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Scenario Design

A while back Mythic started up a thread regarding scenario feedback shortly after the release of 1.4.1 – when the scenario line-up was shaken up the second time since the institution of the new scenario system. The thread focused on what players were happy to see changed in terms of the scenarios removed and the ones added. A few players have suggested an even spread of the different types of scenarios so players have a greater choice. I wanted to take a quick look at the different types of scenarios and ask you, my readers, if you had the power to design a new scenario, what would be your ideal design.

Domination: The first category we have is the domination scenario – a scenario that is won by capturing and holding various objectives and slaughtering the enemy. The majority of scenarios in WAR have been domination with varying points of capture, typically those with more points were less popular as they created a situation where you spent more time looking for the enemy.

  • Double Point Domination – Of this category we have a few scenarios: Khaine’s Embrace, HighPass Cemetery, Twisting Tower, and Logrin’s Forge. The first two tended to be most popular due to their smaller size allowing for pitched battles between the two points.
  • Triple Point Domination – Nordenwatch, Gates of Ekrund, the Ironclad, and Dragon’s Bane. Of this sub-category, we have some of the most popular scenarios in WAR. All the maps are relatively small and the three-point capture system allows for a rotation of battle and a variation of tactics. Whereas two points lead to a tug-of-war fight in the middle, three-point captures offer a few different approaches.
  • Four/Five Point Domination – Reikland Factory, Blood of Black Cairn, and Thunder Valley. Here we get a mixed bag. Reikland Factory became popular due to its unique interior design and fast pace which complemented the new scenario emblem/insignia grind (however before the introduction of new currency the scenario wasn’t as popular). Blood of Black Cairn and Thunder Valley on the other hand proved to be maps which were too large and although could have some fun fights, the size made finding the enemy a larger part of the scenario.

Capture-the-Flag: The second category is the capture-the-flag scenario – a scenario that is won by one realm capturing an item and either delivering it back home or to other locations. While the category is highly popular, it suffers the set-back of having the stronger realm take advantage of the mechanic by capturing the flag and not turning it in or choosing to not capture it and spawn-camp/renown-farm the weaker opponent.

  • Stone Troll Crossing, Phoenix Gate, Talabec Dam, Black Fire Basin, Grovod Caverns, Serpent’s Passage, and Howling Gorge are the scenarios in this category. Typically the most intense fights in this scenario revolve around the central location where the flag is located. Once this fight is resolved it is up to the victor to decide if they want to follow the mechanic and take the flag to its location OR if they want to renown farm and choose to not pick up the flag or pick it up and hold onto it. Certain scenarios have built in expiration timers on the flags, but until a penalty is put on the realm for holding the flag too long, there is no way to force players to observe the scenario mechanic.

Murderball: The third category is the murderball scenario – a scenario where players accrue points by capturing an object and holding onto it for as long as possible; more points are granted generally for killing players while holding onto the object.

  • Mourkain Temple, Tor Anroc, and Maw of Madness are the three scenarios we have in this category. The scenarios have the plus of ending quickly should a realm choose to pick up the murderball and accrue points quickly by holding onto it.

King-of-the-Hill: Fourth we have the king-of-the-hill scenario – a scenario which is won by dominating  a single objective, which in some scenarios can shift.

  • Single Point – Doomfist Crater, The Lost Temple of Isha, and Caledor Woods are all scenarios fought over one location. The problem with these scenarios was that it was always hard to dislodge the enemy from the single location and most importantly, single locations generate points too slowly making for a drawn out scenario.
  • Rotating Points – Reikland Hills, Battle for Praag, and Gromril Crossing  are all scenarios fought over one point at a time, but once the point is captured the battle shifts. Reikland Hills has a random mechanic behind it rendering it the least popular of the King-of-the-Hill series, but for many players the remaining two rotating points scenarios make for the most popular scenarios in WAR.

Deathmatch: Lastly we have the deathmatch scenario – a scenario won by killing the enemy. One can argue that every scenario is a deathmatch, but by pure technicality only one scenario of this variety exists.

