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rise27

My response to the survey about FRUs/Trucks

40 posts in this topic

I wanted to post this here for public feedback from you all, to discuss your views on what I propose.

The answer to the question of if we keep both or just have tweaked trucks is ultimately neither.

In order for sustained quality battles to exist, attackers need a form of spawn point that can be moved up and defended as ground is taken. Neither the FRU nor the mobile truck is well suited for this task. Both have profoundly unique positives and drawbacks. The FRU gave the needed flexibility and robustness to make infantry pressure possible, but achieved this by the wrong means (whack-a-mole persistence). The truck creates more predictable battle lines, but is not flexible enough to respond to changing battle conditions (you can't move it around after it has been abandoned) and not robust enough to survive being brought close to the battle (being too easily spotted and taken out). As a result, trucks are often too far away from the battle line to be of much use in facilitating enough infantry density to capture and hold ground.

Players will still demand something more than truck spawns. They always did. Truck spawns by themselves were never adequate to allow attackers to mount a sustained offensive against a prepared defense in a world of AOs and rotating brigade supply. Defenders have almost zero time to battle with multiple difficult to disable spawnpoints, while the attacker has a long time to battle with flimsy spawnpoints that can only spawn infantry. The attacks cannot expect to win under these conditions if the numbers are even. Very rarely can you create such a disparity in teamwork and tactics that you can overcome all those disadvantages to capture a town if the numbers are even. They haven't been given the offensive spawning tools necessary to get the job done. That is why most battles were planned around either trying to achieve numerical superiority, strategic surprise, or armor supply superiority. This is something that could not be achieved outside of select timezones, leading to most battles being unsatisifying to fight in and strategically pointless.

The best battles happen when both sides are able to maintain their infantry spawn points close enough together that their infantry can clash in a sustained way that requires tactics and teamwork to advance and take territory (either defensively or offensively).

To achieve that you ultimately need to rethink the way you go about spawning and capture mechanics from the ground up, and be willing to commit development resources to it, if you want to see a turn around in more consistent battle quality and player satisfaction. I don't believe you'll see a significant return of players just for removing FRUs. Those players will want some kind of positive development that addresses the fundamental shortcomings of the spawn and capture system. A vote against the FRU is not a vote in favor of the old truck system being sufficient. The FRU was just a bad way of tackling the issue because even though it solved some problems it created just as many new problems that were equally bad in different ways.

You also have to be sure that you involve the playerbase in discussions about any major mechanic changes to help you pinpoint possible problems beforehand. I believe most of the problems with the FRU happened because you did not publicly consult the playerbase about it during the development phase because you wanted to release it as a surprise. Many of us could have predicted how the FRU would have played out in practice, foreseeing the whack-a-mole persistence that would result; allowing you to tweak it or even scrap it in favor of a different direction, before it blew up with lost subscriptions. (Bearing in mind, however, that sometimes the vocal consensus is just flat out wrong. Like when players were convinced that adding LMGs and snipers to the game would destroy infantry play instead of enhance it. However, in the case of FRUs I am convinced much heartache could have been avoided by talking about it before it's release).

Having said all that: what is the solution to improving battle quality and player satisfaction?

Ultimately you will need to do four things that can be phased in at different times. However, the bulk of the changes necessary to bring gameplay back to life could be achieved with only the first two things I will list. The third and fourth things have more to do with the direction you ultimately take those changes to make the game everything it has always wanted to be.

1. A more robust form of offensive infantry spawnpoint. Something that can be held unless it is actually overrun to some extent by ground forces. There's a reason defenders spawnpoints are tied to capture points - It forces you to actually seize the ground instead of just tank sniping or bombing their spawnpoint. Without this kind of robustness on the offense, attackers will not have a solid platform from which to launch attacks to gain more ground against the defenders. Without a solid offensive platform, you end up with low battle density and long travel times; which is not a satisfying experience for either side.

You can sacrifice some flexibility in deployment speed and location options in order to gain this durability if necessary, but there has to be enough flexibility that it can advance or fall back in a dynamic way with the lines of the offense. That kind of fluidity yet sustained persistence is what makes for great battles. An area disable system of some sort is the best way to go. Any system that ties a spawnpoint in with damage sustained is inherently going to be vulnerable to being sniped without requiring the defenders to actually push the attackers off the ground they've occupied.

2. More robust FB systems. Ninja'ing FBs to shut down attacks is antithetical to quality battles because it does not simulate that the defenders have actually repulsed the attack and counter-attacked to seize the ground. This hurts lower population timezones worse. If FBs required you to mount an offense to suppress the defenders while you capture a flag to disable it then it would go a long way towards solving the problem.

It would still give defenders the option of hitting the FB from behind if they legitimately organize a significant combined arms assault force to take it down, instead of just a few ninja sappers looking for an opportunity to shut down an otherwise successful attack. This requires a paradigm shift in the way we look at FBs. We should see it as something that is unlikely to be shut down while an attack is active; but something which is usually only assaulted and shut down after an attack has been given up on or something that is assaulted and taken prior to launching an attack. The sapper based system also has inherent problems in the sense that you are forced to waste a valuable anti-tank resource that may not even be available by the time you're ready to take an FB. Wasting sappers trying to capture FB territory compromises your ability to survive against tanks, when ultimately these two roles should not be related to each other by drawing upon the same resources. Logically it makes no sense. Infantry can seize an open ground area with light field fortifications without needing to use anti-tank weapons.

3. A second form of secondary mobile spawn for guns, towers, and trucks. There would be stricter limitations on where and how these can be deployed, when compared with infantry spawnpoints. One of the reasons that attackers have trouble sustaining a platform from which to attack from is because there aren't able to adequately support their infantry with anti-tank guns, or their tanks with anti-aircraft guns. This leads to poor gameplay as most infantry spawnpoints are not properly supported and are usually overrun by defending tanks, unless the attackers already have tank superiority. Now, I understand that logistically there's a reason that tanks should be more prominent on offense, and that it makes sense for us not to have the attacking army composed heavily of static guns; but without having indirect artillery it becomes necessary for attackers to utilize their static guns to protect their infantry spawnpoints. The time to travel makes this prohibitive, and rarely done, even though the supply is usually there. Also, without the ability to dynamically leave and man static guns, it ends up being counterproductive to have too many of our players locked into ATGs or AAA when the battle has shifted to requiring more infantry. The ability to spawn or despawn guns close to the battle line would allow players to be more responsive to the changing battlefield conditions in lieu of not having dynamic gun crewing options (because then you could just drop them around your battle lines and man them with infantry as necessary. They would also be able to be re-crewed, making them far more survivable, so you need less of them to get the job done).

Being able to more easily deploy guns near the infantry spawnpoints would result in a greater proportion of battles having a chance of sustaining themselves with dense combat and achieving the capture of objectives without first requiring overwhelming tank superiority.

Edited by rise27

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4. With #1 and #2 effectively giving us mostly dynamic battlefield spawnpoints for the attackers (which is what the players have always asked for), essentially the direction you move the game in is then replacing FBs with a third dynamic spawnpoint that acts as a base and a hub for the infantry and gun spawnpoints. You can then port this technology over to the defenders, allowing them to dynamically deploy spawnpoints around their town with their armybase acting as the hub and the infantry and gun spawnpoints being the spokes. This solves a lot of the problems defenders face from static spawnpoints. Although they can continue to use those static structures to spawn from, and victory conditions of the town are still tied to the flags associated with them, the defenders would additionally have the ability to deploy mobile positions around the town for several necessary purposes (and they would draw from the same brigade supply as their armybase) - Forward defensive positions meant to stall an attack before it reaches the town flags. Deploying rearward spawnpoints to counter attack if their armybases are overrun. Counter-attacking the attacker's positions on a hill and moving their defensive spawnpoints onto that hill in order to control it, denying it to the attacker. Deploying spawnpoints out from their town to hit at the flank of the attackers.

This brings us into the kind of dynamic battlefield the players have always wanted, and ultimately what the game has always needed in order to function on this scale. It lets you experience consistently dense battles where tactics and teamwork become a viable way of overcoming the enemy without depending mostly on raw numbers and supply.

You would start to see officers in charge able to actually facilitate tactics and teamwork through the placement and management of spawnpoints. One of the things I enjoyed about the original FRU was the power it gave me as a mission leader to actually direct the flow of a battle, repositioning the deployment of our forces in reaction to the situation on the ground. Falling back, advancing, or flanking the enemy forces as they are spotted. Trucks were not flexible enough or survivable enough to achieve this. The fact that I had everyone consolidated on a single mission and FRU that was able to persist and respond to changing battlefield conditions also meant that I stood a better chance at getting people to work together through mission chat, waypoints, etc.

It all ties together, with one enhancing the other - Spawning systems, capture systems, and teamwork tools.

Edited by rise27

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Your points are all well said. The spawn mechanic is by it's simple function one of the main areas of the game that needs redressing. And the system should be looked at from the ground up, theoretically. In addition any change to the spawn mechanic always by it's simple and direct function affects almost every aspect of the game. Hence, the difficulty in making a decision or making a change and of course the contentiousness of the entire issue.

