Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Thu Jun 11, 2015 10:27 pm UTC

More tales from the adventures of doing silly things in team games.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby J the Ninja » Sun Jun 14, 2015 12:56 am UTC

GOOD NEWS EVERYONE

I got in the beta!
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Sun Jun 14, 2015 5:02 am UTC

Let me know how long you last.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:24 am UTC

The beta is finally getting crazy. They just made the game a whole lot easier and more inviting to new players by removing 'macro mechanics', the abilities that were introduced back in 2009 as a response to brood war vets complaining about the simplicity of multiple building selection and automatic worker mining. If anyone has beta access and found multiplayer sc2 to be too stressful you might want to try it. To the chagrin of the elitists, the change is for you.

Blizzard said they would have one more month of drastic changes and then they will start crunching on balance. If they rush it out they might be able to get a December release, but late January/February seems more likely to me.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Will » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:04 pm UTC

That is actually awesome; I've never been a huge fan of the macro mechanics. I'm actually tempted to try and get a beta key now.

At this point all they'd have to do is bring back Reavers and I'm 100% on board.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Yakk » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:15 pm UTC

Real SC players manually send each of their harvesters to the minerals, then manually send them back, every time.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:17 pm UTC

It was never having to inject every 30 seconds that made the game stressful for me.
Of course missing them made it harder, but I found I was better at it than other Zerg players at my level.

I do have mixed feelings about this change, but I haven't played the game for about two years now. I do watch the pro scene now and then though.

Yakk wrote:Real SC players manually send each of their harvesters to the minerals, then manually send them back, every time.

I seem to remember a trick where spamming the commands would actually speed workers up.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:56 am UTC

Will wrote:At this point all they'd have to do is bring back Reavers and I'm 100% on board.

Disruptors are basically Reavers at this point. They shoot an energy ball now.

Xenomortis wrote:
Yakk wrote:Real SC players manually send each of their harvesters to the minerals, then manually send them back, every time.
I seem to remember a trick where spamming the commands would actually speed workers up.

Yeah. Shift queue mine then return repeatedly and they would mine slightly more efficiently because it circumvented a half second delay before they would return minerals. Similarly there was a way to avoid the deceleration workers did as they approached a mineral. Both were patched shortly after discovery.

The joke is kind of in poor taste though. I think the largest negatives are how it slows the game down, undoing the fast start that lotv had, and putting much more emphasis on workers since you can't replace or make up for lost workers with the macro mechanics. There are so many strong harassment units in the game that It creates a situation where killing your opponent's workers and keeping your workers alive is a paramount tactic. It's worth seeing where that normalizes for the sake of accessibility but it could end up making standard play more passive. There are also more specific effects on matchups but I would guess no one is interested in those.

8/29
It seems Blizzard realized that it would be a bad idea. It caused too many unsolvable balance problems, took a major dynamic out of Protoss, and made injects not worth the cost of queen energy. So, now they're coming back, but they're all autocast.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:25 am UTC

Koa wrote:but they're all autocast.

Exactly what I've been saying they should have been since 2010. Adding mechanics just to increase the number of things you have to think about and keep track of was always a bad idea. You make a good RTS by having a lot interesting decisions that have to be made, not by having a lot of things to keep track of. Brood Wars had both, which led some people to believe it was the busy work that made it good instead of well designed units and mechanics. The macro mechanics were intended to be a compromise for Brood Wars players, but they were a compromise that was never needed in the first place.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:21 am UTC

With respect to the old WoL/HotS macro abilities (Mule, Inject, Chronoboost), I do think Protoss had the most interesting (and perhaps most subtle) one, precisely because its use was an explicit decision - having stored up Nexus energy wasn't "wrong" if you had plans for it, whereas excess energy on an injecting queen just means you've messed up (and have "lost" larvae).

Koa wrote:Disruptors are basically Reavers at this point. They shoot an energy ball now.

I think that's far more interesting than the Colossus - never liked that unit.

Koa wrote:I think the largest negatives are how it slows the game down, undoing the fast start that lotv had, and putting much more emphasis on workers since you can't replace or make up for lost workers with the macro mechanics. There are so many strong harassment units in the game that It creates a situation where killing your opponent's workers and keeping your workers alive is a paramount tactic.

Is that bad though? Killing workers was always an important tactic - run-by's, drops, and mutalisk harassment have been common throughout the game's history.
And pushing the game toward lots of small skirmishes doesn't strike me as a big negative. I guess your concern is that people invest heavily in defense and turtle up (Terran building a ton of turrets as a Spire is about to finish up), shutting down the tactic completely? But I'm not convinced - the game heavily favours expanding, and fourth or fifth expansions are frequently the grounds for a critical battle. A zerg in particular just cannot afford to play super defensively.

