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Real Time PvP vs AI Controlled PvP

Hi all,

Just here to pick peoples’ brains a bit. What, in your honest and professional opinion, is the reason why many Free to Play RPG Match 3’s opt out of undergoing Real Time/ Player Controlled PvP gameplay and instead stick with turn-based/AI controlled PvP?

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Non-server based constant monitoring. It is easier to hack something that is always on vs when it turns on once in awhile.


yeah I would say it has to do with preventing hacking of some type. People won’t try to cheat the system as much so to speak when they know it’s ai pvp.

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I think it is more about the core of the game making for a really frustrating real time pvp experience.
Just imagine the level of agony watching a control deck based opponent go through endless transformation turns, waiting for your turn to do something, just for the game to end before you could do anything at all.

I have had several real 1 turn(literally not giving the turn to the AI once) games and i could absolutely not take that kind of game if i were on the receiving end of it. And even with games without a lucky starting board, with the couple of 3-gem exchanges at the start until one side gets its key combo starter filled and keeps the turn till the end, i just could not take this without getting furious.
This would make for the least fun experience i could ever have in any game, and i would have dropped this game a long time ago if real time pvp was the standard way of gameplay.


Or it could possibly have to do with level of difficulty. If it were all real player pvp you couldn’t in fairness make it as hard or as easy as you wanted to. 2 real players could also keep trying to match up to each other to gain rewards. AI controlled pvp ensures fairness for rewards gained.

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I think it’s an ROI issue. Doing all the backend work and then paying for the additional hosting takes a lot of time and money while it probably doesn’t bring much additional revenue.

That said, I think it would be awesome to have the option. Seems especially well suited for Xbox and PS.

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Adding on to @Gouki’s eloquently put statement, I’d also like to make mention of Live PvP timing.

How long would you get to make move? (20 secs?) Would the timer reset with every 4+ match and spell cast? (+5 secs, maybe?) If someone was using a control deck and stalled the timer to under 5 seconds before every cast, could you still consider that “fun”? (No.)

It’s not just board manipulation as a concern, time manipulation would need to be handled expertly just to prevent abuse. Live PvP is honestly just not a good idea…


It’s pretty standard to have a timer. Hearthstone handles live PvP very well. Just copy+paste,

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Except Heartstone doesn’t stick you and the opponent with the same hand/deck and take turns picking which cards to use so the opponent can’t.

Gems of War has the win condition (your troops) and the battlefield (the board). You don’t share the win condition, but the board is the same, and that makes timing far more complicated.


You have 30 seconds. If you make a match this resets. If not, you pass. You may also end your turn at any time prior.

Doesn’t seem that complicated to me. Maybe it’s 45 or 60 seconds, but that’s something you could home in on based on average move times, time to patience lost, etc.

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Would not work. Hearth stone is not a match 3 game for 2 players. Also Hearthstone has a degrading timer meaning it counts down faster and faster until the opponent in question is kicked from the match. Hearth stone you need to balance mana and monsters, this game is board control, mana and monsters. This is not chess were by you can walk away from the game and then come back to your opponent waiting on you. This game is made for quick plays as the complaints of it being to slow led us to this version in time. Live pvp would only slow it down and you can not control for dc players either.


The trade off would be slower matches for a more competitive game. It could also give different resources to help make it a viable farming path.

I’m also sure many people would rather play against live opponents than the AI even for diminished rewards.

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I am not sure that would be correct. Live pvp is not always that great. I dislike it and my feelings are pretty blatant to this however if it was couch co op then ok the live battle would be great, but over the internet would be bad. There are too many variables to look out for.


Let me make this really easy to understand why a live PvP mode would be a bad idea.

Treant***, Alchemist***, Valkyrie***, Banshee***
Gorgon***, Giant Spider***, Green Seer***, Boar Rider***

Each player is timer stalling between each and every cast. Who wins?
Answer: Nobody.


That is one way to put it. Also seeing as this game was built on a single player engine, they would have to start from scratch to make a new engine that works on 2 player online play. As it stands this game uses what i can only imagine is a small update service that checks players through a preloaded list and formula to determine who you face in pvp.

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According to @Bobomb the latter team would win in one long continuous turn :grin:

As I said, if you’re the type of person that really likes live PvP and leaderboards based on this then the time commitment is irrelevant. If I’m super committed to live PvP and battling someone for #1 I don’t care if the match takes a minute or an hour.

I’m sure it would increase the game length by at least double what it is currently, but I don’t think match length is relevant. I’m sure it would discourage some people, but so does any live PvP system.

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We actually implemented live PvP in Puzzle Quest, Galactrix, & Puzzle Quest 2…

The main design issue (one of turn timing) was an issue in those games too, but we solved it with a short-ish turn-timer (it could be adjusted from 4 sec to 24sec in PQ1 for example). We also stamped out endless looping by putting cooldown timers on individual spells. So the design issues are all addressable, I believe.

The main issue with Gems of War is the server infrastructure. Due to the rather flaky nature of many mobile connections & the need to stop blatant hacking, we’d need to move a lot of the game-state simulation from the clients to the server. That’s quite a hefty task, not just in the amount of server coding required, but in the amount of rewriting of the client-server interaction.

All that being said, we’d LOVE to do it one day - it would certainly provide a challenge - but we won’t be in a place to start this in the next 6 months, I don’t believe.


@Sirrian Let’s say you move forward with actually putting Live PVP into production next year, would Live PVP be the only PVP option in the whole game?


I hope not! That was never my hope. I just think it would be cool if there were both.