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Old 01-26-2010, 07:37 PM   #1
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Elephant #1: Defense vs. Defense

Having played and enjoyed TFC/TF2/FF and other variants for over 10 years, over time I have seen two really big problems that negatively effect TF games consistently, but that rarely get addressed in all the discussions on how to improve the game: Defense vs. Defense, and Team Stacking. In this thread I hope to spur some discussion on how to address DvD (will start a separate thread later for TS.)

DvD, of course, is the phenomenon where both teams' class makeup and play is limited almost completely to defense. CTF maps are especially prone to this, a typical example on a 22-man server would be 9 or 10, or even 11 of the players on one side all playing defense, with a similar number on the other side also playing defensively. The result is a few odd players running some ineffectual offense, a pile of spam in the yard, a 0-0 stalemate, and lots of smoke but little fire in the way of fun.

A variation on this is an 11-man defense on one side, and a 9, 10 or 11 man offense on the other. Again, very little in the way of scoring ever happens - even if the all-defense team has zero caps and is losing, they never send out any offense at all.

I'm not sure I have any sure-fire fixes or revelations, but I think it would be interesting to try and find out:

- What factors lead to this type of game outcome? Lack of motivation to 'win?' Difficulty in running effective offense (conc jumping, bhop?) Poor map design? Matching # of players with ideals for the map?
- What can be done to address these causes, and possibly lessen/remove them? Move towards AvD or command-point maps (ala TF2?) Make offense easier/defense harder? Build in 'guardrails' like class limits?

Note, this discussion is largely (or entirely) specific to pubs - in itself an interesting distinction, I think. The motivation for winning in league play is very powerful and tends to override tendencies towards pure DvD - however, even in league play, I would argue that the eternal struggle with OvO and max D rules indicates that something is wrong in the core game play.

The end goal should be a set of game 'rules' - which encompass everything including class stats and capabilities, maps, game-play systems, physics, etc. - which organically result in a challenging, team-oriented, action packed experience that's fun for everyone.

In this aspect, I think TF2 succeeds in many ways (notwithstanding its obvious shortcomings in other aspects) by crafting maps and gameplay that encourage engagement and progress and discourage camping and stalemate. The FF version of Canalzone2 (a triumph, IMHO, btw) is the only regularly played map I can think of that implements the 'command point' mode - perhaps porting a few TF2 maps over would be a good idea? Does FF lua prohibit the 'rolling respawn' feature..?
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:47 PM   #2
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well i think one of the greatest problems is that currently there is really no effective way of killing the defense, the game depends on speed to capture flags on offense, now many people can conc jump and b-hop but few can at the level required to break through a 4 or 5 man defense.

for many o-runners it becomes a repitition of death once they enter the base simply becasue they cannot fight back (as scout or medic) and can only use speed (which many can't effectively) this would lead to them switch to defense.

perhaps giving the offense a chance at killing (since thats what everyone wants to do anyway) instead of running past. it might make running offense 'fun' for the average player, which i think it is not currently.

Last edited by SSCUJO; 01-26-2010 at 07:48 PM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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I think a major problem with TFC and FF is the mechanics that have been ingrained into each game and, while both games are unrealistic already, hinder the gameplay.

Who in this day and age wants to jump around bhopping all day? Most maps are quite too large to accommodate the removal of bhopping, and certain aspects of current gameplay might be hindered as well, such as trimping. But, looking at what TF2 has done to movement in general makes me think that's one step they have ahead of FF.

Grenades in FF should be in the Weapon menu select, not binded to alternate keys. Counter Strike did good at mastering this. I think it'd help cut down on nade spamming, and allow more strategy to be used if you do decide to throw a nade. Obviously it would be realistic to say that you can't throw a grenade from the hip while aiming and firing at an enemy with your regular weapon. Putting the grenades in the weapon select menu would fix this IMO.

