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Balancing Issues - What do you propose?

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  • Balancing Issues - What do you propose?

    Out of curiosity, in ThieveryUT, which side did you find had the advantage in the game? Were there certain levels that you guys personally considered too unbalanced? If so, why? By knowing all of the problems with particular maps and general gameplay, this thread may prove to become useful when the coders do their bit now and, a long long time down the line, when it comes to the mapping stage the game can be better balanced.

    When playing Thievery, I always found that the thieves had the advantage over the guards. They got way too good with those blackjacks, so I reckon that blackjacks should be less effective. I remember it being proposed that blackjacks would only give a guard player a 90 second (I prefered 20+ seconds as it's a long time to get away) "knocked out" penalty (unlike broadhead arrows which do kill). It was also suggested that other guard players should be able to wake them up by walking over them or something, which is also a good idea. Overall in the game, I think the thieves definitely had the advantage, but then in a particular situation the guards seemed to just have an unstoppable tactic.

    On certain levels, most which I can't name because it's been a long time since I played it, the guards usually camped by a single doorway to a location that the thieves had to get to, like the chest in the dock level, the two doors in TH-Jail or the lift (elevator) in the underwater level. Where these choke points were in certain maps, I don't think I ever, ever saw the thieves win because the odds of them getting passed all the mines, all the caltrops, the whistlers, all the AIs that were instructed to stand there AND the human players ready to pounce, there was just no chance. This was a mapping issue more than a gameplay issue.

    The way I see it, the maps without those choke points were always obscenely favourable to the thieves, especially once they mastered the timing and suitability of invisibility potions, flash bombs and things. The guards were kind of left helpless with aimless wandering as their AI buddies were being KOd out of the game and then the thieves were just ganging up on them. I don't think the thieves should ever be able to one-on-one knock a guard out of the game in hand to hand combat. Normal arrows (of which you don't have many) as the only way to "kill" a guard. Short timed KOs, even for the AIs, would be better. This way on the levels where the guards have no choke points to defend, they wouldn't be hopelessly outmatched.

    This would make the game unbalanced in favour of the Guards on the maps with chokepoints though. I think chokepoints should be done away with all together. I know that's up to the discretion of the map maker, but it's something I would actively urge when writing up thievery mapping tutorials or something. Single entryways to unimportant areas where there is a little loot is of course fine, but when it's say a single room with one doorway leading to that must-have jewellery worth 1500 loot in the objective list, the guards will just swamp that one room with everything. Objective, big money items should always be left in rooms with 2 or 3 entryways, I reckon. Attack points into the room with arrows should also be an option.

    Does anyone else agree with me on those choke points being too unreasonably tough? The gameplay seems to massively favour the thieves, but some levels are designed to massively favour the guards. Very few levels seemed to have that happy medium.

    Which Thievery levels did you find to be the best balanced?

    Worst balanced?

    Who was the general gameplay more favourable to? Thieves or Guards? What would be a solution?
    Last edited by Inq; 15th Aug 2008, 08:07 AM.

  • #2
    It would takes me all day to write in english what I know so I will write only the most important things:

    1. IMO you can't decide which map is balanced or not because it depends on small things which are very important in entirety f.g. loot spawners and their configuration etc. so the same map can be balanced and unbalanced...

    2. Simply the worst balanced maps are those which have objectives hidden in safes etc. because guards can only camp one place with all bots if they know where is the object. IMO some maps would be better if there will be only loot to steal. But of course then guards must guard all map so if the won't do tema work they will say "This map sucks!"

    3. IMO AI make this game unbalanced because guards can use them like "an automatic cannon" in important places beside that sometimes AI doing all the job... In this way thieves are forced to killing AIs to reduce guard's lives and make places possible to loot. In general in multiplayer game AI is bullshit!

    4. Lack of teamwork and selfish of players makes game unbalanced too. f.g. guard are not calling for help because he want kill thieves as much as it is possible - one guard is easy to kill or ko so he will lose lives of his team. Thief without equipment will suicide (lose lives) instead of trying to distract guards and then other thieves would be able to loot etc.

    5. If you would make koing harder then you can remove for the game blackjack as well. Solution?

    a) Thieves shouldn't walk so fast with picked up body because they can easily put bodies into fire etc.
    b) You already can wake up koed guard by frobbing them but FWU must be enabled on server.
    c) There should be an additional setting like "Force wake up after x seconds" so guard wouldn't be able to force wake up just koed guards.
    d) Auto wake up is set to 4,5 min. on my server and it works perfect!
    e) Aussies should play only on own servers.
    f) Guards should be more careful in shadows and start to listen steps.
    g) If you are skilled guard then it's much harder to ko you...


    • #3
      In a very general sense guarding in Thievery is the marginally stronger side, because it is easier to be a strong guard than a strong thief. This is especially true if the games move to 5 or 6 a side, where guards can more effectively stack out a level.

      Crackaz kept some stats ages ago (maybe 1.3) showing that guard and thief wins were almost identical in count after the circle-strafing had been fixed.
      .:Mockers Thievery Guild:.
      - "until the cat is skinned"


      • #4
        Balance is very map dependent. 1 v 1 thieves are more powerful, but guards work better as a team. The more players, the more guard-favoured the game becomes.


