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Author Topic: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting  (Read 1379 times)

Goldeye

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Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« on: January 08, 2014, 10:42:26 AM »

We pretty much all want the game to be as much as possible about skillful, pretty plays.  However, crease sitting naturally takes away those plays very effectively.  It is natural for collapsing extra players to be an effective defense in any game with a focal point where you can't bypass the D to score (which you can do in basketball, but not so much in hockey, soccer, etc), and that can't (and really shouldn't) be changed. 

To beat crease sits, teams generally resort to clusters (or to resetting and hoping the D all leave the cr).  The (game theory) problem we have is that crease sitting is still effective enough against clusters, and there aren't really enough drawbacks to cr sitting, so it is never really worthwhile to try to leave the crease unless you really need to score. 
So as we've all learned, the teams that never leave their crease exposed are the teams that win. 

In my opinion, the biggest problem isn't when teams cr sit 5 people.  Most teams in a setup D scenario tend to keep 3 ships devoted to protecting the crease, and the other 2 pressuring the puck and covering outlet lanes.  Those 3 (especially with a bit of pressure) are enough to shut down virtually all passing plays and remain very effective at stopping clusters as well.

However, really turtling up, and collapsing 4 or 5 players is still a problem as it is boring and lame, but it is also a legitimate strategy to hold a lead.  I think the key to making it tolerable to play against is  ensuring that a turtling team is at a substantial offensive disadvantage.  Counterattacking from such a position should be extremely difficult.

Historically, crease sitting was a problem was even a problem with 1 or 2 D back.  But it seems that with the current settings, crease sitting one guy is hardly a good defense, and even when it is, it allows the offense time and space to keep the puck.  With two defenders crease sitting, it is (appropriately) tough, but there's still potential to find a hole or break through a defender.


TL;DR #1: 1 man cr sit isn't a problem. 2-3 man cr sit is/was a problem because it is too effective.  4-5 man cr sit is a problem because it is very effective and does not have enough drawbacks.

Because there are two separate problems, they most likely need two separate solutions.  We've done a decent job with the last batch of changes to make the 2 man cr sit less effective.  They don't really have the prox to cover everything well.  3 man is still very effective, but less prox leaves more room to work.

Dealing with the 4-5 man cr sit is much trickier.  It's a lot harder to make it ineffective as a defense, and it isn't really certain that's the right choice.  However, if we can't make it less effective at stopping a single play, we can try to make it less likely to win the game.  To do that, we can make it harder to generate offense or maintain possession when using such a conservative defense, and we can make it harder to maintain possession, thus giving the offense more chances to score. 

TL;DR #2: We can make cr sitting less pervasive by making it less likely to win the game rather than by nerfing it directly.



I write all this for two reasons.
Firstly, to give everyone a better idea about what I'm shooting for with changes.

Secondly, to try to resolve the unending paradox about what will and won't encourage more crease sitting, clustering, etc: 
We can't control or predict the psychological reactions which can drive people to play more or less conservatively.  However, we can try to evaluate the game theory and understand what becomes more or less effective. 
Public enemy #1, the crease sit, is so pervasive because it is (proven to be) the best way to win.  Just like teams are hesitant to let their midfielder get in the attack and risk getting beat because a 4v3 isn't nearly as good an opportunity as the 3v1 that will go the other way, teams tend to focus their defense on the crease because the added defensive effectiveness of doing so tends to outweigh all the benefits of not doing so, especially when you have the lead.
Public enemy #2, the cluster, is so pervasive because it is the best way to beat through the cr sit, and the cr sit is so common. 
If you make cr sitting less effective, but make more aggressive defense less effective as well, nothing changes.  So it is critical to find ways to specifically punish teams for being conservative.  One way to do that might be to improve clustering in such a way that the benefit of extra defense is reduced.  As I mentioned above, another more elegant way is to make it so conservative defense makes it harder to score and allows the defense more chances, even if the chances are still of reduced quality.  When you selectively make cr sitting less effective, teams might say "wah, there's more offense so we must defend harder", but it's not going to pay off as well as it did before.
I don't think I'm doing a great job expressing this point neatly, but it's in there; we CAN figure out whether something is likely to ultimately encourage or discourage conservative cr sits.

