Improvement ideas: Game complexity, transparency, difficulty

A new story begins...
The sequel to a real classic: Panzer Corps is back!

Moderator: Panzer Corps 2 Moderators

Post Reply
j4ni
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
Private First Class - Opel Blitz
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:39 pm

Improvement ideas: Game complexity, transparency, difficulty

Post by j4ni » Fri May 26, 2017 1:14 pm

Dear developer, I have revisited the game a couple of weeks ago and now I heard of the announcement of the new PzC2 game.

I would like to ad my comments/suggestions for the new game:

First of all I understand the desire of the developer to appeal to a wider gamer audience (who often dont have much exposure to turned based strategy games, dont have the
cautious, analytic mindset required in these games) and at the same time remain faithful to the games legacy and offer challenges to experienced players and not alienating the seasoned core gamer base by dumbing down the game and dumping significant strategical/tactical elements. This certainly will be a big challenge.

Just to make myself clear, I think a proper TBS game wanting to carter to a wider gamer audience should adhere to the following design principles.
And I think PzC1 hits many from the following list, but at some points fails badly leaving room for improvement:

-(1)Easy to learn, hard to master
This is mostly true to PzC1, but it clearly must be said, that the game has huge non-transparent hidden complexity, which at the present is unconfortable to deal with
(browsing equipment file, missing important statistical values in-game, unclear upgrade path). I am not for "dumbing" down the game, but for having in game tools
to managing the difficulties.

-(2)Different and meaningful difficulty levels, every player on each skill level should find a suitable challange
That is mostly given but could be still made better, the game has a tendency of getting too easy or hard through the campaign.

-(3)Player should be able to take long term decisions based on as transparent rules as possible. This saves a lot of frustration and failed campaigns
That is clearly not the case in PzC1. Making good decissions clearly requires a lot of advance knowledge.

Now lets look where I think there is room for improvement left in PzC2:

Game defining rules should be transparent
PzC1 implements some game defining core rules in a -for new players- non transparent way, where at the point of decision making the player has little knowledge of the underlying game mechanic and the results of an often wrong decision can be felt throught the whole campaign.

Examples:
-No in game advise on unit upgrade paths. The player must make expensive upgrade decisions with no advance information of further upgrades of the unit. This leads to false decissions, frustration, failed campaigns.

For a new player in PzC1 who is left in a false confidence after the first 4-5 scenarios and thinks he has figured out the underlying game mechanic/dynamics on the basis of PzIIIs and PzIVs this might be an unforeseeable trap. For example the player can dump a lot of prestige in PzIII-PzIV cross upgrades as the new player will start to think in terms of lots of prestige, cheap tanks and upgrades bringing only 1-2 points of attack/defense values. When he is left with no significant amount of accumulated prestige, the enemy tanks and fighters step up a level, and the player has no in game money for the 700p Tiger tank.

So my advice here is:
-Further units in the equipment tree should be visible at least to a certain point, so that the player can make educated decisions. Ofc I dont think it would be a good idea to show the Maus or even the Tiger tank at the time of Poland invasion, but the player should at least be able to view what is in the "development queue" for the next war year or so and whether further upgrades
are planed for the to be purchased equipment type or no.

I would even like to have a separate screen for that showing the planned availability date of the equipment and giving estimations for cost and unit states. (not giving necessarily exact values) I am sure even experienced players would find an in-game upgrade path screen (tree view) helpful. If the current prestige system gets carried over to PzC2 I feel a strong need to encourage new players to use a prestige efficient strategy and save up prestige for upcoming equipment.

As a sidenote I cold also think of a game feature, where the player could by spending prestige make certain equipment available a few weeks before general availability. Perhaps not in unlimited quantities, but to buy a single prototype unit a few weeks in advance. I also see, that this could seriously affect scenario balance, as even a single Tiger could make an otherwise hard scenario a cakewalk. It still would be an interesting game concept and would open up new short term game decisions (e.g. do I want to buy that single Tiger prototype unit for much more than its normal price or wait for one more battle til general availability).

-I dont know how historically accurate this would be, but I see sense in providing players with intelligence about enemy units availability (just to put current and upcoming player equipment into perspective)

Snowballing game mechanic is bad, imo
The game mechanic of PzC1 can lead to a snowballing campaign:

A player playing just a bit better than required for the set difficulty level can accumulate prestige _across_ scenarios, buying stronger (and more prestige-efficient units) which gradually makes the game easier. a player on the other hand, who has set the difficulty a bit too high will struggle too much leading to an (for him) unplayable campaign.

This snowballing effect must be taken into account by the developer and imo. the game should use some kind of (soft) equalizer, to help the struggling players a little bit andalso remain unchallengeable for more experienced players. Soft cap was definitively a step into that direction. Whatever method is used, I think mechanic of that lasso should be transparent (like after the patch soft cap got visible). I can think of things like having more chance of getting "rewarded" with a green SE unit after sustaining heavy losses, having soft cap after a certain army value, and or the enemy having more/stronger units.

Hope I could help a little bit.

Retributarr
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Senior Corporal - Ju 87G
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:44 pm

Re: Improvement ideas: Game complexity, transparency, diffic

Post by Retributarr » Fri May 26, 2017 3:10 pm

[quote="j4ni"] Dear developer, I have revisited the game a couple of weeks ago and now I heard of the announcement of the new PzC2 game.

I would like to ad my comments/suggestions for the new game:

-(2)Different and meaningful difficulty levels, every player on each skill level should find a suitable challange
That is mostly given but could be still made better, the game has a tendency of getting too easy or hard through the campaign.
That's exactly how I see it!, this should be remedied.
A player playing just a bit better than required for the set difficulty level can accumulate prestige _across_ scenarios, buying stronger (and more prestige-efficient units) which gradually makes the game easier. a player on the other hand, who has set the difficulty a bit too high will struggle too much leading to an (for him) unplayable campaign.
I have been in this situation, so again...this should be remedied.
This snowballing effect must be taken into account by the developer and imo. the game should use some kind of (soft) equalizer, to help the struggling players a little bit andalso remain unchallengeable for more experienced players. All thoughtful and enlightening comment's, I salute you!.

Post Reply

Return to “Panzer Corps 2”