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Childsbane

Formations and Positioning

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It seems like formations in most MMOs usually boil down to "stack on leader." I think this really pushes the limits of feasibility given the immense amount of coordination it would require, but I would like to see more incentive for players to develop particular formations. I think there is potential with the Knight's shield ability as it could encourage particular formation-related strategies (a pair of ranged characters play wingman to the knight for added protection). I would just put it out there that there could be other ways to encourage this sort of activity given the game has collision and positioning detection.

I don't know how much this idea is worth exploring, but now that positional attacks are a thing, there is potential to create vulnerabilities based on player position. For instance, if players take more damage from behind, this can encourage players to form up and protect one another more as opposed to just rushing into the opposing team's back line and hoping for the best. This also has some logic to it as an axe to an unprotected back is going to necessarily inflict more harm than an axe swing that has to go through a parry, shield or dodge attempt. This also builds tension when a team's flanks are being threatened or when another force appears on the horizon charging towards your backs. Team leaders will need to reform their groups and react to the positioning in battles as opposed to simply calling out the next target to focus down.

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I would love to see some of the "press C to get back up and deal boring AOE damage to nearby enemies" abilities get replaced with (or at least have alternative options such as) abilities that allow you to reposition when getting back up. Maybe you roll 10 feet in a direction, or magically swap positions with someone nearby, etc.

A focus on general positioning in this game would be amazing, as opposed to the willy-nilly "tactics" of most MMOs.


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On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2017 at 2:07 PM, Lephys said:

I would love to see some of the "press C to get back up and deal boring AOE damage to nearby enemies" abilities get replaced with (or at least have alternative options such as) abilities that allow you to reposition when getting back up. Maybe you roll 10 feet in a direction, or magically swap positions with someone nearby, etc.

A focus on general positioning in this game would be amazing, as opposed to the willy-nilly "tactics" of most MMOs.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

"Formations" formed by players occur (or not) via a complex chemistry on the field of battle, unique game to game in prevalence/frequency/magnitude based on some factors such as:

Does the game "require" it or not (or at least to what direction the game leans). 

  • IMO the more a game leans to OP classes / characters by virtue of grinding / stats / levels, the need (in the environment) for intelligently thought out Formations is minimized (I didn't say eliminated, I said minimized by the combat environment).  Lots of free-wheeling rock stars blobbing over the landscape in a tumbling mass of chattering Gerbilkins.
  • IMO the more a game leans to the side of player-skill dominant, less stat-crutched, there's a natural push back that reinforces smart group play (formations, tactics, strategy) as the path to follow.  You'll still have the best floating to the top as a result of natural skill and negotiating "skill ceilings better than most others, but, generally speaking you have less support for the "Imma Rock Star" syndrome due to a greater vulnerability to lesser skilled players . . . if, as a "better" player you slack off on your game play (e.g. run off alone, fail to use "formations" when opponents are, etc.).

Are Players willing (voluntary action) to engage in playing that way?

A lot of this is in the hands of the players, regardless of the points just made above.  Regardless of whether the game promotes that environment or not, in the end it comes down to willingness by players to do that.


“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." - Seth Godin

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This made me think of shield formations. Something like knights block get some bonus from other knights blocks nearby. But then i remember that most likely that will amount to nothing since people will just ignore the knights or kill them from a distance.

The game is too chaotic for formations to work. Too much kitting and quick death when under focused fire.

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8 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

This made me think of shield formations. Something like knights block get some bonus from other knights blocks nearby. But then i remember that most likely that will amount to nothing since people will just ignore the knights or kill them from a distance.

The game is too chaotic for formations to work. Too much kitting and quick death when under focused fire.

This isn't how fighting works with fixed-point objectives.  But it's also really up to ACE.  If they want a game where people are mindlessly spamming abilities and position doesn't matter much (gw2 vibe) then that's going to make for a failed pvp experience.

Unfortunately with the deemphasizing of physics, moving away from projectiles, moving towards raycast more, it looks like all elements of pvp will be watered down, including the potential for rewarding tight positioning and coordination.


Skeggold, Skalmold, Skildir ro Klofnir

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22 minutes ago, BarriaKarl said:

This made me think of shield formations. Something like knights block get some bonus from other knights blocks nearby. But then i remember that most likely that will amount to nothing since people will just ignore the knights or kill them from a distance.

The game is too chaotic for formations to work. Too much kitting and quick death when under focused fire.

Reflect /block knight formation up front healers in back should be able to hold a position unless you get dps melee in to break their lines.

