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Ouguiya

Suggestion: Change the Wars mode

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In a recent post I commented on, somebody lamented the missing element of competitiveness in Element TD. This is something to which I have to partially agree. For a start, every player being holed up in their little boxes has no influence whatsoever over the lives of the other players.

The only exception to this is that players who finish off a wave sooner start the countdown timer. But notice, this is a relationship between two players: The one playing, and the one finishing the wave. So, as far as Player B is concerned: If Player A finishes the wave earliest, Players C, D, E, etc. are all completely irrelevant.

This may sound like a minor point, but it is important in that there is little enough competitiveness to go by, unless you are willing to wait for about an hour until finally the fruit wave arrives. This, however is not competitive, since the outcome of the fruit level is more or less already long determined in advance. If one player had a weaker economy and has less net worth, as well as a bad combination of towers + placement, then he won't be able to fix all this magically to breathtakingly win the fruit wave.

This is where Wars mode SHOULD come in: Make the game more competitive between the players, let them fight it out. However, after having played it quite a few times, I must admit I am very disappointed at wars mode. Why? Because in essence all it does is: It eliminates the levels. That's it. It doesn't do anything more. It just leads to creeps being spawned round the clock instead of in waves. The idea with towers spawning units SEEMS to add a level of depth and competitiveness, but really it adds nothing new. Building towers is a prerequisite for survival in both modes. So you build a few, and then it spawns creeps, for you and your enemies. This just leads you to building more towers, and the enemies also building more towers, which spawns more creeps etc. etc. The pattern is very predictable, and since you are not DOING anything (you just build towers to survive. I have yet to meet the players which go "hmm... If I build this tower, it might give my enemies something to chew on, even if I will leak a few waves. Let's do it!" Thus, the whole competitiveness just dissolves into simple "The waves are getting stronger, I need more towers", which is what you are doing in the normal mode ANYWAY.

Thus, my humble suggestion would be to change the system entirely, and make it more old-fashioned tower wars like. It was a neat idea, making towers which spawn units. A nice cross between element TD and Nexus wars. The problem is: It adds nothing really new or exciting, at least in my opinion. This, I suspect is also the reason why you almost never see this type in public games.

So what is my suggestion? Simple: Add spawning buildings, just as in the classical tower wars, or, for reference, in Squadron TD. (There is a reason this is the most popular map all the time). Then, add an additional resource, which I will just call "salt". This salt can then be used to send units. Every time the players get income, they get two incomes: One for the minerals (just as it is now, based on the current mineral count of the player), and an income for the salt, which depends on how many creeps they have sent (again, refer to squadron TD if this is not clear. You send a unit, you gain +5 income or something like that). This leads to steady upwards pressure in building better towers. It also creates a sense of participation and real emergency, since players know that if they build fewer towers they can get more income, but if they don't build enough their enemies might do something nasty which will make them leak heavily.

I would also remove this "I send something then I get hit with it myself." It simply accomplishes nothing, except prevent players from getting creative and encouraging them to be lazy in what they send (after all: Why bother sending something heavy when you will crumble yourself under it?)

I would suggest making a "spawning pool" for every player, where all creeps are gathered. Let's assume we have 4 players, A,B,C and D. Now, player A has sent nothing (a bad move, but let's just assume here). B,C and D all send 5 cows. Then, player A can look, before the start of the wave, to his spawning pool, and see that 15 cows will be spawning on the next wave. However, player B only gets 10 cows, since C and D only sent 5, and B doesn't get the ones he sent himself.

The waves can then be held as usual: As soon as one player has cleared his current wave, a timer starts ticking (dependent on difficulty), and the creeps gathered until then will be sent upon the next wave. (not all at once, of course. One after the other, just as it is now). This should add an interesting element: The longer players take to destroy their waves the more the enemies will have time to gather creep income and send stuff. This will create pressure to destroy the waves as fast as possible, since a player must fear to be overwhelmed by a huge wave if he waits too long to kill it.

In addition, to make this a little bit more interesting, the player should be able to purchase for the next round an "attribute" for the creeps he sends, which might have a lesser income. These attributes are the specials which are already present in the normal game: Mirror image, resurrection, speed, healing, etc.

The way this could work would be the follwing. Let's say that cows give +2 income, and costs 10. Player A,B,C all send 5 cows, which gives each of them +10 income and costs them 50 sand. Player D decides to get tricky, and sends 3 cows, which costs him 30, plus an attribute "healing", which might cost 20, but only gives +3 income. Thus we see that he wastes a bit of income (if the attribute gave as much income as sending the cows, it would give +4 income for a cost of 20, but it only gives 3). In return the cows he sends (and ONLY his cows), will now heal themselves and start annoying the other players.

This would lead to interesting rainbows of creeps, with players sending different creeps and different attributes which will lead to 5 cows having invulnerability, 10 cows having speed and 10 having healing for instance.

In order to prevent the emergence of waves where you have 500 creeps (and thus never-ending), one could make the spawning center like those good old mercenary centers back in Warcraft III: They take time to respawn. Thus, you can only send, realistically, 10 cows max. Another way to limit the number of creeps spawnable is shown in Income Wars: There, players have minerals which are used to spawn creeps, and vespene gas. The amount of minerals rises steadily, while the number of vespene gas stays the same. Thus, even if they have 20000 minerals, they can't spawn a gazillion workers (the weakest units), because they only have 50 vespene gas.

