Hello, I am Respen, the developer leader for gameplay development. I typically start discussions, and prod along topics regarding how the mod will work and be played. Sometimes I spew out ideas for these topics, other times I just flow along with the discussion. Then there are the summaries...
I guess that is what I have been doing most of late, trying to keep us organized. I collect all the various, sometimes spread out, discussion and decisions into large summaries neatly laying out what exactly we have agreed to do, and what we have left to do. While doing this, and reading some of the comments regarding how we were thinking of doing things, I thought that you (the players) would appreciate a bit more information on our plans for the mod and our server (and we would appreciate your feedback).
So, without further ado, I give you a generalized outline of the majority of our planned gameplay systems. I am withholding most of the specific details of these systems, largely because we are still discussing many of them.
We, as a team, have decided that we want as few written server rules as possible. To accomplish this, we have needed to think of ways to incorporate what rules we can into the game engine and server structure. Our goal: to have everything you can do in the game be within the rules.
This system regards how factions operate and are structured.
The overall leader for one of the "set" factions is a NPC character controlled by Admins/RP Moderators/Devs. This leader will only be used sparingly and when necessary to keep the faction in line with its RP. The NPC leaders will also be used for special events and to move the server's story along.
Players will still command the individual sections of a faction like its military, trading, etc. Players within a faction will be able to set up their own command group members, who will be below the rank of the NPC leader(s), but high enough to perform the day-to-day running of the faction. A faction's command group can create/disband sub-goups within the faction. They can also set whether these groups are open for any player to join, or are closed and invite only.
Inter-faction relations (hostilities, neutrality, allies, etc) are set by the Admins/RP Mods/Devs, but can be changed by players through appropriate RP.
Civilian factions do not have direct oversight, and are largely allowed to run free (within the rules, of course).
Multi-factioning is allowed, but in a limited fashion. Players are allowed to have characters of two types chosen from the provided list.
Force User factions (Jedi and Sith, at start) have a bit stricter structure. Their rank systems will be established by us, but some freedom will be given to the players to customize these factions. We view these factions as being the leaders of RP for the server much like they have been on past Freeworlds servers, but we will be a bit stricter with them so that they stay the leaders of RP for the server.
- This is where the persistent goals of factions are for long-term play.
Factions will be able to conquer systems/bases using an influence system, as well as generate many other effects in the game. There will be several types of influence that each work differently: military, trade, criminal, and Force user.
Military influence is what is used to conquer systems and bases. Faction members gain this influence for their faction in many ways, most of which involve combat with enemy factions. Simple online presence within systems will have an effect as well as killing your enemies.
Trade influence is gained by trading with bases. This might increase the economic output of the bases that have this influence on them in addition to earning the factions with this influence a small portion of the base's production.
Criminal influence will be used for covert and subversive effects on bases. It could earn the faction with influence certain privileges at the base the faction would not normally have, as well as cut into the other factions' economies at the base in question.
Force user influence is very different than the above influence types. Force user factions' empasis is on Story Arcs for their goals. Their influence is actually a currency to be used for actions to further their Story Arc goals. They gain more influence for successfully completing some goals as well as from some structures (at the moment, these are roleplayed as being on the base, but they are not actually in-game) that can be constructed on bases. Only Force user factions will be able to obtain this type of influence.
Any faction can perform any of the actions that result in gaining any type of influence, with the exception of Force user influence. Thus, each faction will likely have multiple types of influence, sometimes on the same base!
- This is Qi's baby, and plays a part in most of the mod's gameplay systems.
The buying of large quantities of a commodity from a base will raise the value of that commodity at that base for a time, while the selling of large quantities of a commodity at a base will lower the value of that commodity at that base for a time. (value = buy and sell price, due to the way the FL engine works)
Player buys and more importantly, player sells, of commodities will be recorded by the system. This will be used for stockpiles, to affect influence, etc.
- There will largely be two methods of travel: sub-light and hyperdrive.
Sub-light will consist of normal flying speed as well as Freelancer's cruise mechanic. These will be much lower speeds than hyperdrive speeds, as one would expect in the Star Wars universe.
