ZEBBEEE

Proximity-based AO: giving back map freedom

68 posts in this topic

Time to get discussions going on again as 1.36 is coming along :)

IMO, I believe for 10 years now that the current AO design isn’t adequate and contributed to drastically decrease our squad activities. 

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I will take a stab at it looking from a 1.36 perspective where there is no more flag shuffling and soft capping. First and foremost I think it is important to realize that if we really want squads to make a comeback, there has to be a 100% guarantee that at the time and place of their choosing they will always have an AO to place. No squad is going to roll the dice and hope that maybe this squad night they will get lucky and finally get an AO. If this is any short of 100% you will see squads wither away again because nobody wants to take all the time to plan an operation and then not be able to execute it.

At the same time we have to think of ways that the system can be exploited and how to take into account special situations such as low-pop and numbers imbalance. The solution to this potential issue, however, is not to place a ceiling on the maximum number of AOs for the reasons I stated above. Hard limits would be a deal breaker for squads, and interestingly, for new players as well since during the steam release my squaddies said how many new players wanted to start their own attacks but were frustrated they couldn't and that they didn't "get" the whole HC system.

In other words, the system has to be simple and understandable by your average players and especially new players. If we can't communicate to new players in less than 10 seconds how to attack a town there is a problem. That said here we go:

 

BASIC PRINCIPLES:

1) AO automatically placed when EWS above threshold (don't complicate by adding in an OIC middleman)

2) No concurrent AO limits (see above reasoning)

3) EWS with active (non-AFK) players needed to sustain AO

4) AO automatically removes when players fall below certain threshold (with time lag/warning)

5) Time lag to allow placement and smaller lag to prevent it from being immediately lost if someone logs off

 

NUMBERS/TIME:

10 players within 1000m CP to initiate AO, 5 players within 300m to sustain AO (players must no be AFK to avoid 2nd accounts gaming the system)

5 minutes between EWS going off and AO being placed

No change in table/AB timer rules (not point of this thread but would be tweaked)

Players drop below maintenance threshold, there is a 3 minute warning, then AO goes away and  need to get 10 infantry.

10 minute cool-down timer between AO going away and repeat one being placed.

 

Ways to prevent the system of being exploited: currently if a group of 10 players sets an AO and they want to immediatly despawn and set up another AO this happens:

00:00 10 players in EWS range Town A > 5 minutes until AO placed

00:05 AO placed Town A > then 10 minutes until tables are hot (15 minutes for defenders to respond)

           10 players despawn in attempt to exploit system and set another AO in Town B

00:06 System registers players in Town A AO are below threshold > 5 min warning timer starts

00:07 10 players get into EWS range at Town B > 5 min AO timer

00:11 AO removed Town A

00:12 AO placed Town B > 10 minutes until tables hot

 

The idea is that you have the timer set where it takes longer to get the AO placed than it does to have it removed. This way anyone trying to exploit it will be chasing their tail with AOs going down faster than they can put them up. A few other points: players would likely try to exploit this system by having a FMS pre-set within range via a 2nd account, so that you could fast switch. However, it still takes some time to despawn, get in another mission, and spawn in. Another important point is that AFK players do not count toward the minimum number needed to sustain the AO.

How to solve the issue of population imbalance? The AO # required to set and sustain and dynamic and change with the population balance. The idea is that you want to have roughly the same amount of AOs and DOs per side. I would adjust both the initiation number as well as the sustaining number for the overpop side (more needed to initiate and sustain). So the way it would work is look at the underpop side and see how many total active players there are and then normalize it, so that if the overpop side has 10% more players, they need 10% (rounded up) to initiate the AO and to sustain it; so in that situation it would be 11 and 6.

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logged in this morning as allies, no HC. our gameplay was dictated by axis for 3 hours

any news on the proximity AO's?

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Still in brainstorming discussion. From what we can conclude from the dedicated topic in the general forum:

There are actually 2 sub-parts to the concept:

- allowing an AO to be placed when the heavy infantry EWS lasted long enough

- initiating AO cancellation as soon as there has been no heavy infantry EWS for some time

These can be implemented separatedly.

