An Idea to Improve Raid Mechanic (and/or Challenge events)


#1

As someone who recently left the game due to a number of frustrations with it, I need to say that one of my main frustrations was the current Raid mechanic. I absolutely loathed it, and all my family / friends I encouraged to play the game felt the same.

So what’s so bad about it?
It feels ‘unfair’. The opponent absorbs mana on each hit and you often have the situation where you lose a hero or 2 before your mana in any of them is remotely close to full - even against ‘weaker’ teams.
It becomes a race to fill mana. If you are fortunate to get a good board layout and get 1 or 2 of your more useful heroes filled with mana early on, you have a good chance to win the encounter. Otherwise your only real chance to win is to have much stronger heroes.
The opponents mana generation rate feels excessive. You can concentrate all your attack on a healer and all you are doing is filling his mana - when he fires his heal he then eliminates all damage you’ve dealt. This would be ok if you could reliably aim to avoid hitting the healer, but you have very little discretion to do so - you are at the mercy of the board.
In addition, the regular hit rate of the opponents can sometimes be ridiculous, with your team receiving multiple hits in consecutive turns for each hit you execute. There doesn’t seem to be any real rhyme or reason to this. (Even if there is rhyme or reason to it, it’s still massively frustrating).

So how can we improve it?

My idea is that the computer controlled team also plays off the tile board - governed by the same tile-based game mechanic as the player. (i.e. the player and the opponent share the tile board - launching attacks from it in turn).

It may well be possible then that the computer gets ‘lucky’ and launches a massive combo of tiles at you… but at least there will be no feeling that the odds are stacked against the player, as the player also has the chance of this happening.

It also introduces an element of strategy in the tile play… e.g. you may opt to play a ‘weaker’ tile combination to deny that colour to the opponent who may be close to filling mana.

You may want to keep the element of heroes gaining mana on hit, but greatly reduce the rate, and both sides should benefit from this. This allows you to also keep the strategy of choosing to miss your opponent to charge your mana without boosting his.

It is possible also to introduce different ‘levels’ of AI to this play:

  • Easy: The AI simply launches the first combo it discovers, and the AI triggers hero skill as soon as mana is filled. (i.e. like the existing auto-play).
  • Medium: The AI examines each base combo, but also considers the 1st level cascade combo after that. (Limited to 1st level as new tiles introduced after the 1st cascade makes it difficult to look further than that). The AI chooses the combo that results in the largest number of tiles being launched in the base + 1st cascade. For Hero skill the AI uses some simple heuristics (e.g. Do not heal if all heroes are already close to full health; Target single attack on opposing hero most likely to get killed by it; etc).
  • Hard: The AI uses the Medium logic to ‘pretend’ play out the result of all possible combos it can find and tracks the total damage that would be done on each. It then chooses to actually launch the combo that results in the highest damage to the opposing team. i.e.) This option takes element vulnerability and doubling up of heroes into account, unlike the Medium option. For Hero Skill, use the Heuristics mentioned in the medium approach, maybe with some enhancements (like targetting the most ‘dangerous’ opposing player). Such heuristics will be harder to code, admittedly.

Can maybe introduce a raid mechanic where you have multiple bouts against the opponent, with the increasing AI difficulty levels, and increasing rewards for each.

I certainly think I’d see raids as more ‘fair’ and appealing given this approach, and I don’t think it’s massively difficult to code (as long as you keep the skill heuristics reasonably basic).

What do you think?


#2

So much to reply to!

  1. I think you nailed on the head the general player’s frustration with Raid. Thank you!

  2. While I haven’t liked the game’s current Raid system, I’m not sure I like the replacement either. Prolly because I like simple systems (sorry! I’m boring!) :grin:

I think as a player if I got cascades against me I’d throw my phone across the room. I just would.

I think the problem with the current system is that it is tied to cups, not team power. If there is an easy way to switch this, I think it should be done sooner rather than later.