As for undoing the "fast start", as a spectactor I don't think that's a big deal, but I haven't played the beta.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:09 pm UTC

Derek wrote:Brood Wars had both, which led some people to believe it was the busy work that made it good instead of well designed units and mechanics. The macro mechanics were intended to be a compromise for Brood Wars players, but they were a compromise that was never needed in the first place.

Well Blizzard agrees with your overall sentiment. "Overall, the coolest thing we’re seeing is the freed up clicks going to more interesting parts of the game, and our worry of some of the races becoming too easy to play doesn’t seem to be the case." I get that argument but I think there's a few things people (and Blizzard it seems) don't understand about this. The busy work introduced from the poor pathing and limited selection has very interesting implications that I could write a lot about, but I'll focus more on the busy work of things like the limited building selection and no automatic worker rally and things like that.

What people don't know is that that busy work is actually a decision and a greater gameplay mechanic in itself. It uses a resource I'll call attention. When your attention resource is stretched to its limit, you need to make decisions by deciding where to spend your attention. There's an inherent attention cost that comes from managing your base, but you find that your opponent has an attention resource as well and that you can attack his attention. You learn that some things cost more or less attention to execute against your opponent than your opponent has to use to defend it. The blink all-in era of SC2 TvP highlighted that sort of disparity. It was an attack that was much easier to execute than to defend and it would often end the game quickly.

A small thing that takes a lot of attention to execute is a storm drop on a mineral line, but all it takes to defend is for your opponent to spot it coming in and move their workers away. If your attention resource is being stretched thin, executing a storm drop is extremely difficult. Conversely if your opponent's attention is stretched thin because you have him on the backfoot dealing with another attack, they may not even notice the shuttle coming in.

But if the storm drop is a failure, the attacker loses out in an invisible way. They decided to spend their attention on a storm drop instead of telling their workers to mine, or build new units, or set up that expansion, or fix that base that was attacked, or attack that greedy expansion. On top of not losing their workers, the defender got a little ahead in those other areas that the attacker neglected in that moment. If the attacker's attention resource was very high before the drop because they were on top of those things already, then they may lose very little in this sense. A truly good player has a huge attention resource and it is reflected in their APM, and when they run into another truly good player, that's when you get a spectacular game. They both attempt to stretch the other player's attention to its very limit until one of them cracks and something like a storm drop gets through.

So, there's a whole invisible gameplay element to this. As you remove or automate all these mechanics, it erodes away, and in my opinion, the game turns into a fundamentally different sort of RTS. It reminds me more of Homeworld which I play now and then. In Homeworld, the game is so slow and simple that I never feel that my attention resource is taxed. Homeworld is almost entirely a decisions game, very little macro or micro. It's an RTS for the casual gamer, but weirdly I don't see much difference from a beginner SC2 player and a beginner Homeworld player. They're both making tremendous mistakes. The difference though is that I have coached beginner Homeworld players to beat me within a few hours. The skill floor is very low but the skill ceiling is very low as well. Once you teach a player to make the right decisions in Homeworld, there's not much a player can do to overcome it and the winner becomes decided by RNG for the most part. Therefore, Homeworld can't develop a real pro scene. To some extent, you're either a beginner or you're not.

So, lowering the skill floor is great for new players. New players become completely bogged down with the inherent attention requirement of managing their base and that isn't fun, removing those shackles lets them focus on the fun stuff. Lowering the skill ceiling is bad for a pro scene. Pros aren't as able to differentiate skill from each other. Balance becomes more of an issue, because BW players could sometimes overcome imbalance by outplaying their opponent. They were able to make their units that much more effective, and macro that much better while doing it. Great stories emerge.

The thing is, removing or automating these mechanics in SC2 does both. If you don't have to inject as zerg, you can put all of your focus onto your army. When you face a zerg, it's going to be very difficult to attack their attention. Attacking attention was an avenue for player skill to differentiate, a way for a top pro to get ahead and secure a win against a middling pro. When you remove these avenues it's harder for a player to be truly good at the game, you remove the bonjwa. It's why SC2 has new champions one month to the next. It's why there's no SC2 power rank.

