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cptkuhn

Balance must be a high priority

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cptkuhn

I know the Rats have historically put into place measures to maintain game balance, but the current state of affairs indicates more work is needed in this area.  Having short campaigns where one side is steam-rolled is hardly fun... further, having campaigns that have drastic flips in momentum should not be mistaken as "balance".  Campaign 173 is Exhibit A for my case that this game has some issues which should be the concern of the Rats.  It's not *just* that the Axis lost... it's how they lost.  There was a massive talent-drain that led to a steady, lopsided campaign in which the Axis simply could not keep up all the way until defeat.  That isn't merely frustrating --- it's a sign of systemic imbalance that needs addressing, at risk of losing players.

Suggestions: 1) Remove any limits on spawn delay that may exist, and scale it exponentially such that at certain severe population imbalances the delay can reach several minutes.  2) In conjunction with #1, remove side-switching restrictions towards the underpopulated side only.  3) This may be controversial, but add FB AI defenses (MG only).  This may be impossible from a code perspective, but maybe allow the HC to designate key towns (with limits) and those FBs receive AI defenses (after a timer).  If HC does not designate a key town, the system chooses.  This way not all FBs have MG protection, but [a few] key ones do.  Even better if HC can select towns that are either front line or back line... if a back line town is selected, its FBs have MG defenses once it becomes front line.

Thoughts?

Edited by cptkuhn

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Kilemall

I agree with the general thesis, obviously with my body of work on the topic and on the Cycle of Suck, but I disagree with these solutions.

 

I'll let others answer on the other suggestions, but no side-switching cause of grievances with HCs and/or other players or CRS or just wanting to switch just cause- that definitely goes against the value proposition of a subscription to the whole game, and voting by feet is a time-honored way to underscore problems on a side.  Mitigate with those who choose to continue to fight, absolutely, but shackle players to a side, hell no.

Won't really fix anyway, IMO usually when we get pop shifts, it's far less side switching and far more players stop playing a side until the next campaign.

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cptkuhn

Kilemall --- I'm not sure I follow --- I suggested that side restrictions be LIFTED in the direction of the underpop side.  So, if I'm playing Allied and we're heavily over populated, and my spawn delay is 4 minutes... I can switch to Axis immediately.  But if I go to the Axis side, I can't switch back to Allied for 20 minutes (or whatever the usual restriction is).

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james10

Hello cptkuhn how are you doing?

7 hours ago, cptkuhn said:

Kilemall --- I'm not sure I follow --- I suggested that side restrictions be LIFTED in the direction of the underpop side.  So, if I'm playing Allied and we're heavily over populated, and my spawn delay is 4 minutes... I can switch to Axis immediately.  But if I go to the Axis side, I can't switch back to Allied for 20 minutes (or whatever the usual restriction is).

 

I believe that is already the mechanic in place. At balanced population, if neither side is recorded as over/underpopulated on the select side page you can change sides only after a 15 minute delay. If one side is recorded as underpopulated on that same page you can change to that side immediately. The setting of over/underpopulated side is revised constantly so you may have missed it. Something to note is, if you go to the side select page to have a look and want to return to the overpopulated side you will ave to wait the 15 minutes.

Cheers.

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cptkuhn

Good to know, thanks James10.  I think that means suggestion 1 is more doable right away then.

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Kilemall
15 hours ago, cptkuhn said:

Kilemall --- I'm not sure I follow --- I suggested that side restrictions be LIFTED in the direction of the underpop side.  So, if I'm playing Allied and we're heavily over populated, and my spawn delay is 4 minutes... I can switch to Axis immediately.  But if I go to the Axis side, I can't switch back to Allied for 20 minutes (or whatever the usual restriction is).

Not how I read your suggestion, that's side switching, NOT spawn delay.

The underpop already has no spawn delay beyond just the mechanics of getting the mission and menus which is DIFFERENT from side switching, so maybe some clearer terminology would make for a more palatable proposal or at least one I'm getting about what you mean.

 

Now if I do have it right about what you are proposing, the issue with #1 is that spawn delay into the several minutes is proven to balance, at the cost of losing subs.  Driving people away from wanting to play the game, and what's more the majority of the people choosing to play at that moment, is NOT an acceptable solution set.  I don't know what the figures are on sub loss for those 2-3 minute SDs, but it's got to be in the 1000s.

30s max.  That's the emotional acceptance level.  Use other pop balance tools,  Move on.

 

FBs have MG towers?  Well, HC placement isn't a real good idea, be better for players to place them, or maybe HC officer can in the same way they had infantry FRU for a time.  Set them with a limit of must be within 100m of the FB so they don't get placed for FMS protection/town assault towers.  The bombers trying to get vehicle tents can probably take care of a lot of them.

