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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. #21
    Some brain storming to grab the casual audience and get them into ranked/unranked queues.

    Minigames which unlock when you reach certain ELO ranking/ pay for with renown to gain access for X number of days/games.

    Daily puzzles which cost small amount of renown to unlock.

    An AI feature which costs Renown to use.

    Spectate mode for casual ranked and unranked game. A renown costing spectate mode for tournament games.

  2. #22
    Junior Member Esth's Avatar
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    1. When more units are added interest will increase because of more variety in matches
    2. Replays of tournament games will help players get into the competitive scene
    3. Be wary of dilluting the game with gimmicks

  3. #23
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    I have no idea if this is something that could reasonably be implemented, but I had a few thoughts regarding Items...

    First, I would differentiate between Major and Minor Items.

    Major Items would be along the line of The Horn. Variations on The Horn could fall in this category, and (might) be purchasable in the Market and/or with Renown.

    Minor Items would be acquired in other ways, perhaps along with certain Achievements. The big difference would be that Minor Items could trade hands; if you defeat an opponent, you could win their Minor Item. Call it the Spoils of War.

    And to keep the Minor Items from being overpowered, they could; 1) cost Willpower to activate, 2) be limited in the number of uses, and 3) mimic the active abilities of verious units already in the game (Imagine a Bowmaster with an item that allows her to Shield Bash an attacker away from her, for the normal Willpower cost and in lieu of her normal action).
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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaelvin View Post
    I would differentiate between Major and Minor Items.
    What are your thoughts for Major items? The Horn is helpful alright, but, at the end of the day, it's nothing more than a (small) WP bonus. In this aspect, it does not seem like a really big deal. I'd have major items giving a permanent boost to unit stats when equipped, e.g. a shield that gives +2 ARM or an amulet that gives a +1 EX.

    On the other hand, I'd say that your "minor" items seem much more major Giving a "dual-class" aspect to a unit seems really powerful!

    I guess that making such items "visible", i.e. changing the looks of a unit during the fight, can be really costly to art-budget. Perhaps they'll just show-up on the unit-portraits (like active effects).

  5. #25
    The horn is a MASSIVE game changer. If anything it should be classed as a legendary item.

    It adds so much to the game to keep the flow going smoothly. It also allows for more tactical plays such as sacrificing willpower early on movement. If you didn't have the horn you wouldn't be doing stuff like that. I remember playing the game before the horn was put in.. lets just say it is a very different game with the horn than without it.

  6. #26
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    Well, one variation on The Horn could replace a temporary Strength boost for Willpower... not sure how an Armor boost would work. I honestly can't think of others at the moment, but I'm sure there are.

    I think that if Minor Items could only be used once or twice during a game that would qualify as minor and still not be overpowered... the idea of duplicating existing Active Abilities just seemed like the easiest thing to implement... I'm sure there are other possibilities as well.

    The biggest difference between the two, in my view, would be that Major Items would permanently "owned" by a player, while Minor Items could trade hands through the Spoils of War.

    Oh, and while I haven't been plying recently, I too remember the pre-Horn days. I firmly believe that Items on that scale qualify as Major at the very least
    Last edited by gaelvin; 06-15-2013 at 06:38 PM.
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  7. #27
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Not too sure if 'ability mimic' would be easy to implement, you'd have to make the shield bash animation for each unit, and how would the archer shield bash haha it sorta retracts from realism. I do like your 'spoils of war' idea. If there were more things that you earned from battles other than renown.

    I used to play this game called "Tactics Arena Online". They implemented a unit drop system, where every 6 hours a global announcement appears in everyones chat and everyone in battle would be fighting for that random unit drop. Whoever wins the battle (only if the announcement occured while you were in-game) would win the unit announced, the loser leaving with nothing. This made those games very competitive, also made the actual community active around the clock since the drops happened every few hours. This was the only way to earn units in the game, but it had a really strong following (5-6 years alive)

  8. #28
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    Well, I'm no game designer, but... since we're talking magic items here, an archer (for instance) wouldn't need a shield and wouldn't actually "bash" her target. Maybe it's an enchanted arrow, so the normal animation could be used, but the target would have the "thrown back" animation instead of a normal arrow strike.

