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Some Suggestions for Competitive Tower Defense


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The new map looks promising as a first attempt. However I think for it to be a proper pvp experience it needs to be a little more exciting and dynamic. At the moment it's either a 'whoever has the better gear wins' or 'whoever touches the ogre rush first wins' map. It's largely just seeing who fails survival first, which is pretty boring and unsatisfying from a pvp perspective. I feel like it needs a few things to be exciting, rewarding, and worthwhile to engage in:

1: Motivation (reward)
This is the most important thing. Not sure why there are no rewards for winning or competing on this map, but if there's absolutely nothing to gain from a character-development point of view, this mode will always be a sideshow to survival or umf where you can get large amounts of mana and good gear.

My suggestion would be, if you don't want to offer gear on this map (I can see how it would be a distraction from the pvp aspect of this map to be looking at loot 90% of the time) then give the player something they will always be able to use - mana. Reward mana per wave survived (adjusted for difficulty of course), with the winning team getting 50% or 100% more than the losing team. Even if the mana per hour is nowhere near omf or survival, at least this will give players that like pvp anyway something to feel like they're progressing. Stagnant character progression will cause avoidance of this map. You are working with an rpg gamer crowd here, after all.


2: More ways to interact between teams
The only way currently for teams to interact with each other is through ogre rush. Maybe adding the options for wyvern rushes, warrior rushes, kobold rushes, etc. will keep the enemy team on their toes and even perhaps force them to dynamically alter their build (moving harpoons and such) to deal with the current largest threat. Give some option to have sight for a short amount of time on enemy players and buildings on the map (enemy buildings should be under fog-of-war normally) so you can see if the current time would be a good opportunity to launch a rush.


3: Risk-Reward
A huge part of strategic play in every game is making split-second risk versus reward assessments. This means that if you want to launch an ogre or wyvern rush, or be able to have sight of the enemy team, you should have to invest something into that advantage that takes away from the well-being of your own defenses. The most obvious way to implement this is to make the teams invest mana in order to gain access to rushes or sight. If an ogre rush requires that a team invest 10,000 mana, that's a whole lot of mana that can't be used to upgrade defenses, and a lot of time collecting and turning in mana that could be used buffing or maintaining defenses. But your investment could very well end the game by causing the collapse of the enemy team's defenses. So the teams will have to make a strategic decision as to whether they can risk spending mana and time in order to gain an advantage that could end the game.

Forcing the investment of mana for advantages would also open up the meta strategy to the development of specific player roles within a team. One player could be the 'investor', running around killing mobs to collect mana, and judging what would be the best times to utilize rushes and sight. The other two players could be the defense maintainers/buffers/builders.

Sight should also allow vision of the enemy's investment state. This way teams can prepare for a rush earlier if they invest into Sight (~1000 mana maybe?) and see that the enemy is close to completing an investment.


4: Dynamic Layouts
As soon as a single layout can be used to defend against anything from ogre rushes to wyvern rushes, the game will become incredibly boring. I think you guys are on the right track with not allowing for too much DU on the map. Since there simply isn't enough DU for a single build to defend against any possible onslaught, the teams will be forced to dynamically change up their layouts in order to respond to a specific type of rush launched against them. This of course means they will have to re-upgrade towers, so investing mana into advantages will always pose some risk, even in later waves. There should be no point in time where all of a team's defenses can be left at 3 stars.

Adding more types of rushes will help this aspect immensely. You can't defend against both an ogre rush and a wyvern rush simultaneously with the du allotted. If you use Sight and see that the enemy team's layout is set up to defend against wyverns, you can launch an ogre rush against them, forcing them to rearrange and re-upgrade towers. This, in turn, means that for some period of time they won't be able to afford investing in rushes against you. This would also require, however, that there be a cooldown between using a rush and being able to activate another.

The only difficulty I see in this is that altering layouts on the fly will not be intuitive, as no map in the game has required it. In order to make CTD an engaging pvp experience, it has to be a completely new style of play. This warrants a quick first-time video or tutorial showing the mechanics of the challenge, and maybe planting the idea in players' minds that they may have to dynamically change up their tower positions to deal with rushes.


5: Slow Game Pace
League of Legends matches never end in the first five minutes, and WoW arenas rarely end in that same period of time. There is a reason for this; strategic games that end too quickly are very unsatisfying. There needs to be time to develop a strategy early on, and there needs to be time to think and make decisions during the match later on.