They should be different then object AI, they are destroyed they are gone.  Problem is those things go up then pop switches and now underpop is trying to sneak in FB takedown with towers festooned around.   Probably a 10m timer at earliest for placement.

 

Edited by Kilemall

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cptkuhn

Kilemall --- I don't have access to the subscription data, but I struggle to believe a person would choose the drastic option to unsubscribe and quit instead of simply switching sides and have zero spawn delay.  To think that 1000s would choose this is simply unbelievable.

What's much more believable is that a person, after a while of being spawned-camped into oblivion, attempts to switch sides to the already-stronger side just so they can survive and play for longer than 30 seconds, realizes they can't because of side switching restrictions, and simply quits out of frustration.

If spawn delays were flexible upwards of several minutes, it would achieve balance regardless of side switching.  The overpop side would not be able to spawn in players at an overwhelming rate, giving the underpop side a means to fight.  But, it would encourage side switching, which would restore balance by way of numbers, AND reduce the spawn delay until the sides were even.

Balance is key to keeping players engaged, and I am not persuaded at all that a spawn delay will drive players to quit.

Regarding the FB MG defense as a player-placed object... interesting concept but it only exacerbates imbalance because of population differences.  The overpop side has excess players available to place MG defenses and control the map, whereas the underpop side can't spare any player to do the same.

Edited by cptkuhn

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fidd
18 hours ago, cptkuhn said:

I know the Rats have historically put into place measures to maintain game balance, but the current state of affairs indicates more work is needed in this area.  Having short campaigns where one side is steam-rolled is hardly fun... further, having campaigns that have drastic flips in momentum should not be mistaken as "balance".  Campaign 173 is Exhibit A for my case that this game has some issues which should be the concern of the Rats.  It's not *just* that the Axis lost... it's how they lost.  There was a massive talent-drain that led to a steady, lopsided campaign in which the Axis simply could not keep up all the way until defeat.  That isn't merely frustrating --- it's a sign of systemic imbalance that needs addressing, at risk of losing players.

Actually, I think that's the one thing they havn't done. The 25 second or so max SD is risible. In essence they've tried everything, and failed everytime, in doing the one thing that unequivocally will work, simply preventing a massively overpopped* side from continuing to log into missions with the same overpop* figures in that TZ.

*overpop in this instance meaning a cyclical time of day overpop which is routinely predicatable over many weeks, or even campaigns, and which is unrelated to populations collapses occuring due to one side failing to log in, where they did previously over the same period. IE when one side gives up. In situations where the population swing is due to a large body of players swapping sides, the penalty being applied immediately. (eg if a new unit becomes available in a tier). Priority as to "safety" from over-pop penalties being given to:

Those who have played extensively in the previous tier on their desired side.

Those is squads "registered" to a particular side, when players in those squad are playing the same side as registered.

Those with "x" amount of time playing in the last 2 weeks on their desired side

Those who have not changed sides within 3 weeks of a new tier.

In that order.

 

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Kilemall
1 hour ago, cptkuhn said:

Kilemall --- I don't have access to the subscription data, but I struggle to believe a person would choose the drastic option to unsubscribe and quit instead of simply switching sides and have zero spawn delay.  To think that 1000s would choose this is simply unbelievable.

What's much more believable is that a person, after a while of being spawned-camped into oblivion, attempts to switch sides to the already-stronger side just so they can survive and play for longer than 30 seconds, realizes they can't because of side switching restrictions, and simply quits out of frustration.

If spawn delays were flexible upwards of several minutes, it would achieve balance regardless of side switching.  The overpop side would not be able to spawn in players at an overwhelming rate, giving the underpop side a means to fight.  But, it would encourage side switching, which would restore balance by way of numbers, AND reduce the spawn delay until the sides were even.

Balance is key to keeping players engaged, and I am not persuaded at all that a spawn delay will drive players to quit.

Regarding the FB MG defense as a player-placed object... interesting concept but it only exacerbates imbalance because of population differences.  The overpop side has excess players available to place MG defenses and control the map, whereas the underpop side can't spare any player to do the same.

Don't give a damn that you don't believe, saw it happen when Doc was left without system programmers to code alternatives, and he just jacked up SD.  Lost entire squads.

And yes, there are people who will not switch sides, ever, and others who will not per campaign.  Don't think they don't exist just cause you don't have the same ethos.

3 minute SD, Spawn Queue, all unsubbing horror shows to be avoided.

 

Ya, so the FB defense thing is a no go under any regimen as long as it is an option for underpops to destroy to limit/stop an otherwise overwhelming attack.

