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Balancing Issues - What do you propose?

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  • #16
    all good for pub play having unbalanced maps

    but far better to actually have maps that reward the team that actually plays better
    .: Daymaster - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


    • #17
      I suppose that depends on your perspective. If the primary concern is victory, or amounts of victories... well I guess.

      My opinion comes from a place of pure enjoyment. I'd rather the focus of the mappers be interesting environments and well fleshed out maps. As opposed to micromanaged balance that makes every map feel exactly the same.

      I fear the zealot pursuit of balance. I've seen great mods ruined and doomed to obscurity and sameness in the name of "balance". There have been radical "balance" voices in TUT's history...

      *cough* RLF *cough*

      ...and to Black Cat's credit, those voices were largely ignored. It probably saved TUT to live as long as it did. So forgive me if I play devil's advocate to the intentions of this discussion... but there you have it.

      And I guess RLF wasn't all bad. Viva those crazy rodents.


      • #18
        Map balance and map uniqueness/aesthetics aren't mutually exclusive, you know. I'm just talking about avoiding those impossible choke points where the guards put every AI bot next to a, say, doorway with mines, caltrops, whistlers and hawk-eyed human guards all pointing their fire bolts at the entrance.

        No amount of flashbombs, crack arrows or invisible potions are going to get through that lot even if they are the most skilled thievery player.

        It's much better to have great looking maps mixed that are also great playing and mostly fair maps. I mean, look how often on Thievery people replayed TH-Bourgeous (whatever it's called) compared to how often people went with TH-Cult.


        • #19
          Having a balanced game is a hallmark of good game-design and will help retain players in the long run because they will not see themselves as being continuously shafted by imba tactics exploited by more experience players and then decide to quit. Same goes for having to deal with impossibly lop-sided maps where their only chance at victory is if guards get bored.

          lol RLF never knew what they were talking about because they had a skewed perspective as guard-only players. Some of us have played the game for a very long time now, in a lot of competitions and were in teams that were successful as both thief and guard. In short we know what we are talking about when we discuss game-balance in a MP stealth fps. Although many forget that NB is a different game and are unable or unwilling to really examine the faults of TUT and think of ways to address them.

          Sure TUT had its charm, but really, if it was actually successful people would play it. To talk of 'niche appear' just denies the fact that the game has serious problems and this is from someone who played it solidly for 5 years or so. Call me devil's advocate, but the most successful MP games of all time have superb game-balance, in my book it is very very important.
          Last edited by TafferBoy; 13th Nov 2008, 07:53 PM.
          .: Daymaster - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


          • #20
            To me, the ultimate test of balance is the win/loss record of the two teams, and as was mentioned, the two teams where found to be about even when this was checked.

            Overall, TUT general game design was balanced in my mind. Each side had a different skill set, yet neither side would necessarily overpower the other. Some maps favored the other team more then the other, but that to me is a plus. It allows some variety in game play for various skill levels.

            That said, there are strategic and tactical decisions that can be made early on in a game by both teams that can essentially end it there and then. A singular mistake by one team member could also make it impossible for their team to win too.

            In my mind, TUT has been a successful game. It is a nich a game in that it was based off a niche single player game. The game requires some patience, some time when nothing seems to be actually happening for one team, some thought of strategy, some time learning the game play variations, the maps, etc. Most of the successful FPS versus multi-player games I know of are two relatively similar teams shooting it out with lots of advertising to get people in. For TUT, not many people unfamiliar with the Thief series are even aware of the game, so that limits the potential palyers done quite a bit. And of those that do hear of it, some find TUT's learning curve a turn off. In the end, it is a certain type of gamer that will play the game. It is different, not for everyone, and has not been dominate game because of such. That makes it a niche game, but the fact it did as well as it did at its peak despite that would make it a success in my eyes.

