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Developer Spotlight: “The Eagles are up by how much?!”

CATANdominikCATANdominik Administrator, Community Manager Posts: 225 Community Manager, Global
edited May 18 in News & Announcements

Hello Explorers!

We hope you’ve been enjoying the season and the new regions. We’ve been tracking and testing and debugging like crazy and something unexpected happened for players yesterday that deserves some explanation. 

The Golden Eagles, the streak-holder for Third Place for most of Fenni’s life, skyrocketed into First Place. Did the Eagles find a way to sneak in thousands of VP under the radar? Is the CATAN – World Explorer Team just outright giving mountains of VP to the hard-luckingest team out there? No.


What happened?

Simply - this:

It was discovered that Daily Quest VP wasn’t being appropriately added to the scoreboards. The result is that there’s been a season’s worth of VP building up and once a correction was in place it all was applied to the scoreboard at once.

What should have happened?

As you know, Gilda and Fenni take a look at the faction scoreboards every day. Based on the position, Gilda offers some VP in the Easy and Hard quest to second and third place factions. 

This gives players a chance to work together to narrow scoring gaps or overtake competitors. Closing the gap, or changing place would cause benefits to either decrease to very small amounts or shift over to other teams. The result we experienced was due to those daily flow controls not having the information to regulate properly.

We are always working on ways for all teams to be competitive regardless of active player population. Our goal is to ensure that team choice is a social, cosmetic, or maybe even eventually a lore preference and not just a “winners vs losers” choice. 

What we’re doing (or not doing)

We’re not going to revert the lump sum - the amount was a jolt, but not something that can’t be overcome in the remainder of the season through effort. 

Eagles - take heart - you may be fewer in number, but you can do it!

Wolf and Bear players - you may be surprised to have some Daily VP amounts you’re not used to seeing. As a result, I foresee those gaps closing very quickly!

Now that all the mechanisms seem to be tracking and recording properly, we’re keeping a close eye on the velocity of Victory Points so that we can tune the values appropriately moving forward.


Yours

Eir and the CATAN – World Explorers Team

Post edited by CATANFiona on

Comments

  • ZinkyZonkZinkyZonk Member Posts: 219 ✭✭✭

    Thank you for the explanation @CATANEir 😁

  • MykanMykan Member Posts: 95 ✭✭✭

    Should eagles be getting 0 vp for quests now they are in the global lead or are other factors at play in that mechanic, like player base?

  • NavigatorNavigator Member Posts: 33 ✭✭

    I agree with Archeron69. The global scoring mechanic has disadvantaged the bears the most severely. What I would like to know is exactly how this mechanic works depending on where you sit in the standings. Also it would have been nice to know about this tweak at the start of the season.

  • CharmqCharmq Member Posts: 244 ✭✭✭

    @Archeron69 @Navigator the balancing mechanism was in place throughout last season and earlier, read: https://community.catanworldexplorers.com/discussion/1060/new-catch-up-mechanic-can-the-eagles-secure-a-victory/p1

    the only reason you feel it now is because there was an increase in the amount awarded this season and also there was a bug which caused the delay of the amount awarded. (Till now we have no idea the algorithm they use to decide on the amount to award)

    Even as eagles, we feel balancing mechanism or whatever its called doesnt work and isnt fair but the only result we get is more points here n there. So now that you guys have a first hand feel of how unfair it is, please feel free to add on your proposals on how to balance the disproportionate number of players per faction without arbitrarily adding points. (Most of us are proposing something like taking average, total pts/no of players) Thanks.

  • BigRedTedBigRedTed Member Posts: 1 ✭✭

    Speaking of balance - who did the calculations behind purchasing gold?

    .99c =100 gold coins but $7.99 = 550 gold?

    Not encouraging anyone to buy more here...



  • Archeron69Archeron69 Member Posts: 23 ✭✭

    @Charmq

    The reason we feel it is because the balancing VP (for how many days/weeks/seasons?) was apparently awarded in the space of a few seconds.

    If it had been working correctly, the faction in 2nd/3rd place would theoretically have been able to close the gap and overtake the faction in 1st/2nd place. When this happened, the balancing mechanism would then switch so that the 3 factions' positions should constantly be shuffling. It would not be a case of the 3rd place faction continuing to earn balancing VP even when it is already in 1st place (which is what appeared to have happened).

