Guild Wars refactoring

Posted by on Saturday, September 19th | 6 comments

Guild Wars refactoring

In this post, I’m going to focus on the Guild Wars refactoring, and try to explain our thinking process which took a lot of time, imagination and reasoning.

 
 
 
 

Setting the meetings

In order to work on this Guild Wars refactoring, have met:

– the Game Designer

– the Game Producer

– the Community Manager

Having too much people is not only not necessary, but actually messy, and slows down the entire process. This is why only 3 people are enough, especially because with 3 people, you can easily take an idea from someone and turn around, try to remove the parts that don’t work, add some to make it better, then keep or reject it. A two-people meeting can too easily turn into something confrontational, with only 2 ideas, and not go anywhere. More specifically, each of these specific people add an important “touch” to the brainstorming: the Game Designer to make the ideas fit into a global model that actual works, the Game Producer to keep the idea doable and not completely utopic, and the Community Manager to carry players’ expectations. Of course, a Developer is necessary too for the technical constraints, but it’s not necessary at the early stage.

 

Pros / Cons

The first step was to see where we were at. What’s the current system? What is good, what is bad? What should we keep, what should we trash?

This is very simply to do. A simple table just like this:

Guild Wars pros & cons

Picking the best, leaving the worst.

 

 

Ideas we discussed

This being done, we started to iterate ideas, sharing what our “dream wars” would be. Pretty quickly, the idea of fighting some kind of “guild island” came out, and we tried to work around it. There was different ideas on how to do that. What we wanted to do is to turn the Guild Wars into something that was actually really “Guild Wars”, and not just “race points” like it used to be. We wanted to give you the feeling that you were really against one specific guild. Not only we wanted to fix the issues, but we wanted to go further and make the Guild Wars an awesome feature, something really original in our game’s genre.

The thing is, the Guild Wars of our dreams was just too big of an idea, and would take months to prepare. We know it was urgent to work on the this, so at the end, we searched how to cut down this awesome idea into something scalable and achievable.

 

And at the end…

Finally, quite naturally, we cut the whole feature into pieces. We “removed” the graphical view we imagined, where you could visualize islands of the opponents on a map. That’s really cool, but not absolutely necessary. More importantly: that’s always something we can do later on! For now it will just be a list of players you can attack with some information nicely put in perspective.

 

Version 2.9

First, for version 2.9, we worked on the brackets and the rewards, that were one of the core problems. Too much abuses were possible: Crowns dropping to take on easier opponents, or to trust the first positions of a bracket you didn’t belong to, as well as creating a 5-members guilds and go very up in the brackets in order to share a very big reward in a few pieces. Techniques we tolerated because it was a design flow rather than a cheat, but that we really didn’t want to happen. We came up with two simple solutions: reward everyone for their effort, and make sure the rewards always increase as you go up, that way you really don’t want to drop your Crowns or refrain yourself from making points. And then, define the rewards as per player, rather than per guilds, so that no matter how many players are in a guild, you’re not overflowed with tons of Gems.

The new brackets for the Seasons!

New rewards for Season!

Version 3.0

Then, we focused on the main feature itself, and how you make points. It was time to bring on our most valuable idea: being able to actually attack the other guild! We had long talks about how to make sure this can’t be abused in any way, for instance avoiding a situation where one player would provoke the lost of his guild because of a poor defense, or simply global bullying of one player by the entire opponent guild. From the beginning we agreed that the system should work and provide fun to everyone, no matter how long they play, how long they’re invested in the game. We needed one quick and short way to make points for those who don’t play a lot each day, and another way to make points for those who do play a lot, so that they can still increase and improve their overall performance in the Guild War.

We came up with the idea to use some sort of token when you want to attack a player from the opponent guild. You would get a few for free at the start of the War, a bit like the War Horn (although you wouldn’t keep them from one War to another), and you could get more by doing some normal PvP. Using one token, you can attack an opponent guild and make a lot of points.

Attack opponent

Select the opponent to attack!

But that wasn’t it! We wanted to bring even more strategy. So we prepared 2 things: first, you can scout the village as long as you want before starting the attack, you don’t have the 30 seconds like in normal PvP. This gives you plenty of time to see where are the weaknesses and where you want to attack, which units you want to release at which spots and when, same with your hero. But that wasn’t enough! To make it even more interesting, even more challenging, the second time you attack a specific player, we add a factor to his village that increases the difficulty! Basically you’re attacking the same village, but stronger! Of course, this also gives you more War points. And you can attack one same village up to 3 times, each time being more difficult. So beware, maybe it’s more interesting in terms of risk/reward to attack a harder opponent for the first time rather than a weaker one for the third time! Maybe the village became so difficult it’s harder than a higher ranked opponent!

Guild Fight

Attacking a player from the opponent guild.

The change is so big to us that we consider this version as 3.0. The third version of Vikings Gone Wild, where we underline with a big marker the word “strategy” in the game’s genre :)

 

What’s left?

To make sure it was doable, and more importantly, that we were able to deliver these changes in a reasonable time, we had to leave stuff out. For example, we haven’t touched the guilds matchmaking, nor the Wars cycle (19h War, 1h+ protection). There are different reasons to that, for the first one mostly because it’s hard to do better: we always try to give you the best match possible, we give you the closest available guild in terms of War points. But overall, it’s something we might try to work on, especially the Wars cycle, to be a bit more precise and have a nice cycle.

We also still have this idea of showing you a map with your opponent’s villages on it! Basically we wouldn’t have anything to change in the system, just the way we show it, to make it way nicer :) And of course we would love to know how you like it, and make changes if necessary: let us know in the comments!

6 Comments

  1. Epic! Should bring some spice to the game ! Fun Fun Fun ! ~Jenni

  2. Excellent , what I love is that you always keep the game new and exciting.

  3. Suicide squad sounds fascinating. I’d like to enjoy a little friendly interaction with opposing guilds. Nothing mean, just gentle trash talk or perhaps a thanks for a great fight after a really good battle. How about posting messages to their board? Or perhaps a 4th chat room that is for our two teams to banter back and forth during war periods. With all the guilds that may be a lot of new rooms. Or maybe color coding our opponent chatter in the public room so we can see if anyone we’re fighting against is chatting.

    Overall, adding challenge to attacking is fine as long as it doesn’t get so hard that the penalty for failure outweighs the resources/time/effort of trying.

    Fun game, thx for the efforts :)

  4. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between superb usability and visual appeal.

    I must say you’ve done a superb job with this.
    Additionally, the blog loads very fast for me on Internet explorer.
    Superb Blog!

  5. What’s up, after reading this awesome article i am also cheerful to share my knowledge here with mates.

  6. Real nice design and great articles, nothing else we want efcggdebefddgakd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *