Original Ra - Open Ra - Competitive Ra

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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WhoCares
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Original Ra - Open Ra - Competitive Ra

Post by WhoCares » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:29 pm

I'm new in the community and as far as know i can retain 3 main things :

1) 2 main and different playstyles : 1vs1 and everything else
2) 3 Differents visions of the game :

- Devs
- 1vs1 players
- everything else" Players

As i seen in other game, the competitive playstyle is far more complicated and way more harder to balance because it involves players who actually master the differents aspects and details of the game. As i seen, in such a case, we can't force the majority of the players who arent' competitive players to adopt game modifictations wich don't suit them and it should be very rude and misplaced to force those changes over them even with the will to improve the game in general.

My point is in this case is that the competitive scene should/would make a fork from the original game and having its own mod dedicated to competition. With this instance, they stop bothering and begging the devs for changes they need, to start implementing dirrectly what they think they need in their own mod. And it can have the opposite effect ; they can inspire the dev with the changes they have in their own mods by playtesting it and demonstrating the real value of those changes.

This involves persons with skill, talent, time and organisation but i think it's possible in openra. The few i have seen about the people playing this game i retain those criteria :

-Mature (or at least adulte age) people
-Cappable of coding, mapping or finding their way with technical issue or project.
-The will to get the job done.

So i don't see why you should lose more time trowing idea and having empty debate when you can actually build your own thing and see where it leads. The global league will be over in 2 month and the community will have several month until the next instance wich let enought time to considere, plane and create a competitive mod for the next season including all the features, balances and changes you all think this game needs for Competitive 1vs1.


and for the third point mentioned :

3) Barf cheats (or at least considerated as such until i can beat him; <3 Barf)

WhoCares

Edit : forgot to mention, i'm well aware that several persons are doing various playtest with custom maps containing changing rules, i'm not implying with this topic that nothing is done currently.

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Orb
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Post by Orb » Sun Apr 16, 2017 7:59 pm

While its not a bad idea, I have two problems with this kind of thing.

1. It splits the player base.

OpenRA is pretty small as is. Having different balance for casual and competitive will make it harder for new players to get into the competitive scene. Additionally, competitive players will be unlikely to play normal games since they'll want to stick with what they're used to.

2. Authority

I'm speaking mostly from experience in the Supreme Commander community. Finding the solution to balancing is hell over there. There have been multiple different types of balance teams, and they have all failed for one reason or another.

First all the problem is deciding who decides in the first place. People have different opinions on who would know best for balance. People will bicker. Not everyone will be happy with the pick. Supreme Commander has tried 1 person, teams, the owner of the website, community vote, and sometimes play test games to accompany these.They all end in a mess (though I partially blame the player base on this).

Once you've chosen the person, and they make their balance changes, people then bicker about the changes themselves. There are some issues, such as artillery, where the community is split on the issue. When supcom was doing a balance leader and made the first round of changes that I, personally, thought were pretty good, there was an uproar from a vocal portion of the community. That guy's life became hell and he started avoiding the community.

While the current system isn't the best, I think it's alright in its current state. It's got a feel of "work with the what you got". The developer's word is final after all, which helps quell bickering. It also helps the developers have been making good, cautious changes, which seem to reflect how the community feels about issues. Last patch artillery had a range nerf, and this patch the yak will get a sight boost. Good changes no one can really disagree with.

OMnom
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Post by OMnom » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:00 pm

WhoCares wrote:
My point is in this case is that the competitive scene should/would make a fork from the original game and having its own mod dedicated to competition. With this instance, they stop bothering and begging the devs for changes they need, to start implementing dirrectly what they think they need in their own mod. And it can have the opposite effect ; they can inspire the dev with the changes they have in their own mods by playtesting it and demonstrating the real value of those changes.
Personally, I find it annoying having to switch mods all the time. It's easier to put the code into a map than it is to create your own fork and have everyone go a completely different mod.
I'm taking notes of what balance changes people want to see, and starting a new round of playtesting after RAGL is over.

eskimo
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Post by eskimo » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:04 pm

As with all games (computer and board), the competitive scene is good for the game. It forces balance which allows nubs to choose and do anything they like without being penalised unknowingly.

