Criteria for a good MP campaign

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Criteria for a good MP campaign

Postby Kwandulin » September 11th, 2017, 9:36 am

As of recently, there has been a demand for another MP campaign, because the MP version of LoW has some issues. But what should a good MP campaign be like? I think there are several aspects that are worth to be discussed. There might be more.

How many players are allowed?
The more players there are, the longer it takes until the next turn takes place. This could easily become tedious.
Suggestion: Limit the amount of players to 2. The amount of players should not change throughout the campaign to avoid having to wait for further players.

How long should the campaign be?
The longer the campaign, the more have the players to organize themselves in order to play together because of not being able to finish it in one session. The shorter the campaign, the easier it is to finish the campaign in one session.
Suggestion: We want the players to be able to play and finish a MP campaign, so the campaign should be of short or middle length (4-8 scenarios).

How much should the players depend on each other?
In SP, the player only depends on himself and/or the AI. In MP, we have more options: the players could be independent, e.g. both players do not really have to work together to finish the scenario or even a single player is able to lead the team to victory. On the other side, the players could depend on each other, so the scenario is not finishable, if the players don't work together.
Suggestion: The MP campaign should be a true MP campaign, it should not be an SP campaign in which simply another player has been added. The campaign should not be finishable by having only one player. This could lead to interesting objectives: e.g. player 1 has to activate a magical monolith in the west of the map, player 2 has to activate one in the east of the map. The specific monoliths can only be activated by the specific side. So if player 2 has problems to reach his monolith, player 1 has to help him to get there; he cannot just activate it himself. The players have to work together to win. Different objectives for each player might be a way to achieve this.
The aspect of interdependency leads to the next question.


What faction setup is desireable? Should the team members play with the identical faction? Or should the players play different factions? (We don't have to adhere to the strict factions here).
Suggestion: The players are using different factions or at least have some units that the other player cannot recruit. This could help to make the players more dependend on each other (e.g. only player 1 has access to flying units, while only player 2 has access to swimmers).

Should the players be on the same team? Should there be a scenario in which the players fight against each other?
A MP campaign, in which the players fight in one team and later fight against each other, could lead to ugly kill steals during the first phase or to strategically moving your units behind your team mates' units so the enemy attacks the units of the team mate. Intending to indirectly damaging your team mate so you have an advantage in a later scenario against him is toxic gameplay, imo.
Suggestion: The players should fight on the same side for the whole of the campaign. There should be no single scenario, in which the players fight against each other. A MP campaign should necessarily be a MP-coop campaign.
In #wesnoth-dev, there were different suggestions, which leads us to the next question:

What should the campaign structure be like?
Most SP campaigns are strictly linear and have a fixed order of scenarios. In MP, there are more options. Let us assume, we have a MP campaign in which two players fight against each other and the outcome of the scenario determines which scenario will be played the next.
Suggestion: This is a bad campaign structure. If the campaign is 5 scenarios long and there are two possible outcomes leading to two possible next scenarios, there are (2^5)-1 possible scenarios, although only 5 are playable throughout the campaign. That's too much work for little gain. On the other hand, the replay-value of the campaign would be much higher.


Ideas?

Edit: Maybe we can get some input from the ones, who actually played LoW in MP. How annoying is it to wait for the other turns? What MP aspects do you like? What would you like to see changed (not specifically in regard to LoW)?
Last edited by Kwandulin on September 11th, 2017, 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Criteria for a good MP campaign

Postby tekelili » September 11th, 2017, 10:34 am

In my experience playing multiplayer campaign The Great Quest, replayability value will be null, no matter how hard you try, if you use standard way to build a campaign. So far, I only know a way to create real replayability: extreme randomess in scenario creation. What I want to say, is you should aim your design for a unique and intense experience. I think 3p is ideal and should at least include that mode. Different factions for players add a drop of replayability, as you can play same campaign with different faction. I think is very important difficulty and xp% adjusment; If players will only play once, I really recomed set difficulty near maximun skills levels to add other drop of replayability. Don´t let players get lot of level3 units too soon, AI handle them worse and game becomes more boring. My two cents so far.

Edit: And I would try avoid use of turn limit as difficulty factor. I really hate that mechanic in campaign design, totally ruins gameplay.

Edit 2: Difficulty should be designed for one of this modes: With save/reload or without save/reload. And should be especified to players wich one you used. For my taste, I hate play a scenario that needs save/reload due to extreme difficulty or randomess dependence (reason why short turn limits ruin gameplay).
Last edited by tekelili on September 11th, 2017, 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Be aware English is not my first language and I could have explained bad myself using wrong or just invented words.
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Re: Criteria for a good MP campaign

Postby gfgtdf » September 11th, 2017, 10:48 am

Kwandulin wrote:As of recently, there has been a demand for another MP campaign, because the MP version of LoW has some issues. But what should a good MP campaign be like? I think there are several aspects that are worth to be discussed. There might be more.

How many players are allowed?
The more players there are, the longer it takes until the next turn takes place. This could easily become tedious.
Suggestion: Limit the amount of players to 2. The amount of players should not change throughout the campaign to avoid having to wait for further players.


I think the number players changing is the main flaw of our current LoW mp campaign (in fact it's the main reason why i opened #1953), so for a new campaign the number of players should not change during the campagn, as for the number of players it obviously shouldn't bee too many so 2 or 3 would be good.

Kwandulin wrote:How long should the campaign be?
The longer the campaign, the more have the players to organize themselves in order to play together because of not being able to finish it in one session. The shorter the campaign, the easier it is to finish the campaign in one session.
Suggestion: We want the players to be able to play and finish a MP campaign, so the campaign should be of short or middle length (4-8 scenarios).



No strong opinion here, what you said makes sense, but i have also often seem players loading saves game of mp campaigns, if you want you can make it optional, like having a long branch and a short branch.

