BADGER

Ideas for Fixing Balance

226 posts in this topic

Since the game has been released, a major issue has been around. Several attempts have been made to fix it, yet it still continued on. Some of the changes did help along the way, but in the end it is still here and the time is coming to address it once and for all.

We are asking the community for help in this matter by presenting any ideas that they might have. Ideas outside the box, inside the box, or where ever you get them from, they are welcome. We know many have posted suggestions through the years, but this thread will be the central point to collect the ideas for all to review and to discuss.

This thread will be moderated to keep it on topic. As you write your idea, please do so in a big picture view, meaning best for the game as a whole, and not side oriented. This issue is game wide, and not a problem for just one side.

Non-useful comments will be removed in order to keep the thread on topic.

In the Weeks ahead, FOHDRON and I will be arranging some chats to discuss these ideas with the community. For lack of a better term, we will have planning chats where we will discuss the ideas fully with the community in an organized fashion so that the chats remain productive. We will invite everyone who would like to attend and help. When we believe we have a good selection of ideas, we will take them back to the team in order to utilize the ideas to help develop a plan to put a fix into the game.

I hope to see a healthy discussion here on this topic, and look forward to seeing what comes of it.

Edited by BADGER

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Are you going to move over the posts you like from the recent thread on the same subject, or should they be re-typed/re-posted?

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-If F2P players choose the underpop side when logging in, reward them with better equipment.

Not only does it help to balance the sides, but it gives them a feel for the higher tiered stuff which may lead to more subs.

-Another idea is to give F2P players a certain amount of points when they choose the underpop side. Allow these points to be accumulated to buy playing time.

Example- F2P logs into the underpop side and gets 3 kills and recaptures a CP during 1 sortie. He accrues 30 pts. for the kills and 50 pts. for the CP.

If/when that F2P reaches 1000 pts. they get a day of play equal to a paying sub.

Edited by Pittpete
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Are you going to move over the posts you like from the recent thread on the same subject' date=' or should they be re-typed/re-posted?[/quote']

We are starting from scratch in this thread to insure everyone who wishes to submit one can.

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One driver of population imbalance is that a significant number of players want to be on a side that is advantaged, so that they can more easily achieve kills and/or captures.

Better balance could be achieved, at a cost of frustrating those players and maybe losing some of them, by implementing automatic mechanisms that would make the two sides combat-balanced even when they're not population-balanced.

One way to do that would be to evaluate population every half hour or so, and give the lower pop side's map commander some number of virtual artillery missions, assignable by that person to whatever local commanders he choses, subject to appropriate use limits.

At present, in engineering terms, population is a "positive feedback" system. As it goes out of balance, some players are motivated to switch to the overpop side, or begin a game session on that side, or quit their game session playing for the underpop side, resulting in increasing imbalance...and this continues until the imbalance is enough that the overpop side is dominant.

If population imbalance had little effect on victory because combat power was separately maintained close to balance, that positive feedback mechanism would be broken.

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Redacted...like everyone said... an obviously stupid idea...

Edited by Quincannon

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I'm not a fan of anything that involves timers and damage randomly changing. If I lift for a rare RDP run (I generally do 1-2 per campaign but not many more), I want to know how much my bombs will affect the other side. not play the guessing game of are we under/overpop when then bombs impact.

Same with resupply. From a HC perspective it would be problematic to not be fairly certain if supply was coming in or not. From a Player side, if there's no units to spawn, I'm just not logging in. Some may swap over, but I'd think most would simply stop playing.

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First, I hope the selected solution is simple and does not mess with fundamental game rule changes that will have unintended consequences and provide at best an indirect solution.

The best idea I have seen comes from Saronin. That is: only allow Free To Play players to spawn the low pop side. That is a direct solution to the numbers problem. Some issues around that are:

  1. Do you lose potential long term customers by doing this? Perhaps you sell it by calling it a "conscription" process and providing sweeteners.
  2. If these draftees do not have their hearts in playing for the dark side will they just spawn and purposely die to get back to their preferred side? The unintended consequences and gaming of rules must be considered.
  3. The limited equipment available to FTP would not completely balance the effectiveness since the over pop side will likely have regular players with better equipment.
  4. Perhaps the draftees should get a modest bump up in equipment as compensation and to better balance capability.

