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Topics - drewisfat

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Community Discussion / Sheep Tag (East) A Complete History
« on: July 15, 2017, 07:17:30 am »
This is my attempt at a detailed history of Sheep Tag from the perspective of east server (obviously) but occasionally touching on other servers. I will try to mention key players whose names have been lost to time. While I will try to make the information as accurate as possible, a lot of this is digging up old memories, and some information will inherently be inaccurate, and more will be missing altogether. This is for NMCDO so he may share the story of our game after I have departed this world.

Chapter 1 -- In the Beginning

Most of sheep tag's pre-history, before clans existed is speculation, but some facts can be derived from the maps that existed back then. Early on the map was 9v3. When I say map, I should really say maps. They were changed and updated quite frequently. The mainline pro map took place in a square smaller than the entire map. It's clear at this stage map developing was so new that the makers didn't even have a firm grasp of how to easily change the map's size and did so with terrain impediments. However, this map could actually be jumped of with a 7x7 farm block and the sheep could be unreachable by the shepherds. Needless to say, this was not very stable, although it was likely not known/abused at the time. Many of the farms we know of today were still on that map, but a few like magic, frost, "stun" weren't present or were in different forms. Wolf damage was quite low, somewhere in the 8-14 hits to kill a farm range depending on the version. Dolly, the legendary floating sheep was actually present way back then on these maps, before being subsequently removed soon after. Still the fact that Dolly is still famous yet was only present in maps no modern players played is quite astonishing.

This was importantly not the only map. The two main competitors were 10.1 and Perfect Sheep Tag. It's clear ST split into "noob" maps quite early on by these all sharing the same 9v3 team structure. 10.1 involved a lot of tree hiding and unit building. Perfect had less tree hiding but still was a unit building, noob base map. Wolves could buy ghouls, sheep could save wisps with "meat wagons". Indeed these maps more resembled tree tag than what we think of sheep tag, and is perhaps where the inspiration for tree tag came.

Chapter 2 -- Clan SGOD

The first ST clan on East was made on the first day that clans were enabled. The chieftain was Open(Alex). Some notable members include shamans Raptos and Brown1430; and grunts Pure, Frappachino, Ydoc, Piggerpiglet and 2nd_a-k-a_sheep.
- Alex in his role as first clan chieftain was essentially the primogeniture of East ST. He was the best sheep player at the time, and was widely respected for keeping a cool temperament and pushing the then boundaries of the game. He would go on to pioneer run tag (although it had no name at that point). He would use trees to manipulate wolves losing their locks. In this time period this was revolutionary and truly devastating as very few players knew about A-walk.
- Raptos was considered the best wolf player in east and a senior leader (shaman) in clan XROC. While there were other shamans known to me, I have since forgotten their names and didn't interact with any but Raptos personally.
- Brown1430 Brown was initially arrogant but mellowed out and was overall a good friend by the time I met him. He was known for being the fastest grid masser on East, and (contested) fastest in the world for a while.

It should be noted that the East pro community was in communion with West pros, who had also made 1-2 clans the first day they were enabled as well. The west pro community at this time dwarfed the East pro community anywhere from 2-4 times as many players. However, they did play the same maps and both supported the rise of the MD Team and the leader Star who developed 7.1 during this time period. That map served as the basis for the terrain that still exists in today's main sheep tag map, a truly remarkable feat. The most noticeable difference back then was a lot of trees and areas where the sheep could "jump" into the trees and be untouchable. Such play was obviously BM, but could be somewhat countered by orb splash damage a wolf could use attacking an image. The wolf damage was still extremely weak, 8-10 hit farm kills. As people got better, due to the nature of the game sheep became more OP than in previous maps and the teams were 8v4.
People were also starting to experiment with weirder maps. There was one map that SGOD made, mostly as a joke, where you could build "ancient SGOD warriors" (footmen) if you knew the code. What was interesting about that map though was that the pen was on a giant mostly unbuildable mountain and that wisps had pretty OP spells like slow and maybe even cyclone. It showed that the question of how the pen and wisps should be balanced was still completely up in the air.

