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  #11  
Old 07-19-2012, 11:58 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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OK, so I just had another session last night, and unfortunately, Drox was back to the previous experience I had grown accustomed to -- something much closer to what Magitek's been talking about.

If you have a huge conflict with several alliances and many races, there's a lot of cool stuff going on. But what happens once one side wins? The Dryad were the leaders the whole game, and they wiped the floor with the Lithosoids (essentially the leaders of the opposing alliance). I helped them with it a bit, but they did most of it themselves. I still haven't won the game, but now what am I supposed to do? Where's the engaging gameplay? There's no way any underdog race can make a comeback -- the Dryad have taken over many, many systems. So what's left? A bunch of unrest quests. Once in a while a boss will pop up and I'll proceed to take him out. Honestly, the best course of action in this situation seems to be just to abandon the sector and move on.

I see several problems: the simulation of the races is, in some senses, a curse for the game. It's too deterministic (as I've said before). Once a race gets big, nothing interesting is going to happen. This is partially because the 4x is simplified to planets and ships only. An inferior race can't suddenly take over because they discovered superior technology. It can't take over because it found some secret weapon. I'm starting to think that a better way to do this is to abstract over the simulation. For example, you could have a scale up to 50 representing control of the sector. The Dryad, who are my strongest race, might have 35 out of 50 control points. But now, the Cortex, who are their nemesis race, have discovered a new technology, which gives them +4 out of the Dryad's 35 control points, so the Dryad are down to 31. A couple of disastrous quests could strip even more control points from the Dryad, with the result that the Dryad are no longer the leading race. Simulating this with planets, ships and invasions would rarely allow underdogs to win. But if you create ships dynamically (not tracking them realistically) based on the abstract notion of control points, you could easily have power curves over time that are more interesting than what currently happens in the game.

Regarding bosses, I saw that Shadow recently made bosses spawn close to the player. I think this is a mistake. The best thing that could happen is for a boss to spawn in a system far away, where the player can't get to him until the boss has caused serious trouble.

Now let's compare the bosses in DC and DoP to the bosses in Drox: in DC and DoP, monster level escalation was fairly linear (completely linear in DC as you went down the dungeon). When a boss spawned, it was usually really hard to get to that boss because you had to first traverse all the previous levels to get to him. You then had to fight the boss, and he was generally at one of the highest levels you'd encountered so far. In Drox, bosses are easy to get to: you often just need to buy access to the system he's in (I realize this is a convenience feature that was added due to player demand, but perhaps it should be rethought or redesigned). Even if you wanted to make your way to the boss, there's no guarantee that you'd have difficulty doing so, since levels don't escalate. Besides, so long as a system is settled somewhat, fighting monsters often just involves leading them to the nearest planet where the local ships can shoot them down. (Perhaps this should be considered an act of war.) So making your way to the boss isn't hard, and usually defeating the boss isn't hard either. So the boss rarely gets the essential time he needs to cause trouble.

What this is getting to, is that apart from not having much emotional impact (because it doesn't affect you directly), the quest system needs some other kind of boost in this game IMO. One quest leading to another is nice, but it means that often you're left with a lot of similar fetch quests that are barely advancing. I think what we want here is a huge time variation for events: quests should either take their normal time until an event happens, or they should have a small chance of switching really fast ie. in less than a minute. This will allow quests to develop much faster occasionally, leading to more interesting quests, without causing the player to get frustrated from losing quests that he's working on. A boss should be able to do several bad things really fast, and then wait a while until his next event. So we need 2 event time types: short events and regular events, with short events having a lower chance of happening.
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  #12  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:25 PM
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RoboAV RoboAV is offline
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You're suggesting a small chance for a quest string to develop too fast for the player to complete in order to make more interesting quests available?

Why not just start with the more interesting quest?

If the quests become more interesting if you give X event time to cook, then am I depriving myself of good content by... playing the game?
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  #13  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:37 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoboAV View Post
You're suggesting a small chance for a quest string to develop too fast for the player to complete in order to make more interesting quests available?

Why not just start with the more interesting quest?

