Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

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GipFace
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Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by GipFace » Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:19 pm

While AW4 has died (because I basically beat the entire community into submission), AWBW still has some games rolling. Of course, "rolling" means about ten regulars finishing about a game per week, but I digress!

There are 18 non-sea attacking units in AW4. 9 of them see common play. Let's see the units, along with the approximate composition% and budget% numbers as listed in my never-finished multiplayer guide:
Artillery: 16/19
Mech: 24/12
Tank: 8/12
B-copter: 7/12
Bike: 13/7
Antiair: 4/5
Duster: 2/5
Infantry: 14/4
Md tank: 2/4

The first observation is that the amount of soldiers is at 51%, with an almost 2:1:1 spread between mechs, bikes, and infantry. So while the infantry flood is no more, soldiers still play an important part in AW4. The second observation is that no one unit dominates any strategy after the b-copter revolution, as explained in my 10th anniversary article. What a healthy spread!

Now it's time to look at a small sampling of AWBW players. I took the top 3 from Walker's AWBW blog ranking, plus a few "famous" others with at least 10K units built. This is probably an accurate snapshot of the AWBW metagame as you're going to get.

Data used: benbever, fdkanns, ANT13, Hellraider, dorian5, walkerboh01, black_wave, Kamuscha, Ultra_Storm. Note that these nine players combined have built about 140K units. I alone have built 120K units in my AW4 cart. lololol~

Common
Tank: 14.9/26.5
Infantry: 57.0/14.5
Artillery: 7.2/11.0
B-copter: 4.0/9.2
Rockets: 1.4/5.3
Antiair: 2.6/5.2
Mech: 4.7/3.5

Missed the cut
Battleship: 0.5/3.3
Md tank: 0.7/3.0
Recon: 2.6/2.6

So off the top we see that the AWBW metagame consists of 7 common units (91.8% compositon, 75.2% budget) instead of AW4's 9 (~90% composition, ~80% budget). Tank/infantry/artillery make up ~79% compostion. Infantry spam was expected at 57% composition and 14.5% budget. What's alarming is that tank statistic: it's clearly the dominant unit. Its budget is more than the next two units combined! I'll leave it up to you to decide whether you think this is healthy or not.

benbever was the only player to budget more artillery than tanks. Take his stats away and tanks shoot up to 16.2/29.1! Even when artillery play was at the forefront in AW4 during early 2009, my artillery usage never broke 25% budget.

Why are tanks so dominant? Well, first, they beat up infantry real good. Second, the b-copter vs. tank matchup is significantly weaker. Third, more expensive infantry cause the less expensive mechs to shine. Lastly, unit turtling in AWBW is nonexistent. The capture phase plays out so that both sides gain half the map. Due to defensive charging, if a player has more income than the other, that player gains a more significant advantage than in AW4.

In order to secure an area in AWBW, tanks are built fast and early. Contrast this with AW4, where one can sacrifice property count in order to either 1) gambit a CO unit or 2) turtle with mechs. There have been many games where I have taken a 3-4 property deficit on Antipode Map (Australia) and come out on top during the endgame because I have mechs in the center and the opponent does not.

Rawr! Does this matter at all? No, because I've got a wi-fi t-shirt. But hey, if you're ever crazy enough to play AWBW, you now have some intelligence as to how it plays out!

(And yes, if I played AWBW, I'd kick ass at it. Just sayin'. But look at the above numbers and tell me which game is better, eh? lololol~)

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deemo

Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by deemo » Wed Nov 02, 2011 8:00 pm

people STILL play awbw? i quit that crumpets after i learned that even single matches take months

felix45

Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by felix45 » Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:55 am

Gip if the metagame is so simple because of tanks in AWBW and you could be kick ass at it, why don't you join the global leauge and show us AWBW players what is what?

