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taroskin

Please be careful with overuse of Windows of Opportunity Mechanic

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Windows of Opportunity were used heavily in the past but have begun to be phased out in modern gaming in terms of core game mechanics, especially PvP related objectives.

 

In Shadowbane, for instance, all of the PvP mechanics were WoO based. Originally, the game had Mines that lasted for 2 hours opening every night at a specific time your nation/guild gets to decide. Most of the time your guild felt the need to be online and at the ready for these 2 hours, ready to pounce on anyone about to take your mines. It made this process EXTREMELY tedious and unfun. 80% of your time spent with this mechanic would be sitting around in town, rallied and not doing anything. Then you might get one fight, if you're lucky more than half the time. Maybe. But mostly you just wasted your time because the game wanted you to be online just incase.

 

The problem with WoOs is the feeling of needing to be online and dedicated to this one piece of the game for an entire 2 hours (for example, with the Bloodstone mechanic). It bleeds out from that to enforce a meta where certain times of the day are intrinsically more valuable in terms of time management, and suddenly you have a game that isn't anywhere near as interesting outside of those times (eg Shadowbane, again).

 

The last issue is that they're incredibly non immersive if abundant in many of the content systems especially. They are arbitrary shortcuts, and they feel like it. Which is why they should be the exception rather than the rule.

 

This is simply a thread asking politely for ACE to consider its use of the WoO mechanic in this game and not follow in Shadowbane's footsteps rigidly. It was a big problem with that game. The final comment here should be that we shouldn't be trying to pressure people to log on, day after day, at a very specific time, valuing this time arbitrarily as higher than other times (gl contributing to an NA guild as an EU player, etc).

 

If the WoO mechanic is overused, it will encourage stagnation, discourage emergent gameplay and make the game feel far too routine / not dynamic. That is not to say don't use them at all, but please be careful about it. People have less and less consistent playtimes, and needs for shorter game sessions. Large or widespread pressure to be online during x y z time day after day will do a lot more harm than good.

 

Thanks for reading.


Crazy Talk co-co-co-gl

Guardians of Moonforest fangirl

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Right. When a game is pressuring you and pulling you from real life in order for you to progress or remain a factor, it teeters into an annoying territory. Think of the Shadowbane example again for instance, guilds would literally kick people out if you weren't regularly on for mines (2-4 very specific hours each night, every night without fail where 80% of your time is spent doing literally nothing). Just think of that for a minute - the game encouraged the meta for guilds to literally kick other players out of their social circles, community bonds all because that player couldn't be regularly on at 8 PM EST or whatever.

 

It sounds ridiculous. But it happened in almost every serious guild since the inception of mines/resource rolling. It happened way before that with the bane/sieging mechanic; happen to miss 3 or 4 banes in a row due to RL commitments? Goodluck keeping a guild without arousing suspicion. Not to mention the fact you're making no impact on that guild's success whatsoever because you can't log on at 4 AM in the morning, the only time it mattered because the game decided so.

 

These are just some of the pitfalls we could be walking towards if the WoO mechanic is to become a staple. I hope the Bloodstone mechanic isn't telling of more WoO mechanics to come, and is the exception. And I also hope it's not something that guilds will need to defend every single day, because slowly it'll develop into the SB mines charade.

Edited by taroskin

Crazy Talk co-co-co-gl

Guardians of Moonforest fangirl

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I agree with this, Aion also has a WoO mechanic for taking castles, it sucks.

 

Agreed, that was the main reason I stopped playing Aion. Being on shift work left me with only the weekend to have keep battles which where lack luster to begin with. I never really understood WoO mechanics, they make no sense to me. To me its kind of immersion breaking as with Aion there was some unnatural barrier that only comes down once in awhile to allow for battles.

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What's the alternative? Having your POI attackable 24x7 is even less casual-friendly. Are you proposing that infrastructure should not be attackable at all? Cause razing the enemy castle is core gameplay for the Crowfall concept and design.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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There was a lot of the stuff on the various maps to fight over every day, plus the caravans. So even if you can only siege the main whatever in a certain window there should still be plenty to do and plenty of reason for a guild to need you. Bane circle is not going to be the only module also, so if this really disgusts you they still have a year plus to come up with variation, that's what the whole system is built for. It just has to be viable.

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This will be definitely be a design challenge because I can see both sides of the coin on this one. On one hand, there's nothing more frustrating to lose your gains overnight, except perhaps gearing up to attack a keep that is currently invulnerable. I'm very curious as to how this will work out in Crowfall, for sure.

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With WoO: Do whatever you want most of the time, have to show presence during short pre determined times. Gives smaller guilds/groups a chance as long as they have enough regulars during the important hours.

 

Without WoO: Forced to have players online at all times, you have to interrupt what you're doing to protect your holdings constantly. Gives rise to mass guilds that can flood the game at all times.

 

 

I know which one I prefer.


Constant optimism will not solve your problems,


but it will annoy enough people to be worth the effort.

