Author Topic: How to Fix Skyball  (Read 10593 times)

Offline Atruejedi

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How to Fix Skyball
« on: September 21, 2016, 06:04:56 am »
This is pasted from the Steam discussions board. If you've read it there, you're up to date. Viewable here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/209080/discussions/0/343787283743979581/

TL;DR at the bottom. Bums.

We played a 50 minute Skyball match earlier today. I finished almost two Guster albums as we played. It was universally despised. I took screenshots of the text chat to prove it. But it has so much potential. How do we fix it? Easily. Here are my suggestions, and hopefully you, my fellow players, will weigh in and Muse will listen to us. VIP is now amazing, but those changes took 6 months to implement. Let's make this happen faster. So, what do we do?

Skyball's problem is there is too much DEFENSE. Why is there too much defense? Because when you die, you spawn near your OWN GOAL. This causes you to kill the enemy, grab the ball, then head to THEIR goal... where they have now conveniently spawned since you killed them. They then kill you, grab the ball, head to your goal, you spawn, kill them, take the ball, go to there goal... ad infinitum.

How do we fix this? The 35 second slightly-longer spawn time is GOOD... you SHOULD be penalized when you die. After all, VIP had the same type of problem: constant suiciding escorts ruined it. The real problem is the LOCATION of the spawns. All teams need to spawn in the middle of the north-south Y axis. I don't care if they spawn in the exact center or the west or the east. It doesn't matter. But the spawns need to be equidistant from each goal and the same for each team. That way, when you die, you're not near EITHER goal... which is better for gameplay, but also allows you to make a viable DECISION of which direction to head (further, you should spawn pointing east or west). At this point, dying is a REWARD because it allows your team to defend way more effectively.

On Battle for the Ball, a map with a ton of potential (including for 3 vs. 3 Deathmatch called "Graveyard" ;)), the sandstorm needs to be removed entirely (or should spawn on the left AND right of the map but travel north to south on one side and south to north on the other to "funnel" players into the middle; this is a way more complicated suggestion so I'd call it a pipe dream). I hated the sand to begin with, but with spawns in the center of the Y-axis, spawning in a dust storm will be very not fun (Scrap has the same problem, but it's avoidable, so it's okay).

Now that there's less defense, games will go quickly if only 2 points are required to win. Up the winning threshold to 3 points. Voila.

To prevent long matches, add a new mechanic to the game that is a game timer (and a clock, honestly, but that's a different topic). Matches should cap out at 20 minutes and whoever has more points should win. Tied scores should have an overtime of 5 minutes but result in a draw if nobody scores... or just give the win to whichever team destroys the other team in sudden death ;). This timer/clock would ALSO help tournaments and competitive plaly, so it should doubly be implemented (shocked it isn't in after almost 4 years, honestly).

Blocking the point is good. It's like a tiny game of King of the Hill and encourages people to actually defend the point. Without blocking, the game would turn into the Squid race we all dread.

Also, just as 2 vs. 2 VIP sucks, 2 vs. 2 Skyball sucks. Remove it.

TL;DR:
1. Move spawns to the middle of the Y-axis of the map, AWAY from goals.
2. Remove the sandstorm on Battle for the Ball
3. Change the score threshold from 2 to 3.
4. Add a 20 minute match time limit.
5. Keep the KOTH blocking mechanic at goals.
6. Remove 2 vs. 2.

Thoughts?

Offline KeijoPertti

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2016, 08:04:33 am »
You want less defense but blocking is ok?

Offline Solidusbucket

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2016, 08:52:00 am »
Yes. Blocking good. Spawning at goal bad. Defense too much. Activley stopping goal just right.





« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 08:53:38 am by Solidusbucket »

Offline Schwalbe

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2016, 08:54:41 am »
I had a little... strange idea for score threshold. Let me explain:

1. The starting score threshold: 5.
2. After each x minutes (for example 4, to make the match time limit equal to 20) - decrement the score threshold (to 4 after x minutes, 3 after 2x minutes etc)

3. If the result is a tie at either reaching the time limit, or threshold decrement reaching already settled score - both teams loses a match.


This way a really coordinated team will have to sweat a little bit more, preventing matches from being so disappointingly short, yet there's a time limitation for it not to be so short.

It should also give a LITTLE more strategic depth to the matches than it already is there. (for example, introducing the rush tactc for first two or three goals and then preventing your enemy for the rest of the time limit from making the score even)


I may speak menial bullshit though.

Offline Huskarr

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2016, 09:18:07 am »
I had a little... strange idea for score threshold. Let me explain:

1. The starting score threshold: 5.
2. After each x minutes (for example 4, to make the match time limit equal to 20) - decrement the score threshold (to 4 after x minutes, 3 after 2x minutes etc)

3. If the result is a tie at either reaching the time limit, or threshold decrement reaching already settled score - both teams loses a match.


This way a really coordinated team will have to sweat a little bit more, preventing matches from being so disappointingly short, yet there's a time limitation for it not to be so short.

