Topic: Abuse Or Intended – A discussion about possible exploits.

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  • #4230
    Wolves
    Participant

    Greetings fellow Hauptmänners!

    Wouldn’t it be of use for the dev team if we as community would discuss a bit about possible ABUSES and/or EXPLOITS in the game? I could imagine it would.

    1) SAVESCUMING – Lost a battle / mercenary? A lvlup wasn’t as good as a roll as you wanted it to be? Well, you could simply save every time before something like this could happen and reload and try again. You can ALT + DEL and just reload the autosave currently. Hire a mercenary and if the traits are bad, just load etc. etc.

    2) LURING – Just lure enemy battlegroups into the castle / city / villages / towers and using the milita / landsknechts to fight, tank and die for you. You get all the loot btw.
    Any more YOU have encountered and / or thought of and tested it? Feel free to write it down here.

    Happy pillaging!
    Wolves

    Balance for the Balance Throne! Skills for the Skill God! | Wolves - Spam for the Old Gods!

    #4232
    Rap
    Keymaster

    1) SAVESCUMING – Lost a battle / mercenary? A lvlup wasn’t as good as a roll as you wanted it to be? Well, you could simply save every time before something like this could happen and reload and try again. You can ALT + DEL and just reload the autosave currently. Hire a mercenary and if the traits are bad, just load etc. etc.

    We’re going to change the way stats for levelup are determined. I think we underestimated the compulsion that some players feel to reload until they’re satisfied with the numbers, even if doing this for minutes on end may ultimately be detrimental to their experience playing the game. Not that the game is balanced particularly well at present, but it’s also not meant to be balanced for characters well beyond the statistical average as a result of reloading on levelup on a regular basis. Changing this around isn’t all that much work, but unfortunately it would break compatibility with older save games. For this reason we’ll wait with doing any changes until the first bigger update comes along that will break compatibility anyway.

    As for save scumming in general, there is a limit to what we can do without making things inconvenient for all the players. At some point we’ll just have to accept that this is the way that some players apparently want to play the game and that it is their choice to make.

    2) LURING – Just lure enemy battlegroups into the castle / city / villages / towers and using the milita / landsknechts to fight, tank and die for you. You get all the loot btw.

    At least the loot distribution is going to change.

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    #4234
    Salperticon
    Participant

    While I personally do enjoy the ‘ironman’ mode for this particular game, I think it is the right choice of the developrs not to enforce it. I do not play ironman in many games, but here it did not even occur to me to reload at any point until I read about it in the forum. I had way too much fun to deal with what I got.

    Still, everybody to their own likes. Why not reload after you got bad rolls during a level-up, or after you lost that one dearly loved battle brother to the undead horde? If people like to play that way, I do not see why they should not. It hurts nobody.

    Luring raiding bands into castle patrols or viallages to get their help is a bit different, though.
    Because in my opinion, there is a lot of potential here to include it into the game as a proper feature. Maybe it is already underway, even.
    What I mean is, that castle patrols and city militia can currently support you in a fight – but they can also make it worse. You know what I mean once you had a few necromancers raise all those well equiped soldiers during an attack of the undead, or after that one orc berserker who had slipped from your overview feasted on the townsfolk before taking on your soldiers.

    But there is even more. If I understood this correctly, villages will prosper or degenerate based on the number of caravans that make it through, as well as how often they are raided. If drawing the enemy into a town to get help from their militia means that their losses will also affect the overall town wealth and their ability to defend themselves, I will surely think twice before I do that again. But at the same time, it still stays a valid option, especially for tough fights.

    Plague Rats - we're not famous, but we get the job done.

    #4235
    Rap
    Keymaster

    But there is even more. If I understood this correctly, villages will prosper or degenerate based on the number of caravans that make it through, as well as how often they are raided. If drawing the enemy into a town to get help from their militia means that their losses will also affect the overall town wealth and their ability to defend themselves, I will surely think twice before I do that again. But at the same time, it still stays a valid option, especially for tough fights.

    Yeah, that’s already the case. Militia is created based on the resources a village has, and when the militia is disbanded, the village gets back resources based on how many militia survived. A village can be drained of resources by losing a lot of militia.

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    #4239
    thenewromance
    Participant

    I noticed that. Luring to many enemies into the militia is shooting yourself in the foot in the long term. I don’t think it should be changed, however, except for notably smart and strategic enemy groups. Why would undead or orc warriors bent on glory care if a dozen more “fleshbags” get in their way? Luring could work differently for bandits, for example. Maybe for werewolves, but even there I think “bloodlust” is a valid explanation of why they won’t stop their hour-long pursuit only because a few caravan hands showed up.

    Regarding save-scumming, I am strongly in favour of implementing an optional Ironman mode. It shouldn’t be forced on anyone, but it would be great if those as weak-willed as me could have it to limit themselves. I don’t think it makes much sense at this point of development, however, since it would very much impede bug-hunting and balance testing.

