Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

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zerus
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Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby zerus » 26 May 2016, 18:46

Hey,

the last couple of days I've had some fun discussions with Baqqfisch about PvP-games in general, how they approach team building, objectives and skill-involvement in their systems.

About how Albion Online for example tries to limit GvG fights to 5v5/20v20, which is great in our eyes, but then has a combat system that is mostly decided by gear/ressources, meaning that in the end the 5v5 fights are merely a result of the amount of PvE grind you've put in to level up your character and craft the gear.
How AO has a game-mode that doesn't really promote different tactics. And that all competetive teams look kinda the same, even though the system allows you to instantly switch your class in a fight.

Or for example how Guild Wars 2 has a class system that shoehorns you into very few builds based on the class you picked; how every second skill is ground-based AoE and the PvP is just a lot of "1click2click3click" with a lot of random dodging.
Despite the combo system most builds are "catch-all" builds that primarily have to survive/kill on their own, and thus you get mostly 1v1 or small situations despite the objectives being way better than for example Albion. (But still not as good as those in GW1; really compared to GW1, GW2 is a disgrace. Not even $400k from ArenaNet could get a scene up)

We've obviously talked about Das Tal as well and I noticed that it is actually pretty hard to pinpoint what exactly the vision regarding Group PvP is.
On one side, you have the Open World where solo players need to be able to stand on their own with just 10 skills. On the other side, you have objective-based sieges where you can inflate numbers up and up to a point where every single skill in the game can be part of a fight. But then you also have small-scale fights where you have more skills available but are still limited.
Thats pretty much 3 different design approaches already. And most of them are incosistent (you don't have fixed 5v5 like Albion Online, every mode is open in numbers).

So we've had a lot of discussions about the direction of PvP in Das Tal. Whether or not there'd be GW2-like problem of everyone using builds tailored towards 1vX because it's always effective; whether or not gear will actually have roles, or just obvious combinations with little variance.
We've always came to a point where we said "Well, we don't know what they exactly plan to do." So I thought: Why not just find out? Used the search function, googled a bit, but couldn't find very fitting questions/answers.

So I compiled a list of questions I'd like to see answered, if possible!
  • 1) We realize that this is an Open World game. But skill-based combat and endless numbers simply contradict each other.
    If you are a clan of 10, you will never ever win vs a clan of 20+. The only way this is happening is taking the DAoC approach of having godlike-AoE skills that basically force the smaller clan(and everyone that wants to be relevant in PvP) to use very specific builds. MUSHROOOOOMS!!11

    Even in EVE Online, a game where you definitely have both the numbers and the skillgames, there's just a certain point where winning vs a larger fleet is just using very specific fleet compositions.

    So how is Das Tal going to ensure that skill actually matters in the end?
    Will there be even servers with limited numbers, i.e. servers where clans/alliances can not be more than 10 in a siege/objective-fight, to get rid of the problem altogether?
  • 1.1) Is an arena system with matchmaking and all that jazz even part of the game's vision at all, or completely out of the question?
    The combat system is such fun that I could see myself queuing up with a stack 5 other players all the time, and then using the Open World to unwind/have more relaxed PvP/PvE fun.
  • 2) A skill that looks great in 1v1 could be garbage in 5v5, and not even thought about in 30v30. Are you looking to introduce skills for each scale, or is there a specific "average scale" you're thinknig about when balancing/designing skills?
  • 3) How much influence are weapons and armor ssupposed to have on a player's role? Are there even supposed to be roles? If yes, which ones?
  • 4) How fast-paced is the combat movement supposed to be? Should fights be more slow and steady, with defined lines(front-, mid-, backline), or more dynamic with no clear lines and the combatants pretty much in the middle of everything? This is directly related to question (3).
  • 5) How fast-paced is the general combat supposed to be? Right now every skill costs energy, but players have so much energy and energy management options that running out of it takes a while. Stasis and Tumble are bigger reasons to not attack than your own energy is. So outside of these skills, you're attacking pretty much all the time.
  • 6) Are objectives supposed to be just reasons to fight, or influence the fight themselves? Different objectives can change how players build their teambuilds and greatly influence the dynamic of a fight as well. Just surviving is very different to bringing an item from point A to B, or having to stand in a specific location.

