Posts by Wizzball

    Great posts Scorox!


    I like a lot of the ideas and they'd be great solution, but I think the problem analysis is incomplete/the game's problems are worse.


    You write that "It is an incredibly cleaver idea to introduce the 3 different roles (Gov, Duke, and King) in a systematic fashion to accommodate for players different levels of activity and wish for responsibility in the kingdom."



    The problem is that I don't think that feature was actually meant that way. I think the progression from governor to king was considered to be a purely temporal, from newbie to veteran player.
    Governors would be a mostly supportive role for the kings who actually compete to win the game, while they in turn are less threatened and can learn the ropes and participate in the game for a world or two without actually competing much.


    I think it was inteded that over time, *every* veteran player would become king - activity or wishes not being a factor.
    That's why there actually is a restriction - not everyone can select king role, but players with a certain minimum prestige. The original design expected players to want to play king so badly that they'd need to restrict access to the role. :P


    Still, many of the kings in-game are zero-prestige newbies in their first round, because of all the veteran players this game has, way too few choose playing king voluntarity. That would mean, since without kings -> no kingdoms and without kingdoms -> noone collecting victory points to compete over the game (no kings meaning to the game as it is designed that just noone wants to play competitively), the game would effectively become Sim City. That's why the game dynamically allows even newbies to become kings, since with not enough kings, the game opens the "floodgates" and forgets any requirements and allows anyone to become kings, just so there are at least some player playing competitively.


    And that's where the root of the problem starts:
    Yes, quality of kings is low.
    That's because the quality checks are ineffective.
    The quality checks are shut off in first place because if they were effective, we'd have noone playing king at all.


    And that's why having stricter checks doesn't solve the actual problem - you'd just end up without kingdoms, because too few people like to play kings, and those who do want are bad, so with extra hard checks, even those who like to play king right now wouldn't make it anymore -> no kings remaining.


    The problem isn't "how can we better weed out the suited candidates from the bad ones from our huge pool of candidates for the king role", the problem is "how do we get enough candidates for king in the pool to allow us to be picky in first place."



    You see, if you consider that this may have been the original intent of the design, the obvious remedy to all the players' woes is to "just pick king as your role!":


    Players complain that they prefer much smaller kingdoms - but to get smaller kingdoms you'd need many more players playing kings, and to immediately get many small kingdoms all the community would have to do is to just pick the king role damnit.

    Many players complain that their kings are so bad and that ruins the game, and that governors are really at such a disadvantage, and that they can't change anything about that as a governor, but that they still want to play competitively and win, and they don't pick the obvious remedy the game offers for their plight: Playing as a king themselves. So play king and you can change it!



    I just think the original design vastly underestimated how much different the appeal of "manage a small group, be responsible for everything, and get blamed for everything" is to players (original idea assuming that everyone would want to do it) compared to "having no responsibility whatsoever but still be on a winning team", which is essentially the governor and duke roles. :P


    To solve the underlying problem, we need to somehow fix the attractivity of these roles, so that we have more candidates for the king role, and then we can get picky.
    But the game not-being-picky-enough is unfortunately not the root cause of the game's problems, IMO. That'd be really easy to fix, as you describe. It's harder to fget comptetent leaders in a community where noone wants to play leader. That's more of a complete failure of the original idea of seperate roles in itself, and more of a hint that the game doesn't attract a diverse enough playerbase to fill 3 distinct roles in first place.

    I think the limiting nature of unions themselves is nice. It helps to level the playing field wherein one server isn't completely dominated by pre-made super-kingdoms. It gives newer players coming into the role of King a chance to prove themselves.


    I am in agreement with the complete stupidity of not allowing a Vice-King to abdicate or be replaced. I think that if two kingdoms unite and the King goes inactive (or is permabanned), then the Vice King is automatically assigned to the position of King once those villages have been wiped from the server. Then, the spot for Vice-King can be filled from a Duke's position only, from there then the Duke can be filled from a governor's position. This same rule-set should exist for a Vice King. Limiting this "climb the ladder" principle this way, IMHO, still provides challenges to the original intent of the devs and at the same time provides a way for a Kingdom to continue to exist.


    Asking kings to hand over their entire kingdoms to another without even getting a hard guarantee that they'll keep their positions is not something I'd consider a valid tradeoff.


    Let's assume a vice-king could be replaced:


    I'd ask another kingdom to unite, then have my members catapult my new vice-king until he quits the game ('his' members have the choice of continueing with me or civil war, which loses the game for them in any case - their old kingdom is gone either way), then have one of my buddy dukes ascend.


    That's a very good strategy - basically a complete 'hostile takeover' of another king's work (building up his the kingdom) without any fighting, then dumping him to get a reliable vice-king of your choosing.


    Kingdoms is supposed to be a game about teamwork - fight together, die together - not about ditching your partners and replacing them when convenient. That's the reason for this 'complete stupidity' of enforcing a contract on both partners that what you've earned is what you keep:It's protection. It's so that players can at least enter a union without having to fear immediate ousting once they entrust another player with their whole kingdom. :P

    I think that in order to discuss the problem of this system one must first realize two things.
    1. In any given server of Travian Kingdoms the objective is to win.
    2. In order to win players will have to make strategically sound decisions.

    1. Disagreed or 'depends': A newbie in a game gets vastly different objectives than a veteran. You need to fulfill a lot of prerequisite objectives before you can tackle the main objective. Each one provides a challenge and thereby risk to fail.
    You may have to play multiple servers to build up resources (friends) to be able to overcome all objectives and win on a given server. So for the first few worlds any player is playing, it is unrealistic to expect to win right away - they must play to achieve sub-objectives first.
    Think of Kingdoms as a roguelike - the objective is more like getting a little further each time you try and be stronger on the next server, rather than winning.
    1.b) One of these sub-objectives is to 'find and join a reliable team'. You factually can't win the game without joining a kingdom, so 'join a kingdom' is a hard prerequisite to winning the game. A team is something you can take with you to the next server and thereby start stronger with more resources to overcome challenges.


