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Vulpex
Vulpex
Posts: 389


7/15/2018
Vulpex
Vulpex
Posts: 389
For those who don't know me I'm Machina - been around since Beta. Came back a few months ago - a health issue left me hospitalized and knocked me out of the game for a while but my mates at ARK finally convinced me to come back and see how things have been moving forward. (You have no idea the shenanigans they got up to get me to come back)

It has been interesting to play with the big city structures and see how the social dynamic of the game has evolved, seeing that the raiders are smarter and now pose a credible threat is also interesting and forces new styles of gameplay to counter this. But having been around for a little while and I am really curious as to where the game is going from here.

We've seen major changes to the economics of the game in the last few weeks - namely:

  • Decrease in the funds you get when you salvage products.
  • Change in the demand curve making it harder for products to reach higher demand (demand starts to slow down at 100) together with an actual clip in the demand of products in game.
  • New requirements for the generation of new cities.
  • Enforced hard cap of 100 million population per city (We expect to see this today sometime)



All of these changes have something in common - they are made to bring the game closer to Seren's vision of what the game should be. That is how things should be! But all of this raises two big questions for me:

1) What can we expect as a vision for the game in the future?
2) Endgame play - what will be the possibilities?

Barons has been live now for well over a year (YAY! Party!) and over the course of that time the game has changed and evolved - for the better I would say. It is fair to say that the game has reached a point where it is very stable (you guys remember how Obsidian used to break the game on a regular basis?) and it has a very solid underlying economy and combat system as the foundations of a strong political and alliance system, which players can use very effectively to build on - As we have done multiple times in the past and continue to do so now. (Charters all the way!)

But where is the game going to go from here? There are many interesting possibilities and it all depends mostly on Seren, his vision and availability to work on this project but I am sure others are having similar thoughts as well so here are some of the things that have come out from my informal talks with a few of you as questions on the future vision of the game:


- Economic Development - In a way it's all in the economy. The premise of the game is that the economy is so big and complex that no one corporation should be able to do everything on their own. This means in practice that in order to really be successful there needs to be a cooperation between different corporations. Unfortunately the options for cooperation are simply not great. In particular the transfer of materials and goods from player to player is cumbersome enough that it is used sparingly, usually in one off situations. I have very rarely seen any long term use of the recurring contracts in an effective way. This means in practice that working together means simply all piling up in the same place and kinda sorta divvying up the economy into sectors but it is very hard to have an effective integrated economy - I have never seen anyone who has been able to run in even the moderate term simply agreements like you provide me with water and I will provide you with basic woods. So... where is the economy going?

- Exploration - Space the final frontier!!! Well the exploration mechanic has been sorta uh... well it's there kinda but unfortunately due to a number of hiccups exploration got a bit out of hand at one point which resulted in it becoming much harder to open up new systems. It seems to be one of the questions which all new players have - how do we explore stuff? And it is a valid question! So... where is exploration going?

- Piracy - YARRR!!! - Ok yes surprised? Some people think I have a reputation for coming down hard on wannabe pirates... and to be fair I do. But... that does not mean I do not like pirates! The problem is that the options for piracy are few and far between and all of them are, well hardly worth the risk given that you will always get caught and well... bad things tend to happen then. The raid mechanic is again one of those great ideas which is very rarely used but I really do feel like there is something in there which is genuinely great we just have not been able to hit on it yet.

Of course I have my own thoughts on all of those but I would be really interested in hearing the thoughts from all of you and especially Seren. Notice that I did not include any big new shiny combat stuff in the list, there is a reason for it - The one area where we can really effectively cooperate is now in combat. Escort missions are a bit fiddly but they work and allow us to team up and really be stronger than acting alone (note - everyone I know though is really excited about the big bad doomstar so I guess there is that!)


Finally a few words on the endgame - for some players who have been around for a while you end up with a big pile of cash and huge battle fleets and wonder... ok so what next. Many of the changes which have been done in the last week have been triggered by players pushing the limits of the game during the endgame and those limits getting pushed beyond the vision Seren had for the game - but the question is what is the endgame supposed to look like? Sorta kinda look like? What options are we to have? This is an important question because without endplay the game will burn through players. I confess that I do wonder whether some of the problems which have been addressed in the last few weeks could not have been simply solved by having more players in the game (I know, easier said than done!).

I leave it here - and look forward to hearing your thoughts on all this.
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Wreith42
Wreith42
Posts: 56


7/17/2018
Wreith42
Wreith42
Posts: 56
I completely agree about the need for smoother transactions between corporations. I would honestly settle for Distribution Centers being able to transfer products for contracts at their location so I don't have to involve a ship. Another thing that would be nice is some kind of shared guild warehouse or some Trade mechanic instead of requiring two contracts to trade even quantity resources.

Exploration advancements are being actively worked on. Not so much in the revealing new sectors area but in making use of empty space for new event types. I'm very excited to see this go into effect.
I'm not really woried about revealing new area as, since I've been a player, there's been vastly more space than the current playerbase requires.

