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Techtree Contest #15 - Results

Discussion in 'Contest Archive' started by Mythic, Aug 31, 2020.

  1. Mythic

    Mythic

    Media Manager

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    upload_2020-9-1_17-7-28.png

    Techtree Contest #15 - Poll
     
  2. Wazzz

    Wazzz

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    I'll address these in order of appearance.

    1. For a long time it's been hard enough to get one judge in these particular kinds of contests, let alone two. Unless you want to throw your own hat into the ring and try your hand at judging one of these, it's very unlikely that such a change is going to occur overnight, as there is often a lot of people who would like for there to be more judges but aren't willing to do it themselves.

    2. At no point did I critique the models used.

    3. I suppose by that merit, nothing I say can, according to your perspective, justify the score given, as at any instance I attempt to open discussion concerning this, anything I say to explain where I was coming from is dismissed, yet no meaningful reasoning is given for it to be higher than 0. It's all well and good to say it's a harsh score, but I'm going to need a little more to go on than that alone to explain why a different score should be given.

    4. Correct, the conditions are to have the presence of at least 1 hero, 6 units and 6 buildings. At no point did I criticize the entry for the lack of units in it. The critique was that it used existing ingame units, in many instances without any changes to their statistics beyond the addition of mana and a drastic reduction in health, and that in using such units that were a part of a larger, more coherent faction, it inherently left gaps in the unit roles. This is an area that could definitely be refined, though, and through appropriate feedback I can ideally develop means for providing more suitable scores.

    5. This rule was explicitly stated in the poll thread itself, and it has always been an existing rule. Generally speaking, in such circumstances, it might also be advised to ask whether or not a user can vote for themselves.

    6. I have no idea what was said here.

    7. Actually, the Theme I explored the idea itself as it was presented, which is a very interesting one - Uther and his Paladins has a lot of potential as an idea. I found the execution to be unfortunately lacking, but to certain extents the idea is a very good starting point. I think further elaboration is required, sure, but you've definitely got some nice ideas. My primary critique would be to take them further, you definitely seem capable with executing some intricate systems. I also think that the Shield Of Faith was a bit overdone, unfortunately, racial abilities like that can be a bit hit-and-miss, primarily when every unit shares the same ability. Definitely something to take care with.

    8. I hope it's not too humiliating of an experience. There's been quite a few techtrees in past where some entries were certainly not up to scratch, including my own. Inevitably, I have to look at the idea of the techtree itself as it is presented. It also pays to keep in mind that my scoring is based on the Techtree Contest setting - I wouldn't want you to think this is inherently a poor reflection of your own personal project as a whole.

    Also, be careful of the double post. The competition itself is a for fun contest with ideally no place for negativity, but so far this complaint seems to be coming from the person who did make their first appearance in this thread resorting to aggressive name calling.

    @Daffa it's definitely an anomaly to me as well. Personally, I don't know where Kam's scores came from, but inevitably it seems our judging results provide an ideal counterbalance to each other. The overall score ended up being... 46 I think, when split down the middle?
    Mind you, I'm not entirely sure I see the conspiracy myself behind the difference in scoring.
     
  3. Daffa

    Daffa

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    80/100

    Theme: 22/25
    Aesthetically there's not much here to insinuate a connection to Uther. I think where your entry shines is the heavy integration of Uther into the tree. This is the most thorough out of the entries in the regard and really brings out the commander part of the design brief. Faith provides motivation to explore the race, and the Talents had me playing very aggressively to get to my next unlock. Visually the race needs work, but mechanically you're there.

    Gameplay: 18/25
    Why would I ever deactivate Shield of Faith on my Peasants? The Talent UI was a smart way to communicate to the player their options, past choices, and future options. Holy Bomb is a neat upgrade but the cast duration and healing amounts are off, I'm rarely going to be able to sit in the same place for 60 seconds. There's not a great deal of complexity in the standard combat units, which is appropriate because the Paladins are micro intensive. I do wish there was a more fleshed out tree though as there are only five combat units, but again it makes sense given the complexity and thoroughness in your heroes. The end result was enjoyable, although I do wish you could relearn talents. I'm not a fan of artificial limits on unit counts as well; I think the better solution would be to make Altars more expensive. I would need to play the race a few dozen times to master the quantity of talents and how they relate to each race matchup, so there is a learning curve there. That's not negative but worth mentioning.

    Balance: 17/20
    Shield of Faith is probably too good. Enemy players need to waste a significant percentage of their damage output just to start dealing damage. Although if I'm playing against Night Elf in particular I'm going to get Detonated into oblivion. Your standard units are all fairly on par with what I expect and held up well in combat. Some of the hero abilities are too good though, Hammer of Justice providing a 9 second stun is an eternity.