It should also give a LITTLE more strategic depth to the matches than it already is there. (for example, introducing the rush tactc for first two or three goals and then preventing your enemy for the rest of the time limit from making the score even)


I may speak menial bullshit though.
This is so unintuitive it's intuitive again.
Personally I like it though. It'll create hell of a confusion but I like it. It makes sense on paper and it's pretty genious.

Offline Hoja Lateralus

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2016, 10:49:17 am »

Offline Naoura

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2016, 12:58:37 pm »
I still say that there needs to be a goal-keep mechanic in the way that, should a Blue ship be sitting in the blue goal, the red goal-cap speed should be reduced. Similar to capping a point in KOTH. More on one side, the faster the cap.

Make it so that instead of spawn-defend-grab-repeat, have it so that there is a more tactical sense to the goal. You have to think about when is the proper moment to hit the goal. Instead of just Squid-rushing the goal, you have to depend on your escorts to pave the road so that you can make it to the goal and can cap it before the enemy can rush back on you.

Offline PuddleGrumpkin

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2016, 01:36:03 pm »
Copying my Steam response:

I just played a 3v3 and the match actually moved very quickly. But, that had a lot to do with very low level crews vs. 1 good crew. I almost scored twice, but my shit crew was unable to keep me alive despite being mere meters from the goal. My nept engineer dropped leaving me with an AI, but by then it was too late. I also hit a lag spike while going for a block which sent me off course.

I can see how a balanced crew can extend the game indefinitely, but I feel like a 20 minute time limit might be a bit short (especially if you incrase the win total to 3 [which I support] - I'd suggest 30 minutes of a time limit rather than 20).

Also wishful thinking - but it'd be great if you could attach the ball to an artemis and pass it to your teammate a distance away - but that mechanic cannot work.

I have a couple of concerns about moving the spawn to the middle
1. Unless I am mistaken Jedi is advocating that you spawn on or near the ball spawn. This is problematic because I can commit suicide when a point is emminent and find myself respwaning closer to the ball than the opponent. Which if everyone is at the opposing goal - gives me a free shot to score myself.
2. Is the game coded to have variable spawn points? Basically, we'd be trying to have the initial spawn at the start of the game disappear and have them then move towards the center - which is something i've never seen the game do. Seems like the spawn points are fixed.
3. If they are fixed, how about moving the spawn points to the corners of the map. On a soccer pitch think about it as having substitutes enter during game play from their own corner flags rather than midfield during a stoppage of play. In game this would force you a greater distance away from the goal (placing you significantly behind it) and would lessen the reward for dying either for defensive or offensive purposes. This would also make the race to the center at the beginning of the game more crazy.

Offline Richard LeMoon

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2016, 05:13:08 pm »
My main idea for making matches go faster is to eliminate decapping, which is what I suggested during testing. That way, every percent you gain while having the ball in the enemy goal is kept. You would need two capture meters, one for each team. The first to fill their meter wins, and both are reset.

To balance for time, either the capping time can be increased to allow more time spent battling in goals, or points increased, leading to more ball resets and time rushing for the ball and battling in the field. The only way to make a match last for a long time is to keep anyone from ever getting the ball in a goal.

Offline Crista Ampullaris

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2016, 07:35:54 pm »
Copied from Steam -

Just my two cents, from an engi's point of view - I've had five or six Skyball matches now, and out of that, two of them have been 50mins plus.

At the end of the long matches people were mad, people quit, people said "fuck this game". The other matches were around the 15-30 minute mark and everyone had a lot of fun. I'm not sure if a timer is the way to go, or if implementing some other changes would make it shorter, but something does need to change so that people who love this game are not rage-quitting at the end of a Skyball match.

I completely agree with Letheliah, and think that a lot of people do not yet realize the importance of team composition (or the actual high levels of communication and team work between captains required to make it go smoothly). 
In most of my matches, from what I could see, its been basically a free for all- with everyone grabbing at the ball, noone working to escort ball carrier, not enough disable ships on the team, no blocking, strategizing etc. Each individual ship has a plan, but noone seems to be planning as a whole team. My shorter matches have been as a result of a well coordinated, highly communicative team. I feel this has a lot to do with the game mode being so new, but I fear that peoples reluctance to play any Skyball matches will only perpetuate this problem. Like Bob said- who in their right mind would vote Skyball, when half your matches are an hour long?

In the 20 minute matches, as an engi, I didn't mind the sandstorms - they were bearable with a smart captain, and a good repair rotation. Keeping that same rotation up for 50 MINUTES though (still with a smart captain) I was -NOT- okay with. I wanted to never engineer again after those matches. I don't think removing the sandstorms is necessary at all, they add a bit of fun to the matches -however, remember this is just an engi POV, and at the stage where we hit a sandstorm, I'm too busy with repairs to be looking at our position on the map/proximity to spawn etc. I need to play more, before I can comment on moving spawn locations etc.

Im ranting.. Long story short, I think Skyball can be super fun, but there is a big problem at the moment with the amount of time a match can take. Something needs to be done.