However true your points are they seem to be a bit vague in making a decision for having the spawn system as it is and moving back to a truck only spawn placement. A simple thing such as reducing the truck audio, regardless of reality would enhance the effectiveness of this type of spawn placement. It's an area where reducing the audio to below realistic levels would enhance game play more than take away from it as the wack-a-mole infantry placed spawn point.

My point here is those are great arguments and observations but we have to work within the realistic framework of what the development team can accomplish with today's budget and resources.

The truck only placed spawn is from your own argument the lesser, I would say much lesser, evil of the two. It is also something that the development team can do in the short term to get us back and on track towards the missed opportunity you elaborated on. So a vote for the truck only spawn, from my perspective, is a vote to redress the whole issue. Will it solve everything, probably not. Will other changes need to be made (the fortified MSP) to accommodate the change, sure they will.

The FB issue can wait for now as increasing the health of the FB has done some of what you desire, eliminating a good bit of the ninjas pulling out the rug from under the attack. However, I agree a mobile FB in the future, if we can sustain one, would be fantastic.

By removing the FRU a fair amount of old timers will return. We also will have a better chance at long term retention and it enhances other aspects of the game, which we know from experience. You can try and vote for something the development team is unable to accomplish at this time. This only serves to confuse the potential middle of the fence voter because if you create enough doubt they will stick to what they know. Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward in a new direction.

Edited by stonecomet

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Hey Rise,

I'd like to thank you for putting together your feedback. It's very well written and clear to understand (tip of the hat). I've shared this post with my team to have a look at as we're in this important stage of finally being able to look at the game mechanics a bit closer.

With 1.35's development coming back that will introduce a host of new opportunities for us to test and change game play mechanics in a more productive and meaningful way.

I think I can speak for my team and say we know that we need to do more, this is the start of that. In the interim our goal is to try to find the best fix to preserve our quality game play, and that feedback like yours (and all of our community members) is an essential guiding post to help us factor in at every level of thought and concern.

I hope more Free Players get invested into the game and express their thoughts in a constructive way as you have done here.

SALUTE!

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I wanted to post this here for public feedback from you all, to discuss your views on what I propose.

Who are you?

You have a lot of experience for a noob :)

You did an excellent job in pointing out the flaws of front line.

Suggestion (as procedure):

1. Truck loads up on Inf and towed units.

2. Finds location and deploys MSP

3. Towed Units that traveled with that truck will now have new spawn point. basically moving up the FB, an mini-FB

Players will have to put more effort in defense, as loosing the mini-FB means starting at main FB.

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I thought defenders can already deploy a mobile spawn to enable defenders to spawn away from the fixed spawn buildings whether it is in the town or out in the countryside surrounding the town.

I would like to see the current MSP deleted or at the very least limit the closeness/continual movement of them. Perhaps limit the movement of a particular MSP to a certain arc from where it is originally placed.

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However true your points are they seem to be a bit vague in making a decision for having the spawn system as it is and moving back to a truck only spawn placement.

I did not go into exact details for the sake of length and clarity to address the core issue in general.

Once we agree on what the basic fundamental problem is, and what we generally need to fix it, then it's easier to talk about the specifics of implementing something new.

A simple thing such as reducing the truck audio, regardless of reality would enhance the effectiveness of this type of spawn placement.
That would only slightly sooth the symptoms of trucks not being able to deploy and sustain themselves close to the battle. It wouldn't alter their inherent vulnerability to destruction and inflexibility once placed. As such, we wouldn't see much change in the way trucks already work.

By removing the FRU a fair amount of old timers will return.
I don't believe so. The FRU was nerfed shortly after release to have something like a 10 or 15 minute replacement timer which in some ways even made it worse than trucks (you could have driven a new truck into place twice before you placed a second FRU). Yet that did not seem to appease people who left over the FRU, even though the FRU was no longer impacting battles beyond what players were use to doing with Trucks (because the FRU could no longer afford to be placed in any place that a truck wouldn't also be safe).

I think their post-release tweaks ended up getting the worst of both worlds. You had the ability to slip past enemy lines with the FRU, yet you couldn't really use it to much effect because you also had the vulnerability and long deploy waits associated with trucks; as a consequence, you ended up with FRUs having the same insecurity and long travel times that truck spawns did. I believe such tweaks only ended up alienating both sides with the aspects they hated.

I personally lost a lot of interest in the game after they changed the FRU. It was very difficult to experience the consistent quality of infantry battles the FRU gave us only to have that taken away without any hope being given to us that they had something else in the works to give us the best the FRU had to offer without any of the drawbacks. You got no argument from me at the time that the FRU was broken; but to just be given a system that was basically returning to truck spawns was not going to cut it. We needed something that would give us offensive staying power in a way that was tied to some kind of reasonable logistical limitations.

We also will have a better chance at long term retention and it enhances other aspects of the game, which we know from experience.

Truck spawns had their own set of problems which negatively impacted long term retention of players; Inadequate offensive spawning tools resulted in inconsistent and poor quality battles.

You have to remember that truck spawns were invented in an age before attack objectives, before long-timer area-capture flags, and at a time when there was less overall supply available during the average attack and battles that were over sooner (because you didn't have brigade stacking and rotating). I don't recall if the early warning system was even in the game when they were first introduced but the various levels of EWS definitely weren't.

Trucks were never completely adequate to begin with but they did a fair enough job in an older game environment.

However, the weight of all the later changes to the spawn, capture, and supply systems overwhelmed the ability of the truck spawn to cope. The truck spawn was strained to it's very limits and shown to be completely inadequate for sustaining an offensive under these kinds of game mechanics.

A fundamental overhaul of offensive spawning systems was critically needed for the game to continue thriving. Defensive spawning systems had been upgraded and reworked at some very basic levels for years with little done to the corresponding offensive tools.

(bear in mind, I think all those changes and features to the spawn, capture, and supply systems were a good thing for the game and am glad they were introduced. However, All they did was demonstrate for us how fundamentally the ancient offensive spawn system was buckling under the pressure of all these new demands).

The following happened as these changes were introduced:

-Attackers were forced to fight pitched battles, unable to take towns by surprise.

-Attackers could not reliably gain local tank superiority by supply stacking stock from one town into another, in order to win battles through armor superiority, because supply was tied with brigades and brigades could just be moved to make numbers even.

-Attackers could not even expect to win by attrition. It use to be reasonable to take out a single army base worth of supply in 3 hours. Those days were gone when every battle involved multiple brigades being rotated in and out of a town, forcing pitched slugfests that would go on for 4-6 hours while still seeing no resolution through attrition.

-Depots were more difficult to capture with the new flag mechanics, and you couldn't expect to hold them without your tanks having them covered because you had no reliable way of sustaining the infantry numbers necessary to suppress and overwhelm a defensive depot.

All of those changes would have been good things if only we had a corresponding introduction of new offensive spawning tools to make it possible for the attackers to function in that environment.

Because what ended up happening most of the time is that the map just didn't move unless one side had a major numbers advantage. Which I believe was mainly a function of how difficult it was to attack in an even numbers environment, when the defense had so much stacked in their favor and the offense had so little to work with. This was demoralizing and frustrating for both sides, and boring during the timezones that could not muster the necessary numbers to sustain mobile spawns near a town.

A return to truck spawns wouldn't do anything to encourage me to resubscribe. There were too many issues even with the truck system for me to find any excitement about returning to that without some kind of fundamental alterations that addressed all the inherent flaws with the offensive spawning systems.

FRUs in their heyday gave us a taste of something that we had never seen before, and something we want back: Dense and sustained infantry combat that ebbed and flowed throughout a battle.

You can try and vote for something the development team is unable to accomplish at this time.
Only they know what they are capable of implementing with their resources.

If we can agree on generally what is needed then they can talk with us about what options are possible.

There may be ways of rigging up and tweaking the current tools they have that will save on development time, to give us a rough and incomplete form of offensive spawning that gets the job done even if it is not as complete as what we ultimately want.

Sometimes you have to take a step back in order to move forward in a new direction.
I can agree with taking a step back away from the FRU to go in a new direction; But I'm also saying that it would not accomplish much to take that step back without already being prepared to set foot in a new direction. Taking a step back and being stuck there for a long time is not going to make anyone happy. Edited by rise27

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Who are you?

You have a lot of experience for a noob

I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, "Make strait the core issues of gameplay before anything else" :)

You did an excellent job in pointing out the flaws of front line.

Suggestion (as procedure):

1. Truck loads up on Inf and towed units.

2. Finds location and deploys MSP

3. Towed Units that traveled with that truck will now have new spawn point. basically moving up the FB, an mini-FB

Players will have to put more effort in defense, as loosing the mini-FB means starting at main FB.

When I originally suggested the truck spawn system, way back around the time when depot spawning was introduced, I actually suggested a system that was based around loading up infantry supply onto the truck and then having players spawn from the supply on that truck. I might have also suggested that they could load up a gun as part of their supply, but I don't remember.

Either way; It was meant to preserve the logistical aspect of running trucks from the FB so they could be intercepted (A big part of the game back then), while also eliminating the frustration and wasted time of players who actually had to spend 5 minutes sitting on those trucks (because more often than not you'd die before you got near town, and even if you did get near town more often than not you'd die very soon after disembarking). So in the end it would be win/win for everyone to have more players fighting instead of traveling, yet done in a way that preserves the logistical limitations of having to make your supplies travel.

