Sunday, October 05, 2014

Silencing Sentries

I was musing yesterday about sentries and people guarding elements in PvP. In a movie, a PvE scenario or a stealth game, the rogue would sneak up and sap or take out the guard. The rest of the group would run by the guard, without the alarm being raised. It's an important element in making stealth viable.

This behaviour does not really exist in PvP, even world PvP. That's because as soon as the guard is sapped, she's going to raise the alarm loudly on the chat channels.

One solution could be to prevent typing in chat if you are dead or sapped. But that doesn't stop the player from raising the alarm on an out-of-game channel like Vent.

Is there a way that we can emulate the behavior of a rogue preventing a guard from sounding an alarm?

My thought is that player guards are more like video cameras, rather than real guards. Let's say you have a bank of video cameras being monitored by a central guard station. If one camera suddenly goes black, you know you have a problem where that camera is located.

The traditional movie solution here is to "loop the feed". Change what the camera is sending back to something other than reality.

Could we do something similar in an game? Give the rogue an ability to "blind" an opposing player guard. This would remove all enemies from the information given to the guard's client. The guard would literally not be able to see the enemy as long as the blind is in effect. But the guard would still be able to move around and see everything else. To the guard it would look like everything was normal. No alarm would be raised because the player has no reason to raise an alarm.

Of course, one could say that this is the same as stealth abilities, but stealth generally makes you invisible to everyone. This makes you invisible to one person, making it less game-breaking.

Would an ability like this, which deliberately filters the information given to another player, be an interesting ability?


  1. Pretty unique idea. The only problem is that after blind fades, the guard will suddenly see a very different scenario and would assume he had a huge lag. Then he'd open a ticket for recent lags.

  2. I like the idea.. it's clever.

    But would the gameplay resulting from the inevitable meta shift be better than if this weren't implemented?

    People aren't going to continue standing in a vulnerable guard position if it's no longer optimal defensive strategy.

  3. This is actually a very clever idea.

    Not something that should be implemented in every game, but something that absolutely bears merit for some. Its sort of like the pvp version of EQs "blind" where your screen literally turned black for as long as your character was blinded.

    I really like the "affect the player, not the character" part of your idea.

  4. I like that idea, but to make it work, you'd need to make sure that they player doesn't know they're "blinded" by seeing a debuff on their screen.

  5. How do you handle defense-in-depth? If you placed a second player-guard (preferably stealthed) as a second guard outside the blinding radius the system breaks down.

    Good groups will always have two people guarding a node when the match is close. Or a single player will stand just far enough from the node that any debuff (visible or not) will expire before a stealther can cap the node.

  6. @Gevlon, I think if it's a known mechanic that people are watching out for they'll understand what happened.

    @Redbeard, that's correct, there needs to be zero visual indicators that this happened.

    @Piper, well, of course strategies would change. Guard pairs might come in vogue, but that means that you can only guard half as many nodes. I don't really know how everything would shake out.