Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

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Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Farbrorsson » Fri 4 Sep 2015 12:22

Spoiler : TL:DR :
  1. Implement a short timer until heavy artillery can be bought at the start of the game to prevent early game arty spam rushes.
  2. Implement a timer for when control of the last zone is lost to prevent people from hiding the last CVs to stall the game.
  3. Make units far from enemy units invincible to friendly fire to prevent most intentional team kills.
  4. Remove score indicator when killing inspotted units on destruction to lower the affordance of random arty spam.
  5. 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.

Spoiler : Issue #1: The early game predesignated artillery barrage :
Description:
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.

Solution:
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.

Motivation:
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.


Spoiler : Issue #2: Stalling the winning team by hiding the last CV :
Desciption:
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
for it.

Solution:
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.

Motivation:
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.


Spoiler : Issue #3: Teamkills, specifically that of CVs. :
Description: A team looses a semi important position and a player decides that the team will loose the game, thus he/she want to make the pain quick. Or he/she is just an asshole. The player then starts to team kill all of the team's CVs untill they loose.

Solution:
Disable team kills for units not even close to danger close action (i.e, a certain radius from an enemy unit).

Motivation:
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.


Spoiler : Issue #4: To much affordance in artying at random. :
Description:
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.

Solution:
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)

Motivation:
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."


Spoiler : Issue #5: One player inheriting all dropped players' units :
Description:
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.

Motivation:
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.

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Wep0n
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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Wep0n » Fri 4 Sep 2015 15:10

Issue#1: The early game predesignated artillery barrage :

There is a certain risk/reward with this tactic. you risk wasting a huge amount of your income, and if you dont hit anything you are in serious trouble, as you got less points remaining for the crucial initial push. but i agree that additional deployment zones should be possible, where you can spawn things from different areas where this is possible. also areas that are no capture zones, but will allow you to deploy things during the deployment phase (because on crowded 1v1 maps you got not that many clever choiches to allow deployment)

Issue #2: Stalling the winning team by hiding the last CV :

I think this is a very VALID tactic, there have been several occasions where hiding the last CV made me win the game, because the ennemy team was running out of time and had less points than the team that was hiding their last CV. most of the times the last CV is found after 3-5 minutes max, even in ultra lowpoint games, so i dont think there is a problem. and if its really so dramatic, then how about revealing the last CV after a certain time has passed instead of making the team outright lose? (i would suggest 5 min after no point was captured)

Issue #3: Teamkills, specifically that of CVs

I just think there should be a "reputation" meter visible on the players profile. people who teamkill often will be visible as such and the lobby owner is able to kick him, and servers will be able to auto kick players with high teamkill rates.
making units invincible to friendly fire will break the immersion, even if the units would be out of danger and the teamkill was on purpose.


Issue #4: To much affordance in artying at random

after a while the support decks will run out logistics, but the sad thing is that the people who suffer the most are the players that have supporters on their team. having lost all FOBs after 20 minutes of gameplay really sucks. some people will just lock their FOBs, but this does not help most of the time as the arty is just next to those, and as soon as someone unlocks to refill logistic units it will automatically draw stuff from the artillery. thus i think there should be a better regulation to lock the logistics for certain players.

a big issue with the random arty is that they are successful because there are usually quite alot obvious places where people hide their things, and there are not many alternatives. allowing a bit more cover at certain areas will make it less obvious where units could hide, and thus random arty will become less useful.

Issue #5: One player inheriting all dropped players' units

i agree completly on this. letting people chose which units they want to control or giving the troops to the closest player sounds like a good idea to me.

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Xeno426
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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Xeno426 » Fri 4 Sep 2015 17:37

Issue #6: The game is not at all balanced for 10v10 destruction. Destruction games in general heavily reward artillery spam, and 10v10 have a whole net of issues all their own.

While it won't fix all your problems, trying playing smaller games in Conquest mode. Incomes are fixed, and hiding the CV does nothing, because it just makes that person lose faster. Arty still exists, but putting too many points into arty will leave the person weak on the ground, letting the enemy push in.

It's quite a shift for Destruction players, because it really encourages aggressive gameplay. People have to push if they want to win.
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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Farbrorsson » Fri 4 Sep 2015 19:02

#1
Wep0n wrote:Issue#1: The early game predesignated artillery barrage :

There is a certain risk/reward with this tactic. you risk wasting a huge amount of your income, and if you dont hit anything you are in serious trouble, as you got less points remaining for the crucial initial push. but i agree that additional deployment zones should be possible, where you can spawn things from different areas where this is possible. also areas that are no capture zones, but will allow you to deploy things during the deployment phase (because on crowded 1v1 maps you got not that many clever choiches to allow deployment)


True that the wasted points could be seen as an invested risk, however, I'd still debate that this is an unintended gameplay feature, or exploit rather. It's more of a dumb gamble in that sense than clever tactics, which is the point of the game. How does this tactic benefit the game play? It's as if counter strike would have a weapon which teleports you to a random spot on the map and explodes you, sure, once in a while you'd kill a 3rd of the enemy team.