No matter what you say infantry cost in DoR was lame crumpets, ruined the game for me and most others who stick with AWBW. Not to mention you can actually plan out your turns without a silly time limit of 5min or whatever it was on the cart for multiplayer.

Games only take months if you really stretch out the boot. If you hop on once a day and your opponent does as well, you can get through a 15 day match in about 2 weeks. And if you both do capture phase and are online at the same time you can finish that same game in about a week.

Here is a convo with some guy who linked me to this with what I think about what you posted.


[14:00] <felix45> Bcopters are still good in AWBW, what gipface posted isn't even relevant
[14:00] <felix45> many maps don't have airports, so obviously you wont be building bcopters when you cant
[14:01] <felix45> so then obviously your amount of bcopters built will be less
[14:01] <felix45> Normally if the map has airports, there is at least 1 bcopter built in the first 10 days
[14:02] <felix45> He should have looked at a map in particular and seen the statistics, not in general
[14:02] <felix45> and then made that map for DoR and see how it would play out differently
[14:03] <felix45> Obviously tanks will also be the most built, because tanks are good early game, it is the same in DoR
[14:03] <MKDH> Funny thing is, Airports are standard on WWN to prevent things like Tabitank abuse.
[14:03] <felix45> many games can end before the match even starts due to things like people resigning early due to circumstances as well as being booted because of things happening in their lives
[14:04] <felix45> Gip always thought he was tough crumpets, but he would be the last to admit he struggles against players like Hellraider and Ultra Storm
[14:05] <felix45> When games end early, usually more tanks have been built, which can also skew statistics
[14:05] <felix45> Not to mention when you use a CO like max, which is common on some maps, you build nothing BUT tanks
[14:05] <felix45> None of what Gip posted takes any of this into account
[14:07] <MKDH> Max would want to build Battle Helicopters and AA Tanks too.
[14:07] <felix45> Go tell gip to join the global leauge if he really thinks he can wipe the floor with those of us whom still play it. He is a good player, but not the best.

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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by HPD » Sun Dec 11, 2011 8:22 am

felix45 wrote:Here is a convo with some guy
Yeah, Juigi...
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Narts
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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Narts » Sun Dec 11, 2011 11:52 am

I would take the 5 minute limit over that waiting days for the opponent to move crap and lagging javascript anytime. If you can't plan your move with a 5min limit seriously you're just an inefficient thinker. Most of it's just routine that's supposed to come automatically anyway. AW isn't exactly a chess level deep thinking game you know.

Btw actually the typical limit in dor is 2 minutes. Of course it seems short for someone used to the tiresome infantry flooding in the earlier games, but with the lower unit count in this game it's more than enough if you know what you're doing.

Why is the infantry cost such serious business to you anyway? Is it because you had learned to spam infantry like mad with impunity but then got angry because the strategy didn't work anymore? What are strategy games about, if not being flexible and coming up with new strategies for new circumstances? I would have been pretty disappointed if dor had turned out to be just another infantry spammer like every AW game before it. One of the more exciting moments in this game for me was finding out that infantry spam wasn't effective against good players anymore. That changed pretty much the entire game, and frankly the change was for the better.

Case in point: http://www.amarriner.com/awbw_forum/vie ... 30&t=14213
This kind of crumpets literally never happens in high level AW4. You can't play "defensive" and expect not to die horribly.

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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Xenesis » Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:25 pm

Games only take months if you really stretch out the boot. If you hop on once a day and your opponent does as well, you can get through a 15 day match in about 2 weeks. And if you both do capture phase and are online at the same time you can finish that same game in about a week.
That's about 13.9 days too long.
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felix45

Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by felix45 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:29 am

That was Juigi? Oh god...rofl....
anyways....
Narts wrote:I would take the 5 minute limit over that waiting days for the opponent to move crap and lagging javascript anytime. If you can't plan your move with a 5min limit seriously you're just an inefficient thinker. Most of it's just routine that's supposed to come automatically anyway. AW isn't exactly a chess level deep thinking game you know.

