PVP Developer Diary (02/14/2019)

Incursion Leader
Joined Oct 2017 Posts: 1,468
edited 14 Feb 2019, 7:50PM


Please check out this write-up discussing PVP in War Commander written by one of our Product Managers.

Here at War Commander HQ, we’ve been taking a hard look at PVP; what we want PVP to look like and what is holding it back. PVP is something we want to be core to the War Commander experience, and something that we haven’t given enough attention to in the past. We’ve got a whole bunch of things in the works that will add more depth to the experience and change incentive structures.

This blog series will try to lay out our vision for PVP and explain some of the plans we have for it. By opening up the process, we hope to assure the community that we are doing something and that we are taking this seriously. We’re also hoping to get even more honest feedback from our players. Every time we’ve held focus groups, ran surveys or released “fixes” we get great, passionate responses from all of you Commanders. Ultimately, this is your game. And since we choose not to engage in PVP because it damages you but not us (we cheat), all of you understand the nuances better than we ever can. So let’s get in to it! This is going to be long, hold onto your butts.

The first topic we want to address in this series  is one of the ugliest problems plaguing a fun, competitive PVP scene. This is the behaviour known in the community as “69ing”. We know that this is a problem, and after many brainstorming sessions, chats with the community, surveys and false starts, how has fixing it gone? Not great.

How to 69

Before getting in to the details it is important to develop a shared definition of what 69ing is, since it has been confused with other activities (e.g. ring of fire) in the past. At its core, players have leveraged protective bubbles as a form of self-preservation.  To get these bubbles, players will tend to enlist a friend, a helpful sector-mate, or an alt account to hit their base. Depending on the time of bubble they desire, the level of destruction will be limited. Given that, we will move forward with the understanding that 69ing can be stated as follows: 69ing is the act of providing the longest desired damage protection to a friendly target, by dealing the lowest amount of damage possible.

Why bubbles exist?

There is no doubt that bubbles have a reason for existing. But are they good reasons? Does the bubble achieve its aims? Unfortunately, none of the original designers of the mechanic are still around to ask what they were thinking, so here is what we believe their purpose is:

  1. Allow players to safely rebuild after destruction;

  2. Ensure players have the chance to participate in defensive content;

  3. Ensure players have the ability to manage and use their base;

  4. Protect against unlimited, undefended farming while the target is offline; and

  5. Curb bullying

We feel that all of these goals are absolutely worth addressing, and no matter what solutions we implement, they have to be addressed. But did the bubble achieve these aims? In most cases the boxes seem to be ticked. So maybe bubbles might not be the problem, and the real problem is the unintended side effects that the bubbles introduced. Thinking along these lines has led us to some new ideas.

Bubbles and loss aversion

Because infamy is an exchange system (that is, when you are successfully attacked, you lose your infamy), players are going to take advantage of any mechanic they can to preserve their status. The bubble became a rational and effective tool to employ in this cause.

While people PVP for all sorts of reasons, some common ones include:

  • the shiny goodies;

  • the satisfaction that comes from being the best; and

  • The thrill of demonstrating your superiority over your enemies

No matter what your motivations are, they are placed at least a little bit in jeopardy because of the chance of loss. You can lose resources, you can lose infamy, you can even lose the ability to use your base. To make things worse, these losses are almost completely outside the control of the defender.

Then there is the seasonal structure. The weekly and end-of-season payouts are all done based on a snapshot, a point-in-time accounting, a single number that describes your place in the world and your worth as a Commander. An aggressive enemy group could easily undo all the hard work throughout the season in the 11th hour. With these high stakes, it’s only natural that a player would want to protect what they worked hard to earn, especially while if they were asleep or at work or whatever it is you all do outside of War Commander.

Under the current landscape of our game, it’s almost as if there is no way for a player to feel good, let alone come out ahead, while not 69ing.

War: What is it good for?

This situation sucks! As Commanders of War you should be out there waging war all the time, telling your own story and showing your enemies that you’re better than they are. But we now realize that we are essentially punishing exactly this sort of behaviour. Like we’ve already stated, we believe that PVP should be core to the War Commander experience, so we are committed to fixing this.

Some things we’ve implemented or discussed in the past have all taken the form of saying “no”. We’ve tried to create rules that tell you what you can’t do. We’ve come to appreciate that this approach just creates a sort of arms race between players who can best take advantage of the rules and those who are frustrated by them.

Now that we’ve laid all of this out, let’s talk about some initiatives that we have underway. Instead of looking for a silver bullet, we want to think about what our goals for PVP are and then provide incentives that support them. In terms of 69ing, we don’t want to tell you that you can’t do it. Instead, we are interested in changing the things that make 69ing worthwhile. That way, if you want to 69 you can, but no one should feel like they have to in order to keep up.

