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PvP for People Who Aren't Asshats
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:35 am 
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The dynamic of teams having different strengths and weaknesses adds needed depth of gameplay that makes the games far more entertaining. This usually means different races and race/class restrictions. In RTS's it could be your cultural background or technology path, think Civilization.

No game better illustrates and reinforces this concept better than Starcraft...the most popular RTS of all time. As far as MMO's go, EQ racewars and Daoc to a lesser extent.

Paper Rock Scissors: underscores system of checks and balances or counters
Added reply value: you have to learn 3 different ways to play. The game is deeper, you need to know the capabilities of your enemies.

While plenty of people complain about balance, I've never really had issues in games. I typically enjoy playing underdogs to a degree because I know if I beat the overpowered person, I'm that much better and smarter. I dont really care my Team didnt have paladins in EQ, we found other creative ways to get stuff done without them. WoW only further diluted their team differences when they gave each side access to the exclusive class.

Warhammer also proves the point that there needs to be more than 2 teams.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 12:39 pm 
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Yeah, making all teams identical is a bit of a cop-out in that while it's guaranteed to be balanced, it's less interesting all around.

As long as you're willing to keep updating and tweaking the teams, you should be able to stay on top of the "flavor of the week" issue and at least squash any obvious imbalances quickly.

My personal favorite RTS is still Battle for Middle Earth 2, which launched with 6 teams, no two alike, and did a very good job of balancing them. I eventually just played as "Random" and still got to the top 10 in the official rankings.


Incidentally, I think the secret to balance in an RTS and the reason why BFME2 and to some extent Starcraft did so well is that you need unit production levels to be fairly high. Company of Heroes (and that followup Warhammer 40k game that used the same engine) had problems largely, I think, because your units were so expensive and thus so few. When the enemy came out with a Rock, if you didn't already have a Paper, you were probably screwed. Whereas in BFME2, units were cheap enough that you'd probably have some mix out anyway and if the enemy started spamming Rocks, you'd have enough Paper on hand to hold him off while you built more Paper.

I also think that having a bigger rotation than "rock->paper->scissors" helps, as well as making it a "weak" system. In BFME2, for example, cavalry mulched archers and archers mulched infantry and infantry mulched pikes and piked mulched cavalry. But with this bigger rotation of counters, it meant that swords and cavalry were not really counters for each other.

Consequently, when cavalry met swordsman or pikes met archers, it could turn into a lengthy fight as neither was terribly good at killing the other. Furthermore, while cavalry beat archers, dollar for dollar, 3 bucks worth of archers would still beat 1 buck worth of cavalry. It wasn't like Company of Heroes where 1 tank could destroy the entire enemy army unless they had at least 1 of something specifically meant to counter tanks. Starcraft did it fairly "weak", too, in that while X could beat Y, enough Y could still beat small numbers of X.

If you make it too weak it can lead to single unit spamming, though.



In our "living world" game it would be interesting to randomly generate factions, with stats meeting certain parameters, and see how "evolution" plays out.

Maybe part of the process of creating the game world would be to actually run it in accelerated mode for "2 years" and let the NPC factions battle each other until the obviously weak ones were wiped out and it became a natural world of several strong factions.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 1:24 pm 
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I agree with you Diggles but you need smart people designing that kind of game. You can easilly fuck that up.


With enough factions Slamz in theory with a speed run of the world you should end up with a different winner everytime. If you don't that should tell you something.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:08 pm 
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One thing I hated with RTS is having to make like 30 buildings to produce units and then ME having to manage the mix of units send out. I'd like the ability to make my own 'squad' unit that has a predefined mix of units and having the building shoot them all out at once

Ie..

6 swordmen
2 pikes
3 archers

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 9:54 am 
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I'm not that big a fan of this. I've never seen an MMOG with PvP in mind do this well. The difference between MMOG and RTSes is that you're married to one character/team for the lifetime of your interest in a game. With an RTS, if a team is underpowered you just don't play them until they patch it. In MMOGs, you're fucked, and as soon as you realize this or even 'perceive' it to be true you're canceling your sub. This killed WAR for many people. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm just saying it wouldn't be the first thing on my developer to-do list.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:24 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
I'm not that big a fan of this. I've never seen an MMOG with PvP in mind do this well. The difference between MMOG and RTSes is that you're married to one character/team for the lifetime of your interest in a game. With an RTS, if a team is underpowered you just don't play them until they patch it. In MMOGs, you're fucked, and as soon as you realize this or even 'perceive' it to be true you're canceling your sub. This killed WAR for many people. I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm just saying it wouldn't be the first thing on my developer to-do list.


Neither WAR nor DAOC (for a long time) had either side balanced in any sense of the word.

Werent you darkie in EQ hoof? why didnt you quit as soon as you knew we didnt get paladins?

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Yeah I played it. And I loved it. I didn't quit EQ then because I was new to competitive online gaming like a babe in shit-dirty swaddling. In retrospect, the way they split up the classes across the teams really imbalanced the end-game for darkies and ultimately hindered our access to top end gear. I would never knowingly put myself at a disadvantage like that again. I reiterate. I'm not totally opposed to the idea because I do feel there are advantages to it. I'm skeptical at this point though that it is possible to do it well or that it warrants the time and energy it would take to get it right. In theory I think it can add a lot to a game but in practice it has always been fumbled.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 1:47 pm 
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Hoofhurr wrote:
Yeah I played it. And I loved it. I didn't quit EQ then because I was new to competitive online gaming like a babe in shit-dirty swaddling. In retrospect, the way they split up the classes across the teams really imbalanced the end-game for darkies and ultimately hindered our access to top end gear. I would never knowingly put myself at a disadvantage like that again. I reiterate. I'm not totally opposed to the idea because I do feel there are advantages to it. I'm skeptical at this point though that it is possible to do it well or that it warrants the time and energy it would take to get it right. In theory I think it can add a lot to a game but in practice it has always been fumbled.


WoW did the same thing, gave each other 'equivilents' and did fine for 4+ years. Just a bunch of complainers that will never be happy with anything complaining. They messed up some of the drops by raid mobs, but it was livable.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:09 am 
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One of my fondest memories is the way Age of Mythology handled the 4th resource, 'favor', which you used to purchase the most powerful myth units

Greeks had to use villagers to pray at a temple with diminishing returns

Egyptians had to use resources to build monuments which gave steady small stream of favor (can be enhanced using your Pharaoh 'hero' unit to buff it)

Norse had to use engage in combat

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