Btw actually the typical limit in dor is 2 minutes. Of course it seems short for someone used to the tiresome infantry flooding in the earlier games, but with the lower unit count in this game it's more than enough if you know what you're doing.

Case in point: http://www.amarriner.com/awbw_forum/vie ... 30&t=14213
This kind of crumpets literally never happens in high level AW4. You can't play "defensive" and expect not to die horribly.
Actually AW is a chess level thinking game, and I'm sure that if this is your mentality that I WILL wipe the floor with you in a game of AW, probably without even trying. There is a reason speed chess players never become grand masters and it is exactly for the reason you stated, "Most of its just routine."

I admit I don't remember anything about how AW4 played out, but that is simply because the multiplayer was so awful and I didn't enjoy beating the crumpets out of people with nothing but a map filled with artillery and infantry. it got old pretty fast so I just quit. it wasn't even the least bit difficult to make infantry and artillery every day, and honestly the infantry price did nothing but ENCOURAGE this. I remember talking about this with a bunch of people on AWBW in IRC and we all essentially dropped the game at the same time because we were all experiencing the same thing......rofl

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Narts
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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Narts » Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:46 am

Actually AW is a chess level thinking game, and I'm sure that if this is your mentality that I WILL wipe the floor with you in a game of AW, probably without even trying. here is a reason speed chess players never become grand masters and it is exactly for the reason you stated, "Most of its just routine."
Hey! I used to play AWBW before I took an arrow to... never mind, but I think we were around the same level the last time we played. You might have even lost but don't quote me on that. (EDIT: Straight from the horse's mouth: http://www.amarriner.com/awbw_forum/vie ... 47&start=4 Koal sucks though, to be fair) I've also beaten Black-Mont Blanc (fairly recently) and played against many other good AWBW players on equal footings. Chess is a bad example and you bringing it up shows you misunderstood the "most of it's just routine" statement you quoted. I would not apply that quote to chess, because in chess every move means something and beyond the memorised openings, 99% of the time is spent on intense thinking several moves ahead and only 1% on the manual act of moving pieces. In contrast, AW gameplay consists mostly on mechanically moving units around and waiting for the other guy to complete this task on his end - it takes time to move all that infantry of yours even when you know exactly where you want them. Plus you rarely will be thinking ahead for much farther than the opponent's next turn as far as unit positions go (outside capture phase anyway - which on popular maps would be mostly memorised).

"Efficient thinking" in the context of this means you're able to think whilst making the more obvious moves and taking the most out of being able to analyse the situation and plan while the opponent moves. Doing this right you can get well over three minutes of useful thinking per turn with a two minute timer. In blitz chess this is harder since an opponent could use "time management tactics" to make lots of fast moves to deny you the time you need to think your way out of a tricky situation. Of course AW4 isn't entirely exempt of this either - which is why I usually try to leave my more "surprising" moves near the end of my turn to try and make my opponent waste some of his precious seconds being flummoxed by the unexpected manouevre. The AW4 clock mechanic isn't exactly perfect, having its flaws and all. I wish there was a way to play AW with a more sophisticated chess style clock where unused time carried over between turns (or even just play non-random custom maps with a timer) but alas AW4 random wi-fi is the best we've got.
I admit I don't remember anything about how AW4 played out, but that is simply because the multiplayer was so awful and I didn't enjoy beating the crumpets out of people with nothing but a map filled with artillery and infantry.
Yeah try the same against someone who doesn't suck. You don't remember how AW4 plays out because clearly you never stayed long enough to see it playing out in the first place. Your strategy won't even work against the average Tabinoob let alone someone who's in with the current metagame. Protip: Infantry sucking isn't because of the price - it's because they're fodder for your opponent's CO meter. AW4 is about killing as many units inside your CO zone as fast as you can - this is why using infantry as meatshields is only fueling your opponent's CO power - in contrast to classic AW where it fuels your own CO power. Dor doesn't reward you for slaughtering your own troops.