The idea was that players would deploy fleets of these trucks near the enemy town, protected by armor and guns, as a kind of base to spawn masses of infantry and guns from. So you'd do away with the problem of bad truck drivers rushing strait up to the side of town out of impatience and getting everyone onboard killed.

Such a system would have also, by it's very design, prevented the mobile truck spawns from being used to spawn an entire army behind enemy lines just because one truck got by. You could only spawn as much from a single truck as that one truck could carry. It would let you cause some disruption, and might have an impact, but unless you can sneak 20 trucks in at once and protect them it's not going to be a major issue.

Ultimately they went with a more simple form of the truck spawning system, which works well enough to a point. I mean, it does have some issues with not having logistical lines, but ultimately the truck spawn we had did a lot more good for the game by reducing time to battle and creating more infantry density. So it was worth the logistics aspects that were lost.

The FRU was a different story. This demonstrated why it's important to model some kind of realistic logistical constraints; because if you throw off those constraints entirely then you end up with trouble.

Yes, the FRU did a lot of great things for us, but ultimately the price paid for it was too high. It wasn't a good trade off like the mobile truck spawn was.

There are many different specific ways we could go about tackling this issue. But I believe you're on the right track by saying that we could load up supplies on trucks and then deploy them near town to be spawned from. If you had to use multiple trucks to really stock up that point good, then it would put limits on how many of these things you would see deployed and limit how easily they could be repositioned. However, I think that is best done for something like a static hub that spawns guns and infantry from; which is intended to be used as a way of holding an area outside of town that is a base from which you launch further assaults towards that town. Something that doesn't need to move around a lot but is meant to hold general area strongly.

I do believe, however, that we need something more mobile to act as a forward infantry spawnpoint. Something that can dynamically advance and fall back as a way of simulating infantry massing and moving upon an objective. Because if we restrict infantry to some kind of static hub that has to be stocked by trucks then it's going to be too far from the battle to result in dense infantry combat, and still is going to have travel times that is too long for the attacker to achieve the critical mass necessary to capture an objective.

However, the foward infantry mobile spawn point we need could still be made to draw upon the more static supply hub I just described as it's connecting base.

You could have rules like:

-The mobile infantry spawn can only deploy 2km away from the static hub.

-Cannot be closer than 350m to an enemy spawn point.

-Draw a line that is 300m thick from the hub to the mobile infantry spawn. If this line intersects any enemy spawn facility then your mobile infantry spawn point cannot be spawned from. This prevents you from placing them behind the enemy force in front of your hub.

Another possible feature you could use is to throttle the mobile infantry spawn's supply to trickle in like a depot, but have it be based on how far away it is from the hub (calculating the running distance of infantry). This simulates the travel time of re-enforcements. The max amount you can have stored in the mobile infantry spawn, as well as the how many infantry restock every minute, can also be based on how much total supply of infantry your trucks dropped off into the static hub. So a well stocked hub serves as a logistically stronger position to launch your infantry spawn points from. How fast the supply "ticks" in would be based on the foot traveling distance from the hub to the mobile spawn point, and how much infantry supply you get per "tick" would be based on the hub's supply of infantry and how many infantry spawn points it is currently feeding. The later limitation would also give you incentive to focus on fewer but more important spawn points, so thee ones you focus on get more supplies faster.

I also think a system like that has great advantages in requiring players to run trucks to stock and restock the hub. Not only does it create a logistical connection back to the FB that can be intercepted or cut, but it does so in a way that doesn't take away many players from the frontline battlefield.

The downside of such a system is that it puts a lot more power in the hands of the air force to shut an attack. Which may be realistic, but can be frustrating.

I would not be opposed to a hub that is supplied and restocked automatically, but could be sped up with trucks.

Perhaps it would not be too bad if players are smart and coordinated to stock their hubs to the max at the start of an attack, because then it will be easier to sneak trucks in past air forces to keep restocking than it would be trying to build up a supply under the cover of enemy airpower.

Edited by rise27

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@rise27

You obviously have been around for a great while as a player and not only that but one that stayed involved and gave development a lot of thought. Your insight and understanding of the issues therefore are greater than mine. I also am not savvy enough in the forums to get those separated quotes were you can selectively and sometimes out of context respond to my comments and points of view.

My first question would be, given the limitations that CRS has expressed and that the survey in question asks specifically MSPs by trucks only or MSPs as they are today, where do you stand? If those are your only choices, whether you played the game or not, which do you think would be the lesser of the two evils?

My second question would be, which of the two systems aggravate long term retention more? Does a truck only based system have a lesser rate on long term attrition or does the current system do that? Remembering that this system has been around for a while now and long term attrition has leveled off and considering that new players rotate in and out to mitigate that statistic a bit now days.

My third question would be, do you see great harm in reverting back to a truck only based system in the short term to see if gains can be made with respect to returning players and possibly a lower long term attrition rate in the short term as other aspects of the change to truck only MSPs are applied?

I will say this: CRS does realize that the rules have changed from the old truck-only days. Many of the new CRS development team are from the old player base, so I am confident that with their willingness to take in community feedback and weigh those in their decisions that their plan is not to ultimately revert only to the truck only based spawn system but to enhance it moving forward to get to the dense battles we all would like to see. But dense battles are not the only consideration. We have plenty of dense battles under the current system. It's the quality, unfolding and sustenance of the dense battles that seems to be most lacking.

There are a couple of things that can be done short term to compliment the reversion to truck only based MSPs that will help in the short term.

1. Reduction of truck audio. I am not sure what the number is but for the sake of game play this is an area where realism should be stretched as it is not that great a pill of unreal-ism to swallow.

2. Reduction of EWS. My suggestion would be that a single element of either vehicle or infantry triggers EWS. Vehicles 1KM from town, Infantry 500m from town. Those are arbitrary but seem to make sense to me.

3. The introduction of the fortified MSP soon after the change to truck only MSPs (in the short term simply increase the current FRU health considerably). I'm guessing you are aware that CRS is considering and modeling a more fortified MSP in order to create more sustained battle lines.

4. Allow the Morris tractor to also implement the fortified MSP or change the Beddy's characteristics to make it more manageable off-road.

These are the short term adjustments that I think address some of the concerns you seem to have a good handle on. From this point good logical adjustments or additional modes of MSP deployment can be considered.

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@rise27

I also am not savvy enough in the forums to get those separated quotes were you can selectively and sometimes out of context respond to my comments and points of view.

It was not my intention to misrepresent anything you said by taking it out of context, and I don't believe I did. Isolating sentences was merely done for the sake of showing what part of your post prompted my comments.

My second question would be, which of the two systems aggravate long term retention more?

The answer is they both do, that's why neither is a good option. They just do it in different ways.

My third question would be, do you see great harm in reverting back to a truck only based system in the short term

Yes, great harm could be done; because the problem with truck spawns is actually aggravated in low population environments. I saw the truck spawn hinder quality gameplay a lot during the times I played in timezone 3, in ways that weren't as much of a problem during prime time - but back then we had more numbers and leadership in timezone 3 than are in primetime now; so it would be even worse all around.

However, having said that; a 10 minute timer FRU is already so poorly functional that at that point you aren't gaining much with it compared with what you'd get by using trucks.

That's actually what drove me away from the game originally. After they nerfed the FRU to have a 10-15 minute timer it was actually a worse tool because you could drive back a truck in less time, yet people just waited around for the FRU to pop back up. Momentum could not be maintained, critical mass could not be achieved.You lose the persistence of the FRU that comes from being placed by an infantry - which was the only reason to use it over a truck.

Yet you still could annoy defenders by popping up at random locations near them, even with a long timer. So actually a long timer FRU is the worst of both worlds, and makes everyone mad.

Either go all in and take advantage of it's persistence by having a low timer, or get out and return to trucks. Trying to tweak the timer to achieve the best of both worlds only gives you the worst of both.

So in that sense, if you're going to insist on having very long timers with FRUs, you may as well just remove it outright. And you might be better off from a consistency standpoint to do so because you're trying to give it the same limitations as a truck with it's timer anyway.

I always warned people when the topic was brought up that a mission leader placed spawning like battlefield 2 was inherently dangerous in a military simulator like this for it's ability to bypass battle lines.

to see if gains can be made with respect to returning players and possibly a lower long term attrition rate in the short term as other aspects of the change to truck only MSPs are applied?
You won't see those gains. The system you are going back to is not adequate for the demands placed on attackers, so the players won't be pleased with it (regardless of whether they are new or vets).

If you've already decided that a low timer FRU is so destructive to the game that you can't bear to have it at less than 10 minutes, then you have already effectively removed it from the game. You may as well make it official and go back to trucks.

However, if you're going to do that, don't be under any delusion that you'll see gameplay quality or player numbers improve significantly as a result.

You'll run into a lot of the same gameplay problems you have now, and some new ones. And there's nothing about the return to trucks that will excite old players into returning. Nor will new players be happy with the poor quality gameplay that truck spawning provides.