    2. "Depends". You'll have to get through a lot of dice rolls and retrys to have a realistic shot to win the game. For example, at the start of any server, you're positioned at a random point on the map. You can be placed next to a premade meta which just farms you immediately, you can be placed amid a lot of inactives producing no resources,, or next to a bunch of nice veterans who wanna team up with you and a lot of simmers producing a ton of resources and who don't mind getting farmed by you. The player in the first situation will be way more challenged than the latter (and there may even be no strategy whatsoever to get out of it), and that due to a random dice throw. Right at the start of the game - and this doesn't exactly get better later.
    This is due to the game being multiplayer - the other players aren't agents within our software, we can't control them. so the more a game relies on human actors - and Kingdoms has almost exclusively human actors - a single player is depending on the behavior and strategy of others, and his own strategies and behavior may or may not influence that.
    2.b) Strategically sound decisiontaking doesn't imply or equal perfectly informed decisiontaking. Deliberate imperfect information mechanics are a core part of strategy games (fog of war, etc. No plan survives contact with the enemy - because what the enemy will actually do is rarely known), but that you can find strategies to mitigate the risks. For example, people can improve their chances of a successful start on a server by coordinating with friends and joining the same quadrant. The decision to join up with friends as premade team is a strategy that greatly increases their chances of being in a good spot when the map is revealed and they make contact with the enemy. Asking a friend who doesn't play the world or who plays and has already joined where other powerful premades are to avoid choosing that quadrant to avoid having a strong early game competitor right next to you is is even more sound decisiontaking, as it also increases your changes. (You basically scout the map and remove the fog of war before you take your decision where to spawn - sounds smart.)
    2.c) Strategically sound decisiontaking as described above requires resources. Choice is a luxury you must be able to afford. Without resources, you don't have options to choose from. To influence the first dice roll of the game already requires having friends. That means when you're first joining the game and have no friends in the game, you must roll the dice and, if you survive, make it your first objective to get friends, to be able to start the next server with a full friendslist and to influence the first diceroll to be able to keep up with all the other premades doing the same. Since friends are the only thing you can take with you between worlds, and all the hardest challenges the game throws at you require you having built up the vital resource 'friends', building up this resource is the most important thing you need to get to the main objective of winning. People who've built up more friends than you can start any server with a huge advantage over you.



    §1. First of, the union system FORCES you to union with another kingdom as King. It is not something you can choose. If you don't you cannot win as King.

    So does the kingdoms system. You can't even get victory points without joining a kingdom, so the kingdoms system FORCES you to join a kingdom as player. Capitalizing and writing it bold doesn't make it a problem.
    As I said, it's a challenge the game throws at you, not an option. You need to overcome challenges to win. That's gaming?
    The union system is a second stage of the kingdoms system, an additional tier of the absolutely non-optional "you must team up to win" challenge, but for the kings, because the king role is meant for veteran players who get another tier of the same challenge thrown at them, with higher stakes.


    As explained above, once you recognize the roguelike elements and that there is a resource you can take with you between servers (friends) which makes subsequent plays massively easier, it may not always be the strategically sound decision to play every single server to win, but rather build your friends-resource to start the next server more powerful. But unions may even help with that.


    §2. Should one of the kings go inactive or in another way sabotage the Kingdoms progress the Governors dominant strategy is to leave the kingdom for another kingdom. This was the case before when you had only one king, but now the 2nd king will be left with a Kingdom with no members and will most likely need to delete from this server.

    Would you form a kingdom next server with a team which leaves the kingdom at the first diffculty? I won't make players dukes of which I think they may betray the kingdom at the first offer of a kingdom that may have a better shot at winning instead of fighting harder - I'd make them my farms next server. All these players will not get a list of reliable friends out of the action to start the next server way more powerful, which means their development in the game as whole will stagnate compared to those who try to use the challenge to weed out who are loyal to the team and who not, and make friends with the reliable people. That's not what I'd call a dominant strategy. :P
    The vice-king has failed his additional challenge of teaming up with a reliable partner, but gained a lot of vital information which may help him next round. He also still has the option of gathering resouces for next round - writing other kings who are left alone and asking whether to team up next game, and such. Gathering possibly more reliable friends.


    §3. Before the Union update the most damage a spy could have in your Kingdom was to leak information to his friends in the enemy kingdom. Now however the best way you may use a spy is to have him as a King and simply let him start sabotage or go inactive once the union is performed. Basically the optimal
    strategy here is to ask a friend that do not really intend to play the server to start a kingdom and have him merge with a neighbouring enemy, and then go inactive.

    No, the most damage a spy could do in your kingdom would be to actually become the king when the prior king wants to stop playing, or worse: become the king's dual and then kick everyone and dissolve the kingdom.


    Okay, let's analyze your optimal strategy:
    - Prerequisite is to find a friend who really doesn't want to be playing to groom up a kingdom and handle members and survive and accumulate enough power to be an attractive union partner for 30 days. That sounds like a lot of playing and effort to throw away for someone who doesn't really want to play a server! (the 30-day-rule exists for this exact reason...)


    Okay, but let's assume you have a friend who is for some reason volunteering to build up a kingdom for 30 days and then throw it away:
    So, after 30 days, you have three active kingdoms: Your kingdom, your enemy's kingdom, and your friend's kingdom. You 'control' 2 out of these kingdoms. What could you do?


