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Proposal: Dev-Sponsored PvP Happy Hour(s)


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Since the reset, the PvP scene has been healthier than it has in years. However, matchmaking is still difficult in North American times, and 2v2 ranked is essentially dead, as we've seen by @LordJay trying to self-organize a 2v2 ranked "happy hour."

There are a few problems why 2v2 is especially dead. First, there isn't a "culture" of 2v2--most people just play with random partners without voice, and they would rather mess around in unranked than lose to a team organized with voice. The players who do have dedicated partners need to come to unranked in order to find a match . . . and even if two teams want to play ranked, they will probably just go unranked because they don't think anyone else would be queueing ranked. If you type something like "looking for ranked 2v2 opponents" then most people worse than you will switch from ranked to unranked, and maybe some really good players will come to snipe you.

I suggest that we implement a dev-sponsored happy hour to focus PvP activity into certain time windows. For example, anyone who queues during this time gets 10x bfp return from the reserve while they wait for the match. Or, matches played during the happy hour grant 3x gold.

There could be a couple of these "happy hours" each day, which is convenient for people in different timezones. There should be happy hours for both 1v1 and 2v2. The idea is to create a couple reliable times when other PvP players will be online. Suppose I log into battleforge for an hour each day after work, at random. If I know that logging in from 9pm to 10pm will give me better rewards than any other time, I will probably play in that time instead of a different time. Or if I play both PvP and PvE, I might decide to play my pvp during the happy hour and PvE during another time.

Or imagine that I didn't care about the happy hour reward at all--but just knowing that more players will be online at a certain time, I might also try to be online at that time. Suppose that 10 players would play from 8-9, 10 different players from 9-10, and 10 different players from 10-11, which happens just by chance. Wouldn't it be better if we had 30 playing at once? Probably, we'd see players continue past the happy hour because there would be a variety of opponents to play (I guess a lot of people only play for a few games because they get tired of facing the same opponent).

Advantages:

  • Focuses PvP in certain times, improving the experience at those times  by ensuring a variety of PvP opponents and possibly reviving dead modes like ranked 2v2
  • Causes more players to play PvP (because happy hour is strictly a bonus)
  • Causes players to continue playing after happy hour, because the experience is overall better (less time queuing, opponents closer to your skill level, etc).

Disadvantages:

  • If there is no net increase in PvP playtime, but simply players moving from one time to another, then certain times (such as 1 hour before happy hour) may have very few PvP players online, because they changed to only play during happy hour. This would be extremely annoying for PvP players who do not have flexibility when they can play.

Personally, however, I don't think we'd get fewer PvP players at non-happy hour times. Still, one way to improve the experience for players without schedule flexibility would be to rotate the happy hours. For example, there could be 4 happy hours spaced 6 hours apart. On day 1 the happy hours might be 1:00, 7:00, 13:00, 19:00....on day two they would be 2:00, 8:00, 14:00, 20:00...and on day 6 they would repeat The only disadvantage to a rotating schedule is that players may forget when happy hour is, which results in decreased "advantages."

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10 hours ago, Eirias said:
  • Focuses PvP in certain times, improving the experience at those times  by ensuring a variety of PvP opponents and possibly reviving dead modes like ranked 2v2

I think with the playerbase we have atm, the fastest way to improve pvp quality and playability is to indeed focus those who actively play on arranged time frames. 

10 hours ago, Eirias said:

I suggest that we implement a dev-sponsored happy hour to focus PvP activity into certain time windows. For example, anyone who queues during this time gets 10x bfp return from the reserve while they wait for the match. Or, matches played during the happy hour grant 3x gold.

There could be a couple of these "happy hours" each day, which is convenient for people in different timezones. There should be happy hours for both 1v1 and 2v2. The idea is to create a couple reliable times when other PvP players will be online. Suppose I log into battleforge for an hour each day after work, at random. If I know that logging in from 9pm to 10pm will give me better rewards than any other time, I will probably play in that time instead of a different time. Or if I play both PvP and PvE, I might decide to play my pvp during the happy hour and PvE during another time.

And that I think is the other key to succesfully get more people to play pvp. Currently there's only a gold-bonus for playing certain deck-types, which isn't the most efficient way to farm gold at all.. With things like Bad Harvest expert in 2-3 Minutes, pvp could hardly contest when it comes to gold. These happy hours, with an extra boost might be the motivation some ppl need to seriously try out pvp. Maybe even more acchievements could be added, like boosters and bfp for certain pvp goals, instead of just gold?

 

All in all I think your suggestion is quite reasonable and an implementation of your ideas could solve some problems! 

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Before implementing mechanics that flood more BFP/gold into the game, I'd like to see a dump to get rid of it first. Boosters merely shift the bulk of content from BFP onto extra cards, which you can do nothing with either.

Speedrunning strats spilling over into regular play is something that is dangerous to be used as the measuring stick to judge "efficiency" by.

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5 hours ago, Cocofang said:

Before implementing mechanics that flood more BFP/gold into the game, I'd like to see a dump to get rid of it first.

Were talking about pvp - it's not gonna be a flood, it might trickle a little

(almost nobody plays pvp)

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5 hours ago, Cocofang said:

Before implementing mechanics that flood more BFP/gold into the game, I'd like to see a dump to get rid of it first.

First, that's a separate issue.

