OO:SOS Suspect Test Round Two
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OO:SOS Suspect Test Round Two
Aug 24th, 2012
Here we are again. Another suspect test and pools are still sitting in the shadows of skybridges as the enemy pours onto your planet. The center planet remains an untouched factor of gameplay as people frequently build around it, only seeing use as a last ditch attempt. We're at a new map and a lot of things need to be changed and I'm (we're?) open to ideas. The goal of this round is to not only nerf skybridges, but to buff home planet defense alongside making the center planet worthwhile.
Here's the deal with the center though: It's either worthless or way too strong and makes early rushing almost unstoppable. We've seen what happens with a lava pool on the planet but we've also seen what can happen when there's nothing but a stone core inside it. We need to find an appropriate combination of things that will make a team not want to immediately bridge to other team's planet. Failing that, we need to make the cost of doing so ridiculously high (at least in the early game). The center should have a reason for that team to defend it as much as they do their home planet, but it should also be a strong checkpoint on the battlefield without being completely broken.
open to ideas, go
Aug 24th, 2012
let me start by saying that the center planet will forever remain worthless for the purposes of bridging, so long as it remains in its current form. it is isolated from the battlefield, too far down from the skybridge complex to be of any lasting relevance. while bridges build off the center planet were once impactful, in the current metagame wherein every team kicks off the game by building a stairway (giving either team a preemptive height advantage over any of its offshoots), its utility is relegated to diversions and desperation tactics.
before we can effectively repurpose the middle planet, we must first decide what we want it to be useful
. my original rationale for the middle planet was the sort of misguided idea that a team's strength should come from its ability to control the center of the map. conversely, sal's intent was to curb the dominance of skybridges. obviously neither of our goals were achieved; a team's strength only increases as it approaches the enemy planet, and skybridges have only become more prevalent and more refined.
if there's one thing i'm certain of, it's that skybridges are here to stay. height advantage is simply a fact of life in oosos, and while we can lower the max build height to reduce the amount of power skybridges afford, we cannot change the physics responsible for empowering
bridges. instead, i think our focus should to be to make it so that the space race isn't
all there is
to oosos. after all, skybridges aren't the real enemy - strategic conformity is.
while the battlefield of oosos is technically three dimensional, the game itself is essentially played in one dimension. as it stands (note: i haven't played on the expanded map yet, so i can't make any claims about the applicability of my thoughts here to the new metagame - though i speculate it's fundamentally near-identical), the oosos is a struggle to main control along a
. the line may bend and twist through three-dimensional space, and the nature of the line may vary from location to location, but it's still in essence a linear path. the primary objective of oosos (detonating the enemy's planet) as well as its secondary objectives (severing the enemy's bridges, attacking their bed/chests/cobble gen) all depend on a team's ability to traverse this path quickly and safely. all of the game's tools either further this end directly (cobblestone, swords, picks, stairs, lava buckets) or indirectly (cobble gens, wood/saplings, bone meal, iron) or are useless (bows, potions, snowballs, blaze balls, etc). secondary paths can be constructed, but are comparatively weak by virtue of inferior height. any success they have is incidental, an accident of stealth, or an accessory to an already prevailing skybridge assault. (i have some curiosity about how exactly a secondary
bridge would play out, sufficiently distanced from the first, when your team is losing the fight for the primary path, but i can't speak about that at this time.)
returning to the matter of the center planet, now, i feel we have two options. if we simply want to make it useful, we can simply elevate it so as to be proximate to the recurring skybridge complex. its primary usages, then, would be to aid in bridging the gap between competing skybridges and to provide a mid-field source of extra blocks - a utility that would primarily benefit the team in control of the single path. nothing fundamental about the game would change, but it would surely make the center planet useful.
personally, i have some mixed feelings about the unilateral 'space race' state of oosos. on the one hand, it represents the cumulative knowledge of 8 months of strategic development. it's symbolic of oosos's evolution since i started playing in january, a reluctant sigh of acceptance of the immutable physicals we've fought against ever since we realized skybridges were a threat. skybridges have their place now, and it's front and center. many of the strategic breakthroughs over the last two months have been focused on mastering skybridge warfare rather than countering it (stair blocks, half-slope ascents, lava buckets). this is oosos's natural and inevitable maturity. it was always due to come out this way. truthfully, i'm proud to see it all grown up.