Of course it's not the end of the world, who knows how much these changes are going to affect things, but I think that they are slipping in that direction and I know where that road goes. I personally much prefer automated macro mechanics over no macro mechanics, as the no macro mechanics felt very incongruous. I'm not a fan of the new chrono. The nexus doesn't have energy anymore, it instead has one chrono that it can put on any building and it will continually channel it until you pick another building. You'll immediately notice that it feels far less versatile if you get to try it. I agree that the old chrono was the most interesting macro mechanic of the three. I'm not crazy about automatic injects because zerg barely has any macro requirements now besides creep spread, you barely have to look at your base at all. The mule is fine. I'm still not satisfied with the current state of these but there's still some time left on the beta. I just hope for the best. Besides, what they're doing with other things like the super pylon is almost more interesting.

Xenomortis wrote:Is that bad though? Killing workers was always an important tactic - run-by's, drops, and mutalisk harassment have been common throughout the game's history.
And pushing the game toward lots of small skirmishes doesn't strike me as a big negative. I guess your concern is that people invest heavily in defense and turtle up (Terran building a ton of turrets as a Spire is about to finish up), shutting down the tactic completely? But I'm not convinced - the game heavily favours expanding, and fourth or fifth expansions are frequently the grounds for a critical battle. A zerg in particular just cannot afford to play super defensively.

Well the problem was that it was too important. We're not talking about small skirmishes in the mid game with lots of harassment from both players with 3+ base economies. It was so important that everyone was immediately rushing to do any bit of worker damage they could do (early game workers are much more important than late game workers), and if the damage was successful then the next attack would be overwhelming. That was the meta. Get blind defense in your mineral line or die, rush, or play economic and pray that your opponent was getting blind defense.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Yakk » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:39 pm UTC

Except that presumes that the particular attention resource is the only important skill differentiation.

There are games, like chess, where there isn't much like "base maintenance", yet there is still lots of skill differentiation.

Now, there are "attention wars", but they are being played on both the board and in the future configurations of the board, and you are fighting against the game clock.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:49 pm UTC

I never said that it was. It doesn't presume that at all.
Attacking attention was an avenue for player skill to differentiate, a way for a top pro to get ahead and secure a win against a middling pro. When you remove these avenues it's harder for a player to be truly good at the game

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Fri Sep 11, 2015 4:46 pm UTC

I'm very familiar with this argument. The problem is that it assumes that attention won't still be stretched thin without those mechanics. In a sufficiently well designed game, and SC2 is sufficiently well designed, there are enough things going on or that you could be doing that you never run out of things to pay attention to, even without pointless busy work. Without those mechanics we'll just see that attention going to other aspects of the game, more interesting aspects of the game. The result will be much more enjoyable to both play and watch.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Fri Sep 11, 2015 5:56 pm UTC

It's not a matter of having things to pay attention to, you can always have something to pay attention to. If someone sneak attacks your expansion you have to respond. It's about your attention being taxed such that you can't respond. It's intuitively obvious that if you get attacked and you don't have to keep up with injects, that is a less stressful, easier scenario.

You can call it pointless busy work but then most of the game is pointless busy work. Why do you have to build workers, why not automate that? Why not make it so that queued units don't take from your current resources? Why not automate builds to some extent? Why not have those AI worker scouts that never get killed? It's all about where you put the bar. Automating another thing is going to be lowering the bar some more. It's lowering the skill floor but it's also lowering the skill ceiling, perhaps not as much or in a different way, but it clearly is. I feel like people who are for the change are generally denying that fact.

If you think the ends justify the means, okay, but that's not the language that I'm seeing. Lowering the skill floor is going to be great for beginners and casuals, and lowering the skill ceiling is going to be bad for everyone else (tournaments and spectators specifically). It's going to be up to you as to who is more valuable. I think the reason a lot of people want to play SC2 at all is because of the pro scene, but I can't be certain.

People made the same argument about skill in one area filling into another more interesting aspect of the game, but it's not true. They were saying that the KeSPA pros with their super APM would come to SC2 and dominate, because without having to do the busy work of BW macro they could do amazing things. Well their APM dropped by a hundred or two (even accounting for blizzard time) because there was no point to playing that fast. The elephant in the room was bunk. The game is not sufficiently well designed (whatever that means) for that to happen. The KeSPA pros squeezed into the lower skill ceiling and played like any other hard working Korean pro, nothing happened.

Skill doesn't spill from one area into another so fluidly. Where does your attention fill in with LotV that sets everything equal? The micro?

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Yakk » Fri Sep 11, 2015 8:05 pm UTC

You sure read like you are implying that this busywork is somehow an important skill that needs be rewarded for there to be a high skill ceiling.

Because their ability to do trivial tasks at a high frequency wasn't rewarded, doesn't mean that the game has a lower skill ceiling, other than in an uninteresting way.