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I feel three things are needed for Shields to make Formations mean something:

  1. Higher Block ability, meaning Shields have to reduce damage enough that a Knight can take tons and tons of damage to mean anything to the Shield Bearer. 
  2. Directional Ability, to balance out the higher Block capabilities. This means that the main counter to Knights isn't focusing their shield, but getting around them and flanking.
  3. Ability to create Shield Walls, and gain bonuses from their neighboring Knight [or other shield bearer].

What this does is thus: Shield Walls will be created by armies to mitigate the majority of damage so that they can wear the enemy down with ranged damage. The obvious counter to this formation is creating flankers or infiltrator [Guinecean or Winged Fae] squads/formations to be able to get around and break the back of the Shield Wall. To counter this, a Shield Wall may adapt to have anti-infiltrators behind the Shield Wall, and/or anti-flanking formations to intercept those trying to go around. Maybe the enemy army decides that they can then just brute-force their way with an Arrowhead Formation, breaking the wall from the center. The Shield Wall may, on the other hand, create an inviting V-Formation to funnel the enemy trying to break through into a single point, letting them be mowed down.

 

The point is, Shield Walls are the key to formations becoming a thing. The ability to make a group a singular object evolves into numerous counter-formations from there. It looks like ACE plans to lock this ability behind the "Form Up!" Power of the Secutor Discipline, which I think is a mistake unless it will be a very common Discipline to come upon.

 

Edit:

 

Spread sheet from the Reveal Q&A [at 21:30 or so], showing Secutor's not-yet-implimented Power. Seems to lock the Player 1 who uses given power with a Player 2, giving them both more Knockdown on shield-hit. I wonder if Shield Wall will be locked behind this "Form Up!" (Which seems to just be a buff and thus limited duration) or if Secutor is just a Discipline made to specialize into a default Shield Wall mechanic.

Edited by Dondagora

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7 hours ago, VIKINGNAIL said:

If they made friendly fire true friendly fire you would see more interesting formations and positioning at top level play. 

I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.

In it's day, I remember some of the best formation and group strategy play in a typical MMO in LOTRO.  And it was weird to me that was the case given faction vs faction PvP was one zone only:  The Ettenmoors.

I'm not claiming LOTRO was an "e-sport" platform.  I'm saying the human dynamics in coordination and formation-play in larger groups was, to my surprise, significantly higher and more developed than I expected.

The silver lining was that the zone was fairly large, so there was some room for "stuff to happen".  It's been a while, but I'm fairly certain I recall no friendly fire, the typical faction vs faction red-is-dead, green are your buds setup.

There was an incredibly active PvP crowd operating in the Ettenmoors for a while.  Someone(s) set up two huge Vent servers, one for each faction.

There were some true Leaders playing that game, a couple almost "celebrity" status.  People knew about what time in the evening those people logged on, and players would start to drop into the Ettenmoors to be part of those teams.  Anyone here that played, wasn't one of them named "Scoobs" or something?  This is where I'll offer a counter-point to the claim "Friendly Fire is the cornerstone for (insert anything here PvP related):

  • It's truly talented Leaders with truly talented followers that make anything in PvP, particularly Formation, Strategy, Tactics, and Teamwork SHINE like a supernova.  Not Friendly Fire.
  • I'm not knocking Friendly Fire.  I'll play with it.  I'll play without it.  I understand what it does.

Too bad Turbine's architecture slogged down, badly, far too often.  Lagtastic at times.

For all it was a "red headed stepchild" of a PvP setup with only one Zone, it surprised me how incredibly INVOLVED the PvP community was.  With coordinated effort.  With highly coordinated 20-person Raids vying with each other, facing off.  Guesses and moves from one position to another, defenses of cap points or attempts to capture.  Flat out runs, the full raid, to called out positions by the Raid Leader, guesses as to what the other commander was up to based on past habit, intentionally planned ambush setups of various flavors with stealthers or spider-burrower players in hidden position.

It was a ton of fun, and a whole lot of social teamworking going on.  All without Friendly Fire to the best of my recollection.

Again, I'm not knocking Friendly Fire.  But if I had to hold up a "Holy Grail" for fantastic PvP, particularly where Strategy, Tactics, Teamwork, Coordination, and Adaptation are involved in larger scale encounters, I'm going to hold up . . . True Leaders. . . True Raid Leaders . . . with dedicated, loyal troops with them, as the core.