on the other hand, oosos's adulthood is much tamer and more predictable than it had dreamed. it's bustle through a wild and exciting childhood only to wind up with a tedious job in a cubicle farm, struggling to suppress its bitterness and frustration over adult life. the attitudes of the players have changed accordingly. its tolerance for incompetence has plummeted. risky experimentation is no longer encouraged, and rather players are expected to perform by the book. games are virtually won long before the enemy reaches the planet, resulting in a theoretically winnable, but ultimately hopeless, grind to delay an inevitable defeat at the hands of absolutely advantaged foes. the losers walk away bitter and discouraged, and the champions are scarce satisfied by a hollow (if hard-earned) victory.
let's return momentarily to the matter of the center planet. one solution was to reposition the center planet to make it pertinent to current standards. my second proposition calls for a modest repositioning of standards to make them relevant to the center planet. as an added bonus, in addition to emphasizing the importance of the center planet, my proposed changes would add a secondary objective to the game, one that necessarily lay along a second path, challenging the grueling linearity of the current metagame.
the heart of the plan is this: make cobblestone a scarce resource. rather than condemning each team's mother to their respective "kitchens", personal sources of infinite cobblestone, we force the opposing teams to fight over a single wellspring in the center of the map - the newly petrified center planet. the competition for the invaluable commodity provides a secondary objective, serving to support the team's
initiative of skybridge-building, but requiring separate bridges and unique tactics. in this way we solve both dual issues of monotony and center planet irrelevance.
an obvious prerequisite for this plan is the removal of lava buckets. they needn't necessarily be excised outright (though i suggest we test it this way first), but if they
left on the map, they must be difficult enough to acquire that they aren't givens (as they are now). if you can get a lava bucket too easily, the center planet plunges back into irrelevance. i can't think of a way to make them sufficiently costly, my preference would be to remove them completely, and the remainder of my post assumes a 100% lava-free map. of course, i'm open to contrary arguments.
the other required change is a slight repositioning and reconstruction of the center planet. obviously it needs to be made of stone, and will need to be expanded so that it can supply two teams through a full-length oosos game. since the center planet is no required to be a strong bridging position, it should be lowered, at least to base level. since its integrity as a secondary objective relies on its mental separation from the primary task, it may be wise to make it
than base level, so that it is even farther removed from the space race. lowering the center planet also helps ensure it is not misused as a secondary attack line, as it forces enemies invading through the low planet to fight uphill against defenders. another consequence is that it's harder to sever an enemy's downhill connection to the lower planet, making it near impossible for one team to definitively conquer it. at this point i'm not sure whether or not that's a good thing - some experimentation will be required to say for sure.
this is clearly a pretty big change from the current paradigm, with many interesting and significant consequences. perhaps the most obvious is that without cobble gens, the mother finds herself without much of a job to do. the obvious replacement duty for him to obtain cobblestone from the center planet. this process is not quite as simple or leisurely as the sedentary labor of today's mothers. this is a man's job. the kitchen is no longer a safe place to be - it is now the center of the battlefield, within the shared reach of both you and your enemy. the mother's job is no longer the safest one: task of mining cobble is complicated by the parallel task of keeping the mother safe in a hotly contested zone and ensuring that her payload makes it home in one piece. i can only speculate as to the exact amount of manpower needed to keep cobble production running smoothly. i envision the battle on the stone planet as a frequent turning of tides, looking something like this:
suppose green claims the center planet first and starts digging. two purple attackers beset the lone green "mother", oust him without trouble, and both get to work mining. before long, green sends two players to reclaim it. not wanting to risk losing the fruits of their labors, one purple heads back with their collective harvest, while the other remains to slow down green's incoming forces. he falls, of course, but the cobblestone makes it back to the purple base in one piece, where it is used to make swords and fortify the team's skybridge. with green firmly in control of the center planet, purple deploys two more men to contest it, and should they succeed, the cycle begins again. instead of sending one player back with the cobblestone, however, green may instead have both of them fight. should they win (presuming they weren't wounded too badly in their previous skirmish), they'll retain control of the center planet and return before the next encounter with a double load of cobblestone. either team may send more than two attackers at any time, obviously, at the expense of some skybridge pressure. part of the game will be deciding how big of a tradeoff to make between the high and low fronts.
