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Making Neutral Melee Assets Viable for Ladder+Others

Discussion in 'Patch & Reforged Discussion' started by deepstrasz, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    There are many tutorials and guides on how to make a proper melee map.


    Not many emphasize the importance of neutral buildings and units regarding melee gameplay balance. However, we've seen in many ladder maps that many of the game's neutral features are either rarely used or not at all.

    I want the community to suggest adjustments so ladder can become less limited and funner.


    Issue#1 - Dragon Roosts:
    I don't remember the last time I've seen one in ladder. It's a problematic building because of the tenth level dragon which can be bought from it is magic immune, has splash damage, Devour, chaos attack type, heavy armour, flies and attacks both air and ground units even though it is somewhat expensive and requires 8 food.

    From the top of my head we could either:
    -have it removed leaving the other two lesser dragons for use
    -make it one time; whoever buys it has an advantage until the dragon is killed (might create balance problems)
    -leave it with its cooldown but when bought it acts as a summoned unit in that it is temporary and not permanent although still requiring the 8 food until it disappears

    Of course, roosts should maybe be placed where they aren't easily reachable (high ground requiring Zeppelins or flying units to get there), they should be guarded by antiair capable units, preferable other dragons, maybe even magic immune units. Maybe, the big dragon should only be hired by a hero personally (presence required).
    The cooldown for the weaker dragons should be regulated accordingly too just in case.

    Issue#2 - Mercenary Camps:

    Reading mafe's guide it has come to my attention that there is something quite wrong with many mercenary camps and that is the reason why we don't see most of them in ladder. Every camp has 4 neutral units to be hired. They have to be mixed accordingly so no combos like Slow+Purge would exist in the same merc camp. Cooldowns and costs should also be tweaked so no player will benefit of slowing spells early on when armies are small and the only real defense/escape from a combo like Frost Arrows/Frost Nova+Slow+/-Ensnare. would probably be the Town Portal Scroll.
    Please read the part of the guide I'm referring too so I would not plagiarize it here.

    Issue#3 - Shipyards:
    These buildings are also rarely if not at all seen (especially in 1v1) melee ladder. If the issue is the Transport Ship's life, armour and sail speed, then they can be adjusted.
    The building's utility would be furthered by the combat ships (Frigates and Battleships). The only problem is which ones should races buy? Maybe, there could be a way for the ships to appear as the night elven ones for the night elf player who buys them, orcish for the orc player and so on. These ships should have a decent cooldown (with a limited stock of 1 like the usual mercenaries?), price and of course they should occupy food slots.

    Issue#4 - Fountains:
    Fountains are controversial, especially the ones for healing. Calibrating the restoration values would make them quite viable in ladder.
    They should either regenerate a fixed value so units with higher hit points won't regenerate faster. Of course, they should always be protected and placed somewhere every player can access in the same amount of time. If we tone the regeneration down, we could even include the Fountain of Power in which restores both mana and health.
    Maybe, to avoid the Blademaster and other invisible units benefiting without the camp creatures being eliminated first, the fountains could have true vision (detection of invisible units).

    Issue#5 - Certain Neutral Hostile Units in Camps:
    Undead only neutral hostile camps are not good for undead players because they can't use the Rod of Necromancy as the creatures leave no corpses. The workaround is for critters to exist nearby.
    But how do we balance units like revenants/skeletal orcs with Death Coil and treants/mutant murlocs with Disease Cloud? These spells only affect the living and surely the undead will have an easier time on looting camps with such creatures.
    Removing these neutral hostiles from melee means removing content. However, I guess, there are some sort of compensations as there are more revenant and murloc types but probably not at the same level/visual aspect as those mentioned earlier.

    Issue#6 - Random Neutral Buildings/Creeps:
    I'm not sure how much these options are used but regarding buildings, well, rarely if at all. I don't think this should be considered a problem and be excluded from ladder matches. It's actually a fun way of playing as the random option won't be a cause of imbalance if properly thought out, especially when we have the Marketplace in normal games (and it in some way generates "random" items).

