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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Preview: The Banner Saga: Factions [Destructoid]

  1. #1
    Community Management Sean's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Austin, Texas

    Preview: The Banner Saga: Factions [Destructoid]

    Sure, Destructoid got some juicy info out earlier in helping Stoic announce Factions and talk about the November release date... but that wasn't all. Check out Destructoid's preview of The Banner Saga: Factions...

    Somewhere between checkers and chess, the contemporary turn-based strategy game resides. Advance Wars, X-Com, Heroes of Might & Magic, and Fire Emblem are known by many, loved by some, and mastered by very few. Their intricate systems are simple and colorful enough on the surface to attract a following, but none are quite as pretty as The Banner Saga: A great board game that never existed brought to life within the milieu of a gorgeous animated fantasy that never existed.
    Read the entire article: Preview: The Banner Saga Factions
    Sean "Ashen Temper" Dahlberg

  2. #2
    Backer Ratatoskr's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    This looks fantastic, I can't wait to play.

  3. #3
    Backer lamaz's Avatar
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    May 2012
    As I already commented on another post, I was kind of surprised about the microtransaction thing. But now that I think of it I guess they need to have some way of profiting from the free-to-play version, especially since it will most likely be updated with the player owned cities multiplayer feature? That would prove to be expensive to host without any kind of source of steady income..

    The game, Factions, itself seemed to hold up very well. I liked the idea of armor and willpower mechanics very much, not to mention the achievement system, which sounds amazing! The achievement system seemed nice, too. I don't usually like achievements at all, but when you can shove them to your enemy's face on a banner.. that's something!

    Can't wait to get the beta

  4. #4
    Maybe I've missed something, but I haven't seen microtransactions mentioned.

    Other than that, gaming journalists are still...gaming journalists : "painstakingly hand-drawn art by Powerhouse Animation", "During their Kickstarter phase, I ridiculed them for having the tenacity", "The Banner Saga: A great board game that never existed brought to life within the milieu of a gorgeous animated fantasy that never existed"...

  5. #5
    The article mentions that you'll be able to level up your dudes with cash money instead of XP. However, paying money to have less game seems kind of odd to me.

  6.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #6
    Creative Director Alex's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Hey guys! Thanks for the feedback on this! A quick explanation about the revenue model, since the message can sometimes get muddied in interviews:

    Every time you play a match you earn "Renown", which is our currency for everything. You can use it to upgrade characters, buy new units, buy items, so on and so forth. You can do everything in the game just by playing. You can also purchase renown if you want to skip a few fights.

    It was really important to us that you don't feel like you need to spend money to play the game. We don't have an "energy" system that locks you out after a certain amount of time, or an impenetrable grind that requires you to buy huge stacks of Renown. We also never sell an advantage in combat.

    Bottom line is - if you want to spend money, great! We'll use it to pay salaries. If you don't want to, there's no pressure and nothing lost to you.

    As we keep working on the single player campaign we'll be updating Factions with new content like characters and maybe even single-player skirmishes as enemy AI comes online.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by Alex; 09-19-2012 at 02:14 PM.

  7. #7
    Backer Troll's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    A good read and an unexpectedly very interesting game Factions will become.
    I also didn't expect micro-transactions in the game, although it is now a logical companion to F2P games. If the way it is implemented really is that of a bonus for those who want to bypass a number in fights, I see no problems.

  8. #8
    Backer Hughes_dePayens's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    I'm glad to see you guys aren't making it a pay2win kind of scheme.
    It looks fantastic so far, I can't wait for that beta!

  9. #9
    Backer Aaron's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    So I take it Renown is basically TBS's take on experience points and gold.
    The ability to purchase Renown can make sense, since it wouldn't so much be buying power as it would be cutting down on the time needed for "grinding".

    Interesting that you're tying health to strength. Have you managed to balance it against "death spiral" effects, because if you have then it would be an interesting system.

  10. #10
    Looks great!

