Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

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John Roddy
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Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by John Roddy »

I would like to ask a question that I think may pertains to Section 5.3.15 of the User's Manual. Some background first, i play both the older HPS/JTS versions and the WDS 4.0+ versions of the games and have noticed that there is a rather dramatic difference in fire casualties that seems to have been introduced somewhere along the way. I have gone through the change logs but have not been able to find a change of this type mentioned.

On the older games, the ultimate result of fire seems to have the characteristics of a bell curve with there being a few really extreme results both high and low but with most of the results in a wide spread clustering around some common middle value. However, by the time one gets to the 4.0+ versions, the ultimate result of fire seems to be more of a truncated, or averaged, value when compared to the older way fire results are implemented, that is, you seem to get almost the same results with very little variation overall from the same firing/target situation.

My question is approximately when did this change in how fire casualties are figured occur? Is this a perhaps late period JTS era change or is it a WDS change? Any information appreciated!
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LarkinVB
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by LarkinVB »

What has changed is that results like fire casualties are random but identical for the exact same situation. This is to prevent reloading of a saved game to get a better result.
TheGrayMouser
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by TheGrayMouser »

LarkinVB wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 11:28 am What has changed is that results like fire casualties are random but identical for the exact same situation. This is to prevent reloading of a saved game to get a better result.

I hope WDS can consider removing this "feature" for AI, manual and hot seat games, or to at least make it optional for all games.

At first glance one might not think it is very common to have the shooter be "identical" to others so it gets the same hits, however not all scenario designers tweaked every battalion in say a division to have random # of men, so they all are at book strength. Still though, its really multiple artillery batteries where this non random will be painfully noticible, as they are generally identical and not subject to small losses that could change the definition of "exactly the same".

It's a shame that cheaters should get to redefine the definition of random for everyone else.
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LarkinVB
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by LarkinVB »

The same situation includes name of firing unit, strength, hex coordinates, turn number, range, disordered status, target unit and more. So it is very unlikely that the 'exact same' situation will ever happen even on a second glance.
TheGrayMouser
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by TheGrayMouser »

LarkinVB wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 5:12 pm The same situation includes name of firing unit, strength, hex coordinates, turn number, range, disordered status, target unit and more. So it is very unlikely that the 'exact same' situation will ever happen even on a second glance.
Oh Ok, I didn’t have to try very hard to get the same results with two artillery batteries in the getting started scenario in NRC . But perhaps they were a split unit/extended or had the same name?
I’ll send a file if that’s not the case

Didn’t realize the name would factor in, assumed it would be things that actually affected the shooting.

It’s still sad you have to waste time programming things to thwart cheaters, I cannot imagine reloading over and over, unit by unit , hopefully carpal tunnel smites them ! Cheers!
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John Roddy
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by John Roddy »

Thank you so much for the information on this new feature! I find it very objectionable and feel strongly that this is something that should be left to user control as an optional rule.

There are several issues involved. The first is that manipulating a game to prevent cheating never works in a benign fashion, any attempt to deter cheating always results in other perhaps unforeseen changes that may affect game play. In this instance, fire combat has been made more predictable but the restart cheating option has in no way been prevented. I set up a test scenario and it took very little time to figure out how to manipulate restarts in a slightly different manner thereby defeating the whole purpose of this change. And no, I'm not about to mention how to do that but it has doubtless already been figured out by those who always cheat.

John Tiller's design philosophy towards cheating was traditionally don't play with those who cheat. i once proposed a method of detecting restarts to him that would deter restart cheating by requiring an automatic notice and approval from one's opponent but even I had to acknowledge that using separate computers or virtual machines would readily defeat even this methodology.

I was a hard sell but I gradually over the years came to see the wisdom in John's approach. The fact is, I can always tell when someone is cheating and restart cheating is only one of many, many ways to cheat and it is by no means the most effective. So, this is basically just another iteration of inconveniencing players in the name of preventing cheating and altering the familiar way in which the games are played yet not actually accomplishing the intended purpose. Keep in mind, no one can detect a player who only cheats once, however, the type of player who cheats once will always be tempted to cheat again and repetitive cheating produces behavioral clusters that can be readily detected.

The traditional counter argument is that, well, maybe it stops the dumbest of the dumbest of cheaters so that makes it worth it, but, from what I've seen over the years, cheaters network and there is always a really smart cheater out there that will break any fix and teach the other cheaters the new technique.

I am a skilled player and my mind is already working on how to exploit this new fire feature. One of the things that I like most about the old fire results was unpredictability of fire. Yes, if the fire value came up low, you might indeed manage to make a successful frontal approach to a battery, but you couldn't be sure that you might get a high fire value hit before you got close and have that totally ruin your planned assault. The more one can predict either a fire or combat result, the more options become available to manipulate that result to your advantage.

So, though an obscure effect to many, this increase in predictability is real and exploitable. And I might add, an increase in predictability operates at the expense of the game playing historically. A commander can only rarely be certain of a combat result, you can set up everything to your advantage and get an unexpectedly bad result or you can get lucky and win when heavily disadvantaged. This change destroys some of the historical simulation capability of the game. Isn't that something that ought to be under the control of the players?

No system will prevent cheating without seriously inconveniencing players and this technique is particularly pernicious as it alters game play significantly yet accomplishes nothing with respect to prevent restart cheating. All that has been accomplished is to give users a false sense of security from restart cheating while the cheaters smirk as they know better and the cheating goes on unabated.

I strongly urge WDS to reconsider this change in philosophy and put the decision on whether to mess with the fire results back in the hands of the players with an optional rule.
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rahamy
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Re: Fire Casualties Change Way Back There Somewhere

Post by rahamy »

John Roddy wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 10:48 am Thank you so much for the information on this new feature! I find it very objectionable and feel strongly that this is something that should be left to user control as an optional rule.

John,

Your opinion is noted, we will not have a further discussion on this in public however.

Regards,
Rich
Rich Hamilton
WDS Operations Manager
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