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Kilemall
59 minutes ago, fidd said:

Actually, I think that's the one thing they havn't done. The 25 second or so max SD is risible. In essence they've tried everything, and failed everytime, in doing the one thing that unequivocally will work, simply preventing a massively overpopped* side from continuing to log into missions with the same overpop* figures in that TZ.

*overpop in this instance meaning a cyclical time of day overpop which is routinely predicatable over many weeks, or even campaigns, and which is unrelated to populations collapses occuring due to one side failing to log in, where they did previously over the same period. IE when one side gives up. In situations where the population swing is due to a large body of players swapping sides, the penalty being applied immediately. (eg if a new unit becomes available in a tier). Priority as to "safety" from over-pop penalties being given to:

Those who have played extensively in the previous tier on their desired side.

Those is squads "registered" to a particular side, when players in those squad are playing the same side as registered.

Those with "x" amount of time playing in the last 2 weeks on their desired side

Those who have not changed sides within 3 weeks of a new tier.

In that order.

 

I don't know where you get the idea that they NEVER DID.  Oh YES they did.  Lost squads.

What was worse was it wasn't reliable enough to protect the underpop either, so we got the worst of both worlds- underpop guys still got hammered, overpop especially Euro and sometimes US got hammered without overall town taking balance/opportunity maintained.

No.  We need to LEARN collectively when things don't work and not go to the well of already tried suck.

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cptkuhn

Kilemall --- I always play Axis.  Call it a preference -- I have more rank over there.  That said, if I logged in and was faced with a spawn delay of 5 minutes, I'd consider playing Allied that day.  That'd be my choice.  Others who have a more serious dedication to one side could sit and wait for 5 minutes at a pop.  But, either way, the game itself would be much better off because it would be balanced.  New players would be able to learn the game.  If a squad threatens to quit because they don't want to switch sides and they don't want to wait 5 minutes... then I say let them.  The achieved balance would make battles much more enjoyable, and would help new player retention greatly.  Rats shouldn't let a few squads hold the game hostage, and should always seek to maximize the fun for everyone.

Let me try to explain the FB defense idea by way of example.  Let's say the Axis are being overwhelmed in a town, and the HC sees that the NEXT town behind it (currently backline) is a vital one.  Give the HC the ability to select the backline town as "vital", such that (after a timer), if the frontline town falls, the backline town gets its FB with a single AI MG.

Another example... let's assume that the there is stalemate.  The HC scans the map, finds a front line town with a FB established, and decides that it wants to "fortify" that FB.  It can designate that town as "vital", and (after a timer) that particular FB has an AI MG added.

This action would have limits as to the number of towns possible to select (ideally inversely related to the population --- lower pop, more towns available to designate as "vital"), and would have a timer feature to cause a delay between the HC decision and the AI MG being deployed.

Edited by cptkuhn

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jwilly
1 hour ago, cptkuhn said:

if I logged in and was faced with a spawn delay of 5 minutes, I'd consider playing Allied that day.  That'd be my choice.  Others who have a more serious dedication to one side could sit and wait for 5 minutes at a pop. 

Or...third option...players--customers--could say "to hell with it, I'm playing to have fun", and go to a different game...unsubbing from here in the process.

Quote

either way, the game itself would be much better off because it would be balanced.

Sorry, that's just not consistent with commercial reality. Balance is very very very important...but it's not as important as CRS maintaining the revenue level it needs to stay in business.

Any plan or suggestion in regard to spawn delay is a non-starter if it causes revenue loss.

Balance ideas must not chase away revenue. Excessive spawn delay has been tried. It caused revenue loss, big-time.

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tater

If it was a different game I might side switch, though even then with dissimilar equipment I likely have a preferred side. As it is, I'm not one to switch at all. Being grossly penalized for not switching means I should just unsub.

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fidd
2 hours ago, Kilemall said:

I don't know where you get the idea that they NEVER DID.  Oh YES they did.  Lost squads.

What was worse was it wasn't reliable enough to protect the underpop either, so we got the worst of both worlds- underpop guys still got hammered, overpop especially Euro and sometimes US got hammered without overall town taking balance/opportunity maintained.

No.  We need to LEARN collectively when things don't work and not go to the well of already tried suck.

You may be right - I'm not long back in game after some years away, so I may be unaware of SD changes which occurred during that period. That said, it looks exactly now as it was when I ceased playing 4-5 years ago.

As for "lost entire squads". Hmmm. I think that's just something that naturally happens over time. Virtually no 2001 squads still exist, but there are plenty more new ones, and squads encountering frequent large SD's are likely both the blame SD, before "ceasing to play", and as often as not you'll find some members happily playing for the other side some time later. Personally I've played in both axis and allied squads over the years, and in my experience there's "not the 10th part of a tithe of a half-farthing's difference" between them as players, squads or individuals. I usually change sides every 4th or 5th campaign or so, but am generally an "allied" player.

