Real Talk: Overcharge as a game mode

AmerikaAmerika
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edited March 19 in Beta Gameplay Feedback & Suggestions
I know this is not a new topic as Overcharge has been discussed multiple times since the alphas came out. I feel like the subject needs to be revisited since the audience has expanded and the mode received no changes. Overcharge, in it's current form, simply doesn't work very well and isn't compelling. On a surface level it seems fine and as a screw around game mode it is also fine but under the hood it's just a mess from a mechanics and design perspective. I'll break down what Overcharge currently is, point out it's flaws and then suggest some potential changes that would keep the same core gameplay of the mode while hopefully making it better.

Overcharge (current): You go to the center of a map and you steal a "battery". You then take the battery to your base and secure it then you proceed to defend your base area from oncoming attacks while you wait on the battery to charge up to 100%. If you have the battery when it hits 100% and the timer expires your team gains a point. Once you accrue two points you win the match.

On the surface this seems fine. At least until you realize that you don't really have to do anything until the battery is almost charged. That you're going to have to grind for almost no value, that it's a bad experience for players both getting beat badly (not all games will be even) and for the people who are winning, it makes the rest of the map a ghost town and other issues I'll discuss below. First, the pros as I see them.

Pros:
  1. It's simple and easy to understand for new players.
  2. If every player is constantly going for the battery it can be fun.
  3. Stealing the battery and capping it after you've spent all game getting destroyed can feel great...at that moment.
  4. It requires a potential change in your lineup/character choice to make a better offense or defense. This adds a bit of strategy to composition and play.

Cons:
  1. There is no point of doing anything until the 90% charge point if you lose the initial fight and the other team gets the battery. Go in and hope to get an early pick (which would require bad play from the other team), drop ults and pray somebody can get out. That's the best you can hope for.
  2. The mode requires bad play from your team to lose the battery. People who leave the base, overextend and get picked off (since it would be 1v5 or 2v5) and leave the base open to a full attack. It's never a good idea to have a mode that relies on bad play in a competitive game to be effective.
  3. It's way too easy to defend the battery. Each base has a recharge station extremely close and the game now features a fairly good medic making it hard to kill good evasive players in a lot of situations. If the recharge station lost it's power while the battery was capped it would make things more interesting...but it would only be a bandaid. There is too much of an advantage with the right team composition to make it worth trying to go in before you have all your team resources ready to go.
  4. The mode does not use the rest of the map effectively. The first fight for the battery is great. Then the rest of the map is a ghost land unless, again, you are in a pub and fighting bored players or in a match and a player overextends and makes a bad decision. You are mostly fighting in one base or the other the whole time with little going on elsewhere.
  5. The grinding required to try and get the battery is off-putting to new and old players alike. It's simply not fun to constantly run into a meat grinder of a properly setup defense.
  6. The battery does not charge faster the longer you hold on to it. Right now the charge rate is fixed. So what happens when you are facing a team that you clearly outclass in a pub? Or are on a team that is clearly being outclassed? The match drags on and on and on. It takes what feels like forever for a battery to hit 100% and it's boring all the way to infuriating for all players involved. This is not a good outcome in a game mode and a huge turnoff to all types of players. There are way more leavers in Overcharge than in Turf War, in my subjective experience (that isn't backed up by any hard numbers...but I bet BKP could provide them) simply because of this fact. If the charge rate went up faster the longer you held on then it would partially remedy the situation. But like turning off the recharge stations in a base during a cap it's a bandaid more than a fix.
  7. When you get pounded for a whole game and then steal the battery while it's at 100% and cap it, it feels hollow. You didn't outplay the other team...you just happened to get lucky. And it feels the same way in reverse when it happens to you. You get these moments of intensity near the end that end up being shallow because the whole game leading up to that point wasn't that interesting. And it also leaves some people with a feeling of it being unfair when you win or when you lose...which is never a good feeling to leave with people. Sure, it might feel OK at the exact moment but overall it's just a hollow win or loss. You tried one potential huge moment of excitement for a game full of "why are we doing this?". And when you combine that with a lot of games being grinds or blowouts that drag on you get a really poor reception of the game mode from players
  8. It simply doesn't make any sense. I know this isn't a big factor because this is a videogame but why is your team charging this battery? What does it do? It would make more sense if the battery was a power source that did the charging itself and charged up a base. But I'll touch on this topic later in my potential solutions section.

