Encouraging more combat at high GCL



  • @smokeman said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    What I think should be done: First, the aforementioned changes to ramparts and walls. Reduce max GCL to no more than 15. 10 would be better.

    For me, rule one of proposing balance changes is "don't completely destroy what already exists". People have GCL 30+ with 300 CPU and 30+ rooms. Reducing that would break the entire game and piss off a lot of people. You've got to distinguish between "things that would make the game better from a fresh start" and "things that would make the game better today".



  • "Max" is just a number. In a game, there needs to be a reasonable expectation to reach some semblance of that number in your lifetime. Even then, with Screeps, the difficulty ceiling of just coding your colony is, and I quote a poster on the Steam Community: "The difficulty ceiling is so high, that if it shattered today the pieces wouldn't hit us in our lifetimes."

    Once you paint yourself into a corner, changing the color of the paint isn't going to matter. I'm ok with people with GCL 30 quitting because they no longer have an advantage... in reality, they're probably quiting because they were really done playing anyway and don't want to bother fixing their colony. Don't let that hold the game hostage.

    Me? I would be fine with having the max GCL halved, even though it would mean mine would be halved and I would have to decide which half of my rooms to convert into energy and delete. There is still the PCs to build, and the literally never ending difficulty ceiling. The only reason to EVER run out of coding challenge in this game is because you decided to stop.

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  • From time to time, the subject of how to stimulate more PvP combat in MMO comes up, mostly by the same group of players. But, whether this should be a goal is rarely (never?) questioned. Screeps calls itself an "MMO sandbox game for programmers", not a war game. While having more PvP combat would certainly make the game more fun to some, not everybody is interested in more combat. Some people have fun focusing on economy, market, advanced path finding, behavior trees, over engineered operating system architecture, etc. Others would like to get to combat at some point, but are still struggling with the basics. All those players would find the game less fun, if they saw themselves forced to defend themselves all the time, or if they kept getting wiped by big players and couldn't find a quiet place in the MMO for their ant farm, while they work on their code. Maybe the problem is when players who want a good fight, are surrounded by peaceful players, and when peaceful players have aggressive neighbors. What if there was a smaller shard with modifications to stimulate combat and make turtling less effective, with one-way portals coming from other shards? Only people who are interested in combat would claim rooms in that shard. If the promise of good fights is not enough to attract people, there could be modifications that make that shard more inviting. Faster ticks? More resources? Some sort of exclusive rank? Some or all of Tigga's suggestions could be implemented there. Even a cap on total owned rooms (without limiting allocated CPU) could be in place.

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  • @eduter said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    Others would like to get to combat at some point, but are still struggling with the basics.

    I don't believe that any of the changes I've suggested would effect combat at the "basic" level. They're mostly targeted at the "high ramparts, high GCL, strong turtle-based defense" players. I don't think they'd have a whole lot of impact for anybody without already advanced defense code.

    EDIT: Sent too quick - I don't much care for the idea of a new shard as I think we've got enough space as it is. Maybe if the playerbase grows a lot it could be shard 4. Private servers act as a pretty good combat arena right now so it's not too bad. Really I just think it's a bit too easy to make an inpenitrable room on the main server right now, and I feel the main server shouldn't be as stale as it is, especially compared to days of old.



  • @tigga said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    I don't believe that any of the changes I've suggested would effect combat at the "basic" level.

    Since it would be a special shard, geared towards combat, it could have other differences, things that you would classify as "things that would make the game better from a fresh start", but would piss off a lot of people.

    I don't much care for the idea of a new shard as I think we've got enough space as it is.

    I think this shard should be much much smaller than the others, so it wouldn't add much space. I also think it should not allow spawning in it and maybe even having restrictions about which creeps can cross (e.g. crossing creeps lose 4000 hits) or having some boosted portal keepers, so you have to earn your place in it. Or maybe portals to it would be short lived and only appear among ruins of Lv 5 strongholds.

    Really I just think it's a bit too easy to make an inpenitrable room on the main server right now, and I feel the main server shouldn't be as stale as it is, especially compared to days of old.

    Personally, I like the MMO better now, more peaceful.



  • @eduter I don't know from first hand experience but I had always thougth that the shard centers and axis to be more active with combat due to the double highways. Isn't this still the case?



