Breakaway's Biggest Roadblocks



  • Hey everyone, Kalo here: just wanted to make a quick article on some obstacles I believe Breakaway will need to overcome to have a strong startup for success. These aren’t things targeting direct design flaws in the game like warrior balance issues or the like, but are definitely just as important. As always, feel free to post any thoughts, criticisms, or additions below and I’ll definitely respond. That said, let’s get into it!

    1. The Small Warrior Pool: I’ll clarify this once -- yes, the game is early in development, and yes, the devs had said many times that there are more characters in the work. My point here is not to argue that, but to express hope that the release schedule for these warriors is quick, especially early on in this Alpha-Beta period. For games like Breakaway, small character pools are a quick turn away for players and eSport organizations alike. Take Paladins as an example: while the game is doing fairly well now, it had a terrible reputation early on, sporting 8-9 champions without a new character being released for months. It wasn’t until Hi-Rez’s Drybear came in and took over development that the game was set on a (in my opinion) better path, now bolstering a much healthier roster of 20 champions with more in the works and competitive tournaments that get nicely sized viewership. Ideally, while a tall order, a pool of 15~ or so for Breakaway come beta would be awesome. Simply said, there isn’t enough variety in the roster yet.

    2. The Input Lag: I talked about this in my Top 10 Alpha Feedback list, so I’ll make it quick, but man, let me be frank when I say: this game is not the same with the essentially permanent molasses-type feeling we all dealt with in the alpha. Again, to clarify: yep, it was the first Alpha, and oh yeah, I definitely believe the devs are constantly working to clean it up for future tests; But its importance still stands, especially because Breakaway is an inherently competitive game. Here’s wishing the best for those on the team working this out for us!

    3. Meaningful & Not Frustrating Progression: This is probably the most difficult section. So many games fail to make their players feel adequately rewarded for their hard work and dedication in a healthy and realistic way. I could go on forever with possible suggestions like mastery skins or smoothly scaling the warrior levels, but the content isn’t as worrisome as the context here. Playing a ton of games as a hero to unlock things, and then having to buy all of those things you unlock on top of that just feels bad. A balance on which unlocks you should need to purchase would be nice, but it seems the system should be improved more holistically. There are many different resources for pay systems in similar games, free-to-play and not, and while I’d love to go in-depth with some of my favorite choices from other devs, a lot of them assume things that haven’t been confirmed either way with Breakaway yet (like if you'll have to buy individual warriors, or even just the general pay model for the game), so I don’t want to jump any guns!

    This is a conversation I absolutely want to continue. Feel free to message me in the Breakaway Discord (privately or publicly) or just reply here! You can also find me at my Twitch or Twitter. Thanks for reading, stay safe and beautiful!


  • Amazon Game Studios

    Hi Kalo. Thanks for the writeup.

    Increasing character counts and pace of warrior development is something we talk about literally every day. We're going to have some early results to share with you soon (no spoilers in this post). We think about this in terms of the number of warriors available from each archetype. At the moment there's one healer, one nuker, one fighter, etc. An extremely minimal bar would be two of everything. Three starts to feel good. Four or more is best. We want to get there as quickly as we can, with the caveat that we're also spending time reacting to the Alpha feedback we just received on our existing warriors.

    We're looking at problems caused by online networking vs. LAN play. Our engineers are digging into telemetry from the Alpha to diagnose when and how those problems happen. There's also a healthy dose of min spec work we need to do, since framerate plays a role in real & perceived lag. Unlike the warriors topic where we'll have more to share soon, these are bigger tech investments and it might be a few releases before we can claim progress.

    Progression was grindier than intended for Alpha. It's possible that maybe a request I made to the progression team screwed up all the numbers just before ship. Maybe. The jury is out. Anyway, two things I can tell you with certainty is that in the future progression will require less effort to achieve and that we'll increase the total set of interesting rewards. That work is also probably several releases down the road.

    Thanks again.



  • @Kalology #ThisIsAComment



  • @Kalology A lot of this I can agree upon but do you have any thoughts as to whether the competitive gameplay should allow multiples of a single hero in the team composition or whether teams should be limited to unique 4-hero teams that aim to synergize both with the teammates and in-game?



  • @StormkrasherGTR Good question, I'm 100% for only one of each warrior being allowed per team, and when the roster permits, I'm also for a standard draft mode that only allows any warrior to be picked once total.

    As fun as a Sparty Party can be, it simply isn't healthy in a competitive environment, and think AGS can simply look to Overwatch's example in this case, making a mode that allows for any amount of a hero to be picked.



  • @Kalology said in Breakaway's Biggest Roadblocks:

    -snip-

    1. Meaningful & Not Frustrating Progression: This is probably the most difficult section. So many games fail to make their players feel adequately rewarded for their hard work and dedication in a healthy and realistic way. I could go on forever with possible suggestions like mastery skins or smoothly scaling the warrior levels, but the content isn’t as worrisome as the context here. Playing a ton of games as a hero to unlock things, and then having to buy all of those things you unlock on top of that just feels bad. A balance on which unlocks you should need to purchase would be nice, but it seems the system should be improved more holistically. There are many different resources for pay systems in similar games, free-to-play and not, and while I’d love to go in-depth with some of my favorite choices from other devs, a lot of them assume things that haven’t been confirmed either way with Breakaway yet (like if you'll have to buy individual warriors, or even just the general pay model for the game), so I don’t want to jump any guns!

    A top thread as usually @Kalology thank you and I can agree with every point on your post!

    I wanna join you with the Meaning & Not Frustrating Progression, my biggest fear is the lack in steady ongoing progression. So far we only saw 5 character levels for warriors. To be exact, I think Breakaway has a huge lack in keeping the playerbase stuck to the game after a few days. There's literally no progression available for Breakaway at least we couldn't see it in the pre alpha yet.
     
