Conflict feels too much like a numbers game currently

TrakisTrakis Member Posts: 1 Inept
edited August 12 in Common Grounds
Disclaimer: I've been away from the game for quite some time, and have only been participating in conflict for the past few weeks, so I won't take it personally if you point out some factor I didn't consider. I am just trying to state my observations, and get a discussion going so I can see whether this opinion holds any water. Anyway, here goes.

My initial impression of inter-org conflict so far is that many revolts, domoth claims, and time quakes simply boil down to seeing who's in the area, and determining if your alliance has more players around than the other group. If it's close, you'll go fight it out. Otherwise, people often don't bother. The problem is, this means that despite all the regularly occurring events that are designed to encourage us to fight each other, people would rather concede most of the time, often after looking at numbers as a proxy measure for the chance of success.

The past two wildnodes scores have been wildly disproportionate (Hallifax won 2837 to Gaudi's 191 this time, and I believe Magnagora swept the one before that one). As far as I can tell, the anomalies in a time quake also seem to get claimed entirely by one alliance or the other. Domoth claims are similar, with the lockout mechanic also nudging the domoths towards a relatively even split. All of this contributes to an unfortunate situation, where there are theoretically plenty of mechanisms in place to create regular conflict, but a combination of game mechanics and the attitude of the playerbase mean that these 'conflicts' do not actually result in a lot of action.

Finally, somewhat tangentially, even when both sides are willing to try, combat is incredibly spammy, and it feels absolutely insane to try to keep track of what is happening, to the point where it is difficult to learn anything from the experience.

As a player who's interested in learning more about the PvP side of this game, it kind of bums me out that there are so few opportunities to practice, especially against org enemies. I can spar people from my side I suppose, but if I want to get better at fighting the 15 classes that are on the other side of the aisle, I have very few chances to do so, outside of the large, chaotic brawls of time quakes, village revolts, or wildnodes.

Conclusions & suggestions:
  1. I think this state of affairs is unhealthy, since the balance of power is extremely sensitive to fluctuations in the login activity of the players on either side. (question for people who've been active here for a long time: what has the effect been when big names retire their characters?). I'd argue it's not healthy for the financial outlook of the game either. Players are far less incentivized to pay for combat artifacts when they don't actually get to use them that often. Being able to fight other players on relatively equal footing is also a big driver in pushing competitive players to want to get better. When 80% of combat comes down to being around, or being able to summon more allies on Discord more quickly than the other side, it feels a lot like being on call, which can feel very stressful. To be clear, I'm not pushing for a state where one megawhale player can fight an entire invasion force to a standstill, but perhaps some mechanics can be tweaked to make these events feel less all-or-nothing?
  2. Prioritize a project to make combat less spammy. Improving the approachability of combat will open up the top of the funnel, and get more fresh blood into the system.
  3. Add events that encourage more competitive conflict where the participants are on equal footing. Ranked arena combat with interesting rewards, culminating in an annual Seal of War type tournament for culture/power? Something like that would get more people to come out and play.
Thanks for reading.
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Comments

  • LycidaeLycidae Member Posts: 2 Inept

  • SapphiraSapphira Member Posts: 112 Master
    Most of it comes down to the attitude of the players. There have been many timequakes and even a domoth we stole, where we were outnumbered but were willing to give it a crack anyway. Sometimes we succeeded. Sometimes we managed a couple of anomalies. Sometimes we failed terribly and called it a day. 

    Having a go should always be encouraged even against bad odds because sometimes you do better than you expect. On the flip side, if people don't feel like an uphill battle sometimes and would rather spend their play time doing something else, not going to hold it against them! Seriously though, TQs you lose nothing by dying. Huge kudos to the people who still try, keep trying, or even just try to hang in long enough for participation. Also TQs happen more regularly than anything else. Best practice is to dive in and try things. 
  • UzrielUzriel Member Posts: 156 Expert
    Regarding the spammy nature of combat. It may sound cliche to say that with practice you'll start to pick out the important parts but it's true. You'll also want to start using highlights with different colors to help recognize game states and gagging lines that are spammy but you don't really care to see. Meld effects are especially spammy and should be the first thing to start gagging.

