Skyward Collapse

Skyward Collapse

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Playing To Lose - A Competitive PvP Ruleset
By reth and 1 collaborators
Lets get something straight here, Red wants to kill Blue.. right..? And Blue wants to kill Red.. right..? So let them kill each other! This ruleset is a general guideline on how to convert the not-so-peaceful nature of the game into a PvP killfest for 1v1s all the way up to 4v4s!
 
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What a PvP Game Looks Like
You may be expecting a YouTube Video of the sorts here to show off a super-cool PvP match. So are we.

Our Skyward PvP group (that is slowly being filled of players, both rule testers/balancers and people who just like to PvP) will be having an event next week where we just keep playing each other and discussing the outcomes. I personally invite you all to join us and help to create and amend rules to finally get them set in stone!

We highly suggest that you record and send us links to your videos for us to review; the match that shows off PvP the best will be posted here.

Again, come help us and the devs get PvP into the game by helping out in our Skyward PvP group. It is as easy as playing the game and taking note of what was fun, what wasn't, and how you feel the PvP side of the game should be balanced and sharing your notes with the group!

We look foreward to your video submissions and be sure to check back here next week to see which video was chosen!
Setting-Up the Game
The Map Type
Each map has its pros and cons for PvP -- they are all fun but I would stay away from Murdach's Wood for your first match since it causes some chaotic chaos. You can also choose your perfered number of turns per round, 30 works just fine. Oh and check-off that nice little "Multiplayer?" button since that is kinda important for PvP.

Factions (newly updated for game version 1.002)
Everyone has heard of the Greeks, not nearly as many people has heard of the Norse. Play a PvP match of Greek vs Norse and you will find out why, the Greek's have a far superior army and way better seige units. For this reason, we highly suggest that mirror matches are played (unless someone needs a handicap for being too awesome at this game).

From our experience though, Norse vs Norse seems to be the best way to play since Greek seige is way too insane for us to handle. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try, let us know if you find a way for the Norse to counter the Greeks or if you find a way to stop Greek vs Greek games from turning to seige fests.

Through our playtesting, playing Greek vs Greek with all of the Rule Variations enabled (you'll read about them later on in the guide, so don't worry about what this means quite yet) and the difficulity set to hard makes for some awesome PvP gameplay. This is largely in part to the Minotaur de-buff and a metagame that involves ruining your opponent's seige production while protecting your own and laying out your towns to support this goal. Also the Greek Myth Tokens allow for timing attacks/myth unit drops and (unlike the Norse) allow archers to be a unit that isn't rendered useless. And having the better seige makes cleaning up bandits much quicker and it helps to focus the fighting on Red vs Blue. We may be completely wrong, but it made for more than one great PvP match in our own tests. As with everything else in this guide, try it out, tweak it, and discuss your results with everyone.

Difficulty Picking a Difficulty (updated)
Difficulty comes down to a prefence of the players and how experienced everyone is. Finding the right balance of bashing the Yellow guys and each other is completely dependent on the skill levels of everyone playing. As for the Woe Frequency, again it depends on how chaotic you like your chaos, the higher it is the more interesting the game (generally speaking, of course).

From our experience though, Normal as the general Difficulty makes combat fairly balanced and Yellow pretty simple to deal with and a Woe Frequency of Insane is the sweet spot.

Also tick-off that Score Requirement.. we won't be needing that for PvP..

Sidenote About the 'High' Difficulty
The recommened difficulty of Hard/Hard or Hard/Expert is daunting, especially to the new player. If you are semi-competent then I would say to try it out for a game, or even just part of a game. By playing Normal it makes the dreaded Yellow much easier to deal with but, on the other hand, you lose out on the whole unit leveling mechanic. If this is a good or bad thing is yet to be debated, so it is truly up to you how to play.
The Honor System
Since this is an unofficial gamemode, some honor rules have to be followed to keep the integrity of the PvP match. They are as follows:
  • Start the Match knowing who is on which team (and split into private voice chats, if desiered)
  • Only spend the action points from the team you are on. So if you are on Blue, skip the Red turn without doing anything and vice-versa (again this is the honor system, it is very easy to cheat and remain uncaught -- if you enjoy cheating and annoying people then go play ARMA 3)
  • Follow the Restricted Building List that is posted in the section below.. or else the game erupts into spammy spam and the whole map dies rather quickly..
  • On Undos: Do a call out to all players stating when you are going to do an undo, or just agree to not allow undos altogether.
  • Map Expansion: If a player begins to expand the map in order to build a town, the other team may not prevent it by beating them to it and placing a town before they can (if both teams place a tile then the player that got the beginning extension tile down first gets to put their city there.. use the undo button to determine who placed it faster). However, if there is a neutral spot on the map where both teams can build a city without having to place any land tiles to extend the map first, it is first come, first serve (sidenote: if someone had to do an undo, the player that originally expanded first has first rights to redo their expansion as if the undo never happened). Furthermore, this reserved rule only works on the turn that the terrain was placed. For example: say a player places down two terrain tiles but has to wait until the next turn to place their town, then on the next turn it is first come, first serve -- the land is no longer reserved.
Other than those, everyother cheap trick should be legal; if you find something stupidly overpowering, something that you believe should be written as an honor rule or added to the restricted list, then please let us know!
Building Limitations
The First Turn (Set-up Phase) Restrictions
In the first turn, many buildings had to be restricted since, well, it is increadably unbalanced to allow someone to create high-tier buildings for next to no cost. Below are the lists of buildings that are allowed, if something is not listed here then assume that it is banned during the set-up phase.