    #4240
    RusBear
    Participant

    I will allow myself to speak on the topic of “iron man”. I agree that it should be by choice. Despite the fact that I prefer to play it with “iron man”, I suspect that for a successful sale of the game, he as a coercive measure is not suitable. also keep in mind that no game can boast 100% stability and protection against crash at the most inopportune moment immediately after an epic battle :)

    #4242
    Rap
    Keymaster

    Obviously an ironman mode would be optional. As thenewromance said, it’s probably prudent to wait a while longer with adding it, though, until we’re reasonably sure there is no way for players to lose their savegames.

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    #4246
    guidon101
    Participant

    I have one, not sure if bug or WAD (working-as-designed):

    Unit Turn/Stun mechanic: if I make a unit “wait” to move again at the end of the turn, and then that unit gets Stunned, then when his move comes up at the end of the turn, he doesn’t get to move due to the Stun effect, but then the Stun effect immediately wears off at that point, so it doesn’t carry over into the next turn. Therefore, this unit is no longer stunned in the next turn, and gets to use his full AP.

    This is one of the “tactics” (exploit?) that I use against young orcs, not to nullify their stun, but to reduce its potency, since their stun would only last within the same turn, so I’ll still be free to fully retaliate on the next turn.

    Another one potential exploit, although the benefit seems to be questionable versus the time invested:
    Undead XP Farming: Since certain undead creatures or with necromancers could indefinitely respawn more undead, one battle with them could potentially be farmed for XP, as terribly boring as that is. I think they may have “nerfed” this effect possibly, as it seemed to be more effective before (8-15xp in-battle per deathblow, versus 2xp now; although I’m not sure how the post-battle XP is calculated, if it takes into account the “re-kills” and gives XP as if it was a full kill, or not); I haven’t tested much or really done this much due to the potential to lock-up the AI turn, but I did think it was viable before, especially for a low level party, since recently-raised undead are pretty easy fare for them.

    #4250
    Rap
    Keymaster

    Unit Turn/Stun mechanic: if I make a unit “wait” to move again at the end of the turn, and then that unit gets Stunned, then when his move comes up at the end of the turn, he doesn’t get to move due to the Stun effect, but then the Stun effect immediately wears off at that point, so it doesn’t carry over into the next turn. Therefore, this unit is no longer stunned in the next turn, and gets to use his full AP.

    This is one of the “tactics” (exploit?) that I use against young orcs, not to nullify their stun, but to reduce its potency, since their stun would only last within the same turn, so I’ll still be free to fully retaliate on the next turn.

    Interesting, I didn’t know about that one. That’s a tricky thing to solve, though. I guess I could have stun last another turn when the character hit only has 2 or 3 Action Points left?

    Since certain undead creatures or with necromancers could indefinitely respawn more undead, one battle with them could potentially be farmed for XP, as terribly boring as that is. I think they may have “nerfed” this effect possibly, as it seemed to be more effective before (8-15xp in-battle per deathblow, versus 2xp now; although I’m not sure how the post-battle XP is calculated, if it takes into account the “re-kills” and gives XP as if it was a full kill, or not); I haven’t tested much or really done this much due to the potential to lock-up the AI turn, but I did think it was viable before, especially for a low level party, since recently-raised undead are pretty easy fare for them.

    The XP gained for slaying resurrected enemies was at 50% before and has since been reduced to 25% in order to remove some incentive for farming this way. Not sure yet if that is a good number.

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    #4257
    guidon101
    Participant

    Thanks for the response, Rap. I’m impressed how responsive you guys are, and I admit I feel some of what I report as bugs/issues seem petty, so I hope these are not keeping you from more impact-ful progress in the development. (and also want to sneak in THANKS! for the recent patches)

    Having said that, here is my response to those two points:

    Interesting, I didn’t know about that one. That’s a tricky thing to solve, though. I guess I could have stun last another turn when the character hit only has 2 or 3 Action Points left?

    First, you could say this is not a problem :) But if it is not working as intended, then I suggest: If I understand the mechanic correctly, a Stun is a type of buff/debuff. So, since you have other buffs that work properly through the turns (e.g. Spearwall and Shieldwall) — they last through one full turn into the next turn — I would recommend to borrow the same algorithm or logic, if that works. I think that may be a more consistent fix (the turn-based duration buffs all work consistently and predictably) than to make the stun duration circumstantially dependent on AP left.

    The XP gained for slaying resurrected enemies was at 50% before and has since been reduced to 25% in order to remove some incentive for farming this way. Not sure yet if that is a good number.