Chapter 3 -- The Fall

SGOD did not last long unfortunately. Many of the core players got bored with sheep tag and had begun to dabble in roc Dota. After 3-6 months the clan disbanded. There were a couple remakes with most of the original crew but these died even quicker. Thus after a slow start compared to West, East then suffered a massive die-off.

Chapter 4 -- HCS or "The Golden Age of Sheep Tag"

This is the beginning of the 1-2 years that some Westies (and I concur) refer to as the Golden Age of ST, where ST had more players in the 'pro' community than at any other time.

Clan hcs or **** sheeptaggers was created by the grunts of SGOD who were not ready to give up and move onto dota.
- Frappachino: (usually called frappa) was the honored chieftain. He was one of the best of the grunts, but more importantly the nicest and the only one people would follow. He was a big pioneer of the frost farm and while not the fastest masser, was perhaps the most difficult to kill. This earned him a lot of respect.
- Piggerpiglet: was frappa's right-hand man. A tool of the nth order Pigger was widely despised but was perhaps the most influential person on East besides frappa. Though he was perhaps arrogant to think he should be chief, he on some level knew people would not follow a tool of his magnitude, and he much preferred being a jerk than trying to lead others.
- 2nd_a-k-a_sheep: If Pigger was the right hand, 2nd most certainly was the left hand, virtually equal in rank to Pigger. He was also, a giant tool. He was more condescending while Pigger would just outright hurl childish insults. I'm unsure if 2nd was his account name in SGOD to be honest. He changed accounts quite frequently, and I suspect he settled on 2nd during this time period to subconsciously put out the notion that he was 2nd in command and the 2nd best STer, not Pigger. They did have somewhat of a rivalry, but mostly united on being superior to the rest of the clan.
- Mitnek: Another shaman of hcs, Mitnek was a relative newcomer and not part of the SGOD crew. This was in some ways held over him by Pigger and 2nd. However, Mitnek would continue to improve and eventually became the clan's best player. He was relatively humble, and eventually his skill and hard work made him beyond reproach.
- Akraea: Another shaman of hcs Akraea was the first female ST player on East. However, that fact is very contested, as Pigger HATED her and did not believe for a second that she was a girl. Due to this many had doubts, and Akraea herself (or himself) did not dwell on gender and didn't do much to assuage these rumors, and only claimed to be a girl a couple of times. I'm still unsure to this day, but I believe she was in fact a she. Akraea was also my first friend in the community. Number one on my friendlist, a spot that she holds to this day, as I'm very sentimental. She wasn't exactly the person to find me in pub ST and bring me to hcs, but she was the one to convince me to join and keep me there despite Pigger/2nd's **** streaks. In many ways she was the least respected of the original Shamans, but frappa had made the decision that she was shaman and that was final, so it wasn't questioned.
- drewisfat: Yes, this is where I come into the picture. I was a grunt in the early stages of the clan.

The main map played at this time was 7.5, a map very similar to 7.1 item and balance wise, but with much more open and somewhat geometric looking terrain. Wolf damage had settled to 7 hit farm kills, which it would stay at for a long time. Frost farms, aura farms, and upgrade farms were pretty much standardized and were the same then as they were today (although frosts looked a lot bigger). Sentry farms were also big, gave high sight and were actually the strongest farm. There was also a big stun farm that was mostly useless and a clear sign of "noobness". Cyclone farms were also a thing but were very taboo as they caused people to randomly drop from the game. They were also obviously OP and not allowed in serious games. They were notably though, the first 'stack farm' in that they could be built anywhere, enabling the same sorts of tricks stacks could, but at a cost of a whopping 75 gold.

