Improving CW - What can be done?

Ideas on how we can improve the game? Please let us know.
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Perish
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon May 10, 2021 3:00 pm

Hello, in this thread I aim to bring up some points to the discussion, as I personally believe the current system is flawed, it should have been tested more, and there is plenty of room for improvement.

Disclaimer: I make this thread as a player who attended every crew war so far, and been consistently in the top 5. Most of these aren't just what I think, instead, it is the collective thoughts of many other players I've talked and played with. Please remember that this thread is only for constructive criticism and feedback, I don't mean to be disrespectful to anybody and I appreciate our devs putting in hard work. I encourage you to speak under this thread and complain about crew wars in a civilized manner on how can it be improved and what can be achieved. Another disclaimer that please don't see this as a cry for help because I most certainly don't need these changes, I am not here to incite drama, instead, this is about improving the CW for the less fortunate and crews that can't compete for top ranks. Therefore I won't name a single crew or player by their name as this isn't a callout post, but the scenarios that I have frequented in the war make perfect examples of what is wrong with the system. That being said,

1- The Timer Stalling

Base defense is the ultimate win condition of the crew wars. It's easy as that, the longer you hold the base, the more points you accumulate. Over the past two weeks, we have seen that various guilds have optimized their own relative strategies, in which one of them being is timer stalling including my own crew. It goes as such, since assaulters cant pass through defenders who are staying on a tile, it has been deemed that staying on that tile for the longest duration is one of the best defensive strategies. This is true for a good reason, that is there are absolutely no drawbacks of just timer stalling your opponents because as long as you have people to PVP for you, you are accumulating points in an incredible ratio along with the base.

The Problem

This happens because of one reason, there is no upper limit of the timer. You are allowed to delay as long as you are not out of Pokemon, which basically translates into one minute gain from 3-4 moves. Assuming defending party has sufficient PvP knowledge, battles going on for extensive durations such as 40+ turns can easily result in one single crew holding a base for more than 10+ minutes.

The Solution

- A Timer Bank

This means an upper limit to the timer so you cant drag the battles out for an excessive amount of time. Once you spend your entire time, you lose the battle which only encourages fast-paced PVP and actual coordination between defenders to organize their defending tiles more smoothly. This gives crews a better chance to capture bases and big crews are mostly unaffected by this. This could be implemented with and without a timer limit per turn, the latter has significant advantages of allowing users to think, develop alternate win paths, and even calculate damage on crucial turns.

- A Smart Timer

This timer works like this, you have a total bank that goes down during the time you don't play, but it is restored once you make a move. The catch is that dragging the timer for long and only restores a percentage of the total time and doesn't restore it completely, thus also preventing matches with excessive duration.

2- The Difficulty of PvE Aspects

I like to believe that crew wars should be a crew effort in every aspect and one cannot simply claim that the PvE aspect of crew wars is anything near "crew effort", because it is simply too easy. One can walk in, go to the boss, and KO it within seconds which creates a pretty chaotic scheme.

The Problem

Unfortunately, bosses themselves cannot be seen as properly functioning defensive tools due to how easy it is to get past them. Bosses are incredibly weak, it is possible to even one-shot them with a specific Pokemon, and even with Crew bonuses, it is STILL possible to take on the boss one on one. Bosses should be a part of the defense and should be able to put at least a half-decent effort against attackers.

The Solution

- Innate Stats & Abilities & Moves

Coding wise this should be possible, seeing how we actually have a thing called "Dynahax" making Dynamax Pokemon immune to stuff. What I am talking about here is giving bosses some enchantments with this, such as granting them Magic Guard to negate Life Orb damage, the very same Dynahax for bosses to make them immune to cheap strategies, and increased stats to make sure they don't actually die to a single Pokemon most of the time.

- Terrain & Weather Effects

Bosses could benefit extra from those two effects, for example, Palkia could use its Water-attacks far better under Rain, Dialga could have Electric Terrain to boost Thunderbolts maybe? and we can surely find something for Giratina as well. Hell, if the overall goal is to have a little bit of challenge in the game might as well create your own customized terrains and weathers that benefit the bosses greatly but harms the attackers.

3- The Difficulty of Proper Base Defense

It has been established by now that it is essential to launch a proper base defense in order to stay high in the rankings. Base defense is one of the most crucial parts of the crew war, and simply that can keep you high in the rankings even if you don't do PVP efficiently, and we have a few examples of that in the top 5 rankings. However, the current system only favors crews with big numbers and doesn't allow anyone else to contest for bases.