KangaJooatavaxTeneKayKedgiePexbumbertyrMadii

Comments

  • AmerikaAmerika
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    edited March 19
    Ok, now on to ways Overcharge could be changed for the better from my perspective. The goal is to make it a better game mode at both the pub and competitive level while still retaining the core idea of the mode even if the gameplay is changed up a bit.

    Potential changes:
    1. Reverse the role of the battery. Instead of it needing to be charged at a base you instead charge your base with the battery as a power source. Even if nothing else was changed this would instantly give players incentive to attack the base to get the battery back and into their own base to continue it's charge.
    2. Turn off the health station in the base after you capped. This would require a person who just stole the battery to have to think about instantly capping the battery or allowing their team to quickly recharge health before they cap. This adds a small layer of strategy and also helps weaken an overwhelmingly strong defensive setup within the base.
    3. Have the base charge up quickly after a cap. 30 seconds or so before it hits 100%. Increase the amount of caps required for a win to probably 5. The reason for this is twofold. First, it increases the amount of the map that gets consistently used during the course of the game due to the battery being reset. Second, it will make mad offensive dashes for the battery a lot more interesting and you won't be able to wait on ults on offense or defense to help carry you. Since the defense would be weakened by the charging station you'd constantly have mad dashes all over the place and fights over the battery.
    4. If you are the better team or are on a much worse team, the game length is shortened dramatically. No more long drawn out grindfests where people feel like leaving more than finishing despite any repercussions (which could also lead to them leaving Lawbreakers entirely). Turf War is over fast if one side outclasses another. Overcharge should be similar.
    5. It opens itself up to more class play. If you're constantly going for the battery at the center you won't have time to go change your class all the time and defend then have time safely change and go on the offensive. The class structure could potentially be a lot more structured and dynamic rather than fairly static like it would be right now in coordinated competitive play.
    6. You feel like you were just in a war that required a crapload of mapwide coordination and constant battery reset retrievals, mad base dashes and a lot of "holy " moments compared to a possible one or two moments in a game where you lost or gained the battery in the last second and won. You can still have those moments but have them all game and be a consistent and pleasant experience for players to talk about.
    7. The mode would have a point!!! If you're charging up your base and you beat the other team to charging up your base then your base could do...SOMETHING that would destroy the other side. It would make sense from a story perspective on what you're trying to accomplish more than charging up a battery does. Again, this isn't a huge consideration but it's one that is constantly mentioned by people in chat.

    Overcharge, I'm sure, is somebody's baby at BKP and they have been championing it. Possibly it's already being slated for changes but due to the game still being early in development it's not happened yet. But just in case it isn't I figured I'd write up this thread that uses my own experience, map/game design knowledge and that of many others I've spoken with or read posts from and put it all together in one form.

    If you have any ideas or suggestions that either go along with mine or are better than mine or simply counter mine, please post them. Perhaps I am looking at the mode incorrectly or perhaps I hit the nail on the head for changes necessary to make the mode a good experience at all times. Feel free to post!
    KangaJooKedgiePexKin_Shuruby
  • venicellovenicello
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    I think one of the major flaws with Overcharge is pretty simple - the spawn rooms and the charging stations are too close to each other. This has been an issue with a lot of other games. If you've played Overwatch, you've seen the joys of second cap teamfights, which exist because of how close the defending team spawns to their base point.