To avoid adding two new resources, this could also be done by a simple unit limit. Say: Every player can only send 10 units per wave. One could adjust this limit depending on the number of players still left in the game, so that when it's a 1 v 1 match one could still send lots of creeps at each other, and thus not lose on the fun.

This system guarantees the upwards pressure, since the players will need to build towers AS WELL AS spawn stuff, in order to stay in the race. Neglecting either will lead to disaster. If a wave is "empty", i.e. that a player sends nothing, the game could punish the player(s) who didn't send anything by for instance spawning additional units in their fields. This will make it unattractive to hoard salt excessively.

Edit: See my post below. After Windstrike drew my attention to it, there may be another way to deal with this, as well as deal with the imbalance of one player getting too much income and wasting everyone else with it.

-----Other ideas------

There are other systems which would also be feasible. One is the combination of minerals and salt, i.e. that you use minerals to spawn creeps as well as build towers. This makes things very tricky, and very prone to slight imbalances, however, and requires a high level of skill to judge whether one needs another tower or needs to send another creep. Additionally, with the normal "income" every 15 seconds already in place it would discourage the sending of creeps in the hopes of getting more income by simply sitting on one's own minerals. This is the one I discuss in the second post, and the one which I consider the way to go, but I might be alone in this, so judge for yourself.

Another is the one as used in Squadron TD: The income which units generate you is in minerals, but you need salt to spawn them, and the salt is harvested by workers (in the case of STD replace salt by vespene gas). This might also work, but I feel that the system described above is better for Element TD.

Please leave a comment with your suggestions, criticism, compliments, whatever. I would love to see an improvement for the current wars system, which is why I took the trouble of typing all of this up. It would be quite some work for the developer(s), granted, but I think this would be worth it, and would make the map even more popular than it is already. (It has been sinking steadily lately, from place 3 to place 8 now).

-----End other ideas------

Cheers

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The pattern is very predictable, and since you are not DOING anything (you just build towers to survive. I have yet to meet the players which go "hmm... If I build this tower, it might give my enemies something to chew on, even if I will leak a few waves. Let's do it!" Thus, the whole competitiveness just dissolves into simple "The waves are getting stronger, I need more towers", which is what you are doing in the normal mode ANYWAY.

Most of the players don't know the towers well enough to do so. You play with the few that do know (example, myself, holepercent, Karawasa, Ayr, there's more than that) and yes, we will actually build counter towers, which can be hectic in random mode. However, the problem with that, especially in EleTD is that you usually lock yourself into an element build. That build might have a great defense, but the counter towers might not exist in that build. Or they're a tier lower than what's needed to bring someone else down. I know grabbing Money towers pretty much owns everyone else that isn't using celerity or ephemeral and, to an extent, yourself.

That point asides, I do agree with your assessment on the current Wars mode in that it's EleTD without the waves. As for your suggestion... usually I see income as an issue with all tower wars games - whoever gets ahead wins by default. However, if there is one or two more things to balance income out such that highest income does not always win, then it actually can be something good. The problem is usually finding what those variables are and then balancing them. One of those variables would be, as you've suggested, a unit cap. I don't think a second resource would be necessary here - instead, just by having "charges" on the creep selection menu would essentially cap the number of creeps you can send per wave. Though I wouldn't dismiss the possibility for it either.

A few questions, not asking for a definitive answer, but moreso your opinion:

  1. Do creeps still provide bounty or is all of your money from income?
  2. Is there an interaction or influence between your towers and the creeps you send? For example, say I have a Flood Tower (Water + Dark + Nature) and send some Water creeps at everyone else. Do they get a slight HP buff or would this be a bad idea?
  3. Do the creeps scale in strength as the game goes on or do they simply scale in the creep center?

Wars mode for EleTD has be very careful about how it's done, because if not done right, it becomes a standard Tower Wars game where the elemental combinations are a gimmick instead of being the core game. Additionally, the game itself is pretty complicated already, so there is a limit to the complexity a wars mode can bring. Your suggestion is perfectly reasonable... while SC2 B.net intelligence isn't exactly the greatest (at least not on the NA side) and we've had to cope with that, there are ways to fix that without having to oversimplify. I do think the current Wars mode is an example of being too simple, and quite frankly, nothing can fix it without completely changing it.

Good ideas in there, it certainly made me think twice about income, considering I'm usually anti-income. I think we can work something out here... whether Karawasa will change the Wars mode to that or not, no idea, but it's always good to be thinking about the next step and improvements. Keep suggesting ideas and let's hope something good comes of it.

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Hi there, WindStrike. Thank you very much for replying (and reading) my entire post. I appreciate it.

In most points with you, I can't but agree. The intelligence factor really is rather quite low. What I usually see is this: Play normal mode (90% of games), and 1-3 will reach fruit wave (from 8 starting). Start with hard, and only one will reach fruit wave, that being me, since the chances of meeting someone who can play well is pretty minimal. And we don't even need to discuss very hard here...

