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Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 08:51:18

Level 55
As Warlight has evolved, two things have happened: (1) Player skill has become more differentiated and (2) more and more players rely on the app to play their games.



The first problem has naturally led to "puppeteering" in team games. How?

Let's start from the beginning. If we all know nothing about the skill levels of our teammates, we have to communicate and observe (profile information, View Teammate's Orders, game history, etc.) in order to estimate how good we think our teammates are (based on our own subjective determination of what good play is).

But once players gain public recognition and are well known for their skills in team games, the observation and communication process is simplified. Their skills are accepted based on reputation or word of mouth, and the observation process usually simply confirms the merit of the reputation.

Meanwhile, since Warlight is a rather closed community when it comes to top level talent, people are rather familiar with either the reputation or the actual skills of most other players.

How is this related to puppeteering? Well, in games I play with people that don't know me(usually when I am using an unknown alt), I prove my skills throughout the game. Let's say I am actively communicating in the team chat all game. As a long team game progresses, my teammates are increasingly more willing to accept my advice. I earn their respect as the game progresses.

Let's say I use a known alt or my main account. If I have the reputation of being a good team player, my teammates might assume from the start that I am better at team games, and are more likely to defer to my suggestions. In the first case above, we have "earned puppeteering." In the second case we have puppeteering as most people would refer to it.

But what is puppeteering? It takes many forms. From the perspective of the puppet master, 1 and 2a are active forms; and 2b, 2c, and 2d are passive forms:

1. Pure Pupeteering: If you agree to take orders from me (in effect becoming my puppet), this is puppeteering in its purest form. Many people think this is the only form of puppeteering. It isn't.

2. Soft Puppeteering: If we politely communicate as if we are equals, but you always do what I suggest (either after a long discussion or simply by my suggesting it in a polite way), this is soft puppeteering. You never agree to be my puppet, but in one way or another, you effectively are (see below). Like with soft power or soft porn, it isn't as direct and immediate (ie, you don't explicitly agree to be my puppet), but it is still of the same nature. It simply requires more mutual respect and more persuasive, more thoughtful, or more time-consuming arguments. You retain your "sovereignty" but you basically do what I want.

2a. Pure Soft Puppeteering: We chat a lot each turn, and you always or almost always do as I suggest. It is implicitly understood that you are my puppet.

2b. Ad Hoc Soft Puppeteering: If I don't want to be so involved and if I don't want to type so much using my phone, I could resort to ad hoc puppeteering. This is when I remain quiet during the game, letting my teammates do as they wish, except at key junctures in the game, at which point I use techniques of soft puppeteering.

2c. Q&A Soft Puppeteering: In other games, I just don't want to talk at all. Maybe I am tired from work. Maybe it is late at night. Maybe I am tired of typing on my phone using the app. Maybe I just don't care about chatting with teammates but want to play nonetheless. In this situation, I only resort to puppeteering when asked. The teammate asks me a question, I respond. The teammate does what I said.

2d. Low-expectation, Q&A Soft Puppeteering: Sometimes I don't expect my teammate to understand the totality of what I would hope he would do. So when he asks me a question, instead of giving a complete answer that might confuse him, which would lead to him not trusting my adivce, I give an incomplete answer with basic moves but not perfect moves. Or, I might not explain the implications of the moves I suggest. Moves suggested Turn X using Tactics/Strategy A sometimes are only good if on Turn Y you use Tactics/Strategy B. With low-expectation, Q&A puppeteering, I might respond with "Tactics/Strategy A" on Turn X, but not actively assert myself on Turn Y when a shift to Tactics/Strategy B would be better. I would only mention Tactics/Strategy B on Turn Y if asked for help on Turn Y.



I have proposed "mult-armying" multiple times over the last two or three years. Every time I do so, people are confused by its meaning. So here I will endeavor to define it more clearly and explain some benefits of this new functionality.

Warlight currently has the concept of “multi-accounting" -- defined as one player controlling multiple accounts. What I propose here could be considered "multi-armying” -- defined as a new functionality added to member accounts (an update would be needed) in which one account controls multiple differently-colored armies on the same team.

