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Introduction and objectives:

The Kolossium is the name we have given to our upcoming PvP arena (in order to avoid confusion with the city arenas where players can fight with monsters and... because we couldn't find a better name, despite our multiple desperate efforts. One of the temps suggested "The Cantina Arena" but we chose to spare you any traumatic memories of girls named "Lola").
The Kolossium will be our future multi-player PvP Arena system, which we have been working on for several months. We’re very excited to reveal it to you, and we can’t wait for you to try it on the test server!

It will allow players who wish to PvP in groups to form their own teams or to simply register solo (and allow the Kolossium matchmaking system to find them a group) in order to execute balanced fights.

Our objective is not to force players to enter PvP fights but rather to encourage them to participate by making it easy and fun. That’s why we’re adding the Kolossium: to allow all team PvP lovers to meet and play together for fun and profit!



The Kolossium also denotes the building found in Cania Massif (directly accessible via a new Zaap) that will permit players to gather together and participate in the annexed activities linked to PvP fights.

tl;dr:
  • A PvP Arena system will soon be available to try on the test server.
  • It will be called Kolossium.
  • It will be limited to 3v3 fights.
  • It will be possible for players to gain experience and resources for crafting exclusive new items.
  • It will replace the Headhunter quest.
  • It will not be released in the September update (we will need several weeks of testing).
  • There will be a scoring system to determine a character’s strength. This will allow the system to classify them and to match them with opponents of similar strength.
  • The system will let you pick your own team or let you join other soloists in a pick-up group.
  • It will not be possible to choose opponents.
  • There will be no inter-server fights.

Accessibility:




For this new PvP system, we have decided to emancipate ourselves completely from any alignment mechanics that are unsuitable for building a vibrant group PvP system. We do not want issues of unbalanced alignments to reduce the number of participants in our system. This is why we have opened the Kolossium system to Neutral players.

With the Kolossium providing fights between players, each team will have to wait until an opposite team is available in order to start playing. In order to avoid overly-long waiting times (if there isn’t anyone online to fight with at a particular time, for example), the Kolossium system allows a character to sign up for a PvP battle from anywhere in the game (through a new interface); once a character is registered, they can go about their business: fight, run around, work on their professions, zaapsit, etc.

Once the server establishes a balanced fight (with enough players to complete both teams), it will send a notice to all the relevant players to stop what they’re doing so that they can begin the PvP fight.
If all players accept, the fight will start immediately (and all players will be teleported back to their original location once the fight is finished).
If one or several players refuse, the fight will not take place and the server will search for other available, registered characters and try to set up another fight for those who are still waiting.

However, there will be some restrictions to accessing the Kolossium: only subscribed characters of a level higher than 50 will have access.

Team Play Only

One of the main risks in game systems that rely solely on player participation is simply that there will not be enough players available for the system to actually work.
In order to avoid this problem, we have decided to do whatever we could to maximize the number of players that can participate. This is why we have decided that the system will only offer one type of combat: 3 versus 3.
This choice might come as a surprise but it is our opinion that it represents the best possible compromise: quick, interesting and balanced fights.

The speed of fights is an important criterion for us; we want fights to last on average less than 30 minutes, so players can start Kolossium fights during short gaming sessions, and avoid boredom as much as possible while fighting in the Kolossium.

Allowing other types of matches (besides 3 vs 3) would allow risk splitting up the PvP player community into several groups and consequently reducing the size of each group. That would be counter-productive to our goals; we want to maximize the number of participants so the wait for an opponent is as short as possible!

We did not want to integrate 1 vs 1 PvP into the Kolossium, because it has too many drawbacks: the tactical possibilities are limited, it does not encourage positive social interactions, and above all, it is impossible to correctly balance.

We are aware that there are many fans of 1 vs1 PvP in DOFUS, and we will continue to take this style of play into consideration for future class balancing, but we have shifted our priority to balancing and improving team play; this is the game plan that we want to pursue for the foreseeable future.