That said I also have to completely agree with what you said about income. This is a tricky problem, where the player who amasses most income will instantly win. This is one point I haven't gotten into, but which I should have looked at, so thank you for drawing my attention to it. I will take some time to discuss the options I see to resolve this:

My own personal suggestion would be to devise a system which is similar to the one already in place: Right now you can save up lots of cash to get more interest income, but do this too much and creeps will start to leak. Thus, the problem of "I have 100k, and I keep getting richer very quick), is avoided.

In the new wars mode, this would have to be something similar.

Perhaps the easiest way to solve this would be to make a crossover system. Such as this: Creeps cost two sorts of resources, namely sand AND minerals. The creeps give SAND income, which is used to send higher level creeps, so you can raise that as you please. However, if you raise it too much, you will not have enough minerals to build towers anymore. When using this, you need an incentive for players to send creeps, as I already mentioned, to avoid them sending no creeps at all. If cleverly implemented, this would completely eliminate the need for a unit cap (except in extreme cases, where all players unite to send the cheapest units en masse), because players will not be able to send too much, since it will drain their minerals.

One way to provide an incentive would be, for instance, that the players HAVE to send a certain number of creeps, or, even better: A specific VALUE of creeps (it could be made so that every creep has a value, and a system keeps watch over how much "value" the players have sent) in order for them to get something they need.

The easiest way I can think of is that they get a tower value cap, depending on how much creep value they have spent. Let's assume my total tower worth is 35, so 5 canon towers. In order to build more, I need to send a certain creep value. This would be very easy to implement, since all that needs to be done is to scale this linearly. So, let's say I send 50 creep value, then I might build 200 tower value. I send 100 creep value, I can build 400 tower value, and so on. (Adjusting this would take a bit of balancing work, but it is far easier than all the other ideas I have down below).

Now, thank you for reading this far, I can finally get to your questions xD

1) Yes, I absolutely recommend that creeps still give you minerals. This will move the whole game at a steady pace (determined by the parameters and variables which are set) since the more you send, the more powerful your opponents become, but the less you send, the weaker you get (see above). This should provide steady upwards pressure to send stuff, but not to send too much.

2) This idea you put forth is very interesting. It could be incredibly hard to balance, and it would add a layer of complexity which most players probably couldn't cope with anyway. However, If correctly implemented, I think it would be fantastic. This would allow you to try and specialize on towers (if I have understood your idea correctly), or rather, on elements. This would lead to your opponents having incentive to outsmart you by building counters to you and so on. I can't think of any way to explain this to some of the zombie-players out there, but then again, let's face it: Most players won't play "wars" anyway, and the ones that do probably know what they want. Besides, plenty of games which are highly complex have absolutely NO information to help you, and are still played by hundreds of thousands of people.

3) Again, a very tricky question. I'd say this depends on your taste. Scaling creeps as the game progresses makes it much simpler to implement and balance, as you don't have to worry too much. It would also eliminate the need to think up too many creeps, since you just, at the basis, need 8 of them: 1 composite, one for every element, and one fruit. And, except for the fruit which is only available late game, you can just scale up the elements. I think scaling them in the summoning center would, however, be more entertaining.

In order to avoid overflowing, the summoning center could only allow sending of say, 28 different varieties of creeps. This would allow 7 different elements and composite (4 each) at any given moment. Then, the game could steadily replace the weakest of these with stronger ones. So, let's say composite: In the first few levels, the game might only allow you to summon 5 different creeps. Then, at level 4, for example, it adds a 6th. At level 5 it might add 6 new ones (one for each element). Moving upwards, after a while, the weakest (like cows) get discarded, while new strong ones are moved in. Then, the second weakest until then becomes the new weakest. This would be like a conveyor belt, so to speak, where stronger creeps keep getting put onto the belt, and moves to the trash disposal bin.

Cows then might get replaced by those strange red birds (don't know their name, wave 3), which then would get replaced by those urdasomethings (wave 5), and so on. This is not too difficult to implement (it just needs lots of different creeps), and provides a nifty illusion of variety. How many different creeps the game would need then depends on how many different ones you want to be capable of sending.

This could then culminate in sending fruits, which then start, wave by wave (or ending at wave 61, depending on your taste), to become stronger and stronger. This then reunites the two systems (wars and normal mode) At this stage, the players will have huge pressure on them: On the one hand, they need to send as much as they can to blast their enemies, on the other they need to build more towers to avoid getting squished themselves. All of this in view of the fact that they aren't getting money any more.

Again, this would eliminate the need for any sort of limiting system, since players will, after a while, simply not be capable of sending zillions of weak units, since they just disappear.

Edit: Perhaps one would need to scale this also with the player's sand income, since I can foresee a point of no return here: Imagine a player doesn't send anything, then after a while the creeps get too expensive for him to send ANYTHING, and he would be out of the game soon thereafter, since while he gets lots of pressure, he can exert none.

Thanks for reading. I added here some nifty stuff, just for the gist of it, but which I don't consider intelligent. Just interesting.

