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View Full Version : 8/26/2013 - Territory System (contesting, administrating, and upgrading)



Oblivious
08-26-2013, 11:25 AM
Territories

Every incarnation of Face of Mankind has always included some form of ownership system so that players may take the game world as their own. With the creation of the open faction system however, the amount of space is no longer adequate. We are forced to subdivide the game world, creating "territories" that players may capture. A "territory" in Fall of the Dominion is defined as a world service, such as item storage or chemical labs. Worlds have different services, with the rarest services only available on the worlds furthest from the Sol System. While we will talk about each of these services in more detail over the next few months, this first update is focusing on the aspects that are shared among them all.

Ownership

When a faction owns a territory they are given a number of interesting mechanics and controls to make the territory their own. Ownership itself relies upon a concept of influence, wherein a faction will own a territory if the majority belongs to them. Territories may also be upgraded, and territory owners are given access to some special objects that can be placed in the world to enhance the territory.

Territories themselves can be hacked by anyone for a small benefit. While hacked, the faction or player that has done so will earn a percent of the income generated by the territory. If the player is in a faction it will go to the faction, otherwise it will go the player. If the player is part of a faction with a takeover goal on the world, they will gain a larger percent of the income while hacked.

Owners of the territory also gain the ability to change the taxes on the territory, bending the costs of the services to suit their desires.

Influence

Influence itself is a metric of activity and ownership that defines who gains “control” of the territory and all the various services that it provides. The income of a territory is distributed based on the influence, with a greater percent of the income being given to those with a greater percent of the influence.

There are two mechanisms that make up influence within the game. The first are raw “influence points.” These points are earned in real-time by the players and are used to calculate the real influence percentage gain each tick. A tick happens once per hour, and the faction with the most influence points at the end of the tick will be given one percent point from everyone who currently has a percentage point.

To explain this further, if there are five participants in a takeover and all of them have at least 1%, the winner of each tick will gain 4% rather than just 1%. In practice, this creates faster paced takeovers when there are more participants involved.

Takeovers

Capturing a territory is, as a process, time consuming as a point of balance. The more unstable a territory is, the faster it will change hands until it an owner capable of maintaining a stable environment emerges. If a territory manages to stabilize it will be harder to capture, since the income will increase the bar of entry, and the threat of defeat from the established faction will deter those not wishing to throw their faction to the dogs.

To begin the process, a faction must place a territory capture goal for a fee. This fee is based upon the average income of the territory, making more valuable territories more expensive to attempt a capture, encouraging stability for the more important areas of the game. Once created they are able to begin building influence. After they have gained influence, if they lose it all, the goal will be deleted and they will have to pay the fee again.

As another interesting element of gameplay, a special type of goal will exist purely to allow siphoning influence away from the owner or takeover participants. This goal has a cap on the amount of influence that they may earn, but does not have an associated cost with placing. Transitioning one of these goals to a takeover goal will reset all influence progress and return the points to the owner.

Building Influence

Influence points are built in a number of different ways, though the owner has a clear advantage in this field. The owner will gain influence statically simply for people using the service, encouraging embargos during times of war and using economic manipulation to starve a territory. This will also naturally move players away from a territory during a conflict, keeping large conflicts from destabilizing the economy too much.

The other static method of influence gain involves objects being created and placed in the world. These objects, while alive, will give influence points to the faction that placed it within the territory it is placed in. However, these objects can be hacked to give the influence gain to another faction, and destroyed to neutralize them entirely. For a faction to place one of these objects, they must either be the territory owner or have a goal on the world.

Other than these two means of building influence, factions are also able to build influence through the mission system. When in a mission, influence will be given for hacking a territory, killing an opponent, and destroying placed objects (turrets, healing stations, influence generators, etc). Influence building missions can only be created by a faction that owns a territory or is attacking a territory. The join permissions of these missions are locked however, and only mutually allied factions may be invited to join.

Once the owner has fallen below 50% influence, a battle between the owner and the attacker with the highest influence will commence. To give them both time to prepare a one hour tick will pass, and then a king-of-the-hill style battle for ownership of the territory will begin between the two factions. The goal will be to maintain a hack on the territory, with the faction who maintained the hack longest after one tick gaining all of the influence of the other.

After the battle has completed a temporary lockdown timer will be placed on the territory and no more influence may be gained or lost for sixteen hours. If there were multiple participants and one of the remaining deletes their goal, that influence will be given to the owner immediately, but this is the only circumstance where influence may change during the timer. This period of recovery is important so that everyone involved may have a break from the fighting to recover and prepare for it to continue.

