The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

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HERO
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The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby HERO » 11 March 2016, 05:15

+++UPDATED+++

I played about 8 hours of the game and here's what I think. I will speak primarily about multiplayer because that's all I've been playing for the most part. I'm currently rank 6 and have a good deal of games under me, with the majority of them being wins. Keep in mind that I'm an very experienced gamer, with over 20 years of RTS experience, and over a decade of game development experience.

Firstly, the game looks and sounds incredible. There's some cheesy effects here and there, but for the most part the game looks absolutely fantastic. I'm very happy about that. It's very gothic, very grim-dark, very 40K and for the huge BFG/40K fan in me, I'm happy.

However, there are some mechanics and design choices in the current state of multiplayer that just leads to a very frustrating player experience. I will make a top 3 list of the things I find hard to swallow in the current iteration of the game.

1) Why does leveling even exist in multiplayer? Or skirmish for that matter? What other RTS game is out there that forces the player to progress in order to play what they want? That is for single-player is for! Single-player mechanics are reserved for single-player because there's a story to tell. When you just want to launch the game and play, story-driven mechanics absolutely kills the multiplayer experience. This is probably my biggest issue with the game right now. When I jump into skirmish mode vs. the AI or the multiplayer mode vs. other players, I want all the choices of my faction in front of me, with various upgrades, favours, and crew skills that I can purchase with in-game points because someone set the points range to 1000. Look at Total War for example, they use a points system in which you have X amount of points to spend on Y amount of units and Z amount of upgrades and then the player can have a go at the AI or another player. It was like this for almost every successful RTS game in the last 2 decades. All the units are unlocked and are ready to go, so you can play the game in all its glory. Seriously, what other game do you guys of that forces single-player leveling mechanics into a multiplayer setting? This is incredibly frustrating and the antithesis of a good multiplayer experience.

2) Why do ships that are destroyed go on cooldown in multiplayer? Or skirmish? When they are destroyed, they take 2 game turns to be available again. Sometimes it takes 1 turn because they got heavily damaged or lost in the warp. Can someone explain some logic to me why this even exists except for slow down the player's ability to get into future games more, and play with the fleet that he wants to play? This limitation is completely not needed and only results in frustrated players. With this system in place, you risk running into players in match-making that are in games where they take 5 cruisers vs. your 2-3 because you're stuck with the ship cooldown. Not only does this make the single-player-confused-into-multiplayer routine slower to grind through, but it leaves you with incredibly imbalanced player experiences online. I understand why this exists for a single-player campaign experience where you're role-playing DND/Pathfinder/Mordheim mechanics, but can you explain why this exists for multiplayer? These penalties exist in role-playing games. I can't fathom why they exist for multiplayer.

3) Why is the ranking system tied with point ranges? As you progress, the points range also increases. At Rank 5-6 for example, you can play 600-700 point games. Why shouldn't a player have the ability to play those point ranges by themselves? Or rather, why isn't a point limit forced upon players who want to queue for the multiplayer experience if you don't want players to pick for themselves? In my honest opinion, the admiral/experience/player/ELO/MMR level should be separate from the point range entirely. The reasoning for this is because leveling up a player profile has nothing to do with wanting to play at a desired point range.

Yes, this is a beta, and there are crashes, defects and balance issues. I can swallow the Nova Cannons, Statis Bombs, the 1/5 fatal errors, and wonky missions, but the things I'm pointing out here are some design flaws that might seriously jeoperdize the success of this game. I say this as fellow developer and someone who gives advice/consultation on design/eSports professionally. I normally don't give this kind of feedback, as it is rather emotional. It's actually quite crushing to see it as it is.

Story time bonus:
AoE3 did something like this when it came to leveling in multiplayer, and it was shunned by the competitive community and fizzled out shortly after. I know this, I played in WCG for AoE3 back when Ensemble was still a company. Shogun 2 also did this in avatar mode, but the grind and tech wasn't anywhere as exhausting as this, nor did units go on cooldown to this extreme. Competitive MP players simply do not anything to do with "leveling" in their multiplayer experience. The same applies for Skirmish mode, which is simply practice mode in RTS terms. MP players such as myself just want to either practice with a theoretical fleet against the AI (which I can't), and play against people using all the tools available to me in multiplayer (which currently, I can't).

It gets even more appalling once start seeing the flaws of the leveling system in addition to the ship cooldown system. I had a game yesterday where I only had 2 ships available, one cruiser and one light cruiser and I got thrown into a game where I needed 3 line ships. I literally couldn't fulfill those requirements because all my other ships were disabled, so I started the game with 2 ships (couldn't take any frigates because I couldn't fulfill those requirements, and couldn't exit from the match), hid in glass cloud, while being peppered by 4 Nova cannons, and then warped out ASAP, giving my opponent a free win. Well earned? Another game I had where I had 4 ships down and only 2 available, and my opponent had 5 CA/CLs. I literally couldn't do anything but take frigates, all of which were promptly murdered by Nova cannons.

I mean, you must see the problem with this leveling system, the ship cooldown system, in a multiplayer setting where matchmaking puts the players at certain point ranges right? Something is not right here, and it's not a crash or defect, it's a major design issue. The fact that nearly every other successful RTS treats skirmish mode as practice mode, and multiplayer mode as a raw determination of player skill, where the players are given the tools and they have to finish the job. It does not feel good to me.

Single player mechanics should be in single player. Multiplayer is a different animal and for some reason, I feel like robbed for that experience. I mean, the fact I have to level to use certain ships in practice mode blows my mind.

