Switching to another team

#1

At the moment there are no restrictions on switching to another team - which is fine for the current state of the game. However, in the future, a player could gain a strategic advantage by temporarily switching to “spy” an enemy team to gain information about their fleets, locations of bases ( those will have to be scouted at the beginning of a match ) and other various strategical information.

So I believe we need to add some restrictions to team switching. Let’s have a look at some possibilities via a poll:

  • No restrictions on team switching
  • A maximum number of times you can switch per match (ex.: 3)
  • A minimum time limit after switching (ex.: 15 mins)
  • A fixed credits cost (ex.: 500 credits)
  • A proportional credits cost (ex.: 10% of your credits)
  • Other (please precise)

0 voters

Combos could also be possible, ie. a fixed credits cost of 500 credits AND a timer of 15 mins.

There is also the possibility of credits + rank being team-specific. Let’s say you started the match in the red team, you play for a while and accumulate 5000 credits. Then you switch to the green team. You’re starting over at 0 credits. However if you eventually switch back to red, you’ll get back to your 5000 credits.

  • Credits and rank are team specific
  • Credits and rank are globally shared

0 voters

Do you have other ideas and/or preferences ?

2 Likes
Weekly Update #107
#2

The possibility of leaving the server and entering it again as member of another team has also to be taken into account when implementing such a feature.

I prefer the time limit as everything else only has in-game value, with the exception of limited amount of switches, which are not discouraging enough in my opinion.

I also think that “spying” won’t be as much of a problem. I think intentionally unbalance either by number or by skill can happen and does happen much more often in most multiplayer arena games. I think spying will only start to happen if players are really required to organize all the time in order to win fights and matches last longer than 3 hours.

I think switching teams should be discouraged if done by a player manually.
If the server decides it needs to balance teams I don’t think these discouragements need to apply.

Progression should be team bound in my opinion. I would suggest a starting credit amount that is increased the longer the match lasts. Lower than when you would have played all the time but not zero. New players entering the server would be treated the same as players switching teams manually.

When the server switches players they might be allowed to keep their credits and rank. Autobalancing has a problems with players who want to play together though.

3 Likes
#3

This is quite a difficult question - in multiplayer, people will use all the dirty tricks they have available to gain an advantage. Spying, for example, is impossible to prevent. You just put one guy in teamspeak on the opposing team where he stays the whole match. How much value there is in spying depends on the exact way the strategies and tactics of Battlescape will develop.

Imho, the biggest issue with team switching is balance. Ideally, the game is as much fun when you are losing as it is when you are winning. But people like winning a lot, so most of the time, you do not see people switch over to support the weaker team and even things up, but instead the losing team has players log off or switch, and the winning team stays online and even gains players.

Autoteambalance systems can work but also create problems. One important reason to allow team switching in the first place is that you can always team up and play with your friends, even if you started in different teams by accident or because the autoteam balance system put you in opposing teams.

Generally, creating balanced teams by the players themselves through incentives would be preferable to automated systems. Like a credit bonus when underpopulated. Switching to the winning team should cost you more than switching to the losing team.

I kind of like the idea of team-specific credits and ranks, as it encourages committing to one team early on. The longer you wait with switching, the more costly. But it would discourage rich players from leaving the winning team to help out the losing team, and they could not give much needed resources to the losing team. So imho, play time and relative team balance should both play a role in team switching cost/resource transfer.

A bit off topic, but one of the reasons people leave the losing team, either by stopping playing or by joining the winning team, is that there can be a point where you see that the end of the match is coming, you are losing and you feel like there is nothing you can still do about it. If the game can detect the imminent loss of one team, it would be great if there was a chance to get some sort of “glory” - objective or mission - an epic last stand, a last wild counterattack or something. Not something that turns the whole match upside down and negates all the winning the other team did so far, but something to rally the losing team, give them a good, last fight and provide some reward that you can only get by sticking in there and doing well. That could be some bragging-right stats/achievements thingy you get to keep, and/or some small advantage for future matches.

6 Likes
#4

I voted team-specific credits & ranks and time limit after switching for the most basic option.

