Possible way to include cardgame-esque mechanics in normal gameplay


#1

I think it could be agreed that as it stands the game is lacking in both of its core genres: CCG and Arena. With the core focus of gameplay laying on the arena side Optidox, myself and a couple of others thought about ways to incorporate CCG aspects into the arena gameplay. Heres something we came up with:

Actual Decks
As the game expands its obvious that the abilities and “cards” will grow with it. Along with this it would make sense to create decks of abilities with a set couple of weapons that could be used in the game. Somewhere in the ballpark of 15 cards would make the most sense in my opinion. Obviously thats pretty much all of the cards in the game at the moment but here’s to more.

Ranked Drafting
Moving into ranked play now with a pre-selected deck the players would begin to draft a set amount of abilities to be used at the start of the match explained in the next section. Now the players could see what each others abilites are during drafting or not, that’s really up to what works better. In terms of the draft it would go as such:

  1. “Shuffle” the deck
  2. Draw 3 cards
  3. Pick one
  4. Repeat until all slots are filled dependent on the map

Map Additions/Edits
One thing that could be agreed upon by arena players is the lack of pickups to facilitate map control. By adding static item points around the maps(and by extension, bigger maps, maybe Aztec size would be about right) they can be used as ability pickup points for the cards drafted. By creating mutual objectives outside of health packs it could allow for skirmishes to happen in more areas around the map and give players a reason to move from a set point on the map. At the beginning of the match the abilities would be randomly distributed to one of the static locations on the map which will become those abilities’ homes for the rest of the match. The one caveat would be that it wouldn’t make sense for one point to have the same ability for both players(i.e. both players drafted Bubble but it would be impossible for them to have to move to the same point for that same ability). However, both players do not start with any abilities by default. This could go into something I think is unique to P1v1 at the moment and that is item denial. A player would have to judge if it’s worth to deny the enemy an ability or refresh their own which would add to the depth of the game and give it some game-specific game-sense.
By having the card positions randomized per match it would allow a good amount of variety for both the players and the spectators.

I hope this was helpful in some way as kind of a spitball approach to expand on the whole CCG Arena Shooter mix that could hopefully appease both sides and fix some of the glaring issues that aren’t about balance.


(Qmzn) #2

Well, I do like the idea of being able to “draw” the cards from the map.

Another potential way to handle it, rather than spawning cards in a random arrangement across fixed points at map start, would be for cards to drop right after a fragged player respawns. The drop could still show up in a few predefined locations, although I think having hundreds of viable drop locations would be more interesting. A dynamic pickup location system would also set the game apart from its peers, which rely heavily on the old school system of fixed pickup layouts.

In this system, the card would spawn at the nearest spawn point deemed equidistant from both players, and would be visible through walls for both. However, only the player that scored the kill could use the drop to activate their card. If the opposing player grabbed the card, it would give +50 HP instead. It would be a bit like Codebreaker, only you’d be fighting over ability unlocks instead of a little pieces of a magical wallhack tablet.

With only weapon cards available at the start, and card spawns dependent on frags, both players would be gunning for first blood, rather than immediately rushing around searching for ability cards.

However, for the sake of reducing snowball rates, I think a card drop should also appear for a player that suffers 3 consecutive deaths. This would even make for an interesting strategy, where if a player died twice, they could quickly suicide to the third death and spawn a card, if they thought the card was more valuable than giving the enemy a point.

For a deeper mechanic, the requirement for each card to spawn could be different, and be linked to a certain number of consecutive frags or deaths. Two examples:

And:

Still, I like this whole line of thinking. Racing to beat the other player to a card pickup sounds like it could be fun.

Now, you know what doesn’t sound fun? A draft system. Nothing drags a game down like having a complicated pre-production schedule before every match. Some people love that, but I actually, well, despise it. I want to get in media res, not play some pre-match metagame. Just hearing the word “draft” sets my nerves on edge.

So if there’s going to be more CCG in P1V1, I think it should remain as simple as possible, with as little RNG infusion as possible. With a card spawning mechanic in place, I’m for allowing players to choose a fixed draw order for their decks. If a player wants a card to drop sooner, they change the draw order. If they want to draw out of order to adapt to an opponent, then allow players to “discard” a card by attacking it. Once a card takes 150 HP of damage from any source, it disappears, and the next card in the deck will spawn when card spawn conditions are met.


