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    Your Elvenar Team

Method to improve troop selection for auto-fight.

Method to improve troop selection for auto-fight


  • Total voters
    24
  • Poll closed .

Yogi Dave

Well-Known Member
How can the experience of auto-fight be improved, especially on mobile which doesn't have the manual fight option? What would draw you deeper into the experience of the battle and allow you to learn instead of leaving frustrated that the same troop selection which won easily in a battle loses in another against the same set of enemy troops?

The problem is not being able to see the battlefield. Battle to battle the layout of the arena changes. Impassable tiles are in different positions making troop movement easier or harder depending on which type troops are used and where they are placed.

Would you select the same troops for these two maps against the same enemies?

2Arena.png


The solution is to allow the arena to be seen before the battle. A simple map which shows the impassable tiles and the initial placement of your and the enemies troops would do this. The map must load fast and be easy to understand quickly. Adding a tab or button to the army setup dialog to bring it up would be best so it doesn't impact those who don't need to see it.

@Fayeanne created a more sophisticated map than the one above. It also shows the type of troops, though only a number would be shown if you haven't chosen troops before looking.

FayeanneArena.png


[Edit: This initial post was extensively reworked to better explain the concept.]
 
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Ashrem

Well-Known Member
I think it's a lost cause. There's nothing there that isn't explained if people read the wiki carefully, including:
Sometime you will also find different type of obstacles on the battlefield so you will need to develop different tactics to attack or defend. If the units in the squad can attack from long range, they can of course also attack over obstacles

From the wiki page combat
 

JeanFritz

Member
I don't see why it's a bad suggestion; I'd like to see it on the browser version, too. The wiki doesn't tell us where the obstacles will be for each fight, so I don't see how that reply is supposed to help. Even a simple overview snapshot of the combat map would tell us things like, "no obstacles in front of your troops, so melee units have a chance at winning" or "you're screwed, it's a bottleneck; enemy light ranged will slaughter your light melee, so don't even try". Also, it wouldn't hurt to clarify the relationship between the five troop selection positions and their locations on the battle map--it's kind of sad that something which has been a feature for so long still isn't explained anywhere in-game. (Sure, you can figure it out with a bit of effort, or you can check the wiki or Gems or..., but new players are far more likely to just try the combat, not understand it and get frustrated, and give up.)

--Actually, something just occurred to me. *IF* they are interested in putting a *little* effort into improving the combat experience, then some of the "forest/rock/..." obstacles could be replaced with "mountain/tall obstuctive objects/..." obstacles, so that ranged units would also sometimes be blocked. That way, the whole melee/ranged problem could be balanced out a bit (instead of being reminiscent of trench warfare: "if enough of our soldiers charge their machine-gun emplacements, maybe they'll run out of bullets").
 
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Yogi Dave

Well-Known Member
I think it's a lost cause. There's nothing there that isn't explained if people read the wiki carefully
It may be a lost cause. Most are in the forum, but I think you misunderstood the post. The map would show the impassible tiles for that specific battle, not the same picture every time. This idea is intended to improve the auto-fight feature on both mobile and browser by reducing the frustration of why some troop choices work one time and not at all the next which leaves you having no idea why or how to figure out when you have a chance or not. With the only feedback being you won or lost and how good or bad it went, you can't really learn and improve. That isn't fun and doesn't encourage participation. I think more people would be drawn into solving the puzzle of which troops to use in a situation and, equally important, which ones to not use. Drawing the player deeper into the game should always be in the mind of the developers.

… some of the "forest/rock/..." obstacles could be replaced with "mountain/tall obstuctive objects/..." obstacles, so that ranged units would also sometimes be blocked.
Be careful what you wish for. It will also block your ranged troops which would make it harder to win those battles. Also, would it affect heavy range and units with a range of 5? The mortar is already hampered with a low defense. Inno would have to tweak a lot making that viable including revamping their fighting algorithms (I hate calling them AI), but changing the balance in battle is a different topic.
 

