Competitive Map Balance - Too many DNFs

  • Hi there, I reposted this topic into the balance forum because it wasn’t getting a whole lot of discussion in the competitive talk forum (and most of the input I was getting wasn’t from competitive players anyway). Having said that, this is an issue that shouldn’t affect public players, but feel free to chip in with suggestions anyway.

    In my opinion, the best scrims are those where both teams finish all objectives. You have a clear winner and a good idea of how much they won by, and it’s extremely exciting to watch the timer count down the last seconds needed for the win.

    Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that most scrims finish with one team finishing and the other DNFing (which can be close but often isn’t) or both teams DNFing on the last objective. I think everyone will agree it’s not particularly fun to draw a game, and a game that could be a very close win for one team turns into a complete anti-climax. One team finishing and the other DNFing also isn’t very fun, especially when it’s caused by a particularly stingy timer on the first objective (darkforest, I’m looking at you). One team could finish the objective with a second to spare and go on to recover and complete the whole map. The other team could miss it by one second and lose the entire game there and then.

    This problem is exaggerated greatly when there are more players.

    The problem stems from certain maps being much more favoured for defence in organised play. The best option, I feel, would be to rebalance the maps for competitive play. Make it easier for the attackers to win (simple spawn timer reductions for attackers would be the first step), while making sure there is plenty of opportunity for better teams to finish faster.

    I would also like to hear some opinions on the way map timers work. Should time be added for each objective like now (and if so, should they stay the same or be changed for certain maps), or do you think it’s fairer to have a total map time-limit so a team that struggles a bit with an early objective (but is much better than the other team on the later ones) gets a fairer deal?

    The only time I seem to see a map finished with a time above 3 or 4 minutes (if at all) is when one team royally screws up the defence for one objective (darkforest sluice for example) or when there is a significant difference in skill level (which is where finish times should be the most exciting!).

    NOTE: There are ways to balance maps for competitive teams without laying a finger on pub, so please try to avoid using that as an excuse to not make changes. Suggestions on how to improve the situation are welcome from anyone, however.

  • I think there should just be an easy command to disable spawn waves and have everyone on a separate timer. This would eliminate waiting around to regroup on a bad spawn, or getting a lucky spawn, but would also encourage not dying. Right now you can choose to die quickly to regroup faster or even TK instead of waiting for regen if you know you’ll get a fast spawn.

    Individual spawns means that if one person dies, you won’t have to wait anywhere between zero and 18 seconds to spawn back in. You could have incremental increases base on deaths too, optionally, but I think a set spawn timer of 8 seconds for individual players is preferable in competitive play.

    This doesn’t touch pub play at all because it’d be a server option.

  • Yes spawn waves are actually completely useless in competitive play imo… A simple command would fix this. Not sure if it would fix the problem with the DNFs though

  • @afiNity:

    Yes spawn waves are actually completely useless in competitive play imo… A simple command would fix this. Not sure if it would fix the problem with the DNFs though

    Well you’d be able to organize a push faster because of the 8 second individual spawn rather than sometimes getting stuck waiting for 1-2 people to get through an 18 second timer.

    It would also open up the ability to punish other teams who die in sequence and then don’t regroup well, because then their spawns would be staggered. You’d be able to cut off chokepoints and cut spawns in half reliably, thereby pressing the advantage and thereby making attacker side easier if played well, but not easier universally.

  • 8 seconds seems a tad fast. Would make attacking way too hard imo.

  • @Daiyuki:

    You could have incremental increases base on deaths too

    I like that.

  • @NoVaLombardia:

    8 seconds seems a tad fast. Would make attacking way too hard imo.

    Some spawns are faster than that. It just normalizes the spawn times and gets rid of the waves. It could be 10 seconds as well, but I feel like 8 seconds combined with the run time to the objectives should be fine. Attackers get the same spawn, so pushes would come faster, although 10 seconds might be good as well. I don’t know really, only Stoneshill ram and Dark Forest third door would be real problems (and they already are), but certainly any change requires some testing.

  • I think removing wave spawns would be the first step to fixing this.

    However defence still has a massive advantage over offence in pretty much any situation. They can whittle you down with ranged as you come in, and are in a better position to control the fight, at least long enough for respawns to overwhelm attackers.

    Usually a team eventually gets a good attack in and completes a good chunk or all of the objective. Perhaps the problem is that they are not getting enough attempts? I would be interested to see the effects of lowering spawn timers in general (favoured over upping map time limit). Something would probably have to be changed about health regen though, as it’s already often an advantage to suicide or TK as it is for defenders. Also could run into the problem of defenders respawning mid-attack far too quickly, so maybe it’s not such a great idea.

    One more interesting idea I had is to make spawn timers dependant on the number of players alive. Defenders spawn slower when more (or at least 1) of the defending team is alive. This means that killing a lone player early shouldn’t come back to bite you in the bum later on. Attacking players have more time to actually take control of the objective (e.g. the cart) before defenders spawn and their attack is destroyed, but if the defender dies the whole group can run back in (think of running as hard spawn time) fairly quickly, with the first few defenders who died being able to jump straight back in and risk a weaker attack if the attacking team only got through with 1 or 2 guys. I have a feeling this would be difficult to balance and make un-abusable though.

    One problem would be that a guy waiting at defender spawn for a regroup could end up slowing the timers for others. Timers should never go up, but if a defending team wants a regroup and is waiting for the last guy to die and spawn, they could be waiting longer than they should because he would be detected as an “early death” rather than an unusually late one. Perhaps you could compare times of last death to determine which ones are actually early, but this system is already getting very complicated as it is and I doubt something like this will ever get implemented by TBS (maybe with the SDK I can work some magic, though).

    For the attacking side, spawns would be granted faster when more attackers are alive. This immediately reduces the problem of waiting 10 seconds for a dead team mate before an attack (and thus stops this current sad nature of "outmanned? don’t got for the clutch, just give up and respawn). It also makes it easier for attacker momentum to continue if the defence does a poor job. Keep in mind defence still has an advantage because they spawn closer to the objective (lower hard spawn time) and as long as attacker momentum keeps going, defenders get faster spawns to stop them.

    It’s definitely not well thought out, but I thought I’d throw it out there. Always seemed silly to me that a lone defender dying early could come back in plenty enough time to not be at a disadvantage, but if the whole defending team dies at once you could be stuck staring at the one guy doing the entire objective in a single spawn cycle. Better attacks (those that finish with more attackers alive) should be rewarded more, and I would personally love to see tactical retreats from the offensive team in some cases to keep spawn timers low and attack frequency high.

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