Suppose we took SC2. And we added a system whereby your units move and attack up to faster based on the rate at which you pedal, according to some curve.

Otherwise "Ok" Players who are great (stationary) cyclists will completely destroy otherwise much better players who aren't good at cycling. If the limits are high enough, players will be forced to relax and lets their units move slower at certain points because they get exhausted otherwise, then sprint when it matters more.

Expert SC2-pedal edition players will be a set of super-fit semi-pro cyclists who also are good at SC2. These few people will dominate the game.

If they try to go to Broodwar, they'll be ok, but not dominating like in SC2, because the "strange mechanic" that they where experts at (cycling).

Such a game has a "higher skill ceiling" in a sense than the game without that mechanic. But it doesn't mean you need a mechanic like that to have a "high skill ceiling". And insofar as the cycling doesn't make the game more interesting to watch, alternative ways to raise the "skill ceiling" that *also* make the game interesting to watch could be a better idea.

On the other hand, Cycle-SC2 would probably have more attractive athletes as a bonus.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

Koa wrote:Why do you have to build workers, why not automate that?

Because automated building doesn't work with a pay-up-front system, see below.

Why not make it so that queued units don't take from your current resources?

There are games that do this. It's not necessarily easier. It's easy to overproduce, slowing down all your production queues and hurting you because the more important stuff isn't finishing first. In general it creates a much greater disconnect between your income and your production, which can cause problems if you're not monitoring your resources closely. You can't make any guarantees about when a production will finish, and a queue can get held up for a long time if one resource is unavailable. In a different game I'm playing right now I've seen production queues get blocked for a minute or more because one thing couldn't finish because one resource had been cut off by harassment. Everything later in the queue didn't need this resource, but couldn't even be started because the player didn't realize that their income had been cut off, or they had simply mined out their current resource fields and hadn't taken a new one yet.

The advantage is that it requires a lot less back and forth attention. You can queue a bunch of things up in order, and as long as your income remains solid you won't have to queue anything else up for awhile (unless plans change of course, which they usually do).

In general, I prefer the pay-up-front model. Not because it's harder, but because it gives me a better feel for my income and avoids mistakes from misjudging my income. However, I think it can vary from game to game. A pay-up-front model is better, I think, it smaller games with lower income and less production, where harassment can be a significant disruption to income. A pay-as-you-go model probably works better in a large games with large income, lots of production to manage, and less concern about losing significant income to harassment.

Why not automate builds to some extent?

Same as above.

Why not have those AI worker scouts that never get killed?

Because you often want to sacrifice a worker for more scouting information. Micro bots can keep a unit alive very well, but they can't do that and scout effectively at the same time.

It's really very simple. Anything that does not involve strategically interesting decisions should be automated. Anything that does require strategically interesting decisions cannot be automated.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:55 pm UTC

@Derek I feel that's a pointless method of argument that misses the point. I could as well make an argument for why the non-automated macro mechanics feel better or works better with the rest of the game, which I kind of did with chrono, and we could argue in circles about it. What is or isn't an interesting strategic decision is fairly subjective, especially in the way that you shot down my rhetorical examples. I didn't find it convincing of anything.

I find the arbitrary attention mechanic that I explained to be interesting, but it requires a certain pressure to function properly. Against zerg especially, it's far more difficult to tax their attention when they have very little macro requirement, and very little micro requirement for that matter. Their attention won't still be taxed in the same way because "the game is sufficiently well designed".

They're practically exempt from the mechanic currently, and a lot of top20% of zerg players (diamond+) are saying that zerg is boring to play. As bad as it sounds, I don't think that it's a coincidence that a lot of lower level zergs like it. Less stressful/easier versus boring, it's a matter of perspective. It's the official basketball rim height being lowered so that shorter players can dunk in some sense. It's clear who that benefits and who it doesn't.

Yakk wrote:alternative ways to raise the "skill ceiling" that *also* make the game interesting to watch could be a better idea.


Well there is no alternative or substitute for the loss/automation of these mechanics. It seemed like there would be, because LotV was faster and more difficult to play than HotS. Blizzard assumed that they could remove the macro mechanics and then the difficulty would maybe be the same between the games while retaining all of the improvements, but it didn't turn out that way.* I think it was a valid experiment but zerg especially is in a poor place right now with the change. LotV is also a little easier than HotS now in my opinion. I don't think that is a problem however I think it highlights what a dramatic effect this little change has had.

