A few months ago I had a chat conversation with a few dozen of the players in our clan regarding clan wars. Most of these players were remnants from The Wicked Elite who have a longstanding history with Beachhead Studio and clan wars / lone wolf operations. It is my personal opinion that the pubstomping and clan wars community is dying, and I asked our members what they thought were the biggest problems and subsequent solutions to “fixing” clan wars. Today I saw several clans voicing their opinion about clan wars and I decided to take all of the feedback I’ve received from our 100+ members in the clan and consolidate it into this post. This is what we feel the problems and possible solutions are for clan wars:
Problem: The current Diamond Division points meta game punishes clans who have difficult wars and rewards clans who have easy wars. The only way to max DD points each war is to hold all 8 game nodes at the end of each day in the two largest size buckets, requiring you to have little to no competition to pull off.
Possible Solution #1: Adjust the point distribution so that clans receive a bonus for playing in active (competitive) clan wars. How “active” a clan war is can be determined by the total number of wins that all participating clans obtain during their war compared to the other wars within a particular size bucket. For example our clan got approximately 2050 wins in the last clan war, however none of the other clans really participated. I’m guessing the most active clan next to us had maybe 250-350 wins total. Compare our war to a really active war in the same size bucket where 2-3 clans got 1500+ wins and the total wins for their war would be much higher. Clans who participated in the very competitive active war should get additional bonus points on top of the regular ones. If a 2nd place clan in a competitive war got approximately the same (or slightly less) diamond points than a 1st place clan in an empty war I feel like things would be on the right track.
Possible Solution #2: Remove the DD point bonuses which are only obtainable in a non-competitive clan war. For example, there is no way to hold all 8 nodes at the end of a round during a competitive clan war. Instead maybe cap the number of bonus points per node held per round to 4. Also, remove the bonus CPs earned in a clan war for top 1%/5% of clans as that is another bonus objective which is pretty dependent on having a less competitive war.
Problem: There are not many active clans within the biggest size buckets of clan wars, which further perpetuates the first problem in that the biggest clans are not only receiving bonus points for having more members than other clans but also getting easier wars to max out their DD points.
Possible Solution #1: Reduce the number of size buckets drastically. It’s actually quite ridiculous how many size buckets and regions there are. Not only were XBL & PSN separated, initially there were 3 time zones, and 20+ bucket sizes per timezone (I think it’s been lowered now) making over 120 different “divisions” for players to play in for clan wars. We feel like merging XBL & PSN back together, reducing the number of bucket sizes down to 3 or 4 (perhaps something like 3-12 players, 13-30 players, 31-48 players which equates to 1-2 squads, 3-5 squads, 6-8 squads) would create a much more active and competitive landscape.
Possible Solution #2: Reduce the number of war days to 1 and timezones to 2. When the debate between Friday/Saturday or Saturday/Sunday wars happened, the issue always seems to be with Friday or Sunday. Friday wars are an issue for players with other commitments that day which can’t get home in time to participate in clan wars and Sundays are an issue for players with other commitments on Monday mornings who can’t stay up late participating in clan wars. I think the appropriate solution or compromise would be to remove Fridays & Sundays altogether and instead have a one day 4, 6 or 8 hour war on Saturday with the game modes resetting at the 2, 3 or 4 hour mark. This would eliminate the need for 3 time zones as I assume the only reason there are Pacific/Eastern time zones is to compensate for players with commitments on Friday afternoon/evening & Monday morning. You could simply have 2 time zones or war times, one “early” war for European players, and one “later” war for American players. Saturday is traditionally the most open day for most players and if they can commit 4 hours to play on Saturday they can most likely commit 6-8 hours on Saturday. My suggestion would be 9AM-3PM Pacific (12PM-6PM Eastern & 4PM-10PM GMT) for the early war and 3PM-9PM Pacific (6PM-12AM Eastern & 10PM-4AM GMT) for the later war. Even if wars were shortened to 4 hours with a node reset at the 2 hour mark I still think that the end result for most wars would be the same.
Side Note: If you combine the above two solutions into 1, you end up with 6-8 total divisions to compete within. 2 timezones with 3-4 bucket sizes each. You would literally triple the active clans within some of these bucket sizes and ensure that most clan wars will have at least 2-3 active clans in them.
