Forums / Miscellaneous Discussions / The Myth of Greatness

The Myth of Greatness
06:05:07 Oct 2nd 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Areion):

I was bored the other day, so I decided to put this together because I was curious.

Below are era wins by races. Winning an era doesn't make you great and score isn't end-all-be-all, but it is an easier statistic to measure.

I broke them down to "Halfing Exploit Eras" (HEE) and to "Post-Halfling Exploit" (PHE).

A halfling exploit was considered such when an individual had 40+ sci's. Is this possible with normal gameplay?...potentially, but most likely not. A good Halfing can should top out at 26-27 sci's naturally. This was only done for Fantasia.

The findings show that during the HEE a full 47% of all era winners were Halflings. These were no farmers either, as the avg. for them was 2m killed - 58 cities captured - 102 battles fought.

In the PHE the Halfling has only won Fantasia 14% of the time. The new king? Orc at 55%. Though AoTD is not an exploit, I would argue that this clearly shows AoTD to be too powerful in the current meta of the game since Orc is the King of AoTD.

Why is the title "The Myth of Greatness"? Well...because a full 34% of HEE wins and 47.5% of HEE Halfling wins were through exploit usage. I purposefully did not tally names - you can go look yourself if you want to, but a significant number of those exploit wins were by people considered "Great" and "Legendary" today.

I'm not saying those players were not good, just that their reputation may not be what it is today without exploit usage. This is also proof of why knowledge hording led to "great" players to seeming be godly. The great KDs/players of the past hoarded their VU knowledge - which put them in a significant advantage over their peers who may have lacked it.


06:28:05 Oct 2nd 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

Great Players always take advantage of exploitable game mechanics.

I think youre correct but I would argue that the playstyle for Troll for instance isn't reflected on the scoreboard in the same way that Human is, for instance.

AOTD needs a nerf.

The most recent changes to AOTD just weakened Elf and buffed AOTD Nazgul even further.

Also the game also had more active development 10+ years ago so the great players of the past could prove their greatness across multiple versions of the game, game mechanics got stale in 'The Fifth Era' and have remained rather unchanged for almost 10 years.

06:42:04 Oct 2nd 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Flupperpop):

I think a leading "consensus" is that AoTD itself is fine, it's the AoTD Chain that is the issue.

A simple fix for this is how AoTD brings units from the dead. Instead of units becoming instantly available, they should instead become injured first, and then recover from there as regularly. 

This keep AoTD the powerful spell that it currently is, doesn't nerf it, but ensures that Orc is no longer an indestructible machine of death. It will be more like Troll now, which can AoTD and benefit greatly from it, but can't chain other armies to death.

This doesn't nerf anyone per se, but it does allow non-AoTD armies to compete now.

06:55:18 Oct 2nd 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

Agreed, the AoTD chaining mechanics should be changed (fixed)

06:56:43 Oct 2nd 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

In it's current state AoTD chaining is far too strong with Nazgul specifically and is one of the big reasons it should be nerfed.

AoTD is a cool spell and should still exist/be a powerful tool but the ability to AoTD chain down armies with Nazgul makes Orc too strong and Dwarf/Halfling too weak in the late-era

07:23:43 Oct 2nd 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Ahura Mazda):

Agreed, especially since it would still allow Naz to be very powerful since they will still be super easy to conserve with AoTD. Just you'll need 2-3 naz armies now to do what 1 person can now. Which is fair.

13:36:46 Oct 2nd 22 - Percy (Sir Percy The Arma Caster):

Great players can take advantage of game mechanics, but when itís an obvious bug in the game that is never relayed to the admin to fix, thatís when it becomes an exploit. It existed for a long time, and since no one told ZeTa why the Halfling could get so much XP, his only option was to Nerf finds into the dirt. 

Had anyone had half a mind to key ZeTa into the issue, I think halfling would still be a dynamic race to this day and have good finds. There are two entities at fault for this. 1) The ďold guardĒ for not doing their part to keep the game healthy. 2) ZeTa for not having a good enough logging system to track what was happening even when he knew something fishy was going on.

When Penguin and I let ZeTa know about the exploit 2 years ago, it was a super simple fix and fully resolved the Halfer XP issue. Just took someone to actually say something and he fixed it same day.

20:25:14 Oct 2nd 22 - Mr. Plebeian Cyrone:

I love this thread. I've been there at the beginning and end of many great PvP games and one thing I can tell you is that at the start of a games life cycle, there are many players who achieve great success simply because they find the overpowered stuff before everyone else does and they take advantage of that. There is nothing wrong with that because finding those things before everyone else does is a skill in itself. I am usually one of those players myself. However, it is because of this that I have a great deal more respect for the players that are godly at the END of the games life cycle (or when there are no more patches, etc.)

