill points pop up.
This solution would reduce much of the affordance and reward from this. It would also encourage the use of more recon, more so from support players, something which also is especially needed.
It would also add an element of uncertainty to the game, and possibility of bluffing: "Have the mortars I just counter-artied just stopped shooting or are they dead?", "Is that forest now clear to approach with my armour?". Knowing this without recon is just silly.
From a realism viewpoint this would also be an improvement: you cannot confirm kills unless they are beeing observed. Also you rarely shell unreconed areas with the intention to kill target, rather than softening up the area in preparation of an assault, a tactic which still would be viable in wargame.
In the end this would make destruction games play out a tiny bit more like conquest games which due to its mechanics allready have this feature. It is our understanding that conquest games suffers a lot less from artillery spam.
Possible counter arguments:
"The wargame community is small as it is, we can't afford to loose more players (i.e. the support-only-spammers)"
- Well, either the affected players will have to readapt (as with all balance changes) and learn to play with and explore the beauty of wargame's multitude of units and combined warfare or at least learn to use artillery support in an actually supportive way. Wargame is not primarily an artillery simulator. The game should not have to adapt to a minority of the community. We also beleive that more people stop playing wargame due to this issue.
"I can still just monitor my score and tell whether my strike is killing stuff"
- Technically yes, however that is a hazzle to do, and the affordance/satisfaction of actually seeing the score pop up (the same thing that Call of Duty's
+xp flash when killing and everyday slot machines use to keep hooked) is severely reduced, which is the point here. It should still be possible to kill units
this way, it should just be a less desireable tactic.
"One can still hunt CV's at random."
- Sure, this case is hard to deal with, easy solution would be to not park CV's at obvious spots or keep
more than one in targeted zones. In the long run it would be nice to develop this further, perhaps not showing the enemy that the zone is lost untill it's reconed or after a set timer (say 1 minute) has passed.
"Go play conquest then!"
Unfortunately we find that conquest don't have the same appeal as destruction for various reasons while also beeing played less. Otherwise we would've done that. Destruction is where the action's at."
This isn't as much a player issue as it is a gameplay issue and match killer, but a huge issue nonetheless.
When a player drops out from the game, all units belonging to that player gets inherited by one specific team mate, namely the one highest in the list of players on the team. This player may then have units from multiple team mates spread out across the map becoming a macro management hell.
If these player gets frustrated and leave this may cause a chain reaction of players dropping out, killing the game.
Solution: Instead of one player inheriting all units, each unit should be inherited by the player with its units closest in proximity to it.
Alternative solution: When a player drops, the ownership of the units fall to the team as a whole (color yellow or white), the first player to select or issue an order to a unit gains ownership of that unit. Exceptions for jet aircraft.
As mentioned in the description, this issue can really kill a game. While it's still a burden when a player drops this would at least ease the pain, since the players inheriting the units still have all his/her units in relative proximity in his/her corridor or can choose which units to take ownership of.
At the moment, the way we tackle this issue is to just make sure that one gets a spot low in the list of team members (by rejoining the server when the team starts to fill up). This is in all fairness a very shitty behaviour since it just shifts the problem on someone else, but on the other hand it just goes to show how much of a game killing issue this is to us and everyone elese.
Possible counter arguments:
"This would require to much work to implement, this is time which eugen should use to balance unit x or make a new map."
- No, compared to this issue, most units are very well balanced. But fine, if not in a patch, fix it in the next wargame installment. This has been an issue for far to long. Perhaps the alternative solution would require to much work for a patch, but speaking as someone with programming as a profession, the first solution should not require very much work.
Feel free to comment and criticize! Thanks Eugen for one of the best rtt-games so far.