-----------This stuff I only added for the fun of it--------------

Another way to provide incentives would be, for instance, the elements. Let's say that we still get an element every 5 waves. Alright then, but the element is only obtained when we have sent, say, 30 creep value at wave 5, 100 creep value at wave 10, 500 creep value at wave 15, and so on. Again, mathematics could save the day here, by providing a function which scales the value of the creeps with the approximate wave level, and then produces the optimal amount of creep value needed for each element.

Another crazy idea to prevent players with the highest income to rush to the top too fast: One possibility which I can see, but which would, admittedly, be incredibly hard to balance, is that building towers (or maybe rather owning towers) will lower your sand interest. This could be done by percentage points. So, for instance, own 5 canon towers, and your sand interest rate is reduced by 1% or something like that. One could implement an interesting mathematical function here, which will reduce your sand income up to a certain maximum (say 80%). This would result in a system where a player who has the most income has, by default, fewer towers, which will again lead him into trouble. Thus, the player would need to balance his building towers. As you said, the problem of missing intelligence in the servers (and let me assure you, it's no better in EU than it is in NA), would make this level of complexity near impossible for most players.

-------------End Crazy stuff-------------------

Cheers!

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Sorry for not replying to this, it's mainly because of the issue of income. I've never seen an income system in a tower wars game work without someone snowballing to the end, with the exception of Squad TD, but that's because it's separated from summoning creeps, so "send to snowball and win" isn't an issue. Battlecraft and Income Wars are safe from snowballing income because it's based on a counter system - the whole point of both games is to counter your opponent and create great unit combinations, so it straight up comes down to whoever counters better.

Is the current wars system too simple? Yes. Is B.net capable of learning something more complicated? I can say this for certainty - ever since Global Play, a lot of NA EleTD players switched to EU side, so because of Global Play and there's actually a good number of at least sentient players on the EU side, B.net can learn something that has some complexity. Should it use income? As a primary source, no. As a secondary source that has a impact on the game but not the defining factor, maybe. Currently, interest already serves as this.

In terms of a full suggestion of a new wars mode, I'm not putting a thread down for it yet; instead, I'm going to throw some ideas here, where there's already a lot of thought placed into what's wrong with the current mode and various things that can be done to fix it. So below is kind of a sketch of what I've thought up for a new Wars mode.

I am going to note something - you should not be able to play Hero mode with Wars mode. The reason is because Wars should add an extra level of management to the game. Having Towers + Wars + Hero would just ensue in chaos, only a very small number of players would be able to even handle that combination. That said, the extra resource of Terrazine should be usable for this.

First off, we have your element picker. This one remains unchanged. Then we have your summoning center. First, you pick an element, and then you pick a creep type. Last, we have an upgrades center. This is where you use your Terrazine. We can combine all of this into one center w/ 3 sub-menus that lead to all of this.

Something Karawasa didn't like in most wars games is that you only targeted one guy at a time. How did we "attempt" to fix that? Everyone sends everything at everyone. Is that a bad idea? Well, in the case where your own towers are killing yourself, yes. Player 1 (Red) gets to pick first. Let's say he picks Water and Mechanical. 30 Mechanical Water creeps are sent to everyone. Player 2 (Blue) gets the next pick. This essentially goes in a rotating order. What this does is allows everyone to pick out who they want to try and kill, or give themselves breathing space by summoning a wave that they themselves can easily counter, or for some other reason. As for when that pick occurs, the moment the next wave starts, the next person can go ahead and pick the next wave out. He has until that wave is cleared + a grace time based on difficulty. If something isn't picked in time, it'll either use the previous pick you had or something randomized.

Creep scaling goes exactly as is does in the standard defense game. ... this can (might be able to) be altered via upgrade center.

What this does is essentially maintain all of the elements (no pun intended) of the current Defense game while adding a competitive layer. That's good. But that's not enough. The weapons/upgrade center is where everything else (at least for this sketch/idea) will go. Terrazine is something acquired every wave, might as well keep it at the same rate/scaling as Hero mode. One of the problems with the current Wars mode is that when someone puts a counter out, it's every "5 waves". The only way to counter it is when the next "5 waves" hits, meaning someone can potentially end the game in that period of time just because it takes too long to get out a counter. So Terrazine would have to be every wave, not every 5 waves.

Regarding the Fruit wave - it will not exist. However, just like wave 60, you stop getting minerals, element picks, and terrazine. The waves will keep going until there's one person left at the end.

What upgrades are available? As far as standard upgrades go, upgrading any of basic creep types would work fine, so Mechanical can go invulnerable longer, Speed's bursts go faster, Healing heals for more, etc. I would have it so that the base levels are weaker than the standard amount, but upgrades can jump them to higher than the standard amount. The other two standard upgrades are HP increase and Speed increase.

Here's where I'm going to essentially "put ideas down" for all of the remaining upgrades, because they're all unique and crazy and add counterplay elements.

