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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Stoic,what is the purpose of factions for the players?

  1. #1

    Question Stoic,what is the purpose of factions for the players?

    Right this is going to be a bit ugly.
    I still haven't completely formed these thoughts.

    I think it is important to understand what Stoic think this game should be about. I have read interviews and we get second hand information from the forum moderators (or are they community managers?). However, I do not have a clear idea as to what the devs think this game is about. The reason I think it is important is that it explains the thinking about design decisions that generate complaints.

    Now I know it is important for each player to play a game for their own reasons. If they enjoy it for whatever reason then that is great. But I think it is important to know what was intended.

    My reasons for asking is this, lately I've bounced off factions hard. I bought the renown/rally boost and played a few games early on. I now have three rows of warriors and can field more or less any team I choose, ergo renown is...not very important to me. I've reached the end game of character/team development. I got there so quickly I am forced to think that cannot be the point of the game and I am sure others got here even faster.

    It is reasonably clear (to me) that the ranking system is being either being exploited or was significantly distorted by early the shakedown period 50+ win streaks? really? and not top of the rankings...hmmmm. So Elo? is that the point, ignore those other tables it is all about Elo?
    The problem here is that I am left wondering how often top players play each other? When I last looked at the tourney ladder there were an awful lot of 10 wins 0 losses at the top. Unless two players near the top of a ranking list enter queue at the same time they aren't going to play each other. If topping a ranking list is the goal then there is a real motivation to avoid hard matches (or even equal matches). This isn't difficult to do if you monitor who is playing at what times.

    (some quick maths to illustrate, playing relatively weaker players gets say 6 Elo with 95% win rate and loses 24 Elo 5%. So on average you gain 5.7 Elo and lose 1.2 Elo, net gain 4.5 Elo per match, playing equal ranked players win 15 Elo 50% lose 15 Elo 50% net gain 0 per match)

    So clearly ranking isn't doing it for me as I feel guilty farming weaker players. So it must be about the game, about the individual matches! Yeah, and many of those matches are great. No really I am being completely serious most matches I really enjoy. and then when things get close and tight up pops RNG. By design with the implementation of thrashers and hits through armour the closer a game is the more chance affects the outcome. Damn. You just lost me.


    So what is the point of factions? Is it about having fun in the individual matches? Is it about building a stable of warriors, is it about rankings? What is the point of factions as a player Stoic?

    Why I'd really like to know this is that then I can asses what Stoic are going to be focusing on improving, determine if that is something that interests me and subsequently decide whether to stay or go.


    Disclaimer: There are some design choices that I don't like at all. Fair enough you can't please everyone. What I am trying to get a feeling for is which ones are intentional and the result of a conscious choice known the consequences, thus likely to remain unchanged. And which ones were made with an eye to later revision and thus are open to change.
    Last edited by tnankie; 03-05-2013 at 05:40 PM.

  2. #2
    Junior Member Galactimus's Avatar
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    1. Renown. There's obviously going to be a lot more uses for renown as the game continues development. Different classes to unlock (Menders), higher ranked promotions (ie. Rank 2: 100 Renown, Rank 3: 200.) Tournament entry fees. More things to buy in the store. Who knows what they'll end up adding. I have about 900 Renown saved up at the moment and I'm sure it'll all be spent the second the next major update comes out. There's obviously a reason why you can purchase 1,000 Renown chunks from the store. I have a feeling well need 10,000 by the time we finally hit the real meat of the end game.


    2. Rankings. As one of the people who obtained a 52 win streak I haven't really found the ELO system to be unbalanced. I only have a win:loss ratio of 5:1. I lost a ton of matches learning the basics. But during my recent win streak I shot up from 1,200 to 1,475 elo. Once I got near the top of the rankings I was only getting 1 elo from super easy opponents and 6-7 ELO from mind-wrenching slug fests. But sometimes those incredibly hard matches were against incredibly low ranked players. Once you are ranked so high on the leaderboard the risk becomes greater. The closer you get to the top the easier it is to fall. You end up fighting people just as skilled as you yet you have very little to gain.

