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 Post subject: Suggestion - reduce Phantom League advantage
PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:36 am 
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Just wondering if there have been any thoughts on how to reduce the advantages of the Phantom League?

I was wondering if to counter the first turn/lead in disclosures if the Free Nations player could disclose 1-3 countries on their first turn. This would provide them with either a little more secrecy or more offensive power on their first turn.

Just a thought.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:19 am 
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Another idea is to give FNU 1 extra revenue during disclose phase(10 intead of 8...). We can either give them that extra revenue as a present or take 1 revenue turn from them. This only applies to firts disclouse phase.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 9:36 am 
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How about raising more guerillas if the country is invaded immediately after disclosure?(of course this is for green only,red can protec himself quite good as it is.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:21 pm 
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I like the idea of more guerilla if invaded on firtst round. Extra revenue is a bit unfair if you ask me as if nonene attacks you've got an army of 10 (for a small country) to invade your nieghbor.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:01 pm 
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Though I've expressed my opinion already I would like to say again, not as a developer, as an ordinary user who plays MA.

Doesn't it seem to you that all that groans about Phantom League's advantage are meaningless? I've never seen that Tiger or MortonHQ complained of that, like Kasparov, Kramnik or Anand never do playing blacks (in chess).

There's no need for real masters, to complain of anything.
Playing for FNU also hardens character, besides...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 2:51 pm 
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We seem to have different general approaches to a game artmax. I believe that with all things being equal, each player should have close to the same probability of winning. I believe that this is not the case with MA. If it was, I don’t believe we would be playing two games per opponent in the tournament (unless to reduce the possibility of one player getting a poor country draw).

Interesting analogy with chess however I don't feel it is necessarily accurate. Being able to move a pawn in to a central control area (say d4/e4) is not the same as taking over two of your opponent’s countries in the first round. In other words, I feel that advantage offered by PL is much more significant than that of white in chess.

I believe it would be nice of there was some type of equalizing measure so that a player may actually want to play FNU because it allows for different strategic advantages.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 3:59 pm 
I've brought this up before but since the developers are in here discussing it i'll say it again. I think the fairest way is to just let the FNU see where the PL discloses, that way the FNU can disclose their units out of range of the PLs initial attack.

This way although the PL still can invade on the first turn cutting off your supply, if you've placed your units correctly you can counter-attack and get first strike against them.

Artmax, you cant compare this to chess simply because there is no move in chess where the first player can take a piece off the second player.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 4:19 pm 
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Ok, may be I got too excited about that, I consider, very important problem...

But, nevertheless, I'd like to notice the following.

1. Secret Allies distribution has an important role during deciding to attack a country or not. Even after seeing FNU's first disclosure PL often has to wait, 'cause it's absolutely unclear who is who. And such a situation isn't concocted. Moreover, the theoretical advantage of PL may disappear in a moment when the FNU's distribution is better.

2. Everybody plays not one, but a lot of MA games, for both sides. And, from mathematical point of view, taking also random Secret Allies distribution into account, you have the same probability of victory (or loss) as your opponent. Nobody plays only for one side, right?

3. When you play cards, do you complain of anything? His Sacred Majesty, Chance, decides everything...

4. I've just got the idea. What if one send a challenge and just the server decides what player plays for either FNU or PL? In the same time, current challenge may be kept as is.

I express my own point of view, it's not the company's official one.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 7:21 pm 
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well i got an idea :D anybody who makes another flame topic about PL's so-called advantages should choose PL and send challenge to Tiger :o and let's see if that so-called advantage will help him to survive :P


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:39 pm 
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artmax wrote:
Ok, may be I got too excited about that, I consider, very important problem...

But, nevertheless, I'd like to notice the following.

1. Secret Allies distribution has an important role during deciding to attack a country or not. Even after seeing FNU's first disclosure PL often has to wait, 'cause it's absolutely unclear who is who. And such a situation isn't concocted. Moreover, the theoretical advantage of PL may disappear in a moment when the FNU's distribution is better.