I will say this: CRS does realize that the rules have changed from the old truck-only days. Many of the new CRS development team are from the old player base, so I am confident that with their willingness to take in community feedback and weigh those in their decisions that their plan is not to ultimately revert only to the truck only based spawn system but to enhance it moving forward to get to the dense battles we all would like to see. But dense battles are not the only consideration. We have plenty of dense battles under the current system. It's the quality, unfolding and sustenance of the dense battles that seems to be most lacking.

I don't yet have that confidence. I'd be concerned that they may just think going back to a tweaked truck spawn is sufficient; Because they just spent many years not devoting any resources towards giving us a new offensive spawning system.

That is what prompted me to write this; because I honestlty don't know if they realize that this is one of the top two issues holding the quality of gameplay back right now. Would it be high on their priority list to address if they had the resources?

There are a couple of things that can be done short term to compliment the reversion to truck only based MSPs that will help in the short term.

You still recognize the need for changes.

The issue here is making sure those changes go in the right direction to tackle the core problems.

Addressing symptoms instead of dealing with core issues is part of what got us this FRU mess to begin with - No amount of tweaking the numbers can change inherent flaws in the FRU system. Fundamentally new mechanics must be coded in at some level.

The truck is in the same situation. You can tweak the numbers to massage the symptoms all you want, but fundamentally there are core faults with the truck spawn system that need to be tackled.

1. Reduction of truck audio. I am not sure what the number is but for the sake of game play this is an area where realism should be stretched as it is not that great a pill of unreal-ism to swallow.

2. Reduction of EWS. My suggestion would be that a single element of either vehicle or infantry triggers EWS. Vehicles 1KM from town, Infantry 500m from town. Those are arbitrary but seem to make sense to me.

This won't matter much once an attack is already underway, or the enemy knows you are incoming and is waiting.

You also have to realize that the only reason you're trying to make the truck stealthier is because it's too fragile to survive in contested battlespace. It's fragility of the offensive spawnpoint is the real issue that needs to be tackled. Trying to make it stealthier is not going to fix the underlying issue.

3. The introduction of the fortified MSP soon after the change to truck only MSPs (in the short term simply increase the current FRU health considerably). I'm guessing you are aware that CRS is considering and modeling a more fortified MSP in order to create more sustained battle lines.

There are different types of fortification that must be recognized; There is fortification by hitpoints and fortification by capture timers.

As I already stated in this thread: Any offensive spawnpoint that is tied to hitpoints is inherently flawed by design because it is very easy to destroy the spawnpoint out from under the nose of the attackers without having to push them back and take the ground they are on.

Upping the HP of the FRU is, again, an example of only dealing with the symptoms instead of taking the time and resources to tackle the true cause of the problem - Which is that an offensive infantry spawnpoint needs a different mechanic for being disabled.

An area capture system is one of the best mechanics because it best simulates that the enemy has legitimately pushed you back or suppressed you.

4. Allow the Morris tractor to also implement the fortified MSP or change the Beddy's characteristics to make it more manageable off-road.

Not a significant issue that deals with any of the real problems the mobile spawns face, which are problems universal to all sides. Edited by rise27

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From this point good logical adjustments or additional modes of MSP deployment can be considered.
What you proposed wouldn't be enough to have any meaningful impact on gameplay.

At some point resources would have to be devoted to coding some new mechanics.

They might be able to get away with minimal amounts of new features by making the most of what they have and changing some aspects of it, but it's going to be impossible to achieve what we need just by fiddling with the existing levers that are already in place.

An example of a way they could take what mechanics we have and make it functional with minimal changes:

1. Make it so that the FRU can only take damage by having enemy units standing inside of an invisible "bubble" that is placed around it, going out to a certain distance. This would be the main new coding change needed.

This gives them something that is hardy enough that the infantry will be much less likely to lose their spawnpoint as long as they control the ground around it (as opposed to having it get ninja'd by a lone enemy infantry, bombed, or tank rushed).

2. Then change the FRU so that it has to be placed by a truck initially; but then can be moved occasionally by the mission leader - but only within a relatively short distance of where it was initially placed. This gives the infantry an essential dynamic responsiveness to advance or fall back without completely losing momentum.

If the FRU were destroyed you'd have to bring out a new truck to place another one. So you curb a lot of the stealthy whack a mole aspects, while still retaining their ability to respond and adjust to the battlefield which comes from being movable by an infantry mission leader.

The mechanics of that FRU would inherently limit risky deployments because once the enemy disables it you cannot replace it without a new truck. So it becomes better to keep the FRU in an area that you can actually contest and hold, advancing or falling back to keep it in an area that you control.

This ends up being superior to the truck system because the area control FRU would have the ability to creep closer to the battle as ground is gained, could better sustain itself once placed, and would not completely lose momentum if you can replace it before it is destroyed.

There are other additional ways you can tie some more logistics into this, to limit the bad aspects of mission leader placement without compromising the essential aspects we need to retain dynamic responsiveness to changing battlefield conditions....

Example: Redeploying the FRU by a mission leader requires time. It requires more time based on the distance it travels from the original FRU. And the enemy can see a visual representation of where the new FRU is being "built" before the new location becomes active and the old one becomes inactive. The redeploy timer is decreased based on the presence of more friendly units in the area around it. This means that it will be easier to redeploy in areas you legitimately control, and harder to sneak it behind the enemy and backdoor them.

I think the main weakness of that example of a "hacked" FRU turned into a new offensive spawning system is that a long redeploy timer could make it too difficult for a single mission leader to smartly fallback the spawnpoint during a critical time, when his team may be too busy fighting, or dead, so unable to help him put it up quickly.

A solution would be to have some kind of check in place that removes the redeploy timer if you are moving further away from an enemy spawnpoint (whether it be static or dynamic) rather than closer. However, that would be an additional level of new coding mechanics required. So you see how it's very difficult to produce a system that will really work well for the players without investing in coding multiple new gameplay mechanics.

Edited by rise27

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What you proposed wouldn't be enough to have any meaningful impact on gameplay.

At some point resources would have to be devoted to coding some new mechanics.

They might be able to get away with minimal amounts of new features by making the most of what they have and changing some aspects of it, but it's going to be impossible to achieve what we need just by fiddling with the existing levers that are already in place.

Seriously, I am really enjoying this debate. The reason why is that your reasoning is sound on many levels. You cover a lot of ground and you provide some great food for thought. I agree that the offensive spawn mechanics need a serious overhaul. I also agree that eventually it will require major changes to the code.

I'm almost seeing the infantry placed after the truck placed within a short distance, almost. Maybe a core of 3 engineers within 20 meters of each other or something of that nature might be somewhat acceptable in this context. As I said, I can almost see the slight movement of the truck only MSP by an infantryman if not for the following reasons.

My main issues with the infantry placed FRU follow.

Primarily and probably perceived by many as the least offensive in game mechanics, but never the less I've seen plenty of people after a short period of time trying out the "Brutally Realistic WWII Game", leave the game for this reason. The total lack of realism that one soldier can place an MSP that is supposed to represent a platoon or greater size of mustered forces. This blocks me personally from supporting an infantry placed MSP even at a restricted distance from a truck placed MSP even though it resolves some of the team and tactical play issues.

The FRU does not always act in this way but a good FRU has great potential to behave as an area of many mustered troops since if the FRU catches fire a flood of troops proceeds from the FRU. While you could argue that the lone soldier creating either the initial FRU by walking it in or replacing or moving a truck placed FRU represents, as the ML, the platoon of soldiers. This stretches simulated realism a bit too far as the ML can move relatively unobserved and silently and place a well hidden platoon of troops with ease and close distances to objectives. Most of these players that I have personally seen lose interest are not your casual (let's give this a try) new player. These are players (hardcore milsim) that are initially attracted to the game because it can and is in certain areas a decent WWII simulated experience. However after a week or so they usually abandon the game because of the lack of tactical travel time and the lack of true tactical simulated realism.

To break it down. The infantry placed FRU unrealistically represents a large force by being too stealthy and too well hidden and easily deployed. The infantry placed FRU promotes poor tactics and poor teamwork mainly because of it's stealth and ease of placement at very close distances and relatively easily in any direction from the defenders objective. This creates very short tactical travel times for attackers to the objective (a CP) and therefore diminishes the importance of trying to stay alive. Something that benefits both actual tactical play and supply levels overall. Some players like to be able to get to the battle quicker and some do not. The current FRU represents an imbalance in favor of the ones who want to jump right into battle where a well supported truck only placed MSP, for myself at least, is the middle ground, remembering that there are still some that would like to go back to Town and FB only spawns.

But again we are getting far afield as CRS is not in a position right now to make major code changes to the MSP function. So we have to think creatively about how to step back to truck placed only MSPs or to change the rules that can be changed for the current system.

The reasons I give above are why I support the step back to truck placed only MSPs over simply changing the rules to the current system. In the other thread we were debating in I posted the changes that I thought should accompany the move to truck only placed MSPs in order for them to function adequately until major changes to the code can be made.

http://discussions.battlegroundeurope.com/showpost.php?p=6948553&postcount=108

But I won't stop there, here are suggested changes to the current system. When I refer to the FRU I'm talking about the infantry placed MSP. Also these are in addition to the slowing down of rotating AO's and Brigade movements (also a change to stacking rules) which help resolve some of the truck placed only issues that were increased under the modern system of supply deployment and attack objectives.

