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Old 2012-03-23, 07:47 AM   [Ignore Me] #16
Kipper
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


I don't think this is a problem worth worrying about. The solution was already there in about post #2....

The more territory you have, the more resource you accumulate = fair. You're defending far more territory with the same amount of players as the other two empires, so if you can actually keep that going as a team - you deserve the extra!

The bigger your space, the more prone to backhacks you are because your territory is 'deeper', and the less players you have in any one area of the front line, assuming you are defending the full length of it.

A team with 30 hexes vs a team with 10 is going to have on average 3x less players in a skirmish, or they're going to have to leave 20 hexes undefended.

It should balance. My worry is that it will balance too well, and just be a complete stalemate in the centre of the continent where every gain results in a loss elsewhere.
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Old 2012-03-23, 07:49 AM   [Ignore Me] #17
morf
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


[popup]

Greetings TR,

You're being too successful, so we will now artificially limit your success so those other panzies can feel better about themselves.

-Higby


[/popup]

Is this REALLY the game you want to play, people? Is it even a game at this point? I guess when you guys were kids you played in the little league where they didn't keep score huh? I have news for you: those trophies aren't real and they don't mean anything when everyone gets them.

Territories should give a set amount of total resources, so if you have a higher pop, those resources are split among more soldiers. Furthermore, defending more territory becomes increasingly difficult on it's own - but why limit a team if they have what it takes o win? What's the point in playing if the losers get CPU assistance?
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Old 2012-03-23, 07:53 AM   [Ignore Me] #18
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Those auto generated missions they talk about? Set them towards the rich empire.

For instance, TR has the most land. The missions generated for NC and VS would be weighted towards combating TR.

If VS and NC are both top dogs, and TR is a distance third, the the missions can push the VS and NC against each other, and less against the TR.


I would also advocate that vehicles could be pulled from the uncap for free. Air pulled from uncaps should have a much lengthier timer than ground vehicles due to their mobility.
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Old 2012-03-23, 07:56 AM   [Ignore Me] #19
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Double post, bad connection. .sorry
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Last edited by morf; 2012-03-23 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 2012-03-23, 08:14 AM   [Ignore Me] #20
Dart
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


It is important to have some kind of mechanic in place but hopefully we can all agree the PS1 solutions for population balancing and resource control were, for the most part, dreadful. I do not want to be fighting anyone who has 20% more health than I do. Similarly a system which leads many of the 'veteran' players to switch to the underpopulated Empire because they are receiving superior benefits is also daft.

In 2012 there must be a more elegant solution than tying dramatic benefits to the individual to a system over which the individual has little control.
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Old 2012-03-23, 08:24 AM   [Ignore Me] #21
CutterJohn
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Originally Posted by Dart View Post
Similarly a system which leads many of the 'veteran' players to switch to the underpopulated Empire because they are receiving superior benefits is also daft.
Why is this daft? I know plenty of people around here are all 'Ooo-Raaah! Go TR/VS/NC! Elmos/Barneys/Smurfs suck!', but there are some that simply do not care one bit about what fictional team they happen to be on at any given time.

I look on the empires like I look at red vs blue in TF2, it doesn't matter which I play for. I'd be perfectly fine temporarily switching to an underpopped empire if asked nicely, and especially if I received some consideration.
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Old 2012-03-23, 08:44 AM   [Ignore Me] #22
Boomzor
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


If left as is, the rich getting richer will happen and probably go hand in hand with double-teaming an empire already on the knees.

This will lead to 4:th empiring and no one can stop that in regards to it's-F2P-I'll-just-make-a-new-account. We don't want this.

A simpler way to implement this:
Some form of tax that scales with the percentage of continent real estate the empire controls. The more you have the less you gain from new territories (or perhaps the resource yielding territories to be exact).
You will still gain resources, but not as much as someone who controls far less then you do.

A more difficult way of implementing (in the line of what Biscuit was thinking):

Have a Train of haulers go from the resource yielding facilities to the continental foot holds. For nostalgia, let's call them ANTs. Either simple AI controlled ones that stick to the roads and chug along while it still have wheels or even let players do the hauling. The "dividence" will not be shared untill the ANT reaches the foot hold and can be hijacked or stolen by the other empires while en-route. Escorting or Hijacking the ANTS could be a nice addition to the mission system, and also points out the logistical difficulties of an over stretched empire.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:01 AM   [Ignore Me] #23
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Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
Why is this daft? I know plenty of people around here are all 'Ooo-Raaah! Go TR/VS/NC! Elmos/Barneys/Smurfs suck!', but there are some that simply do not care one bit about what fictional team they happen to be on at any given time.