            I also do not see any real flaws in the game design- most of the flaws I see are more engine based exploits. For me, Would have like to have seen the BJ amde a little easy to use, requiring more stealth on the thief's part, the sword for the thief made shorter, and less effective on offense, but a stronger defense, and the theifs bow requiring more time to achieve decent damage on guards when pulled. To me those are not flows in the game design, they are personal preferences. Some people like the more adrenaline filled matches- other do not. Some like consistently balanced maps, others like maps with a variety of balance options. If one method is prefered far more in game by the overall player base, that does not mean the having the lesser prefered set-up is a flaw- it just means not as many will enjoy hte game, making it not quite as popular. If shear player numbers are the basis for measure of success, then no, such game will not be a success. As one who preferes the lesser preferred path though, I measure success by how fun I have had with the game, as well as others who take to it.
            Give some taffer fire, and you'll keep him warm for the night with one less reason to cause trouble for the master.
            Set a taffer on fire, and he will be warm for the rest of his life, and have no need to bother the master.


            • #21
              I think the problem TUT has that the players always stuck to the old content. Threre were great new maps, like Airship and Mensch, but nobody really plays them because they won't touch new stuff (that even has high quality). Practically I think it's hard to judge if a map is balanced or not. It's more about that every map plays differently and unique. A guard map can be won by thieves if they have a counter-strategy against the guards. And the same goes for guards.

              I hope NB will have a better support of newcomers, cause TUT is absolutely hostile to newbs. Newbs just enter, get owned by pros / regulars and then they get blamed for wasting all lives.

              Again, I think it would be far more balanced with unlimited lives for thieves .
              [E.D.G] Trapmaster - Doomsayer
              Brush scaling by 0.5325662468842 and still going


              • #22
                People don't play Airship and Mensch for a good reason. Although inventive, they are quite simply terrible maps balance-wise. Whereas Grange, Asylum and Skeltston were always popular on public and in competitions. I'll admit that Gerome was also very popular, but only on public, it was very enjoyable even if it was difficult for thieves to win without DM'ing.

                Thebos, let's not say that 'successful games' (wide appeal) are only good because they are simplistic and well-advertsied, thats about as cynical as you can get. You have to look at the games with longevity - Starcraft, Warcraft III, Counter-strike, Natural Selection, are examples of well-balanced games. My point is that a balanced game (with balanced maps), has a far greater chance of being successful. By successful I mean its entertaining to play, so more people play it for a longer period of time.

                I'm fine with TUT how it is, it is balanced in its own way, but there is no doubt in my mind it can be improved upon in order to make a better game (i.e. NB). Part of that is having fewer maps that are smaller and finely-balanced. Rather than 16+ maps, most of which are horribly balanced, overly large, buggy as hell and take new players years to learn.

                To my mind TUT was complex to a fault. This and other suggestions may be dismissed by some players as 'dumbing it down', but I think that is just being elitist. Just because a game has simple mechanics does not mean it is without depth. Having less 'stuff' (weapons, equipment, maps) in a game sometimes gives the player more freedom because they are not forced into using a particular tactic in order to succeed. (i.e. rushing, dm'ing).
                .: Daymaster - Mockers Thievery Guild :.


                • #23
                  Hmm, yes might be true too, but also, most older maps have been improved on while Mensch and Airship have never been changed for more balance. (For example, I think moving the body down the whole map is way too much...).

                  Exactly my thought Gladius. TUT is quite complex but I still like it and it keeps much possibilities to master. The thing is just, that TUT makes much newcomers leaving because it's too difficult for them to learn the game while getting owned all the time. This year, there were approx. 6 newcomers but they all left.

                  I think the challange will be making a complex game and still newcomer-friendly so the playercount will stay high. I don't know if a 'single player' mode is enough, most newbs won't try it and then get frustated. Maybe NB needs to guide newbs a bit more. Perhaps next to the single player mode some tutorials atleast. Maybe ingame tooltips that support a newcomer in multiplayer?
                  [E.D.G] Trapmaster - Doomsayer
                  Brush scaling by 0.5325662468842 and still going


                  • #24
                    There are ingame tool tips.
                    Immortius' Forge


                    • #25
                      I agree with everything Tafferboy said about Nightblade maps. Almost perfect map balance/team balance makes a game. The way the less impressive games do it is by having a map entirely symmetrical and different team mechanics being virtually identical. That can't be done for Thief-like games, but the maps definitely need to be perfectly balanced.

