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Age of Mythology Heaven » Forums » Strategy and General Discussion » On balancing this Game
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Topic Subject:On balancing this Game
Etendorf
Mortal
posted 20 April 2004 07:12 PM EDT (US)         
How does balance between civs work?

Do all civs simply have the same potential? Not like, just maxed out mythic potential, I mean at one 1v1 for equally skilled players, throughout all skill levels, do competing civs always stand a fair chance? Is that the goal?

Or is it only measured at one skill level, let's say the majority, or the top players, is it then aimed to be balanced?

If you put those things together, you see that maybe it depends on the difficulty of a civ and not the power of a civ. Maybe TA's aren't weak, Norse are just harder to play because of more micro. Look at the evidence, the evidence, I say is more like reasons and speculation, only because that most of this stuff I remember being said here at this forum, and so some of this might be debatable and not actually true.

First, someone brought up a point that, maybe why Eggies far better versus Norse than other way around is because of view area. When you are aggressive, you have a moving army, away from your "base". And the defensive player isn't away from their base. They only have to view 1/3 of the view area then. That means quicker reaction time; means better micro of both army and eco, which means better stuff overall.

Secondly, Atties minor gods don't seem to have chains to get a very powerful specific type of unit. Each one focuses on one thing, unlike many chains available for Greek. This persons ending point was, so atties have a really good unit, but they don't have much to make it much better than what it already is, so it acts kind of is another thing to make Atties easier to play.

Atties easier to play, there we go. Atties have received many complaints of being OP. Comments like, 'I was 1750 in AOM vanilla with hundreds of games and now I am loosing to a new player just because they are playing Atlanteans."
So atties are easier to play, it seems. Super eco, it’s said they have; even though they literally are mathematically just multiplied their stats to be equal other civs. In some cases, they have worse things; such as herding rates are just lower, and building rates. So if they are nearly mathematically equal, with only the veritable aspects are drop sites possibly putting them slightly ahead or behind, why is their economy uber, or OP? Most likely it is because of the ease people can use it. Just move a couple vils to a different resource. Just keep pumping them with auto-que, and you can easily do what used to take a lot of practice.

Norse, have occasionally been said to require a lot of micro in battles, with more flanking, and running away, and raiding, because they aren't designed to just battle away on equal military units. I have to agree that flanking, running away, and raiding all require more micro, and is more of what Norse are meant for with their higher unit speed, yet weaker units overall. If your military takes more micro, and your opponents takes less, you will have a more difficult time, yes?

For Norse, I have also heard here, that the differences of autoque have made make them less powerful than before. Before, they were aggressive, and with their eco easier to balance because of the vil-dwarves option, they would effectively get ahead eco wise because they would make the opponent flutter out and forget to continue with vil production. But, since Norse have dwarf-vil mix to balance there economy, but since that degrades the usefulness of autoque function. Now Norse loses out economy wise when they are played aggressively, because of the difficulty to micro it all.

We have more problems. If a civ has more potential, but that means throughout the entire game, it goes to show that some civs are better in early game on aggressive than others, and others better on defense in early game, and late game, and all possibilities. Does a powerful early game make up for a weak late game? Do a weak start but powerful later game make up for it? Egyptians are designed to be defensive until they get some more power. Does that effectively balance with a civ that is the other way around? I feel that, since defending is easier until attacking, and that late game power is more magnified than early game power, that defensive is currently the easier in this game. Is this a problem for balance?

Ranged units, are easier, and more effectively microed. This means, Norse have a disadvantage more so than others. Priests have a advantage. Chiero's have an advantage. Tox have an advantage. Eggies lose out with axmen, but do have slingers, but those can be argued less effective because their range makes little difference. And so forth. So, are the differences always correctly made up for, since it isn't just a balance ratio?

