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Creep wave design considerations


EKCO

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One of the problems many Action RTS games have had is that dying sucks. It sucks alot. When your hero is killed, not only does your team berate you for it, you are effectively cut off from doing anything in the game.

 

Despite these negative elements to death they are necessary in order to ensure that death is not a negligible element to the game.

 

What we want to do is maintain the importance of hero death, but also give players the feeling that all is not lost. We never want you to feel like leaving your game is a good idea, up until the very end. While many big-budget games have elements such as ladders and matchmaking (or a relatively enormous start-up community) to reinforce this, we have no such luxury, and must reinforce this element with actual, good, game design.

 

 

 

So currently, a few ideas stand:

 

Creep Progression

One of the major ideas is creep progression, however it may be instated. The current idea is to change the creep lane makeup to be one of several things:

- Hero-based creep: Creeps will be based on the hero composition of your team. Melee heroes will spawn melee creep, ranged heroes will spawn ranged creep.

- 5 melee creep, ranged creep count increases with game duration: Creep lanes will consist of 5 melee creep that each represent a player, and ranged creep which will grow according to the game duration.

Following this, the creeps will have progression installed in one of several methods:

- Item-based progression: Each creep representing a player will carry items matching the player hero's items, but gain smaller benefits from them.

- Upgrade-based progression: Upgrades will be designed for each creep, allowing players with poor hero performance to focus more on creep progression.

- Performance-based progression: Players with relatively poor hero performance will have stronger creep. Care must be taken to ensure that killing enemy heroes does not become a bad idea.

 

It is worth noting that creep progression does not mean to increase the quantity or variation of creep, but improve the significance of each creep to it's owner. Increasing the quantity or variation alone would give relatively little benefit for it's significant cost to game performance.

 

Ghosting

The other idea is ghosting. Players who die usually browse the shop. However, there are usually cases where players die, and do not have enough minerals to spend on items, thus adding to a sense of desperation. If players can help their allies despite their death, this degree of desperation is lessened. Ghosting aids in this aspect by allowing dead players to either scout or hinder enemies, thus continuing to help their team post-mortem. Ghosts are invulnerable, invisible, move faster, and have a slightly reduced sight radius. They may also slow, silence, or incapacitate targets in unique ways (perhaps based on the hero or hero attribute type).

 

Post-Mortem Effects

Additional effects will be added to each hero that give them something they can do post-mortem. However, this can get pretty confusing (effects-wise) so is only listed here as a consideration for more specific options.

 

 

Give us your feedback or ideas in the comments below.

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I like these the most:

- 5 melee creep, ranged creep count increases with game duration: Creep lanes will consist of 5 melee creep that each represent a player, and ranged creep which will grow according to the game duration.

- Upgrade-based progression: Upgrades will be designed for each creep, allowing players with poor hero performance to focus more on creep progression.

 

Reasoning:

The Melee creeps will be niche as these creeps could perhaps be controlled by the player (but perhaps after a second or two of non-control they go back to their normal path). That will prevent the player from feeling worthless.

An upgrade-based progression will not punish bad play (for instance, maybe you use Vespene Gas to get upgrades for your creep unit) but will avoid FURTHER rewarding amazing play.

 

Also, this would add that incorporating macro mechanics bit that used to be part of the old SotIS with the Beacon Marines. :<

 

Cons:

More stuff. This means more stuff for new players to learn and adapt to. Which isn't exactly a good thing.

Preparation. This will add more choices and thus add more time needed to learn the game (which may or may not be a good thing).

 

 

I don't like the idea of Ghosting-- it sounds more like what's-his-name's passive where he can continue to move and cast for 15(?) seconds after dying.

 

I'll add more here later; but I must eat lunch :P

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I think anything involving altering the creep, who were painstakingly balanced and fine-tuned, is pretty silly at this point. I'm all for the ghosting, but DEFINITELY not with silencing, stunning, etc. Just being able to "spy" on the enemy while dead should be a strength enough.

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I don't like the idea of Ghosting-- it sounds more like what's-his-name's passive where he can continue to move and cast for 15(?) seconds after dying.

 

I think you are thinking of Karthus

 

Ghosting would be a pretty good idea to implement, though if you give the ghosts silences, that might be a bit too much, silence seems to like too powerful of a CC that you wouldn't be able to stop. I guess a light slow wouldn't be a bad idea, and it could help out in ganks, thereby making the person feel like he is contributing?

