A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

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Uruguay Crove
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

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Post by Crove »

I believe the smelly thing behind the curtains is that developers long ago abandoned that ship (the competitive one).

As others pointed out before: aoe3 always was a quite complex game from a competitive standpoint. It was born as an experimental (and not-so-polished) mashup of strategy games mechanics, that somehow worked with much love from the community. (Don't wrong me, I fucking love this game).

If that was a thing before DE (and its many favourable tweaks to the original mechanics), with the -imo- bizarre course that developers decided to take throughout all DLCs, it has drifted away to the actual place: where some older players feel alienated from ladders (and I bet that same fenomena is whithin newer-not-so-prone-to-lamming ones too).

For me it's clear that the strategy behind this developing course is not to make a competitive viable game (that ship has sailed away with the firsts DLCs being dropped so early with so many packed changes, before the new meta had oportunity to settle), but a fancy show of aestethics and historical concepts aimed to more casual kind of players (without intention of undervalidating them, I'm one myself).

Any chance to really bring back some sense to all of that, must be community sided. Deciding forcefully (and debating extensively) upon a new ruleset: focusing on some balance within deck-civi strategy and pure mechanics skillset. (Ofc probably with the blessing of Microsoft if still wanting to recieve some funds to make tourneys).

And don't worry about the show when making a tournamnet as someone pointed out. Show attract fast viewers, yes. But stable and understandable meta makes you stay longer whithin the community. The strategy to catch new audiences (if any is intended) must be played on other fields.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by iron_turtle »

I kind of agree with the post above. The game as a whole is now directed towards being a casual game with lots of historical references and hundreds of unique units, techs and buildings. For any semblance of competitive gameplay, there should be lots of banned cards, techs, maps and even civs. 20+ ultra unique civs with very little overlapping units and techs is a nightmare for balance.
I would be excited for limited civ pool tournaments tbh, like euro civs cup, or native civs cup or DE civs cup.

Also, ESOCDE patch maybe? :smile:
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by comradecommissar »

I've always believed that the priority in any strategy game should be game knowledge and not mechanics.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Goodspeed »

There's a difference between broad game knowledge and deep game knowledge. I think where a lot of competitive players lose interest in situations like this is they are forced into a breadth over depth approach when studying the game, even though they prefer and are used to depth over breadth. Another (related) effect competitive players dislike is that the little things (think small build optimizations, efficient vill micro etc) stop making a difference, or don't make as much difference as they used to, which levels the playing field by limiting the ways in which players can outplay their opponents.

A full-on mirror meta isn't great either and there have been plenty of those, but this is the other extreme and it's also bad. It's a spectrum, and optimal conditions are somewhere in the middle. Like I said in my earlier post, AoE3's design is pretty close to the middle but keeping it there proves difficult.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by FellFresse »

Weak players want a weak game to not get 24/7 humiliated by better players. Most people are weak players. Weak leadership, weak game.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by harcha »

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POC wrote:Also I most likely know a whole lot more than you.
POC wrote:Also as an objective third party, and near 100% accuracy of giving correct information, I would say my opinions are more reliable than yours.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

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Post by ShinkuroYukinari »

I think you people are being over-dramatic. The game is being re-vitalized again, people are messing around with new strats. This is good! Especially if the strats don't fall into the typical Rush, FF or Semi.
If you're having issues keeping track, maybe you need to sit down and learn about the game again and potential alternative approaches to it, it's not that hard. Then you can learn to counter, same as you learnt before.
If League/Dota players can keep track of 100+ heroes and items, you can keep track of 20 civs to a half decent degree at least.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Goodspeed »

Games that are a lot more competitive than AOE3, like LoL, have a lot more broken stuff in them and that's just an accepted part of the gaming lyfe. New content is always made to be broken, so that consoomers feel the need to consoom.
Well, then this is a chance for lower-level players to go for that big pot of money. Ez for Aizamk.
League is a 5v5 game with alternating champion picking, meaning if one team picks something strong the other team will almost always have the opportunity to either counter it or pick something also strong. It's uncommon for league games to start with one side having a decisive advantage over the other side based on which champions they picked (arguably it doesn't happen at all at the pro level), whereas in AoE3 if you have the right civ on the right map it's gg.

Also, the impact of adding new content to competitive play in league is insignificant compared to AoE3:
- Learning a new champion is much easier than learning a new civ
- Adding a 200th champion adds much less complexity to the game than adding a 15th civ
- Champion banning is a core part of any league game so if a new champion is really broken it will just get banned every time

In other words, league manages to be a competitive game despite balance issues for reasons that don't apply to AoE3.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by iNcog »

Crove wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 05:49
I believe the smelly thing behind the curtains is that developers long ago abandoned that ship (the competitive one).