Sorry for posting yet another wall of text. But this should also help post feedback that actually helps you, instead of asking for things that aren't intended to work like that in the game anyway!
Last edited by zerus on 27 May 2016, 00:20, edited 3 times in total.

ManuKuma
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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby ManuKuma » 26 May 2016, 23:54

Was wondering about that for some time, too ... let's see what Alex has planned :)

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Pavlov
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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby Pavlov » 27 May 2016, 01:59

If both sides of a fight are equally well geared, skilled, coordinated and meet in an open field, a group of twenty really should beat a group of 10 every time in a fair game. There's not much of a way around that. But there's also not likely to be many fights like that either.

So far the defining feature of Das Tal group combat comes from the combination of friendly fire and lack of auto-targeting. If you've tried to run with a zerg anywhere that isn't an open field, you know that you spend most of the time in a fight blocking or being blocked by allies. It also makes AoEs favor the side with less players. Too many allies near you and you can't use your AoEs without hitting friendlies, while the enemy is free to hit multiple of you. The smaller side is still at a disadvantage, but not an insurmountable one, they just have to play smarter than their opponent.

What's more likely to be an issue isn't at the level of individual fights, but how large groups are likely to dominate the map in general. We've seen this a little bit in the tests already. I've brought it up before, but just like we have soft caps and catchup mechanics for individual players, there probably needs to be something in a similar vein with regard to clans (or alliances, if those come to exist). Diminishing returns for owning multiple resource points, or logistical hurdles for owning multiple bases. Maybe getting too big attracts the attention of the jailors somehow, or requires making routine sacrifices to the gods. Something like that.

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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby TKs-Mengelito » 27 May 2016, 07:40

Yeah, tbh unlike many other games the friendly fire is real here, a big group isn't always an advantage and I believe it's been working fine so far!
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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby TKs-Sven » 27 May 2016, 10:24

When the maps get bigger and more players join in on the action there will be more opportunities to get a more balanced player base and for smaller clans to join together against a bigger clan I believe.

That is for the Open world and sieging though.

There is rumor about arena fights as well where fixed teams would sound like tons of fun. An option would be that the smaller clans could get special crafting mats in these arena fights of they win to get better EQ in order to make up for swarming factions.

This could backfire though as the swarming clans could also have the best players, making them even a bigger threat.

But then the issue wouldn't only be swarming.
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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby dbltnk » 27 May 2016, 11:06

zerus wrote:[*]1.1) Is an arena system with matchmaking and all that jazz even part of the game's vision at all, or completely out of the question?
The combat system is such fun that I could see myself queuing up with a stack 5 other players all the time, and then using the Open World to unwind/have more relaxed PvP/PvE fun.

[*]2) A skill that looks great in 1v1 could be garbage in 5v5, and not even thought about in 30v30. Are you looking to introduce skills for each scale, or is there a specific "average scale" you're thinknig about when balancing/designing skills?

[*]3) How much influence are weapons and armor ssupposed to have on a player's role? Are there even supposed to be roles? If yes, which ones?

[*]4) How fast-paced is the combat movement supposed to be? Should fights be more slow and steady, with defined lines(front-, mid-, backline), or more dynamic with no clear lines and the combatants pretty much in the middle of everything? This is directly related to question (3).

[*]5) How fast-paced is the general combat supposed to be? Right now every skill costs energy, but players have so much energy and energy management options that running out of it takes a while. Stasis and Tumble are bigger reasons to not attack than your own energy is. So outside of these skills, you're attacking pretty much all the time.

