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A Natural Anti-Zerg Mechanic


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So, I've been waiting for a topic to turn up around zergs so I could make this post, but I decided it would work better to just illustrate the point anyways.  So here's some interesting learning materials: hopefully people can see what I stumbled onto, or correct any issues I've missed so that if a further suggestion needs to be made, we can make it.

 

I actually was talking about zergs with a buddy the other day and I realized something:

 

There's already a major anti-zerg mechanic built into the game design!

 

What's that?  Did they reveal something about objective types or combat?  Is this just the friendly fire argument?

 

Actually, no, there's something much simpler that as far as I can tell hasn't been caught.

 

Think about the two large-scale PvP games that most people reference: Guild Wars 2(specifically their WvW) and Planetside 2.  In both of these games, despite everything the developers have done to reward smaller-scale objectives, the zerg still tends to rule supreme.  No matter what you do, it seems to be but a matter of time before you end up face to face with a large horde of enemies.

 

Let me walk you through a scenario or two to illustrate a major reason this happens, and why this is already improved in Crowfall.

 

What happens when you are part of the zerg in Guild Wars 2?  You follow this big group, it takes you to a fort, or some larger keep depending on size, and you wear down the gates.  You kill some players along the way, and anyone who did damage loots their bodies for some side change (and technically a really small chance at good loot).  Everyone in range got experience.  You kill some guards - everyone who did some damage loots the bodies, again for side change and loot, and everyone in range gets experience.  You get in and kill the big boss, and then stand in the circle with everyone to take the keep: you get a reward of Experience, Gold, Karma, and a loot bag all based on having been involved.

 

What about Planetside 2?  You follow a big group into a major base.  You kill some people, get some exp, keep going.  Any kills near a terminal give bonus XP.  When the objectives are blown up, you get bonus XP for contributing.  When the base gets captured, you get a huge chunk of bonus XP, again for contributing.

 

What do these scenarios have in common?  Participation rewards.  This is like in 7th grade when you joined the local soccer team and at the end you got a reward for participation.  Everyone got one, so you joined up.

 

What about a similar scenario in Crowfall?  We don't know a lot of details, but we do know some things for sure, so let me paint the best picture I can.  You and 50 other people are heading for a castle.  You kill a group of 10 people defending.  You don't get XP, because the game doesn't have that.  You could've gotten loot, but 10 other people closer already looted the bodies.  You've gotten nothing.  You break into the base, start killing more people.  Maybe you get some loot off of one or two people who you are nearest to when they die.  Maybe.  You take down their resource store, and now their resources are vulnerable: and look, they had 30 gold bars.  Oh crap, but there are 50 of you in the zerg...well I guess 20 people aren't getting a gold bar, and guess what: you're one of them.

 

A contrast: You and your 4 buddies go hunting down a Pack pig that you heard was being transported by 3 rivals of yours.  You get there, and due to your well-planned ambush, you win!  You kill 2 of rivals, one gets away, and it turns out that pack pig had 15 gold bars being delivered.  Lucky you, since you're working with friends you can split up the loot from the 2 enemies you downed, as well as each of you getting 3 gold bars each.

 

 

You can see in these examples that having finite resources, and removing participation rewards like experience, or loot-currency, actually does a lot inherently to discourage zergs.  Are you really going to run with 50 people when you might not even see the rewards from your efforts?

 

 

Now, some counterpoints I foresee:

 

  • But what about a well organized 50 person group, like say, a big guild?
    Well sure, at that point the 10 man group is less effective than the 50, but wouldn't that be true no matter what?  If someone can actually organize 50 people to achieve cooperation, mobility, and flexibility to match a 10 man group, then kudos to them.  That's not a zerg, that's an army.
  • Hey, I like running with that big group.  I don't need loot, I know we're winning the big objectives!
    Very true, and I'm glad you feel that way, because we're going to still need people working together on whatever objectives are important.  We don't want everyone running around solo or in small groups, but luckily I think there's a natural urge to be in that zerg rolling over enemies, so I don't think we'll be missing that.
  • What if we need people to work together? Are you saying we should all split up for loot?
    See the last point, I think that'll still happen.  I just made this its own bullet point because I think people would have missed it.
  • Are you saying that we shouldn't worry about zergs?
    No, of course not.  I think it's still extremely important that they make sure there is a proper place and role for groups of different sizes, and that some objectives will reward small groups and others will reward large.  However, I hope next time you think "I hope they do something to prevent zergs," you'll realize that a part of the mechanics actually does that already.

 

Thoughts?  Questions?  Discussion?  Personally, I thought this was fascinating.  Maybe I'm giving this too much credit, but I can't think of a game of this scale any time recently which hasn't basically given everyone rewards just for participating.  I think this will have a really great impact on the way the game is played, and that "Risk vs Reward" value that ACE keeps mentioning.

 

Edit: Forgot a trusty TL;DR:

 

TL;DR: Zerging is less valuable when not everyone gets a reward just for participating

Edited by theDoctor
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So, I've been waiting for a topic to turn up around zergs so I could make this post, but I decided it would work better to just illustrate the point anyways.  So here's some interesting learning mater

When a zerg of 100 people start killing eachother because of AoE and projectiles, they will stop going in zergs. Friendly Fire will fix the zerg issue.

