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 winning the game than the team that was winning the whole match. Double the speed of objective capture radius not only disrupts the whole endgame of the match to 50/50 chance of both teams (regardless how well/bad both teams performed), it also defeats the whole purpose of the first 15 minutes of the game, as it doesn’t mean much how well you performed, as you will have 50/50 of losing or winning the game anyway. That means you’re wasting 15 minutes of your gaming time under an illusion that you’re doing something valuable for your team in the long-run, while you might think that both teams are balanced, which they are not. Giving shortcuts to the losing team not only punishes the winning team for no reason, it devalues the hard work you might’ve put in as a player in a team-based multiplayer game.


“Legacy Conquest” might not have a big mechanic problem that feels unfair, but it doesn’t encourage the players to defend their majority, promoting more defensive gameplay for players that possibly can’t keep running around the whole map and do anything meaningful. Flag running for points is the “go to meta” when it comes to playing Battlefield, and sometimes there’s no clear frontlines on the map and everything feels random from a gameplay point of view, which is a big factor on why casual new players lose track or don’t understand how Conquest works.



Solution: New Conquest scoring system that doesn’t ruin the core mechanics of Conquest


Note: Working prototype in Battlefield 4


This is of course a prototype, concept for something that I would love to take further for improvement later in the future. I wanted to create a new scoring system that is easy to understand for the new players and audience alike (E-sports if Conquest ever will be considered for competitive Battlefield), while not re-designing or changing the core elements of “Legacy Conquest”. Easy to understand, while it works it always been – majority control of objectives wins you games, while killing enemies and reviving teammates gives you a small edge over the enemy team in making sure you win the game.


I created a mathematical scoring system (including practical UI in the video above) that rewards points to both teams accordingly depending on their performance in the match. It’s designed to accurately reflect the performance of each team, and how well they were performing at the start, middle and end of the match, while keeping the “ticket bleed” feature active and everything else Battlefield players are familiar with in “Conquest”.




How does it work?

The main purpose of the system is to track the team’s performance accordingly at each stage of the match. It’s not time based like “Battlefield 1”, and it doesn’t have mechanics that would artificially push the match into specific direction like “Battlefield V” (The catch-up mechanic). My proposed system is tracking tickets and award points to team at specific time when a certain threshold is reached, thus tracking match progress more carefully and accurately.


“Legacy Conquest” ticket system is staying and works the same way as it used to before, with majority of objectives and respawns draining any team’s tickets. The team that loses all tickets and reaches zero, match is over and the other team with remaining tickets win the game.


The new feature that is being added to the HUD of your game (without adding more UI and HUD clutter on your screen), is the master number next to the ticket number. That master number are the points your team gets as the match progresses. The match ends when any of the team’s has no more tickets left in their resource, but that master number always going up, slowly or quickly, depending how well the team was performing.


Real life example: it performs like a football/soccer or basketball scoreboard. The score always goes up. It doesn’t determine the winner by itself, because the score is just a different translation of the ticket number. Instead of reading as 237 tickets, the master number for example will showcase number 15 for example, thus making it easier to understand and analyse match progress to the players and audience alike.


Rules:


  • Both team start with X number of tickets as always (1600, 1000, 750, 500, etc.) and 0 with their master numbers

  • Controlling majority of objectives gives the winning team the ticket bleed advantage. Every respawn costs a ticket. Killing a player doesn't take a ticket away from the opposite team.

Note: Even though the system is scalable and can be used for any number of tickets, we will go with 1000 for this particular example.


Note 2: It doesn’t matter if the tickets go up (Battlefield 1) or down (Battlefield V, Battlefield 4, Battlefield 3, etc.), as we just need the 100 ticket mark (100 mark because we’re using 1000 tickets as an example. The ticket “mark” is scaled accordingly to the number of tickets at the start of the match)


  • Every time the LOSING team loses 100 tickets, the master number is being updated. Because we’re using 1000 ticket example, every time the LOSING team reaches 900, 800, 700, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 and 0 (end round score update at 0), the master number is being updated to both teams. The master number only updates when the LOSING team reaches that ticket threshold, regardless how many WINNING team has. LOSING team can become the WINNING team, and system always follows the LOSING team.

  • Every time the LOSING team loses 100 tickets, the master number is being updated according to these calculations:

Automatic:

+1 point towards the Winning team (The team that has more tickets left)


Situational:

+2 points towards the team that control the MAJORITY OF OBJECTIVES when 100 ticket threshold is reached, regardless who is winning the match. If no majority is being controlled at that point (Neutral objectives that being captured in that moment don’t count), no points are given.


+1 point towards the team that doesn’t have the majority, but if they control at least ONE OBJECTIVE when 100 ticket threshold is reached by the LOSING team




  • Whichever team loses all tickets to zero, that team loses the game (Legacy Conquest rules). Master number is being updated as the match ends for the last time (following the same rules as reaching 100 ticket threshold) and it showcases the final score of both teams.


What does this new scoring system fixes?

