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  Click here to go to the first staff post in this thread.   Thread: Thoughts about long-term metagame for Factions : Hero units, Items, Events ..?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Thoughts about long-term metagame for Factions : Hero units, Items, Events ..?

    raven, Aleo and I had what I think is a very interesting discussion about the future of Factions and what we would like to see from it in terms of gameplay additions and metagame.
    I'm just going to copypasta the whole thing here for posterity, and hope it inspires more people to join the discussion/brainstorming !


    06-06, 21:27 raven2134
    besides the 1 rank ups we see, i think tbs/tbsf may make better use of progression and gain more meaning by having 1 more real tier that creates a playing difference
    like theres 1 BIG choice u need to make with ur team, that has a sizable effect on the playstyle
    and u get that choice as an end game thing

    06-06, 21:29 Aleonymous
    More units, maps ranks, etc would be good to have, but would they just prolong the life a bit?

    06-06, 21:30 raven2134
    it depends how the content is added and designed
    it can be surface level, which is quickly consumed content, that doesnt prolong life too muchor it can be a fundamental change
    like building on existing mechanics
    like lets spitball
    but say u cud pick a specific class to turn into a "hero" (reference to the saga)
    and that unit's ability has only a slight difference to the normal units
    but its importance is the game is the kind of synergy it creates
    like someone in the warleader post said, if a unit exists that really creates synergy with the entire team

    06-06, 21:34 Aleonymous
    What can support the thrill longer is new "features" lets call them. In a mathematic description, Stoic should add another dimension to the game, not just expand an existing one (more units)

    06-06, 21:34 raven2134
    well new units are sort of in between

    06-06, 21:34 Aleonymous
    For instance "items" (weapons, armors, magic-warhorns etc)
    that you need tons of renown to buy, or should fight some tough AI-battle to claim
    And then, you can equip them on your chars
    Or, "Hero" units, as you said
    something to get personal with (on the game-level)

    06-06, 21:35 raven2134
    stoic already changed direction on items for mp
    too difficult to balance

    06-06, 21:36 Aleonymous
    possibly difficult yeah. but worthwhile imo

    06-06, 21:37 raven2134
    i think a hero/leader type active ability (1 time use or maybe high cost) wud be really cool

    06-06, 21:37 Aleonymous
    I'd also like to see some sort of large-scale "events" in Strand. For example, forced 15sec timer, or darker maps, or 3v3 battles (units/team)

    06-06, 21:37 raven2134
    like in the vein of "shuffle" formations or similar mechanics

    06-06, 21:39 mindflare77
    +1 to both of those. Have a few different active leader abilities, can only pick one. That way there's less chance of both people just shuffling their formations or turn orders and cancelling each other out.

    06-06, 23:41 Butters
    Hi all
    I was lurking through the backlog, very interesting discussions. It’s nice to have something to read from chat
    very interesting topic too.
    I'm not sure, I skipped through it, but I think I like where Raven is going.
    I never had much interest for the DotA or LoL kind of genre (whatever that's called, MOBA is it ?), but that's kinda what this would be leaning to
    I'm not sure I'd like to have teams that are 1 specific hero + the builds that goes along with it as choices though
    the beauty of Factions to me is that it's true squad tactics, where all unit count, and in that aspect more units give that much more depth, while a whole a "new tier" of meta-game that is a central piece to each build kinda limits the possible variety.
    as Aleo said, I'm kind of a purist ^^

    06-06, 23:51 Aleonymous
    @Butters -- What I was saying is that we cant simply rely on more units/maps from the Saga-release to keep things going in Factions for a long time. Thats just an extended deadline. However, new features (items, heros, guilds etc) could help...

    06-06, 23:52 Butters
    sure Aleo, I'm all for it
    what I was saying is that we need to tread carefully about introducing new systems into the gameplay, because it's already pretty dense as it is
    and I think a like a balanced game with simple systems and a lot of diversity better than a complex game that could be hell to balance and/or manage as a player
    but I'm pretty sure items are coming in from Factions, so that's one layer already
    and I can see hero units making their entrance too, but I'd rather have them be a special unit that has special abilities or someting but no global effect on the team
    like you have one hero for each class, and a limit of 1 hero per team
    so you can choose to have a special Varl or Archer or anything that is a bit better at what he does
    but on the whole team building is not affected too much
    I could see the only advantage of Heroes being that they can weild items, and maybe a couple bonus stat points, for example

    07-06, 00:01 raven2134
    m not too fond of that approach
    people will just end up targetting heroes first
    then people dont have much fun
    cos heroes die early, which doesnt make sense

