Purpose of this Document
This document discusses defines the purpose of walls, highlights different problems in the current implementation and discusses different possibilities to reduce and solve these problems.
Purpose of Walls in Empires
Walls are meant to restrict access to an area and also shield the area from some damage. They also give infantry units on the field dynamic cover.
Wall spamming is defined as an act of placing excessive amounts of walls, to deny access to an area. While area control and denial is a key aspect of the current Empires gameplay, wall spamming has several gameplay, logical and technical implications that are not desired. Walls are also a defensive structure by their nature, but are used in several offense tactics, some of these creative use cases are valid, other cases seem to have the character of an exploits.
Excessive amounts of walls often cause engineer toolkit fights, where one person keeps trying to construct new walls, while the other person does the opposite. This can be especially a problem in a Commander vs. Commander Fight, where both Commanders try to trap each other, by constructing walls. Fights are meant to be fought with weapons, not with unmovable map objects.
Commanders sometimes use walls to trap units. It is hard to predict when a wall is going to be placed and confronting players with unpredictable situations can frustrate them. It is also possible to place multiple layers of walls into each other, which does not make sense.
Debris from deconstructed walls can cause performance issues for the clients. Huge amounts of walls also put a not to be ignored weight on the engine’s entity limit.
Walls are spawned, like some map objects, as transparent blueprints that have to be constructed first before other objects can collide with them. This would solve the unnatural abuse as offensive walls, but would also burden engineers with the boring tasks to build up these walls first; this burden might be lessened by requiring engineers to build the walls up to only 25%. This solution might also make walls as cover for infantry useless, which would conflict with the purpose of walls. It can be concluded that this solution is not favorable. It also does not solve the logical problem of having multiple layers of walls stacked inside of each other.
Another way to solve the problem might be the introduction of a specialized Anti-Defense weapon able to damage multiple wall layers in one hit. This could be a tank weapon, e.g. Siege Canon (Drag’s scriptset), or an Infantry Weapon (Anti-Wall sticky, Blizzerds Suggestion). This might be a viable solution to gaining access to heavily defended chokepoints and would result in more dynamic fights, due to forcing the front line to move back and forth.
Change of Wall placement System
The following suggested model of wall placement introduces two attachment points on the side of the walls and a small no build zone around the wall piece. Other wall pieces can only be connected on the attachment points. This would solve the problem of stacking multiple walls on the same spot. It also might encourage a more strategic placement of walls. This can be implemented on its own.