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ICE_MAN

Realm vs Realm / Faction warfare

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What if seperate player-controlled harbour dues were involved? A few of us now have spoken favourably of the idea of player owned, run and built harbours. Is the improvement in infrastructure and facilities going to be just a time thing? Time and population thing? Time, population, popularity, geography and money thing...?

If money enters the equation, which I think is probably a good thing, I thought maybe a suitable way to raise it would be harbour dues (traditionally for berthing, use of port facilities and to pay for maintenance and improvements that you, a merchant captain, could continue using the harbour). I kind of see taxes as being a fixed % that goes to the Admiralty (and so out of circulation, until a warship is ordered from a player shipwright). Seperate to these could be harbour dues that go to the (player) harbourmaster. In loose circulation whilst in the harbour's accounts book, as the player will have some say in allocation, but once spent would be that money effectively taken out of the game.

I like the idea of the player control because it would naturally, I think, give us real-world variety. Sure it'd be more.expensive, but if you want good facilities that can build, load and unload indiamen then you have an incentive to charge high dues and to pay it. If on the other hand you like trade as free as possible then don't charge a penny...but you'd be massively restricting both the market of vessels able to use your harbour for anything other than shelter from weather (another huge topic for another thread), and the available market any goods landed could go to. So while there might be cheap imports around, they will bein small numbers. So, possible for independent merchant schooner captain to undercut his massive guild rivals and thus guarantee sales and a profit of sorts. Those looking for fabulous wealth need to look to large ports, fleets and tonnage to work the economy of scale. Smaller % profit, but vast quantities yielding a profit just as big as you like.

As if we didn't have enough to think about. Sorry!

Baggy

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The lack of money wouldnt be "an indicator for ending wars" but the cause of the end of the war. No ships. No money for new ones. No war. Si?

In your version, how do you make "war a temporary state...hostile actions"? You mention a points system, which I like, and a variable rate at which these 'hostility points', having being accrued by naval actions against a certain nation, may be lost. But's missing is any reason. Why on earth would naval captains not go round sinking shit left right and centre? Where's the incentive for peace? I don't see how the world would ever get as stagnant as to lose enough of those points. The counter to this I see is to make the rate of loss so high and an active national effort is needed to tip the country into war. But this smells gamey to me, and then what's the benefit of war? You make a big effort to attack enemy shopping to start the state of war so that you...can...go on making a big effort to attack naval shipping? And what's the role of non naval players in all this? These are genuine questions, apologies if the list sounds rude.

Baggy

 

1) Re money, you are correct in the conclusion that a lack of money would force a peace, however look at nations who relied less on trading-based tax income than Great Britain (whom I might add didn't feel a pinch even when blockaded by most of the European continent through Napoleon's Continental System- in the first quarter of the 19th century i might add).

Take a look at e.g. Russia or France - there is no way any amount of naval blockade would ever force such a nation into monetary submission.

 

2) As for the hostility/Relationship points for keeping a war going - as you will note in my initial post, the threshold for maintaining a state of war is variable - call it War Fatigue. So whereas for the first week the threshold might be X, next week it is 2*X - effectively twice the number of hostile points need to be accumulated to remain at war - week 3 would be 4*X, 8*X, 16*X - exponentially increasing thereby forcing a peace just by the amount of time one has put the strain of war on the nation, economy, population etc. War Attrition or War Fatigue is a system used successfully in many other games.

A peace then forces a weeks peace treaty and resets the Fatigue counter.

 

Hopes that clarifies my thinking.

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1) Yup, I agree - I'm just suggesting a mechanic, a conceit, that could achieve a desired effect that has one foot in real world systems. It's certainly not a perfect representation of entire period economies!

2) Ah, yes, I understand better now what you meant before by variable. Thank you for clarifying, it makes sense as a tidy way of doing things, and I can see how it would work. If I ever get the time I must investgate these games you reference!

Baggy

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The Europa Universalis series springs to mind - end the war within reasonable time or civil unrest and ultimately civil war will occur.

