Very upset.

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boredatwork
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Re: Very upset.

Post by boredatwork » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:45 pm

ThorHa wrote:I am sorry to say - you invented a solution for a non existing problem. As difficulties can be chosen from dlc to dlc, for the "steamroller" players the solution was very obvious - raise difficulty. Either from the start or in between. It might have been necessary to create a combined "Rommle/Manstein" difficulty, but that is all that was necessary.

Professionally and personally I hate "solutions" if there is not a problem. Because the only reliable result is the creation of a real problem.

Regards,
Thorsten
...

Just because YOU don't see a problem doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

First let me state I don't think the softcap was a solution to the underlying problem... merely another *limited* attempt to treat the symptoms and thus negatively impacted a wide range of people.


The problem was commented on as early as vanilla Beta, because it was obvious, even back then that PzC was inheriting the primary flaw of the original PG series upon which it is based: a cumulative core strength into fixed premade maps inevitably becomes progressively harder to balance the farther into the campaign you go. Neither obvious solution (either make the scenarios adaptable OR make the overall strength of a players core, regardless of how he used his freedom of choice to build it, predictable.) was explored given the rush to get the game out.

It should be made clear that this flaw hurts EVERYONE regardless of your skill level because it partly decouples the game difficulty settings from affecting the ACTUAL difficulty of the game - ie instead of finding strategies to beat your chosen level of difficulty, you end up having to find a difficulty that fits your chosen strategy.


There are several manifestations:
As difficulties can be chosen from dlc to dlc, for the "steamroller" players the solution was very obvious - raise difficulty.
If you think that is a "solution" you miss the point -

1) that the steamroller strategy exists at all meant that there was ONE strategy that was considerably more viable than the rest: Buy the most expensive thing. Because the PRIMARY limiting factor was CORE SLOTS, the economic downside to units was effectively bypassed. If the strongest equipment is not only strong BUT cheaper than other equipment then it becomes a no brainer.
If you wanted to use a 'historical' core nothing ever prevented you from doing just that, just don't buy all the best equipment.
Again it's not a question of historical or non-historical cores - it's about a strategy game having more than one viable strategy. Yes you can, and I do play with PzIIIs at Kursk and PzIVs in Berlin because I like the challenge but I have room to downshift my difficulty if I need to. What about a casual player who already plays on the lower difficulty levels and is just succeeding with Tigers? He does NOT have the option to play with anything else because anything else is too difficult to be viable for him.

And again I know I've been over the same argument with you before but it's not about preventing all Tiger forces if that is a player's wish - it's about balancing such forces in the same fashion that MOST OTHER CASUAL WARGAMES DO IT SUCCESSFULLY: By allowing players to trade off quantity for quality as an additional level of strategy:

Do I take an all Tiger core with 25 Tigers or do I take an all PzIV force with 40 PzIVs. - Both play differently but regardless of choice both have approximately the same power making the scenario designer's balancing job much easier. The current game is like Starcraft except instead of a choice between 33 Ultralisks OR 400 Zerglings or some combination of the two - the choice presented is 200 Utralisks OR 200 Zerglings OR some combination of the two. Duh... which should I pick?

Again StarCraft, despite that type of restriction is a very casual friendly game BECAUSE being balanced that way makes it much easier for designers to scale difficulty.


2) Rediculous AI forces in the pursuit of 2 & 3 - the late war IS2 Spam for example.

Limiting the amount of prestige is really a shocker when you don't realize the long term effect.

I think for the average player it was a 'bad' default choice.

...This is a fun, entry level type game that is the successor to a very sucessful and popular series that should attract new players easily. Most people are not 'grogs' and will play this game casually and want to get through it not shelve it because they can't finish it.

Exactly my point - but probably not in the way you intended!

I agree that given the impact it had on the game the 1.20 should not have been "forced" on people who grown used to the old system.

HOWEVER - your statement does illustrate my point about the underlying flaw and why PzCII should have a proper solution instead of another band aid:

3) Almost inevitable snowball: do even a little well at a chosen difficulty and you find the game becoming progressively easier with each scenario. Conversely do even a little poorly and you soon find yourself digging a hole which you can't get out.
4) Individual scenarios in a campaign vary widely in terms of difficulty because the playtesters cores (and thus their feedback on *perceived difficulty*) can vary by a significant degree make the ability of scenario designers to balance them very hit or miss. Arguably Vitebesk, Kharkov 42, Stalingrad Docks, The last 42 battle over the airfields are considerably more challenging than most of the battles in the middle of DLC42.