Offline Hoja Lateralus

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2016, 07:48:25 pm »
At the end of the long matches people were mad, people quit, people said "fuck this game". The other matches were around the 15-30 minute mark and everyone had a lot of fun. I'm not sure if a timer is the way to go, or if implementing some other changes would make it shorter, but something does need to change so that people who love this game are not rage-quitting at the end of a Skyball match.
(..)
In most of my matches, from what I could see, its been basically a free for all- with everyone grabbing at the ball, noone working to escort ball carrier, not enough disable ships on the team, no blocking, strategizing etc. Each individual ship has a plan, but noone seems to be planning as a whole team. My shorter matches have been as a result of a well coordinated, highly communicative team. I feel this has a lot to do with the game mode being so new, but I fear that peoples reluctance to play any Skyball matches will only perpetuate this problem. Like Bob said- who in their right mind would vote Skyball, when half your matches are an hour long?

So it's similar to the case of the old Crazy King. We obviously see that players are set on matches taking 20-30 minutes in general - Muse should take a notice of this for the future.
And as Crazy King we have a potential problem of two very similarly skilled crews not progressing at all. You could change that through decreasing map size and capping time, so it's generally easier to get a goal (with rising the ending limit). If distance was less of an issue maybe we could see more slower ships in the mode.
This is a wicked problem though, because, as you said, the difficulty may come from lack of experience and lack of knowledge and coordination, then Muse can only shrug and say "Well, you suck at our game, what can we do". On the other hand this calls for long needed GAME MODES (mandatory?) TUTORIAL.

Offline IntrepidFusion

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2016, 01:03:33 pm »
The matches I played of Skyball were very competitive, intense, and quite thrilling.  I like the game mode and I agree with improving it, if it needs to be.

In my second game I did take notice of the issue of spawn points.  As explained, killing enemies effectively teleports them to where you don't want them to be.  In a certain 4v4 Skyball match I was in, with team leader atruejedi, we were able to win within ten minutes by keeping a number of the opposing team's ships locked down, disabled with hwachas.  In a game where much of the thrill is blowing up things, and I've heard that killing ships is Muse-sanctioned for Skyball, I agree this is... odd?  Weird?  Should be changed.


I have one thought to note.  The way things currently are I can see a reason why killing ships, as in Kill-Build Ships are recommended: You could use Kill ships to camp the enemy goal/spawn to keep respawning enemies dead.  BUT this actually doesn't work, since additional spawns are placed in various scattered locations around but not in the goal, and enemy ships could just spawn there instead.  So there is no reason to have a Kill Ship controlling the enemy goal if the enemy can and will spawn elsewhere.


Anyway I support atruejedi's suggestions.  I present the idea, though, that instead of placing all the spawns in the middle, that each team's spawns can still be kept on each team's side of the map since that's more straightforward, just NOT right next to / so close to the goal.  The idea is to get them away from the goal to prevent the indefinite team-swapping - as the others have explained, it's a very, very good idea.

Offline Richard LeMoon

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2016, 05:25:57 pm »
OK, so, summary:

3 points minimum. Could go higher if matches are taking too long.

KOTH Goal blocking (can't capture if equal number of foes and allies on the point.)

Move spawns to center and corners. Center spawns are 'shared', corners are not. Corner spawns would spawn you facing your own goal. Center spawns could face the center of the map (facing East or West), or the enemy goal, with maybe one facing your own goal. (Note to self, tell Muse to indicate which direction ships will spawn on all maps)

X    G    X
XXX
XGX

Capture time gained is not lost until one or the other team fully captures the ball. Capping to 99% will stay at 99% until finished or ball respawns upon score.

20 minute timer just in case. Ties at 20 minutes create 'sudden death' instant captures.
---OR---
Progressively lower the capture time the longer the match takes, with big, bold notifications of "POINT CAPTURE TIME REDUCED!" (instead of lowering points, which might be confusing). At 20 minutes, captures are instant. Games end more quickly, and as the 20 minutes mark approaches....

























Offline Atruejedi

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2016, 06:24:25 pm »
[good ideas]

Works for me! But Muse played a "good," "short" Skyball match that only lasted 12 minutes in the dev games today. It wasn't an actually good game by any means, but since it was only 12 minutes Muse will think nothing's wrong with Skyball. Rose-tinted glasses 'n' all. Red team beat the shit out of Blue and Blue couldn't even get a kill at their own goal AT WHICH THEY SPAWN. It was a buffet for Red. It was absolutely embarrassing how incompetent Blue was :'( And with 2 goals as the threshold for victory, they never stood a chance to get their shit together... :-\

Offline IntrepidFusion

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Re: How to Fix Skyball
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2016, 06:27:35 pm »
Red team beat the shit out of Blue and Blue couldn't even get a kill at their own goal AT WHICH THEY SPAWN. It was a buffet for Red. It was absolutely embarrassing how incompetent Blue was :'( And with 2 goals as the threshold for victory, they never stood a chance to get their shit together... :-\