Unbalanced levels: Citadel + Hillside



  • If this thread is misplaced, pleace move it or something.

    I want to talk about level design. Specifically about the levels Citadel and Hillside. I feel that it is terribly unbalanced, and the defending team is favored a lot, especially in the first stage of the level.

    The long walk from Agatha spawn to the objective is annoying and boring. Attackers most often do not fall victims to archers during that. Instead what happens is that the attack is halted right by the objective. This makes the attackers spend most of their alive-time walking to the objective.

    The defenders spawn very close to the objective. So after they’ve respawned, they’re already there. Don’t have to walk super far to get to the fight.

    The fact that the attackers must attack en-masse to do a good push gives the defenders a great edge too: they don’t have to watch for friendly fire: attackers (if grouped) are easy to hit by careless swinging and teammates respawn quickly nearby. No need to consider your position, just left-click away.

    Adding more into the unbalance, is the difference in goals for both teams: the attackers must clear the area, and do something special at the objective: torch buildings, stand still on trebuchet pads, lock themselves in siege weapons to fire at ships etc. This takes focus away from fighting (naturally) but has the player exposed to the defenders in a somewhat helpless state. Together with the aforementioned quick and close respawns for the defenders, and the general lack of friendly-fire avoidance, the defenders are very advantaged.

    Now I can’t say I’ve got statistics for this, but to me (and my friends’) knowledge, Agatha loses Citadel and Hillside very often. Too often for it to be balanced. This whole thing can be remedied by moving the spawn locations in those levels, to reduce the run-to-objective-time for attackers or add more of it for the defenders. I still play those levels as Agatha anyway. It’s not game-breaking by any means, just feels like an imbalance.



  • @SlyGoat:

    Citadel:

    -Aggressive optimization work has been done to improve framerates.
    -Fixed defenders taking fall damage when jumping from their fourth spawn.
    -Fixed invisible wall blocking ammo box.
    -Fixed the ability to enter certain spawns.
    -Fixed textureless blocks.
    -Fixed many collision issues.
    -Fixed nonfunctional warning pyre particles that were meant to alert defenders when attackers are in a certain area of the second slave objective.

    First Objective

    -Reduced the playable space on the first area, shortening the run for attackers.
    -The palisade has been moved back.
    -Defenders now spawn behind the palisade rather than on top of the wall.

    Second Objective

    -Number of slave cages reduced to 8 from 11.
    -Locks require 7 hits to destroy from 5.
    -Some locks removed from cages to funnel attackers.

    Final Objective

    -Added two ammo crates on the stairway wings.
    -Moved attacker spawn back to the base of the stairs.

    Hillside:

    -Signal Fire reduced to 30/10 seconds to Capture/Extuiguish, down from 45/15.
    -Trebuchet 3 removed.
    -Number of ballista hits required to sink a ship down to 7 from 10.
    -Collision overhaul - stuckspots, exploits and bugs fixed.
    -Fixed torch pits deflecting attacks.
    -Fixed collision on trees.
    -Fixed some areas in the first attacking spawn blocking arrows.
    -Fixed collision on trees.
    -Fixed being able to enter spawns.
    -Fixed respawn area on the FFA version of HillsidePyre allowing players to change loadout on the fly.

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11692



  • It’s funny that you made this the day we released a patch addressing those two levels. Give it a try.



  • Glorious!



  • Personally, I don’t see any problems with having some objectives a bit harder to achieve than others… Like say for example Dark Forest final phase when you kill the hiding nobility, that objective leans heavily towards defense on the back spot near the defense spawn. I don’t mind this one bit. Some would consider it the “treb 3” of Dark Forest. Should it be removed? Hell no.

    I agree with some Citadel changes because I find it to be very boring to be 100% blunt and honest. It’s a beautiful map but the fun aspect is very lacking. I’m glad it’s being looked into, but am not so happy about Hillside.



  • Are you serious?! What have you done to Hillside?

    -Trebuchet 3 removed.
    -Number of ballista hits required to sink a ship down to 7 from 10.

    I agree that the fire signal was burning for too long but removing the third trebuchet and lowering the amount of hits required to sing a ship?
    This is too much. Out of the last 20 Hillside TO games I played not more than 3 were won by the Mason.

    Map is just too easy for Agatha now.



