Specific Topic Requests for Next Dev Blog?

Heretic's picture

Any specific topics people would be interested in hearing about first?

From what I gather, each org

wininoid's picture

From what I gather, each org is a single player. Are there going to be long term groups of players, e.g. guilds/fleets/clans/etc for friends to join together towards a common goal? My friend have a small STO fleet and enjoy working on our starbase (for example). What about short term, e.g. teams/groups/parties for small projects? Games like Vanguard and (I think) Landmark have an option for players to group together when they harvest to improve their resource gathering. Will there be anything like that? Maybe hidden projects that you only see if you have a group with the right combination of players, or greater payoff if multiple players contribute to a project. Maybe even some sort of "public quest" where lots of players will have to commit resources/slots/agents to accomplish the project.

I guess it boils down to wanting to know more about player interaction. You say no direct conflict. Indirect conflict seems to be limited projects/missions available, so players race to do them. And no one can do everything, so there will be trade. What other ways can players interact (both friendly and competitively)?

@wininoid on twitter

Very good questions.

Heretic's picture

Very good questions. You're absolutely correct that each player controls a single organization or org, but multiple players can join in an alliance (a guild).

Where individual players are ranked by region, alliances are ranked by orbit. (Think of it this way; Jupiter is an orbit, consisting of the regions: Ganymede, Callisto, Europa, Io, Amalthea, Greek Asteroid Group, Trojan Asteroid Group).

Alliances can be "subbed" to even bigger alliances, so you and your buddy could have one alliance, but then have your alliance at the same time be a member of an even larger alliance.

Alliances vote as a block for regional rules - for example, in a particular week your alliance might vote in favor of the regional rule being, "All tasks produce +20% more hydrocarbon output than they would normally". This would affect everyone running tasks in that entire orbit, too - not just the alliance or people who voted on or for it.

All members of an alliance also gain additional abilities and bonuses depending on their alliance's ranking in each orbit they are operating in. (This is also true in addition for your own personal ranking in each region and category).

I expect, as well, that alliances will play a very important role in trade and manufacturing slices. That is, one player might focus on mining and refining, another on manufacturing and building ships, another on recruiting troops and officers to crew said ships. (There is also going to be an auction house, but obviously that will be less efficient than anything you arrange with alliance members or friends). Automated shipping tasks can be set up as well, so you could set a repeating, automated shipment of, say medical goods from one region to another, than give those medical goods to another player. (Presumably, you are getting something in return, of course...)

Players' actions as well can affect the peace and war status of the state polities, so by the coordinated actions of an alliance you might convince, say, the Mars Republic and the Free State of Mars to the peace table, or you might incite the Eastern Federation and State into a state of open war. Doing such would affect what tasks are available for everyone - if someone was contracting military vessels to the Free State of Mars or running raids on the Mars Republic, a peace treaty being declared will totally mess that gravy train up for any players relying on it.

Thanks! The gameplay sounds

wininoid's picture

Thanks! The gameplay sounds like it has the potential to be very deep. Here are some more things I'm curious to hear about...

How about a 10,000' level overview? As a player, what will I be actually doing to interact with the game? Are we CEO's pushing ships and agents around on "The Big Board". Managing a vast spreadsheet? What is the user interface going to look like?

And what is the time investment? Will it be the sort of game where you have lots of short log-ins to update tasks, etc.? Do you stay logged in a long time setting up task queues then come back in a week when they are done?

What are players striving towards? In a typical mmo, your character gains level and gear to become more powerful. In an online arena fight, you try to defeat other players. Is there one (or more) goals to strive for, or is it more sandboxy: make your own goal?

Thanks!

@wininoid on twitter

We're working on the user interface...

Heretic's picture

We're working on the user interface as we speak - the wireframes are done, and once we attach real UI to that - probably a couple of weeks - we'll definitely make that available in detail. The primary mechanic is the task - for various regions seeing available tasks, slotting tasks, seeing the results of tasks, etc. Secondarily, of course, there are a lot of other things - regional inventories, alliance information, rankings, and so on.

We're looking to make the time investment pretty flexible. We want you to be able to play this 24 hours a day - or once a week for twenty minutes. Now, obviously, if you are playing just once a week, you probably aren't going to be at the top, say, of the Political and Commercial rankings on Earth, but the way the game works that doesn't prevent you from playing effectively in any way, it just means you won't have access to all the bonuses you might otherwise get.

Task durations range pretty dramatically, from as short as under a minute to a week or more, but we're structuring this pretty methodically so you can play effectively at both levels of resolution.

I expect the most common mode of play will be to log in once or twice a day for half an hour to an hour, but I could be wrong on that.

Regarding what are you striving for, the game is, ultimately, rather sandboxy in that you can easily define your own goals. There are also personal rankings that provide persistent abilities and rewards, and alliance rankings that do the same. Because the game lets you actually impact the politics and economics of the game for other players, it opens up a whole lot of possibilities for how you want to play.

Our goal is to create a game where you can come in and say, "I want to play a corporation" and that works fine. You can also say, "I want to play a pirate" and that also works fine. Or, "I want to play a research institute" (or transport service, or even a human resources recruiting agency, if for some reason that was a niche that appealed to you).