In its current state CTD ends 90% of the time on the first wave. Either one side fails to get the necessary defenses up in the short build phase, or the first ogre rush crushes a half-complete build (no second build phase to lay traps and such). This, of course, leaves a bad taste in the mouth of winner and loser alike; the winner did not triumph because of their own strategic decisions, but because the map defeated the other team for them.

By making the game much slower and easier in the beginning, the teams will have an opportunity to get situated before the real strategic period of the game begins.

Here are a few ways I've thought of to slow down the game pace:
a. A longer first build phase

b. the first wave or two should be 'freebies' with weak, slow enemies to give time for each team to build a complete starting layout.

c. rushes should not be immediately available on the first wave. For example, maybe Sight can be made available on the second wave, kobold rush on the third, wyvern and warrior rushes on the fourth, and ogre rushes on the fifth. This will slow the game down and allow players new to the map to have an opportunity to learn how to use each in succession as they're able to get farther into the challenge.

d. Rushes should start out weak and get stronger in each successive wave. Getting absolutely crushed by a rush in early waves is demoralizing and makes players feel like they just can't defend against it.

e. the 'baseline' pressure of mobs from the map should be reduced. What I mean by baseline is the normal mobs spawned by the map that are not related to any rushes. Make these mobs weaker, slower, or in smaller numbers. The main focus of the challenge should be the interaction between the teams, not the map by itself beating one team or the other. Of course as you get into higher and higher waves the baseline pressure should increase because this will put more stress on the individual players, forcing mistakes or bad decisions. The team that is able to maintain their ability to apply strategy under higher and higher stress levels should and would be the winning team.

f. the number of warriors should be reduced drastically. Honestly if you have a constant stream of 10 warriors at a time running right past defenses and hitting you, there is no amount of decision making or layout that matters. You will simply be locked down and unable to do anything. This is exactly what happens in higher wave karathiki campaign and survival. Not good design for a strategic pvp map.

g. there should be a warning period before a rush begins. If you have 10 seconds or so counting down, this will give some time to get into position or rearrange defenses. There should also be a cooldown between rushes, so that a wyvern rush cannot be used at exactly the same time as an ogre rush to create a situation that is impossible to defend against. Instead, team A could launch an ogre rush, force team B to rearrange, then 30 seconds later launch a wyvern rush so team B would have to immediately rearrange again right after they dealt with the ogre threat. In this way team A could force team B 'onto the back foot' so to speak and cripple their short-term ability to launch rushes back at team A.


6: Standardized Stats
This has been suggested in numerous places for pvp maps. Essentially the problem is that differences in gear levels between the two teams often overshadow differences in skill or strategic savvy. Not much strategy will come into play if you have 1000 tower hp and dmg, and your opponent has 2000 in the same stats. The solution suggested would be to make every player's stats identical upon entering a pvp game. This would, of course, make outside gear a non-consideration in CTD, as well as making it much easier to tune the difficulty of the challenge.

I think this could work, as long as there were some other considerations.

a. No difficulty distinction. If everyone has the same stats upon entering the map, there is no need to have different difficulties (djinn and spiders spawn on every difficulty anyways). This also greatly expands the pool of potential opponents. If hosts want to make sure they're only playing with experienced players then they can set their own level requirements.

b. The ability to allocate additional stat points. If everyone's stats are set at, for example, 1000 for everything, there would be no distinction of roles because everyone could do everything equally well. So in addition to some baseline stat level across the board, there should be a certain amount of points that can be allocated at the player's discretion before the map starts.

c. Standardized weapons and pets. It would arbitrary to make personal armor irrelevant but leave personal pets and weapons. Therefore there should be standardized weapons and pets that the player can choose from before the start of the match. For special pets, the player should be required to have already acquired it in order for it to become available for selection (i.e. players need to have already acquired the Cube to select it on this map).

d. A pre-game interface to make the above decisions. After the team selection screen, there should be an interface allowing selection of class, weapon, pet, and stat allocation. All of this information should be visible to both teams so that strategies can start to be formulated early. There should also be no option to switch between classes during the game.

e. Rewards scaled appropriately for the player's level. It would be bad to allow a level 1 to jump into a CTD match and make 20 million mana at the end. So, for example, a level 1 would make 5000 mana for a win while a level 78 in the same game would make 20 million.

f. An option to purchase upgrades with mana or a special pvp currency. There should be some way to get an advantage from playing a lot of pvp. If you could purchase permanent upgrades to the amount of discretionary points you have at the beginning of a match, this would encourage continued pvp play. Maybe even add options to increase the effectiveness of a certain pet or the damage of a particular weapon type. The marginal increase does not even have to be huge to be attractive to avid pvpers (see LoL runes and masteries).



