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The Pub at MMORPG.COM  » Beating the Zerg out of game design.

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58 posts found
  Prankster

Novice Member

Joined: 2/26/04
Posts: 165

People Suck Avoid Them Whenever Possible

 
OP  3/20/13 10:31:23 AM#1

I propose that the only way to end Zerg warfare is to enable friendly fire.

Please discuss.

Refugee from UO,EQ,AC,AC2,AO,DAOC,L2,SB,HZ,CoH,PT,EQ2,WoW,VG,SWG,EVE,WAR,DF,MO,AI,GA,LOTRO, SWTOR... Gw2 on Deck

  BahamutKaiser

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 295

On hiatus for a while guys, MMOs still aren't interesting me.

3/20/13 9:41:37 PM#2
Friendly fire should exist to improve tactical limitations, it also allows for variety between blasting clustered foes and using safe offense which woln't hurt mixed units.

But I think the more effective technique is to unrestrict area damage, it should have damage, cost, and frequency equivalent to one third of a single target attack. In this way, any attempt to crowd an AoE attacker will result in massive losses due to AoE efficiency.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  phumbaba

Advanced Member

Joined: 2/27/08
Posts: 52

3/21/13 5:19:00 AM#3

Well.. giving ranged characters the boon of friendly fire raises the question of why not go all the way to enable strike-through dmg too. To make it work in combat that is fun and fluid, would require quite a lot of work, but may be possible.. Would require fast paced combat and a lot of ways to avoid. And small enough group sizes to prevent chaos at least slightly easier. Guess I'd like see some1 make it work, but there are some risks and ultimately it wouldn't do much at all about zerging.

Zerging is merely a type of behaviour that arises from a) overconfidence and b) repetition of said content. a) can be a result of b), but not necessarily. b) can be countered by e.g. randomizing content, making each run different or at least possibly different will give players a reason to pause and think a while. In my opinion at least, no matter the mechanics, you can zerg the content once you know it, know your party and know the mechanics.

  Dihoru

Elite Member

Joined: 1/11/06
Posts: 2307

3/21/13 5:33:56 AM#4

There are 3 main tactics to counter zerg:

1. zerg em back

2. deny them the chance to zerg you via non-conventional warfare

3. attrition the zerg

All these 3 work and have many more variations upon them. To eliminate zerg would be impossible because you would need to eliminate the option to zerg, the best way to reduce its frequency is to properly balance the game such that zerging is a tactic as much as any other (no better or worse ergo with its own place).

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5356

I dare you to pin a label on me.

3/21/13 6:58:44 AM#5
The most efficient way to prevent zerging is to manage or limit player populations in PvP areas.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  MMOExposed

Spotlight Poster

Joined: 6/17/10
Posts: 5736

3/21/13 7:15:44 AM#6
Originally posted by Prankster

I propose that the only way to end Zerg warfare is to enable friendly fire.

Please discuss.

your not a good game designer.

something like that would be FFA. FFA usually does more damage than good. it would be exploited and kill off the large population in the PvP mmo or turn the PvE MMO into a PvP which would ruin the community.

 

very bad game design. but oh well. some people learn the hard way.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11358

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

3/21/13 7:26:55 AM#7
Originally posted by Prankster

I propose that the only way to end Zerg warfare is to enable friendly fire.

Please discuss.

That would be a great start. The two main reasons there is no friendly fire:

  • It means you have to think before you shoot. Consequence... *wrinkles nose* who wants that stuff?
  • In games with zero accountability it's too easily used as a greifing tool.
 
Collision Detection would also help reduce zerging but it's been removed due to the same two issues that Friendly Fire had.
 
 

 

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11358

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

3/21/13 7:29:05 AM#8
Originally posted by Quirhid
The most efficient way to prevent zerging is to manage or limit player populations in PvP areas.

That works in battlefields, and it's one of the main reasons battlefields exist. In an open world environment, it far more tricky to pull off without it seeming contrived or arbitrary (see:PotBS)

 

  Quirhid

Elite Member

Joined: 1/28/05
Posts: 5356

I dare you to pin a label on me.

3/21/13 8:31:44 AM#9
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quirhid
The most efficient way to prevent zerging is to manage or limit player populations in PvP areas.

That works in battlefields, and it's one of the main reasons battlefields exist. In an open world environment, it far more tricky to pull off without it seeming contrived or arbitrary (see:PotBS)

True. I suspect the key would be in various attrition and/or diminishing return mechanics (such as supplies, fuel, food etc.) which would put a "soft cap" on large player concentrations.  Then again, nothing says hard caps can't be immersive aswell. A stargate can only jump such an such many ships at a time for example. If the number is small enough and the frequency of jumps managed (stargate needs to cooldown after each jump), moving large fleets of spaceships becomes a huge inconvenience therefore discouraging zerging.

