How do you rate the new RA release?

Discussion about the game and its default mods.

How do you rate the new RA release

1 (love it)
18
38%
2
7
15%
3 (no change for me)
4
9%
4
9
19%
5 (hate it)
9
19%
 
Total votes: 47

abcdefg30
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Post by abcdefg30 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:17 am

Just to make one thing clear:
FiveAces wrote: After all, the change was implemented to make it easier to deal with basepushes.
No, it was not. To quote pchote, nerfing basepushing was only a "side effect" of that long-planned change. It simply wasn't done earlier for technical reasons (e.g. the AI had trouble with that logic). Although OpenRA is clearly not a 1 to 1 port of the original, the change to the 'Defend' stance aligns it more with the 'old' C&C games.

I know this won't help you much. However, it was not the intention to "disturb" balancing, although almost every core dev doesn't really care about RA "balancing" anymore due to certain events in the recent past. I even feel a tiny bit sorry for that.

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Post by maceman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:45 am

I really like it for the most part. The balance changes are good. I like the direction the stance stuff is going - although it's not perfect yet. The new menu bar at the bottom is nice. It fixes a bug with 'joystick scrolling' which used to cause me problems. Nice colours in chat. Pretty happy here. :)

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anjew
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Post by anjew » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:52 am

noobmapmaker wrote: What would be the difference that explains the difference in sentiment? I'm sure it's not a difference in player base personality.
In TD it's a welcome change because buildings play less of a role offensively. It can be bad to kill buildings instead of units because an army advantage can be more important.

I, also, prefer the current behaviour in RA but that's my personal opinion.
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Post by Anykeyich » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:24 pm

I have voted for 3 since I am not so good player and don't see that these changes have changed my level.

However, it has definetly helped some newbies and unexperienced players because the new targeting system does not require so much control, so the average level of play has increased imho.

lawANDorder
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Post by lawANDorder » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:35 pm

Voted 4 because of the following reasons:

It struck me very positive how tanks, especially heavy tanks, are a lot more fun to use and feel more effective. Veterancy on tanks is no longer a rarity and indicates their increased usability. Proper hitshapes are also a nice thing.

What really displeases me is how the changes regarding attack logic and stances have been introduced: Despite the controversy about their effects it can be said that these changes have a huge impact on how the game plays out - casual players are let alone with new game mechanics which are insufficiently described and require in-depth testing in order to comprehend them. Inputs are confusing and in case of the assault move hardcoded and thus interfere with individual hotkey setups.

I understand that players have to constantly adapt to the game as a result of constant development which, thinking of the work and time invested, I really appreciate. Nevertheless there is a limit of what can be demanded from players and this limit has been exceeded with this release: As much as the playerbase has got to respect the devs' limited capabilities, the players' willingness and motivation has got to be respected as well.

Assuming the majority of the players plays this game for fun, the release is rather a regression as many players just can not adapt to a system that they do not understand or do not even know about. As a result players get frustrated while others profit from a "illegitimate" skill gap. We may see players adapt over time, the point I'm trying to make is that further fundamental changes to the game mechanics require extensive testing and need to be appropriately communicated.

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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:17 pm

lawANDorder wrote: Voted 4 because of the following reasons:

It struck me very positive how tanks, especially heavy tanks, are a lot more fun to use and feel more effective. Veterancy on tanks is no longer a rarity and indicates their increased usability. Proper hitshapes are also a nice thing.

What really displeases me is how the changes regarding attack logic and stances have been introduced: Despite the controversy about their effects it can be said that these changes have a huge impact on how the game plays out - casual players are let alone with new game mechanics which are insufficiently described and require in-depth testing in order to comprehend them. Inputs are confusing and in case of the assault move hardcoded and thus interfere with individual hotkey setups.

I understand that players have to constantly adapt to the game as a result of constant development which, thinking of the work and time invested, I really appreciate. Nevertheless there is a limit of what can be demanded from players and this limit has been exceeded with this release: As much as the playerbase has got to respect the devs' limited capabilities, the players' willingness and motivation has got to be respected as well.

Assuming the majority of the players plays this game for fun, the release is rather a regression as many players just can not adapt to a system that they do not understand or do not even know about. As a result players get frustrated while others profit from a "illegitimate" skill gap. We may see players adapt over time, the point I'm trying to make is that further fundamental changes to the game mechanics require extensive testing and need to be appropriately communicated.
I can see your point. Part of the problem though is a large majority of the player base testing happens in TD. A lot of the RA players leave it in the dust and continue playing the release version. So testing is vastly limited in RA compared to TD.

TD tends to have a higher balance then RA since TD is more unit focused a lot of the changes were not disrupted so heavily. Compared to RA being a bit more static in structures has a heavier impact from the changes.

