Balance discussions

 
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Tilanus Commodor
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:59 pm    Post subject: Balance discussions

Hey there, while checking the balance of the HRE banner armies, I wondered if there is a good way to translate the different variables in AoE3 into each other and it turned out to become a general question for AoE3 balance cases.

I'm talking about questions like these:
  • What's the value of a shipment?
  • How much resources (coin, wood, food) averagely equal a shipment?
  • How to properly calculate a single value from relevant parts of an object to find out its strength?
  • etc.


I think these questions are hard to answer, but quite important to find an answer to if you want to take balancing serious. Like, if you want to find a rough value for a shipment, your first reaction to the mechanics of them is "damn, irregular slope calculations" cause shipments become the rare the longer the game takes.
Second factor is almost uncalculable, the player. The faster you gain XP, the faster you get shipments. XP comes from the regular trickle, creation, destruction, shortly: random events with different chances to happen!

Any ideas?

Second question is a lil easier since you can actually look what you already get for shipments and translate these things into resources or even something else. But still, a good formula is missing.

I'm excited for your answers!
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peugeot407
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 7:36 pm    Post subject:

Yes there is, but the only person who has figured it out is persona non grata on these forums...


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Tilanus Commodor
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 9:02 pm    Post subject:

For good reasons. Also, Iliander is not the sole person in this universe to figure out balance systems.
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peugeot407
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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject:

I'm not petitioning for him to get unbanned, merely tring to explain he's good at more things than just spamming and being rather offensive.


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checanos
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 9:20 am    Post subject:

I don't know how much one shipment cost and I think its rather impossible to find a concrete idea because it changes during the game. The one thing we do know is how much exp cost.
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Ca Putt
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:36 am    Post subject:

Well, to determin the value of shipments we first have to agree on a unit for this value, I personally Suggest settler seconds + training seconds.

As an example 300 wood take 1 age 1 settler 300w seconds to gather from a tree(not counting the time it takes to reach the tree. minus the time 300c it takes one age1 settler to gather from the crates.
hence the value of the shipment is: 300w-300c
For 2 villagers we first need to calculate the ss it takes to gather 200 food(from hunt): 200h plus the time it takes to train 2 settlers: 2s
The value of this shipment consequently is: 200h+2s
now one could calculate this for all shipments in age1 I however would only take the 300 wood, the 300 food, the 2 settler and 3 settler cards.
So the value for an age 1 shipment is:

(300w+800h -600c+5s)/4

w=time it takes 1 settler to gather 1 wood; h=time it takes 1 settler to gather 1 food from hunt; c= time it takes to gather 1 res from a crate; s time it takes to train 1 settler

For age 2 I suggest to calculate the average with market techs applied.
General rules I suggest for calculation:
values are calculated with standard techs of the preceding age activated(this also goes for train times).
Food is calculated on the base of hunt in age 1+2 and on the base of farming in age 3+4(farming in every age for polish, berry bushes in age 1+2 for japanese and indians)
Gold is calculated on the base of mining in age 1-3(all ages for swedes) and plantation in age 4.
It is to be assumed that there is one of every Military Building. batches of 5 are to be considered standard:
the value of a 8 Pikemen shipment is:
320w+320h+2pb (pb is the time it takes to train one batch of pikemen aka the train time of one unit)
To get to usefull values, I suggest to look at cards that are considered less super and ones that are considered rather super(like 2 settlers vs 3 settlers)
Now one could One could weight certain building times more than others: for example those in the Town center are to be considered much more valuable than ALL others, simply because there is only one TC until age 3(Well unless...) and the TC is the only building who's que is to be occupied until settler no 99 is churned out. One could even say that TC time of Asians, Dutch, swiss and Portuguese is less valueable. I do not see any way to asses this objectively so one might aswell just skip this weighting as a whole.
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Silmariel
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 1:37 pm    Post subject:

Well, balancing cards is not that difficult I think because most european civs share the same shipments. Just consider how many ressources you would get (300 in Age I, 600-700 in age II etc) and compare it to the normal aoeIII-civ-cards.
If I am right all european civs have the same xp-trickle except Spain and Germany. Spain does collect xp very fast but hasn't very good shipments (only heavy infantry in age II). Germany collects xp a bit slower but gains Uhlans with every shipment. Most of their cards are very good-for example 3SW(equals 6 normal villies; 3x100food+100wood)+2 Uhlans is pretty much the best card (if you want to send settlers) in age II. But their 5 Uhlan card is very weak in comparision (3x50food+100coin)+2 uhlans although they are highly useful.