2. Everybody plays not one, but a lot of MA games, for both sides. And, from mathematical point of view, taking also random Secret Allies distribution into account, you have the same probability of victory (or loss) as your opponent. Nobody plays only for one side, right?

3. When you play cards, do you complain of anything? His Sacred Majesty, Chance, decides everything...

4. I've just got the idea. What if one send a challenge and just the server decides what player plays for either FNU or PL? In the same time, current challenge may be kept as is.

I express my own point of view, it's not the company's official one.


These are my thoughts...

1. I agree, although the whole secret allies concept brings an element of chance into the mix. MA is currently being touted as a "Think Based Strategy" game, so elements of chance, for some, may not be seen as benefits to gameplay.

2. Where did this data come from? Is this based on statistics computed from data from the game server?

3. Once again, "Think Based Strategy." Cards offer only games of chance or of bluff. And although bluffing plays a large part in games of skill as well, chance is usually not welcome.

4. Great idea!

Maybe in future patches, the developers should offer more options for tailoring the game to suit different tastes. Many ideas on the forum seem to have merit, but making core changes to the gameplay will certainly upset some while pleasing others. On the other hand, games which offer options for the player to 'personalize' the experience through the choice of gameplay options will almost certainly be well received.

Just my thoughts... I'm sure they differ from others'...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:59 pm 
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Brashen wrote:
Maybe in future patches, the developers should offer more options for tailoring the game to suit different tastes. Many ideas on the forum seem to have merit, but making core changes to the gameplay will certainly upset some while pleasing others. On the other hand, games which offer options for the player to 'personalize' the experience through the choice of gameplay options will almost certainly be well received.

Just my thoughts... I'm sure they differ from others'...


As much as I'm tempted to butt heads with Brashen about this whole subject of the mix of chance with strategy, I'll hold off for now ;). The truth is that we both absolutely love this game, and we have totally different views of what the perfect direction for it to take is. And the thing is, Massive Assault has such a good foundation it could go both directions (and any other direction besides these listed) in the future. I heartilly agree that more gameplay options that allow for different styles of play will only help. And opponents need not accept a challenge if they don't like they style you've chosen.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 4:54 am 
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By the way, I could analyze the stats on the gameserver, but the results would be more or less objective if two players are of equal skills.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:45 am 
Well the PL doesnt always have an advantage, its only if the FNU and PL start right next to each other and the PL can invade on the first turn.

Mrakobes theres no point telling an average player to play an expert with this advantage and guarentee a win. The point is if equal players are playing and one has this advantage then he has a better chance to win.

But i'll tell you what, if there was a scenario created to exploit this, say a 3x3 grid level where the FNU starts in the center and the PL starts in a random spot around him, given first turn, I do guarentee I can beat anyone. Simply because we start with equal units, except I get first strike so I can not only damage his forces but invade so that he has no revenue and I do.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 6:27 pm 
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Auran wrote:
Well the PL doesnt always have an advantage, its only if the FNU and PL start right next to each other and the PL can invade on the first turn.

Mrakobes theres no point telling an average player to play an expert with this advantage and guarentee a win. The point is if equal players are playing and one has this advantage then he has a better chance to win.

But i'll tell you what, if there was a scenario created to exploit this, say a 3x3 grid level where the FNU starts in the center and the PL starts in a random spot around him, given first turn, I do guarentee I can beat anyone. Simply because we start with equal units, except I get first strike so I can not only damage his forces but invade so that he has no revenue and I do.


Sounds like a challenge!!

