Proposal for "Play when you want" PVE

Punzaman
Punzaman Posts: 30 Just Dropped In
edited November 2022 in MPQ General Discussion

Edit history:

  • On Nov 7th: Added clarifications for #1/#3/#4, gave an example for #2/#3, crossed out #7, and penalty for retreating in #11.
  • On Nov 16th: Added "grind when you want" variation (inserted #5) where the timers for all nodes start as soon as you hit the first node in the sub. Basically it's the same current grind, but start whenever you want.

(Long-time lurker, first time poster here. Please try to be nice. :))

I've been playing MPQ for 983 days and I really, really love this game. But one thing that bothers me about PVE is that for competitive placement, you have to be able schedule real life around being free for about an hour around the slice start/end times. On top of that, you have to be able to do this consistently over 3-4 days. And tough luck if none of the 5 current slices work out for you.

Here's my proposal for a "play when you want" PVE:

  1. Keep the same 5 slice times and 1000-player bracket sizes. You still compete against others in your slice+bracket for placement. But when you join, you don't have to start fighting the battles right away for optimal placement (see #2 and #3 below).

  2. When you start a node for the first time the point value starts to tick down at a given rate. You then try to hit it the same number of times to get the green check for the node as fast as you can, all the while the point value keeps ticking down. For SCL10, this is 4 total times for regular nodes and 3 for wave nodes as it is now (and 6 and 4 for lower SCLs). And it scales up in difficulty as it does now. To be an "optimal" player, the goal is to hit the nodes as fast as you can, to minimize the ticking down of the points. This is no different than how PVE is now, which is all about speed and efficiency. Also, my proposal calls for increasing the rate with which the points values change with the timer (see #10 below).

  3. You can start a node at any time within the 24 hours of the sub. This is where it becomes "play when you want" and still get an "optimal" score. The available points only start to go down when you start a node. You can maximize your potential score without having to block out an hour around the start/end of subs.

For example, a player could:

  • Join the 3rd time slice, which started 4 hours ago and the sub ends in 20 hours. Player can still get an optimal score with this.
  • 2 hours later, player gets to the office and now has some free time during morning coffee break and decides to actually start the battles.
  • Starts with the first easy node which starts at 100 points, and points drop 1 point every 10 seconds (this is a hypothetical rate just for illustration). This node needs 4 hits to fully clear.
  • 1st hit takes 5 seconds. Player gets full 100 pts since it hasn't dropped yet (T+5 seconds from start).
  • 2nd hit takes another 5 seconds after the 1st is done. Points have dropped to 99 (T+10 seconds from start) so player gets 99.
  • 3rd hit takes another 10 seconds (bad board). Player gets 98 pts (T+20 sec). Last hit takes 5 seconds. Player gets 98 pts (T+25 sec).
  • Total score for easy node: 100+99+98+98 = 395 pts. It took player 25 seconds.
  • Coffee break is over and player needs to get back to work. But another 2 hours later, has some free time during lunch break to take on some battles. Or they could do it during their bathroom break too after lunch. (Come on, who doesn't do this? :D)
  • Player decides to tackle 3E node which starts at 1000 points and points drop 1 point every 1 second.
  • 1st hit takes 20 seconds. Player gets 980 pts (T+20 seconds from start).
  • 2nd hit takes 30 seconds (it's harder) after 1st is done. Player gets 950 pts (T+50 sec).
  • 3rd hit takes 30 seconds (harder but all supports fire!). Player gets 920 pts (T+80 sec). 4th hit takes 60 seconds (harder and bad board). Player gets 860 pts (T+140 sec).
  • Total score for 3E node: 980+950+920+840 = 3690. It took player 140 seconds during their bathroom break. :smirk:
  • Player can finish the rest of the nodes (e.g., on the toilet, during commute, after dinner) before the sub is done, at any time and still provide optimal points! And there are no more start/end clears. The 2nd/3rd/4th subs can be tackled any time during their 24 hours in the same way.
  1. The order in which you start the nodes don't matter for optimal scoring. Who really enjoys working the spreadsheets anyway? If you want to save the CN or 5E node for last, you're welcome to do so. However, #2 above means that when you start the loaner or easy nodes, you have to finish them right away to get maximum points.