  • Scaling HP increase - The standard increase in HP for a wave by wave basis is 17%. This places a global increase on the HP scaling for all future waves, meaning yes, the game gets harder for everyone. Personally, I like this idea, because the Wars mode I'm suggesting technically takes the same length as standard defense mode, minus fruit wave. This could potentially end it faster. It's also great for helping to shut down late-game builds if boosted fast enough, so it adds an element of counterplay.
  • Creep Boost - Allows you to select two creep types at the same time. This would be risky, because for one, it's a huge terrazine investment (it'd definitely be a high-end upgrade), and secondly, you can kill yourself with this, easily. Personally recommending this one too.
  • Networth Synergy - The HP of all your creeps is increased by an amount equal to 1% of your networth.
    • Level 2 - 2%
    • Level 3 - 3%
    • Note, this amount is included before difficulty plays a part. So if you have 1000 Networth, it will increase HP by 10, but on Normal difficulty, it's only an increase of 7.5.
  • Minimalist - The number of creeps sent by you is reduced by 5, and the HP of your creeps is increased by 17%. This is a mean upgrade because every time you send a wave, the amount of gold everyone gets is decreased due to less creeps.
    • A reminder that all creep upgrades are supposed to end the game faster, so less gold here is intentional and the primary point of it.
  • Regeneration - Adds a 2.5% HP regeneration. For Maze, the this upgrade increases it to 3% HP regeneration. Another high-cost upgrade.
  • Resistance - Creeps gain 10% resistance to creep debuffs like slow/damage amp.
    • Level 2 - 20%
    • Level 3 - 30%
    • Note, this is multiplicative, not straight. It means a slow debuff of 30% will only slow by 21% instead.
  • Elemental Evil - Whenever you spawn an elemental boss for youself (due to element pick), it spawns a composite version boss creep of that level amount to everyone else.
    • Do note, this scales every 5 waves still, so if you're crazy enough, save an element pick for wave 65. Also, Elemental Evil does not get the benefits of Regeneration. Yes, this one can be very evil for anyone that doesn't have good single-target.
    • Pure Essence summons Essence of Karawasa at everyone, including yourself. You still get the upgrade instantly though.
  • Growth - Increases the creep size of creeps sent, not necessarily visually. In a nutshell, this prevents units stacking extremely close together on each other and sets a minimum distance between any two creeps. Really isn't any point in this one existing if there's Resistance. I'm only suggesting this if it's too hard for Resistance to be added.
  • Dodge - Gives creeps a 10% chance to dodge something entirely. Great against slow attack speed defenses.
    • Can't be upgraded. Any more than 10% would induce too much rage, as painfully tested when it was in Hero Mode.
  • Shields - Since Hero Mode can't be on in conjunction with Wars Mode for this anyways, Shields is something I've suggested as a creep ability before. Creeps have shields equal to 10% of their maximum HP. If the creep hasn't been fired on in 5 seconds, the shield will regenerate back to full.
  • Lethal - Leaked creeps drop lives by 2 instead of 1.

Something else to consider is - should the game start at "Wave 1"... or later? If you pick Wars mode, it is literally Defense for the first 5 Waves, and the next 5 after that, there isn't much you can do in terms of upgrades. So the first 10 waves is going to be a Defense clone. That said, for Wars mode, I propose it automatically starting at "Wave 11" (and calling it Wave 1), meaning everyone starts with 500 minerals, 2 element picks, and some terrazine for creep upgrades. There will be a full 2 minutes for the game to start (2.5 minutes on maze). For Wars, automatically having a Level 2 element (no boss sent) should be fine for this, because all someone has to do to kill you is summon a creep wave of your weak element/type.

Having three buildings for Wars will simply be too many buildings. The standard building for picking elements still remains. The building for getting creep upgrades (via your terrazine) is fine too. This last suggestion is a replacement for the creep summoning center. Instead, you have a small "workshop" bar, sitting at the top-left/middle of the screen. It gives drop-down menus for the following:

  • Creep Element (Water, Fire, Nature, Earth, Light, Dark, Composite)
    • Something to consider, should all of these be enabled by default? Or should you require at least Level 1 of an element in order to send it?
  • Creep Type 1 (Undead, Image, Mechanical, Healing, Fast)
  • Creep Type 2 (Undead, Image, Mechanical, Healing, Fast)
    • This is greyed out until you have the Creep Boost upgrade, at which point you can select a second upgrade.

At the end is a "Confirm!" button, and the next wave will send that.

Regarding difficulty - by default, everyone is set to Normal difficulty. Increasing difficulty does the following:

  • The creeps you send are set at your difficulty, inclusive of gold amount.
  • The grace periods are different based on difficulty:
    • Very Easy - 15 seconds
    • Easy - 12 seconds
    • Normal - 9 seconds
    • Hard - 6 seconds
    • Very Hard - 3 seconds
  • Remember, whoever clears the wave first sets the grace period for everyone else based on whatever difficulty he's on.

And finally, regarding teams, the player rotation still goes as it usually does. The creeps you send are still based on your upgrades only.

Ideas, comments, thoughts, etc?

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Let me make sure I understand what you mean. Basically, your idea is that the Wars mode would be exactly like the Defense mode, except players, one after the other, choose the element and special abilities of the next creep wave, and can spend special currency (terrazine) to achieve it?