"you don't realize the long term effect" Much of the difficulty (or otherwise) of the campaign is the result NOT of the DIFFICULTY SETTING but rather of the CUMULATIVE LONG TERM EFFECT of your play - until you've played the campaign you have no idea how much prestige you will acquire versus how much you can afford to spend and when. "want to get through it not shelve it because they can't finish it." Exactly - it's not exactly casual friendly discovering 10 scenarios in that you picked a too hard difficulty, or too easy difficulty and now you either can't finish because it's too hard OR it's mind-numbingly easy. It's NOT CASUAL FRIENDLY to hold a player up, not because they can't play well enough to beat a given scenario, but because they had no way of knowing they had to do better for the last 5 scenarios to stand a chance.




Again the softcap and other 1.20 changes were bandaids that negatively impacted many players. ***IF*** PzCII ever gets made and a proper solution was implemented the result would be a better game for everyone. Scenarios would scale better to a wide range of difficulties, players would have MORE freedom of choice, Campaign design and testing would be much easier resulting greater amount of available content, achievements would be easier to implement, AI improvements would be easier to implement, etc, etc.

Muddy
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Muddy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 5:18 am

I won't pretend to understand most of what discussed here, I just play the game for enjoyment.
So far I have tried many, many different difficulty configurations, but can't seem to find that magic level I was at before GC42.
It looks to me like it's borderline. Adjusting one setting one notch can turn the game from ridiculously hard to ridiculously easy and vice-versa. There seems to be no middle ground.

ATM, I am still waiting to find a solution, so that I can carry on. However much I try I can't play like this, I simply can't get into it as I did before things went silly.

ThorHa
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Re: Very upset.

Post by ThorHa » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:39 am

boredatwork wrote:If you think that is a "solution" you miss the point -
Given my prior knowledge of the complete SSI series, given the lead programmers stated stance (read the mod comment), it is you that misses the point.

PC is a direct successor to PG, with minor improvements and tweaks yet vastly improved content. And the ability to blitz through all of the scenarios was one of the features of PG, not one of its problems, and the main reason for its popularity. Hell, more then one player deliberately lost key scenarios to enter the late defensive eastern and western scenarios with a core allowing you to actually turn these scenarios into no loss offensive ones. So the steamroller effect was WAD in PG, a key feature for a low level wargame.

Yes, initially and without prior knowledge a lot of players struggled with Norway because of terrain, the first Barbarossa scenario because of Soviet armour, the various Moscows because of tight turn limit, the Sea Lions because of limited ability to counter stronger enemy fleets. So you had to adapt, replay and once you learned all the tactical tweaks you had pure bain limited fun. But in the end you were always able to steamroll everything if you did not give a major boost to the AI like +2 stars new builds PLUS 200% of prestige.

And there the Soft Cap comes into play, in combination with the developers decision to force the player along a historical path regardless of performance. I just started the first 44 scenario on General with 37 k prestige. Counting the various repairs, the moderate overstrength and some upgrades together I am down to 32 k already for the first scenario. Knowing that I will need vast amounts of prestige for the upgrades to King Tigers and already at an average of 650 (prestige per unit) allows me the prediction that I will burn most of my prestige in 44, not least because of the soft cap.

This was never the case in PG, not least because you could choose to end the war where you liked (most popular was Moscow 42, Sea Lion 43 and then the US because it was the longest winning path), whereas PC forces you into a chain of harder and harder scenarios by emulation of the real war progress of WW II (which for me is the one real design flaw), thus enforcing an a-historical core without giving the player the means to maintain this core on average difficulty levels. Forget history emulation, nobody likes to lose.

PC as PG was never intended to be a real flexible strategy game. Once you learn that you need a combined arms core, you learn how to build and maintain battle groups in the field and you learn predictable AI behaviour you are settled. Which again is a main reason for its popularity. It´s casual, not hard core.

Therefore I maintain my position - the devs or may be only Rundancout where deducterized and forgot the main strength of their copied brand. Which will rarely appeal to real dedicated hard core war gamers Grigsby style.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: Very upset.

Post by Muddy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:08 am

This is one of the feelings I got while playing 42. It was like the game was determined to play out history regardless of the player's actions.

