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Conquest Scoring Prototype for Battlefield 2021

Early warning, as this will be a 10 page presentation with videos and pictures about Conquest and how the scoring works, and what kind of system I propose to make everything much easier. This is a topic or discussion that requires a lot of work, and couple small paragraphs is not enough, and it would be a waste of yours or my time collectively.


And some of you might be asking: “what’s wrong with current Conquest? Or old one in that matter?”


A lot of things actually, and I will do my best to explain everything in this presentation I’ve been working on for couple weeks now (while the actual system I will be proposing was designed years ago during glory days of Battlefield CTE).


Included a small TL:DR at the bottom of this presentation, including FAQ section, so hopefully you won’t get lost in the wall of text. Like I mentioned above, if I won’t go in detail on why this is important, I would be wasting your time and this will be just lost in the internet wilderness.


Note: UI/HUD Design Photoshop files

If anyone needs the Photoshop files for the HUD design I created, you're more than welcome to download it and use it for your own projects. Forgive me if it's a bit messy inside.

http://www.mediafire.com/file/rdmdd12arzg5xue/Prototype_Conquest_Scoring_HUD.psd/file



Little bit about me:

I’m a former Battlefield forums moderator for “Battlefield CTE” (Battlefield 4 and Battlefield 1) and “Battlefield Incursions” (Battlefield 1), with 10+ years of various experience in Battlefield games that started back with Battlefield 2 and BF2142. Also part-time Battlefield trailer editor that gathered 5million views in total (“Stop bragging Lanky”. Let me have this moment, please?).


I took part in competitive and casual Battlefield events in multiple games, while meeting and discussing various topics with DICE developers (in person and real-life) regarding Battlefield games. My main focus of feedback and concept development was always been “quality of life” and “general overview of public perception of Battlefield games” (game modes, UI, map design and variety, competitive scene).


Introduction to Conquest and history:


The main gamemode of any Battlefield game is “Conquest”. Without “Conquest”, it’s not really Battlefield title, as there’s no other gamemode that could offer sandbox experience of all-out war, but still feel organised and strategic if done right. “Battlefield Bad Company” series might have a different view on what Battlefield should be, but it was designed as a spin-off for console market, which is a completely different topic entirely. Conquest is Battlefield, and Battlefield is Conquest, while other gamemodes are good extras for bring a well deserved distraction.

 

Note: Battlefield Legacy Conquest explained

Every match starts with X number of tickets available for each team (800, 1000, 1600, etc.). If any team controls majority of the flags on the map (2v1, 3v2, 4v3, 5v0, etc.), that team has the advantage with the feature called “ticket bleed”, which reduces the other team’s ticket count much quicker than killing individual players in the match (Kills don’t remove tickets for X team, only respawns do). The team that loses all the tickets (it reaches 0), loses the game.



 

Conquest is quite simple gamemode: you capture flags, control the majority, kill the enemy players until they have no respawn resources (tickets) left and win the game. That being said, Conquest might be simple gamemode in nature with quite simple rules, but it’s never been really good at presenting itself to be simple to the casual audience of players, which made them really confused on how the gamemode works or what they need to do as a player (mainly because of the confusing HUD elements and how it worked). It also been exposed to some “one sided meta gameplay”, that encourages players of flag running for points, instead of defending their objective and actually control the majority of map objectives to win matches.


Developers at DICE understood that, as there was clearly a problem that needed a solution. Battlefield 1 (2016) was the first attempt on finding the solution to those problems, but it was extremely unpopular with the playerbase. The main complaint was the majority control of the objectives never guaranteed you victory, even if you dominated the enemy team with no chance of a comeback. It also created an illusion that the matches are really close and teams are quite even, when in reality it was quite the opposite.

 

Note: Battlefield 1 Conquest problem of controlling the majority and not winning the game



 

Months later after the game’s release, developers were thinking and physically testing old Conquest rules to be introduced into Battlefield 1 after the complains from the players, but the idea was scrapped quickly after we learned that it ruins the balance on existing maps, makes the games much longer and it doesn’t represent the true value of the match (which team was better, etc.).

