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Why warfare fails as a game mode


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NkEnNy
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#1

Posted 14 September 2011 - 04:41

Why warfare fails as a game mode.
I believe that warfare is one of the more exciting and inovative ideas brought to the table by BIS. In fact the unpresidented scale offered in arma2-3's engine makes this one of the few games capable of delivering this kind of gameplay. This is hardly the first thread on this topic (Why does no one play standard warfare missions- Superpower & When Diplomacy Fails?) but I'd like to call this topic into focus as it relates to Arma3.

1. A major hurdle of warfare is the assumption that each player will command a squad of AI subordinates.
This assumption fails because:
a) The interface and feedback of AI command and control is non-intutive.
B) AI pathfinding is erratic
c) AI has weak self preservation. (Spends too much time standing in firefights or refusing to move.)
d) AI spotting distances are not good enough for PvP battles

This results in an AI that is hard to use, cannot be depended upon to spot and engage obvious targets, and frustrating as they appear to refuse direct commands. In short few players bother investing the time necessary to learn how to use AI soldiers well.

2. Economic system is byzantine and lacks transparency.
The effect an capturing a town or destroying an enemy vehicle is hard to quantify. What does it really mean to loose a town in warfare? Cash over time certainly... but is this is hard to feel any sense of immediacy when the effects are so 'soft' or long term. Warfare games often seem to be lost on technicalities (enemy stumbles over HQ) rather than strategic investment of resources.

Given the amount of money a long time player is likely to amass; casualties quickly cease to manner in any strategic sense.


3. Lack of gameplay patches
Yes. I'm serious. While Arma2 (and OA) hasn't lacked for patches I ask this: How many of them have tweaked or improved unit/weapon statistics as they relate to game balance? None as far as I know of. In comparison. How many Real Time Strategy games of any relevancy have NOT gone through a couple balance patches? I refuse the notion that because Arma2 is a simulator the arbitrary weapon values are fitting.

Within BIS studios there seems to be an aversion to providing config level fixes. This results in inconsistent weapon, vehicle, and soldier performance.


What do you think?


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Edited by NkEnNy, 20 September 2011 - 00:31.
Minor edit for clarity

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kylania
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#2

Posted 14 September 2011 - 05:48

I've always disliked it since it basically takes a team game and turns it into a bunch of guys playing single player together. Also "buying" weapons on the fly doesn't sit well with the "It's a sim, devs!" aspect for me. :)

If I wanted to play RTS, I'd play Starcraft or something. If I wanted to play military RTS I'd play Company of Heroes or whatever it is.

5LEvEN
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#3

Posted 14 September 2011 - 05:50

Will I believe it fails because of the complexity and the fact its a time consuming game mode. Also when servers reset when players leave does not help the game mode.

Arma was NEVER meant to be balanced. So your point about balancing patches is quite stupid to be honest. Besides it would seem stupid if the Ak-47 had the same exact properties of the M16/M4... Arma is about two things. Gameplay and realism. When it comes to balancing its not there. Why? Because that falls under the realism category. And we all know in real life war is not fair.

That guy
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#4

Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:35

very good post. warfare is fun, but it does bring to sharp focus a few of the games biggest flaws that shatter the illusion of a massive intricate battle. most (actually all) games i have played eventually settle into a muddled confusing mess where command and control is impossible and the lines stagnate and crumple.

from the perspective of some one who plays single player as a commander (or tried too) a combination of AI and high command make playing very difficult.

in order to be successful you need to micro manage the crap out of your units, but the HC interface makes that a slow arduous process. add to that, there is no freaking documentation on how to use the advanced functions of the mode. i only recently became aware that there was a guide on the wiki, and even its usefulness is questionable.

many of the issues with warfare are not really issues with the mission its self, but much deeper rooted issues with the game .in my opinion issues with "macro AI' and the HC interface need to be addressed before any work can really begin on making warfare a more viable staple for multiplayer.

firstly "macro AI" (I have been wanting to start a thread on the HC interface and AI for a while, but never got around too it, so this will do for now)
AI needs general commands. for example, Attack, Defend, assault, support by fire, escort, break contact etc. these can be done now, but in most cases they require complex scripting and knowledge extensive of the editor, and are usually not very good or are easily breakable (it boggles me how hard it is to get AIs to make an effective defensive position in the editor).

secondly, add in a new function, "React to contact". this lets your AIs know what you want them to do, so you dont have to tell them exactly when it happens. after all, how many times have you seen an infantry squad run heedlessly into the maws of overwhelming enemies be it, entrenched defenders, or armor? for example, actions on contact, "continue mission (essentially what AI does now), halt to engage, break contact, push through"

for example in HC mode you have a tank section and infantry squad. you give your infantry and order to "escort" the tanks. the infantry will automatically follow and protect the tanks. you then give your tanks a move order, and in the "actions on contact" tab, "stop to engage" (meaning they just wont keep plowing through the maw of AT gunners and enemy armor).