This is also the time period where diamonding became absolutely the dominant form of massing. Some of this was due to the fact that it was harder and thus a sign of being a good player. However, it did make sense at the time as a strategy. For starters, with the high delay everyone had compared to today, you could diamond nearly as fast as you could essentially grid. Also back then wolves were obviously much weaker but had INSANE range. It was very, very common to die inside a row of farms from the wolves. The fence in the middle was not safe to be near as a sheep as the wolf could easily swipe you through it. It was even possible to die one farm away from the wolf without ever having slipped out of the mass and back in. And if you were entering the mass the combination of range and high delay at this period of time meant it was quite possible for a wolf to seemingly kill you 2 farms away. This was called an "extendo(e)" and was a common thing to complain about. Due to this the best tactic as a sheep was to just gain as much ground as possible (diamonding) and stay the hell away from the wolves. Fittingly the best wolf tactic was to try to snipe the sheep. Team massing was not really done at the start. Most players had sections of the map they were known to build in that would often associate with their sheep color (hence people became known for being certain colors of sheep). Sheep were good enough at massing, and with the newly developed skill of diamonding to mass enough of the map to combine with allies and to potentially mass the whole map.

Akraea and I would usually mass the bottom left 'square' in a double diamond formation. 2nd preferred the right side of the map, Mitnek preferred top or right, frappa and pigger preferred the left or top. This was actually a thing.

It should be noted that there was an idea on East of the great import of clan SGOD. It was an issue of legitimacy. The leadership of SGOD had the right to make a clan and lead the gateway, but while Alex, Raptos and Brown would occasionally play, ST was no longer their main game. So after a few months of unstable or no clans, frappa, 2nd and pigger claimed the legitimate right to make the main clan as the remaining active members of SGOD. This was challenged by Pure, who was still an active player, but did not believe "the peons" were legitimate heirs and refused to join hcs. This was perhaps mostly prompted by Pure despised 2nd and pigger. The argument was that he, as the most senior grunt, was superior to them and would never join their clan. SGOD clearly had some sort of grunt/peon differentiation, but it is unclear what it was or how strict it was. So I know I listed them all as grunts earlier, but it was perhaps the truth that frappa was a grunt while pigger and 2nd were peons, but I cannot say for sure. The main point is that while kind of hilarious, this was a real thing they fought about. This was a real doctrinal hierarchy that many easties believed, and due to the relatively small size of SGOD and small player base at that time, it was up for much debate and historical revision.

General Discussion / HUUUGE DEBATE KNOCKAUTS!~
« on: September 27, 2016, 08:10:47 pm »
Hillary mopped de **** floor with The Orange One. She baited him, she poked de angry bear, she got under his thick skin and he went from obnoxious bully to helpless baby. Insane to see someone running out of breath and water, and apparently coke, try to say his opponent doesn't have enough stamina. 

This is the biggest debate TKO since the great stack debate of 2009 where Sidey retreated deep into his hiding hole after Drew was done with him.

Community Discussion / My New ST Map Ideas
« on: July 02, 2014, 05:54:40 am »
I have neither the skill nor the willpower to try to make this map (and make it popular) myself.  I'm hoping that some of you might agree with my suggestions and implement them, even though I know most people have disagreed with me in the past.  A very long post will follow this up, so much appreciation to anyone that actually reads all of it.

TLDR version: Make the map smaller while making wolves kill farms in 4 hits.
This increases technical skill and strategy, making the game more exciting.

I know the knee jerk reaction is to think this idea is moving in a boring, backwards direction.  But if you think about this for a little bit, you may agree the result would be quite the opposite. 

The goal is not to make sheep easier or harder, but to make the game more exciting.  An appropriate decrease in map size will counter the effect of making wolves weaker without making the game more easy or difficult for one side or the other.  It's similar to what Beer's changes to revo did, in that he expanded the map (opening up new hills / ramps) while increasing wolf damage.  Except it's ofc the opposite.  I'm not upset at you beer for doing what you did, as the map desperately needed to be mixed up to keep the game from going stagnant, and I applaud you for putting the effort into changing it.  I just hope you approach my recommendation with an open mind, as you're the only one who seems interested in making new maps.

