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View Full Version : 11/18/2013 - Game Design: Eight versus Infinity - Rebirth of the Faction System



Oblivious
11-18-2013, 05:27 PM
To address the question of why we are changing the faction system, you have to delve deeper into what a faction is, and why they are so important for the game. This update is going to explore factions, and everything that contributes to the experience that forms Face of Mankind.

Definition and Purpose

The best place to begin with this, is to actually define what a faction is.

“a small, organized, dissenting group within a larger one, esp. in politics.”

Technically, the organizations in ♥♥♥ don’t necessarily conform to this definition, but as a developer I look at it a little bit differently. Ultimately we are all technically a single group; a single community. The interactions of every player will influence the interactions of every other player, so we’re going to stick with this definition.

The value in this is that it forms a foundation upon which every other game mechanic can be built. At its core, the point of the faction system is to allow a large number of players to organize and work to accomplish common goals. Beyond this lies all of the stories that the players inject into it, and the identity that they create for their faction.

It is important then that factions are designed in a way that is unstable, to better suit the people that run them.

The Eight

In the very beginning, factions were led by storyline game masters, and followed the rule of story. Each faction was given a role in the universe, and these roles were strictly followed. After the creation of some semblance of structure, these factions were handed off to the players. The players that were given control of these factions were some of the best, and from the mold that they were given they created factions that have truly stood the test of time. Even today you can see their legacies in the department names that our factions use.

Each consecutive leadership however changes the faction, as more and more people give input to what that identity is and how the faction should be ran. The veterans teach the new players, and eventually the teachings of the veterans lead them to control the factions after the veterans have stepped down.

From a game design standpoint, this is a very dangerous design. Ultimately, people are inherently unstable due to conflicting views and opinions, and each consecutive wave of new players will be taught differently than the last. Eventually, faction leaders will resign, and if a single bad faction leader gains control of a faction; it can potentially be destroyed.

New players can be taught bad ethics, and those that would aim to change it can be alienated. This was always the point of staff intervention, as an attempt to keep the factions from falling into chaos, and maintain a stable game environment.

Evolution of the Faction

This instability isn’t a bad thing though, and I don’t think it’s something to correct. The blame for this shouldn’t rest with the players but rather the mechanics themselves. The real issue, like with all things, is the distinct lack of consequence for bad decisions. Factions were given near-infinite funds, and with no way to destroy them and very little ways to conquer them, the level of stability achieved is unparalleled.

When you add consequences to the factions however, and create the opportunity for destruction, you change the mindset of the people in charge and create a sort of “survival of the fittest” environment. Factions that do not manage to make any level of impact on the game do not make any ♥♥♥♥♥ will die, as will factions that get crushed into the ground repeatedly.

When instability sets in, rather than having a single static faction that damages any new players that enter, it can be destroyed and replaced by another.

One of the other major issues with having static factions is authority. There are many players that join the game and don’t want to listen to their superiors, as they believe they can do better. In the past their options would be to leave or stomach something they don’t want, and the choice was most certainly an obvious one.

Fall of the Dominion’s faction system is all about embracing everything that the players have to offer. It is about creating something that encourages player interaction and conflict, while still leaving plenty of room left for cooperation and collaboration. While assumptions can be made, I am very excited to see what all of you do with Fall of the Dominion.