Monday, March 23, 2015

Stealths May Actually Be Useful

It has long been thought that the Stealth air unit of Advance Wars: Dual Strike, also known as AWDS or AW3, were useless. I have recently found that this may not actually be the case.

In a post I did years ago on different game modes, I commented that high funds games in AW3 are basically unplayable due to becoming B-Bomb fests. A couple months ago, it occurred to me that any game in which the B-Bomb is easily affordable also makes the Stealth affordable (we're talking like 3k funds and above), due to being cheaper. So I tried it out.

The strength of the B-Bomb is that it is too maneuverable to be caught by other air units, and can explode the same turn it moves. It's basically invincible. However, the Stealth is the one unit a B-Bomb can't actually see coming, and can't totally avoid. A Stealth can intercept a Bomb while it's in transit or even before it leaves the airport. They do 120% BD to the Bombs, so only Kanbei and Javier can actually make them survive the strike.

There is the issue of refueling, but Stealths at high funding levels are pretty disposable and get more bang for their buck. A single Stealth can 1HK multiple Bombs before fuel consumption takes it down, plenty of time to get another one in the field.

This doesn't mean you'll suddenly become immune to Bomb strikes during a high funds game. Aside from being countered by Fighters and other Stealths, there are also any number of reasons why a Bomb might slip through, be it clever walling, building too many to counter, or whatever. The important take-away from this, however, is that Bombs are no longer the end-all be-all of high funds. You can't make a constant stream of them if the majority are just going to get shot down and waste your money; which, while plentiful in high funds, is not unlimited.

So there you have it. High funds modes are officially playable again. Let the fun begin.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ideal Metagame Tier System for CWT

Once CWT comes out with a multiplayer release, I want to try out a tier system similar to what they've got going on Smogon in the Pokemon community. Some details have to be changed due to obvious differences between how the games work, but I have tried to preserve the spirit of how their tier system works. The examples I give here will use the AWDS build of CWT, since that is the game I am most familiar with in the AW series.

Usage Tiers

These tiers are determined by usage. They are organized every few months according to a CO/Tag's usage by a certain percentile of players in ranked free-play. The higher the tier, the more narrow the percentile sampled. The idea of using different percentiles for each tier is that high-ranked (and presumably skilled) players will have a better grasp on which COs and strategies are stronger; but also because if a high-ranked player experiments and consistently loses, their rank will take a nosedive and their experiment won't affect placement in that upper tier. There are still ways to skew that result, but said skewing will generally last for only a single placement period, after which the system will self-correct. Lastly, popularity in a higher percentile takes precedence over lower percentiles; i.e. if a CO/Tag would qualify for both the OU and UU tiers, it will be placed in OU because the stats of the top 20% of players takes precedence.

The purpose of these tiers is to set brackets for tournaments during a particular placement period.

Overused (OU)

This tier is determined by the top 20% ranked players. COs/Tags make it to OU if their usage by those players exceeds a certain percentage determined by the number of COs/Tags present in the game; so in AWDS, with just a little under 400 of these, that percentage would be about 3-5%. (Games with lower CO/Tag counts would undoubtedly have higher thresholds.) The OU bracket represents COs that have repeatedly proven to be a major cut above the rest during the previous placement period.

OU placement happens during the first judgement round. All COs/Tags ranked as OU are removed from the later judgement rounds.

Underused (UU)

This tier is determined by the top 40% ranked players. These COs and Tags are less common in competition due to hindering flaws cropping up in various maps, lack of usage, or just being out-classed. The percentage required to enter is the same as OU, because while the judgement pool is smaller, so is overall usage.

UU placement happens during the second judgement round. Factions that make it into UU are removed from later judgement rounds.

Rarelyused (RU)

This tier is determined by the top 60% ranked players. COs and Tags that are majorly flawed or just easily out-classed will tend to find their way here. They may also just be suited to a very particular niche when playing against higher tiers. Think Lash or Jake in AWDS. Like UU, the percentage required to enter is the same as OU, for the same reasons. In a smaller game, this tier might be removed altogether.

