As many of you might remember, I was (and still am) a big supporter of the game MechWarrior: Online. The game’s core mechanics are quite solid, and the gameplay is calculated and tactical. Some have called it “the thinking man’s shooter”. Conversely, its biggest shortcoming has been its inability to give players a reason to keep playing.
Why do the matches matter, for example? What does the player have to incentivize them to continue playing? Buying the next shiny 'mech is just about the only one in MechWarrior: Online, which obviously results in a very poor long-term experience.
What, if anything, has been discussed to make the epic scale space battles meaningful and engaging? For example, player corporations, faction affiliations, a galaxy map for which players fight over, resources, etc.
Personally, I would like to see at the very least player corporations/factions, and a galaxy map with territories, resources, and jump points. Perhaps the ability to upgrade certain planets with defensive installations.
I think we’re unlikely to get a galaxy map or multiple systems. I:B will work much better if it stays focussed. Besides, I reckon that a single, life-sized solar system will be enough space (pun intended) on its own!
However, I totally agree there needs to be long-term playability. Player corporations and faction affiliations are obvious and could definitely increase competition. Keith has already mentioned resources and the like may be potential stretch goals, which could widen the game beyond simple combat.
Fluid persistence would be the biggest thing in my book. A persistent system that changes over time depending on how battles are going gives an incentive to help your side. Finding ways to expand your faction’s influence in the system etc. Just something to make it seem like your battles are having an impact on the wider war.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but ONE match will take place in ONE solar system? Not multiple matches in one solar system.
What I envisioned when I said “Galaxy Map”, I simply meant an instance of a solar system connected to a node on the map. The map would then in turn have many nodes that represent that region, with which player factions could take over if they win the match, or a certain number of matches. They could even be the exact same solar system in practice, or small variations of the same one, really.
The point is to create some depth for the game. Obviously though, the focus has to be on the core gameplay. But to have a GREAT game, rather than simply a good one, you need both.
I see what you’re getting at, but that’s not the impression I was getting from the info we had before the old website went down. As I understood it, (and it would of course rely on the funding) they want to create an arena game that doesn’t rely on constantly instancing new battles.
I think there will be ONE solar system, as you put it, and everyone will play within that. It would result in several fights going on at any one time depending on where people meet up, rather then preset battles. The worst thing they could do would be to make the system feel small by having people jumping in and out of instances. That’s not what they made the engine for!
At least, that’s how I’d make it if I was running I-Novae. I could be mistaken.
If our Kickstarter raises enough the goal is for the game to be semi-persistent. Players will dictate the pacing and locations of conflict as they battle across a (single) solar system. There will be a simple economic model where each team can place “factories” which generate resource points that can be used to buy better ships and equipment and would naturally be a target for your opponents.
If we raise only minimum KS the game will take place in pre-determined “Battlescape’s” with defined objectives and the gameplay will be a shallower tug of war for control of the solar system.
Additional solar systems may be offered as dlc but atm the plan is to ship with only one solar system.
I have to agree with Sab1e on map size. MWO’s maps are discreet, separate units with no relation to each other, designed and built around one-off, instanced matches that are over in 15 minutes, at most. You need many dozens of them, connected through a mechanic like Community Warfare, to be able to create a campaign.
However, a “map” in Battlescape would be an entire, seamless, (and most importantly) persistent solar system, while a “match” could rage for days or weeks, involving multiple campaigns and several dozens of players.
You could get a campaign because group A set up a station on a spot that group B wanted. Or because group B is mining an asteroid that group A needs to manufacture ships it needs for a war against group C.
@TerranAmbass pretty much hit the nail right on the head with regard to how we are structuring the gameplay. A solar system is very large and the expectation is that a single “match” could potentially last days or even weeks.
I was just thinking about how that would work out when I came back to this tab to find the conversation already had taken place.