As others pointed out before: aoe3 always was a quite complex game from a competitive standpoint. It was born as an experimental (and not-so-polished) mashup of strategy games mechanics, that somehow worked with much love from the community. (Don't wrong me, I fucking love this game).

If that was a thing before DE (and its many favourable tweaks to the original mechanics), with the -imo- bizarre course that developers decided to take throughout all DLCs, it has drifted away to the actual place: where some older players feel alienated from ladders (and I bet that same fenomena is whithin newer-not-so-prone-to-lamming ones too).

For me it's clear that the strategy behind this developing course is not to make a competitive viable game (that ship has sailed away with the firsts DLCs being dropped so early with so many packed changes, before the new meta had oportunity to settle), but a fancy show of aestethics and historical concepts aimed to more casual kind of players (without intention of undervalidating them, I'm one myself).

Any chance to really bring back some sense to all of that, must be community sided. Deciding forcefully (and debating extensively) upon a new ruleset: focusing on some balance within deck-civi strategy and pure mechanics skillset. (Ofc probably with the blessing of Microsoft if still wanting to recieve some funds to make tourneys).

And don't worry about the show when making a tournamnet as someone pointed out. Show attract fast viewers, yes. But stable and understandable meta makes you stay longer whithin the community. The strategy to catch new audiences (if any is intended) must be played on other fields.
I'll be the first to whine about the current design of new civilizations but my complaints are only directed towards competitive aoe3 taking the backseat. For anything else, the developers have been doing amazing work for aoe3. the population numbers are up and there is a ton of stuff for the new player in aoe3. this is absolutely fantastic. perhaps it's on third parties like esoc to work for the competitive aoe3 community instead of relying on devs.
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I just hope DE is not going to implement all of the EP changes. Right now it is a big clusterfuck.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by lordraphael »

i watched a few games of the finals and honestly it wasnt fun to watch at all. Compared to EP in its glory days it looked like shit.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Pedrownage »

For a casual player and Twitch streams enjoyer it was a great tournament!

I think a lot of old school players are kind of overwhelmed with a lot of new civs and maps being added. It is still competitive, just more on a game knowledge level than on a mechanical level. There is nothing wrong with this, the meta will evolve back to mechanics as soon no new civs are added and people get more familiar with the existing content. In the meantime, as suggested earlier in this thread, themed tournaments could definitely be a lot of fun for competitors and viewers.

In the long run balancing will continue and hopefully a community lead EP type balancing project is also made possible by devs. All in all this is a time of revival for aoe3 that is only going to get better!
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Squamiger »

ShinkuroYukinari wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 13:27
If League/Dota players can keep track of 100+ heroes and items, you can keep track of 20 civs to a half decent degree at least.
in professional league/dota, do tournaments require a certain number of unique matchups, or are players free to pick whatever they want?

i really think a zero-civ-rule, free pick tourney for aoe3 would rock. it would allow players to really hone in on the strongest meta, while still allowing surprises and upsets. i would much prefer a zero-civ-rules tourney to a thematic one that just limits the civs you can pick from.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by n0el »

Squamiger wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:14
ShinkuroYukinari wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 13:27
If League/Dota players can keep track of 100+ heroes and items, you can keep track of 20 civs to a half decent degree at least.
in professional league/dota, do tournaments require a certain number of unique matchups, or are players free to pick whatever they want?

i really think a zero-civ-rule, free pick tourney for aoe3 would rock. it would allow players to really hone in on the strongest meta, while still allowing surprises and upsets. i would much prefer a zero-civ-rules tourney to a thematic one that just limits the civs you can pick from.
The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

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Post by Hazza54321 »

If there game was competitive youd have the top players with good mechanics doing broken strats in everygame in every series. Right now you see quite poor mechanics laming the shit out of each other.

There hasnt been a single time where DE has been competitive due to the fact that theres always a particular strat that just straight up beats every other or that particular opponents civ has no answer to.

Minor efficiencies that separate the decent from the great are pretty much lost for the most part and that you dont need to be mechanically gifted to beat someone whos better than you.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Garja »

n0el wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:42
The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
This is far from the truth in practice.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by n0el »

@Garja care to elaborate?
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Garja »

It's not like the old days. There are way more civs so it's hard to figure out what's best and also the chance of civs just countering each other is pretty high.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Squamiger »

n0el wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:42

The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
thats the point, in response to the op-- if you want mechanics to be the deciding factor, allow players to mirror match the top civs over and over, don't force them to learn 20 different civs x 5 build orders each. i'd watch a tourney like that. rts is rts. i think there would still be interesting upsets.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Le Hussard sur le toit »

n0el wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:42
Squamiger wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:14
ShinkuroYukinari wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 13:27
If League/Dota players can keep track of 100+ heroes and items, you can keep track of 20 civs to a half decent degree at least.
in professional league/dota, do tournaments require a certain number of unique matchups, or are players free to pick whatever they want?