Could they introduce something that would be a viable alternative or substitute to the removal of these mechanics, that maintains the skill ceiling and isn't considered busy work? Of course. But I don't think that it exists within the game currently (such that the automation of macro mechanics would divert attention resource into it and everything would be fine), and the game is kind of a tangled mess such that it is difficult to create or add such a thing. I'm sure it's at least possible but I'm at a loss as to how you would bring something more to zerg's macro that wouldn't feel rote. Maybe Zerg could just get Kerrigan and play like the HotS campaign or something... I don't think that's on the table.

If units had a lot of interesting untapped micro potential to them that players couldn't access because of busy work, I would absolutely be agreeing with you both, but SC2 isn't nearly as interesting as BW or WC3 in that regard. The Depth of Micro video is a good introduction to that.

*Bonus History: When WoL was in the alpha stages, the BW community complained a lot that the game was too simple and was abandoning its identity, that it wouldn't be able to excite an esport or sway the BW community's interest with the formula. They wanted to make it more familiar to BW, because that was the easiest and most obvious solution. Copying a successful template is much easier than designing new systems.

Blizzard reluctantly came up with a compromise. They designed these new systems to give the game more of a macro element and to make it feel more like Starcraft again with more emphasis on base management. The complaints died down.

Fast forward to LotV and they think that they finally found an alternative solution to the problem by speeding the game up. They think that they can remove the macro mechanics that they introduced so long ago, but the macro mechanics are so integral to the game design that it breaks countless things. It would nearly be easier to do a complete redesign than to try to get it to work. They're forced to bring it back but with another compromise of automation, and here we are.

Anyway.

I'm sure they're going to have to twerk (dat werdfilter) it some more. I mostly got into this discussion because I didn't like some of the advocate terminology that you both used for the change. I felt like it misrepresented the other side of the debate as being about something more juvenile or indefensible, so I stepped in as the opposing voice to extrapolate the issue.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:57 pm UTC

@Derek I feel that's a pointless method of argument that misses the point. I could as well make an argument for why the non-automated macro mechanics feel better or works better with the rest of the game, which I kind of did with chrono, and we could argue in circles about it. What is or isn't an interesting strategic decision is fairly subjective.

Abilities that should always be used in precisely the same way cannot be strategically interesting, because the answer to the question "What should I do?" is always the same.

Whether chrono boost should be based on energy or not is a completely unrelated issue. Autocast abilities can still use energy.

It's the official basketball rim height being lowered so that shorter players can dunk in some sense.

No, it's basketball players not being required to solve an elementary arithmetic problem everytime they touch the ball.

*Bonus History: When WoL was in the alpha stages, the BW community complained a lot that the game was too simple and was abandoning its identity, that it wouldn't be able to excite an esport or sway the BW community's interest with the formula. They wanted to make it more familiar to BW, because that was the easiest and most obvious solution. Copying a successful template is much easier than designing new systems.

Blizzard reluctantly came up with a compromise. They designed these new systems to give the game more of a macro element and to make it feel more like Starcraft again with more emphasis on base management. The complaints died down.

I'm well aware. I was there for those discussions, I've been a hardcore competitive RTS player for a nearly decade. Multiple building select and auto mining were going to ruin the game. It was going to be the end of skill and every scrub would be able to play as well as a bonjwa. Well turns out they didn't, and not because the pointless macro mechanics that Blizzard added.

It turns out the reason that BW was good all along wasn't because it was bloated with pointless busy work (which it was), but because it had well designed units that allowed for a wide variety of interesting strategies and exciting games. SC2 didn't fail because it removed that busy work (indeed, it would have failed if they hadn't), it failed because the units were uninteresting and the strategies quickly grew stale.

The macro mechanics were always a bad idea. They were an obvious blight on a game that otherwise had a very slick and easy to manage interface, and a barrier to entry for new players that prevented them from playing the real game, but also provided nothing interesting for experienced players.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Sat Sep 12, 2015 12:55 am UTC

No, it's basketball players not being required to solve an elementary arithmetic problem everytime they touch the ball.
:|

It was going to be the end of skill and every scrub would be able to play as well as a bonjwa. Well turns out they didn't, and not because the pointless macro mechanics that Blizzard added.

It was the end of the bonjwa though. Not everyone can be a bonjwa, so no one was.

It turns out the reason that BW was good all along wasn't because it was bloated with pointless busy work (which it was), but because it had well designed units

Surely you don't think that is the only reason? The limitations of the game that you say bloat it are so deeply interwoven with the game... The reason why the top of ramps are such powerful defesive positions, the longer lasting and more spread out engagements, the reason why vultures can counter dragoons, the chinese triangle... I don't see how you can separate the technical limitations of BW from what made it good and just say it was the unit design. The units clearly weren't even designed with all of these things in mind, they couldn't have known about all of the future techniques that players would create to exploit what were essentially bugs.
The macro mechanics were always a bad idea. They were an obvious blight on a game that otherwise had a very slick and easy to manage interface, and a barrier to entry for new players that prevented them from playing the real game, but also provided nothing interesting for experienced players.

