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PlanetWars feedback

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We are currently trying to decide what to do next and we need your feedback regarding last PlanetWars round.

  • What do you think worked?
  • What didn't work?
  • What you enjoyed?
  • What you didn't enjoy?
  • What can be improved?

Thank you!
+0 / -0

2 years ago
Should PlanetWars start again soon?

I can't vote (clicking on any of the buttons does nothing), but I vote "Yes" because it needs more testing.

This was my first PW, albeit a very short one. Besides being buggy, it was very confusing. I had no idea what I was doing/what was going on most of the time. The site UI for the most part could use improvement. The entire PW could be made more engaging. I played in the last game that lost us the PW, but I had no idea we were actually in the point of losing it.
+1 / -0

2 years ago
I tried to understand the purposes of bombers/dropships and of other icons on the galaxy map. For future refence, there is a wiki here:

+2 / -0

2 years ago
PW factions is boring and only two. I want zergs and protss to be introduced. These imperial and toaster governing is breaking my liberastic and democratic hearth.
PW need more factions. Also story background is very poor..
+2 / -0

2 years ago
I would also like more than 2 factions. But it seems we only just have players for two..
+1 / -0

2 years ago
Yes we have not anought players.. :(
+0 / -0

2 years ago
Four factions was the best number of factions. I propose we an AI faction that fills games with legions of loyal circuit AI and automatically wins PW unless players intervene.
+2 / -0
This post has been downvoted below -5 and collapsed, click here to expand
What worked:
Nothing really besides battles.
Didn't work
Trolling the PW by not joining, leaving countless rounds wasted.
Amount of players
How it works.
Faster rounds.
Ship2ship combat

Bunch of fanatics...
+1 / -10
Since most of the feedback above is not useful, i'll dispense with my expert opinion instead.
Rather than make a long list of short bullet points, i'll make up three categories with long texts.
These will be game design, social engineering, and technical implementation.

Game Design

Last two Planetwars (counting the Galaxy Compressor Incident as separate from Synpact vs Dynasty round) before this one were warp rushes. This one attempted to remedy the ease of warp rush by limiting required dropship count for initiating a remote attack to at least 10 ships.

However, in practice this meant that instead of rushing a warp core fabricator and attacking with the first dropship, all i had to do was wait until i had 17 cores.


The case for warp rush is fairly obvious: warp can strike anywhere, including at built-up eco planets; if successful, it also prevents enemy from obtaining their own warp, bomber, and dropship capability forever, while also paying you hefty amounts in loot from selling their captured buildings.

All the slippery slope mechanics that contributed to making all previous two-faction rounds (including synpact vs dynasty) were still present.

Consider: a faction can expect to gain 35 influence from a successful attack; to perform 1 attack every two economy turns (every other is defense), and to win 50% of games assuming fairness. This means 35 influence per 4 economy turns. Now, each bomber kills 1.2 influence (expected value), so to kill 35 influence, you are going to need 29-30 bombers. To completely negate enemy's expected influence gain through bombers alone, you need to produce 7.5 bombers per turn. 15 bomber factories effectively negate enemy influence gain. This is all disregarding bomber capacity to make things easier for you by destroying enemy infrastructure.

Dropships are fairly similar. Each dropship gives you 1 influence, but you need only 17 dropships to turn an attack into one that captures the planet with one battle instead of two battles. If you output this much dropships every 4 economy turns, you can expect to score two victories when your enemy will score just one.

Warp merely amplifies all this by making it possible to apply these slopes to where it matters most: enemy eco worlds. Defenses being useless amplifies it further.

Consider the following defenses: Warp Jammer - takes 8 turns to power up, which is enough for the attacker to leisurely assemble a new warp invasion fleet and place it in orbit just as the jammer powers up. Field Garrison - takes 10 influence from attacker's victory, then becomes disabled by victorious invasion; against unassisted invasion this means that it turns 35+35 into 25+35 - that is, instead of spending two victories to gain the planet, the attacker has to spend two turns: the structure is useless in terms of actually preventing planet capture.

