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The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 08:46:39

Qi 
Level 55
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A FEW GENERAL* PRINCIPLES OF GOOD TEAM TEMPLATES:

1. Direct proportionality of map size & starts: As the number of territories on a map increases, the number of total starting armies increases (and vice versa).

2. Inverse proportionality of team size & starts: As the number of players in the game decreases, the number of starts per player increases (and vice versa).

3. Direct proportionality of map size & wastelands: bigger map, more wastelands (if you use wastelands).

4. Maps with better "standardization of bonuses" generally can afford more starting armies.

5. In warlords distribution, maps with more "optimal starting spots" (best for gaining income) and "decent starting spots" (best for countering and positioning) can afford more starting spots.

6. Ideal starting spots for 2v2 games are more based on optimal starting spots and ideal starting spots for 3v3 games are more based on optimal + decent starting spots. Optimal starting spots divided by 4 (then round up/down) is a good approximation of how many starts each player gets in a 2v2. Optimal + decent starting spots divided by 6 is a good approximation of how many starts each player gets in a 3v3.

7. Inverse proportionality of wastelands/gift cards & starts: On maps of 20-35 bonuses, for every 2 wastelands on a non-standardized map/template, you more or less subtract 1 optimal/decent starting spot; and for every 1 wasteland on a standardized map/template, you more or less subtract 1 optimal/decent starting spot. And gift cards decrease in "strategic" value and increase the game's "fun" factor as starting spots increase. In other words, gift cards put downward pressure on starting spots, if the game is meant to be "strategic."

8. Picking for dynamic effect: As the number of starts increases, the greater the likelihood that top players pick bonuses with more territories; as the number of starts decreases, the greater the likelihood that top players focus their picks on smaller bonuses that can be completed quicker.

9. A general rule of thumb for games without wastelands and gift cards: In 2v2s, the number of starting spots could equal the number of core regions on the map; in 3v3s, the number of starting spots could equal the number of core regions plus the number of peripheral regions.

10. Number of cards, "fun" factor & "strategic" factor: The total number of cards is directly proportional to "fun" (more cards generally leads to more "fun" -- though too many cards can lead to less "fun") & inversely proportional to "strategic" outcomes (too many cards generally leads to less "strategic" outcomes).

11. Inverse proportionality of weighted luck & "strategic" outcomes: As weighted luck increases, "strategic" outcomes decrease (but maybe it is more "fun").

(*Note: These are general principles that apply more to "strategic" team-game templates and maps. Certain templates or maps could defy these principles and still be "strategic" or "fun".)

Edited 8/23/2015 09:22:25
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 08:47:00

Qi 
Level 55
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COMMENTS ON THE 2V2 LADDER'S TEMPLATE:

1-3: Final Earth is almost 50% larger than Medium Earth (183 vs 131 territories). Yet the starts and wastelands didn't increase. Was this because the ME template already had a bit too many starts? No. Some (myself included) always wanted MORE starts on Medium Earth. So, it could be argued that the ME 2v2 ladder's template itself had too few starts for a 2v2 game.

4: Final Earth has better "standardization of bonuses" than does Medium Earth. With respect to Final Earth, I know the logic behind the design, since maybe 90-95% of the strategic design was of my creation. When Ra and I made Final Earth, I specifically asked for all bonuses to be equal to t-2 (number of territories in the bonus -2). So, 3 territories = 1 army; 4 t = 2 a; 5 t = 3 a; 6 t = 4 a. I also specifically asked that no bonus have more than 6 territories (to keep the t-2 standardization fair and to make almost all non-island bonuses possibly worth picking). When designing Final Earth, I wanted to make a map that would be good for team games, 1v1s and FFAs.

Medium Earth lacks standardization and balance and was not made for team games. With respect to territory-bonus values: 4 t = 3 a; 5 t = 3-4 a; 6 t = 4-5 a; 7 t = 5-6 a. This is fine for 1v1 games: as Fizzer writes on its map page, ME is "tweaked for 1v1 matches." It was not designed for team games. In fact, Fizzer doesn't much care about team games: over 90%-95% of his total games played have been 1v1s and his ladders are focused on 1v1s (20+ seasonals, not a single team season; Warlight is all about the 1v1 ladder; RT ladder is 1v1). If you watch Fizzer's performance in the 2v2 ladder with Szeweningen, he seems utterly confused about proper team tactics and strategy. If he wasn't the creator of Warlight, Szeweningen probably would have stopped playing with him after the first game! So, it is safe to say that Fizzer is incapable of making good team templates without outside assistance. If you don't much understand the dynamics, tactics, and strategies of team games, how can you make a template for team games? Simply using the settings of one map (ME, which was not made for team games, so the settings of the original 2v2 ladder were a bit bad to begin with) on another, bigger map is lazy template making.

