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A new take on territories

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I have to say, that honestly, I’m not very happy with how territories have been presented up until now. And I thought very long about alternate solutions to what the dev’s have presented and I may have come up with something. Tell me what you think and how you would maybe improve on my system. (This is also an elaboration on the short post I made on the dev-blog discussion on territories)


So I’ll go with the example the dev’s gave: a 30 km radius Planet and hexagonal-tiles with a 1km long side. Let’s start calculating.


Spherical Surface Area:                4 x 30km^2 x π = 11,309 km^2


Hexagonal Surface Area:              1km^2 x 3/2 x sqroot(3) = 2.6 km^2


Approximate Number of Tiles:    11,309 km^2 / 2.6 km^2 = 4,352.99


That seems like a lot, but since DU is a MMO we’ll be expecting thousands of players. For the sake of argument, let’s say 1’000’000 players want to start instantly when the game releases (it’s a great game so let’s be optimistic).


Number of planets needed so everyone gets one tile: 1’000’000 / 4,349.6 = 229.73


Assuming that planets in DU on average are covered to 50% by oceans we roughly get 460 planets with a radius of 30 km. Considering that the earths equatorial radius lies at 6,378.1 km, a planet with such a small radius is more like an asteroid.

But since I couldn’t find anything on planet sizes in the Dev-Blogs I’ll stick with the 30 km radius for my examples but I’ll list a few just to see how much space there actually might be.




Number of Planets needed























Just a small input on planet sizes, I doubt that there will be any planets larger than 100 km in radius for gameplay reasons (If 2’000 people work together and every person claims one tile a day the 100 km radius planet still take just over 24 days, the 200 km one would already take 97 days, that’s a quarter-year of daily territory claiming)


So after all that math, here’s my conclusion: making territory-markers rare will further lengthen the process of empire building severely. However, the ‘Gold-Rush’ alternative isn’t all that great either, since it would lead to patchworks of infinitely small nations and other organizations that fight over nothing and the game would, just like in the other scenario, take decades to finally bring some really strong empires to light.


So if neither option, getting territories easily nor making it hard to get territories, quit works with the potential of the game, we may be looking at the problem from the wrong side, in short:


Make the territories easy to get, but hard to keep!


This way a player trying to single-handedly claim and keep a territory will eventually be faced with a choice, sell, delegate or abandon. In the sell case the territory changes hands to either another player who will likely also fail or to an organization that can add it to its empire.

Should the player delegate, he either rent’s the territory out in order the make ends meet, or he gets integrated into an organization like a state or a company, can keep owner-ship of the land but is now part of a larger corporation.

In case of abandonment, the territory will simply be reclaimed by someone else or an organization.


A collective of maybe 10 players could get a territory working long-term without a major influence from outside like renting/delegating. This would naturally nudge players towards a more community driven game-style early on, were one has to rely on others to create a powerful entity.


Later on, when the players have established a few territories in groups, they could either join up with other groups to strengthen their economic/political power or divide parts of the territory among each other so the dream of a self-owned company may become realistic with a steady income from the organization they are part of.

All this leads to entity delegation, where in order to survive you become part of something bigger to make your own dreams come true, just like we go to work at a company to finance the other things in life we’d all like to do.


So that would have been what I would change with the planetary territories.


I’m not going to go into how space territories should be handled since the dev’s haven’t said how they would do it and so I don’t know what’s feasible to do and what not. I’ll only say that I think space-territories should be much larger than planet-territories (I’m happy with their size).


On to the PvP-Free-Zones, which got me thinking about redesigning the territory-system in the first place.

The last-time the dev-team talked about these they said they weren’t sure how to implement them specifically, but that they most definitively are going to.


After scouring the forums all afternoon I find that there are three groups of people, those who want completely untouchable safe-zones, those who think safe-zones are annoying and break immersion and those who stand in between: safe-zones? Sure! Indestructible? Eh, not so much.

I stand with the last group on this matter. In order to make the game attractive to the active fighter/entrepreneur type and the more passive, builder/miner type safe-zones need to be there, but they can’t be indestructible since whatever organization first controls them is de facto immortal.


So they have to be conquerable and they have to be PvP-free. Quite the challenge.


But before we think about destroying them let’s first figure out how to create them. Now in this instance I feel, that it should be hard to get an arkified tile (like the dev’s call it). So in my earlier post on the Developers Blog I said that in order to make a tile into an ark-tile it would have to be surrounded by two rows of territories belonging to the same organization. I wrote that article in haste and only put little thought to the numbers so I estimated rather than calculated so all and any upcoming numbers are most likely vastly different from those in the post put the concept is the same.


Two rows would mean that one entity would have to own at least 19 tiles. On our example Planet that equals 0.44% of the total area, basically nothing. I played around with the numbers for some time and came to the conclusion that 3 rows would definitively be needed, which would require 37 tiles (0.85%). The biggest change from my previous post comes here, if you wish to add a second ark-tile next to the first one you need a 4 tile perimeter around BOTH ark-tiles (74 tiles; 1.70%).

This would keep going up to 7 ark-tiles. Which would need a 9 tile perimeter around all 7 tiles, if these are arranged in a circle this would result in 331 tiles which would make up 7.60% of the planet’s surface.

The reason I upped the maximum number of adjacent ark-tiles from 3 to 7 is because I calculated the average land area of the U.S.A.’s largest 150 cities, which comes to 601.3 km^2. Of course this also counts in suburbs, so assuming 10% of a city is downtown area we get 60 km^2 for our city center. 7 tiles add up to 18.19 km^2 whereas 3 merely give 7.8 km^2. I thought there should be more area available in a maxed out ark-field, if we really want large cities.