an unexpected (well,
didn't expect it) bonus of this system is that it creates a new niche for archers as specialized motherfuckers. mothers will be protected for arrow fire most of the time, assuming they mine the planet from the inside-out. but when they leave to bring back the payload, they're liable to be picked off quick and easy (well - easy for bass, at least), possibly causing substantial frustration for the target's teammates. the practicality of this tactic depends somewhat on the height of the stone planet: if it's low, archers at the first node (in its original location, before the recent map expansion) can fire over it at retreating mothers; if it's at base level, he may need to position himself higher up or off to the side so that the planet itself does not obstruct his line of fire.
the other apparently consequence of this paradigm is that a limited amount of cobblestone is present. while it should be large enough to nourish both teams for the duration of an oosos game, if not larger, it has to run out sometime. when resources run out, the team that better managed their resources will have a temporary but substantial advantage over the team that did not (likely the first to hit empty). by adjusting the size of the center planet, we have some control over the maximum length of a game of oosos. given the wild variability of match durations, this could be a handy thing.
this proposed change (nominated succinctly, sometimes, as "finite cobble") has been controversial ever since i first brought it up. one common concern is that, with cobblestone no longer such an accessible resource, players will see elect not to pursue it at all and simply focus on their skybridge, using their superior force to overwhelm industrially-focused opponents. to make such claims is to severely undervalue the role of cobblestone in today's metagame. were these assertions at all true, the wood rush would be a more prevalent tactic, and teams would not bemoan with so much vexation a jammed cobble gen.
suppose that, in a game of "finite cobble" oosos, the purple team outright avoided the center planet and decided to focus the entirety of its energy on the skybridge effort. seeing this, green would acknowledge the center planet as uncontested and would only need to send a single mother to exploit it. the rest of its team could focus on the skybridge effort. purple would extend their bridge faster and perhaps win an early advantage, even though they only have wooden swords for fighting and planks for one-waying. the green defenders, armed with stone, would defend the assault quite ably, though given the difficulties of fighting uphill, would find it difficult to reclaim control from the descending purple forces. purple's wood rush would not be sustainable for long, however, and they would soon find themselves challenged by finite bone meal and the unpredictability of natural sapling growth. adding to this the amount of extra time spent chopping down trees, they may find their numerical advantage lesser than expected. the careful stewardship required to sustain wood production without bonemeal could remove one potential rusher from the equation entirely. should purple run out of wood, they would find themselves at an acute disadvantage late in the game. should they decide to dedicate one player to sustainable forestry, they will find themselves at a smaller chronic disadvantage throughout the game. both outcomes are, of course, avoidable by making a concerted effort to harvest cobble from the center planet.
along with these changes would likely be some reconfiguration of the nodes. i haven't thought much about this yet, but it's a definite option for curtailing the sustainability of wood rush if it is found to supersede cobblestone harvesting completely.
and there you have it: my humble attempt at fixing some of oosos's most salient problems without altering the nature of the game. some problems still remain, like the irreversibility of a losing team's manifold disadvantage in triangle warfare - and certainly one or two new problems will crop up in time, though that is to be expected. all in all i feel these changes will free oosos of some its contemporary shackles and revitalize the metagame, creating a void in which new strategies can develop for dealing with new situations, while leaving the established and better explored fundamentals of bridge warfare unmolested. if you have any questions or concerns please speak up and i will do my best to address them.
my thanks to everyone (or anyone) who managed to slog through my whole post. kudos!
Aug 24th, 2012
also, stone center planet? ripe grounds for forward bed experimentation. height dependent, of course. at this point i'm leaning toward
the same height as the planet. maybe a
lower, maybe ~16 blocks?
Aug 24th, 2012
Encourage exploration by adding planetoids, and even more teams, so that people will have to fight over multiple bridges. Also allow teams some choice between multiple planetoids to start on, so the starting direction won't be known. Add in multiple similar maps with smaller prizes, all valuable, in the many more planetoids, and you'll get much more exploration. Also, if you raise the height of the starting planetoids, there will be no way but down. This could be further incentivized by adding some bedrock platforms below the altitude the planetoids are on. Thus, there will be more tactics for attacking, but NOT skybridge. Even if this isn't used, it would make for a few nice tests.
