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TOPIC: PvP Lessons Learned

PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #1

Over the TDC weekend True Dungeon ran a few PVP events, they had to put them together on short notice due to weather making the original plans for an outdoor adventure infeasible.

I appreciate the DMs for the event, and think it went well - this is not criticism of the event or the rules.

I know that some players in the forums occasionally talk about PvP, so here is how it was set up, and in my opinion some things that worked well and some things that could be tuned.

These notes are for the first event, I know some rules were changed for the second event.

Setup:

20 people were divided into two teams of 10.

Each team member got a token 10 pack, and then we had 30 minutes or so to:

a. Pick classes.
b. Strategize
c. Trade tokens within our team to get equipped

We also had to set our player order for rounds in terms of what order we'd act in: 1 through 10, e.g:

Wizard - 1
Druid - 2
Bard - 3
...
Dwarf Fighter - 10

We had one round of prep that we wrote down choices for and told the DMs ahead of time.


Gameplay:

The two parties rolled initiative.

The "turn" was divided into 10 "phases":

* In each phase the players from each team whose turn order was up would face off.
* The player from the team that won initiative would act/slide first
* The player from the team that lost initiative would act/slide second
* Damage was simultaneous within the phase, and the second slider could knock the first sliders pucks off the board

After each phase pucks would be cleared and the next two players would be called up to act.

If only one team had a player still alive in when that "phase" came up, only that team would act.

At the end of the turn, the next turn began, with the turn order / phases reversed (so if you acted 1st in round 1 you would act 10th in round 2).

Targeting rules: You could target any player with your attacks.

In the first event, the opposing team counted as "monsters" for any game rules that related to monsters.

The entire combat occurred in one "room."

Victory:

Implicitly, last team standing. In practice the DMs were flexible, for example on our run once we got down to a 6-1 scenario we encouraged our one remaining player to defect, the other team accepted their defection and they joined the winning team.

What worked well:

1. 30 minutes was enough time to build and strategize, it was tight but doable.

2. Having a team vs. team structure was good.

3. Having a well lit coaching area really helped with the team strategy.

4. The phased combat was interesting.

5. Having limited, random tokens was good.

Lessons Learned

1. AOE effects were too powerful: Wizards have Burning Hands that deals 9 to all players, Bards have 2x Soundburst that deals 8 to all players. With a single AOE scroll we could be looking at a near TPK after the first 3 actions.

2. Spell Surge on offensive spells are too powerful: Druid Firebolt + Spell Surge one shots anyone but the Barbarian or Dwarf Fighter.

3. Having a team miss a phase if the player was dead was too punitive as deaths were resolved mid turn - this meant if one team could keep picking off the next up to act they would get several actions in a row with no interaction. In our game on turn 1 I think it went like this:

Phase 1: Both teams acted
Phase 2: Both teams acted
Phase 3: Both teams acted
Phase 4, 5, 6: Only team 1 acted

Losing both a player, and an attack, is too punishing to come back from I believe.

I would suggest making death occur only at the end of a turn when all players alive at the start of the turn have acted. This could be achieved by making all damage dealt simultaneously at the end of the turn, or even by allowing players to live/act at zero or negative HP when their phase came up till end of turn (allowing for them to be healed by an action they would take or a later action).

4. DMs need to track HP for this event. There is too much chance for error and too much on the line for players to be tracking it.

I saw incidents in my run where a team announced (erroneously) to the DMs that player X should be dead based on what they'd taken, and I heard this happened in the other run as well.

5. Druid, Elf Wizard, and Wizard, are likely too powerful even without AOE - Druids have 5 spells that auto hit for 11 or more damage, Elf Wizard 3 and Wizard 2. Perhaps all offensive spells should require a slide, or have a 20% miss chance, or something.

The non-barbarian melee classes are going to averaging maybe 6-7 points with a slide.

6. Barbarian might become too powerful if the spell casters get nerfed - their rage is simply +4 to damage for the entire encounter. If they have a two handed weapon their damage modifier is +11 (compared with +1 for Dwarf Fighter, +2 for Fighter, and +2 for Monk).

