Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Field of Glory: Empires is a grand strategy game in which you will have to move in an intricate and living tapestry of nations and tribes, each one with their distinctive culture.
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Jagger2002
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Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Jagger2002 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:04 am

I have seen several blitzkriegs by large and not so large countries in multi-player. In each case I have seen, the game play has been set on balanced and each blitzing nation (Antigonos, Seleucids) has lacked a counterbalancing nation. It appears on balanced game play that a big player such as Antigonos, Seleucids, Ptolomies and Macedonian can take huge amounts of territory and legacy without collapse due to decadence.

In one game, by turn 92, the Seleucids have blitzkrieged the AI Antigonids, Mauryans and Ptolomies and now are moving into Macedonia/Greece and moving through Cyrene. The Seleucids have dropped into lower 1/3 CDR but currently only have a single negative token. However game will be over in a few turns anyway because they have 5541 legacy and are pulling in 204 legacy a turn with the nearest other player at 2116 and 62 a turn. Of course, this is all on 1.04 build and only a few players left.

So what are the ideal conditions for a MP game to ensure that blitzkriegs are limited? I suspect that an AI difficulty of experienced and ensuring that every big human controlled nation has a counterbalancing human controlled nation will produce a more balanced and interesting game.

And then there comes alliances. Alliances can really make the game easy if you are in one and very difficult if you are not.

So any thoughts on the best conditions for an interesting and longer lasting MP game? Also any thoughts on alliances within MP?

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by desertedfox » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:38 am

For me what the game urgently needs is an ingame private messaging system, where you are able to send a message to another human player, obvioulsy, so as to facilate a coalition against a nation which is getting too strong.

Yes yes yes, I know, you can send people a PM, but trust me on this, 9 out of 10 people do NOT check their PMs ever. In one game I have a 2 or 3 month old message sitting in my outbox, despite that player still being in the game and having been told he should check his PMs.

Jagger2002
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Jagger2002 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:51 am

In one game I have a 2 or 3 month old message sitting in my outbox, despite that player still being in the game and having been told he should check his PMs.
Hehe, yes.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Jan 28, 2020 4:45 am

Blitzkrieger here. I can confirm this. I think part of it, particularly with the eastern factions, is inherent in the set-up. The Antigonids, Seleucids and Ptolemies are basically three culture-starved pit dogs thrown into a ring to fight for meat. The Antigonids have to defeat the Seleucid-Ptolemaic coalition sharpish to avoid getting hit in the back by the Lysimachids/Macedonians, the Seleucids have Maurya and the Saka tribes to worry about, and poor Ptolemy will get lunched by Antigonos unless the Antigonids go down hard and he can get enough territory to survive a Seleucid onslaught.

This can rapidly lead to a 'last man left standing' situation where whoever survives is the undisputed superpower, and promptly eats everyone else for dessert. It's especially bad for the Antigonids, who have to fight tooth and nail not to fall off the bottom end of the CDR, and who's key mechanic is literally to be in as many wars as possible, lest age gobble you up. I look at the map as the Antigonids, and I think to myself 'I can either kill all of these people, or they are going to gang up and kill me, and even if they don't, Decadence will.'

Which leads to me behaving in the most aggressive and macchiavellian way possible. As Antigonus, I don't just need the top players dead. I need them dead quickly. And I need to grab all of that land, all of those resources, and throw them at keeping my creaking, doddering empire from keeling over and collapsing under its own weight.

Equally, with so many potential enemies around, I need an ally, so I'm going to do my best to either persuade or strongarm someone into being that ally. Generally, if you want to stop the eastern warlords from warlording the joint up, you need to quickly negotiate some kind of end to the Antigonid wars. That, or just jump Antigonus early. Any game where he survives and prospers is going to be a bad game for everyone else. Antigonos will collapse quickly or he will conquer the world. There is very limited middle ground between those options; the faction is a living world war.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Demetrios_of_Messene » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:43 am

I am not a MP player, but this thread intrigued me.

I can't comment on MP gameplay balance issues, but just want to say that what I just read carries out a lot of historical authenticity/ flavour.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by loki100 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:36 am

must say thats my view too. I only done one MP (post-testing) so mostly a SP pov, but my understanding is that Antigonus was a threat to everyone else and possibly could have re-united Alexander's Empire - or at least the Mediterranean portion of it. The modelling of the big 3 at the start is spot on and if one had won big, its likely that a lot of our history would have worked out very differently if a single power straddled the E Med/Aegean/Greece?

