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robert4818

Competeing NPC Factions

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One of my biggest complaints about games that use faction standing, is that you seem to be doing all this great work for a group…and they love you for it, but you don’t seem to see any affect of your actions on the world at large. I’ve come up with a way to change that. Below is a concept of using competitive NPC factions. (edited for clarification) In games where there are numerous (5+) factions all vying for influence this is an idea to help players feel like they have an affect on the world. The idea though, is not to have the player do world-changing events, but to make the player-base as a whole change the face of the worlds system. Noble Houses (Corporations, Gangs, Guilds, Tribes, etc) usually vie for influence in a world of competition. A single player doesn't take part in the back door scheming or anything else in this situation, they normally end up doing some inane task that the competing people think will help them out. This system can be used with pre-generated quests but works better with quests from a random quest generator. The basis of this system is a large pool of points that we can abstractly call Influence, or control. Whatever it is, its what the system uses to keep track of the competition between the Houses. We'll start off with a pool of 1,000,000 I'll set my number of noble houses to 10. Since we are starting the system from new We'll give each House an equal share. 100,000. Since all points are equal, and everyone is sitting at 0 the computer chooses at random which missions are available, and who is going after who. Once play starts and players start doing missions that 100,000 point share for each corporation will begin to shift and fluctuate up and down. Players are doing quests at a point cost of 1-10. The point cost is the transfer of influence and power from one house to another. Quests with a point cost of 1 are reletivly easy, and have little reward. Quests with a point cost of 10 are considered hard. Players get the option to choose which House they want to do a quest for, however they are also given the option to be given a quest at random where they DO NOT know who the benefactor is. This sort of quest often gives different and/or rarer rewards. As one House's Influence begins to wane it will begin to offer up quests with a higher point cost beginning with a multiple of 2, then 3, all the way up to 5...eventually resulting in quests with up to 50 points worth of influence. Increasing reward and experience points for players. As larger amounts of influence change hands the effects on the game world become more evident. Shops will close up as their benefactor loses influence, others will expand thier merchendise and event thier shops as thier benefactor gets more influence. Areas that at one time may have been hazardous to members alligned with one house will be come safe as that house gains influence in that area. Decorations will change in an area etc. Some effects will happen faster than others, and not all changes will be positive. To simulate house rivalries, political agenda's and such, there will also be a hate system in place between houses. At the beginning of the game, the system is balanced, and as stated earlier, the choice of one opponent or another for a specific house is completely random. As say House A begins to have its influence stolen by House B, it begins building up a hate level against B. Smaller quests of points 1-5 build up a reletivly small amount of hate. Say 1-5 points based on the difficulty of the mission. Harder and more daring quests of points 6-10 are definately more weighted in hate. This would range from 20-100 hate per mission. Refer to the following chart. Quest difficulty 1 2 3 4 5 6. 7. 8. 9. 10 Hate Generated.. 1 2 3 4 5 20 40 60 80 100 Then when the player goes to choose a quest coming from House A the system will choose the opponent using the following system. Determine the average hate of each house. Then Determine the actual deviation from that average that each house has. Weight the random opponent roll based off of deviation from the average hate. Eventually players should be able to see trends in the system and play off those trends in order to creat a unique and dynamic world. What do you think? [Edited by - robert4818 on July 2, 2005 8:30:03 AM]

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yes its for an MMO.

As for the impact on gameplay it depends on how central to the game you make the different Factions.

In a game of Shadowrun the factions would be the Corporations. In that context the Corporations are VERY central to the core of the game, and therefore thier competition would be of large impact to gameplay.

If on the other hand the changes to the game world are only superficial, and every shop holds the same items, so that the benefactor doesn't matter. And the effects of the infighting are merely cosmetic, then the answer is that it would have very little impact on gameplay.

If this idea is implimented from the beginning, and given a sizable role in a game, then impact on gameplay will be had. This is one way of creating a dynamic world where players have a role in the outcome.

This system would not be very good as an add-on to an already functioning game, say in EQ. However it could prove to be very good dependingon the situation its drawn on.

Besides the underlying system is pretty basic. Its meant to be tied into a Random mission system. So this will be as relevant to game play as the random missions are.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
It is a nice system, and I have fleshed out one just like it (except with PC guilds that influence laws, magic, taxes, and a couple other things). The one problem I see is that once someone starts to lose influence, you increase the points they can earn. It'd pretty much be an endless struggle if the numbers were high enough. Plus, unless you give a benefit that you didn't mention, people are likely to jump ship and do a quest that gives the most xp/gold or do the unknown quest regardless of who it's for.

If the item shops are all the same, then it doesn't really matter. If they change, then you could potentially be screwing over a class (if any exist), and if there are more magic users than fighters, high level magic users would likely control more influence and therefore screw fighters over for the entire gamelength.