Also, there is a certain jerkiness I've always had a love/hate relationship with in TFC and FF, and that is because you start moving, and you are immediately at your full ground speed, without any build up to that, then when you slow down, it's a very limited slow down speed. If it were changed to where it felt like more natural movement, build up quickly to your top ground speed, then slow down quickly till stopping, I think movement could be improved and people would like a change like that.

Aaand I just reread the title of the thread, so my post probably has nothing to do with D v D, but moreso other issues that are among team stacking/dvd
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:04 PM   #4
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There are two obvious problems to me. The first one is that there is no incentive to win. Public players play this game as a source of entertainment for reasons different than league players. There is nothing fun in capturing a flag over and over for end-round satisfaction because public players do not play for end-round satisfaction. Public players expect progressive fun. They play 'in the moment'. They don't care whether or not their team wins. They care whether they are having fun, and deathmatch is fun.

There's also the problem with Snipers. Any chance of an organized offense is almost always shot down by Snipers. The offense rarely sees the inside of the base, save the Scouts or Medics, and because the defense gets tired of having little or no challenge, they give up. The offense gets bored of capping on no defense and go defense themselves. The remaining offense (on the other team) suffers the same fate and it all goes to shit and the server slowly empties or the map gets changed to another map where it repeats.

This is because teams meet in the center of the yard expecting to take out the enemy Snipers. They clash with the other team doing the exact same thing (Anything close to a pub match is OD vs OD. Entire teams do not focus strictly on O or D.) and the Snipers pick off the survivors, resulting in a draw. This is where it goes to shit and the above happens. Crazy for blaming it all on one class? Who the fuck knows. That's how it's been for me. All the organization and momentum gets sidetracked in any pub because everyone who breaks the 'draw' has to camp battlements to get their revenge or let their team go by or keep it from happening again. This is a distraction to how FF is played. No one really wants to do this either.

Offense has no problem killing defense. This game caters to the offense. It's just that the offense (in its entirety) rarely sees the defense and vice versa because of that one class that bottlenecks all the action in the yard. The 'o-runners' (Scouts and Medics) only get overwhelmed because they have no soldiers or heavies or demomen or spies or what have you to back them up because they were all sniped trying to make it across the yard or preoccupied from preventing that from happening. lawl.

Conclusion? 1. No win incentive. Nothing fun about capping because the reward is not immediate (which is what pub players enjoy, immediate rewards). Pub players like fun. Deathmatch, for example, is fun. So, no one wants to play offense unless it's to deathmatch. They'd much rather deathmatch in the yard or deathmatch in their base, though. Why? Well: 2. If players want to cap, there's that one fucking class that keeps preventing them from doing it. So, it turns to D v D out of an inability to fight back in a way that is entertaining and intuitive, which is not spamming the battlements and firing rockets across the map hoping they hit or hiding behind static props or cloaking all day across the yard or taking a long route around.

Last edited by Bridget; 01-26-2010 at 08:14 PM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:12 PM   #5
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well i see where this thread is going. anyway in my expereince the only time i've seen a pub game go dvd is arddvark. and rarely when im playing because im good enough to kill the enemy team, they turn to defense and my team turns to offense because the yard is empty.

your theory depends on a large open yard (arddvark) and 2 equally skilled snipers on each team. with only 1 skilled sniper, one team will go Offense and the other D. and even with a sniper on each team they will be killing eachother more then the people in the yard so even then its not much of an issue, the problem is not in the yard, its once the offense enters the base and the lack of being able to do anything once inside.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:25 PM   #6
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That's why smaller maps with smaller yards such as 2Fort or Shutdown2 usually see two or three Snipers on each team to compensate for less lengthy 'window of opportunity' to kill the offense before it enters the base. One sniper on aardvark has a huge window of opportunity. Have you ever seen a game where Snipers were restricted or no one was (surprisingly) playing the class? The offense tends to faceroll (so easily dominate the other team that they could roll their face across their keyboard to continue doing so) the defense. Ok, I'll give it to you: The offense is ineffective. Why? Hah. Snipers break up the offense so it becomes ineffective. The backbone offense classes never make it in time or at all.

