Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Monday, November 24, 2003

Some thoughts on ensuring fairness in team games
WhiskeyPete brings up an issue on how team games get organized. Do you play team games for the challenge or the ego boost?
You see a 3v3 or a 4v4 game advertised. You enter the game, all the settings look fine and sit back and read a book till the required number of players are in the staging area. While waiting for the host to click in, the first 3 or 4 players all switch to team 1. They then proceed to whup up on the opposing team.
I've encountered this - here are my thoughts:
  • Random teams are cool if everyone is a random entrant. Everyone has equal chances of being on a the good or bad team. However random teams don't ensure fairness in a particular game, they just ensure some equal distribution of unfairness over a longer period.

  • Use ratings to help balance out the teams. Take the top two rated guys and put them on opposite teams. Put the rest of the players on random.

  • You could also pick teams, which might be a useful even if people don't know each other. The rating and number of games played woul dtend to give some additional information about skill level. I mean if the guy has played over 100 games he's probably not a newbie. If he's rated over 2000, he's probably pretty good. This is a better method for ensuring you have fair teams in a particular game.

  • Offer skill points to balance out against set teams. If some folks absolutely want to play set teams, particularly against random opponents, then they should offer up some skill level points to the opposing players. BUD_Fustercluck and I played a set team 2on2 where we gave a +10 skill handicap. (Even though we won, +10 is probably a little too much.) I don't see enough usage of the skill handicap, and I think that team balancing is exactly what this is useful for. And I don't think this would get abused. I mean, who wants to brag about beating someone who had a +5 handicap.

  • I think team strategy would be improved if clans played more clan vs. clan matches. Too often I see pick up games where it's random teams and random nations. This does not inspire good team coordination and good development of team strategy. There's a lot left untouched in the game of RON, particularly with regard to team play. Example: Team strategy using Bantu + Mayan partners. The Bantu spams toward the center, where the Mayan drops an early heavily fortified city. Taking vital space away from their opponents. You don't see stuff like this because there hasn't been much call for good team play.

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