Arkainon, on 02 March 2012 - 10:29 AM, said:
[edit- Typo in the topic title. >.< It's supposed to be "preliminary."]
I've played a whole host of RTS games in my time, but this one seems to be radically different. I've not played LoL, or any games similar to it, so I don't really know what to expect. I was wondering just how much the devs can tell us. I realize that the game is far from finished, so not all questions may be answered, and I realize that some answers will be witheld for later dates anyway. But just how much can you tell us, guys? [edit: I've read the FAQ and had a few questions answered that won't need to be posted here. This is the rest of them.]
1) As for the online team of one commander and a small group of heroes:
is there a set limit of how many heroes? min/max? Varies by map? In the matchmaking system, if you do not already have a team ready, will you be automatically grouped with a set number of random heroes, or will you be able to select which ones you would like? (ie, a warrior hero, an archer hero, caster hero, not knowing names) Will you be limited by race/faction or other allegiances? Will these be options you can choose from?
2) Clans. What comprises a clan? Is it one team of a commander and his/her heroes, or multiple groups of teams together? Or just different players with no specific grouping banding together for a more social feel and easier matchmaking? The main page says that winning earns rewards for your clan.. Prestige? Shared gold? Bonuses?
3) Persistent realms. Just how much of the game is going to stay constant? It's an RTS, so I get that each game will have its own fresh maps to conquer, but since you're able to earn rewards.. Well, heroes and commanders will level up, gain new items, abilities, etc.. but just how will this be shown? Will you be able to view/manage your character's skills and equipment outside of a running game?
Will there be a persistent base that exists for your character even while offline? Say, a fortress for a commander to raise and train troops pre-battle, do research, mine, that sort of thing.. perhaps a house for heroes to store their shiny loot? Clan grounds where these bases meet, assist in defending each other? Saga (Silverlode Interactive) had a very good system where your main base was persistent realm, while you could engage in RTS battles across maps, conquer and hold territories, or battle other players' cities. You could attack their wild territories while they were offline, but cities could only be attacked with consent. (Off topic. I was one of the first players in Saga, joined a month after release. At lvl 11, I took part in a four-way match between a lvl 31, 30, and 28 and myself, and won. One of my greatest gaming achievements to date.)
In Warlords Battlecry, your hero could have a retinue of stronger units that followed you from battle to battle. In this case, it seems Heroes would fill the role of the retinue, while commander correlates with WBC's hero, but will commanders or heroes be able to keep their own small retinue of personal guards? A small group of knights, for example.
Will there be a map for players to view outside of a running game, that shows them locations of resources to fight for, or new places to build, where you could select the location and start a game there? The description Craig gave of the "near death experience" sounds like it might be good for that, although perhaps he was talking about inside an already running game?
What functions would exist outside of a running game? It is already stated that there will be a leaderboard with statistics. Will there be a chat, with channels for General, LFG, Clan, Friends? Private messages? Or will that be handled on the forums, or clan's self-made sites/forums?
4) Commanders and Heroes: Gameplay. The FAQ gave a good detail of the roles of the commander and heroes in a game, but how does it actually play out? Will the Commander have a full view of the explored map, like a normal RTS, whereas the Heroes will only see line of sight? That would allow for more important strategic decisions by the Commander, and instill discipline in the Heroes to follow orders. What chat options will there be in game? Open chat between commander and all heroes, private message a specific hero? Can the heroes communicate with each other across the map? Can you communicate with the enemy? (Please say there will be funny emotes!)
Just how powerful will Heroes be compared to standard troops? Taking into consideration that a high-leveled, powerful Hero will likely be a force unto himself, could a low or mid-ranged hero still be taken down by a sizable force? For reference, would Heroes be more like Capital Ships, Star bases, or Titans?
Anyway. I think that's most of what I had that I at least thought I might get some insight on. I stil have other questions that will likely only be answered when I get my beta key. Some other questions have already been answered with "at a later date" and "we listen to all feedback," which is frustrating, but understandable.
Alright, I'll give my best shot at these. I'm coming from the context of LoL and what the speculation around here has been.
1) In League of Legends, there are two main ways to pick heroes. In both methods, you are first grouped with four other people and matched against another team of five. Method one is blind pick. In that mode, after the ten people are matched up, each side picks from the heroes they have available. This means that occasionally the same hero will show up on both sides, but the same hero can't show up on the same side more than once. The other mode is a draft mode. In this mode, each team has a team captain. The captains take turns banning heroes - right now it's up to three heroes banned per side. Then, one team's captain gets to pick a hero. Everyone can see what hero they picked. The second team then gets two picks - the top two ranked players on their side. The pick goes back to team one, with players two and three, then back to team two, with players three and four, the team one players four and five, and finally team two player five. Once each side has all the heroes picked, the players are allowed to swap heroes among one another (as long as each player is playing a hero they own). In both methods, the important thing is that a team is matched together before they pick heroes.
I imagine that the same thing will happen here. It seems to make sense that four hero players will be matched with one commander player. Then, when they all have a chance to talk to one another, they are also allowed to make their choices in regards to who they want to play. In LoL, you are limited by what heroes you own, but never by faction - from the sounds of it, SoaDA will be pretty similar, with either no faction limitations or a relatively broad range of choices of hero for each faction.
2) In LoL, clans serve as slightly more than just a group of players that get along. The ranking system differentiates between players playing with random teammates in ranked and playing with four friends - you'll play more effectively with friends, theoretically, so it's a different ranking. Clans just add another layer of formality to that (I think) allowing a group of more than 5 players to still be considered part of the same team.
I could see there being a similar system here. A ranking system based on clan would be easy to follow and keep tabs on. I don't know about anything else - some browser games offer in-game interfaces for clan stuff, like basic forums or a front page or whatnot, so I suppose that's a possibility too. We haven't heard a whole lot about clans yet, so it's mostly just my guess here.
3) I played Saga for a little bit - might have to give that another try. In any case, I haven't gotten the impression that there will be any persistent qualities to the game world. LoL allows you to buy heroes, skins, and runes, and those things hold over - the business model here is likely going to be the same or similar. But in buying those, you're simply buying access to use them in each game. As far as the factions go, I can only assume that they'll function in the same manner. There is the chance that you'll be allowed to set up a preliminary base (warning: only my speculation) that is loaded at the start of the game. For instance, you'll know the map ahead of time, so for Generica
, the basic map, you can set up X resources' worth of stuff - you might have to decide between having six towers in the base and two unit buildings, or four towers and three unit buildings, and you might get to decide where those would be ahead of time.
Alternatively, of course, you might be started with standard Starcraft or Warcraft fare; your main town hall and four peasants. Either way, once you're done with a game, there's no map for anyone to show up and assault without you being there.
The last couple things there are simply dev questions, but chances are that the community will implement anything they want that the developers don't.
4) I'll just address the hero power question. In order for the game to remain balanced, both the commander and the heroes have to be able to swing the game in their favor. If that can't happen, then pretty quickly no one will want to play the unbalanced role. If the commander doesn't have a lot of power, then commander won't be much fun for experienced players because everyone wants to be able to make a difference. Conversely, if the heroes aren't powerful enough, then a good commander might as well be playing Starcraft against one other person. As such, my guess is that hero power at level one would be comparable to a level one capital ship; but a fully levelled and equipped hero (depending on the hero) may range from a little above a level ten capital ship to a fully powered titan. And even the heroes that scale similarly to a capital ship will still have power - those heroes will likely be based around support classes, and hence will make their allies far more dangerous.
Even so, I think it would be fair for a commander to be capable of taking down a hero or two that play at a similar level of proficiency. It may be that the commander will function as a "carry" - the normal heros will level up and reach a power cap more quickly than the commander, but as the game progresses, the commander gains more and more power until they operate at a much higher level of power than the heroes.
Hope that I've helped with my answers/speculation!