    Creativity: 23/30
    The Hero structure with "lesser" heroes is a great way to take advantage of the commander design. I was impressed by how integrated the system is in all aspects including Faith. I think this also presents a problem though as the standard units don't feel nearly as interesting. In SC2 this tends to be fine since my army is going to be enormous, but in War3 50-60 food armies are about where things top out in 1v1 so a little more micro is ok. I would have liked to see your take on a heavy siege unit. Again I think you missed out on visuals as well, there are a number of effects that would have made my base feel more holy.

    Theme: This has some potential when it comes to interesting ideas. Named paladins as demi-heroes could have been a great path to go, especially with better execution. The Talents mechanic is… serviceable as a base idea, although it is difficult to quantify with the way it is implemented. The Faith mechanic could be a nice addition if it did either a little more or just something else. As it stands, the overall theme is rather lacking, with some gold nuggets here and there which could be expanded upon. 8/25

    Gameplay: This is like playing the ingame Human faction with a severe handicap. Most of the units are considerably weaker, crippling you until you manage to get 100% Faith, and even then the oversaturation of mana shield on every unit makes your entire army Feedback bait. Granted, I do like the analogy that historically in Techtree Contests, Faith mechanics have not performed well against Feedback. Unfortunately, this doesn't aid the gameplay aspect. It's far too difficult to play for how simple some of the executions are. 0/25

    Balance: A lot of the balance problems have been partially touched upon in Theme and Gameplay. Oversaturation of Mana Shield doesn't work well, since there's a few good counters that will bend your entire army over in a seedy back alley. The sequential walk of shame isn't much fun, either. Uther and other (rare) “casters” being overly reliant on Mana Shield further serves to cripple them as well. Unfortunately, you're effectively forced to spam Footmen for the early game since Riflemen don't do as much as their cost promises anymore. In some respects, I recommend taking advantage of Tavern heroes being available rather than using Uther, and making an entire army out of nothing but Mercenaries. 0/20

    Creativity: There's some potential with some of the ideas here, but they're sorely lacking in being expanded upon. Unfortunately, Mana Shield has everything hinged on it being such a penultimate feature, when in reality it's not served to make the race more compelling to play or more intriguing. My recommendation would be to take a look at the potentials of how the Paladins were used, and maybe incorporate that a little bit further. There's potential to take that further, and maybe do something inspired by the way Tychus plays in co-op commanders. As it is, for all I will say against Mana Shield being used like this, there are some implementations that I would hope to expect from this, such as upgrades improving Mana capacity, Faith mechanics (which should be implemented differently, but are creative enough nonetheless), and… that might be about it. There's an abundance of ingame abilities being used here, too. Uther's ability roster is just Holy Light, Storm Bolt, Resurrection and an ability written entirely in Russian that lets you make buildings stronger for a bit. 4/30

    Total: 12/100

    Theme How well the various elements of the Faction (including aesthetics, gameplay & design) fit together in a thematic manner such that they feel like they are representative of the given Faction, as well as that of the chosen Contest Theme. Well-fitting & polished aesthetics which complement a cohesive theme will be graded well; poorly-considered or lacking thematic elements will result in a poor score. /25
    Gameplay How well the various elements of the Faction work together to achieve the tactical synergy & gameplay style the Faction has, as well as how efficiently each element performs its particular function. Strategic systems that endow an identity to the Faction, comprehensive & well-though-out roles which complement a cohesive Faction will be graded well; ill-considered, insufficient or over-compensating roles will lose points. /25
    Balance Indicates how comparable the Faction is in terms of 'playability'; i.e. the ideal Faction should win/lose 50% of the time against default races. Overpowered or Underpowered units/heroes/abilities/etc. will result in a poor score; properly balanced elements will result in a good score. /20
    Creativity How original the design of the Faction is in terms of innovative ideas, clever implementations, or creative concepts. Innovation and creativity will be rewarded; extensive re-use of existing elements in vanilla factions & poor originality will result in a poor score. /30

    Not wanting to put this on you guys' throats to be honest @Wazzz @Kam but since we are talking about future of judging, I might be inclined to question both sides.

    The theme judging gives me an interesting question. How do we define 'well-fitting & polished aesthetic'? This is something that I am inclined to ask because both judging differs greatly on the exact same work. One side considers the whole theme integration is well done, while the other said it is far from sufficient. I'm not sure how the Talent system is implemented in this particular entry, so I'm out of clue, since you both mention it but have extremely differing opinion on it.

    Next is the gameplay. The mana shield problem, I wonder if Kam does not notice it being a potential breaker or if Wazzz over-addressed this problem that lead to a great diminish of score into Gameplay aspect than it should. Let's see...
    Human: Spell Breaker + Arcane Tower
    Orc: N/A (I don't recall any unit with anti-mana ability)
    Undead: N/A (I don't recall any unit with anti-mana ability)
    Night Elf: Wisp (Detonate) + Demon Hunter
    So far, I'd say it is concerning. However, I don't think that merits more than 10 point loss and only problematic in a Paladin vs Human/NE battle. Spell breaker is also weak to melee attacks due to their Medium armor. Wisp needs heavy microing to even be an effective mana breaker. It does not merit a full score of cleansing. Speaking of Taverns, we might need to discuss this particular thing in future tech-tree contests.