    We don't know the actual faction sizes so I can't respond to your last comment. However, when Bears finally overtook Wolves a few Seasons ago, we didn't have a recruitment drive.

  • CharmqCharmq Member Posts: 244 ✭✭✭

    @Archeron69 “If it had been working correctly, the faction in 2nd/3rd place would theoretically have been able to close the gap and overtake the faction in 1st/2nd place. When this happened, the balancing mechanism would then switch so that the 3 factions' positions should constantly be shuffling.”

    Do you feel any shuffling these few days when its supposedly working? Do you feel adding points should be used in the first place to balance player numbers? Yes we do not know the actual numbers in each faction but its admitted in the thread above that eagles have a disproportionate smaller number.

  • Archeron69Archeron69 Member Posts: 23 ✭✭

    @Charmq There's no shuffling because the sudden VP dump created a massive margin that is about the equivalent of about 1 to 2 weeks of activity. Still not sure if that margin can be closed by the end of the Season.

    I don't know what's the best way to deal with the difference in faction numbers. If the gameplay mechanics followed that of the board game with more strategic moves like road building and blocking, then strategy might be one way of shifting the numbers. But it might also make the game too complicated for casual players. 🤷🏻‍♂️

  • ScrumpeeScrumpee Member Posts: 11 ✭✭
    edited March 29

    Can @CATANdominik clarify how many VPs will be awarded to trailing factions based on what VP margin using the current “balancing mechanism”?

  • SagoGulaMelakaSagoGulaMelaka Member Posts: 4 ✭✭
    edited March 29

    Singapore Bear here.

    Without transparency, it's impossible to tell whether scoring is working as intended, because we, as players, do not know exactly what is intended. We can only deduce that scoring is not working correctly when, eg, we observe that our personal VP exceeds that of our scoring region, or when VP does not increase according to what is printed on the cards.

    Frankly, I have no idea at all at the moment if scoring / catch-up VP _is_ actually working as intended at the moment.

    My experience with this game so far has often been that something is displayed on screen, but the actual behaviour is different; and that bugs reported as fixed are often still hanging around.

  • Archeron69Archeron69 Member Posts: 23 ✭✭

    @CATANdominik

    How much is the balancing VP supposed to be for the faction in 3rd place in the balancing mechanic?

    In your original announcement, it was stated to be 50 VP for Hard Tasks.

    Actual discussions between factions showed it to be 33 VP when first implemented.

    When Bears were kicked to 3rd place by your VP dump, we were given 22 VP.

    And today it's been dropped again to 17 VP?

    What is going on?


  • CATANdominikCATANdominik Administrator, Community Manager Posts: 225 Community Manager, Global

    @BigRedTed App Store prices are automatically converted into local currencies by Apple and Google. Also they setup which price categories you can offer. This sometimes (based on current conversion rates) leads to slightly weird combinations in certain countries. We are trying to achieve an overall balance, but in a global game there will always be some countries where this happens from time to time.

  • ColoniusColonius Member Posts: 36 ✭✭

    Hi @CATANEir, @CATANdominik, it was good that you made a post explaining the sudden Global Score correction.

    However, I think one point is not stated clearly enough, and therefore may be easily misunderstood. I'll try to explain this below:

    First of all, here's the part which I'm quite sure I understood correctly from your post:

    You folks found that the Daily Quest VPs were not being added correctly to the Global Score. After discovering this, you decided to add back this "missing" VP all in one go. (I shall refer to this as the Correction)

    Now what players saw in-game was this: Just before the Correction, (based on screenshots from this bug report thread) the global score was:

    Eagles 116233, Bears 144252, Wolves 131604.

    So the Bears had a lead of about 13K over the Wolves and 28K over the Eagles at the 1-week point of the season.

    Just after the Correction the global score was:

    Eagles 224111, Bears 144939, Wolves 140090 (based on the screenshot in your original post).

    That's a whopping correction of around +107K to the Eagles.