A fluid, semi-persistent solar system would be amazing. Particularly if things changed “in real time” while the game was offline. In Red vs Blue terms…
Battle 1 is raged over an orbiting space station. The space station (or any “node”) has a sphere of influence, which includes the moon or planet that the station is in orbit around. At the start of Battle 1, neither Red nor Blue teams own the station, nor claim any territory in the system. They’re both headquartered out of carriers, much like in the ICP.
Red team wins Battle 1, and takes control of the station. Players call it a night.
Five days later, everyone logs in for Battle 2. Red team still has control of the space station, but now they also have control of a base on the planet’s surface. If the game had been launched only two days after the previous match, the blue peons wouldn’t have had time to set up the base, and they would have only had control of the station. If they had waited seven days, the Blue team may have brought in reinforcements, and had begun bombardment of the planetside base.
This leads to a scenario tree for Battle 2:
If t .lt. t’, Battle 2 picks up essentially where Battle 1 left off, with the winning team controlling the space station, and the losing team launching from a carrier.
if t’ .lt. t .lt. t’’, Battle 2 picks up with the winning team holding the spoils of Battle 1, but also controlling an additional base. This gives the Red team (in this case) two structural spawn points. The losing (Blue) team still has its carrier to launch from, but for the sake of balance the game launch a second small Blue fleet (which includes a carrier) located a few minutes away by warp. Basically the match launches with the the cavalry on its way.
If t .gt. t’’, Battle 2 picks up with the losing team having two carriers in orbit around the planet, and an assault already underway on the planetside base.
So long as A) the team that won Battle 1 retains whatever they gained in that battle, and B) the starting conditions for each team in Battle 2 are approximately equal, the ebb and flow of the off-line system can be pretty much anything. There’s no reason, for instance, that if the game started at t >> t’’, the Red team would still have its space station, but the there could also be a smoking hole in the ground where their planetside base would have been (as they had built it and lost it in the intervening time between games).
[color=red]Edited to add: Sigh. Discourse treats all “less than” signs as an open tag, and refuses to display anything that follows. I’m going to go back to my corner and do some grumbling.[/color]
Oh, I see. I guess I didn’t realize how long the “matches” (although that really isn’t the best terminology to describe it) were intended to be.
It still leaves the question to be asked though, what does the winning side at the end of a campaign get from actually winning the match? What keeps them coming back for each campaign (that may or may not last weeks), and how is each connected to the other? Or are they?
Maybe perhaps something as simple as “celebrity” status can be reward enough, along the same (broad) vein as what APB tried to do with its community. Some type of profile war medal or something, like an achievement system. For example, “Sol Campaign XXI Veteran” with like a tiny icon that is displayed on the player’s profile as a way to let the rest of the community know what a stupendous bad ass they are. We live in a time where social networking and self importance is kind of a big deal (like me, i don’t know if you’ve heard how big of a deal I am), so that might be an appealing way to keep individuals interested.
I’m just throwing ideas out there.
You’re right of course, I simply misunderstood exactly what was intended I think. Still, if the game grows to say, 100,000 players (non-concurrent) or something like that, which it could do, will we expect them all to be in the same solar system? Or if not, will it be a duplicate solar system? That would be quite a large number of people to have in the same (albeit huge) area, dont you think? From a technical standpoint, anyways. I foresee huge server issues.
EDIT: To this last point here, I should clarify that by 100,000 non-concurrent users, I am guesstimating some 5% of which would be on at any given time, which would be well over the 100-200 per game target that I-Novae is aiming for.
IIRC, we should be expecting universal INovae accounts which allow users to log in to various Battlescape servers using the same centralized credentials. This means it should also be possible to have a centralized scoreboard, which could keep track of both individual battle wins (matches) and war wins (the entire multi-battle game). If corps and/or squadrons are are supported, entire teams could show up on the leaderboards. That’s often enough to keep people playing.
Gamer accomplishments are another option. Medals could be awarded to individuals or squadrons for certain feats of valour, or for winning matches particularly quickly or matches which last a particularly long time. Well balanced teams could potentially see a full war go back and forth multiple times, taking weeks or months to finish. Such wars could be named, and everyone involved could have their inclusion accounted for in their INovae profile.