I look on the empires like I look at red vs blue in TF2, it doesn't matter which I play for. I'd be perfectly fine temporarily switching to an underpopped empire if asked nicely, and especially if I received some consideration.
Yeah but this isn't really in the spirit of planet side. Its also not really in the tradition of mmos, where you traditionally play a character and remain that character.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:13 AM   [Ignore Me] #24
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


It is indeed a "Difficult" problem with the assumption that not all players are equal in terms of skill. A couple ideas in this thread are decent but aren't quite there the solution.

The imagination I have with Planetside 2 is there will be at least 1 significant empire outfit per shard. It's a gamble but it also could pay off in the end where if a side gets pushed back, that particular outfit will indeed make a difference in gaining more ground.

The one big downside to this plan is if the separation of the North American's and Europeans is final, that means in off peak times can be not as interesting where as if both were together, there would be always a good battle.

Just my two cents.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:21 AM   [Ignore Me] #25
Eyeklops
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


How do we know this problem even exists yet? We probably won't know until beta. I get the feeling this will not happen for the same reasons Nazi Germany lost WW2.
  • population too spread out
  • fighting a war on too many fronts
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:29 AM   [Ignore Me] #26
sylphaen
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Disclaimer: all ideas expressed in this post are opinions and if I state something without saying "I think" or "IMO", you should still consider as an opinion rather than a fact. I do not claim to be an all-knowing superior being: that would be Vanu.

This post will mainly aim at giving propositions and answers to:
So how can we both reward players for conquest while simultaneously handicapping them so it is still possible for the conquered empires to strike back and regain territory?
Doing so, I address issues such as "richer gets richest" and double-teams.

I. Disturbances in the force

Assuming all variables (population, resources, equipment, player skill, player organization) are even between all empires, we could say that in theory, an equilibrium should exist between all factions in the long-run.

However, game mechanics can create "disturbances" in this equilibrium and destroy the carefully balanced chaos we know as Planetside.

I believe that winning should come from skill and organization (i.e. player variables) so before exposing some ideas and solutions, let me restate what I consider to be systematic sources of dis-equilibrium.

1. Resources
I think the problem is not stated properly. yes, "the rich getting richer" is a problem but we may all agree that it is the natural by-product of a game with resource mechanics. If equipment depends on resources and assuming all other variables are the same between factions, winners get more resources and more resources make winning easier.

If resources did not give a benefit, no one would care about them and they would serve no purpose. However, by providing benefits, resources increasingly favor winners (since winning gives you more resource to win) like new snow feeds a snowball rolling down a hill.

We all agree this is what we name "the rich getting richer" problem. Assuming all variables to be equal, once an empire starts winning (let's explain this through luck since all variables including skill is equal), resources would only help the winner to win more.


2. Factions
Another factor rarely mentionned and that I believe to be critical in Planetside is "3 factions". More territory is also linked to more benefits (facilities benefits and continent benefits in PS1, facilities and resources in PS2) so for an empire, it's always better to control more territory. Controlling more territory is also a source of pride and a feeling of achievement for players of an empire.

The problem with 3 factions is that there is a natural tendency towards double-teaming. I think so because as an empire player, controlling 40% territory makes people feel good even though it could be through a double team.

In the end, there are huge differences of difficulty in how your empire achieves control of 40% of global territory. A share of 40% TR / 40% NC / 20% VS share of total territory is significantly easier to achieve than 40% TR / 30% NC / 30% VS. The difference is that in the first case, you have a double team. In the latter, your empire conquered territory vs. 2 empires at the same time.

As long as people only see 40% territory as a victory and not how it was achieved being the victory, there will be double-teams. This issue compounded to resources would simply make the game unplayable for one empire once equilibrium is broken.



II. Maintaining equilibrium

1. How the Planetside system should behave

Planetside is a game about players interacting through a system. I believe that this system should have an equilibrium state and have mechanics that pushes it to return towards equilibrium. I also believe that, while the system should revolve around an equilibrium state, there should be room for disruption of that state through quality (skill & team organization).

A team of better players should be able to beat even odds. They should be able to keep the system out-of-balance through skill while the system itself pushes towards the equilibrium state. Beating the odds is what I call a victory.

