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April 2017 Design Spotlight

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  • April 2017 Design Spotlight

    Hey everyone, I’m Mike Engle, a Senior Designer on DomiNations. Today’s design spotlight covers a new Alliance feature, some changes to Tactics, and a change to address stalemates in World Wars.

    Friendly Challenges

    In this update we’re introducing Friendly Challenges, where you challenge members of your Alliance to try to defeat your base. These friendly battles won’t result in either the attacker or the defender losing troops or resources. Challenges are a great way to try a fresh base layout or to test your mettle as an attacker without worrying about losing expensive troops, tactics, troop tactics, blessings, etc.

    To create a Challenge, tap the Challenge button at the bottom of your Alliance Chat. You’ll get to pick one of your base layouts (including War Bases), set a description, and then post it in chat. Everyone in your Alliance can then make one attack against it. These attacks are then tallied up on a results leaderboard, which shows you how well they did and allows you to view the attack replays.

    A new Challenge may be posted every 10 minutes, allowing you to make some changes to your base after you see how it works and then repost it with the revised layout. Challenges last up to 24 hours, but if you repost a new one before then, it replaces the old Challenge.


    The next change is the introduction of Tactics Capacity. This works just like Troop Capacity but for Tactics. Betrayal, Sabotage, and Protect will now require 2 Tactics Capacity instead of 1. Our goal is that all Tactics feel like they’re worth bringing, and both the internal data and community feedback showed this wasn’t currently the case.

    We briefly considered reducing the power of these Tactics or increasing the power of the other Tactics. The first option (reducing their power) just made these Tactics feel dramatically weaker than they are now, which wasn’t as fun. The second option was a problem because we couldn’t actually buff the other Tactics like Barrage and First Aid enough to balance them without making them wildly overpowered.

    This is the first of many changes coming this year which will improve the balance between offense and defense. Currently, according to our data and play experience, attackers have a strong advantage, especially in later Ages. This makes defensive decisions less compelling and can make it challenging to successfully guard your resources. We hope that by improving defenses, players will find attacks more challenging and engaging, and will also find more value in the defensive aspects of the game.

    The Enlightenment Age rank of the War Academy (rank 5) is being changed to provide +1 Tactics Capacity (previously it was +0). This is being done mostly to address the fact that the buildings previous 2 ranks also provided +0 (meaning there were three ranks in a row with no increase). Remember this isn’t meant to offset the new capacity requirements of Tactics because our goal is to improve balance between offense and defense.

    Fewer World War Stalemates

    Lastly, we’ve improved World Wars by adding Elapsed Battle Time as a second tie-breaker. Wars are still won by earning more Stars than the other alliance. If that’s a tie, then Average Destruction is still the first tie-breaker. However if that’s also a tie, then the team with the shorter (better) Elapsed Battle Time is declared the winner.

    So the objectives in a war, in order of importance are:
    1. Stars
    2. Destruction
    3. Elapsed Time

    This also applies to individual battles. For example:
    1. Alfred attacks a war base and earns 4 stars and 80% destruction in 2:00 minutes flat.
    2. Bob attacks that same base and earns 4 stars and 88% destruction in 2:30 minutes. While his time is worse (he took longer) than Alfred’s, he achieved better destruction and so his attack is the new best attack.
    3. Carla then attacks that same base and gets the same 4 stars and 88% destruction, but does it in 1:30 minutes. Her attack becomes the new best attack because it tied on stars and destruction but was a shorter attack (less elapsed time).
    4. Denise makes a final attack for her Alliance and earns 5 stars and 100% destruction in 3:00 mins. Her attack becomes the new best attack because it earned more stars.
    Remember that for winning the overall war, Stars are what matter most. So even though Denise’s attack had a pretty slow time (3:00 mins) you would always want her 5 stars over the 4 star attack, because if your alliance earns just 1 more Star than the opposing alliance, your alliance wins the war.

    That wraps up this design spotlight. As always, it’s great to hear back from you all regarding these upcoming features so if you have any comments or concerns please leave them below.

  • #2
    "Tactical limit adjustment!

    Here is an update on tactical limits. This update adds a tactical space and increases the tactical space of betrayal, sabotage, and protection tactics from 1 to 2."

    It will make the game less fun, games are supposed to be fun.

    "Currently our game data and experience show that the attacker always has a bigger advantage, which gets worse in the latter half of the decade. This reduces choice in defense and makes it more difficult to keep resources effectively. We want to emphasize the importance and fun of defending, while improving the defense tactics so that monarchs can be more challenging to attack."

    Obviously no one at BHG or Nexon plays Dominations. You'll still lose your resources, only now you'll get a shorter peace treaty. That means you'll lose even more resources. Less tactics just means more players will resort to using raiders and take your resources without giving you any Peace Treaty at all.
    Last edited by SebQuattro; 04-19-2017, 07:28 AM.


