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meriton
06-20-2012, 04:14 PM
I am not impressed with the condition for winning a sector (that all remaining factions, and the player, need be allied with each other).

My issue is that the victory condition is largely outside the players control. It is determined by the relationship between factions (which the player can not noticeably affect, as any attempts are dwarfed by other interactions among the races), and the relationship between factions and the player (where - at least outside times of war - the relationship slides back to normal just as fast as the player can boost it by solving the few quests the race offers).

In particular, it may happen that a player can kill everything in the sector, but is unable to win the sector, because killing stuff is not in demand.

Contrast this to Din's Curse, where I can kill the boss monsters once I am strong enough, thereby slowing down generation of quests to a point where mopping up won't take long, or to Depths or Peril, where I can prove my might by raiding and defeating the enemy covenants.

Possible solutions:

1. Add a way to convince a race it is in their best interest to submit to the Drox (for instance by theatening them, and following through by destroying something they value)
2. Change the victory conditition, for instance: "Factions allied with the Drox control 2/3 of the planets" (so some isolated one-planet faction does not prevent victory)

Bluddy
06-20-2012, 06:14 PM
Agreed. I think both victory and losing conditions are weak.

One idea for victory conditions is to have a random victory condition per sector. Examples could be
- Make X money from quests.
- Destroy the X race (any way you want)
- Defend race X until 60% of the sector has been colonized
- Make sure race X is the leading power.

The 4x in Drox is extremely dynamic, which is why it's hard to find static victory conditions. Doing it this way makes it another random element.

For multiplayer, you could have different players receive the same, different or even clashing victory conditions, making it a very unique experience.

For losing conditions, you could either have your random victory condition become impossible to accomplish, or your base ship (yes, there should be a movable base ship) destroyed.

fluffybot
06-20-2012, 09:25 PM
For a game about being (essentially) a mercenary for hire that's bent on furthering his organization's interests by manipulating the powers that be in a completely alien galaxy, the win condition seems about right to me. The only problem I see is the frequent problem of games dragging on and on when they don't need to; I'd like to see your relations improve with a faction quicker when they're the only surviving faction or when they're at war with everyone else. This would bring a bit more meaning to your assistance and allow you to pull some pretty impressive "comeback victories." Personally, I'd go for the underdog 90% of the time since they're the ones that would logically form a stronger bond with folks that swoop in to lend a hand.

Bluddy
06-20-2012, 10:03 PM
For a game about being (essentially) a mercenary for hire that's bent on furthering his organization's interests by manipulating the powers that be in a completely alien galaxy, the win condition seems about right to me. The only problem I see is the frequent problem of games dragging on and on when they don't need to; I'd like to see your relations improve with a faction quicker when they're the only surviving faction or when they're at war with everyone else. This would bring a bit more meaning to your assistance and allow you to pull some pretty impressive "comeback victories." Personally, I'd go for the underdog 90% of the time since they're the ones that would logically form a stronger bond with folks that swoop in to lend a hand.

I'm not sure why you say the victory conditions seem right. If I'm a mercenary, why do I care about everybody being allied with me? I get my money and move on to the next sector. I don't care if races are allied with me or not -- I just want to have clients. One client is as good as another, and one lucrative client is just as good as many clients.

fluffybot
06-20-2012, 10:39 PM
I'm not sure why you say the victory conditions seem right. If I'm a mercenary, why do I care about everybody being allied with me? I get my money and move on to the next sector. I don't care if races are allied with me or not -- I just want to have clients. One client is as good as another, and one lucrative client is just as good as many clients.

I mean the other races see you as a mercenary and, in all honesty, you are taking on whatever jobs you wish as a merc would. However, you are here with a greater purpose (served to you by the Drox) and, since you are acting in the Drox's best interests, wiping the galaxy clean of any unfavorable elements is all part of the plan. Either you're in bed with the Drox or you're toast: that's the bottom line.

Viewed that way, the win condition makes perfect sense: to shape the galaxy to best serve the Drox.

pnakotus
06-21-2012, 05:09 AM
If you're a mercenary making universal peace is basically putting yourself out of business. :) It might make sense fluffwise (I have no idea) but it makes the game long and makes the most effective methods to victory 'grind for faction' and 'buy treaties', rather than I dunno 'have sweet space battles' or 'trick the world and reap the profits'.

Even having the Drox actually reward you and have some kind of career development would improve the game.

Castruccio
06-21-2012, 07:19 PM
Agreed. I think both victory and losing conditions are weak.

