July 26, 2006

Rise of Legends Balance Talks

Bridger's interview can be heard here: http://www.tsncentral.com/ondemand/250706534139/

I was hoping Cookies and Nut would have been more opinionated on some of BHG's responses on how they were going to resolve some of the known balance problems.

One of the most pressing concerns is the Mechanical Spider unit. BHG's solution was to lower the unit's Hit Points by 100. However, the problem isn't that it's difficult to kill, but that it kills much too easily because of their trample damage, and that the unit can be built much too quickly. Also, there's no unit before getting a Large City, besides the Hero units, that can trample except the Mechanical Spider. Not only that, it also does the most trample damage.

What was never brought up was that Giacomo's Augmentation can temporarily increase the Mechanical Spider's HP (I've been using the Doge with the Mechanical Spider, and it still survives quite well). This negates the proposed nerf, and the same problem exists.

The problem with the Mechanical Spider is the trample, and the solution should be to deal with the trample, and not it's hit points. One of the main benefits for BHG is to discuss balance issues with the online community and get their perspective. The reason it's an issue now, is because it wasn't an issue when it was just the MS and BHG balance teams playing each other.

Anyways, it was a good interview, and many issues were covered quite well.

July 24, 2006

Where are we going?

Taking some time to scope things out while reading some posts about RoL, I came up with an epithany. Actually, I came up with an online dictionary, and the word "epithany" came up later...

Ahem. There's always a critic.


If you registered to those sites and actually read through all that, my goodness, you're one dedicated individual!

What caught my attention wasn't the infrequent patches. While I'm on this subject, Big Huge Games doesn't have the luxury that Blizzard has to publish their own games, where they can dedicate all their resources into patching their own games and releasing them to the public as frequently as Blizzard does.

What did catch my attention was a reply showing the lack of support to the modding community. That perplexes me.

Blizzard came out with StarCraft and Battle.net, competitive play aside, I had the funnest time playing all these varieties of mods. Most of them were RPG related mods. Then came WarCraft III, and although I didn't get into it very much, my friends did, and they played more mods than actual versus multiplayer. The online community grew, because you bought a highly acclaimed game, and people around the world made hundreds of mini-games from it. What's not to like about that?

Then a brilliant thinker at Blizzard came up with an idea that, hey, if people are modding our Real-Time Strategy game to make their own Role-Playing Game, why not make one for them? World of WarCraft came to be, and they're raking in the dough.

Here's the rub, whoever's researching what's making money from games aren't gamers. I've seen people spout statistics showing that people buy games for the Single Player, not the multiplayer (of course, if the multiplayer sucks, they won't be buying the game for the multiplayer... duh!). I've heard that the few hardcore online players make up less than 1% of the buying base, or something to that effect.

They probably think:
1. Casual gamers are the bulk of the market.
2. They like explosions, graphics, and music.
3. They don't play online.

I don't know where everyone gets their information, but that's what I always see and hear. So I see all of my favorite genre's get geared toward the casual gamers, balanced toward the casual gamer... casual gamer this, casual gamer that. Hardcore players like me? It's not so bad. We get out of the gaming addiction and end up living normal lives by getting girlfriends, better paying jobs, etc.

Still... it makes me wonder what everyone's thinking. You have a blockbuster company like Blizzard work their way towards the eventual moneymaking game, a MMORPG, from mainly a RTS background. Everyone else? They're moving away from the online community to the confines of single player with no modding?

I remember StarCraft and all the different mods I played online. They were fun. People put a lot of imagination into the games they were able to mod. From one game, you could literally play hundreds of different types of scenarios. I particularly like the Godzilla one. Nowadays, that's all RTS's are... a hero Godzilla beating the crap out of everything, but it's not a modded RPG, it's the current state of our RTS.

July 23, 2006

Rise of Legends

I finally dug in and played Rise of Legends online this weekend. Of course, I was smurfing, but if you're a noob at a game, is it really smurfing?

Anyways, it took me a while to get back into gaming, but personal and technical reasons aside... a lot has changed.

Bridger on his blog http://tales.tsncentral.com/has some good stuff, and there will be a discussion on the balance on Tuesday, which will be interesting.

Here's what I got from it in 3 solid days of playing online. Note, these won't go into much detail.

1. The Mechanical Spider should do hardly any trample damage, or should be slowed down.
2. Research Labs built should only give +1 Research points instead of +2. When you have a Large city, they should give +2 Research points for every new one built. Great city, +3. This will slow down the Vinci gathering bonus just slightly.

Alin -
1. They can't raid early with their initial units while the Vinci and Cuotl can. They can pull off a suprising rush for someone that's not suspecting it, but they really need a raiding ability, as I think they'll end up nerfing the Afreets. Give their berserker mode for their melee guys extra damage to workers, or something.
2. They can't raid later with their air, but that's an overall balance problem.

Cuotl -
1. They don't get Wealth to buy cities and things... and when they do buy things, their units are damaged. The only chance they have are their anti-air air guys that shoot while moving and are ungodly unbalanced, and the slow laser shooting behemoths. Please excuse my inability to name these units. =p
2. Other than than, I don't see using Jaguars or Snakes except for early raiding/defensive measures.

Air Units:
1. Anti-air air units that shoot on the move... bad for the Alin. The Alin don't have that, and they don't get a 2 for 1 deal on turret-like defenses. But why bother when the anti-air air units take down buildings relatively well, and can run away if about to die?
2. I hardly use air-to-ground air units, as anti-air air units are so strong.
3. Raiding is cool, but with anti-air air units, it's too easy to do, and too effective if done right.

Anyways, I'll see what the real experts at this game are saying this Tuesday. As for the 100k tournament coming up... I really need to ask someone to see if I'm eligible or not!

Have fun!

P.S. Where'd this crazy rumor start that I was play-balancing RoL? I had nothing to do with RoL except for mentioning it on my blog and playing the single-player demo.