Captains Mode – End-game competitive multiplayer wrapper
- Foster a sense of leadership in strong, smart players
- Encourage players to develop itemization and analytical skills
- Itemization: What tools in this suite are competitive? Do these picks synergize with each other? Is there anything in the pool without available counters and should it be banned? Which of these choices best suits the map we are playing on?
- Analytical: What are the strengths and weaknesses of my fireteam? Do these picks play to these strengths? Can we ban out or deny-pick all of our core weaknesses? How should we adjust our playstyle to the tools at hand?
- Play to the strengths of Destiny’s combat sandbox – core asymmetry that requires strong game sense and knowledge of how each weapon archetype requires its user to play in order to maximize effectiveness.
Core Gametype – Elimination
- Best of 7 rounds to win, 2 minute rounds
- Maximum 14 minute base time + 30 seconds per round overtime
Ban/Pick Phase Setup – Ruleset 1 of 2 (Long time commitment, granular, analytical)
Toolbox: 16 weapons available per slot (Kinetic, Energy, Power); 8 weapons picked per slot, 6 weapons banned per slot (14 of 16 engaged per slot)
- 48 total weapons
- 60 second Planning Phase to assess pool – players with strong itemization skill will instinctually gravitate to strong meta picks or counters to meta playstyle
Kinetic Ban Phase – 3 minutes maximum time, 9 bans per team (3 per slot)
- 30 seconds total ban time per weapon set per team; unified pool of time (not broken out into 10/10/10)
- After Alpha Ban 1, swaps to Bravo Ban 1, then repeats for 2nd and 3rd ban rounds.
Repeat for Energy, Power toolboxes.
Kinetic Pick Phase – 4 minutes maximum time, 24 picks per team (4 per slot)
- 40 seconds total pick time per weapon set per team; unified pool of time
- Same picking order and structure as ban phase
Repeat for Energy, Power toolboxes
Expectation is that strong teams will not utilize full amount of pick and ban time and will instead rapidly identify choices. Introduction for match must include selected subclass per character (or players must select subclass and tree before weapon pick/ban in separate custom GUI layer); players can make analytical choices of expected desired loadouts of other players based on this. Strong teams may ban more sidearms, swords, and other shock-and-awe close-range choices against a team of Nightstalkers, for example.
30 second assignment phase – players choose from their team’s picked items to build their loadout. High potential for social friction between teams if picks are not evenly rounded (this is a positive thing). If choices are not made, selections are randomly assigned to players.
Total Maximum Pre-Match Time: 8 minutes 30 seconds.
Maximum Match Time: 22 minutes 30 seconds (26 minutes if all rounds go to full overtime)
Risk: Pre-match setup time is at odds with current matchmaking time commitment goals. Total match time could be reduced by making win condition best of 5. However, the match time vs. setup time feels lopsided – more setup than actual play.
Ban/Pick Phase Setup – Ruleset 2 of 2 (Streamlined, less granularity)
Toolbox: 16 pre-built loadouts, 1 weapon per slot (Kinetic, Energy, Power); 8 loadouts picked, 6 loadouts banned (14/16 loadouts engaged per match). Each loadout should be named and must be hand-crafted by Crucible designers. This removes the risk of randomized loadouts with no synergy, and supports player conversations outside of the match (“Wow, next time you see the Hail of Lead loadout just insta-lock it, it’s so strong right now.”).
- 60 second Planning Phase to assess pool – while complexity of picking phase has been reduced, there are more high-level decisions to make about player’s style of engagement and overall team strategy so planning phase should remain at initial length.
Ban Phase – 90 seconds maximum time, 3 bans per team
- 45 seconds ban time per team; unified pool of time across all bans (not broken out into 15/15/15)
- After Alpha Ban 1, swaps to Bravo Ban 1, then repeats for 2nd and 3rd ban rounds
Pick Phase – 2 minutes maximum time, 4 picks per team
- 60 seconds pick time per team; unified pool of time across all picks (not broken out into 15/15/15/15). Slight increase in time over ban phase due to increased number of picks, but not increased more than is required as teams will have had time to formulate strategy for a reasonable amount of time during ban and planning phases and loadouts are pre-made, so players are not theorycrafting internally as much
- Same picking order and structure as ban phase
Again, expectation is that strong teams will not utilize full pick and ban times and will be able to instinctively identify strong loadouts. This capitalized on a core strength of Destiny – the emotional response to thumbnail icons of weapons that are strongly preferred or disliked by individual players. Recommended that subclass selection occurs before weapon banning (visible in planning phase) if not locked at time of activity matchmaking.
30 second assignment phase – players choose from their team’s selected loadouts. Slightly lower potential for social friction as generally players will be able to identify at least one item in a given loadout that they find agreeable vs. one player potentially taking the lion’s share of top-tier meta weapons in the granular single-item-pick version of the mode.
Total Maximum Pre-Match Time: 5 minutes
Maximum Match Time: 19 minutes (22 minutes 30 seconds total if all rounds go to full sudden death)
Risks: Pre-match time is significantly lower but audience tolerance for menu work is untested. It is possible that not enough time is being given for picking given the reduced time. Loadout quality is subject to identification ability of Crucible team responsible.
Overall assessment: Finding the balance of time per phase is extremely important and should be tuned heavily based on data and feedback. It is unclear if audience will tolerate any length of setup given response to Trials pre-match introduction scenes, though pick/ban is more actively engaging and may alleviate the issue. Additional risk is that bans are, by virtue of being first in the order, extremely potent and may be too powerful with many non-meta loadouts. Players may find enjoyment in working with unusual sets of tools, but also may reach points of frustration. Curation of loadouts to reduce this possibility is of extreme importance, but must not result in flat and over-similar choices.
Mentioned but not visualized here is the possibility of a subclass selection UI. This could be an additional 30 or 60 second phase ahead of the planning phase where players select their subclass/grenade/ability tree/class ability. This could be displayed briefly to players as we enter the planning phase. However, this adds more time to the setup time and may not be desirable. As a whole, while I would like to include class-specific atoms to the banning process, it is so important to keep players’ attentions and not drag out the setup time that it may not be possible.