    While obliviousness is an option to completely cut out other actions in the room, I really recommend not using it - save that for big group bashing trips.
  • AfolliaAfollia Member Posts: 81 Capable
    edited August 13
    A few key skills also make a - huge - difference in group combat.

    -Empress & rad & wisp & other adjacent summons
    -melding
    -trapping
    -Aeon
    -Firm blocking
    -perfect fifth
    -Group healing & Curing abilities

    I'm not an expert by far, but these and many more key abilities can often make or break group combat in my eyes....not the least of which is the difference between organised target calling and chaos.

    Edit: Oh and having a monk
  • NeladahiNeladahi Member Posts: 18 Apprentice
    edited August 13
    Conflict certainly can feel like a numbers game, and often if a few people in your group feel down about the odds then it's more likely that one side will suffer more people who agree with them -- which is why staying positive about your chances or espousing the enjoyment of it is really important!

    I don't believe that you need certain things (trapping, aeon, monks, group healing) to thrive; there have been lots of instances where Magnagora has had subpar numbers by a great deal and a limited repertoire and done very well. The biggest, most important part of conflict is being aware of the situation. Being able to regroup, being able to switch targets easily, being aware if you're forced to move and have to move back, all of these are super important to ensuring one group thrives in combat over another.

    This is also true in instances such as revolts. Serenwilde won Rikenfriez the time before last with 1-2 influencers while their allies fended off a group of combatants that were larger than their own.

    Combat can be incredibly spammy, and I personally feel that if players are forced to create system-side gags for a great deal of information to make it manageable, then something is wrong there. I think there are definitely ways to look at stuff (researcher entities, songs that have frequent room echoes, demesnes, etc.) to condense and eliminate some of the spam to make it a bit easier for those who struggle with the spam.

    I definitely believe that encouraging healthy conflict would go a long way to eliminating greater toxicity and general negativity in the playerbase. Ranked arena events with limited sizes (War-style team games, sparring), perhaps influence/debate contests, an improved psychodrama, or even other conflict options would be really great.
  • YinuishYinuish Member Posts: 47 Capable
    edited August 13
    Honestly it's not just purely just that the other side has greater numbers- they also have solid organisation, work on encouraging each other, and will often be comfortable to YOLO even when it looks doubtful. We HAD people like that but they're either not playing just now, or have burnt out in general. I think it's time for the next group of people to start stepping up to give things a go- at the end of the day it doesn't matter if you die in a TQ, and if you want to learn you just need to give it a shot. 

    I actually like where combat is right now with a small number of things I would like to change (song spam, gem spam, that sort of thing) that makes things frustrating because it's not really needed). I think we just really need to work on motivation and helping low/mid-tier combatants improve. 
  • MaligornMaligorn Windborne Member Posts: 3,030 Transcendent
    Oftentimes what keeps a group from going in is a lack of leadership. If certain keystone players aren't around, people are less likely to want to try. Right now I would call the most prominent "we're gonna try something" people are Azula for one side and Zagreus for the other. Snald and Tarken have gone missing, possibly due to Ascension, so that's a big minus for the team that used to have them.

    Pretty much every role Afollia mentioned (except the 'have a monk' addendum there) is something that will drastically change your odds of winning a fight. A small group containing all those things versus a large group with only a few or none of those things will almost certainly be more successful.

    As mentioned, revolts are very fun because even if you have a smaller force, just having the bravado to stand off larger groups allows your team to seed out influencers to catch mobs because the big team is too focused on trying to kill the smaller team. This has happened --many-- times during my playing of Lusternia. Villages are awesome strategy games when they're contested.

    image
  • OraelOrael Member, Administrator, Moderator, Gods Posts: 434 Creator
    I'll throw a quick comment about a couple of things

    Re: combat spam - one of the things I would like to look at is reducing 3rd party messages in an effort to also help reduce lag. If you think about it, sending the first and second person messages only involves two people, but the 3rd party message could be up to the 40-50ish other people in the room we saw during Ascension. That's sending the same line 50 times, so you can imagine removing some of the extraneous lines from that situation may help reduce how much we're processing at a time.