    The balance part is weird to me. Kam seems to address things being overpowered (9-second stun) while Wazzz seems more on being underpowered (Footmen vs Riflemen). @Wazzz @AMarkov can I get footmen and riflemen statistic in this entry? Mana Shield shouldn't cost both Gameplay and Balance this much point. I mean the whole breaker should be a balance thing, and in gameplay more into how it goes with the whole synergy of the faction.

    Last is Creativity. I'd say Faith is an overused term (we have that in TC#14 too, and I'd say it's cursed to use in TC entries I tell ya). Mana Shield being a breaker while being a core feature should cost a lot, but the demi-hero concept Kam should be appreciated as well, given it is a creative approach.

    I'd say Kam 80 is questionable given how the addressing of the mana problem, but Wazzz 12 is unwarranted as well, given there indeed some creative aspects that seems to be overlooked in the entry.

    In short, I argue this particular entry can use another evaluation. For future contests, we need to have a way to properly ensure Gameplay and Balance are not hitting each other, making it a dangerous potential double-point reduction.

    EDIT:

    It indeed is middle ground when summed then divided, but middle ground from two end to end number gives too much questions to people's head :p

    EDIT:

    That faith thing should be a meme. I think every entry with Faith suddenly suffers during judging for some untold reason :p
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  4. Wazzz

    Wazzz

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    Now this, this I like. Asking questions on both sides, getting to the bottom of things, this definitely opens up a more meaningful discussion that is far less of a witch hunt.

    When it came to Theme, the aesthetic itself, I suppose, on a basic level does come, at least in part, from the look of the race. This might include custom content, but can also be achieved with the use of ingame resources. When it comes to HD entries, the restraint in content without making your own is a very real issue, and even in SD there might not be resources that inherently match a vision. Nonetheless, that is part of the theme. The rest is the way the gameplay factors into it, and as well as the overarching ideas and design philosophy integrated into it. So, this would factor in added gameplay elements (which in this case the biggest feature that was advertised as such as Shield Of Faith, which was... Mana Shield), but also design philosophies such as the incorporation of the Paladins. This then further expands into execution. For example, the idea of the Paladins themselves was a very good idea, and I think most people would generally agree that this is a nice place to start, but for me the execution shot itself in the foot and left a lot to be desired. I feel it's important to clarify that I don't think the overall idea is terrible, and I also don't think Amarkov is a terrible person. I don't know Amarkov, so I wouldn't know whether or not he's terrible. He could be, for all I know, but I don't.

    The gameplay area is definitely an interesting one, and definitely one I'd like to discuss in greater detail, maybe get my own head around it to see if I was overly critical in some aspects. From what I've seen of the entry itself, aside from the nicely executed Talent System UI, the actual gameplay of the race itself is... very lacking. It takes an existing race, but removes a lot of it, and seems to hinge entirely on Mana Shield being an overarching feature. I certainly looked at the unit roles, but perhaps there was another angle to look at it from that might have earned some points here from my end? It's hard to say at this stage. One thing I would clarify, though, was that with the overabundance of Mana Shield (and my apparent incapability of winning a dang game as this entry, or even coming close) also came a hit to the health values of the units themselves. From what I could gather, it didn't seem to really present anything... special, if that makes sense. The Talent UI System I found served to restrict access to the actual new content of what was otherwise a vanilla race presented as an original entry. The Mana Shield mechanic inhibited the actual gameplay itself when in combination with how the Faith mechanic worked, as your units would start off with a penalty in the early game, including the hero. It should... also be mentioned that in using the Paladin's Seal abilities, I found that at least one of them seems to, inexplicably and seemingly inconsistently, drains the mana of the target unit in question, nullifying their Mana Shield entirely. I have no idea if this is a bug or what, since the ability doesn't say it does anything like that.

    The 9 second stun... that was definitely a thing. Yet I found it was very rare I had the instance to use such an ability as I just seemed to get nuked at every turn with this entry. The riflemen would die suuuper fast, even when fully upgraded with mana buffs, and yet... I hear that people have actually been able to win with this entry. I've tried, I just find myself incapable of it at present. I'd definitely be intrigued to see how other people accomplish victory with it, though. I think this one might be too tough for me.

    That's actually where the points for Creativity came from for me. The demi-hero idea was a decent enough one, but it should also be noted that a lot of the abilities used aren't just reskins of vanilla spells and abilities - they are straight up vanilla spells and abilities. Uther himself has Holy Light and Resurrection. Fragmentation Shards is still in use for the Mortar Team. Healing Wave, Dispel and Devotion Aura make their appearances on the Paladin demi-heroes. The Paladin Demi-Heroes themselves have unedited stat fields from the Footman, with one stat exception per Paladin (one has 500 health instead of 420, another deals 16-19 damage instead of 12-13, that sort of thing). These Paladin Demi-Heroes, keep in mind, cost 350 Gold, 150 Lumber and 3 Food each. They actually cost /more/ Lumber than a second hero would, and only 75 less Gold. In hindsight I should have probably put this part in the balance section but it's already here and moving things is... eh.