I've never liked online PvP ever in any form... but I realize that I'm in the minority on that issue, so I guess I agree that something needs to be done to make raiding a viable play strategy. I personally would recommend a "cloaking" artifact upgrade. I don't think the units should be unlocatable, but maybe if all units involved in an attack have this item, then the attack report doesn't give the attacker's corporation name. Then, obviously there would be something to counter it defensively. I have suggested a deployable sensor array before. It would send a message to the owner when any ships entered its scanning range.
All that said, I don't really think I can support anything to increase PvP until there is some way to adequately defend your infrastructure. There simply aren't enough logistics points to defend anything. Even raiders higher than lvl 5 can destroy any defenses I've been able to afford to build.
A capture mechanic has been discussed, but I don't like anything about it in the way it has been described. If people start commandeering my facilities and equipment and there's nothing I can do about it then I won't keep playing this game.

Finally, all negative artifact uses like the solar reducer and nanite swarm and such should not generate a comms message. That's just silly.
Or...ORRRRR, it should generate some kind of puzzle event (like artifacts but harder) to figure out who the perpetrator was. Simply giving out that information makes those artifacts useless to anyone who isn't actively looking to be destroyed
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Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397


7/17/2018
Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397
Smoother trades between corps on a steady basis is a difficult thing to accomplish because of the details and lock down needed when you are taking a corps money when they aren't online. on a regular basis. The complexity of contracts is needed to arrange the steady trades But there is a legit complaint about the one shot trades. You don't need a whole contract and approval process to sell a stack of stuff you have lying around. You should be able to go to any stack of product click on it and set a price and amount that anyone can click a button and immediately transfer to their corp. The same thing can be done for Military units . You're literally putting a "For Sale" sign on something and anyone can take it.

That would allow for easier trades. You can "scavenge" a list of available stacks in your area and just click them all if you wanted for instant trade. The formal contracts would still be around for the regular supply line type of trades.
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Wreith42
Wreith42
Posts: 56


7/17/2018
Wreith42
Wreith42
Posts: 56
Apparently people don't do that. I have 13 sell contracts up and no one cares lol

Trading like I'm interested in wouldn't involve money.
I set an amount of resources, other person sets an amount of resources and if both agree they just swap owners where they are.
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Vulpex
Vulpex
Posts: 389


7/18/2018
Vulpex
Vulpex
Posts: 389
For sales there are a few ideas floating out there - making the one shot trades easier would certainly help!

There are two other ideas which could help though I leave it up to Seren to determine how easily they could be implemented:

Clearing house - literally you set up a market - this may or may not be a physical location with an associated structure but basically you deliver your goods there and set a price for them. Anyone can then just come and buy them. Could be made to work also with buy requests. The Market itself acts as the check to handle the transactions. Market handling fees and cancellation fees apply so that it is not used as a way to just store junk. (To some extent this could be replicated simply by making one shot trades easier and everyone agreeing to a location where the one shot trades can happen.

The other idea is the leasing of production facilities. Say I have a basic mineral mine, which produces 500 units per turn. I could lease part or the totality of that production to another player - for instance if i split the production 50/50 I would get 250 units of basic mineral and the player I had leased part of the mine to would also get 250 basic minerals per turn. There are variations on this but it provides for a checkpoint for the regular exchange as well as being far simpler as it does not require a dedicated unit to make it happen.

All ideas welcome though!
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Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397


7/19/2018
Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397
We don't need a location for a clearing house.. You can set your stacks to sell anywhere and anyone can take them. You would be able to search a planet or system for anybody selling whatever your looking for. The stack or part of it just switches owners and remains at the same location.

That would handle anyone whose selling, but if you're looking to buy something specific and want to request "Im looking for 50k Basic Chem on Earth" Then we can make an interface for that also. People can look at that list and if they are sitting on a ton of Basic Chem can instantly Sell it to the guy who has an order up for it. The guy who wanted Basic Chem can log in next day and see that he now has a stack of it somewhere on Earth.

Buyers asking for what they want and having the resource players fill their request sounds more useful than players with overstock of random product putting quantities up for sale. We can do both though. to Sell some product you can click on your stack and set a price. If you want to buy, we can make a simpler version of contract that doesn't require specific drop off locations, Just "I want to Buy 50k Basic Chem at 200 anywhere on Earth" and accepting it immediately switches ownership at location
edited by DrDread on 7/19/2018
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jimbobdaz
jimbobdaz
Posts: 82


7/19/2018
jimbobdaz
jimbobdaz
Posts: 82
Is it possible to sell part of a stack? for example lets say i have 1 million water i want to sell... i put it up for sale at 200/unit, a corp could buy 300k of the stack and that would transfer ownership next turn leaving 700k for other corps. Is it too complicated to code?
edited by jimbobdaz on 7/19/2018
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Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397


7/20/2018
Doctor Dread
Doctor Dread
Administrator
Posts: 1397
jimbobdaz wrote:
Is it possible to sell part of a stack? for example lets say i have 1 million water i want to sell... i put it up for sale at 200/unit, a corp could buy 300k of the stack and that would transfer ownership next turn leaving 700k for other corps. Is it too complicated to code?
edited by jimbobdaz on 7/19/2018



I imagine I can set it up so you can declare a max amount and a price and anyone can buy pieces of that up to the max. It might get complicated if its a stack that you keep adding to and you want to perpetually sell. Like the stack being created by a factory and you want to constantly sell the excess.Don't sell down below 2k quantity so my component factories will still run for example.