I'm no expert to be taking Aural up on this... How about you Mrakobes, or Tiger, or the infamous MortonHQ?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2004 11:48 pm 
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i do not see any challenge here.First of all there is no such thing in MA as two-player scenarios with predefined positions (i would like to such scenarios to be created but that's a long theme).Second the scenario which Auran offers would be meaningless because Auran assumes that FNU will have fixed position in center and PL will know it.of course in such case PL's victory is quaranteered but happily there aren't such idiotic scenarios in MA.Yes the secret ally position matter ALOT so it can give you huge advantages.... or not.But anyway siding matters little here.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 5:21 am 
But thats my point, of coarse there are no scenarios set like this by default, but because of the random nature of secret allies it can happen. And in this case the PL has a definate advantage which you seem to agree about.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 6:15 am 
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lol Auran at last you understood - that is SA position which PRIMARILY defines the advantages.Both sides can have more or less advantageous starting position.YES there can be such a position where PL will have some advantages.On other side there can be such a position where FNU will have some advantages.random decides.And first turn will have decisive effect ONLY in combination with 3 conditions :
1) secret allies of FNU and PL are neighbours
2) PL discloses his ally first and decides to attack exactly the said FNU ally (not another neutral neughbour)
3) FNU player makes some dumb mistake during first deployment (like placing rocket launchers near border)
well in such combination PL will win of course but such a case would be very unusual and rare.On small planets there can be more chances for that but on large such chance is nearly nonexistent.
Speaking in general - the more experienced the player is the less attention he pays to the side.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 10:26 am 
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I fully agree with Mrakobes on this. One thing I haven't seen mentioned aboout this subject though is that there are several things the FNU can do to mitigate the advantage the PL has.

1) First of all is the choice of which countries to disclose. The FNU especially should make sure to disclose neighboring allies if possible, as if the situation Mrakobes mentioned Does happen (PL has a secret ally right next to one of these nations), the other country could lend some support.

2) Choose to disclose allies that have fewer borders the enemy can attack from. That will lessen how much your army is spead out.

3) Cover your borders with sufficient defenses before choosing a specific country to target. So if you have a 3-bordered country, you might end up having a couple LAVs on two of your borders and your main assault force on the third.

4) If you don't have a better country to disclose, and the one you do isn't easily defendable (too many border spots, capital close to a border), consider placing a unit in the capital. That way you'll have a chance to respond to the enemy if he does enter, and hold them off long enough for reinforcements to arrive.

5) Finally, select which units you purchase with care. It would have to be a very special circumstance for me to even consider buying a RL in the disclosure phase as FNU. They are just too expensive to risk having a neighboring PL ally snipe them on the first round. Buy mostly cheaper units as they are more cost effective defenses. And if you do want a heavy hitter, get a decently protected Heavy Bot. Even if the enemy does happen to have enough material to take it out, he/she generally would have to expose some expensive units to do it.

In conclusion, whether the fact the PL always goes first is too big an advantage is still debateable. There is no question this leads to different strategic approaches when playing the two sides, but that doesn't mean that one necessarily has the advantage. The PL is pretty much on the offense to begin with, and the FNU is on the defense. As in war, if the offense is weak or the Defense is too stiff, the PL could be in a lot worse position if one of their attacks fail.

The same principle applies to Chess. A descent White player can sometimes control the game against an equivelant opponent. But a better black player will turn the tables, and use White's strategy against them. For this reason I always choose black when I play chess. I love letting the white player choose the strategy, and then thwart it so they are scrambling to defend themselves. Doesn't always happen, but when it does its fun :).

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NWO website:
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Clan War website:
http://www.massiveassault.com/clans/nwo/ClanWar


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:12 am 
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there are several things the FNU can do to mitigate the advantage the PL has."


But they shouldn't have to! The FNU for example have to place their units further inland so that if the PL is next to them, they cant decimate their forces with the initial strike, but if the PL is not next to them they can no longer invade a neutral country on the first turn because they had to play defensively. The PL however, happy in the knowledge that they have first strike can deploy their units along the border without fear, and can then invade on their first turn.

Keep in mind I hardly think this problem is game-breaking, I only argue it so fiercely because I believe it is the games ONLY problem.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 01, 2004 3:56 am 
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For as long as tournament games are played using both sides at a time this is not a problem but a feature.Think of it as a challenge.Good player must know how to defend even better than how to attack.


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