How it will work

Players will be able to choose to register solo in the Kolossium system. In those cases, the matchmaking system will take care of forming a temporary team for them.



Naturally, it will also be possible for players to create their own teams (of 2 or 3 characters). To simplify this process and prevent conflicts with 8-character groups, a new group system will be available: the Kolossium group. It is a group system than can be used in parallel to the standard group system and works in a similar way. Group members are displayed on the right side of the game client and their portraits can be clicked for direct access to group management functions (initiative display, private messages, etc).



It will not be possible to choose opponents (in order to avoid fixed fights or even the selection of opponents solely in situation of assured victory, along with other anti-game behaviors).

This complex matchmaking task will be assigned to the Kolossium system: its goals will not only be to find opposite teams to generate balanced fights, but also to fill in incomplete teams and to form teams for players who registered solo.

Ranking and Performance

In order to generate balanced fights, the server needs to know how effective a character is at PvP.
This power is represented by a Rating number, which players can see in their own Kolossium interface.

Its calculation is quite complex, but here are the main principles that the system uses to assign Ratings.

A character’s Rating number is composed of two values:
Mu: the power of a character as perceived by the system.
Sigma: the measure of knowledge (or lack of knowledge) that the system has about a character’s power. Distilled to a single word, it is a measure of uncertainty.

The Mu value increases after a Kolossium victory and diminishes after a Kolossium defeat.
The Sigma value increases after a surprising result and diminishes after an expected result.
If you lose fights where your odds are considered good and win fights where your odds are considered poor, your uncertainty will increase.
However, if you regularly win when your odds are considered good and lose when your odds are considered poor, your uncertainty will decrease.

A character’s Rating is equal to: Mu - 3x Sigma.

This means that a character whose power is significant but uncertain can have a weak Rating.

Generally, the more a character fights, the weaker its uncertainty ranking will be (the system will find it easier to determine the power of a character after they have participated in lots of fights).

A character that has not ever participated in Kolossium fights lacks the history needed to assign it a Rating. Therefore, the system will assign an initial set of values for that character's first fight(s).

The default power ranking will be calculated based on the character's level (for now).
The default uncertainty ranking will be equal to its power divided by 3.
Using the Rating formula (Mu - 3x Sigma), all characters will begin with a null Ranking.

In order to predict the power of newcomers to the Kolossium system more accurately, the power attributed to a new character for their first fight in the Kolossium will be dynamically updated and will correspond to the average Rating of the power of characters from the same class within the same level bracket.

The initial Ratings are only used to match the first Kollossium fights; as a pvp history is established, the character’s Rating will rapidly come to reflect that history.

In order to allow a Rating of characters to quickly reach its real value but also to avoid wild fluctuations, a character’s Rating development is directly dependant on their uncertainty and how that relates to their power: if a character’s uncertainty is weak, their Ranting will change slowly. If their uncertainty is very high, their Rating will evolve more rapidly.

This Rating system allows a character to establish a ranking based on their power, but it also allows the system to learn the power relations between several players (for example, knowing that character A is twice as likely to beat character B all other things being equal). These power relations allow for the creation of balanced teams where players may have different power and level.


Arenas for everyone

The Rating system and matchmaking system collaborate to try to offer each team balanced fights (where which each team as a 50% chance of winning). Whether you are a beginner or a gifted PvP player, whether your character is equipped to perfection or completely naked, the Kolossium will do its best to offer PvP matches where victory is possible for either side

This means that (for example) a poorly equipped level 180 character that is controlled a player with little experience will likely be matched with more typical level 150 characters. The same way that a very well equipped and very well played level 100 character could play in teams composed of level 140 characters.

This system is designed to offer to all players interesting and balanced fights. The better players will lose one out of two fights on average; while players of little experience will win one out of two fights on average, all things being equal.