    Issue#7 - Campaign Units and Items:
    These aren't used since they turn maps to non-melee (in the editor). However, what bad would say, neutral hostile towers do or some naga units here and there in hostile camps? About heroes, it could possibly be done but there might be issues to solve regarding experience given by them as neutral hostile units.
    When it comes to items, some are very powerful or have selling value issues. They could potentially be used with care. Say, if a hero is killed, they would drop off them or there would be enough of these items on the map to make it balanced. Of course, items like Tiny Great Hall shouldn't be used as neutral hostile loot.
    Maybe, we should see some Goblin Mines from time to time, possibly with a Gem of True Seeing on the same map.
    Runes, especially of Rebirth are a neat addition to the gameplay when placed adequately and so could gold coins and lumber bundles.

    Also, the Crystal Ball should be changed as it's permanent and makes Far Sight useless. I think it should only be cast once like charged wands (e.g. neutralization, lightning shield etc.).

    Issue#8 - Custom Doodad (+Imports):
    I see no reason why this should not be allowed in melee ladder as it does not break the balance of the game. It's understandable that it's more of a legal problem on the imported material's copyright but there should be a way for some resources to be proven lawfully, e.g. the resources come form a trusted site like Hiveworkshop (I'm definitely not referring to a microtransaction system like skins for StarCraft II; not saying official stuff would be bad but we have so many free artists out there; maybe hire them).
    If imports still could be so much of a problem as not to include them in ladder, then at least the allowance of custom made doodads with the game's own resources should be accepted.


    I want you to contribute making melee ladder funner and less restrictive.




    Link to the post with the attachment of an edited melee map considering things from this discussion:
    Making Neutral Melee Assets Viable for Ladder+Others
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2019
  2. Ragnaros17

    Ragnaros17

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    1) Dragon roots, agree, the problem of that dragon is that you can´t counter it, a lot of damage hp, inmune to spell, splash damage, is armagedon if you don´t buy it you are done. Even dragon level 6 can turn the tide, happened to me in a map, I was winning and from nowhere the enemy with the level 6 dragon because of a charged item, hell no I had to run so the time would go out.

    2) editing the merc camps to make them balance would be nice, is not rocket science just change the units for others, other option is defend them with a red, to middle game so you can have it later, or work more the time to buy it.

    3) combat ships like wc2, that would be interesting

    4) the map secret valley use the fountains in a interesting way.



    5) creeps wont use death coil to heal undead allies right??

    6) well mafe is showing that random buildings have way a lot of potential.

    7) rune of the watcher should be with time limit.

    8) probably because the cog icon of the maps, melee is white, altered is gold, thats the onnly reason I have in mind that doodads changed are a no.


    9) way gates have a lot of potential, they are hardly seen in 1vs1


    Magic Nodes v 1.02
    The Tower of Balzaphon v 2.03

    as example:
    in tower of Balzaphon a map with 2 ways of attack a couple of waygates makes it 3
    in magic nodes, you can do some combos like with the way gate go to the oposite corner near the enemy
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  3. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    Increasing cost, cooldown or something. It's not really that problematic as it has heavy armour and piercing attack type and is magic vulnerable.
    The position is fine but you can still use it at night for free and of course night elf units will benefit more as they have increased life regeneration during the night and some of them are invisible while standing still.
    From what I remember they just use it to attack. So, the undead will still benefit as the creeps won't heal. I hope I'm wrong though.
    Indeed, since the previous contest!
    I think so too!
    This should really not be a problem.
     
  4. Ragnaros17

    Ragnaros17

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    "I think is probably to counter the blade master that can use it always with wind walk,
    same goes for shops and merc camps, I think"


    "I know that's why I think the fountain should detect invisible units so the Blademaster won't use it early on. The Warden can't heal if it blinks. I mean, the hero has to stay there near the fountain. However, the Warden also has Shadow Meld which maybe it shouldn't."

    more than the fountain I would say certain creeps with invisible detection like the shade undead or the mmm maybe a hostile rune of the watcher, that could work
     
  5. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    See my post here: Un'Goro Crater

    I remember mercenary camp guardians awaking when hiring mercs or laboratory units. I'm not sure about items, I think they still sleep.
     