To be clearer, let's use an example. 10 hops v 10 murm’s outcome; then take 20 hops versus 20 murms and compare the 2. The outcome is not going to vary hugely in proportion to the original 10 vs 10, although it will vary slightly. By having the victor of the smaller one win slightly more so in the second one. This makes sense then to keep units in little groups and with counters and how well they are supposed to work and what not mathematically.
Ranged units shall make that difference much more dramatic. 1 tox vs. 1 hop, I believe let's the hop win. That is because 20 tox vs. 20 hops, hops loose by a lot. It also goes for ulfs vs. chieros.

So, it could be seen that maybe, you don't have some ranged units nearly on target with the right stats because of that. That is so much harder to balance ranged units than melee units. Maybe a big reason why TA isn’t working is that, in mass, the take on all to many units; and in smaller numbers they don't do enough. If this is the problem, at least I can think of many fixes off the top of my head, I won't bother to share them though, that isn't the reason for this thread.

I will bold this for you lazy people who don't like to take time to read but will respond.
The reason for this thread is, what should be considered balance? What are all the problems in the way to reaching it, and what are the fixes? Is it that, Norse (or any other civ) won't get any boost (or nerf) because they are just fine in the hands of a full exploitation of potential expert?

All responses welcome except one, and that is anyone who says the game should be completely realistic. Game play > realism. Examples are, "Axemen should do more than tox versus everything because an axe would hurt worse." and "Siege should be stronger because getting hit with a big rock hurled from a siege thing hurts a lot in real life,"
That is life, life isn't fair, and our game can be. Life doesn't get any patches to make things fair.


Nick: Eten.
Gods: All of them!
Vanilla.
AuthorReplies:
Shiva
HG Alumnus
posted 20 April 2004 07:30 PM EDT (US)     1 / 16       
Any further threads about "balance" = closed.

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Etendorf
Mortal
posted 20 April 2004 07:36 PM EDT (US)     2 / 16       
ooo,sorry shiva, I just tried to look at it on a new perspective, and with thoughts of a patch being implemted gets me in the mood. Big posts don't get responded to well anyway. This is not sarcasm.
My friend mistook it as so, so just to clear this up.

Nick: Eten.
Gods: All of them!
Vanilla.

[This message has been edited by Etendorf (edited 04-20-2004 @ 07:48 PM).]

jazzman_1
Mortal
posted 20 April 2004 07:57 PM EDT (US)     3 / 16       
Why close threads pertaining to balance? Apparently, this issue has come up quite a bit because people are interested in the future of this game, and balance is a big part of it. I don't see anything wrong with this thread. It looks to me like this post was well thought out anyways..
Jonah_Hex
Mortal
posted 20 April 2004 08:05 PM EDT (US)     4 / 16       
Shiva has gone nuts! No talk of balancing the game? Crazy. Everyone head over to MFO, they have an open forum.

2nd place is the first loser
Johnny_Deppig
Mortal
posted 20 April 2004 08:14 PM EDT (US)     5 / 16       
Assuming Shivaīs remark didnīt include this thread..

Not closed yet anyway..

Gameplay>realism. True. But (since you quoted me) having the thrax do half the damage compared to other antiinf, combined with other stats changes, does mean that itīs underpowered, more or less, IMO. But since civs are well balanced anyway, that means other attributes/units make up for that.. but it also means that Norse are better off if they manage to avoid depending on TAs, and that is bad news for Skadi.. If you keep nerfing one unit in a powerful combo, that unit will be abandoned in favor of the other - so pure rc it is.

And while gameplay is more important than realism, you have to start with realism, and tune it from there. Making arrows destroy buildings in a few hits for example, might be worked well into gameplay but people would still think itīs silly. AOM doesnīt have that problem IMO, I just said Iīd make axes stronger if I could redesign the units from scratch.

I think that the most important thing is to keep strategies open, and not nerf the wrong part. Isis anc+ecl is a powerful strat, but if you want to tone it down, you have to be careful not to tread into other aspects of the civ..