5-6: "Optimal starting spots" on "strategic" maps/templates are bonuses with (a) bonus-territory ratios closest to 1 (eg, 6 territories / 6 armies = 1) and (b) 2-6 territories (the quicker you get a bonus that gives at least 2 armies, the more powerful you can be. Thus, the following are optimal starting spots on almost every non-standardized map: 2b/3t, 3/4, 4/5, 5/6).

To get an idea about how many starting spots might be best, let's look at the team template that has undergone the most experimentation: Europe 3v3 (warlords). Europe has the most ratings and second highest average ratings, so the map itself is good. With respect to the warlords 3v3 template that has been played the most, we decided after thousands of games that 4 starting armies is best. Why? Well, Europe has 206 territories and 32 bonuses. It has 10 optimal starting spots and 12 decent starting spots. If we add counters in bad bonuses that are adjacent to the optimal starting spots (depending on warlord location), the board almost always has at least 24 worthwhile picks but never has 30 worthwhile picks. So 3v3 Europe has 4 starts per person (24 total) and not 5 starts per person (30 total).

The ME ladder template had 131 territories and 24 bonuses (the basis of the current 2v2 ladder settings). It had 14 optimal starting spots and 8 decent starting spots, for a total of 22. It's the same as Europe, right? Not really. Spacing and bottlenecks in ME make Europe comparatively more compact, so the decent starting spots on Europe are far better in terms of positioning/countering than are the decent starting spots on ME. Additionally, the decent starting spots on Europe tend to have fewer territories (4-6), while the decent starting spots on ME tend to have 7 starting spots, making Europe's decent starts better than ME's in terms of dynamism (see General Principle #8 above). So, while all of Europe's decent starts are worth picking, only maybe half (at most) of ME's are worth picking. So a better comparison of worthwhile starting spots would be 22 (Europe) vs 18 (ME).

So the ME 2v2 template should have had 8 or 10 starts per team (4-5 per player), right? Not exactly. 2v2s don't play the same as 3v3s. My favorite 2v2 Europe template had 3 starts per person: 10 optimal starts divided by 4 players = 2.5 starts per player. Add in the 2 best counters on the board and we have 3 starts per player. ME had 14 optimal starts, so without wastelands or the gift card a 2v2 template should be played with 4 starts per person: 14 optimal starts + the two best counters on the board. But it also had 5 wastelands and a gift card (General Principle #7). So 3 starts would have been better, or we should have got rid of the gift card and make it 4 starts per person.

Final Earth has the same settings as the ME 2v2 ladder template but it is a completely different map. It has 183 territories and 37 bonuses, including 8 neutral territories and 3 (3-territory) buffer bonuses that provide greater spacing. Most importantly, the bonuses have been standardized (b = t-2) and restricted in size (t = 6 or less). Thus, all bonuses with 2-6 territories are optimal or decent. So, after we subtract the 3 buffer bonuses of 3 territories each, we find that there are 34 bonuses worth picking. So 34/4 players = 8 territories per player? Maybe that would be a fair number of starts, if there aren't any wastelands or gift cards.

7: But since there are 5 wastelands (subtract 5 worthwhile starting spots, according to General Principle #7), there are more likely to 29 bonuses worth picking. So, the best number of starts for the template should be 7 (29/4 players)? No. According to General Principle #7, gift cards put downward pressure on starting spots). If you have 7 starts per player and a gift card, the game would be less "strategic" and more "fun" (if you like that sort of thing -- I'd consider it a bit of a mess).

8: Based on General Principle #8 above, top players tend to focus more on bonuses with 4-5 territories when starting spots are decreased. If you watch current 2v2 ladder games, you will see that many of the top teams do this. There are 23 bonuses with 4-5 territories on the map. Subtract 2 for the effect of wastelands and factor in the downward pressure of the gift card and we find that the strategic tendency of the top teams on the 2v2 ladder is a function of the limited number of starting spots.

