Design Diary: War Zones Refresh Check-In

Aug.21.2019 BY KIXEYE_Chris

In this dev diary installment, one of the lead designers on the War Zones Refresh project has joined us to provide an overview of what’s in store for breathing new life into endgame map play. Enjoy this check-in from KIXEYE_Dogman!


FROM THE DESK OF THE DOGMAN

What isn’t there to say about the War Zones? You know, when CM Chris asked me to write this design diary on our plans for the upcoming War Zones overhaul, I thought “This’ll be easy, we all know what needs to happen with the War Zones”

But…that’s the thing isn’t it? It’s never quite that simple.

What we know is that the War Zones aren’t working right now for this player community, and for a lot of valid reasons. We’ve resolved to start fixing these issues, with some of that work already rolling out, and some of it requires a few months of heads-down design and engineering work until it’s going to be ready. Let’s dive in.

WHAT’S CHANGING?

Let’s start with the things we want to change quickly:

  • Movement is too restrictive – In the current iteration of the War Zones, players are encouraged to remain stationary in their Zone Area, and unfortunately players are also indirectly encouraged to remain bubbled, interacting as little as possible with the game as they save up Thorium to afford the next big thing. We’re going to be changing the movement portion of that problem imminently with a slight relaxation on cooldown times on movement. The intent is to watch how this plays out and tune more as we go, so expect things to speed up soon even if the first few iterations aren’t exactly perfect.
  • Outposts and Strongholds aren’t well explainedWe haven’t taken the time to explain the usefulness of these War Zones targets, and frankly for something that is so important to the players like a reliable way to gather criticals and commons, we need to do better around this. We’re simplifying the process, and changing how rewarding they are. This change should go out in the next few weeks.
  • CP rules are too complex to be funWe don’t teach the rules of Control Point Wars well, and even for those who know the rules, Control Point gameplay is convoluted. With that in mind, we’re going to change how CP’s work. In fact, in the next few months, expect to see CP’s go away entirely and be replaced with a more straight-forward, faster paced, and more fun gameplay mode, informally known as Dominion.

 

WHAT’S DOMINION?

I’m glad you asked. What I’d like to see, at its most fundamental, is a reason for players to work together within a clear set of rules. 

First, rather than having the same Contestable Zone Areas in the same spot, always, forever, Contestable Zones will be randomly spawned across the War Zones, rotating every few weeks (or on whatever rotation schedule seems to work best for Alliances). There will not be equal amounts of Contestable Zone Areas per Zone, so some areas may become entirely neutral, while some areas may contain a multitude of areas to conquer. This will ideally reward the ‘alliance intelligence gathering operations’ side of team play. 

Second, we’re going to do away with the existing CP rules. Instead of attacking a CP, you will have to dominate a Zone Area, leaving only your alliance standing inside it. Once that’s done, the area will become protected and no other alliance will be able to enter, securing your team against retaliation or resource theft. BONUS: the buff provided by this Zone Area will persist even if you move your base outside the ZA to attack a new target. So this secure Zone Area will provide protection against losing metal and thorium, while still allowing you to benefit from the buff it provides.

Finally, we’re going to change up the way the buffs work by leveling up our existing buffs, and creating several extremely rare buffs to get thrown in the mix. Buffs to Metal Production is an obvious one to include, but also buffs that increase damage from specific unit classes like Light Vehicles or Aircraft are the type of universal benefits we want to award for capturing a Zone Area. 

Other things we’re considering? Defenses beyond just the standard FOBs, improved means of fortifying yourself against resource theft, and plenty more.

DOGMAN SIGNING OFF

In the end, what we want to do is give our alliances better functionality on the World Map, better ways to take tactical actions, for better rewards, with some really cool flavor thrown in along the way. 

The main thing we want to say is thank you for playing with us, and thank you for telling us what you think. These have been just a few of our ideas that we’re looking forward to implementing in the next year and I’m excited to share them with you all.

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