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Author Topic: General Feedback - Post Steam Launch  (Read 2779 times)
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Tachibana Offline
NotADev
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Posts: 1283


« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2020, 06:59:21 pm »

I didn't have too much to say, but, if I'm allowed to be a bit frank, that design outline volsky put up is pretty hot garbage. I certainly hope that's not the intended future direction both for factional design and overall doctrine design.

Unlike akra, I personally love the depth and complexity that EIR offers. If the depth and challenge wasn't there, I don't think we would still even have a playerbase around to allow development to continue as it has and lead to the recent steam release. That being said, akra certainly isn't wrong that due to the added depth of EIR, new player introduction is harder than it was in the early days. I don't think this is really something unique to EIR though. Many games gain complexity as their lifespan continues. Almost any MOBA, shooters like Siege, card games like Magic the Gathering with their set expansions and new formats. The key is finding the level of depth and complexity that both old and new players can accept.

Still needs of 2010-2019 EIR are not necessarily the same as the needs of EIR2020 and onward. EIR has needed content and depth for retention all these years. It is perhaps time to start gearing back towards introduction. I don't think a turn towards introduction needs to be as heavy as Akra indicates, but I think a fair middle ground in the realm of what unknown suggested is probably the closest to ideal. Hard and fast "2 things per unlock" are probably too restrictive, but there is definitely a need to reduce the scope that doctrines seem to be creeping towards.

What greatly concerns me about the design that volsky has laid out is that it simultaneously achieves the worst outcome of both standards;

- The simplification of faction design greatly reduces depth for old players by filtering down play styles.
- The focus on statistical based doctrines increases the complexity in a manner that would absolutely not be accessible to a new player.

Quote
Allied vehicle buffs that are multiplicative should not exceed 15% (1.15 or 0.85). Additive vehicle buffs are rare, and usually a raw HP buff. They should not exceed 150 for any Allied vehicle.
- Cumulitive stat and cost increase on infantry and crew weapons should not exceed 40% of the unit's base stats/cost (i.e 1.15 pen, 0.9 rec dmg, 1.15 acceleration, and the associated costs of those buffs).
- Unit stat increase percentage limit should always be considered, even if the buffs are not of the same type (as seen above).

Something like that is easy for myself or anyone familiar with eir stats or corsix to figure out, but for your average new player, thats just a series of math equations they need to figure out to decide whether they want the doctrines on their units or not. That's not to say % changes should be abandoned. In the end, it is still the core of every doctrine design since the dawn of EIR whether people realize it or not. That being said, doctrines that just give straight % based combat buffs are boring and the deviation towards then is probably bad.

A good example of a well designed % buff compared to a poorly designed one is probably the implementation difference of The current Tiger commander in Blitz compared to the old "Fear in the hearts of men" and even older T3 "Panzer Aces" doctrine.

The commander adds stats to the tiger, but it does so in a modal fashion that give active decision making options to the player using the unit, but still at a level that is easy to understand. Up = accurate, down = fast.

Compare that to FitHoM and Panzer Aces which were just a slew of straight % buffs. 20% acc, 15% reload, 10% damage, 15% pen and some amount of speed and turret rotation.

Functionally, all 3 of these doctrines do/did the exact same thing, but one does it via an interactive ability while the abilities of the past focused on "stat soup" so to speak.

The bottom half of the doctrine tree has always had a clear design space of being "New stuff". However, I think the top tree has fallen into the pitfall of being seen as the "Better stuff" portion. The top trees probably need to be refocused as "New/expanded playstyles" rather than "x becomes better by Y"

The fact that the design doc seems to be hyper focused on creating restrictions for multiple combat buff accumulation gives the sense to me the point is being missed. You don't need to restrict combat buffs accumulation if you stop creating so many combat buff based doctrines. Stat and combat buff doctrines will ALWAYS have a place in EIR, but they perhaps need to stop being the first step in doctrine design rather than the last.
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Kolath Offline
Commander, 2nd Infantry Division
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Posts: 2382



« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2020, 09:44:05 pm »

Wow! Akranadas... that's a name I haven't heard in a long time...

So first off, I will also start by congratulating the team for this Steam milestone. I got the email about it and was so happy to hear this unique mod is still going and even with some of the awesome old timers from back in 2007!

