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spires

Member Since 08 Apr 2012
Offline Last Active Dec 23 2012 10:10 AM

Topics I've Started

Generating ideas for using game mechanics to create balanced factions

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

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