I think the actual posting to sell can be decoupled completely from the actual stack. So you can have "Sell all basic Chem at Location X for Y per unit, keep 2k minimum" as a line item in your contract list and it will apply even if you have no stack there at the time. When some does show up and exceeds 2k quantity , the posting shows up to everyone else who is looking as "X qty Basic Chem available at Y per unit at location ABC".

Clicking on a stack is just a convenient way to get to setup/remove the posting. That is the whiteboard idea at the moment
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CptCommanche
CptCommanche
Posts: 51


7/20/2018
CptCommanche
CptCommanche
Posts: 51
Vulpex, I'll toss in a comment of my own. I think the endgame discussion is an important one.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think it is safe to say that the game has no inherent goals in mind. It's a big sandbox. Thus it is up to the players to set and pursue their own goals. I personally love this as I can always establish new goals or find ways to keep myself interested. However I am not every player.

It seems to me that newer players will often establish one of a few different goals for themselves:
- Colonize XYZ location
- Get as much money as possible
- Etc, etc, or they have no goals at all. Just aimlessly playing.

Older players on the other hand:
- Achieve new milestones (Largest city ever)
- Grow their corporation ever taller
- Increase efficiencies/systems within their corporation
- Stick around with their mates (Arkies...?)
- (What else am I missing?)

Once players reach their goal, or fail in their effort, it is up to them to define a new direction for themselves. You built a huge city, have a sufficient military now what? Each player needs to be able to set targets or goals for themselves, and be able to redefine them when the need arises. The game itself does not provide missions or anything else to guide you.

Now that isn't an issue in itself necessarily, but when faced with the thought of restructuring your corp to pursue a new goal, the amount of micro-management work required to do so is very daunting (I would know, getting almost 100% glassed is a big pit to climb out of). The time it takes to rebuild level 10 facilities in a new location takes significant time.

Several corps I have been around both on Rigil and Mars (In particular Hunter, Echos Echo, Megacoso) all grew large, had strong cities going. Once you are in that spot, its hard to find the motivation to scrap it all and do it again elsewhere. They have all since left. All of Epoch just up and left back in the day. And so on for a long list of players.... (I'm amazed at how many times Exordium has completely relocated his entire setup).

If we are talking about something other than a corporate restructuring, then you have to have the drive and the creativity to think of and pursue those goals. Or some other goals one might establish will be found out to be a waste of time and not worth pursuing.

So the game seems set to be a sandbox, but one that requires a good amount of effort to build something from the ground up. It encourages players to build tall, efficient corporations; but once at that point, there is no incentives provided to pursue additional goals.

I think all of this is compounded by the fact that the playable area has over expanded, so there is no virgin territory to move to, and with the current player base, we are a long way from discovering more systems.

What are solutions?
- Provide new mechanics to help this (Requires Dr. Dread to code a bunch of stuff, and we all know he has a full plate already).
- The player base gets creative and finds ways to keep things fresh and interesting (This doesn't depend on a developer, but takes way more effort on our parts).

I would think the discussion can go in these two directions. I know Dr. Dread has stuff in the works already, and we can keep suggestions and discussion going on this front. I don't want to put too much stock in this, since he is one man and has a full time job. We can only expect so much. The other way is to discuss what we could do as a player base in the meantime. How do we keep things interesting for ourselves and others? Are there other ways to play the game that we just haven't thought of yet?

I'm no game designer, so some of this might be way off...... but It is what I have come to understand after being here 11 months. I concluded this in the first month, and it has been continually reinforced since then. What do you guys think?
edited by CptCommanche on 7/20/2018


--
Boldor Galactic Inc, AKA the old StarCorp
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jimbobdaz
jimbobdaz
Posts: 82


7/21/2018
jimbobdaz
jimbobdaz
Posts: 82
Some great points there Boldor.... i think it all boils down to the lack of players and the early opening of systems, you can add as many interesting new ships,missions etc as you like but while that is nice i really think some systems need to be closed and a serious effort to attract more players is the only way to go. When the game went live we had over 200 corps confined to sol and this was such an exiting time, the politics alone made it worthwhile, so.. too few players in too big a space is the problem that needs to be solved imo , do this and we will entertain ourselves smile
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WyrdWunne
WyrdWunne
Posts: 3


8/6/2018
WyrdWunne
WyrdWunne
Posts: 3
Doctor Dread wrote:
Smoother trades between corps on a steady basis is a difficult thing to accomplish because of the details and lock down needed when you are taking a corps money when they aren't online. on a regular basis



Perhaps there could be more options for players to prevent some trades from going through.

Perhaps I would give my purchases instructions not to accept delivery if I have less than a certain amount of cash on hand.
Greater flexibility can be added by making that amount dependent on variables such as how much cash I need to accept other deliveries, how much I am currently paying for military upkeep and production, how much money I need to complete upcoming construction orders, etc.
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