I was watching some streams regarding ranked beta and I was rejoiced to see random listed there. I’ve always played random in RTS so was really missing it and am looking forward to have it formally implemented. However: it turns out that random is not really random: the faction is shown post lobby/pre start. When the game starts everyone knows what faction the random player has. This goes inherently against the nature of random. Someone rolls the dice and this may give him a good faction on a suitable map against a suitable opponent. But much more likely this is not the case (since most of the time 1 or 2 factions will be optimal, but most won’t be).
Logically one would never pick random as a result. Just pick the faction one likes for the scenario at hand. The current random is just a ‘click a civ for me in the lobby’ button which is of little value. The little advantage of the opponent also not knowing what is going on in the early minutes of the game is what random is for. Random should have this little shadow of mystery and uncertainty, for everyone.
I’ve actually posted on this pre ranked beta with poll and at the time of writing this 75% thinks random should not be revealed (although 100% thinks it should be an option and 88% things the one who is random should see its own faction as an option to orient on the build order to execute when the game starts)
Looking at data from other games, for example warcraft 3 (champions) (fewer maps and only 4 races), the grand master pool has 8% random. Diamond has about 5%. This is roughly the top 10% of the player pool. Looking at the mean of the population, near platinum, the random pop is 15%, going below that it goes mildly up to 16 - 18%. In simpler words: random population thins out the higher up the rank one looks. Makes sense: one often gets a suboptimal faction to face the opponent with or use on a specific map. The only advantage random players have is the enemy his need to scout. Which clearly does not offset the overall disadvantages rolls of random. By removing that little offset of mystery at the start, one aims on dying out random at higher level of play completely; from being smaller to being faith. While random is actually great; it can give some great unique strategies, prevents mirror matches and in times is of great entertainment value due to the early game altercations in finding the right path.
Hence, I urge to reconsider this design choice.
Of course people are still free to vote in the linked poll above.
In the AOE games it’s normal for random to not be hidden after lobby. If you come from SC2 you may think it’s strange.
I think it’s strange for your decision to handicap yourself (by choosing random) to have even an infinitesimal negative impact on your opponent. Seems very unfair. You may say, but what if I get a bad civ for the map because I chose random or one I don’t know how to play? Well that is your fault as you chose random. It’s your decision. Please keep your business out of mine.
I will explain why it can have an unfair impact on your opponent.
If your opponent is Rus you want to asap kill deer and wolves to stop them getting bounty. If their civ is hidden and they are Rus and you don’t do this then they’ve gained an advantage. If you do it just in case and they’re not they’ve also gained an advantage as you’ve wasted time with that when your scout could have been doing more useful things like gathering sheep.
Why not just scout your opponent immediately you may say? Well why should I be forced to scout my opponent immediately when it should be gathering sheep. The optimal place for doing this on most maps is the corners near your base. Not rushing straight to the other side of the map to see what your opponent’s civ is.
In short I feel it’s a very selfish and bizarre request to expect your decision to challenge yourself to detriment your opponent. It’s like hitting yourself in the face then complaining your opponent has the better of you. Maybe don’t hit yourself in the face if you want a fair fight?
Nah it isn’t inherently against the nature of random.
Its “random pick” not “random pick that also hides what civ im playing until scouted”.
If you have problems with map balance thats another issue but the idea that you have to scout the enemy to even know what faction they’re playing makes things super difficult. You need to go in with the information about what civ your opponent is playing. So that you can make tactical assumptions of what their gameplan is.
I fully understand that in some cases random gives an advantage. Rus game scenarios might be the most extreme example but by no means as large as represented here. Even if one sees a scout, a palisade or anything the faction can be determined.
The variance in arguments pro and con seem to be determined if we look at individual games or over a multitude of games. Getting random Rus on lets say boulder bay is great. Rus is already strong there and having it while your opponent does not know this of course helps (although we have to agree to disagree on its extend it seems). But if the random players plays a thousand games, he will have played almost up to 90% of the games were he did not get rus. Even if we assume the 2nd race for that map is still great he still did not get the race one would normally pick (for best utilization) in 75% of the cases: in 75% of the cases he would be behind due to the random roll and the fact that some civs just are better on some maps.
Taking the above a random player typically plays with a disadvantage as a result. The only advantage he has is that his opponent might be uncertain about what he is up against. Again: in a single game it can be pain to scout this and see he got an ideal faction but in the majority of a thousand games he won’t have the best.
Folks from Warcraft 3 Champions were kind enough to share some random data with me. Random there is not revealed (despite good arguments can be made that early game there is even more important in every single case due to base layout, creeping pattern, early game resources and last but not least: hero choice). Yet, we see random die out the higher we go up the rankings.
For reference, in other races it is fairly stable. Which is an indication that random is disadvantages for competitive play.
The argument was made that random is a choice to play with a handicap that should not affect others. But I find this a weird argument. Under the concept of that logic we should also not have to buff Abbasid: because buffing it to be more competitive, equally in choice, would burden non abbasid players? Random is not suppose to be a handicap. It is supposed to be a valid option, a 9th type of faction if you want. Sure some balance at this stage is not ideal (then again: overall balance at this stage is still far from ideal) but that should not be an argument to ‘corrupt’ random if you will.
I just fear we won’t see random at all due to the current design choice: why pick random if it is not really random. If someone wants to play all factions, just learn all and then hand from the top 2 - 4 dependent on the map. It will give the same stale games you’d see as without random. And currently even with random; except the games will be even more one sided in the majority of games. Sad, in warcraft 3 the few random games we see at higher level are typically fun because they take place in the outer parts of the meta region as a result
I understand you’re coming at it from a different point of view but I still hold to what I said.
Maybe a compromise would be to make random hidden from opponent only if both players pick random. Then at least both players consent to this game style. Otherwise it’s like you’re forcing your opponent to play a game mode they didn’t queue up for.