A topic that gets visited in the discord chats but rarely in the forum is that big team sizes alter how ZK plays in a negative way. This is my opinion. I appreciate that it isn't everyone's opinion.
My chief assumptions
- Huge team sizes are here to stay.
- Huge team sizes should be a good thing for ZK
- Huge team sizes break ZK balance. Specifically due to:
> Proliferation of tanky riot commanders stops raiding
> Proliferation of players getting +4/+4 intrinsic increases overall income for the map size way above what it was designed in mind for; mass intrinsic income moves too much income away from the need to hold territory.
> Unit density becomes extremely high
> In these situations, static defences and artillery trump as they require minimum of risk and player management.
> the list of 'viable' units becomes very low.
The levers I see that can be used to fix this are:
> increase map size (bigger map = lower unit density).
Unfortunately, I don't feel ZK is fun on maps above a certain size (caps out around 16x20). It becomes too unmanageable.
The best that can be done with this lever is to actively prevent maps that are small in large team sizes. Eg. It should be possible for players to vote in such a map, but the lobby should never autorotate to a map that is less than 16x20 type size.
You could tilt this further by making over-small maps for the team size require a higher percentage of votes than a map fitting the team size, and by including a warning in the lobby when it is voted ("WARNING: map is too small for number of players, will make game silly!")
> reduce commander power.
Frankly, ZK big teams played better when commanders were tied to income and were fragile, as there was much less of a 'built in wall of tanky riots' to defend with in the early game.
Another method might be to re-introduce "commander ends" for big team games. Eg. when a player's commander dies, all their units self destruct.
> decrease intrinsic player income.
By reducing metal income, you reduce unit density, which alleviates the map size issue at the same time.
I picture this being managed by an algorithm. The inputs would be team size and map surface area, with a minimum threshold of 8 players total.
After you exceed 8 players total, steadily reduce the intrinsic income of players (proprtional to map size - smaller map surface area equals bigger reduction in intrinsic income) down to a minimum of +1/+1
> make high end turtling weaker.
High end turtling is using terraform, caretakers, pop-up turrets, shields and heavy turrets to create obstacles that are ruinous to assault and very time consuming to remove with artillery.
If this was not possible, fronts would remain more elastic and games would remain relatively slippery slope.
Just my 2c, peace & love!