Heroes 5 too random

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Jolly Joker
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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 15 2008, 16:45

Asheera wrote:Yeah but to what degree? I mean, even you wouldn't like a random start ATB between 0 and maximum (so that even a Zombie could act before a Phoenix!), right?

What makes you think the current value of 25% maximum is perfect, hmm? My preference would be to get reduced to 5%. 25% is too much IMO.

What do you mean, "even" me? :)
Anyway, what I would really like would be a starting value on the ATB bar between 0 and double the initiative (which means a 100% value instead a 25% value), BUT! with a probability modification based on the actual initiative of the unit, so that the result would be on a curve that would halve the intial probability of 33% for the exact Initiative for each increment of 10% of that initiative.
Example: for a unit with initiative 10 there would be the following starting probabilities:
33.3% for 10
16.67% for 11 and 9 each (which amounts to 67% probability for a 10% ATB modification)
8.33% for 12 and 8 each
4.17% for 13 and 7 each
and so on with decimal figures in between possible as much as the system allows.

In short, it would be a system where each unit could start at each point between 0 and 200% of the initiative, although the probabilities would be against it. In the above example, in 2 out of 3 cases the unit will start with a value between 9 and 11. In 1 out of 24 cases the unit will start with a value of either 6 or lower or 14 or higher.

Everything should be possible, but "strange" things should be highly unlikely.
ZZZzzzz....

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Postby Asheera » Jul 15 2008, 17:00

Jolly Joker wrote:What do you mean, "even" me? :)
"You" as in "those that like random" ;)
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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 15 2008, 17:41

Well, as I said I would like a system where a marksman with an initiative of 8 would have a possible starting value between 0 and 16, but where a starting value would be all the more unlikely the more it would be away from the standárd initiative value. NOW it's just RANDOM, albeit with only 25% difference which means a value of 10 is as likely as 9 or 8 or 7 or 6 or 9.5.
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Postby Elvin » Jul 15 2008, 18:03

Heck no this is total chaos :D
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Postby danhvo » Jul 15 2008, 21:58

Clearly, this discussion doesn't change anyone's mind. Why don't someone post a poll, to see how many people think the game is too random?

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Postby Elvin » Jul 15 2008, 22:22

What would it prove? Each of us can accept a certain level of randomness so we'd have to address each feature that is subject to chance.
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Postby AngelEyes » Jul 15 2008, 23:00

I've always enjoyed the random elements associated with the Heroes games, and Heroes V is no exception. Yeah, nobody likes it when something unlucky happens (I nearly always used to get the Fezbin of Misfortune from castaways in Heroes 2..lol), but some of my most memorable games were when I had to overcome some unfortunate setbacks along the way.

Like JJ said earlier, the key is coping with some of the game's inherent randomness. I personally think the game would lose a lot of its appeal if I always got the same skill selection, number of resources from treasure piles, starting initiative, etc.

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Postby Wolfsburg » Jul 15 2008, 23:04

danhvo wrote:Clearly, this discussion doesn't change anyone's mind. Why don't someone post a poll, to see how many people think the game is too random?


As if discussions were only made to change peoples minds... ;)

The reason why we are here in first place (some with many thousands of posts) is certainly not motivated by the lust to convert people. We are here to look for new conclusions and, luckily, understand better the game that we love.

For example, Elvin has enormous experience in PvP gaming, J.J has neat insights and knows much of the game's core calculation, why not to feed on this kind of goodies?

Elvin could, for instance, tell us how many games he has personally experienced where the "Week of bad mods to the bad guys" has really played a pivotal role, making a better player lose.

And I love to hear from those with more experience, gather information. Perhaps come to conclusions together. Thats all.

W.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 16 2008, 6:39

I can provide a list of random elements and comment on things.

1) picks at start (may be switched to random)
a) town - shouldn't matter; I include the TOWN SPECIAL here; it's random and it may make a difference. Getting additional troops or money or a better exchange rate seems to be better than a luck bonus on defense, for example
b) hero - may make a difference in some cases, but chances to end up with a complete loser are slim while the really good ones are combinations of two heroes, like, for example Havez (who brings the goodies) and Jhora (who brings the fire power); clearly, though, depending on what your starting hero(es) come(s) equipped with and who they are the game plays differently, the higher the difficulty level is.
c) bonus; with artifacts being tradable now, at least money is not an option anymore. Since the artifact is the clearly superior pick - on all diff levels -, leaving this at random is more like a handicap.