And that's universal.  From the PvE side "in the day" working Molten Core and Blackwing Lair in WoW:  Lots of guilds wanted in on those challenges.  You could always find DPS, Tanks, and Healers (well, hopefully anyway, you had to know how to play on a Team, the criteria used by the Raid Leader for initial selection).  But Leaders? (the real thing, not some mouthy nitwit trying to figure out what his first pube means).

In my experience the cream rose to the top because of Leaders who knew how to develop Teams.  And the Guilds that did manage to put end-game challenges "on farm" did so because of their Raid Leaders and Guild Leaders, and the gestalt built between their will and desire paired with the will and desire of their Guildies.

Thats a people thing, not a Friendly Fire thing.

Edited by Bramble

“Letting your customers set your standards is a dangerous game, because the race to the bottom is pretty easy to win. Setting your own standards--and living up to them--is a better way to profit. Not to mention a better way to make your day worth all the effort you put into it." - Seth Godin

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3 hours ago, Bramble said:

I don't know.  Maybe, maybe not.

In it's day, I remember some of the best formation and group strategy play in a typical MMO in LOTRO.  And it was weird to me that was the case given faction vs faction PvP was one zone only:  The Ettenmoors.

I'm not claiming LOTRO was an "e-sport" platform.  I'm saying the human dynamics in coordination and formation-play in larger groups was, to my surprise, significantly higher and more developed than I expected.

The silver lining was that the zone was fairly large, so there was some room for "stuff to happen".  It's been a while, but I'm fairly certain I recall no friendly fire, the typical faction vs faction red-is-dead, green are your buds setup.

There was an incredibly active PvP crowd operating in the Ettenmoors for a while.  Someone(s) set up two huge Vent servers, one for each faction.

There were some true Leaders playing that game, a couple almost "celebrity" status.  People knew about what time in the evening those people logged on, and players would start to drop into the Ettenmoors to be part of those teams.  Anyone here that played, wasn't one of them named "Scoobs" or something?  This is where I'll offer a counter-point to the claim "Friendly Fire is the cornerstone for (insert anything here PvP related):

  • It's truly talented Leaders with truly talented followers that make anything in PvP, particularly Formation, Strategy, Tactics, and Teamwork SHINE like a supernova.  Not Friendly Fire.
  • I'm not knocking Friendly Fire.  I'll play with it.  I'll play without it.  I understand what it does.

Too bad Turbine's architecture slogged down, badly, far too often.  Lagtastic at times.

For all it was a "red headed stepchild" of a PvP setup with only one Zone, it surprised me how incredibly INVOLVED the PvP community was.  With coordinated effort.  With highly coordinated 20-person Raids vying with each other, facing off.  Guesses and moves from one position to another, defenses of cap points or attempts to capture.  Flat out runs, the full raid, to called out positions by the Raid Leader, guesses as to what the other commander was up to based on past habit, intentionally planned ambush setups of various flavors with stealthers or spider-burrower players in hidden position.

It was a ton of fun, and a whole lot of social teamworking going on.  All without Friendly Fire to the best of my recollection.

Again, I'm not knocking Friendly Fire.  But if I had to hold up a "Holy Grail" for fantastic PvP, particularly where Strategy, Tactics, Teamwork, Coordination, and Adaptation are involved in larger scale encounters, I'm going to hold up . . . True Leaders. . . True Raid Leaders . . . with dedicated, loyal troops with them, as the core.

And that's universal.  From the PvE side "in the day" working Molten Core and Blackwing Lair in WoW:  Lots of guilds wanted in on those challenges.  You could always find DPS, Tanks, and Healers (well, hopefully anyway, you had to know how to play on a Team, the criteria used by the Raid Leader for initial selection).  But Leaders? (the real thing, not some mouthy nitwit trying to figure out what his first pube means).

In my experience the cream rose to the top because of Leaders who knew how to develop Teams.  And the Guilds that did manage to put end-game challenges "on farm" did so because of their Raid Leaders and Guild Leaders, and the gestalt built between their will and desire paired with the will and desire of their Guildies.

Thats a people thing, not a Friendly Fire thing.

I can't say I'm familiar with LOTRO, now can I find good examples of what you're referencing in video form. Either way, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with you.

While "True Leaders" are important to any game, the game itself must have mechanics which make positioning or grouping matter. GW2, a game I am familiar with, had strategy in it as well, but formations are not part of them. They would blob together, coordinate their attacks, but essentially just be a unified zerg.

