Sunday, April 26, 2015

A modest suggestion for 8-man ranked and Huttball League

(I originally submitted this as an email to the podcast Star Wars: Beyond the Stars. They read it on episode 28, but I thought it would be nice to memorialize it here it case it sparked any additional discussions.)

I would like to see Bioware take two fan requested pvp features and combine them into one marquee item: a ranked eight-man Huttball league.

Because Huttball is closer to what a non-gamer sees as a sport – taking possession of a ball, running the ball, passing the ball, scoring at an endzone, etc – I think a ranked Huttball league would make an excellent esport to promote the game. With the new Appearance Designer you could even have the players dressed as Rotworms or Frogdogs.

If Bioware added three more Huttball maps they could start running tournaments where the best 3 out of 5 matches won. Each server could have a ladder to win the pvp rewards Bioware already creates for ranked pvp play. Instead of a rating teams would win based on their winning ratio.

Add in a tournament server and you are ready for something worth promoting on a large scale, prize- and publicity-wise. Let teams register for the tournament, have a season of play to set a ranking / seeding chart and then let the best 8 / 16 / 32 / etc. teams duke it out for the top prizes. If they set the prize rewards to something equivalent to what you would get at a major esport tournament I can guarantee they will get plenty of teams.

The reason I suggest a tournament server is that would fix the issue of cross-server queues with the least amount of effort from Bioware. It would also give them complete control over what the players had access to before and during the matches.

A side benefit to three more Huttball maps would be that for unranked games Bioware could have the option to queue for A) Any pvp map, B) Any Huttball map, and C) Any non-Huttball map. This would handle the issue of people preferring one type of game map over another. It would also allow informal player run Huttball or Warzone tournaments.

A possible downside could be longer queues, but if Bioware made the pvp Daily and Weekly quests be only doable with the “Any pvp map” option it should mitigate most any possible queue time issues. I'd suggest leave the normal, participation-based, warzone commendation rewards alone. That way folks could still get the comms their preferred way once the daily and/or weekly quest was finished.

 Well, these are some of the thoughts I've had about making pvp something that helps promote the game to a wider audience for Bioware. I don't think either an eight-man ranked or a Huttball league by itself is going to happen, but if we combined them and showed Bioware how that can make the game appealing to people not currently playing we have a chance at seeing something new and cool. Heck, if ranked eight-man Huttball were to be a good publicity boost for Bioware to the larger gamer community they might even consider bringing back the old eight man ranked.

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