Often players use time in between matches as a segment in which they do not have to pay attention. Maybe play a mobile game or make a sandwich- anything to not have to just sit around in the lobby. As developers, we need to make a better use of this time. We don’t always need the player’s attention but we do need to make sure they understand the information provided or the type of game they are going into. I have had countless times where I thought I was playing Team Deathmatch and the game started only to discover I was in Free For All.
The time before matches is a great time to relay any useful information, allow warm up matches, or even allow players to purchase power ups and adjust their loadouts before all the action happens. Today we will talk about a few ways to spice up your match queues.
This is a perfect time to inform players. There are many types of players, new recruits all the way to series fans- they all need information. If you decide to not put a tutorial in your game, this screen could be the way players learn all the controls before entering the match. Information such as controls, lore, or even advertisements of other games your studio has released is better than just a plain lobby screen.
This area could also be used to give advanced tips and tricks to make the player’s skill level increase which will increase their enjoyment of the game. As developers, we often provide a lot of information but fear we will overwhelm them. However, by using this area that many gamers have to view, it’s not a bad idea to make use of this time with a control refresher.
Browsing Steam I stumbled upon a 2D fighter called Brawlhalla. This game is super enjoyable, but that’s not my point in mentioning it. The team behind the game used a technique I don’t see very often. It’s one that many games from all genres of online multiplayer could benefit from. They used the match queue time as a practice round. In this practice round you face computer controlled AI. This allows players get the idea of the level, controls, and characters they will be facing. You can practice some combos if you already understand the basics before the match. Now this time isn’t too long so the player never feels like this practice mode is dragging out. However it does give you enough time to grasp the controls.
Other games such as Mortal Kombat X has this in their king of the hill mode. It allows players to practice and view the current match while you wait for your turn in the rotation. Players can even view stats of other players as well as themselves. Allowing this is a little step up from just relaying the information of controls and is very beneficial if you have time to implement it into your game.
The final way of using this time is by allowing players to adjust their loadouts. Now this doesn’t have to have extreme depth, but allowing players to purchase items before a match will allow them to think about the gear they will need for this specific mission or game type. Games such as Call of Duty allow this not only before the match starts, but 30 seconds after the players are in the actual game lobby. This 30 seconds allow them to choose their loadouts and mentally judge the tasks at hand to find the most suitable weapon.
At the end of the day the player just wants to play the game. Wait time can kill some players immersion. Having them practice before matches or giving them useful information will keep them from getting bored before the match starts and ultimately lead them to a better gaming experience. I hope this has helped your development and as always have a great week. If you have any other ways to break up this time- comment below!
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