Musket Smoke, 1.83 update

Training mode should not have been allowed to be activated for experienced players. My apologies for any games hurt by my mistake.  😦

The 1.83 update: 

  • Removed rain.
  • Only new players can turn on training mode.
  • Training mode auto turns off when player is not a new player.
  • Training matches award no ELO points. (Treated as a friend match)
  • Campaign matches vs new players do not award the 1 ELO point bonus for winning a campaign battle objective. So if your opponent is a ‘Musketeer’, ‘Private’, or ‘Lance’ then you get no bonus point.
  • A training mode warning indicator, for both sides to see.

Training mode mini Guide:

The concept is simple, but often misunderstood mainly because to some of our experienced players do not have english as a first language (or even a second). So I’ll try and provide more detail below.

This new update shows what is training and what is not. So instead of ‘Round 8 Summary’ in the dialog, you will see ‘Round 8 Training‘. This is important as training mode is not a match. It’s not a battle and it’s not where you show how to make unit kills.

Training mode is letting the new player engage more with the units and make some progress. The new player gets to see the attack indicators show attack targets, make a series of attacks until finally they get to remove some of your units from the board. This also lets them see how scoring works. Not everyone plays solo or even does the tutorial. Plus almost every new player is quite apprehensive about their first online experience.

Training mode is only half the match. It continues until the player has defeated 5 units. Then training mode turns off and you can once again make multiple kills.

If you can’t attack then just move your units and enjoy letting the new player figure out how to defeat units. You can’t attack because you are attacking the new player rather than training them. It means that you are doing it wrong.

Training mode is not a match. It is ‘taking turns’ to defeat units.

Training mode is all about the new player getting to experience some kills in a live arena.

Again training mode is not a match. It is training mode. Please do not quit the training mode. This is for your opponent, not you. There are no ELO points to be gained for both sides. The reason you can’t attack is because it’s not your turn to attack.

I want new players that don’t yet have a sense of the game so well, to have a few kills in live online mode. That means for the first half of the match that you take turns getting kills.

I kill. You kill. I kill. You kill.. etc..

Training mode is training the new player, not the experienced player. Let the new player make some kills. Be generous and let the new player have a turn at killing. It won’t be for long, only new players with less that 30 pies will be able to activate training mode. It will then automatically turn off forever after they ‘graduate’.

Why do we have training mode? Because only 1 new player in 100 sticks around after you kill them quickly. Lets see how that stat changes after you help train new players. Also only 25% of our experienced players are honouring Mentor Matches. Training mode is here to enforce protection of new players. To help them ease into the game and eventually become regular players for you to play against. This is for your own benefit.

Training is not really the correct term here. This is before training. This is just letting your opponent have a feel for the battlefield vs a live opponent and how to do some basic attacks. Like a charge or a flank attack. If you kill a player 10-0 or 10-1 once or twice, then you hurt Musket Smoke and the community as that player will not come back. The analytics show this to be true.

How to properly handle a training mode match:

  • Don’t over kill. Doing so disables your whole army for a round or more. Be smart and don’t fight against what training mode is designed to prevent.
  • If your army is disabled, it is because you trained incorrectly. A good trainer never has disabled units.
  • Sacrifice your weaker units to keep scoring parity.
  • Just play patiently and watch the score. Wait. Let your opponent have a few rounds to figure out how to kill a unit.
  • Enjoy the extra challenge vs a new player and try to make sure they can enjoy the match as well. Remember it’s not worth any ELO points, so let the new player have fun! It IS training mode after all. Both players will always be aware that this is a special training mode.
  • Feel free to win (if you can), but don’t feel the need to be overly competitive.


Rain might come back one day.

Future rain might have a short burst, say 1-5 rounds long where artillery can recover from after it stops. However, muskets will stay wet. There will also be looming dark cloud warnings before the rain comes. It should be more random. And not every match, there should be sunny days as well. Also it should never rain in the first half of the match. The overall atmosphere should be a looming dark cloud that is threatening the battle and so players should start preparing and adjusting for the coming rain. Alternatively, white maps could have snow instead and the effect could be movement reduced by 1. Footprints might also be a nice visual effect to compliment the snow.