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Swuul » Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:49 pm

I seriously dount Antigonus would have been able to carry out such blitzes as I've seen Ludendorf carry out with his Antigonids :) I think this whole thread is about having players, especially in MP games, limited to what they could have plausibly (with a wide margin) been able to accomplish. In fact, I find it quite insulting that people who apparently don't even know what is talked about claim this bltizing to be historical :o

There is actually an effective anti-blitz function in the game already, but it affects only Rome. If *ALL* countries had a similar increase of cost for their Heavy Infantries as Rome has, the blitzing would be much harder to accomplish. Even medium size empires (except Rome) can now put together massive armies of heavy infantries in a blink of an eye, which is pretty much the requirement for successful blitzing. And Antigonids is at the start way beyond being merely a medium sized empire :)
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:20 pm

On the other hand, the Antigonid wars were originally over within nine years of the start date, and Antigonus was in his grave a trampled corpse. So if anything, the war tends to drag on longer than historical, and often with a less-decisive outcome.

I kind of wish I knew more about the Seleucid-Egyptian wars. It's almost like the Seleucids took over the old Antigonid empire and then proceeded to sit on their hands for a hundred years until Rome came along and knocked them off their perch, but I know fine well it was not as simple as that. I know there was a lot of on-and-off warfare between the Seleucids and Ptolemies, and I know the Seleucid empire was basically collapsing anyway by the time Rome emerged on the scene in the East.

Regarding the game Swuul is talking about... I feel like I should never have gotten away with that. The Ptolemaic and Seleucid players were inactive half the time, Macedon got embroiled with a long quagmire with Epirus, Sparta took a long time conquering Greece, and the Lysimachids were also inactive. Rome and Carthage are in a death grip with one another, and decadence is slower, meaning I'm not penalised nearly as badly as normal for neglecting culture. I was essentially unopposed in the East for much of the game, and the AI lacks the aggression and intelligence to counter a determined human player equipped with one or two substantial armies over a broad front.

What should happen to Antigonus is he gets cut apart from multiple directions and then his conquerors fight over the carcass. I've somehow managed to dodge that fate twice, but I suspect that is more due to my enemy's mistakes than my own designs.
Last edited by Ludendorf on Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by desertedfox » Tue Jan 28, 2020 5:55 pm

here is actually an effective anti-blitz function in the game already, but it affects only Rome. If *ALL* countries had a similar increase of cost for their Heavy Infantries as Rome has, the blitzing would be much harder to accomplish. Even medium size empires (except Rome) can now put together massive armies of heavy infantries in a blink of an eye, which is pretty much the requirement for successful blitzing. And Antigonids is at the start way beyond being merely a medium sized empire :)
+1

Oh and don't forget to add in poor Carthage. Her armies are fairly ordinary, but they pay a premium for them just like Rome. To add insult to injury the closest archer units (seriously OP when compared to skirmishers) available for Carthage are Crete. Good luck getting any.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by loki100 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:59 pm

Swuul wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:49 pm
...In fact, I find it quite insulting that people who apparently don't even know what is talked about claim this bltizing to be historical :o

....
thats a problem with threads on open forums, people offer their own opinions 8) ... and maybe even do know a wee bit of what they are writing about?

No body is say that Antigonus winning big is historical. for the very simple reason that he didn't. My understanding was that Ptolemy just wanted the riches of Egypt and basically acted like a very irate hedgehog, to the extent that it was often worth just leaving him alone, he certainly didn't want the entire Empire. Lysimakos lacked legitimacy (& was a psychotic nut case), Cassander may have had ambitions but was bogged down by the Greek revolt. Seleucus may have started with Antigonus' ambitions but worked out that going for complete dominance meant you united everyone against you, so perhaps settled for an Empire that held the historic regions of Babylon, Syria and Asia Minor?

Later Seleucid-Ptolemaic wars seem to have been in part over the Levant, but also linked to those Seleucid kings with ambition and a bit of time on their hands (oh and Antiochus IV who seemed to have a talent for ill chosen wars).

But if Antigonus had finished off Lysimakos, he might have been well placed to face down Seleucos and Ptolemy. So yeah, its a faction SP/MP that tends to lose big or win big.

Is it perfectly balanced - maybe/maybe not. But I'd point to pp. 207-8 of the manual:
We don’t want to have all nations being equal, with the same chance of success or strategy; on the contrary.

