Archive for October, 2015

Variable belt nonsense

Control should not mean one player has all resources and the other has none. Control should mean that a player has a resource advantage, at the expense of time. This resource advantage should not be permanent (provided items are collected) and by giving the out of control player a method of stacking that allows the resource difference (stack differential) to be equalised they have a method of breaking control that does not rely on execution and/or luck. The in control player must use the advantage in the window it takes out of control to stack to an amount in order to challenge them.

Barktooth: Well, all I have to add is that if you haven’t already, go read this:

Oh dear you found that… post. Not sure I agree with it all since writing it and I primarily started writing it as a rebuttal to the pro armor/health tick down crowd to demonstrate how no tickdown could be use to influence the game. One point to note is that my comments about tweaking armor using %s is pretty useless.. I hesitate to say flat out wrong without expanding but the way I use it in that article is incorrect. If I had to make one change it would be to say have the mega as a +50 rather than +100, so max health takes longer.

The one point I do like is the shorter respawn on weapons which potentially places more emphasis on ammo pickups. If the game is played with denying opponents preferred weapon it will still work, you simply need to return to it more often. If denial relies on denying majority or all weapons it will be less viable with the current load out of weapons on a map. It would also allow maps to have less weapons, roughly half the current amount and still work.

From an overall game perspective to obtain optimum longevity and variety a set of 3-4 armor/health would be ideal. On top of these two (possibly three) weapon respawn times – current and short (with less ammo). With these options more map styles are available. None of this is complicated compared to hero match ups and items in mobas. They are “knowledge” skills.

My main gripe with the current ut4 armor system is primarily that “in control” consists of running belt + jacket and the lesser armors are so weak they are not worth bothering with for the in control player. This means the base stack differential is around 150. It is not possible to survive some of the one shot weapons with base health + pads + helmet. I am a fan of giving the out of control players reliable stacking options rather than nerfing protection across the board – ut3 is bad in this regard. If I had to “fix” the current setup with minimal changes to work on current maps I would change two armor values and one respawn time. While not ideal it would open up the current duel game significantly while retaining the underlying dynamics. In fact it could be said it improves the underlying “what to take” dynamic.

1. Lower jacket to 75 armor.
2. Raise pads to 75 armor.
3. Lower belt spawn time to 40 seconds.

Everything else remains the same.

This changes the second item that the “in control” player may want to control from the jacket to either the jacket, the pads or both. This buffs out of control sneakyness and forces the in control player to “know” what their opponent has as denial hinges on what their opponent has rather than defaulting to jacket. If the in control player wants to play a heavy armor denial game they must run three armors rather than the current belt+jacket.

It buffs the helmet in a round about way, as the helmet + either pads or jacket will be roughly equal to the current jacket. (95 armor). Roughly equal because the helmet requires more base health to service the amount of armor but it is close enough.

40 seconds may sound like a huge belt buff but it will clash more often with the other 30 second items and it will give more opportunities for damage from the out of control player. By clashing it opens up potential pickups to the out of control player. It also forces the belt player to spend more time denying it and if the map is setup in a way, putting themselves at risk.

It lowers the effectiveness on the belt player for picking up additional items after the belt is damaged. In the current setup a player with 100/150(belt) can be damaged to 100/50, pickup jacket and have exactly the same amount of effective health as a fresh belt pickup. This would be 25 less. A small change for sure.

I’ve probably forgotten some things but you get the idea..

I was interested in the OPs variable belt thing and wanted him to expand upon it. This idea essentially gives the belt from 100 down to 80-85 total additional hit points. The reason it does not give the full amount is due to low values of belt offering virtually no protection so the wearer dies with belt points left. Not sure why this route would be taken over simply changing the value. It has some weird repercussions like belt never running out at very low values. Obviously they could be addressed but why?

Zaccubus Duel Analysis

Zaccubus is posting new demo analysis videos. I am not a fan of these super in depth stop/start demo analysis for any game since players do not have time to think such in depth thoughts during play, and hindsight reveals everything. They tend to make the commentators look very clever. A better alternative is demo analysis of good players, outlining why they do specific things.

In general the video says what it needs to and probably teaches many players something, but there are some glaring points that should be addressed. The highlights, for me, are when zacc points out specific times to be aggressive, push for kills and most importantly, the why.

First spawn options
Videos opening is disappointing, calling two spawns similar when one is significantly better. Lucky for the viewers zoh makes the right choice.

Rocket spawn options: Rocket -> Lift to shock (potentially flak) | Rocket -> lift to pulse + vials + sniper. Mini/bio are not choices as they take too long and give up too much.

Bio spawn options: Bio -> Shock | ignore bio -> shock | Ignore both -> bounce pad to rifle -> vials + pulse or flak.

The rocket spawn is better. A player picking the bio spawn specifically to go for shock runs the risk of their opponent spawning at rocket then taking the lift dodge to shock. They are then contesting shock with an enforcer, or best case getting to shock ahead of the rocket player then taking a close range fight vs rockets with shock. Neither is ideal. Not 100% sure if the flak spawn can get to shock in time but that is another consideration. There is a spawn near pulse that would also allow killing of the player coming from bio to shock.