  • The Eternal Citadel is the only deathmatch scenario that exists in WAR and it is incredibly popular both for being a 6-man scenario, but also because there is but one goal, and that is to kill which is made all the easier with the smaller size.

So my question to you my readers, what is your favorite category of scenarios? If you could add or remake a scenario mechanic what would you do? What unexplored mechanics can Mythic still implement?

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Aeo
    March 25, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    Being cynical, I’d say Deathmatch. Players just want to kill each other and scenario objectives are pretty much ignored and just get in the way of things (e.g. one group deciding to actually focus on the objective (rare!) whilst another try to spawn camp. Groups get split, wiped and lose.

    Being fairer though, I like Caledor Woods, Serps Passage & Phoenix’s Gate, when the the fight is even and both sides realise that actually winning the scenario is going to reward them.

    I really liked an idea Zizlak posted about a while back where the message was “The purpose of a scenario should be to win it as a fast as possible, not as slow as possible.” http://doomdiver.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/old-scenario-stories/

  2. Syrioq
    March 25, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    Yeah, I would probably have to say deathmatch too. The other reason EC was so popular (besides it handing out emblems like candy) was that a bad scenario was over really quickly. Plus, even if you were vastly outclassed, you could usually get one or two kills in by punting in to the abyss, so it wasn’t a complete 500-0 rout.

    On a side note, does it say something that my (and many other people’s) favorite SC is the one that is over quickly?

  3. Elemenstor
    March 25, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    If I had to design a scenario?

    The Sacellum (sp?): Deathmatch.

    This is a 6 or 12 man SC, shaped like a gladiator ring about four times the size of the Eternal Citadel. Spawning works like the EC, with players kept in separate areas, and a portal moving them to a random gate of 6 possible entrances (all functionally the same). Despite being a gladiator’s ring, there are three levels to the stage, with open access to the others.

    The highest levels are four platforms circling the ring, with double ramps to access. They have no railing, but provide a place for RDPS to fire upon most of the surrounding area. Each platform has an Altar of Favor for one of the chaos gods. More on this later.

    The ground floor is cut by a trench system, with bridges over the trenches. There’s nothing special here, save that it’s in between the trenches and the platforms.

    the trenches are about 2 characters wide, and weave through the ground floor. At the center, there is a pedestal with an Orb of Control. If the he Orb of Control is picked up, the player carrying it must bring it to one of the Altars within 30 seconds or be slain by the rage of the Chaos Gods. If they carrier cannot make it in time, his death grants no points to either team, but the fury that slays him also knocks all players on the ramps into the ring. If the carrier manages to bring the Orb of Control to one of the Chaos God’s Altars of Favor, the following will happen:

    Altar of Khorne’s Favor: All players are filled with an insatiable bloodlust. (+80 Weapon Skill, +10% damage)
    Altar of Nurgle’s Favor: The trenches fill with sewage, forcing all players in them to be swim, as the toxic fumes ruin them (movement debuff, -80 toughness)
    Altar of Slaanesh’s Favor: Heady fumes fill the arena, causing players on the ground level to react slower and become entranced (-80 initiative, -600 armor)
    Altar of Tzeentch’s Favor: All players are made vulnerable to the warp, and gain a -180 resist debuff to all resistances.

    All buffs/debuffs last for 15 seconds, and the Orb takes 1 minute to reset.

  4. March 25, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    Give me Eternal citadel without dying when you fall down the hole. Seriously, winning because you punt better sucks. Note though that I played a Knight almost exclusively during those weekends and always kept moon punt slotted 😉

    • March 25, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      As a RDPS the EC was never too grand, very limited mobility. But I do agree with you that the punt-win factor wasn’t too big on my list. When I was on my IB the scenario was a blast, when I was on my SW it wasn’t so fun. I think most people liked it for its quick tempo though.

  5. schmopitmus Prime
    March 25, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Id say the EC is my favorite as well do to the head to head fight as well as if you get a crap one its over quick enough to move on to bigger and better things.