  11. #11
    I should start by saying that I'm not a fan of microtransactions. I like the idea but playing "free to play" games has only soured my opinion of the model as a whole, and I am disappointed to hear that Stoic has chosen this route.
    I trust that Stoic has only the best intentions, but I do not see how you can have a fair microtransaction system when the rewards are not limited to cosmetics.

    As a longstanding fan of the Tribes series I'll use the recently popular Tribes Ascend, developed by High Rez, as a case study for what is wrong with any implementation which gives an in-game advantage to players who spend real money.

    In Tribes Ascend you can unlock weapons and upgrades with in game experience, or with Gold (the in game currency which can be purchased with real money).
    The developers claim that none of the unlockable weapons give an unfair advantage. Similarily Stoic has promised that the cash shop will be implemented in a manner that is fair to people who don't want to spend money..

    High Rez maintains that locking certain weapons until you earn or buy them is fair, and yet they charge more for certain weapons than others. If the price of the weapon were representative of its value, and all the guns offered equivalent advantages including the free ones, then all locked weapons would be offered at the same standard price wouldn't they? This just shows that High Rez is aware of the advantages they hold back in the hopes that people will spend money.

    If it's fair to allow people who pay with real money to unlock advantageous weapons in Tribes, then it's surely fair to allow someone to forego the grind of Banner Saga's multiplayer. However, Stoic designed this game with a board in mind, so they should easily understand that chess is not better when you can purchase extra pawns. I don't understand why Stoic would potentially unbalance the game when they could offer alternate unit skins or other cosmetic items instead.

    If you purchased Tribes 1 and 2 then you got every class, every skin, every voice and every gun the game had to offer. There is a lot more content in Tribes 2 than what High Rez have been able to implement in Tribes Ascend with it's 'free to play' model, and yet to access all of the comparatively meagre content in T:A right now, I would have to spend more than $100. That's ironically a lot more than the price of any game which is not "free to play".

    If Stoic is confident in their multiplayer game and they want to offer a balanced multiplayer experience then I cannot fathom why they wouldn't just offer it as a one time purchase and forget about the cash shop. If they insist on making it free to play then offer something tangible that doesn't affect the gameplay like alternate skins and races for your warriors.

    I understand that Stoic expects to create a balanced experience but I do not believe it is possible to do it in the way they plan to proceed. I am hopeful that I am wrong.
    Last edited by Bevel; 09-19-2012 at 11:15 PM.

  12. #12
    I have to agree with Bevel. For similar reasons, my past experiences with free-to-play have soured me on the concept.

    So much so, in fact, that, given how many games, books, and personal projects I have backlogged, I don't even feel it's worth my time to give free-to-play offerings the benefit of the doubt anymore when I could be playing something I know I'll like instead or writing a program or book for pleasure.

    I may be a $50 backer on the Kickstarter project and my brother may be too, but if there's no option to do LAN play completely independent from the repercussions of the free-to-play model, I guess my reward for my support will be a single-player game.

    Could be worse I suppose. It's not as if Final Fantasy Tactics had multiplayer and my only issue with Tactics is how, if you grind for the pleasure of the skirmish, the enemies get tough faster than you do.
    Last edited by ssokolow; 09-20-2012 at 02:52 PM.

  13. #13
    I played Tribes Ascend for a bit and quit for the very same reason also. Yeah sure I could play the game and save up to get weapons instead of using real cash but it would take countless hours to unlock them. It took me like 20 hours of playing to unlock one or two weapons while a lot of the players bought everything they wanted and it certainly gave them an edge. I am not a fan of the system but I hope it works better for Banner Saga. I'd rather just pay more money for the multi-player than have it be micro-transaction based personally.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Thulean View Post
    I played Tribes Ascend for a bit and quit for the very same reason also. Yeah sure I could play the game and save up to get weapons instead of using real cash but it would take countless hours to unlock them. It took me like 20 hours of playing to unlock one or two weapons while a lot of the players bought everything they wanted and it certainly gave them an edge. I am not a fan of the system but I hope it works better for Banner Saga. I'd rather just pay more money for the multi-player than have it be micro-transaction based personally.
    Agreed. Especially given what I've read about decision fatigue. (New York Times. Login required)

    (The gist of it is that research has proven that making decisions tires out the mind and it's better to make one big decision than a lot of little ones.)