AI also need to be tought how to use their equipment more effectively. for infantry they are pretty good, but the problem lies in AI effective use of armor and air assets. to go into more detail is a thread of its own...

finally AI need to communicate with other formations and the commander. for example all units linked into the same HC module share general data on enemy positions, and status. 2-1, enemy armor north, taking casualties, falling back, small arms fire east, etc.

i would love to see a full "macro AI" implemented where there is actual dynamic AI control of high command formations, but i dont think thats really a realistic goal

HC interface

to make a better interface, simply look to other full RTS's, or the quite fun WOO mod. have click-able buttons on a HUD rather than the whole scrolly clicky wonky thing, and work from there.




honestly i have been sitting here for about a goddamned hour trying to cobble this together, typing out paragraphs, deleting them, rewriting, remembering other details, adding them in, etc. but now im just too damn tired to make it pretty, so hopefully its readable enough:rolleyes:
if it turns out to be really ugly ill fix it up or elaborate later

edit: 5leven, i dont think he ment "balance patch" in terms of weapon or vehicle stats, but things like cost changes, build time changes, or any modifications or bug fixes in the missions at all.

Edited by That guy, 14 September 2011 - 06:39.

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#5

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:18

i think it fails because maps are small ,no carriers,no cruise missile,base system is stupid (sorry for this one),AI is unreliable (i rarely use AI) and finally TAB button.

katipo66
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#6

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:53

i think it fails because maps are small


I set up warfare on Shapur with custom locations, some of the best fun I ever had with Arma, although it becomes predictable with AI.

Warfare would be awesome if it was more customizable... It does everything I wanted arma to do, spawns units, units use transport, units move to objectives but you can't customize it (unless you code) to how you want to play the game.
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icebreakr
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#7

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:54

I think the opposite, usually number of players is so small they get lost on the big map. We need smaller maps with just couple of towns ;)

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beagle
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#8

Posted 14 September 2011 - 07:59

Will I believe it fails because of the complexity and the fact its a time consuming game mode. Also when servers reset when players leave does not help the game mode.

Arma was NEVER meant to be balanced. So your point about balancing patches is quite stupid to be honest. Besides it would seem stupid if the Ak-47 had the same exact properties of the M16/M4... Arma is about two things. Gameplay and realism. When it comes to balancing its not there. Why? Because that falls under the realism category. And we all know in real life war is not fair.


ArmA is for sure not about realism, if it was it would not use definately wrong behaviours, handling, ranges and values in all the different weapons.
Only a few rifles seem to be correct, thats all. The result is the behavuior you see in Warfare missions...two player on foot cantake out a whole tank platoon from outside the tanks range unsing "fantasy" weapons like SMAW, MAAWS, NLAW. But on the other hand...as we now since yesterday...10 men with Rifles and RPGs are enough to stir up a whole city like Kabul for half a day.

Edited by Beagle, 14 September 2011 - 08:05.


lozz08
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#9

Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:09

What I find interesting is that the actually gameplay of operation flashpoint resistance with MFCTI is far superior to that of ARMA 2's warfare mode, in my opinion.

In MFCTI it really did feel like there was a war going on, and it felt like you had a real role to play.

I am sorry to say, but I feel like the AI has actually gone backwards in some ways since ofp. My opinion: the whole AI system has become too complicated. I think BIS should strip it down to far less features that actually work perfectly.
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beagle
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#10

Posted 14 September 2011 - 08:12

What I find interesting is that the actually gameplay of operation flashpoint resistance with MFCTI is far superior to that of ARMA 2's warfare mode, in my opinion.

In MFCTI it really did feel like there was a war going on, and it felt like you had a real role to play.

I am sorry to say, but I feel like the AI has actually gone backwards in some ways since ofp. My opinion: the whole AI system has become too complicated. I think BIS should strip it down to far less features that actually work perfectly.

Sorry, but when you start comparing ArmA2 warfare to OFP cti mods you have to compare it to custom cti missions like Warfare BE or Gossamer's Warfare.

EDcase
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#11

Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:27

I only play Benny's Warfare and that is so much better than the standard ARMA one.

Its true that AI are hard to control so I don't use them often. Mainly for logistics and support like bringing ambulance, repair, ammo etc.
Playing against humans is far harder than against AI. The AI have improved alto over the years but they are still more predictable than humans of course.
In clans there is much better organization which can never be achieved on a public server.

As far as weapons go...
I don't know how well they relate to real values but there is enough choice that overal balance is about right. Tanks are very biased towards the US side though.
Since shoulder fired anti-tank missiles do exist that either seek the target via laser or wire guided I think the ARMA ones are good.

With a persistent server a large warfare game can go on for days.

Edited by EDcase, 14 September 2011 - 09:37.


beagle
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#12

Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:45

Since shoulder fired anti-tank missiles do exist that either seek the target via laser or wire guided I think the ARMA ones are good.

O)nly the Javelion to a degree...the rest is pure fiction be it 1500m MAAWS range without a milimeter drop or no lockon time or the fact that METIS and NLAW are depicted as fire and forget...something this missiles can not do, you have to guide them till impact RL.

And tell my how realistic it is that a 40mm cannon can shoot further than a 120mm and a .50 cal rifle has a longer range than a 25mm Autocannon?