JeanFritz

Member
Be careful what you wish for....

Yeah, I realize it would apply to both sides; however, I'd personally prefer to have a roughly equal chance of all of my troops types succeeding (given similar enemy bonus/penalty contexts) than only ever doing well with ranged/magic types and having to accept high losses whenever using melee types. That part of the combat system really was poorly thought out, and the devs simply ignoring the imbalance isn't the best solution. Having some terrain that blocks ranged (and magic) attacks would make it worthwhile to use melee troops again.

Another possibility would be to work in 5 terrain types, or 5 map patterns, and make it so each troop type excels (or is penalized) on only one of the five. For example: high mountains that block everything except heavy ranged fire; ruins that block everything except light ranged fire; forests that only light melee can move through; thick fog (?) that only heavy melee can move through; and magic barriers that block everything except magic.

A futher possibility would be to accept combat the way it is (for now), but a) show the map/terrain before the battle AND b) give the option to choose a better battleground (perhaps at a cost, say 5-10% of your troop strength). The current situation, as is, simply takes the fun out of combat and makes it something to avoid if possible.
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
It may be a lost cause.
Actually, I think you misunderstood me. I'm not saying Inno won't do it, I'm saying that players have all of that information available on the wiki (and on the forums in multiple places) yet experienced forum participants didn't think it applied to them anyway. It's a bunch of effort and I think most players, especially new fighters, will either ignore it or not know how to apply it anyway. It's the players I think are a lost cause.
 

JeanFritz

Member
Actually, I think you misunderstood me. I'm not saying Inno won't do it, I'm saying that players have all of that information available on the wiki (and on the forums in multiple places) yet experienced forum participants didn't think it applied to them anyway. It's a bunch of effort and I think most players, especially new fighters, will either ignore it or not know how to apply it anyway. It's the players I think are a lost cause.

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, too; it seems like you're suggesting that the information available on the wiki/forums would help solve the problem of not knowing what the map is before selecting troops (not at all for phone players, and not without the slow and cumbersome "select some troops, wait for the map to load, drop out before losing too many troops, re-select troops" for browser players)...? 'Cause not knowing the map is still not knowing the map, and wasting time by starting the battle and the dropping out and re-starting is neither fun nor a good solution. So, back to the original post: an overlay/pop-up/thumbnail/... preview of the battleground, preferably with some indication of where the troops will be placed, is *not* a "lost cause", but rather would be a helpful and intelligent addition to the combat system, and I can't imagine that "most players" would choose to ignore it or not know how to apply it. (The other stuff for balancing out the melee units would be nice, too, but at least a preview of the battle map would go a long way towards improving the least enjoyable part of Elvenar, combat.)
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, too; it seems like you're suggesting that the information available on the wiki/forums would help solve the problem of not knowing what the map is before selecting troops
You are indeed misunderstanding. I'm suggesting that the sort of players who give up after a few combats are not even finding the information that does exist, and making more information available probably won't change that. They are not going to know what adjustments they need to make as a result of the terrain, because they are not sufficiently curious about the mechanic.

It would help some people. It will not help people who (from the op) don't have the concept that terrain exists or how it affects their troops, because if they were sufficiently curious, that basic information is not hard to find, yet there are advanced players (from another current thread) who had no idea that the terrain was affecting their combats.
 

JeanFritz

Member
You are indeed misunderstanding. I'm suggesting that the sort of players who give up after a few combats are not even finding the information that does exist, and making more information available probably won't change that. They are not going to know what adjustments they need to make as a result of the terrain, because they are not sufficiently curious about the mechanic.

It would help some people. It will not help people who (from the op) don't have the concept that terrain exists or how it affects their troops, because if they were sufficiently curious, that basic information is not hard to find, yet there are advanced players (from another current thread) who had no idea that the terrain was affecting their combats.