If the 7 ark-tile limit is reached another ark-tile must be 50 tiles away. I upped this number again because a maxed out ark-field has a 10 tile perimeter from its center, so two ark-fields would only have 5 tiles of buffer-zone in between their field of influence, but more on why that needs to be bigger later.

In order to give organizations some more freedom when placing ark-fields I think that the less ark-tiles are connected the smaller the minimal distance to other ark-fields should be, but I’m not quite sure how to make that work exactly. Perhaps up to two tiles the minimal distance would have to be 20 tiles and then three would have 25, four 30, five 35, six 40 and seven as before 50, something like that


If we keep true to our circular shaped ark-fields then the area of one ‘unit’ for a maxed out ark-field would be the centre ark-tile, one outside ark-tile and then half of the minimal distance in between two ark-fields gives us a total of 26 rows plus the centre-piece which equals 2107 tiles making up 48.40% So a maximum of two maxed out ark-fields of the same organization have enough space on one 30km radius planet. However, if it’s different organizations the 50 km minimal distance does not apply, so the highest number of possible ark-fields would be determined by the 331 tiles necessary to build a maxed out ark-field which would result, at optimal placing, in 13 maxed out hubs.

The reason I want the minimal distance to fall away in between two ark-fields owned by two different organizations is to make it harder to keep a totally controlled planet, and to let trade federations made up of loosely connected, yet politically mostly separate entities to flourish with many trade hubs and large cities.


Now that we know how to make ark-fields, let’s conquer one.


I mentioned an “Area of Influence” before, the rows outside ark-fields necessary to make ark-tiles are what I call the area of influence, it shares all it's power so that it can accumulate a large amount of it, necessary to use large scale weaponry and powerful shields for example. Making an attack from space there a costly option. Which is why I wanted to expand the buffer-zone in between areas of influence, to make planetary invasions easier.

The reason I intend the area of influence to be so powerful is to protect the ark-zones, because as soon as an ark-tile doesn’t fulfill the requirements explained above, it will lose its ark-status after a countdown has clocked down.

The area of influence however retains its characteristics until it is completely conquered in order to hold the enemy at bay, while the citizens of the city flee.


Speaking of fleeing, during an ark-tile countdown all people inside that tile can invoke asylum, which turns all their weapons off, but protects them and their property until the timer runs out. This way they can flee without worrying about their stuff.


A conquered ark-tile will no longer function as an ark-tile, it would have to be rearkified by its new owner.


Now just to explain why I prefer my overly complex system to the ones the dev’s gave. The tokens or mysterious items that would make arkification possible are down to luck on whether or not you find them or are able to buy them off someone. Whereas my system needs hard work and dedication, it’s a community project everyone has to work together for.


Thanks for reading though all that, tell me what you think and what you believe isn't right or wouldn't work and why. Cheers :D

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It seems the forum doesn't take kindly to word-tables, so here's the table with the planet sizes again:


r      15;      t               1'088.25;  p 1'387.82

r      30;      t               4'352.99;  p   459.45

r      60;      t             17'411.96;  p   114.86

r    100;      t            48'366.56;   p    41.35

r    200;      t          193'466.23;   p    10.34

r    500       t       1'209'163.91;   p      1.65

r 6'378.1;   t   196'755'924.03;   p      0.01

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I am also in the "last category" you described. An ark-tile needs to be destructible or it will be abused by organizations cause they can.


When I first saw your proposal on the DevBlog. I wasn't that fond of it. But looking at it now makes me reconsider. I am glad that you have thought about the trade cities.


I'm a little wary about this though, as builders require a whole load of space to build things. I'm just wondering how usable this will be for the intended people.


I'm just thinking this will become a base shield for the HQ of an organisation. And wont be used just due to the hassle of so much territory.


I like the values you've communicated in terms of territory as well. Make territories simple to gain, but challenging to keep.


I think community will definitely play a big part in how well this works. Half thoughts here. Don't mind me.

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ok, a few thoughts for you

1. The way you calculate the number of tiles needed is not appropriate, there will be a huge number of unwanted tiles due to bad topology or other stuff, so the number of players who will own a tile per planet will be way lower. But thats not really a problem because that will be self regulating, there will be only few single players who are able to hold a (good) tile and most will lose it due to groups who want to claim it for themselves, so in the end the good ones will be divided by a lot of groups and very few strong single players.


While i do think the idea of conquering the "ark influence area" is quite interesting and would probably work out well, especially for tactical guild wars i don't like the absolute pvp protection in the center tiles, completely disabling weapons etc. is just to immersion breaking. 

Even tho it might require less tactical warfare, i'd still favor a system where you can build force fields around your property and use drones who attack every offender by default to saveguard the peace. You could still use surrounding tiles to generate additional power for the force field in the primary tile, forcing enemies to take down those other tiles first to increase the complexity of warfare.

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Or just leave the entire process of territory taking, holding, and claiming to the players and not have any features that could be potentially limiting.


thats what is intended, but no matter what, you still need a framework for it.

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I prefer the idea of Free for All as much as possible. While it does make it more dangerous if the rewards match the risk I'm ok with it. More artificial limits/rules that are put in the game might be off putting to newcomers who will have to learn /grasp these rules as well as some of these rules could be immersion breaking which would be a pity.

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Single players will not be claiming territories to themselves. Claiming territories is for groups of players. A single territory tile has enough space to build a large city for hundreds of players. Or it might have enough resources for a mining company of dozens of players. It all depends on who and what are on the tile, near the tile, etc. But in any case we can safely say that planets will not be divided up into hundreds of territories owned by single players.


Arkification and territory claiming should be kept separate. Invulnerable no-pvp zones should be free ports, available for anyone to use and claimed by no one - just like the Arkship Secure Area. In order to keep the systems separate there had to be minimum distance allowed between arkified and claimed territories.

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