  6. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    @Ragnaros17 just tested and:
    -neutral hostile units don't use Death Coil to heal their undead companions
    -buying items at night doesn't alert the guards whether invisible or not
    -hiring units from the laboratory or a mercenary camp at night whether the buyer is invisible or not alerts the guards
    -Reveal can be used at night without alerting the guards whether the player's unit is invisible or not
    -neutral hostile units with the highest camp range are alerted during the night if a building is under construction within their range

    I think neutral creeps should be alerted when someone buys something (units, Reveal, items) and invisibility be cancelled. Early Reveal kills scouting even if it costs. It does not have a (starting) cooldown.
    Neutral hostile units with Death Coil should heal their allies when facing only undead player units.

    What do you guys think?

    Now, what do you think about cancelling Wind Walk when buying something/using Reveal and when taking items from the ground?
     
  7. Knecht

    Knecht

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    I guess I'll write about things I have some knowledge about :cgrin:

    3) Creating different variants of ships for each race looks great from player perspetive, however, a neutral shipyard should show the same units for each race. I'm all for a neutral frigate unit (goblin frigate? pirates?). It would greatly spice up the naval possibilities of W3. Perhaps there could be battleships with some long cooldown and a 4 food cost. The editor offers boat and shipyard models for each race but I wouldn't go as far as creating 4 different types of frigates that would have to be balanced for each race.
    The HP and speed/armor isn't much of a problem imo. They are quite balanced for how useless they are. My only advice to the devs would be to let boats be entangled (only spells that work on boats are Slow, Ensnare and Earthquake afaik) or let the slow poison slow down ships so that the NE have anything to hinder the boats.
    I was planning to write a shipyard/boat tutorial but I didn't have much time for these things lately.

    What I would like to see would be some KotH type melee maps where you could "capture" a neutral Tower or something. I tried this with orc towers and a rune of rebirth and it felt like an interesting concept. Perhaps we could look at other RTS games and get inspiration from their maps.

    Last thing I've got to say is that a map's balance hangs on many different factors. A good map creator can balance even imbalanced stuff like UD creeps and weird mercs. On the other hand a bad map creator can create imbalance where it never was.
     
  8. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    Interesting. You are referring to being able to build the shipyards like in Warcraft II or them being neutral?
    What I meant was, when you buy a Frigate from the Goblin Shipyard, it will appear as the one from which race you are. Goblin ships would mean new material and that would be great but they haven't really added anything new since the last patch with the last Tavern hero(es) which was a long time ago.
    They are mechanical and those spells don't work on mechanical units. I guess, they would have to make the boats as a new category: boats for that to work?
    That's a great idea! However, the Rune of Rebirth only works once, for the player that uses it and going too far as in adding triggers would kind of take melee to altered melee (tweaked melee actually :D) which would be awesome but I don't think Blizzard would want to experiment with especially on ladder.
     
  9. Arrr

    Arrr

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    I'd say dragon roosts should stay out of 1v1 anyway.
    For other modes, the lv10 one is just too strong. If removing it is not an option, I'd opt for a food cost increase.

    Merc camps are hard to balance imo - as of now they have great timing problems, some costs are to be looked at, and many abilities are just too good in 1v1 to get for free I feel (lodaeron winter merc camp has bloodlust ogre for example; dungeon has potential but the skeleton spawns way too early) The most used merc - lordaeron summer - hires really good units regarding gameflow and timings with dispell, slow, piercing against certain strats, a tanky creep for others - not all merc camps have that I feel.
    For team games I guess timing and resources tweaking should be enough, except for some abilities (there's manaburn, frost arrows, magic immunity somewhere in there iirc)

    Shipyards offer limited zeppelins with op stats, don't see them actually working anywhere when their lab counterpart exists. Nor I fell there is a need for them.

