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Does anyone notice...: 2/24/2011 00:28:53


Ruthless 
Level 36
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that the average income for ladder games not decided within 5-10 turns, the income of each player is roughly 25-30 a turn 2 turns after they've met? If i'm in a 1v1 game and I usually meet someone around the time that I have at least 16 a turn, maybe 20. Then after a few turns I usually make it up to 25 ish +/- 2. The odd thing is that the other player is usually at the same income level as me and it turns into a good chess like battle. I have to give props to Medium Earth for getting the games like this because I don't really like to see games decided within 5 turns.

It never really tops out at 30 armies a piece per person and if someone gets up to 33-35 its pretty much over. It's just interesting to watch the ladder games and see people really go at it. It definitely makes for a fun game.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 18:12:15


Poop Sandwich 
Level 56
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Ruthless, have you thought about how cumulative luck over the first 5 turns affects the progression of the game? Recently, I have clanked on my first couple of moves and still went on to win, however, had I gotten my 3v2's I would have won easily. I guess my question is how much weight do you put on to luck early on in a game, in terms of winning or losing the game?
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 19:48:20

The Impaller 
Level 9
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That's an interesting thought. I wonder if there would be an easy way to look at the data for all the games that have taken place in the ladder and see if there is a correlation between winning and early luck. I've had a few games where I've had fantastic early luck and just steamrolled my opponent because of my great early luck, and I've been on the losing end of those games too (very frustrating way to lose!). I wonder what percentage of games that really affects, though.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 19:55:28


Duke 
Level 5
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PS -- Way too much. Luck should be zero in a 1x1. i don't think it adds anythign to the game. It's fine if there's plenty of room to expand initially, but meeting 1st turn and then attacking with everything, a 2 or 3 army swing due to luck will decide the game.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 21:19:10


devilnis 
Level 10
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I was thinking it would be cool to get some statistics - Out of all standard rules 1v1 games for each given bonus what is the win percentage of people who start out in that bonus (regardless of whether they also start out in others). Then you could divide the bonuses into sets of 3 or 4 that are close to each other win-percentage-wise and equal in deployment bonus, and then instead of letting people pick, you could give each player 1 of those 3 or 4 in a set, randomized, with the complete bonus done right at the outset. Also drop the luck down to 0 and this would result in the most skill-based of all possible games.

Once you knew where you started, you would know that the other player was in one of 2 or 3 other possible matching starts, but you wouldn't know which one. This would take the first pick random out, and it would eliminate the situation where someone is able to complete a 4 or 5 point bonus right out of the gate, and it would also enable balanced starts in places that are normally shunned at the beginning of a manual pick game. I think all of this would result in a higher proportion of games being decided with tactics, move and countermove, as opposed to games being decided strategically within the first few turns before people even meet each other.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 21:34:12

The Impaller 
Level 9
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I actually think that takes a lot of skill out of the game. There's a lot of skill in territory selection and there's a lot of skill in guessing where your opponent is at or how much they are making per turn even if you don't have any concrete information to support it.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 21:53:48


NecessaryEagle 
Level 56
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2 things:

-I like the statistics Idea, but maybe Fizzer could implement some kind of multi pick system where you could only make 1 pick from each of these sets of 3/4 instead of just picking for you.

-luck should be set at about 7%, that way it does not effect your 3v2's to take territories, but when you start 10v10 with your opponent and such it will have a small effect. this is more similar to real life, where taking a neutral is simple, but warfare between armies has variance
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 23:10:43

WL Fanatic 
Level 8
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I don't know about the showing statistics... Although you could argue that because it is averages it will balance out, but the effects of wastelands is too substantial to make any of it viable. What could be the best in one game could be the worst in another
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 23:30:33


Waya(Secondary)
Level 3
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I think things are just fine the way they are. The small chance of a 3v2 failing is part of the strategy, really. You need to decide whether to take risks or not to gain more bonuses faster, or less bonuses more safely. Also, what Impaller said is all good.
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 23:49:52


devilnis 
Level 10
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I think that what is being discussed is just that point though - Yes, the initial turn strategy is very decisive in the current setup, and the result is that less of the games lead to the kind of tactical ebb and flow that I find most enjoyable about warlight. Ruthless' original post is indirectly about the same thing - he likes to have games that extend a bit and give a chance for a real fight instead of having the battle be pretty much finished by the time the fighting even starts due to differences in deployment and strategic position. Which kind of game you prefer is subjective, of course, there is no right or wrong. I'm just discussing a kind of setup that would, I believe, result in more of the kinds of games *I* like to play, and I would guess some other people like that style as well.