    The issues with spawning players near the objective is twofold:

    1) Attacking players have to rack up absurd numbers of kills to take the objective against a dedicated team.

    2) Defending players have to respawn and toss themselves right back into the meat grinder. Spawncamping sucks, and game-mandated spawncamping sucks even more.

    The only real way to fix this issue is to make maps that are a little larger. Station and Mammoth are a step in the right direction - at least to an observer, they look a little more spacious, and it feels like it takes more time to get from one spawn to another. That said, there needs to be something that gives players a little time to breathe between spawning and being at the objective. River Fort in For Honor and cp_standin in TF2 solve this issue by placing all the objectives at equal distances from both spawn points. Something like this, where charging stations were skewed to be closer to neutral ground, could be a really useful solution for future maps.
  • AmerikaAmerika
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    edited March 19
    venicello wrote: »
    I think one of the major flaws with Overcharge is pretty simple - the spawn rooms and the charging stations are too close to each other. This has been an issue with a lot of other games. If you've played Overwatch, you've seen the joys of second cap teamfights, which exist because of how close the defending team spawns to their base point.

    The issues with spawning players near the objective is twofold:

    1) Attacking players have to rack up absurd numbers of kills to take the objective against a dedicated team.

    2) Defending players have to respawn and toss themselves right back into the meat grinder. Spawncamping sucks, and game-mandated spawncamping sucks even more.

    The only real way to fix this issue is to make maps that are a little larger. Station and Mammoth are a step in the right direction - at least to an observer, they look a little more spacious, and it feels like it takes more time to get from one spawn to another. That said, there needs to be something that gives players a little time to breathe between spawning and being at the objective. River Fort in For Honor and cp_standin in TF2 solve this issue by placing all the objectives at equal distances from both spawn points. Something like this, where charging stations were skewed to be closer to neutral ground, could be a really useful solution for future maps.

    I thought about including this but dismissed it because there is only two fixes. One of them requires a map redesign which most likely won't be an option for the amount of benefit. The other is that you could add ~5 seconds on to respawn time if you have the battery capped in your base. I think the latter could be a good cheap solution and I probably should have added it but I sort of lost track of everything writing out my points. It's also not as valuable of a change if the other changes I suggested were implemented since cap times would be dramatically increased along with the amount of caps needed.

    I feel the problems go much deeper but I do agree that a game mode that promotes spawn camping is also not a fun design that will leave people feeling satisfied on both sides.
  • KangaJooKangaJoo
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    edited March 19
    Would really like to see some devs respond here. Lots of people have been saying overcharge has major flaws since before even the friends and family alpha started and every time it falls on deaf ears.

    I agree with basically everything in your first post and most of what's in the second post. Only thing I'm unsure about is disabling the healing station. I feel like it would be better to just change the map design slightly to get the healing stations either further away or in more vulnerable positions. Like on the new map with the big glass dome thing in the middle (I think it's Station) I don't feel like the healing station by each base is a problem, since it's further away from the battery itself and is exposed to a path attackers use for flanking.
  • atavaxatavax
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    edited March 19
    I do like the idea of shortening the charge time and having the amount of points until victory greater than 2, although i think 30 secs might be a bit quick. But I'm afraid that will cause the slower classes to be horrible, horrible choices. Fast pace can make games fun and exciting and dynamic, but basically the faster paced the match, the worse slow moving classes are. Quick fight in the middle? Its over before your tanks get there. a fast class might be able to spawn, get to the enemy control point, fight, and die 5 times in the time it would take a tank to do it twice. This isn't a big issue with slow charging objective where you have all the time in the world to coordinate an attack, but when you need to rush rush rush, it makes slow moving classes worthless. You saw this in TF2 where competitively it focused around 5 Capture point maps because it was very dynamic and fast moving, but it also resulted in the 4 most mobile classes being almost exclusively used in competitive play.
  • AmerikaAmerika
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    ~30 seconds is an example and it could definitely be changed to something where you can get in 1, 2 or even 3 team fights before it caps. Mostly anything faster than the way it works right now would be great.