So, again based on General Principle #8 above, if we increase the number of starting spots to 4 per player, we should witness top players change their picking strategies -- from a focus on dynamism and countering (picks for expansion heavily focused on the 23 bonuses with 4-5 territories) to a focus on long-term growth, higher b-t ratios, and countering (the 27 bonuses with 5-6 territories will be emphasized to a greater degree).

These general principles support the general clamor for 4 starting spots. Add in the effects of wastelands and the downward pressure on starting spots caused by gift cards, and 4 starts seems about right, given the 5 wastelands and gift card.

But let's disregard the effects of Fizzer's settings on top players and instead focus on what a good template's settings should be, to the top players pick and play more based on how they would prefer to pick and play, and not how the settings force them to pick and play. The ideal 2v2 template would be best to follow the inherent logic of the map.

6: If we return to General Principle #6, we see that the total number of starting spots should be based on the total number of optimal starting spots. In terms of income growth and expansion, Ra and I designed Final Earth so that the bonuses with 5-6 territories (27) would be the optimal starting spots, bonuses with 4 territories (7) would be decent, and bonuses with 3 territories (3) would be buffer zones. If you look more closely, the bonuses worth 2 (4 territories) tend to be situated between or among the optimal bonuses, functioning as buffer zones as well as having good positioning as counters.

With no cards and no wastelands, 27 optimal starts divided by 4 players = about 7 starts per player. If it were a 3v3, 27/6 = about 4-5 starts per player.

9: If we analyze the map from a regio-interconnectivity perspective, however, we find that there are 5 core regions: (1) Anglo-America + Greenland; (2) Latin America; (3) Africa (+/- Middle East); (4) Western Eurasia; (5) Eastern Eurasia. I would classify "Oceania" (SE Asia + Australia + NZ) as a peripheral region.

I would say that Europe has 3 core regions ("Islands" + "Center" + "Russia") and a peripheral region (Balkan Peninsula). The optimal bonuses are located in the first three regions. My favorite Europe 2v2 template has 3 picks per player. Final Earth has 5 core regions. According to General Principle #9, Final Earth 2v2 should have 5 picks per player.

In my example template (https://www.warlight.net/MultiPlayer?TemplateID=488530) there are 8 wastelands and no gift card. The 27 optimal bonuses comprise about 75% of the map, so let's say 6 of the 8 wastelands are in 6 of the 27 optimal bonuses. That makes 21 optimal bonuses. Based on General Principles #6-7, my template should have 5 starts. Using General Principle #9 and considering the effects of wastelands, 4 starts per player also appears to be acceptable.

10-11: The current ladder template has many cards and weighted luck of 16%. Its "fun" factor is slightly higher and its "strategic" factor is slightly lower. My template is focused more on the "strategic" factor.

Edited 8/23/2015 09:39:16
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 09:05:47


Dublin Warrior 
Level 49
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I didn't read all of your second post, but I read your first post, and it was very interesting. :)

I did notice that in number 9, you were making an additional point at the end,
but didn't finish your thought.

I'm not sure if you meant to finish it, or to leave it off entirely.

Thanks for your thoughts on the templates, and on the 2v2 ladder. :)
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 09:18:02

Qi 
Level 55
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edited, thanks

Edited 8/23/2015 09:18:12
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 09:38:51


[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
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post #1 include obvious point for me, but i think not everyone know/will agree unfortunately.

post #2 explain perfect why the ladder 2v2 now is really bad. TL DR, it is rock scissor paper in most games.

Great Thread

Edited 8/23/2015 09:39:08
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 11:21:30


Timinator • apex 
Level 64
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Really good summary.
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 13:39:46


knyte 
Level 58
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Thanks for doing this.

@Gnuff: what would the disagreements be? I'm not familiar enough with template design and would like to hear that side of the story too.

Edited 8/23/2015 13:41:01
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 13:59:52


[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
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well. it's easy. Take an example the 2v2 ladder. Is basically the opposite of what it should:
-not enough territory
- not enough wasterland probably
-too many card (probably would be better NC or just 1 blockade)
-not enoguh wasterland
-WR and not SR
-not cycle moves

So i am sure Fizzer doesn't agree with what Qi's typed.

Some people complain that less start are good as well without understand you play in the dark for too many turns, so rock scissor paper scenario will make win games.
People can say WR is better, bc SR is too much calculations.