  • The problem is that Hillside can still be a real piece of cake if the Masons have 2 or 3 good archers or adequate crossbowmen. The archers can be difficult to come by, but the crossbowmen? not so much… Of course stage 1 and 2 will go easily in Agatha’s favour but the ballistas are difficult as hell because anyone at the ballistas is a sitting duck for the archers/crossbowmen. Now that I think of it, I have a pretty similar score as you… some 3 wins out of 20 as a Mason there… But every single one of them thanks to the archers.



  • It is really hard to balance team objective around attack/defense wins, it is not a good idea.

    You are supposed to play it stopwatch (attack then defend, or the opposite), and then compare times set to have a winner team. This way you don’t have balance problems around objectives being too easy. You only have to be careful as you may prefer to have victories (and defeats) instead of draws, that mean maps should be finished in the time proposed.

    Stopwatch on official servers would be a good idea.



  • @delta:

    It is really hard to balance team objective around attack/defense wins, it is not a good idea.

    You are supposed to play it stopwatch (attack then defend, or the opposite), and then compare times set to have a winner team. This way you don’t have balance problems around objectives being too easy. You only have to be careful as you may prefer to have victories (and defeats) instead of draws, that mean maps should be finished in the time proposed.

    Stopwatch on official servers would be a good idea.

    Exactly, I watched TEMPLAR vs IO match on hillside and it was won with 3 mins to spare and then the other team failed to complete it - though it was close.

    Balance isnt bad if you can get a break and waste enough of the attackers time on the first two objectives. But as I said before I think the trebuchet times should be slower by around 30%.



  • @gregcau:

    Exactly, I watched TEMPLAR vs IO match on hillside and it was won with 3 mins to spare and then the other team failed to complete it - though it was close.

    Balance isnt bad if you can get a break and waste enough of the attackers time on the first two objectives. But as I said before I think the trebuchet times should be slower by around 30%.

    Next time it won’t be so close! Templar finishes with 20 mins to spare! :D

    This was actually my first time playing this map after the patch, and I don’t think it’s balanced perfectly (for 5v5 comp, at least).

    Before the patch the attacking team was pretty much forced to attack the pyre and defend it for 1 attack depending on spawn-times and other factors. This was extremely difficult to do unless the skill gap between the teams was quite large, and often you’d see teams never finish the first objective (which I don’t think is fun for either team). Now, the objective is a guaranteed finish when the defensive team is wiped once. I would have liked to see some alternative solutions which allowed for clutch recoveries if, say, only 1 attacker got through alive. Even when re-taken the pyre still needs to be put out, and defenders often have to switch up their defence position for the next attack.

    I don’t really care about the second objective. In 5v5, one wipe was usually enough to take old treb 3 anyway. I don’t mind the new version though, and it better suits 5v5 due to the lower number of objectives.

    Last objective is also fine.

    Anyway, that’s my view from a comp standpoint. I’m sure most of the balance changes were made with pub play in mind. E.g. Less time to burn affects the trickle style spawning in pubs, and old treb 3 was very hard because it was often last and trickled attacker spawns were eaten up by the entire defender team.



  • Both map are way to easy for the attackers. There should always be a challenge in attacking and in the best case also in defending.
    On Hillside and Citadel defenders have a hard time while even remotely competent attackers can easly advance.
    If you lose as attacker its for one of two reasons:
    a) the enemy team was clearly better
    b) your team was very incompetent at attacking (e.g. running around deathmatching)

    Also Malric should (have) execute(d) the one who built Citadel (in-universe). The main “fortress” of the Mason Order is protected only by a couple of wooden planks? Really? Agatha can storm it without even bothering about siege engines… And the throne room is a death trap for anyone in it. Whoever designed this wanted Malric to get killed.



  • @Evil:

    Both map are way to easy for the attackers. There should always be a challenge in attacking and in the best case also in defending.
    On Hillside and Citadel defenders have a hard time while even remotely competent attackers can easly advance.
    If you lose as attacker its for one of two reasons:
    a) the enemy team was clearly better
    b) your team was very incompetent at attacking (e.g. running around deathmatching)

    Also Malric should (have) execute(d) the one who built Citadel (in-universe). The main “fortress” of the Mason Order is protected only by a couple of wooden planks? Really? Agatha can storm it without even bothering about siege engines… And the throne room is a death trap for anyone in it. Whoever designed this wanted Malric to get killed.

