So, what’s a Battleground?
An instanced PvP match where two teams of players face each other. Just like conquest, only that with larger numbers (10, 20, 50), and additional mechanics, or instanced simplified WvW.
In GW2’s case, these battlegrounds would offer endless possibilities. These are just examples for three potential game modes:
Loot the Vault
Deep inside the Mists, inside sealed cursed vaults, ancient and terrible creatures guard chambers full of gold, gemstones, and powerful artifacts. Many foolish looters have breached into them, never to return, slaughtered by monsters in the darkness, or stabbed in the back by their own comrades.
In this revision of the classic Capture the Flag mode, two teams compete against each other to be the first to hoard the biggest pile of stolen treasure.
- Vaults can be represented by multiple locations, like crypts, lairs, dungeons, temples, mines, etc.
- Treasure is represented by bundles of different values. A wooden chest full of gold pieces, an ancient tome of forbidden magic, a sack of glowing gemstones, an intricate diamond vase… Some can be heavier, slowing you down, and others can be cursed and injure you while you are carrying them.
- Treasure can be acquired from treasure chambers, the enemy camp, or from the ground. Crowd control and death make you drop the treasure to the ground, where it can be taken by other players or even monsters. Delicate treasure can be broken when dropped.
- Enemy monsters plague the vault, and you’ll have to face them as often as the enemy team. There’s also several powerful bosses as well, and defeating them unlocks new chambers, full of valuable treasures, or maybe nothing but more monsters.
- The vault is full of traps, which you can deactivate and reactivate at will, trapping enemy monsters and players; or maybe your own team, if you’re careless.
- Victory is achieved by the team to hoard the maximum treasure before the timer runs out, or the team with the biggest pile of treasure when the timer ends.
Some unique mechanic ideas for each map:
- Crypt: Coffins can be found across the entire map. They can be opened, spawning monsters, treasure, or nothing at all. Nearby damage can break and disturb the coffins too, so tread carefully.
- Labyrinth: The layout of the map changes every few minutes, with walls moving, trapping players and opening new sections.
- Temple: Two powerful invulnerable bosses patrol the map, killing players indiscriminately.
- Lair: A powerful beast lies in the middle, guarding a pile of treasure. The beast can be killed, but it’s too dangerous, so instead part of your team can distract it while the rest steals the treasure.
The charm of this game mode is to sabotage the enemy team as much as possible, stealing their hard-earned treasure from their base, setting up traps, killing them in the middle of a fight against a boss, and more.
Some guilds have claimed their own territory inside the Mists, restoring ruined fortresses into majestic war halls. Stable staging points inside the Mists provide multiple advantages for the Mist War, but they also provide an easy target for rival guilds, which can at last take revenge on a more personal level.
In this mode, partially inspired by Tower Defense and Tug of War modes, the first team assaults a fortress defended by the second team, with the final goal of killing their lord and capturing the throne room before the timer runs out.
- Supply plays a key role in this game mode. It’s generated by Supply Generators, similar to those in the Edge of the Mists. Players need to take supply directly from them, and then spend it on repairs, siege weapons, or allied troops.
- NPC troops will lead the front line, and both sides need to watch out and make sure their own troops aren’t overwhelmed, else they are overwhelmed themselves later on.
- General World vs World rules apply, with a major exception: Recapturing doesn’t heal structural damages.
- The attacking team achieves victory by slaying the enemy lord and capturing the throne room before the timer runs out. The defending team achieves victory by surviving until the timer ends.
- Two different types of queues: Mercenary and Commander.
- Mercenary queue has no predefined leaders, and each team has to improvise. Players can queue as parties or individually, and the matchmaking will group them together until the two teams are complete. Think of PvP hotjoin and solo queue.
- Commander queue has a clear leader, and you join with an organized squad. Additional players can be recruited through LFG. This queue also has a league system, where guilds compete against each other, unlocking bonus upgrades for their guild halls, as well as unique decorations and trophies available only to the best. Think of PvP team queue.
- Each guild can unlock its own war hall, for use in custom games and commander queue. Guild War Halls can be customized in multiple ways, including fortress layout, special effects, guard equipment, lord abilities, and more. The attacking force can be customized as well.
Types of objectives:
- Supply Generator: Can not be captured, but can be destroyed, stopping the production of supply until the owning team repairs it. While destroyed, the enemy team can take supply from it too.
