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A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

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  • [GUIDE] A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

    Below is a rough draft of what will hopefully become some relatively large document about the Auraxian Warzone and Strategy within it.

    There are a TON of concepts to strategy in this game. Below is just a rough draft on the part of strategy that equates directly to the win-lose conditions of the game. However other strategies are Outfit Strategies (keeping an Outfit relevant and meaningful to you desires), Faction Strategies (keeping a Faction focused and cooperating), and Player Progression Strategies (unlocking weapons, gear, certifications).



    -Concepts-

    Strategy in PlanetSide 2, like most things, is a matter of scale. An individual has many strategies available to them to achieve certain goals; Certifications, K/D ratio, scores, and tactical dominance. A Squad Leader or Platoon Leader has even yet another set of strategies available to them based on their goals; territory defense/capture, participating in a meaningful way in an Alert, are just a few. Beyond that is even the Outfit Leadership which is a whole other affair of community making (and sustaining), improving personal and group abilities, competing in competitions, and hopefully down the line much much more.

    Strategy is, put simply, the art of planning and acting to achieve a Goal. Obviously, we must have a Goal to achieve if we are to formulate a strategy to achieve it. For the purposes of this document we will be focusing solely on winning the battlefield, Certifications and Unlocks will not be addressed.

    The Auraxian Battlefield is a giant sandbox that never truly rests. Unlike most other games, and real life, war on Auraxis is in a state that never truly can end. We are stuck on Auraxis in a perpetual tug of war over territory and the means to control it. As a result of its Always On: Never Done state a conventional "End Game" concept doesn't exist and we can not create a strategy to 'Win' PlanetSide2. However, while the war never stops the individual battles do.

    Battles for territory is the measuring stick of the Auraxian war. If you are losing territory you are 'losing'; if you are gaining territory you are 'winning'. However, territory is in a constant state of flip-floping and no won territory is ever kept for keeps. If you'd like to make an analogy a territory, and the battle that happens there, is much like a Battlefield map. There are control points, people fighting, and after a certain amount of time the map is over and someone wins and the map resets. The difference inside PlanetSide2 is that you, after winning, can move to a different battle in one constant warzone.

    So here we have a core objective: Territory Control. Yet beyond this one concept is another level. The Metagame.

    To foster a sense of accomplishment PlanetSide2 currently has two 'Meta' Objectives and in the near future will have Continental Warfare. 'Meta' in this sense means 'Beyond Common Conventions'. So where you win a map in

    Battlefield get a victory tally, a congratulatory picture, and a symphonic salutation and get to restart back at Zero afterwards in PlanetSide 2 your victory, or god forbid failure, feeds directly into the next battle. When I use the term 'Metagame' I am describing a game above our common conceptions of FPSes but perfectly natural within PlanetSide 2.

    The Meta Objectives are: Continent Domination and Alerts.

    Continent Domination is the concept of Territory Control applied to an entire Continent while Alerts are about fulfilling a random objective during a two hour time span. Ultimately Alerts are again about Territory Control as well.

    So this brings us to the core strategic objective always present in PlanetSide 2: Territory Control; this is the Ends. In common military science theory there are two other factors that impact strategic formulas: Means and Ways.

    ====

    If holding and obtaining territory is the ultimate End we seek then we must understand the Means and the Ways in which we will achieve this. There are hard rulesets that result in holding or obtaining a territory:

    [1] A territory is HELD by the Defending Faction. The Defending Faction has access to the territory's Rebirth Room and default ownership of all equipment there (Vehicle Gate Shields, Terminals, Vehicle Spawn Points, Turrets).

    [2] A territory can be attacked if there is a connection from an Opposing Faction's Territory.

    [3] To Attack a territory you must take ownership of one of the territory's Control Point.* To take a Control Point you must have at least one living Infantry Unit within the Control Point's radius for a short amount of time.