Not a bad idea. However, I see a major issue with this: if the choice is wave-based, then offensive abilities are only used once every N waves, N being the number of players. So in a 2 player duel, you could spend terrazine every other wave, and you probably wouldn't earn enough, which would be frustrating; and in a 8 player free for all, you would only control one in 8 waves, i.e. only 7 or 8 waves if the limit is at 60; that's not much at all and you'd feel like you're playing defense mode for the majority of the game. 60 isn't dividable by 6, 7 or 8, so it would also be unfair to some players who would control 1 less wave than some others.

Also, if the other players want to gang up on you, they have up to 7 waves to do so and you can't do much about it. You need to be able to react when you're being attacked.

I think we need to take your idea and add more interactivity to it.

For instance, your only defense is element picks. What if element picks weren't fixed in time, but simply had a cost in terrazine ? So you could choose to spend terrazine either for offense or for defense. If someone is trying to kill you, you can adjust your build live - which opens up nice ganking strategies, too.

The wave system is more problematic, I have no immediate idea how to make the "spend terrazine into offense" thing more interactive. I'm afraid that as long as we stick to 60 waves, we're going to hit a wall here. Maybe a mix of your idea and the current wars mode, where you just gain terrazine over time and use it to either send creeps of a certain element, or to pick a defensive element, would work ? It's interactive, but not snowbally, since terrazine income remains the same for everyone.

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Good point about the limited control with lots of players. I kind of don't like the idea of having to manually send waves though, cause if that's the case, well then it's even easier to gang up on people. We tried this with the original wars mode design for EleTD and what ended up happening was multiple waves would get sent to one person and several others would have absolutely nothing sent at them, leaving periods of blank space where nothing happens. Alternatively, if the manual control was set to fire at all players, then there could be unit stacks, therefore resulting in AoE = victory... unless there's healing creeps mixed in, in which case everyone is dead. I think something else we tried (for targeting one at a time) was if multiple were being sent to one person, it'd either prevent others from sending more, or it'd just stockpile in an endless wave of creeps with no breaks. All in either, it was either a mess or "nothing happens" for a period of time.

Regarding mixing with the current wars mode and then making it so terrazine is also used for elemental picks, I really like that idea. However, we still have to cap the maximum elemental picks at 11 (I shouldn't have to explain what happens if you were able to do 12). So what could be done is that everyone goes ahead and starts with 11 vespene. Each elemental pick is still 1 vespene, but all of them cost terrazine, and higher levels cost more terrazine. Assuming you were to spend all of your terrazine on elements as fast as possible, you'd probably end up with maximum elements by like, 20-25 minutes (I'm just throwing arbitrary numbers out there), and by the time you stop getting minerals, you'd still have some terrazine left over. Heck, some of the really strong offensive upgrades could cost a vespene.

Should Wars stay in waves? Well, unless someone can come up with a targeting system or other design that doesn't result in either a complete mess or periods of blank time (current wars mode has periods of both of these), yes. But you pull up a good point, if there's a set wave count, it's not going to be fair for everyone. So instead, it may be better for it to be "endless", as in there is no determined wave count, it could end really early, it could go really late. There should still be a cut-off point at which minerals aren't given anymore, but terrazine would continue. Seeing as you end up firing waves at everyone (including yourself), you could spend more terrazine to increase the offensive power of your waves, but since you're out of minerals, you'd have to be careful about killing yourself as well. It's different from the current wars mode, where your own defense is killing yourself. In this case, your defense and offense (in terms of the creeps) are separate.

Regardless of whether people spend that terrazine or not, the waves are going to be scaling every time, so the game WILL end.

Unfortunately, this doesn't answer the issue of "if there's lots of players, my offensive abilities only go off once every while." Here's a few things we could do to attempt to alleviate that:

  • This first idea might be a little messy, but an option that costs terrazine that makes the next wave sent to be yours for say 5 terrazine. When one person uses this, someone else can attempt to override, but it'll cost more terrazine (10 terrazine), and so on (15, 20, etc.). If no one uses this option, then it simply goes in the player rotation. The terrazine cost for the initial amount resets to 5 at the start of every wave. I don't know how I feel about this... again, could be messy.
  • Second idea, perfect excuse for Karawasa to bring the weapons back. With weapons, your builder has energy that refills over time, and you can fire active abilities at other players (at any time) that buff the creeps in that area in or nerf the towers.
    • All of these abilities are upgradable. Personally, I'm for minerals being the upgrade cost for this, not terrazine.
    • Unfortunately, this comes with the problem of that it's easy to gang up on someone. While that's technically true with the waves, there are ways to counteract it. But if multiple offensive abilities are going off against that person as well... unless the abilities are weak (in which case, why bother), that person is essentially screwed.
      • Honestly though, it is an FFA, and these things are bound to happen in FFAs. When it comes down to it, if you're in a standard SC2 FFA game, and there's one person dominating, the only real way to take him down is to group up and take him down. There really isn't a way to add protection for this. This is true in virtually every FFA game (hence one of the reasons why so many games are team vs. team based nowadays).