Wep0n wrote:Issue #2: Stalling the winning team by hiding the last CV :

I think this is a very VALID tactic, there have been several occasions where hiding the last CV made me win the game, because the ennemy team was running out of time and had less points than the team that was hiding their last CV. most of the times the last CV is found after 3-5 minutes max, even in ultra lowpoint games, so i dont think there is a problem. and if its really so dramatic, then how about revealing the last CV after a certain time has passed instead of making the team outright lose? (i would suggest 5 min after no point was captured)


I see your edge case, even though I find it highly unlikely. Also, should that be considered a victory in your opinion? You just got wiped out, maybe a draw at tops. But fine, i see your point. In any case one side is unable to fight any longer, thus there is no point to continue the game. So a couple of minutes after the last zone is lost the game should end and the regular mechanics should determine the winner.

Wep0n wrote:Issue #3: Teamkills, specifically that of CVs

I just think there should be a "reputation" meter visible on the players profile. people who teamkill often will be visible as such and the lobby owner is able to kick him, and servers will be able to auto kick players with high teamkill rates.
making units invincible to friendly fire will break the immersion, even if the units would be out of danger and the teamkill was on purpose.


While a reputation meter would be a nice addition as wel for all kinds of reasonsl, it is still possible for team killers to leak through, especially on dedicated servers without active admins. Tbh I think that there wont be a sense of loss of immersion. 95%+ of the time you wont even notice the mechanic, much less even notice that it's there. Think of how accuracy is calculated and that an aa missile more or less know whether it'll hit before it's fired. There's tonnes of similar examples which i feel in theory is de-immersive but in practice isn't ever noticed.

Wep0n wrote:Issue #4: To much affordance in artying at random

after a while the support decks will run out logistics, but the sad thing is that the people who suffer the most are the players that have supporters on their team. having lost all FOBs after 20 minutes of gameplay really sucks. some people will just lock their FOBs, but this does not help most of the time as the arty is just next to those, and as soon as someone unlocks to refill logistic units it will automatically draw stuff from the artillery. thus i think there should be a better regulation to lock the logistics for certain players.

a big issue with the random arty is that they are successful because there are usually quite alot obvious places where people hide their things, and there are not many alternatives. allowing a bit more cover at certain areas will make it less obvious where units could hide, and thus random arty will become less useful.


Ok, so my point isn't hating on support decks or artillery in general, it's more that there are loads of players who just keep shelling unseen targets and often nothing else. I have no problem sitting a whole game eating artillery, there are good counters for that and combine that with other forces and I'd say that's a formidable enemy. I litteraly had just 20 minutes a game where 2 players on both sides were doing nothing but shelling each others mains instead of supporting the rest of the team which kept spotting quite easy obvious targets and requested fire missions. Probably because they kept getting loads of flashing numbers popping up in their target zones.

I guess I could put it like this. What is the reason we get a kill indication on units we havn't spotted or even knew where there? Consider the opposite scenario: We have a system where only the death of visible units are indicated. What would be the rationale and game play benefit of adding indications for killed hidden units as well? How would you in real life know that your fire mission actually hit something?

Also, as I said, in conquest, where enemy units killed isn't indicated if not actually seen artillery and bomber spam apparently isn't a problem.

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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Mister Maf » Fri 4 Sep 2015 19:48

I play conquest and I still wholly support #1 and #5. These are big problems universal to every game mode.

You can argue the risk-reward of an artillery start all you want, but when it works, it's just no fun — and it works reliably for players who practice it and know the timing on each map. Those players may not be common, but they ruin the game for everyone when you encounter them. On the flipside, an incompetent or unsuccessful artillery start just hurts that player's team. It's just all-around a poor situation.
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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby cheer up » Fri 4 Sep 2015 21:54

solution on #5 is pretty cool tbh, I'd like to see that.

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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby IronDuke » Sat 5 Sep 2015 03:42

Your biggest issue is playing 10v10 tatical destruction :lol: the average player skill level/ iq goes down in those lobbies. Joking aside, I like the solutions to #1 and #5 but they are NEVER going to happen in Red Dragon. Maybe in wargame 4 if the eugen gods are with us.

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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Drang » Sat 5 Sep 2015 15:46

Xeno426 wrote:Issue #6: The game is not at all balanced for 10v10 destruction. Destruction games in general heavily reward artillery spam, and 10v10 have a whole net of issues all their own.

While it won't fix all your problems, trying playing smaller games in Conquest mode. Incomes are fixed, and hiding the CV does nothing, because it just makes that person lose faster. Arty still exists, but putting too many points into arty will leave the person weak on the ground, letting the enemy push in.

It's quite a shift for Destruction players, because it really encourages aggressive gameplay. People have to push if they want to win.


#1 is still the biggest problem, and we still a lot of artyspam in conquest.

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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby Razzmann » Sat 5 Sep 2015 19:13

Drang wrote:
Xeno426 wrote:Issue #6: The game is not at all balanced for 10v10 destruction. Destruction games in general heavily reward artillery spam, and 10v10 have a whole net of issues all their own.

While it won't fix all your problems, trying playing smaller games in Conquest mode. Incomes are fixed, and hiding the CV does nothing, because it just makes that person lose faster. Arty still exists, but putting too many points into arty will leave the person weak on the ground, letting the enemy push in.

It's quite a shift for Destruction players, because it really encourages aggressive gameplay. People have to push if they want to win.


#1 is still the biggest problem, and we still a lot of artyspam in conquest.

Yes, if people continue playing 4v4s on 1v1/2v2 maps.

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Re: Proposed gameplay changes to prevent bad player behaviour

Postby chainsaw » Sun 6 Sep 2015 01:00

I just want to say, play more conquest.
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