What changes are in progress?

These initiatives are shaping up to take the form of more instant rewards, less punishment of defenders, and more rewards for defending. We want to incentivize defenders to give bloody noses to attackers, and reward attackers for the risks they take on a daily basis.

We’re working on new ways to score attacks, and making sure to appropriately reward the tough ones. Then, we’re going to make sure to tie some rewards to your actions rather than just your status. This means that the way you want to play is up to you, but for people who are hunting the biggest rewards will have much more responsive rewards.

That’s the attacker covered,, but in PVP it takes two to tango. In order for attackers to go on a rampage, they need victims to crush. But, like we touched on earlier, being the victim kind of sucks. We’re developing a system that rates a base’s ability to defend itself, based on its repaired status and strength of defensive units & buildings. Then, if you are putting yourself out there as a strong defender who is ready to be attacked, well… it seems to us that you should earn infamy!

We’re also looking in to how infamy is transferred. Consequences are great. We believe that the ability to inflict a loss is a very strong motivator on both sides of the battlefield (attacker and defender); it adds stakes to the exchange and makes the fight feel more impactful. Unfortunately, there has been a loophole based around how stars were awarded that allowed players to easily drain others of their infamy. We’ve recently changed stars to be awarded based on damage that is actually done in an attack. If you want to beat up on half-repaired bases and grind your enemy in to the dust, you still can! But don’t expect to earn a lot of infamy for it.

The bottom line for all of these changes is: 69 if you want to, but if you want to get ahead you’re going to have to get out there and crack some skulls!

What more can we expect?

While this post was meant to primarily be about 69ing, before we wrap up we want to acknowledge that attackers have ran so far ahead in power that it’s time for some catch up. The Sentry and Lancer units both have had an eye towards improving defensive power, and without giving away too much you can expect the next Command Center level to continue this theme. Trust us, defense is far from dead.

We have dozens of other plans in flight that we aren’t ready to get too detailed about yet. In the interest in gathering feedback and continuing the conversation we do want to throw out some teasers of the sort of ideas floating around.

  • We want to strengthen the alliance system, making it more consequential. Declaring war, creating peace treaties and controlling territories.

  • Engaging, quick, skill-based platoon vs platoon battles

  • A more active role for the defender

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    Minor Nuisance
    Joined Oct 2012 Posts: 188
    great ideas, keep up the good work.
    Joined Dec 2017 Posts: 1
    great idea,,  <3<3<3<3<3<3
  • Paul_M7159
    Skilled Warrior
    Joined Feb 2013 Posts: 389
    Really good ideas around infamy Vs damage. present system discourages going after attackers because they and there clan mates could drain you very quickly!
  • Yuly17
    Joined Nov 2014 Posts: 3
    If you would like to reduce the amount of "69"  in the game all you guys need to do is change the platoon battles to 3minutes and the up bubble timer from 10 to 15minutes. Thats all you need to do... is that so hard? 
  • JNewbie
    Force to be Reckoned With
    Joined Feb 2013 Posts: 1,623
    edited 14 Feb 2019, 8:34PM
    Once my  alliance earn infamy, just my opion it should never lose infamy, the attacking alliance ,or player who hit my alliance simply gain infamy but never should it be taken from my  alliance that has all ready earned it, Large alliances simply move infamy from base to base and move themselves up the leader board. 

    A. Just speaking for my alliance our lower level player with infamy decided it would be better to maintain there infamy, rather than even try to do warpath,and get smacked simply by higher level player, that simply out power there unit 
  • Senior Chief MTCS
    Senior Chief MTCS
    Minor Nuisance
    Joined Feb 2019 Posts: 196
    I think the answer for stopping 69 is already mostly there...do like during war path and make bubbles only good for 4 hours and like others have already said speed up and auto repair base toon....needs to repair faster than bubble without stopping attacking toons from repairing....another reason for 69 is cant repair base toon and attacking toons at the same time so if you have to repair attacking toons over night last thing you want is to wake up to a flat base....also reduce or eliminate the benefit of hitting someone offline (less or no infamy gain), so if dont receive very much infamy if any for off line hitting there is less reason to protect it.  

  • FBHO
    Master Tactician
    Joined Jul 2013 Posts: 2,489
    Now everyone can remove their base plats & get a friendly flat at the start of their rampage to protect their infamy. 

    And everything else remains the same - nothing done about 69 or infamy banks. 