NOTE: Before someone complains, sorry, but, this is one of the reasons why I think the game turns into defense vs defense. You can suggest all I do is argue against Sniper, but I have provided reasons in this context that adhere to the topic at hand. I'm just telling you, because I see it coming.

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Old 01-26-2010, 08:36 PM   #7
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yes but my argument is that snipers create ovd not dvd. when i snipe arddvark the enemy goes defense, my team switches to offense and all i have to kill is a sniper. if a sniper is dominating the yard like you say, there would be no reason for that teams sniper to continue playing D becasue the yard is in control and offense can begin, and thats how it works whenever i play. im not sure how you figure one teams sniper dominating the yard turning into dvd?.

the only situation i can see your argument holding water is if me and king are sniping on opposite teams, we can both kill eachother and most of the yard at the same time. but thats 2 people, hardly a cause for consistent dvd.

and even still the only map it would occur is arddvark.

Last edited by SSCUJO; 01-26-2010 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:40 PM   #8
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This is where the lack of a win incentive comes in. Once and rarely when the offense enters the enemy base, it turns into spawn camping and deathmatch because no one wants to get the flag. What's the point? There's no reward for doing that. Even at the end of the match, it's arbitrary. Those points mean nothing.

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Old 01-26-2010, 08:44 PM   #9
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Please don't turn this into a sniper thread? The original poster had a larger picture in mind.
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Old 01-26-2010, 08:49 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sh4x View Post
Please don't turn this into a sniper thread? The original poster had a larger picture in mind.
The OP asked what caused Defense vs Defense scenarios, and I gave my opinion and explanation. The Sniper prevents any good offensive runs, so the offensive team goes defense. The defense team might (as Cujo points out) give it a try when the yard is empty, but they'll get denied too. The Scouts and Medics get in, but with no classes to support them, it's almost always a losing battle. They give up and go defense then too! I also said that with no immediate reward, capturing the flag became useless. My explanation is and was on topic. Sorry if you don't like it. I'll suppress my opinion to make you feel better, okay?

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born_In_Xixax
Make offense easier/defense harder?
NO. Not this. I hate AvD games that are over within minutes. FF already has huge offense advantages over TFC. On average AvD maps don't last anywhere NEAR as long as they did in TFC (vertigo and basicbowl being the exceptions). I realize DvD is a CTF phenomenon that doesn't happen in AvD/ID gameplay, but giving offense more of a boost than it already has just shovels more dirt into the grave for those other modes.

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bridget View Post
The OP asked what caused Defense vs Defense scenarios, and I gave my opinion and explanation. The Sniper prevents any good offensive runs, so the offensive team goes defense. The defense team might (as Cujo points out) give it a try when the yard is empty, but they'll get denied too. The Scouts and Medics get in, but with no classes to support them, it's almost always a losing battle. They give up and go defense then too! I also said that with no immediate reward, capturing the flag became useless. My explanation is and was on topic. Sorry if you don't like it. I'll suppress my opinion to make you feel better, okay?
You're not sorry, stop lying!

I never said your argument was wrong, nor did I say that I didn't like it.

What I meant was that it would be nice to have some other arguments than just having this thread be about how sniper do this and that.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:16 PM   #13
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Agree, I think we've analyzed sniper sufficiently in other threads

However, I think it is a valid comment, and goes towards 'offense is too hard.' As a veteran player, I have no problem bhopping, concing, and air-curving over the typical 'yard' most CTF maps have, and only the very best snipers do much to slow me down. But, I can definitely put myself in a less experienced player's shoes and see how long, hard and frustrating that trip would be walking a non-concing class across the yard against even a sniper of moderate skill.

