During one of the latest test server weekends we got rid of beacons, which turned the battleground into pure unstructured chaos — that was what people call “Deathmatch”. We liked the reception of it, and now we are exploring what can be done to flesh out this crazy, yet fun mess into a proper game mode.
Today’s article is not about Deathmatch though. We were also experimenting with another mode which we called “Beacon Rush”, and this actually is Deathmatch’s complete opposite: instead of removing the territory control aspect altogether it emphasizes it. Overall, Beacon Rush is very similar to War Robots base game mode, but there’s one key difference: you can deploy your robots not only on your base, but also near any beacon your team controls.
You might ask: “Okay, you just allow people to spawn on beacons — but why is it a big deal?” It definitely seems like a tiny change on words, but in practice it is enough to dramatically shift game’s flow and revive old robots and tactics you might have totally forgotten about.
When talking about gameplay, there are no small changes. Games are systems, and all their parts affect each other in some way. And when you need something big to happen, sometimes it’s enough to tweak a single variable so it pulls along a whole groups of separate entities.
So what may change in the Beacon Rush case? To give you a better picture, we’ll give you some ideas on what to try next time you land on this mode.
Beacon Rush: 5 ideas to try
Use fast robots to capture beacons so your teammates can spawn their heavies there
That’s quite an obvious one. In Beacon Rush your Cossacks and Gepards might find a new role to shine in, acting as tiny dropships that carry heavy robots in their back pockets. By quickly capturing beacons they let their teammates to spawn much closer to the enemy lines, thus helping slow robots to save some precious time on reaching the fight.
Close-quarters Fury — maybe it isn’t that bad after all?
The key reason why most people opted for mid-long range builds on robots like Fury and Butch is their slow movement speed and lack of protection. When you stick 3 Thunders on Fury, you usually get melted long before someone allows you to put them into action.
Now with beacon spawns you have a workaround for it. Is this workaround good enough to ensure that slow glass-cannon can become effective? Let’s see!
Go long-range… and tell us how it was
You probably already imagined how inconvenient it will be to snipe people from platform on Yamantau when angry enemy Lancelots spawn right before your face. Our playtests showed that death of sniper class is highly doubtful in Beacon Rush, but being effective on a long-range build is going to require much more positional awareness. Knowing surroundings and ability to switch the position when needed is what will define great snipers among simply good ones.
Also, it’ll probably be a good idea to try out quicker robots as snipers. What about Carnage? Or even Shutze? Those who can stay on a periphery of a fight and quickly retreat when said fight gets too close to them may get their chance to shine.
In Beacon Rush something that neither you or us could ever predict might suddenly start showing great results. Long skirmishes over a single beacon funnel all the robots towards a single small area — maybe it’s time to bring along your long-forgotten Noricums? Or full-turtle ECU-Patton dancing around a single point while your opponents try to contest it — is this really that bad of an idea now?
Whatever comes to your mind — it never hurts to try!
And one more…
Here’s a brief example of a small Beacon Rush-specific balance tweak. To avoid infinite fights over a single point we made all robots to respawn outside of a capture zone. In our playtests thas was usually enough to ensure that beacon capturing actually progresses if attackers do a good job contesting it.
But will it be enough in ALL cases? Maybe not. Some things will definitely go wrong, and we encourage you to look for these as hard as possible.
Also: new combat HUD!
For Beacon Rush we added an overview screen showing the whole map and points available for deploy. Using it, you can see where your allies and opponents are and quickly assess the situation to go for the best play.
In order to make it work we remade the rest of the combat interface almost from the ground-up. Our UI code called for an overhaul for a long time already, so Beacon Rush came up as a great opportunity to finally commit to it. Of course, this is only the beginning of another long story: we plan to add much more functionality to the new HUD as time goes.
Here are some player videos showing the new HUD.
Of course, most things you see on preview pictures and videos are subject to change. After first public runs on the test server we’re making adjustments according to your feedback: HP bars will make their return to the top-left corner, targeting reticle will take less space on the screen, ability buttons will be more responsive and so on. We aim to make both Beacon Rush and new HUD as polished as possible by their release, which is currently stated for August.