    And changing the maps right now is a solid amount of effort. I'm putting up a mostly low effort solution. Different map design would be great but I think the current map design works great for Turf War. So then you get into the territory of changing the map entirely per game mode and that isn't something desirable when a small change like turning off the station might work. But it's only a minor suggestion anyway.
  • FromWitchSideFromWitchSide
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    There is no need to change anything, just add CTF beside the current modes. Then nobody will play the current modes, and there will be no problem.
  • KedgieKedgie
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    I've thought a lot about this as well. I feel like with some effort we could really get the current mechanics to work (what with the battery charging and all). I think one of the biggest issues currently is the score only going to 2 points. This system means that a fluke or a team getting lucky means a whole lot more than a fluke round in, say, counter strike (a game that goes to 30 rounds). I would personally really like to see how making the battery charge time be about a third of what it currently is and make the match something like a best of 6 with an overtime round incase of a tie.

    I realize this is similar to one of your ideas but I already had some of it typed out on a notepad and felt like I should pop it down here instead or making a separate thread.
  • MagniMagni
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    Turning off the health station when you have the battery, and add 3/5sec to respawn sounds good for me.
  • TyceraxTycerax
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    What if the battery recharges itself over time but explodes sometime after reaching 100% and you have to put it at the enemy base. Sort of like Bombing Run from UT2004. And the base stations have a set HP (100%) that can only be damaged by the batt... I'm calling it an EMP from now on. Damaged by the EMP and the damage depends on how far it explodes.

    I know the post has become like another game mode but still, Overcharge needs some serious work I'm afraid.
  • innocivinnociv
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    edited March 20
    I thought about this while I was playing, but forgot to post it in my feedback thread:
    -Make lowering the shield to the battery when it's on the charging station reduce the charge by 10-25%. Have that be linear as the shield is drained down by someone standing near it even if they don't fully drain it.
    -Make it bo5, not bo3.
    -Make it charge 300-400% faster when planted at a base
    -Potentially make it also drain charge slowly when being carried or on the ground? Just whenever it's not on a base? That is how batteries work, losing charge just sitting there albeit slowly... but I think it may be unintuitive for most people. But on the other hand, it could add to gameplay to have more of a rush to quickly get it back to base.

    The first point is the bigger point. It's like mentioned, that the best strategy is pretty much to let the other team to 100% charge it, then run in with medic ult, titan ult, whatever, take it, and then finish the last 20 seconds at their base while the others are left respawning and can't really do anything about it.
    So I thought it really needed to lose charge from being stolen, but the following 2 suggestions help balance that out so it doesn't last forever.

    I DID have one really clutch game where a 100% charged one changed hands over 10 times before we finally won, but I'd:
    a: chaulk that up to inexperience of both teams in not getting enough enemy killed each steal
    b: I think these suggestions will make that situation happen a lot more among better teams.


    The idea of it charging your base instead is a good one, but it will make for much less clutch and swingy games which would probably be way less exciting. Don't agree with the disabling health stations stuff at all. That makes no sense for the other game modes.
  • AmerikaAmerika
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    You wouldn't disable the health stations in other game modes. I'm not sure where that idea came from haha! It would only happen when you're capped and on defense in Overcharge. Go play against a full coordinated 5 man who is camping their own station and knows exactly where everyone is coming from and has switched their classes to very good CQC classes and you'll find out very quickly why I made the suggestion of disabling the health stations. It's just too easy to hold in a coordinated setting since you not only have easy access to healing but the batter is confined to a small space and people can easily be focus fired. And it's worse now that there is another tank class that's going to get buffed and a good healer that can easily spam the point. But that suggestion is only really applicable if the mode stays similar to how it is now.

