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SunTsu

03.01- Shadow and Los rule problem.

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Hello,

 

I noticed that in the actual (final?) ruleset, there is a rule I consider plain and simple wrong, with no possible "if" or "but".

We're speaking of the following text in the shadow section, at page 18:

Quote

When drawing sight lines, a model standing on terrain that is casting a Shadow may ignore that terrain (and its Shadow) if any single sight line drawn between the two objects passes through 1" or less of that terrain.

As written, it's only the model on top of tha terrain that MAY (whatever it means...) see without hindrances, while the model that it's seen have no choice.

First, the rule is bad written because it's not really clear what does mean exactly the "may" part of the rule. The model may ignore the element each time he tries to do it? When it does, it's become visible? There is a moment when he have to decide if he ignore or not the element? If I shoot ignoring the terrain, than other models can see me or not?

Letting apart the misswriting in the rule, I can't find how the design idea behind this rule could be good for the game.

Essentially, it would let a sniper shooting to models around without having no backfire at all because it's effectively invisible at most enemies. I don't find it healt for the game. This seems to me a simple mistake in the ruleset.

A better written rule could be:

Quote

When drawing sight lines to/from a model standing on a terrain, ignore that terrain (and its Shadow) if any single sight line drawn between the two objects passes through 1" or less of that terrain.

 

 

Expanding the discussion, I find the shadow rule itself a bit problematic. It's an overcomplex rule, with many corner situations, and strange interactions.

The problem is that, from the very start of the closed beta, the los rules had been centered around the shadow concept. There was not a single week that let us to test something different. At a certain point there was a pool to vote for the los system. But it was a bit cumbersome in how it was proposed and then it was closed definitely going all-in with the shadow system. I think that it would be beneficial for the game try to use a different los system. Personally I think that the simplest and most effective could be a cylindric volume system (for who knows the game, it's the los system used by Warmachine/Hordes): there aren't complex rules or sistuations, just draw los and if there's connection you see. Full stop.

The shadow concept (that I like very much, tbh), could stay even in a new los system, in order to provide cover or others effect that modify los.

Giving a chance to another los system don't change all the game, and I think it would not be so problematic in making tests. I really think it would benefit the game even if it would be dropped in favor or the actual los system, because at least we could say to have been tryed a different approach to los rules.

I remember that in m2e the los rules were the worst of the entire manual, completely unplayable and bypassed by all players. Actual rules are waaay better. But I would suggest to put in test these rules much more attention than others section of the ruleset.

 

Just my two cents.

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I agree the may can be a problem, but in M3E if any either model has LOS, then the other model also has LOS, so even if the terrain isnt ignored for the lower elevation model (the higher one has cover) they both have LOS to each other. 

You know what, nvm. That only applies if the LOS are unblocked, not ignored

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9 hours ago, SunTsu said:

Essentially, it would let a sniper shooting to models around without having no backfire at all because it's effectively invisible at most enemies. I don't find it healt for the game. This seems to me a simple mistake in the ruleset.

This isn't true. At worst it would only be invisible to models in the shadow, since LoS is only blocked by the terrain if one of the models is in the Shadow and a model on top of terrain can never hide in it's shadow since the model will always have a Sz greater than that of the terrain it's standing on.

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1 hour ago, santaclaws01 said:

This isn't true. At worst it would only be invisible to models in the shadow, since LoS is only blocked by the terrain if one of the models is in the Shadow and a model on top of terrain can never hide in it's shadow since the model will always have a Sz greater than that of the terrain it's standing on.

Oh, you're right! I missed that particular, thanks. 😊

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1 hour ago, Mycellanious said:

But what about the may? If a model in Shadow were trying to shoot one on top of the building, could it refuse to ignore the terrain so the model in shadow cant see it?

Since the top model isn't the one drawing LoS, the may is irrelevant for the lower model since it never has the option of ignoring the terrain.

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1 minute ago, santaclaws01 said:

Since the top model isn't the one drawing LoS, the may is irrelevant for the lower model since it never has the option of ignoring the terrain.

Does this create a situation where on the top model's activation it can see and shoot a lower model, but the lower model cant retaliate on its activation?

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Just now, Mycellanious said:

Does this create a situation where on the top model's activation it can see and shoot a lower model, but the lower model cant retaliate on its activation?

Yes.

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Concerning line of sight...

Quote

To determine Line of Sight, draw a series of sight lines between the two objects. Sight lines between objects are never drawn in such a way that they cross either object’s base. If the objects are on different levels of the same terrain piece, sight lines cannot be drawn through the terrain piece’s ceiling or floors.

If at least one of the sight lines between two objects is unblocked, the objects have LoS to each other. If all the sight lines are blocked, the two objects may not have Line of Sight to each other. See Blocked Line of Sight on the next column for more details.

That part there makes line of sight reciprocal.  If you can draw a line from A to B then A & B have line of sight to each other, whether or not you can draw a line from B to A.

