Resource system and loot (wall of text)

From a very simplistic formula of “more bases = more resources” comes a very easy snowball effect of giving the dominant faction increasing advantage which is inherently unfair. Planetside 2 would be a good comparison to expand one, specifically when talking about the facilities (Biolab, Techplant) and their bonuses. In IB bases should never give direct power to both players and faction (more money) and instead provide options and specialisations for players to exploit.
I propose a system for the game, or perhaps a custom server:

Bases (Battlescapes) would serve as the main hubs for content, providing the top-tier fights and rewards. Bases would initially be very heavily defended and effectively impossible to fight solo against. There’s also facilities that provide a variety of specific “services” when connected to a Base. I’ll provide a few examples of Bases and Facilities and explain how they work:

Shipyard (Base)
Role: Respawn Point, Repairs, Rearm, Convoy/Fleet Spawn.
Level 1: Respawn for Fighters, Repair and Rearm for all ship types.
Level 2: Adds Respawn for all other ship types. Adds Convoys.
Level 3: Adds Fleets.
Comments: Allows for players to get ships, acting as a main source of all ships in the game (apart from the home planet). Landing on it repairs and rearms the ship. Lets players spend money to spawn convoys and fleets (explained below). Can process and has increased yield from Production Boxes.

Pirate/Mercenary Hideout (Base)
Role: Custom Weapons, Repairs, Rearm, Pirates/Merc Spawn
Level 1: Repair and Rearm for Fighters
Level 2: Adds Pirate spawns
Level 3: Adds custom weapons to the shop
Comments: Serves mainly for a convenient place to repair and rearm, but also having a rotating stock of special weapons with unique effects that are only available on one specific Pirate base, for example: Drunk Missiles - a variation on the standard Dart Missiles that have higher defence against Point-Defences but less fuel. Lets players spend money to spawn pirates to harass the enemy forces. Has increased yield from Science Boxes.

Industrial Plant (Base)
Role: Resources (money), resource Boxes
Level 1: Processes Mining Boxes from Convoys.
Level 2: Processes Production and Science Boxes from Convoys.
Level 3: Lets players deliver Mining Resources for processing on top of what NPCs carry for additional income.
Comments: Initially used for steady money income from mining facilities, with lvl2 it can also process Science and Production Boxes (as opposed to carrying them to the main planet). At level 3 players can participate in its activities as Convoys themselves.

Science Facility (Facility)
Role: Provides Science Boxes
Location: Small space stations in orbit of other bodies. The Astralis bases would work well.

Asteroid Mining (Facility)
Role: Provides Mining Boxes
Location: Asteroids. You’ve seen these from the Prototype footage

Factory (Facility)
Role: Provides Production Boxes
Location: Surface of planets.

Main resources: Mining Boxes, Science Boxes and Production Boxes. These boxes are created in their respective facilities that, when processed, generate Supply Points, Science Points and Production Points. All Boxes are transported in NPC Convoys to the main planet but can also be carried to a captured Base if available.

  • Supply Points - each cycle the game takes the amount of available supply points and converts it into money. Straightforward.
  • Production Points - each cycle the game takes all production points and sets the respawn cooldowns for everything. The more production points you can gather the faster you can respawn in your ships on this cycle. High-cost or high-tech ships take more time to respawn so it’s important to get as many production points as you can.
  • Science Points - working in tandem with the Production it’s a modifier on high-tech equipment cooldowns. The more of these you have the faster you can get your expensive ships and equipment. It mostly affects expensive equipment that you fit on your ship.

Respawning - while stock ships don’t have increased cooldown or cost, players have the option of fitting high-tech equipment at a greater monetary cost and time cooldown. A shipyard produces all hightech equipment for players to use, but players can use that equipment faster than it is produces (die a lot). Production Points decrease overall cooldowns for equipment while Science Points have an increased effect for high-tech gear. This means that everyone has the option of constant respawning on stock ships but a limited budget of high-tech equipment. While everyone from the same faction has the same cooldown times, the available supply is individual (everyone has a maximum of 10 Ultra Shield Generators and the game makes one for you every 5 minutes so if you die a lot you will run out of Ultra Shields).

