Warning: If you never played Star Wars Galaxies, this is going to be a long, boring post.
Long-time readers of both my blogs will remember that I have a bit of a grudge against Sony Online Entertainment. I ranted about what they were doing to screw up with the Vision(tm) of Everquest for a long time; then I jumped ship to Star Wars, only to find out what true evil was. Best damn MMORPG I ever played… until the CU. (Combat Upgrade, a.k.a. Cock-Up).
Now, SWG wasn’t without it’s flaws; in fact, it had quite a few of them. I was an Architect, and enjoyed the crafting system immensely, although the system that was supposed to guarantee us a market was broken. But for reasons that never made a bit of sense, SOE decided to completely overthrow the entire philosophy sytstem the game was based on, and radically revamped the concept of balance to make crafting classes non-viable. Then it got rid of them entirely, because there weren’t enough to make the economy run. Or for some other stupid reason. It never made any sense; suffice to say, my friends Master Plan and Dr. Heinous were in complete agreement; while MP forced himself to play a couple of times afterwards, he described it as simliar to playing in the ashes of a great amusement park, a shell of its former self.
Near as I can tell, they saw WOW coming and panicked. In combination with “successor team mentality” wanting to re-make the game in EQII’s image, SOE made a series of stupid decisions in a futile attempt to “out-Blizzard Blizzard.” To call it a fucking disaster would be charitable. Best estimates were that they lost 1/3 of their customers in the first 30 days after the CU went live, despite a strong push from the last SW movie and an expansion based on it. Things went downhill from there.
Well, I was going through some old files, determining which should be deleted to save space, when I ran across an old gem; a preserved pre-CU discussion thread, I had particpated in, trying to improve the game. It was a discussion on the Architetchs’ forum during which we tried to develop an alternative to the then-current poorly implemented GCW system, while at the same time, creating new roles and uses for as many of the various classes as we could– especially the crafters.
Looking back at it four years later, I’m struck the most by how it seems we were trying to create something similiar to World of Warcraft, which, IIRC, was about to take the market by storm. Essentially, we were going to divide the world into three groups: Rebs, Imps, and Neutrals, only instead of the “always on” manner of PvP in WOW, we were creating a system whereby overt warfare existed alongside more cloak and dagger operations; trying to slip people through starports, “secret” weapons factories, towns controlled by the rebels or imps…. If you wanted to fight, you could become an overt member, but if you just wanted to supply the fighters, you could remain covert and craft. And even then, you could get involved in certain types of missions — although some of them might have been a bit silly (“Cover the mayor, he’s about to replace the clone center!”). It wouldn’t be without its risks; scanners or patrols could catch a covert player and force him overt. I remember debating (internally, I never posted it) whether such flagging should result in an arrest (a few minutes of downtime), combat with NPC’s and whatever PC’s were waiting for you to slip up, an arrest with a cut scene of your character being interrogated…
I would have been much happier to play that game than EQ or WOW.
Anyway, here’s the raw preserved thread, below the fold. After so long, I don’t remember for sure who’s saying what to whom (except where it’s obvious by context), nor where the exact divisions were between one message and the next. For clarity, I’ve replaced the handle I was using at that time with my current blogging ID. Maybe one of these days, one of the SWGEmu groups will read this and go, “hey… that sounds cool!” and code it.
I can only hope.
My First Idea is to have Faction Specific Craftable items. For example maybe there could be a Rebel Specific home (with secret compartments to hide illegal items), and also Imp. Specific Homes (with some sort of imperial perk). I think in order to place and own these houses you would have to have a certain amount of Faction Points, and also I think to build these buildings you would also have to have the right skillbox AND the right amount of faction points. I think this could also work for all the other crafting professions (i.e. faction specific weapons, armor, cloths and droids. With some work it could even be possible to do faction specific vendors and even food.) Also imagine how cool it would be for Imp Cities and Rebel Cities to have their own Imperial Guild Hall, or Secret Rebel Guild Hall.
Anyways i want to hear other’s ideas, and if we get enough ideas here, maybe the DEV’s will look at them
Limited use schematics you could buy with faction points would be nice. Faction specific weapons would be a good thing. Maybe a couple of weapons, faction armor, a house, and a banner for putting in cities to show allegiance.
The banners are really something I’d love to see. But a faction guild-hall…..that would ROCK! Makes it real easy to tell if a city is Imperial or Rebel if you walk in and see huge Imperial banners hanging off their guild hall.