Its as you mentioned though, needs player testing. There just wasn't any from the RA side. Its how things like the submarine bug got overlooked until the release.

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Post by SoScared » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:48 pm

abcdefg30 wrote: I know this won't help you much. However, it was not the intention to "disturb" balancing, although almost every core dev doesn't really care about RA "balancing" anymore due to certain events in the recent past. I even feel a tiny bit sorry for that.
It would be most depressing to learn that input from contributors such as FiveAces and myself, who has spent years of our lives to help grow OpenRA, in the end is so lowly valued that spontaneous, emotionally loaded comments from trolls and flamers, and spamming, has the final impact on matters that stands in the very epicenter of our roles in this community. I truly hope, with everything that I am, that this is not so. I don't want to believe that we are really no longer worth the trust, as we've worked so hard to gain, and that feelings of bitterness, betrayal and suspicion prevails. That those of us who has proved nothing but the very best of intention to make things better, to actively seek out the truth of any matter no matter how big an issue or challenge that stands in our way, that in the end we are the biggest losers in this game of politics and by extension, the game and community as a whole.

I sincerely hope people are aware that dealing with trolls and people with true malevolent intent isn't something exclusively to the developers. Speaking for myself, tho I'm confident FiveAces share pretty much the same experience, a big part of my role is to deal with exactly that continuously on a day to day basis, as we have no choice but to deal with everyone on the street level. Sure you see me smile, laugh and have fun, and surely those are genuine expressions as you see them but part of my role gives me extremely limited outs for negative emotion, and although I might fail on this from time to time, have no choice but to maintain this persona in order to move forward on the things that I love to do and that which actually mattered in moving the game forward.

The balancing process for RA was routed through me exclusively the past two release cycles and so I put my heart and soul into moving the mod forward as fast as I possibly could while at the time make sure I had the full range of support behind me on every play level. Having essentially a no-life in a period of time I was managing the RAGL, running an insanely huge sample of map playtesting with the biggest balance do-over the mod has ever seen, producing a trailer for OpenRA's 10th anniversary, running a stream and on top of that having to work with adjusting RA in relation to the new hit-shape changes - all of which was accomplished, how am I supposed to react when the developers turns their back on RA's balance - because of a few loudmouths spams insults on the forum, people relatively new to the game that practically had no path whatsoever to change anything about anything?

By taking a counter-position to the stances after the first playtest all the work and trust I built up to that point went totally flat, every warning I gave was right off the bat regarded as wrong, irrelevant and in some cases inappropriate.

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Post by lawANDorder » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:07 pm

Please keep this on topic. Personal problems should be addressed privately between the relevant individuals. Everyone sees that balancing is an emotion-loaded topic right now so to address the generic problems of balancing one step could be to figure out at first what needs to be done to objectify the discussion again. You all want to make things better - think about what caused the problems and how organisation and communication need to adapt to improve workflow and outcome.

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Post by noobmapmaker » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:51 pm

I really hope that the developers who are 'tired of the red Alert balancing' are able to set aside negative emotions and re-embrace and revalue the balancing efforts. Personally I think it's a big thing for OpenRA. It helps to make one mod, RA, viable competitively. Which results in a tense competition and tense casts which in turn results in more players, which in turn results in more money, attention, fun, community and over time... more developers who help coding. I've read somewhere that the competitive should not be the leading goal. Yes it should not be the goal itself, but it's a huge katalysator for everything.

This soft side of OpenRA may not be as fundamental as the coding, but it's very important. I hope that the devs see the value of what it brings OpenRA (and enjoy to see how many nice initiatives emerge from their code!)

Personally I even think the opinion of the competitive scene should be leading when it comes to balancing a mod. Because if the game works for the competitive scene it will also work for the casual scene, while this is not true the other way around. Ofcourse don't follow every whim and sometimes there's a larger-than-mod goal to be achieved. But within a mod I think the competitive scene should balance, and that results automatically in a fun/balanced game for casuals.

I hope that devs who have negative sentiments can try to put those aside. I also hope they value the huge amounts of time/energy non coding members pour into OpenRA. The value is different from the value of code, but it requires little explanation that it IS of high value.

