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A Natural Anti-Zerg Mechanic


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Good thread. The OP does make a valuable and indeed perhaps as yet unconsidered point regarding the game inherently discouraging zergs through the lack of global participation rewards and need to secure loot, but this point is trumped by another aspect unmentioned so far in this thread...(well it was unmentioned when I started my post a half-hour ago! :P)

 

Running small-scale to assure yourself some spoils is pointless in a campaign if you do not win, and cannot export said spoils.

 

In fact, paradoxically, Crowfall, in the case of the limited export-rule campaigns and the need for raw materials in EKs, which everyone will own if not choose to develop, makes winning more important than in most games, and by extension, makes zerging more likely - since numbers is, despite a few anomalous isolated battles, the most effective and assured way of winning a war. Case in point - myself and 2 guildmates killed 30 CN in one engagement back in the day in SB, and only died because we were fighting so long our buffs ran out...but that glorious run did nothing to impact the course of the war.

 

So zerging will happen and it will be desirable. The trick in my opinion will not be to discourage or code against zerging alone, but to make it so that zerging is not the surest or only path to winning. This is a game, not real life, so the usual correct valuing of numbers need not be so. Given the somewhat unique variables involved in Crowfall's case compared to other games with large-scale combat, I think the potential exists for some counters to both zerg-play and numbers-determined wins.

 

First and the most obvious and easy of these is the fact that campaigns can and will have varied rulesets, and some of these rulesets will involve different victory conditions - conditions which themselves may be designed so that force numbers are less of a factor. Those which are not standard percentage of territory control or based on amassing a particular thing can be less exclusively dominated by the largest groups.

 

Second we have the game's mechanics as relate to hunger, warmth, physics/collision and terrain/fortification destructability. Some examples of the consequences of known mechanics, as well as those of possible mechanics within the known system:

 

  • Having to reveal the map helps discourage running a single or several large groups, at least early on. 10 groups of 5 will cover more ground, locate and claim more POIs, than one group of 50. Whether that equation continues beyond locating holdings to defending them depends on other factors, but it is unquestionably true that having to reveal the map, find and claim POIs does favor multiple smaller groups over one large force

 

  • A large world with no unassailable fast travel. Having an overwhelmingly large force is less advantageous if you lack the ability to deploy them where needed, when needed. We know CF will have mounts, and hopefully that will be the extent of the travel options - no summoning, no runegates, no long-distance teleportation. If mounts are a resource than must be imported, crafted, tamed or maintained - and not killed - moving a large force to the area of operation becomes a battle in itself without other means of fast travel.

Even if you can accumulate the needed mounts, keeping them alive, defending your column over a long march, becomes an opportunity for a smaller force to negate your advantage in numbers through the use of ambushes and traps, guerrilla warfare, harassing of the flanks and use of chokepoints. The latter is tied to the destructable nature of the terrain - if done correctly, this can involve destroying bridges, creating unfavorable terrain for mounts, forcing a column to deviate through dangerous areas or continue on foot. This dynamic becomes more of a factor when you include the need to transport resources via caravan for the creation of siege engines as well as the provisions needed to feed your force.

 

 

  • Hunger and Warmth. We don't yet know exactly how these mechanics will be manifest, but in the context of zerg-counters, these could come into play. If food needs to be transported in bulk to feed a large force, this takes up either more inventory space or requires the use of caravans, which must be acquired and escorted. If it is harvested from the surrounding landscape, it makes feeding a larger force more difficult, requiring frequent foraging, which exposes smaller individuals or smaller subsets to attack. It also gives the opposing force the option of depleting or razing the areas in question. If a larger force is not sufficiently fed, it may regenerate stamina or mana more slowly, healing could be less effective and indeed certain powers or abilities could simply be unavailable if your level of hunger is lower than a certain point. It's hard to concentrate when you're hungry. 

It's also hard to concentrate when you're shivering...depending on what they have planned or how far they are willing to go with these dynamics, they can also be such that they impact a larger force more than a smaller one. If you must warm yourself by a fire, but due to the collision-physics and number of bodies you can't close enough to it, you need another fire, which means more light, more resources and less clumping. Again depending on how deep they want to go with these mechanics, Warmth could be something that is not just a question of how cold you feel and it's effects on you, but how big an IR signature you present to Winter's Hunger-corrupted creatures. A small band of 10 people huddled around a campfire is one thing. An army of 100 spread across a clearing with multiple fires, cooking food, is something else altogether. That's a dinner bell.