Possible Solution #3: Demote clans to Platinum which do not capture any nodes during a clan war. I thought that this was already proposed by BHS, that they would remove clans who didn’t score any CP for a given clan war, however I don’t think they took into consideration CP earned for clan size. We had 3 clans in Diamond Division and we stopped playing on one as we didn’t have enough players to fill 3 active rosters yet this last war we had 2 of our 3 clans play against each other, and the 3rd clan is just an abandoned ghost clan. That clan should have been demoted to Platinum for not scoring any CP during the last couple of clan wars but I think the bonus CP clans are earning for their size is keeping inactive clans in active clan wars. Instead, the rule should be changed to “If your clan doesn’t capture any node during a clan war then you get demoted to Platinum”. This way large clans that don’t play will still get demoted.
Problem: There doesn’t appear to be much growth within the clan wars community. This is mostly conjecture but it feels like the clan wars community is dwindling. Traditionally, the clan wars community has coincided pretty closely with the pubstomping community and so maybe the decline in the pubstomping community has created this dwindling feeling within clan wars community. I think that Felix said that overall clan numbers are up whereas the number of large clans is dwindling so maybe it’s just our portion of the clan wars community that is dwindling but it certainly feels like participation numbers are down.
Possible Solution #1: Vastly increase the incentives for participating in clan wars. Simply put, COD developers have never been good at rewarding their players. Beachhead Studio is not very good at it either. While this is probably a conversation that needs to be had in conjunction with Sledgehammer Games or the next COD developer, the fact of the matter is that participating in clan wars has never felt very rewarding. Perhaps it is the fact that clan wars have their roots based in COD Elite and the Lone Wolf Operations of old where players would compete for Jeeps, Vacations, Ipads, Cameras, Apparel and more. But I think it also has to do with the lack of variety in clan rewards. One of the most common rewards when it comes to clan wars and clan raids is CLAN XP. WHY?!?!? The majority of active clans within the community are already max level. If you want clan XP to be an actual reward then give us an option to prestige our clans and unlock additional rewards each prestige. Allow us to unlock additional colors for our clan tags. Allow us to unlock an Elite weapon for the entire clan when we prestige. Allow the top ranked clan to wear a championship belt on their character (YoYo’s idea). Here are some ways you could incentivize players and clans for participating in clan wars and clan raids:
- The ability to prestige clans, unlocking additional clan tag colors, emblems, player cards, etc
- A way to earn advanced supply drops for the whole clan
- Time-expiring elite weapons (similar to time-expiring gear) for the whole clan to tryout
- Champion gear which is valid until the next clan war. Think of every clan war as a cycle. If your Diamond Division clan won your last clan war then you would be able to equip a championship belt, championship crown, championship gloves, championship weapon camos, etc. until the next clan war occurs.
- Ultimate Raider gear for the top performing clan raids clans. Think of every month as a cycle. If your clan was one of the top X amount of clans on the clan raids leaderboards you would be able to equip the Raider helmet, Raider loadout, Raider weapon camo, etc until your clan falls out of that spot.
- A way to earn double XP hours for the whole clan
- Recognition – Bragging rights can be a big incentive for clans. There should be in-game leaderboards for clan wars and clan raids. There should also be announcements for when clans accomplish a new feat. For example when a clan wins a Battle Royale or becomes #1 on a certain Raid a “Congratulations to X, Y & Z clans for winning their Battle Royale clan wars” message displayed to all the players on the homepage of the multiplayer menu.
- A way to unlock armory slots or custom classes for the entire clan
Now I know that COD developers are really trying to milk these micro-transactions for everything they’re worth, but one thing that holds true for just about every game with micro-transactions is this. A player can either invest a lot of time or a lot of money to get what they want. There are plenty of cool things to unlock if you spend money, but not very many to unlock if you invest a lot of time into clan wars, raids, ranked playlists, etc. There needs to be a balance of power there between time and money, especially since COD is not a free to play game which relies on micro transactions.
Final Thoughts: It is my personal opinion that the clan wars community is “dying” but a better word for it might be that it’s “stale”. Pretty much any of the top 10 clans on the leaderboards for raids or clan wars will tell you that clan wars do not encourage growth or competition. They encourage avoidance and trying to find the easiest war each week. Also, the incentives and announcements within the game aren’t enough to get new players to sign up for clan wars or apply to an existing clan. Our old clan, The Wicked Elite, essentially broke up due to poor incentives within the clan war community. I do feel like Beachhead Studio is leaps and bounds ahead of most COD developers in their community interaction and trying to make improvements which benefit the clan community but overall there are still some areas where it falls short. We want a system which breeds a fun competitive atmosphere and has the incentives and social backing of the developers to encourage new players and clans to join in and try it out.