Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Fascist Pink
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Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fascist Pink » Sun 13 Nov 2016 02:52

Problem

I'll try to be brief, since everyone should have at least some appreciation of these problems already. Anyway:

Wargame, for a game of its scope, suffers greatly from its metaplay: knowledge possessed before the player enters the match. I'm not even talking unicorn units, cheese, or game balance issues privileging only a select few decks and cards with "competitive playability"; game balance is essentially impossible to tune to a point where every unit is competitive.

I'm talking maps and game modes.

There is a limited pool of maps. There are also a select few winning strategies. It's a consequence of each map being designed around lanes. Such and such a deck holds this lane or this lane; you helo-rush this point or this point, or you moto-rush, or you take a Buratino.

Conquest, you rush these points, if you fail, you've probably lost.

Destruction, take these positions and hold until the enemy trades badly going on the offensive.

There's no opportunity for creative or imaginative play with the restrictions imposed by the game's metaplay.

Solution

By amping up the scale and reducing the metaplay elements, Wargame will both become more enjoyable and more realistic. I suggest achieving this with three new design elements:

1. Objectives.

Cast aside Destruction or Conquest in favour of Objectives. One side is given an attack order. Both sides are given casualty restrictions or guidelines for engagement from "High Command".

These are pulled randomly from a pool for each map. Failure to attain these objectives or meet these guidelines does not result in an automatic loss, but a points penalty, with casualties inflicted also being factored in. So, you get scenarios where you failed to meet your primary objective, but won anyway because you inflicted traumatic casualties on the enemy in the process.

E.g.:

BLUFOR: Conserve armour. Armour casualties must not exceed X%. OPFOR: Seize this bridge and hold it for X minutes. Overall casualties must not exceed X%.

BLUFOR: Take this town. OPFOR: Take this airfield.

2. Vastly increased map scale.

In order for Objectives to work, the scale needs to be greater. I'm suggesting a lesser pool of bigger maps, each with a number of possible objectives that the enemy team might be working towards. You can't expect where the line of contact will be drawn, you can't anticipate where the enemy columns will drive. You have to use canny reconnaissance, have outposts far beyond the objectives you might need to hold, second-guess on whether the enemy is feinting or really has committed himself wherever...

The artificial and restrictive Zones mechanic would have be removed. So, what do we do with Command units?

3. Out-of-Command Penalties

If you want to be able to command your units, you should have it in range of your command units' auras. I'm thinking two things:

STATIC HQ'S: FOB-style, immobile Headquarters With very large auras, but at risk of being identified and destroyed.

MOBILE HQ'S: Command units. Smaller auras, but mobile, more survivable.

This might be slightly unrealistic, but results in some interesting mechanics and play decisions.

Out of range of the aura? "OUT OF COMMAND" debuff. Orders take a while to process. 30 seconds? You might still be able to make veery general movements -- like setting up or withdrawing to new lines of defenses -- but you won't be able to micro at all.

It could also mean we have radio interception and jamming represented at some level. Expensive, extremely limited availability, but get them close enough to a HQ and some enemy units are revealed, or go out of command, or you learn the enemy's Objectives.

Opinions?
Last edited by Fascist Pink on Sun 13 Nov 2016 05:59, edited 1 time in total.

jhfts
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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby jhfts » Sun 13 Nov 2016 04:48

Interesting ideas, but I would naturally suggest that any of them would have to wait for another Wargame. RD is a mature game, and modifications of depth that you propose are simply not plausible at this point in the game's lifecycle.

I think that the overall theme of your suggestions would decisively reframe the gameplay in a tactical / small-unit direction, especially with the increased need to manage and move CVs. While some regulars of 'tactical' servers might applaud such an action, I think that it would detract from the operation-scale gameplay that Wargame is typically associated with.

Additionally, I believe that the objectives-centric gameplay that you describe, while perhaps a step up from the current, simplistic approach, would be very difficult to implement without better interface affordances for team-play and coordination. Playing 10 v 10 cooperatively right now is a bit like herding cats at the best of times, and I imagine that trying to get a team to cooperate in achieving an objective under the current system would be an exercise in futility. Implementing such a gameplay mode would require better in-built tools for coordination (Better markers, arrows, in-build voice-chat, etc.)