The maps

We did not want to enclose players in a series of classic arena maps with potential repetitive structure and ambiance.
Kolossium combats will take place on random maps from the World of Dofus, selected from a list of interesting maps adapted for PvP fights. So far we have selected about 50 interesting maps (some of which were used for Goultarminator) and we will progressively add and remove maps over time. This is designed to encourage a focus on adapting to new situations rather than learning to exploit well-known map characteristics.

XP for the brave

We want the Kolossium system to be a viable alternative progression system for players. They will gain experience ( and some Kamas) at the end of each fight won.
XP rewards in the Kolossium are not affected by wisdom, encouraging players to focus on power and combat-effectiveness.

These experience rewards will, in the majority of cases, be inferior to experience gained from fighting monsters, but they still should make up a viable alternative as a means of progressing in the game.

Loot for the brave

In order for the Kolossium to be an alternative option to progress in the game, Characters have to be able to accumulate sufficient material rewards in order to equip themselves.

Characters that win at least one Kolossium fight will be rewarded, the next day, by special tokens called Kolossokens.



The number of Kolossokens a player receives is based on their best PVP score from the previous day (Rather than the number of fights). The number of combats fought the previous day is not important (if only for the fact that the more you fight, the higher the chances of increasing a character’s Rating).
Therefore, these gains will not reward the time invested in the arenas and the number of combats fought directly, but rather the Rating (and as such, the efficiency) of characters.

These tokens will allow players to purchase two new emotes and unique resources by speaking with the NPC Glad Yator.



These resources will be used to craft two types of objects: trophies and perfect Soul Stones.

Soulstones presently purchased from NPCs will eventually no longer be sold, several months after the implementation of this system. Perfect soulstones will eventually become the only soulstones, as the randomised system seemed too frustrating and random.

The trophies are a new type of equipment, crafted by Shield Smiths. These items can be equipped in one of the six Dofus slots.
They have unique bonuses (each trophy provides only one bonus at any given time) and are split into 3 levels of power. To equip them, one must meet a Rating requirement (which is relatively accessible and not elitist) and minimum level.
It is not possible to equip the same trophy multiple times, but it is possible to use three trophies of the same type (minor, normal and major), which allows you to personalize and maximize certain stats on your character, but at a cost (since using a minor trophy takes up a slot that could be used by a Dofus or a different major trophy).

With the trophies using the Dofus slots, it will be possible to quickly change them thanks to the quick equipment system.

For the release, we have foreseen a total of 81 different trophies (27 trophies split into 3 levels of power) which will allow for a more specific personalization between characters as well as reinforcing certain roles and surprise your opponents while also being able to create new character builds.

We decided to use the Dofus slots in order to bring a real alternative to characters possessing few Dofus and to entice players who own some to have to make tactical choices and even sacrifice some Dofus for trophies that might be more interesting for the role they wish to play.

The less powerful trophies (AKA minor trophies) are easy to acquire (in most cases, just one Kolossium victory will allow a player to obtain the necessary resources to craft a few) but the more powerful trophies will require a lot of investment and rigor to be collected!

The daily reward system does not directly correlate to the number of PvP battles fought. For example, if we were to compare two hypothetical characters who have an equal Rating, the character who completes multiple Kolossium battles on the same day will earn the same amount of Kolossokens as the character who only completes one Kolossium battle.
This is a strategy we wish to test, which allows the system to reduce the cap between players that invest a lot of time in the game and those who cannot invest a lot of time.
It is possible that we might still add minimal Kolossoken rewards after each fight won to better value the accumulation of victories should this first system prove unworkable.

Daily rewards, that value the maximum Rating obtained D-1 rather than the number of fights won, will constitute the primary material rewards of the Kolossium system.

Economy

Kolossoken tokens will be linked to characters (they will be stored under the "Quest Items" category in the Inventory, just like other tokens). The special resources that they are redeemed for can be sold, traded, or stored.