    If you're not going to do revenge attacks maybe you should just change it so that you still get infamy from attacking but you don't lose anything when getting bubble - then everyone can be their own infamy bank & the game goes back to what it was in the beginning where you only lose resources from being hit.  
  • PhilipC
    Potential Threat
    Joined Feb 2013 Posts: 52
    I would like to suggest
    institute revenge atatcks

    where if I hit someone, they have 24 hours to hit me back, even if I have a bubble
    it is easy to code
    and it gives people a chance to  attack their attacker

    so if I go and hit 12 people

    they have a chance of hitting me back and taking what I took from them

  • FBHO
    Master Tactician
    Joined Jul 2013 Posts: 2,489
    PhilipC said:
    I would like to suggest
    institute revenge atatcks

    where if I hit someone, they have 24 hours to hit me back, even if I have a bubble
    it is easy to code
    and it gives people a chance to  attack their attacker

    so if I go and hit 12 people

    they have a chance of hitting me back and taking what I took from them

    24 hours is too long though; 4-8 hours is sufficient. 
  • FBHO
    Master Tactician
    Joined Jul 2013 Posts: 2,489
    You guys do not even know what 69'ing even is.  The REAL definition of 69'ing is having a friend/alt hold/bubble your base WHILE you are out hitting enemy bases in the sector.  Keeping enemy from hitting your base while you are out smashing.  The definition you guys used is just friendly bubbles.
    The original "69" was 2 players (or 1 player with an alt account) giving each others a friendly bubble at the same time so neither can be hit.

    It has been improperly expanded on the forum to mean holding your base or self-bubbling, which are actually something different.  
  • knine bites
    knine bites
    Joined Mar 2013 Posts: 4
    As it looks good to most  of large long time players.   what are you doing for new players and the player that come back to game to see if you have made game playable.
    Open your eyes  and now see it from  another View just say i'm a new player my base is flat every time i get on the game.  say a level 46  flats it every 3 hour  how  long am i going to play. Or how long are you going to play.
     i just came back to game  and the time it takes to upgrade everything  well  is 24-7,  and no way to catch up.   when you can't  upgrade    from being  flat all the  time it is a loss to play.   You are making the game  better Yes.  for who and do you expect a great game  like War Commander to still  be played in 5 years. Not without new players  or some that come  back after not playing  for  1 or 2  years. you got to stop running them  OFF.

  • Kar-Graal
    Unicorn Overlord
    Joined Mar 2013 Posts: 2,634
    edited 14 Feb 2019, 10:38PM
    How is The Gold Accolades Compared to the Warpaints do now?
    if they are chance to increase player earned by by top 100 players
    ask yourself you have one Job to make accolades great again u failed 
    now you will watch PVP leaving in the dust

  • Sinus_V
    Potential Threat
    Joined Jan 2019 Posts: 45
    U guys should add parts of sectors where surden res are located?
    Maybe parts of a sector can be under 1 clans claim?
    All the E-things + O-things should be located in one part/ area in sectors - easy to find
    Make upgrade times less and make it so u can upgrade 2 things at the same time. I got approx 2 years of full upgrade time ahead if i want DS, JUGG, Kraken, Caretaker and techs up to max. By the time they will be out of date.. 

    Joined Nov 2013 Posts: 22
    I like this post. MY GOODNESS it has taken this long to make a good post like this. I like it all and im sure many other players do too. I mean defense definitely (and ive been posting to kix for years about it) needs some improvements. I mean you put 4-5 uniques together into a base and they walk right through it. ANY BASE and its ridiculous. Or even one mav to take out a tower. wow what a useless structure... people say "oh you can get a missile bastion" and i say haha thats funny when you can only hold enough cores for two a week and core bases arent out every week so its like a **** full time job keeping up bastions. that part is retarded. and ya gotta do like 5-10 cores bases to get the 200 so its crazy like a full time job to keep a bastion in your base. POINT IS: defense needs powering up majorly and im very glad to see kix has acknowledged that. 

    Looking forward to the improvements in defense. It is a major problem in game right now. 4-5 uniques walk right through MOST (95%) of all bases and thats not fair at all.
  • FBHO
    Master Tactician
    Joined Jul 2013 Posts: 2,489
    TheDuke37 said:
    Let me throw this one out there for you too look at, If a Base is undefended, then the bubble should be for how long it takes to repair the base, if the base is defended and you have 36 hrs repair on your base toon then the bubble should be 36 hrs, the bubble should be how long it takes to repair the defending platoons.  and the base platoon instantly starts to heal, thus after the time  the base and defenders are ready to defend again/
    just throwing it out there

