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Author Topic: AION plans "race caps" for open beta -- an idea that might help WAR?  (Read 11694 times)
Sobelius
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on: September 09, 2009, 01:54:06 PM

Producer's letter on AION open beta says:

One very important area that will affect everyone is that we will be balancing races as folks rush to log into the servers. As a result, you may get a "This race cannot be created" message because that server is starting to become unbalanced. It's important to us that we try and keep a balance of the races during the Open Beta of Aion. If you come across this message, please feel free to try another server or wait until the server balance has tipped back.

Guess they don't want one side or the other dominating a server...wonder if they'll keep this at launch.

Also wonder what would happen if WAR servers introduced a message "you can't log into your realm because server pop is unbalanced" -- come back later...  lol

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." -- Voltaire
"A world without Vin Diesel is sad." -- me
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 01:56:22 PM

I have suggested faction cap many times before. I always get told that players won't stand for it.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 02:03:26 PM by tazelbain »

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IainC
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Reply #2 on: September 09, 2009, 02:01:46 PM

I think it's a terrible idea to be honest. It may help with initial balance on a server during the first week or so but characters created per side is a poor gauge of realm balance. It can potentially piss players off and prevent them from playing with their friends and doesn't really fix the problem it's supposed to solve.

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Brogarn
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Reply #3 on: September 09, 2009, 02:09:12 PM

I have suggested faction cap many times before always get told that players won't stand for it.

My initial reaction is that when you have a game that is all about community preventing anyone from joining their friends goes against that.

But taking the time to think it out, there's a couple of things that come up:

1)They might be able to offset this by giving a "We're close to cap" warning so if you and your friends are just joining, you'll know ahead of time that you might get dicked.

2) It might have the effect of balancing population between servers. Instead of doing the typical thing and joining the higher population server to make sure there's plenty of people around, it would encourage people to join the others so that all their friends are guaranteed a spot.

3) This wouldn't work for WAR. Its too late.
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #4 on: September 09, 2009, 02:27:04 PM

Definately true that such a cap would need to be on from the beginning. 

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DLRiley
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Reply #5 on: September 09, 2009, 02:38:10 PM

I think it's a terrible idea to be honest. It may help with initial balance on a server during the first week or so but characters created per side is a poor gauge of realm balance. It can potentially piss players off and prevent them from playing with their friends and doesn't really fix the problem it's supposed to solve.

Mass rage quite. You really don't wanna tell players what race you want them to be. Its like saying "hey all you stealth rogues, there are too many stealth rouges go healers instead.". In a game like this race selection matters just as much as class selection.
Morfiend
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Reply #6 on: September 09, 2009, 02:49:40 PM

I think it's a terrible idea to be honest. It may help with initial balance on a server during the first week or so but characters created per side is a poor gauge of realm balance. It can potentially piss players off and prevent them from playing with their friends and doesn't really fix the problem it's supposed to solve.

This.

I will be really pissed if I cant play with my friends.
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #7 on: September 09, 2009, 03:02:33 PM

If that's a real problem, why don't general population caps cause mass ragequits?  It does the same thing, block you from playing with your friends.

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Sobelius
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Reply #8 on: September 09, 2009, 03:13:16 PM

[cut]
« Last Edit: September 09, 2009, 03:15:05 PM by Sobelius »

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Velorath
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Reply #9 on: September 09, 2009, 03:22:41 PM

I could see that creating a huge amount of rage between players of the same faction since shitty players or even casual players would essentially be taking "slots" that could potentially be filled by better or more active players.
DLRiley
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Reply #10 on: September 09, 2009, 03:39:58 PM

If that's a real problem, why don't general population caps cause mass ragequits?  It does the same thing, block you from playing with your friends.

Not being allowed to get on a server due to it being full is a lot more reasonable to the player than, telling the player which race he can play. With a server you can always switch to a new server if your friends want to play together, you can't do that with race caps. It really hurts players who "migrate" to games. Full of fail if this hits retail.
Kail
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Reply #11 on: September 09, 2009, 03:46:23 PM

Also wonder what would happen if WAR servers introduced a message "you can't log into your realm because server pop is unbalanced" -- come back later...  lol

Being unable to create a character, I can kind of see working.  I prefer the "bonus XP" solution WAR implemented, myself (though the idea that it changes every week or so kind of kills it), but either way, I don't know that it would be much worse than the population caps WoW has in place, which don't seem to be causing too much rage.