This conversation certainly has to take place. After that... Let's keep on building an awesome engine for retro-Westwood e-Sport that incites tons of fun, creativity, crazy mods and nailbiting competition.
Last edited by noobmapmaker on Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by noobmapmaker » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:57 pm

lawANDorder wrote: [...] figure out at first what needs to be done to objectify the discussion again. You all want to make things better - think about what caused the problems and how organisation and communication need to adapt to improve workflow and outcome.
This, alao well put. And yeah to keep on topic would be good, and people resolving stuff privately would be better. But this is something very fundamental that needs to be solved somehow or it will inevitably lead to the same issues again.
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SoScared
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Post by SoScared » Wed Oct 25, 2017 12:52 am

lawANDorder wrote: Please keep this on topic. Personal problems should be addressed privately between the relevant individuals. Everyone sees that balancing is an emotion-loaded topic right now so to address the generic problems of balancing one step could be to figure out at first what needs to be done to objectify the discussion again. You all want to make things better - think about what caused the problems and how organisation and communication need to adapt to improve workflow and outcome.
My emotions are certainly involved but I believe I can narrow my point of issue down to a base line:

Practically I was entrusted on taking charge of RA's balance this past release cycle. At the beginning of this year, pchote asked for someone to take charge of the mod specific balancing after some discussions on balance strategy and I pretty much ended up taking the job.
https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/issues/11995

The motivation behind the balance strategy discussions was the lack of proper testing, quality community interaction and the official playtests as an inefficient medium to test out balance changes for the RA mod due to an historical disinterest in OpenRA's official playtests but also the time constraints with the playtests making them more eligable for hunting bugs rather than testing out new balance changes.

Although never officially announced the communications between the developers and myself was established in such a way that any change that had anything to do with gameplay, I was called upon to review and eventually decide upon whether or not to include, say for example a fix in the code or modify new features in such a way that they could be included in a sensible manner, at according to my own judgement. Gameplay motivated balance changes was introduced by myself.

This responsibility motivated me to quickly form a balance strategy surrounding playtest maps which already by then proved itself to be a reliable way of introducing changes in a safe and predictable manner. The content of these was based on premises brought in through community interaction and eventually found itself as a collection of specific changes that was tested on a wide variety of playtest maps that was distributed within the playing community. The process from there is pretty straight forward.
http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 83&t=19944
http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 83&t=20017

The last release cycle was no different in principle except for the sheer scope of organization with quite the number balance changes and tweaks coupled with a distribution of over 16.000 downloaded playtest maps with two versions that reached hundreds of players within a couple of months, made possible due to the experience and success of the previous run, preceding release (hotfix) 0527.

The building HitShape changes was making its way sometime around June and I had an opportunity to adjust the feature's damage values vs buildings through a seperate version of the bleed (made available by the developers a few weeks later.
https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/pull/13448

The removal of building auto targeting was introduced around the same time with the separate playtest version and into the official playtest. This wasn't really an issue given that the balance patch was pretty much mapped out with the playtest maps and the new building hitshapes damage effect on RA's gameplay was adjusted, although roughly, for the AoE damage to resemble the release values. There was no risk adding the building targeting to the official playtest and I was pretty excited to see what would happen to the gameplay with this feature added.

Come playtest date and a couple of players fired up a playtest review thread that quickly turned into flaming the developers for adding the feature. The flame thread kept floating and eventually like a black hole pulled in developers, players, contributors and what have you. Time passes and I found out there was quite a few players on and off the active playing community legitimately dissatisfied with the feature. Unfortunately these players was cloaked behind the spam thread making it close to impossible to contribute to the discussion and rather went under the radar until that thread died, which took forever.

In midst of this I decided the feature wasn't worth it given simply the split of opinion and the fact that this feature was wholly untested but as I learned this wasn't up to me anymore. This feature was going in whatever the consequences and despite the whole circus was upheld by just a handful of players new to OpenRA the entire RA playing community and pro community was labeled toxic – pchote stated he'd either see the no-building feature going in or cut loose the RA mod from the OpenRA project which prompted me to quit. Serious or not this told me that all the balance work I had worked for the past 6 months was hinging on a dice roll and I couldn't stomach it.




Problem:

A balancer role was delegated out to a community member, however the balancers' work and intent is potentially nullified by a feature thrown in blind at the end of the process. In contrast to a established and familiarized balancing protocol or strategy worked out between the developer and balancer over time, the developer overrides the balancer at the end of the process.

Solution:

Announce/add a new feature to the bleed at the beginning of a release cycle and/or make sure the balancer is able to take aboard a new feature onto the map.yaml or perhaps an extended official balance playtest, protecting both the balancer and developer from unnecessary distress and lost work.

