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  #11  
Old 06-26-2012, 08:42 PM
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Kruztee Kruztee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DeathKnight1728 View Post
-Bluddy

You've hit the nail on the head. I find the game to play just as good as dop for the reason of the end game decision. Losing favor with one side, war, need to make a new ally, quest. Its what you can do in do and get away with in the major quests that make it so wickedly fun.
Umm, unless I've completely missed the gist of the thread, Bluddy was actually lamenting the lack of meaningful ways (in terms of gameplay expereinces and outcomes) of engaging with the 4x elements of the game. In comparison to DoP and DC especially, I find the game to be far less engaging for exactly the reasons he cites.

I honestly can't agree with the original post more. It's a really insightful post that cuts to the point of why the Drox beta failed to keep me interested past a brief curiousity. I think that the reason that Drox fails to engage me on a fundamental level is because the player seems to have little to no control over what's going on in the galaxy, and no real advantage to pick sides early in the game. It's like betting on a fight where there's no penalty for getting your money out after one guy has already been knocked down in the second round. In Din's, the player felt like a hero who was the driving force behind the pace of the world events and the outcomes therein. In Drox, I feel like an onlooker with no allegiance and no incentive other than to get behind the team that's going to win the fight.

Last edited by Kruztee : 06-26-2012 at 08:58 PM. Reason: expansion of opinion
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  #12  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:21 AM
fotan fotan is offline
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One very simple solution to this is, there could be an option where if you're one type of alien, you could be stuck with defending them no matter what. So you feel the meaningfulness of all your actions, trying to help out your colonies etc. It's like playing for 1 team the entire time, it makes you care about the team and whether it wins or loses.


It doesn't mean you can't make alliances but you're doing it for the greater cause of your 1 team that you have to fight for no matter how bad the odds are.


Also if you could pay or command some people to go and fight with you to take a planet or whatever that would help give you the same control the other AI races have.
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  #13  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:52 AM
fotan fotan is offline
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I'm saying, I like the game the way it is just fine for the flexibility, but this option I bring up is a good way to appeal to those who want a certain type of traditional strategy game. A game option slightly more like your average 4X but it's still dynamic based on you being the active participant at all points.
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  #14  
Old 06-27-2012, 06:12 AM
Wanderer Wanderer is offline
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Originally Posted by fotan View Post
I'm saying, I like the game the way it is just fine for the flexibility, but this option I bring up is a good way to appeal to those who want a certain type of traditional strategy game. A game option slightly more like your average 4X but it's still dynamic based on you being the active participant at all points.
Personally I don't know if I'd want to be forced to defend a particular base that I didn't chose to do so. I agree more with Bluddy's idea of Reputation and involvement, but that would depend on quests not ending up obsolete quite so easily. I've taken on a number of quests that before I even had mapped my route were completed for me one way or another.

One of the feelings for me, in Drox, is that I'm more 'along for the ride' than having any significant influence in the game. You can tell you're influencing things, sure, because the one you're completing quests for is usually ahead by some margin. I posted most of my thoughts on that here for anyone who's that interested:
http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5212

That said, I'm wondering if it's simply a matter of improving the influence and methods of influence of the operative that will make a significant dent in the problem. Right now it seems the Operative really has little chance of deciding who will win after the first 10 to 15 minutes of the game. It's pretty much on a runaway course and you need to pick the right side. Which basically ends up as non-aggression with everyone you can and then ally with whoever's got the biggest alliance already setup.

In the end, I think a combination of a few things will actually make the operative more of a 'balancing point' for the sector than the ant-like being they currently are.
  • Slow down the 4x events so the Operative has a chance to see what the sector looks like before war has broken out killing off entire races of people they've never even heard of.
  • Increase the effectiveness of rumors started by the operative.
  • Make technological gains more decisive and less likely to be researched by most races. Make the bonuses seriously count to give each race personality, and lower everything else.
  • Lower the impact of planetary defender ships so that an operative has a chance at actually defeating them in a time of war.
  • Sub-item to the above, running weapons to a planet that is at war with you is nearly impossible, this needs to be adjusted so you can actually get planets to 'turn'.
  • Make Terraforming and Drox Colonization have more impact, so that the Drox has more effect on which races can expand faster. Nothing says 'Why did I care?' as much as a colonization quest that's obsolete before you can even pick up the component.
  • Have the races actually help you in return by giving you the location of where they'd like your assistance. It's rather annoying that they want you to scan a planet they found but you have no idea where it is until you've mowed the lawn in a system.
  • Increase the number of options for the Drox to invest into a particular culture. Examples would be: Building/donating a defensive station for them. Able to directly purchase technology sold directly to a culture eventually. Refitting their warships directly with found/stolen goods.
  • Allow the Drox to assist in leading 'campaigns' against a particular enemy. In this example, the Drox would be part of, or possibly leading, a small fleet of a particular race in war time. Trade Convoys could have a similar mechanic.
  • Lengthen the time in a sector so you actually care about who you've been building up for a while. As it stands you usually barely have it half to 2/3s mapped before the sector's completed on anything but tiny.

Increase the effect a Drox Operative can have on any particular race, lower the 4x 'wave' that carries you along for the ride feeling like nothing but an observer, and involve the Drox more directly into the different races and I think you'll find that you end up involving yourself more directly into any particular race than you would otherwise.

Hm, guess that's 4 cents worth, rambled a hair there.
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  #15  
Old 06-27-2012, 08:15 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fotan View Post
One very simple solution to this is, there could be an option where if you're one type of alien, you could be stuck with defending them no matter what. So you feel the meaningfulness of all your actions, trying to help out your colonies etc. It's like playing for 1 team the entire time, it makes you care about the team and whether it wins or loses.