    1. You could friendly-treasure transfer the treasures of your friends kingdom to yours, and then take over him and his his members into your kingdom, while allowing you to farm his villages because he's going inactive. You've suddenly become twice as powerful and can take the enemy kingdom by war..
    2. If you don't want your friend's members, you could attack your enemy together with your friend's kingdom - telling his members that the attack will be coordinated, but you orchestrate it so that they just weaken your enemy's defenses and take all the losses. Then your friend kicks all his members and dissolves the kingdom, and then your kingdom swoop up both your friend's and the enemy kingdom in their weakened state and have a lot of farms and treasures, but less members and more foes than with option 1.
    3. Or you could have your friend unite with your enemy and then go inactive. Your enemy will get 2 extra dukes, 2 extra treasury slots (instead of 3, due to your friend's inactivity), the treasures of your friends' kingdom and all the members and their armies, without suffering any damage. So, your enemy now being twice as powerful, can overrun you with all his new non-spy members and make you his farm.


    Why on earth is 3 the optimal strategy? I wouldn't call that sabotage... i'd call that suicidally feeding your enemies. And 1 and 2 are done by metas already all the time, independent of unions that's why they're so powerful. :P




    Yes, lesson is: Don't team up with cheaters, or people who can't behave, or freeriders, and don't make people who can't commit to play a round the team captains. There are many tales how kingdoms were screwed by leaders who gone inactive without telling anyone, or kings who betrayed their kingdom, waay before the unions feature, and unions at least give governors a signal that these two players intend to commit to and stick with with the kingdom, back each other up and play to win, and suffer consequences if they don't, which is much more security than we had before.


    And if you have friends who create kingdoms on the same server as you, then playing as a meta and ganing up against your enemies is way more powerful than having your freinds work to shove more members towards your enemies somehow (example above), and meta-ing was powerful before unions as well, because having more friends that start the server with you is the dominant strategy in this game and a prerequisite for winning, and was so before unions. :P

    Tom,


    - your king will become inactive (grey) after 7 days of inactivity
    - his treasuries won't be deactivated(!)
    - he will then be deleted precisely 21 days after going inactive (7 days on x3 speedservers)
    - upon deletion, all foreign troops at your king's village will be sent back to their origins
    - upon deletion, everything your king owns just vanishes. That includes all treasures in his villages(!)


    - while the king is gone, your vice-king can collect most of the tributes.
    - for villages where this doesn't work, you can organize friendly raids (your teammate empties his resource store and sends his troops nearby, and another member raids the village, to empty the tribute & treasure store).
    - similarly, you should work to get enough treasure capacity in your kingdom's other villages and then friendly-raid the treasures from the king's treasuries so that all the treasures remain in the kingdom.


    - upon deletion, your vice-king will become king (This is something we should probably change to the point where the king becomes inactive in the future...).
    - For the rest of the round, you lack one treasury slot compared to the other kingdoms (the free one for the king) - your newly coronated king can then redistribute the other 'earned' treasury slots.


    It'd basically be like a miniature 30-day-civil-war caused by the departure of one of your king. Yes, it does set your team back, but so would any war caused by another player. The one missing treasury slot for the remainder of the game should be negligible considering you can build many treasuries in one village and when you're top ten, you should have a lot of additional slots earned.


    That said, I never said anywhere that I'd "honestly believe that under the new duke and vice king arrangements its a viable decision to NOT enter into a union.". (Please quote where I did). None of my comments hint at that, and of course they won't make sense if you read that into it. Also, what you considers viable or not depends on your goals on a world.


    I understand that you're frustrated, but the rules as they are do have a sense, and they're pretty standard for competitive games, no matter the length. All I can tell you is that your situation is unfortunate, but there's no error in the rules.


    In our table tennis team, the captain was absent once and his replacement didn't know how to properly fill out the game report form due to lack of instructions. Having entered the players in a slightly wrong order, the whole competition including all matches - which we had won - counted for the opponent as if we had not scored any single point, as per the league's rules. And this is enforced even if the other team doesn't even complain.
    And of course that will screw up our team's chances to win the league before the season ends - which is a year long, as in most sports.


    Noone likes when that happens, but the rules still exist for good reasons. :P

    Hey Tom,


    best wishes that your king is well and nothing terrible actually happened. =O


    That said, of course a unity is a commitment to play together for the rest of the round. And a commitment means that if a player quits - for whatever reason - everyone who commited on playing together will face the consequences (It's not really a 'punishment'). It's basically like a player dropping out of any multiplayer match with set teams - yep, that screws everyone else.


    You're basically just experiencing the one major drawback of a union. Yes, you get additional dukes, and it comes at a much higher dependency on the king(s). There's no free lunch here.


    Joining any king no matter if united or not is a risk, because if that king declares war on a larger kingdom, it's also your villages getting cata'd for his decisions. The whole group facing consequences for bad actions of their leader is what submitting to a king's rule entails. But you also share the good parts of it - if it works out. When playing on a team, you're commited to share consequences, for the better or worse. Thinking that this isn't fair, that the team should only share the good parts and when something goes awry there's suddenly only a single player 'guilty' and the others are 'victims' isn't really my idea of teamplay.


    So while I hope that the thing happening to you isn't a frequent event, it is an intended consequence.
    As for preparation, it's of course ideal if a group's leadership consists at least partly of real-world friends so that one can check up if another has gone missing.
    It's also ideal if the king has a dual (not just a sitter) so that the dual can resign in the name of the king and the vice-king can take over quickly.


    However, now that things have gone bad for you, the decision your kingdom now has to take is whether to soldier through it until your king's account is deleted for inactivity - then the vice will take over (we may change that in the future so that inactivity alone triggers an automatic switch, not just deletion, but as of now deletion is the criterion).


