Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

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kwok
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Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby kwok » 13 Aug 2017, 12:12

I promised some people I was going to "make a long post"... this is it and not finished (or edited). But, I thought I'd post it just to get some thoughts going, plus to keep that promise for people who wanted to know what I was thinking for so long. I'm coming back to edit this later. Have mercy on the grammar/rhetoric but feel free to critique on the content.

ASSUMPTIONS:
Seriously. Play big maps first because doctrine reworks will NOT solve balance problems without being on bigger maps. If you want to know fucking why check my other posts on big maps. I have a LOT more to say about big maps too... but I'll save that essay for another day.

Problem: The structure of doctrines of specialized vs well-rounded will always cause balance issues.

Short Summary:
-A lack in consistent doctrine structure will always create balance problems despite player skill level
-A consistent doctrine structure makes for better (and easier) balance.

Argument:

There's a lot of things that seem out of place within doctrines, stemming from years of balance bitching. Warhawks wrote a bit on it here: viewtopic.php?f=30&t=2184
While Warhawks and I disagree on how things should be changed, I think we both agree that some doctrine fundamentals SHOULD be changed. The concept of specialized allies doctrines versus well rounded axis doctrines will ALWAYS leave escape for balance problems as much so as playing on small maps. This is why players will always complain why some docs have _____ but others don't, and how some docs are pure counters to other docs but have no counter of their own. A consistent doctrine structure makes for better (and easier) balance.

It's been a while since this topic was hard discussed, only softly mentioned and alluded to all over the forum. But I think if we bring it up in a consolidated place, we can voice to the devs to stick to one idea: either specialized doctrines across all factions or well rounded doctrines across all factions.

How does specialization vs well-rounded affect balance?
Assume games where every player is the best player possible, plays optimally, and coordinates harmoniously as if it were one brain. A specialized doctrine by design is only supposed to excel at handling certain situations meanwhile, a well-rounded doctrine is made to handle all situations. What this means is that there needs to be an exact amount players on the specialized team to match all possible situations in the game, else the well-rounded team will be able to exploit the "doctrine hole". At the same time, there cannot be more than that amount else the balance shifts the other way. What is the "doctrine hole"?
The game is MUCH more complex than rock paper scissors, but I want to take it as an analogy (like say paper means arty, rock means tanks, scissors means infantry). A well rounded doctrine (which i will now call axis) encompasses all rock, paper, and scissors. A specialized doctrine (which i will now call allies) would only have one. In a simple game of "team rock paper scissors" a 2v2 will always be imbalanced because while one team has all tools available, the other team will only have 2 of the 3 tools available to play with. So say the allied team is composed of rock and scissors, this means that the axis team can always play rock as a safety and exploit against the scissor player. This exploit I call the "doctrine hole". If we play the same game but a 4v4 scenario, then the allied team will double up on a tool and push that advantage. For example, if the allied team is composed of rock, paper, and 2 scissors then that team can exploit the paper within the axis team's composition. This means that the ONLY fair game would be a 3v3, so devs can't just say "don't play 1v1s" but they must say "only play # vs #" which is not how BK was intended. This grows in huge complexity in a game like BK where it's not just 3 tools available but the concept stays the same. Let's say I up the complexity one notch...

Let's say a allied doctrines are not just 1 specialty but 2... so a doctrine can be rock/scissors meaning its weakness is rock. Combine multiple doctrines together you can get a well rounded overall team right? Not quite.
Say you have a 2v2 where the allied team is rock/scissors + rock/paper combo... this team comp becomes a super scissors killer with the doubling on rock. The only way to "balance" this is to buff every axis doctrine's scissors to match. But, what if the team is different? What if the players decided to do rock/scissors + scissors/paper? Then the allied team becomes a paper killer. Buff the paper for axis? If you go through all the doctrine iterations one by one balancing along the way, you'll end up buffing every aspect of axis doctrines until axis becomes so powerful that you'd need to start buffing allied doctrines. It's a vicious circle of never ending balancing! Imagine the complexity of this with all the aspects of BK...