 

Formations, however, are not a people thing. They are a mechanical design thing. Humans will find what works best and what doesn't, and then just try to do what works best. If formations are not mechanically sound and viable, they will not be used. In GW2, it was more effective to become a single entity than spread out and coordinate teams, so people zerged. Were they bad leaders? No, not at all. They simply lead their group in the most viable way available, which happened to be zerging.

 

And while friendly fire might make formations more interesting, it isn't what I would consider the centerpiece of formations.

 

As I've posted above, I believe the secret to making formations be a thing in the game is the Shield Wall. Hard/strong points and soft/weak points which creates the intrigue of positional warfare, attempting to strike the opponents soft/weak points while attempting to protect your own with hard/strong points. Strategy will always exist in games, but it is the game's mechanics which determine the shape of that strategy.

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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one interested in this topic! Many of my fondest MMO memories came from the never-quite-polished Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. While formations were often pretty basic, they were a thing. I highly suspect this had a lot to do with collision detection, which I'm very grateful Crowfall includes. My guild would frequently form up along choke points with tanks up front, ranged dps behind them and healers in the mix (some of WAR's healers had to be up front). Tanks would guard one another ensuring the damage was spread out and disorganized enemies would get chewed apart as they clashed against our frontline (aka shield wall). Though it was years ago, I have sincere memories of many such battles where proper organization won the day.

Getting players to play along is definitely a challenge. MMOs tend to lend themselves more to the oscillating glory hound/coward style where you get emboldened while you have the numbers, pressing in, and cowardly when you don't have the numbers, sitting back and hanging out around the edges. We'll see what the mix really ends up looking like in Crowfall, but I have hope that organized players can break this trend by developing effective formations that maximize group buffing, damage mitigation and positioning to allow for some really interesting and memorable battles.

To this end, I would like to see more classes get access to group damage mitigation abilities outside just the Knight. I think most guilds would struggle convincing a significant portion of their players to run Knights just to support a shield wall. I do think we will see interesting stealth groups form up and I'm curious to see just how guilds will capitalize on those mechanics to create strike squads or skirmishing groups. Line shifting may also become a viable strategy where you essentially "offer up" a portion of your players at a time and periodically swap your front line with your back line to keep the damage spread out.

I do hope organized fighting in Crowfall will amount to more than just a group leader calling out a target to focus down, but time will tell. I'm having a lot of fun so far and am hopeful for the future state of the game as well! 

Edited by Childsbane
grammar

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10 hours ago, Childsbane said:

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one interested in this topic! Many of my fondest MMO memories came from the never-quite-polished Warhammer: Age of Reckoning. While formations were often pretty basic, they were a thing. I highly suspect this had a lot to do with collision detection, which I'm very grateful Crowfall includes. My guild would frequently form up along choke points with tanks up front, ranged dps behind them and healers in the mix (some of WAR's healers had to be up front). Tanks would guard one another ensuring the damage was spread out and disorganized enemies would get chewed apart as they clashed against our frontline (aka shield wall). Though it was years ago, I have sincere memories of many such battles where proper organization won the day.

Getting players to play along is definitely a challenge. MMOs tend to lend themselves more to the oscillating glory hound/coward style where you get emboldened while you have the numbers, pressing in, and cowardly when you don't have the numbers, sitting back and hanging out around the edges. We'll see what the mix really ends up looking like in Crowfall, but I have hope that organized players can break this trend by developing effective formations that maximize group buffing, damage mitigation and positioning to allow for some really interesting and memorable battles.

To this end, I would like to see more classes get access to group damage mitigation abilities outside just the Knight. I think most guilds would struggle convincing a significant portion of their players to run Knights just to support a shield wall. I do think we will see interesting stealth groups form up and I'm curious to see just how guilds will capitalize on those mechanics to create strike squads or skirmishing groups. Line shifting may also become a viable strategy where you essentially "offer up" a portion of your players at a time and periodically swap your front line with your back line to keep the damage spread out.

I do hope organized fighting in Crowfall will amount to more than just a group leader calling out a target to focus down, but time will tell. I'm having a lot of fun so far and am hopeful for the future state of the game as well! 

Well, I believe that the Cleric, the Druid, and the Knight all have the ability to take the Master of Shields as well as the Secutor and Shield Fighter Runestone, AKA wield a shield. Thus, any of these classes will do, so long as they are armed with the right discipline. 

I'm hoping that the inclusion of survival mechanics and the siege mechanics encourage stealthier or alternative playstyles to find a home in Crowfall. Razing the enemy's farms, weakening them with small hit-and-runs, stealing from their supply en mass. While not formations, it does have an emphasis on tactics beyond head-on collision. 

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