Apologies if i missed your point.

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WhoCares
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Post by WhoCares » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:28 pm

Never said it's simple and easy or even nessecary, just trowing the suggestion seing that a lot of issues/balances/new features are discussed but it doesn't seem going beyond the talking (wich might be a wrong impression, but that how it feels).

To make my POV better understood, i'm not getting (and will not be) involve in the back scene of the game. I admire the people who do and respect them and their work and time spent. So i'm just giving idea or suggestion, discusing the pertinence of it and stoping there knowing i have not (and will not have) active role in anything that will follow.

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Smitty
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Post by Smitty » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:49 pm

Orb wrote: When supcom was doing a balance leader and made the first round of changes that I, personally, thought were pretty good, there was an uproar from a vocal portion of the community. That guy's life became hell and he started avoiding the community.
Isn't that exactly what we have now sans the last part? (Stay strong SoS!)

As far as I can tell there is nothing stopping anyone else from contributing to the balance process. I think what you'll see in the next release cycle is Omnom and possibly myself and others making balance pr's in addition to SoScared's changes.

This may be a good thing that gets more things done, or it may just add chaos. Personally I'd like to see all changes come from a balance team of five or so individuals representing players, streamers and developers. You'll get haters with any method and you have haters now so you might as well choose the method that provides the most legitimacy.
"Do not trust the balance tzars (Smitty, Orb). They are making the changes either for the wrong reasons, for no reason at all, or just because they can and it makes them feel good." - Alex Jones

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AoAGeneral1
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Post by AoAGeneral1 » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:56 pm

@WhoCares

Voicing views and opinions helps a lot as demonstrated in this method here. There is a portion that focuses a great deal on high competitive style games which can be good. Things however can work out even better if the changes work for both sides at once.

@Orb

Ive heard of this before and its a reason why I didn't get involved at all. There are changes that someone will always question but in the long run if you do changes that actually makes a unit useful or makes a unit not to strong directly by counters is the winning solution. A global nerf is usually a bad choice. (Some exceptions being mechanics that punishes every player harshly and forcing a gameplay style.)

lucassss
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Post by lucassss » Sun Apr 16, 2017 11:17 pm

When I began playing the omnom modified maps, most non competitive players that I played against did not even notice the change in pb/turret cost. Therefore I think that many of the competitive related changes do not matter that much to the other players.

If you want to have a separate ra mod with more classical rules, I would use it only for the ora campaign (and I would probably use mod maps and not an entire mod).

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SoScared
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Post by SoScared » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:20 am

This is a great topic and yeah there are some gloomy similarities mentioned above so I guess sharing my view on this here is as good place as any.

All right so in order to understand how the RA1 balance discussion and progression of today works, it's crucial to understand two things - first, the past 2 years of balancing vs the growth of the competitive scene and second, my personal recent influence on the game balancing.

As I've mentioned before to many people in this community the RA mod has lagged a bit behind in balancing competitively because there's been a measurable gap between the rapid growth of the competitive player base, starting around 2015, and the amount of influence this section of players have had with the game. Being open source the pressure is felt even stronger. Before this time there were few incentives for the developers to survey the top tier players. If any these were dedicated players that simultaneously functioned as a contributor to the project.

Factually, this next upcoming release will be the first release where I've influenced the RA mod in any meaningful way. This is relatively unprecedented in the history of the RA mod to allow a (well, former I guess) player with little-to-no knowledge of programming and not directly affiliated with the developer team. This came about in three stages - 1) cultivating the competitive community through the league, a map pool revolt (no not the RAGL map pool hysteria), the "1v1-thunderdome" together with various related side projects, 2) a 1 year long process of playtesting and most importantly 3) making a stink on GitHub pre-1019 after being stonewalled on some balance PRs.