Just forget about the factions, and work on a balanced system that the factions would affect.

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Quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
It is a nice system, and I have fleshed out one just like it (except with PC guilds that influence laws, magic, taxes, and a couple other things). The one problem I see is that once someone starts to lose influence, you increase the points they can earn. It'd pretty much be an endless struggle if the numbers were high enough. Plus, unless you give a benefit that you didn't mention, people are likely to jump ship and do a quest that gives the most xp/gold or do the unknown quest regardless of who it's for.


Thats the idea, its supposed to be an endless struggle. This is a system designed for the background of the game, and I don't believe there should be any really strong ties to one faction or another. The concept here is to affect the game world, in small ways.

Quote:
If the item shops are all the same, then it doesn't really matter. If they change, then you could potentially be screwing over a class (if any exist), and if there are more magic users than fighters, high level magic users would likely control more influence and therefore screw fighters over for the entire gamelength.


I see your concern. I've mentioned above that if the changes to the world are merely superficial then this system is much ado about nothing, well except for immersion. Immersion is terribly important to me, so even if the changes were superficial, I think that it would be something to put in if it doesn't take a whole lot of time to develop.

However your second concern is somewhat narrow-sighted. It looks as if you assume that each faction will sell only, or sell mainly, items for one specific class and/or style of play. I do not see it that way. What I envision is that the factions might focus the development of thier items. For example, Faction A and B both sell swords, staves, and armor items. Faction A's swords focus on adding in elemental damages, Faction B's focus on giving better chances to hit. Faction A's staves work on increasing Casting Power, Faction B's focus on increasing Mana Pool. Faction A's Armor is focused on shere protectivity whether its from elements, bonus strength etc. While Faction B's Armor is designed to give the player a Regenerative power so that they heal faster in combat.

The higher a standing a faction has, the better versions they sell.

Quote:
Just forget about the factions, and work on a balanced system that the factions would affect.


I'm not sure what you mean by this part. Could you explain more

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Quote:
Original post by robert4818

Thats the idea, its supposed to be an endless struggle. This is a system designed for the background of the game, and I don't believe there should be any really strong ties to one faction or another. The concept here is to affect the game world, in small ways.

I see your concern. I've mentioned above that if the changes to the world are merely superficial then this system is much ado about nothing, well except for immersion. Immersion is terribly important to me, so even if the changes were superficial, I think that it would be something to put in if it doesn't take a whole lot of time to develop.

However your second concern is somewhat narrow-sighted. It looks as if you assume that each faction will sell only, or sell mainly, items for one specific class and/or style of play. I do not see it that way. What I envision is that the factions might focus the development of thier items. For example, Faction A and B both sell swords, staves, and armor items. Faction A's swords focus on adding in elemental damages, Faction B's focus on giving better chances to hit. Faction A's staves work on increasing Casting Power, Faction B's focus on increasing Mana Pool. Faction A's Armor is focused on shere protectivity whether its from elements, bonus strength etc. While Faction B's Armor is designed to give the player a Regenerative power so that they heal faster in combat.

The higher a standing a faction has, the better versions they sell.

I'm not sure what you mean by this part. Could you explain more



Ah, a respectful reply.

The system I am working on, or have actually fully designed, has real changes that give nobody in particular benefit, but do add flavor and draw people together to fight for the things they want. Even though the changes I make are little more important than your own, I fear that people will lose respect for a superficial system. In the end, since people are fighting for things they want, and their changes affect massive places, the immersion has a firm grasp.

When I suggested that one faction winning over another would hurt some players, what I meant was some players will see items they want, but will be unable to purchase because of the factions. This means they aren't playing the way they want, but rather the way you designed them to play. In your example, if I was a fighter wanting a sword that dealt in elemental power from Faction A, but they were losing the battle to Faction B, I would have to settle for a sword that focuses on accuracy. Even if they are balanced, I will feel cheated because I am not playing the way I want to. If I may inject a piece of realism here, I don't see why losing a conflict would really instantly diminish the supply of a certain weapon type unless some sort of mining facility or smithing place was taken over. Price go up? Certainly... Stock start to dry up? Of course... but being unable to buy that weapon is a bit silly. Unless it dealt with the very issue of the conflict (if faction B felt using the elements to fight was against nature and refused to produce or sell them), then I see no reason for you not to be able to bribe someone into making one for you.

I'm not sure what I meant by the last sentence anymore, but if I had to guess it'd be that making a game balanced and fun to play is more important than making sure people have a reason to fight. If thieves were the most powerful class in the game, then without a doubt that will ruin the immersion more than a faulty or lacking story.


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Just a quick note, before I go out and enjoy a sydney port call.

Shops closing down and such, is what happens when one faction begins to lose alot of faction....but yes, prices is a first step.

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