I played I think 3 games this weekend, but other than that I haven't played COH in about 8 years, so I have zero comment on balance at this moment other than Axis tank spam seemed maybe a touch too strong?

But what I will say is I think the user experience for new players could use some work. I don't really know what y'all have available in terms of development resources/time for the launcher, but it could use some work for new players. I like the suggestion of having a wiki. Not sure if the corsix tooling has any way to generate wiki content, but if so that would be best so it could stay up to date more easily.

Perhaps wild question... has there ever been talk of AI in EIR? I was advertising this mod this weekend and a friend said it being MP only was a turn off. I could see a single-player mode being a big boon to new players by giving a way to test out or train on the new systems.

I'm not suggesting a full blown SP game and it might be too hard to teach an AI how to play sectors. But maybe it could be viable to have an SP mode that is more like survival? Have the AI just spawn infinite waves of units while the player tries to cap sectors? The goal would be giving people a way to try out their builds without having to find out in an MP game that their great idea turned out to be crap.
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NightRain Offline
EIR Veteran
Posts: 3930



« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2020, 01:54:02 am »

I played I think 3 games this weekend, but other than that I haven't played COH in about 8 years, so I have zero comment on balance at this moment other than Axis tank spam seemed maybe a touch too strong?
Perhaps wild question... has there ever been talk of AI in EIR? I was advertising this mod this weekend and a friend said it being MP only was a turn off. I could see a single-player mode being a big boon to new players by giving a way to test out or train on the new systems.

I'm not suggesting a full blown SP game and it might be too hard to teach an AI how to play sectors. But maybe it could be viable to have an SP mode that is more like survival? Have the AI just spawn infinite waves of units while the player tries to cap sectors? The goal would be giving people a way to try out their builds without having to find out in an MP game that their great idea turned out to be crap.

Snipsnip.

Armour game is strong and has been strong for a long while. Zoom mod + improved pathing and decent doctrines makes vehicles fairly strong in general. I think the scale might lean toward allied ones moreso.

As for the AI, I thought about it and chatted over it. The only feasible way to do it would be to create AI waves where AIs attack in timed waves but doing it like so makes it predictable and after 10 or so games you get to know the pattern and it grows weary and boring. Plus it won't prepare you for the MP in anyway outside of just calling in units and using them against AI who may or may not be derpy and suicidal. It'd be quite a bit like that VCoH Stronghold mode just with EiR unit calling and paint job.
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Unkn0wn Offline
No longer retired
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Posts: 18383


« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2020, 03:42:48 am »

Setting up an AI "practice mode" so to speak wouldn't be too hard in principal and I agree with Kolath that it could go a long way in easing new players into the mod. It's quite daunting to come in and immediately have to jump into multiplayer with no real idea whatsoever of how the mod is played or how to build your company.

The challenge is getting someone in this day and age, with COH being a 14 year old game, to bother with the SCAR code needed in game to set that up. It could be linked to just one specific map where indeed you use your standard company with 25-40 pop and have to defend against waves of enemies, and have a seperate launch mode in the launcher where it sets you up for that in a way that doest allow you to gain any veterancy. Volsky is working with halftrack on the Normandy 1944 project as well, which is  SP immersion mod, and I believe he's posed the question to halftrack but I dont think we can expect anything to come from that anytime soon. So unless anyone knows anyone who knows SCAR code and would be willing to help us out, I'm not sure there's much we can do on that for now.

Same thing with other new player accessibility improvements. The mod could be made A LOT easier still if we had in-built launcher tutorials (when launching the first time it walks you through the tabs and how to build a company) and easy company template choices that would let players jump in and play a game + ideally some sort of steam integration for usernames, etc. Scot has made some amazing changes to the existing launcher over the last few months and in the run up to steam, but he's really done all he could in terms of making the exsting one work better. So if we really wanted to take that seriously we would need an entirely new launcher, developed on a more modern platform. It's probably not as huge of a task as it sounds gven that the database, art assets, etc are all there - but it'd still take someone to invest quite a bit of time and energy into doing that. So again, unless anyone has someone to recommend or would be interested to help out with that, I think we're stuck on that front too.