So if you wanted to nerf anc+ecl, you could nerf ancestors a lot, and make Nephtys techs better - this would nerf the combo, but not affect much else.

A bad way would be to nerf Bastīs techs to near uselessness, and keep all else.. Youīd still have nerfed the combo, but youīd also make Bast a bad god choice.


I for one donīt see a problem with a God being worse early and better later on.. itīs when they get a great heroic/mythic age and tons of bonuses to help them get there that we have a problem, like with Isis a few patches ago.


IMO Norse are very powerful now only because of a few strats, and that makes them predictable to play, and numbs creativity - You NEED Bragi for anticav bonus and fl. weap, and ragnarok-titan-fl.weap is the combo that nearly all good Thor players use. So itīs not like a lot of thinking is required as or vs them, just the same old, same old every time. Maybe thatīs unavoidable in the end, but we should at least try to steer away from it as long as possible.


A good thing is I donīt see that youīd have to choose between balancing the game for inters, vs for experts. Before you get to know the game well, everyone has a different opinion about whatīs too good - I used to think Loki rushing was insanely hard to beat, but when I got better at the game, that really changed. Itīs the experts that have played the game and know how it plays, prolly even better than the creators, that know what needs changing. And when itīs balanced for experts, it will be balanced for inters as well, unless thereīs a very steep learning curve somewhere, and I donīt think there is in AOM.

Last thing for now, just something about aggression/defense.. Aggression still wins in AOM, which is good, itīs just that aggression can look different than ppl think.. Using cf early on and taking a forward settlement might be considered both very defensive (trying to build vills and stay under TC fire), and very aggressive (expanding to a part of the map that isnīt really safe). Microing at home while moving military units on the other side of the map isnīt really that big a problem once you get fast enough with your mouse and keyboard. The real problem with being aggressive only occurs when defensive fire is so strong that it doesnīt pay to attack until you have full upgrades, etc.. then the game becomes Read Alert SP, avoiding the enemy at all costs till you are popped out on heavy tanks.. Turtling should be viable, but not supreme, which I donīt think it is in this game anyway.


AOM is very well balanced, but that doesnīt mean that it canīt and/or shouldnīt be fine-tuned more.

[This message has been edited by Johnny_Deppig (edited 04-20-2004 @ 08:18 PM).]

Cappuccino
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 03:47 AM EDT (US)     6 / 16       
This thread is quite a good and fun read (of which, I find, there aren't many lately) and it's totally unnecessary to have a mod come in as the very first reply who displays such an attitude. But hey what do I know, you probably kept this forum uncluttered and deleted 10000 balance threads yesterday alone. Still, maybe you can try hitting on less worthy authors first.
poppy123
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 05:01 AM EDT (US)     7 / 16       
Without even reading the post. Etendorf are you complaining that Norse are crap by any chance? If so, i wont bother

I hear this internets pretty good. I was thinking of buying one
curufir
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 05:11 AM EDT (US)     8 / 16       
Heh ?? Shiva what's wrong ?? I'm sure there is no need (for this) to turn over to MFO. Can you explain ?
Johnny_Deppig
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 06:14 AM EDT (US)     9 / 16       
This thread hasnīt reverted into a flamewar yet and I wonīt start one. And noones whining about how bad Norse are, Eten just posed some questions along with his own thoughts..

Funny how there are no on-topic replies here yet, text too long for the trolls?

Well Iīll keep shitting words then.. about Atties being OP..

I just started playing Kronos more seriously and Atties donīt seem really OP, just.. weird.. The big Kronos thing, the rush, got nerfed bigtime and turmas are now easier to kill.. Oranos is prolly the best atty god now with shockwave acting as a mini-cf or just to give an edge in battle, along with having Theia, and faster units.. But when you peel off good bonuses and see whatīs beneath, you get, well, Gaia And sheīs not spectacular.