Second, the happy hour would not "flood" resources into the game. Even if there was a significant number of PvP players to actually affect the economy, I'm not suggesting the happy hour should give similar gold/time as bad harvest runs...and anyone can do BH runs at any time.

My idea about "emptying the reserve faster" would apply to queue times. Queuing is by far the least interesting thing you can do in this game, and if you're queuing during happy hour, you shouldn't be waiting long, so it wouldn't even translate to much extra bfp. But you have a consolation prize--"hmm...if I have to wait and can't find a game, at least I'll get extra bfp rather than completely wasting my time, so let me plan to play ranked at that time." Since more people queue during those hours the matchmaking time is reduced, which is the real goal.

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Unfortunately PvP is declining every day.

Only the best players play PvP now days and new players who try to play PvP just get crashed so they never go back to PvP.

Skylords is missing an essential game mode that exists in other RTS game.

That game mode is "Skirmish" against the AI.

We have a PvE for that, but PvP is entirely different play style.

In other RTS games many players like to play "Computer Stomp" via Skirmish.

We don't have such option with Skylords.

That could be done via scenario design where the AI captures and builds power wells and monuments.

We just need a good team of scenario designers to work on that.

This will help players to get better in PvP and PvP will become more popular.

Metagross31 and Loriens like this
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an AI mode does sound great, but i wouldn't even know how to start writing AI for battleforge. the game is way way too dynamic for it as it lacks classical base-building mechanics and tech progression. the void system, ability to spawn units in the field and use of spells leads to vastly different approaches to matches when compared to other rts games. if anyone has any sort of idea on how a decent bot can be made, then i am all for it. i have however the suspicion that the lack of bots in pvp is for good reason: the devs could not deliver an acceptable bot in an acceptable sort of timeframe (and maybe even neither of those) and that's why we never got bots in pvp.

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15 hours ago, LagOps said:

an AI mode does sound great, but i wouldn't even know how to start writing AI for battleforge. the game is way way too dynamic for it as it lacks classical base-building mechanics and tech progression. the void system, ability to spawn units in the field and use of spells leads to vastly different approaches to matches when compared to other rts games. if anyone has any sort of idea on how a decent bot can be made, then i am all for it. i have however the suspicion that the lack of bots in pvp is for good reason: the devs could not deliver an acceptable bot in an acceptable sort of timeframe (and maybe even neither of those) and that's why we never got bots in pvp.

Don't underestimate the ability of the developers.

The scenario scripting for Battleforge is vast.

Of course, we can never expect the AI to play as good as human players.

However, that can be resolved by allowing the AI to cheat with resources.

The higher the difficulty level, the more the AI cheats.

This will allow every player to find the difficulty level that is right for him. 

I challenge the developers to look into that.

They can start with something basic and then improve it over time.

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Isn't pvp far too complex for a bot? A simple decision like a) retreating or b) stay attacking depends on so many factors like: whats the HP of the attacking unit, whats the HP of surrounding enemy units, whats their damage? What CCs or dmg spells do i carry, wich does the oponent carry? you have decisions like this literally every second - is it even possible to make a bot wich isn't just a slightly better PVE AI?

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On 4/2/2021 at 8:07 AM, Eirias said:

At what point does this become PvE though?

 

It's a PvP style PvE. 

In PvE the AI just have units in place defending an areas and buildings that spawn more units, that's it.

In PvP it's about capturing power wells and monuments and attacking the player's monument and power well.

PvP has more dynamic game play and therefore more rewarding.

For that reason every RTS games have a Skirmish game mode where the AI plays a PvP game style mode.  

 

On 4/2/2021 at 12:52 PM, SunWu said:

Isn't pvp far too complex for a bot? A simple decision like a) retreating or b) stay attacking depends on so many factors like: whats the HP of the attacking unit, whats the HP of surrounding enemy units, whats their damage? What CCs or dmg spells do i carry, wich does the oponent carry? you have decisions like this literally every second - is it even possible to make a bot wich isn't just a slightly better PVE AI?

Yes, but there are ways to get around the complex portion of  PvP gameplay.

For example, no retreating. 

When attacking, summon several units and attack all together.

No special abilities initially, so no micro.

The AI can manage with some resource cheating. 

AI units should all be fully upgraded. HP and damage is handled automatically just like in PvE games.

Many years ago I wrote custom scenarios Skirmish style for Age of Empire 3 via their Map Editor.

http://aoe3.heavengames.com/downloads/lister.php?search=Moshe+Levi

The scripts for Map Editing are vast, and their are numerous way to know to handle he situation on the ground, and base on that how to react.

Battleforge/Skylords has even more complex map editing scripts than Age of Empire 3.

I would love to look into it myself but this is more appropriate for a team effort.

Edited by macabi
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Concerning AIs:
I generally like the idea and would love to see it implemented. The biggest problem I see right now is a missing API for programming one, I do not know though how much work it is to create one. Creating an AI afterwards will be the smaller problem I think. Especially if people can make and test their own AIs, there will be a quick development and we will probably see some decent ones quicker than we expect.

Concerning Happy hours:
I am all for that! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Are there any updates to this topic yet?

I´d love to see PvP happy-hours!

Also liking the reward idea - maybe the bfp reserve would restore faster during "searching for an opponent" and empty faster during a match in these happy hours.

And different happy-hours for 1v1 and 2v2 sound very good too - would compromise the players even more.

Jaymy likes this
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