  • Visual representation: The score is being displayed more accurately on every specific part of the match, regardless of ticket count

  • Doesn’t compromise the “Legacy Conquest” rules of holding the majority of objectives for ticket bleed to start, while it getting kills is still viable as an extra good bonus and respawns cost a ticket.

  • Gamemode is not changed fundamentally, but it flips the idea around that Conquest is a bit more “tactical” than it seems like, as tickets became like a resource to increase and “feed” your teams score and win the game. Previously, it felt like a race who can get to the finish line first, but now it feels like a proper battle that requires resources to stay alive the longest.

  • For E-sports crowd, audience can more easily understand what is happening on their screens and it’s more easily digestible information for anyone that is not that into Battlefield that much. As the gamemode information is more simple now, we have bigger chance of attracting more players into the franchise that might’ve been on the fence.


Are there any drawbacks or problems for this new system?


On the surface, this is a big improvement overall to the whole Conquest gamemode without jeopardising the fundamentals that make Conquest great, but I understand it’s not perfect and might need some adjustments after more QA or will require features that are directly linked to gameplay/player control.

  • The “run and cap” gameplay meta is still gonna be present, as players still be running around the map capturing as many flags as possible for points. This requires a lot more than encouragement with HUD and new scoring system. We need more reasons why players should stay and defend their already captured objectives to keep the majority, which is a separate conversation all-together that requires a lot of time and work.

  • Players might get confused by having 4 separate numbers being displayed on their screens (Both teams tickets and master numbers), including why the main “master numbers” are still being at zero while the match is already been going for more than 3 minutes. Might need a visual redesign to make it less confusing

  • One of the main concerns for me is showcasing who has the majority of objectives. In the video above, showcasing how the scoring works with the new HUD using Battlefield 4, I included a "flag logo" in the middle of the screen, while it changes color to blue or red, indicating which team has the majority. Originally it was a spinning circle that featured in "Battlefield 1 Incursions", but it was too much work to make it work for this presentation and I wasn't sure it looked good visually and created extra HUD clutter. I haven't included that in Battlefield V version of the HUD, because I had no idea where I could place it, as some elements probably would've been removed.

  • Because of the nature of this system, I don’t know yet how flexible the HUD on the screen can be for the player. Players need choice and I don’t know if “gamemode” HUD can be somehow translated of being just above the minimap (Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4), or it always has to stay top of the screen.

  • Team “stomping” or “steamrolls” will happen still, but it’s up to Level Designers and Game Designers to minimise that to the minimal (ignoring matchmaking problems that might happen)


Frequently asked questions (FAQ):



Why you used Battlefield 4 for this presentation?

Battlefield 4 provides all the HUD customisation elements I needed for this project to work. Battlefield V has really limited options and it is way too much work to redo the HUD from scratch. I can only provide visual concepts in pictures though.


Is the “new” HUD the main selling point?

No, this is just a concept HUD I created for Battlefield 4 specifically following the game’s “theme”, just to show that the new scoring system can work in practice. I would’ve done it in Battlefield V with a different HUD if I had more HUD customisation options.


Can this new scoring system work in Battlefield V?

Yes, but it’s up to DICE to implement it if they have the resources or time to do it


Can this work in Domination and other similar gamemodes where objective control is important?

In Domination, yes. In theory, it can work in other gamemodes. I solely focused on Conquest for now.


How does it scale on Conquest Small or anything that has different number of tickets?

This system is designed to be scalable with different number of tickets, you just need to select the “points” on when the score is being updated. It all depends how accurate/detailed you want it to be.


Some examples:

1600 tickets – 200, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1400, 1600

750 tickets – 75, 150, 225, 300, 375, 450, 525, 600, 675, 750

625 tickets - 125, 250, 375, 500, 625

300 tickets – 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300

100 tickets – 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100


If it works like normal regular Conquest, doesn’t it make this some extra scoring that nobody needs?

No, as this is designed to compliment and make Conquest better without ruining the core features that players enjoy most about Battlefield. It’s visually more pleasing and more easily understandable for casual players too.


Judging by the numbers, it’s possible to be a draw at end of the round. Is that correct?

In quite freakish situations like “Legacy Conquest”, yes, it can be a draw in this new system too. But the master numbers/the end round score might be a draw, but tickets determine the winner. Just like “Legacy Conquest”, if both teams have no tickets left at the same time, it’s a draw.


Why the losing team can get 2 points as the winning team, if they just control majority of the flags just for couple moments that happened during the “100, 200, 300, 400, etc.”? It doesn’t seem fair.

Is it unfair? If the losing team controlled majority of objectives at one point, the score should reflect that. The score doesn’t determine the winner, it only showcases how balanced the match was or how good the teams were. The score only updates when the LOSING team hits the “100, 200, 300, etc.” marks, meaning: the WINNING team is not being punished, it only shows that the LOSING team is fighting back.

Also as mentioned above, the scoring can be scaled to be more accurate and detailed, depending on player feedback.


You mentioned E-sports? What’s that all about?

Nothing to do with E-sports (separate topic all-together. Yes, I know the memes about competitive Battlefield. Experienced it myself first hand), but it would be a great stepping stone for the people that are interested and would make match reading much better with more clarity, whether you’re a player, commentator or audience member.