In my opinion, when the meta is almost completely figured out, it is much harder to be a great player. There are less novice players around to easily beat. Knowledge that once only belonged to top players becomes common knowledge. Exploitive mechanics are most likely patched out. The skill floor in general greatly raises. Quite simply, you need to be much better than the average player was at the start of the games life cycle. It's usually easier to get better at that point because the information is all there, but it requires great mechanics to be the best at the end as opposed to the beginning. I've seen this time and time again in game after game. Usually the only games this does not apply to are games where there is an extremely large population or there is big money involved; I think in these cases this is usually because the top .2% of players move on to greener pastures because they are just naturally talented gamers and can find "fame" or "wealth" in newer more fresh games... but that is literally less than 1% of players this applies to (in this games case it would be people like Binh or Barny or someone like that which I hear about all the time).

I think a lot of the players who are top 5ish now underestimate their own skill relative to how good they perceive people might have been back in the day. I'm sure there were 1-3 players who were extremely good and above the rest, which would still be among the best now; that .2% of players I mentioned earlier. However, other than that, I'd bet my last dollar the best players now would absolutely crush the better players of the old days. A lot of you guys are really good at this game and don't give yourselves enough credit. 

21:49:18 Oct 2nd 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

It takes more 'skill' to be better at a 'solved' game or a game with a more developed metagame.

Comparing players in a 'solved' game to the players that came before them is like comparing apples to oranges.

You can't compare a Starcraft Broodwar player like Jaedong to a modern Broodwar player because modern Broodwar players might be 'better now' than he was but they wouldnt have been 'better' than Jaedong if they played during the era and time period were Jaedong was superior.

Being good at anything requires a certain amount of talent and commitment.

It's hard to judge aptitude in an environment where everything has been 'figured out' but you can often judge talent based on results.

Many if not most of the players who are around today played the game during the start of The Fifth Era/Age when ZeTa introduced new game mechanics and simply failed to 'solve' the game in the way that 'the greats of past ages' did.

Figuring out WHAT is good requires a different skillset than figuring out how to maximize use of those mechanics.

I always say that Pure is the best player of all time because he was able to 'figure out' what was good before anyone else and was also able to maximize it in a way that would still be competitive to this day.

22:00:18 Oct 2nd 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Flupperpop):

Well the issue is that most players around today who played then were in middle school.

I was like 13 years old and literally logged on twice a day. Take that against someone who is maybe 16, or heck 20, and then you have a significant advantage in maturity (as in problem solving).

Definitely agree about people building in others knowledge. On the other hand, I agree with cyrus too - the average player today is leagues ahead of then.

It's a bit like the scientific world. The geniuses of the past would be considered children today in their knowledge, they would still be geniuses today, but they definitely wouldn't "shine" as brightly. 

01:57:51 Oct 3rd 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

Fair point

05:23:30 Oct 3rd 22 - Mr. Fcukr:

Fck me you lot can talk the biggest load of bollocks

16:18:42 Oct 3rd 22 - Lord Jellybean (Mr. Karmatic):

Wow, didn't realize so few dwarf wins *eyes emoji* lol ^_^

Tbf, suprised so few trolls, I always thought trolls were quite scary on the battlefield (with aotd)

16:54:22 Oct 3rd 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Ahura Mazda):

Trolls are scary and really efficient, but Trolls are also probably one of the worst races for score pumping at the end of the era.

These days not too many people play Dwarf, especially those looking to "win" since they are by far the worst AoTD out there. They also are difficult to place into an era. Are they OOP? Early Era? Mid? Late? Worst magic race. In all of those stages Dwarf is bottom half in general effectiveness. 

22:43:14 Oct 3rd 22 - Lady Jasmina:

Wins do not really show who the best players of game were, but they were all playing Halfers and therefore score really high. Scores have been broken for many years. 

Binh is not considered the best cause of era wins but because of his high game knowledge and extreme activity. I remember when I first made kingdom Collective and we were 12 and Binh core dropped us. We lost to 1 player, and we were certain more people were running his account. He did not go offline in 3 rl days for more than 1:50 h of sleep. It all started the multi share Collective did that got us banned, thinking we canít beat cheating without cheating. Later I found out he really did wake up after hour 50 minites for VU and as soon as he married he quit VU, no woman will allow that.

I also noticed all these elite top players have another quality they share, which is greed. Its pretty rare to see Binh or those guys skip cities for others to take. But its just the way game was played then? There was also a time in the game when if Halfer got exp era is over. Before the fix, and it was 99% Bogdan wins. You could argue everyone knew that and others could try get exp, bit fact is it was almost always him. Time in the game when hitting enemy and bouncing him meant your death later on. Never really played with either, except era or two, one of my regrets in my VU career

01:06:21 Oct 4th 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

Binh taught me the 1:50 sleep strategy, he even told me it was more effective than my 1:55 sleep strategy because it gives you more time to 'wake up'. 