#3

I think that something like deathstreaks promotes stuff like suicide abuse to get to these things. And in theory the “draft” would likely only last 2 minutes at most. Also, it wouldn’t be as intense as a moba draft since the only thing being decided is whats spawned on the map at the start.

As a side note, something like “After 3 deaths caused by the enemy player you have the option to swap one of the cards to another random one in the deck” or something along those lines could also work


(Qmzn) #4

If there was a draft-like system, I would want it to be quick, simple, and easy for a new player to immediately understand. So rather than a shuffle/draw draft system from a larger deck, I think P1V1 would fare better with a mini pre-match card game.

I imagine something like the following, with a deck loadout between seven to ten cards – player testing would determine the ideal card count. There would be a minimum of two weapon cards and three skill cards in a deck, while the remaining cards could be of any other type.

Play would proceed as follows:

  • Turn 1: Both players play one weapon card from their deck, face down.
  • Turn 2: Both players play one weapon card from their deck, face up.
  • Turn 3: Both players play one ability card from their deck, face up.
  • Turn 4: Both players play two ability cards from their deck, face down.

I think the face up/face down approach helps cement the idea that the player is playing with digital cards, not just front-ends for equipment. You’d get that Blackjack and Texas Hold 'em feel.

Cards that are played face up are revealed simultaneously after the play is locked in, so you can’t counter-pick inside a round. This would allow for players to get a vague idea of their opponent’s strategy beforehand, to create a just a little bit of additional meta after turn 1 resolves.

The pre-match card game would always be on a fast timer, to force players to pick fast and think on their toes:

  • 3 second “Get Ready!” timer.
  • 7 second Turn 1 timer.
  • 7 second Turn 2 timer.
  • 7 second Turn 3 timer.
  • 10 second Turn 4 timer.

The counts would actually be a second longer each, because the first second of the countdown would be held before the timer was decremented. The 3 second count would have voice SFX, as with match start, while the other timers would have bleeps at each count. Once both players play all cards in a turn, that turn’s timer instantly ends. If a timer runs out before a player plays the requisite cards, cards are automatically selected at random from those remaining in that player’s deck, to cover AFK players, or those that simply don’t care.

That’s 38 seconds of pre-match card gaming, tops. I can live with that. 2 minutes, even if that’s potential maximum length, is just too long for impatient old people. And since it’s actually a card game being played before each match, well, we could finally say, with confidence, that P1V1 is a card-game-slash-arena-shooter hybrid.

Yeah, deathstreak activation/deployment would have to restricted to deaths caused by the opponent, not deaths + suicides. That way, there would actually be a penalty for suicide, because it would break the sequence.

However, I think it’d also be fun to have cards that only activate on a suicide, and nothing else. A player would have to beeline for a instant-death pit, then put themselves down a point – sort of like Magic: the Gathering cards that damage the caster when played. I’m also keen on activation based on the sole map pickup – health. Something like “Activation Cost: While at full health, pick up 100 health from the map.”

The more I think about it, the more I favor the idea of a sub-minute pre-match card game, followed by a match where the cards are activated based on a listed “cost” – conditions the individual player must achieve. Even though placing cards around the map so you can “draw” them sounds sort of fun, it still brings the game closer to the concept of every other arena shooter – hoard pickups, use them as bait. I’ve played that game. The concept’s already been well-refined over the years. It’s fun, yet expected.

But a game where you play a little card game beforehand, gambling on what cards you think you can activate during a match, followed by a frantic attempt to activate all your cards in an arena shooter space, all while still attempting to out-score your player? While I like the P1V1 we’re playing now, that juggling act sounds much more interesting.

Implementing such a thing, though? That’s a whole 'nother can of worms, that may not remotely be what the devs want to see in the game. Still, it’s fun to dream.

I think it’s also worth noting that the foundation behind many of these concepts has already been floated, in the critically-acclaimed Xbox title Phantom Dust. Lots of inspiration to be found in that game.