The biggest problem with the "may" in

Quote

When drawing sight lines, a model standing on terrain that is casting a Shadow may ignore that terrain (and its Shadow) if any single sight line drawn between the two objects passes through 1" or less of that terrain.

is Auras.  Take that Parker Barrows example on page 18 and put a model with an aura on the Ht3 scenery and surround it with several other models with auras in the shadow areas.  Can you ignore the terrain on a model-by-model basis?  When do you decide whether you're ignoring the terrain?

The situation is untenable as a constant voluntary choice.

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46 minutes ago, solkan said:

Concerning line of sight...

That part there makes line of sight reciprocal.  If you can draw a line from A to B then A & B have line of sight to each other, whether or not you can draw a line from B to A.

 

That's what I originally thought, but on a close inspection it is clear that this only applies to UNBLOCKED sight lines, the problem occurs when a model uses blocked sight lines by ignoring the blocking terrain. The sight lines are BLOCKED, the higher model can ignore the terrain ON ITS ACTIVATION, the lower model cannot ignore the terrain, so it does not have LOS to the higher model. 

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11 hours ago, solkan said:

Concerning line of sight...

That part there makes line of sight reciprocal.  If you can draw a line from A to B then A & B have line of sight to each other, whether or not you can draw a line from B to A.

The biggest problem with the "may" in

 is Auras.  Take that Parker Barrows example on page 18 and put a model with an aura on the Ht3 scenery and surround it with several other models with auras in the shadow areas.  Can you ignore the terrain on a model-by-model basis?  When do you decide whether you're ignoring the terrain?

The situation is untenable as a constant voluntary choice.

Let's use the example of Parker and Lady J to draw LoS to each other. Parker wants to shoot at Lady J, but she's in the shadow. When Parker attempts to draw LoS to Lady J he can choose to ignore the terrain generating the shadow and they now have LoS to each other. Now Lady J activates and tries to attack Parker. Lady J attempts to draw LoS to Parker but can't as the terrain blocks it, and she has no way to ignore the terrain. "Oh, but Parker can ignore it" you say, and yes, Parker can ignore it, be he's not always ignoring it. So we attempt to draw LoS from Parker to Lady J to establish LoS, and Parker's LoS is blocked by the terrain, but chooses not to ignore it, so there is no LoS.

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28 minutes ago, santaclaws01 said:

Let's use the example of Parker and Lady J to draw LoS to each other. Parker wants to shoot at Lady J, but she's in the shadow. When Parker attempts to draw LoS to Lady J he can choose to ignore the terrain generating the shadow and they now have LoS to each other. Now Lady J activates and tries to attack Parker. Lady J attempts to draw LoS to Parker but can't as the terrain blocks it, and she has no way to ignore the terrain. "Oh, but Parker can ignore it" you say, and yes, Parker can ignore it, be he's not always ignoring it. So we attempt to draw LoS from Parker to Lady J to establish LoS, and Parker's LoS is blocked by the terrain, but chooses not to ignore it, so there is no LoS.

I think at this point you're missing my point entirely.

Parker's on top of the terrain, and Wrath (a model generating some convenient auras) is in the shadow zone.  Parker activates, declares an attack and chooses to draw line of sight to Wrath to make the attack.  Anger Issues is an :aura6 on Wrath that's triggered if Wrath has line of sight to Parker when Parker's attack causes damage to Wrath.

That leads to the obvious optimal result for Parker:

- Chooses to ignore the ignore the terrain when declaring the target for the attack

- Chooses not to ignore the terrain later when the Aura is checked

This is one of the reasons why "may" in that sentence is unworkable.  

Edit:  And then consider another situation:

Wrath is on top of the terrain feature, there's Lady Justice and one of the other Crossroads 7 down below.  Unable to be targeted by attacks, Wrath chooses at the appropriate times to draw line of sight to Lady Justice so that she's in his auras.  Because any idea that the "may" choice is only made during the model's activation is wrong.  Because of Auras, models are drawing line of sight all the time.

 

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On 3/10/2019 at 1:29 AM, santaclaws01 said:

This isn't true. At worst it would only be invisible to models in the shadow, since LoS is only blocked by the terrain if one of the models is in the Shadow and a model on top of terrain can never hide in it's shadow since the model will always have a Sz greater than that of the terrain it's standing on.

To reiterate, the model on top of the terrain in the example is NOT in the Shadow of the terrain. Using normal LOS rules we check to see if there is Blocking terrain in between the two models that is equal or taller than either. In this case the blocking terrain is Ht3, the model on the ground in the shadow is Ht 2, and the model on top of the terrain is Ht5. The blocking terrain does not block LOS for the model on the ground as the target is taller than the terrain and not in the Shadow. 

Corrected below. 

I will agree that getting rid of the 'may' in the rule is a good idea. LOS should always be a yes/no situation. Adding a 'maybe' in there just opens up too many corner case issues, etc. 

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24 minutes ago, Paddywhack said:

 The blocking terrain does not block LOS for the model on the ground as the target is taller than the terrain and not in the Shadow. 

The shadow rule states "When drawing sight lines from one model to another, if either model is in the Shadow of terrain with Height equal to or greater than the Size of that model...any sight lines that pass through the terrain generating that Shadow are blocked..."

