Dominion Respawn Explained

Posted on at 6:25 PM by Moobeat

This post is a little late, but I still think it gives a nice look into how Dominion's respawn system works. I know that from time to time I've wondered why sometimes I die with a 9 second respawn and sometimes with a 20 second respawn.

Hey guys, there's been a lot of confusion related to how respawning in Dominion works, so I wanted to take some time and write up a clear explanation for you along with answer any questions you may have. Being transparent about what's going on under the hood should hopefully help guide the conversation in a productive way, as the feedback you guys provide is important for us to decide how to move forward on almost any balance adjustment.

As a note before we dive in, the numbers I'm providing here are current as of 10/21/11 on Live.

Base System:

Spawning in Dominion is based off of the idea of a wave spawning system. Early on in development we found that Dominion was much more fun when you would respawn with your allies and leave base together, so we wanted to create a system that tended towards that where possible. The two important concepts to understand about the wave spawn system are the minimum respawn time and the respawn window size.

Minimum respawn time: This is the time that, when no respawn wave is active for that team, it will take the person who died to respawn. In Dominion this value defaults to 26 seconds at all levels.

Respawn window size: When someone dies on a team, if no respawn window is active, a new respawn window will be created of the size specified by this variable. Currently in Dominion this value is set to 12 seconds. When a respawn window is created fora team, anyone who dies during this period will have their respawn time set to the same time as the person who opened the window.

Example: Imagine that three people die in a row at a team, one at 0:00, one at 0:10, and one at 0:20. When the first person dies no respawn window is open, so he will open a respawn window of 12 seconds and his respawn time will be set to the minimum, 26 seconds. When the second player dies at 0:10, he falls within the respawn window opened by the first champion, so instead of having his respawn time set to the minimum he will have it set to the same time as the first champion who died. At 0:12 the respawn window closes. The next champion who dies at 0:20 is outside of the respawn window, so she gets a minimum respawn time of 26 seconds and opens a new window. At 0:26 both the first and the second champion respawn. At 0:32 the second respawn window closes, and then at 0:46 the third champion respawns.

Ongoing adjustments:

As we played around with this system we found that, because of our decision to go with a smaller map, it was very difficult for the team with fewer capture points to get a strong positional advantage on the winning team after winning a major encounter like happens on Summoner's Rift, and furthermore it was very easy for the winning team to continually reinforce points in a way that assured they could cap and continually hold three points. We needed a mechanism to simulate the sense of being "deep into enemy territory" that can happen in Summoner's Rift, where for the winning team it takes longer to reinforce after any particular defeat and when the winning team gets aced it can be an incredible setback. As such we felt the best way to accomplish this was by adjusting the respawn times of both teams based on the difference in nexus health, effectively adjusting the amount of time it takes to reinforce any given location on the map. The respawn adjustments work as follows.

When one team in Dominion gets a lead in nexus health on the opposing team, the leading team has their respawn time increased by two seconds. By the same token, the losing team has their minimum respawn time reduced by 2 seconds. If the lead increases to 50 nexus health the spread increases to +3/-3 seconds, and after a 100 point lead the spread increases again to +4/-4. No additional adjustments occur after this point regardless of the point spread in the two teams. To counteract the fact that increasing the minimum respawn time can cause the winning team to be more likely to respawn outside of a window, we increase the size of the window for the winning team by half of the amount we increase the minimum respawn time. So holistically this means that the respawn adjustments range from (+2:+1)/(-2:-0) to (+4:+2)/(-4:-0) as the lead increases from 1 nexus health to 100 nexus health. When we launched we had the range set to +5/-5, but we reduced it to +4/-4 two patches ago.

Death reduction
Abilities and runes that reduce your time dead, such as the good hands mastery, simply reduce your assigned respawn time. This does mean that it can break the intent of the respawn system, which is to have you respawn together, but we felt this was the lesser evil than making runes you purchase have no effect at all. I'd be interested in a better solution.

Overall we have found this system to have a drastic benefit to the game compared to when we used a traditional static respawn time, both in allowing players to respawn together and also destabilizing the 3 and hold strategy. Without this system in place evenly matched teams would regularly end up in 300-400 point leads when the game ended and the overall number of captures and point turnovers was much lower. Conversely, after adding the system we also saw that unmatched teams were basically unaffected and still stomped games just as well as they did before. 

Figuring out the proper configuration for how respawn should work in Dominion was a large challenge for us over the course of the project and is something we're still working to refine. Anyway, I hope this helps clear things up for you guys! Feel free to ask questions or give feedback and I'll try to answer as best I can.
- Brackhar, Technical Designer, via the official forums.

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