  2. Alternative "grind when you want" variation: Instead of each node's point timers starting on first hit (#3), we start all the timers and start the points ticking down for all nodes, as soon as the first node is hit in the sub. Your goal will be similar to the current PVE grind, where you want to clear the nodes as fast as you can, all in one go. In this variant, the order of nodes still matters; you want to do the highest scoring nodes first so they lose points faster. This preserves the rush and excitement of the current PVE system, but has the benefit of being able to start any time, and you only have to grind one time every sub (no start/end grind). Health packs will continue to be used at the same rate so devs preserve the extra income from that. :D

  3. Once you get the green check (and all the rewards), that's it, you're done with that node! You've scored all the points you can, and you can't get any more points or rewards. The node can remain open, you can still hit it but you won't get any rewards or points; it'll just be for practice or for trying out team combos. This can be the "simulator" mode some have been asking for!

  4. Alternatively, to make PVE more casual, the score timer can be paused when you're not in a battle (pausing in the middle of the battle won't pause the timer). This way, if life interrupts you in between hits, you're not penalized for it. (Edit on Nov 7th: I've come to think this isn't a great idea. Devs will want players to use health packs between battles if needed.)

  5. To help more casual players be able to get max progression rewards, there will be a minimum score (score timer stops at that point) that can be awarded for each of the hits so that one can get all progression rewards by getting most of the hits.

  6. Ideally, we'd have no more 48 hour subs (goodbye, Florida! :p) but if it's simpler for devs to keep them, they can reset the points after 24 hours and add 1 or more hits to clear (at any point within the 2nd 24-hour period).

  7. To minimize dev work, keep the same graph for each sub (i.e., the order in which nodes are unlocked) and the rewards for each node can be kept the same now. The initial point values may have to be adjusted but can be done so proportionally so that theoretical max points for a node will be the same. That way, devs don't have to overhaul the rewards structure.

  8. This play structure will result in more players trying to "go optimal" for placement, and therefore, a higher probability of ties. Ties will be resolved as they are now (first to a score wins a tiebreaker), so there's still a little incentive to go as soon as the slice opens/bracket flips. But we can try to minimize ties (and also the aforementioned incentive) by spreading out the scores. Some mechanisms for this can be:

  • A faster ticking points timer. Right now for SCL10, points recharge at a rate of (FullPts/48) every hour. For a node worth 1440 pts, that's 1 point every 2 minutes. Let's increase that timer rate by 60x so you get 1 point drop every 2 seconds for that 1440 point node. (See #8 above; there will still be a minimum point value so players can get full progression even with all hits at minimum points.) Might need a much higher rate for the easy/low point nodes (maybe it doesn't matter; these are basically 1-match-battles for high level teams).
  • A penalty of some % (maybe 5%) of full points for retreating or losing the battle. This makes players think twice about retreating if the RNG for the +AP supports doesn't favor them. Didn't get the black AP for your Apoc? Tough luck. >:) Just make sure you bring the right team to the node! Easier now since you're not rushing. (Edit on Nov 7th: It was pointed out to me that this might be too punishing. I don't think it's necessary anymore; just retreating or losing he battle is enough of a penalty with the time wasted.)

Why this proposal? It's pretty obvious; it's going to be a real quality-of-life improvement, more so than changes that make each fight go faster (e.g., less banners, game speed multiplier) but those are welcome too. We shouldn't have to structure our lives around arbitrary time slices to play PVE competitively. PVP at least has shields to let you play when you can (to some extent).