The Problem

In order to defend a base successfully, you need to have enough members by the base when the boss is taken down. If you cannot hold the minimum required amount of chokepoints, another crew will simply walk through, flip the base again and deny you from getting points. There are few issues regarding that, the most relevant one being it is hard to coordinate your guild to flip a base because there is always a risk of getting caught in the PVP. This happens for one reason. Crews who accepted the fact that they cannot compete for bases will aimlessly PVP anyone in their path and chances they'll eventually click one of your crewmates who was tasked to be a part of capture boss / defend it later squad. This results in not having anybody to defend the base when you eventually capture the base because your entire crew is stuck in PVP. This does not concern larger crews too much as they spare their members for this task specifically, but this simply prevents smaller crews from competing for the bases as people who try to PVP are much greater than people who try to contest for bosses.

The Solutions

- Grace Period

Prevent people from entering the map after it has been captured for like 30 seconds, this allows defending crew to establish a proper line of defense and have a chance of holding for at least a little bit to accumulate points.

- Teleportation

Automatically teleport the crew members to the boss once the base has been captured. This allows crews to set a defense at the best of their capabilities at full force, and more than the minimum required amount of chokepoints can be held, resulting in a much better defense and a higher level of competition.

DISCLAIMER REGARDING PROPER DEFENSE: I think that both of these are not feasible in the current system as long as we have timerstall issue persisting, last thing I want is to make defending more cancerous.

4- Prizes and Token Shop

Items are a fundamental part of any Pokemon game, let it be for competition or simply PvE leisure. Their capability of enhancing a single Pokemon is unmatched and has a direct impact on their viability. In a mode like Crew Wars, having access to those items will increase the gap heavily between the players, and in the long run, this prevents people from competing against top crews altogether.

The Problem

4.1. The items that make PvP better are locked behind PvP, this is counterproductive and only favors crews that are already big.

4.2. Not everyone who needs these items enjoys doing PvP, and having most of these crucial items locking behind PvP is forcing people to join an environment that they might not like. On top of that, there isn't another way to obtain these items as of now.

4.3. The pricing on the items is extremely high, it takes a very long time for someone who cannot perform well in PvP to have access to those items.

4.4. The gap between placement rewards is too big, while most certain crews can get one item in a month, crews below the top 10 will need approximately 4 months to get one item, which is also counterproductive and kills the whole game mode.

The Solution

There is more than one optimal solution to this, I don't feel like going into detail on what can be done but I'll list them below on what can be done.

- Change participation and PVP win rewards.
- Change shop prizes.
- Bring another content that isn't PVP-related for people to farm these items or tokens.

5- Wintrading

Scoring high on Crew Wars isn't just about a successful base defense, it also involves doing PVP at a fast pace. We have seen crews get ranked in the top 3 without base defense and only focusing on PVP, we have also seen crews not even doing PVP and just turtling a base. Recently crews started doing both of these together, as it is also possible to see crews both turtling the base and doing PVP as fast as possible. Their PvP is so fast that, by two minutes mark in the war, these crews can actually get about 15 wins without a single loss, while also initiating a base defense which I personally believe is completely unrealistic.

The Problem

It has been brought up by a few people that there are some players entering PVP maps with only one completely unviable Pokemon, immediately losing the battle which results in a token gain by someone. I too ran into one of such trainers which only had a single Rockruff and lost the battle in about 5 seconds and taking this one step ahead we all know someone that got #1 CW wins after one war because he noticed this pattern and decided to take advantage it and reported it afterwards. This has caused massive frustration in the community, especially after devs told us that battle records couldn't be tracked. There are very obvious visuals of this happening, as I said a crew can get 15 wins as soon as the war begins, obtain unrealistically crazy ratios of 180-20 (%90+ winrate) and somehow get more wins with fewer numbers compared to a crew that pretty much exclusively focuses on PvP. I'll also attach this visual here as I believe this is one of the win traders because I don't believe "They might not know the game well enough" is a valid excuse to defend this kind of stat. https://prnt.sc/12sq8nd

The Solution

The solution would be simply punishing the abusers of this, but I was told there are technical limitations to this. Match data is apparently not recorded and traceable, so it isn't possible to verify this after CW's end, so the only way to solve this is by catching people on the act. No matter what tho, this needs to stop as this is blatant cheating and promotes unfair gameplay.
Last edited by Perish on Tue May 11, 2021 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PØPSMØKE
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2021 12:01 pm
Location: Portugal

+1 Very well made thread. I like how you point out the issue and instantly a possible fix so it won't be a shallow complaint.
Also respect the fact you won't mention names because all of this is not meant to target people but the system itself on how its built.