There are lots of ways to reward players and keep them coming back once some we account for some form of persistence and score keeping.
I think the point is that there would BE no “offline”. Yeah, red and blue have called it a night, but that’s what green was waiting for, so they assault the station while most/all of the reds are logged out and it’s defenseless.
Meanwhile, orange, just logging on and thinking/hoping they can get on red’s good side, attacks green and defends the station until some reds log back on. With orange’s help, the reds that logged on finally drive green away and start setting up a ground base to start producing better ships and equipment.
Green backs off (for now) and goes off to build its own base(s) and try again at a later date. Five days later, when the bulk of red and blue finally log back in after taking care of their real lives, they find a base proudly waving the red flag, defended by a coalition of red and orange pilots.
The reds congratulate their guys for taking the initiative and thank orange for its part. Little do they know that orange has its own plans and is waiting for the right time to stab red in the back and take everything for themselves.
Blue, meanwhile, no has to scramble to catch up with red’s lead.
I suspect we’ll see a structure similar to games like DayZ, where there are multiple, separate systems (servers). Each system (server) is internally persistent, but is separate from every other system (server) with absolutely no relation to each other. In MWO terms, think of it as many different CW’s that don’t interact with each other, with their own unique, persistent campaigns going on, all at the same time.
If you play on three of them, just for an example, you could be, at the same time, the admiral of a fleet in the middle of a huge, system wide, world war-esque battle, an independent merc/trader/etc. profiting off of two groups going to war around you, and a low-level peon just starting out and trying to find your place in the server. All at the same time.
I suspect, quite simply, rewards. Medals/titles are usually popular options from what I’ve seen, and who knows what extra stuff might be useful in the course of the game? I do think there should be different tiers of rewards though - ones that reflect personal achievement and more extravagant rewards depending on how much you have contributed to your team/faction/whatever.
Hmm, I wonder how that would work.
Many possibilities and problems could come from this type of game. I have a bunch of questions, and Ill just lay them here, even though @INovaeKeith probably wont be able to answer 99% of them.
Will there be more than 2 teams?
Are there fixed factions/teams or will there be some type of free for all server where any number of corporations meet and try to win?(just like @TerranAmbass just described)
Will players be able to choose between a faction/team when they enter a server, or do they have to choose one faction and stick to it until the server resets?
Will servers ever reset?
Are these “factories” that the teams aquire, assets that actually make the team better in combat(better ships, weapons, respawn times)? Wouldn’t that result in a disadvantage to the losing team, making it harder for them to turn the tables?
Or are these factories just like control points in a type of conquest mode, where the team with the most factories for the most time wins?
Have you considering the “moving battles”(see 1- below) that were discussed in the old forums? Or any other type of battles besides just “here is a factory/station, capture/destroy/defend it”?
Will maps consist of multiple stations/factories/bases designed to attract players, with the rest of the map/system still accessible for people that want to just fly around or hide(or do non combat jobs)?
Have you considered the non combat jobs to be aiding in the war, just like those capturable/buildable factories, resulting in a new gameplay element of players hunting those miners/whatever to prevent them from overpowering the enemy? Or maybe a trading/pirating type of deal?
Have you thought of ways to avoid all 100-200 players from just massing on a single point on the system creating server issues? Or to prevent them from just spreading out and not really fighting(just exploring for fun), resulting in one team losing because a bunch of their members where goofing around?(Which is a possibility considering the real scale of the system, noobs, and the beauty of the procedurally generated planets/etc).
1- Which basically revolved into a battleship or dropshipt of some kind moving towards or away from a location, passing through multiple places(like the surface, planetary rings, then a moon) while the ships fight around them.
Aaaaand Im late for class…
Those are a few of the questions that I have right now, but since that is already a lot, and some of them don’t quite make… much sense on their own… Ill just leave them here and come back tonight.
