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Power Weapons

Power Weapons should compliment your map, never usurp your map. That is, they should add depth to your map by subtly, or possibly significantly, improving Game Play; not break your map by radically altering the Game Play. And the Power Weapons you choose to add should be based upon how you want to compliment the Game Play on your map.

Menotyou135 gave the best thesis on the role of Power Weapons I have read to date.[1] Here I include my perspective that follows his in a lot of ways.

Must Haves

Rockets – and Lasers on vehicular maps – offer stale mate breaking, dramatically imbalanced advantages as the fruits from near balanced battles to acquire them. The advantages these weapons offer players creates such strong incentives that they essentially compel movement on a map, even to the point of abandoning existing advantages. Additionally, Menotyou135 puts Power Ups into this category as well, though I don’t know that I entirely agree with such an assessment.

So serious are the advantages that Rockets offer that any advantage held by a power position may readily be abandoned for those of the Rockets. After all, the threat that the Rockets pose to the power position is generally significant enough that one should feel they have little choice in the matter.

Skill Weapons

The Sniper is an example of a skill weapon. The advantages it provides – and the incentives it offers – are proportional to the player’s skill. Unlike Rockets, Snipers do not force movement in all cases, but should in those cases where skilled players want to upset the balance of the Game Play in their team’s favor – and when the map provides significant opportunities in doing so.

Balance Shifters

Lesser Power Weapons, such as a Needler, don’t threaten losing control of power positions, don’t give game changing advantages to a team, and thus do not compel movement. But they can shift the balance of fire power, thus they encourage movement.

Niche Weapons

Niche Power Weapons, like the Shot Gun or Sword, give a player advantages only in special circumstances. Incentives to acquire these weapons are meaningful only when a player plans to force upon his adversaries into engagements for which these weapons have enormous advantage.

Application

The Rockets are a great example of a weapon that you want to forge onto your map as bait to draw the two teams into open conflict. The battle for Rockets will be near balanced, but the outcome will be to give the victor overwhelming advantage through very imbalanced fire power for the next engagement. This is an excellent weapon to use as bait, because both teams instinctively realize the stakes are high.

Snipers are an example of a weapon that you want to spawn somewhere that they are not very useful from, forcing the player to first move to where the Sniper spawns then to where they can best use the Sniper on the map. The Sniper in a sense may be one of the more camping style weapons, and rightly so (one of my pet peeves is that Halo Sniper is generally always played like SWAT and never like Sniper). This sort of spawn away from best use location strategy encourages movement on the map.

Typically you want one Sniper per team. Since Snipers are not advantageous to all skill levels like Rockets are, it doesn’t make sense to put one Sniper in the center as bait for open conflict, because one team may never bite.

When it comes to Lesser Power Weapons, I tend not to focus on ways of making players decide if they want the weapon or not. Rather, I tend to offer them as a way of offering additional fire power to a team so that they feel empowered more than anything else. In this respect I don’t really make the player think much about it other than, Hey, I see a Needler as I walk down this Path, I guess I will pick it up.

Summary

Power Weapons can be categorized into roles and you should forge onto your map the role that best compliments the Game Play that your map promotes.

Some Power Weapons are good for baiting teams into open conflict, while others are not.

Some Power Weapons are able to shift the engagement and prove more powerful in only very specific engagements (e.g., Shot Gun or Sword in very CQC).

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[1] Menotyou on The Meaning of Power Weapons


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