I’d also love to see the faction furniture you can currently get be transformed into a limited use schematic for an architect with the right amount of skill and/or faction can make. The only problem is that if you make it so only a factioned person can use that schematic you run the risk of not being able to find someone.
The thing that has always come up when discussion how to bring crafters into the GCW is what is the risk to the crafter to be factioned. Fighting has it’s own risks, factioned or otherwise. Maybe there doesn’t need to be any. I don’t really have the answer. I just worry that if there isn’t some potential consequence for being a factional-aligned crafter making factional goods you’ll see a ton of “faction grinder” crafters flood the professions. The hologrind was bad enough; we don’t need faction grinders, too. A TEF (under the current system) is most certainly not the answer. I don’t imagine you’d have too many factional crafters if they get a TEF every time they make a piece of furniture and JoeL33tImp comes along and sends them to the cloning center. LOL
I agree, and I’m comming from the other side of the argument, I want Arch’s, AS and WS’s to be able to craft such things so I can use them in combat/RP. There has to be some reason to be factioned, pets are ok, and the recent respect or disrespect that the ST’s show factioned players is kool but there is still no overwhealming drawcard to play faction, but if they add some of the things you suggest it gives crafters a role in the GCW and I get to use kool factioned stuff in combat. In real wars often times the battle is won or lost by the production capacity or skill level of the economies involved, so I say giving a crafter a role in the GCW is a muliti-layerd benefit, as it helps me, the combatant, the economy, the Roleplay aspect and helps make the crafters feel a part of the strugle.
Ok i had an idea last night about risk involved for factioned crafters. First i think that you should have to use special crafting stations to craft factioned items… and these stations are TEF’d, then they could be destroyed, which would be a huge pain, but it wouldn’t result in a crafter being TEF’d. I know this is a small idea, but i think it’s something to build on (especially if you have say rebel and imp factories that could be attacked and destroyed or damaged).
What does everyone think?
I move my stations to a shop (i.e.: not in same house with vendors) and declare it private. You now have no access to destroy my station. And don’t suggest that my harvesters be likewise factioned.
I agree this is going to be a problem. A crafter making factional items should be aligned, although that would be a game rule, not necessarily reality. I suppose there is some arguement for “impartial arms dealers, loyal only to their bank balance.” The big problem with factioning is that crafters have no way of defending themselves from elite combat classes. Personally, it would suck to go service my harvesters, only to have a patrol of ST’s turn me overt (or a probe at the starport). Have that happen two or three times running, and suddenly the game’s a lot less appealing.
This gets into the overall concept of the TEF and overt status. I don’t think we can solve the problem for Archi’s alone. It’s going to take a broad, game-wide solution, of which we’ll only be part. So here follows my plan, such as it is.
It’s a given that each side in a war tries to protect (through some form of counter-intelligence and secrecy) their non-combatant support personnel. If we were at war with China, we wouldn’t have our engineers who design tanks fly through Bejing airport. But in the “real” world, it’s not necessary for those engineers to go out and collect their raw materials (oh gawd, I may just have given them the idea they need to force us to buy our resources from “miners,” who will probably be the very same elite classes lying in wait to kill us at the starport…).
So, instead of the whole TEF/overt thing, a factionally-aligned character with either:
an elite crafting class, or
an entertainer class
AND who has no elite combat class,
can not be forced overt by scanners, probe droids, or ST’s. He or she is always assumed to be covert. How would they know anyway? Upon entering the Rebellion (or Imperial Service) you became one of the hidden support network with a super-double-sekrit-identity when you operate in public. The sole exception would be minefields and scanners in the player-crafted factional bases (once they work, heh), to prevent gimp exploits during base attacks. “Quick, send in the Entertainer to shut their base down! They’ll never suspect a belly dancer!”
This has the advantage of allowing non-combat classes the ability to be in a faction, without having to worry that they are certain to die for it. Repeatedly, in fact. By preventing all but minefields and player-base scanners from declaring them overt, they can now even come along on attacks, and set up buff/heal camps well away from the enemy base; attacking players can retreat there to have their mind wounds removed and get rebuffed. Of course, the defending players will try to locate the support camp and counter-attack to kill the weak, respawned characters, but at least the Entertainer is not toast. (Oh, and now you need a scout along too, for the camp!)