Now the situation is pretty heated because from one point of view I spearheaded potential influence on game balancing, piercing a hole after a 3-year long run and smelling the blood the forum vampires are going in a frenzy because they now feel like they have a good shot of making the game look like the way they want it to be. A lot of players look at me thinking I'm in charge of RA's balance when in fact I'm as much in charge as this gentleman and worse yet I've barely seen any of the playtest content reach the official release.

Much of what I've done to this day and likely will do throughout the next release cycle is to absorb and utilize ideas mostly brought forward by other players. This has always been the case but it's not an open event and much of the decision making process are apt to be done on a whim when it comes to what will be promoted and playtested and what will not and most certainly my own personal vision and bias will determine how these things eventually come together.

As for cooperation and sharing of ideas among players I go by the simple formula "hear all, trust no-one" meaning I pretty much absorb ideas like a sponge but there are a few personal traits that I reject unequivocally which is lack of patience and tendency for hyperbole. That's it. It doesn't matter how good of an idea you carry - if you're unwilling to spend the time or allow time to prove your case right or wrong then I want nothing to do with you on that matter. Simple as that.

WhoCares are 100% on the ball when it comes to maintaining the game balance in check for the casual player-base. Like it or not the competitive player base can spearhead and indicate the game balance pretty well but in all likelihood that's as far as it will go, at least up until OpenRA is featured on a multi-million-dollar e-sport enterprise.

Balance Group/Team - unless these are paid jobs I'd expect it to be a disaster.

As for the next batch of my own playtest maps here's a draft representing the most likely setup post-release: http://www.sleipnirstuff.com/forum/view ... 83&t=20017



With all those nice words its time with some not-so-nice words as well because parts of me feels like ending this comment a bit on the low note.

Discussion is good. Making claims without evidence and then mock others with an opposing viewpoint is not. I gotta be honest here, in the 5-6 years I've hovered around this forum I can't remember a time more hostile to the free flow of information and ideas, I don't care who's bringing it forward or how outrageous the ideas are. The recent "forum policing" and opinion spamming is utter shit. I also just now I see comment chains such as these that are just baffling it's hard to even find the words. That might tie up a bit with my initial bit on balance history but it's bullshit nevertheless..

Perhaps its just me but relatively recently the attitude and maturity as dropped significantly on the forum - go back like 5 pages on the forum page and start reading. I dare you to do it.

If possible please don't chop my comment up in quotes.



Battle-control, terminated.

OMnom
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Post by OMnom » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:50 am

Sorry, going to slightly sidetrack this thread and chop up SoS's comment into a quote, but I just want to say one thing regarding this:
SoScared wrote: Discussion is good. Making claims without evidence and then mock others with an opposing viewpoint is not. I gotta be honest here, in the 5-6 years I've hovered around this forum I can't remember a time more hostile to the free flow of information and ideas, I don't care who's bringing it forward or how outrageous the ideas are. The recent "forum policing" and opinion spamming is utter shit. I also just now I see comment chains such as these that are just baffling it's hard to even find the words. That might tie up a bit with my initial bit on balance history but it's bullshit nevertheless.
The policing is may be a general feeling that some players have, but I feel responsible for starting this policing trend. To be perfectly clear, I have nothing against players discussing new ideas, and neither should anyone else. That being said, there's a distinct difference between this minelayer thread and Orb's SAM site discussion thread. I'm not trying to call anyone out with my examples; they are just examples, plain and simple.

Orb's thread is clear and structured; he clearly points out what he A) believes is a problem, B) points out his proof for as to why there is a problem, and C) clearly has considered the effects of buffing the SAM site. All of Orb's posts also show that he has taken the time to think about the effects of his suggestions. Threads like these ought to be the standard we use when we post here, in my opinion.

The Minelayer thread, on the other hand, crudely and broadly states that Minelayers are weak, offers no proof other than the OP's own opinion, and doesn't consider what would happen if the OP's change were to be implemented. Threads and posts where people state "I think X, Y, and Z is a good idea," without offering any reason other than their own opinion, or without considering/playtesting the consequences of their suggestions are threads/posts that I would consider to be lower than the quality that we deserve in this forum.