                      On the subject of new players finding it hard to get into, that's really not something that can be done by the team in the game. Sure, there could be basic tutorial levels, but really they don't help much. The people will already be more than experienced with Unreal Tournament and general FPS games, so they'll get the basic game principles straight away. What they'll struggle with, which is also what I struggled hugely with, was that I couldn't figure out how to do the maps. Before I'd even started on TH-Breakout the masters of the game had already got the jail keys, got through one of those two doors (or died many times in futile attempts) and were making a break for the exit. It was nuts. The same problem was also with old UT's Assault maps, where they blew up that underwater station in four seconds. I hadn't even got out of the water at that point.

                      There is only one way to tackle that and that is to work with the best players of Nightblade, or the makers of the maps. They then make video tutorials or screenshotted tutorials telling people of the fasted routes, where the vital gear is, like keys and stuff, and how to get to them. Those who really want to get into Nightblade late then can play catchup with those that are just going through the motions. As far as I can see, that is the only solution. The general gameplay of Nightblade won't ever be remarkably simple compared to other, more traditional, FPS games.


                      • #26
                        Tooltips are already there? Cool! Maybe I just couldn't remember (was some time ago that I tried the alpha).

                        I just think gameplay has to be made less frustating than it is in TUT. (for example, newbs wasting lives and things like that).
                        [E.D.G] Trapmaster - Doomsayer
                        Brush scaling by 0.5325662468842 and still going


                        • #27
                          I don't really think that is possible, Trapmaster. It's one of those slower learning curve type games. It's not a "pick up and play" game. A lot of the gameplay in Nightblade is just so core to the sneaking genre that it's impossible to remove. There's no way to stop useless people just running around like fools and dying. No way. The only way to do it would be to restrict their lives or something, and that would only make them leave the game.

                          I think my approach of teaching them the basics of each level through video tutorials, is the way to go. Whenever some less experienced gamer enters joins in on Nightblade and asks "how do u get the harp???" on the game, you simply provide a link to "" or something. Problem solved.

                          Alternatively, or in addition, the game level maps could be made to be more helpful. This is down to the mapper's discretion though. Some maps on TUT don't even have guide maps at all and some are very vague. Most people would probably prefer to see some more detailed maps and tips in the objectives stating where the useful stuff is most likely to be.

                          All of these things should help a newbie get comfortable with the game faster, but I think the last thing that should be done is diddle with the core gameplay of the sneak-em-up genre.


                          • #28
                            New players won't play because no one is playing online so how they have learn this game?


                            • #29
                              No worries Inq, I was not refering about making the game less sneaky or something like that. On the opposite, I want to have it more stealth oriented. Just imagine making it more time-based instead of life-based. Instead of wasting a life you will have to wait some seconds to respawn. This way players that lose a life won't make the thief team lose at all. You know these endless discussions of "You have to dm in some situations because you can't archieve your goal otherwise!".

                              Ha, I have to say your video idea is just great! I like this one very much. Maybe the mappers can even add this via Kismet or something like this, a special option. (Almost like the assault maps on UT2 have).
                              [E.D.G] Trapmaster - Doomsayer
                              Brush scaling by 0.5325662468842 and still going


                              • #30
                                I give a thumbs up to the idea of timer over lives as well. That really does solve the huge problem of the just sitting around for a game to end. A timer is an absolute must.

                                TUT's most heinous evil is that if some clown loses all the lives quickly and then you die, you then have to sit around for what seems like 15 minutes watching the last thief do nothing until the last 2 minutes of the game when he suddenly rushes in and dies pointlessly trying to get the map from Skeltson Head.

                                A timer would completely avoid that. The game designers were discussing having a knock out approach, where guards would be knocked out for a certain time limit, like 30 seconds and then sent to a reset point, like the guard's quarters. Perhaps thieves should have a similar, slightly longer penalty with the precious time ticking away. Also a further penalty that your original purchasing loot doesn't return, that way dying doesn't become an aid and remains as being a hinderance, just a less frustrating one.

                                I think it's a good approach to take. It makes the game more fun friendly and keeps the pace up. I wonder what the other guys will think of this.