Terrazine could also be used to give you lives back, but if that's done, then terrazine would instead cap off at the same time minerals cap off. I dunno how I feel about if terrazine would keep coming in or not. In the meantime, I'm gonna look into ideas that might provide more offensive things to do (that came out wrong) while waiting for the next wave sent to be yours. For the record, while I'm perfectly aware that Squad TD figured out a way around the issue of "how to send things", I don't want to copy that either. Wars mode for Element TD should be unique to itself, with nothing lost in the process.

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For reference, here is the original tower wars.

This had many issues, most of which was the mode was too complex for regular players (anyone remembers grenade tower defense?). Manually sending each wave of creeps is annoying and puts too much emphasis on spam clicking.

Just a reminder that ideally, the system is easy and logical for new players but provide strategic depth for experienced players. The original failed hard on the former but did well on the latter.

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I agree that grouping up to take someone down is a standard FFA tactic and is a good thing. My point is that the target needs to be able to react and at least try to defend himself: a gank should not result in a guaranteed kill, else players feel powerless and it's not fun at all.

I actually like the current wars system of non-stop creep sending to everyone: it's fair and it's fun. The flaw to be addressed is that the defensive action (building towers) is also the offensive action (sending a creep). The terrazine idea fixes that: couldn't we mix that idea with the current system ?

There are no waves, but a constant flow of creeps; at start, all creeps are composite. The flow needs to be balanced so that single-target towers work just as well as AoE towers, and that the mineral income isn't out of control.

Creeps slowly become harder over time.

(Since everyone gets the same amount of creeps, maybe it's possible to forego terrazine entirely and make everything, defense as well as offense, have a mineral cost; but I'll use "terrazine" here, but replace with "minerals" if you think it can work - which I do.)

Every player has 11 vespene at start, but element picks cost terrazine. So, over time, players will be able to pick (defensive) elements.

Players can also spend terrazine to pick offensive elements and abilities. As soon as they do so, one creep out of N gets the chosen element and/or ability, N being the current number of players. A player can also choose for "his" creep to remain composite.

The HP of a creep would not be player-controlled, but only depend on the stage of the game. There could be a buyable "HP+10%" offensive ability, though, stackable 2-3 times, so that a player could make "his" creep tougher.

I think this system fixes both issues I pointed out: lack of interactivity and lack of fairness, and I also think it can prevent us from adding another type of currency.

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Hang on, regarding this constant flow of creeps, are we saying use the current system where towers send creeps, or just "by player's existence, creeps are sent"?

If it's the former, there's an issue we all forgot to point out - the late-game of the current Wars. There's simply too much, it's a lagfest, it's a deathfest, there's so many creeps and towers on each side that it's absolutely ridiculous.

Now if you're talking about the latter, you were saying earlier that for my system, in an 8 player game, you'd only be able to control every 8th wave. Well, for your system, in an 8 player game, every 8th creep is yours. Granted, that means you're able to take offense at any time, but with only one creep per 8 creeps, that's kind of difficult. The only reason it works in the current system is because the moment you upgrade a tower, no one can kill the bloody thing, especially when you drop a pure tower.

Or am I misunderstanding things completely?

EDIT: Ah right, the reason I don't like "constant flow of creeps". A while back, in this thread, I outlined the towers that were nerfed due to the setup and those that were buffed. Pretty much, anything with 16+ range enjoyed having waves, because their firepower initially was less than towers with short-range. And then there's the towers that either had to charge up or depend on the creeps stacking up. This doesn't become an issue if the creep flow really is constant, but there's still a number of towers that'll be on the nerfed side.

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I'm talking about the latter indeed. And 1 out of 8 might not seem much, but if it's 1 out of 8 that your target can't kill and the flow is steady, it really adds up.

And yes, I realize there are balance issues: some towers are better against a constant flow and some are better against waves. Tower damage should be tuned a bit differently in wars mode than in defense mode.

If it's really not possible, then I'm thinking of a bidding system. We keep terrazine to buy offensive elements and abilities, and 60 waves. But during wave n, players can bid (and irremediably spend) minerals; the amount every player bids is kept secret. At the start of wave n+1, the highest bidder wins: the wave has that player's chosen characteristics. In case of a tie, a normal composite wave is sent, but no money is refunded.

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With bidding, I don't see how that's any better, because in order to bid enough for the wave to become yours, you probably wouldn't be able to pull off more than 8-9 waves worth anyways. And in the case of low player counts, a good number of the waves would end up being yours. Unless that bid was using non-minerals (you'd kill yourself if it was with minerals). Yeah, some players might amass enough from interest to not kill themselves, but that's a small handful of players. The rest is a player base that doesn't have a bunch of extra money sitting around.

As for the constant flow, it wouldn't just be a matter of tuning damage, several towers would have to be completely changed. Haste might as well not even have a charge-up time, Infrared would be god, Celerity would be completely outclassed by Haste/Ephemeral, a single Ion couldn't slow the whole wave, Magnify's change range wouldn't have as much effect, and Nature > Dark/Light by a long shot.

EDIT: Okay, let's take that constant flow... and just add breaks in there. As in, depending on the number of players, there'll be a slightly different number of creeps per wave (can't be helped, 30 isn't divisible by every number).

