Dominion is a new game type introduced in Halo 4. It is essentially Land Grab (symmetrical Territories) with a real time scoring, and a last stand phase to draw the game to a quicker conclusion should the teams be vastly unmatched. Holding a base not only gives you points, but also gives you a domain (a base that you can spawn at), weapons, and vehicles. And while there are many bells and whistles to forge for this game type, this article will discuss only the spawn setup based upon the models we see in the Playlist today.
There are four maps in the Playlist that offer Dominion – Longbow, Exile, Meltdown, and Vortex. Of these four, Longbow presents a triangular layout of the three bases, while the other three offer a linear layout of the bases. Of the four, only Meltdown has initial spawns for the red and blue teams in Alpha and Charlie bases; the other three have initial spawns external to any base.
The following figure shows the three spawning models characteristic of the Playlist maps. As simply models, they are in no way drawn to any scale.
In the figure above, the dark blue and dark red areas are the initial spawns, the light blue are the Respawn Zones assigned to the base they surround, and the light green area denotes the Anti Respawn Zone covering the base and sometimes the immediate exterior to the base. There are Respawn Points in each of the various regions as well as outside all of the regions (not in any Respawn Zone).
In every case the Respawn Zones are assigned to game type label DOM_SPAWN, game specific is set to TRUE, and the spawn sequence is set to the corresponding base, 1, 2, or 3.
In every case the Anti Respawn Zone is set to game type label DOMINION, and the spawn sequence is set to zero.
Spawning Without A Captured Base
Until a team has captured a base, they have no assigned Respawn Zone on the map. This means that they can literally spawn anywhere on the map. The influences that are going to impact the decision where they will spawn will include the following: Where are their teammates? Where are the opponents? Where are the locations of very recent deaths? And where are the Anti Respawn Zones?
First, let’s examine the static influence, the Anti Respawn Zone. By itself, it will push a spawning player to spawn outside the Anti Respawn Zone – outside the base. In a static environment, a spawning player will spawn on a Respawn Point that is outside all of the Anti Respawn Zones, regardless of whether the Respawn Point is in a Respawn Zone or not. Thus, a spawning player will never spawn in a base, unless…
Just as the proximity of enemies drives a spawning player to a more distant Respawn Point, the proximity of an ally draws a spawning player to a Respawn Point closest to him. Since the ally proximity overcomes the Anti Respawn Zone, a player can spawn in a base if his teammate is inside already. This is true if the spawning player’s team does not have any captured base or if they already have captured the base his teammate is inside of.
To be explicitly clear, a player will not spawn in a base that his teammate is in if that base is not owned by their team, yet another base is owned by their team, since the influence of the Respawn Zone from the owned base is stronger than the ally proximity influence.
Again, the dynamic influence of enemy proximity will drive a player away from the enemy just like the Anti Respawn Zone will. But the enemy proximity influence is stronger than the Respawn Zone influence, and if enough enemies are present in and around the base, their influence can drive a spawning player across the map away from the base that they own (assuming for a moment a small Respawn Zone and a single captured base). There is nothing you can do to avoid this with certainty, but the larger the zone and the more Respawn Points through out the zone will help reduce such occurrences.
Finally, the death influence is not powerful enough to overcome the Anti Respawn Zone. You cannot suicide your way across the map and into a base. Therefore, the death influence is seen more as a feathering influence than anything else.
While the LOS influence is the strongest of all, it won’t play much in your design, since there should be plenty of Respawn Points through out your map to make it of no consequence.
Spawning With A Captured Base
Once a team has captured one base, spawning will occur within the Respawn Zone surrounding that base. The base now acts as an anchor for the team. There is nothing that can be done about this. If a linear model of base layout is used, then the trek from one end to the other will simply be long unless the base in the middle is captured.
If two bases are captured, a spawning player could spawn in the Respawn Zones for either base. The decision will be based upon dynamic influences, and if none else, randomness.
If the team of the spawning player lost their base, it is quite often because the other team has taken all three bases. In this scenario, the game enters into the last stand phase and the players will not spawn unless they can capture one of the bases again. Having said that, there is a scenario where they lose a base, but one of the other bases has not been captured yet. In this case, the team that has no base reverts back to spawning anywhere on the map again.
Implications To Consider
Consider a linear model with solid choke points around the middle of the map. Red takes Alpha and Bravo, while Blue takes Charlie. Red can mount a defense at Bravo exploiting the choke points so that Blue cannot move toward Alpha. If strong enough, Red no longer needs to defend Alpha and can dedicate their entire team to Bravo. Such a design traps Blue’s spawning at their end of the map and can assure Red a victory over time. To avoid this, additional routes around Bravo need to be forged, plenty enough that defending them all against Blue would be difficult to impossible.
Anti Respawn Zones should be used to prevent players from spawning in bases in general.
Respawn Zones around the outer perimeters of bases should be used to force teams to spawn around their bases – to anchor them to their bases, away from the enemy bases.
In a linear layout, capturing the middle base is a key strategy to making the trek to the far base quicker and in some cases to trap the other team’s spawn to their end of the map.