Think about it this way for a second please:
>Imagine having to grind first to be able to use a Siege Tank/Stealth Tank/Mammoth Tank/Librarian/Panzer IV/Hussar/Bow Monk in PRACTICE/MP mode.
>Then imagine that if any of those units you grinded for are killed in PRACTICE/MP, you cannot use them for 2 more games.
>Then imagine being put into a game where your opponent has full access to those units while you don't.

That's this game right now. These are not bugs, these are design issues. I can't even fathom how this can lead to a positive multiplayer experience.

Please consider reading this and passing this off to the designers.
Last edited by HERO on 11 March 2016, 18:44, edited 1 time in total.

Jectulg
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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Jectulg » 11 March 2016, 05:38

!) I think Custom games might have what you're looking for. I'd imagine that is where everyone can have all the goodies. I like the progression, although losing penalties seems a bit harsh. MM could be tigher as population rises but this early there would be wait time issue possibly. The grind itself isn't too bad, I made it to lvl 5 in 3-4 hrs despite failing a lot in the first 3 levels.

2) I think its to try to make consequences felt. Shogun 2 had somewhat similar mechanic forcing a rotation or veterans. In BFG it forces you to choose to possibly win this battle, or call it quits before the damage becomes severe, somewhat like an actual admiral trying to conserve their forces. It can be harsh with a total of 3 rounds between a destroyed ship and full functionality. A crew like the astropath to reduce the down time could be good. In Skirmish it is silly.

3) Because with the progression system you can't fill 600-700 pts before lvl 4. You need 1/2-2/3s of your fleet capitals in TT terms. Spamming escorts to make up the difference won't work well either. I do think that you should have the ability to choose point ranges you are looking for when you que though.

Krasus
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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Krasus » 11 March 2016, 06:19

I too have concerns about levels. In skirmish I dont think its a problem but in multiplayer I see impending disaster.
As for other games, well I would argue that, whilst not exactly the same, you can compare this style of game to World of Tanks/Warships/Planes where there is levelling and where it does work, though not perfectly. The key issue is managing the inbalance it creates. World of Warships gets this right, World of Planes fails utterly. One is very popular, the other is not.

If the difference in levels is controlled in BGA then it shouldn't be too much of an issue. If it isn't, stick a fork in it, this game will be dead before it gets going.

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Imperator5
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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Imperator5 » 11 March 2016, 11:33

I think these are all good things, but maybe the penalties are too severe for PVP mode.

But do keep the systems, just tweak MP a bit.
http://forum.battlefleetgothic-armada.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=621

Please help me change skirmish to be customisable. Its very important for PVE players.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=515 Mod idea.

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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby CALiGeR190 » 11 March 2016, 11:44

I don't feel the leveling is such an issue, maybe the penalties are still too harsh, although they've been toned down massively, it used to cost around 350 renown to repair a dauntless and could take up to 4 un-skip able turns to get ships back from the warp or 3 to repair. But even then I didn't thin it was a massive issue (well... I didn't like the whole lost in the warp thing) it just gave me more intensive to keep my ship alive and run the second things start going pair shaped.

The leveling can either help or damage a game depending on how well it is implemented.
For me its just the right reward/punishment ratio to keep me playing it for days on end, but I do think the MM needs a good looking over, especially at low and mid tier.
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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Imperator5 » 11 March 2016, 11:48

CALiGeR190 wrote:I don't feel the leveling is such an issue, maybe the penalties are still too harsh, although they've been toned down massively, it used to cost around 350 renown to repair a dauntless and could take up to 4 un-skip able turns to get ships back from the warp or 3 to repair. But even then I didn't thin it was a massive issue (well... I didn't like the whole lost in the warp thing) it just gave me more intensive to keep my ship alive and run the second things start going pair shaped.

The leveling can either help or damage a game depending on how well it is implemented.
For me its just the right reward/punishment ratio to keep me playing it for days on end, but I do think the MM needs a good looking over, especially at low and mid tier.


Yeah, it feels totally fine for Skirmish. Maybe a bit less PVP penalties and its golden to go.
http://forum.battlefleetgothic-armada.com/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=621

Please help me change skirmish to be customisable. Its very important for PVE players.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=515 Mod idea.

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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Taraskeskro » 11 March 2016, 12:11

HERO wrote:1) Why does leveling even exist in multiplayer? Or skirmish for that matter? What other RTS game is out there that forces the player to progress in order to play what they want?


Age of Empire 3 did this. I don't say it was a reference, but it is not the first time this happen.

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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Larkis » 11 March 2016, 12:15

I personally find this progression great. I actual still have problems to consider which LC's are good for my gameplay and which not. If i think about to set up a huge fleet without knowing what todo.. no thanks. :lol:

And indeed i think that penalthy für deaths is not good. Mostl players warps out when ships looks like in danger. I prefer fights until the end. :twisted:

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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby Navinor » 11 March 2016, 12:18

The problem with leveling is your admiral.

Even when you keep loosing, your admiral is still leveling up.

You will get better enemies while your fleet is still bad.

It will result in perma loss. And people do not like to loose 10 games in a row, because they can not field their good fleet composition or get wrecked by players who have maxed their ships out.
Last edited by Navinor on 11 March 2016, 13:01, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The 3 biggest issues with the game right now

Postby MisterMorden » 11 March 2016, 12:43

for me a big problem are the game modes.
killing the admiral: the defender just has to warp away
defending the convoy: nearly imossible
defending stations: nearly impossible if enemy knows the one cheap trick

they will try to balance it but i think there should be at least 1 gamemode you can choose NOT to play.


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