Atties are like a jagged edge, some parts being awesome (murms or turmas and cheiros in classical, can go classical very fast), others way below other civs (villies moving from hunt to hunt takes hours on a map like Savannah, lack of long-range siege). Theyīre very cumbersome to play sometimes, but when you get lucky and donīt have like 110 food when you NEED a ville, they can crush. Their jaggedness goes for myth and heroes, too.. favor is very good at first, but you canīt speed up the trickle in the end. Valor is great for early heroes, but then youīre basically in hell. Atlanteans could use a little smoothing, but not an outright nerf.

[This message has been edited by Johnny_Deppig (edited 04-21-2004 @ 06:29 AM).]

Etendorf
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 08:37 AM EDT (US)     10 / 16       
No, this isn't really to do specifically with the stats of TA, norse, eggies, mercs and whatnot.

I was wondering, at what level is balance really balance, and is difficulty of playing a civ effecting if something is balanced?

And for that matter, what can be claimed to be more difficult.
In Empire Earth (what an awful game that turned out to be) in the postgame, there was a number called player speed, and basically it showed how much fast you were.

I think AOM could be benifited if it had such a feature. Do a formula of number of command(move, build, tech, repair, attack etc.) intervals on average. So, the end unmber would telll you that on average, every .9 seconds you told something in the game to do something. This would be helpful to get a gist of what civ with what strats take more activity from a player.

Or, if it doesn't have to do with player speed, maybe it has to do with creativity. Atties, seem cut and dry players. Norse, and eggy do not. Greek seem rather simple in comparison. Perhaps it's simply the matter that some civs don't get a very great strait strat to make them powerful, and are more there for adaption and one the spot creativity?

I think that many of these things are making it harder to play civs that get people whining for boosts for them. It isn't actually the fact that the civ is UP, because on a game of maximum potentail exploitation whatnot, that civ is actually on par with another.

Quoted from Johnny_Deppig:

I for one donīt see a problem with a God being worse early and better later on.. itīs when they get a great heroic/mythic age and tons of bonuses to help them get there that we have a problem, like with Isis a few patches ago.

I do see a problem. In this game, being "worse" used to mean play defensive because you can't match them. Being better means you meant to be attacking. Now because of alot of gameplay changes, being defensive is more of a strat than a survival tactic to use until you get good. All those complaints of people simply putting up some walls and towers, then just buildings a few units can let them get a titan out. Even though the other person has all of the advantages that used to make the game?

a quote from myself.

Quote:

I will bold this for you lazy people who don't like to take time to read but will respond.
The reason for this thread is, what should be considered balance? What are all the problems in the way to reaching it, and what are the fixes? Is it that, Norse (or any other civ) won't get any boost (or nerf) because they are just fine in the hands of a full exploitation of potential expert?

and

Quote:

All responses welcome

Means I am not talking about norse being UP and am argueing to boost them. and it means I Don't care how stupid it might be. Put your opinion out here. Just follow the CoC to make the mods happy.


Nick: Eten.
Gods: All of them!
Vanilla.
Shiva
HG Alumnus
posted 21 April 2004 08:39 AM EDT (US)     11 / 16       
Oh no no no, I didn't mean this thread at all. I wouldn't close a thread if the Author actually made an effort. I meant any further threads about this same "balancing" topic.

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« . ° ¤ Scenario Designer | Woad Creations ¤ º . »
Johnny_Deppig
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 11:34 AM EDT (US)     12 / 16       

Quote:

I do see a problem. In this game, being "worse" used to mean play defensive because you can't match them. Being better means you meant to be attacking. Now because of alot of gameplay changes, being defensive is more of a strat than a survival tactic to use until you get good............Even though the other person has all of the advantages that used to make the game?

I think youīre barking up the wrong tree.. or maybe we just mean different things. I donīt see a problem with a civ having to play defensively at first and getting more potential to be aggressive later, as long as you could still benefit from attacking them early on.. But if you canīt then the problem is that attacking well doesnīt pay off, not that civs have different "golden ages"..