One question I can see here is the treatment of CH’s, doctors, and combat medics. Allowing them to be non-tef’d would be in keeping with our 20th century “civilized” notions of warfare, but would inevitably mean doctors standing right in front of enemy turrets, healing the pikemen smacking on it, or CH’s using their creatures to stand guard around the camp without fear of being attacked. And Combat Medics are *meant* to be in the battle. So I’d have to say, doctors go under the entertainer/no combat immunity, CM’s and CH’s do not. Note that all of these characters can still choose to go overt, in order to go on faction missions or to take their chances in PvP. And any elite crafting character that gains an elite combat profession loses their immunity.
One additional caveat: — a doctor healing/buffing someone overt while s/he is OUTSIDE a camp will get a TEF. If s/he remains within a camp, s/he’s immune from attack, even if the target is outside. (What, you thought it would be easy to counter-attack the enemy’s camp?) I don’t know what the range for player-base scanners is, but it would obviously have to extend to a radius around the base (or simply, prevent camps from being placed within 64 meters of a base) to prevent exploits.
I’m not deep into the GCW, so there may be holes/pitfalls in this I have not seen. Please feel free to poke them so I can refine the idea; once I feel it’s workable, I’ll take it to the GCW forum and post it there. I don’t think we’re going to find a “perfect” plan, but one that’s workable would be nice.
Here’s an idea that comes from the above responses and the many posts I’ve read on the smuggler forum about changes to the GCW and Player Bounties.
Since we are in the Architect Forum I will only refer to architect items.
We should get faction schematics unlocked as long as we are members of a faction. Rebels get Rebel Schematics, Imps get Imp Schematics.
These items are crafted with normal resources. We can sell these items on our vendors but they would only show up to OVERT members of our faction.
The OVERT member of our faction would purchase the items with money and a SMALL amount of faction. Not 60k faction points. Something much more attainable. Rank would also be a requirement to purchase the items. Meaning that a Warrant Officer wouldn’t be able to purchase a large base. A Colonel on the other hand would be able to purchase anything.
These faction points would transfer over to the Architect, much like the /delegatefaction command thereby raising his/her faction standing allowing us to progress through the ranks. (How many of you think Akbar actually had to fight his way up the ranks to become an Admiral?)
Now as our faction grows, so too would our awareness to the other side. This would tie in with the bounty hunter terminals. The higher your rank (or amassed faction points) the more likely you are to appear on the Bounty Hunter Terminal and get a bounty placed upon you. This would tie the system together fairly well while still incorporating a need for money and faction.
The only reason that I mention money is that the architect assumes all the cost for building the deeds. Therefore compensation is due. The selling price of the deed can be set by the architect, but the factional requirement price should be set by the system.
Ubu Roi-Okay so crafting stationed can’t really be made Factioned, but what about factories, guild hall’s and other buildings.
My idea is that if a city is declared a certain faction, then certain buildings become factioned buildings (Guild Hall’s, Town Halls,Cloning Center’s, Garage’s, Factories.. you know things that would be targets in war) and these factioned buildings coul;d now be targeted. Then crafter’s could build defenses for these buildings and the opposing faction could attack the building, and the defenses. Building defenses could include gun turrets (Built by weaponsmiths) Security Droids (obviously build by DE’s) Building Plating (built by Arch’s) and Building Shield Generators (built by Armorsmiths). While the turrets, security droids and plating could be destroyed normally, the shield generator would have to be sliced by a smuggler.
I know this would lead to some cities staying neutral and really be factioned. But maybe if a certain % of citizens inside city limits are factioned a certain way, and a certain % aren’t of the other faction then it is automatically declared as factioned (the same way a city gains rank).
I dunno if this has ever been thought of before, but after arriving at an imp spaceport the other day, an idea came to mind. There was a fusion generator parked right beside that starport. Hey, I’m an arch, i build those things. I know what makes them tick. Why can’t i be recruited to go on a rebel mission to shut down a fusion generator, power down a network of imps. Architects build buildings, so you should need an architect to get into them and shut them down, rather than just shooting at the blinking lights.
You missed the part where I said “definately not the harvesters,” didn’t you?
