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Heroes Community > Heroes 3.5 - WoG and Beyond > Thread: [Official Thread] HoMM 3: Horn of the Abyss - Announcements, Questions, Features
Thread: [Official Thread] HoMM 3: Horn of the Abyss - Announcements, Questions, Features This Super Thread is 516 pages long: 1 60 120 180 240 300 360 420 480 ... 504 505 506 507 508 ... 516 · «PREV / NEXT»
louweed
louweed


Adventuring Hero
posted June 21, 2022 01:39 PM

Transcript of an overheard conversation between two of the HoTa team:

-Hmm, should we create a whole new town for the game, with new creatures and a campaign and everything?
-Nah, I feel like completely changing the Eagle Eye skill. Oh and Learning too
-Right...but we'll need to come up with a design for them
-Well, with learning we could just tweak the numbers?
-And uh, Eagle Eye? What's your master plan here?
-OK, so get this: <redacted>
-But won't that require-
-Testing! Yes! And lots of it! I love goddamn testing!
-And making these changes will definitely be better than just leaving them how they are now?
-Totally. No-one's going to complain, this is what they've been asking for
-Because, you know, every other change we've made... someone, somewhere has complained about it
-Well, yeah, but not this change. And doing this admittedly unrewarding work and all that testing (that I love so much) will be worth it and everyone will finally be happy



Also adding new features to software is actually a lot easier than changing existing features.

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evilcherry
evilcherry

Tavern Dweller
posted June 21, 2022 05:58 PM

Doomforge said:
Competitive games need more time, else you can completely break the game by missing something that is not immediately obvious. [...]


As Phoenix and Nimo, I do not agree with this statement even if it seems reasonable at first sight.

Almost all competitive games nowadays are badly balanced because of 2 reasons:
1: They release new content frequently and intentionnally make the new content broken so that players are more likely to enjoy it (in case the new design is bad and uninteresting, at least they win games).
2: When they try to nerf broken stuff or buff unplayable stuff, they indeed wait several months to collect tons of data, which creates tons of frustration because the stuff that's obviously broken stays there for months. Then they patch dozens of things at once, which will for sure create new instabilities that will stay for several months.

What you describe exactly is the perfect recipe to get an unbalanced game.
Changing many parameters at once, even after collecting months of competitive data, is the best way to do what you call "missing something that is not immediately obvious".

The only way to correcly balance a game (which is the way that no one wants to follow because they are persuaded that it will be too much work, but it isn't at all) is to change only one thing at a time (it could be just one number on a secondary skill, or on a primary skill on one hero, or on a spell, etc), but make these changes super frequently and then either listen to the best competitors'/most popular streamers' response (you don't even have to ask for it, they do all the work for you, you just have to listen and forge your opinion by confronting it with their own opinion) or run polls (For some games it is possible to even publish a daily micro patch with just one tweak. For most games it is impossible but at least you can publish a devlog on twitter with the list of changes that will arrive in the next patch, adding one element per day in the list and running a poll below to check that the community approves it). This takes 5 mins to do per day. And then publish any patch as soon as you can, even if you had time to change only one number in the game in an entire week.

It is a huge mistake to think that the devs must wait months to gather tons of data on competitive games in order to finally find exactly which numbers should be put on Learning. It's too much work for them, too much wait for everyone, too much precision without practical testing. They instead should try some numbers, publish a super tiny patch, see the top players' reaction, adjust the numbers just once or twice more, and already everyone would say "Ok, now that skill is approximately balanced.".

For HotA it is worse than every other competitive game ofc because it's a free mod, not a lucrative game dev team, so they have way way less time to take care of this. But i insist that even in this case it is not a matter of working hard. It just has to be, for only one of the devs, a daily routine of {making a small proposition to the community + collecting their feedback}. As any routine in life, it requires dedication to implement it, but once implemented it requires minimal work to maintain it.

As others said, it is marvelous that the HotA team develops a new town and all the package that goes with it, but this is a huge work that everyone can predict will take several years. They know it will take several years to develop this new town and they know that tweaking a few numbers to fix multiplayer would just take a couple of days. I am one of those who think it is a mistake to wait for the new town before fixing the broken basic mechanics of the game. {Getting Factory a few days early} is not very relevant. {Getting a few corrections on spells and skills MANY years before the release of Factory} is super relevant.

Doomforge said:
otherwise you may get something that is utterly unfun at best


This is completely ok, as long as you publish frequent small patches and fix the problem as soon as the veterans tell you that it is unfun (which again takes a few seconds/minutes: either tweak the numbers or delete the skill if it's impossible to make it fun).

