Information Community Warfare - Phase 2 update

Dark DeLaurel

Staff member

FAQ is coming in the next hour or so. Please do not start feedback/response threads until the FAQ from last time is posted. I'll be adding it to the bottom of this post and providing a feedback link at that time. I'll also delete this awful and hard to read red text at that time. I just wanted to make sure to get this first main part of the update up ASAP.

Community Warfare - Phase 2 - Update Sept 24,2014

First off, to make things a little easier to communicate, I will be using the following terminology:

Force - Inner Sphere or Clan
Faction - The House controlled IS Factions (Davion, Steiner, Kurita, Marik, Liao, FRR) or Clan Factions (Clan Wolf, Clan Smoke Jaguar, Clan Jade Falcon, Clan Ghost Bear)
Unit - Player created 'guilds'... the ones you have created and invited friends to.
Group - A group of 2-12 players of the same Unit that will enter matches together.
Invasion Conflict - A match happening between Forces.
Border Conflict - A match happening between Factions.

Now some quick updates to cover some new points stemming from community feedback:

12-man Unit Group Requirement for Initiating Attacks

Taking a look at your feedback and the ability of the backend systems and Match Maker, we have decided to remove the restriction of a 12-man Unit Group to initiate attacks. This does NOT mean that we are creating matches of 6v6 or anything like that, just the requirement of a 12-man group is removed. What will happen, is if a less than 12 Unit Group attacks a planet, they will enter an attackers queue for that planet and the Match Maker will be filling the rest of the team with any other attackers attacking the same planet until a full 12 person TEAM is created. Once the 12 person team is created, the attack is initiated and a call to arms is sent to the opposing Force or Faction. More on how this all plays out below. Now remember, a 12-man team does not mean it has to be a 12-man group, it's just that a team has to consist of 12 players from the same Force/Faction wanting to attack.

Drop Ship Mode

Players will be able to prepare their own personal drop ships that house 4 BattleMechs. The limit of 1 'Mech per weight class still remains and if you do not own a 'Mech of a certain weight class, an appropriate weight class trial 'Mech will be used to fill that spot. When CW-Phase 2 is released, both IS and Clans will have trial 'Mechs that cover all weight classes.

A concern about not being able to bring 4 of a single weight class was brought up. This ties in with player preference of only piloting Light 'Mechs for example. Do not think of Drop Ship Mode being about bringing what you are most efficient in, think of it more along the lines of being able to rejoin the match to support your team in any available resources that remain at your disposal.

Drops between 'Mech destructions will be staged to a global timer. If you do not select your 'Mech and ready yourself in the drop delay time limit, you will be required to wait until the next drop occurrs. Current plan is to have drops happen every 30 seconds (tentative number for now). This means if your 'Mech is destroyed and the global timer has already been counting for 25 seconds, you will have 5 seconds to ready up. If you do not achieve this in that 5 second window, you will have to wait an additional 30 seconds before dropping back into the match. Essentially drops will be in waves.

Merc Corps/Lone Wolves/Dagger Stars

At this time for our first iteration of Phase 2, we are going to require players aligned with these Factions to align themselves with one of the primary Factions. We will watch how the first 'season' works itself out. We will make sure that a system will be in place to allow Merc Units/Lone Wolves/Dagger Stars be independant but we want to make sure the core Faction system meets requirements before adding too many more variables to the equation.

Now on to the main update:

Bidding For Planets - This feature has been removed. Making bidding fair for all size units was making the bidding system far to complex/convoluted to include.

Faction Contracts - This has been added to replace bidding. When players click a planet, they are shown planetary information along with the contract from the Force or Faction who has put the contract out. For example, a Davion player clicks a planet that is contested in Kurita space will see an attack contract. Solo players or Unit Group Leaders can choose to accept the contract and enter the attacker's queue and a call to arms is sent to the Kurita aligned players for defense.

Defending players can now accept defense contracts from the defending Force/Faction. In the example above, the call to arms would have gone out to Kurita aligned players. As the defending players accept defense contracts, they are put into the defending queue. Once there are teams available in the attacking and defending queues, a match is kicked off.

How to Conquer a Planet
There are some new advancements here to make conquering a planet easy to understand and dynamic on a daily basis. First off, planets will transition ownership every 24-hours.

