Moo Tang Clan: Storm the beach, climb that mountain

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Storm the beach, climb that mountain

One problem many pvp based games face is that experienced players with hard earned gear stick around and gank the new comers. Another problem that can arise is that the smartest battlefield strategy is to mindlessly zerg.

So acknowledge that, and make it work for your game, not against it.

The key issue with newb ganking is that there's a sense of betrayal of fairness, that on the battlefield all should have an equal chance and equal capability. Unfortunately, handing out gear improvements as rewards undermines that supposed fairness.

Thus: design the pvp game around scenarios which have entrenched veterans defending a beachhead, and the newbs being cannon fodder. Make it 40 vs 10 even - a game of asymmetric warfare. It might even be possible to have the numbers on each side being determined by a gear budget, that way if a massively over-geared player queues for an early tier they just might find themselves defending the whole beach by them selves.

Once those players attain sufficient gear they get swapped to the defense team, or can go offense on the next tier of attack. First the beachhead, then the village, then the hill, the castle, and onwards. It's probably important to have that sense of progression in the scenarios too - don't just bump the players up a numeric tier and throw them against the same beachhead (only now facing tougher and more well equipped defenders).

So .. two points: asymmetric warfare, and narrative progression.

Think that might work?


Anonymous said...

I think it's a really good idea, actually. For a few minutes I was caught up thinking 'but who are they fighting against? Does this mean the enemy is coming up behind them, like a multi-layered sandwich?'
...then I remembered it's a game, and what a player sees on their monitor isn't necessarily what the next player over sees. So whilst one player sees themselves in the uniform of Army A defending against the attack of Army B, someone in that 'Army B' may also see the kit of 'Army A' on their character, on their own screen.

How would you get gear, in this game? Achievements, like 'sniped 10 enemy soldiers', giving points to buy gear, or new gear, or what?
Narratively... narrative-wise? This does call to mind the sorting algorithm of evil, though that's really a necessary-evil of game design when you can't leave a set path (beachhead to village to hill to ...). Similarly, if Army A had all this gear lying around, why not kit everyone else out from the start?

...then again, the game may not be that plot-serious, narrative progression aside.

Garumoo said...

Aye, the personal narrative gets a bit messed up if you (as a player) switch from attacker to defender, but it is a game after all and choosing to play Red Team one day and then Blue Team the next, swapping allegiances willy nilly ... that's all par for the course of PvP gaming.

Obtaining gear in this game would be per whatever the usual method is - grinding for tokens/currency/honor points, lucky drops on the field, rewards for achievements, item shop, etc. Probably wouldn't be able to advance in gear by just going defense though.

The cool thing is that a player at any time can either (a) be on the ganking side (ie. defending), or (b) zerg rush against an outnumbered ganking team, collecting sweet revenge.

Any time you tire of getting ganked by vastly over-geared defenders you can switch back to defending the previous tier and have some ganking fun of your own (but you will be out-numbered and zerg rushed so watch out).

The defense game plays very different from the offense game, it's not simple arbitrariness of "your turn to attack" thing on a symmetrical map layout with auto-balanced teams. (bleh)