Who should like this proposal? Anyone who has a real life. :D Players with strong rosters who otherwise couldn't play because of the punishing requirements of "optimal" PVE. These players are likely to have been playing for a long time whose demands in real life may have grown over that time. Also, for devs, this isn't as big an overhaul as some suggestions I've seen, like increasing the number of slices or having "dynamic" slices.

What are the other benefits?

  • Right now people just use a default "A" teams that works for most nodes because switching teams between nodes wastes a precious few seconds. There will be more variety in teams you could use if you can take the time to figure out what team will work best for you for that node. But I do acknowledge that for top rosters, most of the time it'll likely revolve around Okoye anyway.
  • As mentioned in #6 above, once you clear the node and do all the hits, you can use the node for practicing and get better with it in the future.
  • PVE will be much "flatter" at the top both for individual and alliance placement. I personally stand to lose with my own proposal. I don't have a particularly strong roster (highest is Mighty Thor at 468, my Okoye is 450) so I'll lose out. But I'll gladly trade higher placement for not having to stress about blocking out an hour of my time. And it'll be fascinating to not always see the same names at the top of the leaderboard. ;)

Thanks for reading! Feedback is definitely welcome. :)

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Comments

  • Godzillafan67
    Godzillafan67 Posts: 488 Mover and Shaker

    This is a really neat idea that increases competitivity and decreases the complexity of the current system.

    This method also removes the need for slices since we would no longer need multiple start/end times. Losing slices would also greatly and continually mix up the players competing in a bracket by combining all of the players across the slices.

  • kevinc13x
    kevinc13x Posts: 5 Just Dropped In

    love this idea. then I can finally compete against the best. let's even the playing field a little bit and see who's really the fastest or best pve player

  • WilliamK1983
    WilliamK1983 Posts: 674 Critical Contributor
    edited November 2022

    @kevinc13x said:
    love this idea. then I can finally compete against the best. let's even the playing field a little bit and see who's really the fastest or best pve player

    I always wanna face the best as well. Makes me strive to get better.

    I really like this pve idea as well. I would suggest having this style as well as keeping the old. So when you sign up for the pve the first thing you see is a prompt asking if you want old or new for those not interested in a change.

    Edit: while running through my nightly clears, I was reminded how bad I am at timing the final 3. I always seem to have around a minute or two left on the clock inevitably leaving a few points on the board. Or I don't finish a node or two sending me tumbling down the scoreboard. Being able to eliminate this self inflicted wound would be great.

  • Pongie
    Pongie Posts: 1,410 Chairperson of the Boards

    What you are suggesting is a fair bit of load on the servers. Instead of tracking timer for each bracket flip, you’re now tracking timers for each player. One solution is to offload this to the local devices but then this is open to abuse/hacks. Players going to complain the leaderboards are full of extremely quick clears and there will be more pressure to prove are they legit.

  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 8,004 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited November 2022

    Majority of the racing or running competitions around the world require participants to begin at the same time. If the official timing is 12pm, then you can't say that you want to race or run at a time of your choosing while aiming for the top prizes. Things will be chaotic if such arrangements are allowed.

  • Sekilicious
    Sekilicious Posts: 1,766 Chairperson of the Boards
    edited November 2022

    @HoundofShadow said:
    Majority of the racing or running competitions around the world require participants to begin at the same time. If the official timing is 12pm, then you can't say that you want to race or run at a time of your choosing while aiming for the top prizes. Things will be chaotic if such arrangements are allowed.

    You obviously didn’t run during Covid lockdowns. Most non-professional events were virtual and you submitted your time as measured by your smart watch or phone. It is more chaotic and probably harder on servers when everyone is trying to do their clears at the same time.

  • HoundofShadow
    HoundofShadow Posts: 8,004 Chairperson of the Boards

    Precisely. The logistics will be a nightmare.

    We are post-covid now anyway.

