Monday Morning Meeting - January 23r ...
It’s Monday morning, so that means it’s time for the artists to slowly trickle into the back War Room for the weekly art review. It’s also time for the Monday Morning Meeting! Every Monday morning at 10:00am, the bots of Robot Entertainment collect in our Biergarten for an update all of our many projects and any other announcements we may have. While we can’t quite share all the notes from the Monday Morning Meeting, we are going to start having our own MMM right here on the Robot Blog. Every week we’ll be giving you updates on what’s going on with our projects and the latest happenings in the Robot Community.
Balance in Hero Academy
It’s been amazing to see how many people have picked up on Hero Academy. We’ve been watching Twitter and Facebook light up with game requests and discussion about strategies. From time to time, the question comes up of whether or not buying the Dark Elves is buying an automatic win. During the development of Hero Academy, we worked very hard to ensure that the core value of buying an expansion team was to gain a variety of exciting new gameplay strategies rather than an easy win. We believe that players shouldn’t be able to buy their way to a win. If you look in the Customize area of the app, you’ll see that, with the exception of teams, all of the in-app purchases we offer are centered on visual customizations and in no way affect actual gameplay.
The Dark Elves team does play quite a bit differently than the Council team that comes free with the app. Players will have to master different strategies to win depending on the team that you’re playing as and the team that you’re playing against. We’re watching balance very closely on our end. As we prepare for the third team to come out, we’re paying attention to wins and losses for each team, even in our early playtesting. Currently, the balance numbers look good to us. It’s not a perfectly balanced game, and no two teams will be directly comparable to one another, but the win/loss ratios for each team are very near center. The Dark Elves win 52% of their games and the Council win about 49% of their games. Additionally, the person to take the first turn is winning about 52% of the time. Statistically speaking, that’s about even with Chess – even a bit lower, depending on your source.
When we were putting together the scoring system in Orcs Must Die! we know that it would become a competition for our best users. We didn’t quite realize how stiff the competition would get, though. Since launch, we’ve had a core group of players on our forums grinding out everything they could from the combo system to climb up the leaderboards in leaps and bounds. Not long ago, we saw our first legitimate million-plus scores pop up on the boards, and it seems like scores of that magnitude could become commonplace soon.
Up until about a month ago, the War Mages on our boards had long been theorizing about maximum combos, but had only managed to achieve an 11x combo in vanilla play. Since we’d seen a one-off 12x in a screenshot of a very early modified version of OMD, we knew it was theoretically possible. After much experimenting on the part of our community, Robot Programmer Justin Moe dug into the code to determine how a 12x was possible. It turned out that there was a copy/paste bug in the game that allowed for an extra combo point, and not long after this revelation, our community was hitting 12x combos with no problem. But could there be more?
During a live OMD gameplay session last week, one of our best players, Rogotin, theorized in a live chat that a 13x would in fact be possible. That’s a potential score of up to 200,000 points for a single kill. That one kill could be worth more points than most players can get on an entire level. Being on the live chat, and having talked with our designers about this before, I of course told him that he was wrong. A 13x could not be done. Of course, as soon as I said it, I thought to myself, “It’s a trap.” He had already figured it out. In the live chat, he theorized that by using one of the levels with a pre-placed barrel, players could squeeze out one more combo point on the kill. And just a week later, it’s been done. Here’s RadioKenny’s breakdown of how you can get your own 13x combo in Orcs Must Die!
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