Monday, January 4, 2010
What it takes to add PVMP Skirmishes
I think first and foremost, before answering this question, we have to define what a PVMP skirmish really is. A PVMP skirmish would be a brawl of Freeps, against Creeps, in a predetermined number. It would ALSO include a soldier for freeps and a minion for creeps. Perhaps Creeps would have to do a quest to earn this but its shouldn't be made too hard. I would err on the side of "let any creep do it right away after a simple intro quest". Creep Minions could be of the same archetypes or entirely new ones. Maybe a few different goblin types, like a goblin shieldsman, warg rider, or bomber? Sure. How bout a goblin shaman or banner carrier? Why not.
Creeps might have to clear free people's npc's holding strategic points on a map and then hold these spots against attacks by npc's AND unpredictable assaults of normal players. Freep would have to do likewise. That's just one map kind though, and possibly the hardest one to execute. A second map type is capture the flag like Warsong Gulch. Capture it three times and you win. You could have npc defenders to spice things up, or not its ok, either way. Lastly you could have any number of other combinations of things, like Murder Ball style games from WAR or a simple death match arena between creeps and freeps in a canyon maze or something.
OK so we are not at a limit for ideas here but what are the technical hurdles? Well there's really three big things you gotta do. First you gotta make a map, a really really cool one. (or a second really really small one. Small maps can be good) Second you gotta build the UI for creeps for skirmishes. (Shouldn't take too too long for experienced developers. Third you gotta add a matching service to both UI's and to the server. Allow groups to queue up or just individuals and put checkboxes on the ones they are willing to participate in. If they are willing to participate in 6 vs 6 or 12 vs 12 or 24 vs 24 or whatever. The more options they select the sooner they get to play. Then let them play whatever they want while they wait for enough people to queue for it. This might take an hour or you might be surprised at how fast it comes up on a busy day. You could even get fancy and allow cross-server matches to allow people to play against others more often. (WoW Already did all of this, though not necessarily at launch)
Now why are we so excited for this if its already been done before? Because in one of these skirmishes, the sides have even numbers! And in 6 vs 6, the single player can contribute A LOT if he or she is awesome. What if you miss-match your classes against the enemy? Then you lose! And they win! And its over fast and you can queue for a different one with a different team. No biggie. I see this being a huge addition of fun to the game personally. Something extra to do that would be great.
The last thing they need to add for the creeps is Skimish marks of some kind and a reward system. (after all, what gets rewarded, gets done) But that could even wait for a later patch. I bet creeps would do it just because its fun and new and they still get infamy for killing freeps and stuff.