    07-06, 00:02 Butters
    hm. fair point

    07-06, 00:02 raven2134
    i think it wud be cool if it tied into ur city when that comes in

    07-06, 00:02 Butters
    but then again a "generals" approach makes me think of HoMM which is a totally different genre

    07-06, 00:03 raven2134
    like u cant just quickly change heroes

    07-06, 00:03 Butters
    yeah "perks" from the hero that have effects outside of the battlefield would be really cool
    but then again if you have your choice of hero influence the battlefield then that will probably favor a certain unit or set of units, which limits your choices in team building
    I think I've been picking the system appart so much that I feel the addition of units would be such a huge impact on the metagame already
    maybe less involved players would not see it that way, I guess
    (I'm of course not talking about anyone in here )
    about the "targeting heroes first" thing, people already have priority targets on the battlefield - the rank 3s
    if the power delta between a hero and a regular unit was not too different from that of a rank 2/3 (like having a single rank 4 unit on the board), it could work
    I can see the heroes being rank 2 without items and each item providing a bonus but adding 1 power point to the hero, making them potentially rank 3 or 4
    that way you can make sure that they don't sway the general balance too much ; you can choose to have a super powerful hero but then the rest of your team has to be lower rank
    Last edited by Butters; 06-06-2013 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Member Yth's Avatar
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    There are 2 main possiblities I see for the growth of Factions:

    1) a flourishing competetive scene

    2) sufficient in-game rewards are added that people have the desire to keep playing (to build cities, grind for gear/units [ugh!], etc).

    The third option which most MMOs use to keep people playing is the social aspect of gaming: guilds, chatting, e-peen measuring, virtual fame, etc. For a game like Factions which does not have an immersive virtual world, this can be hard to keep up, even though our community is pretty tight-knit and awesome.

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    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yth View Post
    e-peen measuring
    Mwhahaha. It had been a while since last time I saw that word

    Honestly for me new units and the competitive scene would be plenty to keep me playing until kingdom comes.
    I think 2) city building will also play quite a big part in this, it's another thing I'm looking forward too (there's a specific thread about that somewhere).
    Regarding the third option, I would very much like to see something like Guilds making their way into Factions at some point, but I'm not sure how. Especially if 2vs2 is implemented, it would make a lot of sense.

  4. #4
    Member Yth's Avatar
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    It's funny, because if we were to measure, Stoicmom would be the definite winner

    Unit diversity is not entirely needed to keep a competetive scene going provided the game has sufficient depth - see Chess/Go, although I can't come up with any contemporary games with a strong competetive scene off the top of my head.

    For Factions, I agree that the current level of diversity is not quite there yet, in my estimation the current units we can pick from give us somewhere between 60% and 80% of what is really needed to have a robust metagame and a good amount of competetive builds. As I believe it is planned to almost double the unit types available at some point, this looks to be acceptable.

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    Developer raven2134's Avatar
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    I agree with what's been said about the competitive scene and needed direction for the game. I think we'll see it open up a lot with the new classes. As it is, you're required to bring at least 3/4 main classes of the existing units (archers, raiders and then choice of varl class). The meta was really interesting when you could choose to bring just 2 or even before that during earliest beta, just 1 of the classes.

    Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying we should remove the class limits. But when we get more classes and you actually have to make the choice and weigh the benefits gained from what you lose when you choose one class over another, once we have more main classes, the game will definitely get a whole lot deeper.

    As for my thoughts above, I think I was heading in an MMO direction...like if you did want to build progression in a meaningful way into the game, and make it a hook, then it needs to have some distinct impact so people actually strive for it.

    Right now the game really works well in that you can play p6 or p12 and any power in between. But I think keeping that core, but making it so that p12 (and maybe an additional tier past that) which you need to accomplish something meaningful, will give rise to another dimension of the game. Maybe it can be something like Faction vs Dredge competitions, where groups of players compete indirectly with each other. In this scenario, sure you can contribute with a p6 team, but you could deal more damage or kill more stuff with a p12 team.

    Anyway, just throwing out some ideas

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    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    I was thinking about how Stoic has said that they might introduce the AI combat into Factions with the Dredge as the opposition. I think a cool way to do that, and tie Factions and the Saga together, would be to have it be part of an Event – The Dredge Attack Strand! Maybe it could be run like a tournament and/or have special achievements for those who participate.
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    Attempting a small wrap-up here, to categorize the types of additions proposed, as well as their anticipated impact on the game-experience. So, here goes:

    More "of the same" content (e.g more maps, unit-types) --> expands game in a linear-fashion.
    New features to the battle-gameplay (e.g. items, heroes) --> reveals new tactical considerations
    New aspects to the game-setting (e.g. guilds, factions, cities) --> adds story depth/immersion
    New game-style options (e.g. vs-AI, 2vs2, events, interplay w Saga) --> unveils whole new vistas
    Community growth (e.g. feedback, tournaments, competitive scene, glory) --> Lives forever

    PS - I would like to have used the word "meta" or "metagame" but I'm still not very sure about its meaning in the gamers slang. In Greek though (my maternal language ) the meaning of meta is "after", "post-", "beyond".