- Building: Capture point inside. Has own gates and walls, and can provide access to upper sections of the war hall.
- Plaza: Large capture point. Open space with barricades. The throne room is considered a plaza.
- Hall Gate: Capture point in the inner side, automatically destroyed if captured by the attackers.
- Hall Wall: Can not be captured.
- All guards need to be killed before the objective is captured.
Usage of supply:
- Both teams can spend supply on repairs and building siege weapons, similar to WvW. Supply can be spent on troops too, which work differently for each team.
- The troops of the attacking team spawn endlessly from their base, from three different points with three different routes of attack. Spawning facilities can be upgraded to spawn more troops, like in a Tug of War game.
- The troops of the defending team need to be spawned manually, placed above walls or inside controlled objectives, like a Tower Defense game. Once they die, they don’t respawn.
- Both teams start with a basic number of troops. Note that troops can’t control siege, only players can.
- Additionally, both teams have three long-range heavy cannons, that can reach any point in the battlefield except the spawning positions and the supply generators. Loading and firing them consumes supply.
This game mode works as a WvW-lite, with an additional layer of management, and the satisfaction of a long siege, including the joys of artillery fire for one side and slaughtering an endless stream of enemy troops for the other.
All across the Mists, timeless battlefields are still burning, frozen in place. Endless struggle with no end, waiting for brave heroes to rise victorious and break the cycle.
This mode combines Conquest elements with King of the Hill elements, with a special emphasis on fights. Two teams face each other in battle, competing to be the first to capture the entire map or to score the most kills.
- The map has a total of five capture points. They take longer to capture than Conquest points, and require multiple players at once. Four have a normal size, and require at least 2 players, while the fifth is larger, and requires at least 5 players.
- Maps take place in complex environments, like urban battlegrounds or dense forests. Specific locations across the map can give clear advantages to melee or ranged combat. The environment is highly destructible, and repairs are not enabled.
- Specific siege weaponry is available and plays a key role for ranged combat. Siege bundles are limited in number, and can be picked at the starting location. Siege weapons are deadlier hidden or placed at vantage points.
- Players can respawn at the starting location, or at any point they have captured, as long as it’s not under attack. Respawn is wave-based, with all dead players respawning at the same time.
- All deaths, by other players or by the environment, qualify for the score.
- Victory is achieved by the first team to capture all five points or score the maximum kills before the timer runs out, or the team with the most kills when the timer ends.
Some environment ideas:
- Burning City: An urban environment, where you can enter the ruined buildings. You can navigate the map through the streets, the roofs, or the sewers. The buildings can be further destroyed by siege weapons, and collapsing pieces damage nearby players. Burning debris can block routes as well.
- Swamp Ruins: Hard to navigate, pools of stagnant water slow you down. Local creatures can attack lonely players, slowing them down even further. Climbing ruined towers and treehouses is mandatory to scout the nearby terrain.
- Monastery Peak: Vertical map, with bridges and stairs linking the different buildings. Every few minutes, a snowstorm hits the exterior, impairing visibility and applying chill to unsheltered players. Falling down can be fatal.
- Dark Mine: Some zones have natural light, but most of the mine is shrouded in darkness. You need to light fires to see properly, or hide in the shadows to ambush the enemy team. Mine equipment is active, and many of the tunnels have railways with moving carts, that can crash into your squad if you are careless. Drills can be activated to open new tunnels.
This game mode is similar in gameplay to some classic FPS games, and encourages ambushes and strategic approaches. Scouting and knowing the environment is very important as well. A melee fighter will perform better inside smaller spaces with close distances, while a ranged fighter will have an advantage at open spaces with ground obstacles.
So yeah, just three random ideas for some good battleground gameplay. I would say 10v10 is an ideal number of players, and would follow compositions similar to those of raids. The size of these maps should be roughly 1/3 of a normal WvW map, with multiple floors when needed.
These wouldn’t replace World vs World, but provide an alternative gameplay to it. I feel like WvW has just too many things going on, and too many playstyles to cater, and adding new modes could give WvW more freedom for a clear direction. Also, one of the biggest disadvantages of WvW is that you can spend long times with no action, while battlegrounds would provide instant action easily, just like PvP, but with larger parties where teamplay combat really makes a difference.
Should battlegrounds make it into the game (dreaming is free) WvW could grow into a new direction. Alliances instead of servers? Guilds having bigger control over captured buildings? Shorter matches?
Looking forward your opinions! =D