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Sorry to be that guy, but Creep Progression seem a bit ... complex and balancing issues might potentially become a too much of a problem:

- range creep reach and deal dmg to enemy towers/creep faster than melee due to range (meaning they will also stop closer to short lane tower... which means... melee creep might be in towers range ... which means playing with creep speed ... = pickle)

- range heroes with range creep can harass better (vs. melee in lane ... melee will rq)

- potentially think of reversing to melee hero= range creep (to supplement each other weaknesses)

- what happen when team/item composition changes (due to drop/rq/ etc)

=> overall seems to be too complex and might slow down the development of more exciting parameters of the game (such as new heroes)

 

Ghosting ...sounds just weird and even more confusing for new players (imaging you playing and sudnely getting a weird incapacitating debuff in a middle of a fight) ... messes up with combo executions ... and makes the game too gimmicky.

 

Suggestion - tweak current game mechanics any one or more of the following for example:

- reduce dead time scaling (waiting for 1.5 min might be frustrating esp when enemy team can kill your last towers in <1min)

- give killed hero part of the exp gap between him and the one that killed him (that actually makes sense as supposedly your

hero "learns from its mistakes" and the skill of the better, higher lvl hero that killed it)

- increase income rate for dead heroes (say 2x normal)

- give them buff when they revive say:

- all CD's reset; and/or 14 sec speed buff so they can get back to station

- 1 min Neutral creep dmg intake reduction and dmg output increase so they can creep the neutrals on their way back to lane

and compensate for lost money and exp ... and get creep buff)

- (more creative) give them a pet guardian for 2min after rebirth that scales with hero somehow (maybe even random pet

guardian so that it is more exciting to wait and see what you get)

- allow free teleport to ally structure/unit for 20 sec after revive so they can plunge back immidiately to battle/tower (this also

saves the extra/hidden death penalty of buying 100min teleport)

- your team gets x% dmg increase (or other buff/enrage) upon ally's death (stackable) until allie(s) revive

- create a talent Hero Revive (with 5 min CD). Potentially the last one in the utility tree

 

 

 

Point is buff deaths (do not penalize kills) and concentrate your time/energy on more exciting stuff like:

- new hero modelling (rebalancing)

- better talents (seems, to me at least, that Offensive tree sucks compared to Def and Utility... and that ppl just use 0/10/15 or a

more defensive variation for everything)

 

Peace!

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I think making ghosting is the best solution. Especially if the player can gain maybe half the experience? No silences or stuns though. Slow seems viable however. If ghosting is being done, the best idea is to make it so while ghosting, you cannot attack and can only cast a short duration slow and leech exp (50~75% or 100%).

 

Also, adding a "buyback" option that scales the price with level might help a lot too. Considering at end game, depending on how long it lasts, sometimes you can end up with ridiculous amounts of minerals with nothing to do.

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I'm for ghosting. But rather than being able to affect the material plane, the user should have an option between scouting or killing ghost creeps - to hasted the respawn of the character. I think it would be very unfair if the ghost could irritate the living, them being invincible. :3

 

To add, the ghost can cast skills - what the normal character does, but does not affect the not ghost plane. So this way, the player can practice without actually bothering the remaining party. :3

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Minerals in end game need considerationsuggest adding endgame consumables like 500+ - 2k. Maybe an mercenary hero tank where has 6k health deals 300 damage can be only spawned when enemy barax are destroyed and only in that lane gives 140 team gold to enemy. Just something reduce useless minerals endgame to prevent stacking unbeatable say consumable has limit 3 per wave. One for each lane.

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as outlined on mumble:

 

Death should never be rewarded. there should never be a situation where one team should think "hmm i can kill this guy, but it will actually hurt me!" - thats just retarded

 

Careful how you tread: the game should never aim to accommodate bad game play - feeding should never benefit the team that is doing the feeding. Its not as if there isn't anything to do in the down time after dying: that time IS spent buying items, as you've pointed out, but more importantly, it CAN be spent talking over what went wrong/why you died. To improve, people need to be given time to look over their mistakes - and when better than right after the fight? "Ok team, next time, don't focus the tank! We need to kill shadow - he just monster killed us. Taser shadow first!"

 

That being said, your idea of having lane creeps reflect the heroes in lane IS a unique and interesting take on an overlooked/unorigional aspect of the game. THAT we support - innovation that doesn't cost dumbing the game down or rewarding poor play.

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Changing creep could make the game more unique but items vary on different heroes. So items such as foe will help push the lane extremely hard on whatever creep has it. I think giving creeps items is a really bad idea. Creep lanes should be even in strength not be one sided.

 

The death benefits are completely ridiculous. Like whale said death should not be a benefit. Dying is a bad mistake on that players part. Being benefited with a ghost to spy on the enemy is ridiculous. Especially with skills that silence and stun. I'll give an example of how this won't work.