#3

Good points.
Yes - basing the pairing on cups instead of team power is a frustration indeed. I think that needs to change at a minimum.

Then again, I’ve also been defeated a number of times by teams with significantly lower power… and the problem with the current mechanic is you don’t actually see why. All you see is the opponent gaining a mad amount of mana, and hitting you like crazy, and then you die (to a lower level team!).

At least if it were played out using the tiles, you could see clearly why you are losing. You’ll see a massive cascade, and know that the dice were against you that time. shrug. It’s when you see a big onslaught against you for no particular reason that it feels unfair (at least to me).


#4

I think I’ve played with the current system so long I’ve developed Stockholm syndrome. I can see what you all mean with the problem of the opponents mana gain being very fast an so on and I can remember being frustrated with this in he beginning. For me this very quickly developed into a strategy of just stopping trying to damage the opponent with tiles altogether. I am perfectly happy sending my tiles on the opposing healer and just wait for enough of my heroes to load specials. I don’t use the special as soon as it is ready. I wait until heroes has it ready to be able to instantly kill a hero.

I am now invested in this strategy and sort of obsessed trying to fine tune it after every change in the meta and updates.


#5

Good advice, but wouldn’t you want a change to give you interest to develop a new strategy to beat though?

Sure, the current system has strategies you can employ to optimise your chances… but this doesn’t change the fact that it remains a fundamentally unfair system.
You tend to have more scope to cope with it and refine your technique when you have sufficiently powerful heroes to withstand the assault while waiting on the correct timing, but too bad if your heroes are somewhat ordinary. (The latter is the case for the majority of players).

There’s a difference between ‘developing an acceptance and strategy for coping with the system’ versus ‘liking the system’.
Fact is… as a newcomer to the system, I didn’t like it. I grew a reasonable team and spent some money… and still didn’t like it. Introduced other players to the game… and they didn’t like it. I optimised the heroes I had and maxed them the best I could and moved up in the rankings (only to 6500 or so) and grew to hate it the further I progressed in it…

Unfortunately I wasn’t traumatised enough for Stockholm syndrome to set in… I’m still just left with the opinion that the current system can really be improved.


#6

It isn’t unfair that defender gets more mana, Defender has a huge disadvantage in the fact that it plays random. The attacks and specials target random heroes, instead of the optimal one, so they need an advantage.

Also after you kill the middle guy you will get double mana from the troops that pass through that hole, making you get more mana in later stages

Just attacking a healer in middle headlong is not a working strategy ever, like you have noticed. You want to load mana from the sides and charge your fast damage dealers and destroy it before it can heal.


#7

All well and good… except for the small matter that you generally don’t have much choice. Obviously I’ve learnt to try avoid hitting them to generate my own mana when I can… but it’s not like you can exactly pick your shots.

In a circumstance where you can’t pick your shots, I’d much rather have clarity on the logic of the game mechanism and the knowledge that you are participating on an even playing field.
If I know the rules by which both the opponent and myself are playing, and am satisfied we are competing on the same basis, then I can accept it when the element of chance moves against me. Sometimes the dice fall your way, and sometimes they don’t.

But if you’re playing a stacked deck… and have limited choice over the moves you can use to avoid it, then frustration sets in.

This isn’t about ‘who attacks first’ determining what is fair. It’s about presenting a balanced and fun conflict. Instead, what we’re presented with is indeed 'a conflict;… but the jury is out as to whether it’s balanced… and certainly (in my circle of family and friends who play the game), it’s unambiguously not fun.

Do you defend the system because that is what it currently is, and you’re used to it and have learnt to adapt to it… or do you defend it because you genuinely think it’s a better (or at least a good) system? Genuinely interested in your thought. (Maybe it’s just my view on it that’s skewed?)

Appreciate the feedback.


#8

There is always luck involved in what gems you get and where. There skill involved. Build a good attack team and make the most out of what you get.

No one wins every time, but a good player wins more than a bad one.