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Some good ideas have been advanced:

Movement timers extending for over-pop sides.

Free to play automatically gets assigned to low-pop side.

Other ideas to consider are:

* adjusting AI units for both sides:

-low-pop gets more AI towers and positions in cities

-over-pop side gets less towers and positions in cities

* creating garrison units in all non-brigade cites

- low-pop gets not only rifles, but atg and AAA, and in big pop difference, brigade cities get garrisons as well

- over-pop gets only rifles, or, if balance is really bad, no garrison at all

* Engineers have become critical to defending a city by taking out the FB, this has been balanced by making FRUs only placeable by trucks. However, in the case of large imbalance, either increase Engineer supply or decrease Engineer supply timer.

* another solution would be to present the user with more information on population balance when they first choose a side to play on. Having more data can inform choices. I know that a lot of players play squad only, so that won't influence their choice, but I also know a large number of players who do not play squads.

What ever changes come down will need to be transparent to the user. If a city has a garrison there will need to be a symbol for that, perhaps a green dot instead of blue one to indicate. If the AI is upped perhaps a system message to those spawning in, much like the spawn delay message "Axis AI is increased due to population" or some such. "Expect population adjustments for Allied players".

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First, I hope the selected solution is simple and does not mess with fundamental game rule changes that will have unintended consequences and provide at best an indirect solution.

The best idea I have seen comes from Saronin. That is: only allow Free To Play players to spawn the low pop side. That is a direct solution to the numbers problem.

I want to start out saying that this response has nothing to do with whether or not people like MY solution.

What kills me are the number of responses like this one. I am not attacking Dunny... I am targeting the issue that since the day someone mentioned the idea of making Free To Play players be forced to play the underpop side, a lot of people have locked so strongly on to that idea that they will not consider ANY other solution.

I would not have any issue with this if I believed that this proposed solution would have a snowball's chance in Hades of really solving the issue. But it won't.

There are major issues with the F2P solution.

1. In today's market, MOST MMOs offer F2P. Our guys come here because they like this game, and they can play the side they want. If we take that away from them, the majority are likely to simply play another game. I can tell you that an issue like this is one of the major reasons I quit my favorite WWII game and switched to THIS one. The other game sometimes kept me out unless I was willing to play Axis. If I were a F2P in this game and I was told that I had no choice of which side I play, and it sent me Axis when I logged in, I would quit until I could play Allied. If that happens too many times I would be gone.

2. CRS actually WANTS F2P players to subscribe and pay to play. Consider the effect of giving the F2P players more toys for playng the underpop side. If they are willing to stay after their choice of which side to play is taken away from them, then they will suddenly get the benefit of even more toys. Think about how that works for a second... They enjoy playing, and don't care which side they play, so that is not a problem for them. Sidelock is not a problem because they will always be on the underpopped side, and at the same time they get more toys whenever they log in because they are being forced to play on the underpopped side. The end result is that they have it better than they do now and have even less incentive to subscribe than they do now. "Sweetening the pot" in this situation will only reduce the chance that these folks will ever subscribe.

3. Bad reviews from F2P players. CRS is planning on taking this game on Steam. That means that the reviews WILL matter. A move like this WILL alienate a lot of F2P players. Those same players are some of the ones who wirte reviews on Steam. If they start telling everyone that F2P players in WWII Online have no control over the side they play, we will lose a TON of potential new players. Remember: like it or not this game is a WWII game.

This is NOT a Red versus Blue game. Many people actually tend to care about which side of the conflict they play on. That means that there are a lot of folks who will want to play one side or another exclusively. If they are told that they don't have that option even before they download the game, those players will probably never even try it.

4. This method will not give paid subscribers any kind of incentive at all to play underpop. If anything it gives those folks who like to club baby gaming seals more reason to log in on the OVERpopped side.

I am not saying that paying customers should not have benefits. Employing the current side lock only on Free to Play Customers would not only be reasonable, but fit in with the industry standard of giving paying customers priority in the queue when they log into an MMO. F2P players are used to that. What they are not used to is having their choice of whch faction to play removed. Even games which restrict certain factions to paying customers usually give free players control over which available side or race they play.

