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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:51 pm 

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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
If we're talking about the specific people in it, right now, it happens via just the agreed upon actions of the people. Does there need to be more to that? Does it need an official leader? A PC leader? What happens if people don't do what that person says?

Ah, yes; very good question, which leads to a new thought: instead of distributing benefit points at the faction level, let individuals spend benefit points themselves. Gaining influence would mean just that: you influence the world. If a faction wants to change the world, they can — but only by the accumulated effort of its members.

Influence would have an in-game impact, there would be no reason for a migration to the dominant faction, and factions would be independent of playstyle. Are there any concerns this doesn't address?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:54 pm 

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Just to make sure no one forgets this very old idea, I'm still a big fan of decaying influence.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:07 pm 
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Istatay wrote:
Ah, yes; very good question, which leads to a new thought: instead of distributing benefit points at the faction level, let individuals spend benefit points themselves. Gaining influence would mean just that: you influence the world. If a faction wants to change the world, they can — but only by the accumulated effort of its members.

Influence would have an in-game impact, there would be no reason for a migration to the dominant faction, and factions would be independent of playstyle. Are there any concerns this doesn't address?

Psst, everyone go Puce, dump all their points into "get more influence", repeat cycle ad nauseam. Sarcasm aside, just wanted to point out this gets back to "the more members a faction has the bigger the benefit they get" problem. I can't say for sure whether that's a problem or not, but it's certainly something that would need balancing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:14 pm 
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Imani wrote:
Just to make sure no one forgets this very old idea, I'm still a big fan of decaying influence.


I'm not. It would mean you'd stabilize at a given amount of influence built up and in particular, it would make defending against a coordinated surge attack much harder.

If Chartreuse can defend a skyland to the tune of 100K a day and Plaid can attack to the tune of 90K, it ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, with decaying influence, part of Chartreuse's defense is going toward maintaining their total, because it's old influence that's slipping away. If they're losing 15K/day to maintainance on influence that's more than, say, a week old(their old equilibrium having been running 15K/day apparently, but they got some defenders in special for this), then Plaid will be able to outrun them for a week, despite putting up less actual influence.

So my numbers are completely imaginary, yeah. But it seems like there would always be a gap between when a faction makes an attack and when the attack influence starts to decay (or reaches maximum decay, if you make decay a function of a continuous curve from when the influence was run) where they'd have a pretty good advantage over the defenders.

I like the idea of pirate running, personally. The pirates pick a random skyland and every point of pirate inf subtracts a point of influence from the incumbent. The difference being that the pirates roam around and only attack one skyland at a time. I feel that the need to seize random opportunities like that would add some fun spice to the inf game.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:15 pm 

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KarHallarn wrote:
. . . this gets back to "the more members a faction has the bigger the benefit they get" problem.

I'm missing something. How would members of bigger factions get more benefits? All changes to the game world would affect everybody and be decided by individuals. The system is independent of factions, and would work in the same way if factions were taken out.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:25 pm 
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Walther wrote:
If Chartreuse can defend a skyland to the tune of 100K a day and Plaid can attack to the tune of 90K, it ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, with decaying influence, part of Chartreuse's defense is going toward maintaining their total, because it's old influence that's slipping away. If they're losing 15K/day to maintainance on influence that's more than, say, a week old(their old equilibrium having been running 15K/day apparently, but they got some defenders in special for this), then Plaid will be able to outrun them for a week, despite putting up less actual influence.

That's not how it works. As long as the decay rate is less than 100%, more influence will always be helpful. But influence decay is a topic for another thread.

...Do we need personal influence totals on skylands? Could Governor for a month just be the person who earns the most benefit points on that skyland in a month?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:37 pm 
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As far as factional leaders go, I think most factions already have a leadership structure in place. If the devs are entertaining these notions, what would happen to the player run leadership structures? I know a lot of people, who have put a lot of their heart and soul into their factions. I am one of them. So I'm just hoping that you'd be taking that into consideration.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:42 pm 
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Walther wrote:
If Chartreuse can defend a skyland to the tune of 100K a day and Plaid can attack to the tune of 90K, it ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, with decaying influence, part of Chartreuse's defense is going toward maintaining their total, because it's old influence that's slipping away. If they're losing 15K/day to maintainance on influence that's more than, say, a week old(their old equilibrium having been running 15K/day apparently, but they got some defenders in special for this), then Plaid will be able to outrun them for a week, despite putting up less actual influence.


I'm not sure I understand your described situation, or why the described situation is a problem. Were we to do decaying influence, likely it would be as such:

Skyland X has:
Green: 10,000
Blue: 9,000

Blue needs 1,000 points to beat Green.