Potential Quick Fixes:

Class selection could be limited to Cleric, Fighter, Dwarf Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Rogue allowing up to 2 of any given class in one party.

Players could die only at the end of a turn.

Those two changes would I think have made it fairly balanced.

You could add back Bard if you made Soundburst not work against the other party and it was announced ahead of time so the Bard didn't waste an action.

The Druid, Wizard, and Elf Wizard probably require some major thought as to how to balance them for this kind of thing.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #2

Sorry if I'm a little unsympathetic towards flawed PvP rules.

Since we've already seen many of these issues back with 2011 True Brawl (and even some issues with the old True Arena), designers should really know better because there are already concrete past examples

Matthew Hayward wrote: Each team member got a token 10 pack, and then we had 30 minutes or so to:

a. Pick classes.
b. Strategize
c. Trade tokens within our team to get equipped


Were Deck of Many Things and Cogwind Amulets in effect?

Lessons Learned

1. AOE effects were too powerful: Wizards have Burning Hands that deals 9 to all players, Bards have 2x Soundburst that deals 8 to all players. With a single AOE scroll we could be looking at a near TPK after the first 3 actions.

2. Spell Surge on offensive spells are too powerful: Druid Firebolt + Spell Surge one shots anyone but the Barbarian or Dwarf Fighter.


These are very obvious issues. They are brought up almost every time PvP is discussed. I don't see why you needed to "learn" this lesson all over again when it was well documented.

4. DMs need to track HP for this event. There is too much chance for error and too much on the line for players to be tracking it.

I saw incidents in my run where a team announced (erroneously) to the DMs that player X should be dead based on what they'd taken, and I heard this happened in the other run as well.

I agree that the DM's should be doing this. I think that is pretty self-evident.

5. Druid, Elf Wizard, and Wizard, are likely too powerful even without AOE - Druids have 5 spells that auto hit for 11 or more damage, Elf Wizard 3 and Wizard 2. Perhaps all offensive spells should require a slide, or have a 20% miss chance, or something.

The non-barbarian melee classes are going to averaging maybe 6-7 points with a slide.

6. Barbarian might become too powerful if the spell casters get nerfed - their rage is simply +4 to damage for the entire encounter. If they have a two handed weapon their damage modifier is +11 (compared with +1 for Dwarf Fighter, +2 for Fighter, and +2 for Monk).

Potential Quick Fixes:

Class selection could be limited to Cleric, Fighter, Dwarf Fighter, Monk, Ranger, Paladin, and Rogue allowing up to 2 of any given class in one party.

Players could die only at the end of a turn.

Those two changes would I think have made it fairly balanced.

You could add back Bard if you made Soundburst not work against the other party and it was announced ahead of time so the Bard didn't waste an action.

The Druid, Wizard, and Elf Wizard probably require some major thought as to how to balance them for this kind of thing.


I have always strongly argued that if there were to be a PvP event, it really needs to have entirely new character cards just for the event. HP needs a different baseline. Spells need to be reworked.

As an example, with True Arena everyone was playing a special gladiator-type character class.

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Last edit: by Incognito.

PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #3

I didn't do the previous PvP event, however I think this one had a number of improvements, particularly the fact that it was a sealed pack event, and the turn order was pre-declared. I did enjoy the event.

Apparently they made a few tweaks between your session and ours. First of all they were doing some sort of roll for AoE spells. I don't know what they were doing, but I think mostly the spells didn't work. Secondly, if a player was dead in the rotation, they skipped to the next player down the list, so the team didn't miss their turn.

I thought it went well except for the fact that some classes were just too easy to kill with one powerful spell. For that reason I think it would work much better if they simply doubled the base HP for each player. This would allow for a chance to heal after being hit hard. Of course that would last a lot longer than our events did.
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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #4

Incognito wrote:
Were Deck of Many Things and Cogwind Amulets in effect?