Yet it doesn’t provide any clue about how many players should be needed to trigger heavy EWS, nor for how long, should it auto-place or just offer an option to do so by the AO OIC, how severe should the cancellation rules be, or if the number of concurrent AOs should be limited or not.

Also, HC-placed AOs could remain in place in order to have a hybrid AO system offering complementary options. And what about keeping the ability for HC to pull off an AO even when cancellation conditions are not met.

@XOOMis the only one that can tell. 

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31 minutes ago, ZEBBEEE said:

Yet it doesn’t provide any clue about how many players should be needed to trigger heavy EWS, nor for how long, should it auto-place or just offer an option to do so by the AO OIC, how severe should the cancellation rules be, or if the number of concurrent AOs should be limited or not.

if you need guidance just look at the current server

  • right now you have live AOs with >10 players on the attacking side
  • in many cases the attack doesn't go anywhere until the defenders get bored and leave, then someone stealth-captures a depot
  • a whole team doesn't get more than 1 AO for huge portions, if not most of the day
  • moling and splitting pop between multiple towns has become the premier way to break defenders 

what I'm saying is that your bar for player satisfaction is pretty low

you don't have to make the best system, just make one better than what you're using now which is pretty easy

I told you all how to fix this a few years ago, just go ahead and use 15 players within 3km for 5 minutes to get an AO, a server player count every minute, and a 5-minute warning to get numbers back up before the server pulls the AO
once the system is in you can tweak it for faster/slower AOs/AO withdrawals or player thresholds

I should probably state the obvious: while proximity AOs will make the gameplay better, the main benefit of proximity AOs is that they will lower your administrative costs...I would think that this is extremely relevant for a tiny software company that is staffed by volunteers 

oh and a huge secondary benefit is that AOs by proximity will give you an excuse to undo most of the un-fun rules and timers you've put in to slow down the tactical game (due to players being able to arbitrarily AO towns)

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On 8/27/2018 at 9:29 PM, jwilly said:

A majority of customers want near-instant fighting. Physically moving between locations would be a game killer.

Are you sure? Foxhole has you being shuttled from spawn to the front line every time you log in. 

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20 hours ago, david06 said:

I should probably state the obvious: while proximity AOs will make the gameplay better, the main benefit of proximity AOs is that they will lower your administrative costs...I would think that this is extremely relevant for a tiny software company that is staffed by volunteers 

oh and a huge secondary benefit is that AOs by proximity will give you an excuse to undo most of the un-fun rules and timers you've put in to slow down the tactical game (due to players being able to arbitrarily AO towns)

Don't get the assertion of administrative cost with proximity AO- the only way that is a thing is if you eliminate HC altogether, so you don't have the rank/rights admin work.  That's mostly volunteer work, but I expect some cost on the database/oversight side.

 

As for timers, don't see that at all.  You will still have pop neutrality issues with capture times, in fact arguably worse since the overpop can lay on more AOs and spread defenders further to the point they can't reasonably put on an AO, and if capture timers or other systems are pulled it will just be a slaughter.

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A minimalist option no one seems to have discussed is 'Proximity AO Lite'-  putting in the AO pull code for dropping below X population without putting in the AO on code.

 

That way AOs drop after X period dead, then lay on either with HC on doing so or the current SYSTEM AO.  That would provide immediate relief and testing while working out a full version, or may give enough AO churn for squads to have their moment.

 

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7 hours ago, Kilemall said:

As for timers, don't see that at all.  You will still have pop neutrality issues with capture times, in fact arguably worse since the overpop can lay on more AOs and spread defenders further to the point they can't reasonably put on an AO, and if capture timers or other systems are pulled it will just be a slaughter.

Agree here. I think we have to be careful not to have AOs get used in a dominant fashion by the overpop side. It should be seen fundamentally as a way to give players/squads to play the game the way they want to outside of the confines of the HC system, but good overall playerbase gameplay should trump that. So for example if there is an overpop situation, the numbers needed to activate an AO should be dynamic.

