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A classic case of vision getting in the way of good game design (also known as fun). This is a post about what civilization is / can be in Dual Universe, and perhaps what went wrong. Before diving in, here are some of my assumptions: - JC is a scientist, not a game designer - JC is a micromanager - JC does not want to listen to his devs (some of which worked for Ubisoft and know a thing or two about good game design and mechanics) - Because of the assumption above, I also assume there's a degree of conflict between devs and JC - I assume a lot might change up to release since this is a beta, but something tells me... not really, given the track record so far of very good ideas being thrown away or not listened to (classic examples include bot market orders screwup in beta, this was talked about extensively by Blazemonger and a slew of other people in the community, was completely ignored, and the results are clear) Lets get the whole "but it's a beta" shtick out of the way... if you can't, just pretend that you can. To the point: The game suffers from very bad game design choices. My stance is, if this game was really about civilization building, the mechanics of the game would be very different than they are now. What is civilization? organization of individuals into social bodies due to selective pressures characteristics of civilization include: social structure and hierarchy, efficiency, work organization, supply of needs, development of more efficient technologies selective pressures that create civilization include, but are not limited to: resource shortage, non-uniform resource distribution, geography, weather, proximity to neighboring civilizations, war, dangerous environment, dangerous neighbors I'm sure a lot of you have seen (or were part of groups that tried to build) cities in DU. Some have actually done so. The problem is, they are completely useless and empty. They look nice, there was tremendous effort in making them, but they are completely nonfunctional because no one needs to be in a city. And that is due to the fact that there really are no selective pressures for civilization at all. There is no reason to be in a group because there is no danger. There is no scarcity of distribution of regular ore. We have safezones on all planets, and a big giant safezone around three planets. Why would anyone live in a city? There are no "white-collar" and "service" game mechanics that characterize cities. DU has no danger element at all (even in pvp zone, if you don't fly in the pipe, you're pretty much golden) DU has no progressive tech tree DU has no progression, it has quanta gates for elements that anyone can acquire and use given they have the quanta for it I can go on, but for an analysis of "civilization" just read this discord post: https://discord.com/channels/184691218184273920/304455542162587649/80629454165311491 I know this is wishful thinking at this point, but DU would be much better off with actual game design: Better Talent System: scrap the Eve talents system (some things should really not be copied), instead have a tech progression tree where you unlock technologies you can use. And have the skill grow based on your activity in the game, not a set amount of points per hour. It's gamey , it's simple, it's fun, it's very intuitive. And you can always add more tech to the tree indefinitely as the game grows. This will allow whole orgs to gravitate towards a direction in the tech tree so we actually get diversity in org playing styles. For example, one org can develop their pvp armadas with ballistics (machine guns, gattling guns, big bertha weapons), another org might focus their armada pvp tech research into laser or electonic warfare. The same can go with unlocking building technologies. The same can go for politics and leadership styles within an org. Have it all be a research tree. There are countless ways of adding diversity and different paths to a game using this mechanic instead of the Eve Talent Points system. Safe Zones: seriously.. is Sanc Moon not enough? The game lacks any danger and people just stop playing because of tedium and burn out. You won't believe how hard it is to convince people to gather into PVP events in this game because they're just too bored of it, it has zero consequence. Sanc moon is a sanctuary moon. That is its purpose. Better Consequences: This game has the wrong consequences. What seems to be happening is a bunch of nerfing to create more consequences in the game, such as talk about nerfing linked container distance, brakes, mining, this whole permadamage to elements, etc. How about actual danger, not the tedium of fixing and replacing parts? How about lowering the cost of building guns and ammo? Halfing most of the voxel HP? How about designing the game so that more people can get into pvp easier, and if they lose, the cost isn't too great that they are discouraged from ever trying it again? JC should actually listen to his devs and game designer (if he has one): lets face it, economists, mathmeticians, scientists, or whoever NQ may or may not consult about their game.. they are not playing the game. WE ARE. What we are witnessing is the result of the disconnect between how gamers play and how JC thinks a game should run. And it is our wallets that are paying. This means JC should listen to his devs. This means JC should really hire a game designer, they are a rare species and it's difficult to find a good one, but if you do, please listen to that person. JC may know stuff about robotics, but as I see it, he has no clue about human psychology, especially gamer psychology. My rant is over. Catch me outside how bout dat.
