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RALLY! The logic behind the Space Assault Defender buff

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Snowballing

Spoiler

So if you've spent any time on the WoWS forums, you've probably noticed that one of the most frequently recurring topics is around teams that collapse quickly, resulting in a lopsided match. This is a natural phenomenon in any game where you can remove opponents' pieces from play, reducing the opponent's influence.

Once a team starts losing ships, it becomes less and less combat-capable, resulting in increasingly unfavorable engagement conditions. Eventually, the team that started losing has so little ability to fight that it's essentially doomed. This compounding advantage phenomenon is well-known in game design circles as "snowballing". Snowballing can often be a huge factor in "steamrolling", as a team's early disadvantage turns into a rapid collapse.

Comeback mechanics

Spoiler

It is also well-known that game mechanics can be designed to counteract snowballing by giving small compensatory advantages to the team that is "down" early in the match. These mechanics -- commonly referred to as "comeback" mechanics -- can come in many forms, and are employed in a wide variety of genres to good effect. Common examples:

  • In fighting games, characters who get hit repeatedly build up "meter" toward a high-damaging super move. This super move increases the character's damage potential later in the match, allowing an early HP deficit to be overcome.
  • In some MOBAs, losing a tower shifts the "center" of that lane backward, forcing the winning team to extend farther -- and thus increase the risk of being ganked -- in order to continue pushing a second tower.
  • In FPS games with multi-checkpoint Assault modes, later objectives typically feature defender-favored terrain.

In all these cases, the critical element is that there is some element in the game that dampens an early lead, without flipping it into a disadvantage.

Space Assault Defender Buff is a Comeback Mechanic

Spoiler

It's pretty well-known at this point that WG uses its April Fools Day modes (this and last year, Space Battles) to test game mechanics and modes before introducing them to permanent game modes. So, any time you see something out of the ordinary in a Space Battle, you should suspect that it's a WG mechanic in testing. Of course Space Assault itself is a good example of this.

But if you dig a little bit deeper, you will notice that this is also the second time WG has employed a team version of a comeback mechanic. The first was in Halloween 2018, where lost teammates turbocharged your gimmick consumables. In Space Assault, whenever the defending team loses a ship, all the remaining ships on the team receive a buff to reload time and HP regen. While not the most elegant implementations, these may signal WG's serious interest the use of artificial means to prop up losing teams and counteract snowballing.

RALLY! Could a comeback buff be the answer to lopsided games?

The obvious speculation here is whether an artificial comeback mechanic might have a proper place in Random Battles. If you were compensated in reload reduction or HP regen when your teammate goes full potato and throws away a ship, would it shore up your team enough to prevent a total collapse? Or at least slow down the process enough to make a good game of it? If nothing else, would it make you feel better about the match?

Supposing for a second that we call this a "Rally" buff, what should it entail? What kinds of bonuses would it give? Would it be based on ship kills, or something more like % of total team health remaining? Do you like soft stat buffs, or would you rather WG use some other means (map and objective design, perhaps?) to hold back the snowballing? Would it make you feel better about MM putting you on a team with Captain McYoloface, or make you even angrier at Lord Admiral Sniperson IV in the back?

Of course it's all speculation at this point, but I think it's an interesting direction for WG to be moving.

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Pretty nice summary and explanation. Here's to having a Ranked Season with Torpbeat mode :fish_cute_2:.

 

On a more serious I would rather have a mechanic giving the top three players of the losing team full XP.

As for a Rally buff, I guess the losing team could get a flat amount of points to stay in the fight longer. That wouldn't mess with ship stats and give a small time loan to maybe have a comeback.

Edited by warheart1992
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An interesting concept for sure. It would have to be that it only partially compensates the team for being down ships. 

Also how would you factor trading ships back and forth? Do the buffs keep stacking on for everyone, or do they go away once things are evened up? 

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1 minute ago, Ducky_shot said:

Also how would you factor trading ships back and forth? Do the buffs keep stacking on for everyone, or do they go away once things are evened up?

It's a good question, I actually don't know which would be better (which probably means it'll get tested in some future holiday mode). Personally, I'd like to keep the base gameplay as close to normal as possible, so I'd like to see the buff based on the difference in the team health/ships/points/whatever and go back down to zero when things even out. Things got freaky weird at the end of Arms Race Ranked games where the last 2 players were locked in a 1v1 with supercharged ships.

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7 minutes ago, Edgecase said:

It's a good question, I actually don't know which would be better (which probably means it'll get tested in some future holiday mode). Personally, I'd like to keep the base gameplay as close to normal as possible, so I'd like to see the buff based on the difference in the team health/ships/points/whatever and go back down to zero when things even out. Things got freaky weird at the end of Arms Race Ranked games where the last 2 players were locked in a 1v1 with supercharged ships.

Hm, maybe a free Repair Party for each cap the team takes back if the point difference is more than 300-400 points or down by 4 ships?

That could encourage a "Second Wind" and give a bit of a challenge without being that unfair to the winning team.

Edited by warheart1992

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How about give the down team one charge of those supper Halloween consumables?

I belive that will be really fun and hilarious.

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I'm a little worried that some people might abuse the mechanic and TK underperforming allies or even just people with lower than average WRs, but that's just the cynic in me speaking.

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The biggest problem I've seen is an early series of torp soup can break up the attackers so effectively that it is really hard to come back.   Defenders seem to have an easier time of it because as the potatoes die, the remaining good players get harder to kill.  The attackers, however, need their potatoes to be alive and valid targets or else the focus fire from the enemy gets intense as you try to push in to take out a shield generator (or RAM if you decide you are dead anyway and this needs to be a suicide run).

Most of the time when I've won as an attacker, the defenders played SO poorly that we killed them all.  I have yet to see a game end where the base gets killed while defenders are still alive.  The map mode, in my opinion, favors the defenders right now.

 

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51 minutes ago, Edgecase said:

Snowballing

  Hide contents

So if you've spent any time on the WoWS forums, you've probably noticed that one of the most frequently recurring topics is around teams that collapse quickly, resulting in a lopsided match. This is a natural phenomenon in any game where you can remove opponents' pieces from play, reducing the opponent's influence.

Once a team starts losing ships, it becomes less and less combat-capable, resulting in increasingly unfavorable engagement conditions. Eventually, the team that started losing has so little ability to fight that it's essentially doomed. This compounding advantage phenomenon is well-known in game design circles as "snowballing". Snowballing can often be a huge factor in "steamrolling", as a team's early disadvantage turns into a rapid collapse.

Comeback mechanics

  Hide contents

It is also well-known that game mechanics can be designed to counteract snowballing by giving small compensatory advantages to the team that is "down" early in the match. These mechanics -- commonly referred to as "comeback" mechanics -- can come in many forms, and are employed in a wide variety of genres to good effect. Common examples:

  • In fighting games, characters who get hit repeatedly build up "meter" toward a high-damaging super move. This super move increases the character's damage potential later in the match, allowing an early HP deficit to be overcome.
  • In some MOBAs, losing a tower shifts the "center" of that lane backward, forcing the winning team to extend farther -- and thus increase the risk of being ganked -- in order to continue pushing a second tower.
  • In FPS games with multi-checkpoint Assault modes, later objectives typically feature defender-favored terrain.

In all these cases, the critical element is that there is some element in the game that dampens an early lead, without flipping it into a disadvantage.

Space Assault Defender Buff is a Comeback Mechanic

  Hide contents

It's pretty well-known at this point that WG uses its April Fools Day modes (this and last year, Space Battles) to test game mechanics and modes before introducing them to permanent game modes. So, any time you see something out of the ordinary in a Space Battle, you should suspect that it's a WG mechanic in testing. Of course Space Assault itself is a good example of this.

But if you dig a little bit deeper, you will notice that this is also the second time WG has employed a team version of a comeback mechanic. The first was in Halloween 2018, where lost teammates turbocharged your gimmick consumables. In Space Assault, whenever the defending team loses a ship, all the remaining ships on the team receive a buff to reload time and HP regen. While not the most elegant implementations, these may signal WG's serious interest the use of artificial means to prop up losing teams and counteract snowballing.

RALLY! Could a comeback buff be the answer to lopsided games?

The obvious speculation here is whether an artificial comeback mechanic might have a proper place in Random Battles. If you were compensated in reload reduction or HP regen when your teammate goes full potato and throws away a ship, would it shore up your team enough to prevent a total collapse? Or at least slow down the process enough to make a good game of it? If nothing else, would it make you feel better about the match?

Supposing for a second that we call this a "Rally" buff, what should it entail? What kinds of bonuses would it give? Would it be based on ship kills, or something more like % of total team health remaining? Do you like soft stat buffs, or would you rather WG use some other means (map and objective design, perhaps?) to hold back the snowballing? Would it make you feel better about MM putting you on a team with Captain McYoloface, or make you even angrier at Lord Admiral Sniperson IV in the back?

Of course it's all speculation at this point, but I think it's an interesting direction for WG to be moving.

People might want to have potatoes on their team! :Smile_teethhappy:

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19 minutes ago, WuYixiang said:

I'm a little worried that some people might abuse the mechanic and TK underperforming allies or even just people with lower than average WRs, but that's just the cynic in me speaking.

That might work for 1 game, but for the long term the TKer is the one taking damage.

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29 minutes ago, Psicopro said:

I have yet to see a game end where the base gets killed while defenders are still alive

Once all the defenders are dead, the game ends 5 seconds later.  So it would be extremely rare, if its even possible, to kill the base after all the defenders are dead.

The rally buff the defenders get can be REALLY strong if it gets enough charges.  An Alldestroyer is a BEAST when they are the last person alive.  Sure, they can be taken down, but it takes a concentrated effort for sure.

For random battles, I think they would have to play around with the percentages a bit, but a health regen/reload buff for each dead ally would seem to give the losing team a fighting chance.  I have a feeling that is exactly what we are "beta testing" with the space battles.  There would have to be an anti-TK mechanic, as I could easily see a div get into a game, and take out the stock ships or low WR players to get the buff.

That said, we already have so many massive comebacks happening, that it may not be needed and this may swing the balance further in to comebackland (IE the remaining ships would have made a comeback already, now you are just buffing them further).

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2 hours ago, DrHolmes52 said:

That might work for 1 game, but for the long term the TKer is the one taking damage.

Never underestimate the selfishness of self-proclaimed unicums.

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4 hours ago, Old_Baldy_One said:

Once all the defenders are dead, the game ends 5 seconds later.  So it would be extremely rare, if its even possible, to kill the base after all the defenders are dead.

The rally buff the defenders get can be REALLY strong if it gets enough charges.  An Alldestroyer is a BEAST when they are the last person alive.  Sure, they can be taken down, but it takes a concentrated effort for sure.

For random battles, I think they would have to play around with the percentages a bit, but a health regen/reload buff for each dead ally would seem to give the losing team a fighting chance.  I have a feeling that is exactly what we are "beta testing" with the space battles.  There would have to be an anti-TK mechanic, as I could easily see a div get into a game, and take out the stock ships or low WR players to get the buff.

That said, we already have so many massive comebacks happening, that it may not be needed and this may swing the balance further in to comebackland (IE the remaining ships would have made a comeback already, now you are just buffing them further).

No, I mean defenders still being alive, but the attackers getting shields and the base down.  I have yet to see it.  Defenders have to mess up bad to lose from my experience.  And it usually ends with them all dying.

 

Attackers respawn, but they do so far back that you have maybe two shots at attacking.  After your second death, you really won't get back in time to do anything meaningful the third.

Edited by Psicopro

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43 minutes ago, Psicopro said:

No, I mean defenders still being alive, but the attackers getting shields and the base down.  I have yet to see it.  Defenders have to mess up bad to lose from my experience.  And it usually ends with them all dying.

 

Attackers respawn, but they do so far back that you have maybe two shots at attacking.  After your second death, you really won't get back in time to do anything meaningful the third.

I have yet to see the defenders win.

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I've only been in one game where the defenders lost, and that was because our side lost basically half our ships by 5 minutes in (including a DD trying to TK the generators). Another match, the defenders barely won since the enemy team needed about 10 or 20 seconds more of shooting to take down the station, and the mission ends before the countdown timer does. Every other match, the attackers succeed in taking down some defenders and generators, but they run out of time before they break the final generator(s). It only takes 2 or 3 skilled defenders to stall for a win.

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6 hours ago, Psicopro said:

I have yet to see a game end where the base gets killed while defenders are still alive.  The map mode, in my opinion, favors the defenders right now.

Had one tonight.  They were shooting at us, but once the generators were down, we focused the base, and we won with about half the defenders still alive.  I got citadeled about the time the base hit 50K, but I already had a 29K salvo in the air, and I was still at a third health when the game was over.

 

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35 minutes ago, Counter_Gambit said:

I have yet to see the defenders win.

Won one as defender earlier.   We had 2 cruisers suicide at the start, followed not to long later by a DD who rammed an enemy DD.   had to do 400k damage to hold on to the win.   

 

though to be frank, we should of lost.   The enemy team pushed around us into the back of our spawn.   They ignored the objectives for too long.   too many of them were just going on some adventure rather than helping teammates.   They made a solid push when it was too late. 

 

 

as for the OP.   i wont say no, but i also dont know if it would be better for the game.    sometimes just ending the match and going back to port as quickly as possible is better than dragging a lost match out for 10 more min.   at the same time, i can see a lot of comeback games depending on the bonuses they offer.  Could even YoYo back and forth.  I will say the amount of lopsided matches seems to be a lot higher since the time i first started playing.  It is ruining my enjoyment of the game.   and i am not saying that because i am so good i make it happen.  most of the matches i could of been afk and it wouldn't have mattered.   one team or the other just dies before you can get anything done.  not even 5 min into a match and 1/3 to 1/2 a team is dead.(sometimes more)

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Space Battle 'assault mode' makes cruisers irrelevant.

Bad mode.

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9 hours ago, mofton said:

Space Battle 'assault mode' makes cruisers irrelevant.

Bad mode.

That has not been my experience.  People just need to know how stuff works - which is a major challenge in a custom game mode.

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I've been enjoying it a lot. It is obviously easier to win on the Defenders but I've had a fair share of wins on the attack too (especially if the DD's act like the cannon fodder they are SUPPOSED to be and use corners appropriately). I would love this to be in standard battles. My one chief complaint is that the Shield Generators repair too fast; it is basically impossible to DPS them down in a CA or DD by yourself. Also I like the way they balanced the usefulness of respawns; as I said in my thread on the issue the travel time goes in a FAR ways to reduce BB rushes/yolos, but I would recommend as a broader idea that consumables be re-tooled as some need more charges, some less.

9 hours ago, mofton said:

Space Battle 'assault mode' makes cruisers irrelevant.

Bad mode.


Really? Cause the defender cruisers do fantastic and setting 3/4 fires is the safest way as an attacker to kill the defending BB's one they get a few stacks of repair bonuses. And the higher arcs of the DM/Mino let you hit those particularly campy BB's/Cruisers hiding behind lower mountains. Also Cruisers are always welcomed to tackle DD's who are playing WAY more aggressively when they have respawns.

As I had suspected, once people GET the idea of respawns it changes how EVERYTHING works but I like it. Now they all feel like they have more concrete ROLES as opposed just variations on 'standoff at max range and spam damage.' There's a learning curve, no argument there, but once you get on the wavelength I think it actually makes everything feel more naturalistic and probably closer to how this game SHOULD have been.

Edited by _RC1138

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In my experience. I've only seen defenders win a few times.

But the real crux when applied to Randoms, who's winning at any given point in the battle?

Think about the end game.  In particular a Solo Warrior scenario.  The single ship is obviously losing.  How much do you buff him and if he gets down to the last opponent, who's winning at that point?  Even harder when you have a ticking clock near the battle expiration.

I just don't see how this can be made to be 'fair' in a random battle.  In Space mode you have defined roles.  Defender and Attacker.

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5 minutes ago, ClassicLib said:

But the real crux when applied to Randoms, who's winning at any given point in the battle?

I don't think an attack and defend mode would be good for randoms; it's fun here as a temp distraction, but for more general play should end there. What I DO think should transfer over is both sides with respawns. I think the way people react to respawns dynamically changes how games play out, totally revamps how things like Divisions work (makes them far more attractive IMO and yet more difficult to manage as you need REAL teamwork now, not just focus fire and mutual smoke/radar) and revamps how damage is viewed. When I'm on the attackers I obviously care A LOT less about taking that big hit to block my teammate. Just last night I deliberately took a wall of torps while in my Gearing to stop them from hitting the GK behind me, because I knew I could get back to the front fast enough to make it not a big deal but it kept him in the fight longer.

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10 minutes ago, _RC1138 said:

I don't think an attack and defend mode would be good for randoms; it's fun here as a temp distraction, but for more general play should end there. What I DO think should transfer over is both sides with respawns. I think the way people react to respawns dynamically changes how games play out, totally revamps how things like Divisions work (makes them far more attractive IMO and yet more difficult to manage as you need REAL teamwork now, not just focus fire and mutual smoke/radar) and revamps how damage is viewed. When I'm on the attackers I obviously care A LOT less about taking that big hit to block my teammate. Just last night I deliberately took a wall of torps while in my Gearing to stop them from hitting the GK behind me, because I knew I could get back to the front fast enough to make it not a big deal but it kept him in the fight longer.

Respawns and buffs are two different things.   Respawns can work in Randoms but it could (would?) have the effect of having battles go on longer which is something I don't think WG wants.

The OP suggested a Rally mechanic that would apply to Randoms.  Right now I can't see how that might work.

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