So to begin I want to state I understand that not everyone will like or agree with what I am saying below, nor do I expect them to. I am in my last year of College for my Bachelors Degree in Video Game Design and Development and taking what I have learned both from my studies and from many many hours playing Dual Universe I brainstormed the following. Again, I do not expect anyone to agree, nor do I think that my chosen field of future Professions makes me any better or smarter than anyone else. This is my opinion, and I am sharing it. Also, this will be a long post. Disclaimer over.
With there already being auto-generated alien ships, alien cores, and shipwrecks that spawn into the game, the mentality of “Everything in Dual Universe needs to be player made” has already been discarded to an extent. The game, while fun in many aspects, lacks content. Both in PvP and PvE. There needs to be an alternative to running missions, or trying to turn a profit by mining or building industry. Those are core aspects of the game, but they only offer so much in the way of “content”.
PvP also offers a style of gameplay, but it is niche and lacking as well in content. You fly around in PvP space hoping to find someone you can kill that won’t kill you, or trying to mine minerals off a valuable asteroid without your ship being exploded.
NPC Ships is a first step in adding content to both.
Phase 1, Step 1: Ships, Safe Zone PvE Combat and Simple AI
The ability to spawn ships and other things into the game already exists and is being utilized by current systems such as Asteroids and Shipwrecks. Using those systems to build off of, it would not be a far stretch to spawn in functioning ships of Varying types. Additionally, since Autopiloting systems are implemented by players via LUA, it also would not be a stretch for NQ to implement simple AI scripts for the generated NPC Ships.
How it could work:
The system spawns a ship randomly, no closer than 30su to a Safe Zone Planet anywhere inside the Safe Zone. Then at random the script choses a destination. One of the SZ planets or their moons, and sets course. As the ability already exists for the game, or a construct to know when you are within a certain area of the game, the ship would despawn if making it within 1su of its target.
Before reaching its destination, it is vulnerable to attack from a player who spots it. Upon being attacked the ship would use whatever maneuverability it can to try to escape. If it’s core is destroyed it is of course available to be looted, ownership taken, etc, just like in any other PvP Combat.
Of course attacking an NPC Ship inside of the Safe Zone should not come without consequences, but those are laid out in an additional update. The purpose of Step 1 is to get the system into the game, see how it is working, and work out the kinks.
New PvE Content that helps teach simple PvP to people looking to learn.
PvE content for PvPers who may be on at odd hours and have fewer real player targets.
An additional income mechanic especially with component recycling coming into the game, that does not rely solely on grinding and time gating (other than searching out the randomly spawning ships).
Phase 1 Step 2: Law, Order, and AI Update 2
With the implementation of NPC Ships, and the ability to attack them in the Safe Zone, mechanics should be developed to give consequences for being a pirate in the SZ. Aphelia designates a safe zone, but how does she enforce it? Currently it is just a circle around three planets where weapons do not work. Much like the poor NPC ships being destroyed, this step would introduce some new ships and mechanics that offer that enforcement, if even in a limited way.
How it could work:
The System Spawns peacekeeping ships that travel the pipes, and a few that travel courses around the SZ in general. The ships would vary from smaller to larger obviously, with different types of armaments and difficulty.
When a player attacks a NPC Ship just as it likely would in a Real Scenario, the ship would send out an SoS on the attacker. This flags the attacking player, or player construct as a pirate for a given amount of time. During that time any flagged character, or character construct that comes into contact with a NPC Peacekeeper Ship can be engaged and attacked by the NPC. The combat can result in the player being killed, the NPC being killed, or by out maneuvering and getting out of contact range of the Peacekeeper.
New PvE Content that helps teach a slightly more advanced form of PvP.
Makes being a pirate actually feel like being a pirate running from the PoPo.
Make the Safe Zone a Safe Zone for a reason that makes sense.
Phase 1 Part 3: Bounties
NPC Organizations already exist in the game. Aphelia gives missions for them all the time. They also exist in the Challenges. So it would only make sense if you start racking up kills on their NPC Ships that they would start getting cranky with you.
How it could work:
When you reach a certain notoriety with a NPC Organization a bounty could be issued by them through the mission system that lasts for a certain amount of time. If a player has a bounty on them, they are free game within the Safe Zone. This, much like the Pirating flag that instructs Peacekeeping Ships that you are attackable, allows you to be engaged by other players, even within the Safe Zone. It would have to come with some features though, and consequences for being a bad pirate and getting yourself killed by a Bounty Hunter.
1: If you are killed while you have a bounty on you there would be a cooldown that prevents you from being able to attack the NPC’s in the Safe Zone for a certain period of time. This would help prevent someone spamming the system to let their friends kill them for bounty money.
