Atlas Guard Changes - Balancing Stagnation and Burden of Play

As we all start to see the gameplay impact of the new guard changes, I thought it would be beneficial to start a conversation about the impact on players with the goal of respecting PG’s stated objectives of this change as well as longer term plans for atlas.

To start, here is a quick summary of PG’s stated goals. Please comment if there are long term atlas goals I may have missed so they can be added to the discussion.

  • Reduce atlas stagnation
  • This is believed to be defined by limited castle turnover through conquers.

The guard changes allow for easier guard hits by reducing the requirements to hit castle guards in atlas.

First Impressions of the change:
The immediate result of this atlas change has been that many castles are now protected by primarchs with more troops. It has eliminated the old defensive strategy of using many primarchs with very low troops to counter attackers. The old strategy was effective because it created a large burden on the attacker to clear so many primarchs for little glory in order to hit guards and possibly conquer a castle.

As a result of this defensive strategy change, players have found:

  • They have more enemy primarchs with higher troop counts to attack, improving the glory earned by attacking.
  • They can effectively attack guards directly with much lower risk of failure. Where before an attacker might have to risk 50k troops for guard hits, now often the risk is much lower - ranging between 15k and 30k troops.
    *Castles are much easier to bubble due to this change. The lower number of troops killed before and lower frequency of guard hits allowed more castle owners the ability to defend their castles to avoid bubbling.

The impact of the change:

  • Because it is much easier to snipe for glory due to the higher defending primarch troop counts, some players may be less likely to attempt a castle conquer. They will fill their revive capacity quicker glory hunting.
  • Castles bubble much easier. Where before it would often take multiple attacks to bubble a castle, by hitting guards directly, a small group of players can bubble a castle within a minute of landing on the castle.
  • Increasing the ease and liklihood of castles bubbling makes it easier to reach teams with deep castles that were previously rarely if ever attacked due to the difficulty of reaching them.
  • There is increased burden on players and officers due to the increased frequency and number of cooldowns required when castles bubble.

Analysis of the impacts:

Positives:

  • Being able to more easily hit enemies for worthwhile glory is a positive for atlas. 1k troop sniping is not a fun game mechanic requiring hours of gameplay for minimum reward.
  • Being able to hit guards more easily may increase castle turnover by allowing the guard counts protecting castle to more easily be drained.
  • Possible reduction of the prevalence of guard swaps as teams have to rehire lost guards daily to protect their castles.

Negatives:

  • Due to how easy the default “castle guards” base is on T2 and T3 castles (due to the lack of a marshal base) makes defending castles ineffective. Teams are given a choice of always having an officer, governor or marshal watching the castles to immediately disable the shield, or accepting that they will bubble almost immediately. This is a significant increase to the burden of play because even if an online player sees the attack and uses @group to notify their team, one or two attacks per attacking primarch will be complete before the defending team is able to see the notification, log in and react.
  • The greatly increased number of cooldowns per day will significantly increase the burden of play for team leaders. Whereas before attackers would often need to attack defending primarchs initially before hitting guards, now significant guard loss can happen immediately. If the defending team is not online staring at the castle on cooldown, the castle could be taken before the team can even log in and attempt to defend. 20 attacking primarchs can destroy 2 million castle guards in 6-9 minutes (assuming there is no lag).

Proposed changes:

  • Decrease the castle cooldown time drastically to mitigate the increased burden of “always being online” associated with increased bubbles. I’d propose the new cooldowns are 1/3 of the existing length.
  • This would have limited impact on the ability to conquer a castle under the changes. As mentioned above if all of a T2 castle’s guards can be cleared in minutes, a long cooldown is no longer required to be able to conquer a castle. There is no need to spend hours slowly sniping low troop count primarchs to create the opportunity to contest a castle.
  • The shorter combat period would promote larger fights between a smaller number of teams. If the battle is over in 15 minutes instead of 4 hours, there is less time and likelihood of significant mega alliance involvement. Instead the attacking and defending teams would face off in an epic battle for the castle. The short intense fight would further promote utilizing larger troop counts to attack and defend making these battles more worthwhile even if the castle is not conquered.
  • For effective battles as proposed, atlas lag must be fixed to the point that the attacking and defending teams’ respective 5TAs can access the castle with little issue.
  • Even if the conquer attempt fails, with the short cooldown period and increased battle intensity, the attacking team could easily try again another day. The increased guard losses mean the defending team cannot simply rehire all of their guards immediately making the odds better favor the attacker next time. This still increases the likelihood of castle turnover reducing the stagnation in atlas.
  • This would reduce the increased burden of play on the castle owners. Shorter cooldowns paired with more cooldowns to do means leaders don’t need to be staring at their castles on cooldown for much or all of the day.
  • One likely side effect of these proposed changes is that teams mostly composed of players in a single time zone would benefit more than teams with players from across the globe. If your entire team is from the same time zone and is online at once they would be more effective at conquering and defending castles during these short conquer windows because more of their players would be online at the same time.