    • #3
      I dont really like it, but I would try to give it a chance if it werent for the horrible sandbagging issues we are already facing. This and the new tiebreakers make wars nearly impossible without removing normal paying/talented/prepared players, and replacing them with IronAgeAlt 1-6. Seemed like there could be many more 'more fun' ways to address this than just reduce what we can have. But like I said, willing to give it a shot if it came with a fix to the horrid matchmaking situation we have now.

      This update is eliminating stalemates by a time tiebreaker - good on paper but it means our only possible neutral outcome against sandbagging teams is taken away. On top of that, we will now go into sandbagging matches with a reduced offensive capacity to cover the massive gap in level.

      It is making it almost impossible in the game, to bring your strongest roster and still be competitive, bringing your best most talented lineup is horribly punished. You are being forced to bring undeveloped accounts to manipulate their horrid matching system in order to have any sort of competitive match. Its crazy.
      Last edited by S_How; 04-20-2017, 06:57 AM.
      Proud member of ProdigalThieves


      • SebQuattro
        SebQuattro commented
        Editing a comment
        I could live with the change if matchmaking was improved, but they've made if clear they want quick match-ups rather than good match ups. You'll have a much harder time against a stronger alliance.

        Then there's the sandbagging...

      • Master Contrail Program
        Editing a comment
        I'm going to get my 1000 war stars and be done with wars. I'm a late-IA who is ranked anywhere from 2nd to 5th in all of our wars due to most of my atomic and global allies rushing everything. I hold my own just fine against most globals and atomics, but now?

        Between the crappy, non-scaling loot rewards, and the poor matchmaking in the name of expediency(which completely ignores the 47 hours we waste in poorly-matched wars, either as the heavy favorite or underdog), and the fact that they seem hell-bent on giving the most obtuse solutions to problems of thrir own making. It's just not worth it.

    • #4
      In your opinion. Don't forget to add that part. Fun is very much subjective, and I would definitely like this change. I never liked how people bypass all the important defenses in a base with sabotages. Changing the balance away from that is a good thing in my opinion.


      • poop_
        poop_ commented
        Editing a comment
        But, what if you get matched with a higher opponent in war?

        What if there entire other side is on average an age above your own? What the f*ck are you supposed to do?

        Use barrage?

        I would like to see those videos!

      • Manifesto
        Manifesto commented
        Editing a comment
        Agree that bypassing important defences with sabotage sucks, Nexon could've left the capacity alone and limited the max number of any one type of tactic to 2 or 3.

      • Bobortvogel
        Bobortvogel commented
        Editing a comment
        Manifesto- I like and agree with your comment. It would have been better to try your suggestion first.

    • #5
      I wish they would have just fixed the other tactics to be useful. Maybe even nerf sabotage so it's not as obvious a choice, but making all the "good" tactics take 2 slots is pretty extreme. It also will make the brandenburg gate essential. Nobody in their right mind will use any other wonder, at least for war attacks.

      Demolition used to be useful, but with all the hp buffs in AA, you need 2 or 3 of them to take out most buildings, so nobody uses it.

      First aid is only used with heavy tank attacks. It needs to be buffed so that it's useful for small hitpoint units too, otherwise it's a niche tactic.

      Decoys is ok, but the old version was better. The radius is so small that you have to be very careful where you put it. If it's near an anti-tank tower, the decoys are destroyed almost instantly.

      Barrage is ok, but it needed a bit more damage so it can reliably take out defenders. It's just too random right now.


      • #6
        This change will only encourage more alliances to start sandbagging. If they are unable to win, they will look for easier opponents. And sandbagging is the quickest and easiest way to achieve that. It will probably drive a lot of players away from the game too. It's a shame they bend over backwards for small fraction of players/alliances and decide to screw over majority.


        • #7
          I quite like the idea. It's going to force everyone to rethink their strategy and make the game feel like it's brand new.
          Now, just get rid of the extra troops cards and the bazooka tower!!

          The 1st Dynasty


          • #8
            Make defenses more fun? You don't play defense. Allowing people to place multiple bazooka towers would make defenses more ''fun'', wouldn't make for a better game though. This is idiotic.

            So my standard 4 sabo, 1 protect now becomes 2 sabos and........? And all the time I've spent in uni upgrading them loses half its value, just because.

            I'm with the other posters. How about making the other tactics actually useful instead of nerfing the ones that are?

            Tactics during raids are already limited by their lengthy build times. So this ''problem'' is once again driven by the people at the very top of the game complaining about wars

            An options checklist before a war search would allow the truly hardcore to look for whatever kind of war they want, while leaving the rest of us free to play the game. Check a box that says tactics on/off before doing a search if that's how you want to play it.
            Last edited by Master Contrail Program; 04-19-2017, 09:40 AM.
            Real Drinkers: The More You Drink The Better We Look!

