Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guardians of Middle Earth Says No to Microsoft/Sony Certifications

MOBA games (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) require pinpoint balancing acts to keep the game running smoothly and make sure it's a fair fight. Almost always this requires updates from small, almost insignificant tweaks to massive game breaking problems. These can cost developers up to $40,000.00 to receive the necessary certifications for PSN or XBL updates.
Oh you want $40,000?

Monolith decides a "No" is appropriate here. They are going the "Cloud" route. What this means is that a tweak, or update can immediately be sent out, bypassing all the red tape. Speaking with VG24/7, Guardians of Middle Earth producer, Bob Roberts, had this to say:
"[We built] a system for having a lot of our balance database saved in cloud storage, that you’re going to download every time you launch the game. It’s a very small, quick update that doesn’t have to go through certification, so we can update it every day, every week – however often we need to if we see critical balance issues.”
With the game releasing on PS3 today and Xbox 360 tomorrow, Monolith also wanted to express how much time they put into balancing the game before launching it.
“The basic idea is that, if they can sink time in and really practice a particular combo – say five guardians that really compliment each other really well , and the perfect item build – that there is always a counter for that.
“So no matter what the testers figured out to be the best possible strategy that they could think of, and was over-powered for a couple of days, someone else on the team would figure out a counter to it. That strategy would then become dominant for a couple of days, and it cycled around like that whether or not we changed any balance.
“That’s the point we got to where it feels like a good equilibrium for this type of competitive game, because with any competitive multiplayer, you want it to not be about individual champions or items. It’s got to be something that where the community will find emergent counters to strategies, and keep things cycling around on their own.”
 They will still be keeping a very close eye on the game's stats to make sure it's an even playing field for all.

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