    Now, you asked for stats? I've got some stats for you <3

    Silver Hand Recruit (still referred to as Footman in the tooltips):
    Health - 300
    Mana - 200
    Initial Mana - 10
    Damage - 12-13
    Defense Base - 2
    Gold Cost - 135
    Instead of Defend, this unit can be upgraded to learn Prayer, which is a castable ability that instantly restores 50 Mana. All in all, there is a slight improvement to the starting health value if you can get their mana up, but their other stats are still purely Footman and they won't be dealing much damage out at all.

    Rifleman
    Health - 225
    Mana - 150
    Initial Mana - 10
    Damage - 18-24
    Defense... unedited
    Gold, Lumber and Food costs... also unedited, so 205, 30 and 3
    Instead of Long Rifles, these fellas can be upgraded with a Blinding Shot ability that lets them target enemy units with an ability that gives them a very small chance to miss their attacks. Unfortunately, this is a farcry from the original Rifleman, which starts at 520 health for the same cost, so the nice bulky dwarven ranged unit, from my perspective, has become very, very fragile. Mana and Health put together at their maximums would sit at 375 before upgrades to mana shield.

    It's actually safe to say that attack values except for one of the named Paladins went entirely unedited. The Dragonhawk Rider deals magic damage instead of pierce, which does add a much needed damage type to the faction, and with double the attack range. Actually... the Dragonhawk Rider has the same base health, the same cost, the same... everything, except it doesn't have its abilities and instead has Mana Shield, Energy Prison (which... is just Aerial Shackles with 18 levels) and Divine Steed (a Mana boosting variant of the Animal War Training upgrade). Maybe the Dragonhawk was the key to winning all along?
     
  5. Daffa

    Daffa

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    Not the best time for me to reply but eh, whatever. I'll start typing this at 6:27 PM, though by the time of the post already far ahead of that.

    I don't think it merits to punish the whole idea completely with a severe amount of loss of points here. The concept is there, and it should merit a good amount of value in my perspective. But eh, this is not the biggest concern yet for me, since Balance and Gameplay is a much bigger sortie to talk about.

    Now, for Gameplay, I do think the UI usage is something to appreciate. Can't win the game? That reminds me of TC#14 contest with Faith system, which I personally cannot win, but I don't think that completely justifies the whole not acceptable frame. There might be a steep learning curve that should be addressed, and presumably, a multi-role unit might be there. Given how you mention how Talent restricts, it might be relevant to abuse the Faith mechanic itself (just like how Human loves to abuse their Rifles :p).

    I think the whole idea of Riflemen might be different than the one used in original. The stats you bring out indicate them being Archer level unit. So, yeah, use them like you use Archers. Footmen seems like Ghoul without harvest, so use them as such. I think it might be something related to playstyle that hinders the whole potential of the race, as if it has sort of specific patterns to follow.

    Could possibly be, at least try it? :D
     
  6. xYours Trulyx

    xYours Trulyx

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    @Wazzz @Kam Please stop mentioning dragons. I know it certainly fits very well with a Pandaren race, but dragons has nothing to do with Chen Stormstout.

    Congratulations, everyone! This was an interesting contest, no doubt.
    And, uhh, getting kinda hot in here?

    I have lost faith in Faith.
     
  7. Wazzz

    Wazzz

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    Ahh now that is a fair point. Unless it's a drunken dragon, then we need to draft it up immediately.

    The concept being there is where a lot of the score for the Theme came from, for me at least :p

    Gameplay is where I am a little iffy, but it's also where I look at the overall design where it's... basically the ingame Human faction with a skeleton crew. Still, UI usage was nice, and while I wouldn't grade it from a coding standpoint (that's a separate contest), in certain capacities it can be praised for its incorporation? Unfortunately, it's also where the execution just falls it right back, since it stonewalls most of the few actually custom abilities that exist within the faction, making an otherwise interesting idea become a roadblock to getting to the actual custom content of the entry.

    I think I have tried to use them like an Archer level unit, but it should be mentioned that these still cost exactly the same as the regular Riflemen, food cost and all.

    Think I might give it another whirl, though, I'm determined to get at least one win with this dang thing lol.
     
  8. xYours Trulyx

    xYours Trulyx

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    So does this mean gold medal? :peasant-cool:
     
  9. Footman16

    Footman16

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    So other than the inflammatory name calling which is unnecessary it seems that theres an interesting discussion going on.

    If it helps when if i get some time today ill see about doing a write up on my thoughts about the judging etc to see if it helps with future contests :) as for my mention of "incomplete" entries i perhaps should've said unfinished which whilst subjective if things like 90% of the tooltips are wrong or missing then thats a good telltale sign that the person did not finish the entry since they never got round to fixing a simple aspect of the race.

