LawBreakers is back for another alpha test this weekend, and with it comes a new patch – and a new game mode. Aside from a bevy of balance changes, this latest alpha test focuses on Turf War, LawBreakers’ take on the classic domination game mode.
Turf War features three zones that lock once captured and cannot be taken by the other team until the next round. Once all three zones are claimed, a thirty second intermission commences, after which the zones unlock to be captured once again. The first team to 13 wins.
So it’s definitely inspired by domination, but it plays out a bit differently. There’s a great sense of back-and-forth that happens, and comebacks aren’t uncommon. It’s not perfect, though – it is in alpha, after all. The rounds themselves tend to go by really quickly, and you’ll end up spending most of your time in intermission. That’s probably thanks to a combination of the zones capping too fast with one person and people getting a feel for the game mode for the first time. There’s definitely some improvements to be had, though.
Intermission should be shorter, and the capture phase should be longer. That’s pretty easy to accomplish by tweaking the values. One person capturing a zone should probably take a bit longer, then the opposing team has more time to react, and maybe even add an indicator to the UI with how many people are currently on a point. And it also takes a bit too long at the moment to get back into the fray once you die, so maybe a second or two could be shaved off of the respawn timers.
Those are some slight changes that might help to make the zone capturing phase of Turf War actually play out like a war and not a brief skirmish, but that wouldn’t solve the issue of intermission occurring too often for too long. The thirty second timer could simply be shortened, but you’d still be forced to endure upwards of eight intermissions. I think something more might be required here.
At most, there should be a handful of intermissions, but that would require a pretty hefty revamp to how the phases work, and I don’t think that’s necessary such a bad idea. Rather than each zone remaining locked indefinitely, they could reset independently after a set amount of time. Capture a zone, and then after twenty or thirty seconds it’ll unlock to be taken again. Here a longer timer makes perfect sense as to nudge players toward other zones instead of sticking around to recapture a locked one. The only issue might occur when all three points are captured too quickly, but hopefully the aforementioned suggestions would help to compensate for that, and it might be fun to have all players fight over one zone briefly.
Intermission would occur after six zones (or perhaps more) had been captured, be the score 6-0, 3-3, or 5-1. After that point, both teams would be set back to their spawns (and maybe swapping their sides in the process, but since both of the maps are fairly symmetrical, that might not be necessary). Intermission would happen again after another set of six zones were capped. That would cut the amount of intermissions down at least in half, and six is a fairly modest amount of zones to capture; eight might make more sense.
Unlike domination, Turf War can also pretty frequently end in a 12-12 tie. Overtime breaks the tie by adding an extra round. The first team to cap two zones wins. This works perfectly fine, but it lacks a certain epicness that you’d expect from overtime. I’d like to see it force both teams to fight over a single point. That might cause never-ending respawns, so prevent that too. Make it sudden death and give each player one life to live, and if somehow everyone dies and nobody is able to take the point, then maybe have them respawn and do it again. Or call it a draw. I imagine draws would be fairly rare.
On top of Turf War, the patch tweaked the balance on a few characters. Vanguard had her Pulsar (alternate fire) attack increased in fuel cost, from 50% to 60%. Pulsar is a really powerful tool for the Vanguard, so it makes sense to no longer be able to use it twice in really fast succession. Next up, the Assassin had her melee tracking completely removed. Previously, she’d lock onto a target automatically to make them easier to hit. Now anyone playing the Assassin has to track on their own. That’ll help keep really good Assassins from ravaging really bad players. The Titan also had their Neutron Mine nerfed a bit.
The balance changes are nice, and overall, I like what I played in Turf War, more than Overcharge in fact, but the mode is in need of a bit more fine-tuning. Overtime is probably fine how it is, but I’d like to see Boss Key experiment with something a bit more cutthroat, and intermission should definitely not where most of the players spend their time, but I think there’s a good chance that Turf War will probably be where I spend most of my time when playing LawBreakers.