[*]6) Are objectives supposed to be just reasons to fight, or influence the fight themselves? Different objectives can change how players build their teambuilds and greatly influence the dynamic of a fight as well. Just surviving is very different to bringing an item from point A to B, or having to stand in a specific location.[/list]


1) An arena inside the game worlds is outside of the core design scope but if designed right could be added to allow for "fair fights" in restricted terrain. It's not on my immediate to-do list but on the extended one. A "arena mode" version of the game is not going to happen. For that I'll be playing Battlerite. The core of Das Tal are "unfair" fights where you bring X people and the enemy brings Y and then you either win heroically or cry about "the zerg". =D

2) I'm designing skills with specific situations in mind. Some are more geared towards 1vs1/roaming. Others are more geared towards sieges/static area fights. We'll be working on making the act of switching char builds easier and faster in the future. And I'll eventually start designing different kind of combat situations (terrains etc) to require different kinds of builds.

3) Yes. There are definitely certain archetypes I have in mind when designing abilities and ability sets. You might have seen that Leather Armor has gotten many more "Assassin" style abilities recently. And that staff can be played with a focus on healing or crowd control. Eventually I'd like for every weapon/armor class to support a couple different playstyles that you can then mix & match. And not all of those have to be equally good in each kind of fight (see above). A slow, tanky AoE area denial build is not going to shine in roaming solo PvP but has its place in sieges etc.

4) Travelling speed is fine and will not change very likely. There is a chance that I will reduce in-combat movement speed a little bit in order to make positioning more of a tactical choice but to add an extra tool for that I'd like to introduce some kind of combat leap / dodge roll ability soon. Clear front line / back line distinctions would be nice but I think those are likely not going to turn out as fun (see the old implementation of Meat Shield) so I would not hold my breath for those.

5) Energy is more of a mechanic to introduce attrition to fights and limit their maximum duration than a short-term restriction. Short-term comes via cooldowns. I've seen smart players conserve their energy by attacking/casting in bursts (and thusly allowing themselves to regenerate some energy in between) but of course everybody is free to spam their basic abilities all the time. =D

6) As I said above: Eventually they should shape the kind of fights you'll get - for now they are more on the "just a reson to fight" side.

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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby zerus » 27 May 2016, 13:27

Pavlov wrote:Too many allies near you and you can't use your AoEs without hitting friendlies, while the enemy is free to hit multiple of you. The smaller side is still at a disadvantage, but not an insurmountable one, they just have to play smarter than their opponent.


I see two problems with this

1) What you're describing is pretty much what I hinted at with DAoC. This means that smaller groups will be forced into AoE-heavy builds to compete, crushing their build diversity and developing a potentially weird fight dynamic. This might be personal taste, but having to spam AoEs all day is lame.
2) As you said, the bigger group still has an advantage because of numbers and the smaller group has to play smarter. So to have an even playing field, the bigger group has to be dumb.

Pavlov wrote:Maybe getting too big attracts the attention of the jailors somehow, or requires making routine sacrifices to the gods. Something like that.


Not a bad idea, though I would love to have these things be about PvP!

TKs-Sven wrote:This could backfire though as the swarming clans could also have the best players, making them even a bigger threat.

If a big clan also happens to have the best players, that is completely legit if these guys are fighting in even fights.

It's when you have uneven fields where I see the problems. I.e. that clan has the best players, is also fielding 30 more players than other clans, and has way better gear than everyone else on the server.

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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby zerus » 27 May 2016, 13:48

dbltnk wrote:1) An arena inside the game worlds is outside of the core design scope but if designed right could be added to allow for "fair fights" in restricted terrain. It's not on my immediate to-do list but on the extended one. A "arena mode" version of the game is not going to happen. For that I'll be playing Battlerite. The core of Das Tal are "unfair" fights where you bring X people and the enemy brings Y and then you either win heroically or cry about "the zerg". =D


How exactly are you fitting this into the point of skill-based combat, though? Or do you mean recruitment-skills? :P

I'm asking this provocatively because what you described sounds fun on paper, but will ultimately lead to having a very specific playerbase. Clans will go for whats more effective; and if that means recruiting the most players, you will end up with clans of 50+, smaller clans not being part of the equation eventually.