  • Godzillafan67
    Godzillafan67 Posts: 488 Mover and Shaker

    @Pongie said:
    What you are suggesting is a fair bit of load on the servers. Instead of tracking timer for each bracket flip, you’re now tracking timers for each player. One solution is to offload this to the local devices but then this is open to abuse/hacks. Players going to complain the leaderboards are full of extremely quick clears and there will be more pressure to prove are they legit.

    Every player already has their own timer for each node that begins once the player finishes the node’s initial 3/4 clears. That timer would instead begin after the node’s first clear.

  • Punzaman
    Punzaman Posts: 30 Just Dropped In

    Thanks everyone for the feedback so far!

    @Godzillafan67 said:
    This method also removes the need for slices since we would no longer need multiple start/end times. Losing slices would also greatly and continually mix up the players competing in a bracket by combining all of the players across the slices.

    I didn't even consider this! Great idea. My first thought was to keep the slices to reduce complexity for devs, and so players can pick the effective start and end time for each sub. But since you have 24 hours to clear all nodes, it won't matter as much to players anyway. So yes, we could have no slices, just an overall PVE event start and end time. :)

    @Pongie said:
    What you are suggesting is a fair bit of load on the servers. Instead of tracking timer for each bracket flip, you’re now tracking timers for each player.

    Just want to clarify that we're keeping the same number of slices and brackets. Or just one slice for everyone as @Godzillafan67 noted. There won't be an unlimited number of slices. There will be the same maximum number of score timers: one per player per node. The difference will be the timers will start as soon as you hit a node the first time. Will that be more costly for servers to track? I don't believe so; it really depends how it's implemented server-side. Maybe those bits of data are already pre-allocated in a matrix, whether a timer is started or not. The MPQ devs would know. :)

    @HoundofShadow said:
    Majority of the racing or running competitions around the world require participants to begin at the same time. If the official timing is 12pm, then you can't say that you want to race or run at a time of your choosing while aiming for the top prizes. Things will be chaotic if such arrangements are allowed.

    I hope what I said above clarifies this! :) Same brackets and slices as we currently have.

  • killahKlown
    killahKlown Posts: 577 Critical Contributor

    Not a fan of this proposal. 5 different start times is more than fair. If someone can't find the time to fit in one of these generous start times then maybe you shouldn't be wasting your precious time on a mobile game

  • Joe4521
    Joe4521 Posts: 38 Just Dropped In

    I don't like this either. It might be more convenient, but getting rid of the closing clears takes away most of the strategy of the game and the rush of the pressure of the clock ticking down. It will let higher level rosters dominate even more, as smaller rosters can't beat them in pure speed, but can compete with strategy.

  • NemoAbernnigan
    NemoAbernnigan Posts: 187 Tile Toppler
    edited November 2022

    I can rarely place well even wnen I do manage to do feasibly well at the scheduling despite the fact that aside from a few cruel nodes a loss is a rare occurence, my 4* land roster just can't match the champed 5* roster folks in SCL10, but the progression rewards are worth middling placements so I play SCL10 anyways. As such I'm not particularly fussed either way, but I think its an interesting proposal, particularly if the choose to play the new or old way you mentioned was implemented. Don't think there's anything to complain about in that case, however you feel about the new style you suggest.

    What I would really like through, personally, is if you could get full points from the node no matter how many times you played it. Not feasible in the current landscape, but it would be awesome if I could just pump a node without it being pointless when I do actually want to be playing rather than having to come back later when I may not even want to, or write off the earlier efforts. The nodes could continue scaling with each clear, making them become truly epic challenges if you want to test your mettle, and preventing the top tier rosters from getting too far ahead as at some point even max champed 5* rosters would be wiped out in the first few turns.

