PBEM combat options

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions PBEM combat options

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  Sharpnessism 7 years, 1 month ago.

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
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  • #181663

    Khazad Dron
    Member

    Hi all,

    What do you think about the idea to have an option of selecting AI commander (to control your troops on battle field) instead of auto-combat between human players in PBEM mode? Tactical combat is very interesting aspect of the game. I for one would prefer to fight against AI (commanding my opponent’s troops) than just see battle results.

    Regards,
    Andrei

    #181673

    not quite sure I understand what you want.
    Are you trying to say that you attack human opponent and that the opponents troops are controlled by AI? Seems a bit unfair to me actually as you will fight much better than AI in most cases. so the player who is attacking the most (likely the player that is first in starting order?) would have a huge advantage in battle.

    #181709

    Prodigal Sun
    Member

    If this option was enabled it would be a huge bonus to you whenever you attack. You can abuse the AI a lot in TC.

    #181718

    Khazad Dron
    Member

    Yes, that’s what I meant. I agree that it gives advantage to attacker, but in a turn-based game a player with initiative (attacker) has advantage anyway. That’s kind of inherent part of game mechanics. Good thing is that everyone gets an opportunity to move and attack while opponent is being passive.
    Well, maybe it’s just me. I don’t like auto-combat.

    #181735

    LordTheRon
    Member

    I would love to see manual TC in PBEM one day, but the devs have explained that it’s highly unlikely because it’s a lot of work and it would make for really long PBEM games.

    Having units controlled by AI seems like a bad idea to me. I’ll never use it anyway as I would be very upset to see how a good TC player eats through my (much better) stacks, because he knows how to exploit the AI. I think it would just mean a lot of frustration while at least the AC outcome is now fair for both parties.

    #181859

    Stormwind
    Member

    Hi all,

    What do you think about the idea to have an option of selecting AI commander (to control your troops on battle field) instead of auto-combat between human players in PBEM mode? Tactical combat is very interesting aspect of the game. I for one would prefer to fight against AI (commanding my opponent’s troops) than just see battle results.

    Regards,<br>
    Andrei

    But would you also prefer the flip side, to be notified that your great city defense was just annihilated by an inferior force?

    #181932

    Khazad Dron
    Member

    But would you also prefer the flip side, to be notified that your great city defense was just annihilated by an inferior force?

    Sure 🙂 It’s not that I want this feature for myself to own everyone 🙂
    I am fine with being annihilated. In fact, encouraging aggressive play style is not a bad idea, in my opinion.

    I’ll put it this way: why would you want to sit in a castle with superior force and wait for annihilation?

    #182021

    Gloweye
    Member

    Having units controlled by AI seems like a bad idea to me. I’ll never use it anyway as I would be very upset to see how a good TC player eats through my (much better) stacks, because he knows how to exploit the AI. I think it would just mean a lot of frustration while at least the AC outcome is now fair for both parties.

    I would do that…nom nom nom nom nom….

    I’ll put it this way: why would you want to sit in a castle with superior force and wait for annihilation?

    Maybe you haven’t seen him yet…

    Anyway, the current system is the most fair I can think of, with the only real improvement being manual combat if both players are online(get a notification -> if both click yes, combat commences), the alternative being to send the combat turns through the current system(Wanna play a game of AoW? Good, our grandchildren can finish it!). While the first idea might have merit, it’s a large dev-time investment that’s having only very little payoff in the way of playing, since it’ll be rare and get auto’d most of the time anyway.

    #182130

    Forkrul
    Member

    I know you can’t control tactical battles in pbem but can you at least watch the battles?

    #182139

    Stormwind
    Member

    I know you can’t control tactical battles in pbem but can you at least watch the battles?

    You CAN control tactical battles, but only against the AI. The issue is that you cannot do manual battles against human players, those have to be auto-resolved.

    #182158

    Gorgoh
    Member

    I know you can’t control tactical battles in pbem but can you at least watch the battles?

