Strategy Thoughts on Winning Conflict Events

by Valodin

(PartylikePorkins)

This is mainly geared at some of our up-and-coming Partylike Family members, but maybe it will provoke some ideas from the more seasoned partiers as well. As always, I welcome feedback, constructive or otherwise.

 

AWing

A-Wing

For better or worse, conflicts have become the only way to get upgrades for some of the units, so if you want Johar Kessen,

JohharKessen

Johhar Kessen

A-Wing, HWK-290, Vanguard, or Resource Chicken (AT-RT), you will need to win some conflicts.

Basics

Enrolling

Once the conflict starts, any offensive win on-planet will enroll you in the competition. Thereafter, any on-planet wins or losses on either offense or defense will affect your event points. However, if you have yet to be offensive (and become enrolled in the conflict), defensive wins or losses will not affect your event points (they will remain at zero).

Event Points

Event points are like medals, but you get about 20x as many event points as medals. You only win/lose event points for battles on the conflict planet. Until you initiate an offensive battle, you will not get any event points.

Divisions/Leagues/Rank

In real-time, throughout the conflict, the game is reordering all enrolled players by event points. The divisions are split by percentiles in a logarithmic fashion (meaning the low tiers are LARGE and the highest tiers are small). At any point in time, you can see your current percentile as well as the league you are currently in (top center of your screen).

_20160120_021910

Planet – Percentile – League

Each league gives a tiny bonus of credits/alloy/contra for an offensive win on-planet (“Reward per Victory”), during the conflict. This might help beginning players, but its minute compared to the cost of a level 8+ army, so really all you care about is the league you are in when the conflict ends. You will get a more sizeable payout listed in the division charts as “Conflict Prize”.

Screenshot_2016-01-20-00-01-22

Rewards for each League showing both Rewards Per Victory as well as Conflict Prize

Prizes

The lower leagues will usually give Conflict Prizes of resources. At 30% and higher you will often see the prize being a certain number of military units. If you win these, they will be stored in your HQ inventory. Clicking on them there will instantly create them for zero resource cost if you have space in your troop carriers/starship/hero command. They are usually mid-level.
These prizes will only allow a finite number to be created, whereas, if you win an upgrade prize, you can actually produce the units in the appropriate factory.

Sizeable Commitment

Depending on the ferocity of the competition, the winning line will be at least 20,000 event points, and probably closer to 25 or 30 thousand. It lasts for four days as well.

Crude Math

Roughly speaking, you should be able to get ~500 evtpts for a 3*, ~300 evtpts for a 2*, and ~50 evtpts for a 1*. So if we figure you need at least 25k evtpts, that means at least 50 3* wins. If you are averaging one attack per 20minutes (un crystalled squad center request time), that means you are gonna need at least 17 hours of gaming. Clearly, there is a lot more variance because of defensive wins/losses, crystal acceleration, botched runs, etc, but at least it should get you thinking about the factors at play.

Plan Ahead

If you want the upgrades, you need to keep your eyes peeled for upcoming conflicts and get ready. You need:

  1. planet access — may require upgrades to your Planetary Command
  2. research lab — by the end of the conflict, your lab must be at least as high as the post-upgrade unit level otherwise you will not see the upgrade as a possible prize. Instead, you will receive some crystal.
  3. deka/deko — these help immensely on offensive cleanup and defense

    11326830_911046855619240_763972619_n

    Droidekas are invaluable on mop-up duty

  4. droids — to repair the deks
  5. air/hero — best not to be mid-upgrade on any offensive bldgs.
  6. LOTS of donations — let you squadmates know you plan to push for UC in the conflict and you are hoping for their support. Ideally, they are as well so you can keep each others’ SCs full. (If you are in a squad that doesn’t donate effectively or prolifically, consider joining one of the Partylike Squads)
  7. time — you need the time to earn the evtpts. You also probably want some game time near the event end-time to ensure victory. The last thing you want is to have work or family events right at that critical ending hour.

In-Event Strategy

Be Picky

Do not attack unless you are pretty sure you will 3* the base. Keep next-ing until you get one you like. Disregard the resource rewards — don’t be lured in by large available RSS, you should get plenty of these anyway over your 50-victory run.

Use Overwhelming Force

Plant the flag (use your squad center) every attack.

squadcenter

Your squad center quickly provides upwards of 30% more troops on offense

This should be your fastest replenishing force multiplier.
Try not to lose your deks; they are phenomenal on mop-up duty and often are the difference between 96% and 100%, so don’t deploy them too early.

Eschew the Pyrrhic Victory

If a battle goes horribly wrong, take the loss. Do NOT throw your deks and all your air in to salvage a 1*. It will take you hours to rebuild them versus probably being able to regain your evtpts in 20-minutes after your next battle. The difference between a loss and a 1* is about the same as a 2* or the difference between a 2* and a 3*. So keep your cool, take the loss, and go get a win next time.

Get Ahead Early

It’s mathematically possible to start an event on the last day and win, but its hard and its emotionally draining. I much prefer to get ahead early and stay ahead (or at least within reach) the whole time. If you can get right up into UC early, you will find it much easier to remain there than trying to play catch up.