2) map findings
a) Chests; they make a difference. On high difficulty the difference between 1000 gps and 2000 gps may make in fact all the difference when it allows a crucial building or not; on lower it may make the difference between a crucial level-up of the hero (and remember, that you don't get so much xp on low diff from fights)
b) Resource piles; on higher diff they may make all the difference, not only in terms of how many resources a pile will give, but the sort of a random pile or campfire gives as well. You'll feel the difference, of whether the two wood or ore piles at the mill/pit will give 5 rach or 9 each, and you'll smile about every find of your rarest resource.
c) Artifacts; a world of difference, as everyone should and will know; the one redeeming factor here is, that you can cash in for useless artifacts (double or triple finds or too many artifacts for the same slot or simply useless artifacts like Titans Trident for the Barbarians and so on). Of course, on lower diff the money isn't worth much - here only the quality of the artifact really counts. All in all I think that, as a map maker, artifacts are something I'd be careful with the placing.
d) joins; not much to say. Of course joins are most effective with Necropolis and Dungeon, but the Orcs and the Inferno can make good use of them as well. For the rest it depends. Still, a good join at a crucial point counts, especiall if you don't have Diplomacy. Moreover the join may be for free as well...

3) Hero development
a) Witch Huts; a skill for free ain't bad. While there are no useless skills per se, random Witch Huts may be advantageous (giving something every hero will take willingly, for example attack) to useless, for example, a magic skill for spells your guild or, in case of the Orcs, the opponent's guild don't have
b) Sylanna's, err, oldest? Tree of Knowledge, I mean; getting the level for free or not may be a crucial difference; if you play Academy, for example, you won't be too keen to pay 10 Gems for the level.
c) regular levelling; the tighter the game, the more important it is to really make the most out of your hero levelling. Of course there are certain skills that will help you more than others, especially on high diff and in the beginning. Up to a certain degree you have control over the levelling - you can make sure to get a certain perk EVENTUALLY (provided you have the skill), but you can't make sure to get a certain skill at all or a certain perk immediately. The rule of thumb on HIGHER diff is, that a new skill or perk must be useful IMMEDIATELY; if it's not it must be made so (magic skills). On lower diff it's easier to plan for the last confrontation, so hero-building is more with an eye on the opponent, if possible.
All in all this is of course a very crucial area.
d) spells; yup, make a difference. Raise Dead sucks in the guild, no matter the town. For that spell to be of use you must have losses, and while I can see the use of that spell in any last, decisive battle, it's a level 2 spell, so it would be possible to use it quite early in a game. Earthquake is the same. As a personal comment, let me add that I've suggested to make Earthquake able to destroy obstacles on any battle map to give it a use other than in siege battles, but honing on spells hasn't been too high on the priority list of fixes... Light and dark Level 5 spells may be completely useless, depending on what you and the opponent(s) are, so this is an area where you may have more luck or not. The one redeeming factor HERE is, that with all the possibilities to refine spells you clearly don't need EVERY spell to be a winner - a couple of usable ones are enough.

4) Week of
Yes. They may have a lot of effect: a plague week will benefit Necropolis, the double income week will give Haven an edge, and the double resource weeks are probably best for Academy. Moreover, the growth weeks do have a solid impact, especially in a tight game, while others will cancel skill effects or "give" everyone a (magic) skill. It's more or less like a random event (we know that from other (board) games. However, it's no different than others. If you get a week where all your moral or luck advantages are cancelled out - good for some, not good for others, but the effect lasts a week only. Sure, if you are on the brink of confronting Necropolis with Haven and your hero comes with maxed out Luck and Leadership and then the week hits you, just when you see the red in the eye of the Necro, if it would have been a tight battle you'll probably lose now. A bad case of really bad luck. But what if that week is just following the week of double income and you have made use of the additional money to train several score Marksmen or a nice squad of additional Champions?

5) Randomness in battle
a) ATB bar at start mod; everything has been said, I think.
b) Luck and moral triggers; yup, they work randomly, and getting moral or luck for your level 6 or 7 instead of 1 or 2 may make a big difference; also getting those benefits EARLY in a battle is better than getting them later on.
c) creature and hero abilities with a probability of triggering (the "Soldier's Luck" abilities); yes, they may make a difference as well.
d) Resistance effects (including Dispelling and attacking Phantoms)
e) obstacle placement
f) catapult hits

I'm sure I've missed some; the Fairie Ring, for example. Some race-specific thing like using-up resources for using a rune or not or which Runes or Battle Cries you get. The favored enemy racial. The amount of LIVING and therefore raisable troops for Necro - getting Gargoyles and Spectres only will suck for sure.

Some things depend on the map-settings, but the bottom line is that the game is based on chance.

What you can say about chance is, that the more often chance will have an opportunity to come into play the more often things will even out. The trouble is that there are SOME effects that seem to stand out:

Example: You fight Sylvans and they have Crystal Dragons. Of course they act sooner than every single stack of your troops, and OF COURSE they land a lucky hit that spreads through your ranks, having quadrupled effect on two stacks since they are favored enemies. One action, and things already look bleak.