 

Normally when a team mid/late game has a man advantage over the other team they go for levi. This forces the other team to camp levi to a point. They have to keep tabs on it the entire time. With a ghost they basically have a mobile ward around levi that can stun and silence. This lets the team that has a man down farm freely without worrying because they dont have to watch levi.

 

A ghost is to beneficial to a team that made a mistake.

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Clearly, rewarding death to the extent that it gains conflicted purpose (aka "Confusion") is undesirable.

 

This is about designing a gameplay element that is either persistent through death or gives an alleviating support role to those who frequently experience it. The creep progression design is preferable since it can consistently augments gameplay without seeming like an aspect that exists for the sole purpose of addressing the issue at hand.

 

One way to put it would be simply thus: Hero death doesn't have to completely remove the player's capacity to contribute, because it makes them feel a sense of desperation or triviality, which is generally undesirable in a game of any design. This isn't about creating "death benefits", but rather about reducing the amount of downtime in a player's experience.

 

One reason tower defense games do well is because the power that you build up over time is persistent and doesn't disappear until the very end. Thus there is quite literally zero downtime (aka "Waiting"). Waiting is generally bad, and the trend in games has always been to diminish it's effects.

 

 

 

 

I should also mention that this (the site in general) is a place for constructive discussion. Speaking from experience, a rule of thumb in any design discussion is not to point fingers and say "that's silly" or "that'll never work", but rather build upon ideas because there's always an underlying element to the idea that made it surface in the first place. Doing otherwise reduces the value of people around you, and thus, the value of what assets you work with.

 

 

So say, for example, the idea "stronger creep for weaker players" was a strongly resisted concept, despite clear indications that considerations should be taken to ensure that death doesn't gain conflicted purpose problems.

 

Reasons for Existing

Surely the concept wasn't designed just to irritate players. Idea responds specifically to the feeling of desperation and ire that poorly-performing players will experience as the result of multiple deaths. Nobody enjoys the presence of non-contributors, nobody enjoys a game where they don't contribute, and nobody enjoys winning without resistance.

 

Reasons for Resisting

Players feel like player skill is being marginalized. This is in reaction to a specialized design response towards player performance in contrast to persistent "fair" augmentation towards player contribution.

 

Result

Idea merges with other persistent-type gameplay designs. Specialized design responses are undesirable, and new introductions should utilize concepts that serve to produce positive elements outside primary design goals.

 

 

 

 

Wasn't that more productive? We were able to flesh out design objectives from discussing the idea, and it simply merged with other existing ideas.

 

I'm just going to say that this thread wasn't created so that I (or anyone else) could get hurty-feelings about designs in their concept phase.

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Reasons for Existing

Surely the concept wasn't designed just to irritate players. Idea responds specifically to the feeling of desperation and ire that poorly-performing players will experience as the result of multiple deaths. Nobody enjoys the presence of non-contributors, nobody enjoys a game where they don't contribute, and nobody enjoys winning without resistance.

 

Reasons for Resisting

Players feel like player skill is being marginalized. This is in reaction to a specialized design response towards player performance in contrast to persistent "fair" augmentation towards player contribution.

 

Result

Idea merges with other persistent-type gameplay designs. Specialized design responses are undesirable, and new introductions should utilize concepts that serve to produce positive elements outside primary design goals.

 

 

 

 

Wasn't that more productive? We were able to flesh out design objectives from discussing the idea, and it simply merged with other existing ideas.

 

I'm just going to say that this thread wasn't created so that I (or anyone else) could get hurty-feelings about designs in their concept phase.

 

sorry, i know this will irk you again, but here is my response:

 

no.

 

all reasons for existing are just issues caused by a lack of matchmaking leading to lopsided teams.

 

the proper solution is an implementation of a matchmaking system, not a ghosting system.

 

Of course, matchmaking is something you cannot control, so here are partial solutions that have been tested and have NONE of the negatives of your proposed solutions:

you can do like LoL, where killing a feeding/underleveled hero gives very little money and exp, and perhaps some nice cheap support items that run along the lines of Coat of Arms so that players doing poorly still feel like they are contributing - or items like bloodstone which allow the hero to still gain exp and heal allies+provide vision on death as well as reducing respawn time, or items like LoL's gp5s which allow supports to have a steady income, but a large extend of this feeling useless stems from a lack of a matchmaking and lack of skilled playing (ie: if your doing REALLY poorly, just stack xel-naga carapaces and be the team tank - buy wards and scans).