    I wouldn't call stealing a battery at 100% and capping it after getting your but handed to you all game clutch. I feel pretty hollow and undeserving when I do it and I feel like I just played the odds and eventually something positive would happen. So it feels more like gambling and hoping as opposed to just being good and clutch. And stopping their charge at 99% only to then get your base to 99% and them stopping you and the mad dashes in between would add urgency to getting the battery as opposed to waiting on a full set of ults before you walk in and try to take the battery. That, too, is not very "clutch" from my perspective. Instead of having intense gameplay the whole time where each tick of the % matters you instead don't care and wait on ults. That seems pretty boring overall.
    KangaJoo
  • innocivinnociv
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    edited March 20
    No I'm not saying you would, I said that'd be confusing that the other gamemodes have health stations working all the time, yet in this other mode they need a battery in the base for them to work. It doesn't make sense why they'd need a battery in one mode but not the other. Instead people are just going to wonder why, when they play that mode, their healing stations aren't working until they correlate them working when their team gets the battery while they're looking at one or someone tells them.

    And I did not say in my post that stealing at 100% is clutch. I said when it goes back and forth at 100% many times is clutch. I said the same thing you said there otherwise... Which is why I was suggesting to have it lose some charge each time the shield goes down.

    idk. It doesn't seem like you read my post, really, since you're talking about it returning it at 99% which would never happen under my suggestion. It wasn't even that long, and I think I formatted it nicely.
  • AmerikaAmerika
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    A first game "issue" compared to an every game issue of defensive holds being crazy strong...I mean, pick your poison there @innociv. A message could even pop up saying, "your base's health booth is disabled" on cap.

    Sorry, I misread that part of your post. I get what you're saying and it's a potential solution that would definitely be better than the current game mode. It would give a match more urgency and you wouldn't sit around and wait on ults and storm in and pray. And it would open the map up to a bit more use.
  • PexPex
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    This is good feedback. As with all the topics, we are tracking the comments so the dev team can ponder them. I will lay out a couple points to help direct some discussion.

    1. Disabling health stations, spawn times, etc over the course of the match is not a viable fix. It complicates the mode and just makes stuff too confusing if everything is changing. If there are systemic issues with the mode, that's not the way to fix it. Any suggestions for time, score, etc changes need to be changed for the duration of the game and not alter as the match progresses.

    2. Cliff has specifically called out the desire to have 'clutch' wins. The last minute 'from the jaws of defeat' victory. I know some people said that it currently feels hollow even when you're on the winning side, so the question is, how you create a meaningful come from behind victory?

    We really do appreciate all the discussion!

    Thanks

  • TyceraxTycerax
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    edited March 20
    Pex wrote: »
    2. Cliff has specifically called out the desire to have 'clutch' wins. The last minute 'from the jaws of defeat' victory. I know some people said that it currently feels hollow even when you're on the winning side, so the question is, how you create a meaningful come from behind victory?
    Maybe giving the losing team the ability to blow the battery to smithereens with the enemy base in the last 5 or 10 seconds would work.

    Think of it. You're losing, in fact, the team has set a great defence against you. But there is still one LAST chance; to direct all your firepower to the battery and blow it up with the enemy base. The enemy base gets destroyed instead of being powered up. You're not trying to steal for this attack, you're trying to destroy everything in front of you. You'll be full of rage instead of tactics, trying to fill everything on sight with bullets instead of trying to reach and stand in a circle. It's the final "guns blazing, swords clashing" moment.
  • innocivinnociv
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    edited March 20
    Dev already cleared it up, but just putting flashing messages on the screen for every single thing is no fix.
    If defenders have too big of an advantage, that's something entirely different to change than how the mode works. It's a problem of map design, and Jugg and Medic imo being bad designs, not needing minute long respawn timers on defense or disabling health stations.
    I agree with many of the problems you state, but not necessarily the solutions.