 

 

  • Collision, Physics and World Destruction. Touched on above with the destruction of bridges or creation of chokepoints, this area can go a lot further depending what choices the developers make. Thermopylae was mentioned and in the context of rightly pointing out that terrain advantage only goes so far in aiding a smaller force, but there is some practical value, especially in the context of a game, for such things. I remember many a battle early on in SB where the fight that raged over a wall breach was longer than the rest of the fight combined - once you when flight and teleportation are not involved, when you must deal with collision and take away stacking, when you have AoEs and no fire-hose healing, these kinds of things do help a smaller defending force deal with a larger one. Only to a point of course, but it is not insignificant.

Infantry dig foxholes for a reason. Line of sight in a game without tab targeting matters, especially with friendly fire. Throw tunneling into the mix and the idea of 30 people holding off 500 becomes slightly less absurd. Battle lines, formations, shield walls, cavalry charges...with a full and rich physics system, combined with the right game mechanics, a little more skill requirement can be added to counter the strength of numbers.

 

 

Ultimately I think this is what we will be talking about. Not removing zerging or the motivation for zerging, that will always exist - but increasing the ways and effectiveness of means by which smaller groups counter numbers. There are extreme ways of doing this that are more assured of being effective - a shared 'magic strength' pool per area for example: 10 people casting spells at 100% strength, or 100 casting spells at 10% strength - but I think just by using all of the different elements mentioned here, that is by the devs in designing the mechanics and the players in using them on the field, we can get to a point where 500 versus 50 will always be a lost cause, but 100 versus 50, not so much.

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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

Good thread. The OP does make a valuable and indeed perhaps as yet unconsidered point regarding the game inherently discouraging zergs through the lack of global participation rewards and need to secure loot, but this point is trumped by another aspect unmentioned so far in this thread...(well it was unmentioned when I started my post a half-hour ago! :P)

 

Running small-scale to assure yourself some spoils is pointless in a campaign if you do not win, and cannot export said spoils.

 

In fact, paradoxically, Crowfall, in the case of the limited export-rule campaigns and the need for raw materials in EKs, which everyone will own if not choose to develop, makes winning more important than in most games, and by extension, makes zerging more likely - since numbers is, despite a few anomalous isolated battles, the most effective and assured way of winning a war. Case in point - myself and 2 guildmates killed 30 CN in one engagement back in the day in SB, and only died because we were fighting so long our buffs ran out...but that glorious run did nothing to impact the course of the war.

 

So zerging will happen and it will be desirable. The trick in my opinion will not be to discourage or code against zerging alone, but to make it so that zerging is not the surest or only path to winning. This is a game, not real life, so the usual correct valuing of numbers need not be so. Given the somewhat unique variables involved in Crowfall's case compared to other games with large-scale combat, I think the potential exists for some counters to both zerg-play and numbers-determined wins.

 

First and the most obvious and easy of these is the fact that campaigns can and will have varied rulesets, and some of these rulesets will involve different victory conditions - conditions which themselves may be designed so that force numbers are less of a factor. Those which are not standard percentage of territory control or based on amassing a particular thing can be less exclusively dominated by the largest groups.

 

Second we have the game's mechanics as relate to hunger, warmth, physics/collision and terrain/fortification destructability. Some examples of the consequences of known mechanics, as well as those of possible mechanics within the known system:

 

  • Having to reveal the map helps discourage running a single or several large groups, at least early on. 10 groups of 5 will cover more ground, locate and claim more POIs, than one group of 50. Whether that equation continues beyond locating holdings to defending them depends on other factors, but it is unquestionably true that having to reveal the map, find and claim POIs does favor multiple smaller groups over one large force

 

  • A large world with no unassailable fast travel. Having an overwhelmingly large force is less advantageous if you lack the ability to deploy them where needed, when needed. We know CF will have mounts, and hopefully that will be the extent of the travel options - no summoning, no runegates, no long-distance teleportation. If mounts are a resource than must be imported, crafted, tamed or maintained - and not killed - moving a large force to the area of operation becomes a battle in itself without other means of fast travel.