Added is the new aspect of having to hold X number of wins on a planet for the duration of the day's combat phases to successfully conquer a planet.

To make this a little easier to explain, I will break down the average scenario between Clans invading an IS planet.

Scenario setup:
At 0:00 UTC (Acutal time TBD), planets are marked as contested.
For demonstration purposes, let's use "Balsta" as on of the contested planets which is just inside FRR space on the current IS Map.
Combat Phase 1 (First peak time zone) begins
Combat Phases last 2 hours (actual length TBD)

How it plays out for the attacking Force players (Clan players):
* Clan players (either solo or in Unit groups) click Balsta and see a planetary information screen appear.
* On this screen, players can see the contract issued by Clan Jade Falcon (as an example).
* Clan Jade Falcon says the reward of winning your attack match is an extra 5,000,000 CB divided amongst your team.
* An 8-man group clicks Accept Contract.
* The 8-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* A 2-man group clicks Accept Contract.
* The 2-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the 2-man group to the 8-man group for a team of 10.
* A 4-man group clicks Accept Contract
* The 4-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* The 4-man group does not fit into the current 10-man group in the queue so they are placed on hold.
* A 2-man group clicks Accept Contract
* The 2-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the 2-man group to the 10-man team for a team of 12.
* A successful 12-player attacking team has been built.
* A call to arms message to all players aligned to FRR is sent system wide. ("A unit group is attacking Balsta! Click the Faction tab to defend!")
* A 3-man group clicks Accept Contract.
* The 3-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the 3-man group to the 4-man group that was on hold for a team of 7.
This cycle of creating teams and triggering attacks/calls to arms continues for 2hrs.

How it plays out for the defending Force players (IS players):
* A call to arms message is read about a Clan force attacking Balsta.
* IS players (either solo or in Unit groups) click Balsta and see a planetary information screen appear.
* On this screen, players can see the contract issued by Free Rasalhague Republic.
* The FRR says the reward of winning your defensive match is an extra 2,000,000 CB divided amongst your team.
* A 7-man group clicks Accept Contract.
* The 7-man group is put into the Defender's queue for planet Balsta.
* A 2-man group clicks Accept Contract.
* The 2-man group is put into the Defender's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the 2-man group to the 7-man group for a team of 9.
* A 4-man group clicks Accept Contract
* The 4-man group is put into the Defender's queue for planet Balsta.
* The 4-man group does not fit into the current 9-man group in the queue so they are placed on hold.
* A 2-man group clicks Accept Contract
* The 2-man group is put into the Attacker's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the 2-man group to the 9-man team for a team of 11.
* A solo FRR aligned player clicks Accept Contract
* The solo player is put into the Defender's queue for planet Balsta.
* The team builder for match making adds the solo player to the 11-man team for a team of 12.
* A successful 12-player defending team has been built.
* This 12-player defending team is now in queue to be matched against any attacking 12-player attacking team.
* This cycle of creating teams and defending continues for 2hrs.

Once the above two teams were created, they would be matched together and the game begins.

If the attacking Clan team wins the match, they will win a token (zone, point, something that is collectible and visually representable).

If the defending IS team wins the match, they will have sucessfully defended the planet from that one attack. No tokens are awarded.

Let's assume that the Clan team DID win this match. The Clan Force now owns 1/X tokens for that planet. (for now, let's say X=10)

Here's where the planet conquests rules start to apply. The Clan Force needs to get 10 tokens to successfully take the planet from the IS Forces and the FRR.

When the Clan Force (or any attacking Force/Faction for any contested planet) takes the first token, the opportunity for the IS Force to do a counter attack begins.

The next match after the token is taken, is considered a counter attack. In this case, if the Clan team wins the match, they keep their token. If the IS team wins the match, the token is taken away from the Clan Force. If the IS team wins the match, the next match to take place on the planet is another Clan attack match. This creates a push/pull mechanic for the planet's tokens.

With this scenario playing out over the 3 or 4 peak time combat phases, at the end of the last combat phase, the servers will see if the Clans have maintained at least 10 tokens at the end and if so, the planet is no longer contested and now belongs to Clan Jade Falcon and the border on the IS map reflects this. If the Clans do not have 10 tokens at the end of the last combat phase, the planet remains in control of the FRR/IS Force.