Offense is the only game, the first guy to shoot wins.

Social Engineering

Most of the players who were not veterans of previous PW seasons had no idea what was happening because of lacking documentation. Both factions lacked a government because noone was told to run for office before the season was launched. Both factions were imposed with their lore on the player base without much explanation, so noone was invested enough to recruit - so the faction which ended up with a hardcore clan won the recruit game by default. Unlike the Hegemony vs Rising season, noone even tried to make recruitment posters.

Consider: generation of metal in PW is mostly driven by player activity. Metal directly feeds into the slippery slope mechanisms above. Active players are everything the faction has: its economy, its soldiers, and its strategists. Losing the recruitment war is losing the war.

The lesson here is that factions (including their lore) should be engineered to have people capable of leading them and of attracting players. A way to achieve that is to ask players who they want to play with, and who they want to roleplay as.

Factions should have established and legitimate governments before starting the season. This can be achieved by whatever means, but i especially like the "struggle for power" pre-season tests. May the best emperor win in a mini-PW, or run a tournament, or whatever. This could be different for each factions for flavor. The current vote system is the worst possible method. It can be argued that elections allow the faction leader to be changed mid-season; however i would argue that seasons are now short enough for this to not matter.

Technical Implementation

This was largely successful! Sure, there were bitrotten bugs all around (structures not being sellable, battles being counted five times, all kinds of names missing from logs, etc). Also a lot of stuff just went untested again (planet buster, galaxy compressor, guerilla jumpgate etc) - some are too expensive, some are suspected to be broken while also less useful than core fabs - for example, the guerilla jumpgate was never seen working to my knowledge at all.

Some "not serious" testing could be done before running proper rounds. The imperial civil war deciding who gets to be the new emperor sounds like a good approach both to create competent leadership and to test infra support.

Ideally, the galaxy map itself could reside in Chobby, and attackable planets highlighted. Barely anyone knew that you could attack planets by going to website and clicking anything within reach. This also allows all kinds of cool animations.
+9 / -1
2 years ago
Overall, I liked the last PW seasons. Also, I agree with EErankAdminAnarchid. Should the slippery slope mechanisms be changed? Limited number of factories, more expensive warp cores and something like the more planets you have the more rebellions break out?
+0 / -0
Tbh the bitrot was fairly mild, considering we totally switched ORM technology in the meantime and code lied still for 2 years..
Multiple battle result bug was introduced (and promptly fixed) by me, mid-season, by changing some seemingly inocculous timer.

I had expected much more severe technical issues considering the high complexity of PW and completely new "matchmaker" for it.

Regarding leader selection, I think that the fair way is to give previous winners leadership.
So that makes it CHrankAdminDeinFreund and NOrankAdminKingstad .. they could even choose what to do with their factions.. like change the role or completely "swap" faction.
+0 / -0

2 years ago
Reading what Anarchid wrote and not understanding most of it.. can we please have a very simplified PW? Instead of having just a basic persistence built on top of ZK it seems as if PW is as complex as some MMO browser game.
+3 / -0

2 years ago
I'd second that. From my point of view anything to do with Planetwars that is not playing games of ZK is something I am not really interested in spending time on. YMMV.

The evening I spent losing 1v2 defences (and all of the other evenings which would have gone the same way had I bothered to play) soured me a lot on the whole concept. At least all the elo I lost made my next casual room games easy :|
+1 / -0

2 years ago
IMO you should only be able to attack adjacent planets, not leapfrog all planets and attack the core of the enemy's world.
+0 / -0
2 years ago
What do you think worked?
Almost everithing, I like to build an empire battle after battle, it's like some sort of "multiplayer campaign" that this game lacks

What didn't work?
Really nothing, just some imperfections here and there. Maybe just the factions built from clans.

What you enjoyed?
Battling and conquering planet over planet, building and spending my metal, improving planets.

What you didn't enjoy?
That "random" blitz on one of our home planets, was pretty uncounterable, and after that the game was lost.

