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Bridger  [developer] Feb 28 @ 8:41am
Design Preview: Faction Conflict
Greetings, Pilots!

Welcome to the first Entropy Design Preview. In these posts we'll be presenting outlines of the game design for upcoming features and revisions to Entropy, so that you can let us know what you think about them and how they could be improved as we work on them.

A few important notes about Design Previews:

  • Tell us what you think! Design Previews are a way we can all collaborate on the design of the game and incorporate your ideas and suggestions as we're working on a new feature or game system, or on revising and expanding an existing one
  • Because of this, the features and systems outlined in Design Previews are all subject to change, both before the feature or system is initially implemented and afterwards, as we revise and improve it
  • At the current stage of development, our main focus is on implementing the basic 'core' of a new feature first, and then balancing, improving and expanding it over time
  • As such, we welcome all ideas and suggestions, but we may need to save more complex or elaborate ones for later revisions to a game feature, rather than implementing them in the initial version

We thought it would be fun to start with something big, so for this first instalment we're going to be discussing one of the biggest new features we're planning to introduce to the game in Early Access, the Faction Conflict system.

We've actually been working on this 'in the background' for quite a while now, and we have a basic framework that we think should work well. We wanted to take this opportunity to let you know what we have in mind and get your thoughts, opinions and suggestions for improvements.

WHAT IS FACTION CONFLICT?
The Faction Conflict system will allow players who have contracted with one of the 'Big Three' megacorporations - Renon, Transgate and Shoten - to play a direct role in the ongoing competition between them for control of the Confederation's frontier.

Although the Confederation is still nominally led by an elected Council, since the Shutdown the bulk of the actual work of governing has been contracted out to the private sector. The Big Three megacorporations have grown rich and powerful from Council contracts, and over the last two centuries have expanded and diversified to the point where they now compete with each other for the rights to administer entire star systems.

The megacorp contracted to administer a star system on behalf of the Council is responsible for ensuring the safety, security and economic prosperity of the local population. If it fails to do so, the system's Council members can petition to have the administration contract reassigned to another megacorp. These checks and balances were intended to encourage the Big Three to focus their efforts on providing the best services and keep them 'honest'. They have instead led to ongoing campaigns by each of the megacorps to exploit the system by embarrassing and discrediting their rivals.

Typically, this involves contracting Pilots and Cartels as 'security consultants' or something similar, then using these deniable assets to disrupt their rival's shipping and stir up trouble in the star systems they administer. If these operations can cause enough chaos in a star system or just undermine the population's faith in the current administrator, it can be used to pressure the Council to reassign the system's contract. With control of the majority of the mainstream media, it's relatively easy for the Big Three to blame any unpleasantness that comes to light on clashes between independent Cartels that got out of control, pirate gangs, anti-Confederation terrorist actions or whatever else their highly skilled PR divisions come up with.

WHAT ARE THE GOALS OF FACTION CONFLICT?
Faction Conflict is intended to encourage both small and large scale PvP between Corporate players, to provide opportunities for tactical and strategic gameplay, and to allow player actions to have a direct and meaningful impact on the game world.

These factors are also intended to help stimulate and drive the economy once the Crafting system has been introduced, which we'll be looking at in more depth in a future Design Preview.

HOW WILL FACTION CONFLICT WORK?
The Faction Conflict system will allow Corporate players to compete for the control of Frontier ('yellow') star systems in two stages. First, a megacorp must destabilise a rival's system by generating enough Tension to trigger a Crisis in the system. Then they must demonstrate the controlling megacorp's failure to protect the system by crippling its Station before the end of the Crisis.

  • Each Frontier star system will have a Stability rating
  • Each Frontier star system will have two Tension ratings, one for each of the current controller's rival factions (for example, a Renon system will have Transgate Tension and Shoten Tension)
  • Players of the rival factions can earn Tension Points for their faction by performing a variety of actions in the system, its sectors and Station
  • Players of the controlling faction can reduce the Tension Points of their rivals by performing a variety of actions in the system, its sectors and Station
  • If a rival faction increases its Tension rating to equal or exceed the Stability rating of the system, it triggers a Crisis in the system
  • During a Crisis, players of the controlling faction (the 'defenders') and the rival faction that triggered the Crisis (the 'attackers') fight for control of the system
  • A Crisis has a duration, and player actions in the system can affect this duration
  • During a Crisis, PvP is enabled in the Station Sector of the system, which serves as the focus for the battle for control of the star system
  • If the attackers manage to achieve certain objectives in the Station Sector of the system, crippling the Station, the attacking faction wins control of the system
  • If the defenders manage to prevent the attackers from crippling the Station within the duration of the Crisis, the defending faction retains control of the star system
  • After a Crisis, there is a 'cease fire' period during which no Tension can be earned in the system

STABILITY
The Stability rating of each Frontier system will depend on how many Frontier systems each megacorporation controls - the more systems a single faction controls, the more thinly its resources are spread, and the lower the Stability of its systems.

The current Stability of each Frontier system will be visible in a variety of places, including the Galaxy Map.

