Degrees of Success

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uran21
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Degrees of Success

Unread postby uran21 » Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:49 pm

Victory, Decisive Victory, Brilliant Victory represent degree of success. Sach concept as is is good one and nothing new. What detriments degree of success is turn count at which objectives are achieved.

I think there is certain problem in implementation of this concept. Turn count needed to achieve Brilliant Victory is manageable but also rather arbitrary due to random bad states that could happen like weather and combat results. Achieving Brilliant Victory should definitely be challenging but when results become too arbitrary challenge starts to border frustration.
Process of learning and doing what it takes is enjoyable and finding solution to hard problems and achieving it gives rewarding feeling of pleasure. But the fact there is no desire to replay it again once achieved because there is certain fear it would again take several tries speaks about challenge bordering frustration. Solution to this could be the following: if objectives CAN be met in N amount of turns make condition for Brilliant Victory to be N+1 turns.

Achieving Decisive Victory as something perceived being between easy and hard works quite well.

Only Victory on the other hand can have counterintuitive effects. The fact there is enough time to achieve it is welcomed but it is not measure of ease. The one who haven’t achieved it faster has lack of skill and probably does not know how to utilize less straightforward solutions of the game in his own advantage. On the other hand prolonged combat results in attrition, it makes enemy to entrench, to take replacements and to receive reinforcements.
More time you spend in combat less likely it becomes to have enough strength to successfully reach end of it. Concept of resources (prestige) through campaign is not behaving in a way to support low skill players either. What is spent in previous scenario is not available in the next one and if only Victories are achieved new resources will not pour in.
This situation can be solved by boosting resources that will affect only players playing for Victory. No enemy reinforcements and replacements after condition for Decisive Victory has passed. In the same time giving replacements and reinforcements on scenario basis (not tied to campaign results) to player after time for reaching Decisive Victory has passed to help him win the edge in battle of attrition with generous time limit.

This way much wider type of players with differing skills could equally enjoy the game and progress in it without lowered motivation due to lack of skill or emerging frustrations.

sourdust
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Re: Degrees of Success

Unread postby sourdust » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:29 am

There's a standard problem in strategy game design around "snowballing". Many games give you rewards for success, and in turn you need those rewards to invest in more stuff for future battles. And standard game design gives you greater rewards for accomplishing increasingly difficult things, and/or for achieving greater degrees of success.

The catch is that the difficulty of the game has to be calibrated to continue to give a player a challenge. If this calibration occurs geared towards beginners, the game is dull for better players. If the calibration is geared to masters, then beginners find it impossible.

So most games have different difficulty levels. Even so, if a player starts to "get ahead" of the difficulty calibration, the game starts to snowball in the player's favour, and again it quickly becomes boring because the player is so powerful. Conversely, if a player starts to "slip behind" the power calibration, it can be difficult to recover. Each victory is harder and harder to achieve, because the player doesn't have the resources (rewards from previous battles) needed to "keep up". Either way, it's a "vicious cycle".

Panzer Corps suffers from this problem greatly, but any number of other strategy and RPG games suffer from it as well.

The solution is counterintuitive. Imagine a game where if you achieve an astonishing victory, you get a relatively small amount of resources - but if you barely manage a victory (or are even defeated), you get greater resources. This would create a "virtuous cycle", where really good players are forced to continually perform well with slim resources, and beginners are given a bit more to help them along. It's a self-correcting mechanism, rather than a self-reinforcing mechanism.

For such a system, disconnecting "victory points" from "resources" is important. A good player winning a tough scenario with a brilliant victory would get a lot of victory points (measure of success), but possibly only modest resource rewards. A beginner getting defeated on the same scenario would get few or no victory points, but perhaps a lots of resources for the next battle. In that way, you still have "victory points" as something for the player to strive for and measure themselves against others, so there shouldn't be any incentive to intentionally do poorly to get more rewards.

And while a system like that seems counterintuitive, it's not entirely ahistorical. Good commanders didn't always get more resources to work with, and reinforcements often had to go where there was a crisis, not necessary to the general who had performed well. In a defensive line, reinforcements go to where there is a break, not to where a commander has cleverly held the line against a powerful enemy. Rommel didn't get much in the way of additional resources for his victories in North Africa; Germany's priorities lay elsewhere, and Germany only every intended North Africa to be a holding front, so Rommel had to more or less make do with what he had.

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Tomislav Uzelac
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Re: Degrees of Success

Unread postby Tomislav Uzelac » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:10 pm

sourdust wrote: disconnecting "victory points" from "resources" is important.

This is what we're doing in the UoC2 campaign. The design has been written up, though the implementation is still a bit fluid at this time. ;)

I will post about it on the Blog when the time comes, just wanted to say that this is being actively addressed.

sourdust
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Re: Degrees of Success

Unread postby sourdust » Wed Aug 29, 2018 12:23 am

Cool!


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