He really did wake up for basically every tick.

All great players use 'greed' because being ambitious moves the ball forward.

I still remember getting nagged at by Quietone years and years ago in iPWN for refusing to skip cities/leave anything for Warlock. You have to move fast to be effective. Time is a resource.

Troll is one of the best races in the game. 
Berserkers match up extremely well against Nazgul. Troll is a 'slow' race though- slow to farm up (they are THE farming race), slow to train, slow to get sciences, and they cannot seize upon opportunity or maneuver in the same way Orc's can.

Ultimately Troll fails to win eras though because Hobgoblin and Rockthrowers dont score highly and Warlords and Berserkers are not effective for score pumping.

ZeTa should really fix AOTD Nazgul and make it so that AOTD brings back dead units as injured units. It would be a huge buff to Elf and Troll and it would still leave AOTD as a viable and useful tool.

01:23:13 Oct 4th 22 - Percy (Sir Percy The Arma Caster):

Fun fact: hobgoblins and rockthrowers score the same as other T1 and T2 troops :D they just cost so much more per unit you donít get as many of them. This is why Halfling and Dwarf score so well, they have quantity of troops.

03:40:06 Oct 4th 22 - Konstant (The Ancient Ahura Mazda):

There's tactical advancement and then there's pure greed. It's one thing if you're a solo who broke through and need to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible and a team attack, yet one person still takes EVERYTHING. There's nothing "great" about pure greed. Those types of people are frequently the most insecure in themselves.

With dynamic econ, at least now, it's much more efficient for multiple people to take land, as the benefits diminish greatly for a single person per take. This is a big reason why KDs led by egoists hamstring themselves - much like in real life.

04:45:42 Oct 4th 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

@Percy I didn't know it worked like that

@Konstant AGREED, it's far more beneficial to split land and have 1-2 players  on late-era races who capture "good land" (Large well-built mines and farms)

There is a certain point where land even takes your income into the negatives if you capture too much 'bad land' as was evident during the first era of the fifth age so many years ago due to land upkeep being static but production being 'dynamic'

The most interesting but under-utilized game mechanic is that razing 'bad land' can actually send your income up- like razing down captured mines that dont have a production bonus from mountains.

19:51:09 Oct 4th 22 - Prince Charmer:

I know a few people who are disabled in rl who use games as a way to experience all the things they are not able in real. Should not judge people without having all the information.

22:14:40 Oct 4th 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

I used to wake up for every tick because I didn't want to let Kingdom members or the Kingdom down, it was less about protecting my own reputation and more about wanting the kingdom to win. I think later in life it negatively affected my sleep health, but at the time I didn't really consider that because I was a teenager.

19:07:42 Oct 5th 22 - Dark Spawn (Lord Dark Spawn):

Its not worth losing sleep over this game, especially since you get nothing when you win. If there were rewards, gold or something, or even a star next to your name that only winners can get. Or star next to kingdom name when kd wins, it would be cool to see stars next to kingdoms.

19:22:23 Oct 5th 22 - Mr. Plebeian Cyrone:

Winning in this game is absolutely meaningless (most of the time); it is not a direct reflection of skill. Scores and statistics mean NOTHING without knowing the context behind them (as this thread aims to tell us). Many era wins seem to be from players who just farm all era and proceed to waltz down and clean up a war that's already been won. I do think the farmer is a valuable role that is necessary to win. I also think cleaning up like that is necessary quite often. I don't think those farmer players deserve to be the "winner" of the entire era.

However, I also don't think OOP players who go afk after their fun time deserve to win either. I don't think any individual deserves to win to be honest. Individual "wins" incentivize terrible awful greedy play. Without a much more complex scoring system that accounts for many hidden, subtle externalities, I think wins should just go to kingdoms instead of individuals. If it can't be kingdoms winning, players within the winning kingdom should be able to vote on who the most valuable player was (this system would be bad too for other reasons honestly). Changes like this can never happen in this game because its been the way it is for so long, but man, I hate the way this game assesses who the "winners" are. Changing that now is just a fantasy now though, and I definitely understand how individual accolades cause players to want to play harder.

01:46:10 Oct 6th 22 - Konspyre (Captain Zakum):

The true reality is that nobody ever wins, except Zeta ....

06:16:12 Oct 6th 22 - Matthew (Chief Trogdar):

He refuses to sell the game for decades which is either a big win or a big loss

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