  8. #8
    selling units! i wanna be able to sell units for like maybe half of their renown cost for the last level
    (i.e selling a rank 2 unit would yield 40renown)
    i think team games like 2v2 with some larger, maybe even GIANT maps would be really cool
    i personally feel that things like hero units and items would be best served in perhaps a seperate game mode from what currently exists (kinda like Soul Calibur's weapon mode but i didn't play 5 so idk if that was in there)
    thats my two cents.

  9.   This is the last staff post in this thread.   #9
    Art Director Arnie's Avatar
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    Just browsed this thread and you guys have some really good ideas. I'm knee deep in the Saga right now, but will come back to this thread when we're ready to go full bore on Factions again. As I've stated elsewhere when we come back to this we should have a lot of really great content for you all.

  10. #10
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    I think small AI quests in Factions could further the game immersion that much more, and also bring ppl that only came for multiplayer interested in the Saga singleplayer installments. For example, getting AI challenges (similar to friend challenges) appear randomly in the main screen:

    "Your fishing ships are being attacked by neighboring villages, come aid them now, bring your 4 best fighters."

    It'd also be good to have another feature that keeps you engaged while in mainscreen, best idea would be city building. There can be citybuilding measures like population, houses, training barracks, farms. More houses/farms allows for more population, training barracks x population = greater % to gain a random fighter in your proving grounds (you can also dismiss ones you dont like, i havent found dismiss to be useful in any situation as of yet). Their class would be random, but with upgrades barracks and research you increase chance to produce r1, r2, r3 units. The % chance to produce soldiers would ultimately be very low but I think it just adds an addictive feature while keeping ppl in mainscreen/chat to keep game seeming lively instead of everyone jumping into queue automatically and chat being a ghosttown sometimes. Wouldnt have to add much other than a number that keeps track of these measures (something like Utopia/Earth 2025 text-based type games)
    Last edited by roder; 06-08-2013 at 05:40 AM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    double post

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    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    I think small AI quests in Factions... "Your fishing ships are being attacked by neighboring villages, come aid them now, bring your 4 best fighters."
    +1. That kind of random events, just like the tutorial scene, will be very interesting to have!

    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    It'd also be good to have another feature that keeps you engaged while in mainscreen ... keeping ppl in mainscreen/chat to keep game seeming lively instead of everyone jumping into queue automatically and chat being a ghosttown sometimes.
    Yeah, I spend some time in Strand, normally browsing my PGs or vivisting the HoV. Unfortunately, chat is not visible there, and apart from that, there's not really much to do!

    I'd like to have some sort of "battle-emulating feature" in the PGs, e.g. like Rensei's top-view map. There, you could place your units as well as supposed enemy units in any give map, and move them all just like playing out the game (i.e. like self-playing chess) to review positioning, tactics, synergies etc.

  13. #13
    What might be fun is having a weekly competition against the AI.

    The AI has a certain lineup which is fixed for everyone. You have a set power team you can bring in and you have a leaderboard on who can win the least required turns. The winners get a small renown reward.

  14. #14
    I'm really skeptical about most of these ideas because a lot of them take away from what the banner saga factions was about (at least what I thought it was about), which was the competitive multiplayer, and just replace it with whatever shiny toy will bring in the casuals and make the game more "fun" for people. I think it's been quite clear, especially with the reaction that a lot of the backers to the banner saga kickstarter had with the release of factions is a lot of people don't really care for "competitive", they care more about optics and "the experience" then actually playing other people. If you want to do the clan, guild, whatever, it makes more sense to keep that in the singleplayer than the actual multiplayer.

    Also, if we wanted to keep the notion that factions is "competitive" then adding new units and items and special abilities constantly only a)make the game more complicated than it needs to be or b)make the game more luck based. Plus, if we really wanted something to be competitive, technically all the hero and unit combinations would be available to the player to pick and choose from the start so that he could learn and try all the units out, not limit his ability to be competitive. Raising the barriers to entry only serve to discourage the player and promote the notion that the game is somehow "pay to win" when it is clearly the opposite.