Which brings me to the last point, and that's the one Akra has raised and Dire has responded to. Unit and doctrine bloat. I agree with many of the points Dire has raised with regards to the mod having a lot of depth and that being a selling factor. If this were literally the EIR from 10 years with basic doctrines, I doubt we'd still be around. Heck, only reason really the mod is still around is because it has given volsky a place to add a lot of new content to, with historical links which he's very passionate about. People have always craved doctrine reworks, new units, etc to keep things interesting but this indeed needs to be balanced with new player accessiblity in mind. Our reward units were a good example of that. Everybody loves the idea and wants them but in the past we went overboard with the amount we ended up offering (nearly 100 new units in total) and that did more harm than good as the game became a confusing mess of companies filled with new units that people had no idea how to deal with  (+ a whole lot of these units not having clear roles, or being super OP or super useless)

From all the posts made, I think we've arrived at a pretty good consensus in terms of what a doctrine rework should strive to accomplish in order to achieve that better balance between depth/complexity and accessibility (and less unlock bloat and stat buff soup would be a part of that). But it still requires the translation into a more holistic vision for each doctrine following some key principles and then actually doing all the coding for that would be quite a massive undertaking once again. So i'm not sure how feasible this is in the shorter term. I'm personally of the opinion we can go a long way in just redefining the doctrine philosophy on paper and then fixing up existing doctrines using that as a guide, by cutting some parts out of unlocks (reducing bloat on upgrades, units and stat buffs offered, especially where they offer no clear value) and reworking some other unlocks entirely to steer some of the worst offending/most bland doctrines to greener pastures. That would be a much more manageable undertaking in my view at least.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 03:52:50 am by Unkn0wn » Logged
PrinceOfScotland Offline
EIR Launcher Demigod
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Posts: 189



« Reply #24 on: July 29, 2020, 03:22:45 am »

Great to see you back around Akrandos, as well as everyone else whos returning. It's great to see so many folks back, and its also amazing to be getting such detailed feedback!

I've been away for the past month or so, hence not having responded in this thread earlier, but thought it was worth taking the time to respond, even if a tad late.

Single Player:
This is something I'm pretty certain I could implement, it'd just be a matter of finding the time in order to do so as it would take a fair bit, while I've read most of the SCAR, I've not done much work with it yet. Then deciding on the design, the discussion for that has been a horde mode/ wave attack style setting. The last challenge would then be working out how to add it to the launcher. But that's more a design challenge than implementation, as I'm sure the implementation wouldn't be too hard.

I do think the single-player is quite important going forward, the issue for myself is time as there's quite a lot that I'd like to get done while I still have more than like an hour spare every week and the time it would take me to implement a single player could be used to do the server migration we need to do, as well as finish up the war map rework, etc.


Barriers to entry:
Since I came back to the mod a few months ago, and then started working on the launcher the massive learning curve is something I have repeatedly stressed needs tackling if we want solid player retention, to that end I do agree the wiki does really need finishing up to give somewhere to reference for all the units. But there is quite a few other bits I've been working on here:
 - Help button on every page in launcher which explains everything on that page
 - New player popups for key parts of the launcher
 - Optional tutorial which walks you through the launcher, ideally leading to a SP game
 - Prebuilt company templates
 - Balance bar to try mitigate some stacking - But the community has been much better as of late, and the bar would only be using W/L so wouldn't be an amazing sense of balance anyhow

I would agree that having something to help new players in the game itself (such as the old newb advantages, recon runs etc.) would also help mitigate the in game disadvantage newer players are at, and help them feel that they are having an effect in game. On that end, its worth noting offmaps are going back to the player from the radioman when I get round to reworking that.

As with the previous point, my biggest restriction in making launcher improvements is time so its a matter of working out which points are most worth investing the time into.

I'm sure there were other points discussed I've forgotten to address, but hopefully that gives a clearer picture at least launcher wise as to where we are at, as usual, any feedback/ suggestions, fire them my way, I'll see it if its on disc much faster than on here!
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tank130 Offline
Sugar Daddy
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Posts: 8971


« Reply #25 on: July 31, 2020, 10:48:44 am »

snip........ On that end, its worth noting offmaps are going back to the player from the radioman when I get round to reworking that...snip

That's disappointing to hear. What's the rational behind the revert?
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Unkn0wn Offline
No longer retired
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Posts: 18383


« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2020, 05:34:49 am »

The idea behind it is that offmaps on radiomen add an unnecessary hurdle to their use. They were moved to radiomen to accommodate them having a cost but what scot is suggesting is the ability to buy them directly in the company screen, all the while keeping the convenience of then having them show up on the commander command bar like in vCOH. This'll be particularly helpful for utility offmaps that currently see very little use.