#9

Of course… and the thing is that I won my fair share. I progressed to 6000th odd in the world with only 4* heroes, and developed strategies for how to tackle a difficult encounter - beating my share of 5* opposition. But for all that I didn’t enjoy the journey and find the format frustrating. (Heck… I could be the best person in the world at hitting my toe with a hammer - hitting it with better technique than anyone else and being unparalleled at it - but I still won’t particularly enjoy the experience. :stuck_out_tongue: )

I think it would be interesting to have the tile board played both ways, but you always have those who have bought in to the current system and don’t want to see change.

Would be nice if it were introduced maybe as a form of alternative, or special event to see how it plays.

Ah well… won’t hold my breath. Evidently doesn’t have much support as an idea.


#10

I agree that the attacks are not really fun. Imo they often feel like a chore and if looked at seperatly I would probably not play it.

That being said, I am not sure I think the suggestion to have the opponent play a similar board as you would make a difference for the better.

The opponent is a challenge to beat and the board is your tools. I don’t feel the need for the opponent to have the same tools. In many other games I wouldn’t even challenge the opponents team, I would instead challenge the caste with turrets and walls or something similar. In this game I would probably be equally happy if the defending team was merged into a dragon with characteristics from the heroes it was made of, or just any other challenge that the defender could set up to try and protect itself from my attack.

Instead of wanting the opponent to play like me I rather like that the defending game is different from the attacking game and would probably like it to be even more so. I’d like it if there were building I could build, let’s say that the defending heroes stood in a protective fort that is could upgrade with different sorts of defensive spells of something and so on. To me this gives depth to the game that there is an active game and a passive one.

Also I think there is a question of problem with implementation. You have to give an advantage to the defender, like extra mana gain. If defender and attacker stood as equals the attacker would rip through every time. To stop this devs would have to implement a clever ai which I guess they would rather not.

//Evan


#11

I do view Raid as a chore and largely ignore it.

I’d love a replay system that shows me why I lost (it would also show Victims of Drop Cups the team they actually played against, which might only further fuel the howls of “no fair”.)

Btw, Hi Infinity! :grinning:


#12

It would be very hard to program a good AI for defender to play a tile based game optimally and if it was possible it would have an edge. That tiles for both players isn’t a good idea until they implement real time pvp fights.

I would also like to see a replay of the fights when I was attacked.


#13

My proposal has an idea of how you can approach the AI for good performance on tile-based - with 3 increasing levels of difficulty. A computer’s advantage is that it can see / preview all the combos, and it’s really not all that hard to program. It gives the computer a huge edge over humans without complexity in the code - it was not hard to make draughts games unbeatable in the early days on the same basis. (I’ve worked as an application developer, and do not see this as a hard problem to solve).

I get Evan’s point (and it’s a good point) that you’d want a different mechanic for the raids… would prefer one that isn’t quite so frustrating though :-).

I don’t buy the fact that the defender needs to have an edge… if you are playing on the same rule base then theoretically there is no real ‘defender’ and no ‘attacker’. It’s just a straight versus concept. But if it’s felt that defender needs an edge this is easy enough to engineer in… otherwise this becomes a self-solving problem as you face off against opponents with stronger teams. You will eventually reach an equilibrium… and I’d prefer it on the basis where it feels more ‘fair’.

Probably a concept that does lend itself better to real time PvP (but that comes with its own programming challenges) and I personally would prefer the system, but can see it doesn’t have popular appeal.

I also like the idea of being able to see recordings of the raids against you. It’s guess-work as to whether you have positioned your players well in your defending team and it would be nice to see how it actually plays. (I’d also like the ability to face my own Defence team to be able to tweak it). And/or an option for others to be able to challenge you to ‘a friendly’ (maybe within an alliance) so they can see how your team stacks up.

(Waves at Rook. Hopes the recruitment is going well).