The following question arises: What if the Clans get 15 tokens? The answer is that the IS Forces will have to successfully counter attack 6 times to push the token count back down below 10 to keep the planet.

Unit Coffers

When it comes to Unit coffers and the fact that bidding was removed from Phase 2, coffer monies will be spent on logistical costs for war. Each drop will cost a Unit a set amount of C-bills. This is to pay for fuel/food/supplies and other logistical costs. We are not actually implementing the logistics at this time (maybe in Phase 3) but the cost of operations will be present in Phase 2.

The cost per drop will be scalar based on the number of members in your Unit. This is to avoid smaller units being punished while large units don't notice the cost at all. This is not unlike moving the Swedish army costs compared to the US army costs.

Numbers of Contested Planets

This is going to be a tough one to determine for day 1, but our tentative numbers are 2 planets on each side of Faction borders (so the Kurita/Davion border would have 4 planets in contention, and the Kurita/FRR border would have another 4). There will tentitively be 8 planets along the FRR/Clan invasion path as well.

This brings up the thought of participation. Our current plan is as follows:

Invasion Conflicts will allow anyone from the Inner Sphere Factions to defend. Anyone from Clan Factions can attack.

Border Conflicts will allow only people aligned with the two bordering Factions to participate with one exception. Anyone in any Force specific Faction can defend any conflicted planet, but only the specific Faction aligned players can attack for a Faction. For example, if a planet on the Kurita/Davion border, that is in Kurita space, only Davion players can attack it. Anyone from the other Factions (Steiner, Marik, Liao, FRR, Kurita) can defend the planet. You should notice that Davion cannot defend against a Davion attack. I know this adds a weird twist to the lore of the Houses which is why this particular part of the feature is still being discussed. (I'll let you know that my stance is that only the Faction players aligned with the Factions involved can participate. i.e. Steiner would never defend a Kurita planet from Davion. I'll let you know where that discusson ends up at when we make a final call.)

And yes, there should be a take away from this: IS vs IS and Clan vs Clan conflicts will be part of Phase 2.

That's it for this update, I'll be back in 2 weeks to update you all again.

Dark DeLaurel

Staff member

FAQ From Last Update:

Note1: I pulled a ton of questions out of the last feedback thread. If you don't see your question, it was because it was answered in this update or it was a duplicate. If I missed something critical, feel free to re-ask your question in the next feedback thread.

Will Hero/Champion 'Mechs be allowed in CW gameplay?
Yes, these chassis will be allowed for use in CW gameplay.

You need Jump Jets to get past the gates? What about the non-jump capable 'Mechs?
No you do not need Jump Jets to get past the gates, the JJ reference from last time was just to give a sense of how high the gates are going to be. There are alternate points on the map that will allow non-JJ 'Mechs to attack the power generators that control the gates.

When will we be able to switch Factions if we want?
Current plan is to have a set season or win condition that will reset the IS Map state. We will be monitoring the IS state at all time to see what is happening. We may allow Faction changes without resetting the IS Map. We are always keeping in mind that we do not want to permanently lock players from playing the 'Mechs they've bought.

Can you use a contract system to allow Units to earn Faction given rewards?
As mentioned in the above update, the various Factions will be providing incentives to players who take the attack/defend contracts. To be included in this are Loyalty Point rewards which will be discussed in the next update.

How will the 'Mech restriction be handled in Phase 2? Will we see even more restricted 'Mech selections on certain planets/scenarios? How about weight restrictions for some planets like MPBT3025?
As mentioned, the only real 'Mech restriction in Phase 2 is Clan players play Clan 'Mechs and IS players play IS 'Mechs. Additional restrictions that align to specific battles/play modes/era specific battles etc will be considered for Phase 3 CW.

Will there be any actual benefit to the units/houses/clans based on owning a number of planets?
This is something still in talks. There's a fairly big technical risk involved with dynamic priceing of items in the Mech Lab. (Not the store) If we can find a way to work this in, it is one of the ideal ways of making control of planets have a lot more impact on the game as a whole.

