What happened to Phantom?

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What happened to Phantom?

Postby ColonelSheppard » 09 Aug 2016, 18:34

Not everything was better, the mod is better now

Back in the days, we had a whole clan only dedicated to playing Phantom games, we played at least a thousand during the years of GPGnet. None of us was a good player, but we had our buildorders for Bunnyroanoke and they were good. (Back then you would start with your commander only and not with prebuild units.) There was no paladin, phantom auto reveal (although i think both is a good addition because it offers an upper limit for gamelength and additional depth). But usually we would play with 2 Phantoms for 6 players in total. I do belive the bonus was less for the Phantoms, but i might be wrong here. Games would usually take between 1-2h, rarely longer, rarely shorter. I don't have sufficient data on more recent games but I would belive at least the average gamelength is shorter today. So when we played the PhantomX mod on a Lan-Party a few months ago, we considered it to be a much better mod now.


But what happened to the people who play it

I'm gonna primarily talk about, this
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game, Phantoms are me/Sheppy/yellow, and AnoobX/gray, Pala is ronx/dark green, rest is innocent. Now I really want to point out here that this is not against the people that have been in this game, it was a great game and I would play with them again any time, but they have shown behaviour (gameplay and meta) that i find very representative for many of the recent Phantom games I played or watched, because at minute 7:30 this happened:

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"Other Phantom pm me", ok i thought, this guy wants to team with the other Phantom to kill innos, I could PM him, break with others, take the bonus and try to kill him in the end OR I could etablish myself as "probably the paladin" by breaking with him (which would also give me a good bonus) and defend the other islands halfhearted while ecoing and building up a massiv naval force, nobody would suspect me for a long time. I asumed green to be the pala at that time but I wasn't sure. I also saw him doing an upgrade in the water, which, from his build, the animation and the fact that it was NOT stealth (which would cause purpel fog around the commander even though i'm allied with him), I asumed to be Teleport. So I decided my plan of action would be to get gray into a deadlock with the two top players, potray green as the phantom and kill/harrass him at the first possible occassion. Of course this is more difficult in an online game than with your clan in TS or even better face to face on a lanparty, but since they all seemed fine with the new "phantom ally 4v2 meta" I thought i could get away with this. Fortunally the green player would make it incredible easy for me, becase he behaved like an idiot, not like a pala [no offence] and even as the pala i think he asumed me to be inno for a long time. So TL;DR I didn't PM him, i told the innos to build flak instead because I saw he had gunships.

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This caused him to repeatedly call for PM again, even pausing the game (I quickly unpaused because I didn't wanna give people to think about it, and it's not a valid reason for pause for me. This lead to this:

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At which point i tabbed out of the game and set Pink Panther and James Bond main themes to infinite loop. I mean really, in what world would anybody asume that as a Phantom, an evil deamon who's job IS NOT to kill the weak (the innocent) but to kill every last highlander to become the most feared. Whatever. Point is: It says "kill everybody" not "kill all innocent" so I actually have no interest in participating in an already ongoing war, I have interest in everybody beeing dead but me, and the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting, and I just killed at least one if not two or more players without lifting a finger (as Ramsay would say) or more preciesly by not lifting a finger.


Seeding mistrust and harassing players without getting attacked

The red player died to the Phantom earlier than i would have liked to, I might have been able to save him if I had reacted faster and killed the incoming ML and send a smal Naval force up there, I didn't really care about him in gernal since he was only 900 rating and food for the top Phantom anyways [again no offence] but it would have been better if grey didn't have red's island. But hey, you can't have everything, orange held good against Phantom. I had some cuisers up there, they didn't deal much damage but they made everybody belive I was on inno side, green teleported to orange base with his commander and even PM'ed that he would be pala and he knows that orange was phantom - lol -, I broke with him for a while to get extra bonus but allied again to get his trust back, he afterwards claimed blue to be phantom but I wasn't sure if he was just trying to hoax me so i placed part of my fleet close to his Island, though I hoped it was unclear enough if it was against him or for his protection against gray. At this point somebody even congrated me to my "very good pala work", - rofl - . End of Story, I pushed back grey took blue's island, was about to take orange, green made moves towards me but didn't break, I let him come until he was in range of my fleet then broke so I got the moment of suprise he thought he'd have. His push would do some damage but overall go into nowhere since I had a second Island and most of my energy and buildpower came from SACUs and Phantom bonus.