I hope this gets looked and discussed internally in order to maintain the game as one of the best pokemon mmo out there.
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Dontea
Posts: 24
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:09 am

+1 To pretty much everything, and good work establishing the major issues that the CW currently has. I think that they could do quite a few different solutions to fix the existing CW's and also wanted to mention on other issue, which is that by having 3 separate bases it feels like we incentivize the top crews to avoid each other unless they want to sacrifice tokens.

For those who do not know I am the leader of Ego so have spent a lot of time planning what to do each war. The issue basically comes down to this, we want to attack and compete with the crews at other bases but we basically just end up griefing both of our chances of winning. If we go to Palkia we let the people at Gira win, if we go Gira we let the people at Palkia win, and if we go Dialga then we do not get to right either of the other top crews. This puts us in a weird spot because we are forced to choose between having fun and competing and going for prizes.

Fixing the reward structure could help this problem a lot as if we had a higher baseline of tokens getting top 3 would feel like less of a requirement, but even still you would be sacrificing. I think that having difference bosses be open at different times could be an interesting solution. As in some wars we only have 1 boss, some 2, some all 3 etc. Or the # of bosses that are unlocked is based off of the # of people in CW lobby. I am sure there r better solutions to this issue but should be something we think about.

A crew war should be about the tops crews head 2 head against one another, not which base has hardest opposition or most noobs to farm for free points. Or finding the best exploit or wintrading circles.

I also want to add that I think you need some guidelines for people abusing bugs in the future, I understand why during the last time nobody was punished but not setting a precedent for this type of thing is really bad and will create a culture of people looking for bugs/exploits. It also seems pretty ridic that I can be muted for 12+ hours in the chat for fairly innocuous things, but people who are directly ruining others players experiences in PvP intentionally for personal gain just skirt by without a single mention or warning.

Overall I actually find the crew system to be quite fun, but has some major systematic flaws and has had a lot of hiccups that could have been fixed with more extensive testing. Hopefully we can find solutions that do not just help the top crews, and feel more player friendly. I really want to highlight how much I liked the double tokens during the past weekend, I actually favor that change over reducing the shop prices since it slightly helps to favor people who are good at getting individual wins which is a skill that should be rewarded, as well as the fact that bigger numbers feel more rewarding for player experience rather than just a cheaper shop. A lot of optimizing player psychology comes down to giving player allusion of bigger rewards than they are, doubling tokens adds to this rather than just reducing the price in the shop. I was so much happier to win the double CW token war than win any of the other crew wars, and think that feeling is really important to keep players motivated. Another good option could be having one double token war each week that shifts at different timezones, and reducing the cost of the shops. Having 1 rotating double tokens war a week would make that specific one very competitive and force people to employ different strategies and get best possible attendance for that one war.
Gupta
Posts: 6
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:16 am

+1 to everything
I highly believe myself that the prices of PvP items are uselessly high and the other problems discuss , I don't disagree any of the issues mentioned here. A really well made thread. I really hope they don't bounce it off just like they did with mine :prayge:
xarmadon
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 4:00 pm

1 - timer stalling: straight to the point and we all agree with the suggested solution of a time bank.
2 - bosses: i like the idea of buffing them using the mentioned mechanisms but only with crew skills. I dont what that to be a free buff for anyone.
3 - base defense: from the 2 suggested solutions i like only teleportation i really dont like 'grace period' .
4 - prizes : (topic too complicated and needs its own thread)
5 - wintrading : MAKE THE NAMES VISIBLE after you enter battle! Its ok for the names to be missing while on map but show the name when the battle starts!!

Very good post overall . You make your points across.
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DevR
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:03 pm

