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Astech

Rock, Paper Scissors - The Final Form of X-wing

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X-wing is, on the face of it, in a pretty great condition at the moment; various lists and pilots are seeing play on quite a few ships and FFG's releasing buffs strong enough to bring old ships to the fore. However, I've observed an alarming tendency of the game towards the old format of A > B > C > A recently.

Sure, 5 T-65 X-wings is solid now, but if you come up against harpoons you've lost. Harpoons work great, but a list built around them will die to Kylo. Kylo's fantastic, but he'll die in a heartbeat to Ghost/Fenn's PS 11 repositioning. Ghost/Fenn is outstanding, but dies to 5 T-65 X-wings. Lists can't be built to take advantage of greater player skill anymore. Sure, the better player has a teeny advantage, but Kylo doesn't take any skill whatsoever to fly against PS8 or lower ships, and is impossibly difficult to fly against PS 10 or higher ships with good offence.

In the 'dark times' there was one list that was indisputably better, such as Triple Jumps, that made it very easy (and justifiable) to complain about the NPE that that list presented. Hard counters outside of that one overpowered list were hard to come by, and the only real boogeyman in that department was RAClo. Now, there's a veritable bag of strong lists for rebel + imperial players (even a few scum too) that are all more or less equal in their own way. The trouble is that each of those lists is hard-countered by at least one of the others.

In swiss, that's not too bad, since making a 5-1 record is acceptable(provided you're not unlucky enough to be hard countered twice). But once a player reaches the cut, you might as well flip a coin instead of playing. You might get lucky, you might not, but skill is no longer a major factor in the outcome of a game regardless - the match up is.

So my question is two-fold. How is X-wing 2.0 going to fix the rock-paper-scissors problem of high-level tournament play? And how, in the twilight months of X-Wing 1.0, can X-Wing be restructured to encourage skill-based list building and play?

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I don't consider paper-rock-scissors tendency as a drawback. I think it should be this way - for sake of balance. Every single list/ship should have a "natural" enemy, to which it dies instantly, but it also should have an enemy, which it can instantly beat. The third category contains enemies, which can compete with the list on more or less equal terms.

If there were not such mechanism in the game, there would always be a risk, which we've faced so many times already - the risk of developing a list, which can instantly beat almost everything and at the same time is vulnerable to almost nobody.

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I like the Rock-Paper-Scissor concept. Granted, it should not be the sole game determiner of the outcome, but it should give a player an edge. List building is part of the game. Covering your weaknesses of your main strategy is part of the game.

Part of the game is about "Prep-Time", then applying it in combat.

Edited by Jadotch

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2 hours ago, Astech said:

How is X-wing 2.0 going to fix the rock-paper-scissors problem of high-level tournament play?

By making decisions on the playmat again more important than the listbuilding. The balance had swund in one direction for the last few waves, and 2.0 should swing it back again. The less important the listbuilding the weaker the rock paper scissors effect.

2 hours ago, Astech said:

And how, in the twilight months of X-Wing 1.0, can X-Wing be restructured to encourage skill-based list building and play?

By introducing more effects that depend on maneuvers and that have skill-based counter play. They already did this to some degree, but they have to gradually change it to not chase away a large part of the player base.

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It should be part of the metagame of any competitive asymmetrical game, but it should be more like 60-40 win rates rather than 90-10. A skilled scissors player should be able to reliably defeat a noob playing rock in spite of the bad matchup. The matchup disparity should only be noticable when 2 players of approximate skill level play each other. 

The way you design towards this is by making upgrades and special powers either unique or very expensive so that the game's skeleton, in this game's case maneuvering and jousting ability, is where the majority of games are won or lost. 

From the points costs we've seen so far, and the fact that a lot of upgrades have been toned down while their costs have either stayed the same or gone up, tells me the devs have probably figured this out by now. By giving discounts to ships instead of upgrades, the game become less about the CCG aspect of combos and deck building and goes back to being about who flies better. 

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43 minutes ago, FTS Gecko said:

...if that comment isn't Geckobait, I don't know what is

Add the next sentence! (Clue: I can generally beat most players who are significantly worse at the game than I am, regardless of lists. Unfortunately, the converse is also true and occurs more frequently...)

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On 6/29/2018 at 9:58 AM, Jedu said:

Every single list/ship should have a "natural" enemy, to which it dies instantly, but it also should have an enemy, which it can instantly beat.

I disagree.  Ship types can have counters, but they shouldn't be hard, auto-win counters.

However, the real problem is not a R/P/S relationship between ships, but between lists.  I remember something similar with the old Legend of the Five Rings (L5R) CCG.  In many games, you could just compare decks and determine who would win without even bothering to play the game.  While it's always possible to lose a game in deck-building (by making a horrible deck), that's not where games should be won.