What can be improved?
Just 2 factions made the game quite dull in terms of diplomacy and map strategy.
Structure concept is interesting but there are just a few buildings, with some being quite useless (like field garrison that disables after losing a game), and in general some wrong activation timer for some structure. Should we add the possibility to rush the structure for like double it's building cost?
Also here's a random idea: battles now are quite the same if you are attacker of defender, why not using dropships as set of units that spawn ingame for the attacker, field garrison as a bunch of units for the defender (granted each game), eco built on planet as eco ingame?
And pushing in this direction, we can also add defenses with the same system
+2 / -0
the lack of diplomatic drama was disturbing.

edit: wow, that was 4 years ago. feeling old right now. who is with me?
+0 / -0
2 years ago

What do you think worked?
Did not have big technical issues so it worked.

What didn't work?

What you enjoyed?
Fighting battles against the odds (and mostly loosing, but sometimes not as bad as expected)

What you didn't enjoy?
Feeling of no control when there is an attack defends on who attacks/who defends and what. While I understand why you can't have balanced games, no way of choosing a "set" of team-mates based on the value of the planet, or be aware easily in game that a more valuable planet is attacked made it feel "incomplete". In my opinion there should be some more control over who joins a fight. You can do that via chat but don't think it would scale well.

What can be improved?
Help/information. Wiki is hard to find.
+0 / -0

2 years ago
As the Emperor, I was very disappointed to have no control over the battles and players. Players would just randomly join the faction and disturb plans that might have been painstakingly developed by the faction's leaders.

Of course this means that newbies don't get to fight in the decisive battles, but they can work their way there by doing well in the battles they are assigned. More active players are always an advantage, so even if players are assigned to battles manually they should always find a battle to fight in. I think it's an interesting part of the Planetwars game to manage not only your game resources, but also the available manpower to keep the enemy busy in unimportant battles while fighting the decisive ones in parallel.
+1 / -0

2 years ago
Okay so here are some thoughts from me and others who were new to pw.

I had several games where my team mate was new and didnt do anything useful in a battle making the match more difficult than it would have been had I been alone, so raise the level cap and in future possibly a tutorial, as there is plenty of cofusion surrounding pw structures on the battlefield etc. A legend showing what the pw icons mean would be helpful and having the galaxy map in chobby would be fantastic! Also there was a fair bit of confusion about faction leader roles, if it could be presented as a techtree sort of structure with slightly expanded tooltips in chobby I think that would help. This could also help to establish a hierarchy in command and create immersion seeing that "ah that guy is my superiour I better take his orders" etc.

Some players only want to play larger team games than 3v3 and will therefore not actually play at all, more variation in team sizes or even in the future some mechanic that influences team sizes would be really cool. Alternatively there COULD be more than one battlefield(map) per planet which offers different sizes in teams, it is a whole planet afterall, some planets were fought over a lot and got boring to play on so it would also change things up a bit in that regard.

There was some minor discussion in the faction chat about who should play and where to attack which was cool, but there wasnt any interaction with the opposing faction other than "meatsacks!" "Toasters!"
The meta gaming was fun even though the spawning positions of the structures were sometimes really wrong.
I also think that it could be really fun if structures and such in pw had some actual impact on the match itself but it's probably asking too much for now.

Overall as you know there needs to be way more available information like: okay I can build this structure that can destroy a planet.. any planet or the planet it is built on, how long does this thing take to power? Oh I can bomb this planet, how many bombers should I send, I have no idea what their chances are of destroying anything or if they prioritize targets or what.
One should be told the amount of influence difference bombers and dropships will do + if cc gets destroyed during battle. People do not want to sit down and do math, it might support immersion somewhat but probably for most it makes it more of a chore, yes its basic math but still.
+0 / -0

2 years ago
How can we connect the ideas from last two posts to provide a simple progression mechanism (PW-unlocks), guarantee a level of experience for players coming into PW, and give some sort of (again, simple) control to the faction leaders?
This (and the entire idea of PW as well I believe) assumes a larger playerbase.
+0 / -0