    This also raises the issue of whether Items should/would be equipped to specific units, or to the team as a whole. That could be another difference between the Major and Minor Items – Major Items (like Horns) effect the entire team, while Minor Items must be equipped on specific units who are the only ones that may use them.

    You could further limit the number of Items in a match – say, one Major Item ( The Horn), and a single Minor Item in play based on the Team's Rank (Rank 6: 1 Item, Rank 12: 2 Items, etc.)
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  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirean View Post
    The horn is a MASSIVE game changer. If anything it should be classed as a legendary item.
    I understand your point, considering your guys' level where a single WP-point can make a big difference in a match. However, if you think of the Horn a point-bonus, it just gives 5 points to your team, where the max points for all the team is something like 170. Don't misunderstand me, I love the horn and I often find myself asking: why did I drain that WP for that stupid overkill?

    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    I used to play this game called "Tactics Arena Online". They implemented a unit drop system, where every 6 hours a global announcement appears in everyone's chat and everyone in battle would be fighting for that random unit drop. [...] This made those games very competitive, also made the actual community active around the clock since the drops happened every few hours. This was the only way to earn units in the game, but it had a really strong following (5-6 years alive)
    Someone (you?) mentioned this game a while ago. It does seem a very cool game; too bad its not active anymore. And, I agree that this mechanic (of a considerable win bonus, given at random in-game times) can help keep-up the community a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by gaelvin View Post
    Major Items (like Horns) effect the entire team, while Minor Items must be equipped on specific units who are the only ones that may use them. You could further limit the number of Items in a match – say, one Major Item (The Horn), and a single Minor Item in play based on the Team's Rank (Rank 6: 1 Item, Rank 12: 2 Items, etc.)
    There, this idea Major/Minor idea is starting to sound better and better

    I have some concerns about the "Spoils of War". My fear is that it will end up with all the items being hoarded by strong players. Perhaps my fear is due to the presently small player base, where ranked matches are actually not ranked at all (i.e. you typically end up playing against strong QM players)... What I'm actually trying to say is that some serious thought should be put into the way such items are fed in the game: The "item economy" I'd call it, similar to the "renown economy" or "elo-rank economy" that are already present issues. We wouldn't wanna flood the game with useless items, neither make them so rare and coveted and powerful that players come to hate each other over them or buy/sell them on ebay for 100s of $$$ etc.

  10. #30
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    I think that only Major Items should be purchasable at the Market or with Renown, and consequently NOT subject to Spoils of War... on strength of the game right now is that you never lose anything that you pay for with $ or Renown, and I think that should apply to Major Items as well.

    I'm not sure how to infuse Minor Items into the game, although somehow tying them to achievements might be an option... or maybe you could be awarded one every 10th game win-or-lose. A small incentive to keep playing, above and beyond Renown and Spoils.

    I think the reason I suggested that Minor Items mimic Active Abilities is that thay would add a new but very limited element to the game, and yet not seem necessary since you could always just use a unit with that Ability instead. It's definitely a balancing act between having them be seen as either pointless or indispensable. I will say that having Minor Items only trade hands through play would avoid the E-Bay thing... in fact, I don't think that TBS:F has a way to do that kind of trading at all. Am I wrong?
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  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by gaelvin View Post
    I will say that having Minor Items only trade hands through play would avoid the E-Bay thing... in fact, I don't think that TBS:F has a way to do that kind of trading at all. Am I wrong?
    As of now, you are right; there isn't a way for players to trade "stuff" (renown, units, colors,... items). But if this Spoils-of-War was implemented, players could arrange a fight, where the "supplier" carries the particular item and intentionally loses the game, so that the "buyer" pillages it. Primitive, but do-able. Modern games (Diablo3) decided to make these transactions formal, so that they get a share every time something changes hands ("Auction House").