    Or base plat repairs should be reduced to 1-4 hours no matter what is in it. 
    Either the 1 hour that the base buildings take to heal, or the 4 hours to match the Warpath bubble.
    It should auto repair same as the base, & it should repair at the same time as the attack plats. 
  • jackson peters
    jackson peters
    Potential Threat
    Joined Aug 2018 Posts: 33
    Thanks for the update, some very good thoughts and notions, I hope to live long enough to see implementation, has anyone at Kix HQ noted that on the leadersboard there are very few lower lvl players represented, that is apart from the high lvls infamy banks, war path this season had a lot more lower lvl players represented in the board, basically I believe they are mostly alt accnts for higher lvls just out to score what ever they can , but I ask kix, why the steep reduction in low lvl players.  My opinion only, but there is very little reward at a low lvl, why , well thats simple, players 10 and 12 and sometimes more lvls above smash a low lvl with inf or honor and strip massive amounts without risk of damage or for that matter loss, so as a low lvl what can be done ... absolutly nothing except spend another day trying to get some inf back, pretty damned difficult when lows that are within my capabilities are harder to find than chicken lips, basically is an atk by a lvl 46-48 on a lvl 36 base worth 260 sum inf and 498 honor. The atk spread of 4 or 5 lvls lower will make inf worth something because u will have to earn it, maybe then low lvls who incidentily are kixs future dollar spenders may even stay longer than a week or 2 on the game.  There is no fun being flat every time u get a cpl of inf, a lvl 46 atkd me the limited amount (2) during warpath my repair time trying to defend 15 odd hrs, my loss of inf over 500, my loss of honor over 980, to me very little fun, but thats the nature of the bully, every week same asshat collects his freebies from the low lvls and stays in a bbl till the next tythe, but Im still playing but def not enjoying. Can the atk down lvl be reintroduced.
  • Abdeen Abdeen
    Abdeen Abdeen
    Potential Threat
    Joined Feb 2016 Posts: 55
    anything other than the "Revenge Attack" will not work as it will increase the complexity and sure the bugs 
  • Mike_W5
    Joined Oct 2016 Posts: 1
    You guys do not even know what 69'ing even is.  The REAL definition of 69'ing is having a friend/alt hold/bubble your base WHILE you are out hitting enemy bases in the sector.  Keeping enemy from hitting your base while you are out smashing.  The definition you guys used is just friendly bubbles.
    They did fix that.. hit a base it gets a time'd bubble to you for like 5,mins? that you cant hit it again. thus you can't hold a base all day. also you can only hit or hold a plat like twice and either ur plat or thier plat gets sent home
  • Whtwitch
    Minor Nuisance
    Joined Nov 2012 Posts: 144
    i was so excited when i start reading this that was until i came to the 69 part and the base defending part.As usual you have no idea of the concept of what 69 is as it was explained on a few other threats im not going to repied it.But it does show me that you have no way of fixing it you either cant or wont.So players just have to put up with getting smached where the one getting smached can happely watch the attacker getting his mate hold him and then give him a nice bubble who he can then brag out of  what an awesome fighter he is and how everybody else is weak.Nice fix.Again kixeye is clueless.You not fixing PVP you killing it.In my 7 years of playing i have never seen so many high lvl leaving the game then in the last 6 month.Now to the defending part anybody who as got Omega everything maxed can walk through most bases and PVP toon is cheap to coin.And what have you got in your base that can defend against it esp offline hits?Nothing nada zip.What we have got for defence is pretty much usless.Most of the high powerd base defence toons like the judge for instands take way to long to fire and then its in the ds circele forget it worthless.Same with the kraken.Gun turrents are pretty much usles esp when you get raptor spammed like most of the time know you stand no chance.
    As for low lvl mentiong above 80% of low lvl are high lvl ALTs the use them mostley to cover there bases and lock down a sector so you cant get in some sector over 500 lvl 2 to 16 .Esp when you get attacked the run into a locked sector knowing you cant hit back.So explain to me again please where this benefits PVP course i cant see it.
    If you got nothing nice to say...say nothing at all 
  • DamageINC7
    Potential Threat
    Joined Jan 2014 Posts: 34
    This is all amazing. One minor thing: please remove censure from war chat, lol..
    can i get uhhhhhhhhh
  • FBHO
    Master Tactician
    Joined Jul 2013 Posts: 2,489
    Mike_W5 said:
    You guys do not even know what 69'ing even is.  The REAL definition of 69'ing is having a friend/alt hold/bubble your base WHILE you are out hitting enemy bases in the sector.  Keeping enemy from hitting your base while you are out smashing.  The definition you guys used is just friendly bubbles.
    They did fix that.. hit a base it gets a time'd bubble to you for like 5,mins? that you cant hit it again. thus you can't hold a base all day. also you can only hit or hold a plat like twice and either ur plat or thier plat gets sent home
    So you just need 2 alt accounts instead of 1. 
    This fixed nothing...
  • Corvette-E4E
    Joined Feb 2014 Posts: 1
    Why not detract infamy from attackers who fail? Seems only fair that if you succeed you will reap the benefits so why not run the risk of losing infamy if you do not succeed.

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