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Wavinator

Not Treasure, Effect (Motive For Invading Dungeons / Bases)

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What do you think about the idea of not necessarily being rewarded with item drops and loot for invading a base or dungeon, but sometimes by the effect it creates elsewhere? Let's say there's a bandit cave near town. The bandits don't just sit in there staring at their loot. They create an effect in the world which you either see or hear about, and which may or may not affect you personally. The bandits, for instance, frequently can be found sneaking around town late at night, KOing guards and waylaying anyone who's not an ally. If you fall victim, you get robbed. To get your stuff back, you'd have to go into the cave (stealthfully, with trickery, when they're away, with brute force, etc.). Other NPCs, as a result of this constant action, might also offer rewards. But when the town is robbed enough, the bandits move on. If that means they took your Uber Long Range Rifle Of Sniping ([razz]) or whatever with them, then you'd have to keep following clues and talk to NPCs to track them down.
Some other examples: You wipe out bandits because...
  • They're hurting merchants, which raises prices
  • They're cramping your style (by stealing the loot YOU want to steal!)
  • A merchant with a vital medicine supply is too afraid to come down the road, and children in the village will die (will really happen in X days, not just a static quest)
  • A rival bandit group agrees to attack the corrupt church you're a member of, in exchange
etc.

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Quote:
Original post by Wavinator
What do you think about the idea of not necessarily being rewarded with item drops and loot for invading a base or dungeon, but sometimes by the effect it creates elsewhere?


I think it's a great idea; unless the base or dungeon was known for its treasure, then that should be the primary motivation for invading it anyway; i.e. if you're hunting the Lost City of Gold, then that's probably for the treasure, but you can hunt bandits for all sorts of different reasons (town safety, revenge for your father's death, code of honour etc.). I've never been a big fan of 'item drops' in non-arcadey style games anyway.

In some of more freeform games, like Sid Meier's Pirates!, I do this sort of thing already, such as deliberately failing to protect the envoys of peace between different nations, as all out war is much more beneficial to the life of a pirate.

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Sounds lke a good idea. I see these as being more tiles on the map then fixed locations. You could do a lot with it. Such as you discovering the route of a vital trade convoy. The convoy moves across the map one tile at a time you could intercept it and cause problems for the colony awaiting the supplies, or you could help ensure they make there safe, or you could use your terraforming powers to redirect the convoy past your all night kebab stand.

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"Treasure" in games seems to be a failsafe motivational tool to get players to go to a specific area. By eliminating the lure of just "treasure" you can create a more interesting and immersive environment. If the player's actions actually have an effect on the world, it can draw the player in more. However, the immediate problems are that anything other than just "treasure" is more complicated to build into your world if it is in a dynamic setting. Static, scripted events where the player must go attack a bandit group to do something to help a town or a sick orphan or just to drive them off have been in games for quite a while.

I would like to point out that it would be good to remove "treasure" as the driving motivation for a player to clean out the bandits, but don’t remove all of the "treasure." If a bandit group has been constantly pillaging a town for months, they’re bound to have something to pad the player’s wallet.

Note: I use "treasure" as this can be gold, money, items, rare goods, or even just exp grinding. Things that provide an immediate boon to the player.

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I adore the idea of tracking a band of thieves to regain something they took from you, or for revenge. In order for that to work, of course, you'd need many unoccupied caves and lairs throughout the world (or some mechanism by which to generate one) and discreet corporate entities for each band of brigands. They could really function just like any other economic or military organization, and could even transfer from one to another by taking government contracts or "going straight". Nifty.

I always like having bases that you can infiltrate, but don't really have to. Fallout does pretty well with this. The Raiders, and the Necropolis, and the Brotherhood of Steel and various other faction-related bases can all be accessed via a variety of means. It isn't usually worth your while, so you don't just think, "Hey, another Vault! I bet there's some good loot to be had if I shoot my way past every warm body in the place!"

Your idea, if implemented well, will deepen gameplay and improve the quality of the world for your players.

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Usually games provide a story reason like you've mentioned AND loot.

I like the idea of a persistent town that you interact with and affect by doing missions though. Your concept is more interesting and fun than the risk vs. reward discussion IMO though.

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What a great idea. I'll take it.

For me, seeing my actions dynamically affecting a game world in meaningful ways is far more satisfying than collecting loot.

In Morrowind, I played a thief that stealthily robbed his way to the top of the Thieves' Guild. At that point, there was no further impetus for me to continue, since the "Master of the Thieves' Guild" is just a meaningless title with no real effect on the game world, and no extra gameplay. I would have loved being able to send the Guild's novice thieves out on missions, dispatching spies to case juicy targets, and selling stolen goods in dark alleys to fences. Unfortunately, the only thing earned from my thieving was the loot. While it was fun while it lasted, I was left with an empty feeling that I didn't really do anything.

Building relationships with well-defined characters and affecting events in the larger game world, good or otherwise, is my own holy grail in game design. Having a world with dynamic factions and characters could mean limitless story generation potential. Loot should just be icing on the cake, a means to an end. Besides, there are countless games that excel at treasure hunting (Diablo, Nethack, Everquest clones, etc.), so why limit ourselves to the same old thing?

- Mike

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Thats a great idea. What's the mechanism to make it work in a game? Here is my idea.

I see the "bandits" needing a type of goal based AI that manages the operations of the group and issues commands to the individual bandits (entities). For example, the Bandit King (entity controller) will have the goal of gathering riches. Options (or missions) for gather riches include robbing travelers, mugging people in town, stealing from churches, raids on other camps. The entities would know how to complete these options. Things that can affect what course of action to pick would be time of day, location of targets, and number of bandits. The bandit king would evaluate if a mission was successful or not, and that would play into whether it gets used again.

As the bandits are killed off, the options that the bandit king choses would change to meet his goal. The town members would then have a lower level of disruption (from the bandits) and have a changed attitude towards the adventurer, supply of goods would increase (dropping prices), medice would make it through the passes, etc.

I would recommend some kind of fuzzy state machine for the entities (bandits and villagers) used in conjuntion with scripting for each type of mission. Also, a goal based expert system for the bandit king.

Cheers,

Bob

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