    It would also be a nice way to reward the players who actually enjoy playing for spending time on the game, instead of the max cap on value to be earned from playing once the incentives have all been achieved for the moment. Maybe its just me, but sometimes I just want to play around while watching tv (I'm a bit ADD and it often helps to split my focus a bit when looking to unwind) but once there is nothing left to be gained from PvE I'm stuck overkilling the PvP for a minimal chance at actually placing any better, or even hurting my placement because I've climbed as high up the ladder as I can and would be better served shielding to keep my max point level. Other times, my interest in playing just isn't there, because I'm tired, or busy, or sleeping, or just have something else holding my interest at the moment. Basically, it'd be cool to benefit from playing a ton whe I'm actually feeling it, and to not have to play when I'm not, or, as is more often the case, just say screw it and not play anyways.

    I'm fine with not placing high since I'm nowhere near as competitive as some clearly are, but I do really enjoy the game, so it would be nice if the time I invest could have some value towards my progression, and it would be utterly fantastic if it were possible to be somewhere in the realm of being meta by playing when I enjoy it, and not being penalized for not adhering to a strict schedule of playment. Just my 2 cents.

    Mod note: Edited out inappropriate language. Please refrain from using vulgar language on the forum.- fight4thedream

  • fight4thedream
    fight4thedream GLOBAL_MODERATORS Posts: 1,895 Chairperson of the Boards

    I like it.

    It addresses one of my pet peeves with PvE: namely that the current system inherently favors those who have the time to play at designated times and penalizes those that don't. As @Godzillafan67 has pointed out, the current system has cost the game a number of players because they either couldn't play at the optimal time or grew tired of the time restrictions.

    And if I am understanding the changes proposed correctly, it would hopefully end the math gymnastics needed to maximize points under the current system. I think a more straightforward speed measurement would be fairer and easier to understand for more players.

    With that said, I would ultimately prefer a PvE system that offered more variety in terms of challenges presented so that speed weren't the be all and end all of the experience, or at least introduce something that discourages the use of the same teams over and over again in every event. I have proposed a couple of times a PvE mission based system somewhat akin to the current Puzzle Gauntlet. So instead of simply downing opponents, overall team health (percentage based) ,special bonus points for having certain special tiles on the board when mission cleared and so on.

    But I admit that is a more complicated affair and kind of goes against the idea of simplifying the format so I will stop myself now before I digress any further on that idea.

    Still, I think your proposed ideas would be a great improvement on the current PvE system and hope it is something the new dev team is looking at.

  • Punzaman
    Punzaman Posts: 30 Just Dropped In

    Thanks again for the next round of comments! I've edited the original post to give an example of how this can play out for a player, with scoring examples.

    @fight4thedream said:
    It addresses one of my pet peeves with PvE: namely that the current system inherently favors those who have the time to play at designated times and penalizes those that don't. As @Godzillafan67 has pointed out, the current system has cost the game a number of players because they either couldn't play at the optimal time or grew tired of the time restrictions.
    ...
    Still, I think your proposed ideas would be a great improvement on the current PvE system and hope it is something the new dev team is looking at.

    I share your sentiments exactly. My life is getting more complex and I'm tired of the PVE grind. I'm still "on the treadmill" so it's hard to stop fully and it sucks when I can't get "optimal" points just because of .

    If you could put in a good word somehow with the devs that would be great. ;) I've thought of my proposal from the devs point of view too, and while I don't know the game code, I imagine the changes I'm proposing aren't going to be extremely hard to implement. We still have the same slices and brackets. And we'll still have timers, except they start right away (instead of after initial clears) and go down instead of up. Hope the devs see that I've thought of them too. :)

    @Joe4521 said:
    I don't like this either. It might be more convenient, but getting rid of the closing clears takes away most of the strategy of the game and the rush of the pressure of the clock ticking down. It will let higher level rosters dominate even more, as smaller rosters can't beat them in pure speed, but can compete with strategy.