    The difficulties you are facing are also intended - great gaming entails overcoming difficult challenges, and surviving a very difficult situation such as the one you're facing and soldiering through it may not just make for an epic experience, but can also strengthen you as a team, because if you can survive this without your king, you're truly a team that doesn't unravel at any single point of failure, and doesn't consider itself as 'victims' of events or as 'punished', but as a team that can overcome any challenge.


    Consider it a new and unique challenge the game throws at you and either decide to take up on it... or restart the game. That's all the advice I can give.

    @7ᵗʰ I've forwarded your story to 'The Manager'. I don't know what, or if any at all, difference it will make, but be assured that at least that story about how the world played for you was told. I'm sorry about the bad experience. :(


    @Ignis_COM - Maybe yes. But I'd still like to say thanks for trying to express your points. It's appreciated. Just sayin'.

    It doesn't matter what you claim or try to dismiss as unimportant,you tried to sell a product that just did not deliver the game you advertised end of story no matter how you dress it up.Various players have demo'd how their plans were ruined and therefore your failure to deliver has had a huge effect on the server outcome.Pure example of mis-selling,re-fund must be forthcoming.Future of this game depends on your response.


    Just saying, I'm just posting here as myself - I didn't sell you anything, nor did I craft any announcements. It also doesn't get you closer to your goals if you try to dismiss what I'm writing. ;) I know you're fighting an evil corporate entity in your mind, but the evil corporate entity of course had you sign a terms&conditions document that made it immune to all claims anyways and doesn't need to listen. In this thread, it's honestly just... me reading this.


    I'm just trying to understand, from gamer to gamer, what causes all the rage. If it doesn't matter what I say, so be it, end of communication. I'm doingt his voluntarily, I'm not gettin' paid to be a community manager you know?
    And you will know that many people on the internet issued threats on game companies that the future of game X depended on them doing this and that, and that most of the time doesn't matter as well, because game companies rely on more reliable sources than their forum population to tell them about the future of their games.


    The most successful strategy is always convincing other humans that wrong has been done, and waging a ragewar on a forum antagonizing those who you're asking to get you something ain't gonna give you squat. :P




    Thanks @7ᵗʰ ,


    yeah I read from you in the other thread and knew that you're Omega on the server. and yes, my remark was aimed at your kingdoms, because by now it's clearly visible that you two are screwed big time, and that must be a helluva frustration. Thanks for clearing things up / participating! Much helpful!


    Let's say you've planned this to a certain point in time (yes, the one kingdom creating armies and the other collecting VP's is a sound strategy with this.) - there must have been a point in time for you where the merger would have *had* to happen or else the strategy would fall apart as you've described. Why did you not free one of the duke-slots of the VP-kingdom, invited the dukes of the other kingdom in turn, to then invite all the governors in their (temporary) space, and continue to do this until the 'manual' merger was complete? Duke-hopping I've called it in my last posts?


    Yes, you would not have gotten the 'big area' thing in that instant, but you'd have kept the armies and VP's all the same. That's my question - why didn't you follow the strategy - which is a strategy metas use, just with more than two kingdoms - despite the button for it missing? This should have been done a few weeks back, when you were in the right position, anstead of playing on seperately, of course, so this ain't no solution for you anymore. Didn't you know that could be done?


    As for the 'big area' thing - why would anyone be intimidated if *everyone* on the server would have done it all the same? It's not like noone else would have merged - if everyone grows twice as large, the relative size among each other doesn't change and cannot impress?

    Hi Wizzball,
    Maybe we all get angry not for lack of merge option but for your action or better to say lack of action.
    as I understand you lunch cardinal new game style system before testing and get back proper reviews
    so I'm personally angry for :

    • I'm used as experimental rabbit who payed himself for all experiments.
    • new system obviously don't work, I even don't think merge option, in this server there was so many bugs that in past test servers had less bugs.
    • 10k treasuries for next treasury slot also don't work, as i wrote metas use this as advantage to get more slots available, so they get more players in territory, more robber camps, etc with system when was 4k for next slot smaller kingdoms had biger change to grow and made some bigger damage to metas. if your intention is to support metas you did it well, good job!
    • now we have mini WW with 20-50k of treasuries and lot of stat. def in there. no-one is attacking those treasuries maybe I don't know, but would like to see reports there mini WW with 30k treasuries is destroyed i Think one has such report to share. So you plan with new change to get game more exiting but you get exact opposite effect.

    basically this is TEST SERVER. and i don't like play test server even if you give 300 gold each week, but in this test server i payed myself.


    Hey @Ignis_COM,


    first off, thanks for the cool and early feedback back on page 4. :)


    On bugs, I also can not comment, 'cos here I'm neither the one producing them nor the one to fix'em, unfortunately.


    On the 'experimental rabbit' metaphor:


    Question: When you've read the announcement of com2x3 and saw that it'd have changes to the game, why didn't you say
    "Oh, there's new stuff on this server, I don't know if the 10k-treasures thing will be fun for me, so I'll treat this as a TEST server for me first and not pay for the first worlds with these changes." - because you were just as smart back then as you are now?


    If this was an experiment , it'd be a miserable one. :P
    Why did we tell the rabbits beforehand about our changes we'd want to test?
    Why did the rabbits have the choice of joining the experiment instead of being caught in cages?
    Where's the control group that doesn't get the feature?


    The point to announce as much of our plans beforehand was because we didn't want to treat people as our experimental rabbits and told them early about our plans with these servers instead of surprising them after we've caught them.
    And there's no control group because we aren't experimenting but *still* firmly believe that this change is for the better of the game.