Beyond being impossible to actually balance, having conversations about balance is frustrating as well because there is a mismatch in decision making between doctrines. A specialized doctrine by design is only supposed to excel at handling certain situations. Therefore, the balancing method and decision making should rest on the question "does the doctrine over or under perform on handling the situation designed?"
Meanwhile, a well-rounded doctrine is made to handle all situations which changes the granularity of balance decision making. The question is "can this doctrine handle these situations" and become more of a per unit focus question.
This mismatch makes really shitty balance threads on the forum where people are just talking in all directions... This will become more apparent in the cases I will talk about next

Case:
In this next section I will go through actual examples of how doctrines have been attempted to balance and failed despite the most honest best intentions. The examples I use are not the only ones, I just would rather go into detail in one area to make my point.

I gotta go, I'm going to stop here and make an edit later to continue. Here's a preview of what I will talk about:
Case #1: How RAF was given rock+paper+scissors (and by next patch will be cut again but it won't help)
In the past few patches, I would say there were two major CW changes that really shook the meta of the game:
1. The earlier build of AT BOYS
2. The inclusion of the 95mm Cromwell for RAF

1) When the AT BOYS were moved as a unit before the LT, it changed the early game meta greatly. Prior to the AT BOYS change, every faction had multiple openings including: an infantry based opening (like US opening with rifles), a vehicle based opening (like WM opening with a schwimm), an AT based opening (like PE opening with a pak38). This created a rock paper scissors like gameplay in the beginning where every faction had an approximately equal chance to gain and lose advantage in the beginning... all except CW that is... CW lacked the vehicle opening. Back to my rock-paper-scissor "hole" explanation I gave above about doctrines, CW could not pull vehicles meaning an infantry opening was the safety opening for all axis factions. Additionally, AT BOYS came later after an LT was created essentially allowing an axis vehicle opening an extra punishing opening for the first 2 minutes of the game. This forced CW players to ALWAYS play defensively and ALWAYS rush AT BOYS after the LT, delaying any other stronger opening to make it to the 5th minute of the game without losing too much advantage. It because a choice of: lose a great amount of advantage on the small chance that the axis did play the most efficient tactic available (meta), or lose a smaller advantage in case the axis played the meta. By moving AT BOYS earlier, it allowed CW to stand a stronger chance against vehicle based openings and an receive a chance to actually GAIN advantage in an opening like all other factions were able to do. At this micro level, this was a good move in bringing balance because it made for a more fair rock-paper-scissor game (and honestly... the amount complaining of AT BOYS is so unwarranted right now because of how easily it's countered by an assault pio or MG42 opening... players are just not adapting or playing on bigger maps. One unit locking down an entire map within the first 5 minutes? Hm... I wonder how familiar that sounds to old allied players... seriously play bigger maps and learn new openings).

2) Will come back to write more.

Case #2: How WM Grenadiers balance is all fucking over the place from patch to patch (price raise, price drop, hp buff, hp nerf, weapon changes, omg it's hilarious to just go change log to change log, grenadiers have gone through everything)
Last edited by kwok on 15 Aug 2017, 16:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Redgaarden
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Redgaarden » 13 Aug 2017, 14:59

Case #2: How WM Grenadiers balance is all fucking over the place from patch to patch (price raise, price drop, hp buff, hp nerf, weapon changes, omg it's hilarious to just go change log to change log, grenadiers have gone through everything)


I never liked the mp44 change... And I had almost forgot about intil you mentioned gren changes. Thanks alot Kwok.
Rifles are not for fighting. They are for building!

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Warhawks97
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Warhawks97 » 13 Aug 2017, 20:41

I didnt like it for all docs. I mean for def doc? BK has storms anyways.
The stgs is more or less the standard weapon for axis. No matter what you expect, you click on the stgs button when the squad comes out of the barracks.
Would be a lot more interesting with more diversity of weapon use even based on what doc you choosed.


Does anyone remember the dude charles wayne? He was active in the old BK forum. He made a list (which i liked) for doctrinal infantry weapon upgrades.
I wouldnt mind bringing up a discussion about what doc should have what inf or which upgrades for the factional core infantry.

kwok wrote:-A lack in consistent doctrine structure will always create balance problems despite player skill level


Yes. And this is i think the main problem WH has currently for Terror and def doc. BK has at least some sort of oientation. At least when you go for it you know what you get and what you can do well. With def and Terror i am very unsure: Arty/inf/tanks, defensive or offensvie (yes, def doc can be very offensive, VT, off map arty, grille/stupa, infantry with defensive boosts and funny stgs).

