When we make a new arena level, we do the best we can to balance it with the strategies that we, in-person playtesters, and Adventurers can come up with, but once everyone brings their might to bear on the level, we often find balance problems. For example, in Dungeon Arena, Tharin is too strong, the Shaman is too weak, bace races are too effective, and the
this.say() method of ordering troops is not as good as the new
this.command() we developed for Greed.
I think that if we want to do things like rebalancing existing multiplayer levels with lots of solutions, it might help to do so on a rolling basis, where the old levels and leaderboards are still available, but then there are fresh boards with updated versions of the level–new “seasons” as it were–and by default, you just see those. And then with each season, we add things (like extra heroes) and fix balance issues from the last season. So for Dungeon Arena, we’d nerf the base race effectiveness, bring in a couple other heroes, nerf Tharin’s terrify, increase the shaman’s power, maybe up the runtime to 90s, add execution limits, maybe change it from “destroy base” to “destroy all enemies”, switch from
command for ordering minions, and maybe even allow building a second hero after 30s.
What do you guys think? We would probably want to change APIs around, so we wouldn’t auto-submit solutions from earlier versions of the level to new ones. Whenever we rebalanced (maybe every three months?), you’d probably get an email saying something like, “New version of Greed available with fresh leaderboards and new units; come play and update your strategy!”
Also, if you have a good sense of the strategies for the various levels, what other tweaks would you suggest? I listed some ideas for Dungeon Arena.
For Greed, units are too slow, so defense has too much of an advantage over offense to make any interesting early attacks effective. The Fangrider, Griffin Rider, Brawler, and Captain are too weak. There aren’t enough coins spawning in the saturated peon/peasant scenario to really separate great gold collection strategies from good ones in the late game. And total symmetry, though easier to balance, is not as interesting as having a different mix of human vs. ogre strengths.
In Brawlwood, due to the cheese (which I discovered too late) of the ogres shrinking their munchkins and grabbing all the coin first, ogres are unstoppable. We’d probably skip the early coin grabbing, and maybe try some other form of gold expansion tradeoff. The level also runs really slowly, usually because of the line-of-sight checks around the various obstacles, so we might come up with a new layout that lets us skip those checks. It would also be great to add easier ways to do waypointing. Maybe add another unit type or two, or heroes?
I haven’t actually looked at what the balance is like for Gold Rush. What are some ideas for improving that one?