    I think they were only thinking how to possibly make it look good more so than making it functional. I don’t think it was intended to be a super unbalanced thing, but it turned out that way.

    Hillside was fine before and really don’t think change was needed except maybe the pyre part. Bringing back treb 3 would be a good start to making Hillside good again and also upping the ships’ strength… Keep the pyre fix, revert the rest imo.



  • I was a little surprised how the Mason teams spawn during the first objective of Citadel was changed. The original spawn points on left and right, if you noticed, actually had two exits! The exits that opened out right onto the top of the bridge were, as we can all agree, very unfair. But the other exits, which dropped you out around ground level, were perfectly balanced, even having the same timings and placements as the new exits. Agatha’s spawn moving closer was, of course, very welcome.



  • Bring back Treb 3.

    Keep the new wall near Mason spawn that blocks vision to the treb from Mason archers as well as making it more difficult for Mason’s to defend as they too get funnelled into the objective and will not know what awaits them until they’re through the 2 archways leading in.

    There, I just balanced treb 3. I accept paypal donations FYI.



  • Hillside is a little silly on the Treb objective. I’m not sure how I feel about the Pyre, since the Mason spawn is so ungodly far away, but so is the Agatha spawn. It just feels like as soon as one battle goes decisively for Agatha, the objective is done. It’s not like that on other maps, but it’s not exactly a bad thing either. Just… I don’t know, move both spawns closer so it’s more of a fight AT the pyre, rather than down on the shoreline? It’s not too bad in any case.

    The ships part could do with some changing in the form of actual battlements, making it harder for archers to cover every single ballista from one location. You can still have angles of fire between the battlements, but make it so that one location doesn’t cover everything. AND PLEASE FIX THE BALLISTAE GETTING STUCK. That’s the biggest reason why it’s so damn hard, you can’t jump on and move the ballista reliably, sometimes you have to waste a shot just to aim it, then sit there reloading while arrows are flying at you.

    Citadel is almost perfect now in my opinion. Mason just doesn’t use the available chokepoints, in my experience. The second-level cages are extremely hard to get to if they do, I mean look at the narrow staircases Agatha has to use, with two cages right beside Mason spawn. Slave objective is harder to defend, but that’s fine because at the door, there’s again some nice choke points to utilize.

    Protecting Malric is still rather difficult, but I think that could be solved by taking out some of the staircases so that there are less points of entry, or if you get a little creative, some triggerable traps such as on Arena? Blasting fire down a staircase would be awesome! The levers could be in an exposed position on the lower landing, below those ammo boxes to the side, easy to shoot at and get to for Agatha, but vital in the defense of the King. Make it kind of an “offense is the best defense” mentality to contrast with the “turtling is the best defense” mentality of the Agathian lord.



  • @Daiyuki:

    or if you get a little creative, some triggerable traps such as on Arena? Blasting fire down a staircase would be awesome! The levers could be in an exposed position on the lower landing, below those ammo boxes to the side, easy to shoot at and get to for Agatha, but vital in the defense of the King. Make it kind of an “offense is the best defense” mentality to contrast with the “turtling is the best defense” mentality of the Agathian lord.

    That is a great idea, that would make that objective much more fun even if you lose it.



  • @Daiyuki:

    Hillside is a little silly on the Treb objective. I’m not sure how I feel about the Pyre, since the Mason spawn is so ungodly far away, but so is the Agatha spawn. It just feels like as soon as one battle goes decisively for Agatha, the objective is done.

    Yeah, definitely my feeling too.
    @Daiyuki:

    Just… I don’t know, move both spawns closer so it’s more of a fight AT the pyre, rather than down on the shoreline? It’s not too bad in any case.

    NO!
    Better idea! Let’s add a completely new stage before the Pyre, depicting the Agatha task force disembarkment and fight for the actual shorelines. The Mason spawn would be the same as it is for stage 1 now, Agatha spawn would be further away on some ship and run through the water to capture the camp on the hill!
    And there could even be some robotic trebuchets to bombard the beach (without doing damage, just like in the last stage)!
    Today’s stage 1 would be stage 2, Agatha spawn would be the camp, Mason spawn would be somewhere at the trebuchets so that they fight more for the Pyre.