I did not really edit this so please forgive me if this isn't the best essay ever.
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BluckaBlucka

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2014, 11:13:53 AM »

Few things i can think of

Make it so flying backwards reduces damage done(if a player in hockey is skating backwards he does significantly less damage in checks than if he was going forward not even factoring in speed)

Make it so there is less chances to make the defensive play whether that be less checks less rotation less prox more energy cost for bullets just make it so there is 1 chance to hit that play or else someone is going to have to cover your spot (in hockey if you failed someone is either there to cover your mistake or the other team gets a scoring chance)

Make Distance shots better so defense is forced out more (least likely too work) more increase in shot power most likely decreases the number of angles you can shoot from (fades went away last time we increased shot power for most ships)

maybe more ideas but i don't have too much free time to think at the moment
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Fur of Fur

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2014, 12:05:56 PM »

Generally agree with what you are trying to achieve goldeye, and for what is a massive setting change by HZ standards it looks promising. an attacking flowing game is more exciting generally to watch, but looking to the defensive end, just a few observations...

We should be promoting active defense, IE high team individual pressure to trap players and cut off the pass angles. Although I have been playing a lot of terrible weasel and offensive offball killing Levi as of late,I dropped back into spider for some time to check out what damage has been done to Active Defense

Closing people down and cutting down pass angles is a little harder - prox is smaller, ball moves faster ( but also catching passes on O is harder ) overall Skill level both ways has gone up - Great.

Playing Active D and guiding people into the much more reactive shark I found way more fun than before... Still not happy with the LANC, moves too fast... it should be WAY more reliant on D in my opinion.

Passive Defense I have noticed is leaving huge holes and being punnished way more - Great.

I have observed 2 or 3 badly postioned people on the goalie strong side or deep on the crease rarely pose a defensive threat to the better players now. Before sheer proxy clunkiness allowed them to get away with being terrible.

Teams who play 3-5 Permanent Defenders are always going to be hard to score against ( but likewise they should create very few attacking opertunites ) High defensive team styles are not what we should be targetting with the setting changes.

Possible Changes - Make Attacking ships TRUELY attacking ships - increase bullet cost or decrease their rate of fire.... WB - WEASEL a little ( weak bullets anyway ) JAV as Power O also fall into this category... you can even further buff their good areas to compensate for the loss of checking ability... Weasel is a massively OP defensive MID ship vs lighter lineups at the moment...

VARIABLE SLAPSHOT or Variable Shot Power?
We had in football option to choose phase...

So how about button to change release delay  short - medium - long.
+ we would bring back the rotate slapshot tricks..
+ more goals more trouble for d to deal with.
-ve people may forget what setting they are on!

or a simpler second option, a control for all ship shot power - Low / High switch - Low could shoot pucks at 75% current speed.

+ We would bring back fades,
+ we would make passing and the flow of the game potentially better tho skill would be required to learn to use Low and High speed shots
+ weaker players who always overshoot their man can use the slower shot...
+ Defenders will not know what setting people are using at a given moment, so will have to be even more reactive.

Overall: Yes inactive pylon cr sit and uber conservative play looks to be punnished now, especially for defenses that do not push back out when the Offensive line resets the puck and attacks the giant holes.

I apologise for all spelling errors, spend all day thinking in Portuguese and am typing on a portuguese keyboard + spell checker is in Portuguese...
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Goldeye

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2014, 02:27:06 PM »

Few things i can think of

Make it so flying backwards reduces damage done(if a player in hockey is skating backwards he does significantly less damage in checks than if he was going forward not even factoring in speed)

Make it so there is less chances to make the defensive play whether that be less checks less rotation less prox more energy cost for bullets just make it so there is 1 chance to hit that play or else someone is going to have to cover your spot (in hockey if you failed someone is either there to cover your mistake or the other team gets a scoring chance)

Make Distance shots better so defense is forced out more (least likely too work) more increase in shot power most likely decreases the number of angles you can shoot from (fades went away last time we increased shot power for most ships)

maybe more ideas but i don't have too much free time to think at the moment
According to the post above you probably didn't read, those first two ideas would encourage more crease sitting.  You don't encourage people to step up and let you deke them by making their chances of getting you worse.

The third point is probably the #1 objective of almost all the changes done so far.  Good thinking! :)
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Goldeye

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2014, 02:33:45 PM »

We should be promoting active defense, IE high team individual pressure to trap players and cut off the pass angles. Although I have been playing a lot of terrible weasel and offensive offball killing Levi as of late,I dropped back into spider for some time to check out what damage has been done to Active Defense
If we make active defense more effective, scoring just goes down.  We must make passive D worse to encourage more active D.

Quote
Playing Active D and guiding people into the much more reactive shark I found way more fun than before... Still not happy with the LANC, moves too fast... it should be WAY more reliant on D in my opinion.
Lanc is gonna be my focus for the next lil bit.  I'm not sure "WAY more reliant" is where it's at, but I will be looking for a lot of opinions.  I'd also like it to be slightly more snipeable, since that has made for great results with the shark.  But because lanc is not maneuverable, we can't really demand it to step out very far.  I'd like to get it to the point where it has to be just outside its comfort zone to really cut off the angles completely.