I will update this post if I think of any more suggestions.


For more mechanical/bug related feedback see my thread in the pvp forum:
http://forums.trendyent.com/showthread.php?52146-Competitive-Tower-Defense-Feedback

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I pretty much agree with everything posted above.
One additional idea i allready posted would be giving all players the same stats.
That way the map wouldn't be dominated by whoever has the best gear but by what team makes the better strategic choices.

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I like the idea of everyone having the same stats, but this would complicate the reward process. If a level 1 squire can come into the game, be carried by a winning team to wave 10 or so and get 30 million mana, there's a problem. So the mana reward would also have to reflect the level of the character to some degree. So a level 1 might get 5,000 mana for a win while a 78 will get 20 million for winning the same game.

Another way to avoid this is to make the difficulties segregated by level range. So for example easy is level 20 and under, medium is 20 and higher, hard is 40 and higher, insane is 60 and higher, and nightmare is 74 and higher. That way a lvl 78 could get into any difficulty (but would choose nightmare because of much higher mana reward) but a level 50 character could only get into hard and below.

I favor the former solution however because segregating difficulties by level will significantly shrink the pool of potential opponents. If the host only wants to play with experienced players they can set a level requirement themselves.

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7.26 Patch Notes:

* Competitive Tower Defense: Changed Game Stats Screen to have option to Return to Tavern (all competitive game types now have this), changed Ogre Rush tokens to have less Ogres on earlier Waves (starting at 2 Ogres and increasing by 1 on each Wave)

Me gusta. A small step in the right direction for sure :)

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Whilst I have not played the game mode yet I agree with all of the stuff in the OP and I think that trendy should definitely see this

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Whilst I have not played the game mode yet I agree with all of the stuff in the OP and I think that trendy should definitely see this


Hitmo already said that he would pass it on to the dev team ;). /crossfingers

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So in 7.26 there seems to have been an unannounced change regarding ogre rushes. Activating an ogre rush will cause your crystal to take increased damage. Each successive ogre rush during a single wave will cause your crystal to take twice as much damage as before. Therefore for the first ogre rush your crystal takes 2x damage, the second 4x, the third 8x, and so on. The multiplier resets at the end of each wave.

I like how they're trying to make ogre rushes cost something to the team that launches them. This way of doing it is kind of ineffective though. After the first three or so ogre rushes the stacking multiplier becomes irrelevant because a wyvern or ogre will just one-shot it anyways. This will just lead to a crystal blowing up out of nowhere, like what happens in high-wave survival. It also won't really cost the team anything if their defenses are laid out correctly. If this is the direction Trendy wants to go, I would suggest doing one of the following:

1. keep the multiplier change the same, but greatly increase the health of the crystals. This will make the multipliers actually mean something, especially in later waves.

2. Apply the multiplier to defenses instead, AND
a. Reduce the rate of exponential increase, maybe only 1.5 times as much as before.
OR
b. Keep the multiplier the same, and make the increase only last a certain amount of time (say 1 minute). This will discourage launching multiple simultaneous ogre rushes.


It also seems like maybe the baseline pressure has been reduced, but I can't say for sure as someone else with slightly better gear than mine built the defenses.

Edit: The increasing strength of ogre rushes is also a very good change.

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I can really see your suggestion working if the ability to see opponents' layouts comes into play, I could really see some new strategy developing. Why not, for instance, build a lot of ground defences - tricking your enemies into sending a wyvern rush - but leave them mostly unupgraded in order to leave enough mana to pop down a few good anti-air turrets if you need to? Of course, maybe they would second-guess you and send something like maybe kobolds instead, leaving you with precious little time to react as they rush at you and explode your fakey-fake walls.