One idea for victory conditions is to have a random victory condition per sector. Examples could be
- Make X money from quests.
- Destroy the X race (any way you want)
- Defend race X until 60% of the sector has been colonized
- Make sure race X is the leading power.



I think these are good ideas as I am also finding the victory conditions a bit stale. Perhaps we could have a check box on the sector creation screen to enable random victory conditions (like the ones mentioned above) but the default could still be allying all of the races?

fluffybot
06-21-2012, 07:53 PM
If you're a mercenary making universal peace is basically putting yourself out of business. :) It might make sense fluffwise (I have no idea) but it makes the game long and makes the most effective methods to victory 'grind for faction' and 'buy treaties', rather than I dunno 'have sweet space battles' or 'trick the world and reap the profits'.

Even having the Drox actually reward you and have some kind of career development would improve the game.

Agreed on the last part. Regardless of how shallow the "title" may be, I still appreciated Din accepting my accomplishments (regardless of how many towns I abandoned during my first character, the big stupidhead).

Also, I finally watched the intro movie so I guess my thoughts on what the game is all about went right out the window. Whoops. My theory no longer holds any water, does it? :p It sounded so damn good, too! I always thought of the Drox as some kind of superpower that got royally screwed somehow and was trying to rebuild their might from the shadows, turning them into the equivalent of a space illuminati that rolled the dice wrong or something. I still kinda prefer my made-up scenario, so I think I'll stick with it.

Permagrin
06-21-2012, 08:54 PM
Following the backstory (the intro cinematic) I think the standard victory condition should be based on the Drox (us) and our chosen allies remaining. The love-in's wouldn't work with this so there would have to be more than 1 separate alliance (unless the races involved were all interested in self-preservation foremost).

Shows of strength and temporary allegiances by the player would dictate how the races would initiate contact with the player. Once the player allies with an alliance the other alliance(s) would most likely go full-scale war and probably join together to eliminate the Drox-alliance threat. Therefore the player would have to scout and ensure he/she picked his time to move properly.

Thoughts on this anyone?

Waffles
06-22-2012, 07:51 AM
The easy fix is to change the victory condition from "operative and all remaining races allied with each other" to "all remaining races allied with each other, operative allied with at least one race".

Which I think accomplishes the same thing, minus the drawn out endgames that tend to happen around alliances.

aReclusiveMind
06-22-2012, 08:52 AM
The easy fix is to change the victory condition from "operative and all remaining races allied with each other" to "all remaining races allied with each other, operative allied with at least one race".

Which I think accomplishes the same thing, minus the drawn out endgames that tend to happen around alliances.

I agree. Just as the enemy of your ally is your enemy, The ally of your ally should be your ally automatically. Alliances are very strong commitments, and all sides should be forced to honor the decisions made.

Bluddy
06-22-2012, 08:59 AM
The easy fix is to change the victory condition from "operative and all remaining races allied with each other" to "all remaining races allied with each other, operative allied with at least one race".

Which I think accomplishes the same thing, minus the drawn out endgames that tend to happen around alliances.

I think this would improve some of the endgame, but it would still make it boring. Alliances IMO should be there because they're helpful to you or to a race, not as a goal to make the whole sector allied. The AI should actually avoid having an allied sector for too long because that results in boring gameplay -- there should be a constant push towards conflict and war.

I really really don't think a fully allied sector should be the goal.

aReclusiveMind
06-22-2012, 09:55 AM
Now that I have played with the pre-established sectors for a bit, I would call the sectors anything but boring.

By the time most of the war like races have been destroyed, you are very likely to have an alliance with at least one race. In my last sector starting at level 11, I was allied with two races before other races were on the brink of being eliminated. I had literally dozens of quests I could do if I chose to, and I was being shot at by the enemies of my allies quite often. I would no longer associate the gameplay with the word boring. The only issue I have left with it is that I I feel alliances should be inclusive and you shouldn't be able to have multiple one to one alliances going on. This would fix the endgame build rep up minigame issue and allow me collect my reward chest and move on without unnecessary tedium.

I am open to new victory conditions as well, but I do think the establishment settings have vastly increased the space drama. When races start with more than 1 planet, they last much longer and become more of a factor.

Bluddy
06-22-2012, 10:31 AM
Now that I have played with the pre-established sectors for a bit, I would call the sectors anything but boring.