TENSION
Corporate players can create or reduce Tension in Frontier systems in a number of ways:

  • PvP Combat - defeating rival Corporate players and Pirate players will create or reduce Tension
  • PvE Combat - defeating rival Corporate NPCs and Hostile NPCs will create or reduce Tension
  • Trade - meeting the supply and demand needs of a system's Station by fulfilling the Station's Buy and Sell Orders will create or reduce Tension
  • Missions - delivering corporate freight and passengers to a system's Station will create or reduce Tension

Whether Tension is created or reduced, and for which faction, depends on the factions of the player and the system where the action is performed.

For example, if a Renon player wants to increase Renon Tension in a Frontier system controlled by Shoten, they can do so by defeating Shoten players and NPCs in the system, defeating Pirate players and Hostile NPCs in the system, meeting the Station's supply and demand through trade, or by delivering corporate freight and passengers to the Station.

On the other hand, if the Renon player wants to reduce Transgate Tension in a Frontier system already controlled by Renon, they can do so by defeating Transgate players and NPCs in the system, defeating Pirate players and Hostile NPCs in the system, meeting the Station's supply and demand through trade, or by delivering corporate freight and passengers to the Station.

The current Tension ratings of each Frontier system will be visible in a variety of places, including the Galaxy Map.

CRISES
If Corporate players manage to increase their faction's Tension rating in a rival faction's Frontier system to equal or exceed the system's Stability, they succeed in destabilising the system and trigger a Crisis.

A Crisis has a duration, and while the Crisis is in effect several special rules come into play:

  • PvP becomes enabled in the system's Station Sector and the 'attacking' faction (the one that triggered the Crisis) can attempt to take control of the system by crippling the Station's defences
  • The 'defending' faction (the one that currently controls the system) has to try to prevent the attackers from crippling the Station before the Crisis ends
  • Only players of the attacking and defending factions are able to enter the Station Sector in a system in Crisis
  • Only players of the defending faction are able to respawn at the Station in a system in Crisis
  • The number of attacking and defending players allowed in the Station Sector at the same time will be limited in order to maintain playable client performance for players fighting over the Station
  • If a player tries to enter the Station Sector once it is 'full' for their side, they will be placed in a queue
  • The queuing system will use the total number of Tension Points a player created or reduced in the system before the Crisis started and the length of time a player has been in the queue to determine who gets invited when a spot opens up
  • Players in the queue can continue to play as normal and will be sent an invite when a spot opens up for them
  • While a Crisis is in effect, attacking faction players can extend its duration by defeating defending players in the system outside the Station Sector, and defending players can reduce its duration by defeating attacking players in the system outside the Station Sector

Systems in Crisis, and the remaining Crisis Duration, will be visible in a variety of places, including the Galaxy Map.

STATION BATTLES
To cripple a Station during a Crisis and win control of the star system for their megacorp, the attackers must disable the Station's power core.

Stations will have a number of defensive 'emplacements' protecting them, as well as various secondary structures. Initially, these emplacements and structures will make direct attacks on the Station's core almost suicidal, and the core itself will be protected by extremely strong shields. By disabling a Station's emplacements and other structures, though, the attackers will be able to weaken the defences and open up the core to attack.

ENDING A CRISIS
A Crisis ends when the attackers succeed in crippling the system's Station, or when the Crisis duration runs out. If the attackers were successful, their megacorporation takes over administration of the star system and its Station. If the defenders managed to hold out, their megacorporation retains control.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?
This is where you, our Early Access players come in. What do you think of the proposed Faction Conflict system? What do you like and what don't you like? How could the system be improved, or is there a much better way to handle the competition between the 'Big Three' megacorporations?

If anything about the design outline is unclear, please let us know and we'll be happy to clarify any details or explain how the current system is intended to work.

Thanks,

The Entropy Development Team
Last edited by Bridger; Feb 28 @ 9:08am
Showing 1-15 of 61 comments
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EiEiO Feb 28 @ 9:05am 
I want to kill stations.
Bridger  [developer] Feb 28 @ 9:17am 
Originally posted by EiEiO:
I want to kill stations.
Our current thinking is that destruction of Stations and other structures will be limited to player-created ones, which will in turn be part of the Cartel Conflict system in the future.

We're a little concerned about the complete destruction of Confederation Stations, both in terms of the gameplay impact and problems it could cause, and also of how it would conflict with the setting and themes of the game.

(I appreciate we haven't talked about in much detail about the setting and we're aiming to rectify that soon in order to get everyone's thoughts and feedback. In the meantime, the Confederation is recovering from a cataclysmic event - the Shutdown - and teetering on the brink of complete collapse. In that situation, we don't think it would make much sense for any of the megacorps to start what would amount to a full scale civil war by destroying a Station and killing all the people who live and work there. What smaller Cartels can get away with out of the public eye, however, is a different matter...)

Does that make sense?
Last edited by Bridger; Feb 28 @ 9:20am
aZuRFaLe Feb 28 @ 9:19am 
can we implement this today?
aZuRFaLe Feb 28 @ 9:23am 
I agree about player stations being the only destroyable ones.