#5

Try re-reading what I had suggested for a draft. Since something like that can be quick, can be set to either show the opponent whats been picked or not, and has the possibility to have a bad draw. With the way you pointed out its possible to pretty much have your ideal load out 100% of the time and still lacks other incorporation with the arena side of the game. The more you add mechanics that are pulled straight from card games the more convoluted the arena side gets and makes the already steep learning curve even steeper. Ideally I think it has to be a good balance of both CCG aspects and arena aspects


(Qmzn) #6

I read the post thoroughly when I first came across the thread, to make sure I understood the concept fully – to do any less would be disrespectful. I also read it carefully because the suggestion was interesting, and well thought out. Still, I read it another time, because you asked.

The concept of drafting, of condensing a larger randomized pool of cards to a smaller pool of cards, is my least favorite thing about collectible card games. I have done it many times, in physical and digital spaces over the span of decades, and that’s more than enough to know I never want to do it again.

Right now, the player is immediately in the arena space after load, and play starts in around 10 seconds, on average. If I came into this game with no prior experience, picked the starter deck, and hit that card draft system, and the draft lasted the full 2 minutes? I’d play that match then uninstall, I kid you not. Even if that draft only lasted the average time – let’s say, a minute – I would probably uninstall after three matches.

Now, to be sure, you are going to have players that love such a system. But it isn’t about the outliers, who love or hate it in the extreme – it’s about those in the middle of the curve, how they feel about such a thing.

Brand new players already head right out the door when getting creamed by a high-MMR death machine. Can you imagine how quickly they’d leave if they got steamrolled after a bad draw in a draft?

I don’t see the fun in letting a player carefully build a strategy, then putting an RNG in place that could stick that player with their least favorite choices, which they would then have to fight over as a map pickup. That’s just layers of potential disappointment, especially for new players. What we should want, I think, is additional layers of subtle strategy through the card system, that players feel they can control directly.

And with the way you pointed out, a player could draw into their ideal load out 100% of the time if they are lucky. Why punish unlucky players?

Perhaps my last post was written in a way that was unclear. The system I suggested – which only came to mind after reading your rather interesting suggestion as a springboard – would encourage players to play different cards each round, rather than using an RNG to force unpleasant decisions.

It would give players the ability to change away from their typical loadout, after seeing one of the weapons and one of the skills their opponent will be bringing. For example, if a player played Human Flame face up, then I could play Recall face down, so they wouldn’t know I could teleport dodge it until I activated the card. Or maybe I play Recall face up, and hide my other two choices. Strategery.

If a player wants to play the same 5 cards every time, they deserve the freedom to make that choice – but they might be missing out on an opportunity to outfox their opponent before the match begins.

I agree, and I think the incorporation of the cards in the arena side of the game could involve fighting over predetermined card spawns, or ignoring them if deemed strategically unworthy, as you’ve suggested.

However, I really like the idea of each card having an activation that directly references actions players take in the arena, providing a clear link between the cards and the arena gameplay. And I think those activation costs would be a lot of fun if they went beyond just frags and deaths, and primarily involved non-lethal arena actions.

For example, how about Air Jump requiring a player to be cumulatively airborne for 15 seconds before the “card” is played? If you wanted it as soon as possible, you’d have to find an open space and rocket jump, ride a bunch of rails, or bunny hop everywhere. Do you engage your opponent during this, or try to keep your distance until you have that improved mobility?

In the same vein, what if Vampiric Thirst required a player to heal for 150 health before the skill card became ready for use? And that would actually have to be true healing, which means the player would either have to engage in combat, get damaged, and take heals, or self-damage by methods such as rocket jumping.

Now, whether such an “Activation Cost” would trigger cards to appear as pickups, or whether it would instantly activate the card, I think both would be interesting to try out. I’m in favor of the latter, but it comes down to what works better in the game.

I think this is dipping too deeply into the territory of backseat driving, though. Besides, the devs could already have an internal plan for building up the CCG system that’s going to blow us all away, you know?


#7

Ok, but consider that a drafting system would only be in ranked. I had forgotten to mention that. I agree that drafting systems dont belong in casual modes, but I’d imagine something like level locked ranked mode isn’t off the table for a game like this.

I was hoping to come across less as back seat driving more of just throwing out ideas. I certainly believe they have something in mind at this point.


(Qmzn) #8

Oh, I wasn’t referring to your ideas – which were fine – but to myself, to my own meandering progression of suggestions. I have a tendency to head deep down a pointless rabbit hole, often unaware that I might be completely going in an opposite direction to a game’s core intent.