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Guggy » Sun 13 Nov 2016 05:40

Wouldnt work in this franchise, Im afraid. Otherwise a good idea.

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fascist Pink » Sun 13 Nov 2016 05:53

jhfts wrote:Interesting ideas, but I would naturally suggest that any of them would have to wait for another Wargame. RD is a mature game, and modifications of depth that you propose are simply not plausible at this point in the game's lifecycle.


This was more talking about the franchise as a whole, rather than changes presently.

I think that the overall theme of your suggestions would decisively reframe the gameplay in a tactical / small-unit direction, especially with the increased need to manage and move CVs. While some regulars of 'tactical' servers might applaud such an action, I think that it would detract from the operation-scale gameplay that Wargame is typically associated with.


I think the operational scale suffers from the small scale of the game. There are virtually no strategic decisions to be made in Wargame in its current incarnation. My proposals would hopefully refocus the game towards psychological, decision-based play, with a larger wait-time between engagements, but an equally -- if not more -- intense experience during contact.

Additionally, I believe that the objectives-centric gameplay that you describe, while perhaps a step up from the current, simplistic approach, would be very difficult to implement without better interface affordances for team-play and coordination. Playing 10 v 10 cooperatively right now is a bit like herding cats at the best of times, and I imagine that trying to get a team to cooperate in achieving an objective under the current system would be an exercise in futility. Implementing such a gameplay mode would require better in-built tools for coordination (Better markers, arrows, in-build voice-chat, etc.)


Interface is a given when discussing gameplay concepts. It has no place in the discussion; obviously it would need to be overhauled. Personally, on the subject of coordination, if this were another franchise, I would suggest a sort of chain of command -- a commander presiding over the players, who controls maybe higher-tier assets like heavy artillery, SAMS, logistics, aircraft, etc. But that would never work under the curent system, so the point is moot.

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fascist Pink » Sun 13 Nov 2016 05:56

Guggy wrote:Wouldnt work in this franchise, Im afraid. Otherwise a good idea.


Wargame, at its heart, is about operations at approximately the brigade level. When you put something like that on such small, crowded maps, with such unvarying metaplay, it suffers. I say that as someone who plays 4 v 4 maps on 2 v 2 and 1 v 1.

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Guggy » Sun 13 Nov 2016 06:05

I dont think thats what the playerbase wants, though.

When W:EE was still in beta, alot of people expected the game to be more like Steel Panthers in an RTS format. It never manifested as that. Had the franchise taken that direction, then I think your suggestion would already be ingame :P

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fade2Gray » Sun 13 Nov 2016 06:34

I seriously doubt that this would take away from making sure you have the "perfect" deck without subpar units IMO. If you want to make it so that you don't have to worry about which units to take, the simple method would be to massively cut down on the number of units in game.

If you take T-80BVs, you are going to have a bad time, even with these ideas.
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Fascist Pink
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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fascist Pink » Sun 13 Nov 2016 06:49

Guggy wrote:I dont think thats what the playerbase wants, though.

When W:EE was still in beta, alot of people expected the game to be more like Steel Panthers in an RTS format. It never manifested as that. Had the franchise taken that direction, then I think your suggestion would already be ingame :P


Whatever the case, the scale of the game needs to be clarified. It's too muddied.

Fade2Gray wrote:I seriously doubt that this would take away from making sure you have the "perfect" deck without subpar units IMO. If you want to make it so that you don't have to worry about which units to take, the simple method would be to massively cut down on the number of units in game.

If you take T-80BVs, you are going to have a bad time, even with these ideas.


Did you read the original post at all? Would you like me to go through it again with pictures?

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby nande » Sun 13 Nov 2016 07:19

aren't you asking for the removal of the few competitive aspects this game has, in making gameplay more chance-based.

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Re: Ludic play, replayability, and redesigning Wargame's metaplay premises

Postby Fade2Gray » Sun 13 Nov 2016 07:20

Fascist Pink wrote:Did you read the original post at all? Would you like me to go through it again with pictures?


If you use crayons, yes. Careful though, while I'm not an ex-Marine, there's still a chance I'll steal them and eat them. :P
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