    Fountains.. I'd suggest having both a fixed and a % component, or having a hp cap above which the unit won't heal from it anymore.

    I don't see the issue in that point tbh. I feel more problematic are certain abilities such as manaburn on creeps.
    But something I want to bring up is the armor types in different tiles; there are too many heavy armored creeps imo.

    I don't feel a need for random buildings or creeps tbh, it's nice having the option, but I don't see the problem with them. (as you say they should be used with thought)

    Some campaign items are really cool, and i find even stats only ones interesting. But the game is balanced around the current item drops, I guess only a couple campaign ones could possibly (hard) fit in.
    I'd ignore campaign units, and drop on death items.
    Also crystal ball is fine-ish, maybe a buff if.

    Custom doodads only when keeping the gameplay clear, nothing too different from the base w3 style imo.
     
  10. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    Sure but that won't solve the issue in mid-late game when in teamplay you could spare that food for the creature to turn the tide.
     
  11. Knecht

    Knecht

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    Oh boy do the spells work :cgrin: I forgot to mention that Banish, Witch Doctor Trap and Frost Breath work on boats too.
    Here, I created this test map some time ago when I wanted to show my friend some interesting ship properties.
    You can test:
    - various spells from heroes and units
    - boats vs swimming melee units
    - waygates and boats
    - "waterfalls" and boats
    - item drop from swimming units

    there's also this weird "bug" where units can get on a boat from a bridge but can't get back on the bridge (basically a oneway)
     

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  12. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    That should be fixed or you could imagine the units jumping right on the boat but the distance afterwards from the boat and the bridge's height would make it impossible for the unit to get back :D Same with cliff edges I presume.

    Banish requires organic units. Frost Nova, Storm Bolt, Chain Lightning, Forked Lightning, Impale, Entangling Roots, Shadow Strike, Slow Poison, Carrion Swarm, Cyclone, Bloodlust, Cripple, Unholy Frenzy, Charm, Acid Bomb, Invisibility, Thunder Clap and War Stomp too.

    Until now, only Slow, Ensnare, Purge, Fairy Fire, Statis Trap, Frost Breath, Lightning Shield, Death and Decay, Volcano, Magic Shell, Frost Arrows, Cluster Rockets and Earthquake work.
    WARNING: Transmute works on mechanical units including Ships and Zeppelins.

    Aerial Shackles requires an organic target so it doesn't work on Zeppelins. Web works.

    Rarely we see that with neutral hostile units.
    That should not even be.
    Well, the waterfall is just a doodad but there you cropped the cliff edge and left it as water so I guess that's why the boat can go down and up the cliff water being both down and on the cliff.

    Awesome idea with the Way Gates and boats. You should make a map like that. And with that cliff trick too.
    Waterfalls are amazing to hide units.

    You should have researched everything though from the start and made the heroes level 10 :)
     
  13. The Panda

    The Panda

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    To me custom doodads and icons and such should be applied.. the old regular imports are fun to look at but they have been around forever.. so I don't see why we cant add new trees or tilesets and make the melee games a lot funner to watch and play.. making it more of a realistic feel to it.
     
