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Hyper Universe Rep

  • FotG is a new game, not a new map.

    And having players get thrown into either a normal map or the new Fortress of the Guardians is a bad idea. It's not just not letting people pick what map they'll play; it's not letting them pick what game they'll play.

    One problem with that is, as a new game, it simply isn't very good. Maybe it could potentially be good someday, but it's like having it so that when you try to queue for the game, sometimes you get the game you wanted, and sometimes it throws you into the alpha test for some wildly different game. Maybe the other game will be good someday, but if you wanted a polished game, you don't want an alpha test.

    And yes, it is an alpha test, not even a beta test. Among other things, you haven't even started looking at play balance before pushing it live. The hyper balance here is wildly different from in the normal maps. In normal maps, lifesteal is very powerful on heavy damage dealers, as you can go jungling for a quick heal. Can't do that in Fortress of the Guardians. Crit-heavy builds are designed around not being terribly strong at the start, but becoming quite powerful as the match goes along. But a match that can't last that long means that they never reach their high power at the endgame. Hypers such as Sonya, Hongdukei, and Perseus rely heavily on repositioning enemy hypers to be in range of allied turrets or out of range of enemy turrets. That's largely where their value comes from, but it's completely useless on a map without turrets. Fortress of the Guardians pretty heavily devalues everything except for raw damage and the ability to survive it.

    I'm not saying that you need to fix these issues one at a time. There are a lot of play balance issues that I haven't listed, or for that matter, haven't thought of. I am saying that just throwing hypers balanced for a different game entirely into Fortress of the Guardians means you're taking play balance about on par with the first time you got the game to compile and pushing that live. And I'm also saying that if the hypers were well balanced for Fortress of the Guardians, they'd be wildly unbalanced for the normal maps.

    Or for a different analogy, it's like taking a bunch of football players and having them play baseball instead. Skills aren't going to transfer evenly from one sport to the next because the rules are so wildly different.

    The patch notes say that Fortress of the Guardians is "rare". By "rare", they apparently means "more often than not", as that's what you've given me in 10 of the last 17 matches. I want to play a reasonably polished game, like Hyper Universe was a week ago and still is today on the normal maps. So long as you're mostly giving me a Fortress of the Guardians alpha test, that's often not available. And if I just try to abandon a match because it's the wrong game entirely, I'll be banned for half an hour or whatever. That's only slightly less catastrophic than the servers being offline entirely.

    In some cases, the solution is to offer multiple games and let players choose which game they'll play. That would split the playerbase, however, and you don't have enough players to do that. Ultimately, unless you do something to get a larger playerbase, you're going to have to either kill off Fortress of the Guardians, the normal maps, or both. Or maybe put them on a rotation so that only the new game or the old one is available at a time, which means that for the players that don't like both, the game is effectively offline a large chunk of the time.
  • Fortress of the Guardians doesn't work well

    Sorry that I can't give you a more descriptive title, but this forum requires thread titles to be very short.

    One of the classical problems of online game design is that you can't force people to care about your nominal objectives. If they think it's more fun to run around killing things at random instead, they will. Or people who are new to the game and don't understand the objectives yet won't play them appropriately. If there are four players on a team, it's decently likely that at least one of them won't actively try to win by your objectives.

    In order for an online game with a lot of players to work, it has to either push players into naturally supporting the objectives without intending to or else make it so that one side being implicitly shorthanded doesn't particularly matter. Fortress of the Guardians doesn't do either of those at all.

    The way you've designed combat, if there's a skirmish in which one side has more hypers than the other, the side with more hypers wins. The only real exception is if a turret is involved, in which case, the side with the turret wins in the early to mid game. The skill and strategy is mostly about running away before you die in situations where you'll die if you don't, and showing up to kill enemy hypers and turrets in situations where you'll win if you do.

    Fortress of the Guardians does not allow for that type of skill or strategy. There is a strategy of sorts in which hypers go to which shrines. If one side has more hypers at a shrine than the other, then the side with more hypers will kill the side with fewer and capture the shrine. There is a sort of strategy in reallocating your teammates such that you'll have a majority of the hypers at a majority of the shrines.

    The fundamental problem is that you have no way to funnel unwilling players into playing that game. A considerable fraction of the time, the optimal strategy is to capture a shrine by being the only hyper there. Someone who just wants to run around killing things isn't going to do that.

