Proposals to change Ladle settings discussion - length of matches

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Shock
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Proposals to change Ladle settings discussion - length of matches

Post by Shock »

The main purpose of this thread is to continue and record discussion of potential fortress settings changes. The following proposed changes came about through discussions on the main Discord channel, and I am limiting attention to settings as opposed to match/tournament formatting (Bo1, Bo2, swiss, etc). This post as well as its sister post (Proposals to change Ladle settings discussion - state of play) will be organized into two main topics: settings changes to affect the length of matches, and settings changes to affect the meta of play. This post summarizes discussion regarding settings changes to influence the length of Ladle.

Note that due to recency bias I will likely be forgetting many ideas posted weeks ago. Another caveat is that I am a human and will be representing this discussion from my point of view - so in some places I may not be adequately characterizing other community members' perspectives. Please follow up this post with any thoughts that I did not capture.

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The issue of the length of ladle was raised. Potential solutions:
  1. reduce score limit/more points earned per round
  2. include a round limit
  3. include a hard time limit (for a round) via deathzone
  4. include a soft time limit (for a round)
Based on previous discussions there seems to be moderate interest in experimenting with the first and fourth solutions. Hard-capped changes to rounds seems to create undesirable dynamic incentives - get a lead and then turtle to victory - so #2 and #3 have not gained the most traction (although Desolate may have an argument for #2 that he can share). I will punt on details related to solution #1 and leave it to others to expand on (the most notable I believe is Ninja Potato's and Nanu's to add additional objectives to the map), not because it is unimportant to rework scoring but rather the opposite: it might need its own discussion.

Solution #4 has many possible realizations. Here are some of the most discussed:
  • same player conquerability - this exists to an extent already since in a 3v3 (within zone) the attackers eventually take the zone, so this proposal is to extend this feature of the game to 2v2 scenarios and even potentially 1v1. The exact method is debated. Should there be a specific amount of time until conquering (i.e. if attackers leave zone AT ALL then reset timer) or a tweak in the conquer and refresh rates of the zone? In either case, the concept of same player conq provides a benefit to the attacking team, with some community members agreeing and some disagreeing as to the merits of such a buff to attack. This achieves the goal of shortening the length of matches, but likely would result in no major shift in meta play (teams might send sweepers earlier/later - idk what else would happen). Sine.wav's latest post on this deserves particular attention: "I think the key to setting good conquerability settings should be based on how long it takes a team to reasonably react. For instance, if it's 2v2 in your zone and you are attacking, the zone should not fall before you have a chance to reasonably break off your attack and return to your home zone, maybe even a 60 second window would be enough."
  • no rubber refill - the idea here is after a certain amount of time in a round, rubber will stop refilling. This likely shortens matches because defending in its traditional form will not be that feasible. Opponents to this idea do not look at rubber as a modifiable setting, as it will nerf players with worse connection (connection is the #1 skill in tron anyway, sooo.. potatoes)
  • dynamic settings based on the count of players alive - this idea is not mutually exclusive to the others, but just captures the interest in possibly changing settings (amount of rubber, expanding zone, anything) based on how many players are alive - for example, implementing zero rubber in 1v1 scenarios

This upcoming weekend, February 20 and February 21 at 17:00 GMT, will be host to a set of experimental matches to test out some of these proposed changes. Further specifics are pending, but I hope many of you can get online for that event!

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Re: Proposals to change Ladle settings discussion - length of matches

Post by sinewav »

Fortress rounds only drag on in the later half of the round so any solutions need to be tied to this area specifically. The reason they drag on is because everyone is insanely good at the game. Half the Fortress community spends 10 hours a day in Sumo so it's no surprise that zones take forever to fall.

Before I make my point, I want to state what Fortress is in the simplest terms: Get into the enemy zone while keeping them out of yours. It's not "let's maze endlessly in the zones until someone gets a lag spike and dies."

There is no need to shorten trails or make the zone larger. These ultimately affect the early game where there is no problem, plus it just pushes the game faster into that same Sumo stalemate everyone is unhappy with, except now it's even harder to kill anyone.

The solution is to make the zone conquer settings out of balance so 1v1/2v2/3v3 etc does not go on endlessly. The argument against is that it will cause teams to play super defensively and sweepboxes will pop-up everywhere. I guarantee this will not happen if the conquerability is slow enough that teams can freely send attackers without fear of imminent collapse. For example, a 2v2 zone should not collapse for at least the amount of time it takes for an attacker to reasonably react and return to their zone, maybe a minute or more. Imbalanced conquerability gives attackers an incentive to stay in the zone instead of waiting for defenders to make a mistake. It also forces defenders to play more aggressively knowing they are under a time constraint (no more casually taking shots at one another). Zones will fall faster and more frequently, shortening the game with the least amount of disruption.

There is one other situation where rounds drag on, and that's 1v1 with an unbroken zone. Fortress has a slight bias toward defenders, so attacking can be a frustratingly slow process. The only solution I can think of is allowing the zone to expand. It forces the defender to play aggressively because a 1v1 zone is now conquerable (per the changes above). However, this zone expansion should be very slow as to not disrupt the early round play. The current zone radius is 40m. A 50m zone is the limit of defense with 400m trails. Any zone expansion should take several minutes to reach this radius. The argument against expanding zones is that attackers can just wait it out. True, but your team still has to survive and defend your own zone so I don't see an advantage to waiting.

In summary, slightly adjusting zone conquer settings will make rounds shorter overall. This is the least disruptive change we can make. Slow zone expansion will also shorten rounds, but that should be considered only after adjusting the former.

Finally, in a somewhat unrelated comment about Fortress variants, one of the original #pickup games was King of the Fort which was 3v3 and had zone settings that required the defender to enter the zone occasionally to keep it alive. It would be neat to resurrect that game and see if it inspires any ideas for Ladle/Pickup Fort.

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