The Arkashan map took its current shape quite early in development. We wanted a map that had a variety of different objectives as well as fluid movements. We settled on a control points mechanic for both income and advancing the win conditions (reducing the enemy force field to zero to be able to attack their base and Energy core). We used a combination of towers and force fields to protect the base as well as a platform that was only accessible through teleporters.
Arkashan – problems with the old map
After we had had thousands of players play Arkashan, many at a high level, we started realizing a number of issues with the map. 1) There was not enough chances to come back from an initial deficit 2) once the snowball happened and the other team got too strong the losing team would sometimes not be able to even get out of the base. 3) Many of the best players of Games of Glory thought there needed another important objective to capture to give even more.
Matches between even teams remained really intense and exciting, but that there were problems with the map remained obvious when one team ended up having a bad start.
Analysis – what is the issue really?
First we had to figure out what was wrong! Turns out there were a number of problems with the map, and that they all were connected. The problems of come-back had both to do with the fact that the gains from killing an enemy Clone was high in both experience and credits (the money used to buy weapons during the match). On Arkashan characters gain experience and credits automatically as time passes (ambient advancement), as well as by killing enemy Clones as well as some neutral minions that spawn from time to time to protect the capture points.
By tweaking the numbers for ambient credit and experience gained, together with the amount of credits and experience gained from killing other Clones and minions, we could reduce the advantage gained. At the same time the whole purpose of killing Clones is to gain credits and experience to get an advantage, so removing it completely would not make any sense. There really needed to be a measurable advantage gained. The real issue turned out to be that there were not enough ways to turn a losing fight around.
Part of the problem was the towers, they did actually not guard anything of value until the force field that protected the base was down! At that time the match would already be decided. Another problem was the ways to get out from the base. With the enemy team sieging, it would be hard to even get out through the main entrance.
We also agreed with our experienced players that another significant objective would make the experience more rewarding, and introduce more important decisions.
Solution – everything is connected
In order to increase the role of the towers, they had to actually guard something worthwhile. By moving the teleporters into the base, this was achieved, mobility is hugely important. This also gave the losing side a way to get out of the base and run around to capture points and wreak general mayhem. We also made teleporters one way so that enemies would not be able to use teleporters to get into your base, and created new exit points on the map. This has created a much more dynamic flow on the map
We also tweaked the credit and experience gain, and increased the experience and credits you gain from killing an enemy Clone that is stronger than you and is on a killing spree.
The third leg to the solution was to be the introduction of the Judge onto the arena. The judge is a dangerous foe that gives a significant buff to whoever kills him. By putting him on the island reachable by teleporters we made him a dangerous but rewarding secondary objective that could be the hail Mary pass of a losing team, or the final sign of dominance of the winning team.
Being vigilant for the future
This is the new map for Arkashan! We are really excited about the remake, and we will be keeping our eyes on all feedback around the gameplay. A game like Games of Glory takes continuous work to update and improve as we get more and more data and feedback about the player’s experience.