 

Note: Battlefield 1 Conquest rules explained

Every match starts with 0 zero points for each team. When a team captures an objective on the map, they get 1 point every 2-3 seconds. The more flags the team controls, the more individual points the team gets from each objective they control (Example: 2 objectives mean 2 points every 2-3 seconds). Majority doesn’t give the team any special features like “ticket bleed”, only more points for each individual objective the team controls. Kills also counts towards tickets. The team that reaches the maximum number of points (1000 was the default number, but depends on the map and server settings), wins the game.



 

In the end, it wasn’t the most popular change in Battlefield franchise, so DICE switched back to normal, familiar “Legacy Conquest” that players are familiar with in “Battlefield V” (2018), but with a twist, with hope that it might fix the problems that Conquest has been facing since its inception.


Battlefield V introduced a comeback mechanic, which gives the losing team bigger chances of making a comeback, which in theory, should make the games more exciting. But sadly it only proved to be really punishing to the winning team and gave a really huge advantage to the losing team as the match is about to be over. Majority of times, the losing team closed the gap to single digit tickets, while winning majority of those matches too, which was extremely unfair to the winning, better performing team in the match.

 

Note: Battlefield V Conquest comeback mechanic explained

Same as Legacy Conquest rules (see above), but the losing team could re-capture objectives 2x, if not 3x times quicker than the winning team (not counting the extra teammates on the objective), thus creating an illusion that the losing team was really trying hard for a comeback win, but in reality that team was given more shortcuts to catch up to the winning team. While the winning team was capturing enemy objectives 2x slower than the losing team, which provided us with “close games”.



 

Conclusion and the main problem from all Conquest iterations:


DICE tried to re-invent Conquest for couple reason – making Conquest easier to understand to casual new players, while trying to keep the foundations of what made Conquest great in the first place, even if it mean changing some of the mechanics of the gamemode, so it could make sense in their new proposed visual representation of the match. As mentioned above, it wasn’t the greatest success for various reasons.


  • Problem 1: Visual representation of the match outcome

All “Conquest” iterations shared the similar problem and it was detailing accurately the outcome of the match. It never showcased how balanced the teams were, nor it explained to the player how well/bad his team performed in the match, as we always used remaining “ticket” numbers as indicator on how well everything went, which was proven many times that it never delivers an accurate representation of the end-score.


With Battlefield from 2002 to 2014, the score might be 350-0 (8v8 competitive match, each team starting with 400 tickets), but in reality it was probably a really close game, but the losing team never had a chance to control the majority even for a second, but the situation was always 2v1 objective control, with 2 flags always switching possession. Match representation was extremely inaccurate.



Battlefield 1 from 2016 to 2018, DICE developers identified the problem and introduced points for each individual objective control and ditching resource based “ticket system”. On paper, it should’ve provided more accurate representation of the whole match and much easier to understand for new players that started playing Battlefield, but in return, it created an illusion that the losing team performs much better and punished the winning team (literally losing games) in certain cases just because the losing team managed to get more kills, even if the losing team barely control majority of the objectives on the map. Match representation was more accurate only from certain point of view, but extremely broken on a technical level.


  • Problem 2: Unfair advantages due to badly implemented mechanics

With Battlefield 1, this issue is really noticeable with small infantry focused maps (3-5 objective narrow layouts), where killing reduces more tickets for both teams than actually holding the majority of objectives on the map. The enemy team might’ve hold the majority of the flags for majority of the match, but as long as you’re keep killing more and defend your home flags without dying (which is quite easy while defending if you know all the good spots), you will win the match quite comfortably. That defeats the whole purpose of Conquest, as objectives don’t hold the biggest value in the match anymore.



Battlefield V on another hand might’ve moved back to “Legacy Conquest”, but the newly introduced catch-up mechanic gave unfair advantage to the losing team in the long run, thus giving them a bigger chance of winnin