    Ah, thanks for the insight! If I really had no life left, I would recommend 0% XP for resurrected enemies :) But, I think 25% is probably a good balance because you want the players to have some reward for plowing through all those re-animated undead during those lengthy battles, while at the same time keeping the incentive low enough that only the most-low life players (guilty) would be willing to exploit it. Good idea!

    This is only my opinion, so others may have vastly superior suggestions.

    #4258
    Rap
    Keymaster

    First, you could say this is not a problem :) But if it is not working as intended, then I suggest: If I understand the mechanic correctly, a Stun is a type of buff/debuff. So, since you have other buffs that work properly through the turns (e.g. Spearwall and Shieldwall) — they last through one full turn into the next turn — I would recommend to borrow the same algorithm or logic, if that works. I think that may be a more consistent fix (the turn-based duration buffs all work consistently and predictably) than to make the stun duration circumstantially dependent on AP left.

    Unfortunately this can’t be solved the same way as Shieldwall works because it is a fundamentally different mechanic. Reading your description again, I’m actually fine with the way you’re doing this and don’t think this needs changing. However, I think this can be exploited even more than you initially realized;

    Being stunned makes a character lose their next turn. If a character would have already spent most of their AP and then waited, in essence already having concluded their turn save for 2 AP or so, and then get stunned, they’d lose that same turn at the end of the round which they already acted on. In other words, they’d actually lose nothing from being stunned. A possible solution would hence be to extend the duration of the stun into the next round in this case.

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    #4259
    Wolves
    Participant

    Thank you very much for your reply, MR Rap!

    1) SAVESCUMING – Lost a battle / mercenary? A lvlup wasn’t as good as a roll as you wanted it to be? Well, you could simply save every time before something like this could happen and reload and try again. You can ALT + DEL and just reload the autosave currently. Hire a mercenary and if the traits are bad, just load etc. etc.

    We’re going to change the way stats for levelup are determined. I think we underestimated the compulsion that some players feel to reload until they’re satisfied with the numbers, even if doing this for minutes on end may ultimately be detrimental to their experience playing the game. Not that the game is balanced particularly well at present, but it’s also not meant to be balanced for characters well beyond the statistical average as a result of reloading on levelup on a regular basis. Changing this around isn’t all that much work, but unfortunately it would break compatibility with older save games. For this reason we’ll wait with doing any changes until the first bigger update comes along that will break compatibility anyway.

    As for save scumming in general, there is a limit to what we can do without making things inconvenient for all the players. At some point we’ll just have to accept that this is the way that some players apparently want to play the game and that it is their choice to make.

    2) LURING – Just lure enemy battlegroups into the castle / city / villages / towers and using the milita / landsknechts to fight, tank and die for you. You get all the loot btw.

    At least the loot distribution is going to change.

    So LURING is a mechanic and balanced by weakening the settlement. Great! Thank you for clarifying!

    “We’re going to change the way stats for levelup are determined” – Thank you! So I will postpone this project here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pcAA76ogfhS4pRojDHITz1AhPn7RS8kZ14kXvYBX32o/edit?usp=sharing Its a part of an excel analysis.

    Thank you guidon101 for posting yours!

    Unit Turn/Stun mechanic – Great thing to bring up. I never thought about it as a “possible” exploit, but it kinda is… a bit.

    Undead XP Farming – Also interresting!

    Thoughts on balance: Since this game here is no competitive multiplayer game, the devs can balance is as far or narrow as they see fit, because its part of the nature of a singleplayer game that players play it very different.

    Balance for the Balance Throne! Skills for the Skill God! | Wolves - Spam for the Old Gods!

    #4264
    GOD
    Participant

    Just a thought, but you could work around this exploit by essentially having stun do 9 AP of transferable stun damage to the target. For this to work, ending your turn has to count as the unit having full AP again. This would mean that a stun against a unit with full AP works exactly as it does now – they skip their next turn. Similarly, a unit that decided to wait but still has full AP, would just skip that turn like they do now. However, if the unit has decided to wait but spent AP, then the amount of AP damage that remains after being deducted from their AP pool would transfer to the next turn. As a result, you can’t casually use the wait command as a buffer against stuns, because you’ll be hindering yourself in the turn that follows.

    For example. A units spends 4 AP and waits. That unit then gets stunned. The turn they were about to receive is skipped and 4 AP is deducted from the AP pool of their next turn.

    EDIT: Sleep deprived math error. Embarrassing.

    #4266
    Rap
    Keymaster

    Not a bad idea at all.

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    #4269
    Sky
    Participant

    For example. A units spends 4 AP and waits. That unit then gets stunned. The turn they were about to receive is skipped and 5 AP is deducted from the AP pool of their next turn.

    9 – 4 = 5, on the next turn the char loses 4. As long as the stun takes away 1 turn worth of ap is fine. But if for some reason the char would end up losing half of this turn and the whole next (starting with 3 or less ap) that would be a problem.

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