  • 1 Player - *face-palms*
  • 2 Players - 15 each, 30 total
  • 3 Players - 10 each, 30 total
  • 4 Players - 8 each, 32 total
  • 5 Players - 6 each, 30 total
  • 6 Players - 5 each, 30 total
  • 7 Players - 4 each, 28 total
  • 4 Players - 4 each, 32 total

Each creep would be rotating around each player, so in a 6 player game, every 6th creep is yours.

While this would fix: giving everyone an even chance, offense is constant... it doesn't fix the issue that comes up when you have 5-8 players - the amount of offense you have. Either idea (individual waves or shared waves) will work perfectly fine for 2-4 players, but any higher and you essentially have to gang up with others in order to have a controlled offensive effort.

Regarding the defensive issues when ganged up on, I did say earlier about that upgrade center being purely for buffing your own creeps, but I guess that's not such a good idea in retrospect. Seeing as you'd be able to use terrazine to grab elements (defensively), might as well have some upgrades in there for defensively buffing yourself.

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Alright, here is an alternative system, one where player count doesn't negatively impact the game. In this system, it is the standard defense game. There is a wave order (normal or chaos) still. However, we keep that upgrade center and terrazine.

The upgrade center only provides offensive buffs to creeps, but they're not permanent upgrades. When you spend your terrazine on an upgrade, it applies that upgrade to all creeps on the next wave. That said, every upgrade will have to serve some sort of purpose and must provide an actual impact. You can only do one upgrade yourself per wave. Yes, upgrades can stack on a wave, so you don't know if you're the only one dropping an upgrade on the wave or not. The intention with this is a offense-heavy mode where players are actually being knocked off earlier in the game, rather than a game where we all just see who can get the most fruit points. That said, this would still go into the fruit wave (if it lasts that long), and terrazine can still be spent on abilities during the fruit round.

You know what, this is totally just me reinventing weapons mode with this suggestion, lol. But the way I see it, regardless of what suggestion we go with, I think an offense-heavy approach is the right way to do it, which would technically fix the issue of "too many players" simply because people really can go for ways to kill people off early. Maybe it's crazy, personally I love crazy, it's what makes things bloody fun.

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Having a nonstandard amount of creeps depending on the number of players is still a problem. For instance, building in 4 gives you a perfect 2-pass if you have 28 creeps, is a little bit ballsy if you have 30, and is downright suboptimal if you have 32. Granted, it's a minor problem if it fixes fairness, especially since fast waves force you to build differently anyway (or to get more power, which is what 95% of players do, lol).

I like the idea of a bidding system because it really focuses on optimizing your defensive build in order to be able to afford to spend money offensively. People who are used to spend all they have into towers would have a real incentive to spare more. There's no problem of feeling powerless here: honestly, in anything less than Very Hard, you don't need the interest rates to get to wave 60. But if a player is too greedy, he can bid himself dry, and then he's very vulnerable. I like the psychological aspect and the decision-making it brings to the game: should I rush people but be exposed later ? should I turtle up and get interests so I can grab all the lategame waves and steamroll ?

Grabbing a wave isn't necessarily expensive. If nobody bids because they're busy upgrading their towers, 1 mineral and the next wave is yours.

I'll add that 1 creep out of N is good if there's a constant flow, but I'm afraid it wouldn't make much an impact in waves if there are a lot of players - unless people team up on someone. That brings some strategic depth, but I don't think it would be as fun as a bidding system, where all the creeps in a wave are controlled by one player, which can really smack someone down. (ah, fast nature to punish cannon spammers. :-D)

I'm all for a heavy-offense-oriented approach, but I'm having trouble imagining the details of your last idea. For instance, how is the element of a wave chosen ? What if there are conflicts on the wanted element (which there will be) ? Also, as an aside, if the wave is sent to everyone and upgrades stack, you don't need terrazine, you can use minerals to buy upgrades.

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Regarding upgrades - the reason I'd use terrazine for upgrades as opposed to minerals is because... if it's minerals, those upgrades will be really hard to get early game, but super easy late game. Terrazine would make it easier to balance that out. But, I have a new suggestion, one that uhh... upgrade center won't be necessary. There'll probably be enough death without it as is. It's a combination of several ideas.




Creeps come in waves. Prior to the start of a creep wave, you can design the creeps you want to send (that is, Element + Type). These creeps will hit everyone except yourself. You then select how many you want to send. As each wave progresses, the cost to send a creep increases. The value of each creep will be higher than the cost to send it - that way, the game forcibly progresses in both strength over time and minerals over time. The maximum number of creeps you can send per wave is based on the number of players.



Okay, so you're probably thinking "Well, all I have to do is not send creeps, and my enemies don't get any money because of that." Here's the catch - the player that sends the least number of creeps each wave loses lives equal to the number of players. Eight player game, someone doesn't send any creeps initially, they lose 8 lives. Two player game, whoever is sending less creeps will lose 2 lives every time. If there's a tie, say for example in an eight-player game, if two people only send 1 creep and the rest send more, then both of those people loses 8 lives each. Anyone sending that maximum creep cap would be safe.




Not sure how I feel on that idea, but uhh... there it is. Someone pillage it and see if it's decent. If not, got one more idea in the back.


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