Really well-written post, and I agree with most of your points. In particular:
  • Timer Stalling - An adaptive timer like the one you described (iirc that's similar to what showdown uses too?) is a great solution.
  • Reward Distribution - I share your concerns about both the very-high prices and lopsided placement rewards. The current shop prices make the PvP-enhancing items unreachable for most players since they end up having to use a major portion --- if not all --- of their winnings purely on egg / tutor tickets and TMs. Meanwhile, the gap in placement rewards allows people from top crews (including mine) to have gotten enough tokens to buy Life Orbs etc, which will only entrench dominance and weaken competition.
  • Win Trading - This is a major problem, and perhaps one easy (partial) solution is to enforce a 6 Pokemon entry requirement for the CW base? I'm sure the people with Rockruffs etc will still be able to exploit it, but it should at least slow them down somewhat. I also like xarmadon's idea of names being visible once the battle has started, since by that point the problem of targeting specific opponents is no longer a concern.
That said, I have some issues with the other points. Namely:
  • Boss Difficulty - Making the bosses more difficult to beat could be a good idea, but they shouldn't go past the point of difficulty wherein one person alone has no chance of beating them. For starters, this puts smaller crews at a disadvantage because they may not have either the numbers or the teams to take down these super pumped-up bosses. This favours crews with more players (and on average, more points and better items). Moreover, I don't agree that being able to take a base using just 1-2 people as the spearhead is an issue. On heavily-contested bases like Giratina --- where the participants in that race keep getting battled left, right and center --- this is the only viable strategy for small (and even large) crews to actually get the base at all.
  • Base Defense - Given the finite timeframe for CW and the jeopardy that accompanies a base capture, I'm not a fan of a grace period. Maybe 5-10 seconds at the most since that lets the crew get some basic communication in order. I do, however, like the idea of being able to teleport near the boss. This would, however, require some re-design of both the amount and distance of blocking tiles available. For instance, iirc only 2 slots are needed to block Palkia atm. In Dialga's case that's 3 slots. Players being able to teleport would make each base defense a longer affair, so perhaps counter-balance this by having 4 blocking tiles / alternate paths around both Dialga and Palkia, akin to Giratina?
Thank you for making this post!
Rule
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:50 pm

+1
Well written to address all the problems with a good solution
Tito
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue May 11, 2021 4:44 pm

+1 on this thread. I agree on the suggestions made.
Jake
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:24 pm

As someone who’s main focus in every Pokémon game is the pvp aspect this is a huge +1. I hope everything in this original post and comments are seriously considered. Firstly I believe the main point that seriously needs to be sorted is the time stalling. Crew wars is not fun nor enjoyable for anyone when you are vs someone who literally only stalls for time for the points. It isn’t PVP in ANY aspect. I’ve had someone taking the max time per time spamming the same moves that aren’t doing anything (stealth rocks when already set up / cosmic power when already at +6 for examples). It’s ridiculous some
People don’t even play for the win and throw everything away just for the sake of stalling time. This needs to be sorted ASAP with an overall timer which ticks down depending on how long each turn takes. This is the best solution IMO.

Next the CW prizes are absolutely ridiculous. Anyone that knows me knows I hate the amount of tokens it takes for these items. This is coming from a top pvp crew getting consistently top 3. Even for us it takes a good month to get one item. The amount of time it’ll take a regular player not even getting top 5 is stupid. This needs to be changed sooner rather than later it isn’t fair for players to be wasting their tokens on overpriced items when it’ll be lowered anyway. Either LOWER the ITEMS or RAISE the TOKEN DISTRIBUTION.

The other points made are interesting too I think having the boss a bit stronger once a crew has captured the base is a great idea it’s a part of the base it’s the core you could say. It’s very easy to kill the boss if you have levelled Pokémon so making it just a little harder would be nice.

I don’t think this is wrote in the post at all but I would also like to see something added which helps to counter the clicking after battles as already mentioned some people abuse the fact people finish battles and click them for easy wins. Obviously there is nurses but doesn’t make a difference when you’re on a spot in base or not near a nurse. The only real solutions to this is to make it an auto heal after each battle which id personally like to see but is very subjective. Or maybe have some sort of healing which fully heals individually each Pokémon that you can buy with F for a reduced cost just for CW use. (Like the concept with competition balls).

Overall a very good well put post I hope everyone takes the time to read this and all comments under.
Thanks.
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RickJames
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:13 am

Great text!

The only thing i have my doubts is the PVE part. Since the goal of CW is to capture the base (and maintain it ofc), making the bosses harder (and thus, taking longer to beat it) will only benefit the defending crews. I understand that's exactly your point -using the boss as part of the defense-, but capturing a base is already a job that requires a good amount of time -attacking crews need to cross the whole map, beat the "guards" or wait for others to beat them, and sometimes do random pvp matches from ppl who don't play the "capture the base" part (ofc after time stall gets erradicated there will be more time)- and CW lasts only 45 minutes (and on my view that's a good amount of time). For me it's crucial in any competition, that the larger possible number of teams get a chance at the prize, and to make capturing the base a process that takes too long goes against that purpose, in my view.

Other than this, gotta +1 on everything, problems very well explained, with good solutions presented, congrats! :)
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