In some sense, perhaps concing 'breaks the game' in that it is such an overwhelming advantage and benefit, that it virtually negates the use of any other class on offense. This is certainly the case in league play. Since concing medics are so effective at capping, map makers have instinctively built maps that give the defense some hope of stopping them - maps with bases far enough apart to delay the next wave of concing medics, maps with choke points near resupplies, etc. - and these designs have the side-effect of making it very difficult for non-concing classes to cap.

The end game is that it takes a fairly rarified set of skills - concing, conc aim, air curving, ramp sliding, trimping, bhopping - to be effective on offense, relegating many newer players to defense.

As I can't bring myself to suggest doing away with concing (this was TF2's solution), perhaps there is more that can be done to give other classes better movement options and even things up (less damage for explosive weapon jumps, a la Warsow?.)

And perhaps the sniper can be re-invented to make him less one-dimensional and ease the long range domination somewhat. The TF2 sniper's 'huntsman' bow-and-arrow is an interesting take on this: turning the sniper weapon into a projectile (a very fast one) requires some anticipation in order to use, it is less effective at long range, and the ROF/no-charge/no-scope mechanic makes it more useful at medium to short range.

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Old 01-26-2010, 09:19 PM   #14
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I find it interesting that the same ideas and criticisms that have plagued FF since its inception still seem to be a sore point for most players. I personally stopped playing because the game focuses on the individual skill and the individual accomplishments. There is no incentive to pick up the slower players on your team, and move forward to the goal of victory because you can do it yourself. You don't need the people playing with you. They may serve as a distraction, but a single person can dominate a defense of 5 people easily. In TF2, the taking of a point, or an advancement of the team forward to the end goal requires the cooperation of all the players. Unlike FF, 2 people cannot advance the entire team alone. You need the spy to sap sentries while the Heavies and the Medics serve as a wall for your other players behind you. In FF the Scouts and the Medics fly over head as you are forced to run across expansive yards only to arrive after their deaths.

Simply put, there is no incentive, as Bridget stated, to achieve end game victory.
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Old 01-26-2010, 09:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Born_In_Xixax
As I can't bring myself to suggest doing away with concing (this was TF2's solution), perhaps there is more that can be done to give other classes better movement options and even things up (less damage for explosive weapon jumps, a la Warsow?.) And perhaps the sniper can be re-invented to make him less one-dimensional and ease the long range domination somewhat...
While CTF and AvD are completely different animals, this is just going to cripple things more. In AvD, snipers are rarely a big problem. There's just too much coming at defense too constantly for them to be a major issue. The biggest things that erode defense in AvD are this:

-Increased movement speeds period
-Jumppads
-Pyro jumps
-lackluster sg push
-inability of sg's to block splash damage

So making things easier for offense and adding even MORE movement options will just collapse things. This isn't to say I'm against them, but I feel like D needs serious help if that's the route you go.

I think the problem may be more fundamental here. As a CTF player, you see offense as being too hard. As an AvD player, I see defense as being too hard. And for the peanut gallery of course there are always exceptions, but I've seen D eroded substantially compared to TFC and FF 1.0 over the course of hundreds of games. 2.4 was better, but still worse than 1.0.

EDIT:

I've never personally found CTF fun, but it obviously has a long history. It sounds like the problem is not so much with offense not having enough capabilities so much as having more incentive to get people out of the base. To me, points were always kind of meaningless. For those that do CTF pubbing, what's your biggest incentive to get the flag? Is there some way to enhance that motivation?

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Old 01-26-2010, 10:19 PM   #16
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AvD is almost a completely different game, isn't it? As a league player long ago, playing 9v9, 5v5 and AvD every week, the AvD night was definitely the highlight. So many 'problems' go away just by changing the engagement model and the map mechanics: OvO, max D, DvD, base camping, snipers, domination of the concing classes, etc. all disappear as major issues. On dustbowl, even the most spineless and craven respawn hugging, clang-whore engineer is an effective member of your team 50% of the time

I have noticed defense on AvD maps in FF is particularly challenging, but I might also suggest that some small map tweaks might be able to make up the difference without more fundamental changes: move offense respawns a little farther back, give defense a few more resupply bags, etc. To me the enhanced movement options in FF are one of the very best parts, and I would prefer to include (if not expand) them, and modify the maps to keep the balance.