How to lose anyways

In the end I felt too save, with green's hoveratack going into nowhere, reinforcements ariving at the green naval front, it beeing UEF vs Cybran T3 navy, gray beeing in full retreat with no hope of combating the 5 Battleships in front of his base and a halfwayfinished Mavor i thought I had already won, and got killed by a coordinated Telemazer-Bomber snipe, if I would have moved to water or build some Shielded-SACUs or scouted ffs, I think I would have won but even though I lost, I was very pleased with how this went down, it took phantom and pala working together in the end to kill me with pala dying in the process. I asume they bother were quite angry at me for fooling around with them - which is payment enough. Also for the first time in A LONG TIME I had an online Phantom game which felt like a Phantom game again, not simply like a 2v4 with some players having more ressources than others.


What I hope for

The beauty of Phantom like in similar games and modes comes from guessing, having alliances and betrayls and not from playing an open 4v2, that may or may not increase your chances of winning. Of course everybody can play this game in the way he wants to but I would wish for two things: Don't threaten to "blacklist" or "rehost" because somebody is not following your meta, me as an old player (I think I can claim to be that by now) won't give a shit, but new players who don't know better will think they HAVE to follow this meta which simply is not the case. Not only because I doubt it nessesarily gives you higher chances of winning (and if so thats a problem of the mod in my opinion), but also because a long time ago it was decided that agreements in the gamelobby are outside the scope of moderation and that no rules are stated implicitly, if you don't state them before the game, they don't exist.

Again big thanks to ronaz, Illiminatus, AnoobX, Neici, KaypleX and of course Duck/Nowak for making this game possible.

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Last edited by ColonelSheppard on 31 Aug 2016, 12:30, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby ZLO_RD » 09 Aug 2016, 19:40

People used to complain that phantom is hiding instead of acting.
People got better at guessing who is a phantom, so it is hard to hide.
I remember phantom game where I was hiding, but some inno build few t3 arty and mavor and said that he will attack any agressor or anyone else who tryes to make arty. Game was so long that 2 guys that left in game were busy at making their bases pretty and showing it to each other. Meanwhile I made ~12 nuke launchers, no one noticed, started making t3 arty (no more power to make more nukes) and guy with mavor noticed that I am making arty and asked me about it. I responded by asking if he see how many nukes I have (I was sure I have enought by that time) and I launched all my nukes. And basicly nuked everything including mavor multiple t3 arty and navy. It was fun, but game was 2h 30 min +.
With my kind of cpu it was not greatest experience.
(Map was 6 castles so I could nuke navy relatively easy)
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby Fordeka » 15 Sep 2016, 23:42

Phantom is like non-linear 4d FAF chess. You have to know where to put the pieces and when.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby Vanguard » 11 Oct 2016, 16:44

Actually, thanks for your long post, Sheppard. It´s quite interesting to see what can be made of the game with a bit of different outlook.

I´ve only been joining Phantom games recently. From my perspective, I only experienced the current meta, which is 4vs2, as you already said, all too often. If you only ever see the game played this way, it´s hard to imagine it being played "the right way". From player ragequits "2nd Phantom useless" to insults, I see everything flung around. I really enjoy the paranoia the game mode introduces, but at my skilllevel ( ~ 1000 ), it´s impossible to have a non reveal game ( unless hosted by DFGDFG or players, really going for a lobby of players halfway knowledgeable about phantom ). It´s 60 minutes of waiting, until someone disconnects, and that´s basically it. So the meta very much changes with the skill of players too.

For example: Right from the beginning in Phantom game´s I´ve been TAUGHT by all other players that Phantoms MUST break early and MUST work together. ( I guess because average Joe´s can´t pull off the Early Asswasher / Czar steamroll )

So, what I am trying to get at: If you want a mod being played a certain way, wouldn´t it be best to have a few explaining messages inside? For example, directly after the phantom´s are assigned, a quick role reminder would be helpful to teach even new players the meta, without relying on mouth-to-mouth propaganda? That way, the message can be ignored or everyone can learn about this style of gameplay.

"Phantom - It is your Goal to exterminate everyone, including any other Phantoms. While temporary alliances might benefit you, you don´t really have allies!"