2: Players in an organization you are in are not eligible to collect the bounty. No gaming the system peoples.
3: During the cooldown you would also not be available for Special Missions outlined in Phase 2.
Eases players into full PvP situations.
Additional Content for PvPers who wish to be Bounty Hunters.
A more realistic universe.
Phase 1 Part 4: Beyond the Invisible Safe Wall
Taking everything learned and refined from the first four phases, extend this system to the other outer planets and areas. Higher profile NPC Targets with more goodies and parts. Except these ships are armed. This would provide both a PvE avenue for out of Safe Zone Combat Content, while also allowing for PvP players and Organizations to hunt down, and even fight over the NPC Ships. The same Bounty System would apply to these ships, and likely give a higher reward fee considering the ships taken down were more valuable. Could easily see a Scenario where a few players are fighting over the same ship, while also fighting each other, as the ship fights them as well. Pure Chaos. Love it.
More fun content and options
Now that we have added some new features and life to the Universe, things are definitely looking up. But we can expand upon the new systems and the old to add more things for players to do and make their place in the Dual Universe.
Phase 2 Part 1: Work Orders
With the prices, especially of T1 ores constantly fluctuating in value, generally in the case of T1, dropping like a rock, Work Orders could be an amazing solution to this problem. Many Elements can be made with the cheap ore, such as wings, basic engines, containers, etc, but unless you have mega factories with a generous flow of materials, Life can be rough to build your empire. Works orders a Solution to that problem. Markets can already give you the average value currently being set market, region, or universe wide, so why not integrate that into Work Order Missions.
How it could work:
Work Orders for T1 ore can be issued by various Markets or Organizations for delivery. This can be adjusted and valued by averages. In addition to being paid fair market price for your ore at the going rates, you could also cash in on some mission income for delivering to complete the order. Much in line with how missions work now, the missions would require you to deliver OreX to PlaceY.
Work Order for Components can be issued by various Markets or NPC Organizations. These could range from parts, manufactured materials, or complete elements. (Someone has to make those Ailerons being delivered to Market 12). Again, paying fair market value plus a mission completion reward.
* Offers additional ways to make money without having pure bots to buy up ore at the Market, which NQ has said will not come back while utilizing the Mission System.
*Someone just dropped 200 Wing M’s on the Market and undercut you? Fine. Sell the ones you have made to Aphelia for components plus the mission delivery award.
*Stimulates the Economy and helps diversify the monopoly of component manufacturing.
*Give industrialists more incentive to do what they enjoy doing and make an earning off of it.
*With Ore, Components, and Elements being flushed into oblivion, it would help raise the actual value of the Ore used to produce and make T1 more profitable.
Phase 2 Part 2: Extended Bounty System
Someone blew you up while you were just trying to run that mission package to Jago? Do you want to return the favor, but aren’t much of a PvPer? Do you just want people to blow up people from Legion? Is it -worth- it to pay someone to enact revenge on your behalf? Then the Bounty System is for you.
How it could work:
A bounty system added to the current mission system. You offer up a Bounty, choose the target, and place the bounty. When/If someone kills the target with the Bounty mission, they get the payout, minus Mission Fees of course. Of course they will know who put the bounty out on them... So might want to watch your own back!
Sweet Sweet Revenge.
More content for players wanting to be Bounty Hunters.
Phase 2 Part 3:
With the implementation of the mechanics in Phase 1, a dark opposite to Aphelia has emerged, just on the edge of the Safe Zone and PvP Space. A Rogue AI working for who knows who or what, has missions available at its station. These missions send you after specific targets for specific things, and none of it could be considered legal.
How it could work:
Taking a mission would provide you a general location where the target will spawn, and a general time frame of when to expect the target to be passing through. The missions could range from just destroying the target and pirate what you want, or maybe the mission requires something from the cargo hold of the ship you just blew up for cash. What it would ever want with the Terran DNA samples, who knows. Value of the mission reward would depend on the difficulty of the mission. Some targets may be armed, or not, or maybe there is a very brief window in which you would be able to find the ship. Regardless, you like getting your hands dirty and as long as you haven’t failed recently being successfully hunted for being a pirate, these missions are for you.
PvE Pirate Missions in both Safe Space and PvP Space.
More Content = Things for players and new players to do except grind = Good.
So as stated previously, this is just a thought experiment based on my own opinions and things I think would bring some much needed content and life to the game. What are your thoughts? Would you like to see these types of things implemented? Are you hardcore ZugZug stay the course? What do you like, what do you dislike? Please discuss.