    Anyway like I said ill give a full write up later maybe as I got a 1/20 in balance which is interesting.

    EDIT: One thing I'm really trying to not do is make comparisons to other entries by name other than general statements since I dont think thats fair and could just cause more issues with people.

    Techtree Contest Feedback Response

    Ok so to start off as I've already said I'm going to avoid naming other entries in comparisons with for a couple of reasons; the biggest being that every entry is marked
    independently of the others (or at least as far as I'm aware). This means that the marks awarded to one entry don't affect the others. Another reason is that the crux of what I'm writing about is more to be my thoughts on the response to my entry and I don't really want other people feeling attacked for example if I believe my entry did something better than another's which for a large part is subjective.


    General
    So going into this contest I was quite excited and nervous. On the one hand this theme seemed perfect to allow me to create whatever race I wanted and I had some very cool ideas off the top of my head. It also seemed to be a techtree contest where the resulting race would have to fit in with the existing ones quite well making it traditional.

    I chose Jaina and the Kirin Tor Offensive which to anyone who knows WoW lore don't need much of a description but for those who do: they are a combination of Vereesa Windrunners Silver Covenant (High Elves) and the Kirin Tor (Dalaran and the mages).

    Going into it I had a few things I cleared up. The main one being does there only need to be one hero. A large reason for this is that hero choice can massively impact the balance and flow of a game. For example a Human Player choosing Paladin vs Demon Hunter will have a much different game to Archmage vs Demon Hunter. If the opponent knows you'll always have the same hero they will merely develop the optimal counter every game.

    I was nervous as well though. As a trend it seems that generally gimmicks win contests. What I mean by that is whether something is implemented well, or even if its workable were it tweaked is secondary to whether something new and completely unique is there or not. One could argue that it is merely uniqueness that people are looking for and I am not against unique mechanics. Far from it, its what makes the original races unique. However, a lot of mechanics will just not work in competitive play whether its too easy to counter or too easy to abuse most will simply be exploitable. There are a couple of entries with unique harvesting mechanics which I think are done really well and are the best examples of unique mechanics that work and should be commended. On the other hand it does seem like people just don't know how melee works with a lot of mechanics that are in my opinion unworkable being present in some entries.

    Alas, this isn't about those entries this is about mine ;) so I think I'll start with an overview of the judges points.

    Kam

    Theme 12/25
    So the only thing that's pointed out here is the presense of Elves and how that's not very Jaina-y except as I've mentioned Jaina is the commander of the Kirin Tor Offensive a large part of whom are Elves so I'm not sure how they don't fit. More of an explanation would be welcome here. The only other thing mentioned is the presence of the Elven Catapult being generic but again I'm not sure why in this specific case the Catapult is Generic but Elven Archer isn't.


    How these two things translate to a 12/25 I'm not realllly sure tbh. 12/25 is half which to me suggests kinda mediocre. To me the theme of Elven units backed up by fast moving mounted casters along with some eccentric Kirin Tor constructs and spells seemed quite apparent to me.


    Gameplay 10/25
    Again a very low score that suggest the gameplay was quite bad. So let's look at the comments.

    Kam points out how all the unit roles are present and that there is a spell that synergy with the other units that have summons. Which is all fair.

    Then he mentions that "Overall though I wouldn't say there was a tactical synergy here, nor a strategic system that screams Jaina." I mean this seems paradoxical. Most units spells were designed to have playstyles associated with them either with the use of other units or other spells in combination. For example if you go for squishy ranged units then the Magi unit has burning boulder to block and damage melee that tries to get close or can also be used to surround units. The summoner has Soul Spread that can be combined with Water Elementals to tank and heal units. The mana crystal restores mana and heals so can be used to enable your Archers to use their arrows for longer. You can go for healing builds, air builds, casters or supports.

    It's kind of ironic since I created every unit and spell with ideas of how it could be used and combined with other units and specifically for all the different strategies it could be used for in melee.


    Balance 18/20

    A very good score for balance which I greatly appreciated after all the tweaks and changes made after multiple plays against the AI.
    Kam points out the usefulness of Heavier Harnesses which forces the enemy to change their anti-air tactics by design.
    He has an issue with Aspect Essence saying at full mana it heals 2190 per unit in the AoE but seems to be missing the point that spell will probably not be active for that entire time as well as counters such as mana burn. I did test Aspect Essence extensively and it should only be used in large engagements where it is powerful but not OP. When used late game it will very quickly drain mana. I mean technically speaking Immolation could do just as much damage in its AoE if used from full mana in contact.


    He mentions Precision Shot being unclear on damage which I suppose is a fair criticism of the tooltip. I will say that tooltips in most other entries were severely lacking and/or unchanged in some cases. As for the mentioned perma-stun I'm not sure how that occurred as there's nothing in the WE that suggests that should happen.