Tarrak
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:22 am

I think Boredatwork perfectly described the problem which the soft prestige cap attempted to solve. It is undeniably a problem and saying it's fine because PG had the same flaw is a bit shortsighted imho. The thing is the soft prestige cap is perfectly working in a an environment that was designed with it in mind see Allied Corps.

The Grand Campaign was already designed to depict history. The later years was meant to be brutal and to let the player feel the power of the soviet onslaught. The later years was always hard for the casual player. They was designed to give the player a hard time even without the prestige cap. Add it now to the count and it of course makes it even harder as the easiest solution to the game aka the massive Tiger core force get hit by it very hard. Another thing in the 1.20 rules that makes the game harder is the progressively higher costs of overstrengthening your units. Playing the GC under 1.20 rules is playing it hard mode. Just fall back to 1.14 rules and you will be back where it was. If you don't want to restart at 1939 just use the cheats to add yourself a certain amount of prestige to compensate for the cap in the earlier years of the GC and there you go.

Btw i had same experience with the GC. I started it under 1.20 rules and it was going fine until 43. In 43 i found myself struggling with prestige to keep my army going and i was bled dry by the middle of 44 and decided to restart again at 1.14 rules. I am not good enough for GC hard mode but i don't mind. :)

Muddy
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Muddy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:07 am

Would the ruleset have effected my units ratings, would they be a higher rating if I had started with 1.14 rather than 1.20?
I don't know if to start again, or carry on with my present core under 1.14

Tarrak
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

Muddy wrote:Would the ruleset have effected my units ratings, would they be a higher rating if I had started with 1.14 rather than 1.20?
I don't know if to start again, or carry on with my present core under 1.14
You possibly would have a little bit more experience on your units if you played 1.14 from start on but the difference should not be to high. The only change in the rules that would affect the amount of experience early on is the cheaper overstrength which makes you units a bit more robust but as early on you don't really need overstrength anyway to win i am trying to avoid it as much as possible to safe prestige. I only overstrength units that are unlikely to take losses like artillery, bombers and to some extent fighters. There is of course as well the experience cap anyway.

The early years of the war are barely affected by the soft cap as well as the early war units are way to cheap to reach it. I would say 1939 and 1940 there will close to no difference between 1.20 and 1.14 rules. 1941 and 1942 the soft cap slowly may start to kick in so i think you should have around 20k more prestige at the begin of 1942 under 1.14 rules then under 1.20 but i am not entirely sure as i am still in 1940 after i restarted.

If to start again or carry on with present core is up to you and no one else can really decide for you. :) I personally am enjoying the early years of war more anyway, i don't like this huge steamroller scenarios, so i went for the restart option personally.

ThorHa
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Re: Very upset.

Post by ThorHa » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:32 am

Tarrak wrote:I think Boredatwork perfectly described the problem which the soft prestige cap attempted to solve.
I do not think we will find common ground, as you will not find common ground with him, who wants a vastly differently designed Panzer Corps :mrgreen: .

But even if I regard all of your arguments as valid, then you simply opened up many new problems - one of them the nerfed HA,HD and Ini values of Tiger and Panther compared to JS 1 for example. And if I read some former discussions e.g. in the open beta the arguments to leave both T and P where they are today (too low), it was exactly because experienced players tended to field too many of these.

Which you managed to end with the soft cap. So I reiterate - even as a "solution" the soft cap just creates follow up problems.

Regards,
Thorsten

Tarrak
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:49 am

ThorHa wrote: But even if I regard all of your arguments as valid, then you simply opened up many new problems - one of them the nerfed HA,HD and Ini values of Tiger and Panther compared to JS 1 for example. And if I read some former discussions e.g. in the open beta the arguments to leave both T and P where they are today (too low), it was exactly because experienced players tended to field too many of these.
This is a totally different topic and tbh i don't remember the values of the tanks in question and being here at work i can't look it up neither but this got nothing to do with the soft prestige cap anyway.
ThorHa wrote: Which you managed to end with the soft cap. So I reiterate - even as a "solution" the soft cap just creates follow up problems.