i really think a zero-civ-rule, free pick tourney for aoe3 would rock. it would allow players to really hone in on the strongest meta, while still allowing surprises and upsets. i would much prefer a zero-civ-rules tourney to a thematic one that just limits the civs you can pick from.
The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
The fact is right now there is no agreement on 1) what are the best civs and 2) what are the best BOs for those civs. I think even in a completely free picks tournament we would see quite a diverse number of strata and civs.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Goodspeed »

n0el wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:42
Squamiger wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:14
ShinkuroYukinari wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 13:27
If League/Dota players can keep track of 100+ heroes and items, you can keep track of 20 civs to a half decent degree at least.
in professional league/dota, do tournaments require a certain number of unique matchups, or are players free to pick whatever they want?

i really think a zero-civ-rule, free pick tourney for aoe3 would rock. it would allow players to really hone in on the strongest meta, while still allowing surprises and upsets. i would much prefer a zero-civ-rules tourney to a thematic one that just limits the civs you can pick from.
The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
If there is something as dominant as that, just ban it. Like the pre-EP ESOC tournaments where Otto and Iro were banned. That combined with free pick could bring competitive AoE3 to a somewhat playable state I think
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by alistairpeter »

I don't like banning main civs, as a viewer I want to see the players playing at their top game with their favorite civ. There are currently as many DE civs as vanilla civs, and I think pretty much every single one has been a little ridiculous.... they seem to get more than just one civ bonus every time, or too many insane shipments. On top of that they keep patching them and nerfing like one or two small things to nerf the current strats people are laming with them, when in reality the civs are just so strong they'll just make a new lame strat abusing something that hasn't been nerfed yet. From what I saw the level has dramatically declined from some of the esoc tournaments I've watched. I think some of the best tournaments I've watched were in the 2016 era, the unit control was just so much better, people knew how to use more than just attack move and that actually seemed to matter. Back in those days of the tournaments people knew exactly what to do, and the opponents were usually good enough to adapt to counter play and we would end up seeing some really good games. I think this is especially true about the china games I watched, I think people used to know how to exploit the civs many weaknesses, especially when people are playing age 2 or going with skirm wonder when it isn't necessary. I'm not saying any of the players who made it to the tournament were bad by any means, I'm just saying I've seen much more intense tournaments with stronger players. I also think the amount of hunts and gold is ridiculous, and makes containing less viable, and FI's more viable, you can pretty much get to industrial with in base hunts with minimal herding every game. Water seems to be so good that passing it up is a mistake; maybe this has always been the case, but the only time I ever found water was exciting was on New England. Watching the Africa games was kind of shocking to see how much they can still do after so many nerfs. With the random choices some of the matchups were simply unwinnable, but when someone did pull a win off in an unfavorable matchup that was nice to see. Overall I did enjoy the tournament, lots of nice/close games, I think it's just DE that I hate. But I don't think any of the players who competed in this tournament were on the same level as someone like H20. Would have loved to have seen some of the old top players come back, surprised that the only one from the 2019 LAN to come back was Snowww, but was nice to see his games as well. I think the Lan was more competitive than this tournaments, and the casters were more knowledgeable, but that is to be expected with all of the new civs. Long story short I'd say the competitive scene is high, but has been much higher. I also think a lot of players are able to compete competitively when they really shouldn't be just by laming De civs. I think it was sad to see the first half of the tournament be dominated by crabats every game, and honestly that's another good example of DE stuff just being ridiculous. Even after the nerf crabats have got to be one of the best outlaws currently, all of the outlaws released have been stronger than those available in TAD, same thing can be said of natives. Honestly, next time they make a civ they should just try to make it a D tier and it will probably still come out at least B. People like to say Italy and Malta aren't as OP, and maybe they aren't compared to the other DE civs, but overall I think every singe DE civ can fit in the top half (just about).
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

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Post by Goodspeed »

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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by alistairpeter »

there are stronger players in this post than there were in the actual tournament.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by n0el »

Goodspeed wrote:
31 Aug 2022, 08:00
n0el wrote:
30 Aug 2022, 23:42
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The balance isn't good enough for that. Whatever the most dominant civ / strat is would be replayed over and over like in the WCG days.
If there is something as dominant as that, just ban it. Like the pre-EP ESOC tournaments where Otto and Iro were banned. That combined with free pick could bring competitive AoE3 to a somewhat playable state I think
That is essentially what KOTOW was depending on your definition of free pick.
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Re: A reflection on the state of the competitive scene.

Post by Goodspeed »

Meaning people can freely pick their civ each game. I'm pretty sure that's not what it was, I recall reading somewhere people were forced to play certain civs. If it was free pick other than that and the broken stuff was banned, I'd say you're on the right track. But I wouldn't value the opinion of someone who is as much out of the loop as I am too highly

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