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KarmaQU_EU

Brief on "Soft" versus "Hard" variety

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"Soft" versus "Hard"

It is to my observation that games which offer "soft" variety are more popular than games with only "hard" variety. 

The difference of "Soft" versus "Hard" variety is approaching the concept of "variety" with either "soft logic" or "hard logic". "Soft" is when the concept occurs but is not necessarily determinate on a specific mechanism. "Hard" is when the concept occurs in a controlled, sequential, consequential and specific example of occurrence.

However, this does not mean it is impossible to design (specifically) for "soft" occurrence. It simply means that "soft" occurrences are mathematically indeterminate due to "soft" numbers such as approximation, or engage in too many results at once to feasibly mathematically analyze each. I suspect that players prefer to engage in this kind of "soft numbers" logic over "hard" theory-crafting and math.

After all, "possibility" itself is joy. And this "true" randomness is better than a random "number generator".

 

On Variety

MOBA games with a large selection of characters, especially those which allow multiple characters per team, and have a character pool over a few dozen, approach "soft" composition possibility due to how many variants of team compositions are possible. 

Even "Rainbow 6" has more of this "soft" possibility via unique playstyles, loadout, and abilities of each operator. This means it has the "soft" variety benefits of over "Counter-Strike", where the only difference is in weapon loadout. It also offers less possibilities in routing and engagement. Another notable example is "Battlefield" series offering a large environmental map with destructible buildings, and enough variance in classes for varied playstyles. This, along with its vehicles system, lets it compete to major franchises such as "Halo" and "Call of Duty".

Other examples are how even small-scale Indie games can be extremely popular too if utilizing "core" concepts such as "Soft Variety". Inherent gameplay being fascinating is a very strong leverage compared to other possible techniques. Blizzard games are strong examples of inherent gameplay quality. And with continued breakthroughs in game industry general, as well as increased influence in western sphere from foreign game products (Far Eastern, South American, Nordic, Scandinavian countries etc.), we are seeing more and more advances and variation in the field of design.

I simply believe that WoWs, if utilizing a "soft-variety" concept in its system, would significantly improve its gameplay, and thus popularity and competitiveness.

 

On possibilities of Variety in WoWs

Currently MM is very rigid. There is not that many individual ships per team compared to games offering up to 60 players per team, including WoT. CV classes, possibly able to offer the most variety, are hard mirrored. And there are no fundamental differences in engagement for the other classes, it is "grind together and die" gameplay with little variance in approach due to overly-engineered map design, and un-impactful objective design. There is little incentive to play in a varied playstyle either, due to how the progression system is designed. Many factors such as these contribute in total to a boring gameplay experience over the long run, or which its variances are too subtle to be easily enjoyable by general gamer populations. While cohesiveness of many features, polish in technical aspects etc. are undoubtedly important, and WoWs is not without its strong points, it is unfortunate that as things are, it seems they do not offer as much leverage for the game as gameplay quality could. As I understand, WoWs was designed at its conception with a "rock-paper-scissors" "hard-logic" "push-based engineered" approach at its core, not to mention many "hard" structures it inherited from WoT design practices. This perhaps has significantly determined the limitations of its "possibilities".

A review at the fundamental level of WoWs systems, as well as WG core structures in general, may prove beneficial for the long run. And perhaps this is how much it will be required to be able to modernize WoWs to a more competitive standard. 

 

On conceptual application in WoWs

One thing that WoWs once had was a non-mirrored CV system, and that was perhaps the most close to "variety" as WoWs ever had, despite it being cancelled due to balance concerns. A first step would be to imagine and envision a system in which non-mirrored CV in both tier and number is not only balanced, but desired.

Some immediate implications and major ramifications this brings to mind is primarily the tier-based MM logic used to composite teams, and the delicate balance of in-game power-balance one CV could bring. 

This means that the new system would have to 

1. Have more finesse than the decimal tier-based MM. 

2. Soften influence disparity of a CV compared to normal ships. (Or raise normal ships)

3. Allow for (at first glance) mismatched teams to have fair chances of contesting objectives or engaging in battle.

Drawing from conclusions via other games, for MOBA games, we understand that each team is not a wholly random composition. There are approximate "roles" such as tank, dps, support, and approximate "team composition" such as poke-based teams, gank and roam versus decisive teamfights.

RTS games stress placement of many different types of units to maximize their abilities, and many interlinked micro-strategies to form an overall operation, stressing cohesive balance and management as well.

FPS games are highly combative and reward opportunity utilization and leverage-utilize techniques significantly. But it offers a fundamentally fair approach to win for any and all classes (for traditional FPS at least, cough*Overwatch*cough) due to a very strong yet straightforward core game-mechanics design.