If decay is set at 2% daily, then tomorrow we'll have

Green: 9,800
Blue: 8,820
Purple: 49

So now, if Green has stopped running influence, Blue needs 980 to beat green.

The previous strategy of running up a safe buffer of influence still exists, but now it must take into account the fact that over time that influence will decay (as it will for every faction out there). Stability is dull, and numbers that just bloat up over time without limit can become unwieldy.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:47 pm 

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Phedre Spitfire wrote:
As far as factional leaders go, I think most factions already have a leadership structure in place. If the devs are entertaining these notions, what would happen to the player run leadership structures?

To which notions are you referring? I looked through the thread again, but I didn't see any posts suggesting a change in leadership structures. I must have missed it, unless it's from Lord Gilbert's initial post:

Lord Gilbert wrote:
What do you want in the Influence Game, and to a lesser degree, the factions?

More formalized structures of government? Formal leadership?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:58 pm 
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Istatay wrote:
KarHallarn wrote:
. . . this gets back to "the more members a faction has the bigger the benefit they get" problem.

I'm missing something. How would members of bigger factions get more benefits? All changes to the game world would affect everybody and be decided by individuals. The system is independent of factions, and would work in the same way if factions were taken out.

Oh, no, misread that. I was thinking individual's benefit points would go towards what effects a faction had on the world, not just affect the world as a whole.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:59 pm 
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I was referring to this
Taft wrote:
If we're talking about the specific people in it, right now, it happens via just the agreed upon actions of the people. Does there need to be more to that? Does it need an official leader? A PC leader? What happens if people don't do what that person says?

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:02 pm 

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Ah, makes sense. I didn't say that outright; the closest was this:
Istatay wrote:
If a faction wants to change the world, they can — but only by the accumulated effort of its members.
. . . which could have been clearer. Thanks for the feedback.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:15 pm 
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We have no real desire to change the current leadership structure. It happens organically, which is nice.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:59 pm 
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Thoughts:

* There needs to be something to keep people from jumping into whichever is the winning faction, in terms of game benefits - positive feedback loop causes one faction to become the de facto monopoly.

* There needs to be something to keep people with factions they've already joined, rather than jumping to whichever faction currently offers the best benefits. Loyalty should have rewards.

I think factions could run as follow:

- At the beginning, all factions are considered 'ungoverned'.
- Once a faction reaches a critical size - N players registered for that faction - the floor becomes open for proposing the government structure.
- Players vote (in game or on a web feedback form somewhere) for a player's proposal. Pick top three favorites, in order.
- Player with the most votes becomes the 'Implementor' for that faction. They are given a set of 'keys' to different factional systems which they can then assign to various people, according to the structure they've worked out.
- The faction is now 'governed'.
- A simple majority of players can then vote 'No Confidence' in the faction's government at any time. When this occurs, the faction returns to 'ungoverned' and we repeat from above.

The use of keys is important because this allows the developers to build a new metagame on top of what exists already - factions can then sign trade treaties with other factions, they can allocate resources toward building NPC forces to defend their skylands and push back pirates, or waging war against other factions (pushing their influence back), etc.

So what do players do to gain influence?

- Instead of random 'deliver X to Y' missions, there could be skylands with needs - 'We need piping for our project to bring water up from the sea', 'We need food', 'We need catnip and booze' and skylands which are able to supply those 'mission-specific needs'. If you want to gain trade influence on a skyland, you see what they need, then go to the other skylands, buy those items up, and dump them for influence on the target skyland.

- Instead of 'kill X pirates', there could be randomly generated pirate fleets. You visit a governor, you get coordinates for a pirate fleet. The mission doesn't go away until the pirate fleet is downed, but the fleet might be under attack from multiple players. Then you plot a trip out to the pirate fleet, and hunt for as long as your ammo and fuel will hold out, before returning to a friendly skyland. You get influence for each pirate you personally downed.

And what benefits do you get?

- Factions could set 'favored faction' status with other factions, maybe even on a per-commodity basis. Those factions might receive reductions on taxes for buying/selling those commodities.
- In other words, if everyone's in the same faction, you don't get any benefits - you get benefits from trading on other factions' skylands, if they're friendly, or penalties if they're hostile.
- Having NPC forces mean they could appear in combats to help out - if you're a combat-heavy type, you can wave them off, "I've got this", but if you're a trader, it's a benefit.
- If you're in another faction's airspace, then whether you get help might depend on whether they have a mutual assistance treaty... Or whether they decide to kill the pirates and then you, to collect their 'toll for crossing our space'.

Very blue-sky ideas, but you asked!