By the time most of the war like races have been destroyed, you are very likely to have an alliance with at least one race. In my last sector starting at level 11, I was allied with two races before other races were on the brink of being eliminated. I had literally dozens of quests I could do if I chose to, and I was being shot at by the enemies of my allies quite often. I would no longer associate the gameplay with the word boring. The only issue I have left with it is that I I feel alliances should be inclusive and you shouldn't be able to have multiple one to one alliances going on. This would fix the endgame build rep up minigame issue and allow me collect my reward chest and move on without unnecessary tedium.

I am open to new victory conditions as well, but I do think the establishment settings have vastly increased the space drama. When races start with more than 1 planet, they last much longer and become more of a factor.

I completely agree about the established sector aspect. Like DC and DoP, the amount of interest in the game is driven very strongly by what's happening at the macro level. The problem is that as you work to decrease conflict by making everyone allied, the game becomes more and more boring -- precisely because it's so driven by the macro game. In DoP, you were given the task of eliminating the other covenants, which is exciting. An alliance victory was given as an option, but it was quite clear that it was the inferior option, and for good reason -- it's not as interesting.

So really the question is, what kind of gameplay do we want the player to experience in Drox? The current victory conditions encourage the following: ally with a race or two. If they have enemies, help them destroy them. So far so good. But now comes the bad part: make sure the remaining races become allied and that you're allied with them. This is the boring part, and it can take a very long time to garner enough favor with specific races (as it should).

What we want to do is encourage the player to have almost constant conflict at the 4x level, preferably between different factions at a time. In an ARPG (as in most games), war is interesting, peace isn't. Measuring the endgame by alliance levels is probably not a good way to accomplish this. We want to encourage players to take risks -- to side with the weaker side sometimes against the stronger side. We also want the player to feel affected by what's happening in the sector. If their sponsoring race is threatened by a boss or by an enemy flagship, that should bother us.

Well, how would a mercenary look at this situation? A mercenary would go for the most profitable missions. That would be the main motivation. So one of my favorite victory conditions is that you need to make X amount of money off of clients while keeping a good reputation. Then, you arrange the monetary incentives inside the game to encourage what we want the player to experience. Small races will give everything they have to get the player to support them. They'd be very lucrative clients. Large races would be less profitable. And peace would be extremely unprofitable. Sectors would almost never completely unify -- instead, they would break up into opposing alliances (think the Rebellion vs the Empire), and any peace between those mega-factions would be temporary and fragile.

To give you a personal stake in what's happening, you'd only get the super lucrative missions (espionage, attacking other races, etc) from the races you're allied with. If you disappoint them, your reputation (and money-making abilities) would tank, much like the way that disappointing your town would cause it to be lost in DC, or that if you lose your covenant in DoP, you lose.

It would still be nice to have some extra random objectives: defend this race against all odds or you lose; make this race dominant within X time; etc. These could either be extra conditions or the only conditions in some sectors.

Anyway, that's how I see it.

( Tchey )
06-22-2012, 10:56 AM
While i agree about the boring side of a peacefull world (in a video game...), and that money is important (in a video game...), i very wish it will not be a major way to win, only an option.

I'd like to be a "good Drox", someone who cares more about relationship than money.

I'd like to be a m#ther f#cker, when everyone is at war and i can gain from other's misery.

I'd like to be a wealthy Drox, bying friends and peace with my bloody money.

I'd like to be a hero Drox, where i'm well known everywhere because i've defeated the Tenebrous Dark Bad Guy of the Night.

I'd like to be the bastard who put the TDBGotN in the sector's throne...

aReclusiveMind
06-22-2012, 11:35 AM
I think what we are talking about here is a new sector parameter similar to sector size and settlement rather than an outright rip and replace of the current victory condition. I'd be all for having a few check boxes for allowable victory conditions that can be toggled on or off when you create a sector. Some people like the fact that they can win the game by creating peace in the galaxy. One could argue that nations not at war would prefer to keep less military on staff and would be willing to pay more to have heathen monster issues dealt with by an outside contractor (i.e. you). I can see both sides of the argument.

This is not something I personally feel needs to take precedence right now though. These types of suggestions are easy to make, but can be quite a bit more difficult to implement. Just my two cents anyway.

Bluddy
06-22-2012, 11:40 AM
While i agree about the boring side of a peacefull world (in a video game...), and that money is important (in a video game...), i very wish it will not be a major way to win, only an option.

I'd like to be a "good Drox", someone who cares more about relationship than money.

I'd like to be a m#ther f#cker, when everyone is at war and i can gain from other's misery.