Special thanks to armin1962 and cochie-pigy for giving me feedback on the rain.


A few thoughts on recent ELO changes

ELO points are hard earned in the campaign. A bit overly hard earned I thought as campaigns can sometimes be quite epic. Still its a dramatic change to allow a potential bonus point for individual battles. The focus of the campaign should remain a battle between SF units as winning the campaign is worth even more ELO points. Plus winning a campaign (the war) always feels great. Still not enough value was given to the objectives which used to pay with Special SF units, but that was not good for the health of the 2 player battle. So now we have a potential ELO point for each battle if the objective can be won (and the opponent doesn’t fall back).

So this means you will still get 2-4 points for winning a campaign (and 1 for losing), but also each battle objective is potentially worth 1 bonus 1 ELO point.

So how will this play out with the individual battles?  First of all you get no points if your opponent falls back.

Winter Keep: Usually this battle ends in a fallback, so probably no bonus point here. Unless you take out the keep you get no ELO point. I’ve taken out the keep myself a few times, but it is rare. It’s good that it’s rare actually otherwise too many bonus ELO would be awarded.

Howitzer Bridge: This battle has a much higher chance of earning you a point. These battles are often close. The problem though is that it will be dead obvious that you will win in the next round when your howitzer is 2 hexes from the bridge.

The Wheat Fields: This battle is fairly rare to score by taking out the ammo hut. But doing so is often sudden and fairly easy. So there is a higher chance of getting that precious ELO point here because there are many places to hide. Beware the player with the extra leader unit. Also keep in mind that the new SF Cavalry does 4 damage to the hut, and a leader unit does 6. I scored a kill with my SF Cavalry unit recently and the confidence promotion made him capable of doing 5 damage to the building. Then I distracted the enemy with a huge crazy attack while the one SF Cavalry unit took the hut single handedly.

Cannon Showdown: This battle has a fairly high objective win ratio, so this one is one of the best maps to have a decent potential for a bonus ELO point. I’m thinking to reduce this to just a 1 vs 1 cannon battle soon.

The Breach: This battle is often a great chance to earn an ELO point. It is very common to win this map via taking out the Keep. So this is probably your best bet on getting a bonus ELO point.

Artillery Transport: Now that there is value in moving to the right, this battle should be a bit more interesting with the potential for an ELO point hanging in the air.

The Big Siege: There is no objective point here, so it’s not possible to earn a bonus ELO point at the moment. I am open to suggestions on improving this map. What would be a good objective on this map (for both sides)?  Send me an email.

Naarden: I am not sure yet, but there might be a bonus point here too if you defeat all 10 muskets and get 10 green points. No promises.

Not everyone is going to like letting you earn a bonus ELO point, especially the extra competitive players but I think if you want to GET these bonus points you need to also GRANT them (by not falling back). If you don’t let your opponents score bonus points then they will do the same to you. Players that show each other more respect and good will likely have a bit of an advantage in the leaderboards. Think deeply before you snub someone out of a hard earned ELO point. That said, the choice is yours to make and not granting a point is also a valid decision in the game.

Don’t be angry if someone denies you a bonus point, but remember who it was and feel free to do the same to that specific person. But keep in mind it will not always be a snub. Some will simply prefer the original low scoring matches, and that is fine also. Likely bonus points will be quite rare as many people will fall back frequently because they feel an SF unit is threatened, the commander is in Danger or they have no hope of winning the particular battle and don’t want to drag it out AND watch you score a bonus point. So there are many valid reasons to fall back.

The new rule that removes the fallback button (if any unit attacks) will also improve chances for a bonus point.

So to dominate the Top Commander Leaderboards you need:

  1. Tactical skill.
  2. Lots of participation (more chances, plus even a loss pays 1 ELO)
  3. Be a good sport (enhances chance for bonus points).
  4. Protect your SF units, and also try to defeat opponent SF units.

It’s still possible to dominate by sheer force of will and just kill everything that moves in the campaign, but now there is also a slight reward for being a good sport (when possible).

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