Buildings that are Allowed from the Resource Tab (The 2nd Tab Down)
  • Woodcutter
  • Rock Quarry
  • Wheat Farm
  • Ranch
  • Bakery
  • Carpenter

Buildings that are Allowed from the Key Buildings Tab (The 3rd Tab Down)
  • Town Center

Everything from the Land Placement Tab (The 4th Tab Down) are also allowed to be built.
Rules Set in Stone
The rules listed in this section have been tried, tested, and approved from the Rule Variations Section below. While the Rule Variations section is the beta testing area full of optional rules, this is the finished product full of the suggested, mandatory rules. If you feel that something needs to be changed, don't be afraid to speak out your opinion -- there is a good chance that your reasoning is something that we have not thought of.
  • "But they Look Cool.. =(": Mythological Units are not allowed to be built or summoned (note that this rule is not in effect if you choose to allow myth units from the respective Rule Variations..).
  • "Demigods == Worthless": The Greeks may not use the token "Adamatine".
  • "Last Laugh": Any land tile that is marked as "NEW!" may not be teraformed (so people can not undo what another player did to the land). Also note that tiles that are within an opponent's city boundaries may not be teraformed by placing land tiles.
Rule Variations
Here we will list different rule variations that are currently being used. It is up to you guys which ones you decide to use or ignore. They are here to address balance issues that we have ran into but are unsure if most people/playstyles run into these problems. You can think of it as a beta testing area for rules, try them out and let us know what you think and if they should be added to the main ruleset!
  • "Mazed and Confused": For Greeks, no Labyrinth.
  • "City Limit": Only 12 cities per player on a team may be built for the entirety of the game (IE, 1v1 would have a max of 12 cities per side (both alive and destroyed, so if you have 12 cities in total and you lose one, you may not rebuild it at all) and in a 3v3 there would be a max of 36 cities per side). Feel free to tweak the number of cities and report back - 12 is just the number we have been using while testing Greek; although this my remain an optional rule that has a configurable limit for both sides, independently - so it can be used as a handicap, forever since having a city limit is more of a preference anyway.
  • "Sure.. Blame it on your ISP": If a player disconnects from the game, everyone must finish their moves and move to the start of the next turn. The disconnected player must wait until the turn is done to reconnect. The host should save the game and have everyone wait until the player is reconnected before resuming play.
  • "Unleash the Kraken!": For every x population your team has, you are allowed one myth unit. x is dependent on the number of players and which faction is being played. This needs to be experimented with to be balanced (since we really want to allow myth units in PvP matches, they are awesome after all). But for now we will baseline it at one myth unit every 50 population (about 2 cities). Try it out, pick a different number, and report back to everyone on what you think the 'magic' number is for each side, each age (round), and for different number of players.

    Rule Clarification: Keep in mind that as long as you have 50 population showing at the top of the screen when you summon the myth unit, it is legal -- if you lose units during the action phase and the next turn your population goes down to say 45, you are able to keep your myth unit in the game. Going off of this, if your myth unit is destoryed, you are allowed to rebuild it immediately given that you have the population requirement.
  • "Medivacs R 4 Starcraft": Myth units may only be summoned directly ontop of an un-destoryed (read: non-ruin) allied building.

