Fortress of the Guardians doesn't work well

Hyper Universe Rep: 275
Posts: 34
in General Chat
Sorry that I can't give you a more descriptive title, but this forum requires thread titles to be very short.

One of the classical problems of online game design is that you can't force people to care about your nominal objectives. If they think it's more fun to run around killing things at random instead, they will. Or people who are new to the game and don't understand the objectives yet won't play them appropriately. If there are four players on a team, it's decently likely that at least one of them won't actively try to win by your objectives.

In order for an online game with a lot of players to work, it has to either push players into naturally supporting the objectives without intending to or else make it so that one side being implicitly shorthanded doesn't particularly matter. Fortress of the Guardians doesn't do either of those at all.

The way you've designed combat, if there's a skirmish in which one side has more hypers than the other, the side with more hypers wins. The only real exception is if a turret is involved, in which case, the side with the turret wins in the early to mid game. The skill and strategy is mostly about running away before you die in situations where you'll die if you don't, and showing up to kill enemy hypers and turrets in situations where you'll win if you do.

Fortress of the Guardians does not allow for that type of skill or strategy. There is a strategy of sorts in which hypers go to which shrines. If one side has more hypers at a shrine than the other, then the side with more hypers will kill the side with fewer and capture the shrine. There is a sort of strategy in reallocating your teammates such that you'll have a majority of the hypers at a majority of the shrines.

The fundamental problem is that you have no way to funnel unwilling players into playing that game. A considerable fraction of the time, the optimal strategy is to capture a shrine by being the only hyper there. Someone who just wants to run around killing things isn't going to do that.

Worse, your missions system actively undermines the map's strategy. If you're capturing a shrine, you're not getting kills, assists, or most damage dealt to hypers. That's by definition, as you literally cannot capture a shrine while there are enemy hypers there. Trying to win the match largely means giving up on trying to complete missions. You're doing something severely wrong if the optimal way to get rewards is sometimes to throw matches.

The result is that a significant fraction of players will simply ignore your objectives. In some cases, ignoring objectives happens because a player is disconnected. If a team has one player who ignores the objectives, that team is nearly guaranteed to lose. Having a majority of the hypers at a majority of the shrines is nearly impossible to do if the other team has more hypers at shrines than you.

Even if you can basically equal the other side for a while, many rounds come down to one final shrine and whoever captures that shrine wins the round. If one hyper simply decides not to try for that shrine, then you get a 4 on 3 and the 4 nearly always win. I was in one fight where we did manage to kill the entire enemy team even in a shorthanded 3 on 4 trying to capture the last shrine, but it took long enough that they respawned before we could claim the shrine, came back to kill us, and still won the round.

So the basic problem is:
1) A considerable fraction of players will ignore the shrines, whether due to not caring, being too new to understand, or being disconnected
2) If anyone on your team ignores the shrines, you're going to lose the match and there's nothing you can do about it.

That isn't fun. Fortunately, I have a solution. Fortress of the Guardians can be the solution to a problem that has long bedeviled the game. Make the choice of map give players Fortress of the Guardians if there is only one player in the match, but a different map whenever there are multiple players in an AI match.

Often, matchmaking simply fails and you get a match with one player and seven bots. As your bot teammates are idiots who often play for a stalemate on the older maps, if the player can't do a lot of damage himself, the game can be nearly unwinnable. That can lead to a multi-hour stalemate match that "ends" only when the player closes the game out of frustration. That's not fun.

Fortress of the Guardians offers the advantage that it can't possibly stalemate. Bot teammates have the advantage that their AI will cause them to care about shrines. So while Fortress of the Guardians doesn't work very well with multiple players, it's the only map that works decently for matches with only a single player.

I realize how inelegant that solution is. But it fixes two borderline game-breaking problems that you've have: one longstanding and the other introduced with this week's patch. And an inelegant fix for game-breaking problems sure beats leaving the game broken.


  • BonyuuBonyuu
    Hyper Universe Rep: 120
    Posts: 3
    Well written. Unfortunately this past weekend was my last time with the game. I've uninstalled and moved on. But I can say that this map did not help. It felt totally like a different game (one I did not want to play).

    There are a host of other issues as well, but I feel at this point it's going to fall on deaf ears. I believe Nexon has already given up on this game and that whatever they have planned for the next 2 to 3 months will just get pushed because it's already complete and then after that we're done for.

    A lot of the decisions made have been frustrating.

    For those I played with in game that got me to level 15 for ranked, thanks! Unfortunately I could never get many ranked games going. Good luck guys and hopefully we'll see each other in another game.
  • BonyuuBonyuu
    Hyper Universe Rep: 120
    Posts: 3
    Oh and a side note. I didn't really care for Dragon Refuge before as I didn't like the single lane strategy. But after this new map came out, boy it sure made me wish that Dragon Refuge popped up whenever I got the Guardian map. I'd rather deal with that map than to deal with Guardian.

    Again good luck out there people if you're sticking around. Wish you the best.
  • TenlogosTenlogos
    Hyper Universe Rep: 120
    Posts: 10
    Easily agreed. The new "Fortress of the Guardians"-map isn't nearly as fun and doesn't work with the general idea of HU (in my opinion anyways). No farming, no jungling, only a few guardians and shrines you're supposed to capture/ take down. Like OP already mentioned, if just one teammate of yours steps out of line it's basically game-over. This map requires too much of communication and strategy with no way of being able to "carry" another player who may lack in skill and/ or experience. Also, some characters are simply way better suited for this kind of game-mode than others creating a heavy imbalance between the heroes.

    Just stick to the general theme with lanes, minions and jungle and alter the mechanics around those. Don't change a running system they say.