We want the Kolossium system to permit players to progress and gain sufficient experience and revenue to equip themselves via PvP. However, we do not want for the Kolossium system to be completely autonomous, nor do we want to allow PvP enthusiasts to become sequestered away from the rest of their community without taking part directly or indirectly in the rest of the game.

The economy plays a very important role in DOFUS, and that is why we have chosen to reinforce its importance through the Kolossium system.
The new soul stones as well as the trophies will only be craftable with resources gained in the Kolossium. These items will require the assistance of several professions, as well as numerous PvM-only resources that will require help and participation from those who kill monsters.

If the Kolossium enthusiasts want to generate enough profits to equip themselves, they will have to actively participate in the economic life of their server.
Everything was taken into consideration so each type of player can identify himself: the more impatient players will be able to satisfy themselves by exchanging their Kolossokens for resources and selling them for quick kamas in the designated Kolossium Market, which can be found inside the Kolossium building.
Shield Smiths will have the choice to not participate in any Kolossium fight and still be able to buy Kolossium-exclusive resources from the Sellrooms, gather the remaining items, craft trophies and sell them.



The addition of these new craftable rewards should guarantee a significant boost to the economic activity and professions in the game. It is not a point we discuss often, but please be aware that we intend to continue down this road, and to increase the diversity of economic activities and reinforce the importance of professions.

Shields

The topic of shields in a PvP system is quite hard to manage. At the moment, one must possess a PvP rank that requires a certain number of earned honour points in order to equip a shield. At present, there is no viable system that is a true reflection of a character's power to earn honour points.
As such, we prefer to deactivate the use of shields in the Kolossium. They will simply be unusable.

The possibility of adding a double equipment requirement to shields by using the criteria of Rating will remain a possibility for us, but at a later date.
However, such change will not resolve the overall problem as the current shields only allow for a few restricted tactical choices because a small number of shields surpass all others.
We are also studying the possibilities of using similar restrictions to those implemented in Goultarminator (meaning that only certain shields will be allowed).
Perhaps it is best to wait for a complete review of shields before they can make their appearance in the Kolossium system.

Head Hunter Quest

The Head Hunter system will be removed when the Kolossium system becomes available on the game servers. The NPCs that allow players to trade strokens for rewards will remain present for several months in order to allow all players to collect their rewards.

The Head Hunter system has been highly criticized since its appearance; in the opinion of many players, the rewards they provided which were too high (statistically this wasn’t the case, a very small minority won "too often", but the majority of the participants' victories and rewards were balanced). It was also criticized for nurturing a bad environment created by personal conflicts between the aggressors and the aggressed. We never deemed this last issue an actual problem, as all players were in control of their own wings, and could activate or deactivate the system at will (with some drawbacks, to prevent abuse), allowing one to protect oneself from aggressions.

But it isn't possible to summarize such a complex problem in such a simple manner. It boils down to this: a significant amount of players did not like this system and its impact on the game. In part, it is this problem that we wish to address with the creation of the Kolossium: to offer a better alternative to the head hunter quest.

The hunting aspect of the HH quest became a problem of elitism; a character that was weak or controlled by a novice player could not take part in the system with any hope of success. The hunt was only viable for the strongest characters. The Kolossium resolves this problem for once and for all by proposing balanced fights for all characters.

The Head Hunters quest only offered 1 versus 1 confrontations, a system which by definition is very difficult to balance (and, in a game like DOFUS, where certain characters are intended to counter the strengths of others, would most probably never be balanced) while 3 versus 3 combats can be balanced and interesting. We hope that the quality of the Kolossium system will improve the “image” of PvP in DOFUS by improving the environment of PvP combat and reducing frustrations caused by unbalanced fights.

We see no valid reason to maintain the Head Hunter system while the Kolossium system offers a better alternative. We know there are numerous 1 versus 1 enthusiasts, but as designers we do not wish to promote this game system knowing that we will not be able to balance it properly and that a viable alternative (the Kolossium) will be available at the same time.