Hyperdrive is... complicated. Through the magic of FL Hook, which is used to power many of our extra features, capital ships will be able to jump from system to system without the use of Freelancer's traditional jump holes and gates. Although all of the other ships will not have access to this feature, for balance purposes, every ship will be able to use a modified Freelancer jump gate which we call a hyperbouy to travel between systems.
Hyperdrive also encompasses speedy in-system travel. Using Freelancer's tradelanes, which have been changed to fit the Star Wars universe, ships will be able to perform in-system hyperjumps. There is even the possibility that some ships may be able to perform custom in-system hyperjumps!
Of course, there are a couple ways to prevent others from using hyperdrive. Namely, the interdictor capships and possibly some kind of gravity mine. Perfect for those blockades or ambushes.
Players can dock with capships, using them as mobile bases of operations in addition to their combat abilities, which are lower than that of other equally-sized capships for balance purposes.
- Maintenance is included on our server in order to take money out of the game, encourage factions to be active, and encourage factions to specialize in certain types of ships (military vs. trade). We will not have set classifications for factions to choose among. Instead, it will be the faction's actions that determine their effect on the galaxy, and the galaxy's effect on the faction.
All factions pay maintenance per cycle (currently weekly) on large ships that their members fly. These "large ships" are the bigger trade ships and capships, small craft are free for all. The bigger the ship, the larger the cost to the faction. Also, the more maintenance-required ships a faction uses, the higher their maintenance will be. Both relationships are governed by exponential functions.
So, the Empire trying to field twenty active Imperial Star Destroyers will be nigh impossible, unless the Empire has the playerbase and income to support such a thing.
- Player reputations are under discussion right now, but it is possible the system for them will be more complicated than the standard FL reputation system. Killing other players and selling certain commodities may affect your character's reputation!
Base affiliation will be kept up-to-date with a weekly update of the INIs. A script will be run during the weekly update to update individual player reputations to reflect faction relation changes.
Ship purchases will be restricted by reputation, creating a natural shiplist for the initial factions. Characters from the Empire will be unable, due to being hostile to the New Republic, of flying any of the specific New Republic ships. This also keeps enemy factions from docking on one another's bases to stage attacks on each other.
- Death penalty has been decided as a good thing, for several reasons. It provides a way for money to leave the game, helping to fight inflation. It also gives a worth for staying alive, allowing for more complex strategies to develop within the game.
You buy an "escape pod" item and carry it in your ship. Upon death you have the option to respawn at the base you last docked at, and the item is removed from your ship/inventory. If you don't have an "escape pod" in your ship/inventory, then you are forced to respawn at your faction's home base. This allows you (the players) to choose your own death penalty: time (home base respawn) or money (escape pods).
The "escape pod" will be a commodity sold on all bases and linked to the dynamic economy. Each class of ship (of which there are roughly 50) will have its own number of escape pods required to enable the last-docked base respawn. The larger ships will require more escape pods, but capships are different.
Capships have their own, unique death penalty: total ship loss. That is right, when a capship dies it is totally lost and a new one will have to be built. Capships will drop some of the materials needed for their construction upon death.
All ships will drop a number of "Occupied [faction] Escape Pod". The larger the ship, and the more crew it would have, the more pods it will drop. Other players can then tractor these pods in and sell them on bases. The faction of the occupied pod will likely greatly appreciate you returning their pilots, but the faction's enemies might also want them...
- A tax system will exist that will take a percentage of the amount a player buys/sells a commodity for and give that money to the faction that owns the base where this action takes place. Factions will be able to set the percentage of tax on their bases. The tax level on a base affects the owning faction's influence level there. Factions can also set a tax level on an owned base that gives them a percentage of that base's generated income.
That is right, bases will generate a certain amount of income per maintenance cycle (weekly). Each base will have a custom income amount tailored to the base. For example, a highly populated planet like Coruscant will produce more income than an isolated space station. Factions will be able to get a portion of that money if they have influence on the base.
As a last note, keep in mind that many of these features (faction structure, maintenance, taxes, etc.) are specific to our official server. When the mod is released, other servers can be made.