Doomforge said:
A new mechanic has to be introduced, and it should be properly playtested.


True, but this is not urgent. It is not a hotfix. Fixing a number or deleting a skill is urgent. But when dealing with creating new skills/towns we can (and do) wait for several years, which is not a problem.

louweed said:
Also adding new features to software is actually a lot easier than changing existing features.


This is one of the biggest and most obvious lies i've ever read in my life.

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Doomforge
Doomforge


Admirable
Undefeatable Hero
Retired Hero
posted June 21, 2022 06:29 PM

Frequent hotfixing would be preferable, of course. But we need to remember that this usually isn't being done because it takes a lot of time and effort.

Also, for data to become statistically valid, you need time (or rather, you need a decent enough sample size to make the confidence interval tighter - and the margin of error smaller - and that takes time). People often react emotionally to things, overrate or underrate certain changes, etc. A good example would be fighting games where people do those funny "S to F" tier rankings - it's almost hilarious to see people rating things as "S" day 1-7 and then as "D" half a year later because what was expected to be undefeatable ended up mediocre after people learned how to play against it.

Myself, I don't give a damn about balance of those kind of games, TBH, because it's not the kind of game where every option needs to be equally solid (H6 already tried that approach and it just makes everything bland). What is important is not to have clear outliers that are so powerful that you absolutelly need them to win (turning the game into a big RNG fest) - or useless to a point where you feel crippled whenever you're forced to use them.

To sum up, I would rather not have rushed, crappy patches every week to stir things up. People have learned how to play H3 for over 2 decades now and you'd be surprised how unfun would it be to suddenly play something that looks and sounds like HoMM3, but doesn't play like it. This is why mods to legendary games need that particular bit of extra attention to how the game's actually played - to retain the spirit of what made it successful in the first place.

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NimoStar
NimoStar


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Modding the Unmoddable
posted June 21, 2022 08:05 PM
Edited by NimoStar at 20:09, 21 Jun 2022.

Releasing a patch which tweaks a number doesn't require "a lot of time and effort"

And anyways, what can be worse than leaving stuff like learning and eagle eye as it is? How much playtesting" did the original H3 design team do on them? I'm betting between "none" and "near zero", because they thought making Eagle Eye the most common specialty in the game was a super good design decision.

So there is no "something what will break" as if everything is perfect, these are things that are already broken.

OH but, no, they pīrefer to ban and switch the perfectly fine Resistance skill for a totally inferior, boring and unsynergistic alternative. I didn't see the great "testing and tweaking" of THAT...
____________
Never changing = never improving

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avatar
avatar


Promising
Supreme Hero
posted June 21, 2022 08:07 PM

evilcherry said:

This is one of the biggest and most obvious lies i've ever read in my life.


It's a lie when you know source code
____________

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evilcherry
evilcherry

Tavern Dweller
posted June 21, 2022 09:14 PM

Doomforge said:
for data to become statistically valid, you need time (or rather, you need a decent enough sample size to make the confidence interval tighter - and the margin of error smaller - and that takes time).


This is completely true, but I think for H3 we can completely skip the statistical analysis and just trust the conclusions that the top players give after playing a patch for 1 or 2 weeks.

Doomforge said:
People often react emotionally to things, overrate or underrate certain changes, etc. A good example would be fighting games where people do those funny "S to F" tier rankings - it's almost hilarious to see people rating things as "S" day 1-7 and then as "D" half a year later because what was expected to be undefeatable ended up mediocre after people learned how to play against it.


That sometimes is a big issue indeed. Yet, H3 is a highly strategic game and, in my opinion, the top players of the ladder understand the game well enough to correctly weigh changes in less than a week.
(For example in Legends of Runeterra, which game balance is strongly shaken up by each patch ó around 1 per month ó, it's extremely rare that any of the world championship participants says anything that ends up being wrong, and most of them give their detailed opinion around 1 week after each patch. In the end, if the devs completely ignored the statistical analyses and only applied the changes that the top players ask for, the state of the game would be almost exactly what it is right now.)

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Hourglass
Hourglass


Famous Hero
posted June 21, 2022 09:18 PM

The only skill there really is that is simple to fix is Sorcery. For Eagle Eye and Learning, things get a bit more complicated.

Eagle Eye's current design will never be good. It doesn't matter if you're guaranteed to learn spells with no luck involved, or if you can learn level 5 spells. Even if "maxed out", Eagle Eye is still probably the worst skill in the game. And no, even temporary making such change isn't a good idea, as it will not make the player more pleased to pick it, and the problem would still occur. Simply put, in order to make Eagle Eye work, it should be completely changed for something it currently isn't. It isn't about tweaking the numbers.