The most boring part of being a sheep is massing endlessly, with zero contact with the wolves.  As a wolf the most boring part is looking at an insanely big mass of farms and having no clue where to begin, so people afk and blame teammates.  A smaller map right off the bat solves both of these problems.

It also increases what should be the exciting parts of sheeping and wolfing.  As a sheep you will be closer to wolves at all time, and to your teammates, and bridging them will be more important.  As a wolf no sheep is insanely secure or far away.  With 2 hit farm and a giant mass, it's in the sheep's best interest to cornermass.  We condemn people who do this as noob, when it's a completely rational approach.  Harassing wolves is more dangerous and less effective when they kill farms in two hits.  It's a much better idea for the sheep to just run away and the wolves to just chase, and I think this is a much more boring dynamic than it was in the past.

Wolf items are also much more useful and strategic when they are at 4 hit farm kills.

- STR pot and beam are near useless in today's sheep tag.  Don't tell me that I'm a noob and don't know how to use them, and that they can be used very well.  I want this to be the case -- but it's simply not a big deal to use a str pot to kill a farm in 1 hit instead of 2, when there's a huge number of farms anyways.  If you kill farms at 4 hits, and there's less farm, suddenly a case can be made for str pot / beam to strategically cut off sheep.  This case largely exists only in theory now, and 95% of str pots are used to try to snipe a sheep in combination with a golem. 

- Golems are similarly not as important as they once were.  They haven't suffered in popularity at all, but that's because ALL OTHER ITEMS SUCK in today's ST.  It's an easy exercise to see why golems become more important in a 4 hit farm kill scenario.  Consider how useless they are if you kill farms in 1 hit, and extrapolate backwards. 

- Claws/cloaks/gloves are more important.  When you start at 2 hits, there's only so much that damage items can do.  One claw can get you to 2 hit aura'd farms, and several claws can you get to 1 hit normal farms.  That's about it, and in most games you won't even consider going 1 hit, as it takes a big investment and the game will likely be over by then (in say 3v5s).  At four hits there's simply more room to make choices that have consequences.  I'd recommend something like 60g to get to 3 hits ( I don't expect most of the game to be at 4 hits just the beginning), and like 170g to get to two hits. 

Better items allow wolf technical skill to shine, and make interactions between sheep and wolves more interesting for both parties.  And there will be more of these interactions because the map is smaller.  Harassing and bridging will be more important and will allow better sheep skill to shine. 

On a different note, a smaller map is more fitting for games with fewer players.  And we do have less full games now then ever before.  3v4 should not be taboo, and on this map it would not be.  The ratio of sheep/wolf would increase slightly without slanting the game to make sheeping easy.  People that love only sheeping should be happy that they sheep more often, and people that appreciate wolfing can look forward to more balanced game.

I predict a major objection to this will come from "runtaggers" who will see a smaller map as less room to run.  I would point you to the success of bulldog to see why this is not the case.  Bulldog is basically built around run tag, and yet it takes place in very small maps.  What it will do is diminish "freestyling rt", where you're run tagging with no farms near you.  This isn't the only way to RT, but it's what most people may think of.  I've always felt run tag was a poor term, for what people mean by exciting and micro/trick oriented sheep play -- which is something I aim to increase in this map not decrease.  Again I point to the success of bulldog in this arena.  Already current revo isn't meant for freestyling, as usually you're filling up the map with farms / blocking off ramps.  The freestyling RT people want is in -switch revo, and you could still play that.  This wouldn't be a replacement for it, in the same way revo "mass" games don't exclude you from playing -switch. 

So does anyone agree with my ramble  ??? ;D ???

Community Discussion / Make The Map Smaller
« on: November 18, 2013, 12:22:07 pm »
Lots of people are talking about making new maps, which is exciting   :D!!

I'd like to propose something that I think is long overdue - shrinking the map (potentially completely revamping the terrain as well)  Please be open minded about this idea!