Even if you can accumulate the needed mounts, keeping them alive, defending your column over a long march, becomes an opportunity for a smaller force to negate your advantage in numbers through the use of ambushes and traps, guerrilla warfare, harassing of the flanks and use of chokepoints. The latter is tied to the destructable nature of the terrain - if done correctly, this can involve destroying bridges, creating unfavorable terrain for mounts, forcing a column to deviate through dangerous areas or continue on foot. This dynamic becomes more of a factor when you include the need to transport resources via caravan for the creation of siege engines as well as the provisions needed to feed your force.

 

 

  • Hunger and Warmth. We don't yet know exactly how these mechanics will be manifest, but in the context of zerg-counters, these could come into play. If food needs to be transported in bulk to feed a large force, this takes up either more inventory space or requires the use of caravans, which must be acquired and escorted. If it is harvested from the surrounding landscape, it makes feeding a larger force more difficult, requiring frequent foraging, which exposes smaller individuals or smaller subsets to attack. It also gives the opposing force the option of depleting or razing the areas in question. If a larger force is not sufficiently fed, it may regenerate stamina or mana more slowly, healing could be less effective and indeed certain powers or abilities could simply be unavailable if your level of hunger is lower than a certain point. It's hard to concentrate when you're hungry. 

It's also hard to concentrate when you're shivering...depending on what they have planned or how far they are willing to go with these dynamics, they can also be such that they impact a larger force more than a smaller one. If you must warm yourself by a fire, but due to the collision-physics and number of bodies you can't close enough to it, you need another fire, which means more light, more resources and less clumping. Again depending on how deep they want to go with these mechanics, Warmth could be something that is not just a question of how cold you feel and it's effects on you, but how big an IR signature you present to Winter's Hunger-corrupted creatures. A small band of 10 people huddled around a campfire is one thing. An army of 100 spread across a clearing with multiple fires, cooking food, is something else altogether. That's a dinner bell.

 

 

  • Collision, Physics and World Destruction. Touched on above with the destruction of bridges or creation of chokepoints, this area can go a lot further depending what choices the developers make. Thermopylae was mentioned and in the context of rightly pointing out that terrain advantage only goes so far in aiding a smaller force, but there is some practical value, especially in the context of a game, for such things. I remember many a battle early on in SB where the fight that raged over a wall breach was longer than the rest of the fight combined - once you when flight and teleportation are not involved, when you must deal with collision and take away stacking, when you have AoEs and no fire-hose healing, these kinds of things do help a smaller defending force deal with a larger one. Only to a point of course, but it is not insignificant.

Infantry dig foxholes for a reason. Line of sight in a game without tab targeting matters, especially with friendly fire. Throw tunneling into the mix and the idea of 30 people holding off 500 becomes slightly less absurd. Battle lines, formations, shield walls, cavalry charges...with a full and rich physics system, combined with the right game mechanics, a little more skill requirement can be added to counter the strength of numbers.

 

 

Ultimately I think this is what we will be talking about. Not removing zerging or the motivation for zerging, that will always exist - but increasing the ways and effectiveness of means by which smaller groups counter numbers. There are extreme ways of doing this that are more assured of being effective - a shared 'magic strength' pool per area for example: 10 people casting spells at 100% strength, or 100 casting spells at 10% strength - but I think just by using all of the different elements mentioned here, that is by the devs in designing the mechanics and the players in using them on the field, we can get to a point where 500 versus 50 will always be a lost cause, but 100 versus 50, not so much.

what a zergy post..

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First off awesome post Anthrage, secondly thats a good point to the Warmth/Hunger. Those could be soft or hard anti zerging measures we just dont know yet... Something like outside of an established base as the seasons go on, warmth decreases(faster the closer to winter it is). With no instant travel large armies would have to stop multiple times creating bonfires which would up their warmth, but also slow their overall time on target. All the while any scouts rangers running around scouting may have spotted them and sounded the alarm giving at least time to prep defenses etc.

"He's like Batman except without the moral compass" ~Juror during first innocent verdict 

 

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Doesn't really take much imagination.

 

200+ players showing up at your bloodstone tree.

 

you and your 50 bros hunker down inside, maybe have time to make 2 or 3 runs against their flanks, but after having some initial success you find they've adjusted their forces to counter your attempts at disruption.

 

your valiant force of defenders has time to make a couple unsuccessful pushs to try and dislodge them, but again, you're killing 50-75 of them each time, but it's just not enough, you're dead before you can even get to the folks putting dps on the tree.

