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 Plan for Voobly Patch Implementation

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[Bo0T]Nakamura***^



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PostSubject: Plan for Voobly Patch Implementation   Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:52 pm

Tarnation wrote:

I. Introduction and Background

I will try to make this as concise as possible. First, the Bug Fix and the Patch should be addressed directly as they are two separate battles. Notice that I am reluctant to use the term "Fan Patch." Why? A Fan Patch indicates a one-time effort to make improvements to the game, whereas a patch, designed by a balance team, is a periodic endeavor aimed to continually moderate the game--an ongoing effort.

AoT does not need a Fan Patch. It needs a balance team dedicated to creating patches as the meta-game changes with time.

What is the impetus for creating a patch? To reduce/eliminate imbalanced aspects of the game--i.e. those aspects we refer to as "lame;" those aspects/units which are very powerful yet require little skill to invoke/use. No need to go into specifics here.

In summary, any patch for any competitive game has two driving forces--to eliminate bugs and to adjust previously unseen imbalances which have become exploited and abused through the game's development in the competitive arena (i.e. the meta-game).

The last ESO AoT patch came years ago, and in the course of play, all "OP" aspects of the game have been discovered, resulting in a stalemate of strategic development. This is particularly true in the DM community where two gods (out of twelve!) are played by more than 90% of the population. Worse, within these two, Zeus and Isis, the same strategies, with minor variations, are executed game-by-game. A minor strategic development, such as Caleb's exploration of the Hera godpath, is considered ground-breaking, yet in the grand scheme of things, Hephaestus is still heavily favored much in the same way that Osiris is taken nine times out of ten over Thoth.

It is time for balance.

II. Negotiate with Voobly

The staff at Voobly is notoriously busy. Many of you have experienced this when posting complaints about hackers. Believe it or not, Voobly staff live real lives and probably have other projects on which they're working, aside from maintaining their client and catering to one community (ours) within that client. Don't expect them to jump at implementing a patch when they probably have no idea what that patch entails. For all they know, the patch may destroy the game for their casual clientele.

This is where the notion of a balance team becomes crucial. Instead of a one-off effort, a dedicated balance team must be present. That is to say, a group of individuals not only dedicated to creating the best patch possible, but to deal with its inevitable effects, as well as to provide future balancing efforts when necessary.

Once this team is assembled, we have a solid foundation from which to work. Instead of saying "Here, Voobly, look what we did," we are now saying "Here, Voobly, this is what we're doing and are willing to continue doing." Much better, right? But how does Voobly know that you're serious?

Money. Yes, that's right. Pay them. Donate. I, for one, am perfectly willing to donate a considerable amount to Voobly if they, in turn, are willing to work continuously with our balance team to improve the AoT experience.

The first step should be to negotiate for implementation of the bug fix. This is elementary. Nothing controversial, just straight-up maintenance. However, it will also require some work on Voobly's part, so instead of acting like entitled brats, we should probably show our appreciation in the form of $$ . Don't like it? That's the way the world works [emphasis on "works"]. I don't know about the other players here, but I was around in the ESO days, back in 2004-05, when it was common to have over 3,000 people online at any given time. Dealing with ESO was miserable, even then. Cheating accusations took forever to verify, if acknowledged at all, patches began to fade out, and then SPAWN HACKING (!!!) and CD key issues worked to kill the game from there.

Then, like the Phoenix (for Isis players who have never used Thoth; i.e. 99% of you, that's the fourth age myth unit), AoT rose from its ashes, revived by Voobly. Hurray!

The interest in the game is clearly still here. That's why the Voobly AoT lobby went from roughly 25 people last winter (when I first joined) to 135+ today. Instead of maintaining a minimum level of activity and interest, though, we should be looking to grow activity.

Balance Team. Patch(es). Donations.

Is anybody else, besides me, willing to put a little money into this?

On the issue of the Patch itself (which should be addressed after implementing the bug fix), the donation should be a bit larger than that for the bug fix. "We are prepared to donate X dollars if you will work with us in implementing the bug fix. Pursuant to this, we are prepared to donate an additional Y dollars if you will assist our balance team in implementing this Patch."

I'm not sure if you guys have noticed, but many of the Voobly staff do not play AoT (or have never played it). Therefore, don't expect them to immediately accept everything that you say. They are concerned for the casual gamers that use their client, too, and a patch is a big change. Obviously, they must be convinced that the patch objectively has the interests of the community and well-being of the game in mind. To this end, it would help to assemble the following:

1) An easy-to-read chart of "before and after" changes. One chart for Supremacy, one for DM. If the team decides that Supremacy will remain untouched (I'm not sure where that stands right now), then it will be assembled for DM only.

2) An introductory paragraph such as the one I have written here which details the need for a patch (and the continued work of a balance team).

3) A preliminary idea of the amount we can collectively donate. Personally, I would be willing to donate $50 for the bug fix implementation + $50 for the patch. Who else would be willing to donate, and how much?

4) Demonstration of popular support. An RTS Sanc poll in which a majority of players favor the patch changes would be excellent.

III. Effect on Community

During some patch testing yesterday between myself, Nakamura, and a player whom I will not name, some proposed Isis changes were received very negatively by this player. The proposed changes had an effect specifically (and exclusively) on the Atty-Eggy match-up, and as a result, the standard Archaic merc-to-base opening rush may not have been advisable. He said sarcastically, "Yeah, so maybe I just shouldn't merc rush then!" as if this were the craziest notion in the world. Like, this game was DESIGNED for merc rushes in 100% of match-ups, matches, regardless of opponent, etc. etc. etc.

I've been around a while. I was around before the merc rush became a (the) standard Eggy opening. What struck me, though, is that this response perfectly exemplifies the problem which we're facing--lack of strategic adjustment. The game has remained structurally stale for so long that the same strategies are hashed and re-hashed, over and over and over, with little room for development anywhere, and on top of that, only two gods are used!

The changes enacted by the patch should inspire strategic development, variation, and perhaps...(brace yourself)...creation! With a balanced game, more options are viable. In an imbalanced game, the imbalanced aspects are continuously abused--after all, if your goal is to win, you're going to use the most overpowered units/strats/etc.

You'll notice that I am not addressing specific changes here as that is something for the balance team and the community at large to decide. However, I stand by my original principle that abused aspects of the game must be reduced and eliminated. That is to say, those strategies/units which require the least skill and/or investment, yet have the most impact and are most difficult to defend, should be neutralized. All changes proposed should contain this crucial underlying philosophy.

There you have it. What needs to be done and how to do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Plan for Voobly Patch Implementation   Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:55 pm

Cryplex and I are willing to donate as well.
I myself am willing to constantly monitor the course DM is taking, and create future patches for both gametypes. Of course other people would monitor supremacy.
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PostSubject: Re: Plan for Voobly Patch Implementation   Fri Jul 20, 2012 9:56 pm

Yeah, he just explained what we started to do... except with the money aspect.

Why not, but the voobly growth is not so great : +100 in 1 year, I'm sure GR growth is 10 times higher.

However, I agree with him with the balance need.

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PostSubject: Re: Plan for Voobly Patch Implementation   Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:59 am

um fyi..... i feel i have to defend my honor here xD
we stay on top of the aom/aot complaints really well! Very Happy
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