Eve of the Apocalypse: Twilight

An Aeon of Strife map for Warcraft 3
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 Post subject: Part 6: Resources
PostPosted: September 6th, 2011, 2:44 pm 
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Typical AoS's have 3 resources: Gold, Experience, and Time. I include time because you need to properly manage for gaining gold/exp while doing other things as well (harrassing enemy heroes, map objectives, healing, whatever). EotA originally included crystal into this mix, and then some more.

The staple resource of EotA. Used for Items (equipment + consumables), Repairs, Mercenaires (spawn groups + heroes), Teleporting, Towers. With the exception of permanent items, these are all short term benefits (and, of course, those can be resold if needed, except artifacts). Towers are arguably more permanent, but they can ultimately be destroyed and are often used as just a 'repair' after a massive failure. This split works out pretty well, as it gives long term gains from being able to conserve short term benefits. It also invokes a short term vs long term trade off if using them offensively.

Sources: Killing (spawns and heroes), Time (controlling gold mines), selling Crystal (unused).

EotA: Exodus divided gold/crystal into primarily army/hero (as far as I recall). Crystal came into twilight to follow the same idea, although it obviously didn't work out quite the same way. Had crystal been used to purchase items + the current hero upgrades (and thus became the only resource affecting heroes), then balancing regarding spawn towers/upgrades would have become quite different. Crystal is now used for hero upgrades + talents, and some limited use for other purchases that is hardly relevant (blimps, towers). Thus crystal use is for a permanent, irrevocable benefit (and not costing inventory space). It also is uniquely designed to scale in cost, so that its harder to pull extremely far ahead.

While highly desirable, it's also not particularly vital in the same way gold is (outside certain hero builds that rely on talents). Thus it works pretty well as a scarce resource, with the only sources being Hero Killing and Crystal Generators.

Experience & Time
This has actually been a really tricky and problematic balance in EotA. Experience is really important, but there's often things to be done that won't provide an experience benefit. The primary example is killing Obelisk Towers. Before the obelisks were moved, part of the problem with killing them is it just took too long to go far out of the way and kill them (this is also tied to a loss in gold from farming). Now it's a bit better, with all obelisks either in lanes or near enough to lanes. There are also occational other situations where playing right can end up in a hero becoming painfully far behind in levels, and the lack of a level cap makes catching up sort of impossible. I dont believe this conflict exists on maps other than Stormwail.

Added as part of the Obelisk overhaul, I consider this easily the most poorly thought out addition to EotA. Not a bad idea in any respect, but poorly designed in almost all respects. The benefits are all over the place: Exp bonus by default, ability to create crystal income, some localized quasi-towers, a large area spellcaster, and a bomb. And the first two are generally the most desirable by default since they give permanent, irrevocable, mobile benefits. Plus they have the benefit of being passive, making them by far the easiest to use. Terrible design.

I'm tempted to revamp energy use into what it almost was, but with a much clearer vision: A way to allow players to have a direct, localized permanent influence on the battlefield. Scrap the exp gain and crystal gens. Possibly scrap the arcane gen as well. Overhaul/rebalance the rest. Possibly move command towers into a gen. Restrict or disable their uses to Stormwail and Gloomreap, the other 3 maps focus more on gameplay/tactics and less on overall strategical decisions.

The problem then becomes where to get energy from. Tying it to Obelisks is a bad idea, Obelisks already provide enough of a benefit as it stands, and losing them takes away too many options from the losing team. Tying it to hero levels currently feels like the best idea to me because of its new focus. Hero level would be direct power in the area around the hero, whereas energy would be the general power you can influence over the entire map. And you won't lose that power by losing map control.

Map Control
Not a normal resource, but I mention it because it ends up being a sorta meta-resource. Without it you end up losing outposts, gold, obelisks, etc., and you end up gaining the same. So it ends up being more than just a measure of how close to attacking your enemy's castle.

Tower Cores
Not much to say here that I haven't said before. Good that it doesn't really end games independantly, just gives the team more momentum. Relies on map control.

Upgrade Mana
Comes from having outposts and upgrading them, by far the most passive resource. Also relies on map control.

In a way, everytime a system in EotA was having problems, particularly for being either too effective or not effective enough, it got dumped on its own resource system. While not necessarily a bad thing, there's probably 1 or 2 too many as it currently stands. It would possibly have helped if there were more planned uniformity of resources (such as different types of obelisks that provide different benefits), but that obviously didn't happen. That's also not to say it didn't work out in the end, but it's certainly something I want to consider ahead of time when I get to EotA 2.

(PS. Sorry I realize this section was all over the place)

 Post subject: Re: Part 6: Resources
PostPosted: September 6th, 2011, 7:07 pm 
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Joined: May 22nd, 2009, 11:48 pm
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Agree with you on energy. The passive benefits are kind of superfluous and for the most part outside of nice Anti-Hero Genning or resource genning (and I'm thinking exclusively on Stormwail here), it's better to just take the EXP gain or the crystal gain.

Tying it to hero levels would be interesting, I'd interested to hear more of how you'd implement it.

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