 

shortly after your 3rd (failed) push, the tree falls, they gather the bloodstones and move en mass to to applicable turn in point.

 

the end.

That's not a zerg. That's essentially how siege warfare worked: 1) cordon off the enemy. This requires a force at least 3 times the size of your opponent to prevent their breaking your lines and slaughtering most of your men before the siege begins in earnest. 2) Starve your opponent (not really an option in Crowfall) 3) If your opponent refuses to yield, beach the walls or if possible the main gate (via battery, undermining, siege tower, petard, or other appropriate means), 4) leaving a blocking force, proceed to the main objective and capture/destroy, using a smaller force to kill remaining defenders.

 

If your concern is that a human wave will simply destroy your walls and overrun you without a siege, walls and towers could be designed with a minimum damage threshold per voxel so that players couldn't reach the minimum damage required to destroy one without a massive and perfectly synchronized (therefore impossible) attack. Or, they could design fortification objects to only be damaged by siege weapon damage much in the way that, in most games, no matter how badass your sword is, you still have to use a pickaxe to mine ore.

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That's not a zerg. That's essentially how siege warfare worked: 1) cordon off the enemy. This requires a force at least 3 times the size of your opponent to prevent their breaking your lines and slaughtering most of your men before the siege begins in earnest. 2) Starve your opponent (not really an option in Crowfall) 3) If your opponent refuses to yield, beach the walls or if possible the main gate (via battery, undermining, siege tower, petard, or other appropriate means), 4) leaving a blocking force, proceed to the main objective and capture/destroy, using a smaller force to kill remaining defenders.

 

If your concern is that a human wave will simply destroy your walls and overrun you without a siege, walls and towers could be designed with a minimum damage threshold per voxel so that players couldn't reach the minimum damage required to destroy one without a massive and perfectly synchronized (therefore impossible) attack. Or, they could design fortification objects to only be damaged by siege weapon damage much in the way that, in most games, no matter how badass your sword is, you still have to use a pickaxe to mine ore.

oh i completely agree. it's absolutely textbook seige warefare...you never attack an entrenched enemy with fewer than 3x1 in your favor...even then, it's preferable that you've starved and bombed the ever loving crap out of them to beforehand to weaken their resolve. 

 

unfortunately a fun game that does not make...

 

and i guess ultimately that's where this discussion/debate will be decided...at what point will we do what's necessary to keep the game 'fun', vs. winning at all cost.

 

I have no doubt that the initial campaign incarnations will be absolutely zergtastic...you'll have a half dozen monstrous 'legacy guilds' that will be vying to plant the 'we came we conquered we declared victory and split before our alliance fractured' flag...no doubt one of them will win.

 

the real question, the real game, will emerge 3 or 4 server generations out...this is the game that will last years (or not)...it will be interesting to see how the dev team reacts to the initial 'zerg' mechanics vs. the anticipated 'normal mechanics'.

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I'm not one to speculate final systems so early in a game's development cycle. But I do like that it's on the mind of the developers. Too often design in MMOs is reactionary, not peremptory. 

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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

I would consider 20 or more people a Zerg, maybe a few more. Most people can constanly bring around 10 peeps together at a given time from my experience. Most serious guild can pull the 50 prime time.

I don't belive it takes only physical rewards for zergs to exist, and your examples assume that they stop at one village, mine, castle. This typically is not the case. GW2 is not a good comparison but holds true to the fact that if zergs can happen then they will. Albion online is a good example or even shadowbane. Through out the day you would see the same zergs rolling through sucking up players left and right. As player fell out more players would join and normally it was a free for all on the bodies in which over time where many. Zerg guilds are even worse because your not in it for yourself but the whole, and as a guild you conquer territory, quickly farm runes or pack pigs. Luckily the declare war system slows them down. In the end it always come down to few guild that have many. I guess that's life.

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Good thread. The OP does make a valuable and indeed perhaps as yet unconsidered point regarding the game inherently discouraging zergs through the lack of global participation rewards and need to secure loot, but this point is trumped by another aspect unmentioned so far in this thread...(well it was unmentioned when I started my post a half-hour ago! :P)

 

Running small-scale to assure yourself some spoils is pointless in a campaign if you do not win, and cannot export said spoils.