High-tech equipment. This equipment is not a straightforward upgrade but rather a specialisation on current gear. If you take a stock Dart Missile, high-tech variations are the Drunk Missile (better PD avoidance, less range), the Slingshot Missile (faster and longer range, less tracking) and the MIRV Missile (higher impact area, lower damage). Slingshot missiles are better against stationary or bigger targets but easily avoidable by skilled fighter pilots while Drunk Missiles are the opposite. Stock ships and equipment are competitive with all high-tech gear, it simply allows for niche gameplay (like Stalker Infiltrators from Planetside 2).

Bases range from levels 0 to 3:

  • Level 0 - when players destroy an enemy base it is converted into a Level 0 for the conquering faction. Players need to wait a few minutes while the NPC Fleet repairs and rebuilds the base. Nothing is available from this base. Convoys, however, can start delivering to this base immedietly and the boxes will be processed once the base is operational. Enemy players can harass, slow down or even stop the repairs.
  • Level 1 - standard state for any base, providing basic functionality.
  • Level 2 and 3 - A player has to pay for a Convoy to come here and upgrade the base. During the short upgrade window the base does not provide services and is vulnerable to attack.

Convoys and Fleets. Convoys and Fleets are generated at the home planet and Shipyards.
Convoys are sent to Facilities to automatically deliver resources to Bases or home planet.
Fleets are sent to enemy Bases and serve as window for attacking and capture. Bases are usually too well defended by NPCs for players to capture bases themselves and instead require players to pay for Fleets to attack Bases. Fleets will take some time (minutes) to reach Bases which allows for both friendlies and hostiles to gather up before a fight. A group of players can form a fleet and attack the base of course, provided they have bombers and at least one capital to tank the base turrets.

Conclusion: A system that allows for expansion without providing direct power to players. Having more money lets players use high-tech equipment more often. If players have too much money and are hitting the cooldown caps then they could focus more of aquiring and holding more science facilities. Each facility will also provide a supply of unique equipment made available at their shipyards and home planet. Capturing a lot of bases and facilities would simply increase your options and gameplay styles. A very skilled player doesn’t need a lot of money - he can spawn a very high-tech ship fit once and fly it for a long enough time to have enough money to instantly replace it when he dies. If players want a specific item variation they can capture the specific base that has it.

EDIT 1: It’s up to the players to pay and choose the destination of Fleets and Convoys.


So I follow you correctly, the players don’t choose to which base the resources are sent and can’t influence which base gets leveled up first?

This looks like a nicely thought out system and I hope the devs have a read to see if it gives them some ideas. From what I’ve heard from the devs it sounds like the basic Battlescape will have a simpler system with just a single resource type that gets processed into credits. That may not be a bad thing because they do need to make sure they keep scope as tight as possible.

You identify a potential problem with that approach:

That’s something that worries me as well and Keith’s response has been that with three factions you always have the opportunity for the two weaker sides to team up against one that is becoming powerful enough to win the game.

From my own experience of playing three sided battles in Arma 3 I’ve found that it is very rare for players to strategise like this. On public servers there is rarely enough leadership available to form such temporary alliances.

A potential solution to this problem could be to have the game create an automatic alliance of the two weaker teams when it detects that the most powerful team is approaching a level of dominance greater than the other two teams combined. At this point the weaker teams would no longer be marked as hostile to each other on the friend or foe system. This would give a nice mechanic where a dominant team would have a real end-game challenge to achieve total victory.

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Nor the communication channels.

Instead of the game deciding when an alliance should form, it seems to me that an incentive for cooperation should exist. So implementing a means of cooperating when capturing and operating a facility and then rewarding the involved factions with a greater efficacy from that facility would go a long way to encouraging ad hoc alliances. The point here is that if all players know that things work this way, then disadvantaged factions will simply help each other out so long as everyone in the factions sees the benefit. They can communicate among themselves to get the point of the cease fire across.

This would generally end up with a system where nobody really owns a facility. It’s more an issue of who can keep others away from it while still delivering raw materials to it. If one faction allows another team to use the facilities that they’ve been defending, then that’s an ad hoc alliance - at least over that facility. If they start shooting again, the alliance is ended.

One sticking point is automated facility defenses. If they exist, then they won’t know the conditions of the ad hoc alliance. So allow any faction to place automated defenses at a facility’s limited defense points. Those faction defenses will engage any ship that gets targeted by a ship of that faction (faction defenses support same faction ships only). Defense points do not fire on other defense points.

If two teams are working together, they both put defenses on a facility so that they each gain the benefit of automated defenses when they’re targeting the third faction’s ships. So long as one ship from each of the allied factions is around to target the third faction’s ships, all the defense points can be brought to bear.

