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A Commentary on the Current State of ED

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5/7/2021 1:07:58   

I spent a while thinking about whether I should post this or not, since my discussions with community members in game and on Discord have been going around in circles for a while now, but with the result of the Tyrant's Trial tournament recently I felt like I had to get my thoughts out in full in the best way I can articulate them. Frankly speaking, this tournament was a disgrace, and was really a microcosm of the larger problem plaguing EpicDuel currently.

First, I'd like to make a comparison to the Golden Yeti Tournament (GYT) back in 2013. In that tournament, 1v1 wins were worth 5 points, 2v2s worth 15, and juggernauts worth 10. The winners of that tournament were mostly 1v1 players, since 1v1 battles were extremely fast at the time due to the then-recent Azrael promo being completely overpowered, especially Azrael's Will. The #1 player in the GYT 13,635 points, which translates to 2,727 1v1 wins. Over the 14-day span on the GYT, that makes an average of about 195 wins a day, which would be pretty doable for hardcore players even today, when 1v1 battles last longer on average than they did then.

I personally scored over 12,500 points in the recent tourney, with 1v1 worth 8 points, 2v2 worth 18, and jugg 5. I did it with juggernaut battles, since that's my primary gamemode. I poured pretty much all of my spare time into it, since I worked close to full-time and had other responsibilities as well, and got nearly 2,500 jugg wins over the 15 and a half days of the tournament. So then, how is it that I placed only 27th overall, with the top player posting nearly 3x my score? Statistically, this doesn't seem believable; given the much larger player base in 2013, you would think that the score for the top player was at least comparable to the top score for this tournament, with an active player base of 200 at best.

The obvious answer here was addressed by NightWraith in the post-tourney design notes: Botting. With juggernaut being almost entirely populated by NPCs, people have taken to using autoclickers and virtual machines to do the work for them. The fact that the moderators have been almost completely inactive in the last couple of years has only emboldened these cheaters, allowing more and better programs to proliferate, to the point where some players outright state their intentions and actions and receive no punishment. During the Tyrant's Trial, one moderator actually started to root out the botters and hand out suspensions and bans, for which he should commended, but it was still too little, too late. The ultimate winners of the tourney had already cemented themselves with days-worth of botting, and could simply cruise to the finish without fear of being actively caught.

Someone in the Mercenary balance thread commented that only the botters and the abusers of the strength/support Mercenary build had a chance in this tourney. This is fairly accurate, but in reality no one really had a chance except the botters and those who used alts in 1v1. Of the top 10 winners, I'm fairly certain that at least 9 were botting juggernaut. The 1v1 meta is awful, with the str/supp Merc build being a prime example of the braindead strategies allowed by overpowered skills and cores, but even that pales in comparison to the botting issue and the failure to stop it.

The general consensus in the community is that the new testers -- if we ever get them -- might be a help to the ED team, especially with regard to communicating with the players, but testers can't fix this issue, only make it clear how serious it is. We need moderators who are serious about catching and punishing cheaters, and can make their results plain to the community. We need a developer who is open to player feedback and willing to combat the botters on a larger scale than the moderators. More than anything, we need AE to support the developer in installing anti-cheating methods beyond his abilities.

Fixed a tiny typo in the title. -Digital X

< Message edited by Digital X -- 5/8/2021 20:36:54 >
Epic  Post #: 1
5/12/2021 3:19:47   
Retired ED Guest Artist

Wow, I was just sitting here going through all my old ED content and reminiscing on the fun times. I haven't played in months, but I comprehend what you're saying. Much of the needs you identified are, indeed, accurate. Though I don't know much about the business aspect that the staff has to consider when developing these days, I'd like to think they're doing the best they can. Personally, I think the issue of botting can be resolved in one of three ways, realistically:

- Randomized battle initialization timer (between 25 and 70 seconds)
- After the 13th win or so, overlay a screen (for 45 seconds) with a button in a random location each time. Clicking it drops a token, ignoring it drops nothing.
- Randomized AI response time (between 2 and 9 seconds) and less predictable skill selection.

Banning players may be a temporary deterrent, but a combination of these three solutions would make botting much harder / more disappointing for cheaters. Though I have my hands full with other responsibilities at the moment, I wouldn't mind coming back as a tester, or in some other capacity, on a part time basis. EpicDuel has so much potential, both the way it is and if it were to cross over into a 3d non turn-based game as I've always envisioned.


Epic  Post #: 2
5/12/2021 11:28:17   

Battle timers and random button placements wouldn't be that effective to be honest. A lot of botters use programs which can recognize images on the screen and act accordingly. Some are going so far as to code in Python to make more effective programs. The best solutions we've been able to think of are active moderators and/or a truly random captcha system.
Epic  Post #: 3
5/12/2021 11:53:38   
Retired ED Guest Artist

I see. Yes, image recognition is much more difficult to combat than simple timers. In that case, a random captcha system as you mentioned would be more effective.
Epic  Post #: 4
5/14/2021 17:00:03   

Bring mobile version for Ed. Pvp is empty. Npcs at jugg was a huge mistake. Old players got their profiles ruined. Pay to win items is not a problem for me. The problems are: No pvp incentive, little rewards for 1v1 and 2v2; Legendary Mode making Battles unfair, and I see no reason for Legendary Mode, it should be limited to Npcs and Bosses only; Nothing to do in late game, no Farmable items, no goal.

Red Hero is an AQW (old flash game, older than ED) private server, which has 200 players, and a mobile version. How the game's staff did this? Simple, they hear players' suggestions, they put constant effort to improve the game, and they are doing a great job.

I can't see the minimum of effort by ED's staff. I think they really don't care about ED.
Post #: 5
5/14/2021 21:47:21   
  Digital X

Beep Beep! ArchKnight AQ / ED

Wanting a mobile version for ED is all well and good, but it is very much wishful thinking, It requires additional resources to manage. The team already has a handful of games being worked on as well as AQW Mobile by Artix.

I agree rewards could be increased in PvP, as I mentioned before I feel like they are a bit on the slow side. Legendary mode was created to give level 40 players something extra to achieve when they hit the level cap. I have mentioned in your other post there are indeed farmable items from bosses.

Drekon, ED did have a captcha system implemented but I cannot remember why it was removed, as it was a long time ago.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 6
5/20/2021 0:13:01   


ED did have a captcha system implemented but I cannot remember why it was removed, as it was a long time ago.

From what I've heard, the images used in the old captcha system were pretty limited. A modern botter could document and account for all of them fairly easily. We need a system which doesn't operate on a limited set of codes.
Epic  Post #: 7
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