    You know what, I agree with you and these are my biggest concerns. Some of the enjoyment might get lost without the thrill and the rush of the clock ticking down. Some players get a real kick out of that, including myself. With this proposal, you'd still get that rush but in shorter bursts throughout the day instead of an hour straight. And it's hard to sustain the grind over a long period of time. A lot of people complained when they scheduled a boss event at the same time as a regular PVE event. They needed the break from the grind, and it's precisely because of this.

    And you are right to be concerned about higher level rosters dominating. I mentioned this myself. Us lower level rosters have to resort to waiting for brackets to flip to get better placement (this is one strategy I take anyway, what's yours?). But here's one consequence to think about: Most hardcore high-level players will join early brackets so they can maximize their score for their alliance. With this proposal, they won't have to. They're more likely to be spread out through the 1st day in various brackets, just like how it is in PVP. I've observed in PVP there isn't a particular bracket where the high-level players play. Some join early, some join late.

    @killahKlown said:
    Not a fan of this proposal. 5 different start times is more than fair. If someone can't find the time to fit in one of these generous start times then maybe you shouldn't be wasting your precious time on a mobile game

    I'm glad you're able to find start times that work with your schedule. This proposal should let more players wasting their precious time on PVE on a mobile game. And current PVE players will waste the same amount of time, but they can waste it anytime they want. :)

  • jp1
    jp1 Posts: 1,068 Chairperson of the Boards

    I can’t really schedule my life around MPQ, I’m a fan of the proposal.

  • supergarv
    supergarv Posts: 408 Mover and Shaker

    I love that idea.

    For me, the generous 5 slice times don't work out. I can choose:

    S1: 12:30am til 1:30pm - lunch time with family or work colleagues
    S2: 5:30pm-6:30pm - dinner time with family
    S3: 10:30pm-11:30pm - half asleep and in a killer bracket with at least one regular cheater
    S4: sleep
    S5: Breakfast with family

    Funnily, one hour timezone offset lets me easily play S1, 2 and 3.

    The downside of the idea is the serveside bit. Currently timers are time dependent, not player dependant. You can deduce points from the server time and device time. If every player has their own offset start, you need to suddenly track 1000 players individual start timers AND their point values. I'm afraid that'll be the deal breaker. Point values are already being cheated, and if timers were put clientside, it'd be impossible to secure (at least with BCS dev power it'll be impossible to realize).

    I'd so love to be wrong and this were implemented.

  • Punzaman
    Punzaman Posts: 30 Just Dropped In

    @supergarv said:
    The downside of the idea is the serveside bit. Currently timers are time dependent, not player dependant. You can deduce points from the server time and device time. If every player has their own offset start, you need to suddenly track 1000 players individual start timers AND their point values. I'm afraid that'll be the deal breaker. Point values are already being cheated, and if timers were put clientside, it'd be impossible to secure (at least with BCS dev power it'll be impossible to realize).

    Hey, thanks for the insight! Can you explain this some more? Right now, the timer for a node (to recharge points) start when a player does their Xth hit for that node (e.g., 4th hit for regular node on SCL10). And each node would have different start times for their timer. In my proposal, there is the same max number of timers (1 per node per player) except that they start right away when you start the 1st hit.

  • supergarv
    supergarv Posts: 408 Mover and Shaker

    Yeah I'm sorry, I didn't get it right.

    Indeed in both the current and your variant, you store one timestamp per player per node for when the timer started running. On each hit, the server just gets told the current timestamp (serverside) and the node a player hit. The points can then be calculated serverside through the offset of both the timer start timestamp and current timestamp.

    Also previously each node clear pings the server to add points, so it shouldn't even matter if a timer is involved or not (should be availavle in the same databae lookup as for current player points).

    So yeah, let's please do it 😂

  • killahKlown
    killahKlown Posts: 577 Critical Contributor

    This taking away half of the strategy and thus half of the fun from pve. No thanks.

    Speed is part of the game yes, but it's only half the battle. Theres a whole strategy involved in clear order, grind order,, and grind time. If pve becomes ALL about speed it loses much of its appeal.

    Pass