There's always a way: Conjuring up fiction to mask/explain a game mechanic is easy.

I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been -Wayne Gretzky

  Sengi

Novice Member

Joined: 6/01/09
Posts: 300

3/21/13 8:32:09 AM#10

One way to discourage zerging would be to give organized players am massive advantage over unorganized ones. In ancient times an army that was just a huge barbaric horde, and didn't even have a leader, would be certain to get slaughtered even if it outnumbered the enemy 1/10.

It would be nice to have mechanics for players to organize on an broader scale. I imagine fighters forming a shield wall while mages perform a magical ritual. A player that does not help and just fires away mindlessly would be almost useless, and  would earn no reward therefore.

One would need to test what level of organization a random group of players is capable of, without the whole thing becoming frustrating. A meaningful leader-mechanic would be required. (Not the one from gw2 where everyone can get an champion icon who payes 100gp)

  Gormogon

Hard Core Member

Joined: 9/25/12
Posts: 153

3/21/13 2:05:31 PM#11

These are games ... you can't forget the fun/effort ratio.  If the mechanics make your game less fun or too much of a hassle compared to alternatives, then players will leave for another game that lets them play how they want.  

 

The underlying assumption we're making is that players don't like to zerg but do it because it's effective.  If we make it less effective, then players will play differently.  While it is apparent that the type of players that complain on message boards often abhor zerg tactics, in seven years of playing MMOs I have not necessarily seen an indication that the MMORPG player population at large feels the same way.  I might even argue most players just want to feel like they are doing something and being rewarded for it (see GW2). 

 

Friendly fire, harsh death costs or penalties to the individual or the team, providing defensive installations with powerful zerg-busting weaponry, even giving offensive or defensive penalties/bonuses based on location and friendly units in proximity, all of those could help discourage zerging, but while you ingratiate yourself with some portion of your potential players, you push a much larger group away.  Not that that's necessarily a bad thing -- being able to find games that fit one's tastes should be one of the advantages of diversity -- but it is a consideration developers have to face.


 

 
  zekeofev

Apprentice Member

Joined: 1/28/11
Posts: 220

3/21/13 8:17:13 PM#12

In DAOC you could fight 12 versus 30-36 or so and win. Why? Long duration Mez CCs that took someone out of combat until they took damage. This type of tactic provides a huge benefit to organized groups.

 

Of course most players do not like being CCed that long and thus we have the action zerg combat of today rather than the tactical combat of days gone by.

 

Short resapwn timers and quick recovery times of health and mana being seconds rather then minutes also do more to promote zerg play.

 

In PVE, a lack of needed coordination and low death penalties mean a lot of zerging too.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11358

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

3/21/13 8:33:33 PM#13
Originally posted by Quirhid
Originally posted by Loktofeit
Originally posted by Quirhid
The most efficient way to prevent zerging is to manage or limit player populations in PvP areas.

That works in battlefields, and it's one of the main reasons battlefields exist. In an open world environment, it far more tricky to pull off without it seeming contrived or arbitrary (see:PotBS)

True. I suspect the key would be in various attrition and/or diminishing return mechanics (such as supplies, fuel, food etc.) which would put a "soft cap" on large player concentrations.  Then again, nothing says hard caps can't be immersive aswell. A stargate can only jump such an such many ships at a time for example. If the number is small enough and the frequency of jumps managed (stargate needs to cooldown after each jump), moving large fleets of spaceships becomes a huge inconvenience therefore discouraging zerging.

There's always a way: Conjuring up fiction to mask/explain a game mechanic is easy.

Yes and no. You *can* do it, but you need to get the players to buy into it. To use PotBS as an example, there were quite a few skills that seemed to have plausible enough descriptions but the players simply didn't buy into it and rejected it as magic in their maritime game. It's doable, but tricky. :)

 

  Axehilt

Novice Member

Joined: 5/09/09
Posts: 7213

3/21/13 8:58:26 PM#14

The "only" way?  Seriously?

  • PVE: Instances.
  • PVP: Instances.
  • PVE: Bosses who can only be tapped by x players. (And all the little rules to make sure anyone who's not in the main raid can't contribute in any way to the fight.)
  • PVE: Bosses who scale based on player count.
  • PVP: Playing better PVP games instead of shallow (zerg + progression) PVP.
  • PVP: Living with bad PVP as-is (because if you're playing a shallow zerg PVP game, shallow zerg PVP is what you want.)
  • PVP: Combat systems which only allow duels (or group-duel equivalent.)
I hesitate to add friendly fire to the above list because it really doesn't beat the zerg out of PVP.
  BahamutKaiser

Novice Member

Joined: 3/08/13
Posts: 295

On hiatus for a while guys, MMOs still aren't interesting me.