If the quests become more interesting if you give X event time to cook, then am I depriving myself of good content by... playing the game?
Yeah it's a problem with this system. DC had a similar problem -- if the dungeon was too easy or the boss spawned too high in the dungeon, you'd wipe out the boss and eliminate a whole bunch of interesting quests. But at least you'd then finish off the town quickly, and move on to another town, which you can set at an appropriate difficulty level. Drox sectors are much bigger, and quests are only part of the action, so you can't really do that.

One option is to spawn straight into the more interesting quests, as you suggest, but I do think it's nice to have the chain reaction of boss -> devastation, or rebellion -> apes taking over. It's just that sometimes it needs to happen much faster so I can get to those exciting quests.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2012, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
Regarding bosses, I saw that Shadow recently made bosses spawn close to the player. I think this is a mistake. The best thing that could happen is for a boss to spawn in a system far away, where the player can't get to him until the boss has caused serious trouble.
Actually I believe I made bosses spawn farther away on average.
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  #15  
Old 07-19-2012, 01:59 PM
robmack robmack is offline
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Another way to solve the runaway leader problem would be to really increase the chance of rebellions as races get more powerful.

If a race is the leader and is allied/friendly with the player, the chance of instantly losing planets to rebellion goes way up. It could factor in total number of planets into the equation as well.

It could also be an interesting way to make allied victories more difficult. For example, say there is a three way alliance between two races and the player. Then, both races suffer rebellions by xenophobe factions within their own ranks. Now, suddenly, the sector got interesting again.

Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the route should be that any time a race is 2x as powerful as the nearest NPC, it should have a high chance of splitting in half. It seems like the more races around, the further you are from victory.
At first it might seem like splitting an enemy faction in half would help the player, but I'm not so sure about that.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but its certainly interesting to think about.
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  #16  
Old 07-19-2012, 02:14 PM
fotan fotan is offline
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I like those ideas Rob.

It's just like in Star Wars where Princess Leia says "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."


The more powerful an empire is, the harder it should be to control all of the various planets, so there's always the risk of rebellions and splitting off of new factions.
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  #17  
Old 07-19-2012, 02:18 PM
fotan fotan is offline
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Basically it would be an "inner turmoil" where factions within the race use diplomacy with each other, and then if things get to a breaking point, there would be a breaking down of the race and planet rebellion and all that would take place.

Basically a miniature version of the races diplomacy with each other, except within each race. When diplomacy is good the planets are strong, when the diplomacy is bad everything starts falling apart.
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  #18  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:14 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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I do like the increasing chance of rebellions, and it sort of does happen because more planets = more unrest quests which could lead to more rebellions, but I think a bigger rebellion quest involving many planets could really help here (the planets break away and form another federation). It would also give the new faction a better fighting chance.

Another thing that would help is if small races would see big races as a threat, sort of the way a game of risk (or Settlers of Catan, or any other complex, social competitive game) works -- balance of power is the name of the game. So a race that severely over-expands would have its nervous allies betray it and form an opposing alliance. There would be constant vying for the strongest race spot because alliances would form to balance out the strongest race.
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  #19  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:41 PM
silverhound silverhound is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robmack View Post
Actually, now that I think of it, maybe the route should be that any time a race is 2x as powerful as the nearest NPC,(i assume you were talking about factions?) it should have a high chance of splitting in half. It seems like the more races around, the further you are from victory.
At first it might seem like splitting an enemy faction in half would help the player, but I'm not so sure about that.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, but its certainly interesting to think about.
I hope you aren't saying that the faction should have a high chance of splitting in half without player intervention if its 2x as powerful as the nearest faction.
That would effectively make the military victory impossible because long before defeating the last opposing faction in the game the faction you are supporting will be twice as large.
Over prolonged periods a high chance will become a near certainty, and i really wouldnt want to spend the entire war just ending rebellions to avert disaster.

Last edited by silverhound : 07-19-2012 at 04:43 PM. Reason: used the wrong word
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  #20  
Old 07-19-2012, 04:46 PM
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In the next build, the weaker races will have a higher chance of banding together against the bigger races.
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