So... the players who don't bother going outside of the game and reading through forums and wikis (not all of which are helpful, and not all of which are even well-intentioned) are not likely to look at a map that APPEARS AS THEY SELECT TROOPS. Yeah, you're right, I don't understand that suggestion. I mean, hey, those players who are new to online games don't deserve the help, if they're foolish enough to think that the game itself should provide the information needed to play the game. Also, I don't understand how the original post is about those people who "don't know that terrain exists or how it affects their troops" in the first place. To me, it seems that the original post is pointing out that those players exist, but something that would help with that problem (those players existing) AND ALSO, more importantly, help with the bigger problem of not knowing the battle map terrain before selecting troops.

In any case, you're probably right; why waste effort on making the game better for those few players who actually try to understand it and play it intelligently?
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
So... the players who don't bother going outside of the game and reading through forums and wikis (not all of which are helpful, and not all of which are even well-intentioned) are not likely to look at a map that APPEARS AS THEY SELECT TROOPS.
They can look at it as much as you like. They still won't know how it affects the combat, since they won't see their troops moving and see how idiotic the AI is. The vast majority of the time, the terrain is not bad enough to affect the outcome greatly. It's only going to be significant in maybe 1/10 combats, probably not even 1/20. It's a wasteful kludge that requires extra programming and most players will ignore most of the time time. To repeat myself, I think it's a lost cause. You are entirely welcome to think that it is worthwhile. There is not need to All-caps-yell at me for disagreeing, even if it wasn't specifically forbidden by the forum rules.

In any case, you're probably right; why waste effort on making the game better for those few players who actually try to understand it and play it intelligently?
So first it's for players who shouldn't have to be bothered to check the wiki or forums, but now it's for players who are trying to understand how to play it better? Or are you saying we should be catering specifically to people who are motivated to understand how to play it better but can't be bothered to spend five minutes on the official wiki searching for "combat"?
 

ajqtrz

Chef
The suggestion of a preview map has been made at least one other time and with pretty much the same responses. I, personally, would love to see it since it just makes things more realistic. What general ever sent his/her troops into battle without previewing the terrain? Even if it was helpful only one out of ten times, it would still be helpful and the cost of programming a small map that appears on the "pick your troops" screen would be, in my opinion, minimal.

Like all things, you can go to the Internet and find a lot of great information, and even some "not so great" information. But you can't find what the terrain you will be facing in a particular battle in any web site that I have found. Maybe there's a pattern to the terrain choices the AI makes but I haven't found it. So a preview map would be nice.

Just a few thoughts on an old subject.

AJ
 

JeanFritz

Member
They can look at it as much as you like. They still won't know how it affects the combat, since they won't see their troops moving and see how idiotic the AI is. The vast majority of the time, the terrain is not bad enough to affect the outcome greatly. It's only going to be significant in maybe 1/10 combats, probably not even 1/20. It's a wasteful kludge that requires extra programming and most players will ignore most of the time time. To repeat myself, I think it's a lost cause. You are entirely welcome to think that it is worthwhile. There is not need to All-caps-yell at me for disagreeing, even if it wasn't specifically forbidden by the forum rules.

Really, the vast majority of the time, the terrain doesn't affect the outcome much? Not my experience; maybe you've been lucky. The all-caps was for emphasis, as it seemed the point was being deliberately ignored: there is a difference between "being too lazy to search through forums and wikis" and "expecting key information to be shown in-game, as it has been with many other games that those players might be familiar with". Having to start a battle to check the terrain, then dropping out, then starting again with better troops, is *not* intelligent programming, and if the devs want people to *enjoy* the combat system, then this might help. (I used asterisks this time for emphasis; I hope that's ok.)

So first it's for players who shouldn't have to be bothered to check the wiki or forums, but now it's for players who are trying to understand how to play it better? Or are you saying we should be catering specifically to people who are motivated to understand how to play it better but can't be bothered to spend five minutes on the official wiki searching for "combat"?