I'd like to be a wealthy Drox, bying friends and peace with my bloody money.

I'd like to be a hero Drox, where i'm well known everywhere because i've defeated the Tenebrous Dark Bad Guy of the Night.

I'd like to be the bastard who put the TDBGotN in the sector's throne...

Civ and other 4x games do give you multiple ways of winning. It allows you to specialize and play the game in different ways. The problem with Drox is that since you're not a symmetric player of the 4x, it's not clear what the conditions should be. To have the most money? That's not reasonable. To be elected leader of the sector? Nope, that could only apply to factions. As an outsider who makes his living doing different jobs for the races, what should your winning condition be?

Interestingly, the victory conditions for DC are fairly arbitrary. They're simply "keep the town alive long enough to clear away all mandatory quests". Surprisingly, they still work quite well. I think that shows that you don't have to have grand victory conditions for them to work well. All the DC conditions do is keep you in the town with the task of guarding it long enough to enjoy a good game session and move on. You cleared all required tasks? Great. 10 seconds after your 'victory', another required task (or boss) might show up in the town and you won't be there to do anything about it. But that's ok -- we're not here to commit you to the eternal safety of the town. You're just tasked with doing things long enough for it to be a challenge.

So I think a similar approach might work here, but I'm not sure what it is. I think part of the reason is that we don't have a good losing condition. In DC, protecting the town is everything, so the game makes you do it for a while. In DoP, the survival of your covenant is everything, so the game makes you focus on that. There has to be something to guard -- something that matters, and which makes the random elements matter. Once you have that thing (race? Drox base? reputation?), the game should make you protect it for a while, and once you achieved a certain amount, could let you move on.

Jinsai
06-22-2012, 12:02 PM
The main problem with the existing victory/exit conditions are that the player has only minimal positive agency.

Meaning that in most cases, there's only so much you can do to "win" and exit.

This is in stark contrast to Din's Curse, where you always knew which quests you had to finish to leave, and those quests were all issued up front, and those quests could be completed by your specific action.

I had a sector last night that settled quickly into Dryad + Human alliance. I had gotten to "Alliance" level with the Dryad but the Humans wouldn't go past "Non-Aggression".

And then I had to sit there, flying around. I slowly donated credits. I farmed ships, sold stuff, and dumped credits to the humans.

Finally I was able to drop HALF my cash to get to the next level, and nearly all of it again to exit. I had done every quest. It was 30 minutes of tedium.

Perhaps the massive cash expenditure to exit is an intended game mechanic, but it's definitely not "fun".

My big issue is that for that last 30 minutes, there wasn't really anything material for me to do. I got exactly ONE quest from the humans - to colonize a planet - and it made basically no difference in faction or exit cost for me.

Everything else I did - donating cash, planets, and techs, or selling same - didn't have any material impact.

In Din's Curse, to "win" and exit, all I had to do was finish quests. I controlled how fast I left the town, and if I wasn't able to leave, it was because of my own failures.

In Drox, I don't control how fast I leave. The AI does. That's the problem. I shouldn't be able to clear all the quests and sit there for 30 minutes waiting.

Even now, many exits require forfeiture of vast sums, and that feels punitive, rather than victorious: "Hey Captain, you know, thanks for everything, but we'll need most of your income in exchange for you leaving."

*sigh*. Better than staying here.

aReclusiveMind
06-22-2012, 12:08 PM
I know exactly what you mean Jinsai as this is an issue I have had with the game since its release. Again, the issue you describe would be fixed by forcing alliances to be all inclusive. Since you were allied with the Dryad, you should have been automatically allied with the humans and the sector should have ended. I'm struggling to see a downside to making this change right now.

Waffles
06-22-2012, 12:18 PM
Well, before poking around in the dark for victory conditions, lets look at what is presented to usThousands of years later, the Drox are extinct, but the secretive Drox Operative guild lives on. They have learned their lesson though: loyalty to any one race is foolish. They now work for whoever can pay.
We have a loss condition: Only one race remains
It IS your job to pick the winning side and maybe even help them conquer the galaxy
We have a victory condition: Only one side (race?) remains

=\
Hmmm

I see two possibilities for victory/loss conditions:
1) The present conditions: To win, ally with the lone faction (race/alliance). To lose, everyone is destroyed.
2) The loss condition the first part of the story indicates: To lose, only one race remains. This might imply that in order to win, you must make friends with two races. Alternatively, it could be done as factions instad of races, which would be SUPER hard, but very interesting.