Different kinds of games end up leveraging different kinds of skill, Impaller, but the setup I describe is slightly less influenced by luck because it eliminates the random pick order at the very least, so it would be hard to claim that it takes LESS skill, it just takes more of one kind of skill and less of another. Fanatic, I agree - Wastelands would have to be disabled for the setup to work...
Does anyone notice...: 2/25/2011 23:50:28


devilnis 
Level 10
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Anyways, all just food for thought really.. I am having fun in the current ladder, so I'm not trying to claim anything's broken, just having a chat about possible future permutations :)
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 00:20:47


Poop Sandwich 
Level 56
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I like the way the ladder is set up. I'm fine with the luck settings although they do piss me off and sometimes decide the game against experienced players. In terms of the issue on starting spots, the way it is set up now takes a lot of skill to decide good starting spots to grow on as well as counter your opponent. I often take many hours in order to decide my starting spot priorities and as a result I have been able to do well on the ladder. A major part of the skill involved in this game begins with innately being able to pick good starting spots.

Another thought provoking thing:
How common is it for one opponent to know all of his opponents territories from the first turn?
See: http://warlight.net/MultiPlayer.aspx?GameID=1215588

Also, how often has the person won who definitively knows his opponents starting spots has won?
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 06:51:27


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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Eagle, even with 0 luck, 3v2 has a chance to fail... *3 kills 1.8 armies, so not guarantees success..*

and devil, if fizzer wanted your territs to be known by the first or second turn.. he's use the earth map instead of the M.earth map.
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 07:26:16

The Impaller 
Level 9
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"Different kinds of games end up leveraging different kinds of skill, Impaller, but the setup I describe is slightly less influenced by luck because it eliminates the random pick order at the very least, so it would be hard to claim that it takes LESS skill, it just takes more of one kind of skill and less of another."

I don't agree. Tic Tac Toe has no luck element, but the reduction of luck doesn't mean that skill is increased. If you use the same exact cards for every hand in poker, you've reduced the luck element, but I'd wager you also took a lot of the skill out of the game...the skill in reading your opponent, bluffing, etc.

I feel if you give everyone preset starting spots, within a certain number of games the map would become essentially "solved" to some degree. There would be an optimal expansion strategy for every possible setup you could have. I also feel like certain portions of the map would become basically unusable. If they aren't near a starting spot or an optimal expansion outlet for a starting spot then they won't be used pretty much ever.

Duke has a tournament running right now with only 6 possible starting spots you can choose. I'm interested to see how it all ends up. I have a feeling there's going to be a certain pick order that is optimal and a certain expansion or strategy that is optimal that will emerge as the dominant option. If that does occur, then the game actually becomes less of a skill game and more of a luck game, because there isn't skill in following an optimal strategy, but it will come down to who is lucky enough to get the best spots or so forth.
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 21:18:54


Duke 
Level 5
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I'm looking for soemthign where the starting points are balanced and the game is not easily optimized. A symetical map (there are several of these) is easy to optimize and therefore not much fun. But the perfectly balanced starting spots is nice. I'd like a map that offers symetry (no pick advantage) and a fun, interesting startegic diversty. It can happen, but it would require a great deal more complication.
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 21:28:56


devilnis 
Level 10
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In Tic Tac Toe, as in any other pure skill based game, the challenge to your skill comes from your opponent. You can't remove skill from Tic Tac Toe, and I'd wager you'd find it far more challenging to beat a skilled Tic Tac Toe opponent then it would ever be to win a game of warlight under almost any settings. If virtually all the luck is removed from warlight, including the att/def luck factors, the starting pick random, the wastelands, then all you have left is pure unadulterated skill to win you the game - the win is a direct result of the interaction between your tactics and those of your opponent, with no luck involved to taint the outcome. It's simply a logical fallacy to say that that is "less skill", that being a very very vague turn of phrase. Would chess be made more of a game of skill by dint of having all the pieces randomized at the beginning of the game resulting in potentially asymmetrical starts? Obviously not, it could only serve to obfuscate the interplay of skill between the players. Though it might be fun, in its way :)

The poker analogy, I dunno man - Warlight under the settings I described would still provide many permutations of victory, whereas a static game of poker where the same cards were dealt over and over to the same people, that would just be destiny and no game at all. Could you take my settings and beat all comers because it takes less skill? Does not compute :) Anyways I see we'll never see eye to eye on this, and that's okay.. Different strokes eh..
Does anyone notice...: 2/26/2011 22:15:21

Fizzer 
Level 58

Warzone Creator
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devilnis: I think removing the distribution phase and all luck would work well in the short-term, as people scramble to figure out the best strategies and such. It also works well for new players, since they can compete on even playing terms without any random elements.

I think Impaller's point is more geared towards the long-term games at the grandmaster level. Imagine it's years after this change has been made, and the #1 person is playing the #2 person. Since the starting locations have been played millions of times, it's probable that someone has found a *best strategy*. If you don't follow this *best strategy* then you automatically lose, assuming your opponent follows this *best strategy*.

If both players follow the *best strategy*, then it basically becomes either a stalemate (if the game type allows it, like Tic Tac Toe) or a coin flip.

There's actually concern by some people that Chess will eventually fall into this trap. Some day, if computers get fast enough, Chess could be a "solved" game where the best possible move for every board position is known. This wouldn't effect casual players who are new to Chess, but at the grandmaster level the game would be a joke since everyone has the best moves memorized.

