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  1. Hi Everyone, If you did gather all the info on this game you may have notice 3 things: - JC said (approximately) : "would be cool to have a lua script which make your ship doing an automatic front to back (180° turn) with one button so you can face a foe behind you" - The game will be first person view. - As everyone know, pvp will be lock then fight depending of characteristic of your ship, I guess he has EvE gameplay in mind. Problem: This 3 "things" belong to very different game design choices, because the first one is "arcade" or "simulation" gameplay, where you need to react fast to face your taget (and aim?) in order to shoot at it correctly. The second, FPS mode, is also arcade gameplay where you have the limitation of the view angle and camera, increasing the difficulty of finding your target compared to a third person. Last is tactical gameplay, where you certainly have to react fast as well, but more important, have to do choices giving a certain situation, you analyze and react, prepare the situation before it comes (design your fit). It is all but arcade mechanics, compare EvE online against Elite Dangerous and you'll get what I have in mind. Well, it is emergent gameplay ! Why not mix ? Well ... because you are manoeuvring your ship in an arcade way, you expect to eventually dodge, do nice things moves and enjoy a dogfight ... while the damage you do and you suffer are actually not dependent of this here... In a more technical way, the game is using position prediction to simulate smooth movement while the position information of player are updated not frequently enough to simulate a dogfight. You may say, it is not the goal of the game, indeed, so why would we even need "arcade" mechanics ? Just put a ship list on the right of your cockpit UI and click on "target" then "orbit at 10km" if you know what I mean. I could also add to this the concept of big ship with plenty of automatic weapons < big ship with plenty of manual weapons controlled by several players, (why would I ever want to sit on cockpit and click on "target" then "fire", then "target, then "fire", etc). I am not shooting at the game right now, I just want to expose my concern about the risk of such a gameplay, it could be very frustrating to have smooth and cool control of your ship but with no relevant impact in a fight. Overall, the mix is dangerous and could lead to unhappy or unpleasant gameplay feeling. And yes I know that there is technical reason underneath, but here we may need an emergent technology to solve this... (Lock then P2P to avoid Server overload, would be like P2P on the fly with your target ? I'm not really a specialist in that specific domain you probably thought of this already) That's an open topic, please throw your thoughts. Aesir
  2. Balancing for different player types. In spirit of "balanced pvp destruction system" https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/835-balanced-pvp-destruction-system/page-5#entry9398 Important: parts 1 - 3 is purely theoretical game design nonsense. 4 is game mechanics thoughts. 5 is whole thing conceptually summed up First, some important notes: 1) Very little reasoning of 'why?' will be given. Generally, "all successful mmos do this" will applicable, and they have their reasons. Most of those reasons also apply to DU. NOTE: or so I wrote initially... in practice it turned out to be a 'why?' behind my previous posts. Oops... 2) The ultimate goal of this nonsense is "Maximize player count while maintaining intended creative direction." With this out of the way, lets get started. Part 1: abstract nonsense (2) means players of vastly different type and behaviors are target audience. Each of their very different experiences must be built to be enjoyable and complete. Many gameplay systems involve having "negative outcome" for some of the participants. Possibility of failure is natural part of 'game' concept, and is usual way of how sustained 'excitement' is achieved. With that said, there are many things to be aware of: 1) Actual negative outcome generates negative feeling in player. While impact of abstract 'you lose' is very small, actual loss of time causes big frustration. 2) Excitement generated by negative outcome comes solely from 'possibility' of it, this means: -negative outcome must not guaranteed. -it is beneficial if player is involved in the process, and outcome is determined by his actions. -well designed feedback loop is desired in such case. Self-improvement is one of the ways long-term engagement is maintained. 3) Highest excitement doesn't equal best experience. Exciting gameplay should be balanced with relaxing gameplay. Another note, this balance is different for different players. . . Part 2: different player types. Obvious conflicting player archetypes: PvE <-> PvP Group <-> Solo New <-> Experienced* ... These archetypes do not describe game-mechanics, but player outlook. Same mechanic can be experienced and will be different to different archetypes. Those archetypes are not binary, players often enjoy mix of outlooks. Again, balance varies by person. PvE outlooks are mostly interested in game-world interaction. This in different proportions involves interest in: -exploration of game world (which may come in many forms, sometimes unexpected, like politics) -creativity (again, many forms) -amassing in-game possessions PvP outlook on the other hand finds npc game-world boring, and gets most enjoyment of challenging other people. It may come in many forms, and players can make pretty much anything competitive. -most common PvP activity is player-vs-player battles, in which both sides risk losing in-game possessions - is one of the players was not willing participant, his previous gameplay is interrupted(bad), and in case of loss that gameplay cannot be resumed (very bad). -above does not apply if danger and risk are important part of the gameplay experience. Such experience is not desirable for many (arguably most) players, but it does open new possibilities. -PvP outlook is not interested in earning assets PvE way, and PvP itself is asset sink. Group outlook enjoys communicating, and by extension cooperating with other players during gameplay. Solo outlook on the other hand does not enjoy mixing player-communication with gameplay, or more commonly people who want to experience game through their own strength and knowledge. *While not a personality trait, player skill largely remains more or less constant during play session, and has arguably the most impact. That's why it should also be designed around. Part 3: Archetype balance. What