There are only two civs were I think there's a problem with the xp-trickle rate: Italy and new designed Germany. Italy relies heavily on their companies and Germany on the banner armies. The problem is that they cost ressources as well and normal shipments do not do that (except mercenaries and few others). In the early state of the game that might not be a problem but later on it is. Noone of decent skill will waste shipments and ressources on some units where he could get improvements for his economy or military. A few units just wont make the difference.
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SAOL
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject:

Silmariel wrote:
Noone of decent skill will waste shipments and ressources on some units where he could get improvements for his economy or military. A few units just wont make the difference.
Yeah, I was thinking this too. While it is easy to calculate the value of a resource or unit shipment, it is hard to do the same with improvements.

A way to solve the issue with the banner armies costing shipment would be to have a card or technology (age IV perhaps) that takes away the shipment cost of the banner armies, but also removes or reduces some of its bonuses (i.e the population cost or prize reduction) or increases the train time noticeably.
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Tilanus Commodor
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject:

I haven't read everything yet, but I would like to point out the real advantage of banner armies.
They're not just "some units". You get boni on pop, resources and train time by buying these shipments. They only seem to cost so much, but if you figure out the stats, it's basically a gift, a very unique and quite powerful advantage.

The best examples are the Württemberger Feldartillerie and the Sächsische Gardekavallerie. The first costs more pop than it actually has (the difference is +13 when buying, but -13 after arrival [cause it contains Natives]), the second does the inverse (difference is -10, +10 after arrival). These are two different ways to save some pop slots, which give you opposed to regular shipments and regular training the possibility to exceed the 200 pop limit. The shipments also arrive quickly, mainly faster than regular shipments.

Let me also give you an example concering cost reduction:
The Verlorener Haufen (8 powerful units: 4 Doppelsöldner [Mercs], 4 Rottmeyster) costs you 1 ship, 15pop, 400c and it arrives in 15 seconds (!), these are peanuts if you know what the regular prices are: They actually cost 20pop and 2360c (!!), their train times are 44 and 50. That makes a huge advantage for me if you're in dire need of some strong units.

So you don't get just "some units", you tend to have deep price cuts in fact and that's why a smart HRE player would always prefer banner armies over regular training, that is even slowed down for Germans for some units.
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Ca Putt
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 12:38 am    Post subject:

I'd say either kick the pop difference or make it really worthwhile (so max a quarter of the real costs) if the banner army popcosts are higher than the actual popcosts this is in no way a bonus, it only means that you have to have some extra pop room that is not filled with units, even with a small build time this means that during this period you cannot trian an extra bunch of... musketeers, you have to wait for the shipment to arrive(when you're scratching on the pop limit). temporal discounts of < 10 units are rather pointless aswell, consider ANY troop shipment: they have a popcost of 1(maybe 2+ for cavalry etc but I'm pretty sure you can even send heavy cannons with only one popslot), this means that they are FAR more usefull to get past the 200 p limit. The large merc shipments are the best example, >30 pop!

fazit: either banner armies have their actual cost(as everything else confuses) OR they have their Popcost reduced to a laughably low level(<1/4 of actual costs).
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 1:07 am    Post subject:

Ca Putt wrote:
I'd say either kick the pop difference or make it really worthwhile (so max a quarter of the real costs) if the banner army popcosts are higher than the actual popcosts this is in no way a bonus, it only means that you have to have some extra pop room that is not filled with units, even with a small build time this means that during this period you cannot trian an extra bunch of... musketeers, you have to wait for the shipment to arrive(when you're scratching on the pop limit).

