Infinity: Battlescape is a great game. Already. There are some excellent reviews out there. Not everyone shares that opinion of course but generally, especially if they were looking for an experience like they get here, people are amazed.
What has been critiqued a bit though, also from people who loved it, is that the content in itself, what the game has to offer, is a bit limited. Long term motivation might drop for many people.
Same goes for me personally. I have no idea how much I played this. After a while, I regularly burn out after a certain patch … mainly due to missing long term goals that could motivate me to … yeah what it is pretty much “grind” a bit.
Here are some suggestions that came up and that came to my mind:
Stuff that is already (almost) there
Self betterment, getting better at the game, Team coordination and co-operative play can be a very long term motivator for many players. It has been for me in my youth and made me play a certain game for thousands of hours. Here, the developer doesn’t have to do much but maintain a consistent and fun game, it ties in a bit with being able to see your own stats as well. As long as the playerbase survives, this will be like a catalyst. I don’t know how much e-sports is a thing for smaller games nowadays, but with a good basis this could also add additional long term motivation.
As mentioned, this was for me personally the strongest motivator ever and no feature whatsoever has ever achieved what playing together towards a goal has achieved.
Ranks / Levels
Ranks are an addition and already planned for Battlescape, as can be seen from the Rank readout in the UI. Ranks could come with many benefits, I will detail those seperately as these benefits can be handed out in any way, not just trough ranking up.
Most games have a Rank/Level maximum/cap with “newer” games having an option to wipe your progress in exchange for something trivial like a small cosmetic and a different rank symbol. This addition can extend the beneficial nature of this feature for long term and intensive players. I personally never used it anywhere as the games I played as intensively were before this became a thing. Other games I have reached max cap often but at that point came back often for the fun of it and didn’t feel like I would ever reach max rank again and loosing all the progress wasn’t worth it.
(Could be called “Sellout to competitor” )
Stats and/or Leaderboards
Being able to see how long you played, how much you earned, how many kills you did … all of that … seing numbers tick up. It is small but don’t underestimate what a page full of numbers can do. To me this game me a little kick and was also fun to look at while relaxing between matches. Last game where I spend a bit of time looking into that was Overwatch.
Leaderboards are related but more special as it is more about showing off and comparing to others. Giving players a chance to be on top, even if they aren’t the best is also good. By having different leaderboards per server or per time period. There could also be events with seperate leaderboards or leaderboards that looked at things that aren’t just combined points or kills but specific tasks. Too many and they loose their impact though. Rather have temporary leaderboards that get whiped.
I would suggest a global all time one based on points (combined ingame actions), a daily one for the same and one that rotates and wipes every week for different things like PVP kills.
For servers I think it is sufficient to show some kind of stats in the team menu per match.
Pretty much lock certain features behind certain progression. Be it currency or rank. I would advise against locking capital ships behind such a thing, even if it is an option, it is totally different gameplay that many people would like.
What could be locked is the plethora of abilities that all the ships already have and that I guess there will be more. Certain ships could be locked like the bomber or cruiser and carrier.
Mines, Warp Jam, Ramming bonuses(?) … and of course all the weapons.
Edit: Another thing that could be unlocked is new missions or achievements.
If there is good use for currency, grinding for it may be a nice pastime. It might be dangerous to allow people to use persistent currency in a single match … but that could be one option. Powercreep can be a problem of course. The suggestion from below could help there though.
Different kind of items. One use. Better ammo. Weapons. Better equipment. Skins. All of that sounds like a lot of work to develop though.
Question is … would be a more procedural way of generating those be acceptable. Borderlands does this but of course they also have imense amount of art behind it, the procedural nature is a way to extend the arleady existing variety further.
I would like to hear the opinion of people on this. Would you mind if items would not necesarily have different models, effects and lore but just different names and stats?
Here is a question of only having sidegrades or also upgrades. What about the powercreep with upgrades? See section below.
Fighting the powercreep runaway effect, an Idea
The problem is following. Player play the game from the day it launches. They gain loot. They use it to upgrade their ship. It’s a PVP game. So with time people will have different gear depending how long and well they played, with new players eventually being totally outmatched.
My idea to solve this is artificial average power-creep compensation. Players that really like the addictive grind for new loot can do that and will be ahead of the curve. Yet. Every month or arbitrary time-frame players get free loot. They and new players get automatically lifted to the average of currently active players trough these freebies.
It needs some form of protection against crazy players that could break the system by pulling extremely far ahead of the average of active players. The average could be lifted up so such system breaking players never get ahead more then a fixed maximum amount. From their perspective, they seem to constantly increase in damage output for instance yet the free loot always keeps a fixed distance.
That solution could be problematic though, as such fast pace in progression could break other things, so maybe a limit to how much loot can be earned in a given time would also be ok.
This has limitations though, the same that normal loot would have. It also needs to keep in mind how that loot affects interactions with the gameworld, like collisions, aerodynamics, gravity and such stuff, stuff that does not scale with loot.
Positive is that, because it is progressing, mistakes that were made in the loot generation from the past will eventually be phased out as they become useless compared to new loot. This allows for successive patches to balance stuff gradually.
As there are some stats that interact with the gameworld more then others, some of the stats should be “Upgrades” while others should be “Sidegrades”. Sidegrades will have a fixed set of values that can have and that won’t change during the lifetime of the game. Upgrades will continuously increase with the lifetime of the game.
|Shield Recharge||Thruster Power|
|Hull Health||Warp Drive|
|Armor||Scan Ranges and Heat Output|
|Weapon Damage||Weapon Firerate|
I suggest collision damage to be procentual per shiptype and not fixed, that would solve any powercreep problems with ship health and shield. Same goes for installation module health.
Question now is if all that is worth it … Hard to guess.
As there are many more sidegrade stats then upgrade stats it is indeed questionable.