    When I lost my 53rd match I lost over 30 ELO but I only would have gained 1-2. That's like 20 low ranked players or 4-5 high ranked players just to get back to where I was. It seems fair to me. You're not going to be high on the leaderboards if you can't win against everyone. It's going to be hard beating anyone of skill if all you've done is farmed your way through the first few ranks by facing Rank 1 newbies.


    3. What is the point of Factions? I think you are overthinking this too much. Its an online turn-based strategy RPG. You've already played it for what it is. You've leveled up your characters and you've defeated players using turn-based strategy. The development team can say with a smile on their face: "Mission Accomplished!" Besides, this is only the beginning. There isn't a lot of content right now - but this was a very smart move by the development team. The profits they make from the Store will really help them turn this game into something special. I haven't played a turn based strategy game this fun since Valkyria Chronicles for the PS3 - and that was $60.
    Last edited by Galactimus; 03-05-2013 at 07:09 PM.

  3. #3
    Junior Member BJSV's Avatar
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    I also feel as renown is not needed very much but I guess its just because we started early and there isn't everything in game devs planned on adding so this will probably change with time.

    Those 30/40/50...80+ win streaks are just omg. I dont get how its even possible unless you are exploiting time of day when there arent many ppl online. Which would explain why they dont get a loss from disconnect. I played 40 games and lost 2 already thanks to servers. I am just saying that it seems highly unlikely that some people get losses from powers that are out of their hands while other manage to escape them with twice as much games. P.S. I am a noob and i wont see 10+ win streak for a long time i guess.

    And yeah, this is chess. With vikings! There isnt much to it than that. You either like it or not.

  4. #4
    your opinions...thanks for telling me what to think.

  5. #5
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    Forwarding this to Stoic. I think they will reply. I do think it's a good question tnankie, and knowing what the "end game" will be or if there is one is something important.

  6. #6
    Backer Slimsy Platypus's Avatar
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    Tnankie - the developer's intentions with Factions were recently described in a Gamasutra artile as follows: (this is written by Alex) "As we develop the content, we'll make it playable for free so that people can actually try the game as it’s built, and generate news and excitement...We'll keep adding new content made for the single player, like combat, characters and AI until we ship the final game."

    Full Article HERE

    It is my understanding the developer's intent with Factions was to expose some of the single player systems to the public while the game was in development, so that they could tweak some of the systems to perfection while the game was being developed. Also, since the game does not have extensive funding for marketing, Factions would aid in "getting the word out". This is simply me speculating, but I'm not sure anyone expected Factions to be as strong of a stand alone title as it is, and the massive numbers now enjoying the game can attest to that.

    So with that being said, I'm sorry you are not 100% pleased with Factions. What we do know is that Stoic has been working their behinds off in getting this together for us. Matchmaking tweaking is on-going as is balancing. At the same time Stoic is trying to progress with developing a single player Saga. The most successful games in the industry don't have perfect matchmaking or perfectly balanced games, and I assume they have a lot more resources than 5 guys in a shack, that are trying to get something else done. So, let's be patient, and continue to provide constructive criticisms when we can.

    So to me (for whatever it's worth), Factions is about playing an addictive combat against other people in an outstanding community. Furthermore, it's about helping (and watching!) an epic development team progress their baby into something beyond the amazing state it already is.
    Last edited by Slimsy Platypus; 03-05-2013 at 09:30 PM.

  7. #7
    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    I think tnankie's question goes more along the line of what is the player playing/working toward as he plays the game? What does the player want to reach or achieve after battling and earning renown? The goals you mentioned Slimsy, are well, good and practical, but they're also ones outside of the game (besides the playing against others). Is playing against others, which is the means, also the end?

