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Thoughts on Splitting Up the RTS...


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#1 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

I recently posted asking for ideas for a new RTS.  Here is a key concept that I'm considering right now, and I'd love to hear feed back on it.

 

The RTS will be split into two key areas.

 

1) City Building.

 - Safe, in your country, as a single settlement. Weak in technology.

 - Over time, increase the city size, built up your military base, improve your technologies.

 - Develop squads to send in to the battle front.

 

2) Battle Front.

 - An ongoing everlasting war.  

 - Your squad is dropped off in the heat of battle on some random planet.  AI will attempt to place you in an area that you have a balanced chance of survival.  

 - You don't create buildings here.  but you do get far better control of your troops, and they get better tactical AI's than Blizzard RTS's

 - Scenery can be altered.  (explosions can leave dents.  Ditches can be dug, Rock and dirt can be used to create Cover areas. etc...)

 

What ideas do you have around this?  What would be really useful in this environment?  What changes would you make to what I suggested?

 

Thanks for any feed back.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


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#2 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:27 PM

I like the idea of scenery alteration. It makes the game more interesting since players can pull off more interesting strategies. For example, maybe players can build a small bridge to get around a place where they may be heavy enemy defenses involving catapults and so on. 

 

Maybe each player can be allowed to have a general which gives the surrounding troops a morale boost depending on what weapon they are using. Sword generals provide a defensive boost to nearby troops and so on. The idea works like real life. When the general commands the army personally in battle, they will feel motivated to battle. However, there is a consequence, if he dies, the morale will decrease instead temporary. Generals are only available when the barrack have reached a certain level, which to normal players, may be only be built at the mid game.

 

For the everlasting war, supply chains would be a good idea. Troops need food to survive, if they don't get it, their fighting ability will rapidly decrease. Food can be sent via wagons from the city to the military forts. Wagons are very slow and take a while to reach and yet fragile, thus they need to be protected. Enemies can deploy ambush forces along the supply route to prevent the supply from reaching. Players have to send forces to prevent such a thing from happening. Even though these battles may be small, they are pivotal to the war.

 

Also, experience system. As the troops participate in more wars and still survive, they can get promoted upon killing a certain amount like the Red Alert 3 system. They are stronger and perform better in battle.

 

I was just thinking. This system could also apply for 2v2. One player manages the economy and the other controls the military.



#3 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:57 PM

This system could also apply for 2v2. One player manages the economy and the other controls the military.

 

That's an interesting idea.  Then players can focus on what they enjoy and stand out for.  But of course they can also take on the whole thing.  

 

For the everlasting war, supply chains would be a good idea. Troops need food to survive,

 

I like this idea.  This could also be for ammunition.  For instance once they get low on arms, they go into a defensive strategy, and not offensive.  Players could pay attention and use opportunities like this to put extra effort into striking then.  Certainly has potential.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#4 Shake92   Members   -  Reputation: 117

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:39 PM

This sounds kind of similar to a browser based MMORTS like travian and the million others that are out there but maybe in a real time/non browser based form?

 

If the city building side isn't influenced by combat how do you win? What happens when you win the battle that your squad gets sent to? What is the "end game" of it all? Is this all going to be multiplayer or singleplayer against AI? Is your city going to be persistent like an MMO, something that will be built up over extended periods of time, or will the game function like a traditional RTS with new matches beginning and ending in each play session?

 

Not trying to criticize your idea, it sounds cool, but it would help to answer those questions I think so we can get a better idea of what the concept is.



#5 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2506

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:57 AM

To me, a "single settlement" supporting a "squad" suggests a very specific setting and premise: skirmishes between little city-states (presumably isolated, self-sufficient colonies) which can field a militia of a handful of people with limited-budget equipment.

Your game can follow specific named characters from cradle to grave, involving the player in their military training and their military career or in civilian accomplishments like inventing weapons or earning money for the town.

You could also bridge the city management and the tactical combat sub-games with the obviously implied space travel element: explicitly building and buying ships is an extra challenge, and piloting them around offers many adventure opportunities beyond reaching the battlefield: exploration, boarding attempts, outright spaceship combat, stopping in interesting places along the way in general, diplomacy and special missions, etc.


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#6 Zed2100   Members   -  Reputation: 138

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:55 AM

This sounds kind of similar to a browser based MMORTS like travian and the million others that are out there but maybe in a real time/non browser based form?

 

Being browser-based doesn't necessarily mean that the game is turn-based, it can also be played real-time using websockets (example : Browser Quest by mozilla). 