You can't give only candy. On the other side I agree that it is not a very convincing concept to get units with less pop and blocking other productions at the same time.


Quote:
temporal discounts of < 10 units are rather pointless aswell, consider ANY troop shipment: they have a popcost of 1(maybe 2+ for cavalry etc but I'm pretty sure you can even send heavy cannons with only one popslot), this means that they are FAR more usefull to get past the 200 p limit. The large merc shipments are the best example, >30 pop!

I disagree on your statement to the temporal discounts. Opposed to banner armies with more pop these types of BAs do allow you to train more troops than you can actually support in the time being. You could even train regular units until your current limit-10 and then use the remaining 10 pop to get units that cost actually 20 pop. That's a nice pop bonus.

You're also wrong about the setup of regular troop shipments. If you choose a card that sends 7 Musketeers, the real pop costs will be added to your pop count. These should not be confused with free additional units, which cost no pop at all, cause they are specially tagged inside the techtree that flags them as exception from any pop count. These units are often attached to good improvement cards or generally attached to most cards cause of a civ bonus. In that context banner armies are simply better than regular unit shipments. Faster, cheaper and more units. Don't know many cards from the HC that send up to 40 units (and even 8 units is a tough amount in age 2). You simply can't really fool the pop with these shipments as you can do with banner armies.

Even the "large" mercenary armies you're mentioning use their correct pop. 13 Hessians still cost 26 pop.


Quote:
fazit: either banner armies have their actual cost(as everything else confuses) OR they have their Popcost reduced to a laughably low level(<1/4 of actual costs).

Banner armies having their correct costs would be pretty pointless, wouldn't it? Banner army strengths are supposed to be reduced pop and train points at a balanced proportion of resource costs (including ships). I could indeed increase the pop benefits though, the resource costs would probably rise again though.
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:38 pm    Post subject:

Quote:
I disagree on your statement to the temporal discounts. Opposed to banner armies with more pop these types of BAs do allow you to train more troops than you can actually support in the time being. You could even train regular units until your current limit-10 and then use the remaining 10 pop to get units that cost actually 20 pop. That's a nice pop bonus.
uhm?
The Point of pop workarounds is to get over the pop limit, as high as possible with a pop bonus of 10 this means:

buy BA
190/200
Train 10 Musketeers
200/200
Get BA
210/200

that's a surplus 10 units and compared to Mercenary shipments that's a joke
I don't know where you get those extra 10 pop.

Quote:

You're also wrong about the setup of regular troop shipments. If you choose a card that sends 7 Musketeers, the real pop costs will be added to your pop count.
The shipment time is one thing however with rather short ship times (which you already mentioned), However the important thing is that you only need one free pop slot to send it. You however need 20 free popslots to send a BA.

Quote:
These should not be confused with free additional units, which cost no pop at all, cause they are specially tagged inside the techtree that flags them as exception from any pop count.
you mean natives?
or do you mean the chaps from church card techs? These chaps do cost pop however only once they arrive, during the time the tech is researched they are not counted, identical to units you get from age up.
Quote:
Banner armies having their correct costs would be pretty pointless, wouldn't it? Banner army strengths are supposed to be reduced pop and train points at a balanced proportion of resource costs (including ships). I could indeed increase the pop benefits though, the resource costs would probably rise again though.
the point of banner armies is to get a mixed force with just one press of a button, not fancy pop thingies. The correct popcost do however help the player immensly at planning his army.

Quote:
You simply can't really fool the pop with these shipments as you can do with banner armies.
yeah but your "gain" is bigger for Shipments as they only require one free slot. aka you can send them as soon as one of your guys(200/200) dies. If you first send the BA then train 9 musketeers(in 2rax Wink ) and then send one of the large merc shipments you may get quite a bit of surplus pop, in the current example 235/200. But as said this only works in combination, the rest of the time it's not so interesting a bonus.
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