There are several arguments I could give that a smaller map is better, to sum up:  More intensity.

I know I haven't played that much revo recently, but I don't think I'm imagining this problem. I've seen several people complaining about people cornermassing too much nowadays.  I think cornermassing is more common today than it has been for a long time, and I don't think it's because sheep are being stupid or w.e.  I think the current map encourages cornermassing, and whether consciously or subconsciously people have adjusted their gameplay and are cornermassing more.  The current map:
- Is bigger.  The corners have been expanded, with the most dramatic change being the "gosu hill" on the bottom of the map.
- Wolves start stronger (2 hits)
- Sheep images (I think these are potentially gamebreaking currently)
- And a few smaller changes, like reintroducing stack farms, invis runes spawning in middle, etc.

I don't fault these changes, with beer's goal of mixing it up and making wolves stronger this makes complete sense for balancing issues.  But I think instead of adding intensity sheep compensate by pushing to corners has taken away any gains made here.  It's very common and very easy to start from the mid, build down to the bottom of the map and then use the ramps  (or the imba jump to the bottom right corner) to get away.  This is probably an easier path than sticking around in the middle and trying to break out of isolation and hoping your teammates bridge you.  And perhaps more importantly, it takes the wolves 1-2 extra minutes to even get in a position to isolate you when you're on the edges.  No one wants to be the sheep that dies first, and the easiest way to do this is to simply avoid the wolves and run to the side of the map.

Cornermassing like this is less interesting because it means there's a significant amount of time spent chugging out a lot of farms, and you can spend a large portion of the game not even seeing a wolf. 
- If the first few serious attempts at killing sheep fail, the wolf team often falls apart. 
- The noobier wolves give up first, and the main reason is due to a large amount of farms on the map, and knowing it would take several minutes to reach the next sheep.
- Longer games are obviously more likely to result in boredom, especially for the wolves. 
- On the sheep side there is less teamwork, bridging, harassing, trick moves, and more running by yourself just to avoid the wolves.

I think weaker wolves and less room for the sheep to hide makes for a more interesting game, and adds a lot more importance to micro, like image control and golems, and would make items like str pot / beam meaningful.  Similarly we would see individual farms matter more for the sheep, and bridges and teamwork more important.  A more immediate threat of being trapped against a wall would be a plus for st.

I personally envision a very small map (like 1/4 the size of revo) with like an 8 minute timer and 4 hit wolves to start.  This might be too radical, and I do want the game to still feel like real sheep tag instead of "mini sheep tag".  But I think a smaller change, like pulling in some of the edges, and making the wolves 3 hits or still keeping them at 2 hits may be what the community is looking for.   

This is not an attempt to make the game easier for one side or the other, to destroy rt, or to blame cornermassers for not harassing enough.  I think the game will always be a balance of harassers/cornermassers as the sheep need to slow the wolves down while also expanding.  I just think the game is currently too slanted towards cornermassing (and perhaps always has) and a smaller map would increase the intensity of sheeping and eliminate some of the boredom of wolfing.

Community Discussion / Révolution de la Tyrannie du Cowardlyshoe
« on: August 13, 2013, 01:34:01 am »
Shoop has recently informed of all the many sins perpetrated  by Rival[behh].  I have pledged my resources to ridding the world of this cancerpanda once and for all.  I stopped short of the true goal when I only exiled him from East.  I was lazy, and in my laziness I exported the plague to Europe where it has been fermenting for years.  It's time to right my wrongs, it's time to take him down once and for all.  I've created a clan on Europe focused on a pathway to enlightenment and purging of cowardlyshoic activities.  It's name is Stairway to Heaven.  It bears no relation to an archaic eastern clan with a similar acronym.  Stairway to Heaven is here supporting it's global cause of freedom and enlightenment through a society bereft of Cowardlyshoe.  All are welcome to share in the haven where we do not tremble from his annoying and mundane superiority complex or his Orwellian reign in Clan Behh.

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