 

I agree with Shake92 about answering the question of victory/defeat conditions. I think something like the concept of the world map in Total War series could do the trick : you have cities (or one city in our case) that is safe from harm and where you can build and train troops, but there is a battlefield where troops can fight. When one army defeats the other on the battlefield, it can move to the city and siege it.

 

A victory on the battlefield doesn't necessarily mean winning the game. One player must successfully siege the other player's city in order to win. So instead of 2 modes of play, I suggest having 3 : 

  • City Building
  • Battle Front
  • City Siege : this mode will eventually lead to winning/losing the game.

I think one of the biggest pleasures in RTS games is protecting your weakest points (city, supply convoys like DtCarrot suggested, ... etc) and trying to hit your opponent's. If cities are completely isolated from battle, players' weakest points will not be exposed (at least not completely). But that's just me, I like combat more than management in RTS games, so for me this point is very important.


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#7 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:04 AM

If the city building side isn't influenced by combat how do you win? What happens when you win the battle that your squad gets sent to? What is the "end game" of it all? Is this all going to be multiplayer or singleplayer against AI? Is your city going to be persistent like an MMO, something that will be built up over extended periods of time, or will the game function like a traditional RTS with new matches beginning and ending in each play session?
 
Not trying to criticize your idea, it sounds cool, but it would help to answer those questions I think so we can get a better idea of what the concept is.

 

 

Good points.  I left this area vague, so people could respond in anyway they felt compelled to.  I didn't want to limit the creative flow, just reign it in a little more than my previous more generic RTS post. 

 

However, to give an answer, I am planning on this being an MMO.  Cities cooperate to help each other out, but the cities are persistant.  A person may have the same city for a month or more.  The "Everlasting Battlefront" is basically a large open battle field where there could be dozens of other players from both (possible more than 2) sides.  The idea being that you are claiming planets.  Or large scores of players are battling together to take a planet in their governments name.  Its supposed to take the smaller battle feel of starcraft, and expand it, so you can see that these never ending online battles are actually leading to something.

 

In regards to the battle front action itself, I'm figuring to use squads that go in, or groups of squads, and they must survive for X amount of time, or deal X amount of damage, possible even have specific objectives.  If they survive the objectives, they return home, with more experience, and reward  pay from the government, allowing for even better enhancements.  There will be plenty of AI squads running around, so you'll never know if your facing AI or human.

 

but keep in mind, that I'm still very flexible.  I left this information out, because I'm willing to change my mind if someone posts something in a different direction.  For instance, single player comments, or head to head.  I want to hear what people have to say, and if I like it better than my current options I'll go with it.


Edited by hpdvs2, 04 January 2013 - 06:06 AM.

Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#8 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

explicitly building and buying ships is an extra challenge, and piloting them around offers many adventure opportunities beyond reaching the battlefield: exploration, boarding attempts, outright spaceship combat, stopping in interesting places along the way in general, diplomacy and special missions, etc.

 

Oh I like this....   I was already considering the idea of new planets being discovered and fought over.  This idea would suggest that players would be the ones to find these planets.  Of course it ads a lot of extra work for a game where this is not really the focus.  I'd have to consider this a lot more, and its value to complexity.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#9 sonicarrow   Members   -  Reputation: 411

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 07:46 AM

There will be plenty of AI squads running around, so you'll never know if your facing AI or human.

 

I like this idea - you could do something that monitors the level of players in a given area, and if it's under a certain threshold, have the server generate AI troops to join the fight.  That way there's always a decent sized battle going, and players have no trouble with low-population timezones.  When the numbers of players do get back on the server, you can just have the AI troops start falling back/losing ground, and then finally flying out when the players arrive.

In addition to this, if you're planning about making this an MMO, what happens to a person's territory when they log off?  Do their soldiers automatically defend it or do the units fly back home and the territory left open?  Is there any value to taking territory that will just be lost later if you don't have friends sitting on it 24/7?



#10 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 08:52 AM

This sounds kind of similar to a browser based MMORTS like travian and the million others that are out there but maybe in a real time/non browser based form?

 

Very much a Real Time Strategy.  Potentially browser based.  (Unity 3D, so it could be browser or client)


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#11 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:16 AM


To me, a "single settlement" supporting a "squad" suggests a very specific setting and premise: skirmishes between little city-states (presumably isolated, self-sufficient colonies) which can field a militia of a handful of people with limited-budget equipment.

 

I remember playing some other City Building games, where you could send troops (no actual battle control, more just time delay and reports)  and was really annoyed, when I had spent a week building up my little city, with an army of 300, when someone who had paid a few bucks and been part of a Guild, attacked and decimated my forces with his of 7000 strong.  Needless to say, I stopped playing that game, because the powerful dominate, and there are no balance checks.  I wanted to leave the cities them selves safe, while only risking the armed forces.  I.e. You can only lose those things you send out to battle, and it will be more rare if at all, that you lose things in your city.