For someone, a good template must be fun. For me and some other player, a good template must be very strategic, with no luck involved and no variable outside your control and then the fun come out directly.

Edited 8/23/2015 14:00:19
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 14:23:09


Benjamin628 
Level 59
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So many top players have complained about the 2v2 ladder template - it is purely awful.

Here is a list of people who have said the 2v2 Ladder Template needs more picks (This is from the thread Fizzer made + This one):

Benjamin628
master of desaster
Timinator
Beren Erchamion
Pink
Krzychu
Tenshi
Math Wolf
Jadeburger
ChrisCMU
Yeon
Verzehrer
Qi
knyte
szeweningen
szeweningen
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szeweningen
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Master Ryrio


When 3 Seasonal Winners (4 If you count Gnuffone) say that the same template needs to change, it needs to change :P

Edited 8/23/2015 15:26:29
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 14:39:26


[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
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Szeweningen say it at least 100 times xD
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 15:24:47


Master Ryiro 
Level 62
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add me in that list too
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 15:31:13


[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
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lol Benjamin628
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 15:35:12


Benjamin628 
Level 59
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Don't you guys think we should have another one of those polls to decide on changes for the ladder(s)? Changes I think a lot can agree on:

- 1v1 Ladder MME
- 2v2 Ladder 4 Picks
- Replace the Season 3 With EA&O Limited Full
- 2v2 Ladder 0% WR/SR
- Team Season on Seasonal Ladder
- Less Earth Based Seasons

Edited 8/23/2015 15:38:03
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 16:15:27


knyte 
Level 58
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If Sze and Gui are both pushing for something template-related, Fizz should probably listen.
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 16:57:22


Timinator • apex 
Level 64
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When 3 Seasonal Winners (4 If you count Gnuffone) say that the same template needs to change, it needs to change :P

and 5 if you count me :P
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 20:52:04


Kenny • apex 
Level 59
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6 if you count brisk.
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 22:57:31


ℳℛᐤƬrαńɋℰ✕
Level 57
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Thank you for the Thread Qi!

And especially for this part:
(*Note: These are general principles that apply more to "strategic" team-game templates and maps. Certain templates or maps could defy these principles and still be "strategic" or "fun".)
Because otherwise I would copy the usual stuff for people to stop preaching about their personal opinion, that they tend to see as dogma. I tend agree most of what you say in the First post about General principles.

But I do not understand the term used in 4th point: "Standardization of bonuses", and neither what you mean in 5th. Where you derive the opinion that your called optimal and decent starting spots "afford to have more starting positions". I do not see the clear derivation between them.
I would argue that 2v2 and 3v3 both are good for FTB and Counter territory-like maps. Its just that 2v2 games with good counters tend to be shorter. And again just to overrule the general principles of 1-3 and choosing bigger map and more starting positions, would lead to an interesting game with multiple FTB-s and counter-spots. Therefore the real outcome of first turns are not so much math with just under 20 army (SR mode) calculation to understand who has won already past first 3-turns, but rather a game with more Blind spots and bigger scale analysis.

Point 8th is more of a comment than Guideline. It is true only in case if map has small bonuses. Just descriptive point and advice for newer players to keep in mind.
Point 10th and 11th. In this forum the Threads about "Strategy", "Strategic", "Luck" ends generally by rule really badly. Half the participants have no idea of terms in real sense, and half of the the other half will get so confused in end that high luck means more strategy to them. I would not call these words abstract, because in science and theory they are defined and very clearly, although differently and in many forms. As Warlight has not set any "true" definiation to them I would advise to add your´s so we would understand and could agree with the statement. Because strategy solely in broad view could mean too much to use it in small scale statement. And Strategy and fun does not have to be opposite ends or ambivalent terms.

Every map is different and therefore it is hard to write Universal guide. The first and most important thing is to understand particual map and use settings that fit there. Still, I would lead other players here to improve their templates, but it should be written in simple form and illustrated examples with different game settings and why some combinations are regarded not-strategic or just bad. Or even maybe Fizzer should write his "Best Guidelines for beginner template makers", as I personally feel that most Open-room games are not Fun nor Strategic. Starting with automatic Rome either 2v2 or 3v3 with 1 and 2 territories.
The essence of good team templates: 8/23/2015 23:04:35

TBest 
Level 60
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What may seem odd to top player , like yourself, is that Fizzer's goal is NOT to have the most strategic 2v2 template possible. But have one that will allow a weaker team to, occasionally, beat the better team. He aims to make/have a 2v2 template that (@Gnuffone) is more "fun" for the majority of players. And the majority of players think it is fun to beat the "well-know" top-players.