Regards,
Thorsten
Yes i agree the soft cap is not a perfect solution, but it was the only one that was implementable in the current state of the game without having to rework all the game basics and all the already present content. Yes it does create some new problem but it does solve some as well. After all it is optional so it's up to everyone to use it or not.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by MartyWard » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:43 am

ThvN wrote:
ThorHa wrote:The problem as I understand it was that the difficulty was actually decreasing past a certain point; if a good player managed to assemble a power core a tipping point would be reached and the game would get a lot easier, while an average player (like me) would have a much harder time even at lower difficulty settings. You can read the thread here: viewtopic.php?f=121&t=41657 Just read his posts to get an idea of the problem he wanted to solve. The idea was to move that tipping point further along, to keep the difficulty more evenly distributed.
I think this is the very problem. I would wager that MOST of the people who bought/will buy this game are NOT 'good' players who want more and more of a challenge. They are newcomers/casual gamers/fans of the old PG series/someone who read a review of the game under the old rules. As far as I can tell the game could not have been tested for balance under the new rules as the AI appears to be the same, the number of enemy units appear to be the same, the maps are the same etc. If the game was originally designed and balanced for use with the old rules then the average player may have great difficulty completing if by being forced to use the new rules as for them the original game may have been a challenge already.

Why risk alienating the biggest part of your customer base to satisfy a small portion when the things they actually wanted to do were already available in the game? Why change the game after so long to make it a better experience for the 'good' players who want more of a challenge? If you want to change it for them, make it optional not the default.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by MartyWard » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:52 am

Tarrak wrote:I think Boredatwork perfectly described the problem which the soft prestige cap attempted to solve. It is undeniably a problem and saying it's fine because PG had the same flaw is a bit shortsighted imho.
Everything he described as being fixed was possible for the 'good' player to do without the soft cap. Nothing prevented you from never buying a KT, from changing you core size to 100, from limiting how much you spent, from building a perfectly historical core. Not one thing was impossible to do.

I think that a lot of copies of this game were sold. Was there a huge outcry that the game was too easy, that building an army of the best equipment was NOT what people wanted to do?, that the 'snowball' effect was a problem and they had to stop playing the game because of it? I just don't get why it was changed to the default.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by ThorHa » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:58 am

MartyWard wrote:Everything he described as being fixed was possible for the 'good' player to do without the soft cap.
I did not want to press this argument further, as Tarrack is either not allowed to discuss it or as a participant in the development does not want to discuss it further. Which is entirely human.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: Very upset.

Post by ThorHa » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:03 pm

Tarrak wrote:After all it is optional so it's up to everyone to use it or not.
Not entirely. For I Pad users its not optional, except they "correct" its results by cheats. Which is difficult as there is no comprehensive list of the prestige gains at 100% for all of the scenarios.

And btw - of course unit stats, average players unit choices and available prestige are directly connected. Inevitably.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: Very upset.

Post by MartyWard » Wed Apr 23, 2014 12:44 pm

ThorHa wrote:
boredatwork wrote:Therefore I maintain my position - the devs or may be only Rundancout where deducterized and forgot the main strength of their copied brand. Which will rarely appeal to real dedicated hard core war gamers Grigsby style.

Regards,
Thorsten
+100!

Tarrak
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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:32 pm

No i am neither involved in the development of the game nor i am not allowed to discuss it in any way. I just have different opinion then you guys. :P

You seems to interpret the prestige cap as an attempt to make the game harder for the average skilled player which it is not. On the contrary, it was actually meant to make it harder for the good players while not affecting average players to much. It was never intended to make a all Tiger core impossible, just more costly to maintain. If the devs wanted to make all Tiger cores impossible they could just raise the costs of Tigers to something very high and that would do it but it wasn't their intention.

The problem is simply the scenarios are progressively harder to balance properly. Early in a campaign you can assume everyone is more or less on the same level. But the longer the campaign lasts the bigger the gap between an average and very skilled player becomes. The first suffer losses and only slowly gets the experience and can afford close to none overstength while the second gain more exp and can easily afford to overstrength his units and to upgrade them to the best available. The difference in core force power rises and rises. Now another problem adds to it. The more expensive and experienced core starts to suffer less and less losses as the AI refuse to attack it and becomes cheaper to maintain then the weaker one. The gap becomes bigger and bigger. Now if you design a scenario that suits the first core the second will steamroll it. Do it other way around and the first player will have no chance to beat it. You need to keep the gap as small as possible. This is what the soft prestige cap was meant to do. Hit the good player with good core so his prestige went down so his core growth will be slowed down while not affecting the average player. It is actually doing that but possibly the values are a bit to hard and it may start affecting people to early, i don't deny it. It may need some tweaking but the general idea is sound. After all you can disable it anyway if you don't like it, on PC at least. I know IPad is a different beast but hopefully the advanced options get patched on it at some point as well. As a side note as IPad user blame Apple for not allowing you to edit your own files or you could just do it by editing the config file. :P