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:23 pm 

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Lynx Adorienne wrote:
Thoughts:
- Factions could set 'favored faction' status with other factions, maybe even on a per-commodity basis. Those factions might receive reductions on taxes for buying/selling those commodities.
- In other words, if everyone's in the same faction, you don't get any benefits - you get benefits from trading on other factions' skylands, if they're friendly, or penalties if they're hostile.
- Having NPC forces mean they could appear in combats to help out - if you're a combat-heavy type, you can wave them off, "I've got this", but if you're a trader, it's a benefit.
- If you're in another faction's airspace, then whether you get help might depend on whether they have a mutual assistance treaty... Or whether they decide to kill the pirates and then you, to collect their 'toll for crossing our space'.


too much space to bully a faction by an alliance of other factions - think tri-fac vs. purple :fear:


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:26 pm 
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Chesterfield Taft wrote:
Walther wrote:
If Chartreuse can defend a skyland to the tune of 100K a day and Plaid can attack to the tune of 90K, it ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, with decaying influence, part of Chartreuse's defense is going toward maintaining their total, because it's old influence that's slipping away. If they're losing 15K/day to maintainance on influence that's more than, say, a week old(their old equilibrium having been running 15K/day apparently, but they got some defenders in special for this), then Plaid will be able to outrun them for a week, despite putting up less actual influence.


I'm not sure I understand your described situation, or why the described situation is a problem. Were we to do decaying influence, likely it would be as such:

Skyland X has:
Green: 10,000
Blue: 9,000

Blue needs 1,000 points to beat Green.

If decay is set at 2% daily, then tomorrow we'll have

Green: 9,800
Blue: 8,820
Purple: 49

So now, if Green has stopped running influence, Blue needs 980 to beat green.

The previous strategy of running up a safe buffer of influence still exists, but now it must take into account the fact that over time that influence will decay (as it will for every faction out there). Stability is dull, and numbers that just bloat up over time without limit can become unwieldy.


The previous strategy of running up a safe buffer is going to require a lot more coordination than it did previously, is the trouble. Because you will hit an asymptote where your decay = your average daily influence, any faction that doesn't carefully allocate its influence running is not going to get anything like the largest buffers it could across all its skylands, since there will be the point of diminishing returns to consider. That is to say, at what point would it be best to pull some of your runners off this skyland and have them build up another instead.

This is a neat piece of strategic depth, actually, but I feel that it is extremely anti-sporadic.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 8:12 pm 
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Walther wrote:
The previous strategy of running up a safe buffer is going to require a lot more coordination than it did previously, is the trouble. Because you will hit an asymptote where your decay = your average daily influence, any faction that doesn't carefully allocate its influence running is not going to get anything like the largest buffers it could across all its skylands, since there will be the point of diminishing returns to consider. That is to say, at what point would it be best to pull some of your runners off this skyland and have them build up another instead.

This is a neat piece of strategic depth, actually, but I feel that it is extremely anti-sporadic.


I'm not sure I agree about the concept itself being extremely anti-sporadic. You're still playing about as sporadically as you were before, you'll just have another piece of information to keep in mind when you're doing influence running. Anti-sporadic means needing to constantly monitor, and I don't think it's going to be nearly the razor's edge as is imagined.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 12:33 am 
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Lynx Adorienne wrote:
- Instead of random 'deliver X to Y' missions, there could be skylands with needs - 'We need piping for our project to bring water up from the sea', 'We need food', 'We need catnip and booze' and skylands which are able to supply those 'mission-specific needs'. If you want to gain trade influence on a skyland, you see what they need, then go to the other skylands, buy those items up, and dump them for influence on the target skyland.

This part I really like. The rest of your post is wild in a way I don't think I'd like to see implemented, but it's a neat thought experiment.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 4:50 am 

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To get back to the first topic, I played influence for red in the last round (mostly at Lhasa). It was my first round and so I wanted to see what it was like.

This round I joined blue and started playing influence once I got near level 9. I picked up an Ingersoll and randomly picked kadath with the goal of turning it blue (which it already was) and becoming governor. I got into 2nd place, but then I just couldn't get over the top (durn Mahmoth!). I became very frustrated for two reasons:

1. It was no longer a sporadic play, I was using logmein to get around my work firewall and flying constantly.
2. The map is too stretched out. Even with an Ingersoll, it would take a long time to get decent missions completed

I was so hoping that plane mods would've been added to this round so I could make the Inger more of a mission machine.

In the end, I quit doing influence, switched to a Kingfisher and was working to get all the badges. Then the economy was "upgraded"....... :shock:

I will say that I have completely lost interest in the influence game as it stands now. I hope the discussion I've been seeing here leads to a fresh game that will be fun to play again.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 5:16 am 

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I really wish there would be a point degradation factor.


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