Am I Safe?

Once you are firmly in UC, you should be able to watch the rate your score is dropping. Bear in mind this rate will change a lot based on the time till closing and your distance from the 2% line. You can also do some math and scan the ranking charts to get as little more clarity on how many 3* wins you are from falling out of UC.
One tactic some people use is to go off-world to take the defensive loss that won’t cost evtpts. This makes me really nervous because then if you’ve miscalculated the burn rate, you will have to crystal to get back on-planet and quickly battle back.

Have Fun

If it turns out to be way over-subscribed and is looking like a 50k UC and you aren’t up for that, cash out. There will be another upgrade conflict in a couple of weeks. You’ve probably earned a bunch more medals. You probably have a hunk of resources to keep your droids busy with. And you will get some trophy units for your HQ.
Remember, this is only a game… and it’s supposed to be fun, not life-destroying.

Good Luck!
Hope this helps,
-Val

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The Trouble with Matchmaking

Loose Matchmaking during Tournaments

We have known for a while that during tournaments the matchmaking is looser than normal. With typical matchmaking, you’ll usually be paired with an opponent that is at your HQ level or slightly higher. During tournaments, however, we noticed that you’ll see opponents that are noticeably, but not dramatically, lower than you are. This is most evident by their turrets and shields. To become familiar with the different turret and shield designs for different levels, see the Star Wars Commander Database.

The other day, one of my HQ level 6 squad mates pointed out that he was routinely getting attacked by level 8 Imperials. I could hardly believe it, and so he sent me screenshots of his defense history. Sure enough, 13 of his last 17 attacks were by level 8 Imps.

Adjusted Base Score and the Matchmaking Formula

Matchmaking is based on your adjusted base score and a matchmaking formula. Your adjusted base score is calculated as follows:

Adjusted Base Score (ABS) = Base Score * (0.00004 * Medals + 0.99)

For example, one of the Imps that attacked my squad mate was Milo, from the squad “Active”. His base score is 1999 and he has 16,416 medals.

ABS = 1999 * (0.00004 * 16416 + 0.99) = 3292

Someone with a lower base score but more medals, or higher base score and fewer medals could have an ABS close to yours.

Matchmaking Formula

The matchmaking formula was published on 11/20/2014. The matchmaking system creates a pool of 200 possible opponents every time you log in. It uses a series of buckets to fill your pool. The first bucket is fairly small and so the opponents are very close to your adjusted base score. If the system can’t fill your pool of 200 with bucket 1, it moves to bucket 2, which is larger and will select opponents that have higher and lower ABS than those in bucket 1. The system will repeat this process, gathering opponents that are less and less similar to you until your pool of 200 is filled. This should only take a few passes of the buckets, but it can “go up to a maximum of 10” buckets (Matchmaking Diary #2).

The matchmaking formula is:

Matchmaking range = ABR +/- 10 * (bucket)^2

“bucket” in this formula is the number of the bucket (1-10). So, for the first pass of the bucket for our Imp opponent Milo, the matchmaking range should be between ABS 3282 – ABS 3302.

Randomization

Due to “Could Not Find Opponent” errors, a randomization variable was introduced into the formula so that the range could be increased or decreased by as much as 10%. Therefore, Milo’s first bucket opponents could have an ABS of 2952 – 3631.

Here’s how that should look:

The matchmaking pool is filled from the center (bucket 1) and works its way out.

The matchmaking pool is filled from the center (bucket 1) and works its way out.

Milo is shown in the center, and his potential Rebel opponents are along the bottom of the image. In his first bucket should be someone like our squad mate, Luke. His base is almost completely maxed level 8 and his medals are capped. The Rebel on the right side is Zapper. He is currently (as of 4/12/15) the highest ranked Rebel, with 21,467 medals. He would fall into bucket #6 for Milo. Also in bucket #6 would be another squad mate of ours, Tuskoona. Like the others, he’s HQ level 8 and has 11,811 medals. Please, note that since Zapper is the highest ranked Rebel, the matchmaking system has no choice but to choose much lower ranked Rebels to match with Milo.

The Rebel that did fall into Milo’s pool was Cyad the Great, with a base score of 1272 and 7714 medals. As I mentioned, the developers said that system should use, at most, 10 buckets to fill the pool. In this case, it took 12 buckets.

It Gets Worse

When I posted my initial analysis of this problem on the SWC Forums (https://www.playdomforums.com/showthread.php?209639-Matchmaking-is-worse-than-I-thought), I expected some backlash from the Empire. Instead, they agreed with me, and it’s actually worse than our example of Milo and Cyad the Great. Here are two bases that level 8 Imps have been matched up with in the past few days:

HQ Level 1 Rebel

HQ Level 1 Rebel

HQ Level 3 Rebel

HQ Level 3 Rebel

More Imps confirmed that they too had seen many of these extremely low level Rebel bases in their matchmaking pool. If they had an ABS similar to Milo, that would be as many as 18 passes of the ever widening buckets.

Why is this Happening?

We have come up with a few theories as to why the system is so broken.