What’s wrong with old Conquest that we got used to prior BF1 and beyond?

“Legacy Conquest” is good on paper, but more than a decade later after Battlefield 1942, you can see the cracks in the gamemode that haven’t aged well in the modern times. It needs a bit of love and adapt it to modern gaming that makes sense in everyone eyes. Like I mentioned, it’s a good system, hence why I don’t want to change the fundamentals with my new proposed scoring prototype.


Have you tested this only in one match? We need more data.

Multiple matches from various games I found online (equal and unequal flag distribution, random ticket numbers)

 

Match 1 (BFV - 6 flags, Arras): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy_8ETEZbuw


500 tickets (BF1 = 125 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 Alies Winning

375 tickets (BF1 = 250 points) | Alies (2 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | Alies Majority + 1 Alies Winning

250 tickets (BF1 = 375 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 Alies Winning

125 tickets (BF1 = 500 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 Alies Winning

000 tickets (BF1 = 625 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | None/draw


End Result: 169-0 (In BF1, it would be 625-456)

Number of Flag Ticks: Alies (10 ticks) vs Axis (5 ticks)

 

Match 2 (BF4 - 5 Flags, Flood Zone): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAouUTfowRk


700 tickets (BF1 = 100 points) | US (2 ticks) | CN (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

600 tickets (BF1 = 200 points) | US (1 tick) | CN (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 CN Winning

500 tickets (BF1 = 300 points) | US (2 ticks) | CN (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 CN Winning

400 tickets (BF1 = 400 points) | US (1 tick) | CN (2 ticks) | CN Majority + 1 CN Winning

300 tickets (BF1 = 500 points) | US (2 ticks) | CN (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 CN Winning

200 tickets (BF1 = 600 points) | US (2 ticks) | CN (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 CN Winning

100 tickets (BF1 – 700 points) | US (1 tick) | CN (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 CN Winning

000 tickets (BF1 – 800 points) | US (1 tick) | CN (2 ticks) | CN Majority


End Result: 0-126 (In BF1, it would be 674-800)

Number of Flag Ticks: US (13 ticks) vs CN (16 ticks)

 

Match 3 (BFV - 7 Flags, Panzerstorm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXq33hKhIn0


440 tickets (BF1 = 110 points) | Alies (2 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | Alies Majority + 1 Alies Winning

330 tickets (BF1 = 220 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (2 tick) | Axis Majority + 1 Alies Winning

220 tickets (BF1 = 330 points) | Alies (2 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | Alies Majority + 1 Alies Winning

110 tickets (BF1 = 440 points) | Alies (1 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 Alies Winning

000 tickets (BF1 = 550 points) | Alies (2 ticks) | Axis (1 tick) | Alies Majority


End Result: 199-0 (In BF1, it would be 550-351)

Number of Flag Ticks: Alies (12 ticks) vs Axis (6 ticks)

 

Match 4 (BF4 - 5 Flags, Paracel Storm): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsK_oWEH27A


700 tickets (BF1 = 100 points) | CN (0 ticks) | US (2 ticks) | US Majority + draw

600 tickets (BF1 = 200 points) | CN (0 ticks) | US (2 ticks)| US Majority + 1 US Winning

500 tickets (BF1 = 300 points) | CN (1 tick) | US (2 ticks) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

400 tickets (BF1 = 400 points) | CN (1 tick) | US (2 ticks) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

300 tickets (BF1 = 500 points) | CN (1 tick) | US (2 ticks) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

200 tickets (BF1 = 600 points) | CN (2 ticks) | US (1 tick) | CN Majority + 1 US Winning

100 tickets (BF1 = 700 points) | CN (1 tick) | US (2 ticks) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

000 tickets (BF1 = 800 points) | CN (1 tick) | US (1 tick) | None/draw


End Result: 0-262 (In BF1, it would be 538-800)

Number of Flag Ticks: CN (7 ticks) vs US (20 ticks)

 

Match 5 (BF4 - 6 Flags, Zavod 311): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRc1e3SNrg


700 tickets (BF1 = 100 points) | US (1 tick) | RU (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 RU Winning

600 tickets (BF1 = 200 points) | US (2 ticks) | RU (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

500 tickets (BF1 = 300 points) | US (2 ticks) | RU (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

400 tickets (BF1 = 400 points) | US (1 tick) | RU (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 US Winning

300 tickets (BF1 = 500 points) | US (2 ticks) | RU (1 tick) | US Majority + 1 US Winning

200 tickets (BF1 = 600 points) | US (1 tick) | RU (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 US Winning

100 tickets (BF1 = 700 points) | US (1 tick) | RU (1 tick) | None/draw + 1 US Winning

000 tickets (BF1 = 800 points) | US (2 ticks) | RU (1 tick) | US Majority


End Result: 141-0 (In BF1, it would be 800-659)

Number of Flag Ticks: US (18 ticks) vs RU (9 ticks)

 

Do you have a visual and physical evidence on how it supposed to work?