It doesn't mean you can't make alliances but you're doing it for the greater cause of your 1 team that you have to fight for no matter how bad the odds are.
.
That's definitely an option. The main problem I can see with that is you only choose your ship type once per character, which means that character will ALWAYS be concerned with one particular race for 100 levels. I think this could be done to a lesser degree -- your race could have expectations for you to be allied with them. This would mean that they're more sensitive to reputation changes. Do stuff for them, and they immediately think you're their friend. Go against them a couple of times, and they'll immediately think you're a traitor.
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  #16  
Old 06-27-2012, 08:44 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
One of the feelings for me, in Drox, is that I'm more 'along for the ride' than having any significant influence in the game. You can tell you're influencing things, sure, because the one you're completing quests for is usually ahead by some margin. I posted most of my thoughts on that here for anyone who's that interested:
http://www.soldak.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5212

That said, I'm wondering if it's simply a matter of improving the influence and methods of influence of the operative that will make a significant dent in the problem. Right now it seems the Operative really has little chance of deciding who will win after the first 10 to 15 minutes of the game. It's pretty much on a runaway course and you need to pick the right side. Which basically ends up as non-aggression with everyone you can and then ally with whoever's got the biggest alliance already setup.
Your suggestions are good. Some have been already mentioned by others (political quests of fighting wars are definitely missing in the game) and some are new.

Getting back to DC as an example, though, in DC you have full control of whether the town will be won or lost. And yet, take away the victory/loss conditions, and the game becomes bland.

The question you're addressing is how much of an influence should the player have on the shape of the game, and it's related to the question in this thread, though it's not identical. In DC, the game is your adversary and it's a zero-sum game: either you win or the game beats you. The result is that it's much easier to feel your impact on the game world: if you don't do anything, you lose. In DoP we already see more complicated conditions: you may do really well, but it doesn't automatically guarantee victory for your covenant. In reality, it usually does since the game translates quest completion to influence, but you could potentially have a stronger covenant trail you for the whole game, or even defeat you with a surprise attack. On the other hand, doing nothing in DoP doesn't automatically mean you'll lose -- you could just be a weak covenant that gets lucky.

Drox takes those complicated conditions a step further. Because you're an assistant to the races, it's not clear what should happen when you don't do anything vs when you do act. This is a tough act to balance. You want to give feedback to the player that he's making a difference without automatically changing the strategic game just because the player did something -- it seems like helping a minor race through some quests shouldn't automatically make that race dominant.

I think perhaps the most helpful thing in this regard is to increase feedback as much as possible. 4x games traditionally have specialized screens displaying the productivity of each planet, the number of ships each ally has, or the state of war against enemies. Such screens would show you if a planet is lagging behind in production or doing badly, or how much the mission you carried out helped advance the cause. Feedback is the most important thing here, and there needs to be a way to see what your influence is in the big scheme of things. There's just no way to understand your role in the game by looking only at the space surrounding your ship. In DoP, you could get a complete picture of how a covenant is doing by looking at their influence level and their covenant members. Here, you need a much more detailed examination of a faction. This is also where spying can come into the picture btw.
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  #17  
Old 06-27-2012, 11:27 AM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Some more thoughts on the reputation system:

To make it such that you can't just wait around and do nothing, your reputation would slowly drain. I'll switch to a point scale to make things easier to handle. Suppose you start with 200 reputation and need to reach 1000 to beat the sector. Every 5 minutes of inactivity, you'd lose 10 reputation. The effect of time is that you get forgotten about. If you don't do things to increase your reputation, your reputation drains away. This introduces an element of time into the game and makes the losing condition more palpable.
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  #18  
Old 06-27-2012, 01:55 PM
fotan fotan is offline
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Your responses were basically "Well I don't like that kind of mode" and my point was that this particular game mode would be for a specific type of player that wants that, while leaving the more mercenary drox operative type mode untouched.


As I said I like the normal mercenary mode fine, but some people want to feel more like every action of theirs is life or death and is important because of their connection to their people. Much like the feeling you get protecting your town in Din's Curse for instance.

Last edited by fotan : 06-27-2012 at 02:00 PM.
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  #19  
Old 06-27-2012, 02:23 PM
Wanderer Wanderer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluddy View Post
The question you're addressing is how much of an influence should the player have on the shape of the game, and it's related to the question in this thread, though it's not identical. In DC, the game is your adversary and it's a zero-sum game: either you win or the game beats you. The result is that it's much easier to feel your impact on the game world: if you don't do anything, you lose.
Hm, that's not originally how I'd read it, but you're right when I look at it again. Sorry about that. I'll blame that it was a bit late when I wrote that. However, the lack of being able to win could easily be tied back into these mechanics have more effect. Once you've decided to help out a single race it could... errr... nevermind, that's a bad idea.

Thanks for the clarification, Bluddy... I'll think on that particular aspect a bit more.
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  #20  
Old 06-27-2012, 03:06 PM
Bluddy Bluddy is offline
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Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
Hm, that's not originally how I'd read it, but you're right when I look at it again. Sorry about that. I'll blame that it was a bit late when I wrote that. However, the lack of being able to win could easily be tied back into these mechanics have more effect. Once you've decided to help out a single race it could... errr... nevermind, that's a bad idea.

Thanks for the clarification, Bluddy... I'll think on that particular aspect a bit more.
No problem. It's a good point and it got me thinking in that direction as well, which is why I opened a new thread for it (I hope you don't mind).
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