I also agree that, if the game mode is to attract interest and comments, it should be mostly player-centric. In a purely psychological way, the more effort you put into changing something, the more pride you feel in it - therefore, there should be a lot the player can tweak in order to influence both their own and the enemy's game. The computer-controlled mobs are really only there to impose a minimum on the pressure levels, so that when people are taking time to be strategic it won't be essentially a break for the other players. As such, maybe you could go a bit further with the wave manipulation - spend a bit of mana, say, to make the standard waves harder next round, or open another enemy spawn point to give another direction for monsters to come from. These, maybe, could be announced at the start of the build phase, so that the other side has a small chance to prepare. Seeing the direction Trendy are going with the payment system as well, perhaps there could be other ways of getting these - opening another spawn door could, maybe, come at the cost of giving your own defences harder enemies to fight off, or adding one or more extra mobs to any rushes summoned against you, making it a risky choice early on but better in the endgame, where more ogres appear, more mana is available and the enemy will be able to adapt to the newly-opened lane more easily. In short, there could be different disadvantages for different advantages? I'm not sure if this would make the game super complicated, but there should be more possible disadvantages than just core weakness.

Also, regarding standard hero stats. I lean heavily towards supporting customization, and allowing players to find the best balance - as such, perhaps it would instead be possible to start with a standard low build and give heroes a set amount of points to spend across certain categories? The same could perhaps be done from a weapons and armour perspective, allowing players a degree of customization whilst still forcing them to use certain, standard equipment to base this customization on. It could also be handy to be able to create PvP loadouts at the Forge and save them for your player, in order to reduce wait time loading yourself up at the start of each game if such a standardization feature was implemented.

Finally, I'd love to be able to call in a Spider Rush. Just saying. It would be hilarious.

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Dynamic Equipment system
Can pick up different equipment sets with no stats and can add stats to it, but limit the amount of stats that can be added to a single stats and have a diminishing return.
so lets say if I'm a damage dealer, I would pick the top 2 stats to have 150, the 3rd stats will have like 120, and the 4th will have 90, 5th will have 60, 7th will have 30... etc. that way every hero would be different depending on how they play. And would allow for a more dynamic team play also.

This can be done in tavern, but item doesn't work for anything except PVP maps.

Make it so the difficulty:
Augments how much stats each player can have at the beginning, so easy would have low stats and NM would have higher stats.

Augments how much DU you start with, so easy starts with less, NM starts with more.(higher difficulty games are more epic)
also, it would be nice to have presets too, like builder/support, and damage dealer... etc or maybe even allow for saved presets so someone can make a custom preset and not have to click a few hundred times every game.

Augment Crystal health, easy has less, NM has more

Allow for voting for types of rushes allowed also.
Have beacons on the ground in the beginning so people can step on it to select what kinds of rushes should be allowed. There would be a hierarchy of rushes. what that means is that:
Goblin < Orcs < Mages < Warriors < Ogres < Wyverns < Spiders < Djinns

so if you pick warriors, it would also allow for rushes for mages, orcs, and goblins.

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I don't like the scaling stats, as some people (like myself) work hard to get the gear, and that would suck if everyone had the same... Although it would make things fair, but fair isn't always fun.

One thing that would be cool would be the ability to wager items. I'm pretty sure it will make pvp a lot more competitive.

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I don't like the scaling stats, as some people (like myself) work hard to get the gear, and that would suck if everyone had the same... Although it would make things fair, but fair isn't always fun.

One thing that would be cool would be the ability to wager items. I'm pretty sure it will make pvp a lot more competitive.


The stats standardization is to keep it competitive so people will actually want to play this against other players.
I hated pvp in other MMO's because its just proving how much you farmed with the better gear and not actually skill based.
However, in other MMO's there is a standardized set of items for pvp, so eventually everyone will be on the same level.
In this game, the games stats of the items are randomly generated, so its really hard for people to play on even playing field.


Also, there is no rewards for these maps so the only reward should be the game play.

Perhaps there can be a toggle in the game options that will allow for your own gear or standardized gear.

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The stats standardization is to keep it competitive so people will actually want to play this against other players.
I hated pvp in other MMO's because its just proving how much you farmed with the better gear and not actually skill based.
However, in other MMO's there is a standardized set of items for pvp, so eventually everyone will be on the same level.
In this game, the games stats of the items are randomly generated, so its really hard for people to play on even playing field.


Also, there is no rewards for these maps so the only reward should be the game play.

Perhaps there can be a toggle in the game options that will allow for your own gear or standardized gear.


This is not an MMO, so it should not be compared to one. Like other action RPG's (diablo, borderlands, etc) pvp is heavily based on your gear. After all this more of a grind-ish type of game. If you want it to be even have the host kick people who don't have good enough gear/ have too good of gear.
The reason these games are better than MMO's is that it doesn't always have to be fair and even, and it's not just a bunch of cookie cutters with the same gear and stats.

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