- Point four: Faction numbers.
In theory, 3 factions could enable the 2 weaker to unite against the stronger, leading to more balanced and fun fights. In reality, the 2 stronger ones always doubleteam the weak one for easy wins and resource gains.
There is no real benefit to having 3 factions when you know that all their gear is the same. More than 2 factions for Battlescape would only make sense at higher stretch goal levels that introduce the different nations, imho.
- Point five: Why we fight.
In a massive multiplayer PVP environment, the differentiation between the 3 main player types / motiviations for where and when to fight are even more visible/influential than in ordinary PVP games. Because everyone is on the same few servers, you do not have noob/pro/clan/whatever - servers, but everyone shares the same combat space with different motivations and goals.
The 3 main types, imho are the following. 1. Those who play for the win, and will do whatever they consider the most efficient way to achive the outcome that the game defines as victory. They do not care if it is the most fun way to play for them or the other players, or if it boost their stats and score, as long as it gets the job done it is what they do. 2. Those who play for fun. They will chose the fight that feels most fun for them, no matter if it advances the larger war effort or if it gives them good stats/score. 3. Those who play to optimize their stats/score, no matter if it is the most fun way to play or if it advances the overall war effort.
The further apart fun fights, stat boosting fights and war - winning fights are removed from each other, the more players will separate based on their preferences and start to hate on those with different preferences for being in the way of their goals and motivation for playing the game. Ideally, you want all 3 motivations to lead people into the same set of fights.
Dont ask me how to do this, it is really hard, but i can tell you what not to do: You need to avoid grindable statistics/scores that are not linked to the overall war effort, its resources and logistics.
- Point six: Artificial systems vs. Player defined dynamics.
Every game has both, obviously. But in terms of design, imho, you should always strive to give players the freedom and tools to use the positive potential of the chaos and complexity of a massive multiplayer PVP scenario, instead of focussing development resources on artificial, game-defined systems and measures to limit the player freedom to use the negative potential of the chaos and complexity of a massive multiplayer PVP scenario.
In other words, trolls will troll, griefers will grief, cheaters will cheat.
The strongest tool is the active effort of a community to make for a better game experience, and a policy of consequently banning offenders, instead of trying to prevent every thinkable offense that will happen anyways.
A community consensus will form over time what is considered hard but fair play and what is inacceptable. And player freedom will unlock the true potential of the game more than we can imagine today. The biggest mistake of any game designer is to believe that they make the rules in a released game. At best, they make the rules during development. But once handed over, players run the show, either with you or against you. I think the devs here understand that MUCH better than most other game development companies i have interacted with, and it is one of the reasons i have hope that they and Battlescape can prevail against all apparent odds.