    -----------------


    Whether 10k treasuries "work" or not work is not measured by 'meta' or 'no meta'.
    Raising a value from 4k to 10k doesn't change anything about th growth ratio of the meta versus the single kingdom, it just changes the speed of growth for both. That much is clear - that a change of a limit can't influence relative growth.
    Metas can exploit limits in this game no matter to what height they're set to, and preventing this was never the goal of the feature.



    The 10k treasure limit does "work" and very measurably so at slowing down the growth of *all* kingdoms the same. There's still the meta, but with less than half of the area. There's still the non-metas too, with less than half of their previous area. All areas are much smaller, but their relative sizes have not changed. That is one thing I consider to be better for the game - no more excessive kingdom areas - but changing a simple value isn't that powerful that it'd also fix relative growth problems and everything else in one run. That was never the goal or somethjng this little change could realistically provide. :P



    ----------------


    About the "mini"-WW with static def: Yes, this was a predictable effect too. Of course we knew that by allowing multiple treasuries in one village, that a great strategy was to build treasury-villages. But this has to be well-planned by the king's as well and it's essentially one village devoted only to that. A new strategy to plan


    What people complained a lot about was that they couldn't properly defend against treasure-plundering. With a lot of treasuries in different places, an attacker is able to concentrate all his forces in one place, and the defender has to spread out their forces wide to bable to defend anything. Or have a spy in the other kingdom to know where the hammers are going to hit. Kingdoms definitely wasn't balanced for that number of treasuries.


    This has lead to frustration in both kingdoms, because the defender can only lose unless using player-spies or traitors, and the attacker could never really win - because if the hammer is unveiled, they're losing it all, and if the hammers hit, they could still steal only a tiny percentage of the other kingdom's treasures, because they're all spread out and successfully hitting a target and stealing 1k of treasures at a great risk of total loss of your hammers is a horrible risk/reward ratio when your enemy has 100k treasures in total. It just doesn't make much of a difference, risking all these armies for 1% maximum damage on the enemy.


    Yes, this possibly made it easier for smaller kingdoms to take part in large coalition-actions because the bigger ones didn't really have much chance to defend against large amounts of fake-waves, but "having no chance either way" is not fun gameplay for a strategy game either. And the big ones still blew the small ones apart when they figured out their attack targets. Or afterwards.


    It's this risk/reward ratio which I guess caused attacks to be rare before the endgame all the time before these changes.


    When a big kingdom now creates a "mini-WW", that name really captures its importance - this puts a lot more treasures at risk for getting grabbed, and the reward for the victor far greater.
    If you grab these treasures, you'll steal a lotof VP's at once, and you'll generate a lot of VP's for the rest of the game. The reward for killing them is much bigger. Yes, it may take multiple hammers to manage it, but maybe these treasure-pinatas will earn you even more VP's than any world wonder could, and are now actually 'worth' the risk.


    Victory is decided by who has the most VP's. You'll have to judge when applying how many hammers grants you the most VP's. A world wonder will only give you VP once at the end of the game. The earlier you crack open a single "mini-WW", the more VP's the plundered treasures grant you for the rest of the round instead of the enemy. This means, that a "mini-WW" may be worth your three hamemrs now, and it'll be worth more the earlier you can attack it, because the earlier you grab those treasures the more VP's they will generate for the rest of the round.


    So there may be a "window of opportunity" there for using your hammers on them, which is especially not right before the end of the game (then, the risk/reward ratio gets worse and worse and the wonders still rule supreme), but which you may miss if you wait too long when you're afraid of losing your hammers.


    A foe having all his most important assets centralized in one place is much easier to take down than one who has them spread all over in countless small pockets. Maybe it's still not worth it though. but that's up to the players.
    For me, having player-built "mini-WW"'s as a mid-game goal to crack sounds like fun. Maybe it'll need more than one server for players to adjust their strategies especially to them. to me, the risk/reward-ratios for them look waaaay better than for the 55-treasuries-over-half-the-map situations we had near the endgame before. :P



    cheers,


    Wizz


    Hi @Sensor_COM,


    yes it isn't "obvious", that's why I'm asking and wrote a huge-ass wall-of-text why the merge button doesn't make a difference to the game. If things were "obvious" we obviously wouldn't need to have a talk in first place? :P


    The main thing I can guess by the kingdoms on the server itself is that some teams apparently thought hat VP's would get merged as well and have maintained two kingdoms clearly marked as unions, but collected treaures and VP's with both of them instead of swapping all their treasures to one of them as Jett described is what the tops do.
    Like thinking that if they have two kingdoms with 500k victory points and they'd merge them they'd have a million afterwards.


    But kingdom unions won't and were never meant to merge victory-points (that would lead to huge frustrations as the dominant strategy would then be to wait with merging 'till the endgame and then merge among the most powerful kingdoms, not merge early and strong with weak kingdoms).


    In that case, the strategy would have failed miserably regardless if with or without the feature, because people have built their strategies not on this feature as designed but on fantasies we can't read out of their minds. That's currently my only explanation and to see if there's anything actually messed up systematically instead of just a frustrating misunderstanding is what I wanted to investigate with this response. :P



    I reported 3 Times that i receive lag... i got the answer that i am the only Person reporting it. You can read that this is Not the truth. I was Not able to Play for several days in the evening. If i report a Problem over a ticket i Want that checked and Not Reading that i am the only Person reporting.

    Hi @Spaceball_COM and @Wahlberg (you both seem to be more about support and problems...),


    I really can't comment on lag or support, because I'm not working in tech support. I would recommend opening a specific thread about the support responses you've been given if they were not helpful. Your complaints *will* not arrive at the appropriate person when you're complaining inside a balancing threat meant to give feedback to gamedesigners, so much should be very clear when using forums - derailing a thread from it's topic is a bad idea. :P


    But just to lend you some human understanding, what I did have on speedservers myself is that the frontend is sometimes really slow (3fps for me) especially on the map view due to all the villages and interactions going on, which is nothing new, and also sometimes the eventhandler seems to lag for me (buildings not being finished when the timer runs out, armies not arriving...), but unfortunately so far always when I actually moaned about it I couldn't reproduce it anymore, so while playing my account I have not found out what actually causes lag when, and we must receive very few reports about it because I too was actually the only one complaining about it at that time.