  12. #32
    Senior Member Butters's Avatar
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    I can get behind the ideas of "major items" in the sense of a single item/boost that can be chosen from a list and provides a global bonus to the team. This is equivalent to the "heroes providing global bonuses" discussed earlier, if a bit different on delivery.
    I do agree with Tirean that the Horn is a huge deal. I don't like the idea of the Horn being one of those items, which would mean it could be replaced by something else, so you would have players fighting without it. Giving that much significance to items would very significantly alter the general balance ; more than I would be comfortable with. However having "lesser" bonuses like variations on how exactly the horn works/can be used, etc, seem fine.
    "Minor items", which I assume is close to what Stoic was planning to go for with the introduction of items from Saga (I hear they might be scrapping that idea ..?), seem more and more tricky to implement - problematic, even - the more I think about it. At the very least, I think I would be opposed to the idea of Spoils. Players losing items upon defeat would have too many negative consequences : aggregation of riches to higher players, players steering away even more from ranked matches (I assume Spoils would only happen in ranked), introduction of more asymmetry between players - which I think is generally a bad thing. OTOH, if Spoils were non-destructive (ie winner gets it and loser keeps it, so the item is effectively duplicated), that would be a constructive mechanic : it gives an incentive for lower rank players to go against veterans (or just anyone with items they don't have) to get their sweet loot for themselves, while not punishing anyone. If you made items hard enough to come by, that could be an interesting propagation mechanic, while keeping the endgame intact.
    What I mean by that is, players should have access to all tactical team-building options after a certain amount of play, regardless of ranking or results (of course progression is faster if you play better, but the end result should be the same for everyone). What I really wouldn't want for Factions is situations where players end up saying "yeah but he had all the best items and all, that's not fair" or the like. We have a nice balance now and I'm still to be convinced that the advantages (added tactical choices and depth) of items outweigh the added complexity and risks.

    TL;DR : Yay to major items but with limited impact. Maybey to minor items, and nay to Spoils (alternative solution inside)
    Last edited by Butters; 06-16-2013 at 12:17 PM. Reason: wall of text -> TLDR

  13. #33
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    Actually, I think that most of these things (Hero Units, Minor Items, Spoils of War, etc.) should be kept out of Ranked Matches, and here's why. Such things could taint the game for competitive players. For them, the best way to measure themselves against other players in the rankings is pure Skill. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that only the current version of The Horn should be allowed.

    But there are other players (myself being one) who don't care so much about Rankings and ELO. They're the ones who need alternative incentives to keep playing, and since Ranking matters less to them, such elements should remain in Unranked play. Sure, I'd be disappointed if I lost an Item to Spoils, but as long as it wasn't too powerful and I knew that I'd get another one soon (after every 10 games, say), it would sting less and give me a reason to keep playing.

    Here's another thought; tie Hero Units and Minor Items together. Say Heroes are a sub-category of every Advanced Class, and what Heroes do is carry Items (again, only in Unranked play). So, you need to play matches to gain the Renown you need in order to make one of your Advanced Units a Hero, so that they can use an Item that you automatically acquire through play. It creates a positive feedback loop for the Casual Player.
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  14. #34
    Edit: This post really isn't finished and there was some stuff I wanted to proofread and add but I figured I might as well at least let some of it out so we could think about what really needed to be done. Plus I don't have a lot of time so.... :P

    I honestly wish people would read my posts before knee-jerking all my statements without their full context. Since it seems like people just skim my paragraphs without reading them fully, I'll try do TLR things to be understandable.

    First of all, I DO want to bring more people in the game, and I want to do so without:

    A) Compromising the core gameplay that we have currently, and
    B) Compromising people's ability to experience the core gameplay.

    The irony is that by adding all this items, new units and unique heroes...stuff we violate both A and B because by doing so, we're making the game more volatile AND we're increasing the notion that people have to buy stuff in order to even compete (but this time it will actually be true). Sure the idea of adding more diversity to the game, but in doing so it also adds a lot more volatility. It just frustrates me that people keep trying to change what already is a deep and complex system all for the sake of pandering and keeping casuals interested.
    Also, I don’t want to sound mean here but the people asking for items and units for the masses are just wrong. How can I back that statement up? If you guys remember, when the factions portion was finally released to the general public, what were the biggest complaints of the people that played the game? It certainly wasn’t “need more variety, need more units”. It generally came down to these two points:
    A) TBS Factions is a game that makes you feel like you have to rely on RNG to win
    B) You don’t have a chance to win in TBS factions unless you have the money to buy the necessary tools to fight your opponent (IE. pay to win)

    I’m sure all of you guys were frustrated at some point explaining to these people how wrong those misconceptions were, yet nowadays people here immediately think that in order to win over these people we have improve the appeal of the gameplay when it was the gameplay itself people were complaining about.