A lot of this is just guesswork since most of us don't know the breakdown of the actually Axis/Allies pop% during various parts of the day, but it seems obvious that the wheels begin to fall off big time when there is more than >15-20% overpop (so a 40 vs 60 scenario). The art here is to create a system that limits players from doing "bad things" from a gameplay wise perspective (too many AOs that swamp underpop defenders) without making it seem that said players are being limited (since they would probably get angry and log off).

Wrong Way: Hard AO limits/maximums. A squad logs in for squad night and has 10 players, side is overpop, and are met with the "Total AO Maximum Reached" message... queue frustration and logging.

Right Way: Dynamic AO Trigger Rules. A squad logs in for squad night and has 10 players, side is overpop, and are informed "Note: 12 players needed to set Proximity AO" (this can be done say by a .AO command or something that will inform you in real time what the requirement is).

In the former case you create a system that feels arbitrary and punishing to players. In the latter, you have the same effective result, but give players incentive to get outside players involved in the game and partaking in squad ops. Yes, they may not always get it, but at least there is a feeling with this system that it is an achievable outcome, which makes a world of difference vis-a-vis hard coded limits. I will also be the first to say that this is an extremely tricky balancing act to get right! Yikes!

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8 hours ago, Kilemall said:

A minimalist option no one seems to have discussed is 'Proximity AO Lite'-  putting in the AO pull code for dropping below X population without putting in the AO on code.

 

That way AOs drop after X period dead, then lay on either with HC on doing so or the current SYSTEM AO.  That would provide immediate relief and testing while working out a full version, or may give enough AO churn for squads to have their moment.

 

You probably missed my post of yesterday:

On 08/05/2019 at 0:03 AM, ZEBBEEE said:

Still in brainstorming discussion. From what we can conclude from the dedicated topic in the general forum:

There are actually 2 sub-parts to the concept:

- allowing an AO to be placed when the heavy infantry EWS lasted long enough

- initiating AO cancellation as soon as there has been no heavy infantry EWS for some time

These can be implemented separatedly.

Yet it doesn’t provide any clue about how many players should be needed to trigger heavy EWS, nor for how long, should it auto-place or just offer an option to do so by the AO OIC, how severe should the cancellation rules be, or if the number of concurrent AOs should be limited or not.

Also, HC-placed AOs could remain in place in order to have a hybrid AO system offering complementary options. And what about keeping the ability for HC to pull off an AO even when cancellation conditions are not met.

@XOOMis the only one that can tell. 

A third part would be to make an absence of heavy Infantry EWS to instantly freeze new radio capture.

owned flags remain owned but only defenders can capture at that stage. Attackers must reinforce over the AO.

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Prior to beta 1.36 and this campaign, I was a fan of the hybrid proximity AOs. However after extensive play during beta and many sorties this campaign playing and watching the map, I have changed my mind.

It would be a bad move and could cause serious divisions between playerbase and HCs. 

Many many times I have seen AOs this map set by HCs that cause more harm than good. Not the selection of the AO, even though some are questionable, it's watching the map and watching the active attack mission list that is the problem and where the attack is coming from.

Here is an example:

Namur & Jodo Allied, Eghezee & Andenne Axis

During a proximity AO setup, 15-20 guys move into Namur from Eghezee, spring the AO. Attack for 60 mins draining all Eghezee supply. GHC calls for the attacking group to stop because Eghezee has no supply with to defend if AHC places AO on Eghezee from Jodo. AHC places AO, Eghezee falls in 15 mins because there is no supply to defend. 

Thats a problem, a serious problem not because of the Eghezee being capped but because you have tension and major disagreements between the pb and HCs. People will quit playing and this would just become a mob mentality game without the best features we currently have now. 

I rarely see most players complain about AOs the HCs set, they just wanna attack or defend and have fun. 

After beta testing 1.36 and this campaign...you would be a fool to make any changes now...things are good. Stop changing stuff and let things grow abit and see how it plays out.