    So be assured that the anwser to this complaint is the same even when the gamedesigner complains to the project director, and it's very likely a honest one. It seems like a really hard to pin down issue that doesn't seem to affect many and not all the time. What I was told is that com2x3 had an emergency maintenance on one day last week which took us 30 minutes to handle (depending on timezone, that may have been in your evening, for us it was morning if I remember correctly).


    We do have a person from tech support with us literally every day reporting on issues and most of the time the report is "no issues at all" (again today, so if you have lag today then we do honestly not have *any* idea about it). When reports of lag arrive en masse there's usually immediate action taken and I hear everyone searchin' for solutions and root causes all the time.


    Support people don't know "the truth" (and it's a philosophical question if anyone can) - they wanna solve problems, and if they're not swamped by tickets on a particular problem they follow procedures that work for 95% of the people having problems (clearing cache and such basics). :P


    I do agree though that getting an answer like "It's only you" sucks. Silly answer. Doesn't make it better for you. All I can say is that I receive the same answer when I run into bugs and such (and the above test fails), and as a developer, I do have to admit that things affecting many are higher priority than problems affecting me alone, or me and 5 other guys on the forums among a thousand. Sucks, but that's still the truth. :P


    When an internet provider somewhere in the huge interconnected thing that's the internet has a defective switch and has issues forwarding packets to our servers and we don't perceive any lag and our server doesn't report any load out of the usual, just the X players connected to that defective switch on that particular node over that particular route of that particular internet provider, and there's also most of the time we can't even tell what it is (and clearing the cache seems like the only thing that one could try) and there's nothing we can do about it anyways when our servers report to be are up and running just fine and not overloaded.


    It may not have been that, maybe there was an actual widespread problem with us I've not heard about, as I said I don't know, but judging from the reponses you've got from support that sounds indeed like something like that. "Problem only in ukraine" may mean that we've received multiple reports from ukraine and you weren't the only one, but maybe that's because some internet switch there cracked and we don't know what it was or is and we can't do shit about it until *someone* from an unknown telecom company in ukraine replaces their cracked switch.


    But as I said, I'm just poking in the dark here being no tech support and not actually having the server statistics for last week - all I can say is that when our own stuff just failed for just one day the whole company was head over heels at fixing it, and that day is still called the "black wednesday" in here, and judging by the flurry of activity on that day I would not assume that any bigger issue would just brush past this company and get lied about... :P



    cheers,


    Wizz

    Hey Wizzball :) The problem with this part in 2x3 anyway, is that 2 big kingdoms did friendly treasure swaps on a massive scale some time ago and now it is them - the big kngdoms - reaping the benefit of robber camps. The smaller kingdoms have filled their borders and some are getting no camps at all while the meta which exploited a game mechanism is reaping the benefit of lots of camps. So they're only sparsely populated because they have so many treasuries and therefore a huge area, not because they're small (low population) kingdoms. It is them who least need camps, but it is them who are getting the most. I believe that the same has happened on at least one other server. And yes, we need those camps to get stolen goods to get to the next treasury level. The exploiters with their big number of camps are already many treasuries ahead of where they should be given their numbers of treasures.
    My issue though is more with the problems on 2x3 than the lack of the Union merges.


    Hey @Jett,


    thanks for the calm reply.
    I can unfortunately only comment on the gamedesign-side. I can't really say much on the other issues.


    Yeah, treasure-swapping is a thing that this part doesn't touch at all. We've discussed that among the team many times too, but as of yet the "freedom" of the players was considered to be more important than stopping that thing dead by imposing certain restrictions on gameplay.


    I think I've said that earlier, but it's impossible to stop players from cooperating unless you make it impossible for them to interact, and cooperation between kingdoms is actually meant to be an essential part of the game.
    Even in a pure 'team-vs-team'-game like DotA or LoL a gamedesigner can't stop both teams from cooperating and meeting peacefully in the middle of the map and just having a chat. They also couldn't stop two teams to partake in a tournament and the one deliberately losing to the other to push their buddies to the finals. They can maybe punish it afterwards if they have the resources to detect and prove (!) it happening, but they can't stop it from being possible.


    When I'm analyzing the ends of recents worlds (which I've done before this change, so my memory should be relatively recent.), the endgame highscore always looked something like an exponential curve (first has twice the VP's than second, second has twice the VP's than third...), and the first kingdom always had twice (or more) as many players than the second.
    That, right now, as per my analysis, is the essence of the game - someone who's ahead already often starts snowballing, and the more players are within a kingdom the better, period.
    I guess way more fundamental changes to the game would be necessary to fix that than what we can do right now or in the near future.


    I'm always kind of sorry to read people in the communities of such games (This not being the only one that has it, as I've described above there's nothing any gamedesigner can do to stop people from cooperating if they start the game determined to cooperate no matter what type of game it is, which means any PvP MMO is especially susceptible to it.) fighting among themselves over such things.


    My stance as gamedesigner on the issue is that when the game's rules (or official 'community rules') permit it, you should do it to win if that's fun for you. If that gets out of hand, the developers must think up something they can stop it with, either a rule change or some form of policing, but it's nothing players should stress each other over.
    And people must be sware that policing is ridiculously expensive (see the problems Blizzard has with Overwatch or Riot has with League of Legends, both must spend ridiculous resources to police their communities.)