    Finally I don’t know why people keep using LoL as an example. In that same vein, I can include CoD, TF2 etc. etc. Just think about it for a second. LoL, CoD, TF2, etc. are all TEAM games. And that makes a huge difference. In a team game you can at least do something to help contribute your team to a win (most of the time). In a game like tbs factions most of the time people feel like they can’t do anything to win unless a) they get lucky or b) they but the tools they need to win (which of course they’re wrong but still…). Also people forget that SC2 is still a team game as well as an individual game. When I’m on a losing streak in SC2, I can easily hook up with my friends and share my suffering with them. Yeah…not the same for the banner saga. (Incidentally I think 2v2 or team games might work for the banner saga, but that’s going off topic.)

    Basically, the question I want everyone to think about is this: How is adding diversity to the gameplay going to attract people to the game when the problem people have with the game IS THE GAMPLAY ITSELF? Let me just conclude this point with a story that one of my friends told me with WoW. My friend used to be an avid PvPer in WoW, and was really excited with the new expansion in WoW. He ended up maxing up everything for his mage, and what did he get for his effort? Getting three-shotted by a rogue. It was that moment that turned him off from WoW pvp for a long time. I could forsee the same thing happening if tbs factions if we’re not careful.

    Finally, before you guys think I’m way over exaggerating and just “hating on the casuals and variety” (okay, yeah maybe :P), I do see the fun in adding more units and items into factions, I just don’t think that’s the direction that we should be focusing on. That’s why I proposed a “casual” and “competitive” mode so that we could give ourselves the opportunity to try out all these ideas without messing up the strength of the gameplay we have now. What I also found compelling was Tirean’s suggestions to add puzzles and such because that actually encourages people to understand the gameplay, not distract them from it. IMO factions works best when people get to experience the depth and complexity factions has to offer, not constantly struggling to get to that point.

  15. #35
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    I used examples of LoL and SC2 as examples to show that a game cannot rely only on being purely competitive, growing your casual playerbase = growing your playerbase in general. It has nothing to do with being a team-based game or not, that's a complete red herring. I don't want to focus on that team point because it doesn't make any sense, but I can give you a list of 1v1 games (rather than team games) that are successful because they can be played casual and competitive

    Competitive players don't just spontaneously pop out of no where. Many people start as casuals, then learn to love the game enough to play it much more competitively. If you want the game direction to focus mainly on the competitive people, that is fine, lets go ahead and support the ~10 or so competitive players of Factions right now lol but you might find that supporting the general casual playerbase might indirectly support the competitive scene even more, with more people playing comes more strategies/playerstyles and maybe more metagame formations, rather than the same old people playing against the same old people every same old weekend at the tournament.

    The one thing I agree with out of your entire post, is that lets not stray too far from the core gameplay. Yeah items and heroes are cool, but lets not deviate too far. Tirean's idea of puzzles is sorta like the different Scrolls AI, and its a good implementation. but I don't think the rpg elements detract from the "Saga franchise" as a whole, after all people are attracted to Saga more than just the turn-based gameplay, there are rpg elements and story and vikings! so to say that the banner saga audience wouldn't be attracted to these things would be a slight misstep. What we really should be aiming for is not separating casual and competitive modes, but have a game that can be played casually easily and also played competitive, basically easy to learn hard to master.
    Last edited by roder; 06-20-2013 at 11:55 PM.

  16. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by rodereve View Post
    I used examples of LoL and SC2 as examples to show that a game cannot rely only on being purely competitive, growing your casual playerbase = growing your playerbase in general. It has nothing to do with being a team-based game or not, that's a complete red herring. I don't want to focus on that team point because it doesn't make any sense, but I can give you a list of 1v1 games (rather than team games) that are successful because they can be played casual and competitive

    Competitive players don't just spontaneously pop out of no where. Many people start as casuals, then learn to love the game enough to play it much more competitively. If you want the game direction to focus mainly on the competitive people, that is fine, lets go ahead and support the ~10 or so competitive players of Factions right now lol but you might find that supporting the general casual playerbase might indirectly support the competitive scene even more, with more people playing comes more strategies/playerstyles and maybe more metagame formations, rather than the same old people playing against the same old people every same old weekend at the tournament.