    Dragon Form is powerful as all ults are, similar to Robo-goblin and Demon Hunters Demon Form :)

    Also the comment about Mana Shield? I'm confused as no unit or hero has mana shield and Mana Burn doesn't work on buildings AFAIK.

    Creativity 10/30
    Now this is a bit of an ouch moment for me. "Outside the three heroes there isn't much going on with unit abilities." This kinda stung I appreciate that some of the abilities are alternative uses of vanilla abilities but they're definitely not just re-skins with edits made to how the abilities work and operate. For example Burning Boulder can hardly be described as a "re-skin" of Healing Ward considering they have vastly different uses. Also a couple of the unit abilities are triggered.

    Then the rest of the comments are either neutral or positive but again the score really makes me wonder what was so terrible or un-creative. Things like the Mana Crystal, the Heroes spells the base defence. The Dragonhawk spawning upon the parent units death. I feel like a lot of the creativity either when unnoticed or unappreciated but that's just my opinion.

    Overall 50/100
    So based on the total score it would appear my entry was pretty underwhelming. Looking at it I suppose in some ways it could be if you were looking for big in your face unique mechanics. In my entry they're not there and that's by design. When I make a custom race I want it to be useable alongside the other 4 vanilla races. Hence why I strive to make the uniqueness in the units and their available toolkits along with how that toolkit interacts with the other units and heroes of the factions.

    This has been something that always been the case in these contests: traditional 5th race entries are just not what they're about or what the judges are looking for which is fine. However, that's just not what they purport to be or the impression you get from reading the descriptions. of the marking criteria etc.

    Wazz

    Theme 13/25
    So again a middling mark for theme. Again mentioning the presence of High Elves in the Kirin Tor Offensive. As I talked about earlier Wazz mentions the classic conventions that were stuck to and seems to think this is at odds with the contests as a whole. This would be fine if this was true, and the common consensus, however this doesn't seem to be the case.

    He mentions two units using the same icon which isn't the case (I even opened the WE and checked just to be completely sure) unless I'm completely blind.

    "Definite potential here, needs to be expanded upon." This line here confuses me considering the race actually has more units than the standard rosters and all units and Heroes have complete sets of abilities. Therefore the only way I think the race could be expanded is by adding a "gimmick" so to speak. Some mechanic that makes the race stronger. However, I feel this is completely unneeded and unwarranted considering the absence of such a gimmick from the other 4 races.

    Also since High Elves were mentioned twice by both Judges I will point out that out of the Human units excluding workers only two are actually Human the rest being Elves or Dwarves.

    Gameplay 12/25
    In terms of gameplay Wazz first points out how traditional it is which I appreciate and also how there's no unique harvesting mechanic. In this case I fully agree that when it comes to workers and harvesting there's a lot of room for cool new and unique mechanics to be implemented so I fully accept this critique.

    The next part I am a bit confused about since this about gameplay and not balance. If Wazz chose to go solely with archers every game then fair enough but to not even touch upon the amount of caster options and variety is a bit strange especially considering the amount of abilities and synergies on offer. He mentions he'd like it to expand more into summoned units and magic wielders despite two of the unit production buildings being dedicated to them. Like I said before Jaina commands the Kirin Tor Offensive and thats what's on offer. If the race was all casters it would be impossible to balance and I struggle to think what spells caster no. 4 could have.

    Balance 1/20
    So the Archers net a 1/20 with no mention of the other units. They're 3 food which makes a massive difference early game to the size of army you can field not to mention that 410 is not bulky when compared to 535 for Rifles and 550 for Crypt Fiends. If anything they're weaker than every single 3 food equivalent except when it comes to damage when upgrades are applied yet they still do less damage than a Crypt Fiend at max upgrades and less max damage than a Rifleman initially.
    Yes you can win with just the Archers mainly because the AI is terrible and doesn't perform any kind of strategy or creepjack or harass which would all be good counters. The AI also creates a mish-mash of every unit which is abysmal against specialised armies. I'd like to see how this strat would perform against other real players and not the AI where Undead nukes as well as mass bears would slaughter them.


    One point I would give you is their cost gold and lumber-wise. They're not "dirt-cheap" but also not as expensive as the other ranged units but again that's because they are very weak.

    Creativity 14/30
    "There's definitely some creativity here. Despite appearing to have Blizzard as a vanilla ability, it's actually implemented in a creative way that makes use of the whole “Frozen” mechanic Jaina can implement." I really appreciated this bit :) although I'll have to confess Jaina's abilities are the work of JAKEZINC from this very site's spell's section.

    Wazz says its a solid entry with lots of room for improvement but I'm struggling to see where. Does he mean in terms of units? There's a full roster. Abilities? Every one is custom. Heroes? There's 3. The only room for improvement that I can justifiably see would be a unique harvesting or building mechanic but that's not been mentioned here. Again the standard War3 gameplay of upgrading researches is taken as a negative. There is one unique tech-tree item though that seems to have been ignored is that if you pick Jaina as your hero it changes the third unit in the Arcane Sanctum which is pretty unique with hero choice changing the tech-tree :)


    Overall 40/100
    Ouch 40/100 is less than half, so maybe not that solid an entry as the comments would suggest.