    And if a MMO's community wants to police itself, at least duke it out in-game. If there's a majority in the community of a server who loathe a certain behavior, they can still feel free to team up on the offender and punish them with numerical superiority.


    In this case, I would actually have recommended everyone to use friendly treasure-swapping, because as I've described, merging two kingdoms is just an official button for an even more powerful version of friendly treasure-swapping (the smaller kingdom loses all its VP, but the treasures are transfered to the bigger kingdom - and not just the treasures, but even the treasuries they're stored within!)


    As far as strategies go, this must be done as early as possible because you can't transfer VP's and the longer you wait, the more VP's are lost to your union, but the treasures generate VP's over time so the winning strategy is to get the treasures over to your buddies as quickly as possible. And that's why people still will swap treasures when kingdom unions are implemented (because when you start knowing that you'll merge later with a fixed partner you'd want to swap the treasures earlier than 30 days in the game anyways!). also, since this feature doesn't combat metas at all, people will still swap treasures because the official version allows only 2 kingdoms to swap treasures 'officially', but most metas have way more wings to swap treasures with.


    And that's why adding the unions late sucks either way and whether these worlds will be delayed or not doesn't make a difference anymore,, since those who play to win must have done this way earlier, and even if it had arrived earlier then the people who don't use treasure-swapping would still lose to those who do regardless.


    Because many players supporting a cause are more powerful in this game than few players cooperating to support a cause, and there's nothing I could do to stop that really. Treasure-swapping worked long before com2x3, and it will be the dominant strategy after any update we could do now or in the near future as far as I can tell.

    Hey everyone!


    I'm Wizzball, the Gamedesigner for the kingdom unions features.


    Seeing that the mood is kind of sour in this thread (yes, that's an understatement), I'd like to throw myself in the fray just so that you've got a human to vent your anger on.
    I know there's other thread on this issue, but as a gamedesigner, I can't comment on the lag on com2x3 other than "lag sucks", so this one is more fitting for me.


    We've talked in the team about the situation multiple times over the course of this and last week, and by now you prolly know about the poll as I can see. In my personal opinion, of course either option is kind of sucky but I figure it's pretty obvious that things didn't go according to plan this time as far as timing goes, and there's no turning time back.


    But after all, just sayin' that as an 'insider', the guys sittin' next to me are a really small but passionate game team that has neither the resources nor can supply the predictability of a large corporation /no matter what/ - and as gamers we probably know that /those/ don't have the best track record of sticking with release dates either...


    Right now there are a whoppin' two programmers and QA's sweatin' their asses off to get this feature live the next weeks, and that's pretty much all the resources this small team can afford, and I'm answering questions on edge cases by the QA as I'm writing this (and unfortunately they're discovering a swath of bugs that were in the 'base game' all the time while testing the kingdom unions features, which makes deciding what to fix now or later to get the unions out as quickly as possible even more difficult!).


    Our problem is that we can't turn back time either, so of course the poll is 30 days to late, but we can't jump back 30 days in time to correct the situation, so we have to make what we can do, and since we really didn't know which option sucks less we figured we'd just ask as quickly as possible about that. Out of respect for our players, actually. :P


    It we didn't notify you about this in time, it's not because we're an anonymous evil company devilishly devising new ways to trick you and our boss is Loki the Trickster himself, it's possibly just because people here looked forward to this feature just as much as you did and hope prevailed over sanity this time.
    And to be perfectly honest, hope quite frequently prevails over sanity, especially in business. Humanity... just sayin'. :(
    Anyways, I guess "reasons" don't really matter when/if your strategy was royally screwed by this and you feel like you've lost a lot of effort and time. And being game designer, that's where I'd like to lead this dicussion as that's really my thing.


    Unfortunately, I've browsed this (and other) threads multiple times in search of some concrete feedback I could answer to, and while this thread started with very good feedback, what now prevails mostly is "devs, WTF?!", which doesn't really tell me what the actual problem is, and if CM deletes those posts so that we can actually weed out what the issue is, they get shouted at for censoring. :(
    But honestly, I've now read those threads, but I still have not grasped the actual problem.
    The last good post with concrete critical discussion points as far as I can tell in this thread was Ignis's Post #75, which I could easily answer to, but I'm not sure if those are root causes for the current outrage, because just after that the discussion veered towards ancient oasis rules which have nothing to do with the current changes, and our "development cycles", and all kinds of this that have nothing to do with the balancing changes the thread is about or the speedservers... :P


    Since the protest happens only right now as the merging-part isn't done in time, it seems to have to do something with that, but both having an account on com2x3 as well as being gamedesigner, I don't really understand that, because the strategy-changing things were released since the start of the server, and what's still missing amounts to adding a button to making something already possible and being done by players more convenient.


    What we've done to the current worlds is to start them with certain (quite challenging) balancing-changes that this thread was all about to provide your feedback on. They may be a bit mis-branded in that they're not really the Kingdom Unions' inseperable twin, but actually they're something independent that just plays very well together with the merging-feature and that we actually wanted to have regardless.
    I do consider these changes to treasuries and treasury-slots the real game-changers in slowing down expansion of empires. On the recent worlds before these changes, I only saw giant empires with 50+ treasuries and a huge area by the endgame, which judging by the feedback I got bored players within them to death because noone within such a humongous blob had a quick travel time to a nearby enemy, and most people just turtled, and we just felt we had to do something about it. Being currently starved for developers (We were hireing, but the next 'new guy' can start next year earliest.) I just tried to do what little I could, and that's changing some values and building restrictions really drastically to alleviate the situation which had definitely become excessive, and we didn't want to start another round of worlds knowing that our endgame mostly just bored people to death, especially outside the speedservers.


