Monday, March 4, 2013

World of Warcraft Battleground Suggestion: Skirmish of the Summit (MOBA Style)

Here the major content of the article will begin. I will attempt to accomplish two things by pitching this battleground suggestion. The first is to try to make the battleground fall under something of a MOBA style as sensibly as possible. The second is to address the issues of putting a MOBA styled battleground into a game where equipment is already acquired outside of the battleground (in short, balance). There are many other issues associated with the second part, some of which I found after sleuthing around on the official forums and others I learned from discussions with friends on this idea.

Before going any further I would like to mention that while I throw around DotA and League of Legends as the primary MOBA games, this is because the inspiration I draw upon to create this battleground idea stems from one of those two games. It is probably worth mentioning the 3rd-person MOBA, SMITE, as the battleground may end up becoming most similar to that particular MOBA game due to both games sharing 3rd person perspective. On another note, I will probably end up using a lot of MOBA terms. I will try to define as many as possible for readers who have never played a MOBA game before but may miss some (if I do, please point it out).

Note: The information listed here isn't completely specific. I did this deliberately because I plan to make some individual pages for things like item and mob lists. These will be released at a later (undetermined) date. The information here is more of a detailed outline.

General Overview

Skirmish of the Summit will be a 10-player battleground (subject to Rated Battlegrounds) taking place in the Kun-lai Summit. It will feature two "lanes" that the Alliance and Horde will constantly send forces down. Guarded by numerous barricade, players can eventually reach the commander of the opposing faction and eliminate them to end the match. There is also a third "lane" that runs through the center of the map, which consists of a large mountainous area full of neutral creatures that players can defeat for experience, currency, and special buffs.

Skirmish of the Summit will introduce a currency, rank, and "item" system. This will generally make character equipment (and hopefully level) irrelevant to a point. Stats have also been significantly modified and most do not function in this battleground to prevent imbalance.

With that said, let us get into the details.

The Lanes

There are two lanes, one to the north and one to the south, both roughly 50 yards in width. Troops from both factions will be sent down both lanes simultaneously every half minute, eventually clashing (initially) in the middle of each lane. Players can defeat opposing forces to help their own forces advance towards the enemy defenses. The forces consist of four soldiers (footmen/grunts), two archers, two casters (primarily mages), and eventually two mounted units (knights/wolfriders). All forces gradually increase in strength, gaining 5% health and damage every 2 minutes.

The defenses consist of destructible barricades with large amounts of health that block the entire lane. Archers are posted on the barricades to add lethality (though they can be eliminated individually by players). Forces of the same faction as a defensive barricade can teleport through. There will be teleporters available in the front of each barricade that the allied faction can use to quickly transport to other key locations on the map (with a 30 second cooldown), such as to other allied barricades or the main base.

If a barricade is successfully destroyed, troops will advance past it to the next barricade, which will be slightly more fortified to add a sense of increasing difficulty.  This latter barricade is the last barricade in the lane. Players can teleport to an enemy's destroyed barricade as a key location for quick travel. Barricades will not respawn when destroyed.

Beyond this is a siege engine. Throughout the game these will fire on the forces that oppose them, instantly defeating stronger units such as knights or wolfriders, while dealing 20% of the health of weaker units. Unlucky players caught near the unit spawn areas will also be damaged for 20% of their health. The successful destruction of a siege engine will negate the previous effects, essentially allowing your team to acquire lane superiority by spawning stronger units unhindered. It will also allow your team to use the destroyed siege engine as a teleportation point.. Be warned, however, as siege engines spawn three minutes after their destruction and at least one must be destroyed to advance to the commander.

The commander (General Nazgrim or Admiral Taylor) is the final objective, who will be within the barracks at the end (roughly where the opposing spawn point and shop are), guarded by several elite guards that respawn when a siege engine does. The commander is pretty strong, though by the later points of the match a small group of players can easily defeat him if left alone. Defeating the opposing commander ends the match with victory for your team.

These commanders are chosen due to their involvement in the Mists of Pandaria quest lines (in particular ones related to faction strife) much like the Isle of Conquest before it. It even makes sense from a lore standpoint because both factions have base camps in the Kun-lai Summit and the major presence of both the Horde and Alliance pretty much end there (as do quest line related to Nazgrim or Taylor).

Neutral Objectives (AKA "The Jungle")

Aside from the two "conventional" lanes with barricades and siege engines, there is a series of roads that lead around the mountainous areas in the middle. Within these mountainous areas contain "neutral" enemies (for example: mountain lions, Mogu, Yaungol, Jinyu, Hozen, Saurok, and Sha). While many will be confined to the twenty camps (ten per side) that are all over the mountains, some, such as patrols of Yaungol and prowling mountain lions, add an additional dimension to the traditional "jungling" that a MOBA game brings. Enemies confined to camps can provide buffs to haste and movement speed (please refer to the map above to see all the camps) in addition to Summit Tokens (see Currency Awards below).

In addition to these twenty neutral camps (plus six patrols and additional random wildlife), there are two mini-boss creatures (Sha of Emnity and Warmonger K'won) that award a large amount of Summit Tokens when defeated. There is also a super-boss named Jir the Summit Wyrm who also awards a large amount of Summit Tokens when defeated and temporarily grants an empowering effect to all troops on your side (including players) for three minutes. This effect persists through death and is applied to new units that are spawned (after three minutes the buff is removed from all troops immediately).