    Is the competition the point of the game? I think it's a compelling factor, I also think a player can set it healthily as a the point of the game if they want to. I mean I did hit a point where I wondered what I was fighting for (lol that sounds strange)...but then in the same way, I'm just looking for something that's fun to do and feels satisfying, even without concrete goals.

    You don't need to aim to be a FIFA pro baller to go outside and play some football. We don't necessarily think that playing a casual game of footbal, which is still a competition, needs something more.

    As a player, I persnally feel Factios is like this. It's me playing with someone else, having fun, like in a game of football, after work.

    If Stoic decides there's more to it though, like an "end-game" or a point past that, then cool beans.

  8. #8
    Junior Member netharch's Avatar
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    For me, factions is about getting myself ready for the single player game. I enjoy the combat, and and I want to be ready to dive right in to the story when it releases.

  9. #9
    On the point about renown: This is what I was trying to say while everyone was crying and moaning over the initial renown hump and trying to put more renown sources into the game. The grind is short, for a competitive game, and pretty soon we'll all have more renown than we know what to do with. More units will come, but you're crazy if you think stoic can make and balance units faster than we can earn the renown for them, unless they make rank 2 and 3 take like 250 and 500 renown or something dumb like that.

  10. #10
    I understand what factions achieves for the developers of the Banner saga. That has been made clear at numerous points over the net.

    Raven had it right,
    The question is what do the dev's think the point of the game is for a player? What is the experience they are aiming at and trying to move towards? (Assuming that they consider there is room for improvement [I don't think Stoic think it is perfect yet....but well you know some people think their children are perfect])

    I like the football analogy...and I think that is my frustration with the game. I don't enjoy the battles enough. To use an animation phrase 'uncanny valley' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley
    the battles are really good are really close to awesome and then something (that I consider stupid, others disagree) bounces me right off again.

    Obviously I care about the game 'cause I keep posting this stuff...I just...don't know...don't know why I don't like it.

    I wonder if mutators could be answer for me. Especially if they were able to be player created. Give those people who are arguing the unit x should be like this, or in case Y, z should happen not P. Let people test their dumb ideas and prove to themselves their ideas are dumb.


    Perhaps I should just accept that I don't like the game and F#%k off...
    Last edited by tnankie; 03-06-2013 at 12:12 AM.

  11. #11
    I think that some (though certainly not all) of your concerns will be allayed as the game develops a bit. A couple things in particular:

    1) Matchmaking could (will?) improve as players get more games under their belts. The matchmaking system could (will?) match you up with players closer to your Elo, which should result in more of your games being competitive and exciting. Elo is a pretty sound ranking system, and is used (in some form) in chess and lots of video games.

    2) As higher unit ranks are opened up, builds and strategies will diverge more significantly, broadening the range of tactics that you encounter and employ. That could be fun.

    Speaking for myself, I want to see where my ELO number levels out. After that, maybe I'll try to learn and get better, or maybe I'll have fun just playing the game, or maybe I'll lose interest. Who knows.

  12.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #12
    Creative Director Alex's Avatar
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    Hi again, tnankie. Uhhhhm... I'm not sure what to tell you, man. The whole game was literally developed by a concept artist and a writer making up stuff that they thought was fun, and then convincing a few talented people to help us make it. That's about as deep as it goes. Isn't that how most games are made?

    As for what we're thinking, we designed the combat system for the single player game, and we let people play it multiplayer, because that would be fun, right?

    We didn't want the game to be a grind but we like progression and it mirrors the single player experience, so we let you get to a full team quickly (people still complain that there's too much grinding, can't please every/anyone). We found a lot of issues with the Elo system that we're still working out because we've never made one before.

    About the Thrasher issue, what I mentioned to you on two separate occasions is that we like the Thrasher's randomness. I kind of felt like you ignored my comments on that, or don't want to accept them. You definitely made it clear that you don't like the Thrasher. Ok, I get it... I think we disagree on this, but we don't have any plans to change him. We also like how the miss chance works. Again, it's one of those things about why is XCOM and BfW and Blood Bowl all completely based on percentage chance gameplay? Because that's what they wanted to make. Somebody made a subjective call and said "yes, this is fun". We wanted to be predominantly NOT chance-based, but that doesn't mean we can't have any.