3/21/13 11:37:48 PM#15

Friendly Fire alone doesn't beat the zerg out of game design, but it certainly hinders it. While I don't think it is an unacceptable mechanic if done in a miriad of situations, I feel proper escalation of AoE damage and tactical funneling mechanisms would prevent players from crowding and over committing large forces vs small ones.

If an AoE with a 5-10 foot blast radius does exactly 1/3rd of the DPS and 3 times the cost as single target DPS, attempts to engage in groups of more than 3 would result in taking higher DPS toward your troops overall, and quickly escalate into unmitagatable damage if 9 or more were hit with the same efficiency.

Character collision and personal space requirement would help too, but needs a lot of polish to work naturally so your not just jammed when your surrounded by allies, simular to unit collision in SC2 or other unit intensive games.

There are also a host of strategies which can be implemented in order to mitigate the effectiveness of crowding.

As for respawn and returning... That's just as simple as dont... whether it's fun for the zerg is not really relevant if it's not fun for the foe, a system of intelligent challenge has to be designed to entertain both parties.

Feel free to give me more specifics so I can solve them... but I woln't guarentee that I'll give away every solution I devise.

Oh, and one more thing just crossed my mind, AoE or party heals can be given a set total amount of heal, that way no matter how many units it is applied to, it divides a set amount among the units affected. This further constitues greater recovery vs fewer units and exponetially ineffective recovery vs AoE damage to a huge group of allies.

Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
That way, if they get angry, they'll be a mile away... and barefoot.

  Loktofeit

Hard Core Member

Joined: 1/13/10
Posts: 11358

Currently playing EVE, SMITE, ESO, and Combat Arms

3/21/13 11:43:43 PM#16
Originally posted by BahamutKaiser

Friendly Fire alone doesn't beat the zerg out of game design, but it certainly hinders it. While I don't think it is an unacceptable mechanic if done in a miriad of situations, I feel proper escalation of AoE damage and tactical funneling mechanisms would prevent players from crowding and over committing large forces vs small ones.

If an AoE with a 5-10 foot blast radius does exactly 1/3rd of the DPS and 3 times the cost as single target DPS, attempts to engage in groups of more than 3 would result in taking higher DPS toward your troops overall, and quickly escalate into unmitagatable damage if 9 or more were hit with the same efficiency.

Character collision and personal space requirement would help too, but needs a lot of polish to work naturally so your not just jammed when your surrounded by allies, simular to unit collision in SC2 or other unit intensive games.

There are also a host of strategies which can be implemented in order to mitigate the effectiveness of crowding.

As for respawn and returning... That's just as simple as dont... whether it's fun for the zerg is not really relevant if it's not fun for the foe, a system of intelligent challenge has to be designed to entertain both parties.

Feel free to give me more specifics so I can solve them... but I woln't guarentee that I'll give away every solution I devise.

"a system of intelligent challenge has to be designed to entertain both parties"

I like that phrase.

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4508

3/22/13 12:01:14 AM#17
Originally posted by Prankster

I propose that the only way to end Zerg warfare is to enable friendly fire.

Please discuss.

Nope.

Even games with friendly fire have zerging. Just look at Planetside. The truth is really quite simple:

Zerging  is not a biproduct of game mechancs. It's a biproduct of having a large number of people in the same environment. Even in PvE, players zerg. Heck, just look at any game with public events. Even regular questing areas get zerged, but people fight each other over mobs & quest items.

If zerging bothers you, the answer is easy.

A) Don't do it

and

B)  Use your brain, and stop trying to attack zergs head on. It's amazing how many people still don't understand the concept of flanking, even though it's one of the oldest & most effective strategies ever known.

There's a reason things like 'ambushes' exist. They were developed as methods specifically to defeat a larger force of opponents. Video games are no different. Sure, some games make it easier to outplay zergs than others, but every game I have ever played that has 'zerging', has had zerg forces whiped out by players using superior tactics.

Heck, even in GW2, a game where people often get criticised for 'zerging', my guild is notorious for consistantly decimating much larger forces. Not only is it incredibly fun, but we are far from the only ones that do this.

  waynejr2

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/12/11
Posts: 3663

RIP City of Heroes!

3/22/13 12:04:40 AM#18
Originally posted by BahamutKaiser

Friendly Fire alone doesn't beat the zerg out of game design, but it certainly hinders it. While I don't think it is an unacceptable mechanic if done in a miriad of situations, I feel proper escalation of AoE damage and tactical funneling mechanisms would prevent players from crowding and over committing large forces vs small ones.