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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by DTaeKim » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:15 pm

Honestly, I wondered what revived the topic.
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GipFace
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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by GipFace » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:27 am

Okay, time for a serious high-level response.

1) AW is not like Chess
At the beginning of a Chess game, both sides have 16 units. That amount will never increase; only decrease. A typical AW game grows to about 25 or so units around the midgame. In AW, you may build specific units to answer the other player's strategy, while with Chess, you can only work with what you've got. In addition, while AW units have MP restrictions, within that MP area, in most cases they can move in any direction. And of course, the largest difference: units can be moved all at once in AW. Comparing AW to Chess because they're both turn-based grid games is like comparing Chess to Checkers. Stop using this to support your argument; it only makes you sound ignorant. I, with all my AW games played, don't pretend to have the same insight as professional Chess players, and neither should you.

Also, Chess AI at the present moment (3100+ ELO) is good enough to consistently defeat all but the top 10 players in the world or so using standard time controls. AW AI (and Go AI, for that matter) will never approach that level of perfection because those games have elements that add to the decision tree, not subtract like Chess.

2) The stats in the OP are objective
You can claim that "b-copters are still good in AWBW" but that's a blanket subjective statement. This is why I pulled stats from ten AWBW players, since a sampling of 140K units should be enough to represent the metagame. As the stats show, of the top units, air in AW4 is more than twice as common (duster + b-copter = 9% composition; 17% budget) than in AWBW (4% composition, 9.2% budget) It's clear that AWBW b-copters, which are supposed to be the direct counter to tanks, aren't doing their job well if heavy tank play is rampant. Tank play in AW4 isn't as prevalent because the AW4 b-copter is buffed to Sensei-level strength for everyone.

3) Infantry usage did not decrease only due to the $1500 cost
This is the big one. If AW4 was all about $1500 infantry and nothing else, there would still be infantry spam. At AW4's release, people tired to play it like the earlier AW games and spam infantry. Then the Tabitank saw its popularity rise, and people complained that Tabitha was OP and needed to be banned. Well, the Tabitank is pretty good when it has a large selection of innocent infantry targets. Once the metagame started to shape, we realized that infantry spam was probably one of the worst approaches in AW4.

Narts covered zone charging, so I won't rehash that reason. But the main reason why infantry are less common in AW4 is due to the damage formula. Infantry are no longer godly meatwalls. Look at AWBW: a 100A neotank will not OHKO a 100D infantry on a city. I mean, how silly is that? Why can't a $22K unit OHKO a $1K unit? Want a more common example? A 120A antiair (Think Max and AW3 Jess) will not OHKO a 100D infantry on a city. And the most important: A 100A antiair deals 94% to a 100D infantry on plains. No one will take the gamble of the OHKO failing. There's wasn't much of a point to the tech direct units in the old games when the teched units can't OHKO. In addition, the defending player will charge power meter from the units damaged, as well as from the counterattack. Because the defending player has such an advantage, AWBW will tend to break into battle lines, with skirmishes over a single city so that a player may win through extra cash.

The AW4 antiair has the same base damage as the AWBW antiair: 105. But an AW4 110A antiair (zone with no bonuses) will deal 96% to a 100D infantry on a city. This becomes a OHKO when the COs are Will, Lin, or Tabitha. More importantly, a 110A antiair will OHKO a 100D infantry on plains. So will Waylon's CO b-copter or Gage's zone artillery, or Will and Lin's CO tanks, or even Will and Lin's zone md tanks (this is why AW4 md tanks even see play; they OHKO soldiers while resisting mechs) With so many ways to blast through infantry, and more benefits to teching, it's simply better to build units that can actually attack.