 

In fact, paradoxically, Crowfall, in the case of the limited export-rule campaigns and the need for raw materials in EKs, which everyone will own if not choose to develop, makes winning more important than in most games, and by extension, makes zerging more likely - since numbers is, despite a few anomalous isolated battles, the most effective and assured way of winning a war. Case in point - myself and 2 guildmates killed 30 CN in one engagement back in the day in SB, and only died because we were fighting so long our buffs ran out...but that glorious run did nothing to impact the course of the war.

 

So zerging will happen and it will be desirable. The trick in my opinion will not be to discourage or code against zerging alone, but to make it so that zerging is not the surest or only path to winning. This is a game, not real life, so the usual correct valuing of numbers need not be so. Given the somewhat unique variables involved in Crowfall's case compared to other games with large-scale combat, I think the potential exists for some counters to both zerg-play and numbers-determined wins.

 

First and the most obvious and easy of these is the fact that campaigns can and will have varied rulesets, and some of these rulesets will involve different victory conditions - conditions which themselves may be designed so that force numbers are less of a factor. Those which are not standard percentage of territory control or based on amassing a particular thing can be less exclusively dominated by the largest groups.

 

Second we have the game's mechanics as relate to hunger, warmth, physics/collision and terrain/fortification destructability. Some examples of the consequences of known mechanics, as well as those of possible mechanics within the known system:

 

 

  • Having to reveal the map helps discourage running a single or several large groups, at least early on. 10 groups of 5 will cover more ground, locate and claim more POIs, than one group of 50. Whether that equation continues beyond locating holdings to defending them depends on other factors, but it is unquestionably true that having to reveal the map, find and claim POIs does favor multiple smaller groups over one large force
 

  • A large world with no unassailable fast travel. Having an overwhelmingly large force is less advantageous if you lack the ability to deploy them where needed, when needed. We know CF will have mounts, and hopefully that will be the extent of the travel options - no summoning, no runegates, no long-distance teleportation. If mounts are a resource than must be imported, crafted, tamed or maintained - and not killed - moving a large force to the area of operation becomes a battle in itself without other means of fast travel.

Even if you can accumulate the needed mounts, keeping them alive, defending your column over a long march, becomes an opportunity for a smaller force to negate your advantage in numbers through the use of ambushes and traps, guerrilla warfare, harassing of the flanks and use of chokepoints. The latter is tied to the destructable nature of the terrain - if done correctly, this can involve destroying bridges, creating unfavorable terrain for mounts, forcing a column to deviate through dangerous areas or continue on foot. This dynamic becomes more of a factor when you include the need to transport resources via caravan for the creation of siege engines as well as the provisions needed to feed your force.

 

 

  • Hunger and Warmth. We don't yet know exactly how these mechanics will be manifest, but in the context of zerg-counters, these could come into play. If food needs to be transported in bulk to feed a large force, this takes up either more inventory space or requires the use of caravans, which must be acquired and escorted. If it is harvested from the surrounding landscape, it makes feeding a larger force more difficult, requiring frequent foraging, which exposes smaller individuals or smaller subsets to attack. It also gives the opposing force the option of depleting or razing the areas in question. If a larger force is not sufficiently fed, it may regenerate stamina or mana more slowly, healing could be less effective and indeed certain powers or abilities could simply be unavailable if your level of hunger is lower than a certain point. It's hard to concentrate when you're hungry. 

It's also hard to concentrate when you're shivering...depending on what they have planned or how far they are willing to go with these dynamics, they can also be such that they impact a larger force more than a smaller one. If you must warm yourself by a fire, but due to the collision-physics and number of bodies you can't close enough to it, you need another fire, which means more light, more resources and less clumping. Again depending on how deep they want to go with these mechanics, Warmth could be something that is not just a question of how cold you feel and it's effects on you, but how big an IR signature you present to Winter's Hunger-corrupted creatures. A small band of 10 people huddled around a campfire is one thing. An army of 100 spread across a clearing with multiple fires, cooking food, is something else altogether. That's a dinner bell.

 

 

  • Collision, Physics and World Destruction. Touched on above with the destruction of bridges or creation of chokepoints, this area can go a lot further depending what choices the developers make. Thermopylae was mentioned and in the context of rightly pointing out that terrain advantage only goes so far in aiding a smaller force, but there is some practical value, especially in the context of a game, for such things. I remember many a battle early on in SB where the fight that raged over a wall breach was longer than the rest of the fight combined - once you when flight and teleportation are not involved, when you must deal with collision and take away stacking, when you have AoEs and no fire-hose healing, these kinds of things do help a smaller defending force deal with a larger one. Only to a point of course, but it is not insignificant.

