Chokepoint

Dragon Age: Origins. A doorway being used as a chokepoint in combat. image source.

Description

A chokepoint is a narrow space through which characters are forced to move. It can have varying effects on gameplay depending on whether it is the players or the enemies who are forced through the chokepoint.

If player characters move through a chokepoint, perhaps because the level design requires them to, they may be forced into an area where enemies are prepared to attack from all directions while the player characters have a very small position and can be surrounded. It could be that the player characters are walking into an ambush. The player characters in a chokepoint can all be targeted by area-of-effect attacks while their offense is split in multiple directions by the enemy locations. An advantage which a chokepoint provides the players is that enemies often must deal with the player characters in the front ranks before being able to directly attack the player characters in the rear who may be either physically more vulnerable, such as a mage, or of prime importance, such as a healer.

If enemies move through a chokepoint, it allows the players to deal with the enemies a few at a time without being in melee range of the back ranks of enemies. The player characters are able to target all enemies in a single chokepoint together with area-of-effect attacks. One or two player characters may be able to hold off the enemies in a chokepoint while player characters in the rear provide support from safety.

Common Chokepoints:

A chokepoint is a common location for traps and blockades.

Variables and Affordances

  • Size: the size of the chokepoint, in terms of its length and how narrow it is. This can impact whether certain enemies can fit through the chokepoint.

Examples

  • Baldur's Gate II Shadows of Amn. In the De'Arnise Stronghold, there is a secret room on the top floor of the stronghold containing a dozen golems of different varieties. If the player attempts to fight them head on, it is likely that the player characters will lose badly. Instead, the player can opt to retreat from the room through the small portal at its entrance (size). The smallest golems will be able to follow the players, but the larger golems become stuck behind the chokepoint and can be dealt with at the player's leisure.

In Worked Examples

Quest-Level Relationships

  • Defend. In a defense quest, there will often be chokepoints for strategy in combat.
  • Kill Action. Provides a strategy for killing enemies, a lot of killing happens in chokepoints.
  • Hidden Quest. A hidden quest may be guarded by an intense - but optional - chokepoint. This may be in order to reward the thorough, explorative player for their efforts.
patterns/chokepoint.txt ยท Last modified: 2011/06/13 09:38 by Gillian Smith
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