Look, it sounds great in theory — ol’ Sun Tzu would have loved it, but in the end, this isn’ t war. It’s entertainment, and there is no way any sane person should want to open themselves to that kind of griefing. I do NOT want to see a full run of walls go poof because some jerk elite pikeman, whom I can’t touch in combat skills, is camping my factories every night. And the automated defenses are not going to work; they’d have to tough enough to hold off duos and small parties, would cost a fair bit themselves, and still I’d be getting hammered. The whole point of giving us roles in the GCW is to give us a market so we will be paid to replace stuff the enemy blew up, not so we can endlessly replace our own harvesters and factories, plus suffer the losses of all just-finished or stored items inside them (so much for that tactic!).
Ubu… No i didn’t miss that about the harvestors, that’s why i intentionally left them off the list. The point of including the buildings i did is because these are City buildings (with exception to the factories which after further thought should not be factioned, and neither should houses due to the points you brought up) meaning the whole city would have to defend them. And i would think that the best defenses should take 8-10 (or even more) to wipe them out. That means the whole rebel/imp city actually has something to defend, and there might actually be something at stake during a battle. It would also mean that there would be some strategy involved in battle. Would you defend the cloning center, which clones the members of the city, who just died defending it, or would you defend the guild hall, (which could be made to give the city a bonus in building defense). Could Rebels scrounge enough fighters together at 3am to try a late-night run on an imp base, or could someone act as an imp spy and discover the rebels plans? This would add a whole new element to the game. That way it’s not Crafters just replacing stuff that other people destroy, but it’s the whole town defending the buildings that identify and base those people.
The more i think about it, the more I think this would lead the way to help an overall GCW restructuring. Yeah it’s entertainment, but it’s entertainment based on war… and what better way to be entertained than to add strategy and tactics to a war roleplaying game? The biggest downside of the Arch economy is that buildings can only be destroyed through neglect, this would help the Arch economy by allowing a replacement of buildings, and also not hurt the arch, and other crafters, by allowing the destruction of their factories… even though now we are back into the foray of what does a crafter risk by declaring a faction.. to which there seems to be no easy solution
Ok, you’re right about the upside of your idea; I just think the downside is a LOT worse. There’s practically no way you can avoid someone mounting a surprise attack on your city, factories, harvesters, etc. I do think it would have the effect of making people concentrate in one area…. as it is, I’m crafting in this shop on Tat, the DE is 1km away, the armormaster is halfway across the planet, the doctor is on Talus. If your scenario were true, we’d re-deed everything in order to have a dense, defendable city center with the clone center being the hardest thing to get to, and the 2nd hardest being the structure factory. And I’d have multiple deeds on me at all times. (It would be funny in a way…. “Cover the mayor, he’s about to replace the clone center!”)
But the costs of such losses would be more than the average player would want to put up with, especially when you consider the collateral damage of losing everything inside the PA hall, including the guild treasury!!! If I spent hours decorating the place, I do not want to have to do it all over again, just to have it wiped out once more the next night. I think that eating that kind of loss would make people bail out of the game pretty quick.
So…. How about this: No city buildings are actually destroyed, except for things like lampposts. (Saleable item!) Instead, they are “disabled.” The building won’t perform whatever function it has until it’s been “fixed” with a repair kit. (Saleable item!). If the City Hall (of a factional city) gets taken down, then ALL civic buildings inside the city limits stop functioning for one hour or until the City Hall is repaired (whichever is longer–and no building can be redeeded.) This represents a “win” for the attackers. No building can be disabled more than once in 72 hours (except it can be killed on it’s own, and again by a city hall ‘kill’). Which means you can go visit the attackers tomorrow night for some payback, and still have a night off to goof around in PVE. Needless to say, City Halls would have high resistances and a lot of hit points. This should be balanced so that an attacker who is evenly matched with the defender (including factional turrets, etc) would win maybe 1 time in 4 — it should be doable but not a given, so there’s some real bragging rights to it. Personal homes do not suffer this penalty (or maybe they should? Arguments either way, anyone?)
Non-civic structures such as factories and harvesters should be immune to this. The reason I say that, is I’d bet we’re going to be under enormous pressure from our guilds to give “freebie repair kits.” Having to absorb combat losses on top of that would be ridiculous.
I think it would be cool to have factioned city.. yet it could not be vulnerable to attack 24/7. Having a one or two hour vulnerability period (like bases) each day would be ok, but there would have to be ample reward for maintaining it. Factioned cities could generate fp for its residents, add special bonuses for crafters & healers/buffers, and enable factional structure. I like the idea about the opposing faction being able to disable buildings.