I don't know one way or another - I'd agree all players should start on the same footing.

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Last edit: by Matthew Hayward.

PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #5

Matthew Hayward wrote:

Incognito wrote:
Were Deck of Many Things and Cogwind Amulets in effect?


I don't know one way or another - I'd agree all players should start on the same footing.


Yes, I've always advocated that any PvP should disallow such unique effects (Deck of Many Things, Cogwind Amulets, other GT effects that apply for the year or for the con). And if tokens are allowed, Artifacts should not be permitted.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #6

A few suggestions myself:

The team who won initiative had to go first. This is not always an advantage. I think each player on the team which won initiative for that round should be able to choose whether to go first or second.

I also think players who take non-sliding actions should be allowed to slide an empty slider. Although it could be argued they are not defending themselves with a weapon, so they shouldn't slide.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #7

Kirk Bauer wrote: First of all they were doing some sort of roll for AoE spells. I don't know what they were doing, but I think mostly the spells didn't work.


As far as I could see, the actual effect appeared to be that no matter what the roll, AoE spells always failed. High rolls, low rolls, odd rolls, even rolls, nat 20 rolls: all seemed to fail. But since they kept rolling, I assumed that there was at least some chance to succeed (maybe a natural 1?), so I kept trying. If there was 0% chance to succeed, I really wish they'd not done the roll. Having the roll made it seem like you were trying to overcome a spell resistance, so it was very misleading if there was no chance.


Despite surviving and winning, I hope to never be in PVP again. It feels like there are too many rules changes needed to make it work. The more rules changes you put in place, the less you are playing TD and the more it feels to me like I'm playing a different game. One that just happens to use the same tokens and some of the same ideas.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #8

I actually liked the PvP event although I agree with other comments on here in terms of refining the rules. I'd be up for another PvP.
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world." - Albert Einstein

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #9

Incognito wrote: Sorry if I'm a little unsympathetic towards flawed PvP rules.

Since we've already seen many of these issues back with 2011 True Brawl (and even some issues with the old True Arena), designers should really know better because there are already concrete past examples


Eric, new players will always howl for a PvP chance, assuming that the 'old guard' doesn't know what they're talking about. Now a new generation has learned the lesson.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #10

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I was on team Nameless that was part of first round of PVP. Even though we won mostly by guessing correctly which characters to kill so they never got a turn, I would not do PVP again. There was a fun element to it for me just because it was novel, but the ability to eliminate someone from being able to participate at all is a huge turn off. I believe we killed both their cleric and druid at least before they got to do anything. I imagine that would have put a huge damper on their enjoyment of the event.

Even with some of the proposed nerfs suggested this would always be a worry of mine. I certainly would not want to pay money for an event in which I may be eliminated before I got to do anything.

Of the patron events, this was my least favorite, though again I did enjoy it just for the novelty of it.


I might suggest instead of being able to attack each other. That for a pvp event both teams can do something like attack each other's strongholds. You could even have them both on sliding on the same board if you still wanted to allow the ability to bump the opposing team. You could even give the stronghold abilities to enchance players. Maybe a wizard tower that adds to spell damage until it is destroyed. That type of thing. Just a thought.
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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #11

I'm kind of surprised to not see this here yet, since it is discussed in depth on another thread, but I think it might be good to have a rule that players can't switch sides or attack their own party members. An exception might be at the end of the combat when all remaining player(s) defect to the winning team, like what happened with Kirk's team.

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PvP Lessons Learned 2 years 1 month ago #12

Mike Steele wrote: ... at the end of the combat when all remaining player(s) defect to the winning team, like what happened with Kirk's team.

That happened? I left the room a slide or two after I died, which thankfully was before the first round was over. Now I'm doubly glad I didn't stick around.

The only lesson I learned was "just say no," but I don't want to discourage others from trying to sort it out. I like my friends too much to be mad at them for days, so I'm not risking putting myself in that position ever again.
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Last edit: by Brad Mortensen.
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