If an AoE with a 5-10 foot blast radius does exactly 1/3rd of the DPS and 3 times the cost as single target DPS, attempts to engage in groups of more than 3 would result in taking higher DPS toward your troops overall, and quickly escalate into unmitagatable damage if 9 or more were hit with the same efficiency.

Character collision and personal space requirement would help too, but needs a lot of polish to work naturally so your not just jammed when your surrounded by allies, simular to unit collision in SC2 or other unit intensive games.

There are also a host of strategies which can be implemented in order to mitigate the effectiveness of crowding.

As for respawn and returning... That's just as simple as dont... whether it's fun for the zerg is not really relevant if it's not fun for the foe, a system of intelligent challenge has to be designed to entertain both parties.

Feel free to give me more specifics so I can solve them... but I woln't guarentee that I'll give away every solution I devise.

Oh, and one more thing just crossed my mind, AoE or party heals can be given a set total amount of heal, that way no matter how many units it is applied to, it divides a set amount among the units affected. This further constitues greater recovery vs fewer units and exponetially ineffective recovery vs AoE damage to a huge group of allies.

 I would like to see a list of your "There are also a host of strategies which can be implemented in order to mitigate the effectiveness of crowding."

  aesperus

Elite Member

Joined: 1/04/05
Posts: 4508

3/22/13 12:17:52 AM#19
Originally posted by waynejr2

 I would like to see a list of your "There are also a host of strategies which can be implemented in order to mitigate the effectiveness of crowding."

Picking up any book on basic war strategy will give you such a list, but to start:

- Flanking

- Bombing (AoE)

- Pincer attacks (hitting a group of enemies from multiple sides at once)

- Bottlenecking

- Stalling

- Back capping

- Attacking morale

- Disabling (CC)

- Guerilla tactics

  Mtibbs1989

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Posts: 2230

3/22/13 12:34:38 AM#20
Originally posted by MMOExposed
Originally posted by Prankster

I propose that the only way to end Zerg warfare is to enable friendly fire.

Please discuss.

your not a good game designer.

something like that would be FFA. FFA usually does more damage than good. it would be exploited and kill off the large population in the PvP mmo or turn the PvE MMO into a PvP which would ruin the community.

 

very bad game design. but oh well. some people learn the hard way.

 Ignore MMOExposed, blindly ignoring a possible fix to a PvP tactic like zerging is ignorant. MMOExposed also reminds me of one of the many players who abuse and exploit the zerging system. Whch makes me ponder if he's also part of the Goon Swarm and/or RUIN. Communities which exploit this feature would obviously stand up for it.

 Now lets get back on topic. Enabling friendly fire to mass PvP in a whole would add to the strategy required in PvP. Games that pull this off properly are great examples of how the system works. Which are FPS's. They enable friendly fire which incoorperates another layer of cooperation with your team as a whole. You don't blindly go around shooting everyone without fear of TKing. Nor do you chuck grenades without repercutions such as killing yourself or an allies around you. So this system could work quite well in the aspect of AoE spamming.

 There is also a downside to it as well. Such as intentional friendly fire. With a secondary net behind that issue I believe it could properly work out to benefit the PvP in a whole with the ability to remove players who abuse TKing. This would be very possible as well because current game studios are creating entire zones that are instanced and dedicated to PvP. So simply applying a FF system that after X amount of players were TKed by one said player; that player would be temporarily removed from PvP with a short debuff that kept them out of combat. Just like the debuff timer for battlegrounds in games like World of Warcraft or RIFT.

It's a great idea to implement and if properly implemented could help control the large amounts of zerging as far as AoEing. However, I highly doubt any system will fully prevent zerging. Because there are simply ways around the FF mechanic and that's to simply use single target classes over AoE.

 Maybe we can also look at it from a different stand point. Which is to break down WvW pvp zones in to different phasing where only XX amount of players within the entire realm can compete at a time. So that the entire battlefield can properly have people spreadout throughout the entire map. You could also use the FF mechanic in addition to the system to deter players from constantly spamming AoE skills as well.

 However, even phasing has issues with it. Such as preventing friends or guilds from properly communicating and playing together. Which in a whole could add to the disorientation of WvW. I don't think many people would want to be running with a party and all the sudden all of their allies disappear.

 They could also try doing invisible walls around XX parts of a zone that would limit the amount of players able to enter them at one time. However, this also runs into another issue with parties and having their members unable to proceed with them through the zone barrier.

 In the end it's very hard to figure out a way to properly limit zerging. However, I personally believe that WvW should be for solo players who properly communicate with Realm Chat. While more structured PvP for parties and guild would lie within battleground and arenas of the sort.


Somebody, somewhere has better skills as you have, more experience as you have, is smarter than you, has more friends as you do and can stay online longer. Just pray he's not out to get you.

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