So as far as i understand so far each “server” in IB will pretty much be like a game of Civilization? While there could be a couple hundred players on each server we all will start out small until someone gets big enough to stomp on everyone else and he is declared the “winner” and the map (star system) resets.
You’re focusing on the wrong elements here. The “factories” mentioned will probably be a very small part of the gameplay, and base building/managing will most likely be extremely simple, if not automatic.
The game will most likely(Im guessing here) be similar from start to finish, with the only difference being probably the equipment you can equip your ship. At first maybe everybody gets fighters, then as you get kills and/or your team captures points and the factories get built(automatically, probably) you would get points for better/bigger ships and gear.
The way I see I:B so far is basically Guild Wars clan battles in space, but 10x more complex (which is always a good thing ). I can see how you would associate it with Civ though. Using a similar interface as Civ for planetary interaction would be a really nice feature, since I doubt anyone would want to use a ship to place objects manually.
I agree and disagree.
I agree that base managing and building will most likely be simple, but bases and factories could create huge focal points in battle. For example: a fleet is on the verge of defeat, and retreat to a planet they’re using a base of operations. The opposing fleet thinks they can dive in and finish the battle. Little do they know, their enemy’s base is heavily fortified. Caught off guard, the opposing fleet is wreaked by ground turrets, allowing the weakened defenders to fend them off long enough to repair their ships and turn the tide of the battle.
This seems more like a LoL style of game-play. Not to say I don’t enjoy that kind of game, but I don’t think it really fits I:B. I feel like it would be more appropriate to allow players to earn “cash” through their actions in each match, and use that to upgrade and buy new ships in a hanger outside of the match. Then when joining a game, a matchmaking system could balance out the numbers of higher level ships in play on both sides.
The game is still being designed so none of the following is an absolute. The final design document will be presented immediately prior to the Kickstarter being launched. Playtesting will determine a lot of what the final gameplay looks like so even what’s in the KS design document could change before the final game is released. Lastly everything below is assuming we reach all of our stretch goals. The minimum gameplay for I:B will be very simple if we don’t raise enough money.
At the moment the plan is just for 2 faction/teams. We want to allow modding if we raise enough so that opens up all sorts of possibilities and of course there’s always the potential for DLC.
Yes, you can choose and the server will likely auto-balance. The server will reset when one team wins the game.
The current plan is that each team starts with a pre-determined number of factories and space stations. Factories generate resource points over some interval X that are evenly distributed amongst the members of the team. Resource points, which can also be acquired by killing bad guys like in CS (maybe also through healing team mates like in battlefield?), can be spent to buy better ships, equipment, build more factories for your team, or build space stations (and possibly associated defenses?). Space stations come in 2 sizes: large and small. Small space stations can only spawn small ships like fighters and bombers. Large space stations can spawn both large capital ships and small ships. We’re still discussing the possibility of having land bases alongside the space stations.
Yes and players can build new/more stations/factories/bases. The game will have a sandbox mode so ppl who just want to fly around and explore can do so on their own terms without being a hindrance to their team mates.
The game will have non-combat support roles but I can’t provide any additional info on those atm. There will be no pirates or traders as the economic model will be very simple - you collect resource points and you spend them. Perhaps we could allow giving some amount of your resource points or equipment to another player but we currently have no plans for any advanced form of trading.
We fully intend for all 100-200 players to congregate at a single point - how else are you going to have massive space battles? We also hope players will be able to break off and do their own thing like take some of your buddies and do a strategic strike against a cluster of factories that the opposing team thought they could hide on some far off, obscure moon. For those who like to explore they can do scouting missions to try and locate enemy installations for their team mates to attack. We want to be able to accommodate a number of different play styles =). By allowing players to be able to build factories and space stations themselves we hope that will create areas of conflict that will provide players with new and interesting objectives.
If we only raise the minimum KS we will provide the objectives ourselves and the game will be far more repetitive =(.