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Tug of war balancing and other gameplay aspects

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Hi,

I'm remaking a team v team map that I didn't release, but I had like 20 test playthroughs and I wasn't satisfied.

The overview of gameplay is this: Two teams of 1-5 player heroes stand at each side of arena, spawning units and trying to kill the opposing heroes. It sounds awfully like Summoner wars probably, but each hero has unique mechanics and lots of large scale spells to choose from.

My problem lies in how to realize the unit spawn and how to balance their stats ehp/dps so that there isn't too much of them on the screen, but still enough of them for larger scale spells (like 4-5 unit buff) to take effect.

Previous map: Max players per team was 3, and each had 1 or 2 summon skills with 15 seconds cooldown. regardless of number of skills, number of spawned units was almost always 2 every 15 seconds, and units of same level could kill each other in 20 seconds. It was good balance.


I am planning to introduce an "action point" system where heroes would usually have 3 max mana, and each action would be balanced cost of 1, but there would be no cooldown on the summon skill. Mana regen could regen 1/10 seconds. Spells and other things would also cost mana, so you could at most do 3 actions at once, but need to pool. Adding more intelligence stat would increase this maximum and grant a tiny bonus regeneration.
Reason why I don't like this system is because you don't really know how much it takes for you to regen 1 mana. But that's also a good thing, because numbers you deal with are very easy. 1-3. If you have 2 points, you can do 2 actions, and you don't really think whether you will wait for 0.3 seconds to regen that 1 more point.

The biggest question I need to answer is what are the values to make this work?
Cooldownless summons, based only on mana cost/regen. How would a pro tug of war maker approach the balancing issue of this design? It's only an idea and I can easily trash it, but I want to give it a chance and see if it works. If anyone has other ideas, I'm very open to them.
 
Hi, thanks for reply!

So, map predicted is 32x22 tile squares, max players (hopefully) 10. I need the units to live relatively long (~20s) by default. I'm guessing 2 units per player every 15 seconds seems good enough?

That's what I want to know as well, how do I find a spawn rate that fits? I need at least 5-10 units alive, but not much more than 50. Should I start at
3 max mana, regen 1 per 8 seconds and then go test with people like that?
 
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1 per 8 second regen makes 2 units every 16 seconds assuming the cheap units.
More expensive units will reduce unit count so if expensive units ends up being good enough relatively to swarming(for example there is an expensive unit with more range than less expensive units) then it might end up making unit count be half as high(because you have less units if you make cost 2 and 3 units)
Assuming that units all go and do 1v1 at once and die simultaneously with 5 players on each side you will have around 10 to 15 units at a given time with minimal cost units.
But the problem is that it does not works like that: when one side starts having more units this side stacks more and more at a quick pace unless countered and if you have one side stacking units and instakilling opponent units with a horde of attacks you might end up having one side with 15 units creating 5 units every 8 seconds thus reaching 50 units after just 56 seconds which is really fast.
It is due in part to the square law phenomenon which can be reduced by making no units be ranged.
you could in theory make a food cap for teams to fix partially the problem.

Of course you can also for allowing players to better predict when they get their next action point make actions cost 10 mana and have heroes with 10 times more mana and mana regeneration.
 
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I see...

The way I softened snowballing a lot is with other mechanics. There's a separate resource that heroes use for casting spells. And spells are quite large scale and often only apply to simple units only.

Also when units get to their goal, they will most likely be removed, making the "getting there" a goal of theirs. (like in td)

10-15 sounds okayish but I am worried about 1v1 balance and 5v5 balance - keeping those numbers similar, within around 50% fluctuation.

Should I increase starting max mana and regen by like 2/3, (action points, say we go 10s) like 50 instead of 30 and 1/5 regen instead of 1/8?
 
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with less players if you want the same amount of units then allows players to summon more.
Ex: teams have 4 players so every 4 summonings in a given team you create 2 units instead of 1.
When teams have 3 players each summoning do 2 units except every 3 summonings where you do instead 1
And with 2 players teams you alternate between 2 and 3 summons per cast.
and when teams have 1 player you summon 5 units at once per cast.
In all the cases it will result in same amounts of summons.

An alternative is making teams have a constant sum of action points caps and action points regens.
so a team with one player will have a hero with 5 times the action point cap and 5 times the action point regen of a hero of a 5 player team.
 
Level 8
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How about a queue with an overflow-merge mechanic?
You could have the game spit out 1-3 mobs at a certain interval, and then place every unit that a player has sent into a queue. If someone spams a lot of cheap units to a point where they overflow the queue, the game starts merging these units into stronger ones, either by replacing with a more expensive unit, or combining the stats of multiple units into one.

Example 1:
Team 1 has reached their queue limit at 50 units.
Player 2 of team 1 buys a level 1 unit during this limit. Instead of being placed in the queue, the unit's stats is added to the weakest unit in the queue, prioritizing the ones furthest in the back.

Example 2:
Team 1 has 5 level 1 units in the queue past the 20 first units which are never merged.
The game merges the 5 level 1 units into a level 3 unit, which has roughly the same value as 5xlevel 1s.
This unit assumes the 21st spot in the queue, thus, the gold cost of team 1's units have effectively been combined into a more expensive unit.
 
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