By eliminating the Head Hunter quest, we also hope that its supporters will migrate towards the Kolossium system and will come to increase its number of participants in order to improve its performance.

Ladder and Classification

The Rating of other characters will not be visible in game when the system is first released in the official game.
We have prepared a system for exporting character Ratings to run a temporary ladder on the official website, which will be able to (for example) rank players by level, Rating, number of victories, servers, etc.
This system will probably not be available upon the release of the arenas.

Multi accounts

We have not yet made a final decision regarding the participation of multi accounts in the PvP Arena system.
In the BETA version, it will be possible to log several accounts from the same computer to register several characters, either in the same team or separately.
The characters registered in separate teams will not be able to fight against each other.
The players controlling all characters of a PvP Arena team will obviously have the advantage (generally, it is easier for one person to control 3 characters than it is to coordinate 3 players), but they won't have a higher number of victories than the players who control only one character, since the Matchmaking system will automatically match them with opposing teams of the same level.
Players that control several accounts will therefore benefit from two advantages: they will multiply the rewards (by the number of characters they control) and will possess an above average quoted value (which will allow them to obtain more rewards per character).
However, they will not, in any way, disturb the rewards and number of victories of other players.

It is possible that, upon the release of the arena system (or a few months after its release), logging several accounts from the same computer, in the same Arena fight, will be forbidden if we notice that multi-accounting is creating an imbalance in the system.

Heroic Server

We have thought long and hard about whether the arena system should be activated on the Heroic Server. Allowing characters from this server to face each other in PVP without risk would be against the principles that govern this server.
Offering players a PvP arena where each player would have a one in two chance of losing their character and its equipment could considerably reduce the number of participants (understatement of the year).
And the fewer number of participants, the greater the risk that the system will be forced to offer unbalanced matches.
PvP arenas with a definite death seem feasible on the Heroic Server if the proposed fights are balanced, but we have no guarantee at the moment that there would be enough participants willing to risk their characters in this arena.
Therefore, we opted out of activating the Kolossium on the Heroic Server for the time being.
We will however continue studying the matter, as we find it very regrettable that the players of the Heroic server are deprived of this system and its associated rewards.

Inter-server fights

We have considered the possibility of allowing players from different server to face each other, in order to considerably increase the number of characters available for team composition.
Sadly, this remains a technical challenge out of our reach for the time being.
The game servers' architecture was conceived so that each server plays independently from each other.
Allowing inter-server fights would require the data of each character to be present on central servers and reconnection of client connections towards those servers for the fight.

This type of evolution in our technical systems would represent a considerable amount of work and investment which, for the time being, we cannot allow ourselves to pursue.
We have not completely ruled out the idea, but we do not foresee ourselves going down that development path for another few years.

Goultarminator

We have not reached any final decisions as yet, but it is likely that the Kolossium rankings will be used to generate the qualifications for the upcoming Goultarminator editions, which would allow registered characters to qualify according to their performance in PvP fights and - above all- would allow for longer qualifying phases

The Kolossium should offer all players interested in PvP an excellent way to learn and practice, which should improve the quality of play for the upcoming Goultarminator editions.

When will it be available?

The Kolossium system will be available on the test server in a few days. However it will be presented to you in a version that has not yet been through testing on a large scale (with several hundred players using it simultaneously). As such, it is likely that it will not be optimally functional. It is almost certain that players will encounter some lag at first or that the server will not able to find balanced teams and fights.
It is important to note that the system cannot offer balanced teams and fights when there are only a few players available or when the majority of characters that have yet to fight a match, and thus, have no combat ranking.

We think it will take several weeks to verify the functionality of the system on the test server, which is why we reckon the upcoming version update (end of September, if all goes according to plan) will not include the PvP arena system.



Questions and Answers

Why don't you use the ELO system to calculate character Rating?
The ELO system does not manage team fights, and it does not have a system to track uncertainty. The Glicko system (an improvement on the ELO system Click here) manages uncertainty, but does not manage the team fights. We therefore preferred to take some general concepts from these ranking systems, and adapt them to the constraints of DOFUS. Our system is much closer to a TrueSkill system (Click here) than to a Glicko system.