    We're going to be doing a Kickstarter update relatively soon laying out what's to come. As we've said, every time we develop some new tech for the single player game we're adding it to Factions, so people can (theoretically) enjoy it. We're going to be adding the Dredge and their AI, so you can play against the computer in a series of scripted battles. We're going to add new classes as we make them for single player. We're going to add city building to Factions and let you build your own city (maybe with friends/guild mates?), because that's a system we need for the single player. We hope someday to have territory control gameplay and 2v2 battles, but that's way far off.

    Factions has always been a platform to let people try the game while we make it, and expose issues and come up with ideas, and that's all we ever intended it to be. Hopefully fun, too.

    Basically, I'm confused by the question. Why do people play Starcraft, or DotA or, I dunno, chess? I don't think Starcraft is very fun. Obviously some people disagree.

    The good thing is, even if you're not digging Factions now, come back later. We'll have new stuff. We'll have single player. Maybe you'll find something you like better!
    Last edited by Alex; 03-06-2013 at 04:06 AM.

  13. #13
    Thanks for the reply, I really do appreciate it.

    Look I get the random thing Alex (I assume you speak for Stoic on this?), I appreciate you have different views. I've been quite careful (I thought) to make sure my posts expressed my thoughts and acknowledge that others thought differently.

    So factions is an ongoing development platform and that you as a player see it as a chance to see single player stuff before the sp game is released.
    So have fun in the battles enjoy yourself seeing this stuff we are creating as we create it (*cool huh?), we added this Elo thing 'cause we thought some of you might like it.

    Paraphrased a bit but that is how I read your post, fair summary?

    Assuming it is....O.K. I think I understand a little better, you are not trying to create some hyper competitive knife edge balanced game? This isn't a turn based version of brood wars or a non one hit kill version of chess then?

    So going onwards your focus is server stability (which seems mostly sorted) then development of things needed for SP and their implementation into factions.

    Guess it is put up or shut up time. I wonder if I can make a game?

    * Actually I really do think this is cool and I really appreciate you doing it.

  14.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #14
    Creative Director Alex's Avatar
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    Tnankie, yup I'm fairly confident I can speak for Stoic (I'm the writer, Arnie is the artist, we made the company along with John, the programmer and we all do design). Your paraphrase is pretty much spot on, though we do feel a bit more excitement about the whole thing.

    We'd love if someday the game became a popular e-sport (is it lame to use that term? I don't know), but no, we don't expect to make a hyper-competitive knife-edge balanced game with 5 people working out of a shack while in full production on a single player product. We're just doing the best we can, and people seem to really like it. Arnie gets a little more pumped about this mp stuff than I do, but we're pretty realistic about what we can accomplish.

    Yup, the focus is on stability and then adding new content as we make it. We want Factions to grow over time, but not dump all our resources into it now. I'd say that pretty much sums it up. No problem, maybe other people had similar questions and now they have a better idea, too.
    Last edited by Alex; 03-06-2013 at 04:26 AM.

  15. #15
    Sure Alex, just differentiating between your personal views and those that the team have thrashed out as the 'stoic position'; which you personally think is so far south it keeps getting penguins stuck up its bum.


    So I might thrash a few more noobs, get some rank 0 units ready for incoming new classes then go dark.

    (I still love the art and am interested in the story even if I disagree with the chance element in combat)

    P.S: Seriously, mutators Unreal Tournament style.
    P.P.S I am Australian and thus genetically bad at doing excitement....or at least communicating excitement.
    Last edited by tnankie; 03-06-2013 at 05:15 AM.