While this is a highly simplistic approach, via analogies in other types of games based on their similarities to WoWs, and only viewed from perspective of "team-variety" ignoring many other key concepts such as player agency, one can still get the idea how WoWs is not decisive enough in its execution of "signature interaction" type game-mechanics which help to build and define genres. While it can be argued WG lines are trying to forge their own genre-identity, I still think gameplay quality could be improved most significantly compared to prevalent standards. But I digress.

It means WoWs will have to consider using systems which allow more finesse in team-composition, strategic and tactical approaches to objectives, to have objectives, and to allow for "Soft", intuitive, yet not muddy and out-of-control combative feedback loops. (cough*detonations*cough)

 

On specific examples for WoWs

Now, this is the open internet after all and we cannot guarantee there are no competitor spies keeping an eye on forums, deciding to adapt things WG would overlook. Commercial discretion and all ... so no, there will be no detailed, well-written, clearly explain examples of systems here today. Besides, you are tired from reading all my text-phalanx rants now. (Thanks for reading btw). So Shoo. Go enjoy games. 

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You're a very intelligent person by the sounds of it. I am not, so can I just be your butler and clean your car and stuff? As long as you buy me things now and then and give me a pat on the back when I've done a good job cleaning your Bentley.

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2 hours ago, Shaka_D said:

You're a very intelligent person by the sounds of it. I am not, so can I just be your butler and clean your car and stuff? As long as you buy me things now and then and give me a pat on the back when I've done a good job cleaning your Bentley.

There are many kinds of intelligence and unfortunately humour is not one of mine. Also I have no idea what a butler does and does not do nor if I would want to have one. Thus my reaction to your post is probably the same as your reaction to mine. 

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6 hours ago, KarmaQU_EU said:

"Soft" versus "Hard"

It is to my observation that games which offer "soft" variety are more popular than games with only "hard" variety. 

The difference of "Soft" versus "Hard" variety is approaching the concept of "variety" with either "soft logic" or "hard logic". "Soft" is when the concept occurs but is not necessarily determinate on a specific mechanism. "Hard" is when the concept occurs in a controlled, sequential, consequential and specific example of occurrence.

However, this does not mean it is impossible to design (specifically) for "soft" occurrence. It simply means that "soft" occurrences are mathematically indeterminate due to "soft" numbers such as approximation, or engage in too many results at once to feasibly mathematically analyze each. I suspect that players prefer to engage in this kind of "soft numbers" logic over "hard" theory-crafting and math.

After all, "possibility" itself is joy. And this "true" randomness is better than a random "number generator".

 

On Variety

MOBA games with a large selection of characters, especially those which allow multiple characters per team, and have a character pool over a few dozen, approach "soft" composition possibility due to how many variants of team compositions are possible. 

Even "Rainbow 6" has more of this "soft" possibility via unique playstyles, loadout, and abilities of each operator. This means it has the "soft" variety benefits of over "Counter-Strike", where the only difference is in weapon loadout. It also offers less possibilities in routing and engagement. Another notable example is "Battlefield" series offering a large environmental map with destructible buildings, and enough variance in classes for varied playstyles. This, along with its vehicles system, lets it compete to major franchises such as "Halo" and "Call of Duty".

Other examples are how even small-scale Indie games can be extremely popular too if utilizing "core" concepts such as "Soft Variety". Inherent gameplay being fascinating is a very strong leverage compared to other possible techniques. Blizzard games are strong examples of inherent gameplay quality. And with continued breakthroughs in game industry general, as well as increased influence in western sphere from foreign game products (Far Eastern, South American, Nordic, Scandinavian countries etc.), we are seeing more and more advances and variation in the field of design.

I simply believe that WoWs, if utilizing a "soft-variety" concept in its system, would significantly improve its gameplay, and thus popularity and competitiveness.

 

On possibilities of Variety in WoWs

Currently MM is very rigid. There is not that many individual ships per team compared to games offering up to 60 players per team, including WoT. CV classes, possibly able to offer the most variety, are hard mirrored. And there are no fundamental differences in engagement for the other classes, it is "grind together and die" gameplay with little variance in approach due to overly-engineered map design, and un-impactful objective design. There is little incentive to play in a varied playstyle either, due to how the progression system is designed. Many factors such as these contribute in total to a boring gameplay experience over the long run, or which its variances are too subtle to be easily enjoyable by general gamer populations. While cohesiveness of many features, polish in technical aspects etc. are undoubtedly important, and WoWs is not without its strong points, it is unfortunate that as things are, it seems they do not offer as much leverage for the game as gameplay quality could. As I understand, WoWs was designed at its conception with a "rock-paper-scissors" "hard-logic" "push-based engineered" approach at its core, not to mention many "hard" structures it inherited from WoT design practices. This perhaps has significantly determined the limitations of its "possibilities".