    That being said there are a lot of good ideas here, so let me try to suggest something to get the best (or at least, better) of both world: "casual" and "competitive" mode. In casual mode, you can add all the stuff people are suggesting, new units, items, skills whatever suits your fancy. However, in casual mode, anything goes but nothing actually counts. This should be more than enough to give the "experience" for the people seeking that aspect. In competitive mode, people should have access to all the tools they need to make a competitive team, but must follow a more restricted, controlled setting (ie no random weapon, skills, etc). New units would be restricted from competitive too but be allowed once they are deemed "balanced" by consensus. I guess if you want to make money, you could make it that you're not allowed to "bling" out your units unless you played and bought some casual content. The only problem I see with this solution is that it's very difficult to set up, and probably requires more time and resources than stoic probably has to offer (especially when the backers seem to just want the focus to be singleplayer).

    Other than that I think in order to get more other people interested we should be focusing more on reaching out to communities then establishing one. If we really want people interested in the competitive aspect of the banner saga factions, then create guides! make videos! give tutorials! We need to show people that the gameplay is what makes factions different, not the visuals of factions.

  15. #15
    I totally agree with Kamikaze about all that "competitiveness" stuff. In my view, factions should avoid anything that has a smell of pay-to-win in it and buying items for renown or making heroes certainly does. The bunch of new units is already a tough challenge for balance. The items will make it even worse. And i also agree that it's bad to overburden the game with not-needed mechanics. Though that "hero" idea could be ok if it's easy to change the hero unit and if the hero teams have their own matchmaking.
    Oh, and i really like Tirean's idea. That certainly will be fun

  16. #16
    If TBS:F wants to become popular you need to take the blizzard approach to competitive pvp.

    Give the casuals A LOT of things to do. Then those casuals slowly become hardcore players.

    Remember that if you have a game only cater to the hardcore players you will have what you have in TBS. A game where you have roughly 30 people logged in at a time.

  17. #17
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean View Post
    Remember that if you have a game only cater to the hardcore players you will have what you have in TBS. A game where you have roughly 30 people logged in at a time.
    I share the same concerns.

    That's something very important that KD/OJM posts failed to "Punctuate". Of course, it's not up to us to decide what is to be (that is Stoic's call), so we can just share our opinions in this forum. I am sure that Stoic considers "us" (i.e. the players frequenting the forum and the game) as the hardcore Factions players. But, also keep in mind that many of the backers have expressed a marginal interest for a multi-player game in the first place. So, maybe an opening to more "casual" players (as KD names them) will also help those "classical" players stick more to Factions.

  18. #18
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean View Post
    If TBS:F wants to become popular you need to take the blizzard approach to competitive pvp.

    Give the casuals A LOT of things to do. Then those casuals slowly become hardcore players.

    Remember that if you have a game only cater to the hardcore players you will have what you have in TBS. A game where you have roughly 30 people logged in at a time.
    Well, Factions averages 49 people at a time, but its going down.

    https://steamcharts.com/app/219340

    This is what a lot of people don't understand. you cater strictly to competitive scene, your game won't last because you need casuals to keep the game going. If you want to keep this game dwarfed as a side project besides The Banner Saga singleplayer, thats fine. But I feel like it could be more than that. Starcraft 2 is widely known as a competitive game, but theres more ppl at gold than diamond. League is the largest e-sport right now with million dollar tournaments, but there's more people at elo rating of 1300 than 1800.

    Not saying that this game should go purely casual. But as of now, there's not enough to grab new players from staying or old players from leaving since the population growth is negative. Maintain the status quo, and I'll guarantee you the trend of population will continue its path. I'm just very adamant about this because I've played plenty of good games that died out because they didnt care about longevity.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    hm, didn't know about that site. Cool.
    The 6 month chart hurts a bit to look at though :/

  20. #20
    Skald Aleonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    Well, Factions averages 49 people at a time, but its going down. https://steamcharts.com/app/219340
    A very interesting chart rodereve. Even though I'm not very familiar with online games (actually TBSF is the only one I've played!), I clearly get all your points.

    Another thing I'd like to bring into this discussion is the question of money-making behind a game. I am not sure if (or to what extent) Stoic is making (or planning to make) money out of the Factions. I am not even sure how free-to-play online-games make money. What I am sure is that undertaking such a large-scale "catering" to a high-standard game needs a LOT of resources, that a three-person team cannot handle efficiently...

    I do hope that after the release of the Saga, Stoic will start thinking of "expanding" in some way. As you say it, I myself also feel that Factions can be more than a side-project.
    Last edited by Aleonymous; 06-10-2013 at 08:27 AM.

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