Infantry dig foxholes for a reason. Line of sight in a game without tab targeting matters, especially with friendly fire. Throw tunneling into the mix and the idea of 30 people holding off 500 becomes slightly less absurd. Battle lines, formations, shield walls, cavalry charges...with a full and rich physics system, combined with the right game mechanics, a little more skill requirement can be added to counter the strength of numbers.

 

 

Ultimately I think this is what we will be talking about. Not removing zerging or the motivation for zerging, that will always exist - but increasing the ways and effectiveness of means by which smaller groups counter numbers. There are extreme ways of doing this that are more assured of being effective - a shared 'magic strength' pool per area for example: 10 people casting spells at 100% strength, or 100 casting spells at 10% strength - but I think just by using all of the different elements mentioned here, that is by the devs in designing the mechanics and the players in using them on the field, we can get to a point where 500 versus 50 will always be a lost cause, but 100 versus 50, not so much.

I hope they work the hunger as you described into the game and require resources to support the army increasing 10 fold once number reach a determined value. You actually have a lot of valid points to counter zergs. Makes me think of 300 and using the environment. There using procedurally generated terrain so I'm not sure how much of this can come into play.

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What about digging moats? Heck, the world is destructible so take advantage! Area effect spells? Traps? Building a wall in front of your castle gate/adding a second layer of walls? This is a changeable world in a fantasy setting. If you can imagine it, it might just be possible.

 

Placing a siege is much more difficult than zerging in an open battlefield. Where they may be successful is in intercepting caravans or general banditry.

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Okay, but in your scenario, the people defending the keep still all die and get looted and lose all of their gold to a zerg. I don't think anybody is going to say, 'eh, I'm not going to join this zerg because I might not get loot. It would only really work if it was more like 'I'm not going to join this zerg because I almost certainly won't get loot and might lose some of my own stuff in the process.

 

 Not to mention that rich guilds could just pay people to help them zerg down a troublesome objective (which may be a valid tactic, to be honest)

 

 Honestly, I think the best way to stop the zerg will be to just penalise death a lot. People won't be willing to just throw characters at a wall if they're going to lose a lot of time or gold or skills or whatever from doing it.

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Okay, but in your scenario, the people defending the keep still all die and get looted and lose all of their gold to a zerg. I don't think anybody is going to say, 'eh, I'm not going to join this zerg because I might not get loot. It would only really work if it was more like 'I'm not going to join this zerg because I almost certainly won't get loot and might lose some of my own stuff in the process.

 

 Not to mention that rich guilds could just pay people to help them zerg down a troublesome objective (which may be a valid tactic, to be honest)

 

 Honestly, I think the best way to stop the zerg will be to just penalise death a lot. People won't be willing to just throw characters at a wall if they're going to lose a lot of time or gold or skills or whatever from doing it.

 

in my experience, you're kind of wrong on all fronts.

 

1. Loot or lack thereof will not influence whether or not zergs run. Yeah it might play a little in some of the one off skirmish items, but ultimately zerging is about winning, not looting. he who bring the mosteth usually winneth.

 

2. penalizing death only fuels the zerg...school of fish philosophy: how do you reduce your chance of dying? BRING MORE TARGETS. Also, if you overwhelm your enemy with numbers, the chance of dying is less because of the overwhelming force you brought to the party.

 

 

I would consider 20 or more people a Zerg, maybe a few more. Most people can constanly bring around 10 peeps together at a given time from my experience. Most serious guild can pull the 50 prime time.

 

I have a feeling your in for a surprise. While a lot of 'what is brought to the field' will be determined by group mechanics, optimal group construction, etc...i think you're likely to see 5 -15 players roving seach and destroy groups, 10-20+ to capture hold objectives (resources, points of interest, etc.) and 30-100+ at asset level engagements (sieging). Plus the whole zerg thing is kind of overused...as it's not really reference to the total number, more of a disparity in forces...bring 40 to fight 20? you're zerging. Bring the same 40 to fight 35? not zerging.

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I realize how old the original post is, but I didn't see it back then. I'd ask the OP, what about Eve then? Lots of zerging there and almost no individual reward for it. I'd like your thoughts.

I'm in this for the Experience, not the XP.

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