I am in a pvp guild/city on the Kauri server, and I can tell you from much base defense experience that you would not want to have too guard a city all day, every day. We have kept bases up for weeks at a time with 15-40 attackers coming on a daily basis, but we would always lose turrets during the off hours. When we do lose a base; its a big loss in moral that takes a couple days to get over, but eventually everyone is ready to drop another base. Having a perma declared city would drive residents away in the end because players tire of the responsibility over a long period of time (this is why bases eventually fall). The perfect situation would be have a way turn it on or off every week.
When you city goes vulnerable a message would go across the holoalert system for high ranking faction members.
There should be a distinct order in which structures need to be disabled.. which would require a team (like base takedown).
Repairing disabled structures would also require a team.. crafters basically.
Opposing faction entering the city during vulnerability would have 2 minutes to exit the city before auto switch to overt.
Opposing faction dieing in the city could not re-enter it after cloning until the vulnerability period ends.
City members will have the ability to /declare anywhere inside the city.
New structures for us ..
Power Plant.. provides free power to all structures within city limits.
Manufacturing Plant.. decreases factory production times, increases production rates.
Turrets.. architect provide walls, armorsmiths provide shielding, artisian provide artisian stuff lol, weaponsmiths provide the big guns
Shield Generators.. they have to recharge, which causes the city to become vulnerable everyday (heh work with me :smileysurprised.
Barracks.. spawns faction npc’s to guard the city.
General Class roles:
Specific Class roles:
Balancing attack and defense
Balancing defense vs. fatigue.
Architect: The architect becomes a key member of a factioned city, being the only one who can assemble most factional items. To do this requires parts from many other crafters, further involving them in the war also.
Armorsmith: Creator of factional armor and components for factional defense structures, such as turrets and shield generators.
Artisan: Creator of components for factional structures, such as GP modules, memory modules, etc.
Combat Medic: Treated as a combat class. No special crafting or GCW role.
Creature Handler: Can supply trained creatures to guard factional cities by spending FP
Dancer: Non-combatant immunity. When in Staging Camp, can reduce mind wounds and buff.
Doctor: Limited combat immunity and produces components needed by IDâ€™s for disguise mod. Can heal and buff while in Staging Camp. Supplies part for Staging Camp.
Droid Engineer: Can produce factional combat druids for city defense.
Interior Designer: When supplied with a tent, can perform disguise mods to PCâ€™s which reduce chances of scan declaring a person overt. Also supplies components for smugglerâ€™s disguise kit.
Merchant: May supply non-factional items from various crafters. Can declare a vendor â€œfactionalâ€ in which case it can sell factional components and schematics to members of the same faction. Factional vendors never show up on the overhead or planet maps.
Musician: Non-combatant immunity in Staging Camp. When in camp, can reduce mind wounds and buff.
Scout: can set up a Staging Camp.
Smuggler: has the ability to slice various terminals, factional buildings, etc. Can also supply a new item â€œfake ID/disguise kitâ€ which, when used, will reduce the chances of a scan declaring the player overt for one hour. Kit takes ID-supplied components.
Tailor: supplies components for some structures and uniforms for faction.
Weaponsmith: supplies components for turrets and other weapons.
New factional structure:
Staging Camps: Schematic requires FP, and is assembled by a Scout. These are used when attacking enemy base. Comes in three varieties, requiring ascending skill levels (exact boxes TBD, except the best will probably require master.) Because these have to be light and quickly moved/set up, they do not use hides and bone, but require synthetic fabric from a Tailor & aluminum. Not certain whether the artisan should have to contribute speederbikes (this would raise the price significantly). Higher level camps may require non-factional components from other crafters. These are considered TEF’d structures and can be attacked and destroyed (though it’s not easy). These structures are timed, and will despawn after two hours.
Strike Camp: Similar in appearance to medium camp. Little more than a couple of tents and enough room for 2-3 entertainers/doctors to work. Possible component: Comes with one free unarmed â€œarmored speederbikeâ€ (high HP/resistances or PSG?) which disappears when it is destroyed or the camp is taken down/despawns.
Commando Camp: Similar to the current large camp; bigger and contains a 0.00 food/chem station, two speederbikes, and defensive screen (everyone inside gets benefit of a fairly powerful PSG). Requires synthetic fabric, metal, & some of the items needed for the station + armorsmith items needed for the PSG.
Assault Camp: even bigger; has food/chem station, stronger defensive screen, portable clone center, light crew weapon, three armed and armored speederbikes. Requires components from AS, WS, Art.