Fun with Friends
Browder: Alright. So one of the big values of this game are: “Fun with friends”, as a chance to you to play with your buddies; and this sort of affects the entire game design of this game.
We sort of focus all of our decisions on this single value, and sort of changes the game in a lot of different ways. We wanted to get together with your buddies, put together a really cool– maybe sometimes a little strange, sort of super hero team; and go out and try to run over your opponents.
One of things we are trying to do is to give you 20 minutes games, and this has a bunch of advantages. First of all, if you are a disaster, and you are losing, you are gonna be losing for 10 or 15 minutes; but the other advantage to it is, if we try to play tonight and I am running a little late and you start a game, and then I suddenly: “Hey dude, I am here– you know– I can maybe wait for the 5 to 10 minutes for you to finish; but if it was a longer game maybe I will start a game and then you will finish the game, but we will never end up actually getting together.”
So this is the really big value for us, to keep the game short so it’s easy to get together with your friends and play this game as often as we possibly can.
Sigaty: I think it’s also hit a little bit on the pacing that we want, and that is the faster actually we get into the action– very quickly; and by keeping to that shorter time frame its really help the design keep that excitement constantly.
Dabiri: Yeah, and you can get few games in the lunch time as well.
Browder: The other thing we are doing is team levels. This has a bunch of impacts across the entire game, and the first and foremost impact is, you are always with your buddies.
You are not ever trying to take anything from your allies. You are always trying to work together as a group for the common good; but as a number of (###) effects as well, I think one of these is “support heroes”.
This allows us to have dedicated support heroes, who aren’t that good at killing much of anything, but they can totally support their team.
Dabiri: Yeah, I think that the support heroes are really like, follow my play style and I really like what we have done so far with the different kinds of support heroes where you can be a healer.
You can be a Tassadar with his more shielding effects. You can even get Gazlowe the goblin tinker who has got all kind of map control mechanics; and having that team level aspects really allows me to do that and I really don’t need to be upfront killing everything. I can be back, defending my team, helping them win.
Browder: Now, as I was saying, that goes to our special heroes, as well. Abathur would not work almost at all, if he did not have team levels to help him out.
He has to be out front, trying to fight off the enemy and we know he’s no good at that, and obviously these siege heroes as well, other type of specialists who are designed to push against enemies’ armies, and smash their fortresses– really benefit from this kind of change of gameplay.
Browder: Alright. Let’s talk about battlegrounds. This is where it gets crazy. This is where we are doing some really fun new stuff.
So all of us had the opportunity when we were working on the Wings of Liberty, to go out and talk to players all over the world, to talk to the guys in the press; and we would show them what we were doing with the game.
And we talked about the single-player in the campaign experience. We would describe maps like this. We describe maps like Redstone here, where there is lava rising and falling; and all of the resources are on the low ground, you are gonna run down to the low ground and then the lava comes and you are gonna run back to the high ground. You gotta to dance with lava, you got to have to interact with the environment in a meaningful way.
And inevitably when we pitch this and say, hey this is a cool thing we are doing with the campaign. Somebody would say: “Can I have it for multi, please? Please. Multi”.
And we would go: “Ahhhhh, no!… You are not gonna get that for multi because this game was based really on a lot of the great things that we have done in Brood War, and it wouldn’t have been right for the game to start inserting all these really crazy map mechanics.
I think we did one version of this, so we put it out a few months after the game release. Right?
Dabiri: Yeah we have a custom map for it. It is Burning Tides, but we never put into the ladder, or any of those kind of things.
Browder: Yeah, it was a really cool way to play, but it wasn’t core StarCraft; and so when it came to this game, when we had an opportunity, to do something brand-new, we kind of remembered that feedback that we had from the players and from the press guys that we talked with.
We said wow, maybe we could do it. Maybe we can have some maps, that got some kind of crazy mechanics, and they kind of a little story of their own. Their own characters. Where the environment feels like it’s the most powerful part of the battlefield; and you have to react to that environment.
So we came up with this idea of the Nexus. This is this collision of the worlds, where all of the Blizzard universes collide and that’s about it. Right?
Didier: Yeah. Basically, we wanted to have a place that it would be okay if you saw a “Lurkablo” running around– getting ganked by an evil prince Arthas, and all that, and it wouldn’t be something that you would worry too much about.
We want to make sure that this game is fun, first and foremost; but we also know that these characters are very serious and you have a lot of lore based to them. So in the nexus, the nexus is where anything can happen, and it is worlds colliding, and everything is true or not true depending on how you want to take it. So that’s basically the nexus.
Browder: Alright. So we invented these crazy battlegrounds, that will hopefully really change the way you play the game and give you a lot of new opportunities, as you play through.
We are gonna go through a couple of these, and these are the things that the art and design teams– we are working very hard on together often one inspiring the other.
Sometimes design inspiring the art, sometimes art inspiring design, and we wanted to create a lot of team work at these things. We wanted to provide you again with the opportunities to play with your buddies and work together as a group to overcome the obstacles that we are putting in front of you guys.
Didier: You got Kerrigan on a wolf dude.
Didier: Queen of Blades riding a wolf. It’s got wings, hahaha! The nexus.
Alright, and we gonna give you new challenges as well and ultimately new strategies. Alright, the final most important part of this thing, is variety. We want to provide you with lots of different ways to play and we want the opportunity down the road, to change up the games.
One of the things we learned from StarCraft, is how much different maps and changing maps over time could fundamentally alter the experience and really create a constantly moving target for our players, where they are constantly challenged; and so as time goes on, we are free to take maps out of rotation. You can still play them in custom game, but they won’t be there in the match maker anymore; and we put new ones in, so the game can kind of keep evolving with you and if you guys can give us feedback on one of these battlegrounds, you go: “Ahh, I kind of liked it when it launched but now I am done with it.” We can just take it out and put something in fresh. Something new.