I gave this matter some thought and I would like to propose a total new idea. But in order to present the new idea I need to give a bit of background:
One of the major themes in RR2 world is that in spite of the simplicity of the game, you can apply a lot of strategy. Most of this strategy comes into play during war. When you figure out a new strategy and it works - the feeling is unmatched by anything else. The reverse is also true, that is when an opponent applies a new strategy on you, the frustration know no bounds. I was on both sides of this fence. I was extremely thrilled when a new strategy works and was extremely frustrated when an opponent applied a new strategy on me - (to the point that I have made a few abuse submissions to Flare about these “bad tactics”). The higher your alliance goes up into the leader-board, the more “good strategies” or “bad tactics” comes into play. And here is the “catch 22” situation: As Flare fixes these “loopholes” - the options to apply different strategies to the game is reduced and limited and it becomes impossible to outwit another alliance - it is only a matter of the strongest alliance will always win. I will give a few examples of strategy:
1. Some alliances works in pairs. There will be a start-up alliance that is “open”. When a player join and he is identified as a good player, he is recruited into a higher level alliance. Going forward with this strategy a lot of options open up:
a.The stronger alliance can provide gold to the weaker alliance.
b. The weaker alliance can provide gems to the stronger alliance (and visa versa)
c. More alliances can be added to the group, each with a different purpose.
d. Soldiers can be moved between these alliances according to different strategies.
e. Some alliances can be used to disrupt the war. This is done by moving all players to another alliance during the war. This movement, depending on the timing can change everything during a war.
2. When a war starts, the first thing most alliances do is to see who can be pinned (or cornered) against a wall. This will be done first. The moment an alliance is pinned, that alliance can only attack one alliance always. This provide that alliance with a lot of sculls. The term “farming” is used to describe this tactic
3. When a war starts, the strongest two alliances might negotiate an agreement of how the war is going to go. It is agreed on the first day who will be the winner and who will win the most skulls. Sometimes these agreements are broken - this is also a strategy.
The above 3 examples can look like “bad tactics” or like “good strategy” depending how you look at it. Dena4 has made this suggestion :
" I would say, change war system, no need to declare wars, fight every team twice during war season, like a regular competition. Every day you have two wars during a war season. Then you can give up against an opponent by not fighting them. They still can attack you. No more 4-6 wars on one day. "
If this rule is applied, it will make everything “fare and square”. It will also remove 99% of strategy options during war time. This will really frustrate the Russians and most of the top ranking alliances (they always do the unexpected during wars and uses “bad tactics” and / or “good strategy”). In this set-up - during the first 30 minutes everyone will know who the winner is going to be. No one will go through the trill of “we are going to win”, and then the frustration when suddenly you “loose everything”.
Another options is to remove this “cool down” effect that is currently implemented - that is - if a soldier change alliances during war, he cannot fight for 60 hours but can be attacked by all. This will really make things interesting because new strategies are possible. You can move players around to ensure a victory. This is also very bad, because for some alliances this is going to feel like “cheating” and “bad tactics” .
How do you fix a “catch 22” problem?
I have spend days, weeks, months of my life in meetings, committees, workshops where I worked with the best brains in the world to solve “catch 22” problems. The moment you choose to go in one direction, you immediately alienate the other party. Each side has convincing arguments and in the end you must admit that both sides are correct. No matter what you choose, one side is going to loose big time. In software - there exist a very simple solution to this problem. It is so simple that it is really hard to except it at first. You will say “it can not be that simple!”. Some say “it can not work and it will not work”. But it always works.
The answer is: Implement both solutions and let the user (or client) choose for himself.
So here is my suggestion: Add a settings screen that the leader can select the war conditions he is willing to accept. For a start I will propose the following:
1. Can soldiers leave during the war? (yes/no)
2. Fight everyone once? (yes/no)
3. Can soldiers be added during war? (yes/no)
Note the following:
The more restricted a leader chooses the answers, the less strategy is possible and the more predictable the war will be. (This option will mostly be used by lower level alliances). With less strategy, war is going to be more straight forward and the rewards should also be less.
The less restricted a leader chooses the answers, the more strategy is possible and the less predictable the war will be. The rewards for using more open rules should be bigger during this war.
When the war starts, first match alliances with the same options and then use the default matchmaking algorithm.
The war rewards depend directly on the above choices. (This gives even more room for strategy)
Why this solution will work?
This will protect starting alliances from “bad tactics”.
This provide a path where an alliance can gradually build and choose to be exposed to more war options.
In the life of an alliance there is building time (where you want to level up and use fewer boosts). There is fighting time, (where you activate all possible boosts always). The above war options will allow an alliance leader to better manage both these times
The top alliances only have one rule - win using any and all possible means. As Flare fixes the “bad tactics” and so called “loopholes” submitted by paying clients (or rather remove the “good tactics options”) the only other option left to win, is to spend money, money and money… Some will not think this is bad, but if you read the forum and what the top players are saying, there is sure a lot of people that screams about this.
It looks and sounds like a lot of top alliances wants to quit this game and move to other games. I think this solution should remove a lot of the frustration of these players. I believe that the root cause of their frustration is the fact that the only strategy left in the game is to use lots of money.
I think that RR2 can be the best game of all time - but it is very clear that something major needs to be changed at the top levels of the game. This solution is that change - just do it!
This is the only win-win solution. It works well, I have used it many times.
Any comments are very welcome (even if you do not agree)