Friday, 11 December 2009

Querulous Plains: Backdropping

In the game I'm designing I talked recently about raids. I have thought of a feature that I think would really enhance the raids in my game, as far as I know it's an original idea. At least I haven't seen it anywhere not heard of it being done.

As readers of my previous post will know QP raiding uses a system for competitive pve. Raids are in Tiers and it's a race to the middle.

Backdropping will provide a visual clue to what other people are doing in the game.

So suppose you are in Tier 1. Tier 1 is a big zergfest drop-in raid similar to Warhammer Online's public quests. Tier 1 is set on a field in front of a castle and in the background you can see the castle walls which is where Tier 2 happens. You can't interact with the castle walls, it's just a graphical display.

If someone is actively raiding then one person will usually be assigned to carry a battle standard in any zone after Tier 1. This standard is just a big flag, it gives morale bonuses to the raid while it is active and attracts enemies. You don't have to have it up but the hit to your stats if it drops is probably enough to cause you to wipe. The person carrying it can't do anything else except keep it up, he needs to be defended by other players as the AI will try hard to kill him.

I have the idea that this will add an extra tanking element to the game's raids - you need a tank to carry it, plus tanks to intercept mobs coming for the flag carrier plus your regular boss tanks and add tanks that the encounter design would require.

In addition the flag is graphically mirrored onto the backdrops of other tiers. A graphic, similar in design to the flag, will be seen flying as long as the standard is held up and players in adjacent tiers will be able to see it fall if you wipe or lose your flag carrier.

So let's suppose my guild, The Pirates of Ick, are raiding in Tier 2, the castle walls. People in Tier 1 will see the flag that I designed when I made the guild (which is also our guild tabard). So my brave green skull and crossbones will flutter as a fairly small detail in the wall battle Tier 1 players see as part of the background to their play area.

Disaster strikes, our flag carrier goes down! Players in Tier 1 will see the flag disappear.

We rally! Another player heroically lifts the flag and we push through to kill the boss! The graphic I have in mind here is best explained by comparing it to one of those Warner Brothers cartoons where a champagne cork is popped and all sorts of colourful things fly out of the champagne bottle. However all of these little images are the proud green skull and crossbones flag of the Pirates of Ick. And this appears in the background that Tier 1 players will see while they are raiding - a glorious explosion of green pirate confetti showing the world we've won!

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