So let's cover teching for a second. I like how in AW4, if I tech up to md tank or bomber (which missed the cut as the 11th unit because it's really only used by Brenner and Waylon), it's gonna OHKO almost whatever I want without worry. That's what expensive units should do. The CO tank, which is a staple in many games, is also considered a tech unit at $10500. Now compare this to the old games: the old AW bomber was so godawful because it couldn't reliably OHKO despite its massive cost, and with so many infantry gumming up the front lines, the bomber wouldn't be cost-effective. Since teching is more important in AW4 than in AWBW, you'll actually see Will/Lin md tanks and Brenner/Waylon bombers in play because they now have much juicier targets. With larger unit variety comes additional tactics and strategies, and all those are fighting for consideration.

Lastly, infantry will lose one-on-one to bikes. But that was obvious enough.

3) Random wi-fi is bad
The airport is needed for high-level AW4 play, as the b-copter is the unit that balances the entire unit ecosystem. Unfortunately, most of the random wi-fi maps don't have an airport, so Tabitanks will appear more powerful than they actually are. In addition, we all know how bad Intelligent Systems is at making 1v1 maps.

Walker Boh

Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Walker Boh » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:49 pm

Let's recap the chess thing:
Narts wrote:AW isn't exactly a chess level deep thinking game you know.
felix45 wrote:Actually AW is a chess level thinking game, and I'm sure that if this is your mentality that I WILL wipe the floor with you in a game of AW, probably without even trying.
Narts wrote:Chess is a bad example and you bringing it up shows you misunderstood the "most of it's just routine" statement you quoted.
Gipface wrote:Comparing AW to Chess because they're both turn-based grid games is like comparing Chess to Checkers. Stop using this to support your argument; it only makes you sound ignorant.
I hope you both realized that Narts was the one who brought up chess as an example, not Felix... Good joke haha.

As for the rest of it, it's probably true that AW4 has more diverse games than AWBW. You are mostly correct Gip, when you talk about how copters are not very effective at countering tanks (they're not as cost-effective - that's the one big reason you didn't mention), and you're also more or less correct that the normal metagame consists almost entirely of tank/arty/inf battles. I haven't played DoR, but what you've said about the metagame and the changes seems pretty interesting, and the improved power of high-tech units seems especially smart.

But just remember that tank/arty/inf is only one way to play AWBW. As I'm sure you must have seen since you looked at the AWBW Blog, High Funds is a new "mode" (for lack of a better word) of AWBW that changes around a lot of the unit composition numbers and has the potential to provide quite a shift in how AWBW games are played. For example, all of the high-tech units (rockets, MDs, fighters, bombers, megas, bships) become much more useful and are built much more frequently. This lowers the amount of low-tech units (tanks, arties, and infs most notably) that are built. There aren't enough games completed yet to give much data about it, and obviously there is still a lot to learn before HF becomes anywhere near mainstream or even really feasible for competitive purposes, but the potential is certainly there.

And while I'm writing, I might as well just answer this too...
Gipface wrote:...AWBW still has some games rolling. Of course, "rolling" means about ten regulars finishing about a game per week, but I digress!
The AWBW Global League, which has been holding steady at around 130 participants for several months now, would like to disagree with you. So would the Colosseum, another competition which has 49 players this season (Season 6). AWBW might not be as active as it used to be, but it's doing quite well thank you very much. :)

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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Xenesis » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:45 pm

Walker Boh wrote:I hope you both realized that Narts was the one who brought up chess as an example, not Felix... Good joke haha.
Felix was the one who asserted that AW was a 'chess level thinking game'.
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Narts
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Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Narts » Sat Dec 24, 2011 4:37 am

Not to mention the whole chess thing was taken completely out of its original context where I only compared the time required to spend thinking about a move, not the actual game mechanics (which, indeed, surprisingly enough, have nothing whatever to do with AW).

Walker Boh

Re: Analysis: Unit composition AWBW vs AW4

Post by Walker Boh » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:25 pm

Sure, I just thought it was funny.

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