  14. mafe

    mafe

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    Just my short view on some of the topics, I'll happily discuss in more detail later:
    Imho these can be easily fixed by tweaking the stats (including gold cost, stock delay, level) to a balanced level. It appears to me dragons offer nothing which isnt available to all race anyway. However, blue dragons (slow breath) and bronze dragons (aoe attack) should be more expensive than due having the same stats but a special ability on top (not 100% if I am up to date here).
    Some merccamps can be fixed by tweaking stats again. Others have creeps which in all realistic circumstances will benefit one race more than the other unless changed significantly. One would have to micromanage every creep and replace some of them altogether.
    Again, change of stats is necessary. Imho a major problem is that ships just dont interact well with heroes. The hero mechanic is what makes wc3 different from many other strategy games. But if you have a ship-only fight, heroes dont fit in there and you create a situation where a key aspect of the game is rendered irrelevant. So to make ships work, the best bet might be a map that is mostly shallow water so that you dont have ships fighting each other, but ships fighting alongside your regular units, kinda like mercs.
    It is worth noting that despite air units and zeppelin transports being available on every map, the concept of islands (in the meaning of a place not reachable by ground) is only a footnote in wc3.
    Fountains tend to benefit the guy that has map control. Often, the mapcontrol is favored by default to one race in a certain matchup. This race then gets the better access to the free regeneration.
    Especially right now, with many nightelves playing kotg hunts, they often manage to keep the enemy in base for much of the early game. However, a main downside of hunts is that they are very inefficient at being healed by moonwells. If there is free heal at the fountain for hunts, this further increases the ne dominance in the early game, and I would go as far as saying that right now, any map with a healing fountain would be a default win for nightelves against hu and ud. I see little hope to fix this by tinkering with the regeneration rate of fountains.
    Some abilities like disease cloud or death coil are hopeless, but there is huge amount of potential in many of the rarely-used creeps, though again some tweaked stats might be necessary for some.
    Thanks! I very much like the concept of random buildings, so I'm a bit biased here.
    For now, I will refer to the guide in my signature to my opinion about this topic, though there are several additional aspects mentioned in the op.
    Imagine you are blizzard, a multi-million dollar company. You take some nice looking doodads from some dude on the internet and include them on your map. How would you value the benefit of this decision. What's the likelihood of being sued over a copyright infringement that makes this still a good deal for you? Include negative/positive PR effects in your calculation.
    I only see this work if blizzard makes an official way to submit these doodads where you agree that they can use it. But again, from an economic point of view, would it be worth to create this possibility?
    Also, taking doodads could be seen as an admission that the work by blizzards paid artists apparently isnt sufficient and some "random dude on the internet" can produce better stuff.
    I'm sure this topic also comes up in different games. Does anyone have an idea how it is handled there?
     
  15. The Panda

    The Panda

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    You don't have to steal doodads or icons simply ask permission to use said doodad from the user and see if they can use it or they pay them a small amount for it possibly.. Or they can make there own imports.. im just saying it would be nice to add more doodads to the editor that's already imported into the editor for us to use and such.. and to use them in melee maps.
     
  16. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    Sure thing. I wouldn't want them to install microtransactions just so we could buy those resources to use them. I prefer external artists make them (for free if they want) and sign some sort of non-profit contract with Blizzard when uploading the resources on their server for editor use, much like @mafe implied.
     
  17. The Panda

    The Panda

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    Yes, that works too.. im just saying since blizzard is updating Warcraft ina hole.. then why not add more doodads too the editor to give more variation of doodads to use.. instead of always importing the doodad you love so much, they could import it permentatly too the editor for everyone to use to there liking.
     
  18. SadisticLeprechaun

    SadisticLeprechaun

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    I like these suggestions. I already have been randomizing some buildings on melee maps I play, with some custom shops that are not super uber... it adds tons of fun.

    I also like the idea:
    Now, what do you think about cancelling Wind Walk when buying something/using Reveal and when taking items from the ground?
     
  19. Dr Super Good

    Dr Super Good

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    The problem is that navy as a whole is not very well supported by Warcraft III. AI has absolutely no support for it so breaks badly on any sort of water orientated map.
    Possibly due to system requirements. The assets used by Warcraft III that Blizzard produced passed quality assurance that they would perform well on a system that meets the minimum requirements. Custom assets have not passed any such quality assurance. One could create a custom asset that appears for some people but not for others due to abusing low level or poorly defined specifications. Sure if this was only decorative it would not alter gameplay at all, however if it were a tree and the tree model failed to load entirely then a player would be unable to harvest lumber at all and so immediately lose.
     
  20. deepstrasz

    deepstrasz

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    We are talking about ladder, not matches vs AI. That is for triggereres and coders to deal with when using these units.
    Yeah, about trees, it's a bit sensitive whether to allow that or not. At the moment, I wouldn't (especially mixed with other/usual trees) but, it's one opinion.