Motivation is an important part of the DvD problem, but I would suggest it's more an issue of de-motivation. Most players naturally start out wanting to move outward, seek the stated objectives, use their tools and engage the other players. But, due to the nature of many CTF maps today, and their built-in bias towards concing classes, this tends to end in a long walk and a quick death too many times, discouraging the player from leaving the base. Once he then sees how 'easy' it is to stand within a few feet of respawn and 'pwn' players by spamming nades or building the 5th sentry, the deal is sealed.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:14 PM   #17
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Well the problem with map tweaking (which the devs have done to an extent already) is when one gameplay change makes it so every map needs an overhaul.

If you want more movement options, I think the natural answer is to have more defense counters. We have all these new offensive capabilities and defense got almost nothing. So we have jump pads? Fine, give engineers (or another D class) "slowing fields" to compensate. Pyros can fly all over the map? Fine, lets add a new trap that helps catch more players flying in. Or add some additional buffs to the sg. Or add a new buildable to act as a temporary barrier towards offensive players. ANYTHING.

I think this would help your DvD problem as well. We could add new abilities or buildables (like conc dispensers or something), that would help O get across the map as fast as possible. It wouldn't get any easier once they got inside the base with the new D capabilities, but it would get people to the action faster. O wouldn't have to hike so far, D wouldn't feel safe just sitting around. Basically more action and less travel time.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:17 PM   #18
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There's a simple solution to this problem. Don't play CTF in pubs.
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:46 PM   #19
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To just put some things out there.

1. Incentive plays a very small role in defense vs defense situations. Examine TF2 on CTF maps like 2fort. Objectives are rarely, if ever, worked for. When they are, it's because one team is dominating the other so severely in the mid-map DM fest that they want to change the map or are looking for a bigger challenge.

The real reason for DvD!

Defense vs Defense occurs when barriers are hit. This occurs in every single TF game ever, TF2 included. There are a large number of barriers and they range from large, hard to pass through yards (this breeds snipers, which act as a catalyst), to small yards with very few paths to take (2fort, an example), to defenses that are better than offenses (an incredibly easy thing in pubs).

2. Player mentality also plays a large role in this. It's more fun to kill someone than to capture a flag. This is showcased by the most popular modes in modern FPS games revolving more around killing people.

There's nothing you can do about that.

It's the truth. You can't change the fact that putting a rocket in to somebodies face is infinitely more fun than prancing around like Vinny does with his disco ball. While offense is very fun in a competitive environment, it's a snooze fest in pubs as either a defense is so impenetrable that you need to simply DM your way through it (might as well play defense then, yeah?) or it's a breeze and you just conc right through without taking damage.

That's really all there is to it. People do things that are fun first. If something is not fun then it's pointless to put incentive in to it. This is why TF2 is popular. It all revolves around DM and teamwork. Offense and defense are the same. DM and teamwork. This is the reason they've added an incentive that revolves around the core of the game: killing.

In CTF, the core of the game isn't killing but instead capturing flags. In TF2, it's the same. The difference is that CTF in TF2 is just sucky and not very fun.
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Old 01-27-2010, 12:44 AM   #20
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I think this would help your DvD problem as well. We could add new abilities or buildables (like conc dispensers or something), that would help O get across the map as fast as possible. It wouldn't get any easier once they got inside the base with the new D capabilities, but it would get people to the action faster. O wouldn't have to hike so far, D wouldn't feel safe just sitting around. Basically more action and less travel time.
You realize what you've just described almost perfectly

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