A review at the fundamental level of WoWs systems, as well as WG core structures in general, may prove beneficial for the long run. And perhaps this is how much it will be required to be able to modernize WoWs to a more competitive standard. 

 

On conceptual application in WoWs

One thing that WoWs once had was a non-mirrored CV system, and that was perhaps the most close to "variety" as WoWs ever had, despite it being cancelled due to balance concerns. A first step would be to imagine and envision a system in which non-mirrored CV in both tier and number is not only balanced, but desired.

Some immediate implications and major ramifications this brings to mind is primarily the tier-based MM logic used to composite teams, and the delicate balance of in-game power-balance one CV could bring. 

This means that the new system would have to 

1. Have more finesse than the decimal tier-based MM. 

2. Soften influence disparity of a CV compared to normal ships. (Or raise normal ships)

3. Allow for (at first glance) mismatched teams to have fair chances of contesting objectives or engaging in battle.

Drawing from conclusions via other games, for MOBA games, we understand that each team is not a wholly random composition. There are approximate "roles" such as tank, dps, support, and approximate "team composition" such as poke-based teams, gank and roam versus decisive teamfights.

RTS games stress placement of many different types of units to maximize their abilities, and many interlinked micro-strategies to form an overall operation, stressing cohesive balance and management as well.

FPS games are highly combative and reward opportunity utilization and leverage-utilize techniques significantly. But it offers a fundamentally fair approach to win for any and all classes (for traditional FPS at least, cough*Overwatch*cough) due to a very strong yet straightforward core game-mechanics design.

While this is a highly simplistic approach, via analogies in other types of games based on their similarities to WoWs, and only viewed from perspective of "team-variety" ignoring many other key concepts such as player agency, one can still get the idea how WoWs is not decisive enough in its execution of "signature interaction" type game-mechanics which help to build and define genres. While it can be argued WG lines are trying to forge their own genre-identity, I still think gameplay quality could be improved most significantly compared to prevalent standards. But I digress.

It means WoWs will have to consider using systems which allow more finesse in team-composition, strategic and tactical approaches to objectives, to have objectives, and to allow for "Soft", intuitive, yet not muddy and out-of-control combative feedback loops. (cough*detonations*cough)

 

On specific examples for WoWs

Now, this is the open internet after all and we cannot guarantee there are no competitor spies keeping an eye on forums, deciding to adapt things WG would overlook. Commercial discretion and all ... so no, there will be no detailed, well-written, clearly explain examples of systems here today. Besides, you are tired from reading all my text-phalanx rants now. (Thanks for reading btw). So Shoo. Go enjoy games. 

 

Lol, man, nothing personal, but again those walls of text?! This is a arcade shooting game, no need for essays about it.

Not going to read this wall of text, so I presume it s about soft and hard porn.

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9 hours ago, KarmaQU_EU said:

...[snip]....

I

 

Unfortunately, WoWs is too far down the 'finished' line I suspect for changes as fundamental as you are proposing - they do need to fix CV's which would at least address one of your points.

 

If you had been around during the actual development phases then perhaps what you suggest might have been possible to incorporate, but now... I think that until WG start to approach the 'WoWs V2' stage, then such changes would remain in the 'wouldn't it be nice if' tray.

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13 hours ago, KarmaQU_EU said:

1. Have more finesse than the decimal tier-based MM. 

2. Soften influence disparity of a CV compared to normal ships. (Or raise normal ships)

3. Allow for (at first glance) mismatched teams to have fair chances of contesting objectives or engaging in battle.

 

 

1. What kind of finesse are you talking about? The problem I mostly see with MM is wrong destroyers distribution (eg: 3 higher tier gunboat or balanced DDs on one team and 2 lower tier torpedo boats on other), which puts one team at huge disadvantage. But it seems to me that you meant something different right?

 

2. Influence disparity of CVs vs other classes would require completely different AA mechanics and probably major spotting mechanics rework.

 

3. For both teams to have fair chances at pursuing objectives you would need actual varied objectives ( testing advantages different classes and types of ships have). Completely new game mode is needed for that.

 

Edit Who is the girl in your signature?

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On 2017/12/23 at 8:01 PM, LazyInsight said:

 

1. What kind of finesse are you talking about? The problem I mostly see with MM is wrong destroyers distribution (eg: 3 higher tier gunboat or balanced DDs on one team and 2 lower tier torpedo boats on other), which puts one team at huge disadvantage. But it seems to me that you meant something different right?

 

2. Influence disparity of CVs vs other classes would require completely different AA mechanics and probably major spotting mechanics rework.

 

3. For both teams to have fair chances at pursuing objectives you would need actual varied objectives ( testing advantages different classes and types of ships have). Completely new game mode is needed for that.

 

Edit Who is the girl in your signature?

Girl is Unryuu, put her there as a compromise for losing a bet quite a long time ago in a poll. I like her.

 

Spot-on questions. 