    The question becomes what information is important to convey to everyone in the room and what information can we get away without broadcasting to everyone. We have some options here and there's probably obvious ones (like what's been mentioned already, song effects, gems etc) but others may be tricky. It's something that we'd need to put thought into (and likely get feedback on)

    It's also not something we'd be doing right away.

    Re: other conflict events - I'm generally not opposed but it's not something we have room on our plate for at the moment. In general, these things would need to avoid some of the issues we run into currently with conflict events. Like a ranked war teams event encouraging people to actually compete against their enemies (the same issue we run into psychodrama). We'd have to figure out guidelines and rules that encourage that while not making it detrimental. As has been noted time and time again, anything that can be gamed, will be gamed, so we would need to reduce what can be gamed as much as possible to produce legitimate conflicts such as that. Otherwise, it would just fall into another mechanic that doesn't get used.
  • SynlSynl Member Posts: 208 Adept
    A ranked wargames team system where you form a team of three players that's locked in for, say, 5 in game years. So 2 RL month long seasons.

    All artifacts are nullified for these wargames. Participants are auto leveled to 100. Is this possible code wise?

    And it's divorced entirely from orgs. Winning rankings only has benefits for the players on that team specifically. Whether that be special buffs (not tied to PvP), or just credit rewards. Or a special reward for each season, like an exclusive item or dweller/beast.

    Yea PvP is based on a bunch of imbalanced factors, don't take it so seriously and just have fun with it. Artifacts, lack of mirroring, numbers. Not a competitive game, as far as PvP is concerned. 
  • AeldraAeldra , using cake powered flight Member Posts: 1,235 Transcendent
    In quakes in particular there timezone issue seems rather huge at times, like if I have three people and know the other side can potentially muster 20, there's a point where it turns from bravado into pointlessness, I mean, with good organization you can wipe 2:1 odds, if the other side is not on par with their organisation. But 3:1 and more? Then the larger force really must be messing around to lose it.

    For me, the main problem is usually not, not wanting to try, but the lack of both response of an inquiry whether we're going to try something is disheartening. Also, for me, I kind of still rely on someone to actually lead when there's more then like 6 people involved in that fight. Despite a ton of gags and things,  I still struggle to keep up with awareness, I can keep my part going, but tracking stuff to do for other people feels almost impossible for me, hence, without anyone being like 'hey, I'm going to try and lead', I'll hesitate.

    Also, for HalliCelestGlom right now, if you lose several high profile PK-ers at once, there will be morale impacts and people are less willing to try, because those people that usually made the most impact are missing from your roster and filling those shoes is hard. I am sad this happens and am trying to do something against where I can, but I can't fill the role of one of those people. All I can hope is that people keep trying till we've somewhat balanced out or losses.

    From my three or so years here: If morale is high, people are more willing to just try things, even if they're risking to lose. If morale is low, people are less likely to try things. That begins with suddenly half empty orgs and ends with people wanting to jump into combat. We can just try and our part to improve that situation.

    Avatar / Picture done by Xeii. Wheeeeee 
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 935 Transcendent
    As someone else said on combat spam, you really do just have to get used to it and learn what you can delete/replace with shorter lines. It's overwhelming at first but it gets easier.

    Right now I would call the most prominent "we're gonna try something" people are Azula for one side and Zagreus for the other.

    I think there's a bigger problem here, personally. Zagreus is not necessary for people to try, and the IHC side has more people who step up when he isn't around. That, and having played and still playing on both sides... People have higher morale in IHC more consistently, and this felt true even before Ascension. There was a timequake recently with me and three/four other people that I won't all remember correctly vs like 12 or so from SL. We knew we'd lose, but we went in for the heck of it and got one anomaly before quitting. And it was fun, and I don't remember anyone on my side complaining about the numbers or the loss or anything else.