    This is to stop 'cheap' myth drops that take advantage of players not being able to control units (ie, waiting until the enemy units move away from a town and then droping a minotaur to run around for a few turns while the other army reacts). It also helps maintain a front line for combat (pro tip: don't let your towns get surrounded.. when you get attacked from 12 different fronts then you are asking to lose..).
How to Pull a "Sheen" (updated)
Simply stated, the first side to be eliminated and thus trigger the "you lose" screen loses and the other side wins (This is playing to lose after all..).

A quicker and much more perfered way to play is the first team, or side, to get 50 population above the other team (you do this check at the start of each turn right after the battles happen). So if Red has 110 population and Blue has 35 population, then Blue loses. If Red has 200 population and Blue has 150, then Blue also loses. This style of winning is perfered since PvP games are often decided early, since there are so many different ways for a player to shoot themselves in the foot. And it is also increadably hard to do a comeback in this game when a player does mess up.. which is why the first 10 turns are often highly stressful and every decision counts. Between two skilled players, this tension can theoretically span the entire course of the game.. which is what we are shooting for with this ruleset.

If both sides are left standing at the end of the game somehow and you all end up winning the game then, well.. I guess a congratulations is in order. The side with the higher population wins!

If more tie-breaking is needed then count up the total number of alive buildings.. if even more is needed then add up the individual hp of every single unit (gods, units, and builidings) on each side and compare them.. if even more is needed then send me a screenshot of it and I'll send you back 20 bucks for being so lucky and actually counting all of that with a note with either Red or Blue written on it.....
Finding Other PvP'ers
Since this PvP Ruleset seems to be picking up at least some attention, we have created a group here to help gather playtesters to assist with refining the ruleset/finding PvP Games in general. If you have any interest in seeing or playing PvP in this game at all, then I highly suggest that you join and put in your feedback on the rules. There is much work and balancing to do so join us and play along; get involved!
Closing Comments
That should be about it.. try it out and let us know what you think in the comments below! Also feel free to private message or add us to your friend's list if you want to talk about any changes/problems you see and have experienced with this ruleset -- or if you simply want to get together to play a round or three of PvP.

This is a work in progress so everyone's input would be greatly appreciated and I just wanted to give a quick shoutout to the developers for putting together this amazing and accessible clone spin on Dwarf Fortress.. its mechanic of balancing the two sides is one of the most challenging and frustrating, yet rewarding, things I have ever done in a video game -- thank you.
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13 Comments
reth  [author] May 28, 2013 @ 4:23pm 
Update: Last night my friend and I played on version 1.005 via hamachi and we didn't have a single disconnect over 2 or 3 games and several hours. Also the town names were fixed for us.
reth  [author] May 26, 2013 @ 10:44pm 
Then it probably wasn't fixed for real, unfortunately.. I noticed that a few others had this problem still as well.
Crimdal (Patton in Albion Online May 26, 2013 @ 2:33pm 
we were both using 1.003
reth  [author] May 26, 2013 @ 11:14am 
Have you guys updated your game to v1.003? They said it was fixed in the patch notes (my friend and I had the same problem). In v1.001 my friend would get disconnected everyonce in a while but it took him 2 seconds to rejoin when he did get dropped. I don't know if the server stability is on the player's end or if there is something wrong in the game engine itself.
Crimdal (Patton in Albion Online May 26, 2013 @ 10:58am 
btw do you have issues with desyncing? I'm wondering if it's because we are palying over hamachi, we noticed the names of the villages are different for each player, could that be causing desyncs?
Crimdal (Patton in Albion Online May 26, 2013 @ 10:55am 
k cool thats what i wanted to hear
reth  [author] May 26, 2013 @ 9:33am 
Ohh -- If you take a look below at the first comment, the devs have already taken an interest in this PvP project. x-4000 (the lead dev for this game) stated that once our rules are more concrete that he would like to actually get a PvP gamemode in the official game using the rules we find work best. -- It isn't nearly as modable as paradox interactive, but even by just looking at their patch notes it doesn't need to be. They are a very community based developer.
Crimdal (Patton in Albion Online May 26, 2013 @ 9:14am 
as in role play, the game doesn't have the mechanics to do certain things so people have to pretend certain constraints are in place, such as not using blue team turns if you are playing as red team.
reth  [author] May 25, 2013 @ 9:12pm 
Crimdal: what do you mean by RP, what does it stand for?
Crimdal (Patton in Albion Online May 25, 2013 @ 10:12am 
Fun game, would be nice if there were a team or captain system that could delegate turns and cities to teamates through a game function as opposed to strictly RP. Is this game able to be modded like paradox interactive games?