Faction Alliances

As a large point in the game, factions are able to ally with each other to jointly capture territories and earn income from them. To become an ally, both factions must set their relation to “ally,” flagging them as mutual allies. Once this is done, they will be able to help each other gain influence and join each other’s takeover missions. In the case of gathering influence, the ally must not have a goal placed on that territory, otherwise the influence will go to their faction instead of their allies.

Influence for allies is tracked differently. Each tick, the influence point will be given on an alternating basis. The influence percents are added together, so long as they remain allies and they do not both have goals on the world. If an ally places a goal, their influence percent will become their own. If they remove the alliance and do not have a goal, the influence will be given back to the owner.

Once the takeover is completed, the influence will be given to the attacking faction, and everything above 51% will be distributed to their allies as a benefit of joint ownership. The only way this influence may be lost is through a legitimate takeover process, either by capturing the territory from their ally or throwing it and giving their influence to them. While beneficial for smaller factions, this will discourage larger factions from using alliances to monopolize the entire game, due to not wanting to share their profits. While they can still work together to capture territories, the only assistance they may provide is killing, which does not benefit the attacker much, since no influence will be gained.

Levels + Upgrades

Every territory has two systems of improvement that allow an owner to customize it to suit their needs. The first is an automatic time-based level system. The longer a territory goes without changing hands, the higher the level will become. Each level gives new benefits to the territory and the owner, rewarding the stability of the territory. In addition to this, there are a number of placeable objects that players can place around the game world. While these objects can always be placed, there are some special items that can only be placed if you own a territory and are limited in quantity. For example, a faction will only be able to place as many high quality turrets on a world as they have territories owned. One territory will give rise to one turret placement.

Oblivious
08-26-2013, 11:26 AM
Turrets

Turrets are objects in the game that can be placed to attack others. They are NPCs and will operate independently of the player that placed them. Players craft turret shells, with different shells having a number of differences in protection and health values for the turret. Once prepared, players are able to place these shells in the world. Shells can be outfitted with a weapon, which will deal damage based on the type of weapon that it is and the electricity that the shell is able to provide. Better weapons require better shells, and in the future we will be able to add additional enhancements to these turrets which make use of the electricity provided by shells.

Once fully prepared, the turret will begin an initialization sequence which should last some time. Once this sequence is complete it will become active, although the turret may still take damage during this time. If the turret is destroyed, it will be removed from the world and lost.

Hackers may also alter turret target settings. Once a hacker initiates a turret hack it will no longer attack them, but will create a beam designating the player as a hacker that is attempting to break into the turret. This allows players to gain control of enemy turrets and cause them to malfunction and attack their owners.

Income Balancing

Balancing the income of territories is important to maintain a stable game economy. ♥♥♥♥♥ that players spend on their own territories needs to be controlled to prevent them from creating items free of charge, which would vastly increase the amount of ♥♥♥♥♥ that have and bleed ♥♥♥♥♥ from the economy into their personal accounts. Instead, an alternative sink will be created in the form of a decreased income when spending ♥♥♥♥♥ on a territory owned by your faction.

By doing this the economy itself will slowly bleed ♥♥♥♥♥ out, being the primary exit point from the economy. As a side effect, this also serves as one of the core balancing elements of the game’s economy, allowing for collapse of the entire economy if a highly negative game environment exists for too long.

The first circumstance is one where a single faction is so large that it owns so much of the game it stagnates. In this case, the faction would get almost no income and couldn’t afford to pay the maintenance fees. It would thus be forced to scale down or collapse, creating new factions to challenge their status quo and revitalize conflict in the game.

The second circumstance is one where a small group of factions own the most important territories, but no one challenges the status quo at all nor attempts to fight anyone. This is bad because the stagnation will cause players to get bored and log off, so the game must compensate and try to keep things interesting. In this case, ♥♥♥♥♥ would bleed from the economy at a rate equal to the stagnation, causing major collapse if it did not rectify itself. If that happens though, the entire social balance will be upset and players will have to rebuild the economy, creating more entertainment.

Conclusion

The beauty of a system like this is that it is one which keeps the game from becoming too stagnate for too long a period of time, while still giving players an immense amount of control over the game. Some of the things in this update may seem a bit strange or controversial, but they come as a result of watching the faction system and economy over the last eight years or so.