 

tl;dr, your proposing a radical change that makes it a questionable choice to kill enemy heroes when there are other tried + true solutions to the problem you are trying to solve. If ghosting/stuns/silences become implemented, why would you - in a close game - ever kill fleeing enemy hereos in a team fight? instead of chasing them down so they can return to stun you (which could turn the tide on the remainder of the team fight), it suddenly becomes better the just let them flee to the pool.

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First of all , I like to see that Devs are always ready to improve AoS with new ideas and concepts ( Even if sometime i dont like every changes but its an other discussion , i just talk here about the envy to improve the gameplay )

 

Secondly , in my opinion ,like other people said it before " give an advantage with death " is a bad idea but the part of your proposition that bother me is the way you argument these new propositions : Honestly , who was already desperate because he has to wait 45sec - 1min before revive ? oO I mean death is a part of the game ,you should accept it : it give an advantage to the enemy ( mineral /experience / less danger because the one enemy is not ingame) and a disavantage to your team ( the death allie cant help rest of the team during a period of time )

 

Dont forget that in previous version death was way more difficult because you was absent of the game for a period of time AND you lost some mineral !

 

Sometime i am a little bit afraid to see that game is improved to help " no0b " ( i know devs dont like that word because you could thing i am elitist or smt like that but no its just a word to make a difference between good player and new / bad players ) to become more popular . I understand your envy to make AoS more popular but I dont like see Aos take " the wrong way " for that .

 

English is not my native language so its hard for me to explain my opinion clearly and maybe my vocabulary is non adapted to explain my idea . I like to see new ideas but dont make changes just because some people are frustated or desperate ( seriously ?? ) to do anything during 45 sec o_O ( and ingame its wrong : even when you are dead you dont do anything : you observe the game , decide your next move , et caetera et caetera .. )( aIso I think that the example of a Tower defence is a bad example cause there is so mutch little period of time when players are just sitting in front of their computer watching towers destroying creeps and dont do anything before 45 sec : for me this is not this point that explain the lack of popularity between AoS and famous tower defence .... )

 

About the idea to change the creep : Honestly i dont know : maybe its a good idea, maybe not . You can try it , we'll see if it was better before and if that need to be removed . I have nothing against that idea because you try to change a classic part of Moba games thanks to unusual mecanisms BUT these changes are not implemented to comfort bad players .

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I agree with the above statements. I do not think the problem is deaths and waiting, but mostly some newer players feeling powerless and frustrated when they get killed (stomped) again and again (especailly now when it seems that all AoS Pubs have at least 2-3 very very new players just trying out the game). (Frustrating for them; boring for more experience players; only enjoyable for trolls).

 

(As a matching system seems not to be viable atm) I think a step in the right direction would be to pro-actively educate newer players (they do not know the importance of lanes (new players always go to the mid); they do not realize the tank/support/carry purpose of their heroes, creeping, jungling, etc). So a basic succinct guide promoted on the loading screen might be of some help so that they can actually realize their mistakes. (Even you can make the loading screen a quick quide - almot like what STD does but more elegantly... loading time is long enough for newer players to read the whole thing in 2-4 games that emplains basic roles (heroes), strategies, tips, etc). Pretty much every game nowadays have tip in their loading screens, why not AoS.

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All these theories are well and good but it would be nice to test it under ANOTHER map before applying it to the aos map. Alpha or Beta test the suggestions, together, separate, and in different combinations. See what it gives and if it is worth of being incorporated to the game. :3

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How about this, which is not really supplementing death in a large way:

 

Upon death, you get 3 options.

  1. Give all creep and towers 7.5% damage resistance and 7.5% bonus weapon damage during your death.
     
  2. Increase the vision of all allied units by 2.0.
     
  3. Add 1 ranged creep to each lane for the next two waves.

This way, these tiny benefits aren't really much of an issue to balance. The effects don't stack, let's say 3 people die, they have to pick all different ones. If deaths exceed 3, no bonuses are gained.

 

This gives a boost that could be negligible, but it will keep your ally that died thinking of something else, apart from death. I think we could win this issue by focusing on the psychological effects without much alteration. You may say, they'd still be waiting during death. Yes, they will, because that is the essential point of death, isn't it? If you can make them think they are helping instead of just thinking purely negative, this may work.