PE has got at least a way to go. Even though few dont like (i wont say if i like it or not) to have them more specialized, we do have at least got a way to go which is towards more specialisation. And i felt that combining PE docs is somewhat more enjoyable than mixxing WH teams because with a PE team most know their roles or you have at least a more defined one. WH teams often tend to be without orientation coz nobody knows what he is going to do since he dont know what the others are going to do even though they know their docs and those of the other WH dudes.
For both sides this is nasty at the end. Axis hate their mates bc of the pure coordination and role allocation, Allis get sick bc their opponents throw at them simply everything in a brainless but nontheless quite effective way.

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Kr0noZ
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Kr0noZ » 13 Aug 2017, 20:51

Well, I'm currently working on a new def doc idea which should be done sometime next week. This will have some ideas you guys might like, but until then I kindly ask not to debate specialization of this doctrine.

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Warhawks97
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Warhawks97 » 13 Aug 2017, 20:57

Alright

kwok
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby kwok » 13 Aug 2017, 21:47

If not debate on the specialization of a particular doctrine, what about the concept of specialization vs well rounded? Will devs consider gradually doing large doctrine reworks?

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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Kr0noZ » 13 Aug 2017, 22:02

IF it were up to me, yes. But it's not - I'll do my best to provide good concepts, but in the end all the work needed to make them a reality must be done by Wolf and Markr which means if they don't like it it's not happening.
And to make it very clear, we are talking about a LOT of work; not only the initial implementation, but also the inevitable bug hunting and balancing that follows all big changes.

kwok
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby kwok » 14 Aug 2017, 17:24

But will the changes address the fundamental problem that doctrine design across the game is inconsistent?

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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Kr0noZ » 14 Aug 2017, 17:37

To some degree. You can't fix that without working over all 3 docs for a faction, and I don't see that happening.
It's just too much stuff to change.
Also, it's been like that in vanilla also, where doctrines mattered much less overall. To a point, some difference should be possible without breaking things too hard.

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Warhawks97
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Warhawks97 » 14 Aug 2017, 21:18

If you want to hear my opinion to WH in general and doctrine orientation:

BK doc focusing on armor and strong inf to break defenses. Maultier as little help. It uses heavy armor and specialized infantry to get over defenses. I would even say that this doc could do better with KT due to res trade and that it cant just "arty away" strong defenses like terror can do now with sturmtiger. Thats why KT feels so cost inefficient in terror doc and why rarely anyone goes for it. Res trades, BK ability and and KT would really be a powerfull combo for quickly turning a game. A real spearhead unit.


Terror more focused on boosted inf (heroic fighting and attacking), lots of rocket artillery (in my opinion with more scatter to cripple down several defenses and better area effect+ panic for the enemie). I would add even the 210 nebler to this doctrine as a 0 CP powerfull rocket arty that you can use before walking stuka gets unlocked). Panzer IV J would be added along with stupa (sturmtiger keeps as well) whatsoever. But Tigers have got little use here i would say that Stuka, grens, firestorm and panther G are doing much better so far. However a single tiger ace as single elite tank for late game would fit as well. About Panthers i would be quite unsure.

Def doc a defensive doctrine. Arty branch, Bunker branch, Infantry boost branch, Tankhunter branch, emplacment branch (maybe somehow merged with bunker branch). As for boosting infantry: It should mainly apply to "not moving" or at least not sprinting and/or in own or neutral territory.
Also the Ostwind could be moved to this doctrine making it more appealing to get. Not saying that it doesnt do well in BK doc, just for the orientation of docs i dare to say this unit should be here. Möbelwagen isnt so flexible and has to be switched in different modes to either move, shoot vs ground targets or air targets. So Ostwind would add something to this doc. Terror and BK doc can rely on Puma with aa mode afterall (which actually isnt a bad aa). The BK doc would be excellent for any ground warfare but vulnerable to whatever comes from above without being totally helpless against planes.


That would be a clear line. Players could expect what comes from a doctrine and could adjust theirs.

Sorry kronoz for the last of the three parts here.
Last edited by Warhawks97 on 15 Aug 2017, 00:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Kr0noZ
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Kr0noZ » 15 Aug 2017, 00:15

Don't be. In part that goes pretty well as a confirmation for what I was looking at anyway. Also, I might steal some of those ideas - don't complain if something seems familiar ;-)

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Warhawks97
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Re: Doctrine Specialization: Example Firefly in the RAF doc and Grenadiers in Wermacht

Postby Warhawks97 » 15 Aug 2017, 00:54

haha, i wont.


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