            All ages welcome. (Hmm, that doesn't sound right somehow.)

            Sense of humor desired, staying active required, to the leaderboard we've aspired, and now this rhyme shall be retired.

            Come grow with us!


            • Arya_Dominations
              Arya_Dominations commented
              Editing a comment
              I play defense. I spend hours to come up with creative bases, and to review the bases of my allies. Still it is discouraging to spend half a month on a mortar uprade, when the whole base is going to be sabbed anyways.
              Now defenses, warbases layouts will be even more crucial to win wars. Good move.
              And wars are never static, in the real world. Technologies changes, thus strategies change.
              Intelligent players will make the best use of what they have.
              They will adapt.
              I expect to see a lot of decoy usage, and some demolition.

            • Master Contrail Program
              Editing a comment
              You don't play defense though. You may spend a lot of times tweeking things, but you don't actually defend. Different strokes, but this idea is stupid, imho.

          • #9
            Yeah, sucks for those of us who spent months of research in the uni and possibly thousands of crowns upgrading our sabo tactics, only for them to be nerfed.


            • #10
              Eh sabo duration in the uni is even more important with the change, because right now if a TC sab expires you just pop a new one, while after the change you won't have that luxury, and that one sab will have to last till TC is down


              • #11
                I feel like this change has potential but only if sandbagging is fixed too. I feel like they are just side stepping their way to fixing sandbagging instead of just going straight to it. This change will definitely create a new layer of challenge to the game because now you will have to be much more strategic with your sabo on TC, and if this increases the chances of tc popping and out come the howies then this will be a huge game changer. But again if sandbagging isnt fixed then this change really doesnt effect much other than making it more difficult for you to take on a base that you shouldnt have been match with anyways. Plus this does nothing with regard to using the other tactics (barrage, heal, demo) so maybe something needs to happen to them too, so they are more useful. For starters, maybe barrage can have an increase in radius when upgraded...


                • #12
                  Nexon, here's an alternative idea:

                  Instead of changing how many tactic slots they occupy, change how long they take to train. If these tactics were to take twice as long to train, they will be used less often in multiplayer but with less negative effect on war. Also means more crowns spent on rushing tactic training = more money for you.


                  • Quovatis
                    Quovatis commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'd like the opposite, actually. Generals and tactics are rarely used in multiplayer because they are so expensive to train. Wish they were faster so the whole game experience is with every attack, not just world war.

                  • JNation
                    JNation commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Or maybe different tactics take different length of time to train, similar to troops. So something like protect and heal could be trained faster than betrayal or decoy...

                  • Master Contrail Program
                    Editing a comment
                    I agree with you about generals, Quovatis. They're merely expensive defenders and ornaments with their ridiculous cost and recovery times.

                    Reducing tactic build times would make saving for huge oil upgrades more of a chore than it is. As it is now, I only ever get hit by 5 tactic war-style assaults which give me a lengthy treaty. Or the moto/wall miner/tank ballets which are frustrating but fascinating to watch at the same time. Not many can successfully pull it off.

                    Theoretically, every attack against me could be a 5 tactic attack but the cost/benefit ratio comes into play with how things are now. Having to be able to set aside a few hours to play, to get ahead of any potential losses due to faster tactics doesn't seem appealing. The game is a grindfest enough as it is

                • #13
                  This appears to be an ill-conceived idea by people looking at data, rather than those who actually play the game on a meaningful level. I'm kind of shocked by this news tbh. With atomic, the university, and strongholds the shift to def has already been dramatic, and will continue to swing in that direction as more players develop. This will make it near impossible imo. and with no fix to matchmaking/sandbagging, goodbye fun. It's hard enough already attacking up 30 levels on avaerage as a team every war, now this?!!!

                  Offense is fun and strategic. Beating your head against a wall with half the tactics at our dispoal just doesnt seem fun to me? And isn't this just perfect, a fix to a problem no one really seems to have. I can't imagine taking on a 230 base as a 180 that has fully loaded stronghold, pentagon, and a zook tower now... and dropping a bunch of decoy's all over the map seems super lame and unskilled to me, but that will inevitably be the only answer...


                • #14
                  Another pay2win change, now you need to deploy troop cards almost every time you are attacking lvl220+ This will introduce loads of frustration, when people start averaging less stars than usual. I already quit world war because of the Stronghold pay2win introduction, more people will follow from frustration.


                  • #15
                    What is the source for this news? I don't see any changes in game, and it wasn't in the March state of the nations, or the recent Q&A that I could find, or anywhere else when I searched the forum.