 

However, I'm not completely apposed to this either.  But I need to figure out how to do it well.  Perhaps your first city is safely protected on your home world.  Perhaps once you get past a certain point in your development, you are offered the ability to start a colony on a planet not fully owned yet  (Still having battle plague it.)  There is a risk that your city could be attacked.

 

I do however like the idea of insurance, where the cities value is insured by the government, and if you lose it, the government sets you up somewhere else with a lot of money and immediate availability of the same technology level.  This would account for natural disasters such as Asteroids, Battle damage or 'oops' a server crashed, I.e. a planet blew up/got sucked into a black hole.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#12 Bluefirehawk   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1232

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:18 AM

My question would be, why do you want to split it up? What makes the experience different and better suited for the game you have in mind?

I didn't see anything about the setting, the theme of the game.  LorenzoGatti touched upon this:

 

To me, a "single settlement" supporting a "squad" suggests a very specific setting and premise: skirmishes between little city-states (presumably isolated, self-sufficient colonies) which can field a militia of a handful of people with limited-budget equipment

 

If you had to describe your game in one to three sentences, what would it be?

In my opinion, this basically defines in what direction you want to go with your game and if specific mechanics are useful for that or not. (Let's be honest, if we could, we would implement a million page long list of mechanics, most of which the gamer will probably never notice, but we sadly don't have the time.)

 

It also helped me to think about, why the player should play my game. Competition? Creative creations (spore)? Adventure and exploration...

Then it is easier to discuss specific mechanics and if it is the right direction


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#13 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:24 AM


If the city building side isn't influenced by combat how do you win?

 

to respond more directly to this question, there is no "winning" in city building, there is only surviving/thriving.  Similar to playing run scape or Farmville

 

Also, there is no single victory for the war.  However, winning occurs in two ways. 

1) your squad(s) survive smaller battles, and gain experience.  You get rewards, including better military techs from the government.

2) winning a planet.  The everlasting battles occur across many planets.  and planets will sometimes be won, and then owned by one side alone.  If a planet is won, your contributions will be tallied with everyone else, and perhaps status on the planet will be influenced by it.  (Extra resources, Guild ownership, etc...)


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#14 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

A victory on the battlefield doesn't necessarily mean winning the game. One player must successfully siege the other player's city in order to win. So instead of 2 modes of play, I suggest having 3 :

City Building
Battle Front
City Siege : this mode will eventually lead to winning/losing the game.

 

In a recent response to LorenzoGatti, I started liking the idea of adding colonies on planets still in the war.  These ones can be lost, and Adding City Seige to the mix would be needed for that.  (Starting to get a consensus for that :)

 

In this idea, the homeworld city (your starting point) will always be safe.  But your colonies to have better advantages in battle front, and stake on better resources (otherwise unused planet)  Of course that also puts them at risk. 

 

Adding this feature may make things easier than I had intended.  I was planning on having a different overall city designer/manager than battle front, but I can see that I could use the same basic logic engine, but just offer different interaction menus.  naturally changing again when under siege to provide different needs tactics/management.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#15 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 09:46 AM


If the city building side isn't influenced by combat how do you win? What happens when you win the battle that your squad gets sent to? What is the "end game" of it all? Is this all going to be multiplayer or singleplayer against AI? Is your city going to be persistent like an MMO, something that will be built up over extended periods of time, or will the game function like a traditional RTS with new matches beginning and ending in each play session?

 

This will not be traditional, in the sense of PVP attacks over limited amounts of land, and a small time frame. 

 - I intend this to be an everlasting battle that will have lasting effects.  a single active battle field may have a dozen human players and 2 dozen AI's  (#'s depending on performance) An active battle may continue for long periods of time, like days or weeks, constantly recieving new troops.  Troops that stay in for X amount of time and/or complete objectives, receive rewards and can return home, to help train other troops. 

 - You have minor win's, in that your Sqauds win, and over time, gain more military respect and get better gear/manufactoring/training abilities from the government.

 

Unlike starcraft, when the "map" is won, you keep your resources.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#16 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:05 AM

In addition to this, if you're planning about making this an MMO, what happens to a person's territory when they log off? Do their soldiers automatically defend it or do the units fly back home and the territory left open? Is there any value to taking territory that will just be lost later if you don't have friends sitting on it 24/7?

