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Generating ideas for using game mechanics to create balanced factions


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#1 spires   Members   -  Reputation: 257

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 12:29 AM

Goal
I am trying to create a text based game based on players living in countries/factions which are in eternal conflict with each other.

Background
The reason for this discussion is that i feel that factions in game are inherently unbalanced. Individual player motivation may cause one faction to have vastly more resources(players) over the others. This causes unfun for the weaker factions and create unfair competition which leads to the game decline and eventual failure as players in weaker factions rage-quit.

I am posting here to ask for input on game mechanics that can encourage players to spread out across the factions.

To provide context, imagine that the game will be a text based game where the factions will be spread apart and that travel takes time and locations have strategical purposes. Factions have no obvious differences between them, though things like population or location(center of map/near coast) may make the difference for players.

Example on what i am asking for though you do not have to follow the format.

Game mechanic: Name of Game mechanic
Summary: What the Game mechanic is about
Addressed player motivation: What problem or player motivation the game mechanic is supposed to solve/prevent
Used in what game: Game the mechanic is used on
Predicted impact: What is the possible outcome if Game mechanic is used

Game mechanic 1: Assign players automatically into factions with lesser numbers
Summary: Automatically place new players into factions with less players.
Addressed player motivation: To ensure that different factions will have roughly equivant numbers
Used in what game: Utopia (text-based strategy game. Auto placement based on how many players the kingdom already has; max 15)
Predicted impact:
+Effective for balancing the numbers but not the quality as new players may try the game and quit
-Can be a heavy-handed way. Player lose their player control over where they want to start
-The auto-placement may also cause the bigger factions to have lesser stream of new players

Game mechanic 2: Reward players for joining factions with lesser numbers
Summary: Provide a one-time incentives like in game gold for players choosing to join a weaker faction
Addressed player motivation: Encourage players who are more reward / risk minded to fight a losing cause
Used in what game: Dota (Not directly relevant but dota gives more gold to players who choose random heroes to encourage players to try different heroes)
Predicted impact:
+Provide a good reward / risk to encourage players to make different choices
-Any reward will over time prove insignificant. May cause player regret

Game mechanic 3: Strength rewards for joining factions with lesser numbers
Summary: Provide more rewards to players in areas with lower population. For example, if many people are chopping wood in an area, the amount of wood each person gets is lesser. Or it may take longer to find the trees to chop / the trees yield lower quality wood.
Addressed player motivation: Encourage players to spread out
Used in what game: Eve(Not directly relevant but minerals in eve are more abudunt/only available in more 'dangerous areas')
Predicted impact:
+Give players full control over risk/reward
-Less intuitive; may require more explanation to new players on how it works
-May cause unhappiness to players in big number factions

Sponsor:

#2 InvertedLlama   Members   -  Reputation: 102

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 05:23 AM

Why not use human traits to balance the factions?
Everyone wants to be the general, everyone wants to be the king. So how about allowing the forming of subgroups and then let them secede the faction when they've developed to a point that they can be independent. That way no faction should grow much over 2 or 3 times the seceding limit.

Out of the one's you've described 3 looks the best.
1 - Will really piss of people who are trying to play with friends as they'll want to chose whether to play cooperatively or against one another
2 - Will be seen as unfair
- Will quite likely be a real pain to balance
- Gives rushers a very large advantage and pretty much guaranteed win if they join the weaker faction

#3 Sayid Ahmed   Members   -  Reputation: 134

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:01 AM

This is always a tough one, how about:

Even Faction Size Mechanic

Allow players to have the choice of faction along with diminishing returns on the size of a faction

Summary

Players can join an existing one or create their own small one. Joining a large one leads to more protection and item sharing, but limited responsibility or involvement. Roles within a faction, such as Marshall of War, or Minister of Treasury, can only be filled by one person, can go through cycles to create fairness but only really appeal to experienced players. Players who become more experienced and want an active role can create an off-shoot faction. To add more to the mix, maybe attacking larger factions reaps more rewards? Or requires more administration costs?

Addressed player motivation

To prevent player dissatisfaction; promote co-operation through real life friendship etc; preventing the creation of overly large factions and superpowers.

Used in what game

Not that I know of


Predicted impact

+Balancing the size of all factions

+Freedom of players to chose allegiance

+Opportunities for players to have significant roles

-Creation of many small factions; creation of coalitions and reversing the purpose of this mechanic

-Constant migration of players

-Difficult for new players to understand; may automatically join the big factions, not knowing the disadvantages



#4 spires   Members   -  Reputation: 257

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:11 PM

Why not use human traits to balance the factions?
Everyone wants to be the general, everyone wants to be the king. So how about allowing the forming of subgroups and then let them secede the faction when they've developed to a point that they can be independent. That way no faction should grow much over 2 or 3 times the seceding limit.


Human traits are the key to balance the factions. The purpose of this topic is to create game mechanics that will encourage good human traits, like desire to be at the top. And discourage bad ones like conforming (zerging). Good/bad human traits with respect to creating balanced, competitive factions.

Out of the one's you've described 3 looks the best.
1 - Will really piss of people who are trying to play with friends as they'll want to chose whether to play cooperatively or against one another
2 - Will be seen as unfair
- Will quite likely be a real pain to balance
- Gives rushers a very large advantage and pretty much guaranteed win if they join the weaker faction


1 - Can allow users to invite friends to play the game. By entering a friends code, you CAN join the faction they are in, next to their location.
2 - That is quite true. Though the incentive will most likely only be used when there is significant difference in numbers between the factions and are mainly used to overcome the disadvantage for being in the weaker faction.

Edited by spires, 14 April 2012 - 10:02 PM.


#5 spires   Members   -  Reputation: 257

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:57 PM

This is always a tough one, how about:

Even Faction Size Mechanic

Allow players to have the choice of faction along with diminishing returns on the size of a faction

Summary


Players can join an existing one or create their own small one. Joining a large one leads to more protection and item sharing, but limited responsibility or involvement. Roles within a faction, such as Marshall of War, or Minister of Treasury, can only be filled by one person, can go through cycles to create fairness but only really appeal to experienced players. Players who become more experienced and want an active role can create an off-shoot faction. To add more to the mix, maybe attacking larger factions reaps more rewards? Or requires more administration costs?

Addressed player motivation


To prevent player dissatisfaction; promote co-operation through real life friendship etc; preventing the creation of overly large factions and superpowers.

Used in what game


Not that I know of


Predicted impact


+Balancing the size of all factions

+Freedom of players to chose allegiance

+Opportunities for players to have significant roles

-Creation of many small factions; creation of coalitions and reversing the purpose of this mechanic

-Constant migration of players

-Difficult for new players to understand; may automatically join the big factions, not knowing the disadvantages


Allowing players to create their own faction or secede from the faction is an excellent idea.

I am of the idea of creating factions with npc leaders at the start.The factions will have different hierarchy structures(roman republic, middle age feudalism). As the players progressed, they may take over the faction.

Players can choose
  • to climb the kingdom ladder
  • secede existing town from the faction(as mayor of town)
  • create a town not related to any faction(must be in area unclaimed yet)





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