At its current state DU is nothing more than a game prototype. All this talk about civilization building where the game mechanics are nothing remotely about "civilization building"... and no, ability to build cities with voxels does not qualify. A city is not a bunch of buildings, it's the social aspect and the reasoning behind living in a city in the first place. DU does not have social drivers for civilization, DU does not have selective pressures for civilization organization (no danger, no scarcity, pvp is just flying space castle sieges, no technological progression system at all)... The common plight of big universe games (Elite Dangerous I'm looking at you) is they are going for scale, not depth. In Elite, I can basically play the whole game loop in less than 2 hours, you just have millions of planets and systems to play that game loop in. I feel like DU is going the same way. A new system will not fix the current problems as it will only make the universe larger but will not add depth. It's a common and frankly silly mistake, especially in DU context. What I am proposing here is focusing on depth, which requires a massive amount of content (what we've been asking for since... forever). You get the depth right with a fun game loop for the majority, you can then extrapolate that unto new systems. I know that this whole thing is wishful thinking at this point of the "beta" that should be an early alpha, but here goes: A way to simulate "civilization" in DU would be to scrap this Eve talent system (some things really shouldn't be copied) and do an org-based technological progression system. NOTE, not a skills tree, a TECH tree: You have to be in an org to even progress in advanced technologies... Or there should be more technology branches available for group context Solo players should have basic technology progression available to them to facilitate solo play, and maybe a separate tech tree. Solo player tech tree should not be an afterthought, maybe it should have some cooler stuff than org tech trees. But the higher tier advanced stuff should only be in group context. Tech can only be progressed through when you are actively doing actions that facilitate skills /numbers that unlock a tech path (you have to play to progress) Vast technological skills tree that unlocks stuff on an org basis. This automatically creates groups of people that progress through technology differently and this adds a ton of variety to orgs. an org can choose to progress through a more electronic line of skill, while another one might focus on plasma, another one might focus more on laser tech. an org may choose to develop agricultural skills for resource generation, or more mining, or more building.. debatable topic here but it's not hard to imagine that with this system orgs will specialize As you climb further and further up the tech tree the branches have wider distance from each other, meaning that it's a lot harder to cover the whole tree (you need to specialize AS AN ORG in a certain area of technology) This should be a background systems with interesting skills (so you don't have to feel like you need to hit a rock X number of times to gain a better skill in idk... pooping). Skills progress organically based on actions, the difficult part is making the grind not grind for its own sake. You can have org waypoints (for example, some skills have multiple options and the org has to choose what type of said technology they want to unlock, they can't have both). IMPORTANT - this system gives devs a ton of room and opportunity to add more stuff to the tree whenever they want to, basically an unlimited system. An example of a skill tree from Path of Exile: Granted this is a different mmo and all that (do not comment on path of exiles, irrelevant to the topic, I'm just showing a tree, could have used a different game), but the principle remains the same. As you go out to the outer layers of the tech tree you are forced to specialize because it becomes much harder, even impossible to cover everything on the outer branches of the tree in a group context. Skill training is done organically in group context, you simply focus on what you want to train and do those activities. In my opinion this system simulates "civilization building" much better than the Eve talent system which only focuses on the individual anyway, with few skills in group context. The main thing with this tech system is it gives devs plenty of room to add more features and technologies to the tree, and as an mmo, new content is always important. Anyway, what do you all think? And before someone says "I specifically joined DU to avoid doing x number of stupid quests to gain a skill point", this is not what I mean by this tree. Tech should be acquired organically, not through some lame quests. Valheim for example has a really nice organic skill generation system, you don't even spec skills. You CAN'T. You automatically gain skill based only on what you do. I think this is a good system. I think it will encourage people to group up, I think it will add a ton of variety into orgs, and I think it will greatly increase specialized fun.