Being unable to log in to your existing character, though, that I can see causing some serious fury.  With pop caps, you just roll somewhere else, and you've lost nothing.  With your Lv40 Knight locked up, though, what are you supposed to do when you log in tonight?  Start a level 1 guy on another server?  Sounds like a recipe for ragequitting.
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #12 on: September 09, 2009, 04:16:52 PM

So then it's only a problem if every server has that side queued otherwise your friends could move servers.  Frankly I think there is an big chunk of players that aren't 100% committed and avoiding queues would be enough to get many to switch sides.  I know I didn't want to plan Order in WAR, but I did so to play with Bat Country.

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

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IainC
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Reply #13 on: September 09, 2009, 04:19:39 PM

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

Yes. And this doesn't help with that problem at all.

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tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #14 on: September 09, 2009, 04:27:28 PM

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

Yes. And this doesn't help with that problem at all.
Since no one has every done this you really don't know.  All we know is tiny carrots don't work.

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DLRiley
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Reply #15 on: September 09, 2009, 04:30:14 PM

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

Pay now, your game is on life support in 3 weeks. Pay later and your game on life support after 3 months. Guess which option looks the best to Publishers and Investors.
IainC
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Reply #16 on: September 09, 2009, 04:46:14 PM

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

Yes. And this doesn't help with that problem at all.
Since no one has every done this you really don't know.  All we know is tiny carrots don't work.

I do know that counting the number of characters created on each side is a terrible way to balance populations, you don't need to have seen a bad idea in practice to spot it at the theory stage.

- And in stranger Iains, even Death may die -

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DLRiley
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Reply #17 on: September 09, 2009, 04:51:53 PM

Bottom line is population imbalances are going cost you.  Pay now(annoy players) or pay later (servers are non-competitive).  At least if you pay now you can manage expectations and direct players to minimize fallout.  

Yes. And this doesn't help with that problem at all.
Since no one has every done this you really don't know.  All we know is tiny carrots don't work.

I do know that counting the number of characters created on each side is a terrible way to balance populations, you don't need to have seen a bad idea in practice to spot it at the theory stage.

But but, this is MMO game design! The rules of practical game design don't apply here! Bad ideas are never what they seem  awesome, for real
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #18 on: September 09, 2009, 05:16:45 PM

Conventional wisdom never wrong.

"Me am play gods"
DLRiley
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Reply #19 on: September 09, 2009, 05:58:08 PM

Conventional wisdom never wrong.

When you get a foot infection conventional wisdom says go to the doctor as quickly as possible for antibiotics. Your solution sounds more like using a chainsaw to saw the foot off at the ankle. At best you have proved darwinism.
tazelbain
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Reply #20 on: September 09, 2009, 06:24:26 PM

Game design is more like voodoo than modern medicine.

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DLRiley
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Reply #21 on: September 09, 2009, 06:31:55 PM

So are you really going to argue that telling the player they can not play the side they want to is actually a form of biting the bullet and not a form of shooting your own foot with a desert eagle?
Sheepherder
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Reply #22 on: September 09, 2009, 07:58:03 PM

So are you really going to argue that telling the player they can not play the side they want to is actually a form of biting the bullet and not a form of shooting your own foot with a desert eagle?

No, because I'm sure players would never roll and character and then abandon it to go to a different server and roll the FOTM class/spec combo en masse.
01101010
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Reply #23 on: September 09, 2009, 08:13:14 PM

damned if you do, damned if you don't. Like arguing religion and politics at this point.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Sobelius
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Reply #24 on: September 10, 2009, 07:35:23 AM

So IainC keeps referring to "the problem" -- a.k.a. "realm imbalance". If we agree solving it can't be done through gating mechanics like caps, and if incentives like WARs xp bonus are helpful but still don't solve it, then what might?

My first thought is increasing the number of sides (DAOCs 3 sides; Fallen Earth has 6, but with factional interactions that make some pairings more like frenemies than allies.)

I know it wouldn't fit with the WAR lore, but it might have been interesting if the game had had 6 independent sides (green, dwarf, chaos, empire, h-elf, d-elf) instead of 2. The only people on your side are your own race. Could have made for some really crazy alliances/pvp and insane scenarios.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2009, 08:00:09 AM by Sobelius »

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Pagz
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Reply #25 on: September 10, 2009, 08:38:58 AM

I thought this was what the NPC race was for? Why restrict race creation when they already have some sort of counter to it?

I too would be annoyed if I wasn't able to play with friends at launch because of race balance, only to find weeks later that that side is now underpopulated.