@Benjamin, You sure you won't to have a poll? Likely all top players will vote for those changes, but by nature top players is not the majority of players. It is very hard to predict what the middle, and lower ranked players will vote. Not that I am opposed to voting about changes, just not sure if this would give the changes the top players are hoping for.

Instead I would try to lobby Fizzer, to do one change at a time.

Edited 8/23/2015 23:05:30
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 00:26:18


Kenny • apex 
Level 59
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@TBest: I don't really think that's the goal, for a template to have more chance to 'upset' top players. Fizzer said himself that he wants a template that isn't about intel and is more about moving around a lot. He said the most fun part of the game is when you move around a lot, and he probably is assuming that that's what the average player thinks as well. They probably do. When we look at templates that average players like to play, they seem to gravitate to large maps and FFAs etc.

Top players are going to win still because the lack of intel does not mean we suddenly forget to cover important positions. Watch my review on livestream about the Poonsquad vs Blowfly game. I point out what both teams should've been covering, but didn't because they're not thinking about it. Poonsquad should've won that game based on position. If you were to replace Poonsquad with a team of top players, then that game would've been a 10 turn stomp, due to the fact that you can draw intel FROM lack of intel.

The problem is that neither average players or top players are playing this 2v2 ladder. The problem is that it could be a great map/template, but it currently is lacking. The public would've never voted Final Earth in had we known that the template was remaining the same. More people enjoyed the Medium Earth 2v2 than this one.

Edited 8/24/2015 00:30:21
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 01:06:43


Benjamin628 
Level 59
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+1 Lolowut
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 01:23:27


ChrisCMU 
Level 60
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The goal of a ladder should be the better players win. Otherwise dont call it a ladder, call it a league.

Should lesser players beat better ones sometimes? Sure. That happens on the 1v1 ladder now. But it happens when the better player gets outplayed at times (predicts the wildcard wrong sometimes or maybe the lesser player gets lucky or just predicts great a game).

But, it should not happen at a significant rate. Ladders should 'sort' people based on skill for the most part. This template allows too many lucky wins to be called a ladder

Edited 8/24/2015 01:23:57
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 02:31:15


Master Turtle 
Level 61
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Good post ;)
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 02:46:59

TBest 
Level 60
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@Lolowut, To me it sounds like you are making the same point as me, but in a different way. Fizzer 2v2 ladder template is all about the "fun" factor for the average player.

@Chris, Having lost 9 out of the 10 last 2v2 ladder games, I certently agree that the TBest player is not winning enough. On a serious note, it is a fair argument that upsets are too frequent, hard to say what is the right rate for upsets to happen at through.


Oh, and right now the 2v2 ladder is healthy in terms of number of active teams, compared to what it used to be. Makes it hard to convince Fizzer that there is need for change, no? Anyway, instead of doing like QI have done her and made a long list over everything wrong with the ladder, I would suggest you pick the ONE most important change, make a Uservoice, and rally support. In my eyes it is easier to convince him to make one change then to change the whole template at once. (Don't think forum post is the way of convincing him.) If needed you can repeat the Uservoice thing with the next change, etc.
The essence of good team templates: 8/24/2015 07:03:46


[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
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But I do not understand the term used in 4th point: "Standardization of bonuses", and neither what you mean in 5th. Where you derive the opinion that your called optimal and decent starting spots "afford to have more starting positions". I do not see the clear derivation between them.


Stardarized bonus = every territory that have X territory will Always have Y income. Example: 3 territory 2 income, 4=3, 5=4 etc. not posible have a territory of 3 with 2 incopme and another one with +1. This what it meant.
If every territory have same ratio teritory/income, is very balanced and is better have more starting position for overall coverage, as it isn't clear 10=% which spot coould be better, and counter picks is major part of the game probably.

The goal of a ladder should be the better players win. Otherwise dont call it a ladder, call it a league.


yeah

Oh, and right now the 2v2 ladder is healthy in terms of number of active teams, compared to what it used to be. Makes it hard to convince Fizzer that there is need for change, no?


lol ok, quantity over quality :(
i don't remember a so weak ladder, with 1700s being ion top 10.
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