The above mentined quirks are in ArmA. Additionally all western autocannons suffer from a much to low rate of fire and power compared to the real ones.

mrcash2009
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#13

Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:42

1. A major hurdle of warfare is the assumption that each player will command a squad of AI subordinates.

The thing for me is, its an assumption becuase that's what the game mode is about isn't it? Otherwise this is just AI issues to be reported then the game mode? How many Warfare on line servers work where everything is human? The only human thing is your own team and control of others as commander, other than that its AI related?

I thought the whole ideas was to be a commander of many to orchestrate control, but you can have your own team as well to join the fight first person if you wish.

I like warfare and I also like RTS, I also dont mind them being in Arma (for those who say Arma isn't about that, I say Arma is anything it wants given the scripts, and you play what you like).

There are issues with it and I agree on some other points, but to say it fails becuase of AI is just saying Arma AI fails and misses the point of the game-mode doesn't it?

BTW ... Im up for being wrong here so they are questions not flippent remarks :)

Edited by mrcash2009, 14 September 2011 - 10:46.


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#14

Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:56

Ive played BIS CTI and Warfare missions now for many many years on and off.
Since the v1.0 MFCTI mission was made I believe.

Since that time many many variations of the basic idea have come and gone.

Most notably for me MFCTI - CRCTI - WarfareBE. (sorry if I missed anyone but most others including mine @res_cti are edits of one of the main 3 basicly).
All of which are user created Mission types and all of which are excellent.

Team Balance has always been an issue mainly overcome to some extent, by making weaker things cheaper and restricting things which are to powerful.
With the success of the user created CTI missions on OFP multi-player BIS wisely created the warfare built in game type for their future creations of the genre.

Could the stock Warfare be improved ? YES
People like the Benny and AngryInsects and GossamerSolid to name just a few
are constantly updating the respective missions.
Im sure BIS at some point will see how popular improving the Warfare modual would be for the community or at least I hope they will :)

I am hoping that BIS will once again notice the most played things at the time of creating Arma3 and incorporate them into the game.

My wish list would be an Improved warfare modual taking the Elements of CRCTI AI control and WarfareBEs gameplay and use of scripts like Mando etc.
Also mods like ACE2 and ACRE.
But hey each to his own :)
I just hope BIS see how popular the Warfare and ACE2 games are when looking at the MP list. Then add and improve them for Arma3.

I think the reason CTI / WARFARE is and has been so popular is that. Its a great blend of RTS and FPS .Where else can you play a game where YOU start as a foot soldier and work your way upto a general commanding an army in one mission.

All that being said .... Does Warfare fail ?? hmmm
As it is at the moment I would say the majority of server owners fail rather than the mission fails.
Too many seem to miss the concept of the game and want the END game style from the beginning.
Thats how I see it anyway.

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#15

Posted 14 September 2011 - 11:29

Since OFP CTI missions were played and people had a lot fun with many variants. Why Cleanrock, Benny and others created CTI/warfare missions?
There are people who like to play this game in a more strategic way or even in a mix of first person + high command. If its possible - why not?
A2OA is a huge sandbox and A3 could be a much greater one! BIS just need to improve their basic settings/layouts and tutorials. :)

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#16

Posted 14 September 2011 - 12:37

"Why I don't like warfare."

Fixed the title for you.
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#17

Posted 14 September 2011 - 13:31

The only point I like that you made was the economy aspect. I've been brainstorming a way to improve this "issue", but it's very hard to make such drastic changes without introducing many more issues.
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metalcraze
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#18

Posted 14 September 2011 - 18:15

Warfare fails simply because it isn't a team game.

You buy whatever you wish and make enemy suffocate under the weight of your soldier's dead bodies since you respawn all the time without any penalties.

And of course everyone just runs around randomly doing whatever they want.

Even grindy MMOs have more balance and teamwork.


But what's worse is a SP warfare where you just overflow enemy towns with neverending respawn of your vehicles. BIS, damn it, don't you even dare to pull another AA2 campaign
ArmA2: "Doc, I'm wounded, I can barely aim and I'm bleeding badly, come on pull my body out of the harm's way and treat me before I die!"
ArmA3: "You are wounded! Click to instantly regenerate health whenever you feel like it!"

Guess two years post-release aren't enough to make ArmA3 at least half as dumbed down.

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#19

Posted 14 September 2011 - 18:48

O)nly the Javelion to a degree...the rest is pure fiction be it 1500m MAAWS range without a milimeter drop or no lockon time or the fact that METIS and NLAW are depicted as fire and forget...something this missiles can not do, you have to guide them till impact RL.


I don't use the NLAW much, but I could of swore the METIS is guided in game, or maybe that's ACE that fixed it.
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#20

Posted 14 September 2011 - 21:56

2. Economic system is byzantine and lacks transparency.
The effect an capturing a town or destroying an enemy vehicle is hard to quantify. What does it really mean to loose a town in warfare? Cash over time certainly... but is this is hard to feel any sense of immediacy when the effects are so 'soft' or long term. Warfare games often seem to be lost on technicalities (enemy stumbles over HQ) rather than strategic investment of resources.


saint words.