Examples (in case you are confused by this concept):

1. If there are 4 people present, they could play a 3v3: It could be 1 player that "multi-armies" the entire team vs 3 accounts, or it could be 2 accounts vs 2 accounts (with each team being comprised of 1 player that controls 1 "differently-colored army" for his team and the other player controlling 2 "differently-colored armies" for his team with a single account).
2. If there are 2 people present, they could play a 4v4: Each player could control all "differently-colored armies" on his team. So, it is a 4v4 played as a 1v1. But unlike our current 1v1s, it would involve the more sophisticated strategy of team play.

Why would "multi-armying" benefit Warlight?

1. More and more puppet masters don't enjoy playing team games. We have to be too involved, even when we don't want to be. With "multi-armying" puppet masters could eliminate the middleman (the puppet!) and play a purer form of the game, and without all the hassle of chatting, persuading, typing.
2. If Warlight is going to be more successful, it will have to rely more on its app. But playing team games from the app is not as easy. It is not easy to communicate in team games using the app. Everything is slower. And it is less enjoyable to type, so chatting in team games is sometimes a hassle. One reason many people prefer 1v1 games or single-player games is because they don't have to chat. With "multi-armying," it would be more enjoyable to play multi-day team games from the app.
3. New ladders could be created. One argument against a 3v3 ladder is "there aren't enough teams." With "multi-armying" there would be enough teams.
4. Open games and tournaments would fill faster. Tired of waiting for an open game to start? If "multi-armying" is enabled in the game's settings, one or more of the players could simply "join" the game using the "multi-armying" function and the game could start. It's the same with tournaments. Not enough players or teams to start? Some players could use "multi-armying" to fill up more open seats and the wait wouldn't be so long.


III. Anonymous No Chat Team Games

If ”multi-armying" is not implemented, the next best alternative to improve the purity of team games would be anonymous no chat team games.

Open games and tournaments would be limited by blacklists and prerequisites. Each player would join as [Anonymous]. When the game(s) begin, nobody knows who is who, and there is no chat (public, private, or team) for anyone to figure out who is who. When the open game ends, the chat functions (public, private, team) are enabled and [Anonymous] becomes the player's name. Likewise, when the tournament ends, all games' chats (public, private, team) are enabled and the names change from [Anonymous] to the players' names.

Benefits of anonymous no chat team games:

1. Something new, different, fun.
2. A new way to play: observing teammates' orders and relying on game history to understand your teammates would emphasize a different skill set.
3. Puppeteering wouldn't be possible. Games would be purer in a sense. And since puppeteering wouldn't be possible, we would all save energy and time by not having to chat.
4. People that just want to play and not deal with personalities or game chat would enjoy team games more.
5. Players playing from the app would benefit. Team chat is rather clunky and impractical when using the app. Eliminating chat would allow some players using the app to enjoy team games more. It would also allow app players to play more team games in real time. If team chat is clunky, you won't want to play in real time. But if there isn't chat at all, you will have more time to focus on playing the game, instead of struggling to deal with the clunky chat, slow history, and slower clicking of the app. One less thing to worry about would speed up app playing speeds.

Edited 8/22/2015 10:26:32
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 10:22:34

professor dead piggy 
Level 59
Nod, good post.

I assume you havent been listening to fixxers AMA broadcasts. I have the impression that he just doesnt care about this kind of stuff. I think his point of view is that warlight is a simple fun little thing he made so he could play risk with his friends and thats all it will ever be really. He doesnt have any aspiration to make it into DOTA, its just a pet project and he adds things that he (first and foremost as a programmer, and then as a computer gamer) likes. All the things he has added make the basic game run more smoothly eg removing that history box. Or are things taken wholesale from gamer culture eg twitch. If he was interested in introducing new game modes then an official diplomacy template would have been up and running 2 years ago when hundreds of people were clamouring for it (not in the forums, but in the open games certainly).

The big innovations have been levels and money which were both brought about by mercer(nary) who is a businessy sales and marketing kind of guy. I dont see this idea making any money in the near future.

This would be an awesome feature for a few hundred of warlights most well known players but fizzer doesnt think that we, the vocal minority, should be disproportionately catered to and I can see why. He doesnt really make WL for us, he makes it for himself.