    The biggest thing that stands out to me in Wazz's reviews is that he probably doesn't play melee :p (correct me if I'm wrong). There does seem to be this strange divide between the comments that aren't wholly negative and the scores which are mediocre.

    This does feel however like the problem of whether traditional tech-trees are welcome in this contest which it appears they are not.


    Final Thoughts
    So in the end I think the Judges didn't really get the whole Jaina Leader of the Kirin Tor Offensive theme as well as the sticking to the more vanilla designs for a 5th race which I guess one could argue whether that's my fault or a fault of the descriptions and philosophy behind these contests.

    So going into this contest I'll be honest I wasn't expecting to win. I played through all but maybe 1 or 2 of the other entries and I was expecting to fall anywhere from 2nd to 4th depending upon how the wind blew.

    Instead I came second last which was admittedly quite disheartening to see after the amount of time and effort I put in thinking of ideas and making models and skins to go along with it as well as custom soundsets. The amount of time and polish I put into it was painstaking in terms of making sure every tooltip and button position was correct. As well as some smaller details like the passive icons on all the Heroes giving some context and background. I made what I fully believed to be a Jaina themed entry for this contest which was of a very high quality.

    What has become apparent is that perhaps the quality wasn't really the issue but my notions of what this contest was even after I thought everything had been clarified in the lengthy contest discussion beforehand. This all comes back to what I've noticed across all the contests. Gimmicks win. Whether implemented rightly or wrongly they win and the distinction comes down to simply how cool does this Gimmick feel.

    To be clear this isn't an issue. I'm not saying this as a kind of "GRRRR appreciate my traditional tech-tree design" but just more as an analysis and awareness of what the aim and priority of these things are and how we should be under no illusions about it.

    This is why its doubtful I'll ever join another because my design and judging philosophy differ wildly and really quite starkly with how the judges of these contests are operating.

    Just in case anyone also makes any mistakes about my feelings on this matter let me be clear. @Kam and @Wazzz are as far as I can tell pretty great guys they give up their time and experience to do this and their opinions are perfectly valid. This isn't an attack on them at all and I truly truly want more contests. Maybe I will get involved again but my final point is just that I went into this with a very different philosophy and there's not really anything wrong with that other than perhaps my disappointment at not doing as well as I thought I would.

    TL;DR: These contests need clearer descriptions :p

    Also when writing this the colours, sizes and fonts would change sometimes and screw up
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2020
  10. Wazzz

    Wazzz

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    Might do, might do. Alcoholic dragons are very shique

    Oh boy, I think I know which one you're referring to there, definitely some anomalies in where I'm thinking.

    Now this is a very valuable post, it absolutely opens up potential for a valuable discussion.

    For the units using the same Icon, this is where it occurred:
    Kirin Tor.jpg


    By further expansion, I refer more so to the expansion of ideas, and the way they are incorporated. More units and buildings would... definitely not be the answer here. Rather, there's a lot of room to expand upon the core concept itself. It's where the entry itself is a very solid starting point, or a baseline, for a very solid traditional faction, but you can also go further with exploring new ideas. Not inherently new mechanics, granted, as there is plenty of ingame content to play around with.

    Gameplay wise I did look at every unit, being able to summon Elementals with the casters was definitely a nice boon, but in the end the primary focus is drawn back to the elven components. This is where I'll address that part of theme as well - the problem isn't the inherent use of Elves within the faction, the issue more so falls along where the emphasis inevitably falls. The humans certainly have a lot of non-human units, only really sporting the Peasant, Footman and Knight (Militia, too, if you would include that as a separate unit), with two human heroes. In this instance there's Jaina in the heroes roster, and then two elf-ish heroes. With the baseline of pure elf units in the tier 1 game, and then the Elven Catapult for... some reason, it gives off a very strong High Elf faction vibe. There was definitely wiggle room for something else here that touched upon the magical aspects of the faction a lot more, like... off the top of my head, if you kept the High Elven Swordsman but changed it to a "Battle Mage" where it could be upgraded with some spell-like abilities to compliment its capabilities in melee combat, and perhaps instead of an Archer you had a Water Elemental as the basic ranged unit. The Elven Catapult could be replaced with a Fire Elemental or Lava Spawn or something like that to dish out Siege damage, drawing on abilities like Liquid Fire while changing it up. Definitely a lot of room to branch out while keeping it a more traditional entry.

