Saturday, May 20, 2017

Thunderdome: Learnings

Hello cannon fodders.

I would like to take a moment to discuss the philosophy of Thunderdome. When [300] first began discussing the battle arena, it was a new concept: part classroom, part PvP battle royale. The quarterly Last Man Standing events were seen as the culmination of each PvP class. They are also a way for non-PvP muggles to dip their toe into lethal city-to-city fighting by risking only a single city. I really wanted to encourage bold fighting, so we kept the criteria to a minimum, and set the victory condition to single survivor. It was an experiment, and we fully expected to learn.

Key Learnings

Ultimately, what I learned is that a full turtle (pure defense) gambit can produce a permanent stalemate in Thunderdome. Under battlefield conditions, the interplay of alliance-vs-alliance warfare can break that type of scenario, but Thunderdome has wildly different parameters. Lesson learned.

I was initially against collecting API keys to monitor the city-to-city combat. Ultimately this proved to be a mistake. There were stretches of weeks where I had zero visibility into the clashes within the arena.

I also found it challenging to balance the fog of war with my desire to promote the event to the whole Illyriad community. One of the Thunderdome objectives is to raise awareness for PvP within the sandbox. King-of-the-hill tournaments and actual wars are only two ways that PvP can be expressed in this game. Unfortunately, raising awareness is hard to do when publishing battle reports can lift the fog of war, allowing combatants to see fights that occurred between other gladiators. I believe that this conflict created a mistrust towards sharing combat reports, techniques, and army information with me as the Thunderdome organizer. Much of that is setting the proper expecations--obviously I need to promote the event to inspire future participation--but that expectation needs to be set up front.

Net Result

For future Thunderdome events, the rules will be expanded.
  • A time limit will be set on the next event.
  • Judging criteria will be established for events that reach the cutoff with 2+ gladiators.
  • One victor will be crowned.
  • Discussion will occur on whether a Survivor medal will be issued to non-victors who reach the cutoff alive.
  • Combatants who want a medal will need to register an API key.
  • Battle reports may be shared for promotion, but only after a week.

These changes will be incorporated into the Thunderdome: Last Man Standing announcement for the summer solstice 2017.

Misbehave. Kill lots of stuff.

<^^^^^^^^||==O    Skint Jagblade

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