I think that raiding and early aggression still pays off, just less so than earlier.. the balance issues I see with TT is maybe that classical tcs and Titans had a damaging impact on raiding that wasnīt made up for by boosting raiding-dependant civs (i:e Odin). Eggies were always a bit defensive, as well as having GPs that did well on their own, promoting fast aging (anc+ecl). Villies having bonus vs siege also definitely helps eggy the most, since they have more villies and tend to want to defend. And still Egypt was, I think, boosted the most statswise in the Xpack, making them very solid. But that doesnīt mean they canīt be killed - but it may be a little too easy for them to defend now.


And fast Titan, or simply getting a Titan first, is a part of the game now, like it or not. I like it. But Isis FT was nerfed, and I havenīt seen any impossible-to-beat fast Titan strats in over 100 games. And if they do wall up, tower and buld defenses, and you didnīt.. Well then you should have more tcs, more pop, more res and therefore the power to just run them over! Itīs not like you donīt get a warning - they reach mythic early, then you see that they research secrets of the Titans, after which they must forego their econ to dig the gate.. You do have time..

Getting a Titan isnīt easy, but if people micro well, and go for it as fast as they can, well then that requires skill too!. And the obsession with military seems to be a noob thing mostly, I canīt even count all the times Iīve seen "Gay wonder wtf pussy" on my screen... If conquest was the only way to go, the game would be more aggressive, but also more predictable and IMO boring.


And "getting there first" is really often what RTS is about.. I mean AoK had fast Castle, and then fast imperial to get trebs which changed the game completely.. In Vanilla AOM it was getting heroic and taking tcs.

Now people have more options, since winning can be achieved through Titan, Wonder and conquest.. And staying classical, taking the map and then using the larger pop cap to defeat a more advanced enemy has won me many games.


But I really believe that just because every civ has a way for an expert to win with it, things arenīt really "balanced". Better balance is achieved when civs can be played in different ways, and every minor God has a real use.. Iīm not saying that Leto is total crap, but when 90 percent of the time youīre better off with Prometheus, she could be boosted. Itīs also nice when gods are different, so boosting the Automaton and making massing them a good playstyle, might make players make a strategic choice of foregoing valor and instead auto-rush, making themselves vulnerable to massed heroes.. the way it is now, some gods are clearly worse choices in almost every situation, and then the game isnīt balanced.

In the current state of the game all Gods have bonuses which can win the game for them.. but with what should be a major choice being done 3 times per game, things could be made more interesting..


Lastly, once you get to a certain level of playing there will only be so-so many strats to choose from if you want to win, thatīs inevitable. And then, rebalancing the game just for the hell of it means that people will need to adapt, making new ways of playing and prolonging the lifespan of the game.. Thatīs the beauty of RTS... ppl think that if you tinker with something game balance will fall like a house of cards, but in reality the game rebalances, and maybe the new way to play it might be more fun..

You just have to get rid of the blatant insanities, but those were mostly fixed over a year ago (poseidonīs initial bonuses, Odins hillforts, and so on). The game is well balanced now, but I think that the game could be richer if less used Gods were boosted, like Hyperion, Skadi and maybe Aphrodite. Just make some units and bonuses a bit better, and people will figure out new ways to use them, as well as ways to counter them.


Etendorf
Mortal
posted 21 April 2004 04:43 PM EDT (US)     13 / 16       

Quoted from Johnny_Deppig:

But I really believe that just because every civ has a way for an expert to win with it, things arenīt really "balanced". Better balance is achieved when civs can be played in different ways, and every minor God has a real use.. Iīm not saying that Leto is total crap, but when 90 percent of the time youīre better off with Prometheus, she could be boosted. Itīs also nice when gods are different, so boosting the Automaton and making massing them a good playstyle, might make players make a strategic choice of foregoing valor and instead auto-rush, making themselves vulnerable to massed heroes.. the way it is now, some gods are clearly worse choices in almost every situation, and then the game isnīt balanced.