1. Make the FRU very durable: 8 satchels, 10-15 shells, 5-6 bombs. If possible grenades and all forms of small arms fire (LMGs,HMGs) have no effect. If that's too much to code for now just make them very, very durable.

2. Restrict the FRU so that it cannot be placed within 600 meters of an enemy facility. If attackers cannot hold 600 meters of ground to capture a facility then they have no business doing so.

3. Make RTB 50 meters from the nearest friendly spawn.

4. Relax the Rescue condition timer to 10 minutes for supply to return.

5. Reduce EWS to 800 for infantry (including trucks) and 1000m for Armor.

6. Eliminate the defensive FRU.

note: I'm not sure eliminating the FRU from one side is so easily accomplished under the current code without a major rewrite, nor would the suggestion to create differing rules for distance implementation for defenders and attackers. CRS knows whether this is the case or not. I'm not really sure. My hunch is these rules are pretty hard coded in the game.

These changes would improve the situation some. I think though, overall, they would create very difficult conditions for defenders as many fortified FRUs could be placed silently and easily in the field and relatively easily moved, redistributed and reborn all over the battlefield. The defenders would in most cases be at a definite disadvantage.

Many of your views on the MSP and the games mechanics seem to be more in favor of making attacking much easier and possibly placing too much a burden on the defender. Defenders have to be rewarded for stretching their lines of defense and taking out an area of mustered forces (the FRU or MSP). While this does stall the attack there is nothing wrong with that so long as it is as balanced as it can be.

I'd like to address a few things from the other thread:

The onus is always on the attacker to take the objective under difficult conditions. Attacking in almost all cases should be more difficult than defending unless the attacker has overwhelming odds. There is a balance there but I get the feeling the direction you would like the game to go would make defending just a bit too difficult. If all we want is sustained battle lines then create 2 indestructible spawn points and make them both area capture only and let's duke it out, whomever captures first wins. There are many games that use this paradigm. Part of the reason we have what we have, I'm guessing, is because the old developers of this game gave that some serious thought. The attacking MSP should be destructible not area capture because defenders should be able to take them out from a reasonable distance but with great effort. They should not be required to overrun the attacker and overextend their lines too much to stall or break an attacking sortie.

You addressed the HC and partially the game mechanic issues with "herding cats" with a plug-in and play micro-management system. I just do not see how this flies as there are still a fair amount of players who dislike the AO system which macro manages players into a battle area. One of the great attractions in the game is the ability, once earned, to spawn into whatever supply is available in a Brigade. The reason why this is the case is that the game is subscription based. When people pay they want to be able to access the equipment and play the role they want to play, not what some commander deems what is available. I like the idea, I just don't think it flies in this financial model. We already have, I think, just the right amount of that with AO's. You just can't make the command structure too rigid as this is a game not the real military. All you can do is create a good spawning system and general game mechanics that promote overall teamwork and tactical play. Translation, we will always have to "herd the cats" in some way.

You mentioned that certain aspects of what I propose are not suitable for this size of a player base. This is entirely true. I'm thinking about making the game better for larger populations in preparation for STEAM release, not at all thinking about ways to make the game better for smaller player bases. We have had enough of that too, in my opinion.

Over Pop / Under Pop and TZ3 (overall low pop): The general game mechanics can never be guided by these conditions. The best that can be done are special rules that come into play when these conditions arise.

The vagaries of under and over by side are just that. The only thing we can really do there are things like SD, Side Lock (maybe 8 hours) and/or reduced or increased capture timers that are dynamic to the local OP/UP issues.

TZ3 might also need some special rules that come into effect only when the total server population reaches certain very low levels.

But again these should never be considered when creating or changing the MSP functions and rules for normal population levels.

I take the opposing position on many of your points because it helps both of us and anyone following the debate to maybe get the best of it all and create the best short term solution and the overall long term solution. Nothing personal at all.

S!

Edited by stonecomet

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To CRS and the general PB. I was really planning on being much less vocal and returning to the silent majority but since CRS was kind enough to survey the player base about MSPs and it is an area of the game I am obviously passionate about, I felt I should at least stick around for a bit more and promote my point of view. As I have stated before, all I expect is that CRS consider my points of view and make whatever decision they deem is best moving forward. I realize that some of what I propose may not be feasible at this time or ever.

S!

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I would like to point out that the ideas I gave of how to hack the existing truck/FRU to make it more functional does not represent what I think is the ideal way to solve this problem. It is not very elegant and still has some issues. It is just something I threw out there as a rough example of the types of things that could be done if we aboslutely have no choice but to do the minimal amount of work using what we already have.

That is why I am generally opposed to trying to roll out tweaks and half measures instead of redesigning the offensive spawning system from the ground up; because any incomplete system is going to have flaws.

Primarily and probably perceived by many as the least offensive in game mechanics, but never the less I've seen plenty of people after a short period of time trying out the "Brutally Realistic WWII Game", leave the game for this reason. The total lack of realism that one soldier can place an MSP that is supposed to represent a platoon or greater size of mustered forces. This blocks me personally from supporting an infantry placed MSP even at a restricted distance from a truck placed MSP even though it resolves some of the team and tactical play issues.

The FRU does not always act in this way but a good FRU has great potential to behave as an area of many mustered troops since if the FRU catches fire a flood of troops proceeds from the FRU. While you could argue that the lone soldier creating either the initial FRU by walking it in or replacing or moving a truck placed FRU represents, as the ML, the platoon of soldiers. This stretches simulated realism a bit too far as the ML can move relatively unobserved and silently and place a well hidden platoon of troops with ease and close distances to objectives. Most of these players that I have personally seen lose interest are not your casual (let's give this a try) new player. These are players (hardcore milsim) that are initially attracted to the game because it can and is in certain areas a decent WWII simulated experience. However after a week or so they usually abandon the game because of the lack of tactical travel time and the lack of true tactical simulated realism.

To break it down. The infantry placed FRU unrealistically represents a large force by being too stealthy and too well hidden and easily deployed. The infantry placed FRU promotes poor tactics and poor teamwork mainly because of it's stealth and ease of placement at very close distances and relatively easily in any direction from the defenders objective. This creates very short tactical travel times for attackers to the objective (a CP) and therefore diminishes the importance of trying to stay alive. Something that benefits both actual tactical play and supply levels overall. Some players like to be able to get to the battle quicker and some do not. The current FRU represents an imbalance in favor of the ones who want to jump right into battle where a well supported truck only placed MSP, for myself at least, is the middle ground, remembering that there are still some that would like to go back to Town and FB only spawns.

I am not defending the FRU. It's a bad way of implementing offensive infantry spawnpionts. I always thought it was.

You'll also get no argument from me that having one man open up a brigade without any risk associated with it is inherently faulty.

However, you have to recognize that we get similar problems with a mobile truck spawn. Prior to the mobile truck spawn you use to be able to interdict a lot of trucks, infantry, and guns coming from the FB. Now there are fewer guns, no infantry, and if you intercept a truck meant for a mobile spawn it has little meaning because they'll just send out another one.

However, given the number of players we have, it ended up being a better tradeoff for the game that we had players concentrated more around the battle with less time to battle for the individual.

If we really want to deal with that issue in a tangible way, we can advocate for AI trucks that can stream from one location to another to set up a large army camp with fortifications.

Lacking that, we have to find more manageable ways of simulating logistics.

A hub and spoke system of spawnables, with restrictions on placing them behind or within a certain distance of enemy spawnables (both dynamic or static) is a reasonable way of doing that.

The visible truck AI convoy would be all well and good for how FBs and zones of control of established and maintained, but you also must recognize that it would be insufficient for solving the problem of time to battle disparity that makes most offensives pointless and unfun.

To understand why that is you have to realize that infantry only hold and take ground when tactics and teamwork is combined with sustained pressure. Without the ability to spawn repeatedly near the objective, they cannot exploit or sustain any gains they make. Defenders don't have this problem, but attackers do. There's no point in forming up 20-30 infantry to use teamwork to advance and take ground; because even if you are successfully after 10-20 minutes of careful advancing and teamwork, the defenders are meanwhile spawning like ants and running around like headless chickens and eventually the pressure of their constant spawning is going to whittle away your forces. Even worse, you'll lose whatever hard fought territory you gained because by the time you have your force of 20-30 infantry hike in from a mobile truck that is a kilometer away you've already lost all the ground gained and have an enemy that is probably pushing out even further towards your spawnpoint.

Looking at the game design analytically, we can establish that this would not be a problem for the attacker if we had the player numbers to spawn out an entire brigades worth of infantry at once, and then mass them accordingly. Then the defender would have no time to battle advantage because there would be no respawning. The battle would go to whoever used better teamwork and tactics, or who had better supply lines.

But that's not the game world we have. So we are forced to simulate this massing of infantry through repeated spawning of the infantry supply.

Tanks never really had this issue because we had enough players to quickly spawn out most of them and engage in battle with the enemy to reach a conclusion.