Such a random event seems to stand out and be worth much more than everything that happened prior to that battle. In fact every random effect may HAVE evened out already and up to that point - but it may have not either. It MAY be that up to that point everything has worked in YOUR favor and the battle seemed won when you attacked.

We had a discussion about Luck (the skill and the effect) already, and the people discussing pretty much agreed that
a) halving the Luck bonus to 50%
b) nearly doubling the trigger chances by allowing Luck on retaliation
c) reducing the percentage of a luck point from 10 to something like 6 or 7
d) making a difference between Luck as a skill and Luck from bonusses that way that you can have more luck with the skill: for example,
Maximum Luck taken into account (!)
without Luck: 2
Basic: 3
Adv: 4
Expert: 5

Personally I'd say that there is nothing wrong with the amount of randomness in the game, but that some aspects could have been better balanced - like Luck, for example.
ZZZzzzz....

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Postby Borsuc » Jul 16 2008, 12:28

I agree that random is an important part of Heroes and it's what makes it the way it is. I understand there are a lot of factors that affect randomness in a way, not only the weekly random things.

What I propose, however, is to limit the "amount" of random, not the "quantity" of the factors -- that is, I would like (for example) to reduce the luck skill's 'random' impact (that is, less damage boost), not eliminate the luck skill and replace it with something non-random.

Take the ATB for example -- you can have a practically infinite amount of randomness "value" there, but the 'factor' is still only one (ATB randomness). I would like to reduce the "value" (meaning random plays less of an impact in a game), that means to something like 0-5% or 0-10% instead of 0-25%.

So while I know a lot of factors affect your luck in a random way, nevertheless I think to balance the gap we need to reduce the amount of "randomness" a bit in some aspects -- and make a random shot/week/whatever have less of an impact, not eliminate it completely obviously.
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Postby Asheera » Jul 16 2008, 12:41

I agree completely with Borsuc here :tsup:
No matter how powerful one becomes, there is always someone stronger. That's why I'm in a constant pursuit of power, so I can be prepared when an enemy tries to take advantage of me.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 16 2008, 12:52

The trouble is, that it is a rather difficult thing to do.

Take the ATB bar: no matter the amount of randomness involved, if you go up with Master hunters against Master hunters you just cannot say who will move first - everything can happen. Since a lot of units have the same initiative, amongst them the heroes, no matter how small the amount of randomness is, the movement order of units with the same initiative will always be determined COMPLETELY at random.

An ability that strikes with a certain probability will either strike or not.

Or take Luck. The skill must be worthwhile, so the net effect whould be comparable to the attack sill. If the bonus is too big and the trigger chance too small it's a complete lottery; if the trigger chance is too big and the bonus too small it's an attack variant.
That means the bonus must be significant and the best trigger chance must clearly be less than 50% (chances to trigger must not be in favor of the event triggering, otherwise it pays to play for it).
However, since it triggers randomly it means that the effect may be lost in some insignificant action or overkill when triggered - part of the bonus damage won't gain anything.
Actually this means that a Luck skill must give a significant bonus in a probability range of, well, say 7% to 35%, which is what I would have done with the skill (a bit different from the compromise), including triggerin on retaliation: in my opinion the 100% is okay, but the skill triggers too often.

For the weeks, they could be optional, obviously.
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Postby Asheera » Jul 16 2008, 12:58

Jolly Joker wrote:Take the ATB bar: no matter the amount of randomness involved, if you go up with Master hunters against Master hunters you just cannot say who will move first - everything can happen.
Indeed, but at least those with lower initiative won't be able to strike before those with higher initiative. It's just reasonable and much more interesting this way :)


Jolly Joker wrote:Or take Luck. The skill must be worthwhile, so the net effect whould be comparable to the attack sill. If the bonus is too big and the trigger chance too small it's a complete lottery; if the trigger chance is too big and the bonus too small it's an attack variant.
That means the bonus must be significant and the best trigger chance must clearly be less than 50% (chances to trigger must not be in favor of the event triggering, otherwise it pays to play for it).
I agree, that's why I think the luck triggering chance should be like now, with a MAX value of 50%, but the damage bonus should be reduced to, like, 67% (50% is a little too weak IMO)
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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 16 2008, 13:18

Asheera wrote:
Jolly Joker wrote:Take the ATB bar: no matter the amount of randomness involved, if you go up with Master hunters against Master hunters you just cannot say who will move first - everything can happen.
Indeed, but at least those with lower initiative won't be able to strike before those with higher initiative. It's just reasonable and much more interesting this way :)