    [4] To OBTAIN a territory you must hold a majority of the territory's Control Points for a set amount of time. The more Control Points you own the shorter the time to OBTAIN.
    [*] If your territory is under attack you can not attack from it.

    To proceed we must now look to see how we can win this territorial game from both sides. First we need a group to attack and a group to defend. These groups must incorporate infantry elements so as to take and/or hold the important Control Points. These groups must then compete directly in hopes to achieve their mutually exclusive goals.

  • #2
    Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

    Because the above is poorly formatted, probably too academic, and very wordy to explain a simple concept I'll post the basics in a more digestible format.



    Goals: To obtain or maintain territory.

    Territory is described on a few scales:
    -Control Points
    -Hex Regions
    -Continents

    Control Points: Any 'node' showed with an corresponding alphabetical letter, or SubStation Icon, that can be contested (taken) with proximity of hostile troops. These are the tactical equivalent of 'HARD' territory objectives.

    The Hex Region 'Game': The game consists of two sides, each side's forces consists on scales which can be wholly nonequivalent in scales, firepower, and organization. Unlike other games or sports there is no standardization of teams or belligerents and their capacities.

    Attackers are actively seeking to take territory. They must hold a majority of control points for a certain period of time to win. They must secure reinforcement means on their own.
    Defenders are actively seeking to hold territory. They must push off the attacking force from their territory to win. They are given default Rebirthing Facilities.

    Time to Capture: The 'Time to Capture' is, on the whole, a default time to take a territory while holding the lowest possible majority.

    ========================

    With the above basic definitions explained and assumed we can now move on to the methods of teams, both attacking and defending, in securing victory at least on the Hex Region level.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

      The concept of strategic goals is intertwined with working definitions of success or victory (and thanks Ytman for opening this conversation!)

      Aside from what the game designers attempt to define as goals and success there is also variation at the level of the players.

      As we shift from PL to SL to SM the notion of goals and success also shifts. Thus these are context driven concepts that operate differently and similarly at each distinct level: platoon, squad, individual; as well as leader and follower (and we could add Outfit and Coalition).

      As is the case in RL, there is no exact alignment of goals and definitions of success across all these positions within the game.

      Consider the conflict in definitions between a SL and a SM. An undisciplined SM's goal will be to get as close to the 'action' (usually the contented flag) as quickly as possible and kill as often as possible. Little else matters to this (often-seen) mindset.

      A disciplined SL's goal may be far more complex: keep the squad together (goal of cohesive movement and execution); secure a flank; deny the enemy access to the surrounding high ground and so on.

      The single greatest source of tension is the lack of harmony between a disciplined SL's goals and an undisciplined group of SMs. This is brought into harmony by selective kicking, explanation, a sense of teamplay, and related factors.

      Personally, and not prescriptively, I find the game-generated meta-goals such as ALERTS, winning a complete territory, or anything that lies outside of my 60 to 120 minute game-time to be largely if not entirely irrelevant.

      More on this later . . .
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

        Originally posted by E-Male View Post
        Personally, and not prescriptively, I find the game-generated meta-goals such as ALERTS, winning a complete territory, or anything that lies outside of my 60 to 120 minute game-time to be largely if not entirely irrelevant.
        Don't confuse the Journey and the Destination. The Journey is where most of us gain our pleasures, however the Destination puts into frame our route.

        For example;
        In PR when I undertook the management of a team for our IHScrims I had the goal to win as a CO. I enjoyed organizing the team, selecting SLs, organizing (a few) practices, producing graphics, distributing the people into effective roles, creating battle plans, and more. While playing the game would take around 2 or so hours majority of my time, my journey, was in organization even before the game started!

        I volunteered four times and played in three scrims as a CO. Those battles were incredibly stressful affairs and somehow some way I got a ton of pleasure from those things. Even the one scrim I lost I remember fondly. Its not if you win; its how you play.