:| That's a pretty extreme position. I doubt I could convince you even if you were wrong at this point.

Day9 recently made a multiplayer game design vlog, it's somewhat relevant to this discussion.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:54 am UTC

Koa wrote:Surely you don't think that is the only reason? The limitations of the game that you say bloat it are so deeply interwoven with the game... The reason why the top of ramps are such powerful defesive positions, the longer lasting and more spread out engagements, the reason why vultures can counter dragoons, the chinese triangle... I don't see how you can separate the technical limitations of BW from what made it good and just say it was the unit design. The units clearly weren't even designed with all of these things in mind, they couldn't have known about all of the future techniques that players would create to exploit what were essentially bugs.

Yes. It was the units and game design, not the limitations of the archaic interface. It was good in spite of it's interface, and it would have been an even better game with a modern interface like SC2's. It doesn't even matter if some mechanics weren't intended, many things in Melee weren't intended either but they still contribute to it being a great game.

:| That's a pretty extreme position. I doubt I could convince you even if you were wrong at this point.

It's not an extreme position. It is the most common position. "I sure dolove having to inject larva every 30 seconds on the dot" is something that very few people have ever said, and if you look at reasons why people didn't like SC2, you'll find that those mechanics rank very high. The only people who think that that kind of busy work contributed anything to the game were people who spent years playing Brood Wars, but never actually understood why it was good.

Day9 recently made a multiplayer game design vlog, it's somewhat relevant to this discussion.

I guess you're referring to his discussion of execution? He's being too general here. Some games are great with a component of execution, others are not. I love arena FPSs, Melee, and rhythm games, those all have huge elements of execution. But strategy games usually have very little execution. Chess has no execution, poker has very little. An ideal RTS on the other hand has no execution component other than your ability to multitask (mentally, not physically) and think quickly under pressure. The interface of an RTS should facilitate this goal.

Also note that most of the currently popular competitive games have much lower execution barriers than previous games. MOBAs are much easier to execute than RTSs. CS is much easier to execute than Quake. Hearthstone, as Day9 mentioned, has no execution. Even fighting games have moved towards easier execution, with built in macros and shortcut commands.

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Koa
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Mon Sep 14, 2015 2:03 pm UTC

Still calling it "Brood Wars" sounds really weird to me after the various claims you have made on RTS experience and what made Brood War good. It's like someone saying "pokeymans" unironically. Maybe an honest mistake but you can probably imagine where my mind goes after I've read it a few times now. I feel like it's a very difficult mistake to make for anyone who has been involved in discussing the game and its systems, and anyone who hasn't been involved in those discussions probably won't have a well formed opinion on it. Opinions are opinions though.

RTS games don't need execution components, like I explained with the Homeworld example. It's a different type of RTS. See Day9's other baseball vs frisbee video for that much more relevant design explanation. You do have a pretty extreme position on what Starcraft should be about, the underlying reasoning you have (made?) for why it's a good change more so than anything on the change itself.

As for the change itself I would average a lot of the polls being about 40% against and about 20% for, with the rest saying they are indifferent or undecided, but they're often shitty polls. Sometimes it's closer to 50/50. It could well be 80/20 for if the greater gaming public got involved, and it would make sense because the people who would be voting would be more interested in the idea of the game more than they are of actually playing it.

There's this weird group of people who don't much play RTS but act like they do, and they go in with preconceived notions of what strategy is and isn't. "This isn't strategic, this is just spam, mindless clicking" etc has been said of every RTS ever by this crowd, but they often don't hear each other saying it to realize the emptiness of the statement. I feel like those people are at the core of the for group, and self-serving and obnoxious elitists are on the other. The well is poisoned on this discussion. There's no way to talk about it without seeming like you belong to one of those crowds, or attracting these people who have planted their flags and dug their trenches. Even saying that you were okay with testing it was a nonmoderate position. Besides, Blizzard is going to ignore the arguments and do whatever they want anyway.

As to your other points... A person can very easily be indifferent towards something and then miss it when it's gone, and especially dislike its omission when it causes a dramatic change to the flow of gameplay. And of course I've already admitted that it lowers the barrier to entry and that's always good for popularity, as long as it comes without a cost.