What about logistics/repair/rearm?
Again, logistics is something we would like to do but it completely out of scope in terms of development time at the moment. The sheer amount of data that would need to be tracked and storing movement of units across 2400+ planets would be astronomical. We won't trash the idea but it is on hold for the moment. As for repair/rearm, this is something we've talked about bringing back but we have to be very careful on its implementation. We will continue to discuss this internally to see when and how we can bring it back into the game.

What are the peak player count times that you described?
We have been watching peak player times constantly since going live with the game. We are currently looking at 6-8PM PDT for West Coast, 3-5PM PDT for East Coast (6-8PM EDT), and 11AM-1PM PDT for UTC (6-8pm UTC). We may also include prime times for AU and Asian times as well. These numbers are all still to be determined but I just want to let you know that we're not just focusing on North American play times.

Will there ever be a chance of attack/defend modes making their way to the public matches?
Can't say never, but for the time being, this attack/defend mode will only be in CW.

What is the expected lenght of a match with Drop Ship mode in place?
Currently, there's an estimated average of 6 minutes per match. We would expect Drop Ship mode to be in the 20-30 minute time frame per match.

How are you going to address the need for more new maps so the attack/defend game mode doesn't get stale really quickly?
With the Mining Collective just going live and codename "Swamp" being beautified, we are looking into the development time invovled with Invasion Mode specific maps. Because the first Invasion Mode map is mostly terrain, it should have a fairly quick turn around. If we apply this style to other Invasion Mode maps, we should be able to turn around more maps soon after launching CW. Reuse of current art assets is key to be able to expedite map creation and this is something we look into whenever we talk about new maps in general.

Will Merc Corps be able to own their own planets within IS space?
No one really "owns" a planet except the Factions themselves. You will however be able to stake claim on a planet if it is contested and your Unit is the highest winning Unit during that planet's combat phase.

Will there be any mechanisms for IS to acquire Clan tech and vice a versa?
Not out of the gate. It has been discussed and even the community has mentioned the use of salvage to allow cross technology but at this moment we're going to hold off on that ability.

What exactly do you mean your Faction dictates the 'Mechs you can use?
This is unclear terminology at work. In the above update, I've started to use a different terminology set to help clairify this. Essentially, it means Clan players can only use Clan 'Mechs and Inner Sphere players can only use IS 'Mechs.

When will you release information on Faction given rewards?
This information will be release next CW update. October 8th.

Will units be able to "claim" a planet that is not contested?
As mentioned above, no. Only planets that have been fought over can be imprinted with your Unit's name/tag.

If the peak times end up too short, will you be willing to expand them in short increments?
Definitely. We will be monitoring how many players are participating and active in CW and will make any adjustments necissary to allow as many players as possible to participate.

Will there be some kind of 'newsfeed' streaming results of battles and other newsworthy events?
Yes, this is something that is needed for the Call to Arms feature which alerts Faction players that one of their planets is being attacked and so on. Inclusion of notable battles would be a cool feature to add to this. The feature itself will grow over time but the basics will be in place for Phase 2.

To reduce confusion between planetary conquest and conquest modes, could you just rename this Campaign?
I'm sure we can come up with better naming. I'll update everyone if anything changes.

Is there a Phase 3 that includes further features?
I don't know if we'll be calling further feature updates Phase 3 but yes, we want to grow what CW is in Phase 2 to even bigger and better things.

How many planets on a front will be available to fight over?
Current plan is to have 4 planets inside each Faction that is attackable from outside bordering Factions. For example, Kurita would have to planets exposed to attack on their Davion border and 2 more on their FRR border.

Can you maintain an LP balance for more than one Faction?
Yes you can. We had Randall Bills help us out with a matrix of who would feel a certain way about someone being killed. For example, if a Kurita player kills a Davion player, Kurita would be happy, but Davion would be angry. Marik wouldn't really feel strongly either way. Steiner would be angry as well. The matrix breaks down how all of these interactions play out and I'll provide more info on how it works in a future update.

Will LP be part of Phase 2 or something later?
LP will be part of Phase 2.
... more incoming...

Will the additional drops be based on a timer?
Yes, as described in the update above, drops will happen in waves on a global timer.