One thing that gives me hope, though, is that when FFG took over L5R, they changed the game into a much more tactical game, where how you played matters as much if not more than how you build your deck.  I know X-Wing has a different development team, but I rather hope that this is a concept that most of their teams will have embraced.

Edited by JJ48

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20 minutes ago, JJ48 said:

...One thing that give me hope, though, is that when FFG took over L5R, they changed the game into a much more tactical game, where how you played matters as much if not more than how you build your deck.  I know X-Wing has a different development team, but I rather hope that this is a concept that most of their teams will have embraced.

Well said. FFG does seem to be looking at competitive options in a different light now. I'm pretty concerned that they'll lowball the costs on 2.0 PWTs like Han and Dash and bomb the game for a few months, but aside from that just about every option for each ship in 2.0 is currently quite decent.

Armada is the epitome of balanced play after the latest round of nerfings. I've seen just about every ship in the game be successful recently. Hopefully FFG will look to that example in future development.

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29 minutes ago, Firespray-32 said:

Rock Paper Scissors between lists is a very bad thing. What's the point in playing if the game is decided before you start?

Exactly!

Rock Paper Scissors should exist to some degree only on ship level.

But even there it should be closer to 60:40 than 90:10.

That is, your autothruster double repo tokenstacked ace should have troubles against a stressbot, but should still be able to dodge the arc and thus should be able to use skill to counter it.

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4 minutes ago, RampancyTW said:

(Citation needed)

Seriously, this be some hyperbolic nonsense

In the latest streams of worlds 2018, you can see the Airen, Nym and Wedge alpha list, focusing mostly on harpoons. If the T-65s come in as a group, they suffer a bomblet, followed by 2 harpoons and a Proton, killing 2 ships and splashing the remaining 3 with 2-3 damage each. They then probably kill airen in return. They then get PS-killed each turn by Wedge and Nym. No skill required.

Against a lot of other things though, like RAClo, 5 X-Wings is amazing, and can burn him down in 1.5 turns no problem.

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19 minutes ago, Astech said:

In the latest streams of worlds 2018, you can see the Airen, Nym and Wedge alpha list, focusing mostly on harpoons. If the T-65s come in as a group, they suffer a bomblet, followed by 2 harpoons and a Proton, killing 2 ships and splashing the remaining 3 with 2-3 damage each. They then probably kill airen in return. They then get PS-killed each turn by Wedge and Nym. No skill required.

Against a lot of other things though, like RAClo, 5 X-Wings is amazing, and can burn him down in 1.5 turns no problem.

...So don't come in as a group that Nym has a head-on angle to?

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4 minutes ago, RampancyTW said:

...So don't come in as a group that Nym has a head-on angle to?

If you come in as any sort of group at all, a competent Rebel Nym player will always have at least one bomb in the way. If you come in with a spread apart formation, you get 2-3 ships in rage, 1 of which dies and 1 is shieldless and harpooned. There's just no good way to approach the list.

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1 hour ago, Astech said:

If you come in as any sort of group at all, a competent Rebel Nym player will always have at least one bomb in the way. If you come in with a spread apart formation, you get 2-3 ships in rage, 1 of which dies and 1 is shieldless and harpooned. There's just no good way to approach the list.

You gotta brush up on your flying, fam.  FAA lets you fan out pretty effectively and mask where the clump is going to be.

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On 6/29/2018 at 9:58 AM, Jedu said:

Every single list/ship should have a "natural" enemy, to which it dies instantly, but it also should have an enemy, which it can instantly beat. 

I strongly disagree with this. I don't want to roll dice to determine who wins a match. If I thought that's what X-Wing had devolved to, I would quit because it would be pointless. 

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9 hours ago, GreenDragoon said:

Exactly!

Rock Paper Scissors should exist to some degree only on ship level.

But even there it should be closer to 60:40 than 90:10.

That is, your autothruster double repo tokenstacked ace should have troubles against a stressbot, but should still be able to dodge the arc and thus should be able to use skill to counter it.

Something like this?

rps25_outcomes.jpg

Okay now make 5 separate factions from these, Each player chooses 3 out of the 5 in their faction to use for their match.

Good luck with the balancing.

Edited by Marinealver

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If I bring a rock list, and I face a paper list, I should probably lose. 

But if I bring rock and paper to a paper matchup, I'll probably have a decent chance.

Finally, if I bring rock, paper AND scissors to a paper matchup, the other guy should have a really rough game .... as long as I don't FEED his paper my rock, and as long as I keep my scissors in his face. 

 

Welcome to Xwing, ladies and gents.

Edited by Bucknife

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