We will already face the situation of Free Players saying that this game is Pay to Win, since only paying subscribers have access to everything. WE can argue that it's not really that bad because everyone who subscribes at a certain tier gets everythign for that tier.

We need to consider all our options, and not just try relying on an option that is more likely to hurt the game than help it. We need to find an option that offers ALL players incentives to help balance the sides.

Please folks, don't write off every other idea without at least giving them due consideraton.

!S

Edited by Quincannon
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I don't think we are writing anything off and there seemed to be a balanced response to the idea of forcing FTP (hate stating it that way when it is actually a DEMO). I would not force that issue either. Too many negative side effects.

Most MMOs ARE FTP. In most, if you are willing you can grind it out and get almost everything the premium or paying players do. Usually, premium players do not get more access they just get quicker access. Experience boosts and possibly the ability to activate more buffs. Remember that in this game a green tag with a rifle still has a pretty good chance, relatively speaking, of killing say Lob12 for example, much to his frustration and lamentation.

While some players treat the demonstration access as free to play access the models are not very compatible compared to other FTP MMO's. Battleground Europe is not a FTP MMO it is a subscription MMO. In some ways you pay to win in that there are now tiers of pay that restrict access to some pretty powerful equipment. I'm OK with that. I'd be more concerned right now of the perception of our FTP being confused with other MMO models and that free level not being recognized as a free demo of the game from STEAM players than population imbalances.

I, like someone who already posted, do not like the idea of population inequities affecting supply levels, access or time of movement. Although I would like to see brigade movements slowed down just from a realism and strategic standpoint, which would reduce stacking and increase attrition as part of victory conditions. Consider that one of the main ways an underpopulated side can combat imbalances is to play smarter and wear down the enemy through attrition. Currently that is hard to do with the speed at which brigades move.

As for my suggestion for this issue.

Just about anything you can do to level the playing field short of locking the arena when great imbalances occur is going to be gamed by either side.

For expample: I'd like to see capture timers adjusted to help fight imbalances. I'm just not sure if this could be gamed much. Some folks think that regardless of the imbalance each side should have the same chance to succeed. This goes contrary to a fundamental and sound military theory; greater numbers vastly increase the chance for success in a military engagement.

My best idea, slow down brigades. Yes, this would actually help low population sides as described above. At least I believe it would.

I'm reminded of a warning I've seen in H&G when joining missions that actually affect the war. Be prepared for large population imbalances. Enter at your own risk. It's not worded exactly like that but that's the general message.

I think if we try and do too much here it ends up muddying the waters even further. Be careful.

Edited by stonecomet

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Haven't read all the wall of text here so sorry if I repeat stuff already said, I'll keep it short.

-Lower capping/recapping timers for the underpop side

-AO population threshold must take in consideration population level on both sides. That 2nd/3rd AO often just fcks the underpop'd side very badly because its all about TOTAL population if I remember correctly.

-We need to become more used to GM/Rats making obvious moves to stop stuff like abusive cut offs when a side is lacking HCs. I know rats don't want to do too much of it because they don't want to give the perception that they're helping a side.

3 main things I've been thinking about recently.

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The big balance problems are a lack of HC and players from the losing side not logging on.

You should reduce the responsibility of HC so they have less impact and less is required of officers so they don't get burnt-out. That means that they have less power over the game too but whatever, the current HC job is woefully short of people willing to take it because it sucks so much.

They only way to get players to log on regardless of the map state is if they're invested in a community or if they expect a fun time(or both). Squads have squad operations that get their members online, and squad ops also bring outsiders and opponents online because of the anticipated action. The game needs squads back big time and big ones that can make their own battles, not anemic skeletons.

Another simple step to improve balance would be to stop counting all units the same for population. A F2P spawned as rifleman is not the same as some experienced player spawned as a tank. Also do you have any solid demographic information on existing F2P players? Because if they are overwhelmingly new then making them spawn on the underpop side would make balance worse by equaling population but loading one side with inexperienced and gimped players.