    What I really would like to know if we will see Progression Levels (Account Level) in Breakaway. Currently we "only" have 5 Levels for each Class which is absolutely alright and awesome. However, I think an important aspect in literally every game is to ensure the ongoing progression and to deliever the feeling you're still achieving something even though you've maxed out your class levels already, besides the eSport, competitive aspect of a game.
    Personally, games like: Paragon (max. level 50), Smite (max. level 30), Dota2 (apparently possible to reach level 547 - https://www.reddit.com/r/DotA2/comments/4jr6hs/want_to_know_how_many_levels_you_can_get_for_free/), League of Legends (max level 30(?)), Battleborn (max. level 100), Brawlhalla (max level 100), Overwatch (max. level 1800) and many more "similar" genre games.

     
    "An experience point (often abbreviated to Exp or XP) is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games (RPGs) and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game. Experience points are generally awarded for the completion of quests, overcoming obstacles and opponents, and for successful role-playing.

    In many RPGs, characters start as fairly weak and untrained. When a sufficient amount of experience is obtained, the character "levels up", achieving the next stage of character development. Such an event usually increases the character's statistics, such as maximum health, magic and strength, and may permit the character to acquire new abilities or improve existing ones. Leveling up may also give the character access to more areas or items." - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experience_point

     
    This is exactly what Breakaway has nicely done already with the Character Levels. What, in my opinion, Overwatch makes it so attractive a part of the community and to me besides the gameplay, mechanics and elements is the account progression (levels) with a steady requirement experience. Of course it is an endless "grind" from a never ending story but you still feel like you're getting further and you're still unlocking new items + a new character portrait. Also, those levels are rewarding the community who is sticking to the game. I'm not here to request and endless grind where every level takes longer than the previous one but I think an account progression is acutally necessary. Overwatch did it really nice and probably Breakaway needs something like this too. (Similar to Overwatch would be a good idea for sure) I don't think grinding is bad if the players don't feel like it is and endless grind and still get a pretty decent reward for reaching a new milestone. Grinding is good if it's done right.

    As you said @Kalology , skins are another important aspect of every game. Doesn't matter if it is F2P or P2P, the communtiy needs something to stick to a game and feel special. There are tons of different games which are failing pretty hard. Breakaway is in a good shape currently BUT there is still the "aspect" missing which makes the community stick to Breakaway for longer I think. Levels, customization (skins, weapon skins, stickers, portrait, events et cetera.), competitive aspect, and so on.



  • @Eschter awesome post!

    Completely agree with what you're saying, and I hope the emphasis on meaningful gets through to the team (as I think it will).

    In its current state, my big issue is not so much the ability to grind a crazy amount of levels like in Overwatch, but the fact that you have to unlock valuable tools to use in game. Heroes of the Storm, in its alpha/beta phase, had this issue as well -- when using a character you hadn't before, you were locked to half of your talents, and you'd slowly unlock the others as you played more games with the hero. The idea here is to help introduce characters to the various options because there were 3-5 per level.

    While well-intended, it just made players feel restricted, and I feel that same thing with the Breakaway traits: imagine a meta where a characters level 5 unlocked perk is the hands down best one -- players would feel terrible having to play a crazy amount of games just to have that perk. My hope is that the trait system, or at least its unlock system, is re-worked because of this.



  • @mpriest thanks as always for the awesome replies.

    I've said it many times, but after coming to the studios, my faith in the team is secured -- I know you can do this!

    Keep up the great work, can't wait to see what's in store.



  • @Kalology said in Breakaway's Biggest Roadblocks:

    @Eschter awesome post!
     
    Completely agree with what you're saying, and I hope the emphasis on meaningful gets through to the team (as I think it will).
     
    In its current state, my big issue is not so much the ability to grind a crazy amount of levels like in Overwatch, but the fact that you have to unlock valuable tools to use in game. Heroes of the Storm, in its alpha/beta phase, had this issue as well -- when using a character you hadn't before, you were locked to half of your talents, and you'd slowly unlock the others as you played more games with the hero. The idea here is to help introduce characters to the various options because there were 3-5 per level.
     
    While well-intended, it just made players feel restricted, and I feel that same thing with the Breakaway traits: imagine a meta where a characters level 5 unlocked perk is the hands down best one -- players would feel terrible having to play a crazy amount of games just to have that perk. My hope is that the trait system, or at least its unlock system, is re-worked because of this.

    I totally understand you @Kalology and when I'm serious and honest with you and here then I'll tell you, I didn't like it at all that you actually unlock perks with a certain level of the warriors. I'm on your side, so are my friends actually. As you said already, some players won't like it at all and could make players feel restricted besides the possiblity of a meta perk.

    A trait system re-work would be greatly appreciated and I would love to see this happening besides more warriors. However, you can't totally remove the levels from the warriors neither otherwise there won't be any "grinding" in Breakaway anymore. But I'm certainly sure there are enough games on the market where they can get some ideas from. I'm not the biggest fan of Overwatch but in my opinion they did so many things right though. I think there's a reason why Overwatch is still so popular.

    The long longevity (life expectancy) is also a very important term to every game. Breakaway has to address this, Warrior levels won't be the solution with perks as rewards - as we said already why it won't be.

     
    I'm so jealous that you had the opportunity to visit Amazon Games Studio and my faith is really high for Breakaway and their Team.

     

    @mpriest said in Breakaway's Biggest Roadblocks:

    -snip-

     
    This sounds sooooo beautiful, you guys are doing such a great job! Keep up the good work, we all appreciate it!
     

    Wish everyone a wonderful day!


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