    If I could design one, I would like to see some sort of pve/pvp where theres ways to interact with the map ie khanines embrace or something that can help to turn the tide if you are up against a rr90+ premade. I don not mean runing around the map capping bos like in Thunder Valley.

    I would love to have more options in an SC as to how and where the fight will take place. Ledges for Ranged, catapults to fling players across the map, tunnels and shortcuts. Levers to activate lava rivers or spikes from teh ceiling.

    The spice of life is variety, variety, variety.

    What about maybe a Hamburger Hill type of situation

  6. schmopitmus Prime
    March 25, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Just had another idea. How about an EC type of situation but instead of a bottomless pit, its a deathmatch fight in the middle of a large crowd. The crowd could sway its advantage towards the under dog (as determined by the points). Maybe even close in on them making it a smaller fighting area. if you try to run you get pushed back into the crowd or knocked down. The crowd would be interactable (is that a word? lol) Say you get punted into the crowd wall, they might devour you and kill you or they might bounce you back into the crowd. They could give you a debuff or a buff randomly as well. Seems like there are a ton of things you could do. Make it happen Eka!

  7. March 25, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    My personal favourites are Khaine’s Embrace, Nordenwatch and The Eternal Citadel with the latter being the king of all scenarios for me. It’s fast, fluid, fun, visceral, good for fights, good for grinding- simply put- perfect.

  8. March 25, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Eka, you’ve become quite the rage for WAR blogging 😛

  9. Salvaged
    March 28, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Ugh, I hate the Eternal Citadel, it’s easily my least favorite scenario. I’ll always opt for a scenario with something more to it than ‘deathmatch on an open platform’. Alternate exits from the spawn, a more diverse playing field, and objectives that can be captured/completed while the enemy is sitting at your spawn point trying to farm renown are absolutely essential to a good scenario. Unlike ‘Syrioq’, EC ends 500-0 for me much more often than not, and there’s little I can do to change that in a PUG. (no punt on a WH)

    Personally I would keep making 3 and 4 capture point Domination scenarios. I love Nordenwatch, The Ironclad, and Reikland Factory. The Ironclad and Reikland Factory both have spawn point/exit design issues, but I always have more fun than I do in a scenario like EC.

    I’d love more than anything else to see improvements to the matchmaking system, worthwhile siege at the spawn point, working spawn point guards, and some new mechanics to give an undermanned/undergeared side a fighting chance when they inevitably come up against the high-RR premades. I don’t think spawn-camping is all that much fun for anyone.

    • mystery meat
      March 29, 2011 at 10:04 AM

      Funny you say “I don’t think spawn-camping is all that much fun for anyone”. While I agree that I dont like spawn camping, it seems that we can never get order to pull back from the destro spawn and likewise I have never seen Destro pull back from camping us.

      So for me, when being camped, I go on boycott in the WC. No point in me feeding them free RRs. When Order is camping Destro, I try and stay back and hang with the healers. Its a damn shame, because I end up hurting myself renown wise so its frustrating.

      • Salvaged
        March 29, 2011 at 6:11 PM

        True enough, but participating doesn’t necessarily mean that they are enjoying it. I think most of those players, given an option that is either more fun, or more rewarding, would opt not to spawn-camp. For example, if capturing flags and delivering bombs rewarded 2000+ RP to any friendly player nearby instead of ~100 RP, you might see more players interested in the objectives. Especially when the team getting camped starts to turtle and hide behind their guards. This could also lead to the dominant side splitting up their force, creating an opportunity for the underdogs to get a few kills.

        I think the ideal scenario would actually have multiple ways to win, with the most rewarding way requiring a team to split their force. Either to defend multiple points, defend and capture, or collect multiple ‘flags’ at the same time. It’s really just a matter of removing the incentives to camp, and rewarding behaviors that make the game more fun for everyone.

  10. Mystery meat
    March 29, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    I like that idea. I have always wished the objectives had more utility.

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