Clan Wars -- See? We told you so

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Clan wars is exactly as expected after turn 4. Clanning number 1, AEC number 2. FunWreckers lost on turn 4. What is really interesting, is that FunWreckers, despite being a dead clan for some time, is still number 4. Most of the new clans are struggling to pass the huge initial advantage fun wreckers had by starting at the beginning of the era.

The fact that clan wars is decided in the first few turns is a big problem with the dynamics of clan wars. No-one is having fun after turn 10. You are just doing attacks because if you don’t, you lose. There is no interesting dynamics to look forward too. Its a no win situation, you can only lose through inactivity.

If T is the number of turns in an era, then cities captured in the first turn of the era are worth T times as much as a city captured on the final turn.

This makes offensive action worth less as the era progresses. This is in contrast to most games, where player actions near the end of the game are worth more. Bias of value toward later game actions creates an atmosphere of suspense, because “anything could happen”, and risky strategies have the potential to pay off.

To unbias the game, lets consider how the final score is calculated, for a three city map, for a three turn era.
A is captured in turn one and generates 1 + 1 + 1 =3 influence points over three turns
B is captured in turn two and generates 1 + 1 = 2 influence in the three turns
C is captured in turn three and generates 1 = 1 influence point.

The total score would be 6 points, 50% of the final score would be because of capturing A in turn 1.

1. The simplest way to unbias the scoring system is to just count the final number of cities when the era ends. (my personal favourite)

2. Whenever holding a city accumulates score, you get a bias, but to lessen the bias whilst retaining the holding a city dynamic, you could award a city on turn t with t*t points
A would then generate 1 + 4 + 9 = 14
B would then generate 4 + 9 = 13
C would then generate 9

Total score would be 36. Failing to take C on the final turn, and losing it to an opponent, would swing the game 18 point in another teams favour (better tension dynamic).

Food for thought anyway.

 
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Your synopsis has several wrong points.

First of all Zeltennia started very late and has easily overtaken Fun Wreckers.

Second, it is the very fact that clans started late in the era that has made them unable to catch up, not the fact that they are behind on cities. There is no reason to make it possible for late-joiners to catch up unless they can take cities from older clans. The new clans have weaker players than the old clans – so it makes zero sense to claim they should be able with both a time disadvantage and a player disadvantage to overtake old clans. Also, since this is only the second era of course new clans are going to be started regularly even towards the end. But as we progress, more clans will exist from the start and the competition will be between map control and PvP. Do not interpret things based on the fact that clan wars is new.

The concept of accumulated points works very well in this game, actually, when you consider that the teams have to find a balance between expansive conquest, exposing the line to attack, or consolidation and an attempt to build points. With many clans in play and with PvP being dangerous, this is actually very very interesting.

It is easy to criticize mechanics but these mechanics have NOT BEEN TESTED since there have not been many active clans from the beginning fighting each other. If the top-player clans were forced to compete and PvP regularly near the start (or else choose to be defensive) this would change entirely the way these mechanics are interpreted. One obvious problem is that a clan cannot attack the same neutral city as another clan. This needs to be fixed and both clans need to be able to attack the same neutral city. The risk should be that whoever gets the deathblow gets the city, and the other clan loses its attack for that round.

There is one major issue that remains in clan wars besides MINOR balance tweaks — and that is that only the top-3 clans get prizes. Because of this very, very stupid rule, fewer clans are incentivized to join clan wars and the major problem – the lack of competing teams – is exacerbated. That is what needs to be fixed.

 
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To summarize: The only things that need to be fixed:

1. More than one clan can attack a neutral city at the same time.
2. All clans receive a prize at the end of the era, even if it is a small prize.
3. Some very minor balance tweaks to be determined after some more testing.

 
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note Zeltennia was started after FunWreckers but before the majority of the current clans.