Jagger2002
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Jagger2002 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:02 pm

but they pay a premium for them just like Rome.
I suspect it would be a fairly easy mod to add inflation costs to other nations besides Rome and Carthage. In the Units database, an inflation cost would need to be added to the MoneyInflation column BZ. Make a copy of Units Database and make the changes. I know with old Ageod games, you could make changes to the database and then an integration process would introduce the changes into a modded scenario. I haven't looked at modding this game but I assume it is similar to modding old Ageod games.

If changes were made in a mod, ideally it would be tied to civilization levels. I suspect the low level barbarian armies probably brought their own weapons and kit without much state support unlike the civilized nations. Once states started providing equipment, I could see costs going up as seen by the Romans and Carthaginians. So maybe restrict increasing costs to civ 2 nations and above.

It would be a significant change which might or might not have a negative impact on gameplay. But also maybe a big improvement in game play. Only one way to find out.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Swuul » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 pm

Demetrios_of_Messene wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:43 am
I can't comment on MP gameplay balance issues, but just want to say that what I just read carries out a lot of historical authenticity/ flavour.
loki100 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:36 am
must say thats my view too.
loki100 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:59 pm
No body is say that Antigonus winning big is historical.
I see. I wouldn't have thought semantics to be used this quickly :shock: But indeed, I have to admit I *heard* nobody say that, but words were *written* to claim it to be historical.


Regarding mods. I don't like mods, unless they are "sanctified" by the game devs for one reason or another. I prefer to either play the game as the devs visioned it, or, if it isn't according to my tastes, go and play some other game.
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:42 pm

Well, aside from being horribly outnumbered, was there anything physically stopping Antigonus from reuniting the old Alexandrian empire? He wasn't stopped by his empire becoming too big and collapsing under its own weight. He lost because he was defeated militarily and killed.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Swuul » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm

Ludendorf wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:42 pm
Well, aside from being horribly outnumbered, was there anything physically stopping Antigonos from reuniting the old Alexandrian empire?
In game terms? Yes, they had no means to recruit a massive horde of experienced heavy infantry like they can do in game now. While there most definitively were manpower available, the experienced veterans were enjoying their retirement, and it would have required massive amounts of gold to actually lure them back to service. Which could be very nicely be simulated via the inflation of the cost of heavy infantry (ie the more you already have, the more costly the next one to recruit will be).
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Ludendorf » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:00 pm

Swuul wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:49 pm
In game terms? Yes, they had no means to recruit a massive horde of experienced heavy infantry like they can do in game now. While there most definitively were manpower available, the experienced veterans were enjoying their retirement, and it would have required massive amounts of gold to actually lure them back to service. Which could be very nicely be simulated via the inflation of the cost of heavy infantry (ie the more you already have, the more costly the next one to recruit will be).
Hmm... that is a good argument. Even the hoplites should run dry eventually. You could have two tiers of phalanx I suppose. One made out of the old veterans (though I thought that was what the Silver Shields were supposed to represent) and one representing raw, untested recruits.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by loki100 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:48 pm

Swuul wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 pm
...
loki100 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:59 pm
No body is say that Antigonus winning big is historical.
I see. I wouldn't have thought semantics to be used this quickly :shock: But indeed, I have to admit I *heard* nobody say that, but words were *written* to claim it to be historical.
...
well if you cut off half a sentence I guess you can represent an argument to mean whatever you think people should be saying?

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Demetrios_of_Messene » Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:13 am

Swuul wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:41 pm
Demetrios_of_Messene wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:43 am
I can't comment on MP gameplay balance issues, but just want to say that what I just read carries out a lot of historical authenticity/ flavour.
loki100 wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:59 pm
No body is say that Antigonus winning big is historical.
I see. I wouldn't have thought semantics to be used this quickly :shock: But indeed, I have to admit I *heard* nobody say that, but words were *written* to claim it to be historical.
...
Sarcasm and emotional exaggeration aside ("... I find it quite insulting ..."), would you care to explain why you link my post (and loki's post for this matter, but he is already commenting fine on his own) with your own arbitrary interpretations?

From a historical perspective, at the start of the game Antigonus was in the strongest position among the successors. I don't think that we need to elaborate, unless you believe otherwise. This is why historically the other Successors tried to bring him down.

In the same context, please keep in mind the almost continuous fighting among the Successors including huge armies and expensive campaigns for several years after Alexander's death when they could afford such endeavours due to the control of rich provinces and the spoils of Alexander's campaign which were divided among them.