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I have to say whilst these sugestion make good use of historical presures for war and peace, they are rather getting outside of the scope of the game. Quite apart from the development time needed to create (and more importantly balance) such systems, it doesn't really add all that much from the perspective of the players than a simple points based system. Modeling something like a civil war is just totaly beyond the scope of this project. At the end of the day what you want is a system that encourages conflict and pvp, but which prohibits one side with an advantage from making the game totaly unplayabe for a weaker nation.

 

The obvious answer seems to me to be just points: if one nation starts sinking everyship the other side has(i.e. an unfair situation), then the points will rapidly fill up and the war will be over for a truce period, allowing the looser to rebuild in peace for a week or so.

 

Now that is all well and good, but it encourages all the good players to join one nation and just make life miserable for the others, yes the wars will be short and the peace treaties relatively longer, but its obvious that would be a bad system all the same. So how about two points systems, which I will label victory points and prestige points. Victory points are very simple: sink a ship worth 100 points and your side gains 100 points. First side to have say twice as many points as the other wins. Players would also gain personal victory and prestige points for all the actions they are involved in, which could be cashed out for rewards at the end of the war.

 

Prestige points are a way to reward heroic actions by specific players on the loosing side, and to discourage stacking. When one player sinks another, prestige points are awarded to the victor's nation, but in an amount dependent on the ratio of victory points of each nation, and also dependent on the force ratio of the ships involved. Say Britain is wining a war against France, having 20,000 victory points to France's 15,000. A British player is out sealclubing, and sinks a ship worth 50 points in his 100 point ship. Britian now gains another 50 victory points, but only gets 18 prestige points. 20,000:15,000 = 4:3, -> 50/4 = 12.5 *3 = 37.and 100:50 = 2:1 -> 37/2 = 18 * 1 =18.

 

Now a valiant and heroic French player with a magnificent mustache salies out to avenge the poor seal in his 80 points ship. He wins, since the British player is an idiot who is just trying to ride along for easy victories. France now gains 100 victory points, and the following prestige points: 15,000:20,000 = 3:4 -> 100/3 = 33 *4 = 132 and 80:100 = 4:5 -> 132/4 = 33 * 5 = 165 prestige points added to France. Now exactly what prestige points would do I don't know, some kind of rewards to encourage PVPers to stick with loosing nations, since you get the most prestige points for wining fights whilst being the underdog in a war.

 

Obviously this is all just examples made up off the top of my head, but I feel a system that doens't try excessively hard to copy reality, but instead focuses on producing fun and balanced PVP is the way to go. A system such as I proposed would encourage good pvpers to stick around despite their nation loosing overall, and would discourage excessive use of hugely expensive and powerful ships, especialy by the wining side. Yes, you will probably win, but you won't get all that much from it, and if you should loose to a weaker ship on the loosing side he will make bank for himself and his nation.

 

As the wining nation you would still break out the 1st raes to deal with large enemy fleets, but you wouldn't really want to just wander around casualy ganking in them, the risk:reward ratio would just be to skewed against you.

 

Now you might ask why bother with the two systems, why not just use the prestige point system. Well, becuase whilst the prestige points rewards skilled underdogs, you might end with a small group of skilled pvpers actively trying to protract a losing war for as long as possible just to farm points. This would be unfun for the less skilled PVPers in the nation, since they would be stuck in a war they can't win. By making victory points a flat, seperate counter, protracted wars where one side is loosing badly would be impossible, but the skilled PVPers on the nation would still be able to rack up lots of prestige points, and would not desert the nation despite loosing.

 

 

So what would we do with all of these points? Well, a nations victory points are just that, nothing else needed. Prestige points I feel should unlock bonuses to help the loosing nation, e.g. every 10,000 points unlocks a new level of shipyard to be built. The shipyard wouldn't build bigger ships but it would build faster or cheaper, to reprsent the nation's will to continue the fight after these heroic victories.