  • You had me at 'bring walls back'. As a mild tangent, changing rampart upkeep could interact severely with nukes. At presents people use ramparts (game) as walls (conceptual), as there is little downside. The more exclusive use as a health buffer for critical structures effectively shields elements behind the front line, preventing infrastructure sniping. I think reversing the proliferation of ramparts is a noble goal. A proposition I'd make in tandem to a change to decay rate would be permitting walls incidental to structures, the way ramparts are currently, but not to creeps, which conceptually should certainly be exclusive to ramparts.



  • @GeEom

    walls incidental to structures

    Do you mean allow walls to built in the same tile as other structures, like road and ramparts are now?

    I like #2. The current decay allows a single source to support 333 max height walls.

    For #3 I'm not convinced it's worth the change. I wouldn't object to if generateSafeMode was disabled for RCL8 rooms.



  • I agree that high level combat is a bit tough for the attacker. But I did hear/read that this was intentional, the developers wanted to allow the perfect defense.

    1. Agreed, repair is too good, at tier 3 repair equals a tier3 dismantle, while dismantle gives energy back to allow for more repair.
    2. Agreed, wall max are to high at 300m.
    3. SafeMode I don't have too much of an issue with, but maybe an increase in cooldown or increase in creating one, it's a bit too cheap to create and use.
    4. Instead of increasing the hits per part, maybe reducing the amount of towers by 3.


  • @likeafox said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    But I did hear/read that this was intentional, the developers wanted to allow the perfect defense

    And that's fine. In the no-power world defense should always win. This is because you can just employ the mirror strategy - whatever the other guy does you do the same. You have towers, so you win with equal code.

    In the post-power world.... it's actually not changed that much. The attacker sends creeps from other rooms to attack. You can send creeps from other rooms to defend. As the defender you still have towers so you still win.

    It's pretty much impossible to remove the defender's advantage while towers are a thing, and that's fine. Right now I feel it's too high and winning is too easy on defense.



  • @tigga Completely agree with your points and wish for this to be changed a bit.



  • I agree a 100% that out-repairing any serious attack shouldn't be a viable strategy. It seems to me that the biggest problem is that energy can keep coming in through the terminal which supports this tactic. Maybe power creep methods can be separated into categories for which power must be enabled and methods which work in any room?

    I don't like the proposed tower RNG at all, please don't implemented that.



  • I also don't like the proposed tower RNG at all, please don't implement that.

    That is an interesting "military maxim" that I hadn't heard before, it sounds about right. Safe modes are pretty powerful, we may need tuning changes there that continue to help out newer players but are less effective for players with large empires which can be hard to do.

    I was always surprised that when a nuke lands, it brings down both the safe mode and after a short period of time, resets the safe mode cool down. Perhaps this could be tuned so that a nuke prevents a room from safemoding for longer.



  • @qzarstb @Tigga I thought that pound for pound, splash attacks would beat out repairers? I suppose that's only for the splash attackers are not chased off of the wall and if the wall has depth to it..



  • @trepidimous said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    @qzarstb @Tigga I thought that pound for pound, splash attacks would beat out repairers? I suppose that's only for the splash attackers are not chased off of the wall and if the wall has depth to it..

    I don't think there are many cases where pure repair with no combat creeps wins. If you can get next to the ramparts you do a lot of damage. It doesn't take many combat creeps to force you to stand back though. Against a flat wall deep you'll still do a reasonable amount of damage with RMA (4640 for 40xT3 RA). The defender can counter that with a repair creep fairly easily, doesn't even need to be fully boosted. Especially if you consider 40% safe mode uptime. We start needing 40+ ranged creeps (with healers) to do get real damage done, and because they're spreading the damage out, it'll take a long time to kill the larger ramparts. This is before we've even got to the fact that the defender can build boosted combat creeps to leave the ramparts (or come from another room) who have the upper hand due to towers in the room.

    There's a case to be made that some of this doesn't apply to bunkers as they have a large surface area and not much space to put creeps inside. The same issues exist but aren't quite so big against bunkers.



  • I think it is good as it is. If attacking is easier than defense, I'd have to keep watching over my base to have it not destroyed. This game is about automation, and having to keep watching over my base is against this. Perfect defense should be possible, and even if it is extremely difficult to set up, practically unbreakable defense should be feasible. Power is good in that the defender can choose to not use it if he doesn't want the risk. However, there is a problem: A player can claim and fortify all rooms next to the a power-enabled room(which is my plan). There are quite many rooms on the map with only 2 or even 1 exit. Another thing: defense will be much easier if the defender has a room next to the attacked room. Disrupt terminal can be worked around by transporting directly, and the defender will have double spawning capability.