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A F2P spawned as rifleman is not the same as some experienced player spawned as a tank.

Why?

You don't think some F2P are vets that don't/cant pay for a sub?

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Okay, I'll throw my 2 cents in here.

Subscription model change

$13.99 a month for a single side AXIS or ALLIED package

$18.99 a month for AXIS & ALLIED package (12hr persona side lock)

$29.99 a month for AXIS & ALLIED HERO package (current persona side lock)

F2P accounts subject to a 7 day side lock after 10 logins for the current campaign

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One way to do that would be to evaluate population every half hour or so, and give the lower pop side's map commander some number of virtual artillery missions, assignable by that person to whatever local commanders he choses, subject to appropriate use limits.

If population imbalance had little effect on victory because combat power was separately maintained close to balance (...)

Virtual artillery missions wouldn't be the only deployable tool. The underpop side could temporarily get a desirable infantry weapon. The StG44 would be perfect for this.

So would the HHL2 "panzer hand mine", a sticky-attach HEAT device for T1 that would work like a moderate-power "HEAT sapper charge" and would be easy to model and drop into the existing infantry characters.

So would an issue of AP ammo, with the rest of the game realistically switched back to FMJ lead bullets. No model needed, just parameter changes.

So would a short barrel pump action shotgun firing buckshot for the Americans.

The HEAT RGs could be added to the game, but selectively for the underpop side only. Much like the AP ammo, they weren't standard issue...sometimes the logistics system would bring a few, sometimes not.

Or, with some code work, a player on the underpop side could get say three tungsten core rounds per hour, whatever gun he was playing. No transfer of ammo, no saving up. Use it by the end of the hour, or lose it.

A lot of fun things could be selectively added for such a purpose.

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-What about allowing FTP people on the low pop side to capture?

Hmm?

Those that DID help the underpop side might actually be able to help the underpop side by capturing.

-I have a problem with the HC structure and want to see it gone. When a side is underpop, and losing, nobody is:

a: on as HC

b: wishing to join HC

c: making decisions that will stop the slaughter or at least slow it.

Meanwhile the overpop side has ten officers on and OICs of many different jobs. Things are getting done, flags are being monitored and moved as needed, etc.

This is not Allied or Axis -it's both.

Why do we allow the game to be so dependent on a handful of HC players? That needs to be looked at more closely.

-Limit the number of AOs an overpop side can set. It's hard to defend against three full EWS AOs when you're underpop. People spread out all over and all AOs suffer miserably.

I've been on a couple of attacks lately that had like three or four defenders while two other battles wore on. That needs to change.

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Virtual artillery missions wouldn't be the only deployable tool. The underpop side could temporarily get a desirable infantry weapon. The StG44 would be perfect for this.

So would the HHL2 "panzer hand mine", a sticky-attach HEAT device for T1 that would work like a moderate-power "HEAT sapper charge" and would be easy to model and drop into the existing infantry characters.

So would an issue of AP ammo, with the rest of the game realistically switched back to FMJ lead bullets. No model needed, just parameter changes.

So would a short barrel pump action shotgun firing buckshot for the Americans.

The HEAT RGs could be added to the game, but selectively for the underpop side only. Much like the AP ammo, they weren't standard issue...sometimes the logistics system would bring a few, sometimes not.

Or, with some code work, a player on the underpop side could get say three tungsten core rounds per hour, whatever gun he was playing. No transfer of ammo, no saving up. Use it by the end of the hour, or lose it.

A lot of fun things could be selectively added for such a purpose.

Seems like a good time to get the panzerfaust in game

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Why?

You don't think some F2P are vets that don't/cant pay for a sub?

Count all players equally regardless of unit spawned and you penalize the side that spawns infantry, has newer players or F2P players while rewarding the side that can have the most tanks and vets spawned in. The imbalance is going to be exacerbated when/if the devs put in more underpop benefits.

If the one upside for a losing team is that it will receive benefits for being underpopulated then dumping all the F2P players on them and equaling population is going to make the balance worse.

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Seems like a good time to get the panzerfaust in game

Well, the development focus for a balance mechanic probably needs to be on weapons available before T4.