RU placement happens during the final judgement round, so no further removals are required.

Neverused (NU)

Exactly what it sounds like. There is no judgement round, as these are simply COs and Tags that didn't make the cut at all for the competitive tiers. These factions are almost never seen on the competitive field due to being limited, weak, unpopular, or some combination of the three. Anything deemed to be a game-breaker, but not utilized enough to ever get banned, is also likely to end up here.

Banning Tiers

Another set of tiers exists to organize COs and Tags that are obviously too powerful for their assigned tier, but aren't used enough to be placed higher. Like the usage tiers, banning tiers are determined from ranked free-play and used to structure tournaments and leagues. Bans are only applied to factions that have been used in at least 10 games over the course of a placement period. They are set after the judgement rounds end.

Total Ban (TB)

Uber factions land in this bracket when their winning streak against other Ubers is >60%. They cannot be used in any leagues, and in ranked games may only be fielded in free-play and anything-goes tournaments. TB factions can be placed here permanently by community vote, and be later removed by the same process.

Uber

This level is half ban-list, half tier unto itself. OU factions land here when their winning streak against other OUs is >60%. Because there is no proper tier above Uber, it has its own tournament and league. Uber factions can be placed here permanently by community vote, with the caveat that they can still be moved up to TB. They can later be removed by the same voting process.

Borderline (BL)

The first of 3 ban lists by this name, BL is for UU factions who have a >60% winning streak against other UUs. They are considered too strong for the UU metagame, but aren't used enough to qualify as OU. BL factions are banned from UU, but may be used in OU and Uber if desired.

Borderline 2 (BL2)

Same as BL, but for the RU tier. They are banned from RU, but may be used in UU, OU, and Uber if desired.

Borderline 3 (BL3)

Again, same as BL, but for the NU tier. They are banned from NU, but may be used in RU, UU, OU, and Uber if desired.

Why do this?

A system like this ensures that a tier list is automatically kept up to date according to actual gameplay, rather than allow community bias to creep in. It is not without its flaws, but in general this system is able to self-correct in the event of unusual trends or trolling cropping up.

If there's a gaping flaw in this system that I've missed, please let me know, because I want this system ready to go when CWT's online multiplayer launches.

Friday, March 20, 2015

[Suggestion] Expansion Mutation


Expansions feel really underpowered in the late game. In terms of mutagen production, they can't compete with hatcheries, and the larva bonus they provide takes ages to catch up with your mutagen larvae once you've invested a lot in upgrades. Territory mutation doesn't help that much: I have all un-capped mutations at 1.00e63 right now, and even with swarm warps, rushes, and clones, it'll be days before I have enough expansions to put a dent in my mutagen larvae production.


I don't think the answer is de-powering mutagen; personally, I dislike nerfing something unless it just outright breaks the game. Having an expansion mutation, capped or not, would easily solve this problem. As long as it's introduced with another update, such as generated meat unit tiers, I think it would be a perfectly fair and balanced addition to the game.







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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

[Suggestion] In-game notepad


This is a very small suggestion and more a matter of convenience than anything else. Basically, it would be handy to have an in-game notepad that a player can use to write down little reminders to themselves, like when to switch from rushing to cloning, or start investing in a new tier of meat units.


I realize you can already do that with your computer's own notepad program. Like I said, just thinking in terms of convenience.







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Friday, March 13, 2015

How to Use Reddit

Step 1: Get gold.

Step 2: No, seriously, get gold. It's amazing.

Step 3: Under preferences, check the box that says, "Don't show links after I dislike them."

Step 4: Find subs you like.

Step 5: Get good at recognizing links that aren't appropriate for that sub and/or belong in a different sub, and downvote those links.

Step 6: Upvote all other links.

Step 7: Never downvote something just because you disagree. Your goal is to prune for quality discussion topics, not create a circlejerk (unless that's the purpose of the sub).

Congratulations, you now know how to use Reddit properly. Now go make the internet a smarter place.