As for home planet defense: why not add some prebuilt obsidian barricades? These wouldn't be ON the planet, but would be somewhat away from it, but it would be much easier to bridge out of them than into. Also, remove the bow and arrow. Yes, it's great for sniping, but the team that has the edge WILL use it for sniping any attempts to even the balance, while the team that does not have it WILL be unable to use their bow for defense. The removal of this offensive uber-weapon will probably be a great step for defense in and of itself. If there isn't a bow, but is some string instead, then removal of that would also do. Instead, give plenty of fishing rods, which would encourage resources other than building stuff (food, etc.)
Also, beds are too powerful. Really, they are. It's basically a free pass to IGNORE the need for food. Just plop your few things into the chest, jump into oblivion, and you respawn at full. This removes any risk from ATTACK! ATTACK! ATTACK! as long as you can bridge up successfully.
Basically, there is too much incentive to bridge up and only attack (bows, drop onto enemy as they build, beds). If there were some incentive to explore and bridge sideways (more planetoids with fewer, but still valuable, resources, more places to start, more teams to fend off, some prebuilt bridge sections), then the game would probably be more resource management, strategy, and tactics than who can get the advantage first.
TL;DR, remove beds, bows, and string. If possible, turn spiders - but no other mobs - off so that no one can build a bed or some bows. Other stuff is more optional, but would make for nice playtests.
Aug 24th, 2012
Don't really want to write a fat treatise on the subject, but here are my suggestions. My goal here is to encourage strategies other than skybridges, but allow plenty of opportunity for the losing team to take back the advantage.
-Home Planets are smaller and primarily stone, with dirt only on the surface.
Hopefully this will do something to prevent skybridges starting 5 seconds into the game, also it makes home planets more defensible. Encouraging alternative uses for cobble (picks) is also a bonus. This also works well with the plan froks has regarding cobble, because you have to decide to either cannibalize your planet's defenses for cobble or push for the center planet.
-Have a floor.
I don't mean lava or anything, I mean like there is legitimate terrain at the bottom of the map, like a forest or something, with a drop pool that you can jump into from the back of your planet. This really does something to kill the linear nature of OO:SOS, and also makes comebacks easier. As it has been for a very long time, the team who gets in the sky fastest wins most often, but it takes a while to do so. I want to add another viable route of attack that also must be defended.
-There are buckets, but no lava.
Oh, and also water is only available on the surface at the bottom of the map. Instead of a drop pool on home planets, there are vines set up to stop a falling player's momentum. This also makes it a lot more difficult for a team above an enemy's home planet to use a water pool to their advantage. In addition, with water at the bottom of the map, a team will have to build a ladder from the surface to get water, which may or may not be a good idea as it can also be used by the enemy to reach your planet!
-Nodes are increasingly higher up and have better goodies the closer they are to the center.
This makes the center planet relevant, and also discourages skipping nodes to go right for the height advantage. Instead, teams would build toward the center planet and start their skybridge there instead.
Might add more stuff later, but this is what I have for now. In addition to some of the other changes suggested, I think this opens up a lot of venues for both attack and defense, and makes it important to make strategic decisions on your plan of attack and resource management throughout the whole game. It also should prevent one team from snatching victory very early on. We should mess around in creative with some of the suggestions today.
Aug 24th, 2012
Originally Posted by Fat
Don't really want to write a fat treatise on the subject
yes you do it's totally normal come on ;_;
Aug 24th, 2012
put a bed in the center planet and remove the extra beds from the nodes
the only way to get a second bed is to get to the second planet
this makes the center planet worth getting to and definitely gives you an advantage, but not something that will ruin the team that doesn't get it
Aug 24th, 2012
keep in mind that if even if players have a reason to visit the center planet, without a reason to
there it might as well be just another node.
Aug 24th, 2012
add some fortifications to it, then?
Aug 25th, 2012
i like what forks said
ag pretty much said what all new players do only to see <sal> no prebuilts
having a floor could be fun again, but it takes 200 blocks to get back up to the planet
i really just like what forks said idk
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