Can you temporarily opt out of CW?
There is no need to. Public game space and CW game space are separate. Want to play in CW? Click the Faction Tab. Want to play in Public matches? Click the Home Tab.

What about including Comstar TS channel info in the Faction broadcast when an attack happens?
This is a neat idea, but since the Comstar TS server is privately run by one of our community members,it might become unfair to them. Will investigate this and see what we can come up with.

Could the defending unit leader assign a priority of team members so that if an attack happens, the group could be formed with a single click as opposed to inviting people individually?
This is not in the current design but is a very cool idea. Will write it up and see if/when we can get it done.

Why are groups limited to the same unit?
CW is part of a role play experience and Unit gameplay. To keep to this design goal, it only makes sense that groups are limited to the same Unit. Teams will be built out of multiple Units if the Unit group is not a 12-man.

If we are hard limited to certian 'Mechs only, will MWO have a super easy-to-reference table of what I can take into battle?
Yes, we can provide these lists, but with the new way that Mech Selection and Drop Ship configuration will work, only valid 'Mechs will be displayed for any given scenario. But again, yes, we can provide Faction specific 'Mech lists.

Can units have a "freebie" on changing their Faction to fit this setup?
This is the plan. Just prior to Phase 2 going live, we will give everyone the opportunity to make their last Faction prior to the CW lock on Faction switches.

Can the gates be destroyed by shooting them?
Not at the moment but I've been told we can make this so very easily.

Will the IS map change depeding on which planets are captured? Will the colored border around the planet immediately reflect this to show that the territory is now controlled by a different Faction?
There may be a very slight delay in the map updating but it should be minimal. And yes, the map will change and the borders will update. Who knows, maybe you'll see Liao pull a Hail Mary and take over the IS and keep the Clans from invading.

Will some planets be off limits?
Each Faction's capital planet will be off limits. Planets in the Periphery will also be off limits for now. However, Karl has shown me how to make any planet on the map contestable so you never know what may happen outside of the main Faction borders.

Can we get pics? Unfinished screen caps? iPhone pics of a screen with CW on it? Instagram of the coffee you're drinking while working on CW?
You never know what might slip out on a Dev VLOG or twitter or even on the forums. But now that you mention this, I may smack the phone out of anyone's hands walking past my desk.

Will the planets being contested be dictated by lore?
Initial seeding will be done by us. Ideally we'd like to see the Clan Invasion corridor stick to lore but we are really putting the borders in the hands of the players. As each planet is taken, a new planet will be programatically selected to be the next planet up for contention.

Can a contested planet be attacked multiple times by different units simultaneously or will attacks be restricted to a single instance only at any one time?
During the combat phases in a 24-hour day, any valid Faction/Force Unit can attack the same planet. The idea is to allow all Units of any size to help change the ownership of a planet for their Faction.

You have clearly stated that the term Faction at this time refers to IS and Clan. Could you clarify what is the definition of "Unit"?
Units are the player created/registered "guilds" that were added to the game recently.

If the attackers successfully eliminate all the defenders, this presumably constitutes a victory even if not all defensive structures are destroyed or will the attackers be required to cap the base (similar to Assault) before the timer runs out?
Total annihilation of the enemy team will result in a win assuming there are no more drops available to any of their players.

Do mech restrictions (beyond clan/IS) apply to mercenaries who use their own private gear? If so why?
The main focus of CW is the Clan Invasion. Part of that is that we want the Inner Sphere to be more effective in holding the Clans at bay instead of watching the FRR evaporate very quickly. The tech restriction is meant for all players of Clans or Inner Sphere, not just subsets of them.

When will we get the benefits of the Loyalty Point bonuses we paid for over a year ago?
Day 1 of Phase 2.

What role will Premium time play here? Still working as a tagged on Bonus for earnings?
Premium Time behaves the same way it does with public matches. It gives you extra CBills and XP earnings on top of what you get through match performance.

Will there be random drop points?
Part of the drop Mechanic is travel time to get back into the fight. Random drop locations can end up with re-inforcements showing up VERY quickly depending on where the combat is currently taking place. Right now we're going to start with drops at bases and will expand on this if needed.

Will you be able to see who is attacking/defending?
We may work this into the Call to Arms feature mentioned above. "Shack of Squires is attacking your favorite planet!" Something like that.