2. Tendency towards equilibrium

The biggest threat to equilibrium between all empires is a double-team. It is much easier to rack-up kills and dominate while doing a 66% vs. 33% pop because numbers are a greater factor than skill. It is also much frustrating to be on the double-teamed side because there is little that can be done to prevent losing territory once 66% pop decide to roll over you.

Uneven situations create a flurry of issues (players switch empires or stop playing which increases the problem) so Planetside should have mechanics which favor even populations and promote even fights.

PS1 had incentives and benefits for lower pop empires (more XP, faster spawn rate). It's not perfect but it did promote balance and while it did not stop from losing vs. 66% pop, it did make it a little less frustrating until the other 2 empires started to attack each other again.

I believe that PS2 should provide incentives for an empire to attack the other 2 evenly to promote equilibrium. If all empires attack each other evenly, the most skilled should naturally control the most territory. In any situation that is not a double team, skill and organization should be a determining factor for territory control.

Double teams should not be incentivized.

2. Equilibrium with a resource system

With a pure resource system where % of territory controlled is proportional to resources accrued, double teams are being rewarded. Getting into a 40% TR / 40% NC / 20% VS situation is easy-mode for the NC/TR and they both would get more resources from double-teaming the VS. Such a system will effectively wipes out an empire as its player population and resources will drop along with decreasing territory. Planetside could become a 2-faction game most of the time once a double team starts.

Of course, the situation could return to equilibrium once the other 2 empires start fighting each other again but in the mean-time, an empire was wiped out: not from skill but from incentives to double-team an empire. Incentives which are also compounding through the richest gets richer issue. Worse, if a double-teaming empire managed to conquer territory faster than the other double-teamer, the game would transform into a game of quantity (what's left in the double-teamed empire in stock equipment+double-teamer in ok equipment ) vs. quality (the "winner" of the double-team in decked out equipment). It could be a long readjustment process during which the game is frustrating for the losers (i.e. the majority of players) and overall, this could kill Planetside pops.

Of course, this is just theory and it may not be as terrible as I think when it happens but still... It doesn't sound great.

To prevent such a situation:
- there should be decreasing returns on resource per territory controlled as your empire's total territory increases vs. other empires (in order to limit the strength of the snowball effect)
- decreasing returns should kick-in much faster if there is a double team in order to not incentivize it (if you progress vs. 2 empires, you are rewarded. If 2 empires progress vs. 1 together, they are not rewarded).

e.g. by controlling TR 40% of territory, you are naturally getting more resources. Then a modifier could apply where:
- NC 30% / VS 30% = 1 so no penalty
- VS 20% / NC 40% = .5 so 33% at 100% return and the remainder 7% at 50% return

Of course, this is just an example. The key point is that double teams must not be rewarded. It could even go as far as decreasing XP given from players from a double teamed empire while a double team is happening. The point is to promote 33% vs. 33% vs. 33% instead of 33%+33% vs. 33% which would naturally happen in a 3 factions game.

3. Promoting domination through skill

As many of you know, I am openly against end-game or resets in Planetside because I think they create more problems than they solve. However, I am not against victory conditions that can happen during the game. While I have described ideas to prevent situations from happening (i.e. maintain equilibrium), there should be mechanisms which promote a behavior that favors equilibrium.

So how should player skills be linked to territory mechanics ? One solution I see is through a victory mechanism. In the end, the reason why players want to control the most territory is to have a feeling of victory. It's one thing to win battles and engagements but it's another one to dominate the world.

Here is how I envision a victory condition that would fit Planetside:
- the victory condition should promote all 3 empires to compete against each other (i.e. it should be desirable)
- the victory condition should involve all 3 empires at the same time in order to promote even fighting between all empires and decrease the prevalence of double-team behaviors (i.e. it should promote competitive behavior)
- achieving the victory condition should be difficult enough in order to become a rare event (i.e. it should not be trivial)
- a victory should not happen in unfair conditions

How would each of those goals be achieved:
Desirability:
- victories should provide rewards (I think of unique merits with numbered victories such as "Markov - Victory n.1 - VS - 04/10/2012")
- victories should be visible (character stats and merits page, "Victories Hall of Fame" with links to players who achieved them)
- victories should be difficult to achieve and rare
- essentially, the drive to achieve victories is pride and recognition