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For sieges they're already approaching it from the perfect angle with their banecircle system.

SB and also DF used something similar and those 2 games had the best siege warefare of all MMOs out there... BY FAR!!

There shouldn't even be a debate about it. All the eastern MMOs poorly made socks the bed when it comes to siege mechanics. They're all god awful.

 

Sieges should special events, should cost an insane amount of money and overall be a spectacle for everyone involved!

No vulnerability windows which force you to be online like the OP mentioned. It's bad design.

But that's only for sieges.

 

 

I see nothing wrong with pre-determined WoO for POIs.

They should change hands frequently and should serve as PvP hotspots throughout the day.

Combine them with the aforementioned caravans and there shouldn't be much downtime in which you have to look for PvP.

 

 

24/7 vulnerability is just utter nonsense. We're playing a game here, we're not living in this world.

It's a surefire way to make people quit.

 

 

But yes, don't use WoO in every little instance. It'll be tedious and annoying real quick!

Edited by freeze

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Ah, OK. You're using WoO to refer specifically to an automatic daily window, as opposed to windows of opportunity in general. A bane circle creates a one-time WoO, but that's apparently not what you're worried about.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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With WoO: Do whatever you want most of the time, have to show presence during short pre determined times. Gives smaller guilds/groups a chance as long as they have enough regulars during the important hours.

 

Without WoO: Forced to have players online at all times, you have to interrupt what you're doing to protect your holdings constantly. Gives rise to mass guilds that can flood the game at all times.

 

 

I know which one I prefer.

 

This is one of the problems.

 

It doesn't have to be black and white like you're putting forward. For instance:

 

In some games your assets become vulnerable for 2 hours, say every day. This means even if your assets aren't actually under any threat you still need to be on and babysitting them.

 

it could, for example be a smarter system where, while your assets may be vulnerable for 2 hours a day, perhaps there needs to be a declaration of a Siege during these two hours before the assets are vulnerable, giving the defenders 15-30 minutes time to prepare. In this case, you aren't sitting around doing nothing for 80% of those two hours since you only need to show up when something is actually happening rather than the threat of something happening forcing you to give up your time.

 

It's still somewhat of a WoO, but it's not obnoxious or a waste of time for most of the window.

 

 

 

Are you proposing that infrastructure should not be attackable at all? Cause razing the enemy castle is core gameplay for the Crowfall concept and design.

 

There are dozens of options. For instance, like the Bane system - perhaps you need a certain item to make something be vulnerable. Perhaps if you successfully defend your asset it's invulnerable for a few days, giving you some room to breath rather than an unrelenting period every day. Maybe something like the above with a declaration of intent system so you don't waste people's play sessions. The point being made is that the simple WoO system as described, similar to the Shadowbane system, if overused and not developed in a more advanced fashion could lead to the same problems being repeated in Crowfall as witnessed in Shadowbane.

 

 

 

Ah, OK. You're using WoO to refer specifically to an automatic daily window, as opposed to windows of opportunity in general. A bane circle creates a one-time WoO, but that's apparently not what you're worried about.

 

Right. The meat of the problem comes with the game systems being forced into an un-immersive, arbitrary daily invulnerability system that values different times of the day differently due to said arbitrary mechanic. Thereby making it important for your allies, for example, to be on every night during your City's vulnerability period just incase something happens. Do you want to sit around a city for an hour or two just for no one to show up - but the threat of losing the city too great, so you're pressured into doing it time and time again? That's what happened for a lot of guilds in Shadowbane, very commonly with the Mine system.

Edited by taroskin

Crazy Talk co-co-co-gl

Guardians of Moonforest fangirl

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Ah, OK. You're using WoO to refer specifically to an automatic daily window, as opposed to windows of opportunity in general. A bane circle creates a one-time WoO, but that's apparently not what you're worried about.

 

They could also incorporate the "Disable mechanic" from Darkfall.

 

In Darkfall you could damage buildings 24/7, but only up to 20% of the building's health.

At that point the building was disabled and not usable anymore. But full destruction was only allowed during active sieges.

 

This allowed guilds to lower the bind capacity, disable banks, disable guard towers, tear down walls and son on.

 

You could weaken your opponent and drain him if repair shards until you decided to actually siege the city.

 

 

I really liked that mechanic. At least for cities that weren't at the coast and got bombarded by armadas on a daily basis ;)

Especially since the process took quite a while. You couldn't level a town within 10 minutes.

It took a lot of people a lot of time to do this, which was usually ample time for the defenders to muster up some people.

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What's the alternative? Having your POI attackable 24x7 is even less casual-friendly. Are you proposing that infrastructure should not be attackable at all? Cause razing the enemy castle is core gameplay for the Crowfall concept and design.

 

I would argue that not having 24/7 gameplay is less casual friendly as not everyone plays during so called prime time hours. You effective alienate a good amount of player base by setting time frames around POI. The whole point of this game is to have continuous battle is it not? Whats realistic or action oriented about setting parameters around warfare? Its not like kings back in the day just sent messengers to places saying, "hey we want to take your city, whens the best time?"

