Of course, I can’t take credit for any of the eye candy, but the new capture buildings threw us a curve ball and we felt that the risk of delaying release was worth the effort of getting around to change the way capture works. I have had a burning desire to replace table-bumping with something constructive for a long time.
If the eye candy caught your eye, though, and you want to read more about it, see more screenshots and maybe a few videos… Rafter’s 1.31 preview is right here.
Where I come in right now, though, is those capture changes…
We have plans – plural – on where we want to take this, but there are lots of interdependencies. The aim is to make capture something that rewards teamwork and to make it more competitive. It should fuel battles more than drive them. The current table-bump mechanism fails at that: I run into a building, I touch the table, I watch a timer, I die, my team and I go unrewarded because 99% success is rounded down to 0%, i.e. failure. And now that I know there are enemies in that building, why would I go back there?
This leads to short capture timers which are not really long enough to fuel enduring battles. Yeah, people fight over depots but it is a choice. It needs to be a no-brainer. The more often people fight over depots, the more often attackers will attack them and defenders will defend them, which means … more fighting.
For infantry, I want to build in a new “zoom level” of game play that turns momentary contacts into engagements. All too often our game fails to retain FPS people who can accept the lead in time to fights, but what they can’t accept is that they don’t get fights, instead they get “shots”. Without suitable rewards, whichever side is having the heavier hand dealt to them will tend to retreat and go elsewhere. The only way to thwart that is through some kind of reward and convenience.
I don’t want to raise the cost of going elsewhere, but spread out the cost of being defeated. N.B.: I did not say “reduce”.
Perhaps mobile spawns would have to deploy further away from town, to add a little more build up time. But then the mission leader could lead an AI squad of men much closer to town than MSPs could previously where they deploy – going prone. Perhaps he can even get them within 200 feet of an enemy facility. Each subsequent infantry that spawns translates into one of these pre-made units until they are depleted, and then someone has to bring another squad forward from the MSP.
Perhaps they would only be available to people respawning – and to be eligible you would first have to get within a certain range of the deploy squad of men.
What I want here is to avoid repeating what we did with the MSP in the sense that people log in, pick an MSP and spawn into a battle with absolutely zero investment. The MSP was a counter to “Taxi to Victory”, but we countered the symptom not the problem. The problem is that we did not reward the player’s investment. If you called a cab, spent 30 minutes riding to a restaurant, paid the cabby $40 and a $10 tip, only to find that moments after stepping out of the cab you were back in your house, you’d probably give up after the 2nd or 3rd try.
But if you you found that you were 2/3rds of the way to the restaurant from your house you – are you going to go home or finish the trip? And lets say that as you choose to go back to the restaurant, but as you reach for the door you wind up magically back at that 2/3rds point again. One last try before you give up and order pizza?
A side note here, and I hope I don’t sound arrogant saying this: as a player, I find it hard to hear developers talking about “rewarding” stuff. “QQ, L2P”. But there I just used the term. I’m not going to edit it. Reward is a general word, and in design terms it just means “sweeten the deal”. It doesn’t automatically imply a ticker-parade and fanfares and phat lewtz. Yes, those are rewards, but so is shortening your return trip from 15 minutes to 1 minute or 5 minutes.
Implementing something like the above – which I must tell you is not far from ideas I have spun to the production team but has healthy competition, so don’t jump to any [of the usual] conclusions on this one – has a lot of dependencies. For instance; the most value to it would come from letting you respawn without despawning… Something our current infrastructure would need tweaking to support.
Here is what Gophur has said about the capture changes we are making:
There has been a lot of speculation regarding capture mechanisms changing for 1.31 and indeed we are making some changes that I can outline for you today. First and foremost the capture table (or crate) is no longer a part of the game. Instead we will now use presence in the capture building to initiate capture. When you enter the building you’ll get a small capture dialog that tells you ownership and spawn capability and if you can capture the building similar to what you see today.
Capture will be continuous however. If you start the capture but die before completion but there is another member of your side in the building the capture will continue. If you die as the last man in the building the capture will begin to undo itself but you’ll still have time to return and try and continue the cap, it won’t immediately start over. The other side to this coin is that it will take longer to capture than at present.