How is it "first for players who..."? That point was brought up, I'm pretty sure, as a way of introducing the main problem. Maybe I focus too much on proper writing, but I was taught that you start with an introduction. And, *yet again*, how does searching the wiki help with the problem with the terrain being unknown until after troop selection? Oh, right, you don't think that's a problem. I guess it never happens to you that the enemy is all "weak" against light melee, and so you use light melee, and then your troops all get slaughtered because there was a bottleneck on your side of the map. --Or is that the "1/20" that you're referring to? 'Cause when that 1/20 takes out 1/2 of your troops (Spire of Eternal Suffering?), and could have been avoided by just *seeing the map*, then it seems like a problem to me.


Disagreeing with someone is fine; belittling their idea by ignoring the actual suggestion and telling them to search on wiki--when it doesn't actually have the information we're looking for--is really unhelpful, though.
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
Really, the vast majority of the time, the terrain doesn't affect the outcome much?
affect the outcome greatly
Yes. the vast majority of the time, the result is not different by a large enough amount to affect the outcome. For the vast majority of outcomes, the terrible AI is a bigger actor than the terrain.
The all-caps was for emphasis, as it seemed the point was being deliberately ignored: there is a difference between "being too lazy to search through forums and wikis" and "expecting key information to be shown in-game, as it has been with many other games that those players might be familiar with".
If only I had ever said "being too lazy to search through forums and wikis" instead of what I actually said is that they don't, without giving any judgement about why they don't.

- Note: bold works quite nicely for emphasis and isn't a breach of the forum rules.
Having to start a battle to check the terrain, then dropping out, then starting again with better troops, is *not* intelligent programming, and if the devs want people to *enjoy* the combat system, then this might help. (I used asterisks this time for emphasis; I hope that's ok.)
Correct, it is not intelligent programming. It is symptomatic of the careless way in which the mobile launch was handled and continues to be handled. They should either offer manual combat, or come up with a different mechanic altogether. Showing a layout screen will help a few people, do nothing for a bunch more, and annoy a bunch of others if they have to look at it when mobile combat is already slow and irritating.

You can emphasize as you like. The asterisks did not increase the visibility of the word apreciably, but they are not a breach of forum rules. On the other hand, the forum offers easy bolding, Italics, and underlining, all of which work well to make words stand out from their surroundings.

How is it "first for players who..."? That point was brought up, I'm pretty sure, as a way of introducing the main problem. Maybe I focus too much on proper writing, but I was taught that you start with an introduction. And, *yet again*, how does searching the wiki help with the problem with the terrain being unknown until after troop selection? Oh, right, you don't think that's a problem. I guess it never happens to you that the enemy is all "weak" against light melee, and so you use light melee, and then your troops all get slaughtered because there was a bottleneck on your side of the map. --Or is that the "1/20" that you're referring to? 'Cause when that 1/20 takes out 1/2 of your troops (Spire of Eternal Suffering?), and could have been avoided by just *seeing the map*, then it seems like a problem to me.
Only I wasn't replying to your writing. You misinterpreted my reply to another participant, after they talked about drawing in more people who don't understand the system and I tried to explain that.

I rarely use light melee, because they suck. That is a problem which has been brought up many times and needs solving separately. The terrain is not the problem, the way the troops behave in the terrain when they're on auto-pilot is what needs fixing, or they need to be improved so they no-long suck.

And to attempt to flog a dead horse from a different angle, I don't think a map wouldn't help anyone. I think it wouldn't help new or inexperienced fighters enough to justify it. It would help experienced fighters who want to do all of their combat on mobile. It would annoy some of us, who move to mobile because we want to go through a lot of fights quickly and are willing to take the risk of losing on occasion and either negotiating or switching to browser to fight manually.

Disagreeing with someone is fine; belittling their idea by ignoring the actual suggestion and telling them to search on wiki--when it doesn't actually have the information we're looking for--is really unhelpful, though.
My entire comment was that I think it's a lost cause. It doesn't provide sufficient return on programming time to increase player retention. I am probably guilty of being cavalier, but I did not belittle the idea, ever. I have explained repeatedly why I don't think it is the best way to proceed. I didn't tell anyone to search the wiki. I said if people aren't bothering to check the wiki, then it is unlikely this will be a useful enough change to justify the effort. The specific reason for that is that there are experienced fighters who are active on the forums who did not realize terrain could be involved in their losses.
 