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Post by netnazgul » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:38 am

SoScared wrote: In midst of this I decided the feature wasn't worth it given simply the split of opinion and the fact that this feature was wholly untested but as I learned this wasn't up to me anymore. This feature was going in whatever the consequences and despite the whole circus was upheld by just a handful of players new to OpenRA the entire RA playing community and pro community was labeled toxic – pchote stated he'd either see the no-building feature going in or cut loose the RA mod from the OpenRA project which prompted me to quit.
The whole debate around the autotargeting looks like Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy quote:
- But Mister Dent the plans have been available in the planning office for the last nine months!
- Yes! I went round to find them yesterday afternoon. You’d hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to pull much attention to them have you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.
- The plans were on display.
- Ah! And how many members of the public are in the habit of casually dropping around the local planning office of an evening?
- Er - ah!
- It’s not exactly a noted social venue is it? And even if you had popped in on the off chance that some raving bureaucrat wanted to knock your house down, the plans weren’t immediately obvious to the eye were they?
- That depends where you were looking.
- I eventually had to go down to the cellar!
- That’s the display department.
Jokes aside, what I see the problem here is about is that this feature was planned long ago and postponed only to emerge 3 years or so after. But by this time pretty much the whole community changed and the most part of RA meta was already built around the then current mechanics, making the introduction of new autotargeting if not a major problem then a major upheaval. And there wasn't enough public discussion (if any at all) on whether it is actually viable to "return to the original mechanics" (which, speaking frankly, was pretty much the only voiced reason from devteam to implement it).
I think if it was re-discussed thoroughly before implementation then it would have been possible to aleviate the storm it produced, because now it was dropped as a raw feature itself for the sake of it not honouring the balance structure already present in the game; the next release cycle will anyway be targeted to do all that, but with all the emotions in both the community and the devteam which could have been not the case if it was the other way around.

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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:52 am

SoScared wrote: Problem:

A balancer role was delegated out to a community member, however the balancers' work and intent is potentially nullified by a feature thrown in blind at the end of the process. In contrast to a established and familiarized balancing protocol or strategy worked out between the developer and balancer over time, the developer overrides the balancer at the end of the process.

Solution:

Announce/add a new feature to the bleed at the beginning of a release cycle and/or make sure the balancer is able to take aboard a new feature onto the map.yaml or perhaps an extended official balance playtest, protecting both the balancer and developer from unnecessary distress and lost work.
Im confused on the problem tag.

I saw this coming months in advanced and made changes to roll around with the hit-shapes and etc. The bleed version is playable and even has a tutorial on how to run it to see in progress additions.

This can take browsing the github but you are always welcome to ask if any major changes are coming.

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FRenzy
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Post by FRenzy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 10:31 am

SoScared wrote: The discussion around basepushing has been one of the most difficult and confusing subjects in relation to the stance changes.
Ok sorry, maybe I brought up this subject in a wrong way.
I wasn't necessarily thinking about basepushes per se, but about how easy it was to lock down positions with small armies protected by meatshielding buildings. A smaller army could deflect a bigger one, or at least slow it and mow it down, unitl reinforcements come.
This allowed players to split their mobile armies (which I agree was the core of the meta by now), but without too much risk in their backbases !

What is happening now, is that it isn't possible anymore : sending out and splitting your army comes at a price of higher vulnerability.

But why is this a problem ? That should be the real behaviour. It's logical that the rewards of an aggressive playstyle should be compensated by a higher vulnerabilty, that the opponent could take advantage of if he's aware of it.
SoScared wrote: Also we have to be extra careful with arguments that involves players "not playing the game the right way" as an excuse to why a big sector of OpenRA's playerbase are experiencing this shot-in-the-dark feature as bland, tedious and stressful without adding to the game. We can't just waive aside these players' opinions with a simple adapt-or-whatever attitude and I'm not sure how people can even envision this sort of gameplay balance strategy survive development in the long run.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the players.

What I'm seeing is that, right now, the immediate reaction of the current meta is to spam arties, to be able to defend bases with less units, while being on the agressive. It's an adaptation of the previous meta, with another flavour. And that tends to slow down games, because arties can't be used efficiently as a mobile army.

What I'm trying to say, which is a corollary to my first point, is that now aggressive playstyle must be combined with scouting, because bases can't be defended by themselves anymore. It will induce a change of meta, from a meta of split armies that launch blind attacks, into a meta where attacks must be combined with scouting (in case a defensive retreat is needed), therefore emphasizing on the importance of scouting units. This will take time to appear, as in every meta change.


Maybe now the way to go is to look at artillery and scouting units, and see if they need to be modified, to allow a more dynamic gameplay.
For instance, the only good Soviet scout is the Yak : does it need to be cheaper ? to have more HP ? ... do we need a better Soviet T1 scout, if we don't want to force players to play air ? In TD for instance, that's not a problem, because both factions have cheap T1 scout units.


----

Now on another point, I understand that people are unhappy with the difficulty to easily destroy buildings.
But I think those are two distinct issues (the effects of non-targeting on the meta / and the ease of using stances and attack moves), and the solutions to improve them are different, and should not be mixed.

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Post by SoScared » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:09 am

@AoAGeneral: It's legitimately hard for me to understand how you mixed up Hitshapes and the removal of building targeting as a referral to 'Problem' following the last couple of paragraphs in my comment.

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