#14

It is not hard to program an AI that does the tile work. It can optimize the amount of gems and combos. I’m a programmer too, but I don’t do games or AI stuff. The challenge is to create a good strategic AI.

-What gems to combine at certain moment? It is not just about what gives most combos. It is situational. What mana do you need at this moment in the fight, what heroes do you want to damage? Etc.
-What hero to target with a special?
-Do you want to delay the use of a special or use it right away?

Also if it was possible to do a perfect AI then it would be very unfair for the attacker that is limited by his own skill. 3 difficulty levels? What? So you as an attacker choose what difficulty you want opponent to play? Doesn’t make any sense.

What I meant with defender needs an edge was in the current system, where it is played by a random AI. If both played tiles, it would be totally different of course.


#15

You might be frustrated when attacking in raid but remember that you come up as opponents on defense and frustrate other players, so it goes both ways. My strategy, if you can call it that, is to just never choose opponents with 40+ loss chance. I re-roll quite a bit and try to choose teams that I think I have a decent chance of beating.

As far as defense, I almost always try for revenge on players that took 40 or more cups from me, as that usually means they’re relatively weak, although that’s more for my own personal satisfaction than anything else. And I never try revenge more than once, if I lose I lose.


#16

Heh - I’m afraid I take only little solace from the fact that others get just as frustrated as I do when attacking my team. Would prefer to just have a less frustrating system. :slight_smile:

I’m not a great fan of revenge. I often have an internal chuckle when I see someone higher level than me try a revenge after I’ve beaten them, and they lose the revenge attack. On the flip side I’m not sure I would want to give someone else that satisfaction. I’ve tried a couple of revenge bouts and find I spit nails when I lose it to a lower strength team. :wink:

I used to re-roll for more playable opponents. I don’t anymore. I figure if I lose cups I’ll get matched against easier opponents eventually, and will then win a few from there - all evens out in the end.


#17

I agree that the hard bit of the AI will be best use of Skills in terms of target and timing… that’s where the art is.
Automating the tiles is pretty easy… and I think can be made on average better than what a human can do. So it’s swings and roundabouts - what the AI loses in application of skills it gains in more efficient tile use - that makes it interesting.
(As a developer I would relish the challenge of creating a decent AI in skills use… but hey, maybe that’s just me.)

Now why do you require that my suggestion for the replacement is required to employ all this strategy on the part of the AI when the current system uses just about none at all? The current ‘AI’ (if you can even call it that) pretty much targets a random hero on your side, and always triggers their special when it’s full… it’s the ultimate in LACK of strategy.
The only reason it’s tough is because it biases the match by upping the opponents’ mana regen massively, and leaving it to the human to have to figure out how to overcome this.

If the Devs wanted to be lazy using my system, they could easily supplement a shortcoming of smart AI on their side by introducing other similar ‘tricks’ that bias against the player… like (say) giving some opponents a reflector shield that damages the attacker of a certain colour. (Now where have I seen that before?)

Personally I would like the Devs to work a bit for their money to try up the interest in the game.

The 3 levels? Was really just giving options on 3 alternatives you can introduce in the AI tile handling that will give 3 different difficulties of play - up to the discretion of the game designers how best to employ (need to give them something to do after all).

Obviously letting the player choose would not be wise, and obviously is not what I suggested. You can use it in any number of ways… e.g. higher cup players face higher difficulty level AI… or have 3 consecutive battles against the same opponent with 3 increasing levels of difficulty, with each a higher tier of reward. It just takes a little thought and imagination.

I can tell you’re not sold on the idea. You don’t have to be. It’s just an idea… no obligation that everyone has to love it.

I’m somewhat disappointed that it hasn’t had any other real feedback… so I’ll consider that a severe waste of my time typing it up then.

Guess we just stick with the status quo… after all that’s easier for the Devs, isn’t it? Ho hum.


#18

What you suggest would be a major overhaul to the game too, I personally would like to have new content faster, than a total rebuild of the system. Maybe this system could be something for EP 2.