If we consider the need to switch teams legitimate, we could allow/encourage it under specific conditions, like a opt-in team balancing scheme, where there is no penalty for switching to a loosing team.

2 Likes
#5

On the scale of Counter-Strike to Planetside, how long do you envision the rounds to last for? Is it open ended until there is a win condition? Do players have a persistent rank outside of each match to feel like they are progressing with something? Is it up to players to manage the team numbers balance?

If a player is on the losing side, what is the incentive to keep playing on that team? Won’t switching allow a rapid exodus from the team? Perhaps a system of accomplishments regardless of the final team outcome will help players see it through to the end?

I feel that this is a cart before the horse situation where there is not enough information to decide if switching is even a problem to decide upon.

3 Likes
#6

1st poll: I voted for the time limit. I don’t see how any of the others would combat switching to scout when you first join and have no credits etc to lose.

2nd poll: I voted for “Credits and rank are team specific”. However, if you have some credits on Red then switch to Green then back to Red, you shouldn’t get your credits back. You’d be back on Red but with 0 credits. If you get your credits back then the only penalty is the time limit.

I’m not sure what you mean by “rank” but if it’s some cumulative experience score then yes, any that had been accumulated during that match should be discarded when you switch, but your overall persisted rank would remain and you’d have a single persisted rank, not a separate rank per team.

Example
I expect players’ credits to start at 0 at the beginning of each match.
I expect players to have a single ‘experience’ score/rank which is persisted across matches and is not team-specific.
In your 1st match you play Red and gain 20 points.
In your 2nd match you play Green and gain 24 points.
In your 3rd match you play Blue and gain 22 points.
You now have a persisted experience score of 66 (20+24+22).
In your 4th match you start playing on Red and gain 14 points but you switch to Green - Your points for that match reset to 0.
You play on Green for the rest of the match and gain 10 points. At the end of your 4th match, your 10 points are added to your persisted score making your new persisted score 76 (66+10), not 90 (66+14+10).

3 Likes
#7

Asking the real questions there, @selbie :slight_smile:

If the match is intended to last between 30 minutes and 1 hour, then I’d see little incentive to switch sides. To be fair, I’m a bit “old school”: sticking with the designated team to the end, unless the “auto-balance” feature wants me to switch.
Nonetheless, a minimum time limit seems fair to me.

In any case, I think that some sort of lobby should be implemented for groups first: I don’t want to be punished for switching sides and joining my friends.
Or at least, make the switch “free of penalty” in the first 2 minutes of joining a Battlescape.

As for the credit and rank… well, I have no idea how they would affect the player / gameplay, so I didn’t vote.

1 Like
#8

I think the problem is that players are encouraged by the basic nature of the game interface to switch teams. They want to win, and a win is clearly laid out by the game. This team has more players. That team has player Methuselah. The other team just captured a key facility. If all that information is made available at a glance, then players are being encouraged to min/max optimize and switch to the team most likely to win at any given time.

So don’t show the other teams. Don’t list their members. Don’t show their score. Don’t show the enemy player names during combat. Don’t (automatically) show enemy holdings on the map. You have your team and that’s what you focus on. If you’re running with a numeric deficit, then your team gets drone ships, or faster resource accumulation, or your weapons do more damage, or your defenses are more effective. Whatever.

Do some social engineering so that you try to steer clear of the problem in the first place. I’m pretty sure that some players would race for the opportunity to fly solo against swarms of enemies if they knew that their ship was a titan among men. For all I know, that could become a new game mode.

Also, consider some minor flag on players who have changed teams. If they change teams frequently, then something about their appearance in the game should be different. This should include disconnecting and reconnecting. If my account plays on multiple teams during the course of a match, then I’m not particularly loyal to any team. I’m loyal to myself.

Want to know when you’re facing a particularly lethal pilot? Instead of showing the enemy’s name, show his number of kills against your team in the match. Or how many times he’s killed you. There is so much fertile ground for implementing something other than bog-standard arena features, which lead to bog-standard arena behavior from players.

6 Likes
#9

I have voted for a time limit, but I would have it even longer than 15mins. However, if progress is locked to the team you’re currently on (which I also voted for), does it matter?