This brings up our problem of time to battle, and the disparity between offense and defense that is insumountable without the offense having some kind of spawnpoint that can advance to hold ground they have taken.

The necessary objective here is to minimize the defenders time to battle disparity to the point where tactics and teamwork alone can allow the attacker to win even when player numbers are even. A zone of control style position 1-2km from town may be all well and good for dealing with the time to battle Without the need for overwhelming player numbers, or overwhelming tank superiority to make up for not having overwhelming player numbers.

This is all why it is essential that infantry have some kind of dynamic offensive spawnable that can hold ground as they take it. If you cannot hold territory that is within 300-400m away from the enemy spawnable then you cannot expect to return to battle fast enough to give you a real chance of capturing it. Infantry travel speed is such that every 100m away your spawnpoint is it becomes exponentially more difficult to capture your objective.

A spawnpoint 1km away is basically useless as far as capturing objectives goes. It's only good for guarding tanks and guns, hoping that eventually they will be able to achieve armor superiority so they can suppress the depot while your infantry march up to it.

But a 1km away spawnpoint is exactly what you end up with in most battles if you have to rely on truck spawns, because anything closer cannot be kept up long enough to accomplish anything. It also can't be kept up long enough to let the infantry battle play out in terms of manuever, tactics, teamwork, attrition, etc. Sniping the truck spawnpoints is more about preventing the battle from having a chance to play out to it's conclusion. Much in the way FB sniping prevents battles from playing out.

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But again we are getting far afield as CRS is not in a position right now to make major code changes to the MSP function. So we have to think creatively about how to step back to truck placed only MSPs or to change the rules that can be changed for the current system.
Although it might be possible to achieve part of what we need with minimal changes; that can only happen if you are able to identify the core problems that need to be addressed, instead of endlessly putting out the fires of symptoms while ignoring the source of it's ignition.

If you don't understand what the problem is you can't fix it.

Based on what I just wrote up, I've identified two core issues that need to be the purpose behind any new offensive spawning system:

1. In a game of limited player numbers, time to battle disparity for infantry has to be addressed. Giving attackers a way of nullifying that time to battle disparity. Forcing defenders to counter attack and push the attackers away from their town if they want more breathing room. The advantage of the system I suggest is that it would retain dense battle even if it's away from town, because you'd have two clashing spawnpoint systems that are always near each other but not necessarily near the town itself. This is fun and interesting for the players, and an effective means of bringing battles to a conclusion because the constant application of force results in more attrition and the ability to exploit and re-enforce your success.

2. Reasonable logistical ties need to be abstracted in some way. The purpose of this is again to actually facilitate battle being fought and reaching a conclusion. Except in this case the focus is on enabling the defender to find their enemy and move against them in a decisive way, without feeling like it's a fruitless exercise of whack-a-mole.

If you lack either of these two core issues the offensive spawn system will fail to function properly, resulting in subpar gameply for vets and new players alike.

The FRU makes #2 worse. The Truck spawn makes #1 worse. They are both equally bad in that sense. It's like someone trying to ask you which leg would be best to lose. The answer is neither, because you're not going to be able to walk regardless of which one they remove.

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i see what your saying , we should have multiple types of spawn , like for atgs , but not tanks , and it would be modeled with a tent over something

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My second to last post had an error in it that I did not have time to proof read before posting, but it's too late now to edit.

The necessary objective here is to minimize the defenders time to battle disparity to the point where tactics and teamwork alone can allow the attacker to win even when player numbers are even. A zone of control style position 1-2km from town may be all well and good for dealing with the time to battle Without the need for overwhelming player numbers, or overwhelming tank superiority to make up for not having overwhelming player numbers.

What I meant is a zone of control 1-2km from town is all well and good for certain purposes of removing the time to battle. It would be ok for tanks, guns, and their protective infantry, if they are able to spawn that far away from the battle - But it's not ok for assaulting infantry forces meant to secure objectives. A zone of control is a good base from which to launch further assaults into the town, but trying to launch assaults starting from that distance is futile.

You can't fight those kinds of battles starting from 1km away from town unless you plan to fight it primarily with armor. And even then, it only works if you've won armor superiority to the point where you are able to camp close to the enemy's town to suppress the spawnable depots.

Unfortunately you do need either overwhelming tank or player numbers superiority to capture a town under those conditions, because the time to battle disparity between both side's infantry and guns is so great that you cannot hope to capture anything if you are dealing with even numbers.

Some kind of forward durable offensive spawning system that let the infantry hold ground near the town and persist as long as they held it would solve this problem and give attackers a chance to win through teamwork and tactics without first establishing total armor dominance before advancing up to the town, or without having twice as many players to offset the time to battle difference.

Which brings me back to why my next paragraph said this:

This is all why it is essential that infantry have some kind of dynamic offensive spawnable that can hold ground as they take it. If you cannot hold territory that is within 300-400m away from the enemy spawnable then you cannot expect to return to battle fast enough to give you a real chance of capturing it. Infantry travel speed is such that every 100m away your spawnpoint is it becomes exponentially more difficult to capture your objective.

A spawnpoint 1km away is basically useless as far as capturing objectives goes. It's only good for guarding tanks and guns, hoping that eventually they will be able to achieve armor superiority so they can suppress the depot while your infantry march up to it.

But a 1km away spawnpoint is exactly what you end up with in most battles if you have to rely on truck spawns, because anything closer cannot be kept up long enough to accomplish anything. It also can't be kept up long enough to let the infantry battle play out in terms of manuever, tactics, teamwork, attrition, etc. Sniping the truck spawnpoints is more about preventing the battle from having a chance to play out to it's conclusion. Much in the way FB sniping prevents battles from playing out.

Edited by rise27

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Also these are in addition to the slowing down of rotating AO's and Brigade movements (also a change to stacking rules) which help resolve some of the truck placed only issues that were increased under the modern system of supply deployment and attack objectives.
Brigade and AO timer tweaks wouldn't do anything at all to address the two core issues I outlined in my second to last post.

The only reason increased supply (from brigade rotation) is such a problem is because it removes attrition as a factor from most battles - and the game is not set up to make taking towns plausible by other means. You use to be able to decide battles by attrition alone within a few hours of fighting. This made it easier to take towns without first requiring either an overwhelming numbers advantage or armor advantage.

The lack of ability to attrit would not be a problem if there existed tools that enabled the attacker to reasonably capture a town by the tactical capture and holding of ground.

1. Make the FRU very durable: 8 satchels, 10-15 shells, 5-6 bombs. If possible grenades and all forms of small arms fire (LMGs,HMGs) have no effect. If that's too much to code for now just make them very, very durable.

It would somewhat help, but only up to a certain point; because it's dealing with symptoms rather than the core issue - which is that any spawnpoint that is not based on area capture is inherently not going to represent pushing a force off that location. Any offensive spawnpoint based on damage done is vulnerable to being destroyed out from under the nose of the attackers even if they legitimately still control the ground and haven't been pushed back yet.

Remember when designing game mechanics that our purpose is to abstract simulations of real world concepts.

Area control spawnpoints best simulates the aspects of warfare that involve capturing and holding territory as a base from which to capture and hold more territory.

Let's consider the rammifications of this change point by point.

- Satchels based destruction. It would actually ruin infantry gameplay by requiring sappers to bring down a FRU, making them dependant on tanks or aircraft to destroy it for them. Sappers are not in enough supply for that to be feasible. It would have to be based on grenades.

- Grenade based destruction. This would be an improvement in infantry vs infantry engagements because it forces the enemy infantry to get within a certain radius, meaning there is an increased chance that they have gained temporary control over the ground the spawnpoint is on. However, if we're talking about rifle grenades and AT launchers, then that partly goes out the window because you'll see these spawnpoints being sniped by infiltrators with good aim from 100-200m away. More difficult than sniping with an LMG or rifle, and in less supply, but it's still an issue. Another major downside is that it will still be possible for infiltrating enemy infantry to damage your spawnpoint in suicide runs. A few of those disables your spawnpoint regardless of whether or not you've lost control of the ground it was on. It is the same issue with suicide sappers and FBs. Increasing the threshold makes it take longer, but it's still there as an issue. At least FBs know there is a limited supply of sappers to deal with, which deters being wasteful with them. Riflemen and rifle grenadiers have no such qualms.

-Bomb only destruction, requiring multiple bombs. This would greatly aleviate the symptoms of having your spawn trucks endlessly undermined by sniping aircraft. However, it wouldn't stop a plane or two from shutting down your attack and stalling it out until a new spawnpoint can be brought up. That is why fundamentally any spawn system based on destruction is flawed. It would happen less with the changes you proposed, but it would still happen.

If FBs required a massive number of bombs to be destroyed it might mean that it rarely is destroyed, but those few times that a big bomber raid wipes out the FB without the attackers being able to stop it would be bad gameplay and a bad abstraction of war (it's very easy to bomb something before dying if you know what you are doing. It doesn't matter how much flak they have, the bombs are going to get through).