Why would I bother trying to win with 10 guys against a bunch of big clans? Just because a clan is big, doesn't mean they're dumb. Unless they're really special, they won't just run into any AoE spell casted and go in with smaller, but still overwhelming numbers. So any potential "OP strategy" I develop, they can do too, just with more players.

dbltnk wrote:2) I'm designing skills with specific situations in mind. Some are more geared towards 1vs1/roaming. (snip)

3) Yes. There are definitely certain archetypes I have in mind when designing abilities and ability sets. (snip)


This is especially where I see a problem with big numbers. If I can build something thats really good in DPS/self-heal with pretty much every combination, whats stopping me from just building 50 solo builds in a siege and win that way? I have no friendly fire AoEs to worry about. Just people focusing down target by target.

The slow, tanky AoE denial build can then still be played. To help these solo builds find targets to focus.

This is what happened in ArcheAge. People built 2-3 disruptive tank builds and then a bunch of singletarget killers. Even without friendly fire, this was just way more effective and scales incredibly well with numbers.

dbltnk wrote:4) (snip) to add an extra tool for that I'd like to introduce some kind of combat leap / dodge roll ability soon. (snip)


Woah!
Right now people already have the ability to get movement up in every kind of build(lots of teleports, sprint etc); introducing even more ways to jump around seems kind of counter-productive. Makes solo builds even more effective and teambuilds just that much harder to build.


dbltnk wrote:5) Energy is more of a mechanic to introduce attrition to fights and limit their maximum duration than a short-term restriction. Short-term comes via cooldowns. I've seen smart players conserve their energy by attacking/casting in bursts (and thusly allowing themselves to regenerate some energy in between) but of course everybody is free to spam their basic abilities all the time. =D


So far it has been winning me fights vs both you and Khans. :P

And because it is so easy to bring allies into the fight, I kinda need to kill my opponents fast. Unless I want all the killed people to be picked up and join the fight again. Because then I might have conserved my energy for a bit, but I am now fighting 5 more guys than before...

To maybe summarize my doubts a bit and make it more clear what I'm talking about:
Fighting an uphill battle is only going to be fun for so long. Unfair advantages are expected in an Open World game, but if there's no real mechanics to even out the field at least a little bit, and the only way to close the gap is to become big as well, many players will just not bother.

Maybe the solution is like Pavlov said is to limit big guilds outside of the actual fight. But I personally think that the combat itself should be the solution.
Last edited by zerus on 27 May 2016, 14:01, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby TKs-Sven » 27 May 2016, 13:56

zerus wrote:
TKs-Sven wrote:This could backfire though as the swarming clans could also have the best players, making them even a bigger threat.

If a big clan also happens to have the best players, that is completely legit if these guys are fighting in even fights.

It's when you have uneven fields where I see the problems. I.e. that clan has the best players, is also fielding 30 more players than other clans, and has way better gear than everyone else on the server.

This is where clan propaganda, recruitment and politics comes into play. You need to create a clan that is attractive to other players in order to increase your numbers. Out recruiting your enemy is also a part of the game.
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zerus
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Re: Direction/Vision for Group/Skill-Based PvP?

Postby zerus » 27 May 2016, 14:03

TKs-Sven wrote:
zerus wrote:
TKs-Sven wrote:This could backfire though as the swarming clans could also have the best players, making them even a bigger threat.

If a big clan also happens to have the best players, that is completely legit if these guys are fighting in even fights.

It's when you have uneven fields where I see the problems. I.e. that clan has the best players, is also fielding 30 more players than other clans, and has way better gear than everyone else on the server.

This is where clan propaganda, recruitment and politics comes into play. You need to create a clan that is attractive to other players in order to increase your numbers. Out recruiting your enemy is also a part of the game.


Maybe part of yours, but not of mine. Sorry to take you as an example, but it's fitting. You guys are 10+ players in Alpha, we are like 4. Instead of trying to recruit 6 more players, I will not login and wait until there's a force I can fight with my numbers :P


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