 

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14 minutes ago, kazee said:

During a proximity AO setup, 15-20 guys move into Namur from Eghezee, spring the AO. Attack for 60 mins draining all Eghezee supply. GHC calls for the attacking group to stop because Eghezee has no supply with to defend if AHC places AO on Eghezee from Jodo. AHC places AO, Eghezee falls in 15 mins because there is no supply to defend. 

who cares if they are draining supplies, you have active players on the server

CRS could pull more supplies out of its [censored] if it really wanted to, not so much for active players

there is supplies in every town now, it's a completely different paradigm as a town falling does not open up some hole allowing the opponent  to softcap to the factories

so far I've seen plenty of garrisons drained on attacks, yeah it sucks but it's not the end of the map

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34 minutes ago, david06 said:

who cares if they are draining supplies,

HCs care or at least they should, heck even players that want to win the campaign should care...u have this setup and like I said...a mob mentality game it will become.

I would not wanna play the game that way and I bet most players, at least long term vets, would not either. They stay because its different and not mob mentality 

This game is unique and special because it has features that or not setup like most games.

 

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6 hours ago, kazee said:

HCs care or at least they should, heck even players that want to win the campaign should care...u have this setup and like I said...a mob mentality game it will become.

I would not wanna play the game that way and I bet most players, at least long term vets, would not either. They stay because its different and not mob mentality 

This game is unique and special because it has features that or not setup like most games.

 

+1  - I think most of us still seek to RTB and preserve supply, but to be fair to david06 he is right, if the town we are attacking from is lost or endangered due to low supply, well all the link towns now have supply in them and that can be used to help defend, or recap, or just to stop any thrust developing if the town does change hands.

For the third day running in TZ3 there are no axis HC in game - we need to get away from the "HC mentality", not the "mob mentality" - at least the mob, well about seven of us earlier on (if seven can be a mob?), were playing the game. 

 

S! Ian 

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1 hour ago, ian77 said:

+1  - I think most of us still seek to RTB and preserve supply, but to be fair to david06 he is right, if the town we are attacking from is lost or endangered due to low supply, well all the link towns now have supply in them and that can be used to help defend, or recap, or just to stop any thrust developing if the town does change hands.

For the third day running in TZ3 there are no axis HC in game - we need to get away from the "HC mentality", not the "mob mentality" - at least the mob, well about seven of us earlier on (if seven can be a mob?), were playing the game. 

 

S! Ian 

CRS switches to 1 AO minimum, no TZ3 HC- coincidence?

 

It's like rules that make your side tougher drive off leadership.  Who knew?

 

As for the supply paradigm, can players manage themselves to play smart and back off when the attrition equation is going the defense's way?  That's an aspect of smart play, along with when to overstock/send rescue FMS/armor for a depleted town.  It would be too bad to see the spawnlists dumbed down by increases, it would make a mockery of the ToEs change.

Edited by Kilemall

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30 minutes ago, Kilemall said:

It's like rules that make your side tougher drive off leadership.  Who knew?

Are you criticizing CRS for driving off the leadership, or criticizing the leadership for only playing when they have it easy?

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26 minutes ago, Capco said:

Are you criticizing CRS for driving off the leadership, or criticizing the leadership for only playing when they have it easy?

That’s a very relevant point, actually: do leaders step up when they know they have a good chance to win? 

Why did we have more leadership when we had no depots to spawn at, and no AOs? Maybe because the unpredictable opportunities combined to highly concentrated camping opportunities made it worth to group up and roll together.

same when we had inf-placed mobile spawns, creating the opportunity to surprise the enemy and achieve a campaign-impacting victory.

some don’t want to go back to that map and battle dynamics, but is another way of leading even possible in a virtual game?

could our game play find a balance between the two: offer freedom for surprise, require strong settlement to give a chance to the defenders, but then reward the perseverance by making victory rules evolve to something more easy to achieve? (Battle finish)

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15 minutes ago, Capco said:

Are you criticizing CRS for driving off the leadership, or criticizing the leadership for only playing when they have it easy?