In other words, unless there's a philosophical reason for not, for example, playing axis (it tends to be that way around) there's no less fun to be had playing allied or axis. of course you have to remember not to instinctively open fire on your now field-grey clad colleagues or refer to them as "EI"! 

In fact, I think it's much healthier to play campaigns with occasional changes prefereably if one is generally under-popped in your usual TZ, as it gives one some respect for both sides characters, and more importantly, allows one to experience things first-hand that one side* or other is complaining about in the forums. 

*NB, note word "side" as opposed to "individual"!

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dre21

5min wait time? 

Spawn in get killed by a camper just to wait 5min again, people hit the unsub button so fast CRS would have no player base left.

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cptkuhn

I think my suggestion on spawn delay is being grossly misunderstood, so I'll put a few comments here.

1) We are in total agreement that CRS should focus on revenue.  My thesis is that imbalance pushes players away.  When was the excessive spawn delay tried?  I've been playing for years and I don't remember it.

2) Players that experience spawn camping are almost always the ones on the underpopulated side.  They would not experience any spawn delay.  They are, however, very likely to be frustrated to the point of quitting --- which is what I'm working to avoid.

Spawn delay is the most straight-forward way to restore balance within the existing code/framework of the game.  CRS needs to make a decision --- does it want to GROW the player base which likely does not have side preferences, or accommodate existing players like Tater who would unsubscribe instead of wait or switch sides.

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cptkuhn

Ya know, I've played this game for years.  I know I've given more than $500 in donations (thinking it's more like $1000 but I'm not certain), and I've been a paying subscriber since 2016, because this game has tons of potential and lots of "fun factor" when the battles are good.  But the imbalance in this game has become intolerable.  I think there's a lot of Vets responsible for that.

I used to look forward to playing this game.  Now, in the very little free time I have, I sit down at my computer and think to myself "do I want to go there...?"  I know how frustrated I'm going to be.  And I'm not sure I want to ruin my day by logging on.

If Vets want to load up on one side, I ask the Rats to make them wait via a spawn delay.  If they want to hold the game hostage by stomping their feet and threatening to quit for making them wait (as a result of their decision to load up on one side), I say call their bluff.  And if they quit, then build from the ground up.

But if this continues, I will quit.  I'm over it guys, seriously.  I've already started to move on.  And that monthly payment adds up.

Edited by cptkuhn
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actonman

A solution would be to have a lower subscription of $15 for one side players and $19 for switchers to choose from

Also spawn delays algorithm and cap timers should not include FTP accounts in the calculation of overpop.

That way free noobs and zombie accounts that just sit in game don't affect timers.

As it stands the revenue generating model appears to be to have one side dominate in attacking the other.

 

 

Edited by actonman

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fidd
On 7/20/2020 at 8:37 PM, jwilly said:

Or...third option...players--customers--could say "to hell with it, I'm playing to have fun", and go to a different game...unsubbing from here in the process.

Sorry, that's just not consistent with commercial reality. Balance is very very very important...but it's not as important as CRS maintaining the revenue level it needs to stay in business.

Any plan or suggestion in regard to spawn delay is a non-starter if it causes revenue loss.

Balance ideas must not chase away revenue. Excessive spawn delay has been tried. It caused revenue loss, big-time.

The reason for that is simple. A 50% overpop in TIZ3 was treated the same as the same % overpop in TZ3. The problems are however utterly different. The result of CRS's measures was that whilst it may have worked in TZ3, it was a disaster in TZ1 and vice versa. Quite naturally this resulted in loud complaints. Had it been recognised that TZ3 requires a different basket of measures to TZ1/2, and that a 50% overpop was a very different problem, although apparantly numerically similar, then the existance of very high SD's could have been limited to where they were most needed, affecting directly only a tiny fraction of the overall player numbers on during a 24 hour period.

At which point the overall whinage would have remained within tolerable limits, but the game would have benefitted from better game-play 24/7. It's this better-gameplay which retains customers, not an absence of whining. Sadly CRS has never really grasped the difference.

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Kilemall
11 hours ago, actonman said:

A solution would be to have a lower subscription of $15 for one side players and $19 for switchers to choose from

Also spawn delays algorithm and cap timers should not include FTP accounts in the calculation of overpop.

That way free noobs and zombie accounts that just sit in game don't affect timers.

As it stands the revenue generating model appears to be to have one side dominate in attacking the other.

The rest is debatable and have positives and negatives, but I utterly disagree with no SD on F2P.  Whatever second account shenanigams occur will be outweighed by the overpop putting their second accounts in every depot, essentially having fast reaction by knowing which facility is being taken.  It eliminates the underpop's ability to attack, and even may give the overpop the perverse calc to be underpop.

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