JeanFritz

Member
...
Only I wasn't replying to your writing. You misinterpreted my reply to another participant, after they talked about drawing in more people who don't understand the system and I tried to explain that.
...

Yeah, except that you misinterpreted that I was also referring to that participant--the original post, as I kept pointing out. In any case (and as to the rest of your reply), fine: you don't like this idea. That it would actually annoy you to have a bit of extra information--not a pre-loading screen, not a "you must do this before you continue" screen, just extra information on the screen--tells me we aren't likely to agree on much. And as to me interpreting your replies as belittling, perhaps "condescending" would have been a better choice of word. "I think it's a lost cause. There's nothing there that isn't explained if people read the wiki carefully..." does, still, completely ignore the issue of the battlefield preview being helpful. And honestly, so what if the AI is so terrible? How does that relate to this? If Inno won't (or can't) fix the AI, then this might help. And anyway, changing how the light melee behave in combat won't mean squat if they're stuck behind terrain and get slaughtered by range attacks. In other words, without changing the current troop values--speed, attack, etc.--changing the AI won't do anything without fixing the terrain issues. (I'm assuming you'll disagree. I'm fine with that.) In any case, I'm sorry this has turned into such an argument. I agree with the original post; I think pre-viewing the battle map would be worth the effort; you don't. I hope, despite all the nay-saying, that the devs would still consider this idea for future implementation. Cheers.
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
Yeah, except that you misinterpreted that I was also referring to that participant

perhaps "condescending"
I never addressed you until you said maybe you were misinterpreting me too, which you were. If you want to make this about me belittling people or being condescending, then go ahead. I made a light-hearted comment about it being a lost cause and did nothing to attack the poster or their idea. It was never personal during my exchanges with Dave.

Cheers
 

Yogi Dave

Well-Known Member
Wow, just got back and read through the replies. Where to start?

Okay, most battles are not affected a lot or at all by terrain as I've learned through three years of playing. I've played a few battles most of the way through, surrendered and restarted it to see it played in auto. It's horrifying to watch at times, but usually the enemy only gets one or two extra shots off in the majority of battles. In a few, I hate to admit, it did slightly better. However, when all three enemy types are in what I've learned is the worst mix for that tourney, I sometimes find myself hesitating as to which troops to choose and in what order. So, I look at the arena. Since I only play on the browser, I have that option. Once I've found the right pattern it seems a peek then auto-fight works well enough. Still, a bad mix and bad terrain, I'll fight manual. I like the challenge. If I wasn't good at manual or was on mobile, I'd cater. There's no sense in fighting when you know you will lose. When I'm on the 30th prov a loss amounts to 7 and 1/2 squads. This technique has saved my collective troop's butt many times. There are other times I've lost what seemed like would be an easy battle. Usually when I peek, it was the terrain that killed them. Usually, a troop adjustment allows auto to win or I can cater or do manual. Since I've done a lot of manual, I'm sure I'm better at the reselection than those who have not since I have a good idea how the computer will move the troops. Those are my personal reasons I'd like there to be a map. I've talked with a few people in my FS who think it would be helpful and have seen a few comments of the problems with auto-fighting in mobile, so know some people have some interest in an improvement.

I haven't used the mobile app except for visits and now, unless it's world visits, they are done in the browser. Oh, I did fight one battle in it, but didn't like it. So I don't have much experience with how long it would take to bring up a map. I presumed it would only take a second or two, much faster than loading the arena in the browser since it doesn't need to have a bunch of bells and whistles, but it seems like app writers (or their bosses) seem to think everything needs to have a lot of detail. A simple schematic is not what they want, and I suppose, the users would not be as happy with it either. Being older, the info is what is important to me.