    If all that's added back is the Daily Quest VP from the current season (which was meant to balance the scores for this season), shouldn't it end up around +28K (this makes the Eagles about level with the Bears), or at the very most double that at +56K (this gives the Eagles a 28K lead, about the same lead as the Bears originally had)? Instead, the Correction was double that again.

    However, I noticed this point: you wrote that for the correction, you applied "a season's worth of [Daily Quest] VP" all at once. Since recent seasons have been 3 weeks long, I'm taking 1 season = 3 weeks. So the season's worth of Daily Quest VP includes 2 weeks from the previous season, as well as 1 week of the current season. Setting aside whether this is the correct way of returning the missing VP (e.g. it could be argued that last season's missing VP should be added to last season's final total global score, instead of being added to this season's score), this does explain why the Correction was as large as 107K VP.

    In the interest of clearing up any confusion, I would like to ask you to confirm if what I described above is correct. Or if not, please explain what I'm missing. Thank you!

  • CATANdominikCATANdominik Administrator, Community Manager Posts: 225 Community Manager, Global

    @Colonius To clarify the slightly vague words from my colleague: "a season's worth" was meant to mean: All missing VP since the beginning of the season. So there were no overspilling VP from last season.

  • ColoniusColonius Member Posts: 36 ✭✭

    @CATANdominik

    Thanks for the quick clarification!

    Though now I am genuinely puzzled: if it's all only from this season, why is the Correction figure so huge? Have the Eagles been assigned 50VP or more per Daily Quest during the first week of the season?

  • TrichoplaxTrichoplax Member Posts: 8 ✭✭

    Faction imbalance has been an issue since Ingress.

    I honestly think the best approach would be the blunt and brave one: assign new players (quasi-randomly) to teams, to bolster numbers in the smaller teams. If someone strongly wants to switch, let them switch (in fact that is already allowed), but if someone comes in to the game with no real preference, just allocate them a team. A lot of new players won't care all that much which team they're on and if those players are asked to choose a team, as they are now, the choice will not be random - there will be a bias based on more people having a slight preference for red over yellow, or bears over wolves, or whatever it is.

    Random assignment would have been tricky in Ingress because of the strong lore attached to the two factions, but in Catan there is (for now at least) no real lore associated to teams and I honestly think that people wouldn't mind, especially if those with a reason to care - like an invitation from friends - were allowed to switch teams after joining.

    I'm sure the devs have thought through this - maybe there's some reason it's harder than I realise to just assign new players to teams.

    I know the aim at the moment is to make the game competitive regardless of faction numbers but I'm a little skeptical. If you fudge the numbers to make it "more balanced" according to some algorithm, people will see scores as artificial and be less motivated. At least that's my perception... curious what others think.

  • Archeron69Archeron69 Member Posts: 23 ✭✭

    @CATANdominik @CATANEir

    So we're told that ONE week into the current Season, the balancing VP which had not been properly credited was credited to the Eagles, leapfrogging them to the top of the scoreboard.

    It has now been another ONE week.

    If the Eagles are correct about being the smallest faction, wouldn't the equivalent balancing mechanism have rearranged the scoreboard by now? Surely the larger factions, with the same balancing VP in the same timeframe (ONE week) would have at least caught up by now.

    The Bears have been in last place for the week and should therefore have earned back that 108,000 VP (or more if our numbers are really that much higher).

    Instead, the Bears have only narrowed the margin with the Eagles by about 10,000 VP.

    Has your balancing mechanism broken down again? Something doesn't add up.

  • CharmqCharmq Member Posts: 244 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for @Queglar for putting across this message so eloquently.

    If i may add on, to me the catch up points is cosmetic in nature. If i contribute x amount of points, it would be via building things in settlements, which in turn would generate resources for other team members. For example building lumber mill gives wood or staplehouse gives cards etc to all team players playing at the settlement. however being given x amount of points via catchup does nothing for the team other then the scores looking nicer. It doesnt have the snowball effect of actual gaining points via building at the settlement itself.

    lastly im not sure if im getting this correct or not coz so little is known about the catchup mechanism, but from my understanding, x amount of points is given to the lagging team via gilda’s quest THE NEXT DAY. So is it really fair for the last day of the season?

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