You should know me by now.

Both.

Real Hobson's Choice for CRS, all they can do is try to get a fair game, but some people got the taste for sweet advantage under X conditions and it's not fun if those conditions are made tougher to obtain.

We shouldn't be surprised, this is after all a PvP where a lot of the fun is beating other players and feeling chagrin/frustration when we are beat.

EWH.

A goodly portion for why I am so big on game tools even over the 1.36 changes is to ease this leadership thing by baking in the org tools, and I'm not even talking about 'resource management' like HC or AOs, I'm talking about tactical things like the mission paradigm without inherent org makes lizard mommas of the ML, laying eggs then waddling away, and in a larger business sense the same approach to new players' first hour.  We retain just 5% of the people that have tried this game and CRS wouldn't know what to do with that money.

Also, missions aren't tied into any kind of AO/DO org beyond the brigade/garrison, and AO/DO command is constantly lacking and I don't know that most players would follow anyone stepping into that role if they don't have 'a brand' which new players wouldn't know anyway.  That's just as much a show stopper as any lack of HC.

 

It's a 24/7 game, and if we wait on Tribal Raider Chieftains to show up you'll have action lags just as much as any HC.  The game tools need to inherently build org and train people operationally as much as they learn tactically with spawning and learning to kill/avoid death/fulfill the attack/defense ingame.

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27 minutes ago, ZEBBEEE said:

Why did we have more leadership when we had no depots to spawn at, and no AOs? Maybe because the unpredictable opportunities combined to highly concentrated camping opportunities made it worth to group up and roll together.

The game was more novel in the early 2000s than it is today.  That novelty drew in the leaders you speak of.  As that novelty wore off, the leaders drifted away for this reason and many others.  And the same was true for the non-leaders.

 

That's also why we saw the biggest jump in the history of the game after TOEs were introduced.  It was something completely novel that had never been done before, just like WWIIOL's first go around.  

 

Maybe there's only so much novelty left that this game has to give.  

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34 minutes ago, ZEBBEEE said:

could our game play find a balance between the two: offer freedom for surprise, require strong settlement to give a chance to the defenders, but then reward the perseverance by making victory rules evolve to something more easy to achieve? (Battle finish)

Probably not without entering into an unacceptable level of unrealism. 

 

And that is the dilemma of WWIIOL.  The same thing that makes it so special and enjoyable is also what makes it so unforgiving and unenjoyable.  

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32 minutes ago, Kilemall said:

 

Both.

Real Hobson's Choice for CRS, all they can do is try to get a fair game, but some people got the taste for sweet advantage under X conditions and it's not fun if those conditions are made tougher to obtain.

 

Also, missions aren't tied into any kind of AO/DO org beyond the brigade/garrison, and AO/DO command is constantly lacking and I don't know that most players would follow anyone stepping into that role if they don't have 'a brand' which new players wouldn't know anyway.  That's just as much a show stopper as any lack of HC.

 

It's a 24/7 game, and if we wait on Tribal Raider Chieftains to show up you'll have action lags just as much as any HC.  

It is a set of confusing or perhaps a better word would be complex choices - but the current campaign under 1.36 is still evolving but it seems evident that:

  • towns are changing hands much more often and quickly (usually) than before: this is dynamic and seems a good thing  and/but/though many town switches simply predicated on the obvious lack of supply and/or supply trickle on a town cap
  • many (most?) vet players seem to appreciate more the new model, attrition, every kill counts, etc; mirroring somewhat 'the old days'
  • fewer moveable brigades seems to have made HC brigade placement/moves actually more complex and certainly more critical

No clue what any of the above might mean long term or in terms of game reorg/tools/UI.

Kile, are you suggesting some kind of sub-collection of missions, for example:  all LEUVEN AO missions  //  VERDUN DO missions //  OTHER MISSIONS (fb, bridge, recon, whatever) be grouped together somehow for players to choose from in  a new mission list/active battles tab? 

