Building Warframe: PvP 2.0 Level Design
Behind the scenes of Capture the Cephalon!
Posted On 2015-02-24 18:10:50
Building Warframe: PvP 2.0 Level Design

Dark Sector Conflicts have long been a primary means of making a name for your Clan outside of Event Leaderboards. The focus on teamwork, communication, and long-term commitment to success made a victory in DSC feel like a real accomplishment -- but that doesn't mean our current system is without flaws. Current PvP mechanics have been mastered by many, but the volume of players looking for improvements hasn't gone unnoticed.

PvP 2.0 radically changes the way PvP is approached, introducing new mechanics and maps to help balance the playing field for all Tenno. These changes will be gradually implemented and to help ease everyone into what we have in-store our design team is happily showing off a sneak peek. Behold, the future of PvP in Warframe... maybe. Please do keep in mind that all of the following images represent current Work in Progress and can change.

One of the biggest things we've learned from our current Dark Sector Conflicts is that our players need a map that rewards using the mobility that Warframe has to offer. Our current DSC map put emphasis on the Solar Rail structure, filled with choke points that could only be surpassed when beating back the defending team. There were a lot of wonderful elements to it, but its restrictions and open space design made parkour quite limited.

Our Capture the Flag style map keeps the same idea behind those choke points, while offering plenty of options for more agile players. Bottlenecks can be held down by a pair of Tenno willing to dedicate themselves to suppressing the enemy, but limiting a large portion of your team to defense in Capture the Cephalon may not be the best idea. Especially when there's more than one way to enter a base.

By using a smaller map for these conflicts it's our hope to keep the rate of engagement between players quite high, with minimal downtime associated with running back to the action. Multiple ways to approach the enemy objective helps give some variety to where the fighting occurs -- and we've made sure cover is plentiful no matter what side of the conflict a Tenno is on.

Consider the placement of energy orbs -- a valuable resource for any player looking to take advantage of Warframe powers. While energy orbs naturally appear throughout the course of the match, they are always fixed to a single location. Controlling energy gained by the enemy team is a vital part of any team's strategy.

The above made the Corpus Outpost environment a perfect place to begin our PvP revamp. The general aesthetic of the Corpus really fit the tight, organized, corridor battles we wanted players to engage in all while providing a cool backdrop for the fight. 360 degree backdrops aren't feasible in most Warframe levels, but here we have a chance to really open up the sky in every direction.

It doesn't feel like a big difference at first, but having a natural border to a level creates a really clear, understandable sense of navigation.

Reducing the amount of visual clutter is important when designing a competitive map, and so we've taken a lot of care to remove unnecessary objects like guard rails. Things that may be appropriate for a normal Corpus tileset are not as appropriate in a PvP environment. A lot of attention is focused on the placement of objects.

Careful approach to level design is an extremely important part of our PvP revamp. Expect each new level to receive the same attention to detail.

We hope everyone has enjoyed this behind-the-scenes look at our plans for PvP 2.0. Be sure to stay tuned as we continue to reveal our plans for the future of Conclave, including an inside look at mechanical changes coming to Warframe's PvP game modes.