--

A novel later I'm finally on to why I'm posting. There's the new trailer of course, but I'm more interested in the Nov 10th release date. Like I mentioned earlier, that's too early for the multiplayer. Not only is the beta in a chaotic state still, but there are a lot of half finished ideas that would be impossible to complete in this time frame. They're kind of throwing the dice with the multiplayer in order to hit the best video game release date a big release could hope for. As they've shown, as soon as the expansion releases Blizzard goes into maintenance mode with patches where they do number tweaks for what is sometimes a far more fundamental problem.

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Ixtellor
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Ixtellor » Mon Sep 14, 2015 7:57 pm UTC

Just read the debate between Koa, Yakk, and Derek.

I think everyone needs to first understand how good Koa is at Starcraft. He can do things in game that are physically impossible for other players. Just having him on your team will instantly get you to diamond, if you play ranked.

Watching him manage 3 bases flawless while executing insane micro fights at the same time --- is mesmorizing and impossible.

So he is speaking as a percentile of the top 1%. The game design changes are going to eliminate his skill set basically. (to a degree). The ability to manage many many things at once.

As to Yakk's points --- I think the changes, as described, will really just allow people like me (Gold) to be better at the game since our inability to do so much at once, won't be punished as harshly (missing injections, building new bases while microing a battle, etc).

So I think it will even the playing field a bit, so good for casuals... bad for pros.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Derek » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:37 pm UTC

I've never seen Koa play, but I was on the verge of Masters in early 2011, back in the WoL days. I've also played RTS competitively since 2005. And I'm no stranger to these sorts of arguments.

My rule of thumb for RTS mechanics is simple: If it doesn't introduce interesting strategic choices, it should be removed or automated away. If it does introduce interesting strategic choices, then it should be as easy to manage as possible without detracting from these choices.

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Koa
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:59 pm UTC

Here's your $50, standard rate.

I forgot to mention DK's thoughts in the last post. He says they're split on reverting the changes, similar to the rest of the community. I wouldn't want to have to make that decision.

Now on the 17th, and they've made mule and inject manual again, leaving chrono in a weird place. http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/blog/198979 ... -9-17-2015

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Sep 18, 2015 3:11 pm UTC

I'm a little sad that the auto-inject change to Zerg has been almost completely reverted - I joined the beta recently and only got to play one game with the auto-cast inject.
The current version doesn't really solve the problem a Zerg player faces, particularly a weaker one - queuing injects is only possible after you've missed a full inject and doesn't recover the lost larvae anyway - it just means you're less likely to miss the next inject.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Tue Oct 13, 2015 12:33 am UTC

LotV is in open beta now. It might only be up for a couple weeks though.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby You, sir, name? » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:33 pm UTC

So, LotV is out. Anyone been playing?

I've mostly been 4v4:ing as random so far.
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:59 pm UTC

I've only played through the campaign - haven't played multiplayer since release.
I find 1v1 fairly stressful and just haven't had the energy, although that's mostly because I just haven't played it all that much. I might give it a go over the next few days though.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Yubtzock » Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:23 pm UTC

I've finally gotten onto the Starcraft bandwagon. Top silver in solo for now ;P
I haven't yet tried coop all that well but I feel like it's going to be repetitive and boring - you can't change builds and level ups just unlock stuff linearly and that's it. Plus there are waaay too few maps to just grind it. Although I might be biased as I've only personaly played like 4 matches with Zagara. Her playstyle is really same-y. Spam, let units die, spam more... Sometimes use her abilities.

Is solo queueing into 3v3 and 4v4 viable without a party? if so I'll be up for it for sure - I played a lot of 4v4 in Warhammer 40k and it was a blast.

LotV campaign seems like there is nothing new, missions are just harder. The one thing that's really neat though are the alternate units. Some are even able to reshape your strategies like sentry alts or stalker vs no stalker runs.
The pompous tone of the protoss dialogue however got old and annoying really fast. When you strip the dialogue to what characters are saying to each other it feels like protoss aren't really that intelligent. They either talk about things that are too obvious too much, or they don't even consider certain outcomes.
I'm just trying to imagine non-military life of a protoss... "I conclude that this apparel is not suitable for the task at hand, as something must've transpired in the wardrobe and I no longer fit in it any more" "Surely it must be a work of Taldarim and their delicious, delicious snacks!"

mild spoiler (I'll try to keep it vague)
Spoiler:
At one point certain character shows up because... prophecy? Except there is no build up for that detail, and then everything is handwaved and you think they'll just explain how things came to be, but nope - nobody thought you could get *there* and wham, suddenly everyone's in one place.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:15 am UTC

Yubtzock wrote:mild spoiler (I'll try to keep it vague)
Spoiler:
At one point certain character shows up because... prophecy? Except there is no build up for that detail, and then everything is handwaved and you think they'll just explain how things came to be, but nope - nobody thought you could get *there* and wham, suddenly everyone's in one place.