    This is a feature I was interested in too, but I never got around to posting about it. I thought of it as an Auto-Combat: Spectate mode.

    There’s a lot of anticipation going into key battles against human players, something that could be stretched considerably for additional entertainment value, rather than just resolving the battle in a second or two and posting the results.

    Watching battle replays after the result is already known (here’s why my guys failed, or here’s why this battle was the stompfest I thought it was going to be) is far less exciting than the prospect of watching the battle unfold in real time – with the final outcome still in doubt.

    I think it’d be great to get behind your guys with the camera and watch them climb up and over the enemy’s walls, bringing you one step closer to victory if only… that one damn Shocktrooper… would just DIE!

    Once you accept that your guys aren’t always going to make the most brilliant moves (and this cuts both ways, the enemy’s troops are also going to do boneheaded things from time to time, relative to a human anyways), watching battles resolve automatically can be a lot of fun.

    Especially if you have something riding on the outcome!

    As I understand it, one of the great aspects of AoW3’s automatic combat resolution is that it does play out a full battle to generate the results (unlike earlier versions, that simulated it through other means). Right now it just doesn’t show that full battle to you, unless you watch the replay. Change that up a little, and attacking another player in PBEM could lead to a riveting battle scene.

    I also considered an Auto-Combat: Spectate+ mode, where the player can cast a single spell during the first combat round (only), but obviously you start opening up lots of other issues from that point on.

    Edit: Auto-Combat: Spectate wouldn’t have to be a permanent mode choice (obviously there will be times when you’d prefer not to watch an entire battle play out). There could simply be another checkmark for “Spectate” right next to the one already there for “Cast spells in autocombat” – so the player gets to choose whether or not to watch, for each battle as it comes up.

    #182185

    Gorgoh
    Member

    A related idea that I’ve been carrying around for a while is an approach I call Wizards & Generals. This is simply an alternative combat resolution method for multiplayer.

    Right now for strategic map play, multiplayer games typically have exceptionally short turn timers attached to them, in large part because tactical battles between humans can take a long time. Another issue is that if there’s more than 2 players in the game, then people not participating in the battle will have to sit by idly until it’s resolved.

    Wizards & Generals is like Auto-Combat: Spectate for PBEM, imported into multiplayer – with the difference being the occasional “hand of god” entering the mix on the part of the players.

    There’s no shortage of ways it could be implemented, but one route would be twenty seconds of time at the beginning of each of your combat rounds and twenty seconds at the end. During those twenty seconds, players can do a limited set of things:

    1) At the start of a round, you can cast one spell if you wish

    2) At the start of a round, you can move a max of one unit, and have that unit use one of its abilities (you could chain these of course, whenever allowed for by the normal rules – e.g. Quick Dash + Sprint + Backstab = ouch!)

    3) Once both of those things have been done, or once the twenty seconds are up (whichever happens first) the game resumes Auto-Combat: Spectate mode

    4) At the end of the round, after all of your troops have moved and acted, another twenty second window opens up. At this point you can either pass to have the turn end, or you can cast one spell if a spell hasn’t already been cast during this combat round (either by you, or by one of your heroes).

    This second window allows you to heal recently damaged units, cast things like Resurrect, or finish off enemies “that should have died already” with a Fireball.

    5) Once you are done, the turn is handed over to your opponent’s forces, and they get to do the same thing!

    So this is a limited participation method, which greatly accelerates combat resolution overall, while also allowing players the chance to have a say in the final outcome. Spell inputs are a great way of doing this, because they can have such a dramatic affect on winning or losing, and the Auto-Combat AI isn’t always going to pick the spell you want it to pick.

    You can use your limited actions to save heroes who were otherwise going to die, take out key enemy units, cast your uber battlefield enchantments, or even try to remove enchantments your opponent has already cast.

    A short 15 or 20 second timer ensures things keep moving along nicely, without bogging down due to large army sizes or multiple difficult decisions. Players will often be glued to the action – if nothing else but for their own needs! – because they have to look for clues as to what they should do with their limited available moves each round, and the timer is short enough to where they can’t think for an eternity once the next window for action presents itself.