Sandbox games have a long tradition in the MMORPG world; this is, in large part, an effort to bring that tradition to a different style of game.

Thanks! It sounds very

wininoid's picture

Thanks! It sounds very promising. I like where you seem to be going with it and look forwards to finding out more.

@wininoid on twitter

This game sounds very

This game sounds very interesting. I want to hear and see more.

Some questions.

Are you guys aiming for a kind of Eve like end game where guilds of players face off for influence of control of Orgs?

How does the lone wolf type character fit in? Will they be able to play and be successful while still having fun?

Would you call this game casual friendly, harcore, or somewhere in the middle?

Will there be in game purchases or are you aiming for a set price for the game?

Anytime someonethrows the Conspiracy/Illuminati name out it perks my interest. How will that type of faction play? WIll you be able to influence or "encourage" other players to do tasks that help your goals? Will military be able to capture areas that block other players goals? WIll poltical players be able to levy sanctions making some goals harder or more expensive for other players? Am I reading to much into the multiplayer aspect and this is more of a single player game with some multi player?

Can you switch your path of domination or will you need to make a new Org?

Can you permantly lose agents/ships/facilties/etc if you fail in a task or so other way? (BTW I think that would be awesome really ups the stakes on doing dangerous tasks, I like risk/reward options)

Thanks for takign the time to read this and I really look forward to seeing more updates!

Jason

There are, actually, a lot of

Heretic's picture

There are, actually, a lot of valid comparisons to EVE, though it's obviously an inexact comparison. Like EVE, Org is very much a sandbox. Also like EVE, there are a lot of opportunities for players to group up and affect the world.

That being said, one of the big differences with EVE - other than not having real time combat - is that the game works perfectly well playing as a solo player never directly talking to another player. Playing in that way will close off certain aspects of gameplay to you, to be sure, but the game works perfectly fine played that way.

Re: Hardcore versus casual.
It is very possible to play the game at a casual level of play or a hardcore level of play. The real issue is more likely to be that it's a different sort of game, making it hard to categorize and a little hard to explain to people. You can't just say, "Well, this is a WoW-style game". You can get close and say something like, "A multiplayer sandbox version of Mafia Wars", but even that is itself a limited comparison.

Re: Purchasing model.
The basic financial model for the game is optional microtransactions, with two caveats: First, anything you can microtransact for you can also play the game for. Second, unless you do something like deliberately choose all tasks that take a week to finish, it will be possible to play for any length of time; we are working to avoid the all-too-common F2P model where you play for a half an hour and then must wait or pay.

Re: Secret society-style play.
I personally adore this kind of thing, so it is something I am trying to work into the game wherever I can. How your actions can affect other players is probably a good subject for a very long blog post (making a note of that now...), but suffice it to say task results in aggregate between you and other players can impact other players' access to tasks, costs for tasks, and rewards for tasks. Another player can't take stuff away from you, but they can certainly affect you and your rankings, and the more of that we can work into the game the better in our book.

Re: Switching path to domination.
There's a recent blog post I did about exactly this (Dev Diary #5, I believe) that goes into detail exactly what is the impact of your decision. The short answer is, you have a lot of flexibility, but your initial decision on what kind of org you are does have some impact.

Re: Permanently losing agents/ships/facilities
Yes, you can, though you have to do this knowingly, Meaning, task disasters can result in injuries and damage, and if you don't repair them before sending them out again, they can in fact become more injured, or even dead or destroyed.

Right now, the biggest help

Heretic's picture

Right now, the biggest help people can provide is asking questions about the design, poking holes if they see them, and otherwise helping us fine tune the game.

Once we hit alpha, of course, then there will be a lot of invites going out.

Just here to say hello

I am a current STO player since F2P. The doff system in STO is my only long term joy. I have put 2000+ hrs into doffing and have collected thousands on doffs. This is in my opinion the best system that Heretic added to star trek online - which I now call "Space Bar Online" - like my name here. Kind of a joke about how easy STO has gotten that you could key bind everything to your spacebar and WIN!! It's sad that since Heretic left the Doff system in STO has just been turned into a backdoor pay for power creep mechanic. My doffs have made me a STO multi-billionaire - sadly only ingame currency of energy credits. When I finally leave STO for good - I may do a massive Earth space dock give-away of 7000+ expensive doffs. Or I may keep them until it goes offline for good.

I really have not had a chance to take a good look at this games systems, but I know that if Heretic put as much or more effort into it as he did the STO doff system it is going to be good. I always wondered what the STO doff system could have become if Heretic had stayed as a dev, but I am glad to see him putting his talents to use. When I get a little more free time I will report back some of my impressions.

I really look forward to any

Heretic's picture

I really look forward to any input or feedback you might have, particularly as a player of my previous system.

Org is, to be sure, an evolution of ideas that came about as a result of my work on Star Trek Online.

Some of the ideas in Org are things that if I could go back and do it over I would have in the duty officer system in STO, some are simply things that couldn't be done in the duty officer system, either due to technological, database, internal design direction, or IP constraints.

I will say, however, that despite the challenges of launching an independent project such as Org, I am very, very happy with the design so far. To be sure, it won't be everybody's cup of tea, but for those who like this kind of gameplay, I think they will be very pleased with the final result.