        Still if you don't have a destination, and really in a teamwork game a destination that matters to your team, what can you dare to accomplish as a leader, and ask your subordinates to accomplish in your name? If I had taken over with only the goal of playing I would have been doing a great disservice to my team whose ultimate goal was to win. I know, despite what you say, you have a competitive drive in you that makes you want to achieve something in spite of your opponents. That is what this is. You've participated in taking control points, territories, and defending/attacking alert objectives. To deny their impact on player actions, and conversely to deny their value to Opposing Leaders, is misguided and potentially blinding in one's understanding of the Auraxian battlefield.

        The goals outlined here work to try and put a definition on what motivates a Faction, as a super-organism if you will, in a game without a conventional 'goal'. Its not a hidden fact that the Auraxian battlefield is never ending, however, when we play, like you've stated, our sessions are limited and finite. I am proposing an analysis of the game mechanics that directly impact player decisions in order to plan for and organize methods and practices in which to battle the opponent within our timescales and potentially in effort to pass it on to those still playing after we log off.

        But certainly continue; its important to know other perspectives as, like you also alluded to, are as many as individual players in this game.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

          Originally posted by Ytman View Post
          . . .

          The goals outlined here work to try and put a definition on what motivates a Faction, as a super-organism if you will, in a game without a conventional 'goal'. Its not a hidden fact that the Auraxian battlefield is never ending, however, when we play, like you've stated, our sessions are limited and finite. I am proposing an analysis of the game mechanics that directly impact player decisions in order to plan for and organize methods and practices in which to battle the opponent within our timescales and potentially in effort to pass it on to those still playing after we log off.

          But certainly continue; its important to know other perspectives as, like you also alluded to, are as many as individual players in this game.
          An important qualification.

          Like yourself, I have CO'ed campaigns in PR (and BF2, ArmA, and PoE). I would spend many hours planning the opening moves and strategy of TG scrims. I miss those heady days of large group play. I think the missing element here at PS2 are dedicated TG IHS that bring small teams of highly trained players to the table. Those days are gone and I do not think they will come back now that the online gaming environment is so highly fragmented (so many good games available).

          I DO NOT wish to discourage you from your project here, as it is very important and opens up a new avenue of discussion and action. With that in mind a few more thoughts, along the lines of my ongoing ethnography of TG and gaming.

          To speak of objectives and goals we assume a shared mindset, shared attitudes toward the purpose of the PS2 game. We see this in your comment: "You've participated in taking control points, territories, and defending/attacking alert objectives."

          Capturing flags, capturing a quadrant, or/and an entire continent -- yes, these are the goals written into the game and ones that I have pursued. My initial note should have made one vital distinction (for me). The weakest, least motivating and least interesting objective (again, for myself) is capturing a continent. This does not mean that I will not help my platoon do so -- I merely mean to note that this is an uninteresting objective (for myself) and plays next to no role in my day-to-day (ordinary) platoon or squad leading. We could talk about why and how the game design fails to make this end goal relevant (to me) but that is not a interesting line of inquiry (for me) as little of significance in the game design regarding Faction-level goals and rewards is likely to be changed in the near future.

          Of course, flags, quadrants, and adjacency are meaningful objectives to me as they define immediate military goals that are clearly defined by the game and fully shared by others.

          Please note that when it comes to these objectives I do not "deny their impact on player actions, and conversely to deny their value to Opposing Leaders" -- of course these are important.

          But are 'faction-wide' goals really important or motivating to the average player, the vast majority of players, many or most of the TG outfit? This is a game where 50% do not even play in a squad, so to what degree do GROUP goals motivate the average player. Perhaps not an issue, as we are here concerned with TG PS2, but even at this level is TG PS2 anything more than a few frequent players and many occasional (and not community-participating) players?

          I cannot assume that my attitude is shared, normative, or representative in any way, of course. With that in mind, the idea of playing with the "Faction" in mind strikes me as too cerebral, too impersonal. Acting so as to pass on the benefits of my actions to (mostly) anonymous others for a meaningless goal (and one that the game itself very poorly rewards me) simply does not come into my strategic thinking when SLing or PLing.