 

(bothersome needing to rewrite, acidentalyl clicked a link.:)  )

 

I plan on the everlasting battle having certain requirements, such as time limit to guard an area or take out X number of enemy troops, or recover X Items. etc...  This means that even if the player isin't watching, that their troops are still there.  If the player doesn't engage  (either trusts their troop, id distracted by other more important issues or loses connection to the internet) then the units will fall under an AI control.  They will try to complete the mission objectives, and get back home.

 

because there could be a dozen or more player's/human controlled squads, it doesn't make sense to pause the battle field for connection issues, or suddenly have a large groups of soldiers/tanks dissapear only to reapear 14 hours later when the player returns, possibly after no more battle exists in that area.

 

DtCarrot suggested something that goes along with this well:

Maybe each player can be allowed to have a general which gives the surrounding troops a morale boost depending on what weapon they are using. Sword generals provide a defensive boost to nearby troops and so on. The idea works like real life.

 

The idea being that you could train Officers as well, and these officers would have good AI control.  If they are taken out your troops revert back to what ever their basic level of training and experience suggest, and don't act as a team (often) but still try to complete the tasks.  If you pay enough to train/hire your officers, they may do a better job than you can.  :D


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#17 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

If you had to describe your game in one to three sentences, what would it be?

 

Build up your cities, technologies and military forces to become a force to be reckoned with.

Send your forces to fight along side others to try to take control of new planets for your government.

Control your squads in a battle with dozens of other players to complete your mission objectives and get out.

 

 

why the player should play my game. Competition? Creative creations (spore)? Adventure and exploration...

 

Competition, Ownership, Name.

 

Competition is in smaller segments.  One player will not win a war.  Many are required to take over control of a planet.

 

Unlike Starcraft, where you play a map, against some other random player online, and when its done its done.  This game once you complete your objectives on the map (or die) the map (or planet) is still under siege. Eventually one side WILL WIN.  and based on the points you received in combat on that planet, you will receive credits, territory or a colony on the new planet and better technologies according to your points.  But there are many planets (continuous server growth).   Of course, each planet also acts a bit like a leader board.  You get your name on the planet.  The winner, may even get the planet named after them.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#18 Waterlimon   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2349

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:14 PM

Maybe you should allow buildings on the battlefield too. These would only provide support, defence and units, ans they would need resources and tech from your stable city (to produce or simply act as a buffer for ammo, units, and to build the actual building itself)

Maybe there would also be resources flowing from the battlefield to your city too. Captured enemy resources and tech, resources mined from the planets etc.

Waterlimon (imagine this is handwritten please)


#19 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:54 PM

Maybe you should allow buildings on the battlefield too. These would only provide support, defence and units, ans they would need resources and tech from your stable city (to produce or simply act as a buffer for ammo, units, and to build the actual building itself)

 

Indeed.  I'm weighing out the idea of crossing the city building with the tactical combat.  I primarily wanted a way to keep the initial city safe, so players don't have to worry about it.  But then having colonies on warring planets that could be lost, but give benefits to battle.  Of course I may not go with this, as I think it would cost to much time in development, but maybe a V2 of the game.

 

Maybe there would also be resources flowing from the battlefield to your city too. Captured enemy resources and tech, resources mined from the planets etc.

 

This I really like.  I was planning that going to the battles would return rewards for the city/player, but captured tech is a great idea.  perhaps your can't even create certain things, but you just stole 3 tanks, and can use them.  If they are lost they are lost.  But you can also study them, to increase your abilities with your vehicles/weapons, etc...  That seems like a great way to increase technology as well.  I like the idea of having different mentalities.  So far, I was planning that you get everything from the government's military source, for the means of technology, essentially proving your abilities and earning rights to build better tech.  But providing additional ways, like things you can only get from stealing things from opponents.  For instance, taking over a base and still having a tank manufacturing building of the enemies.  Perhaps you can't build new buildings like it, but you can keep it producing tanks.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#20 Yrjö P.   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1412

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:32 AM

The few MMO strategy game design attempts I'm familiar with were all fundamentally broken and terrible. It's bad if the winning "strategy" is to spend every waking hour playing 1000 smurf accounts. It's also bad if the winning "strategy" is to spend every waking hour growing an alliance of as many people as possible. Mechanics can't allow one group to take control of the game and hold it forever.

I think a MMO strategy game would have the best shot at being interesting and balanced if it was split into shards of a manageable number of people, if the shards were reset once in a while (e.g. at the victory of one faction), and if alliances were fixed for the duration of the life of the shard to prevent the degenerate largest-alliance "strategy". There would still be the problem of smurfing, including smurf accounts stacked on the same side, and smurf accounts spying on the opponents, that has to be dealt with somehow.

Edited by Stroppy Katamari, 06 January 2013 - 07:33 AM.





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