Auto-Scouting Discussion Thread [Official]

Hello everyone! As there has already been a good deal of discussion about the new auto-scouting feature leading up to its implementation, we want to provide a clean palette now that players have the chance to play with it in-game.

As always, we highly recommend taking the time play a few matches and experiment with the feature before weighing into the conversation. The best way to make your voice heard is to be educated and informed about the topic at hand, so be sure to approach this discussion with open mind—after having seen how the feature impacts your gameplay.

Here are a few initial questions to keep in mind as you begin to experiment with auto-scouting:

  • How does auto-scouting change the way you play the game? Please explain.
  • Would you consider auto-scouting “useful” given your skill level? Why or why not?
  • Could you tell if your human opponents were using auto-scouting? How did it change the flow of the match?
  • Did you encounter any issues (not already listed in the known issues) with the feature?

Take the time to consider these questions before playing and commenting with your thoughts! You can also read up on the full details of the new feature in the latest update notes, here:

Happy scouting!

13 Likes

From newbie to pro, there are times in game where you idle your scout for one reason or another. During these times if you use auto scouting you’ll gain free information you should not have, thus there is lower chance enemy can sneak vills to the side of the map to get extra resources, build secret economy or have stables/siege workshops or other buildings built for raiding purposes.

This is now all prevented nearly completely with couple of auto scouting scouts running around the map. We all must appreciate this handicap given to all players just because devs can’t understand scouting or how information gathering affects the gameplay.

3 Likes

This punishes sneaking/forward strats so much, it’s a bit disgusting.

What is the goal here?

  • Noobs tend to play black forest games which are set to explored.
  • Noobs that go to 1v1 arabia will get accustomed to automating something they should really be putting a lot of practice and focus on. Therefore, long-term, this doesn’t help them at all.

This just doesn’t make any sense. Even with big discussions against it, you continue to release it and put yourself in a position where it will be hard to remove afterwards because some noobs (which prob play the game for a week and move on to something else) got used to it. Often times it feels the devs are a bit out of touch with the game. Kind regards.

9 Likes

Hey there @Ptee92 and @Skillmund. We absolutely want to hear your thoughts about this feature, but want to hear about it after you’ve taken the time to experiment with it in-game. We have plenty of speculation about how the feature might impact the game; now we’d like to hear how it actually impacts your play.

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I hate it too, but let’s be fair and see how it actually plays out for a bit. Then we can come back here and give our oppinions.

I just hope there are no further changes planned that go into the same direction.

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@Evangelos
The point is that we arent criticising the way it works. In my opinion atleast it doesnt make sense that it exists at all. When i am learning a game then i dont want to have some predigested assistance that nobody ever asked for. Players are different! Everybody has to improve in his individual areas so this will not help everybody the same.

Immagine two weaker players that both have worse scouting than the Bot but still one person might have definitive scouting skill advantage over the other. After this patch this advantage in a fundamental area of the game will no longer exist.

I dont want to get philosophical here but this is a question of fundamental competetive attitude. And thats why it should have no place in a competetive game let alone ranked queue.
It comes down to the difference between a liberal and a social world view.

7 Likes

this is awesome, keen to try out the patch, also keen to see if people realise auto scouting is fine, and fits just like auto resource acquisition, reseeding, sheep herding, combat stances, waypoints, formations and everything else that makes the game easier to manage while still rewarding skill…

loving the changes so far, was super surprised and happy to see genitours got a buff!!

8 Likes

Auto-Scouting and Mongolian Steppe Lancers are the best things in this update! :smiley:

4 Likes

After my first game of experience with it and answering OP questions:

  • Opponent didn’t use it much I guess since his score wasn’t unexpectedly high, he used it to fight and defend also.
  • Feature seems to be working as advertised. With a large part of the map already explored, the scout was running into my opponent’s base multiple times shortly after another though. I guess this is to be expected (definitely don’t implement auto-avoiding the enemy starting TC since that would really be a hack).
  • How I use it: as intermediate player, I prefer scouting myself early game to find resources quickly and to find enemy TC and scout the opponent for intelligence on specific times. The feature seems useful to me though for castle/imperial age when I’m busy booming and fighting. The scout can then explore the remainder of the map which helps to find neutral mines and relics.
  • I would prefer to remove auto scouting from ranked play, since people are with right complaining that it takes away a basic skill component from the game and might help you find enemy expansion and sneaks even accidentally. I would suggest keeping it for campaigns and unranked play; it could be implemented in unranked play as extra option for the exploration dropdown: (standard / auto scouting / explored) or (only manual / standard / explored) depending on what becomes the default.
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You say that when learning a game you don’t want to have some predigested assistance that nobody ever asked for but you also say that players are different. Well, maybe some players, being different to you, as you admit, don’t agree that the assistance is unhelpful and maybe some people did ask for it and/or are glad that it’s a feature?

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It’s got nothing to do with the difference between a liberal and social world view. This is not a political matter.

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I wanted to say is that because players are different you wont be able to give them uniform assistance that will help them the same way. If you help some people with this and hurt the performance of others then it doesnt really achieve its goals.

It just means that newbies who don’t want to micromange their scout and aren’t interested in improving can enjoy the game more and newbies that do want to improve can focus on learning other aspects of the game, such as their economy, before learning to scout better. (I actually learned that way … I used to play on explored and practice build orders and then when I learned the build orders I afterwards learned to play on unexplored and to multitask the build orders and scout at the same time).