Well...
Spoiler:
we know the bad guys know about the place, and we know that character was tracking the bad guys, so maybe they intercepted a supply convoy or followed some reinforcements in, or stole one of the bad guys' maps? We know the bad guys have maintained an active presence there for at least as long as that character's been on site, so it's not implausible that they betrayed their location to that character somehow...

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Koa
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:39 pm UTC

Yubtzock wrote:Is solo queueing into 3v3 and 4v4 viable without a party? if so I'll be up for it for sure - I played a lot of 4v4 in Warhammer 40k and it was a blast.

You don't need a party, but in either case you do have to take games very lightly. The Dawn of War series works much better as a team game, as a full game of Chaos players has nothing on the chaos that is SC2 4v4.

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Xenomortis
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:12 pm UTC

How have the economy changes affected the team formats? It was almost impossible expand beyond your natural in 3v3 and 4v4 and solo queue games were often ended by the early rushes or a couple of people steamrolling.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Spambot5546 » Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:38 pm UTC

Archon mode has brought me the second best game of Starcraft I've ever seen.
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Because it is bitter,
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Nov 27, 2015 8:18 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:Archon mode has brought me the second best game of Starcraft I've ever seen.


That was an impressive worker rush...

I think the key difference between teams there, though, was that red actually managed to hit the supply cap...

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Nov 30, 2015 10:15 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:Archon mode has brought me the second best game of Starcraft I've ever seen.
Is that your channel?

The first few minutes of the video I was like "Dude is being an ass"

Then the rest of the video happened and I laughed a lot.
... with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.

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Re: Starcraft 1 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Tue Mar 22, 2016 7:32 am UTC

I saw the opportunity for a huge flank and cut-off in a 3v3. It was super effective.

Edit: Bonus minimap gif. We were playing defense to their midgame aggression up until that point, none of them expected us to pounce forward so quickly with double mech and tempests. They managed to hold with corruptor brood lord and the game went on another fifteen minutes or so.

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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Xenomortis » Wed Apr 06, 2016 10:09 am UTC

I played Ranked for the first time in years yesterday evening (last time was 2013 at Platinum, not including one or two unranked in the LOTV beta?).
4-1 up against Bronze and Silvers in my placement matches (the loss was a disconnect), so now I'm Silver.

Feels weird, really not knowing even where to start in a game - everything is different.
I was never fully comfortable with longer games before, but now what knowledge and practice I had has been hard-reset.
Even basic openings, is it correct to Double-Extractor trick before Overlord on 14 or do I Overlord first? Or do I Overlord at 13 and not bother?
Forge-Fast-Expand doesn't appear to be a thing so I guess I can expand before pool now? Or even double-expand?
Does ling-muta-baneling still work against Terran?

But none of that matters, because I never seem to fully saturate three bases before my main starts losing patches.
That mineral reduction is brutal and adds a huge cognitive load.
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby You, sir, name? » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:16 pm UTC

Muta/ling/bling is much weaker in lotv since the mass muta style is completely invalidated by liberators. Once you get critical mass libs (like 6-8), they shut down infinity mutas, and they're so mobile you *will* lose painful numbers of your mutas in every single engagement.

Last I played, roach/ravager was very popular and stronk. Although I think the strongest zerg play style is to switch between bit of everything.
I edit my posts a lot and sometimes the words wrong order words appear in sentences get messed up.

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Koa
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Re: Starcraft 2 : The Dune II Clone

Postby Koa » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:33 am UTC

Xenomortis wrote:Even basic openings, is it correct to Double-Extractor trick before Overlord on 14 or do I Overlord first? Or do I Overlord at 13 and not bother?

13. I wouldn't recommend double extractor trick at all. If for some reason you forget to get an ovie on 13 and instead get it on 14, then go for a single extractor trick so that your drone production isn't stalled due to a supply block. If you time the extractor trick perfectly then you lose nothing. If you mess it up slightly then you lose slightly. As to whether or not to start building the overlord before or after the trick, I do it after, but the difference is negligible.
Xenomortis wrote:Forge-Fast-Expand doesn't appear to be a thing so I guess I can expand before pool now? Or even double-expand?

The first expansion is generally safer for everyone. I don't think double expanding is that great. There's almost always going to be reapers and adepts coming your way soon, so you can't completely drone a third anyway. Plus, it auto-loses to any cheese, though that's actually not as big of an issue as it sounds.


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