• 19 Dec 2014, 16:25 • Articles
This is something most of you probably know already but let's introduce the topic a little anyway. Spawntimes are one of the most important factors in ET, was it 2on2, 3on3 or 6on6. I'm a 3on3 player so I know only a little about 6on6 but more or less the same principles apply. Every example in this article is about 3on3 games. And just for the record: I don't believe in bad spawntimes that much, I'm not paranoid about them and I don't blame them for a loss. They do play a role though and that's a fact. Also, every scenario and example I introduce here is a huge simplification so don't trip over them please.
Spawntimes should pretty much affect every decision you do ingame, as an individual and as a team. The opponent's spawntime is equally important to your own and most of the time it's the combination of the two that matters. Getting the opponent's spawntime early on the game is very valuable info as you're then able to make much better decisions ingame. Spawntime combinations between your team and the opponents team aren't random in ET, but practically close enough. Everybody who plays competitive ET knows what "bad" spawntime means and what it looks like. You feel you can't do anything that specific spawn and the opponent can push out very efficiently without having to risk anything. For example, you're defending and the opponent spawns in 3-10 seconds - you can stall them for the 10 seconds and once you tap out you can regain your original positions and the opponent has to attack either full spawn or tap out for more health and ammo. That's a very different scenario from the situation if you spawned at the same time. I won't go into theory of bad spawntimes any further but I believe everybody can recognize the perfect spawntime from the worst spawntime. Adlernest 3on3 last stage objective defense is a prime example where a spawntime can make a big difference.
So what's the problem?
The problem with spawntimes is that it's a random factor yet it's ever so important. Consider two theoretically exactly same skill level teams and give one of them the worst spawn time possible. What if that would mean the team with bad spawn time would lose 80% of the matches? Nobody knows what's the effect is in practice and how big of a role spawn times play, but what if it actually was significant? ET is played in bo3 so bad luck can come your way very easily, meaning two maps back to back with poor spawn time.
The problem itself is the fact that the spawntimes are periodical with 20 s and 30 s intervals. For every minute, allies spawns 3 times and axis spawns 2 times (let's just consider the most played maps here). Then the spawn time combinations repeat and repeat by every minute. If you have a spawn time in which you can push out very efficiently that can pretty much ruin 2/3 of allies spawns. Let's consider the first spawn: you're defending and you push out so that you have 11 seconds time to harass the allies who all just spawned. They're then delayed for some seconds, wasted half of their ammo, have no charge and maybe low health. Who knows if you managed to kill one. You then tap out and have enough time to regain your positions and get ready for allies to come. However, they're late to attack for their short spawn and they're short on resources to do that. If they tap out you might manage to push a little again or if they don't they'll be full spawn and most likely won't push for that. If they did attack fullspawn and died (which they would, because low) you'd be able to push out again with no worries whatsoever. They'd probably wait until they have a short spawn time and then manage to attack. At that time, it's been 40 seconds after the scenario started and you would respawn in one second. So until this point the defending side has had the upper hand by quite a margin. The next spawn would then be more 'even', if you will. This is just an example that the game is affected by spawntimes for longer than just the one spawn. Also you might argue that it's not spawntime's fault as they were full in the first place, and so forth, but you get the point.
But the thing is, this combination of spawn times will keep on occurring until the round ends. On some defense stages such as supply 1st stage or goldrush 1st stage the static spawn time combinations are not a very good feature in the game, especially if you're on the receiving end. You can spend more than 5 minutes in one stage and the situation is static as far as spawn times are considered. Of course there's ways to overcome and cope with this but all of which results in compromised overall team performance.
With current ET, the same spawntime combinations occur every 60 seconds. For a long time now I've had an idea of how this could be avoided and most of the random factor in spawntimes could be removed. Introduce different spawn time intervals, such as 21 for allies and 30 for axis. By doing this you would make the game more dynamic and have more matches at more even terms as at some point of the game each time will have a good and a bad spawn time. This might also result in getting less jammed in one stage and it would enable maybe more versatile tactics and more need to react to changing conditions. In other words, it could be more challenging and interesting for both sides and at the same time it would remove most of the randomness about spawn times. I don't know about how this can be implemented, but I believe it's doable.
The shorter the spawn time, the better? No, not necessarily. When you're defending, yeah, probably. But when you're attacking, shortening the spawn time doesn't always favor you at all. Look at braundorf 3on3 for example, if you had 25 second spawn time when attacking the last stage, you could actually attack in 25 seconds or so. As it is now, it requires 40 seconds for each proper attack, given that the axis are defending the bunker. If you had a 5 second longer spawn, it could end up being much better. Vice versa, making the spawntime interval longer could actually help you as it gives you more time to attack without having to worry about getting full spawn.
Why 21/30? Nobody knows how changing spawn times could change the game dynamics. At least I don't. Maybe they have a drastic effect, maybe next to none. Either way, to have any benefit from the change, the spawn time combinations would need to change rather quick. Therefore 20/29 or 20/31 are out of question as then the spawn time would change too slowly, dismissing the calculations here. Have 19/31 or 21/29, it sure changes quick but maybe even too quick and above all, that kind of change would probably result big changes in the game play itself. Now I don't know about 6on6, but in 3on3 I personally wouldn't mind having a one second more second to engineer the attacks. And certainly 19 might be too little, simply because just how many times do you wish you had few more seconds to continue the attack! With 21/30 the spawntime relatively would change 3 seconds per minute which sounds pretty optimal to me. Longer spawntime might contribute to allies team more than axis, but the effect of course varies map to map and stage to stage.
ET has one random factor above others and that's spawntime. By having 21/30 intervals with allies and axis respectively, you could rule this random factor out pretty efficiently. If the change is implemented, some wise minds should choose what the try-out intervals would be, 21/30 is my proposal. Maybe have different spawntime intervals in 3on3 and 6on6 config. Somebody who knows how to implement these changes, let us know how it's possible! By making the 21/30 change, I don't see any negative effects despite the change in game dynamics. However, the downside is probably negligible compared to possible positive effects. I don't think there's anybody opposing the removal of spawntime randomness.
Down to you then, give me your thoughts if this idea is any good and what you think. I wrote this in a rush without even proof reading it so please excuse my mistakes beforehand, but the point is below in the last chapter. Those who know better feel free to correct me!
Change spawntime intervals 20/30 -> 21/30. Removes random factor of spawntimes and spices up the game. Oky?