And for Learning, it's a bit different case. Sure, the numbers can be increased, but then again, if you're willing to make it somehow decent, pick-worthy, there would be a need of increasing the numbers  a lot. In order to "overcome" the downside of investing three secondary skill "points", it would mean a pretty dramatic change the skill. And then we kinda end up in a pretty strange area design wise - the Learning has been unplayable for over two decades, and now it suddenly should be something you should considered being good? Honestly speaking, I think they would rather make a new skill, which would look similar to Learning, but would end up being a separate skill. So, this would also mean it not being about just tweaking the numbers.

As far as I know, they had changes planned for multiple skills, I remember Docent even posting a list of skills they did plan to change somehow. I think that was the same year he died. But until the Factory is being released, I'm not seeing there being any changes to that regard.

That being said, I'm quite sure yelling at these forums about the skills is going to make anything than wasting time. Until the team shows signs of life, we're beating a dead horse.

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louweed
louweed


Adventuring Hero
posted June 21, 2022 09:54 PM

avatar said:
evilcherry said:

This is one of the biggest and most obvious lies i've ever read in my life.


It's a lie when you know source code


Iím a software developer. I support an application thatís 20+ years old. The reason that itís easier to add a new feature is because the risk of pissing off users by introducing bugs into existing features that they already use is a lot less. This 500+ long thread is an excellent example of my point

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evilcherry
evilcherry

Tavern Dweller
posted June 21, 2022 09:55 PM

That's why deleting Learning and Eagle Eye could be a good temporary solution.

The problem is that they didn't even try deleting them and listening what the players feel after the deletion (to see if they put it back or keep it deleted).

It's ok to make mistakes (and revert them). It's not ok to decide to not try anything.

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Doomforge
Doomforge


Admirable
Undefeatable Hero
Retired Hero
posted June 21, 2022 10:05 PM

NimoStar said:
OH but, no, they pīrefer to ban and switch the perfectly fine Resistance skill for a totally inferior, boring and unsynergistic alternative. I didn't see the great "testing and tweaking" of THAT...


I believe this was their idea of a response to high SP dominating JC template completely (the most popular one online back then, not sure if it wasn't replaced by JO lately regarding popularity).

Not the most elegant solution, I agree.

I am not saying that HOTA team is a bunch of godlike online competition designers. I don't really agree with some of those changes anyway. Ie. Diplomacy nerf should be only active when "tournament rules" are selected, same for nerfs to Logistics and movement artifacts. For single player, a nerf to Logs and related artifacts may in fact break many custom maps, and that actually sucks balls. Slowing the game down also isn't that great of a choice vs. the AI, because it makes it both easier and more tedious at the same time.

However, what I'd REALLY not want to see would be some half assed attempt to "fix" the skills in question, resulting in them becoming the new Earth Magic. I mean, what's the point... they may as well just delete them, lol.

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evilcherry
evilcherry

Tavern Dweller
posted June 21, 2022 10:52 PM

louweed said:
The reason that itís easier to add a new feature is because the risk of pissing off users by introducing bugs into existing features that they already use is a lot less.


We were not discussing the same thing here.

You are telling me now that when you say "changing an existing feature" it means completely (or almost completely) re-coding an existing feature. This is what i call "deleting a feature and then creating a new one to replace it" (and i agree with you that this second part is tedious and should take a lot of time). Thus, for me what you call "changing an existing feature" and what you call "adding a new feature" are almost the same thing.

When i read your message at first what i understood is that "changing an existing feature" means just changing a number on a skill, on a hero, or moving a spell to another school of magic. These changes are extremely easy to "code" (if we even dare to qualify them as coding) and are obviously easier to implement than anything that requires a new design.

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LouWeed
LouWeed


Adventuring Hero
posted June 21, 2022 11:24 PM

lol no, we're talking about the same thing. Even just tweaking a single number is fraught with danger. Users will abandon websites because of something as trivial as the background colour changing.

The problem with changing the learning % is that you either end up with a still-useless skill - so what's the point; or you end up with something that the players actually choose - and in that case you actually have made a significant change, and have to deal with the feedback - and most of it will be negative, because it always is - happy people don't bother to speak up. So what was just a "trivial change" becomes a whole big thing you have to deal with

And obviously doing anything with Eagle Eye is a total clustercuss because no-one can agree on what it should actually do

I'm just saying, if it's a choice between "doing something" with Learning and/or Eagle Eye, or developing a whole new town? I know what I'd be doing

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Phoenix4ever
Phoenix4ever


Legendary Hero
Heroes is love, Heroes is life
posted June 22, 2022 07:35 AM
Edited by Phoenix4ever at 07:38, 22 Jun 2022.