So I guess my real question would be: What would need to be changed in order to manage all the possible different expectations players of varying levels of skill have of this gamemode?
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby Apofenas » 12 Oct 2016, 11:36

Blame standard settings of Phantom:
1)Reveal Phantoms
2)Reveal to everybody
3)Reveal after death
4)Reveal time: both in 30 minutes
5)Paladin mark: one per paladin

In fact the Phantom game mode is very adaptive. For example if u would put reveal phantoms to phantoms only in 5 minutes after assignment, Phantoms didn't have to break to find each other so they could make a much better game plan (with/against each other) and build a good politic having that knowledge.

Another thing is reveal to Paladin only. So Phantoms could claim they're "pala" and make innos kill ally or Paladin could trick Phantom he's phant.

There are a lot of ways to improve a mind game in Phantom-X. Nobody uses them.

There is also a balance problem with that. Any meta that doesn't involve fighting from "early" stages will result in RAS SCU spam like nothing else matters. Eventually Innos can just out-produce Phantoms and never bother about bases. I had a game not so long ago with no reveal: I had a game ender race against paladin By the time Phantom finished his game ender and acted, we managed to hurt each other.
When we had ZeP's ladder system I played more 1v1s on only Winter duel, than I play actual games in current trash they call ladder. Makes me so sad.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby BenDover » 14 Oct 2016, 17:24

People get pissed if other phantom doesn't attack with the first because one phantom can rarely tank 4 innos and once he's dead the other phant gets killed minutes after. Me personally if other phant won't help I'll just share his identity with the rest of the class (if it wasn't obvious enough) and leave, if I can't win neither will he. All that results in a huge waste of time and a bad game all around.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby ColonelSheppard » 27 Nov 2016, 18:19

I don't read the Forums very often recently and it's been almost a month, yet I still feel the need to reply to this.

BenDover wrote: Me personally if other phant won't help I'll just share his identity with the rest of the class (if it wasn't obvious enough) and leave, if I can't win neither will he. All that results in a huge waste of time and a bad game all around.

And this, Sir, is the real problem here. You asume your way is is the only way, which I demonstrated, is not the case. You are mindlocked in this meta and try to enforce it by childish behaviour. Which leads to:
Vanguard wrote:For example: Right from the beginning in Phantom game´s I´ve been TAUGHT by all other players that Phantoms MUST break early and MUST work together

Though I don't blame you (Ben) since I would asume you have once been in the same position and never seen something else. Yet I would urge you to open your mind and become more tolerant.

Vanguard wrote:"Phantom - It is your Goal to exterminate everyone, including any other Phantoms. While temporary alliances might benefit you, you don´t really have allies!"?

I actually think this could be a great idea.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby BenDover » 28 Nov 2016, 12:49

Childish? You want me to break from meta and chat is integral part of this mod so I might as well call out the other phantom for everyone else to see. If I can't win I sure won't care if the the other phantom does we're not friends here, just partners of convenience, if he won't help he's immediately the enemy. And I will try to kill him or get others to do it for me.

Be it as inno or as phantom the best games are always when phantoms (and innos) work together. You need to be good at this mod first to try some cheesy stuff, and it's always the noob trying to be too smart.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby EntropyWins » 30 Nov 2016, 00:22

I got very tired of the meta on roanoake (or whatever the default phant map is called). Just too much nothing-is-happening at the start. Smaller/different maps, build restrictions and different settings (ie higher phant bonus) can all shake it up. Though the phant bonus option is currently broken. I'd love to see a setting for the assignment delay.
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Re: What happened to Phantom?

Postby Vanguard » 03 Aug 2017, 11:22

EntropyWins wrote:I got very tired of the meta on roanoake (or whatever the default phant map is called). Just too much nothing-is-happening at the start. Smaller/different maps, build restrictions and different settings (ie higher phant bonus) can all shake it up. Though the phant bonus option is currently broken. I'd love to see a setting for the assignment delay.


The "not much happening at the start" is actually quite reduced with the default settings in PhantomBunnyRoanoke V12(.2) ( Also whoever decided it was a good idea to release a V2 of a V12 instead of calling it V13 needs to be fed with icecream until he has to barf ).

The default settings there include a V9 prebuilt with gives all T1 mexes on islands and T2 capped mexes on core island. Assignment happens within 2 minutes, so you can have phantom attacking within 5-9 minutes with frigate spam or corsair rush or something similiar. This is really keeping you on the edge ( at least in my oppinion ) since you always need to watch out for asswasher rushes, etc.
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