 

Personal points are a bit harder to diferentiate, the obvious answer for one or both is to reward new ship or equipment, as I have explained elsewhere I am strongly aginst PVP activites porviding rewards that mkae it easier to PVP, since that just opens the gaps between good/older PVPers and less skilled/newer players.

 

So you could reward PVE orintated items for victory points ( avalible only if you win, but in fixed quantites regardless of force ratio), and prestige points ( a small amount awarded to everyone for trying, plus the extra according to force ratio) would give hats and titles. Afterall, if you are the hero of France who sank HMS Victory in a sloop, you better believe you would get a title and a very silly hat indeed.

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The underdog point is an important one, one idea I had towards that was that NPC nations would have a greater affinity towards nations who are getting steamrollered and ally with them, such that a war with an underdog nation would also result in a war with one or more NPC nations.

 

/Ice

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Rudi, you're totally right about maybe pushing beyond the norms of game mechanics...though with it being such early days who knows what the scope of NA will end up being.

The points system is well proven, and your suggestions for its use are elegant and well tempered, absolutely no probs. It's just that from my point of view it would be amazing to move past the 'normal' gamey workarounds for real world situations. They're effective and often work well...but as this is the suggestions area I thought it worth offering a view of an alternative.

I totally appreciate the size of the team, their likely budget and time constraints and so on, I'm not demanding any of these things be done, just making public some of my own thoughts on the kind of things and approaches that I would get excited about in what games/sims of the future.

Baggy

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Not sure about specific bonuses in given places. I'd rather let players build strong ports by themselves where it would fit their actual (or future) needs. It would make the conquest more dynamic.

 

For realism but also gameplay purposes, I'd mark on the map the economic and defensive capabilities of the ports. Nations had spies, and being able to counter eco and defense would add to the strategical field.

 

Flat barriers would work better than difficulties (reefs etc) to prevent night-flips. PotBS has shown that night-flippers have a lot of pugnacity when it comes to creating unfair fights.

 

I'd rather have a fully player-driven diplomacy than a hostility points system. The hostility points would be displayed as an indication (ships attacked or sunk), but the nation could decide when it would be best to officially declare war. Also only open sea fights should be allowed in hostility status, not conquest. Peace treaties should be discussed by players as well, and maybe made public so other nations could ally against crushers.

 

I like unconquerable newbie zones, but I'd restrict them to a necessary area. For example I'd like to be able to conquer Ireland, Scotland and a part of England. Only some coasts (from London to Bristol ?) should consist of the base of a nation, enough to get some eco going. This would help making the European area a big conquest zone (fleets every evening), without removing the purpose. An unconquerable remote port would enable new players to start in the homeland or in the colonies.

 

Military supply lines for land conquests could help diversifying the open sea action. Also if ships would need repairs after a battle and if sunk players would respawn to the nearest non-hostile location, the emplacements of shipyards and arsenals would become critical regarding the control of the open sea. Long conquest campaigns would require proximity logistics, and the establishment of remote military bases would be made more difficult.

 

I'd rather have a "sandbox" world, which would be complex and diverse enough to give a rich gaming experience in the long run, than specific goals and resets. Players would create the goals, and peace treaties would punctuate the conflicts.

 

Starting to loose a war wouldn't be the end of the world, but rather a new strategical setup requiring to re-estimate the situation: finding new supply lines and trade routes, incentiving privateering, focusing on key defense ports, organizing counter-attacks in the colonies, increasing state taxes, looking for new alliances, or simply discussing a peace treaty if the enemy would have been fair opponents.

 

Wars were ended because they cost lives (lack of crews for example) and treasury funds, crippled the economy, sometimes cut the shipyards supplies, and because defeats decreased the morale of the populations (labour decrease, less allegiance ?). Also it was the period of lace wars, not total war. And it was in the interest of the strongers to get favorable peace treaties, with territories or money exchanges, and agreements on tax rates (open your rum market or we'll serve ourselves on the seas :P )

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