Conclusion:
Most players who enjoy atlas like attacking and earning glory. They dislike staring at their screen for hours in case something happens. The guard changes have changed the standard defensive strategies allowing for more glory to be earned by attacking castles and made it easier to reach previously unreachable castles to attack. However as a consequence the burden of play has significantly increased - especially for team leaders - because it’s no longer enough to be “on call” but rather you must be in atlas staring at your screen for hours.
The increased number of cooldowns per day has increased the number of conversations about whether the benefits of having castles justify this increased burden of play.

An ideal balance of minimal stagnation requires castles to be desirable to have and not just a source of glory. This requires changes such as these guard changes making conquers more likely, but they must be balanced by the rewards of holding castles factoring in rewards for holding a castle as well as the burden of play required to defend a castle. Without this balance, we will see more and more castles become “hot potato” castles that teams want to attack, but not to conquer and hold.

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One solution to all this

AnD quality bots

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What’re your secrets AnD :eyes:

Beep beep boop. :robot:

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Trap bots. 48 trap bots, one engineer, and one person with magic emotional dragons.

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FTFY :kissing_heart:

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So it’s true! The whole team is AI with the exception of a “few” :eyes: I’m onto your games!

We are all bots.

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Very helpful summary

AnD quality bots? Seriously? I started playing this game to play…not pay. I sure as hell didn’t start playing to find something or someone to play for me. The whole premise of paying for tools and paying for bots is getting out of hand.
I don’t know where the answer lies but this was not it . No one asked for a reason to spend more time on this game. They want to spend less. I’ve played since April of 2016 , maybe 4 years too long.

Burden and Play should never be in the same sentence , even in the same topic ffs.

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I have tried to stay quiet, but this change has demanded not only time from the officers and leads but active players, I for one love hitting in Atlas but play because I enjoy the time I do spend on the game and being on a very active team, but the last two days have been hell spending my entire day defending 5 ta and watching levels 100 to 150 levels that we can’t attack, but only trap slamming away with their mega alliances to take castles.

I did not sign up to spend hours on a game as a second job. I played for friends, relaxation and fun.

The new mechanics have turned the game into a sh**show with the biggest teams hitting and bringing in their entire alliance.

This did nothing to improve Atlas but to allow for the biggest teams to take over the entire game, Good job!

My opinion is mine alone, it is not necessarily my team mates views.

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And Thank you for taking the time to write out a well defined pros and cons.

This is why we have an engineer. We don’t pay. We are simply bots.

I think your anger is misplaced. This was a troll as some people who… are not all there in the head believe this. It’s sad. AnD is, at its core 48 very dedicated and hard working players who play to win. Those who discredit us by claiming were cheating or we use exploits or hack the game in any way are sad, sad individuals.

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I could be wrong but don’t believe anything was stated personally about AnD, more so about the bots on the game have gotten out of hand, and we all no longer are playing the game we all started, but now have teams with alert bots and tons of information. No more surprise attacks, no more guessing as the bots tell us what is happening or going to happen. They have taken some of the fun out of the game.

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I would like to say that i have been told (out of curiosity) how many people have tried to snipe AnD. The persons response was that not many have been able to due to Tinbru, and someone else (forgot their name,) literally waking up in the middle of the night and countering them. Only to fall right back asleep once the job is done. Yes teams have bots which became a big surprise to me when I first learned of them. It is crazy how loads of teams have them, but it is more disappointing that the game has come to this. Understandable that, no one wants to be on the receiving end so bots were introduced to make it less probable of getting bubbled. The game is all about hard work and preserving that effort, making it seem less of a chore could make people feel better about the game.

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Unless they make changes to glory scaling and cool downs these new atlas rules will only aggravate people and make them not want to play anymore. You cannot log on to a game only to see 1k defense banners non stop hour after hour from much higher teams, and players hitting 100 levels beneath them makes defending pointless. There is no enjoyment in this for the majority of teams and players. This is not a fun game anymore.

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I just figured out how to beat AnD

Also, is intentional sleep deprivation considered a war crime?

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The title of this thread would be more accurate if it was changed to
“ Secondary mechanics - Balancing offensive and defensive tactical play”

Because they are what produce stagnation and burden of play lol

Being the two are in equilibrium due to the only goal of this sad map being acquisition of castles!
“Guards changes” is only a further imbalance of our secondary mechanics it’s effectively a long term detrimental adjustment of a secondary attack mechanic which will result in short term escalation followed by stagnation, player loss and a permanent defensive burden of play! :man_facepalming::boom:

Yes RuRu pure offense and attrition! Lol that’s called applied tactics :rofl:

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Great, instead of encouraging people to take more castles, the guard change showed the exact opposite effect of its primal meaning: people are now ABANDONNING MORE CASTLES . You can easily see an unowned t4s on the map and no teams want to take it either. They are t4s castles, and they are being abandoned

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