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I would argue that not having 24/7 gameplay is less casual friendly as not everyone plays during so called prime time hours. You effective alienate a good amount of player base by setting time frames around POI. The whole point of this game is to have continuous battle is it not? Whats realistic or action oriented about setting parameters around warfare? Its not like kings back in the day just sent messengers to places saying, "hey we want to take your city, whens the best time?"

 

good thing we're playing a game, eh?

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For the record, 24/7 attackable PoIs (read: Not "owned" assets or massive content pieces like cities that you would feel terribly bad for losing) are incredibly casual friendly in so far as getting involved in combat is super friendly to casuals in such a system; log in - go to PoI, fight, take, have fun. It just means you can't keep a PoI as consistently for long periods of time. It just so happens that due to this, we have many other problems such as PoIs changing hands every few hours and you never really gaining a sense of ownership over them.

 

As soon as you decide to limit all of your PoIs, your sieging system, your caravans, whatever, to WoO systems, you're telling your playerbase that time spent ingame outside of such hours is not as valuable as time spent inside those hours. You pressure your playerbase and your guilds to be on at these times if they want to get something done. Day in. Day out. The same time. Forever. That is not casual friendly. It is also not fun and not dyanmic. It's utterly monotonous and a very systematic to what should be a dynamic and emergent action oriented game (guess what - this is the content, there's little/no more - why would it all be time gated?)

 

This is why we need a mix of permanence with not-so-permanent mechanics. For instance, maybe smaller PoIs like lumbermills have short lockout timers on being claimed (so they can't be taken again for 4-6 hours or whatever), or can be garrissoned with substantially threatening Guards that can hold off a good number of players. There are many solutions like this, I'm sure ACE could determine some that would fit in their grand plot.

 

I dread the thought of logging into Crowfall, into ventrilo and asking what's going on.. only to be met with "We're playing League of Legends until the Mine next to us unlocks in an hour an 40 minutes". Because that day will come under a heavily WoO influenced system.

Edited by taroskin

Crazy Talk co-co-co-gl

Guardians of Moonforest fangirl

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I agree that having a vulnerability gradient which scales with the importance of the asset is ideal. You should be able to cause a little trouble, with no warning, 24x7. Causing more trouble should require more careful planning and greater commitment. Causing major trouble should requires a significant investment and advance planning.


Official "Bad Person" of Crowfall

"I think 1/3rd of my postcount is telling people that we aren't turning into a PvE / casual / broad audience game." -

Tully

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I agree that having a vulnerability gradient which scales with the importance of the asset is ideal. You should be able to cause a little trouble, with no warning, 24x7. Causing more trouble should require more careful planning and greater commitment. Causing major trouble should requires a significant investment and advance planning.

Couldn't have said it better myself!

 

The more common (and less impactful - two variables) the mechanic is, the more dynamic, less systematic it should be and much lower barrier to entry it should have. For instance, the Bloodstone mechanic was outlined as being vulnerable  for a couple hours. If that means every single day then it sounds highly monotonous, and it will turn into a Shadowbane Mines scenario. That's because it happens every single day, at the same time, with no guarantee of any content, fights or progress but the game is still pressuring you to spend your time wastefully as a result.

Edited by taroskin

Crazy Talk co-co-co-gl

Guardians of Moonforest fangirl

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good thing we're playing a game, eh?

 

Yes, in which there are games that don't use this asinine system to limit warfare. Being more so that this is a PvP game really makes this worse. You lack the element of PvE other than killing random mobs out in the field. With all the complaining on these forums about EKs this system just cements the issue further. Yes, i know if i don't like it i can go play one of the other games that don't use the system. I will still keep an eye on this game but if battles center around time frames like Aion did then i will take my money elsewhere, i know my measly amount of money doesn't matter in the thick of things but i am not the only person to hate this type of system.

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I agree that Windows of Opportunity can get really stupid really fast. It also reminds me of Quicktime Event games like God of War, which I personally hate. Hitting the right button at the right time isn't the kind of skill I'm interested in mastering. If I want that I'll go play DDR and get a workout.

 

edit: I'm an idiot and should read the OP first. Agreed with OP though about sieging.

Edited by Boomstick

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Yes, in which there are games that don't use this asinine system to limit warfare. Being more so that this is a PvP game really makes this worse. You lack the element of PvE other than killing random mobs out in the field. With all the complaining on these forums about EKs this system just cements the issue further. Yes, i know if i don't like it i can go play one of the other games that don't use the system. I will still keep an eye on this game but if battles center around time frames like Aion did then i will take my money elsewhere, i know my measly amount of money doesn't matter in the thick of things but i am not the only person to hate this type of system.

 

plenty of things have been suggested in this thread that are vastly superior to 24/7 vulnerability.

 

There isn't just black and white... there's plenty of grey in between that promotes PvP and gives tons of incentives to go out and bash each other's heads in at any time of the day :wub:

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