In addition, troll posts like this one here serve no purpose other than to infuriate people and stir up trouble. Yeah, sometimes trolling is funny, but in general, it gets in the way of actual, fruitful discussion.

In short, I just want to see an improvement in the quality of posting in this forum. New ideas, are welcome, but is it too much to ask that users structure their posts they blurt out their ideas? And if they don't want to have a structured discussion, would it be too much to ask that they go on IRC/Discord or to the general discussion thread?
Like Smitty said, anyone can make a PR and contribute to the project. If people aren't going to do their own PR's and try to push their suggestion to myself, Smitty, or SoS, I don't think it's too much to ask that people structure their ideas with a basic format:

A) What is the change / problem you would like to fix?
B) What would you change, and why do you want to change it? Keep your rationale as objective as you can.
C) Would there be other aspects of the game that would be affected if your changes were implemented?

I like incorporating changes that people suggest to me, so long as they provide adequate reasoning as to why their change would work. If the competitive community and the casual community are to get along, it'd be better if we worked together by having a common standard when it comes to posting on this forum

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SoScared
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Post by SoScared » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:50 am

It doesn't work OMnom. At most you can have moderators moving posts and follow a set of guidelines to keep things in order but you can't keep measuring up users post quality to your predefined set of standards. It's a forum. In the end you're likely to just make a lot of people upset including yourself.

What's funny is that these so-called troll and low-quality posts are continuously bumped and inhabited by the same group of people over and over again, accomplish the exact opposite of what they want. These types of posts eventually drop like gravity but it seem to be that some people fear these posts gaining positive traction. So they bump it and creates a stir, and in the process delegitimize all parties in that conversation.

For the most part posters ought to be responsible for their own posts and have the ability to share their thoughts freely as long as they don't break the general rule of basic human decency.

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Doomsday
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Post by Doomsday » Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:50 am

I wish we had separate suggestions subforum. We could have sticky thread explaining what good suggestions should include.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
-Sun Tzu

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Graion Dilach
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Post by Graion Dilach » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:17 pm

To the OP:

Classic devs have gave up on balancing, since most of the people are casuals and only see things from the casual POV.

As for what I personally think: at this stage, the default OpenRA mods should be competetive-oriented. Original RA or TD will never be achieved, anyone who believes in that is cutely naive. Neither will D2k, but I guess that won't gain enough ground even to get a team behind it to end up with something unique as TD.

Considering that the original game players are now all hardcore (since the source games are what, 20 years old now) they will always moan, you won't reach a stage where they would come over so trying for their approval is a lost cause (I'm not talking about the casuals here, who can't tell the difference between RA and OpenRA in a single screenshot), so the options to grow the playerbase is via getting the gameplay stable and balanced and that's where the feedback of the competitive scene comes in.

If the competitive scene does balancing right, casuals shouldn't have issues with the game either. Although at this stage, I believe we can talk about clear gameplay concepts within both TD and RA, and every idea/feedback should be adjusted to that, which is why I don't believe in ideas like bounty removal from RA (which from what I see, became a core part of the gameplay now).
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Lorrydriver
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Post by Lorrydriver » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:28 pm

Do you guys really believe, that 'casuals' would stop playing this game, because of some balance changes, that might encourage them to get better? People that just play the game to play it, won't even notice a difference. People that play this game casually but try to improve as well, might just welcome any balance changes that make sense as well.
I think that distiction between casuals and competive players shouldn't play such a huge role, because it doesn't, at least in my opinion. We still both decide to play the same game for mostly the same reasons after all.

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SoScared
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Post by SoScared » Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:48 pm

@LorryDriver I don't think anyone is saying that. It's simply that you have to bring the totality of the playerbase into consideration when fiddling with the game balance. There certainly is a distinction between casual and competitive that cannot be ignored. At the same time I agree the competitive aspect should indicate the direction of the game balance.

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