The ways to handle MP balance are up to you and other MP players to discuss and sort out, but when it comes to Ludendorf's narrative, yes it sure feels historically authentic / flavoured to me in the sense that this could have happened if Antigonus and his sons were further successful or left alone by the other successors.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Swuul » Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:57 pm

Demetrios_of_Messene wrote:
Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:13 am
Sarcasm and emotional exaggeration aside ("... I find it quite insulting ..."), would you care to explain why you link my post (and loki's post for this matter, but he is already commenting fine on his own) with your own arbitrary interpretations?

From a historical perspective, at the start of the game Antigonus was in the strongest position among the successors. I don't think that we need to elaborate, unless you believe otherwise. This is why historically the other Successors tried to bring him down.
Antigonus was not able to recruit a horde of experienced heavy infantry (which the hoplites in game present, I presume). He had a respectable standing army, which was scary enough. In the game Antigonus is able to triple the strength of that hoplite army in two years. It is ahistorical, and is not even close to what could have happened. However, in game that is what happens, and it is what makes currently Antigonids a broken nation. In short, it is *impossible* to stop an Antigonus played by an experienced player (such as Ludendorf for example).

That you don't see such behavior in single player is no wonder. Why would you as Antigonids do that, because they AI can be nuked off by much less effort? On the other hand, the AI never goes the way of recruiting a horde of hoplites and stomprolling over everything. As such, claiming such behaviour in game to be historical or have correct feel of the era is quite frankly insulting. Such Antigonid behaviour has nothing to do with historical facts, and would *never* have been possible to be pulled off by Antigonus (or his sons).


When players have to come up with "rules" to limit certain nations in a historical based game, then you know something is seriously wrong. Very seriously wrong. I most certainly hope that wouldn't be how the devs see the situation, as that would essentially kill the game for good.
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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by Ludendorf » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:20 pm

I'd be interested to hear from more experienced players who have played Antigonids and come out the worse. I wouldn't describe myself as an 'experienced' player; I've played a handful of multiplayer games, none of which have yet gone to completion, two Antigonid games where I have mostly come out on top (so far) and one Macedonian game which is early on in years and still hangs firmly in the balance. I'm very experienced in Field of Glory II, but that doesn't transfer to Empires at all, and I've had trouble getting into grand strategy titles before this. Empires is the first one to really capture my imagination, primarily because it is so immersive.

One thing I will say is I have no idea how a Britonae player or someone playing on the periphery is supposed to have a chance, let alone players on minor nations. The way Legacy works with the current victory system should mean that by the time one of the barbarian nations has really gotten going, either Rome, one of the Greek states or maybe a particularly successful Carthage should have basically won the game.

I've also never really felt pressured as the Antigonids yet. I've got into a few annoying quagmires, but I've never felt the full fury of the East on my back as happened historically. I really think I need to take part in a few more games before I can rule on the Antigonids' abilities. They got steamrollered in my Macedonian game, but I think the player either badly mismanaged his armies and economy in that scenario, or got horribly unlucky.

One thing the Antigonids certainly can do is get rich very quickly if they don't lose territory, and that in turn lets them raise huge armies. They can very early on get two full stacks (16 front line and 16 skirmishers) made up mostly of pikes, archers and good quality cavalry. At that point, I'm not really sure how you are supposed to stop them bar hiding in the mountains, keeping them from landing in your territory, or counter-invading to bankrupt the empire before it can use those armies to proper effect. Unless, of course, you are the Seleucids, Ptolemies, Macedonians, and to a lesser extent the Lysimachids, and can also raise big pike armies. It may not be the Antigonids but the Greek successor states in general who are overpowered, and possibly need some kind of limit placed on their pike armies. Theoretically, anyone who gets big can get hoplites (or their nation's heavy infantry equivalent). Nothing quite matches the phalanx though, and unlike the Legion, it is unrestricted.

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Re: Multiplayer blitzkrieging thoughts

Post by loki100 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:40 pm

In a MP context, if you take a peripheral nation (& really that is anything but the Diadochi/Carthage/Rome) then you're not doing it to win in any conventional sense. Whichever of that group comes out on top will win on legacy, I guess if they all stalemate then its feasible to see a wider range of outcomes.

So whats the motivation, well its MP (always fun), you might have a better tussle on your corner of the map than vs the AI. The only reason I have played so little post-release MP is demands on my time for other projects and a couple of personal issues that have disrupted any commitment.

I'm not convinced that in MP, Antigonus needs special rules or whatever. It needs special treatment by the other Diadochi - for the precisely historical reason that bunch set aside their differences to resolve the problem. There is plenty on the non-military side (esp the difficulty of generating much culture at the start) to make the faction vulnerable.

Sorry if Swuul finds this contribution
Swuul wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 1:57 pm
quite frankly insulting

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