    The one thing I agree with out of your entire post, is that lets not stray too far from the core gameplay. Yeah items and heroes are cool, but lets not deviate too far. Tirean's idea of puzzles is sorta like the different Scrolls AI, and its a good implementation. but I don't think the rpg elements detract from the "Saga franchise" as a whole, after all people are attracted to Saga more than just the turn-based gameplay, there are rpg elements and story and vikings! so to say that the banner saga audience wouldn't be attracted to these things would be a slight misstep. What we really should be aiming for is not separating casual and competitive modes, but have a game that can be played casually easily and also played competitive, basically easy to learn hard to master.
    I don't disagree with you that competitive players come from casual, but the point that I really wanted to put across is that we already had TONS of casual players come in and try TBS:F, and what happened was people just didn't like it that much because they didn't think what they did mattered in terms of winning a game except getting lucky and buying OP units. This is why I suggested two different modes, one that we currently have now where we could "progress" and improve our units, and a mode where nobody would be blocked by having to "buy" units in order to be competitive. It was either that or let people have access to everything, but I'm pretty sure Stoic wants to make money (not a bad thing but...)

    As for 1v1 competitive games I was just thinking and I realized there are more competitive 1v1 games than I gave credit for, but most of them have a team aspect to them or singleplayer aspect. The only one that I can think of that is purely 1v1 are fighting games, but that's not really the audience we're targeting (and I guess card games...). The reason I put the whole "team aspect" was to give one of the many reasons why people found the games flexible and compelling enough to play for many years.

    Also I don't understand how people that "like Saga" will somehow like the competitive Factions with the same passion. When Factions was open to the public it wasn't just the "casuals" that had access to it, the backers had access too and they basically complained about the same thing the casuals did. When your own backers have problems with the Factions portion of the game I don't know what else to say (okay, not all the backers but it seem like a large majority). Maybe I'll be proven wrong with the actual release of the Banner Saga, but there are certainly more problems going on here than just "not enough items" or "not enough social elements" that I don't think we're thinking enough of in this thread.

  17. #37
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    Well the backers supported Saga because it was a singleplayer experience, so those people are interested in mainly the singleplayer aspect. Factions is a multiplayer experience. It is understandable that many weren't exactly thrilled. But they're not representative of the total population that will "like Saga". Just think of them as the piece of pie that mainly like singleplayer, and singleplayer only. so drawing from their reaction shouldn't extrapolate to everyone.

    Another idea I heard was if those puzzles could be user-made content. If there was user-made puzzles, or even possibly simple user-made maps (if they gave us the tools to do that), then there could be user-made storylines. Nothing huge, but giving your community the tools to add on content themselves increases the longevity of the game exponentially. It's sort of a trend, Neverwinter has something like that, and i think Project Eternity kickstarter has that too.

  18. #38
    The banner saga got hurt by server issues and expensive units.

    Expensive units are now fixed I believe? Not sure on server issues though.

  19. #39
    Senior Member roder's Avatar
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    other things to cultivate the competitive side, adding clans, possibly a clan dojo building (or whatever the viking counterpart would be), and things to do in that clanhouse (possibly dismissing a unit can add to the clan's warehouse and a newbie can pick it up). there should definitely be different Faction sides, but a subset of that could be clans. this would also cultivate the 2v2? factions mutliplayer mode when it comes out, since you need teammates. i think i heard raven talking about that

  20. #40
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    I disagree that people have an issue with the gameplay...and KD one of the feedback was that the game could use more units it was just easier to resolve cos the answer was 'they're coming anyway', compared to RNG and p2w complaints. Factions atm is too limited for the choices players make to actually mean sacrificing something unique. The case I'll point to in this regard is when class limits weren't yet in the game. Of course this was OP, but I believe when more classes come in, we'll see some truly unique and specialized strategies and builds that are currently not possible now when the exclusive choice revolves around 2 SBs or 2 warriors, break +puncture or First hit/armor ignore.
    Last edited by raven2134; 06-22-2013 at 12:38 PM.

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