    In the end, shortening the time dedicated to TC combat would also allow for more time dedicated to player turns on the strategic map. Battles that used to take as long as 30 minutes to an hour now get chopped down to 5 minutes, allowing for more diplomacy, grand strategic plans, concealed unit positioning, etc.

    It’s also a great way of playing the game with any friends who might have less TC experience – a way of leveling out the playing field because (big surprise) TC combat plays a big role in who wins and who loses the game.

    Furthermore, it’s a way forward for shorter multiplayer games overall, since not everyone has large, uninterrupted blocks of time available for bigger multiplayer games.

    Beyond that, personally I think it’d be a lot of fun! 🙂

    Edit: There’s some wizard in there, but not much general, huh? Well, the other angle would be something like an overall attack or defense plan. In the first round (or at the start of each subsequent round) you could choose an AI algorithm (battle plan) for how to fight the battle, or the round (aggressive attack, hold position for now, prioritize range fire, etc). Including this would be a bigger development effort of course…

    In comparison, the limited actions method above just requires setting the stage properly and providing timers – everything else already exists as far as game mechanics and interface go.

    #182205

    Gorgoh
    Member

    What do you think about the idea to have an option of selecting AI commander (to control your troops on battle field) instead of auto-combat between human players in PBEM mode? Tactical combat is very interesting aspect of the game. I for one would prefer to fight against AI (commanding my opponent’s troops) than just see battle results.

    As for the original post, I think other people have already hit the nail on the head. It becomes problematic if you can attack your opponent’s armies and always kill 100% of their units while taking no losses yourself. Currently Auto-Combat pretty much ensures both sides are going to take losses if the attack and defense have relative parity.

    If there’s an AI stand-in for one of the players, then it just becomes a question of who can get the drop on who – if you’re the attacker, you win; if you get attacked, you lose.

    I think your original point is that the battles would be way more fun if you could play them out – and in that sense I agree with you completely.

    It’s sometimes a real shame to see a unique or exciting battle shaping up, only to have multiple stacks clash and disappear within a second or two.

    #182209

    Hatmage
    Member

    I think that being able to decide the default AI priorities and formation for your troops in some sort of “formation screen” would be cool and help with this issue. Units could have orders like “charge closest”, “charge flanks”, “fire and keep distance”, “engage archers and defend” etc., and heroes could perhaps be ordered to cast a specific spell before doing anything else.

    #182297

    Sartarius
    Member

    The idea of asking for a manual combat if all the participants are online atm is nice. You can send a mail like: “Mate, ill attack you this turn! When are you going to be online?” or smth like that so you can coordinate with teammates. Autos in PBEM are really sad as TC is more than half of a game and good old 2.5+ hours TCs are more entertaining than even a tough starcraft match.

    Ideas about partially controll your troops in TC when another player is controlling by AI are bad cause we all know how easily AI can be exploited, especially in sieges. Even global orders are too much in this case.

    #182327

    Gorgoh
    Member

    Yeah, right now I don’t see much of a future for attaching orders, spell preferences, or anything similar to PBEM battles against humans. Just to reiterate, these elements that I mentioned as part of my “Wizards & Generals” approach were for multiplayer, not PBEM.

    #183450

    Sharpnessism
    Member

    Why can’t battles have a manual option if both players agree to it? In a game where combat tactics matters so much, it’s a shame to have to auto-resolve every battle.

    I think the suggestion of having a “meeting time” would work only for people that play with friends. In the interest of having a more global solution, I think having turn based battles would work out better. When one player attacks and chooses “manual”, a notification is sent to the other player. If the other player agrees to the manual battle, then it would go to a turn based manual battle but if not, then it would auto-resolve.

    This way, only the battles that matter to both players would be fought out manually. It would extend the game time but enrich the PBEM game play/experience. If someone wants to only auto-resolve then they would have the option to do so. Friends that want to play out battles would now have the option with this suggested system.

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