  • @nicle said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    If attacking is easier than defense

    Barring your good point about using claims to block in power enabled rooms, I don't think this will ever be true. The attacker has two advantages - nukes and the ability to determine when the fight takes place. Nukes only really work if you can get a lot on the target at once, or if the target is a bunker. The ability to determine when the fight takes place just doesn't matter at high GCL. The defender has many more - towers, ramparts, repair and safe mode for actually defending, and unboost/TTL advantages to save boosts.

    In the absolute worst case the defender can just mirror the attacker and retain his advantages.

    This game is about automation, and having to keep watching over my base is against this

    If you've automated you don't have to watch over your base...

    Perfect defense should be possible, and even if it is extremely difficult to set up

    It is not extremely difficult to set up today.

    A player can claim and fortify all rooms next to the a power-enabled room

    Now that's a good point. A passive defender with a power enabled room may lose out here, though if he can block of your room before it hits RCL 6 then maybe not. Attacking by claiming is certainly an option against power rooms as the 40% safe mode uptime isn't enough to counteract the fact you can't spawn creeps. I think power battles are relatively unexplored terriatory.



  • Actually I've just played this game for < a week and I'm only RCL5 and GCL1, so I still have to keep watching over my base to see if there is any bugs in my code. My position is at Shard3, room E14N37. The only difference between me and other newbies is that I've read a lot of posts by high GCL players.

    I think most high GCL attacks are focused on bugs in the defense code, since direct attacks will be degraded into a war of attrition. Finding bugs would cost a lot of time, and fixing those artificially created edge-case can be very time and CPU intensive, and will take up a lot of code size. And some old players are already using up their code size limit.

    @tigga said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    If you've automated you don't have to watch over your base...

    I think I still have to watch over my base on high GCL, but I shouldn't have to do that very often. At least my base should be able to defend against a constant attack for 7 days at RCL8, and even longer on high GCL. Maybe like Factorio, in late game I'd need to spend more time offline developing more advanced algorithms and strategies than actually playing the game.

    @tigga said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    A player can claim and fortify all rooms next to the a power-enabled room

    Now that's a good point. A passive defender with a power enabled room may lose out here, though if he can block of your room before it hits RCL 6 then maybe not. Attacking by claiming is certainly an option against power rooms as the 40% safe mode uptime isn't enough to counteract the fact you can't spawn creeps. I think power battles are relatively unexplored terriatory.

    Good point, but I think you might have misunderstood my post. Perhaps I used the word 'However' incorrectly, but originally I meant that a player can claim and fortify all rooms next to his own power-enabled room (My plan is to claim and fortify all rooms next to my power-enabled room at late game, when my GPL allows me to do that), making it completely irrelevant whether its power is enabled or not. The attacker can't break the defense of the power-disabled room around it, thus protecting the target room from any attack but nukes. Nukes alone will probably attrition the attacker more than the defender.

    The concept of using the advantage of defense to attack sounds cool though.

    I wonder if changing the game balance towards attackers will make people favor connected rooms over spreading out, as connected rooms can be invulnerable even with power enabled. Pro: Have better defense and can be far more difficult or even impossible to siege without turning the siege into a war of attrition. If the enemy tries to nuke u, then u can focus many rooms' nukes on his room to disrupt production and go counterattack. Con: Less spread out, develop slower and can lose more easily in a war of attrition.



  • @nicle said in Encouraging more combat at high GCL:

    And some old players are already using up their code size limit.

    Not any more! The devs raised it from 2MB to 5MB a while back.

    I think most high GCL attacks are focused on bugs in the defense code, since direct attacks will be degraded into a war of attrition.

    Not really, no. Maybe at mid GCL. At high GCL many players have defense code that doesn't have easily exploitable bugs. The bugs that are there are often "economic" bugs which don't really cause any problems other than slowdown of GCL/power/credit gain - the 90% of the rooms that aren't under heavy pressure can take up the slack.

    At least my base should be able to defend against a constant attack for 7 days at RCL8, and even longer on high GCL

    You can do that today easily. A reasonable defense combined with ramparts in the 100m+ range will hold a long time. Especially if safe mode is used agressively. Part of the proposal I made is to make people pay for that survivabilty by increasing decay of large ramparts. Furthermore, I'd argue that if you have 30+ rooms, it's much less important that one can survive for so long - losing a room is hardly a major setback.



  • Right now overhealing is supported, but damage is applied first, then it's healed. What if it would be swapped, heal first, then damage. You would always know exactly how much to heal to make perfect use of the tough-parts. It's a small change with almost no impact for basic players and high impact for high end players.

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