  16. #16
    Junior Member Galactimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJSV View Post
    Those 30/40/50...80+ win streaks are just omg. I dont get how its even possible unless you are exploiting time of day when there arent many ppl online. Which would explain why they dont get a loss from disconnect. I played 40 games and lost 2 already thanks to servers. I am just saying that it seems highly unlikely that some people get losses from powers that are out of their hands while other manage to escape them with twice as much games.
    Being disconnected from the server due to game maintenance does not count as a loss. In fact I'm pretty sure that being disconnected this way counts as a win for both players. The game crashing to desktop just as a match starts also doesn't count as a loss. Therefore, there are no losses that are out of your hands. Win streaks are only broken if you lose, surrender, or if the user disconnects from the game (internet connection, power outage, etc.)


    Quote Originally Posted by tnankie View Post
    your opinions...thanks for telling me what to think.
    Forums are a bad place if you don't like sharing opinions. No need to be rude.
    Last edited by Galactimus; 03-06-2013 at 08:05 AM.

  17. #17
    I was thinking about this during my morning walk with the dog today, and it occurred to me that the point of factions is almost exactly the same as the point of chess - the matches are fun, and if you want to get competitive there are Elo rankings. That's it. Isn't that... enough?

    More theoretically, I feel like there is this pressure in the games industry to make every game a lifestyle. Like League of Legends wants you to be a "LoL player" if you know what I mean. I feel like maybe it's nice to have a game with a brisk pace to endgame, and then it's just a game. I don't think you should feel bad about playing the game a lot for a month, then walking away from it for a while until some new content drops (Dredge, dredge, dredge, dredge, woooooo).

    But I feel where you are coming from on the whole randomness thing - personally, I like the direction they went with it, but I have played tons of games in my life which were really good but had one little thing I disagreed with or didn't like and man does it just bug you to no end.

  18.   Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread.   #18
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erom View Post
    I was thinking about this during my morning walk with the dog today, and it occurred to me that the point of factions is almost exactly the same as the point of chess - the matches are fun, and if you want to get competitive there are Elo rankings. That's it. Isn't that... enough?

    Bingo! It's a fun game to play if you like competitive turn based combat. It's a sort of chess type table-top game that will grow over time. play it until you're bored and then check back from time to time, you may find new stuff you want to check out.
    As Alex said, up next is a single player Narrative Mode with new enemies. Also new units and ranks all through the development.
    Renown: There will be plenty to do with renown in the future...fear not. How much will a city cost to build? I'd wager more than promoting a unit to rank 1.

  19. #19
    Junior Member Galactimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arnie View Post
    We're going to add city building to Factions and let you build your own city (maybe with friends/guild mates?) How much will a city cost to build? I'd wager more than promoting a unit to rank 1.
    City building!? You just made my day sir.
    Last edited by Galactimus; 03-06-2013 at 10:24 AM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Yellow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post
    We're going to be doing a Kickstarter update relatively soon laying out what's to come. As we've said, every time we develop some new tech for the single player game we're adding it to Factions, so people can (theoretically) enjoy it. We're going to be adding the Dredge and their AI, so you can play against the computer in a series of scripted battles. We're going to add new classes as we make them for single player. We're going to add city building to Factions and let you build your own city (maybe with friends/guild mates?), because that's a system we need for the single player. We hope someday to have territory control gameplay and 2v2 battles, but that's way far off.
    Hi Alex, thats quite a nice "update" on what to spect from the future ty a lot for the info.


    Quote Originally Posted by Alex View Post

    We'd love if someday the game became a popular e-sport (is it lame to use that term? I don't know)....

    .....Arnie gets a little more pumped about this mp stuff than I do, but we're pretty realistic about what we can accomplish.
    I get as pumped as Arnie about the e-sport idea That was one of my biggest wishes for the "Total War Series", as i was quite an active and kinda top player there, but so far my wish never came true... Lets see if it can be made reality with this game in stead
    Last edited by Yellow; 03-06-2013 at 10:25 AM.

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