Also, the program I'm trying to outline here tries to focus on items that could be added to the game with a minimum of modeling and coding. Panzerfaust would require some code work and infantry position modeling due to its unique firing position and constraints.

Any iconic WWII weapon can be added, of course, and probably would have a beneficial effect on game interest. That however would be general game development...not the narrower goal for this post of adding balance mechanics with minimum work.

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-I have a problem with the HC structure and want to see it gone. When a side is underpop, and losing, nobody is:

a: on as HC

b: wishing to join HC

c: making decisions that will stop the slaughter or at least slow it.

Meanwhile the overpop side has ten officers on and OICs of many different jobs. Things are getting done, flags are being monitored and moved as needed, etc.

This is not Allied or Axis -it's both.

Why do we allow the game to be so dependent on a handful of HC players? That needs to be looked at more closely.

-Limit the number of AOs an overpop side can set. It's hard to defend against three full EWS AOs when you're underpop. People spread out all over and all AOs suffer miserably.

I've been on a couple of attacks lately that had like three or four defenders while two other battles wore on. That needs to change.

1. I understand your frustration with HC. That said, remember that the game will LOSE some things if the HC goes.

I. A core group devoted to the SIDE more than themselves or a single squad. People who are willing to sacrifice their own play time to try to make sure the game is fun for EVERYONE on their side.

II. Organized side missions such as the one held last week by the AHC. True, squads will sometimes organize something, but rarely on a coordinated side level.

III. Non-stat based awards and side awards. CRS does not have time to spend on this. HC recognizes players on both sides for more than just kills. Without this system, all that is left are the temp achievements listed in the stat system. And consider the type of awards that some WWII games have developed... Does anyone really care about earning a ribbon for sprinting for 30 seconds?.

IV. SIDE coordination in general. Get rid of the HC and there will be NO reliable side leaders on a regular basis. Sure, some squads will have their own leaders, but you will wind up with a lot of every man for himself situations. CRS is not likely to do any organization. They don't have the people.

V. Side strategy. Right now,the HCs try to create some kind of strategy. Without them, there will likely be very little effective coordination or strategy. (imagine two big squads disagreeing with each other and spiltting their side into both the north and the south, leaving the center open). Individual squads and players are not going to spend any real amount of time strategizing, and even when some folks want to do so, what reason do the other players have to follow their lead. (Don't tell me that all it will take is one or two disasters for the side to learn their lesson...it's simply not true, because the side will have very few points of unity)

You mention limiting the number of AOs, but remember that one of the reasons that a number of people who have wanted an end to the HC sstem is so that they can set any number of AOs that they want, anywhere they want, regardless of population or strategy. In short, they seem to want a complete sandbox game with no set direction.

You mention battles with only 4 or 5 defenders... well without HC it is highly likely that you will see a lot more of people being spread out all over the map, because different players and squads will have different ideas about what they want to do.

The HC system needs fixing, I agree, but I think they serve some important functions that help unify the sides.

Edited by Quincannon

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The key to problem solving starts with a well defined problem.

What is the problem you're actually looking to solve? Define it, clearly, in simple terms

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-If F2P players choose the underpop side when logging in, reward them with better equipment.

Not only does it help to balance the sides, but it gives them a feel for the higher tiered stuff which may lead to more subs.

.

I believe this could work. Allow F2P players access to better equipment when logging to underpop side.

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I believe this could work. Allow F2P players access to better equipment when logging to underpop side.

If you want to alienate the F2P players who want a choice in what they play, and to virtually guarantee that side switchers who don't care will have even LESS reason to subscribe, then keep chewing on this bone.

Relying solely on this idea will do more harm than good in the long run.

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When F2P log in and see long waiting time to join overpopulated side - maybe he consider to help underpop side with the vision to get better equipment. Thats free choice of F2P, no forcing. I believe it is not bad idea. Then side switching could be locked somehow or significantly delayed for them to avoid sudden side changing.

And when F2P gets a taste of good equipment maybe it convinces him to pay subscription to keep the better equipment.

Well, we are just tossing ideas. It is on CRS what they consider bad or good.

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