    ...though EA is probably banking on the fact that, the more decision fatigue sets in, the sloppier and more impulsive our decision making gets.
    Last edited by ssokolow; 09-20-2012 at 02:52 PM.

  15. #15
    Backer Troll's Avatar
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    it all boils down to how Stoic implements the grind effect. If the renown gain is sufficent enough to not feel that you have to grind for it, then all is good in my books, as long as there is some kind of balance between both players.

    If there is match-making based on the overall Renown gained by each player, then the game would be balanced, otherwise we might end up running too fast agains high level content due to the other party purchasing renown.

    Last question is apparently already answered by John in the Technical Blog

    The plan is to have two modes:

    Versus - auto match against another online player of similar party power
    Friend - manually start a match against one of your friends
    Last edited by Troll; 09-20-2012 at 07:40 AM.

  16. #16
    I too have tried playing the new tribes game and gave up. But to give a counter example of how micro transactions can work is League of Legends. The main value is paying money there is to get alternate skins, but it can be used to get heroes and things that will improve the heroes (hence and advantage to the player). The thing is, the heroes and improvements can all be got with the in game currency. It may take a while to save up enough to get one of the more expensive characters, but in the meantime you aren't penalized for not spending money. The rotation of free to play characters means those who don't spend money aren't relegated to some starter set of heroes. End result, a lot of disgruntled tribes players and many happy League of Legends players.

    All this is to say that micro transactions don't necessarily ruin a game, as long as they don't ruin the balance of the game. I don't think the proposed renown system will be an issue, as long as there is a way to sort out by their level of renown (earned or bought) as troll suggested.

  17. #17
    Backer LoliSauce's Avatar
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    If renoun is just used to buffer the strength of your party, why would matching similar party strength require you to differentiate based on earned or bought renoun? From the sounds of it, matching based on renoun can't unbalance things if the matchmaking works properly, because you'll always being fighting someone with a similar level of group strength to yours.

    The Tribes Ascend argument is invalid because matchmaking didn't separate people based on how many weapons they had, though League of Legends is more relevant as they do have an experience system in place to assist in matchmaking online. The problem you guys are attributing you microtransactions is actually rooted in not properly matching up people of similar "power levels", so to speak, in a competitive environment.

    Take this example. A person new to the srpg genre played for a week or two and built up a moderately upgraded army with a couple good items to outfit it with. He hops online, jumps into Versus, and get matched up with an experienced srpg player with very little patience for playing as a newbie, who bought a similar amount of renoun as the first player earned. Would you consider this unbalanced in any possible way? Though ultimately the skill level will vary between any given players based on how experienced in the genre or the specific game they are, the core issue of both players having a similar strength and amount of tools at their disposal is kept in balance.

    Edit: The real issue people should be complaining about regarding imbalance is that people who buy the single player game get 16 extra character classes that f2p players do not have access to. That IS a balancing issue.
    Last edited by LoliSauce; 09-20-2012 at 06:41 PM. Reason: finished reading article

  18. #18
    I have no experience with LoL but if Banner Saga's match making can create an enjoyable experience for people who don't spend real money then I have no problems. It's always the implementation.

  19. #19
    LoliSauce brings up an interesting point. The article implies that the additional 16 classes from the single player won't ever be available to those that don't get the single player part of the game.
    Is this the case or will the f2p players eventually get access to them via renown or money?

  20. #20
    I think it is true that it may not have an adverse effect on the game if match making puts players with similar renown, whether bought or earned, together. In that case I would actually think the player that earned his way up will have the real advantage because he will have more real experience.

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