I had this idea while playing the Black Pits. The concept is great, a party that fights progressive stages of opponents inside an arena. But... that's limited. There are only a few maps with a few different fights, all in the form of "let's bring everybody inside a small arena like gladiators and prawl". And the enemies are weak.
Then I started to think to all those games that became great also thanks to their great multiplayer features, from every genre. Why not thinking of a game that offers the possibility to fight a multiplayer party vs party inside several different dungeons and maps, with all the kits and weapons from Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale? My up-to-6 party against the one of a friend or a random player and let the best man win.
That would bring action, strategy and tactics up to eleven.
I call this "Sword Coast Tactics" in reference to Sword Coast Stratagems.
Classical multiplayer modes can be brought in:
- Arena would be just like the Black Pits, with players simply fighting right into the frame;
- Dungeon Deathmatch would have players struggle inside a dungeon with tunnels and rooms, allowing more planning, more traps and more tactical skills, the player with most kills at the end of the round (time expires or every enemy dies) gains a point, the player with most poins wins the match;
- Open Field Deathmatch would see players battle in a completely wide open field;
- Capture the Flag would require players to capture an item in the enemy starting room and bring that back;
- King of the Hill would require players to fight for the control of a specific room;
- Siege is similar to KotH but one of the player is a defender and the other is an attacker;
- Rescue would have players compete for the retrieval of NPCs randomly scattered around the map (talking to them is equal to saving them, thus scoring points, killing them would be bad);
- Assassination/Kidnap would have a party that protects and escorts a NPC to a waypoint and the opposite party that tries to kill or kidnap him;
Maps would be designed for those specific game modes, but perhaps some maps from BG and IWD could be used as well, although they might be unbalanced.
Other features could be:
- Respawn allowed or not, so if your characters die during any round they can remain dead until the next round or could come back from a spawning room;
- Allow pregenerated characters, force to deploy only pregenerated characters, force to deploy characters from the Baldur's Gate saga only;
- Charnames allowed or not, if the third option from the point above is selected;
- Coop mode inside one party, coop mode between different parties in a team, free for all etc. with a chosen number of characters for each player;
- Spawn random hostile critters.
Every player could fight battles including characters from the Baldur's Gate saga, depending on game mode, and any can be fielded at the same time. Yes it could be possible that both players choose the same character, so you could have two Nalias or two Edwins facing each other (with different colours of course). This allows players to develop tactics, strategies and counters depending on the character. If I know that my adversary deploys mages, I could prefer to bring in an inquisitor. If I know that my adversary deploys Hexxat, I could run for an undead hunter, if pgc are allowed.
If this knowledge is not desired, selected characters could be random/anonymous to the opponent until in game.
By winning battles, players gain money and experience, so that characters could be levelled up or new items bought. Beginners would start with low level characters and non magical equipment, veterans could field level 20 characters with Carsomyr and Wish Spell. Games like Starcraft II have matchmaking algorithms that would prevent high-level players to fight against beginners in an unbalanced game, and field a level 40 paladin with carsomyr against a level 1 fighter with a crappy hatchet. Autobalance could force the high-level player to deploy in game only characters and items up to the level of the beginner, so your paladin would be "reset" to level X for that round.
Game mode could be set to play the game within a specific level range, so even if two friends have level 40 characters, they can still fight a friendly level 1 game.
Many massive multiplayer games (i.e. Heroes of the Storm or War Thunder) also have tiers of selectable characters/units, that require ingame money and experience as well in order to be locked, and this is a very common feature. I.E. you don't start War Thunder with a Tiger II but with a crappy Panzer I, yet if you win battles, you gain coins and research so that you can unlock the Tiger II heavy tank and fight against other experienced players that also field heavies.
So SCT could have this possibility: a beginner starts with Xzar, Montaron and Imoen as low level characters, and later "unlock" a level 5 Yeslick, BG2 level 8 mage/thief Imoen and Yoshimo as he/she battles and wins gold coins and Xp. Many combinations and possibilities are possible.
Special characters like Sarevok or Irenicus could be really hard to unlock, or available under a pay-to-unlock feature. In fact another possibility is to make the whole game free, except for some features (like new customized skins, particular powerful items or particular rare characters) that would require real life money, this is also very common in many games, but I'm not an expert in marketing strategy and I don't know if this could be better or worse for a game like this.
What do you think of this concept proposal?