          I realize that you wish to explore how we might do so, what strategies might add the Faction, and do not want to dump all over your project.

          The fact that you raise the subject demonstrates that the concept of the Faction and the concept of meta-objectives has currency as a motivating force and is worth exploring, regardless of my attitudes.
          sigpic

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

            Let me level. I wholly agree with some of your personal assessments with how the game is currently structured. I personally find little drive to lock a continent during a regular play session. To some level this is because it isn't a necessary feature and was just implemented as some sort of 'reward' for a faction 'winning' on a continent. Otherwise, apart from a minor discount to asset purchase, it grants no real reward. The other, much more pertinent issue, is that as an outfit that only frequents a platoon sized force our ability to directly seek this goal is impossible in well populated continents. The reason I brought up Continent Domination is because it both serves as a current Alert Objective and as a future prospect of battle in what SOE is calling Continental Warfare. I'm anticipating future changes; perhaps in a bit cumbersome manner.

            Now currently my opinion on Continental Conquest changes when the faction as a whole is attempting to seek this goal through the leaderchat or the NCCoalition TS. Then, if applicable, I would be more willing to accept a continent lock as a strategic goal. I think this is the crux of most arguements about goals. Scale matters. If you are one person you care about your personal success on the battlefield, if you are just a squad you care about what ever goals that squad has, if you are a platoon you care about the platoon, a company? the whole company's goals matter, and if the Faction as larger whole is cooperating with you and you with them then you really do care about goals on that Global Scale.

            I don't see it as only 50% of people play in squads; I see it as though only 4.1667% (1/12th of 50%) bother to lead. How many times do TG members even log on, see no TG squad, and only play for about thirty minutes? Most anyone who bothers to download PS2, and sticks with it, is playing it because of its scale. That scale only WORKS when you are joining squads and playing with others who share your explicit goals. However much of the PS2 population is unwilling to lead the (non community) members and instead opt for either running with just their Outfit.

            When most people don't have the ability or dedication to run specifically with Outfits, nor do they have the connections to join or request to join an Outfit through any means other than Chat functions, it is US who are making that number so large.

            Even then, if 50% of the whole PS2 base doesn't play in squads then just worry about those that do. The rest will follow; like water down a canal.

            Even worse is when, like Rag3q has pointed out, the Faction is less a whole and more composed of many Fractions (his awesome wordplay). Such a situation is emblematic of inhernent flaws in the current teamwide structure. The Platoon, in PS and in RL, is the core element to contest a battlespace. Yet it is the fact that Platoons work in concert that actually shape a battlefield. Currently the only means to cooperate with friendly platoons is either 3rd party voice software or a leader chat that transmits to all. Neither methods work for anything but coordinated efforts between, usually, multiple platoons with differing leadership ideals and values. The purpose of this effort is to argue for, and unite by, standardized agreeable objectives that can be operated on the multiple scales of individuals, squads, platoons, and outfits that when summed together create a Faction that is more than a sum of its parts.

            Don't misinterpret my tone of enthusiasm for taking offense. I may word things passionately and enjoy contentious discussion but I also know that my opinion isn't the only one. (an odd thing to be both contentious with opinions yet willing to agree to disagree)

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A rough draft on Strategic Goals and Methods in PS2

              I have to agree with your summations Wyatt, whereas Continental Conquest may seem like a never never land to some, it does represent the one thing that is currently lacking in PS2. The end game. Currently the process is a contentious battle to simply say "I have your base". Whereas the opposition in turn rallies to take that base away from you. There is no end game........some of our leaders have reached the burn out phase of day to day grinding for no 'real' or perceived end game.

              What I don't agree with is that the "rest will follow" reasoning. The zerk is a very powerful tide of warm bodies. This game is won with numbers and all factions know that. To believe that once continental locking comes into play will somehow change that I think is a misnomer and in turn puts a very important aspect of strategy out of reach.

              But I certainly appreciate what you have done and the thought behind it.

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