I wonder what the ratio has to be to cap a race?
Shatter
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Reply #26 on: September 10, 2009, 08:54:36 AM

The intent is understandable but the desired effect wont happen because you cant control which faction will have more ACTIVE players
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #27 on: September 10, 2009, 09:01:44 AM

So you would supported faction caps if the population analysis was better?

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01101010
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Reply #28 on: September 10, 2009, 12:13:53 PM

I thought this was what the NPC race was for? Why restrict race creation when they already have some sort of counter to it?

I too would be annoyed if I wasn't able to play with friends at launch because of race balance, only to find weeks later that that side is now underpopulated.

I wonder what the ratio has to be to cap a race?

NPC race does not address a 3:1 or 5:1 pop ratio, which will continue to increase over time. Eventually you will be left with only a PvE environment.

and yes, annoying you would not be unable to play with friends bring yourself to find a server that could support you and your friends.  Ohhhhh, I see. I get where you are going with this line of thought, I just think its going to be a non-issue when the time comes. 

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Kail
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Reply #29 on: September 10, 2009, 04:33:06 PM

So IainC keeps referring to "the problem" -- a.k.a. "realm imbalance". If we agree solving it can't be done through gating mechanics like caps, and if incentives like WARs xp bonus are helpful but still don't solve it, then what might?

My first thought is increasing the number of sides (DAOCs 3 sides; Fallen Earth has 6, but with factional interactions that make some pairings more like frenemies than allies.)

I know it wouldn't fit with the WAR lore, but it might have been interesting if the game had had 6 independent sides (green, dwarf, chaos, empire, h-elf, d-elf) instead of 2. The only people on your side are your own race. Could have made for some really crazy alliances/pvp and insane scenarios.

I think the XP bonus might work (the pop imbalances in WAR seem less pronounced than I thought they would be, given the "zerg or ragequit" style gameplay), but I'm not crazy about the way it was implemented.  Since it's re-evaluated every few weeks, you're rolling a character with the knowledge that you're only getting a 20% XP bonus temporarily, and it's going to be during the time you need it least (the early game).  I'd rather see them give new players an item which would, say, grant you a week of bonus XP once you used it, rather than speeding up your ascension through T1.

The idea of six different sides isn't, in my opinion, objectively bad, but the game would have to be changed so much to implement it that speculating about how good/bad it would be seems kind of tenuous.  Obviously, you'd have to redo all the maps (right now, there's no way a Dwarf could get to Elfville, for example, except by flying into an Elf warcamp, which seems like a bad idea if you're at war with them), there'd be balance issues (poor Chaos, with their gimpy Magus and Marauder and Zealot, while Empire runs around with Bright Wizards, Warpriests, Witch Hunters, and Knights), and things like problems with sieges if there are multiple factions attacking at once.  The problems that currently exist with low populations would be multiplied by three, at least, and you'd have to rebalance keeps so that they'd be captureable with 1/3 of the force.  Plus, at launch it wasn't really possible to level up exclusively in one pairing, and most races lacked a class (tank or MDPS).
tazelbain
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tazelbain


Reply #30 on: September 10, 2009, 04:54:28 PM

Give the bonus until they hit max level.  After all you want people to move permanently to new server.

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Kageru
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Reply #31 on: September 10, 2009, 10:01:25 PM


It won't be perfect... but it's better than doing nothing. Your 10 friends can't roll the dominant faction? Choose another server. Even better if they allow you to decide that before the game goes live and you've invested time. I believe they're having a 2 day period for grabbing names and making characters, hopefully that includes server selection.

Of course I adored warhammers "We have a solution to population imbalance" when it quickly became obvious they had no such thing.

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01101010
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Reply #32 on: September 11, 2009, 03:56:27 AM


It won't be perfect... but it's better than doing nothing. Your 10 friends can't roll the dominant faction? Choose another server. Even better if they allow you to decide that before the game goes live and you've invested time. I believe they're having a 2 day period for grabbing names and making characters, hopefully that includes server selection.

Of course I adored warhammers "We have a solution to population imbalance" when it quickly became obvious they had no such thing.


The MYTHICal dogs of war? Yeah, that misnomer pissed me off the most.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Shatter
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Reply #33 on: September 11, 2009, 06:01:22 AM

I guess there is always the que system they could use...
Segoris
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Reply #34 on: September 11, 2009, 10:05:44 AM

I guess there is always the que system they could use...

They have the que system in place already as well, I was about 30-35th in line and was in within 2 minutes. I'd gladly wait 2 minutes to login and have a better balance on faction population then be the underdog in a 5:1 population difference.
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