Is there any team limit on what you take in the first spawn/wave?
Right now we're not planning on having a limit on which 'Mechs are taken in the first drop. If a team wishes to take all Assaults at the start of a match, they're going to regret it as the fight continues and they start losing their assaults and are left with lights at the end of the match.

When you say "click on a planet to attack it"... is this an instant move? Will there be a concept of jumpships/dropships with time for movement of mechs to the planet in

question along established jump lanes?
Part of your question indicates logistics which I mentioned above is not going to be part of Phase 2. As for the interface requirement, it will be your group leader clicking the Attack button and from that point on you will be queued in the Attacker's queue.

What (if any) are the "win" conditions for Community Warfare? How does a unit (or units) win the game so that everything starts over?
We've been discussing many possiblities here and the engineering team is working to give us as many dynamic options as possible. Maybe a Faction takes over the entire Inner Sphere, maybe the Clans surround Terra. It's up to what happens during CW that we will determine the best route to a reset if needed.

Is there any opportunity to customize the mech in your drop deck at all before the match starts? I'm assuming the answer is 'No', but wanted to check.
You were correct, the answer is no. 'Mechs should be customized and prepped in the Mech Lab and added to your Drop Ship when ready.

Would you consider allowing TWO mechs of each weight class in the drop deck?
At this time we will not be allowing this. The idea of the Drop Ship is that you are going to make a very conscious decision as to which 'Mechs you are going into battle with.

Can you please answer if the current unit creation form is the one and only form that there will exist in MWO and there won't be a different kind for Loyalists?
If I'm understanding you right, yes, the current Unit creation method that will be used in the game for now. If you're talking about aligning with the sub-units within a Faction, that MAY appear further down the road.

Will there be other sorts of missions in terms of taking over a planet? As I understand it (as do my peers it seems) we will be fighting over static defensive type choke

As time goes on, we will be fleshing out anything that will be adding to the feeling of grand battles for planets. New modes, new maps etc. It's just a matter of time.

Is there a possibility of a some type of reward for piloting a mech that are popular amongst your own particular faction? For example a Kurita mechwarrior piloting a Jenner 7-F would be in line for a small reward of some sort or extra compensation?
This isn't planned at the moment but is a very cool idea. Open for discussion on it.

Any thoughts about opening up an experience of contested planets to the solo queue allowing players to pick an involved house, carry its banner and run its favored 'Mechs for the match, get a loyalty points for that house and a tiny bit for their permanently declared faction? Wouldn't have to affect the planet's control much or at all; essentially, themed public matches.
Not immediately out of the gate but this is something could eventually address.

Regarding Unit Coffers: will there be any purchasable items for Units (for instance, base/turret upgrades) included in Phase 2, or will these come in at a later point?
This is still on the drawingboard. It is something we'd very much like to see in the game but it will become an issue finding where we can fit it into the schedule. There is also the point that planets will be flipping every 24-hours. Not sure how players would feel if they upgraded a planet and lost it the next day.

It was mentioned in the earlier design docs posted to the forums that Units would be able to charge their members dues (taxes) in the form a percentage of their C-bill

earnings going directly into the Unit Coffer - is that still the plan?
We have decided to make Unit Coffers an opt-in mechanic. This allows players to decide how much they're willing to pay into the Unit Coffers. The ability for the Unit Leader to see who has donated and how much is there to see if members are carrying their weight to their satisfaction. All player controlled.

What are the economic costs to the players, and to the unit (two questions here), for failing in their objective to attack or defend?
There are no direct costs other than not getting as many C-Bills and Loyalty Points for failing.

Will the outcome of a season affect players/factions in the next season?
Any unlocks, such as rewards or achievements would be kept from season to season.

Is "bounty hunting" still going to be a part of community warfare? If so will clans also be able to do this?
Unfortunately this is something we've shelved for now. I won't go on the record saying it will never show up, just that right now we need to focus on the core mechanics of CW and tune it before adding extra gems on it.

So those of us that do not play at peak times will never be involved? Or will there be periphery worlds that can be attacked/defended at slower times?
With the various peak player times throughout the 24-hour day, there 'should' be an opportunity for everyone to partake in CW.

Feedback thread is here: