Balancing space combat around duels
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Join Date: Jun 2012
01-31-2013, 07:30 AM
Originally Posted by
I am not sure what you mean by that.
What I mean is that, if both captains have equally competently selected their abilities and gear, and use the resulting ship build equally competently, then the fight should be balanced, that is, both should, all in all, have an equal chance to win the battle. Of course, the way they might win it will differ from ship class to ship class.
The problem with this ideal is that it is for all practical purposes impossible to implement in the real world. You are never going to have two players of exactly equal skill, and you are never going to have different builds of exactly equal 'power'. The FAR more likely outcomes are that you end up with a 'draw' between two generalized ships, where neither ship can defeat the other, or you end up with a match between two specialized ships such that one is the 'hard counter' to the other, and the fight only ever can go one way. Neither of those situations are particularly 'fun' to me.
Now, I know that 1v1 right now has these same problems - what I am saying is that I don't think it is possible to fix them - at least not without totally destroying team play, which is certainly also an undesirable outcome. For example - let's say you balance damage and healing so that even the tankiest cruiser build in the game can eventually be overcome in a 1v1 setting. You seem to think there's no problem scaling that up to a 5v5, and you would be right, IF all ships targeted different opponents.
But we know that's not going to happen. People will coordinate, and as soon as focused targeting happens, the healing that was sufficient in 1v1 simply isn't enough anymore, and ships pop in seconds, with no practical way to respond. This is simply due to the way the math works.
Imagine that in 1v1 a cruiser can tank an escort such that the escort is only actually doing 20% of the cruisers health a minute. The cruiser will probably win, because it's highly likely that the escort can't hang with it for 5 minutes to get the kill. But who knows? Maybe the escort gets a lucky crit, or maybe the cruiser captain screws up. Either way, the sense of progressive damage over time, as well as the chance for a dramatic turn around probably makes that a fun match for both parties. Okay, yay. Pvp rocks. Now I want to get my friends involved.
There's the rub - now that it's a 5v5, the damage dealers have a HUGE advantage, assuming they focus their fire. Lets say that the total healing/dmg ratios stay the same - each escort can do about 20% of a cruiser's hull in damage per minute, after heals. Oops - that now means that the first cruiser goes down in 1 minute, not 5, and once it does, the remaining ships on that team are now facing the same firepower will less available healing. The next ship goes down in 40 seconds, the next in 25, and the remaining ships are down in the next 15 seconds or so, probably. The match goes from being fun in a 1v1 to totally unbalanced towards damage at 5v5.
I would argue, in fact, that this is how the game launched - ships were balanced for 1v1, and the result was that in team settings, dps and focus fire was king - hence the 'Escorts Online' moniker.
Moreover, 1v1 I think has a far, far higher potential barrier to entry than 5v5 does. Consider the brand-new pvper - in a 1v1, he's going to be mercilessly stomped over and over by the more skilled player, and there's really nothing he can do about it. He can't try to find a different target to fight (there aren't any), he can't get support from a friendly to help keep him alive/deliver damage (there are no friends) and he isn't going to 'get better' with no role-models to watch and emulate. In a team setting, a player can 'win' a match because he had other players around to pick up the slack and show him the ropes. Not so in 1v1, which makes it much harder to learn from.
Originally Posted by
That. at least, is the option that most people seem to prefer here on the forums. Another option would be to have them be best for fighting a given class of targets, but I was told that this was not popular at all (I am not sure why, though).
So what is there to convince anyone that 5v5 or any other team setup would be better to balance the game?
I asked for arguments
balancing for any team size >1, and for not balancing around 1v1 in the first place.
There don't seem to be any?
Actually, every single reason why NOT balancing for 1v1 is functionally an argument in favor of 5v5, because they are zero-sum. You really can't do one without hurting the other, so they are mutually exclusive. At that point, the answer to your question of why balance one way or the other really comes down to preference - would you rather pvp be fun 1v1 but suck in a team, or be fun in a team and suck 1v1. I think many people prefer to play with friends, so team play is the superior option.
As for why people don't want to do something like "Escorts beat sci, sci beat cruisers, cruisers beat escorts"... I'm really not sure why that confusing to you, especially if you want a 1v1 setting - that kind of holy trinity balancing works in 5v5 because there is a reasonable expectation of having all ship types in some mix. In a 1v1, that set up just means that matches are decided by the match-up you get - if you are scissors, and the other guy brings paper, congrats! 1v1 rules! If the other guy brings rock, however, it's going to be a long day.