    Granted, speed-servers are always a little special in their activity and patterns, but when I do look at, for example, COM2x3, this seems to be the effect - a patchwork of mid-sized kingdom areas, no color covering half of the map anymore, and there's also still a very healty active population on the servers, so it obviously wasn't game-breaking. Yay!


    And to answer Ignis and Jett (on page 4, gasp!): If we're slowing down territorial expansion of kingdoms (10K treasures) and at the same time don't touch expansion of each player (every player can still found new villages at the same speed), the result is of course that players will have to settle some of their villages outside the core area of their realm if a kingdom has more players than their kingdom's area would support.
    That's one of the core ideas behind this change - keep the kingdom's core with all its advantages, but if a kingdom hops dukes and accept a whopping' 155 players (*cough cough* you know who...), they at least will still only be able to collect the same tributes as a 30-people kingdom because they can't extend their area around all the 155 players' villages.
    Instead, these players will have to put a part of their villages outside the turtle-zone. I do consider that a valid choice - depends on how experienced a player is if he has most of his villages safe in the kingdom's core or outside as raid colonies. This feature serves to drive players outside the 'comfort zone' indeed! But to me,t hat's part of the fun - discussing within the kingdom who will get some space in the safe core, and who will have to settle where outside. Maybe settling in another kingdom will make them mad/feel threatened? Maybe it would be beneficial to have raid-colonies somewhere else? Sound like a lot of fun gameplay-challenges to me.
    If you don't like that - let's discuss about it, no problem! But so much as that this would be happening was clear to me at least from the start, and fully intended. :)


    The problem with the robber camps breaking is a known issue (has happened many times before as well, especially on densely-populated speedservers) and this feature unfortunately doesn't change anything about that, but balancing-wise, if your kingdom is so big that there's no free tiles for robber camps anymore then you possibly don't need the little extra boost they give. If densely populated empires don't get them and empries with sparse population get a stronger boost from them, I wouldn't call that a game-breaking design flaw, because it gives an advantage to those who have fewer villages and disadvantages those kingdoms that are densely populated and thereby again likely to be ahead by numbers. I wouldn't be too high on my to-fix-list to be honest.


    Now, the intended possibility to merge two kingdoms on top of all that is, for me, basically a convenience-thing for kingdoms so that one of them doesn't have to dissolve itself manually and they don't have to grab all the other kingdom's members by duke-hopping, which seems to happen often. It's also a reassurance for the governors that the kings intend stay for the rest of the game - but that ain't much of an issue on speedworlds usually.
    If you allow me to talk frankly outside cheerful blogposts - in the end, this feature is really just a button reading "merge" and a warning popup that warns the players that this action is equal to just dissolving the smaller kingdom and all the members of the smaller joining the larger, with a few extra king & duke-slots unlocked (of course I'm kind of understating the effort here for effect too, please excuse me. ^^).
    Granted, with the feature, a kingdom would get three extra 'VIP's', which spices things up a little, but without it, noone gets them, so it's still symmetrical.


    It's really annoying that the button ain't done by now, but it's absence should not ruin the gameplay or annihilate strategies?
    If you've coordinated and settled next to each other, working together against your enemies, planning your superiority together, the feature has already fulfilled its purpose without even being present - fostering communication and coordination between neighbors.
    But most of that happened already on the speed-servers anyways, because the speedservers don't get newbies directed to them, so the merging itself isn't even that purposeful on speed where allegiances are discussed routinely anyways.


    Depending on the outcome of the poll, we may still see the feature on the speed worlds. But as a player, in case of a total failure to deliver, I would just have started duke-hopping and getting all my allies' members into my kingdom, period. Even more convenient if I have prepared for the whole game to have all my allies bunched up right next to my own kingdom in expectance of this to become automated anyways.
    Not saying that that’s a good thing, because it isn’t, but as gamer nowadays I’m so accustomed to announcements by developers never happening that just working around it seems pretty routine, and it’s fun to have a game where the players do have the freedom to do that just fine.
    If we devs say merging is officially intended on these servers but don't deliver the button, duke-hopping and treasure-transferring works just as well and doesn't need to feel dirty here and now, and everyone can get the victory-achievement that way, because technically that's just the same as a kingdom-merge with your allies, and that's just exactly what we're all waiting eagerly for right now to be done and playable. :P


    So while I understand that the non-timely arrival of this feature is frustrating - and it's highly frustrating for me too - I honestly don't see how the possible lack of a button could possibly suck the joy out of the whole game round, especially when the real game-changers were active right from the start? As a player, I'd just find other ways 'round and enjoy growing my hammer all game long to pound my opponents to oblivion, because what Travian Kingdoms mostly is about, isn’t it?
    And we didn't change much there, except that treasures are more defensible now when hoarded in very few villages, which is a thing many players have asked us to do as well but I'd judge to be vastly more discussable and game-changing and possibly frustrating than the lack of a merge-button for kingdoms. And no, we're not experimenting with you, all the changes we did were well-calculated in advance (by me, *cough*) and when I'm looking at the speedservers they do seem to have precisely the effects I expected them to have.
    You may not like them, but then let's talk about that. :)


    Is the recent anger really about the delay of the merge-button? Because to me, honestly, it's nothing fancy or game-changing really – the treasury changes are the significant part, and these were on the servers since the start (because we considered them to be ridiculously significant for strategies, and the merge-button... not at all, tbh.).


    Or is it some general dissatisfaction with the way the game is being developed as a whole and this delay or the form of communication is just pouring salt into old woulds? And is there anything I as gamedesigner and fellow gamer could answer or say right now, unable to turn back time, that would actually make you feel better?


    Was your strategy destroyed by the delay and if yes, what did you plan that isn't possible anymore?



    Yours honestly puzzled,


    Wizz