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i don't think anyone reasonable would mind a minor thing like that, though i question if ekcol can restrain himself and keep it minor, or if its gonna end up game changingly huge and unwarranted as usual (in other words, i don't know if that kind of minor thing is enough to make someone feeding feel like they are contributing - especially since spawning more lane creeps would just give the opponent more farm - so that would probably need to be changed to something that does not give mineral/exp)

 

dlifer - pretty much every patch with new content is tested separately to varying degrees on mumble. however, sometimes they aren't tested nearly enough because ekcol is... eager to get the patch out. hence the plethora of remaining bugs with say... starscream... and the balance issues with vergil

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i don't think anyone reasonable would mind a minor thing like that, though i question if ekcol can restrain himself and keep it minor, or if its gonna end up game changingly huge and unwarranted as usual (in other words, i don't know if that kind of minor thing is enough to make someone feeding feel like they are contributing - especially since spawning more lane creeps would just give the opponent more farm - so that would probably need to be changed to something that does not give mineral/exp)

 

dlifer - pretty much every patch with new content is tested separately to varying degrees on mumble. however, sometimes they aren't tested nearly enough because ekcol is... eager to get the patch out. hence the plethora of remaining bugs with say... starscream... and the balance issues with vergil

 

Yes, I meant all the suggestions should be tested in order to know if it really is a good or bad idea rather than making a conclusion now in this thread. :3 Though I would understand that the game designed is busy, so it skips certain steps and just try it in the game itself. As a form of beta test and make changes depending on the forum post and coments (what i think is happening recently, which is not a bad thing).

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because how hard it is to make this stuff, ekcol tends to pick one route and stick with it - the amount of testing we can do on mumble and the limitations of one dev make it pretty much impossible to assay multiple options with as much impact as what ekcol wants. if he goes through with this, you can expect the testing to be like the neutral spawns in lane -> highly resisted, but made public for multiple months before ekcol comes to a final conclusion on the matter. i just don't want to see him trash his community again (like what happened with the neutral creeps implementation), but i also know that the only way he can try out these ideas of his is to do just that.

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Well, that's basically the point- reasonable players won't actually mind it. It's the new players who really get frustrated, and if a person is reasonable AND new that should be enough for him not to rage, or at least not to quit. Well, it might not be good enough for players who are feeding to feel that they are contributing, mainly because we want the feeders out, eh? It might just be enough to let's say, your enemy hero is being jotted down by creeps at 100 HP, after he has first-blooded you. 7.5% bonus damage could make a difference. The point of this suggestion is to show how ghosting could be overpowered and outrageous.

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If I can give out my few opinions (even that I'd be hated for those :):

 

ad ghosts - its nice that you think about having players something to do, but giving any advantage to team is wrong way to go. If you want to keep players busy in that time, you can give them access to hero list, and/or show them what killed them (the second part is from Dota2, but I think its good for new players to realize what killed them and how).

 

ad creep wave changes - changes based on selected heroes or their items are somehow wrong. Upgrades based on 1 player minerals is not good way to go neither, because it could bring some bad behavious in pubs (you play like crap, so at least upgrade creeps). But everyone loves to upgrade stuff in games, so it could be nice way to go. You can base the resources income for these upgrades on some mechanism that works already (like 1 resource for each last hit and deny), or you can create some new counters (like creeps killed by creeps/towers). The bonuses for the creeps should be visible - the wave should be slowly pushing - but not that high so one wave would kill oposing wave without any harm.

 

And the most important for these features is the possibility to turn them off.

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Although I like the thoughts and openness to change some of the dynamics of the game I am opposed to(as WhaleTits said) anything rewarding those who have died. While it is a novel concept..the root of being good in the game is to not die and live on. While I know it is frustrating to newer players..that is the hard knocks they will have to undergo. I think it is an element that may frustrate many current players and confuse many new players.

 

I do like the idea specializing the creep waves but I just hope that it doesnt make it lag as a result. I can say that the lag issues have been minimal now at this stage..probably some of the best I have seen so far. It would be nice to snapplee that up, bearing that there is no huge addition which may hinder playability or give an unfair advantage.

 

Also I know it isn't relevant but I still say an option to boot/kick afk players is still much needed. This constantly screws over at least 1/3 of my games if not more. Whether intentional or not. I know Ecko you spoke of other games and how they do better..well they also do better by keeping it competitive and that is by removing inactivity from the game.(some even go that extra step and have vote kicking for players not cooperating with others..which I know is not necessarily something you all like for the atmosphere of the game and I respect that) LoL even does this and even risks a ban(which I know isnt possible) from the game if you are inactive after a certain period of time.

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I think that ghosting is a good idea, but not the slow/silence/stun or anything like that. The ghost should have half your move speed and not be able to attack or anything. Its only use is to provide vision. As soon as the players revive time is up you instantly spawn back in the pool, which deals with the daggoth issue with people camping it when they are ghosts.

 

Thanks

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