So yes, the terrain does block LoS for the model on the ground because it is in the Shadow.

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30 minutes ago, santaclaws01 said:

The shadow rule states "When drawing sight lines from one model to another, if either model is in the Shadow of terrain with Height equal to or greater than the Size of that model...any sight lines that pass through the terrain generating that Shadow are blocked..."

So yes, the terrain does block LoS for the model on the ground because it is in the Shadow.

Hmm. Well then. Remove the 'may' and that should fix the wonkiness. I don't think that LOS should ever by one-way. 

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That "may" word is a nonsense completely. Full stop.

I tryed to fix it in the closed beta at least twice, but I was ignored. I hope this time will be different. Finally, better later than never...

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At least I really like what is meant behind that "may" : The model that is on top of the terrain can ignore that terrain when he wants. This is a lot more interactive and it gives a real edge to the model on top of the terrain.

So, if we want to keep that "may" : 

Quote

When drawing sight lines, a model standing on terrain that is casting a Shadow may ignore that terrain (and its Shadow) during any activation if any single sight line drawn between the two objects passes through 1" or less of that terrain.

PS : above posts are a private joke because we ( @SunTsu and I) have both (and several other playtesters from blue closed Beta, but too few IMO) worked so hard to help the dev make better 3d rules. We tried very hard to remove Shadow Rules that forced the dev to make so many exceptions ! But since they were not removing those Shadow rules, we helped them find some solutions for most of the bugs. Hope this one is one of the last one :).

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Doesn't matter how many times they "fix" the rules for shadow, it's never going to work properly (I think they've just given up trying to fix it anyway). Quickest solution is to just use the rules for concealment but for cover and los, it'll save you from a mountain of headaches.

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None of the issues brought up here seem to be a "problem" in the sense that the rules don't work. The LoS/shadow rules are pretty clear in these situations. The model on top of the terrain can choose whether or not to allow LoS to the model in the shadow, and can make a different choice every time LoS is checked - for every attack, every time an effect is triggered, an aura is checked, a pulse happens, etc.

Effectively, that creates one-way (or selective) LoS, purely to the benefit of the model on the high ground. Whether or not that's a problem is a matter of playtesting, not a matter of principle. If it's something that's coming up in your games a lot, and you're finding the way the rules handle that situation to be a negative play experience, that's something the designers should be aware of. Let them know about the effect it's having - are models with ranged attacks standing on buildings dominating the area around them? Are you having constant rules disputes about how to interpret the shadow rules, and need them clarified further?

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6 hours ago, Shadowdragon said:

Doesn't matter how many times they "fix" the rules for shadow, it's never going to work properly (I think they've just given up trying to fix it anyway). Quickest solution is to just use the rules for concealment but for cover and los, it'll save you from a mountain of headaches.

Nah, the current system works pretty well, and giving an edge to models on top of terrain seems legit as they lost time to go there (or they have an ability to do so, like flight & From the shadows).

I just agree with the current topic, that defining when there are LOS or not is kind of counterintuitive, currently.
As I proposed, making it see/not see should be during any activation, or whenever you choose to have a sight line, it should be until the end of the activation.

So that we can imagine the upper model raising its head above the parapet, but not like a surricat (!)

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On 3/12/2019 at 1:34 PM, bedjy said:

So, if we want to keep that "may" : 

I disagree. And not just because your wording doesn't change nothing in how to apply thi rule.

Here we have a statement that doesn't add nothing to the game, but complexity and some weird unexpected situations...

 

10 hours ago, Kadeton said:

None of the issues brought up here seem to be a "problem" in the sense that the rules don't work.

There are problems and problems.

Maybe there isn't a technical problem, but for sure there's a game design problem.

This rule hit the table in so few corner case scanarios, that it would be difficult to build a tactic around this. It's a rule that will go undernoticed for most players. So first of all it will require a FAQ for sure. Than it will be missplayed very often, or because the players will forget about that strange-weird-corner-case-situation, or because they simply ignore that. In those rare cases where it will be played right, it would create that unpleasant "gotcha!" effect that m3e is fighting against so hard...

However, imo here we have also a bad written rule from a technical point of view, since it's not clear when you have to apply that conditional "may", and it collide with the assumption (made even in the m3e rulebook even if not explicitly said) that the los is a two-way effect, as @solkan pointed out correctly:

On 3/10/2019 at 7:02 PM, solkan said:

If at least one of the sight lines between two objects is unblocked, the objects have LoS to each other.

 

So finally, my question is: why we want to keep a rule like this in m3e? Which positive effect or nice game experience adds to the game?

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34 minutes ago, SunTsu said:

So finally, my question is: why we want to keep a rule like this in m3e? Which positive effect or nice game experience adds to the game?

The fact we want to use 3d. And there is a positive point being higher.

I do.

But that's true that the problem of :

  • -I engage you, because I see you. But you can't hit me because I don't see you anymore.
  • -So I can interact ?
  • -Nope, if need be I'll still engage you !

Will remain a problem with the current wording.

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