He ended the scenario with 10 step losses, not 10 unit losses! 10 total strength losses, out of 580. And this is in an urban warfare map, where losses should be higher due to all the close terrain, and before the Germans get super units like Tigers. The main reason is exactly as he described, that the AI will almost never attack 4-star overstrength units. The other reason is that artillery completely suppresses AI units in a single salvo or at most two, so there’s never any risk of losing strength points when attacking.Delta66 wrote: "For the Stalingrad scenarios, I deployed 37+5 units, for a total around 580 steps. Maybe with more 10 stength units you are under 500 steps, which make a big diffeence in firepower. And as I mentioned the AI will often not attack supported 4 stars units, so it also leads to less casualties. Moreover it exacerbates the difference between my strong units and the auxilliary Italians. And the AI will most of the time target the weaker auxiliary units. In the end I finished the scenarios with something around 10 losses to my core units. 10 Losses was an average for Stalingrad were there is a lot of auxilliary units. But I also had 20 losses in other scenarios."
There is no simple solution to snowball effect, which is a common phenomena of many strategy games and RPGs. In fact, the early/mid maps of this type of game are almost always the most challenging. However, the player’s core strength grows far in excess of the preplaced AI units’ strength for each map. Thus, by the late maps, the gameplay is trivialized. For instance, if anyone plays Fire Emblem on the hard difficulties, the hardest battles as always the early ones, but once the player gets his strong heroes leveled up, the game is easy again.
I agree that any single change will almost certainly not be enough to challenge the snowball effect. But it is worthwhile to think about possible solutions. I believe it will require numerous changes**, all working in harmony, to effect a reasonable solution. The goal is not to completely eliminate the snowball effect, but rather to mitigate it while keeping the game mechanics interesting and fun.Rudankort wrote: Second, fundamental cause of snowballing is that different people take different number of losses. Even if we remove the factor of earning prestige altogether (no bonus for capturing cities, same bonus for all scenario outcomes, all people get exactly the same amount of prestige), they will take different number of losses. Players who take more losses will spend more prestige on replacements and won't invest it into overstrength/upgrades/elite replacements, so their core will be progressively weaker. The weaker the core, the more losses it will take in the next scenario.
For this reason I believe that attacking any separate aspect of the gameplay will not solve the issue, until we find how to counter the effect of different losses people take.
I am not proposing that limiting combat to a max of 10 dice rolls will solve the snowball effect completely. Yes, cores with extra experience, heroes, and/or better equipment will still do better, but the difference between would at least be less stark.
In the current system, what is the motivation for players to not overstrength their high initiative high attack units? It is a far more efficient use of prestige to have 1 5-star 15-strength Panther than 2 5-star 10-strength Panther , since the 15-strength Panther will almost never take damage against most units, while the 10-strength Panthers could actually be damaged.Rudankort wrote:Regarding the suggestion to use overstrength as a mere reserve: if we do this, what will be people's motivation to pay for overstrength? Even if its cost is reduced from 200% to normal 100%, why pay in advance when replacements can be purchased "on demand"? And especially when "reform units" is promoted to official game mechanics, and so even losing a unit is not such a big deal any more?
Under my proposal, there is still a strong value to overstrength a unit even if the extra strength does not count as extra dice rolls above 10. The extra strength points allow the unit to fight longer with maximum die without having to reinforce. This difference will definitely be noticeable. For instance, A 10-strength Panther might have to fight several Allied tanks over 4-5 turns, by the end of which it is reduced to 5 strength. This Panther is now quite weak and needs to be withdrawn off the line to reinforce. On the other hand, a 15-strength Panther would do the same and also lose 5 strength points, but it would still be at 10-strength and is still fit to press on. This is as opposed to the current system, where the 15-strength Panther has a high chance of not taking any damage, while the 10-strength Panther would still be down to 5 strength.
In essence, overstrength is transformed into a tactical reserve system as opposed to the all-powerful, no brainer option that it is now. This also adds the added advantage of simplicity, as opposed to adding entirely new, complicated features.
The overtrength change seems like it should be easy to implement from a technical standpoint, as an option in gamerules.pzdat, for players to test and give feedback on. Something like an enhanced reform units option, however, would be far more time-consuming to implement, and would require a lot of careful thought of specific gameplay mechanics beforehand.
Resetting the player’s prestige after each battle is also an interesting method of limiting the snowball effect. This method slows down the rate of the growth of the player’s core. There would still be a strong (arguably stronger) incentive for the player to win DV and get as many flags as possible. However, there needs to be safeguards to prevent the player from circumventing the system by buying/disbanding units as a method of storing prestige. Also, this doesn’t in any way address combat mechanics that allow for invincible super units.nikivdd wrote:For the mod we are currently working on, we also had our little prestige brainstorm. We came up with the idea to remove all prestige at turn 2 at every scenario.
*Speaking of reinforcements, as another potential option that hopefully is also easy to code, is to limit the speed at which a unit can reinforce. Right now, assuming no enemy interdiction, going from 9 to 10 strength takes exactly the same time as going from 1 to 10 strength. Interestingly enough, overstrength during scenarios can still only occur one point at a time. It could be enlightening to test another parameter in the gamerules file that specifies the average speed at which a unit can reinforce, so an entry of 2 means all units can reinforce 2 steps at once, etc. This could be even better if there is a line in the equipment file that specifies exactly how fast a unit can reinforce, and can add a very interesting dimension to gameplay. For instance, a Tiger might only be able to reinforce 2 steps a turn, mid-scenario, but a Panzer IV might be able to reinforce 4 steps a turn, and T-34 6 steps, and a conscript all steps at once. Of course, this option is pointless if the combat mechanics prevent damage to overstrength strong core, as the example of Delta66 shows.
**For instance, combining limits to overstrength, a linear progression to overstrength costs, and a more gradual mid-scenario reinforcement system could do much to limit the snowball effect while keeping strategic choices interesting and fun.