1. Finess means more accuracy, reliability, possibilities. I mainly meant ideally the MM system (or framework) should be robust enough and sophisticated enough to handle even more demands than normally need, such as for special events and game modes. It should also be designed to account for intricate variables such as performance metrics, which currently are only partially represented in score, eg support, spotting team damage, “tanking”. But more.

Ultimately, the MM, “matchmaker”, will be fueled by a.i. and will learn to be almost like a “smart gamemaster” generating scenarios, managing games and semi-dynamic objectives, variable fleet compositions, keeping score and sorting data, etc. future gen multiplayer game design. As a human GM would.

 

2. Historically CVs had even more disparity, but the counterargument is that radar is historically op, especially fire-control radar. So historical accuracy is already out the window. Games are only interpretive and rather fictional iconic representations, but it is still possible to both be respectful of the original topical matter while still making an enjoyable game. It just requires more holistic control at the macro level.

At the micro level, which is where you are spot-on, and what we are most concerned with, vision and AA mechanics are huge contenders for overhauls if there will ever be. 

My take on vision was for it to be much “softer”, while introducing more vision-dependent game mechanics. As for AA, my view is that air sphere and surface sphere will be in first separate concepts by both “vision” and “feel”.

Air can compliment surface, or contrast, and vice versa. Almost like a dance, like a poem, different yet intertwined. It’s hard to describe. However, in practice, both spheres will be singular enough to almost make up their own game, eg if a WoWs v2 re-release comes out, first there will be only the surface sphere while it undergoes testing and stuff, then air sphere will be released as a free expansion. There will be separate campaigns for each, and each mode will be independently playable. And both will have the depth, playability, and distinct characteristics singular to each, to warrant the double treatment. It also means when they come together, under one new air-sea encore, the new game will be compoundedly stronger for such. 

 

So it’s really a grand-scale re-evaluation, redistribution and collaborate scaling up of all possible factors in the game, including the power disparity and gameplay influence of specific

classes. But a good point to start is this iconic power disparity of CV.

 

3. To design the game to be more objective-based, less kill-based, to allow for varied teams of various groups of players, varied fleets with different composition of ships, varied game phases,  eg so much “soft” variety possible, especially with an “intelligent GM matchmaker”, that to players, small differences will not even matter, while the matchmaker takes care of extremely many calculations to ensure it is still sensible and fair. Offloading the math to machines, as is supposed to be.

This “semi-omnipotent” matchmaker is key, because a key point I did not mention in attempt to shorten the main body was that despite innate preference to “soft” variety for enjoyment, one possible interpretation of this preference at a behavioral level is that players who do engage in hard-variety adapted analysis of game mechanics gain an upper edge over this who don’t, or can’t. But a matchmaker that is smarter than all of them would slightly lessen this “disparity” effect, except between players instead of a CV versus ship. Also do you notice the similarity of the logical structure here, how players utilize the CV power disparity as a tool, almost, to engage in “personal” power disparity here? Toxic gaming mechanism right here.

In other words, true “soft” variety is actually hard to come by, particularly for multiplayer games, and for many semi-soft variety, partially by purposeful design, players can utilize hard-variety techniques of theorycrafting and planning to maximize self-advantage, often to the detriment of others. However, there are games in which such planning is still difficult due to how “soft” their variety is, and an obvious example is the Moba representatives of LoL and Dota. It’s also worth noting how their progression structure is less so (but still not completely) not based on the detriment of others for personal gain. And it speaks for how omnipresently popular they are. And I think this is more desirable than games which subtlely allow for advantage via killing the “soft-variety” with “hard-variety” techniques such as map-memorization, excel-level theorycrafting, etc. especially for multiplayer games. 

On a side note, the qualitative version of “variety” would be almost a “prismatic” representation of perspectives ... but the point I’d like to make is simply that it’s much more than a “game mode”, it’s an approach, a way of thought, manifest in many forms. But actually it will be relevant to WoWs too, qualitative stuff, since it’s campaign will be dealing with qualitative as well as other possibilities. 

 

At any rate, another key idea I wished I remembered to highlight in bold

was how the “rock-paper-scissors” approach is inherently a weakness. It is too rigid, frail, hard-logic. It was supposed to be but a placeholder during the design phase to simulate true variety and possible inter-interactions, in completed form. But somehow the placeholder lasted into the game.

So in a new redesign of a WoWs v2, we strip it back down to the basic elements and rebuild from the ground up, properly this time, using the whole of WoWs as a placeholder. And in this way we can achieve a much better distributed balance as well as more holistic control, and from that, much more finesse and sophistry in design of new game structures and systems. Especially if we add more into the mix, via purposeful evolution. 

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We used to have softer MM back in the day, but then people started to complain about 2 DD vs 4 DD matchups and such and then WG listened to the feedback.

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