Quote
I have observed 2 or 3 badly postioned people on the goalie strong side or deep on the crease rarely pose a defensive threat to the better players now. Before sheer proxy clunkiness allowed them to get away with being terrible.
On the contrary, I'm noticing weak side D men making the stop on a cross crease pass with only slight loss of effectiveness.  At least I notice myself doing it a lot, almost always just-in-time, so I think it's not necessarily at a bad spot.

Quote
Teams who play 3-5 Permanent Defenders are always going to be hard to score against ( but likewise they should create very few attacking opertunites ) High defensive team styles are not what we should be targetting with the setting changes.
I disagree. I think D + lanc is very lame to play against and at least somewhat overpowered.

Quote
Possible Changes - Make Attacking ships TRUELY attacking ships - increase bullet cost or decrease their rate of fire.... WB - WEASEL a little ( weak bullets anyway ) JAV as Power O also fall into this category... you can even further buff their good areas to compensate for the loss of checking ability... Weasel is a massively OP defensive MID ship vs lighter lineups at the moment...
This is a very good point.  Relative to other ships, 1 and 6 have gotten considerably more effective at offense without much detriment to D.  I think wb checking is slightly too effective and would benefit from a little extra delay.  Warbird is of tons of D use with its maneuverability, and shouldn't be a threatening checker.  I don't see wzl as at all OP in any way defensively.  It doesn't have the ability to get the second bullet on most ships, like wb can.  The double barrel is only really an advantage in front of the net, or against wbs.  I'm hesitant to do anything to do anything to it.
[/quote]

RE: variable slapshot, it may be a good idea, but KISS is key here.  Adding something like that adds a ton of complexity for a reward that really doesn't justify it.


Memo to myself to fix onetimer times.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2014, 03:28:01 PM by Goldeye »
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Fur of Fur

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2014, 03:14:55 PM »

Active Defence:
my first point about active defense - was more that it works now and isnt worse than passive shit, which is great. You have made it proportionally more effective and should continue this trend. Again, Great Job - I never thought the balance would seemingly shift so damatically in a good way on this issue.

Lanc:
Glad you will work on the Lanc soon. look forward too seeing change too that dead beast.

Weak Side Defence:
Yes I agree, proactive reactive weak side defence works, no complaints here.

D + LANC:
Little confused to why you replied about D and LANC vs teams stacking entire line on defence all game. Agreed 1 D + Lanc as a semi bulletproof tactic was very lame and needed rebalancing. ( Although half the problem was people not adapting their attacking styles vs that opponent ) I will reiterate, although wewill decrease the overall effectivness of defense with these progressive changes, teams are entitled to play 3 or 4 defenders and leave a cherry picker for there offensive plays - we should not be looking to crush the option of defensive team mentality though over addressing current game issues, or the game will get very dull with everyone playing SOME NEW BUT IDENTICAL TO EACH OTHER attacking style of play.... I hope that HZ can remain a game where various ship lines and tactics will remain equally viable.

Other Responses:
Will wait!




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Kula

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2014, 07:19:05 PM »

I think you made your point clear and it's actually refreshing to read.

Teams that stack defense and have little possession time in the offensive zone really shouldn't be winning games at the rate we perceive they are doing. They wait for the other team to overcommit on offense and counterattack until finally catching the more skilled team off guard.

How do you punish a team that thrives off counterattack? While at the same time discourage turtling? And reward possession, good passing, smart play in general.

Make it easier to score when teams are able to maintain pressure in the offensive zone.

I think the rebound idea is perfect. Goalies shouldn't be able to hold pucks and skate by a swarmed Cr to outlet to cpers.
but at the same time the goalie shouldn't be gang raped and in fear of owngoals. We don't want to slow the game down with goalies freezing pucks either.

the solution may be to give the goalies more hold time, but make them easy to kill outside the crease, and then give them terrible shot power. That way they need to hand off to defensemen who usually suck the most at puck control. That might encourage and reward defensive strategy that is off the crease and doesn't allow you to get to their net. But does this then reward turtling? Idk just rambling
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Stryke

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Re: Rant: Why and how we need to counter crease sitting
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2014, 07:48:30 AM »

Why can't we just try a new rule? Defenders cannot be touching the crease (or it's a DC) and offensive players still have the old crease rule (must be behind the inner line).

To let this have even more of an impact, increase the crease width by 1 tile.
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