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My Favorite Features - Meta Game in Last Of Us Factions Multiplayer

by Niklas Walenski on 11/21/19 10:37:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


In "My Favorite Features" I examine features I encountered in different games and explain why I like them.

This post is focused on the Meta Game in the Last of Us Factions Multiplayer.


How it works

“The Last of Us” multiplayer mode had players fought in different teams against another until certain objectives were completed.
It had its own version of Team-Deathmatch with a fixed ticket amount, Elimination and a unique game mode where players have to kill enemies with special takedowns to fill up a bar and eventually unlock the enemy supply box they had to capture.

Like most multiplayer games it had player level progression and an in-game currency which gated the access to features and tools.

The matches were wrapped into a Meta-Game where players have their own clan and need to provide it with supplies to keep it healthy and grow it.
Each match counts as a day and requires players to bring back home a certain number of supplies to keep the clan healthy or grow it and heal sick members with a surplus.
When a player did not bring back enough supplies, clan members would get sick and eventually die decreasing the size of the clan.
The size of the clan also dictates the number of supplies a player would need to bring back.

The supplies are gained based on a player's performance in a match, but can also be found in loot-able objects within each map, by collecting enough parts in a match or collected at the location of killed enemies.
Supplies that a player has already collected in a match cannot be lost again.
Players that joined a match that was already in progress were compensated for it to avoid having a disadvantage.

In addition to the supply demands, random events occur that warn the player about upcoming dangers or opportunities. Players then can freely choose an objective from a list that they have to complete within the next three matches to get the best possible outcome of the event.
Objectives have multiple thresholds that change the intensity of an event once it occurs. Choosing objectives repeatedly will increase their difficulty.

Leaving matches while they are running will make parts of their clan sick while also losing progress made in a match as well as still counting as a day for the meta-game.


Why I like it

What I love about this feature is how it can change your perception of a match when you actually care about the meta-game.

In most multiplayer games you want to win. Even though you still make progress when you lose, based on your performance, it doesn’t taste as sweet as a win. Also, you don’t get the win bonus.

With the “Clan” Meta Game, the outcome of the match is now secondary and the number of supplies you bring back home is what counts.
Winning a match, but not getting the required supplies doesn’t give you anything and suddenly that hard-earned victory is worth nothing. On the other hand, an utter defeat can feel great when you worked hard and just barely got enough supplies.

Since the number of required supplies depends on the size of your clan it also works as some kind of dynamic difficulty and could potentially allow for some wiggle room in the matchmaking against harder or weaker opponents, since a winning match is no longer the primary goal.

This also has the potential to create unique highlights and intense moments in a match for each player, since their goals slightly vary. They finally collected all supplies with the last shoot-out or are stressed-out searching the map for a supply box before the match ends.
A downside to this is that players might not always work together and abandon their team, because they decided to search for supplies in loot-able objects will yield better results than fighting the enemy team.

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