        Old Gerome
        Breakout (jail map)
        were guard favoured

        Skeltston Head
        were considered quite balanced (depending on numbers)

        were considered to be thief balanced

        However, people developed strategies that allowed their respective teams to win despite these map imbalances.
        .: Daymaster - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


        • #5
          id say one thing. i think grange might be the aboslute best tourney map and best map in generall for thievery since its very balanced. its kinda hard for thieves, at the same time that it could be hard for guards aswell. its excellent imo.
          .: Infiltrator - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


          • #6
            I don't agree because if valuable loot will spawn in places that are hard to guard then map is very easy for thieves.


            • #7
              Well, it's that balance that has to be found. Say there is a book that must be taken by thieves. Ifthere is only once way into that room, it is quite impossible for thieves to get it. Even if they somehow manage to get in passed the door traps with the 4 guards all in the room, they still have to get out. In all my time playing, I've never once seen a person succeed with it. These special items need to be both choke points for guards but also give thieves that half decent chance of making it in and out. With about 5 caltrops (is that right?) and mines, even if they manage to leap the traps in the doorway, they usually hit another, are spotted by a whistler and then shot by the AI guards, human guards before they can even get close to the items. With 2 or 3 entrances, thieves can work together to distract the camping choke point guards and make progress.


              • #8
                kinda true but depends on how big the door entrance is. could be quite cool to place this "book" in a bigger room with a big main entrance and only ONE way in, then 1-2 other ways out where you cannot get in from like, after you snatch the book you gotta like vine up in the ceiling and escape just like DE. only thing is that where you escape, you can also get in on DE. would be cool if you couldnt
                .: Infiltrator - Mockers Thievery Guild :.



                • #9
                  Well vining up and escaping is a good idea. The obvious solution to one way in and two ways out is to have shutters that can only be opened from the inside. Of course, they wouldn't be locked otherwise a thief would have to sit in the room and lockpick.

                  A two door wide entrance is also a good idea for helping even out these situations. It would make the traps a little more sparse, giving thieves that chance to get in. Good idea


                  • #10
                    A word of warning. The Mechanics in NB will be different to TUT. So what is 'guardable' will certainly change. I know Immort has a good grasp of this, but the mappers will have to adjust as well.

                    For example:
                    - No AI means that guards will have less map-coverage, but no killing means that map-coverage will stay the same throughout the game.
                    - No firebolts/supply chest make controlling dark portions of the map harder forcing guards to be more defensive.
                    - Insert other changes not yet finalised etc. etc.

                    A Balanced map may force guards to patrol in order to cover enough loot/objectives. Or it may force guards to camp 2-3 less-defensible objectives, or a sole objective in a dark, exposed location. Pretty much there is a realm of possibility in map design, but if the mappers simply go off what was 'balanced in TUT' then chances are it won't be balanced for NB.

                    Also, imbalanced tactics should be avoided, because otherwise no matter what map it is, the game will reduce to the same thing over and over. When it should be a strategic stealth game at its core.

                    imo this was often the case in TUT with arrow DM'ing AI, door camping, rushing objectives with speed+invis, objective stacking, fire+speed+mace, Flash+KO, crack+broadhead etc. Often the map has little affect on how you played the game.
                    Last edited by TafferBoy; 15th Sep 2008, 12:58 AM.
                    .: Daymaster - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


                    • #11
                      Don't forget that the bots are still optional in NB as are many things in TUT. Therefore balancing in general is unreal unless we get standardised gameplay which in turn means reduced variety and customisability.

                      As it is NB aims to be a game of time. Or that's the impression I get from it.
                      Say if Thievery was played with low timer, DM and slow AI removal wouldn't be as detrimental as it now is.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TafferBoy View Post


                        Old Gerome
                        Breakout (jail map)
                        were guard favoured
                        This thread reminds me of Mad Gerbil and RLF.

                        The above list of maps, though balanced towards the guards, were by far my favorite maps to Thief.

                        Any old CTG guys remember my runs through Aquatone(and yes, this includes the old, even *more* guard friendly Aqua)? Not to toot my own horn, but even with 5 or 6 guard players with me as the last thief... I'd still win almost every time. TCO should remember that.

                        I doubt anyone remembers Tatsumaru. He used to run around Bourg like it was his playground... and I mean *old* Bourg. When they added new entry points, it became cake.

                        Grank and I developed a way to get a key and get into the library of old Gerome in a matter of seconds. It was never sure fire, and it required coordinated teamwork and communication. It was put together for the CTG vs Devs match that never happened.

                        I don't have any iconic stories of breakout, other than to recall the intensity of it... and yet again, I even mean the older version with smaller exits and so forth.

                        My point here is this: what created tension, immersion and fun in TUT *was* the lack of perfect balance. The guards were capable of things that were so challenging to overcome, that it took intelligence, skill, and creativity to oppose. Even failed plans were a joy to create and carry out.

                        The reverse is true as well. I was always bored when guarding the "guard" maps. I wanted to guard Folly, DE, Flats. I wanted to work for my victories and to sweat.

                        I *want* unbalanced classes and maps. With in reason of course. Bring on the choke points! Bring on the camping! I don't want the mappers to hold my hand through the gaming experience. The only map element I don't want to see is spawn camping, but there are many clever ways to mitigate that.


                        • #13
                          Jarvis isn't the point here that CTG did it first and then the Mockers stole our moves?


                          • #14

                            Yes, that is exactly my point.


                            • #15
                              Maybe, but we made it look good
                              .:Mockers Thievery Guild:.
                              - "Earth dons the red; calls the maggots."