Dev Blog 3 - Role Warfare

by InnerSphereNews in [ Developer Blogs ] on, Feb 1, 2012 10:00 AM UTC

Role Warfare is a term used for applying in-game mechanics and features, which assist a player in optimizing the game for their style of gameplay.

There are 4 basic types of gameplay roles in any team based game. These are the common roles found in military conflicts between two or more forces, and are similar to a chess game in terms of how they play out on the battlefield. The four roles are:

Scouting – Gathering information as a reconnaissance/stealth unit that gets relayed back to the rest of the friendly force.
Defense – The defender holds the ground gained by the offensive forces and protects those in need.
Assault – The assault role is for the tactical forward units whose primary role is to seek and destroy.
Command – The command role is split into two different levels, lance and company. Lance command falls to those in charge of up to 3 other players and assist in coordinated attacks on key targets. The company commander utilizes the 2 other lance commanders and all information being relayed back to him to make global calls on the battlefield.
 

Role Aggregation

Role Aggregation combines all of the BattleMech and Pilot Skill customizations to create customized gameplay that the player has chosen to follow.

It all begins in the game’s cycle of playing matches. The player first starts off by selecting contracts or entering quick matches and playing the game in general.
 

As players play through matches, they earn XP for their BattleMechs. XP is gained by performing various tasks within a match and bonus XP can be gained by being successful at the end of the match. Bonus XP can be gained from the meta-game which can give XP based on faction/allegiance to a House.
 

After each match XP is stored in the last BattleMech used. This pool of XP can be spent on BattleMech efficiencies. Each BattleMech chassis has its own pool of XP and custom Tech Tree. At certain branch points in the BattleMech Tech Tree, a Pilot Point is awarded to the player.

Each branch under the BattleMech’s Tech Tree represents attributes that fall into the Role Categories described earlier on.
 

Pilot Points that are unlocked in the BattleMech Tech Tree are then assigned to the player’s pilot avatar (MechWarrior).
 

Now the player can use the Pilot Points to unlock pilot abilities in the Pilot Skill tree. As abilities are purchased, Modules are unlocked in the store.

Again, the branches in the Pilot Skill Tree represent attributes that fall into the Role Categories described earlier on.
 

After purchasing modules from the store, using soft currency (C-Bills), the player can equip them to the BattleMech of their choice. The maximum number of Modules that can be equipped is determined by the BattleMech chassis.
 


It is this game cycle that brings customized gameplay to the player experience. The combination of BattleMech Modules and Pilot Abilities will dramatically augment the play style of the player.

Roles Playing Out on the Battlefield

How the roles play out on the battlefield relies on the players’ activity. If a player customizes their gameplay to be a scout, then they should play the role of a scout and relay information back to the command players.

Scouts

Scouts are the main source of information on the battlefield. It is their utilization of Information Warfare that is the key to the success of a team. Scouts need to get to the front lines as soon as possible in order to gather information as fast as possible. They should utilize fast moving BattleMech which allow them to do so and at the same time allow them the opportunity to escape should the need arise. Advanced scout players will need to use scout Modules to enhance their abilities to detect enemies and relay information.

Suggested BattleMech Class: Light/Medium
Suggested Modules: Radar and Detection enhancements
Suggested Pilot Skills: Scout class skills

Defense/Assault

The defense and assault roles are very similar in their core gameplay. The only difference between the two is how they want to balance their skills and modules. There are numerous configurations that will prove to be beneficial to either role being played.

Defense may want to skew their attributes to heavier armor and friendly assistance modules, while the assault may want to skew their attributes to targeting and assistance modules. Both roles need to be combat effective in both long and short range abilities.

Suggested BattleMech Class: Medium/Heavy/Assault
Suggested Modules: (Defense) Assistance and Detection enhancements, (Assault) Assistance and Targeting enhancements
Suggested Pilot Skills: (Defense) Assistance of friendly units and Detection/Protection skills, (Assault) Enhanced Targeting and Assistance of friendly units

Command

Command players are a special breed that will need to be "situation aware" of everything happening on the battlefield at any given time. It is up to the command player to let all friendly units know of key operational changes in plans or actions to be played out while in combat. The command player is always at risk due to the nature of the role and their dependency on the Battle Grid to issue orders and distribute information. It is because of this, command players should be protected by other players on the same team. Movement co-ordination is the key to the survival of the command player by making sure the command player is never left alone.

It is important to note that radar/information sharing has a defined range. This means that a command player cannot simply stand at their original spawn location for the entirety of the match. They must keep moving in order to make sure all members of the team are within communications range.

Suggested BattleMech Class: Light/Medium/Heavy
Suggested Modules: Ability to call upon support units/Radar enhancements
Suggested Pilot Skills: Self-defense and Information sharing skills

 

The Culmination of Role and Information Warfare

There is a heavy cross over between the technologies involved with Information Warfare and Role Warfare. Role Warfare is more based on the execution of the utilization of Information Warfare equipment. It is this cross over, as a whole, which defines the new gameplay features of MechWarrior® Online™ that has not been seen in previous iterations of the franchise.

Players are now truly allowed to customize their gameplay experience to suit their play style which in itself is fairly new to on-line FPS/RPG titles.

Great care is being taken to ensure that the new systems are designed in a way that make sense for gameplay as well as to not step on the toes of the BattleTechâ„¢ Universe.

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