Whether it's more interesting, is a matter of taste. But reasonable it is NOT. Initiative would be something completely different from combat readiness. "Reasonable" would be a penalty in starting initiative for the attacked (since an attack has something of a surprise). "Reasonable" would be a bonus on the ATB bar depending on how fast you bring your units into position prior to combat. "Reasonable" would be a penalty for all complicated units like Champions and Raiders who have to build a formation and prepare for a charge before they start battle or for shooting units and a bonus for simply fliers or monsters like Dragons or Unicorns. In fact, there are a lot of things reasonable, but having a starting order that mirrors initiative is not more reasonable than modifying this initiative with a factor you can call "combat readiness" or "preparedness".
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Postby Borsuc » Jul 16 2008, 13:27

I like your ideas JJ about the "prepareness" or "element of surprise", I know it would make the game too complicated, but I don't care since it's what I like in games to be complex (especially if the computer handles it automatically).

usually I'd say that the attacker can also have a bonus to initiative, if the defender is caught by surprise (we can do that in several ways, depending on whether you "saw" the enemy in your turn or not, for example).

Let's not get ahead too much on this, it deserves a topic on its own ;)
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Postby Jolly Joker » Jul 16 2008, 14:29

Well, yes. Combat Readiness would have been a great ability as well, probably Leadership based, adding, like, 10% to the at start initiative...
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Postby Elvin » Jul 16 2008, 18:08

Randomness just adds up with the games, the better player will get most games. It's in a single game that there is no guarantee.

A few cases where randomness can be too much but can still be evened out by map features.

Neutrals.

In some maps you have to defeat lots/horde of tier 7 so whether you get bone dragons, blackies or titans can be of paramount importance when you have to break within a specific period. Also not all races can fight everything equally so dungeon for instance may defeat 35 emeralds week 2 but academy would probably be owned.

That can be addressed through mixed stacks, garrisons with multiple units or having more than one options on what to face.

Spells.

Academy while having many options will be stopped in its tracks if they have to face lots of magmas week 2-3. Unless they get phoenix or a very good combination as fire warriors/phantom forces/blade barrier. This is partly fault of the neutral randomness but having some spells will give you a great boost, if you don't you delay and lose one of your advantages.
Similarly sylvan would have trouble against titans without resurrection.

Balancing neutrals has to take into account what spells the players may or NOT get. Also there can be a failsafe as adding arcane libraries, a utopia, mage vault, pyramid. Finally offering a specific scroll for the map's needs or getting the desired spell through a quest but still having to pay for it.

Artifacts

Normally I wouldn't care about that too much, I have won and lost because of it. But it rarely comes down to a situation where the artifacts will give you the game JUST LIKE THAT - the one case I can think of is ring/staff combination :D What I am more concerned about are artifacts that can be totally useless for some factions. Suppose you get amulet of necromancy as haven and dungeon gets staff of netherworld. Or the starting artifact being sextant of sea elves.. Not you won't lose the game but it's really annoying.

That's why I believe that certain artifacts should be banned and included in the map in specific locations. So you don't have to worry about them popping up in random. Rest is up to luck :)

Weeks

That has rarely affected my games to be honest. Once I delayed attacking dungeon for a week because of week of balance, got a boost from week of conjunction that was sweet against dungeon, got some weeks of disease/plague, a week of festivals... Big deal, how many games will be severely disrupted? The one thing that I hate is a week 2 plague because warmachine/destructive factions do not need army to creep.
Oh and weeks of units in maps with more than one towns and dwellings :D Ever played as Ossir, had week of hunters and got 5-6 packs of hunters to join? I believe that favours might a lot more than magic..

Of course you can disable some week effects but anyway.

Atb value

We have discussed that so I'll just post my mind. A ballista playing before a unit with 12 initiative or crossbowmen shooting hunters first is just not right. There will always be chance against units with similar initiative and it's only fair but this shouldn't be over 5-10% so that it does not mess with units of a different initiative. Besides 0.25 can give few to low init units but a lot to higher ones like imperial griffins or emeralds.
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Postby Wolfsburg » Jul 16 2008, 18:23

Time for some polemics:

Although it was exaustively discussed, what about the features that should be increased in randomness, or better said, in variability?

Main example: the skills and traits offered with each level up.

Dont you guys feel like biting someones head off when "Storm Wind" trait pops up four level ups in a role?

Lack of randomness? Badly programed randomness? Any explanations?

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Postby Asheera » Jul 16 2008, 18:27

Well Storm Wind is an advanced perk, and the rules say that at least one advanced perk WILL pop up for sure. If Storm Wind is your only advanced perk then it will pop up at each level-up.
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Postby Elvin » Jul 16 2008, 18:34

That's part of the lvl up planning. But since you brought it up I'd rather there were fewer options opened with some skills, that's what is causing a mess. If you get pathfinding with inferno hoping to gain teleport assault you get 4 available choices.. Good luck with that.
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