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TheWindCries Offline
EIR Regular
Posts: 3


« Reply #27 on: September 21, 2020, 07:26:33 pm »

Radiomen were always a clunky mechanic that didn't add anything to the game.

Good change +1
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tank130 Offline
Sugar Daddy
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Posts: 8971


« Reply #28 on: September 22, 2020, 02:47:51 pm »

The idea behind it is that offmaps on radiomen add an unnecessary hurdle to their use. They were moved to radiomen to accommodate them having a cost but what scot is suggesting is the ability to buy them directly in the company screen, all the while keeping the convenience of then having them show up on the commander command bar like in vCOH. This'll be particularly helpful for utility offmaps that currently see very little use.



The intent of the radio man design was to balance the ability to "take out" the offmap, just like you can take out any other unit. It was also intended to increase the skill level required for most of the "I win buttons" off maps became.

I am disappointed to see this dumbing down of the game again.
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brn4meplz Offline
Misinformation Officer
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Posts: 6980


« Reply #29 on: September 22, 2020, 06:19:44 pm »

I always viewed it as an additional micro step that less skilled players would be slower with, and thus worse off. Not to mention that if the dude dies, there goes all the resources. View it as a skill test if you want, but I think if Offmaps are more accessible worse players might do better and that benefits everyone.
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TheWindCries Offline
EIR Regular
Posts: 3


« Reply #30 on: September 22, 2020, 09:44:33 pm »

I always viewed it as an additional micro step that less skilled players would be slower with, and thus worse off.

It was exactly that. A needless layer of clumsy complexity for new players. And a further layer of needless deviation from the vcoh experience which made it harder for those players, that the mod depends on for growth, to get into the game.

But compounding its clunky game design: for higher level players it had all kinds of unintended benefits. Once it had used its offmaps (or regardless of whether someone ever purchased offmaps to begin with), the unit was useful for higher end players as a low cost, low pop cap,  low-risk scouting unit and/or counter sniper bait unit. Roles that it wasn't intended to be used for, and for which it was ridiculously resource efficient at.

Glad to see a bad game design decision being removed. Really smart work from Scotzman and Unknown.
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Olazaika1 Offline
EIR Regular
Posts: 47



« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2020, 01:03:26 am »

The radioman was a wonderful idea, which served it's purpose during the hyper-competitive stage of pre-steam launch.

As bad as this may sound, new players are conditioned to have offmaps available at all times with no downsides or risk. They lack the desire to change their ways.

also please remove the unit caps? please? it was supposed to be temporary ;(
and fix churchill, make 11 pop
panzer 3 bad nao, make 8 pop again
BRING BACK SHERMAN III
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I like balanced companies

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Unkn0wn Offline
No longer retired
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Posts: 18383


« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2020, 09:09:20 am »

LV caps are likely staying in place until such a time as when we can undertake a more fundamental review of LVs in this mod (which might require undoing some of the significant survivability buffs theyve seen in recent years) or we can put in place an alternative soft cap system of sorts that still gives us the control to balance the needs of the many with those of a few.

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tank130 Offline
Sugar Daddy
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Posts: 8971


« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2020, 04:19:00 pm »

I always viewed it as an additional micro step that less skilled players would be slower with, and thus worse off. Not to mention that if the dude dies, there goes all the resources. View it as a skill test if you want, but I think if Offmaps are more accessible worse players might do better and that benefits everyone.

I think we may be stretching the "less skilled card" a bit on that opinion to be honest. It is no more skill requirement than moving calliope into range, clicking the barrage button, then clicking your target.

What it did do was add a level of commitment to what is typically "I win" buttons or extremely powerful abilities.

If we are truly committed to making sure new players  are creating growth in the game, then we need to focus on the plethora of new abilities, stat changes, new names for units, new units,  warmap mechanics.
A radio man requirement for offmaps is not stopping new players, slowing their growth, or a hinderance to their play. A radio man is a hinderance to old time players who just want "click and win" back in the game.
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