Mostly what I have seen in-game in 1.36 is the same old - you win/cap/move the map if an OIC or MOIC, whether HC, squad leader or just a player who endlessly promotes/directs a specific battle WITH CAPS in chat, sometimes aided by Discord. 

Subcategories of this in-game one battle at a time leadership are (but not limited to), using players names for discussion purposes only:  

  • Potthead Model: enthusiasm, humour, endless chat messages; tactical involvement ('get on my HT for spawn hotdrop now')
  • Parasit Model: tactical specific direction, dfms at bunker, tanks in ab corners, fb mission now, etc
  • Dfadd Model: enthusiasm, broader explanation (here's the plan for the next 5 hours) lots of caps messages
  • Delems Model: here's the options for AOs, why they are important, what supply is like, lets discuss this before deciding

There are many others, and many leaders and many styles. All seem to work, certainly better than just a player (new or old) spawning into a game session and seeing one or two AOs and DOs up with no comms. Its still herding cats though. I admire (and thank) those leaders with the perseverance  to communicate and direct, successful or not, as any specific battle or action may be. 

 

 

 

Edited by sorella
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10 minutes ago, Capco said:

The game was more novel in the early 2000s than it is today.  That novelty drew in the leaders you speak of.  As that novelty wore off, the leaders drifted away for this reason and many others.  And the same was true for the non-leaders.

 

That's also why we saw the biggest jump in the history of the game after TOEs were introduced.  It was something completely novel that had never been done before, just like WWIIOL's first go around.  

 

Maybe there's only so much novelty left that this game has to give.  

We're in a new novelty phase now aren't we, with 1.36, garrisons, etc? 

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56 minutes ago, Capco said:

The game was more novel in the early 2000s than it is today.  That novelty drew in the leaders you speak of.  As that novelty wore off, the leaders drifted away for this reason and many others.  And the same was true for the non-leaders.

 

That's also why we saw the biggest jump in the history of the game after TOEs were introduced.  It was something completely novel that had never been done before, just like WWIIOL's first go around.  

 

Maybe there's only so much novelty left that this game has to give.  

I'm afraid I have to disagree, you've got this sideways.

 

HC leadership has remained at a steady proportion of the total population.  More pop more HC.  I suspect several squad leaders were turned off by the AOs and left, but in general it's population that drives number of leaders, HC or otherwise.

 

Interesting corollary though, you can get more pop by having better leadership, as people stay on to play longer if the play is worthwhile and new players are swept along in a tide of 'hey I don't know what's happening but it seems cool and team oriented'.

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Sorella, that's a whole complex thread on it's own.  But basically I would build an ingame hierarchy with voice/ingame chat comms, that go

 

MOIC

AO/DO Commanders

TF Commanders

 

Task Forces could be squads or adhoc orgs like Channel94, they list ALL the members in the TF and have different spawn points possibly for different battles.  The Squad TF could be private spawn points and membership or open up for a battle or normally, the adhoc ones would be open by default.

 

Players look for action, they sign onto their Squad TF by default or one group they like, then they are in one TF channel to follow everything while using AO/DO channel for talking with others on the town they are wanting to interact with.

 

AO/DO commanders have a list of all TFs that have spawns pointed at their AO/DO and direct line to them and each other so TFs on the same target are all coordinating.  Only AO/DO commander has a global map of all the spawns and marks/reports of everything on his side for that AO/DO.

 

MOIC has a list of all AO/DO Commanders and a direct line to each, so he can prioritize and do whatever with AOs or other resource actions and issue appropriate .side messages.

 

All levels get fast supply lookup for their AO/DO and MOIC gets fast lookup for the whole map.

 

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3 hours ago, Kilemall said:

HC leadership has remained at a steady proportion of the total population.  More pop more HC.  I suspect several squad leaders were turned off by the AOs and left, but in general it's population that drives number of leaders, HC or otherwise.

I acknowledged this exact point when I said "And the same was true for non-leaders."  

 

People left.  A subset of the people who left were HC.  Nothing to disagree about here.  

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