I’m thinking of that other big, 3 team shooter: Planetside 2. You can have different characters on different teams and switch between them.

#10

My 2c:

I voted for the time limit as well, but personally, I am against having the ability to switch teams altogether. I have experienced many times where there would be sudden population switches near the end of an alert in Planetside 2, where many players switched to the winning team.

IMO, once a game starts, you are assigned to a team, and until the game ends, you are stuck with that team.

However, in the event of a team imbalance, I see Hawken’s system as a possible solution to re-balancing.

In Hawken, if one team or another has fewer players, a notification appears for the other team’s players, telling them that if they want, they can hit a button to instantly switch teams and respawn. The player was awarded with almost as much points as winning the match.

8 Likes
#11

I’m pretty sure not showing the enemy bases is already the plan. Flavien stated they have to be scouted out.
The trouble is the more information you take away, the more of an incentive there is to switch teams to gather that intel.

It matters if you can switch teams to see where their bases & players are, then switch back and make use of that intel.

In Planetside 2 the bases are in fixed locations and everyone can see who controls each base, so there is no intel to be gathered there. Regarding player locations, by the time you’ve switched back to your preferred team, that intel is out of date.


If all players can see everything except the rapidly changing stuff like player locations, then there is no intel to be gained by switching teams. Then the only reason to switch becomes joining the winning team.
This is the approach that most games take but I totally agree with @JB47394 that it’d be great if Battlescape could do something different, it’s just a question of what and how.


Edit after seeing Arkenbrien’s post:
I do like the idea of locking teams for the match, but if the idea is that matches can last hours and people will come and go, then the team allocation algorithm needs to be a bit more complex than just assigning the player to the team with the fewest current players. - Not an issue, but it’d need careful balancing.

What do people think of not rewarding being on the winning team at the end? Instead reward the player for their actions during the match. If you try to defend a base against superior numbers, even if you fail you get rewarded with experience points. etc etc

2 Likes
#12

Can’t we just have a stealth version of the interceptor or stealth mode for spying and recon?

1 Like
#13

Sure we could, but that doesn’t prevent people switching team, opening the map and seeing where all the enemy bases are.

#14

It’s for filming purposes, I swear! :wink:

2 Likes
#15

Wouldn’t the best long term solution be, assuming there are multiple matches running at once, for someone who leaves a game to then only get the options:

  1. Return to current game on same team
  2. Join a new match they haven’t participated in

If you allow players to hop from the losing to the winning team after 15 minutes, it’s not going to be a good meta for gameplay. There should probably be some kind of increasing lockout penalty any time you leave a match.

Obviously for alpha, these things can remain a little bit more lax right now.

I think friends should at least be able to group up and join the queue to play and spawn in the same area. Please don’t do the hot mass that Battlefront did with auto-respawning with random teammates.

6 Likes
#16

I think allowing switching for the first few minutes of a match should be allowed, then locked for the first half of the average duration match, then allow players from the side that is currently winning (metrics required here) to be allowed to switch, but not the other way.

Edit: resources would get reset if switching at the start, maybe reduced by X% on the last half of the match and that chunk redistributed to the team being left.

1 Like
#17

The issue with allowing switching at the beginning is that players will be able to see where all the teams bases are.

You could eliminate this as a feature and just have all the base locations be visible from the start. That would mitigate the problem but it would remove the scouting/exploring gameplay which shows off the engine.

1 Like
#18

I would only allow switching teams to get friends on the same teem.
Before play starts.
Purple for the win.

4 Likes
#19

Maybe only allow 1 team switch per match, within 15 mins of joining the match? So you get in, see your friend is on another team and switch, but then you’re locked. If you don’t switch and play longer than the time limit, you’re locked for the match, even if you log out and in again.

If everything has to be scouted, you may not really know if your team is winning within that time frame as well, so hopefully people wouldn’t be able to join the match, switch to the “winning team” and sit.

4 Likes
#20

Another thing to take into account is the “spectator mode”. You would only be able to “spectate” ( or follow allies ) what’s happening in your own team; but what happens when you join a match for the first time and you’re teamless ? Can you spectate any of the teams ?

1 Like