Kwandulin wrote:How much should the players depend on each other?
In SP, the player only depends on himself and/or the AI. In MP, we have more options: the players could be independent, e.g. both players do not really have to work together to finish the scenario or even a single player is able to lead the team to victory. On the other side, the players could depend on each other, so the scenario is not finishable, if the players don't work together.
Suggestion: The MP campaign should be a true MP campaign, it should not be an SP campaign in which simply another player has been added. The campaign should not be finishable by having only one player. This could lead to interesting objectives: e.g. player 1 has to activate a magical monolith in the west of the map, player 2 has to activate one in the east of the map. The specific monoliths can only be activated by the specific side. So if player 2 has problems to reach his monolith, player 1 has to help him to get there; he cannot just activate it himself. The players have to work together to win. Different objectives for each player might be a way to achieve this.
The aspect of interdependency leads to the next question.



I think you have multiple option here, player could start at the same spot and fight closely together or start at differnt places of the map and fight only indirectly together (by aggroing the ai to a certain player for example), you coudl also make for a exampel a scenario where players start at different corners but have only a chance to survive if they conquer a castle that is in the middle to defend there, or start at together and then have to split their troops etc.

Kwandulin wrote:What faction setup is desireable? Should the team members play with the identical faction? Or should the players play different factions? (We don't have to adhere to the strict factions here).
Suggestion: The players are using different factions or at least have some units that the other player cannot recruit. This could help to make the players more dependend on each other (e.g. only player 1 has access to flying units, while only player 2 has access to swimmers).


I agree that differnt factions make it more interresting (it depends on the actual scnarios though), ideally the differnt factions playing togetther shodul also be integreated in the story of the mp campaign.

Kwandulin wrote:Should the players be on the same team? Should there be a scenario in which the players fight against each other?
Fighting against each other could lead to ugly kill steals or to strategically moving your units behind your team mates' units so the enemy attacks the units of the team mate. Intending to indirectly damaging your team mate so you have an advantage in a later scenario against him is toxic gameplay, imo.
Suggestion: The players should fight on the same side for the whole of the campaign. There should be no single scenario, in which the players fight against each other. A MP campaign should necessarily be a MP-coop campaign.
In #wesnoth-dev, there were different suggestions, which leads us to the next question:


Both coop and vs campaign can be interresting, but when i filed #1953 i thought about coop campaigns.

Kwandulin wrote:What should the campaign structure be like?
Most SP campaigns are strictly linear and have a fixed order of scenarios. In MP, there are more options. Let us assume, we have a MP campaign in which two players fight against each other and the outcome of the scenario determines which scenario will be played the next.
Suggestion: This is a bad campaign structure. If the campaign is 5 scenarios long and there are two possible outcomes leading to two possible next scenarios, there are (2^5)-1 possible scenarios, although only 5 are playable throughout the campaign. That's too much work for little gain. On the other hand, the replay-value of the campaign would be much higher.
Ideas?


For a normal coop campaign i think a sp-like campaign structure woudl be best, but of course branchings in the campaigsn strucure can make the gamepain more interresting just liek in sp.
Scenario with Robots SP scenario (1.11/1.12), allows you to build your units with components, PYR No preperation turn 1.12 mp-mod that allows you to select your units immideately after the game begins.
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Re: Criteria for a good MP campaign

Postby Kwandulin » September 11th, 2017, 3:06 pm

tekelili wrote:In my experience playing multiplayer campaign The Great Quest, replayability value will be null, no matter how hard you try, if you use standard way to build a campaign. So far, I only know a way to create real replayability: extreme randomess in scenario creation.

I don't think that replayability should be our main concern when building a story-driven MP campaign.

tekelili wrote:Different factions for players add a drop of replayability, as you can play same campaign with different faction.

Is that even feasible? I mean you can save Wesnoth (or do XY) with humans or elves, but certainly not with undead or orcs. Letting the players choose their faction would inevitably lead to inconsistencies with the story. Or the story needs to be so rudimentary, that it doesn't even matter anymore. But that shouldn't be our goal, too. Being able to chose the faction should belong to MP scenarios, imo. I am even in favor of blocking any modifiers (XP, village, income, etc.) in a MP campaign (just as LoW already does).

tekelili wrote: I think is very important difficulty and xp% adjusment; If players will only play once, I really recomed set difficulty near maximun skills levels to add other drop of replayability. Don´t let players get lot of level3 units too soon, AI handle them worse and game becomes more boring.

I guess that's true. A MP campaign will probably a lot harder to balance than a SP. Gonna see how it works out . . .

tekelili wrote:Edit: And I would try avoid use of turn limit as difficulty factor. I really hate that mechanic in campaign design, totally ruins gameplay.

Right, we still want a turn limit to prevent farm abuse, though.

tekelili wrote:Edit 2: Difficulty should be designed for one of this modes: With save/reload or without save/reload. And should be especified to players wich one you used. For my taste, I hate play a scenario that needs save/reload due to extreme difficulty or randomess dependence (reason why short turn limits ruin gameplay).

I also hate the recent "elitarism" that spreads through the mainline campaigns like a disease. Some are hardly even playable anymore, even on the easier difficulties (SotBe, DW; maybe I'm just bad). Not sure if having the two options save/reload and without save/reload is a pragmatic approach here. Maybe the campaign should just not be that hard, so that save/loading isn't needed. I am still very much in favor of a "liquid difficulty": the main objective to finish the scenario should be rather easy, but there can be several (hidden) secondary objectives, that the players might or might not tackle, depending on the players' risk/gain calculations. These secondary objectives could add some of the difficulty then.

Anyway, thanks for the input. Also thanks gfgtdf for explaining your reasoning behind the LoW issue.
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