Updated: Gabe Amatangelo on PvP & Warzones
During this year's EA Winter Showcase, the United Kingdom received wonderful information from the developers about the Crew Skills system and PVP Warzones. During the Jedi Immersion Day the following week, we got a similar presentation with copious amounts of information on both game systems. One of these presentations came from Lead PvP Designer Gabe Amatangelo. After teasing us with clues about the forthcoming derelict starship Warzone -- including that it uses an Assualt-based scenario -- Amatangelo spoke in-depth about the Alderaan Warzone. After his presentation, we were able to sit down with Amatangelo to ask some questions about PvP.
Due to popular demand, we received answers to some additional questions and expanded answers after the initial publish. Even if you read through this earlier, it warrants a second read after the jump.
You mentioned the derelict starship Warzone would feature a version of an Assault-style objective. Can you describe what "Assault" means for those who may not be familiar with that kind of PvP scenario?
Gabe Amatangelo: Staged objectives where one team defends the active objective and the other attacks it. For example: the attacker attempts to set a bomb to blow a door down in an attempt to advance to the next room where they would have a new objective, while the defender would be trying to prevent the bombs placement and then maybe diffuse it in the case it was placed.
What does a Lead PvP Designer do?
Gabe Amatangelo: All of our PvP efforts; leading the design on that front. I have a team of people, but of course, titles schmitles. In the development process we all work cross-department, cross-project, cross-feature, etc.
You mentioned today that you wanted to avoid game-y type things like banners and flags so that it made sense to the Star Wars universe. What was the challenge there?
In the Alderaan Warzone, we wanted to do a three point objective type of thing but we didn't want to make it arbitrary. We wanted to make it immersive and make it feel like you are in a scene from Star Wars and in that scene against other players as opposed to just PvE, which is offered in Flashpoints and other things we talked about. So that is one way we went about it; what is one way we can make that immersive? Shooting down a ship instead of arbitrary point thresholds, and getting control of guns and seeing them fire instead of a banner and UI meter ticking arbitrarily, etc. There is inherent value in those kinds of items like flags and whatnot, but Star Wars allowed us to take it to the next level and add more immersive packaging to it.
We saw some companions in the Alderaan Warzone video. Can you elaborate on companion usage in Warzones?
The video was comprised of some actual in-game play as well as canned shots to convey a sense of "trailer narrative." As far as whether or not companions will be in PvP -- honestly, we're going through testing and we'll determine that later.
People shouldn't put a lot of weight into something that isn't fixed.
Exactly. Our aim is to ensure people have the most enjoyable PvP experience, and a number of things will factor in to this as we go through testing and iteration including how many people are in the Alderaan Warzone and other Warzones. Currently, the Alderaan Warzone is set at 8v8, but that may fluctuate with testing over time.
Do companions count towards that 8v8?
No. They don't count towards that 8v8.
Will people get a quest to get over to this particular Warzone?
You'll definitely get a quest that will direct you there, as well as tutorials, tips, etc. that point you toward the queuing button. Beyond that, things like daily quests we will determine and announce in the future.
What are the challenges (or pros and cons) of implementing a matchmaking system for Warzones? Can you describe the mechanics of the Warzone queuing system, i.e. is the Alderaan Warzone accessible to queue no matter where you are, or do you travel to a specific location in order to participate?
Starting at a very early level you can queue for the Warzone from anywhere at any time and when a match is made you will prompted to enter, which you can also do from anywhere at any time.
A challenge in development of the system is finding the balance between when to launch and when to wait to launch. In other words do you wait to launch until you have enough players to completely fill up both teams? What if you have 7 vs 8 in queue? Should that match be launched? The answer I believe is after you wait for X minutes then yes. And the trick is tuning to finding what value is right for X. This applies in the same way for level, group and class type disparity. We start with target values based on experience and then adjust with testing and feedback.
We noticed during the Warzone video what we thought was a quest giver icon that hovered over the head of one of the Sith Warriors on the battlefield. Is this an indication of questing used in the Warzone?
I think there was a perspective thing going on there. There isn't a quest giver in the Alderaan Warzone. What was there was a console for the targeting of the anti-aircraft turret which had an icon hovering over it to indicate which team last interacted with it. Note that it is early footage and some of the assets seen therein were proxy or placeholder.
Can you explain the implementation of how NPCs will function in Warzone progression?
There aren't any NPCs in the Alderaan Warzone. There isn't any PvPvE in the Warzone we are showing today, if that is what you are getting at. The only NPC in the zone that comes to mind is a ship transport captain found in each team's safe area, presumably the one who sets up your vehicles for respawn back into the match.
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