Spawning bio then ignoring shock and taking the bounce pad to rifle is potentially dangerous. Can you hear the flak pickup from the bio spawn area? If you cannot you might end up going lift into a flak shell OR the player at flak hears you, opts to go shock -> rockets, leaving you with rifle, pulse, vials and maybe mini for the first jacket spawn. This could work, depending on your play style. There are also spawns near mini that have fast access to shock. Potentially these spawns suffer from the same problem if you opt to simply bum rush shock. However if one player does this from bio and the other from the mini spawns, someone will likely die. Bit of a dice roll.

The spawn that can generally go safely to shock first is the one on the bridge above rockets.

Bio is a low % spawn choice to get a preferred weapon. You run the risk of not getting items you need or running into a player with your pants down. Looking at potential starting spawns can open up early opportunities. At the very least you can walk away with a decent group of weapons for opening encounters.

First Spawn (Video 1:50 / Game clock 9:45)
There are two possible weapons left on the map after this kill. The pulse and mini. Fjaru was headed towards pulse so assume that is gone. The rocket spawn is around 2 seconds closer* to the mini (using the lift near belt) compared to the flak spawn, so picking this was not entirely wrong. The rocket spawn is probably a better choice of the two, however putting a small delay before selecting the spawn would possibly have avoided death here – there is nothing else at rockets for fjaru to get so he has no reason to drop down. Pausing on the spawn increases the likelyness of him going to flak, or in the very least away from rockets, to look for you.

*A gut feeling rocket was closer while writing but had to test this in game.

The main problem at this point which is not addressed by zacc is that the only weapon still up once fjaru takes pulse after the first kill is mini. There is ample time (15 seconds) for fjaru to go to the mini before jacket instead of attacking down to rockets. This would have left zoh with nothing to contest jacket spawn. Except bio, if he can even get it. This is not to say that this is a mistake on fjarus part but more to point out the potential problem for zoh. Fjaru playing slightly less aggressively would have yielded even worse results for zoh. For example fjaru has a decent idea where zohs initial spawn was due to the shock pickup that would have been heard 100% near sniper/flak.

At this point in the game keeping track of what weapons are up is relatively simple. You know what you have and how much time has elapsed. Nothing has respawned yet.

Ignoring spawn choices the question could be asked if zoh made the correct move off the rocket spawn he picked. If we want to look at “mistakes” this is surely one – rather than going to lift he up to mini he makes a bee line for the belt. Rewinding even further you could say he makes the mistake straight off spawn when fjaru is above him / drops down. Rather than going left he potentially could have gone right, up the lift. There is a good chance he would have died anyway, however because fjaru drops it is the “best” avenue of escape available. Also using hammer alt while trying to escape..

Second Spawn (Video: 2:15 / Game clock 9:38)

Clicking in straight away here is portrayed as a bad thing by zacc. Zoh took the only spawn with a weapon left, assuming fjaru went and got the mini after killing zoh near belt – reasonable assumption. This was the only way to have a weapon for the upcoming jacket spawn.

I think hanging around was a mistake – we know the rl is spawning shortly after the armors as zoh started here, so getting bio, going down to rl for pads + rockets then potentially shock -> flak+helmet is probably the way to go here. This is the fastest known way to get back into weapons. We know fjaru has rifle and flak, however the flak spawn is potentially further away from the flak than the rocket spawn that zoh started on.

What – Gameclock 7:09 to next spawn

Fjaru did not deny the jacket because when he was taking the shock (and potentially checking the jacket spot) it was not up. It spawned at :39. There was a good chance fjaru did not have the pickup time as he was near/using mini jump-pad when zoh picked it up at 7:09. Sure, he should be playing with it in mind, even without a time, but this is all rather razor close for someone who does not know the spawn time. Fjaru picked up the shock, if he checked the jacket visually here it would not be there – going to pads the way he does is a good option. He may have also healed up, as he came from the low passage at rl.

Out of control 3:34 Game clock

zoh is not out of control. He took the last jacket – fjaru was likely at belt so does not have timing on it. In/out of Control get thrown around too freely in ut. Control is when a player has belt and jacket timing (or control) and their opponent has neither. If a player has belt, gives up multiple jacket spawns in a row and the next belt, yet manages to loose no armor their opponent is not really in control. They have no stack advantage.

I disagree with having more shots here. Fjaru has belt, zoh is 86/76. In order to be in a condition for the next jacket pickup (or next belt) he should preserve the limited stack he has. Playing safe like this and avoiding damage is good, especially when the player has a lead. Obviously he did not contest the next jacket pickup.. but he still has stack and missing the jacket was not as crucial as it would be if he had no armor.

The next pause when zoh ambushes fjaru at shock after jacket pickup has similar comments about control – as if landing the combo damage changes control. It removes fjarus stack but but does not automatically give zoh control. Control is achieved on the next set of armor spawns/pickups.

One last point here – this combo damage was quite low, fjaru took a direct rocket at the next belt fight and the belt glow did not disappear.

The last belt kill + fjaru suicide
Even before this point the game is won. Zoh can play defensively, take the next jacket while fjaru is at belt and waste the last minute. Unless this is a competition match I strongly believe that trying moves that are not ideal is not terrible. If zoh died and failed he has three frags to drag out off a fresh spawn, harder to practice than +backing with a decent stack and weapons.