-Increased tank destruction of spawnpoint. This wouldn't really change anything. A tank in position to fire on your spawnpoint would just take a bit longer to bring it down. Tank rushing the infantry spawnpoints to knock them out is the primary issue that ruins their viability unless RPGs are unlocked and in plentiful supply. So these changes haven't addressed one of the main problems the current truck spawns have. Imagine how bad a state defenses would be in it long ranged bombardment of buildings were all it took to disable them as spawnpoints.

2. Restrict the FRU so that it cannot be placed within 600 meters of an enemy facility. If attackers cannot hold 600 meters of ground to capture a facility then they have no business doing so.
Look any tactical shooter in existence that has area capture; What do you see? Spawnpoints that advance as territory is captured.

15 years ago you had games and mods that weren't sophisticated enough in their design, and actually expected attackers to run the gauntlet of an entire map to achieve multiple victory conditions when the defenders were always spawning next to the objective - It never worked out well.

Let's look at some simple game design math.

Side A spawns 10ft from the objective they must defend.

Side B spawns 600m from the objective they must capture.

On top of this, it is inherently easier to defend than attack.

What do you think is going to happen?

What always does happen in any game designed like that: you rarely ever see the offensive victory condition achieved. The barrier to success is so high that the attackers can rarely achieve the numerical, tactical, or teamwork superiority necessary to overcome the inherent advantage of the defenders.

600meters is too far. I'd consider 500m the bare minimum. 400m is acceptable. 300-350m is ideal because it puts you within quick engagement distance of the enemy.

It is possible to reasonably capture a depot if you can sustain your spawnpoint 300m from the objective. Not guaranteed, but possible.

Once the depot opens up for spawning then you are put on a more even footing to actually capture the town.

The problem is getting to the point where you can reasonably contest and hold that depot.

A 350m infantry spawn point that you can keep up is the main thing that would allow you to capture that depot in the first place, and re-enforce it when the depot supply runs out - because depots by themselves cannot hold themselves. The supply is too limited.

3. Make RTB 50 meters from the nearest friendly spawn.

4. Relax the Rescue condition timer to 10 minutes for supply to return.

Doesn't change anything about the problems infantry offensive spawn points face.

5. Reduce EWS to 800 for infantry (including trucks) and 1000m for Armor.

This wouldn't really have any impact on even the symptoms, let alone the core issues.

The main issue is not that the lack of surprise, but the inability to sustain our positions on the offense once the battle is already underway.

6. Eliminate the defensive FRU.

That would be disasterous if we are talking about giving attackers the kind of offensive spawnable I am advocating. It would still hurt with the tweaked FRU you advocate, but not as much; because the offensive version you suggest would not be as effective as what I propose.

If you give attackers a sustainable and defendable spawnpoint near town I can guarantee you that the defenders will need their own version of it in order to hold ground outside of their town as a way of protecting themselves and relieving the pressure on their town. Otherwise you put the defender at a disadvantage by couping them up in this little hole of static spawnpoints and making it very easy for the attacker to engage them on their terms, choosing where they want to attack from and being able to sustain thier presence very strongly for as long as they need to.

However, when both sides have access to this tool, you will end up seeing more battles fought over open country surrounding the town - which is something players have said they have wanted for a very long time.

Even better, is you'll have a dynamic and changing battlefield. You won't be approaching the same towns in the same way because you'll be forced to deal with where the enemy has dynamically placed their spawnpoints on the defense.

The reason defenders can't use the FRU this way is because there's no predictability to the offensive FRU. There's no logical way to place your defensive FRUs to block the offensive FRUs from advancing.

The reason it didn't happen with truck spawns was because they were too fragile. Too easy to take out.

Something that hinders both of them from being used this way is that you can't place them prior to a battle taking place and just leave them there. Defenders need to be able to deploy forward positions around their town and be alerted when they come under attack so they can start spawning in. This would do away with a lot of fears about rushing and camping the AB. If you don't stop to deal with the forward outposts then you'll be hit from behind by sappers.

Edited by rise27

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Many of your views on the MSP and the games mechanics seem to be more in favor of making attacking much easier and possibly placing too much a burden on the defender. .

Easier is the wrong word. Plausible is the right word.

Because right now the game mechanics make it implausible to capture a town under "normal" or "ideal" game conditions (ie. no surprise, prepared defenders, organized attackers, even player numbers, even supply).

Defenders have to be rewarded for stretching their lines of defense and taking out an area of mustered forces (the FRU or MSP). While this does stall the attack there is nothing wrong with that so long as it is as balanced as it can be
You misunderstand the intention of my proposal if you think it stretches the defender's lines and does not reward them for counter-attacking to sieze ground.

As I explained a couple posts ago, there are two core issues the system I advocate would deal with - and one of those cores is that it must reasonably abstract offensive logistics limitations..

If you can give the defenders a way to logically ascertain where the enemy is, and where they might be, based on game mechanics that simulate real logistics to some degree, then you can give the defenders an advantage by allowing them to push out from their town to set up a forward defense that the attackers will have to deal with before approaching the town itself.

However, the whole jewel of a system like what I propose is that even though the battle is being pushed away from town it does not result in there being less combat - because both sides have the same dynamic spawnpoints that find each other and clash. When one falls back the other moves forward, and vise versa. The battle stays intense and consistent yet dynamically mobile and situationally fair.

The onus is always on the attacker to take the objective under difficult conditions. Attacking in almost all cases should be more difficult than defending unless the attacker has overwhelming odds.

With what I propose the defender would still have the advantage.

You are mistaken if you think the current system is a good or accurate abstraction of the challenges that an attacker faces. The current system would not be as much of a problem if we had the player numbers to spawn out multiple entire brigades worth of infantry all at once and then march towards the objective - but we don't. So the system we have actually is a very poor model for what challenges the attacker faces, because of the need to respawn repeatedly and in close proximity as the only way of simulating real infantry density. One of the reasons we don't always see a need for realistic infantry tactics is because we lack realistic infantry density that requires them.

With what I propose it would still be much more difficult to overcome a defensive nest of hardened spawnpoints than it would be to overcome a single attacker's spawnpoint. It's like the difference between trying to take antwerp vs trying to take a neighboring single AB town. It's a much more complex and difficult task from a tactical standpoint.

Furthermore, the system I propose, if used right, potentially makes it easier to defend - Because now you can fight the enemy out in the fields and prevent them from even getting near your town, if you plan and fight well.

However, it makes it easier to defend in a way that is based on tactics and teamwork - Not based on having hard game mechanics that act as an insurmountable barrier to the attacker's achieving success.

Both sides have the same time to battle from their dynamic spawnpoints, and whoever choses to attack is going to have to put out the effort to close that distance and overcome the defensive positions, and the defenders have the advantage of possibly being on ideal defensive ground. So more effort is required, but this effort is not as insurmountable as the situation attackers are put in when you are dealing with 1km away fragile trucks vs fortified towns; because the dynamic spawnpoints have the same level of capture based durability, the same potential level of fortifications being built up around them, and the same freedom to position themselves on advantageous terrain, and the same freedom to move closer or further away from the enemy's spawnpoint.

If all we want is sustained battle lines then create 2 indestructible spawn points and make them both area capture only and let's duke it out, whomever captures first wins. There are many games that use this paradigm.
That is not what I advocate. Towns and cities still exist as fortified strongholds by their design of having multiple points nearby that are have lots of places to hide and protect themselves from incoming fire. They hafve no travel time, and the fact that you can also spawn armor right at the objective gives them an inherent advantage over the attackers under my proposed system (because armor would not have a spawnpoint within engagement distance of the town).

So effectively, towns and cities are more difficult to capture in game for similar reasons they are more difficult to capture in real life. That's a good abstraction model.

Part of the reason we have what we have, I'm guessing, is because the old developers of this game gave that some serious thought. The attacking MSP should be destructible not area capture because defenders should be able to take them out from a reasonable distance but with great effort. They should not be required to overrun the attacker and overextend their lines too much to stall or break an attacking sortie.

Their first design was actually depot spawning, which was flag capture based and completely bypassed all distance and logistics entirely.

It wasn't a good model in it's first form because it bypassed logistics too much. That's why depot supply trickles in now, and we have area capture systems. It's capture system is fine as long as you have another offensive spawnpoint nearby that you can use as a base to attack the depot from. Otherwise you'll never be able to overcome defenders who can instantly respawn and be back inside the flag building in only 5 seconds. Meanwhile you die and take 5 minutes running in from a long distance truck spawn. The math doesn't work out.

As for why they created truck spawns the way they did - I would say from my experience it was certainly not because they expected that to be the end-all of offensive spawning mechanics, but it was one step in the right direction; and it was a step that didn't require a lot of development resources to rework the game engine.

I also believe that the existence of truck spawning was primarily the result of the playerbase discussing it and asking for it, whereas depot spawning was something CRS appeared to come up with on their own because they surprised the playerbase with it one Christmas.

Long ago, in a patch far far away, I once created a thread detailing an idea for truck spawns and it become a hot topic of discussion with Killer commenting on it (I don't know if he's still around, but he was the lead guy back then). The system we got was basically what I advocated with one key exception. I envisioned simulating logistics by requiring players to load up a "supply" of infantry onto the truck and then leave those trucks somewhere on the battlefield. Then players would spawn from those trucks, but could only spawn about 10 infantry from an opel. This would have required players to place fleets of trucks around zones of control to simulate the mass movement of infantry into an assault position. It would have also preserved the power of air to ruin the logistics of an offensive unless they had proper flak and air cover (which, as much as we hate when that happens, it is realistic). I think the only downside of doing things that way is that being an effective fighter pilot is such a specialized task, requiring time and training because this is simulator grade, that it can be very difficult to fight back unless the fighter pilot talent is evenly distributed.