The present one is lifted from DoP directly (where it made sense due to a common enemy).
The second one is an interesting possibility. With factions, it would encourage lots of war/dissent/manipulation, and would be fascinating if nearly impossible.

Jinsai
06-22-2012, 02:03 PM
...the issue you describe would be fixed by forcing alliances to be all inclusive. Since you were allied with the Dryad, you should have been automatically allied with the humans and the sector should have ended. I'm struggling to see a downside to making this change right now.

The only problem I see here is that you could potentially "win" a level and get a loot drop by just sitting there and letting the other races wipe each other out.

You'd get a loot drop, but presumably no experience, etc. I can't imagine anyone actually doing this, but perhaps that is the concern.

I'd note this is the same fundamental problem - the player is not the primary agent for victory/end conditions - but presented in a different way.

One possible solution?
There should be a "completion quest", or set of quests.
One can be given by an "Alliance" race
One can be given by the game (find the "exit gate" or "item") and only be available after certain triggers have elapsed (player has completed X quests, 1 race remains/1 alliance remains, etc.).

meriton
06-22-2012, 03:56 PM
Just as the enemy of your ally is your enemy, The ally of your ally should be your ally automatically. Alliances are very strong commitments, and all sides should be forced to honor the decisions made.

I think that would resolve most of the problem quite nicely - the player still has to work to gain sufficient standing with a race in the alliance, but only one race (not every race, and definitely not the junior partner that has a single planet and hardly gives any quests).

It does leave the problem of the game not ending if some minor faction has not to be encountered (but not having seen this in gameplay so far, I am not sure whether that matters).

Long story short: Like aReclusiveMind, I don't see a downside to this change.

Bluddy
06-22-2012, 05:31 PM
How's this idea:

Victory conditions:
- More than 90% of the sector should be colonized (otherwise, whoever is strong now could turn out to be weak once more planets are colonized).
- Your combined allies should have a total of more than 70% of the power (ie planets) in the sector. This means that once you have the strongest factions as your friends, the game becomes predictable and there's no reason to sit through the rest.
- To offset the incentive to always befriend the biggest races, the dominant races should be VERY hard to befriend. They simply think they don't need you. Small races are very easy to befriend. So you could try to win by just cozying up to the leading power(s), but that'll mean a lot of faction grind.
- Instead, the rules encourage you to find the little race with potential and support them from when they're relatively small all the way to their conquest of the sector.
- Similar to the concept in DoP, you get a big reward (and possibly a high score?) if you helped a lot of little races do big things along the way and did some impressive questing, and only a small reward if you just befriended the big races and did the easy quests.

Brian Rubin
07-06-2012, 02:19 PM
The thing that bugs me most about the sole victory condition in this game is its narrowness. Typically, 4X games -- upon which this is somewhat based, of course -- have multiple victory conditions that one can select before beginning a game, and these can be military, expansionist, scientific, economic, espionage and so on.

Why Drox doesn't offer a similar set of victory conditions, honestly, is beyond me. I mean, sure, we're not playing as an empire but as a mercenary helping those empires, but still, there are usually multiple ways to win any kind of conflict, and only have one very narrow victory condition really limits, in my opinion, enjoyment and replayability.

I mean, I would love to set a scientific victory condition and just help races mostly with research, for example. It would add variety and focus, which are always bonuses.

Anyway, that's my $.02. Still loving the game, but the...narrowing of ways to win the game is really bugging me.

Nori
07-06-2012, 03:55 PM
I agree that more victory conditions would be nice. One option that really needs more victory options is the bigger sectors. Even playing on normal sized can take a long long time for a race to finish a war and be the last one standing.

PixelLord
07-06-2012, 04:17 PM
I agree that more victory conditions would be nice. One option that really needs more victory options is the bigger sectors. Even playing on normal sized can take a long long time for a race to finish a war and be the last one standing.

Just before beta I convinced Shadow to set the default sector size to small (I actually wanted it to be tiny). The default had previously been set as random. Can you imagine being a first time player and getting a huge sector as your first sector? You'd definitely wonder what you had got yourself into.

Nori
07-06-2012, 04:53 PM
Just before beta I convinced Shadow to set the default sector size to small (I actually wanted it to be tiny). The default had previously been set as random. Can you imagine being a first time player and getting a huge sector as your first sector? You'd definitely wonder what you had got yourself into.

Small as default would be best, or even tiny. I believe I did normal for my first one and that is way to big to learn the game on. So yeah I would agree smaller is better for default.