    And sorry, but that's not been my experience on the SL side, most of the time. It's often unpleasant listening to the ooc clans over there, and very few people who ever want to try against difficult odds. 

    Though Trakis, you can always ask people on the other side for spars. Maybe not everyone is willing to do that, but I think you'll find quite a few that will.


    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • MboagnMboagn Member Posts: 113 Adept
    Is this the quake where I forgot my greatpent alias, because we don't talk about that quake :(:(
    It's pronounced "Maggy'!

    Explorer (80%), Achiever (53%), Socializer (53%), Killer (13%)
    Bartle Taxonomy
    (test yourself)

  • LuceLuce Fox Populi Member Posts: 2,598 Transcendent
    To chime in on the morale thing, SL is, right now, in a morale lowpoint and has been for a while. It's easier to be optimistic and gung-ho when your side is winning overall, it's hard when you've been ground down. You mentioned Azula for SL, but I think that's not really fair. Parhelion is a big driving force when he's around, trying to rally people, Aramel often tries to hold things together, and Ashira is usually willing to at least get an accurate numbers count, and those are just the Hallifaxians I see trying to push things. I can't brain right now, but I know there are Gloms who push and try to step up too.
  • YinuishYinuish Member Posts: 47 Capable
    Aramel has not been playing other than an hour here or there due to RL concerns for weeks now. I love Parhelion but people also have concerns that he asks for people to show up but isn't great at gentle motivation. It's something that's a bit of an issue for us, for sure. I don't think saying Azula is seen as a motivating force is all that unfair tbh. 

  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 935 Transcendent
    edited August 14
    Luce said:
    To chime in on the morale thing, SL is, right now, in a morale lowpoint and has been for a while. It's easier to be optimistic and gung-ho when your side is winning overall, it's hard when you've been ground down. You mentioned Azula for SL, but I think that's not really fair. Parhelion is a big driving force when he's around, trying to rally people, Aramel often tries to hold things together, and Ashira is usually willing to at least get an accurate numbers count, and those are just the Hallifaxians I see trying to push things. I can't brain right now, but I know there are Gloms who push and try to step up too.
    Yeah, well, I fought on Hallifax's/IHC's side back when it was hard and we were constantly losing and often it was just me and Aramel and one or two other people willing to try. It still felt more pleasant than it does now. All I can speak to is my experiences and it IS fair. It's not just a lack of willingness to participate, it's the bad attitudes in-between conflict that goes along with it.
    Post edited by Kethaera on
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • ParhelionParhelion Member Posts: 337 Fabled
    Yinuish said:
     I love Parhelion but people also have concerns that he asks for people to show up but isn't great at gentle motivation. 



    Yeah, I'll admit that I'm horrible at motivating others. I get frustrated when people try once and then give up, and I'm not good at nor comfortable with calling people out who are just standing around. But sometimes I have to :(


    People are going to help or they won't. 
    Her voice firm and commanding, Terentia, the Even Bladed says to you, "You have kept your oath to Me, Parhelion. You have sworn to maintain Justice in these troubled times."

    Yet if a boon be granted me, unworthy as I am, let it be for a steady hand with a clear eye and a fury most inflaming.
  • LuceLuce Fox Populi Member Posts: 2,598 Transcendent
    I was more objecting to Azula being seen as THE motivating force for Shadowlight (we really need a better name), rather than A motivating force. I've had a bit longer to think about it and we really don't have as many people that take up that role and have the chops to back it up.
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 935 Transcendent
    Which is understandable, especially given the people that did leave after Ascension. 
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • ChoganChogan Member Posts: 2 Inept
    If you're looking for balance you're coming to the wrong place.

    Try to enjoy the underdog role and become the leader/moral support that your alliance needs.