    The Archers were... an interesting area. For some reason, they cost 3 Food, but their Gold and Lumber costs were... definitely not like that of a 3 food unit. Unfortunately it sits it in a relative purgatory where it's not quite fitting into either category, but with 410 health it would look, on paper, to be a more fragile unit. In practice, with the upgrades available to it, they are an absolute powerhouse. The argument against them being "dirt cheap", though, does have some merit, as it's really the abilities that make them stand out and with how readily replaceable they are they do tend to dominate. The cost itself is such a strange area for a 3 food unit, even one that's intended to be a little weaker. With Arcane Arrows, you can dish out a lot of DPS all at once, and if one is nearing death it's more effective to replace it with a new one since it comes with a fresh batch of mana for dishing out the hurt.

    When it comes to room for improvement, it's more along the lines of the expansion of ideas, and less so about building mechanics or anything of that sort. If this lineup was applied with a more frivolous design towards building construction, resource gathering or unit production, it would still fall into a lot of the trappings that persist at present. It's where traditional entries are certainly appreciated, at least by me, but there's a lot of room to put in some fun new ideas with a more traditional entry that are less restricted.

    Now, as for whether or nor I play melee, you are right, I do not. I do sometimes enjoy watching Grubby play melee, though, which is always an interesting area to look at from when a professional plays the game :)

    Vanilla designs are definitely a difficult beast to master, especially in a contest design. I think when it comes to scores given, from my end, there's definite room for improvement, but when it comes to the comments there's also not a lot to say that's inherently negative about your entry. It sort of also falls under the lines of there isn't a huge amount to say in its favor in many areas, either. It's definitely a great starting point, where a lot of the layout is nicely handled with only one icon repeated. There's just a lot more fun to be had with delving into the idea. I should also mention that the Mana increase on structures, via upgrade, is only 10%, so something like the Arcane Sanctum, for example, will only see an increase of 30 Mana. It's a bit of a shame where it doesn't really add that much to the buildings.

    I hope this helps clarify things out a bit, and I do hope you decide to join future contests again, but can also understand if the setting itself isn't for you. The bar certainly gets raised a /lot/ over the number of contests that have been, and while I am very welcoming of traditional entries, the standard is still a fairly high one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  11. Footman16

    Footman16

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    I understand what you're saying completely; in my opinion however the Elves are just as valid since this is the Kirin Tor Offensive and even then there are still plenty of traditional Dalaran themed units :) Also Kalecgos is really a Dragon and is only a half-elf. Where you talk about changing the tier 1 units again all it makes me think is that you just don't really get the Kirin Tor Offensive thing and maybe I didn't highlight that enough which is fair enough.

    I would say whilst there's definitely arguments to be made about tweaking the Archer in order to make it more balanced, I don't think it warrants a 1/20 on balance since that goes for the entry as a whole. When playing other entries there are definitely much more egregious examples of terrible balance.

    As for the icon I think that's a Reforged bug or something because I have my copy open in the WE and he definitely has the correct icon and its been like that since I made the unit. In all my tests he has/had the correct and different icon so no idea what's happening other than it being a bug on your end :/

    See where you talk about the "room for improvement" again you talk about frivolous ideas and "expansion of ideas" and I just don't get it or at least I'm not sure what you mean without perhaps you going into more depth. You say that even with different building, resource gathering mechanics etc it would still fall into its current problems but I don't really see what those are. At the end of the day I think we're just on different wavelengths when it comes to this sort of thing lol. Which you know isn't the worst thing, guess we just have different philosophies and they're just not compatible but that's not bad: variety is the spice of life :)
     
  12. Wazzz

    Wazzz

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    Oh they're definitely valid, although there is a lot of ways to go about it. I'm certainly intrigued by the idea of a Kirin Tor Offensive.

    Balance is... definitely a difficult area to tackle from a scoring perspective. I think there's definitely room for improvement here on my end, definitely.

    Oh that does sound weird :/

    It's definitely a difficult concept to put forwards in so many words, but the faction itself was functional, which is more than can be said for some entries in previous contests. It's definitely great having some feedback in regards to the scoring, though, and should hopefully help things in future contests :)

    Also you've been such a great sport throughout this contest, I do hope you consider joining again in future if you can ^^
     
  13. Footman16

    Footman16

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    Maybe, I joined this one because i had such a really clear and cool idea of what i wanted and most of the TC themes usually dont appeal to me. But we'll see how it goes, also being in lockdown gave me tons of time to work on this contest compared to how busy i usually am.

    I suppose what im saying is I'll never say never ;)
     
  14. SgtWinter

    SgtWinter

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    Seeing Footman16's techtree contest feedback response makes me wanna do my own, ahah.
     
  15. Footman16

    Footman16

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    Nah you came first, you get to just sit back and enjoy the glory ;)

    I was replaying my entry just there for fun and the icon issue definitely wasn't there but I think I know where it comes from. Its the Blood Wizard model and icon which Blizz updated so that it converted in Classic properly and I think they changed the filepath which could have let to the wrong icon.

    Another thing I thought of was in regards to the Judges @Wazzz and @Kam if you both checked to see if every entry had detection for invisible units when looking at balance?