You can read more about this here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-move_advantage_in_chess

|> Chess players and theoreticians have long debated whether, given perfect play by both sides, the game should end in a win for White, or a draw. Since at least 1889, when World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz addressed the issue, the overwhelming consensus has been that a perfectly played game would end in a draw.

Now, Chess has survived all of this time because it's really complex and finding the best solution is next to impossible. WarLight is much simpler, and given fixed starting positions, Impaller's point is that finding the best strategy is quite possible.

I think the random board element (wastelands, random warlords, etc.) nullifies this and makes it more fun.
Does anyone notice...: 2/28/2011 12:30:25

The Impaller 
Level 9
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Fizzer hit my point exactly on, and said it much more eloquently.
Does anyone notice...: 2/28/2011 20:10:52


devilnis 
Level 10
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Well, it's something worth thinking about, but color me dubious.. The possible gamestates in warlight dwarf even those of chess, let alone tic-tac-toe. I do not believe that anyone could come up with a 100% best expansion pattern. Even if iteration caused convergence on the average best expansion pattern, there would still be other expansion patterns that would defeat that one. Also, chess's possible solution is only possible in the context of total knowledge of the gamestate, which isn't true of warlight under fog-of-war settings. I am sure that if a statistician analyzed the game, they would agree that converging on a hands-down best pattern would be a very unlikely thing. Maybe someday we can give it a try and then we'll truly know.
Does anyone notice...: 2/28/2011 21:22:18


crafty35a 
Level 3
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|>"Well, it's something worth thinking about, but color me dubious.. The possible gamestates in warlight dwarf even those of chess, let alone tic-tac-toe."

I have to disagree with this part of your post. If we had fixed starting points in Warlight, sure, there would still be an incredible number of possible moves/strategies. The problem is that nearly all of those strategies will be losing strategies. In chess, there are hundreds, maybe thousands of different opening strategies, all of which provide a legitimate chance to win. That is just not going to be the case with Warlight (at least not with fixed starting positions).

Here's another way to consider the complexity difference between chess and Warlight: in Warlight, I can watch a game between two of the very best players. There will be moves that I would not have thought of, or that I would have played differently. But almost without fail, I will be able to understand why that move was made, once I see it played. In chess? No way! I can study an entire game between high level players and understand the reasoning behind almost none of it. And this is coming from someone who has spent *much* more time studying chess than Warlight.


|>"I do not believe that anyone could come up with a 100% best expansion pattern. Even if iteration caused convergence on the average best expansion pattern, there would still be other expansion patterns that would defeat that one."

In order for this to be true, I think the map would have to be incredibly well balanced, and probably significantly bigger than it is now. There just aren't that many viable strategies in Strategic 1v1, given a particular starting location.
Does anyone notice...: 2/28/2011 23:06:58


Perrin3088 
Level 44
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"I do not believe that anyone could come up with a 100% best expansion pattern."


look at the Insane challenge threads on this forum...

there are maybe 3-4 best ways, and that's with 75% luck, and random relatively dumb AI's.. you think if you had 2 players on a smaller map, playing dozens of games a day with the same starting locations, no, or next to no luck, and something more then *insane 29* being the reward,that the 'best' strategies wouldn't brew out? that sounds like borderline insanity.

chess is so much more strategic purely based on the odd movements of the pieces.. if you started a game with chess of all Kings It'd be less complicated then this game, but all this game has over that design is size of armies, *not being 100% attack 0% defender on combat ratios*, size of maps, and bonuses.. which all have optimal ways to obtain or use...

I think the mere implimentation of the 'Order' Modification cards with the default difference in offense/defense provides more of a skill showing then default locations would.

all Imho of course.
Does anyone notice...: 3/1/2011 00:18:10


devilnis 
Level 10
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It would be interesting to test that theory out - I strongly believe that if anyone came up with a "best" method of expansion, you could actually program it in as a scripted AI in a challenge game, and strategies to crush that "best" method would soon follow because of the hard work of brilliant human players. In any event, if one were to look at the win statistics for a certain starting location which was the crown jewel of the "best strategy" and find them to be significantly higher than win statistics for all other starting locations, then it could be eliminated as a starting location in a succeeding ladder or tournament, and the cycle would begin again, eventually refining itself towards the ultimate balance. Also, since starts would be auto-assigned randomly out of predetermined sets, noone could ever truly know at the start where the other player was starting, which would complicate a "best" expansion pattern mightily.

Even if all that I have said is dead wrong concerning the possibility of a solution to WL 1v1 under the rules described, in the end you'd still have the ultimate leveler - 2 players, each with the same potential knowledge of how best to execute a 1v1 game, each potentially getting the best pick spot or facing an opponent that has it. Someone would call this unchallenging? I for one would like to see myself proven wrong, I'd like to see the hands down best expansion pattern rooted out of the murky bounds of possibility, because if it exists then the game isn't as balanced as it could be, so it would be the first step in solving that flaw.

At some point I'll swear I'll shut up about all this, honestly I care only in an academic sense - In truth I just find the discussion to be mentally stimulating and interesting, and it seems as if others have put some serious thought into it as well, and I think that's cool whether or not I agree with the consensus.
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