On a related but different topic i think some of the blame the soft prestige cap is receiving here is undeserved as it comes from the fact that simply the difficulty in the GC do a big jump after 1942 anyway with or without the prestige soft cap. I remember even pre patch 1.20 the GC always become a lot harder in 1943 and following years. You are simply getting steamrolled by the Russian but then i guess the German Generals during the WW2 didn't really feel much different.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by ThorHa » Wed Apr 23, 2014 2:52 pm

Now everybody is entitled to his own opinion, so let´s just agree to disagree. Because the more reasons you give the weaker these reasons get :wink: . The difference between good and average players are the sole reason for the thing called "difficulty setting".
Tarrak wrote: ... You are simply getting steamrolled by the Russian but then i guess the German Generals during the WW2 didn't really feel much different.
Nice. If that is WAD then the evaluation of the casual wargamer is off the mark. He does not want to work when playing neither does he want to lose. And this corresponds perfectly to the score of standard Wehrmacht campaign and early GC AARs and videos in the wild, suddenly down to near 0 with gc 44 and gc 45.

Regards,
Thorsten

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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:21 pm

ThorHa wrote:Now everybody is entitled to his own opinion, so let´s just agree to disagree. Because the more reasons you give the weaker these reasons get :wink: . The difference between good and average players are the sole reason for the thing called "difficulty setting".
In theory yes the difficulty settings should do that. Sadly all the difficulty settings do, apart from the extreme ones which alter the strength of all units on the map, is slow down your exp and prestige gain but this clearly can't solve a problem when you core suddenly stops taking any losses at all. No matter how much you reduce exp and prestige gain then you can't solve it. If this problem were discovered earlier maybe there would be way to change the settings but it wasn't so there had something to be done afterwards withing the already existing constraints of a released game and the prestige soft cap was the best that was possible. If you got a better idea how to solve the problem then put it forward.
ThorHa wrote:
Tarrak wrote: ... You are simply getting steamrolled by the Russian but then i guess the German Generals during the WW2 didn't really feel much different.
Nice. If that is WAD then the evaluation of the casual wargamer is off the mark. He does not want to work when playing neither does he want to lose. And this corresponds perfectly to the score of standard Wehrmacht campaign and early GC AARs and videos in the wild, suddenly down to near 0 with gc 44 and gc 45.

Regards,
Thorsten
Yes the game is getting a lot harder in 44 and 45. They was designed that way. If it was a good or bad decision is another question but this is simply a fact we can't change. On the other hand there are the difficulty settings you mentioned. In worst case go down one or two step lower and see if you can handle them then. Imho already on colonel they are very playable. If in doubt you still have two levels to go down.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by Muddy » Wed Apr 23, 2014 3:38 pm

I think I may have found settings that are bringing me pretty close to how I was before 42. Up to now it seems to be playing nice, thanks to all of the suggestions and PM's I so kindly received.
I suppose I am going to have to change it again when I get to the west campaigns. :?

I really hope the dev's keep it level in any future DLC, none of these major swings in difficulty, and I doubly hope they don't pull the same trick in BA2.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by Naxor » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:08 pm

When soviet corps is released I hope devs add option to turn off soft prestige cap and overstrentgh penalty. I dont want to switch to 1.14 because 1.20 added also some good features like prestige bonus when unit is surrendered etc.

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Re: Very upset.

Post by Tarrak » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:10 pm

Muddy wrote:I think I may have found settings that are bringing me pretty close to how I was before 42. Up to now it seems to be playing nice, thanks to all of the suggestions and PM's I so kindly received.
I suppose I am going to have to change it again when I get to the west campaigns. :?
May i ask out of curiosity what the settings are?

The West DLCs are different in style from the east DLCs. They are less of an endless tank steamroller and the core size is smaller. Depending on your play style and preference you may find them easier then the east ones or even harder. I think the opinions here differ. For me personally the difficulty is about the same but i like the west DLC style a lot more.

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