Edited by rise27

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You addressed the HC and partially the game mechanic issues with "herding cats" with a plug-in and play micro-management system. I just do not see how this flies as there are still a fair amount of players who dislike the AO system which macro manages players into a battle area.

I believe you misunderstand what I am suggesting then; because fundamentally the system of organization I advocate is a voluntary one that serves the players. It doesn't force you to plug yourself in.

One of the great attractions in the game is the ability, once earned, to spawn into whatever supply is available in a Brigade. The reason why this is the case is that the game is subscription based. When people pay they want to be able to access the equipment and play the role they want to play, not what some commander deems what is available. I like the idea, I just don't think it flies in this financial model.

If that were true then we wouldn't have equipment attrition limits to become with, or brigade based supply rather than army base supply.

Players complained when we got brigades because they didn't have their toys at the town they want to attack from.

Most players didn't complain as much about attrition, because it added a lot of good to the game. But you have to realize there was once a day when you could spawn whatever you wanted where-ever you wanted, as much as you wanted. It wasn't good gameplay, or a good abstraction of battle. Some did complain, though, about not having the toys they wanted when they wanted them.

Either way, the goal of the game has never been to spawn whatever you want wherever you want, but to spawn as part of a larger operation combined arms operation involving teamwork and tactics. That was not the way CRS designed the game over many years.

And you also underestimate the kinds of players we had in those years. We had a lot of players who played to advance the overall battle rather than just their own personal kill counts using the biggest, baddest piece of machinery available.

The system I advocate would give us the kinds of combined arms organized operations the players and developers have always wanted, but which the current brigade and HC system was never set up to do effectively because of it's flawed designs.

We already have, I think, just the right amount of that with AO's. You just can't make the command structure too rigid as this is a game not the real military. All you can do is create a good spawning system and general game mechanics that promote overall teamwork and tactical play. Translation, we will always have to "herd the cats" in some way.
The system I advocated is the opposite of the rigid system we have now. It is dynamic and responsive to who the playerbase wants to follow at any given time.

It actually encourages effective cat herding by giving commanders the tools they need to herd multiple streams of cats in different directions towards a common objective.

Right now we have almost no tools for in-game cat herding, and that's why it's failed so bad in my opinion. We don't even have coherent comm systems. That's about as basic as it gets. Yet everyone is split across half a dozen different channels in a single operation.

You mentioned that certain aspects of what I propose are not suitable for this size of a player base. This is entirely true. I'm thinking about making the game better for larger populations in preparation for STEAM release, not at all thinking about ways to make the game better for smaller player bases. We have had enough of that too, in my opinion.
I haven't seen anything you've proposed here that would be good for any population level because it doesn't tackle the core problems.

The system we have now doesn't work very well in high pop. It just works less bad because the system scales even worse in low pop. The reason it scales worse is because of when you can spawn 100 infantry and walk 1km in from town you have a higher chance of accomplishing something before they all die than if you have to spawn only 10 infantry and walk them 1km in from town.

However, if you can sustain a spawnpoint 300m from town then you can do some good with even 10 infantry. But it doesn't mean the 100 infantry are overpowered. They will be facing equally defense defensive conditions.

What I propose is a scaleable system that works well in all pop levels. It's not designed for low pop. It by it's nature scales with the population.

Over Pop / Under Pop and TZ3 (overall low pop): The general game mechanics can never be guided by these conditions. The best that can be done are special rules that come into play when these conditions arise.
Unless you want to shut the server down when it's not prime time, or hang up a big sign telling people not to expect any real gameplay at these hours, it's a real issue that you can't just pretend doesn't exist. It's a self perpetuating cycle that leads to lost subscriptions - Low numbers means you can't effectively play the game, leading to unsubs which leads to lower numbers. It's a vicious cycle.

At least if the game mechanics scaled better you'd have a game that was fun for the small population, so you had a chance of growing your playerbase over time.

And the reality of shifting player numbers is something we've always dealt with.

Prime time US always had more players than prime time EU, and prime time Austrailia/New zealand was pretty sparse.

Even worse, it's not just a timezone issue - it's also a seasonal issue. People play more at certain times of the year, or they come and go with patches and features.

If your system isn't robust enough to scale with shifting players, either up or down, then you're going to end up with disaster. If you design your game to be barely functional with 1000 players online, but then find yourself with 100, then you're never going to be able to get those 1000 players back because all the new players enter to find a game that isn't fun and doesn't work.

The vagaries of under and over by side are just that. The only thing we can really do there are things like SD, Side Lock (maybe 8 hours) and/or reduced or increased capture timers that are dynamic to the local OP/UP issues.
Numbers disparity is not the problem I'm addressing.

Game design that requires you to have a numbers disparity to win is the problem. It shows your mechanics are flawed that players can't expect to win without a side delay.

Numbers disparity is another self-re-enforcing problem because if you have bad game mechanics that make it impossible to achieve success without numbers advantages then you end up with people who only join the side that has side delay or who quit when they don't have it and are losing.

TZ3 might also need some special rules that come into effect only when the total server population reaches certain very low levels.

You don't need that.

That's, again, trying to deal with symptoms instead of dealing with core issues.

Deal with the core spawning issues that hurt even high pop battles and the low pop problems disappear with it.

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Wow. Nice response.

Again, however, you separate much of what I suggest and refute it individually when it all works together to create a better experience that is mostly, if not completely, doable in the near and foreseeable future. I really do like a lot of your ideas and your concepts and reasoning seem sound in many areas.

The issue is that in getting from where we are closer to what you propose is going to take time and resources. If your saying do it this way now or we lose then we've lost and CRS might as well just shut down and cut their losses. In order to get closer we have to realistically move from here to there under the constraints of the code, the developers and the resources (money) to do so.

I'm just doing what I can to come up with ideas that the team might find useful. I go astray for sure and dream about what could be if 10 to 20 million dropped out of the sky into CRS's coffers. I usually reign myself in and try and work under what I understand CRS being capable of. CRS only truly knows their own capabilities but if I'm going to try and assist I have to consider what those capabilities might be.

My main concern recently has been the application and rules behind the mobile spawn system. Obviously you view this fundamental structure of the game as seriously as I do. You may be right but I do not feel that area capture for MSPs is the way to go. A lot of other games do it this way. But most if not all of those games are in much smaller maps that funnel and constrict the flow of the players into direct conflict. The battle lines are very clear and you have to occupy the capture area for a certain amount of time in order to unlock the next capture area. These capture and spawn areas are indestructible usually and close together. BGE is not that game. The reason why pure area capture does not work well within this game is that it then places the majority of the meaningful game play solely into the hands of the infantry. In fact if it were possible making Depots (spawns) affected by their destruction in a meaningful way by prohibiting spawning from them once destroyed would be a better way to balance the field of play in my opinion. Essentially if you go to area capture only you greatly diminish the importance of all the other weapons in the game and take away the destructibility factor that so many war-game enthusiasts enjoy.

We want to have the ability as defenders to be able to disrupt the attack from a reasonable distance after a fair amount of time applying counter-offensive pressure on the MSP which represents a mustering of ground forces. When an MSP goes down the flow of soldiers ceases basically simulating the elimination of the mustered soldiers, even though this does not affect supply accordingly. I don't think the representation of the mustered soldiers should be able to regroup quickly into a nearby area because a few actual soldiers have survived.

A lot of what you say makes sense if you want a heavily infantry influenced game and relegate tanks, atgs and planes to a purely supportive roles when it comes to defending. This would level the playing field greatly but I'm not sure it creates great combined arms play.

I completely disagree with one thing you are saying. "An MSP needs to be as close as 300 meters to capture a CP". This is partially due to the area capture timer, which could be reduced to alleviate distance issues within 600 meters. I would say you need to be 300 meters from a CP only if you are spawning a few soldiers at a time and have no support. This short distance FRU has reinforced a couple of behaviors that I consider bad for the game. It creates a burn through the supply mentality and does not make players think twice about death and the idea that a very small group of soldiers without any support could go into a garrisoned town and capture a sizable area of the town (CP/DEPOT). This should be virtually impossible under the conditions I just described.

I agree about the ability for defenders to spawn in a lot quicker and closer to the area capture. The solution for me would be to move the depots further from the CP out of line of sight of the CP and have an exit timer that prevents them from leaving the depot immediately. They can still snipe enemies around town from the windows until the modest 10-20 second timer releases them. This is of course beyond current capabilities but maybe one day.

At any rate, we will have to see what happens and how the development team handles the changes as BGE tries to grow again. I think our main differences are that you seem to want a faster paced, continuous engagement of infantry with an eye towards concentrating the battle, while I'm looking towards a slower paced and a little less continuous engagements with periods of heavy fighting and clearer lines of engagement within an open world environment. It's been a good debate.

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