Edited 8/22/2015 10:36:26
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 10:32:54

[WM] Gnuffone 
Level 60
Great post. Great ideas. I agree in every point.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 11:01:16

Ace Windu 
Level 56
Multi-armying just needs a catchier name.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 11:53:14

Level 66
For the anonymous team feature, how do you discuss picks then, and who goes where?
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 12:16:28

Ⓖ. Ⓐrun 
Level 57
More and more puppet masters don't enjoy playing team games. We have to be too involved, even when we don't want to be. With "multi-armying" puppet masters could eliminate the middleman (the puppet!) and play a purer form of the game, and without all the hassle of chatting, persuading, typing.

Wouldn't you agree that this is a lack of talent for team games? Team games are about working with others to compete as a successful unit. Your idea benefits the 'puppet masters', but in my opinion is only required due to a select few players being lazy. For that reason I doubt it will ever be implemented, but good luck to you!
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 13:30:42

professor dead piggy 
Level 59
"this is a lack of talent for team games" Yes this is the problem we are trying to solve. In a way its the problem most top players have been trying to solve in their forum posts and suggestions for years.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/22/2015 15:54:06

Level 46
I like the anonymous no-chat games, obviously it needs "random teams" enabled.

As for puppeteering/multi-armying, it is something that some players have picked up on before local deployment was introduced, i suspect that as(or "if") the community learns to appreciate this feature they will notice they don't need multi-armying/puppeteering.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 02:00:09

Level 59
wall of text!!!

tl;dr anyone?
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 02:47:29

Level 59
read it all now.

i think multi-armying is silly. sure you like to masturbate at your greatness and not have type so much to win a team game while you're at it. but then what's the point of even playing a team game? play 1v1 instead.

"but the tactics are different in team games"
yeah, no shit.
you're really that much into distributed territories deployment tactics?
then why are you not playing 1v1 local deployment?
i can tell you why: you're ego-tripping.

if you're that bored of puppeteering newbs then play 1v1 ffs.

i agree on the anonymous games though.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 04:14:32

[REGL] Pooh 
Level 59
1st warlight problems.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 04:44:01

Master Turtle 
Level 60
All very good points I agree!
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 06:12:28

Dublin Warrior
Level 40
Buns157 makes a good point:

For the anonymous team feature, how do you discuss picks then, and who goes where?

I can see a lot of this as plausible ideas...

but I am concerned about the effects that this would have on the training of newer players and players who are new to the team game aspect of WarLight...

and I am rather skeptical that just because more of the top-level team-game players are in team games that more second and lower level team-game players would advance their knowledge and their skills...
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 09:14:49

Level 55
How do you discuss picks? You don't. You look at what your teammate picked and adjust. Information is language too. Show me what you picked and I know what you are thinking.

Advance knowledge: everything you have observed, every book you have read, and every sport and board game you have played prepares your strategic mind for Warlight. While playing Warlight, your intelligence then turns these raw materials of strategy into Warlight skills.

If a player needs someone else to tell him/her how to play, it shows a lack of "raw materials" or intelligence.

People with backgrounds in various forms of "systems analysis" (eg, programming, engineering, math, science, philosophy, upper levels of social science) tend to be strong players. They can work out the patterns within the "dynamic systems" of play without any instruction.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 18:34:06

professor dead piggy 
Level 59
Fizzer says that he doesnt like anonymity and enforced silence mechanics because its harder to make friends and he wants warlight to be about loooooove <3. We played a game with self enforced no team chat and it ended up being more social and fun than a typical game despite very disparate skill level.

Edited 8/23/2015 18:35:01
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 18:42:10

Level 52
I like the ideas. I too have issues when i have to puppet people.
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 18:52:14

The Cruelest
Level 49
Here's a clue. Join a clan and meet people of your skill level instead of multi armying and puppetting. Annoymous no chat games seem ok but I would never use the feature or join games with that feature because I like playing with friends. I refuse to play with random teammates unless I am recruiting.

These sound like features for loners who don't want to talk to people because of bad experiences in team games with random opponents (which is understandable). Try making some active friends that are your skill level or better and you won't have a problem. I wouldn't object to the creation of these features even though I will never use them. I just think the administration has already solved these problems with the clan system (which has caused brand new problems of its own).

Edited 8/23/2015 18:56:26
Puppeteering, Multi-armying & Anonymous No Chat: 8/23/2015 18:53:43

Master Ryiro 
Level 62

its far more challenging and fun sometimes to not talk and play a game
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