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Bad Harvest - Discussion Thread


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Responsible members of the Skylords Reborn team recently met to discuss possible changes to campaign maps. What is outlined here are the proposed changes to the map Bad Harvest. These changes are not final and are only proposed. As a warning, other map projects such as more RPvE presets and Defensive RPvE have a much higher priority for our team. As such, these, or any campaign map changes, may not happen for a very long time. 

Some changes here are firmer than others, all italicized proposals have accompanying explanations for why we are considering them, but they are the most tentative of all the proposals.

Proposed Changes:

1.   Failure to clear cannons has a significant effect on the final reward, either in terms of gold lost or more gold earned.

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  • WindHunter changed the title to Bad Harvest - Discussion Thread
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I think there are various signs that maps have issues with either being unintuitive or uniquely vulnerable.

One such sign is when commonly advised tactics consist of outlier cards as crutches to easily overcome hurdles. These influence the progression in a round so heavily that runs with or without them become incomparable.

Another sign can be that people avoid interacting with certain aspects of a map entirely and instead circumvent them.

When the argument is that expert should be hard, then it completely undermines that point when those maps are rather broken in two. An expert map with half the enemies missing/not spawning or lots of its content not being engaged with no longer has a claim on being expert difficulty.

However, as initially mentioned, when expert maps are unclear, sometimes on top of being hard, then the entire thing is running into major approachability issues. Which in turn make players feel like they have to employ some exploit or meta strat, which curbs the creative process.

A big factor is also how easy a tactic that trivializes a map is to execute as well as how widespread it is. High-execution strats that are generally unsuitable or unknown for the broader playerbase don’t warp a map on a major scale. Meanwhile, low-execution tactics degenerate to “cheese strats” and make the content feel lame and unappealing.

It also creates the issue that people come to rely on meta strats and exploits to the point where even thinking about alternatives becomes unappealing. The perceived power gap between the established default strat and whatever they might come up with seems so big that it feels futile to even attempt something else.

The oppressiveness of meta strats and exploits erodes maps in multiple ways, effectively leading to a much shallower experience.

So I want to first look at what issues a map has. Then why they might occur and what parts of the map are getting undermined. Afterwards spitball some ideas on how these issues could be addressed. And finally various elements that could be changed to make these maps more approachable from different angles. Can also be possible compensation nerfs to maps in response to fixes that make them harder.

Main Issue:
A medium-execution speedrunning strat makes sub-4 minutes runs easily achievable for pretty much anyone. And while perfecting the strat and going for a top time is hard, learning and executing the basics isn’t.

Context:
A situation where people, when looking for players, have to specify that they want to play a map normally is far from ideal.
Reducing gold or XP rewards wouldn't solve it because people could still farm valuable upgrades.

Fix:
Add an additional Stonekin Lord that has to be defeated for the final boss to appear. Located far to the North in the last camp that can be reached by passing the wagon.

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1 hour ago, Cocofang said:
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I think there are various signs that maps have issues with either being unintuitive or uniquely vulnerable.

One such sign is when commonly advised tactics consist of outlier cards as crutches to easily overcome hurdles. These influence the progression in a round so heavily that runs with or without them become incomparable.

Another sign can be that people avoid interacting with certain aspects of a map entirely and instead circumvent them.

When the argument is that expert should be hard, then it completely undermines that point when those maps are rather broken in two. An expert map with half the enemies missing/not spawning or lots of its content not being engaged with no longer has a claim on being expert difficulty.

However, as initially mentioned, when expert maps are unclear, sometimes on top of being hard, then the entire thing is running into major approachability issues. Which in turn make players feel like they have to employ some exploit or meta strat, which curbs the creative process.

A big factor is also how easy a tactic that trivializes a map is to execute as well as how widespread it is. High-execution strats that are generally unsuitable or unknown for the broader playerbase don’t warp a map on a major scale. Meanwhile, low-execution tactics degenerate to “cheese strats” and make the content feel lame and unappealing.

It also creates the issue that people come to rely on meta strats and exploits to the point where even thinking about alternatives becomes unappealing. The perceived power gap between the established default strat and whatever they might come up with seems so big that it feels futile to even attempt something else.

The oppressiveness of meta strats and exploits erodes maps in multiple ways, effectively leading to a much shallower experience.

So I want to first look at what issues a map has. Then why they might occur and what parts of the map are getting undermined. Afterwards spitball some ideas on how these issues could be addressed. And finally various elements that could be changed to make these maps more approachable from different angles. Can also be possible compensation nerfs to maps in response to fixes that make them harder.

Reducing gold or XP rewards wouldn't solve it because people could still farm valuable upgrades.

Well if you reduce the gold reward then this obviously includes the upgrade disenchant cost. Going just for the upgrades itself, the map has only like 3 valuable ones;

 image.png.b2656fa9292a134590b80fe78887e301.png

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If clearing the camps above the wagon is made more important/required, can a path to the boss be added? Even if not required i think such a path should be made. It's just very cumbersome to have to move units all the way around the map if you clear the top right but also want to help at the boss. Especially considering this is the main multiplayer map for new players, they arent going to know/think to use tunnels or portal nexus much less be able to afford netherwarp.

Metagross31 and LEBOVIN like this
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  • 1 month later...
On 9/18/2021 at 6:58 PM, JarodDempsey said:

If clearing the camps above the wagon is made more important/required, can a path to the boss be added? Even if not required i think such a path should be made. It's just very cumbersome to have to move units all the way around the map if you clear the top right but also want to help at the boss. Especially considering this is the main multiplayer map for new players, they arent going to know/think to use tunnels or portal nexus much less be able to afford netherwarp.

I think this is a cool idea. I can already picture how it would look like. 🙂 

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