It should be worth noting these units also increase in strength uniformly in a manner identical to lane troops. Their Summit Token bounty will increase at the rates listed below.

Players who decide to fight neutral creeps also have the advantage of runes near the ledges that negate fall damage for a brief time of 30 seconds, allowing players to "gank" opponents on lanes or otherwise cause havoc. They have to be careful, however, because while it is possible to bypass barricades entirely, NPCs guarding the barricades will prioritize such invaders and make short work of them and barricades/siege engines that still have allied barricades in front that are alive are invulnerable (similar to how turrets are invulnerable until the previous tier turret is destroyed). In addition to providing fall damage preventing, players affected by these runes can warp faster once (consuming the effect prematurely) which allows them to go back to the neutral enemies faster.

Ranks

One trait a MOBA game has is character levels. This determines how powerful a given hero/champion/other is. Each level grants stats and new abilities, much like character levels in WoW or many RPG games. However, since WoW already has a character level system, this battleground would instead use a ranking system that is independent of the character level. Every character would start the battleground at Rank 0 and work their way up to Rank 10. To gain rank, characters just need to complete objectives and kill enemies (enemy players, enemy forces, or neutral mobs will suffice) and gain what is essentially the equivalent of experience.

While higher ranks do not grant new abilities, they will significantly increase the power of the character, with a boost to damage, total health, and healing done by 5% per rank, maxing at a 50% bonus for each (abilities that exclusively heal the user are excluded to prevent double dipping).

Stats in Skirmish of the Summit

In this battleground, gear is close to irrelevant like in any MOBA. The only stats that work are PvP Power and PvP Resilience (which are only great to a point and are more meant to encourage people to use PvP gear for PvP), while other stats are automatically nullified. Instead, like in a MOBA game, you will gather currency (in this case Summit Tokens), which allow you to purchase relics, glyphs, charms, and other special items that boost your stats while held (along with various consumables such as potions, alarm bots that yell in the presence of an enemy player, and so on). These items will have stats, some of which are similar to the current WoW stats. Some of these stats, while listed as WoW stats, may function differently in this battleground, however.
  • Critical Strike Chance: Attacks have a chance to cause double damage equal to this chance. Agility and Intellect do not grant bonus Critical Strike Chance.
  • Haste: Increases the amount of attacks or casts a player can get off. In addition, in this battleground, Haste will also reduce the base cooldown of all abilities (does not double dip with abilities that already have this trait) to a cap of 50% (which would reduce cooldowns by 33.3%, due to how Haste calculations work - this continues to reduce the global cooldown of applicable classes only).
  • Mastery: This stat functions the same.
  • Crit Damage Bonus: Increases the critical strike damage bonus by an additive percentage (i.e. 8% Crit Damage Bonus results in critical strikes dealing 208% normal damage).
  • Life Leech: Causes all attacks to heal the attacker for an amount equal to their percentage of life leech. This applies to all abilities and always has full benefit.
  • Mana Conversion: Causes all attacks and healing that costs mana to restore mana equal to a percentage the amount of damage or healing done. This percentage will be very small and is a trait only found on a few items.
  • Hit, Expertise, Dodge, and Parry: These stats do not "exist" in the battleground. Strength does not grant Parry and Agility does not grant Dodge. Base chance to Dodge and Parry are lowered to zero, but can be modified by class abilities. Abilities will always hit otherwise.
  • PvP Power/PvP Resilience: These two stats are used to increase damage dealt and reduce damage taken. It is essentially the equivalent of having defensive stats that reduce damage like Armor and Magic Resist in League of Legends. These two stats will affect mobs in the battleground as well.
  • Armor: This stat is not used in the battleground. All characters have zero armor (physical damage dealt may need to be normalized as a result - i.e. reduced by a set percentage)
It should be noted class mechanics still function in this battleground, including those that modify stats.
Currency Awards

Currency awards go as follows. Take note that NPCs that award tokens will split the award between all players that helped defeat them unless mentioned otherwise, randomly giving the remainder to a single player:
  • Foot soldiers (Footmen/Grunts) award 15 Summit Tokens each. This increases by 1 token every 2 minutes, capping at 30.
  • Both archers and casters award 12 Summit Tokens each. This increases by 1 token every 2 minutes, capping at 27.
  • Mounted units award 20 Summit Tokens each. This increases by 2 tokens every 2 minutes, capping at 50. Keep in mind this may make it a risk to destroy siege engines early and allow enemy team to get huge amounts of tokens.
  • Barricades award 100 Summit Tokens to each player when destroyed.
  • Siege Engines award 50 Summit Tokens to each player when destroyed (even if it respawns and is destroyed again).
  • The following are not completely conceptualized yet. I may change the names of the NPCs:
    • The Sha of Emnity and Warmonger K'won (Yaungol) both award 100 Summit Tokens to each player when defeated. They respawn three minutes after they have been slain.
    • Jirau, the Summit Wyrm awards 200 Summit Tokens to each player when defeated. He respawns five minutes after he has been slain.
(This may get moved to another page.)

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