    Worse, your missions system actively undermines the map's strategy. If you're capturing a shrine, you're not getting kills, assists, or most damage dealt to hypers. That's by definition, as you literally cannot capture a shrine while there are enemy hypers there. Trying to win the match largely means giving up on trying to complete missions. You're doing something severely wrong if the optimal way to get rewards is sometimes to throw matches.

    The result is that a significant fraction of players will simply ignore your objectives. In some cases, ignoring objectives happens because a player is disconnected. If a team has one player who ignores the objectives, that team is nearly guaranteed to lose. Having a majority of the hypers at a majority of the shrines is nearly impossible to do if the other team has more hypers at shrines than you.

    Even if you can basically equal the other side for a while, many rounds come down to one final shrine and whoever captures that shrine wins the round. If one hyper simply decides not to try for that shrine, then you get a 4 on 3 and the 4 nearly always win. I was in one fight where we did manage to kill the entire enemy team even in a shorthanded 3 on 4 trying to capture the last shrine, but it took long enough that they respawned before we could claim the shrine, came back to kill us, and still won the round.

    So the basic problem is:
    1) A considerable fraction of players will ignore the shrines, whether due to not caring, being too new to understand, or being disconnected
    2) If anyone on your team ignores the shrines, you're going to lose the match and there's nothing you can do about it.

    That isn't fun. Fortunately, I have a solution. Fortress of the Guardians can be the solution to a problem that has long bedeviled the game. Make the choice of map give players Fortress of the Guardians if there is only one player in the match, but a different map whenever there are multiple players in an AI match.

    Often, matchmaking simply fails and you get a match with one player and seven bots. As your bot teammates are idiots who often play for a stalemate on the older maps, if the player can't do a lot of damage himself, the game can be nearly unwinnable. That can lead to a multi-hour stalemate match that "ends" only when the player closes the game out of frustration. That's not fun.

    Fortress of the Guardians offers the advantage that it can't possibly stalemate. Bot teammates have the advantage that their AI will cause them to care about shrines. So while Fortress of the Guardians doesn't work very well with multiple players, it's the only map that works decently for matches with only a single player.

    I realize how inelegant that solution is. But it fixes two borderline game-breaking problems that you've have: one longstanding and the other introduced with this week's patch. And an inelegant fix for game-breaking problems sure beats leaving the game broken.
  • One disconnect is game over in the new map

    I just played Fortress of the Guardians for the first time. As commonly happens in this game, a player left the match. Rather than the player being taken over by an AI bot as happens on the other maps, that just left the team shorthanded for the rest of the match. On the other maps, you can use strategy to have a good chance of winning anyway even with an idiot bot teammate. No turrets to compensate for having fewer hypers in a given skirmish means, at minimum, the ways you compensate on other maps aren't available here. At least having the player who left switch to bot control would allow the players to play on.

    I've only tried the map once, so it's plausible that three good players could still win shorthanded. But a lot of players aren't good, and being down two hypers would mean you have no chance.
  • Game Resolution not working

    The game requires a 16:9 aspect ratio, as otherwise, different resolutions would allow players to see more or less of the match, which could provide an unfair advantage to the players who could see more. Try running the game windowed, and make it as large as it will allow on your computer.
  • Character Snobs?

    Sometimes people are simply ridiculous. While I have no idea who that other person was, I'm confident that you didn't want to actually group with him. In another game, I once had someone kick me from a pick-up group because he was upset that I was rolling greed (not need) on everything. Apparently he wanted everyone to pass and have no one in the group get any loot.

    In a decently balanced game, there are no bad hypers, but only bad players. Such as the player who insisted that he can't handle having a Gelimer on his team.

    One caution about tanks in AI matches is that if you have too many bot teammates and no players who can deal much damage, it can make games basically unwinnable. If you're trying to make a push to take down the final enemy tower, your bot teammates are all off jungling somewhere and leaving you to fight 1 on 3, and you can't deal much damage yourself, you may be stuck.

    Also, there are three AI skill levels. Beginner AI matches mean that the AI bots could use any of the three in order to scale to the skill of the players. Veteran AI matches only mean that your AI bot opponents can't use the lowest skill level AI but have to use one of the higher two. Which if the two still scales to the skill level of the players.