Will we eventually have access to other PvP modes besides 3 versus 3?
It’s unlikely. We developed our system in a generic way in order to allow combats of more than 3 versus 3, but offering other types of combats will inevitably reduce the quality of said combats by reducing the number of characters and teams available. Until we are confident that the number of participants is large enough that dividing them into different segments will not impact the quality of the matches, this will not possible.

Why create a building for the PvP arenas if the fights won't take place in said building and the players do not need to go there in order to fight?
This building will allow players to trade in their Kolossokens, craft trophies, and buy and sell the Kolossium rewards. We believe that this is the ideal place for the PvP enthusiasts to meet, get to know each other, or organize challenges and non official tournaments, etc.

What improvements are you planning for the PvP arena system in the upcoming months?
In the upcoming months we will mostly ensure that everything is working properly and add adjustments as needed. We do not have a plan to improve the arenas, as the system integrates everything we believe is necessary and sufficient for it to work: a system to facilitate the creation of teams and fights, an alternative mean of progression in game, as well as a ranking system and interesting rewards. However, we do plan on adding other rewards. If the system is deemed successful, we may consider implementing cyclic automated tournaments (tournament seasons, for example), but we haven’t made any concrete plans at this time as we want to ensure that the current basis of this system is functional and this stage may still require several months of work.

Will you post the Kolossium fights' statistics?
This isn’t planned for the time being (this is really not a priority for us, even though we understand that it may appeal to certain players and leaderboard fans). However, we will use the statistics related to the Kolossium fights to improve the fine-tuning of classes. These statistics will allow us to track the average rating of a class at a given level, which in return will allow us to compare the effectiveness of each class against one another in PvP fights of 3 versus 3.

Are there any upcoming class changes planned to improve PvP arena fights?
Part of the balancing that will be included in the next update have been added for exactly this reason. We do expect additional balancing to take place in upcoming updates. The results from Kolossium fights will provide us with very useful and relevant information for class balancing in group PvP fights, which should speed up and facilitate in the decision making for some changes.

Where does the alignment system stand now that the Kolossium has been introduced?
The alignment system's place in the PvP aspect of the game will be gradually reduced over the implementation of updates giving room to the Kolossium and guild combat (AKA, Perceptors). Over the years, we have come to believe that the alignment system will never be able to offer a viable and interesting team PvP (not for the lack of trying...). This does not mean that the alignments are going to disappear, but the large scale PvP system that should be accessible and reach a majority of players must be supported by more robust game systems (for example, the Kolossium and Guilds).

Why did you integrate rewards? Don't rewards have a tendency to attract players purely motivated by rewards and not by the joy of combat?
We believe that only a minority of players are willing to PvP without any rewards.
This system is aimed at the majority of the players and not a minority.
In general, rewards do not cause any problem when fights are fair and balanced. This is what our system is meant to offer.
Additionally, our objective is to offer players who enjoy PvP the option to progress in game even in very short periods of time. One of the groups that we would like to reach through this system, are those who play between 30 minutes to an hour per day. These players need to be rewarded for their progress.
We estimate that only a small minority of players have enough free time to participate in activities that do not allow for the progression of their character in game, on a regular basis.
While the progression of one's character isn't the only goal in Dofus and that there are numerous ways to have fun and enjoy playing the game, we consider the evolution of a character to be one of the main objectives of the game.

Can you tell us the exact formulas that calculate how Ratings are assigned?
These systems are too complex to explain within the scope of this Devblog. Rather than give you mathematical formulas and incomprehensible algorithms, we recommend Jeff Moser's excellent article that explains the overall workings behind the TrueSkill system, which is similar to the one we use: Click here

(Thanks to Lichen and Sylfaen for the original article, and to our volunteer translators for helping out!)
Categoria: Community - Game design