    Anyway, the whole cheap "20 second win" problem is why I said the battery should lose charge as the shield is drained. Then, at best, you can return it to base at 75-90% energy. It's still clutch if you defend for that 10% + 20 seconds. It's just not completely cheap then and a fast charge to compensate would mean there is more incentive to try to hold it from the beginning instead of just steal at the end.

    If anything, I think that would likely make it more clutch with more opportunity of ping-ponging back and forth instead of just swinging one way like it usually does. It just needs proper tuning on the charge time so you don't end up with situations where it too easily depletes from 100% back down near 0%.

    But I didn't mention it in my post, since it's an edge case, but that would potentially make a problem where no one wins since the battery could be depleted faster than it's charged. The battery might need to charge quicker over time to compensate.
  • KangaJooKangaJoo
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    edited March 20
    You know what I'd say is clutch? Stealing the battery when their base is at 99% charge (#BatteryChargesBase) and they're about to win, taking the battery back to your base, and then making a massive comeback where you charge your own base up fully and win. Can still make a clutch play, but in order to win you have to play better than your opponent over the course of the whole match and not just for 1 minute out of 15.

    @Pex The way you make a win meaningful is when over all, throughout the entire game, you were able to play better than your opponent. If you want to see a meaningful comeback in a video game that pretty much came down to one clutch play, go watch the TL VS LG match where coldzera got his famous jumping double kill. That one play won the round, was pretty nuts and very lucky, and completely demoralized TL, as can be the case with a last second battery steal, but unlike a battery steal it in and of itself wouldn't have been enough to win the match for LG. They still had to continue outplaying TL for the rest of match and through overtime to make up for all the ground they lost earlier on.

    I think Cliff said he wanted it to be like how in a real sport like football you can have that one clutch play that wins the game (btw this only happens if the game is between two very evenly matched teams). I find it kind of ironic he used football, or any real sport for that matter, as an example because when have you ever seen a professional match in a real sport where one good play saved a team that was getting plowed for the whole game from losing? It never happens. Let's use football as an example. Let's say team Plebs4Life is getting completely shut down by team MLG Pro for 95% of the game but then in the dying minutes, the Plebs manage to make one good play and score a touchdown. The ending score would still be 46-7 in favor of MLG Pro because in a real sport, you can't ignore the fact you got rekt for almost the entire game just because you did one good thing at the end. A good scoring system keeps track of how well you played throughout the whole game.
    venicelloHuman_ToxinAlkalineatavax
  • AlkalineAlkaline
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    @Pex
    Pex wrote: »
    2. Cliff has specifically called out the desire to have 'clutch' wins. The last minute 'from the jaws of defeat' victory.

    Well I really hope someone brings Cliff to his senses on that matter because designing a game around the consistent occurrence of clutches is pure insanity. A game like that could never be competitive at all because balance would have to be completely off in so many regards. The response from @KangaJoo provides very good insight on the matter and I agree completely with it. Consider one more thing: Assuming teams are just remotely balanced, how many times does a clutch happen? In how many pro matches does a 1v5 or even 1v4 or 1v3 clutch actually happen? I would say much less than 1% of the time. Because a clutch is really not so much about you playing incredibly good than it is about the enemy playing bad and you being lucky. Any game that is being played professionally is balanced to a high degree (because it has to be, otherwise it wouldn't be played professionally) and thus clutches are a rare occurence. They happen and when they happen it feels great for the player and very cool to watch for the audience but no player, no matter how good he might be, can consistently clutch if teams are balanced at all.
  • atavaxatavax
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    edited March 21
    basically, the concept is trying to make every match special. and you can't do it. By trying to make every match special, you're ruining what it means to be special. A comeback win when the mechanics are built around making a comeback win easy, is nowhere near as good as a real comeback win. Instead of making every match special, you're making every match bland, because the coolest, most exceptional things to do in a match are now the norm and boring. This is giving every kid a trophy for participating level of wrong.
    KangaJoo