was said above together with common sense (Ha! more like me not wanting to explain myself) translates into: -PvE players should be able to engage in desired PvE gameplay with minimal PvP risk. This should be true for any player skill level and group preference -PvE players may instead choose different, risky option that has bigger in-game reward. This should be true for both solo and group players -most of in-game possessions of PvE players should be protected, and have reasonable progression. Independent of player skill level and group preference -some in-game possessions should be contestable, and also give reasonable benefit. Both solo and group players should have contestable possessions. Player skill should greatly determine safety. -PvP players should have expected PvP activity points, where there is constant PvP action. This applies to both groups and solos of all skill levels. -PvP players should have a way to earn valuables via PvP activity. This should apply to both groups and solo, but is dependent of skill, as all such valuables come from other players. -It is desirable that most of those points come from flexible and not binary system, in order to suit most players. -Losing possessions without owner's involvement and chance to defend is pure negative -Group play should reward reasonable material benefits. It is because of inefficency that comes with groups, as well as extra effort, time and risk required to set it up Applying those arguably universal (in MMO sense) points to Dual Universe creative design, that's what I came up with: Part 4: Actually sensible stuff I - Safe zones must exist and be readily available, where: Assets in liquid form (materials) should be mostly untouchable. Small ships should be mostly untouchable online, and fully untouchable during normal offline period. Players can build small structures and ships in relative safety without hiding. Big assets should be touchable when offline to keep universe coherency. Defenders should also be given enough time to respond, so that confrontation is actual PvP. Delayed systems similar to EvE reinforce timers or vulnerability windows are proposed. Safe zone should make it more lax All those things should also apply to new and solo players. With all that said, I propose a system be put in place that generates safe zones based on player activity and gives benefits to all players inside(dynamic anonymous player cities, if you will), and also the one that pushes organised territory owners to extend benefits to anonymous players. Very rough ideas: https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/835-balanced-pvp-destruction-system/page-5#entry9515 II - PvE activity should cover whole spectrum from safe to risky. example: mining -safest place to mine is within core systems, but benefit is also smallest there. These system require minimum investment, and danger is absolute minimal. -secondly, there are many many random uninhabited systems nearby, that scans say are not really rich. Going there should cost non-trivial amount of fuel, as well as risking the ship. In order to catch you, pirates must either track you there, or must have had scanning satellites there themselves. On the other hand, you can also notice their approach and pre-emptively escape. This should be contest of player skill, with no way one side is guaranteed victory. If you escape, both sides lose because of fuel. Those systems should be numerous enough that player attacks are really unlikely. On the other hand, losing a ship is also non-trivial matter. Average long term will depend on player skill in those rare instances. -thirdly, there is establishing outpost in random system. You can base from there, as well as do basic refining, which will greatly increase profit. On the other hand, this is great investment of time and money, as well as presents bigger risk someone will stumble upon it. -then, there are really rich systems in local cluster, that everyone wants to mine. They are few and rich, and also default area for pirates, organised mining groups, really skillful solos, and player organisations. Those system provide a lot bigger profit, but also guarantee a high risk. -and lastly, there are universe wide honeypots. Recently discovered regions of great economical importance. They hold previously scarce materials in great quantities. Because of them, price now and half a year from or before now will differ greatly. All biggest political players want and fight for them, with numerous smaller entities also in the chaos. True gold rush, with insane risk and payoffs NOTE: this built solely upon 3 things: number of systems, their payoff, and investment amount. All those things could be very finely balanced and tweaked with actual testing. NOTE: this is based upon travel model https://board.dualthegame.com/index.php?/topic/933-am-i-alone-in-thinking-that-stargate-probes-are-a-bad-idea/page-5#entry9459 III - PvP activity should be varied, engaging, and challenging. Pure "I win" mechanics benefit none in the long run. Just in the above example, hunters have variety of possibilities: pure combat and ambushes of local riches; tracking and stealth of no-name miners, with possibility of siege; high excitement rush of honeypots. Plus mercenary work to counter all of it Group combat has all of it and beyond, with assaulting and defending territory and static assets getting bigger role. Important part is, in every situation, outcome is dependent on skill of both hunter and prey. Even numbers are not "I win", in most of those, detection plays a key rule, so bringing bigger force is automatically detriment to the attacker. On the other hand, it is also not guaranteed win for defender. Stealth is their biggest asset, and a single enemy is enough to ruin it. Sure, hunters get delayed, and miners have a second chance to notice a second approach, but solo pirate still benefits of selling convoy's location. Part 5: Closure & TLDR In short, what I call for is segregation of player base based on preferences. Players should be given an option of playing safe or risky. Players should be given an option of playing smart or easy. Risky or less profitable. Solo or group. PvE or PvP. And in every case gameplay should accommodate them. Building should be a right, not a privilege. As should be attacking structures. Solos should be protected from group abuse. Groups should be protected from solo trolling. The gamedesign grail lies not in making a single person dream game, but making a dream game of every player. P.S. Version 1.01 - added important note because I wasn't clear
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