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An Open Letter: The Role of Luck
Posted by: Fenix ()
Date: December 28, 2016 06:07PM

Dear XuuL,

I have voiced my concern regarding the luck factor which exists in the game to you recently. I do not wish to keep beating a dead horse, as it seems clear to me that we have a difference in opinion over the direction of the game. We can agree to disagree whether luck should be included in the game.

What I cannot tolerate anymore, however, is the highly varying degrees of ratios present in a 3vs3 as early as turn 30. I understand that luck has always played a pivotal role in Conqueror; that does not justify the ratios I am seeing at a crucial turning point of the game. I now understand Attila's sentiment when he argues about odds.

I remember you once said that without luck only the best players would win, since it would be all skill. While I think the best players deserve to win, luck does not help average players win games; it just helps skilled players take advantage of it.

Average players, by definition, do not fully grasp high-level strategy. That means they don't know how to best use luck when it's given to them. Luck factor has many ways of being used:

- Skilled players will take advantage of luck to target crucial lands.
- Average players will just have extra troops to attack with, while the unlucky player trains more soldiers to recover the unfair ratio.

It is counter-intuitive for the argument to revolve around: "Conqueror should be an easy game; it should keep luck so that newbies and average players have a chance to win" while average players do not win; they just get luck, something intangible (not easily noticed) which they don't know how to use. Whereas skilled players will abuse the strong position the luck grants them.

You might argue that you do not see many instances or occurrence of these "crazy ratios" I'm talking about. I would say that there is "crazy ratios" at all is already very wrong. Just one game out of 100 that has these odds is already wrong, in my eyes. Conqueror should be an easy game; it does not mean it has to be an game with ridiculous mechanics that passes for difficulty.

It might not be my place to say this, since I haven't played Conqueror for very long, but I will also say that the main lifeblood and the main source of activity for Conqueror, relies on the regular players of Team Games; it is not the Single-player Guests who do not respond in the Lobby. It is not the group of random players that play 60+ turn FFAs. It is not evilbastard, or bless him/her, cleaner. If you won't address or purposely avoid an issue that affects the main 'constituency' of the game, then I will unfortunately say goodbye to the game here. My overall plan is to finish my Conqueror Guide draft I started working on in early November 2016, then finally retire.

I feel very strongly about this topic because I value skill over some random ratios that pops up occasionally to ruin or tilt hard-fought or well-balanced games. This issue has been brought up several times over the years, and while old players might feel nostalgic about the old days where luck was rampant, I would say good riddance!

As I said while playing the game, "luck is not fun". Even for the lucky player, if he is a competitive player, he will realize that destroying your enemy due to luck is easy, but not fun or challenging.

I am also tired of the rhetoric that is always thrown around when someone points this sort of thing out. People would say, it happens, or that's Conqueror for you, or hey it happens to everyone. I refuse to believe that change is not possible. To clarify, I would like Conqueror to be skill-based and luck to be left as an option, not a superficially random mechanic. Please ask yourself what you wish Conqueror to be, XuuL. I hope that this letter merits at least that.

I've attached to this email screenshots of a 3vs3 on Europe 1000 map played on 12/28/2016 around 9.30 PM CET. The players were:
Grrrr (Eire), MadMan (Hanover), Sirius (Muscovy)
rollo (Portugal), bobjeka (Sardinia), Perikles (Nicaea)

The screenshots show chat logs where we discussed the "crazy ratios". It was confirmed on at least 2 accounts by players from both teams. Here are alternative links to the screenshots:

Thank you for your time.
Fenix (also known as Sirius, Deimos, Whoru, InXaNity)

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