That is the heart of what I am looking at really, I guess. What you said before this makes lot's of sense. Here you say that it should be you could choose prometheus or leto, it doesn't matter, as long as you play correctly with that god and as long as you are better than your opponet?

Is it even possible to do that, because what about all those little things; Your hersir rush is gonna do worse versus hades than it's gonna do versus posiedon. What if the other uses ceasefire, and so on. It would be balanced only this way if every civ was equally matched versus each other on the ground levels, which I think can only be possible if there were very little difference between them.

Rebalancing things does make fun playing time online, since things get repetative when it doesn't change, but that is because only certain strats do good. So that's where I get what you are coming from about the whole how it would be balanced thing. So you don't actually mean rebalancing, you just mean random adjustments that make it all change.

If this game was balanced, would it be a this strat beats that strat loops between all the gods, or would it be all about adjusting strats ingame all the time and meeting whatever your opponet comes up with, because both civs can readjust just as effectivly as the other to every thing. But how in the world do you achieve those things? Because, if you tried to make it equal between gods that second way, you would have to remove some of their unique bonuses that cause them to be different because the bonuses make them more defensive or aggresive, or better at this than that, so when they are readjusting, they are forced to go into their weak style of play, and the other might possibly be going to their strong style of play.

If it is loops of strats between gods, then you get same old strats and it is boring, right?


Nick: Eten.
Gods: All of them!
Vanilla.
Johnny_Deppig
Mortal
posted 22 April 2004 08:24 AM EDT (US)     14 / 16       
Lol, not totally random rebalancing "ah crap, hippis got -8 hack attack".. What Iīm saying is that you canīt foresee every consequence of every change once people start figuring things out, and things often balance out in the end.. if ES had nerfed the crap out of the hersir rush when people bitched about it the most, it wouldnīt be what it is now - a good strat, but not impossible to beat or OP.

Quote:

Here you say that it should be you could choose prometheus or leto, it doesn't matter, as long as you play correctly with that god and as long as you are better than your opponet?

Basically, yes.. but I donīt like the word "correctly" ... Which God you choose should matter, but not regardless of everything else..


Quote:

both civs can readjust just as effectivly as the other to every thing

Sorta.. making the "wrong" god choice (in a certain situation) should make things harder for you.. but not to the point that that God would be bad in EVERY situation and best avoided at all cost. It would be nice if a good Poseidon player could go without Hermes at least ONCE, and get an advantage from that.. right now they wonīt go Ares even if their opponent builds 10 docks right next to each other on Mediterranean...

And the game would be balanced if all civs were the same, but that would be CRAP, of course.. I just mean that just because flaming weapons+ragnarok is good, doesnīt mean you canīt change the ulfsark because Norse can do well now.. if you nerfed the strats all people use now, and boost whatīs never used, things would be more fun, without overnerfing, removing strats.. Iīd like it better if two gods had bigger bonuses, making them more different but still balanced, than if they both were nerfed to plainness.

[This message has been edited by Johnny_Deppig (edited 04-22-2004 @ 08:31 AM).]

GRUNT
Mortal
posted 22 April 2004 09:33 AM EDT (US)     15 / 16       
I am secretly happy I don't have The Titans :P. Although I DO want to play the campaign .

Anyway, I just hope that ESO patches AoM Vanilla :P. My only complaint so far is with Set :P. Everything else seems right .

i_ruel_NOT
Mortal
posted 22 April 2004 11:41 AM EDT (US)     16 / 16       
omg, everyone is posting super long things, and really clever and non flaming things to. this is possibly the most well made and for lack of a better expresion "smart" thread ive ever seen in like, a year!!
lol

if i was a god i would........
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