Things would get ugly when the two allied factions decide to start shooting at each other again.

Note that this shoot-when-targeted system allows teams to be selective about what they allow close to their facility. If faction 1 allows unarmed ships from faction 2 to approach a given facility, then they can simply target armed ships, but not unarmed ones. Or perhaps only target capitals. Or blue ships. Whatever.

The system also allows for all three alliances to create a DMZ around one particularly valuable site that they all want to gain benefit from, and don’t see value in fighting over it. The factions always burn huge amounts of resources trying to control it, but nobody seems to be able to control it long enough to do anything with it, so everyone agrees to just use it. There may be fights associated with it, but not over the facility itself.

I’m not particularly worried about two strong teams banding together to stomp the weaker third team. It would require most everyone on the two strong teams to think that was a good idea. Alliances tend to fall apart as soon as there are enough dissenters one one side or the other to make it unclear if the alliance exists anymore.

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I just skimmed, but, if you want to counter act the snowballing effect - which you should - why not just increase the reward for killing leading teams/players?

Put bounties on the best players head that are racking up their individual rewards.

Encourage the other two teams to gang up on the leading team since their mining ships and such are overfilled with resources and such while their own are making half empty runs.

Fairly straight forward and somewhat organically balances itself no matter what all the other details are.

Oh, sorry. Yes they choose - that’s the whole point. It’s up to players to buy convoys/fleets and send them where they feel is best.

One way is for all rewards and stats to be account-wide instead of faction- or even character-specific. This way the devs can put incentives (more points, more exp, etc…) for killing players of a dominant faction and the players can painlessly switch to the under-represented faction to maximise reward gains.

Then all you need is one bad apple.

That’s why I don’t really like “floating” alliances like the one you describe. Either there’s no alliance available between factions, either there can be one but it’s generalized and broken by limited timer, not by some random lunatic.

While making sure a comeback can be done is good, the game has to end at some point. It depends how long an arena should last to the maximum also.

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Nope. That’s the beauty of it; if one of your guys suddenly starts blasting away at random, you and your team gank him and everyone votes to ban the griefer. That’s the end of it. It’s all organic and human, and there are no computer rules to be gamed.

Even with automatic alliances, I assume that players can still friendly fire, so griefers will grief no matter what. There just need to be means for the players to remove such players. One of the nice things about skill games is that griefers are usually at a disadvantage. The skilled players usually just play the game.

On this topic, I dislike @frag971’s suggestion that players be able to easily switch teams - even if it’s to the disadvantaged team. Teams just aren’t teams when people can jump around. In truth, the best way to beat a disadvantaged team is probably to jump onto their side, then become a dead weight.

Random thought. If there are chat channels, have 12, 23 and 13 channels. Those would allow factions to trash talk each other - or cooperate and negotiate. Players could simply mute channels or individuals if they don’t want to listen/read.

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I will paraphrase Lord Vader: “Do not underestimate the power of toxicity”.

I’ve unfortunately seen some good players that liked to troll or grief, and have been doing that in a very skillful way. Nothing’s more infuriating than that. But by all means, if you include a vote to kick someone because of his bad behaviour, then I guess it’s OK.

In my opinion, truly the worst idea ever. There might be already some trash talk inside the faction, because X didn’t do Y. Have some general channels, but let the players choose their channels, not impose it on them. I don’t play to get trash talk.

I put that in to forestall everyone who would jump on the idea as a “trash talk channel” - so naturally I got the reverse complaint. I put trash talkers at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Nobody would leave the inter-faction channels (hot lines) open except for those trying to negotiate an alliance. Normally, players would mute the channel.

To be honest, if players have time to trash talk, the gameplay needs work. It’s either attracting mental midgets or they have too much time to kill. Bored players are a nightmare for gameplay.

I don’t think player-controlled alliance systems fits into the spirit of the game. This isn’t about politics or relationships. In fact i would love to know more about the lore of IB, as far as i know it’s a story that will eventually lead into QFO.

Yes, there could be an automatic bounty system that would give a flat or % increase in reward by killing the top players and faction. In fact - a leaderboard on the top 20 players that provides a big reward for defeating the best players.

Another silly idea would be to have a special item in game, like a “Malfunctioning Beacon” that would light you up on everyone’s sensors and increase the rewards that player gets but on the flip side it makes him a target.