At high level games it either won’t affect the game at all, or it will affect it slightly for the better because it will be a feature that all players can implement, so it’s fair, but will reduce the luck-based reasons for losses. For example, it would be more likely to prevent something like an expert losing to another expert simply because they were too busy multitasking to scout an extra relic or a gold pile late game.

6 Likes
  • It doesn’t impact greatly, after playing a few games with it, I see it is pretty good at finding your starting resources, further than that it gets really random and does not scout anywhere where I would scout. In one Arena game the AI Scout did find it more interesting to scout my ally than the edges of my base (where the woodline is)

  • For noobs it will be a great help in the beginning, everything after that can’t be depended on.

  • Couldn’t say, but I guess it is safe to say that you can’t steal sheep from noobs anymore.

  • Can’t say, need more testing.

So far I have to conclude that Auto-Scouting is a perfect help for noobs with basic scouting. Anything more useful has to be done manually.

9 Likes

In my eyes the person that is actually trying to improve should have an advantage over the casual player. I dont see why there needs to be a change that makes the game more fair. That newbie you are talking about might not want to get that artificial assistance. And why should the game itself force him to improve in other aspects when he thinks that scouting is better or more enjoyable for him? If he wants to be competetive then he cant be focusing on improving his scouting because it wont give him an advantage.
I want to add that the fact that the player is not performing on a high level doesnt mean he isnt trying. If autoscouting was introduced with the skill ceiling from 2000/2001 it would have had huge effects on competetive play and the learning experience of the best players.

If you want to improve you will focus on that even if it doesn’t give you the advantage in the particular game you’re playing.

In fact, what wins you the current game and what improves your game in the long run are often in conflict.

Like I said, I can only speak for myself personally and learning my dark age economy and build orders first and then learning scouting afterwards was how I learned.

And, as I said, there is a whole category of player that isn’t interested in improving and just wants to play casually.

In the long-run the person trying to improve, if they succeed, will indeed have the advantage and this feature is both a way to help them improve AND to please those who don’t want to improve … whilst not affecting the experts or intermediate players. It’s a win-win feature, IMO.

I’m not entirely against the idea of allowing auto-scouting for non-ranked only and making it a feature you can enable or disable in the lobby for single player or unranked. Although, personally, I don’t think it will harm ranked play and I think it will turn out to be just like MQ … i.e. something that people worried about and complained about that turned out to be a good feature.

1 Like

There is the option to do what some other games (like Empire Earth) did, and allow auto-scouting by every (military?) unit. That would open up additional considerations that people will worry about - ie. the implications of late-game auto scouting. But those concerns are probably overblown.

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I think they are overblown and I think allowing it for all scout-line and eagle-line units is better than allowing it only for the initial scout because there is more RNG if you only allow it for the intiial scout. Because, for example, you could get two players in the late game … one with their initial starting scout alive but one without it alive … and one of the players would be able to find more extra resources and relics late game whilst multiasking other things … and the other couldn’t. Whereas if it’s for all scout-line and eagle-line units then that feature is available equally for both players and it will certainly not be the game breaking feature that people worry it will be anymore than MQ turned out to be.

Like I have said before elsewhere … if anything it would reduce RNG in that case because if both players can auto-scout their extra resources and relics late game then you will get less high level games lost due to something like not finding a relic while the pro was too busy doing everything else (unless they’re Viper because he can do literally everything, but I digress) … and more losses that are due to strategical mistakes. So basically, the sort of late-game auto-scouting that people worry about would, if anything, reduce luck-based losses.

And, it should go without saying, that autoscouting should NOT be applied to ALL millitary units. That would be like applying auto-queue instead of simply MQ. There certainly is a quality of life step that goes too far … but it’s further away than some people think. QOL features aren’t all that bad … after all, we don’t want to go back to villagers just standing still after building a lumbercamp at a forest.

2 Likes

I dont think like that when i try to improve my play. First of all i will try to beat the players on my level. So if this affected me then it would definetely bend my playstyle in a specific direction.

I dont really understand what you mean here. The only thing that applies to that description in my eyes is scouting when there is autoscouting available.

It doesnt help you improve! Thats the point that has been brought up 100 times in this discussion already. Someone doesnt get better at mental arithmetic when you give him a calculator. He doesnt even get better at math with a calculator because someone who learned it without one will always beat him in a “fair competition”
Your way of improving is heavily influenced from pro players that you try to copy build orders from but those top players never had anyone to copy from. They did all that themselves!

The calculator analogy is a bad analogy because with autoscouting you can learn other related things but that isn’t the case with the calculator and doing sums.

Like I said, I can only speak from personal experience. How I myself learned was by learning build orders first and playing on an explored map and learning the scouting while doing my build orders afterwards. It’s called chunking and it’s a common and affective way to learn. You learn the parts and then you put them together.

So I am just speaking from personal experience here. For you it may be better to learn other ways but for me personally … learning one thing at a time and putting it all together afterwards is the best way for me to learn.

You say that you don’t understand what I mean when I say that what wins you the current game and what improves your game in the long run are often in conflict. But what I am referring to, for example, is that the best way to win games NOW is to stick to the map you are best on, stick to the civ you are best with and use the build order you know best … but to improve as a player you will have to try out new strategies and new maps and new civs and that will mean you’ll lose more in the short run, because you’ll be out of your comfort zone, but you’ll win more in the long run.

Hence, it might be a good idea to focus on learning build orders and just letting the scout find your resources while you focus on that … even if you lose the current game because you didn’t scout the enemy very well. In the long run, you’ll get better build orders and then later get better at scouting … even if it means you lose the particular game you were playing.

As Terry Prachett said, “Wisdom comes from experience. Experience is often a result of lack of wisdom.”

2 Likes