So you are saying making Learning and Eagle Eye better, will make people angry, because it's not what they are used to? Sorry, but that makes no sense to me.
People have been complaining about how useless they are for DECADES now.
There are two options, improve the skills or remove them, simple as that. And don't forget First Aid, it is just as bad as the other two.

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NimoStar
NimoStar


Honorable
Legendary Hero
Modding the Unmoddable
posted June 22, 2022 07:55 AM

I'm sure everyone will abandon hota if they make learning better or change eagle eye levels/probabilities. Clearly [that] will lead to a mass exodus and break the game

Which means they are in a very good spot and just dandy the way they are right now. Perfectly balanced, yes

Unlike that EVIL resistance
____________
Never changing = never improving

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louweed
louweed


Adventuring Hero
posted June 22, 2022 09:13 AM

SoÖthe posters who seem to complain about every single little change are mystified that anyone would complain about further changes? Really? Is this real life?

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shev441
shev441


Adventuring Hero
posted June 22, 2022 01:49 PM

Well there will alwayes be some toxic people.
THe arguments about not changing anything cause they got used to it or few custom maps will become unplayable makes me smile every time.
Game takes about 300 mb of your had drive that is likely 1tb or more. Just have few versions installed e.g:
-Classic Sod
-Hota 1.3 (before balance changes)
-Hota 1.7

And simply sometimes play older version if you want to . Nobody is taking away the game you like so much, you can still play it. And dont prevent lots of people from imroving elements of game that are broken for sure.

http://h3.heroes.net.pl/uploaded/download/Wywiad-z-Gregiem-Fultonem-2020.pdf
I have spotted interesting interview with one of Homm creators - Greg Fulton - from 2020. Its in Polish, but with google translate you can read it as well. Talks about development of H3 and his future project. In the interview he answer some questions regarding balance. Here is my loose translation:

Q: Were you aware during development of the game that some of Secondary skills like Earth Magic or Logistics so powerful and that some skills like Eagle Eye or Learning are quite useless?

A: You need to remember that Heroes 3 was designed back then as mostly single player game. If one secondary skill or spell would turn out to be to powerfull , it woulndn't be big problem since most games were played against A.I. If we would know that years later H3 would become opular online game with competitive tournaments , we would dedicate way more time to balance the game.
Back in the day we were not aware that Logistics or Earth magic are so strong. ABout Learning we used to considered to make it stronger but to be afraid that it will become necessery skill to take in every game. Thats why we went for "weaker" wersion of that skill.
Eagle eye  was taken directly from Homm2, nobody in that time thought that its useless. From perspective of time I have to admit that it could be cut of the game.


My comment:
I was really suprised about this Learning part, to me its obvious that skill sukcs, yet in their mind it could be op so they nerfed it. ALso I dont know anyone can be strongly against changing the balance of secondary skills or spells, where even developer admits that they did not spend that much time on that element back in the day, and for they would if they new that it will be played online - human vs human.

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gnollking
gnollking


Supreme Hero
posted June 22, 2022 01:52 PM

louweed said:
SoÖthe posters who seem to complain about every single little change are mystified that anyone would complain about further changes? Really? Is this real life?



It's always the same people complaining month after month, and most others who offered counterpoints realized it's like talking to a brick wall and stopped responding. But sadly every once in a while someone takes the bait and we get the same pointless discussions. At this point I'm just glad that there's only a few of these nuts, while most players are happier than ever playing or following the game on Twitch. All reasonable people understand that what we have today is already way more than you could even dream to have for an old game like this, and don't demand for more dessert like spoiled children.

The funniest part for me is that the people who complain the loudest also *proudly* shout that they don't play multiplayer, and often with their self-modified executables

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FirePaladin
FirePaladin


Legendary Hero
DoR Modder
posted June 22, 2022 02:13 PM

Well, and I was wondering yesterday when someone points out yet again that the monthly rant has been going on for a good while....
____________
"Goblins use pistols because a shotgun recoil would kick them off the ground flying."
The Reckoning.... it's drawing near....

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StrangeFin
StrangeFin

Tavern Dweller
posted June 23, 2022 12:22 AM

amen...

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Grandmaster of the Hunt
posted June 23, 2022 05:42 AM

Been absent for several months. Has Factory dropped yet?

____________
"Just slide her down a bit farther. I could wear her like a hat." - Gnomes

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