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About That 6v6 Titanfall

January 8, 2014

Sour Grapes

The Blankman asked us what we think of Vince Zampella’s Tweet that Titanfall will have a maximum player count of 6v6 due to AI considerations. I figure, as a game that most of us will be playing come March, the topic deserves its own post.

Perhaps a five years ago, ever-hungry for a greater social experience and thinking that more is always better, I might have been a little disappointed. But my thinking has changed. Gears of War 4v4 was outstanding and 5v5 in Gears 2 and 3 didn’t improve the gameplay. The only up side of allowing two more players was that more of us could play in a single room.  However, the gaming experience itself was diluted.  Similarly, while 32v32 Conquest BF4 is incredibly cinematic, I enjoy 16v16 Rush more if only because I am not constantly being killed by people whom I didn’t see or engage.

Smaller numbers also means less opportunity for gerbil-abusing, tin can and string “family connection” internet users whose penny pinching ways ruins everyone’s experience no matter how fat all others’ pipes to the dedicated server may be.

Thirdly, there is no doubt that Titanfall has the potential to offer an incredibly competitive experience, and it would be very surprising if Zampella wasn’t thinking about this as well.  Team Fortress 2 came 9v9-ready out of the box, yet in all competitive gaming, teams were 6v6.  The community chose that.  The Halo community similarly discovered that 4v4 was more enjoyable and sustainable than greater numbers for that kind of play.

As for the effect on AI, I won’t have an opinion until I know to what extent the unmanned Titans are going to affect the playing field. That reason may simply be smoke and mirrors, utilized to generate more buzz. However, my take on the furor that is blazing through the forums is that people either don’t understand game design and the decisions developers must make to optimize fun and the gaming experience, or it is just the belching and boiling stench of Sony Fanbois’ Sour Grapes.

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7 Comments
  1. Average permalink*
    January 9, 2014 6:15 am

    I actually like this and have been thinking about team size when playing BF lately.

    64 people is great but the maps are too large and the conquest points too far away.
    Rush with 32 people isn’t to so bad, because it’s condensed into the 2 bases area. But some of the maps have 7 bases!

    Nice for a change to have smaller, intimate teams for competiive.

    (Granted I was expecting something big scale for Titanfall of at least 24)

  2. January 9, 2014 1:31 pm

    First of all, what does the following statement even mean? “Only 6 v 6 due to AI considerations” ???? What is this Horde or something?

    What is strange to me is that they are just announcing this 6 v 6. Was that their original plan? Because from all the trailers I’ve seen, they’ve been marketing this as a Massive MP game. Dudes zooming around everywhere….

    Are they now only 6 v 6 because they are having technical issues? I am skeptical…

  3. January 9, 2014 2:41 pm

    Kenai, if you go back and watch those vids, I think you will see that there were never more than 6 or so people dukin’ it out at any given time. The gameplay is chaotic and full of explosions and particle effects while mixing pilots and mechs together so it appears to be more populated that it actually is. I was expecting at most 9v9 like the CoD games, or 12v12 at most. So, this wasn’t a big step down.

    As for the AI considerations, the mechs are actually massive self-ambulating sentries when unmanned, as far as I know. I just didn’t think it would require that many processor cycles to make them work.

    • Blankman permalink
      January 9, 2014 5:14 pm

      Suns is correct about the player count on the gameplay shown thus far, Jim. Although I don’t believe that unmanned mechs will be autonomous. There are AI “redshirts” that act like cannon fodder. Zampella said that there would be about twenty-four AI bots in every match (twelve per side). Taking out those bots allow for the actual human player to call down their mech after a certain body count has been met. Given the size of the mechs, the maps have to accommodate for them. Make the maps too small and it’ll turn out to be shooting fish in a barrel. Make them too large & it will seem like a game of hide and seek.

      I am surprised with the confirmation of 6 vs. 6, I would have suspected that it would have been 12 vs. 12 being the minimum. We’ll see how this plays out in the months to come before its launch on March 11th. I don’t know if Zampella & Respawn are intentionally gimping this first Titanfall due to the MS exclusivity, but this all seems a bit coincidental. That would be completely stupid to kill the momentum of their new IP for future iterations. I wonder if the execs at EA are starting to sweat. No Kinect support and now 6 vs. 6 player cap. Hmmm…

      BTW: Hilarious pic, Suns! It made me chuckle. 🙂

    • January 10, 2014 9:07 pm

      Blank is correct. The AI enemies are all infantry, a la “creeps” in MOBA games – essentially cannon fodder like Blank mentioned – and will only be there to add some intensity to the 6v6 humans.

      I’m still on the fence with this game. I’ve been back into the Dark Souls train again and depending on the next-gen release of DS2, I may have to pick that over Titanfall.

      And speaking of shitty internet connections, around mid-February, the monopolized ISP in my area will be making a 50mbps connection available, so I’ll be upgrading to that. There’s also been mention that it could be a fiber optic connection as well, but I’m not certain on that.

      Regardless, I won’t be limited to 3 or less mbps which would be fucking fantastic.

  4. January 10, 2014 7:31 am

    This was a good article on the topic. I especially enjoyed the comments section.

    http://www.polygon.com/2014/1/9/5292474/titanfall-maps-can-be-packed-with-nearly-50-combatants-including-ai

  5. January 17, 2014 11:17 am

    Player count doesn’t matter. This game will be amazing. ’nuff said.

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