The idea isn't for the map to be displayed automatically but would be requested, so it would only slow the game down if wished to view it. The person would also have to take extra time to look at the map. With all the battles I and others fight now, most of the battles it will not be used since it isn't needed. If I were learning the game, I would use it a good bit as a learning tool, but again, that's the way I approach games. Probably not the norm.

Would enough people use the feature so it was worth the time for the developers to create it? I don't know. @Ashrem, you seem to think there would not be enough usage. Will the developers even look at this idea? Well, as an example, when I started the game people were already having heated discussions about cross-tier trading and their 'true cost'. Here we are three years later and just recently Inno finally changed what the trader shows as a two star cross-tier trade, pretty much as was suggested back then. I doubt it was a very difficult change either. Sometimes getting a change in here is like waiting for a peanut butter hour glass to drain. Yes, this is probably a lost cause, but I feel it is at least worth putting out there, even if it has been suggested before and perhaps, because it was suggested befor. @ajqtrz, I suspected it had been, but had not seen it.
 

Xelenia

Ex-Team Member
This is a great suggestion for those who enjoy all the parts of fighting such as looking at maps to decide the order of troop placements. My personal concern, as mention I believe, is the amount of effort required to make the feature applicable. It will not be as easy as just adding "few" codes because a new interface may need to be created, will have to connect to the game database, not to mention have to actually create the different battlefield scenarios etc.

One thing to keep in mind is that the development teams for the browser are NOT the same team for mobile. So it will not be the same as simply taking an existing code, and polish it for mobile. The question becomes... "Would enough people use the feature so it was worth the time for the developers to create it? "

Just from simple conversations, I do not think many people are utilizing manual fighting to its fullest, which leads me to believe many are using auto-fight. Which brings me to my next question, how many people realize the importance of troop placement based on the battlefield design?

Xelie
 

Ashrem

Well-Known Member
I think there are probably a small number of people using troop placement, but none on mobile. More than troop placement, this would assist with troop choices.

My fear with this particular suggestion is that it will become an excuse to never fully implement manual fighting on mobile. If they are going to have manual fighting this is unnecessary programming which will become wasted when manual fighting is available, and on the other side, they may feel implementing this is sufficient, and means manual fighting is unnecessary, even though this will have almost no effect on the end results compared to actual, manual combat.
 

Yogi Dave

Well-Known Member
My fear with this particular suggestion is that it will become an excuse to never fully implement manual fighting on mobile.
While 'never' is a very long time, it seems like they have basically decided that is already the case. I'm basing this on the following quote by @CrazyWizard in another thread.
Last year they tried to see if they could disable manual battles on the browser.
New players had a 50% chance to have manual battles enabled or disabled for quite a while. these days it's enabled for all browser players again.
This tells me that manual battles have in no way priority for the mobile app, and they considered removing it from browser as well as a cost saving measure.
So, I guess I'm saying, that ship has sailed. The concept of tapping the mobile device with great accuracy to hit the right hex is difficult to imagine being implemented. I've worked with touch screens, not on mobile devices, but specialized for industrial use. Small things just don't work for tapping and there is no hover capability. Phones are out of the question and tablets would still be difficult to use since a mistap could ruin the entire battle.
One thing to keep in mind is that the development teams for the browser are NOT the same team for mobile.
Being a programmer, I do realize they are different groups who often have a very different mind and tool set. While, I'd personally like to see the map on the browser too, I think it would be much more useful on mobile. Since I'm kind of the battle wizard in my FS, that group knows about the importance of troop selection and placement based on the arena arrangement. As a result several people have lamented it's not available. Also there have been a few threads asking about manual fighting on mobile. That tells me there are people who would use and benefit from it. Those who don't use the forum or have joined and only use mobile don't know any different. Why would they? If a map was available, they would have a chance to learn it's importance and when it's not important.
This is a great suggestion for those who enjoy all the parts of fighting
Thank you for adding to this thread.
 
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