Closing Thread due to Technical Issues and Development considerations. Please unfollow. We will rethink our organizations approach and development, on hope to provide a place for collaboration an relationship building. Forgive me for backing out of the original ideas. In the future, an organization thread will supply more concrete structure and purpose.
There have been some topics around this area, particularly with building ships, but I feel that the this is a concept valid for the entire game. In a huge civilization-building, player-interactions-driven game, I feel that having people skilled in just certain areas will eventually lead to a more enjoyable experience for players. And this is something that many people may disagree with upon first hearing it, but find in the long run that they think it works really well. Or maybe they'll hate it! I want to share my opinion on it though, and I ask that those reading, who may think it's stupid, give it a chance. Also remember that there are two sides to this, neither are correct, and both are valid. It's just opinion based. If anyone is familiar with the game series LittleBigPlanet, the first and second iterations for the PS3 played a huge role in a season of my life. They were the main games I played for months, and I had a friend who was into it as I was. Anyway if you don't know the game, it's not important. Basically, you use some basic tools to make little minigame-ish things (I'll refer to them as levels). Anyway, in the first game, there were a few levels and creators that stood out significantly from all the rest, because they were fantastic (anyone that knows the name "Lockstitch" off the top of their head is a freaking awesome person). Me and my friend, we knew exactly what tools were available, and what you could and "couldn't" do. But some few levels stood out to us because, as people who knew the game inside and out, we had no clue how they some of these things were accomplished. A fair few levels were outstanding and amazing due to their mechanics and visuals. When LittleBigPlanet 2 arrived, there were tons and tons of new tools added. These were fun and great to be sure, but they made everything that made the old levels special, not special. Because, all of the fantastic things that had been done before (in the first game) were now basic and easy because there were tools to do them (in the second game). This made a lot of great content a lot more common. Which of course was a good thing. And there were certainly levels that still pushed the boundaries. But overall, by making cool and unique things easy, it made great content a lot more common and thereby a lot less special. If Dual Universe makes building easy, and mining easy, and combat easy, and exploration easy... Well, then there are going to be lots of amazing ships, and lots of miners, and lots of warriors and lots of explorers. You may say, "that sounds great!" But, remember my exceedingly dramatic and emotional story. When you make it easy, it stops being special. In a game like Dual Universe, where player interactions and jobs and organizations are such a key factor, it shouldn't be easy to do anything. It shouldn't be easy to switch from a being an efficient miner working for a large corporation to a stupendous explorer finding rare resources on hostile worlds at the edge of the known galaxy. Sure, you can switch job titles and do whatever you want whenever you want, because it's a game! I'm just saying you shouldn't be able to switch from being outstanding at one thing, to suddenly outstanding at another. This allows individuals the opportunity to stand out, and be known for something. "Hey he's that guy that makes that line of super efficient yet powerful ships. I don't know how he comes up with that stuff." "What, you want to send Xx_M8_SLAYR_xX to go hunting for that anomaly? He's an architect, someone else will find it way sooner!" If someone wants to be known for something, then they go for that something and only that and they end up being great at it, and known for it. Lots of people will choose to not do this, which allows the few that do to stand out. I can't really say much else that I haven't said already. I believe I've gotten my point across. Regarding designing ships or stations, it's easier to see how an individual could be better at it than most others. Mining or exploration expertise could be accomplished, not just by having better equipment or skills, but also by there being hidden techniques that people just have to learn by doing it. Thank you for reading and please try and be civil in your response, as, once again, both opinions are valid! When everyone's special, no one is... And if you're good at something, never do it for free!