Some sort of insurance for any ships/mods a player had in the destroyed station.
Bridger  [developer] Feb 28 @ 9:23am 
Originally posted by aZuRFaLe:
can we implement this today?
We're working as hard as we can, but I'm afraid it'll be a while longer yet. ;)

We are hoping to be able to introduce one or more 'test' Sectors fairly soon, where you'll be able to try fighting some of the new emplacements and help us get them ready for the full faction conflict system.
EiEiO Feb 28 @ 9:25am 
For the main factions Stations. You could make it so instead of being blown up they are rendered inoperable. And then wait a certain time or do a activity to get it back.

just a idea.
Last edited by EiEiO; Feb 28 @ 9:27am
Commissar Vren Feb 28 @ 9:39am 
Originally posted by Bridger:
Missions - delivering corporate freight and passengers to a system's Station will create or reduce Tension


Currently when doing a delivery mission to a station of another faction, you are rewarded with that faction's reputation, even though you are aligned with an opposing faction. (ex - A Shoten player delivers Transgate passengers to Veles. They are awarded Transgate reputation.)

I just wanted to confirm that this shouldn't be a problem in the future, and that Shoten will indeed destabilize that system (and maybe even be rewarded with Shoten reputation?)


Regardless, I love the idea. It gives more direction for players to travel to different systems, and it gives faction players a reason to unify and accomplish a goal.

I greatly look forward to testing this out.
Last edited by Commissar Vren; Feb 28 @ 9:49am
Bridger  [developer] Feb 28 @ 9:39am 
Originally posted by EiEiO:
For the main factions Stations. You could make it so instead of being blown up they are rendered inoperable. And then wait a certain time or do a activity to get it back.

just a idea.
Yes, we agree. We've already had a brief chat about the idea of Stations taking time to recover after being attacked, and maybe the tax income of the Station is used to fund the repairs (so the more 'commerce' that occurs at a Station, the quicker it recovers).

If that - or something similar - sounds like something you'd all like to see, we'd certainly be interested in exploring the idea further once the basics of the faction conflict system are in place.
Bridger  [developer] Feb 28 @ 9:47am 
Originally posted by Commissar Vren:
Currently when doing a delivery mission to a station of another faction, you are rewarded with that faction's reputation, even though you are aligned with an opposing faction. (ex - A Shoten player delivers Transgate passengers to Diverkis. They are awarded Transgate reputation.)

I just wanted to confirm that this shouldn't be a problem in the future, and that Shoten will indeed destabilize that system (and maybe even be rewarded with Shoten reputation?)
How we're planning to handle this (at the moment at least) is that the Shoten player delivering Transgate passengers to a Transgate Station will still earn rep points for Transgate as a whole (as Transgate wanted the passengers delivered and the player did it for them), but will also create Shoten Tension in that specific star System (as Shoten is seen to be contributing to the local economy).



Gatsu427 Feb 28 @ 10:32am 
"PvE Combat - defeating rival Corporate NPCs and Hostile NPCs will create or reduce Tension"
I suggest a little balancing here of the Renon guards as their laser weapons are way more powerfull then other factions guards because the the speed you can kill renon and transgate guards are way faster.
Last edited by Gatsu427; Feb 28 @ 10:42am
aZuRFaLe Feb 28 @ 10:36am 
Originally posted by Bridger:
Originally posted by aZuRFaLe:
can we implement this today?
We're working as hard as we can, but I'm afraid it'll be a while longer yet. ;)

We are hoping to be able to introduce one or more 'test' Sectors fairly soon, where you'll be able to try fighting some of the new emplacements and help us get them ready for the full faction conflict system.

G-111 for the station defense tests.
chessgeekdavidb Feb 28 @ 10:36am 
So how will this work for in independent that made a delivery to the station, parked overnight and the next day a conflict is going on? If the instance is full will the independent be able to leave the station? Can they do a contract kill in the fight, maybe as a hired gun for one of the two factions fighting? What about a pirate player, it seems like they could fill a hired gun role also.
Gatsu427 Feb 28 @ 10:44am 
Originally posted by aZuRFaLe:
G-111 for the station defense tests.
agreed, good sector for testing
Gatsu427 Feb 28 @ 10:46am 
will pirates and independent players be on the same team working towards making the section become independent?
ArthurDent Feb 28 @ 11:05am 
I will not lie, at it's current state, Entropy bores me. I can't bring myself to play it (except for testing every new patch that is coming out). But you guys seem to have a solid vision and some exciting plans that keeps this game on my radar.
The outline of the 'Faction Conflict' system piqued my interest. It may seem like a small thing, but i like how you were able to give solid details about it's mechanics (proving you have an actual gameplay design in mind, rather than a vague idea; something many other titles lack, IMHO).
As i said, i don't play the game very often but i keep my eye on it. I like the steady and solid flow of apparent development (even though i think it'll be a long time until some of your visions will be implemented; ie. crafting systems, etc.) and the community, which, as small as it is, is friendly and stable (which i can't say for certain other titles).
Last edited by ArthurDent; Feb 28 @ 11:06am
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