    But don't expect or hope for things to go your way. Enjoy the struggle if you can. There will be highs and lows. And if you're not having fun any more play something else. There are too many ways to spend our time to decide to take on a virtual job.
  • YinuishYinuish Member Posts: 47 Capable
    Parhelion said:
    Yinuish said:
     I love Parhelion but people also have concerns that he asks for people to show up but isn't great at gentle motivation. 



    Yeah, I'll admit that I'm horrible at motivating others. I get frustrated when people try once and then give up, and I'm not good at nor comfortable with calling people out who are just standing around. But sometimes I have to :(


    People are going to help or they won't. 
    Yeah, I'm def not having a go at you about it. I can get just as frustrated, I just explode in different ways and ragequit. 

    I also think our issue is more than just conflict. As a while I find people are WAY less motivated to do -anything at all- and it's a problem I'm trying my hardest to work out how to approach that and try and make it better. We do have some amazing people around but I think burnout, feeling less capable, numbers, apathy, etc, all contribute to not competing as well. 
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 935 Transcendent
    Chogan said:
    If you're looking for balance you're coming to the wrong place.

    Try to enjoy the underdog role and become the leader/moral support that your alliance needs.

    But don't expect or hope for things to go your way. Enjoy the struggle if you can. There will be highs and lows. And if you're not having fun any more play something else. There are too many ways to spend our time to decide to take on a virtual job.
    Extremely defeatist and unhelpful. 
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • ChoganChogan Member Posts: 2 Inept
    Care to point out anything you find to be inaccurate, or is it reality that you are upset with Kethaera?
  • KethaeraKethaera Member Posts: 935 Transcendent
    edited August 15
    Chogan said:
    Care to point out anything you find to be inaccurate, or is it reality that you are upset with Kethaera?
    *Edited out - Orael *

    1. Asking people to participate occasionally is not demanding they take on a virtual job.
    2. Asking people to not display their negativity publicly is not demanding they take on a virtual job. 
    3. Every complaint about "balance" is rarely, if ever backed up by facts, aka, the "reality" that you hint at.
    4. Every org has been the underdog at some point in time, some for far longer than SL has been currently. Implying that it will be that way for a long time or that it must be is inaccurate and defeatist. 
    5. Nothing you said was productive or would lead to any personal action.

    IE, you are unhelpful.*
    *Edited the above comment too - Orael
    Post edited by Orael on
    "Chairwoman," Princess Setisoki states, holding up a hand in a gesture for her to stop and returning the cup. "That would be quite inappropriate. One of the males will serve me."
  • OraelOrael Member, Administrator, Moderator, Gods Posts: 434 Creator
    Let's tone it down a bit here.

    I personally don't believe that encouraging people to make the best out of a low point is generally unhelpful, it can be quite fun and exhilarating to run into a fight underhanded and pull off a victory you should have lost. I don't think reminding people that this is a game and sometimes you just need to take a break is unhelpful either.

    I will point out that it wasn't too long ago that these same comparisons between how players approach things were switched with Glom/Celest/Gaudi (the alliance at the time) being lauded for how they approached PvP etc in comparison to how Mag/Halli/Seren did. We're seeing a reversal of things here. 

  • YinuishYinuish Member Posts: 47 Capable
    I mean, I've def seen in on both sides before in the past and I'm not saying that's not the case. I also certainly don't think it's something the admin need to address (some people have stated they think it's the admin's job to ensure number balance, that's all I mean by this before I might come off offensive). 

    I do, however, stand by my statement that sometimes it's the attitude difference. I've played everywhere in the past and I do think this current situation is the lowest morale I've seen for ages -while still having numbers available to us-. I want to be able to address that part specifically. 
  • SynlSynl Member Posts: 208 Adept
    Definitely tilt your focus towards orgcredits. It's probably the most competitive aspect of the game right now, for the org level. Ie. the best judge of how well an org is actually doing over a period of time.

    And combat is wildly imbalanced. It's not just the numbers factors, and it's not 'this org is better than this org', it's that... combat is a mess. Which is fine, as long as you understand that competition is not the goal. It's walking in, spamming some cool abilities, and the occasional ohyeah.
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