  1. The Empire outnumbers the Rebels.Shortly after Star Wars Commander was released, the graphic below was released, which showed that 52.4% of the players chose the Empire. It is suspected that the Empire makes up a much larger portion today. Therefore, there are more and more Imperials trying to attack fewer and fewer Rebels, and so the system has to look much harder to find opponents for them.

    The Empire outnumbers the Rebels.

    The Empire outnumbers the Rebels.

  2. We are in a tournament. During tournaments there is extra motivation to attack as much as possible. This worsens the problem by the Imps wanting to attack even more, and since the Rebels are spending more time attacking as well, there aren’t as many available to be attacked.
  3. Rebels are riding out their protection. This is a theory based on what the Empire did when they were frustrated that their ATAT broke. When players become frustrated, they try to minimize their losses by using up all of their protection time before they play a series of attacks. When they’re not frustrated, they are more likely to break protection when they still have several hours remaining. So, on a normal day an active Rebel might get attacked 5-8 times, but when they’re riding out their protection, they might only get attacked 3-4 times. Riding out protection could decrease the potential number of opponents in half.

What’s the solution?

  1. Have fewer tournaments. The tournament that just ended came just a few days after the last one ended. Normally their is a campaign in between tournaments, but we’ve had 3 consecutive tournaments. I suggest that tournaments be spaced 2 weeks apart, even if there won’t be a campaign in between.
  2. Make Rebels happier. There is a widespread sentiment that the game currently favors the Empire, even though Chris (a developer) has shown some data suggesting relative balance between the factions (see this thread). I think Rebels will be happier when they can win more often on defense, when the juggernaut AI is fixed, and when adjustments are made to Rebel units so they can use something besides the heavy/med combination.
  3. Shorten protection time. I don’t like this solution, but it would be an effective way to force more high level Rebels back into the matchmaking pool. My solution would be that when you lose on defense, the number of medals that you lose corresponds with the number of hours of protection that you receive. It already does this in a loose sense by giving you 4 hours for every star that your attacker gets on you.
  4. Show repeat opponents. Any time that you see a base (whether you attack it or skip it), the system won’t let you see it again until you’ve seen at least 50 other bases. One interesting and unexpected statistic that Chris shared in the aforementioned thread was that Imps skip more than Rebels do. I think all this skipping forces the system to look farther for an opponent, and I think it would be better to show them those same level 8 opponents a 2nd or 3rd time rather than show them level 5-6 (or lower) bases. The Imps on the forums are complaining about being shown these low level bases, so I think there should essentially be a minimum limit for how far the matchmaking buckets can reach. There should be a hard limit of 10 buckets to be used for matchmaking. If the pool runs dry, then show them the ones they skipped.

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas that might help the problem. Of course, it would be most helpful if there were more Rebels playing the game, but you can’t force that choice. Some Imps have said that if the artwork were better for the Rebels, they might have chosen that faction.

Ultimately, the SWC development team needs to figure out the best course of action. The current matchmaking system is frustrating low level Rebels (who are getting slaughtered) and high level Imps (since it’s boring to steamroll a base with just a few stormtroopers), and possibly causing players to leave the game. I believe that faulty matchmaking and the medal cap are the two biggest problems that are driving away devoted SWC players.

Banthas 15 Minutes of Fame

With this weekend’s mini-tournament featuring banthas and dewbacks (the Imp counterpart), let’s focus on banthas a little bit.

The devs have long said that they wanted to bring balance to the units used for attacks. They’ve said that the overwhelming majority of troops used in Rebel attacks are med droids and heavies, and for good reason. Most other troops are useless in comparison.

With the recent client side update, they added the ability to buff or nerf individual troops without having to do more client side updates. This is a huge step in making the more useless troops useful once again.

Most Rebels rarely, if ever, use banthas. They used to be great at taking hits and knocking down walls.

Banthas do still have a 300% buff versus walls and moderate damage to other units. The best feature in their favor is their unit capacity. With a unit capacity of 2, let’s compare what 5 banthas would do compared to 2 heavies.

Against walls, it’s no competition. Banthas would do 8x the damage as the heavies, and that’s not counting the splash damage.

Even against shield generators, 5 banthas would do 1.5x more damage than heavies, and heavies have a 175% buff versus shields.

Against turrets, HQ, and resource generators banthas would do 2.7x the damage as heavies. Infantry and vehicles are a different matter. Heavies dole out twice the damage than the banthas. The heavies’ range of 7 is far superior than the 2 from banthas.

The individual health of each bantha and heavy is equal, but again the unit capacity makes the overall health 2.5x greater.

We have two squadmates (Porkins and iPadJuan) who have used banthas effectively in combination with, and not instead of, heavies. So, with this weekend’s mini-tournament featuring banthas, I’d encourage my fellow Rebels to take them for a spin.

2nd Intrasquad Tournament

With the start of the 6th SWC Galactic Tournament, we are holding our own intrasquad tournament. Prizes will be based on tournament medals. Participants will be posting updates on their tournament medals. The prize will be one of the 4 prints shown above. These prints come from Thirteenth Floor (http://thirteenthfloor.us).  The top medal earner from all squads will choose one of the 4 prints. The winner from the other squad will choose from the remaining 3.