Fairness
- Possibility of a victory should only be allowed after the game situation has reached "fair" conditions (large overall population, even empire population & even territory per empire would allow victories to be achieved) and stop being active when parameters become "unfair" (e.g. to prevent ghost victories when no one is online, victory conditions would stop being active when total population drops below a certain treshold of players on the server; they would reactivate only when that condition is met again along with all other conditions for fairness, so that it's useless to ghost all territory when everyone is offline).
- victory conditions should not promote double teaming:
45% TR / 27.5% NC / 27.5% VS would be a fair victory
45% TR / 40% NC / 15% VS would not be a victory

Competitive behavior
With high desirability and fair conditions, it would be incredibly hard to reach victory because the closer you are to victory, the more the other 2 empires would not want you to win. By victory being so hard and so rare, it fuels its desirability and competitiveness between all 3 empires who would tend to double-team less. With even odds, meeting the victory conditions would be more about skill than double teaming.

Finally, victory conditions are a rare event and neutral to the overall gameplay: they simply promote fair-play and competitiveness by showing a carrot on a stick. They also provide a feeling of victory for those who want a large-scale objective. The amount of time a victory condition is kept alive by an empire could also be timed and shown in the hall of fame.

Victories are neutral because they would not prevent temporary fluctuations in battle and temporary double teams. However, providing a greater incentive to win than to double-team and giving no benefits for double teaming will likely shorten the time the game spends out of equilibrium.


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I hope I have explained my idea correctly enough to share and thank you for reading.

Last edited by sylphaen; 2012-03-23 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:30 AM   [Ignore Me] #27
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Originally Posted by Eyeklops View Post
How do we know this problem even exists yet? We probably won't know until beta. I get the feeling this will not happen for the same reasons Nazi Germany lost WW2.
  • population too spread out
  • fighting a war on too many fronts
You're right, we don't, but we try to figure out all potential problems to attempt to keep ourselves sane till beta arrives.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:38 AM   [Ignore Me] #28
Dart
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
Why is this daft? I know plenty of people around here are all 'Ooo-Raaah! Go TR/VS/NC! Elmos/Barneys/Smurfs suck!', but there are some that simply do not care one bit about what fictional team they happen to be on at any given time.

I look on the empires like I look at red vs blue in TF2, it doesn't matter which I play for. I'd be perfectly fine temporarily switching to an underpopped empire if asked nicely, and especially if I received some consideration.
It is the reason WHY you are switching that is the issue. It's about the game-mechanics which motivate you. Unless you and I were playing different versions of PS1 I was never asked to switch Empires by DanB due to population imbalances. Instead it was the ' considerations' you referred to which caused people to Empire-hop. Specifically the exp bonus or module bonuses. That is a clumsy system because, in the case of the exp bonus, you are being rewarded for losing. The less efficient your Empire, the more casual players log off, the more the vets (most PSU members I'd imagine) benefit for an individual exp bonus. To my mind that is NOT an elegant MMO system.
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Old 2012-03-23, 10:26 AM   [Ignore Me] #29
Eyeklops
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Originally Posted by Dart View Post
It is the reason WHY you are switching that is the issue. It's about the game-mechanics which motivate you. Unless you and I were playing different versions of PS1 I was never asked to switch Empires by DanB due to population imbalances. Instead it was the ' considerations' you referred to which caused people to Empire-hop. Specifically the exp bonus or module bonuses. That is a clumsy system because, in the case of the exp bonus, you are being rewarded for losing. The less efficient your Empire, the more casual players log off, the more the vets (most PSU members I'd imagine) benefit for an individual exp bonus. To my mind that is NOT an elegant MMO system.
Agreed, the PS1 incentives system was not perfect. My reasons for switching from the high pop to the low pop empire was really about who had the most the target rich environment. I gotta think about these things as a killwhore!
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Old 2012-03-23, 10:48 AM   [Ignore Me] #30
dm Akolyte
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Re: Ideas for the "Rich get richer" problem


Originally Posted by CutterJohn View Post
Those auto generated missions they talk about? Set them towards the rich empire.

For instance, TR has the most land. The missions generated for NC and VS would be weighted towards combating TR.

If VS and NC are both top dogs, and TR is a distance third, the the missions can push the VS and NC against each other, and less against the TR.


I would also advocate that vehicles could be pulled from the uncap for free. Air pulled from uncaps should have a much lengthier timer than ground vehicles due to their mobility.
I like this idea. Seems more unobtrusive.
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