People will zerg, there is no way around it.   There might be mechanics that make it "difficult", and incentives, like mentioned in the OP, that might discourage it. But don't kid yourselves, throw

Read my post yo, I wasn't suggesting that there was a zerg issue.  :P

 

You were suggesting a way to fix the zerg issue, I was merely pointing out that zergs might not even happen ^^

But yes, your idea of limiting rewards to zergs will be a great way to discourage the idea of zerging if the FF wont work.

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You were suggesting a way to fix the zerg issue, I was merely pointing out that zergs might not even happen ^^

But yes, your idea of limiting rewards to zergs will be a great way to discourage the idea of zerging if the FF wont work.

 

No...I was suggesting that their mechanics already fixed the zerg issue... >.>

Edited by theDoctor
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People will zerg, there is no way around it.

 

There might be mechanics that make it "difficult", and incentives, like mentioned in the OP, that might discourage it.

But don't kid yourselves, throwing more bodies at a problem, is the easiestw ay to fix a problem in MMOs.

You usually have 2 options:

- zerg

- get good

 

The vast majority will pick the zerg option, because it WILL give them wins. It will result in them owning ingame property.

 

You guys can theorize all you want, people will hold hands, cup nuts and at the same time think they're good at the game.

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In ESO when craglorn came out everyone Zerged the bosses there but only a few people got xp or loot. But people still zerged it and people still got xp how? Because over time you would get xp and loot if you got the right timing even though only a few people out of the mass zerg got xp.

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No...I was suggesting that their mechanics already fixed the zerg issue... >.>

 

lol, derp

My mistake, its 2am and my head is spinning, thats my excuse :P

 

Yes, your point is valid, and its a good one. There wont be "loot for all", atleast not corpse loots.

I dont know what ACE might intend for chest loots inside castles, but if they do it your way then it becomes a fight to see who can get to the chest first. And we all know that the tanks will be in the frontlines anyways.

 

TLDR: If you want to loot the big chests, be a tank ;)

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Think about the two large-scale PvP games that most people reference: Guild Wars 2(specifically their WvW) and Planetside 2.

 

Not here amigo... not here.

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I too was initially worried about, not the zerg so much, but similar to what happened in GW2. The Titan Alliance was formed from 8 other hardcore guilds to dominate the WvW. And they did so in short order. Then the game was over... that fast. People left. And everyone else joined the winning side. It ruined the game for a lot of people.

 

The way Shadowbane worked would have prevented that scenario because sieges were planned by time so total world domination on Day 1 Hour 2 wasn't possible. It is something that I hope the devs are aware of though.

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Since loot will drop from players, the Zerg will have to /roll for gear. This should take them some time. This gives the other group enough time to get back with more friends and take out the Zerg group that was still arguing over the last item.

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I think a more 'natural' anti-zerg mechanic would be to create an actual food/hunger mechanic that requires controlling spending and controlling resources, so keep a big army away from their home base would be much more difficult to sustain for long periods.

 

My personal opinion is that there should be personal rewards tied to the Transfer Bank that are separate from what you can export from team earned accomplishments.

Edited by Teekey

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Edit: Forgot a trusty TL;DR:

 

TL;DR: Zerging is less valuable when not everyone gets a reward just for participating

 

This highlights a lot of points worth considering I hadn't, well, considered.

 

One of the things I really felt would discourage zergs was the size of campaign maps, too.

Most games I've played that suffer from a zerg army rushing from point to point take place in a single zone. Granted, these zones are often quite large (Cyrodiil and GW2's WvWvW map are two examples I know of), but even so they're still only the size of a large zone and ultimately the ends of each can be reached within, at most, five minutes time. Because of this, the ideal "counter-play" to zergs, splitting up and taking lots of objectives, didn't work because the defenders would hold over until the zerg came by and just rolled over your force. Campaign maps, by contrast, will span the approximate size of entire continents. Because of this, unless they implement some kind of fast-travel (I sincerely hope not), amassing all the forces into one area will leave those areas that much more vulnerable, since they can't just travel over in under ~3-5 minutes.

 

EDIT: No reason to quote the entire post.

Edited by Anhasia
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It's a good point, except that same 50 man zerg just knocks over 20 different 10 man teams and takes a dividend of the resources, or stamps out other contenders securing victory for the campaign so their earnings return to the eternal kingdom.

 

Anti zerg features need to be built into combat that way players can enjoy unorganized war without feeling beaten just because a foe arrived with more men. Otherwise the game will just become draft wars.

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It's pretty lame, but the general populous tends to favor the boring safe route anytime there is any form of risk.

 

I feel that zerging will always be a problem until there is a real reason not to.  We need skills that do more damage the more people it hits or cause a disease debuff if there are more than 30 people in close proximity.  You won't get people to stop just because they are getting less rewards.

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I feel that zerging will always be a problem until there is a real reason not to.  We need skills that do more damage the more people it hits or cause a disease debuff if there are more than 30 people in close proximity.  You won't get people to stop just because they are getting less rewards.

 

That would be gamed.

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Friendly fire breaks zergs more than no loot does. Loot rewards in this game will not be as meaningful so that alone will not stop to formation of zergs. The Goon squad is coming whether you like it or not.

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