View Full Version : After few games, have 903. Feedback / concept.

06-23-2012, 02:11 PM
Poorly quoted but:

"The win condition is getting all remaining races to ally with one another and you."
- Shadow

I really want to get into this game. I'm finding the biggest obstacle to be that this game is giving me fewer options and far less variety than Soldak's previous games and further it is using the same engine and much of the same UI and mechanics.

Playing the other games exploring was interesting because you would find bosses with various difficult ability combinations, lots of varied items and many different enemy types. The way in which you approached the combat and also therefore your combat vs other factions (say DoP in example) could be different every game based on your squad make up and focus, your class and build type etc. Similarly DoP had a number of similar underhanded faction options that Drox tries to take another step further. I find that this focus has left me (at least in current beta build) with far less of a game to play with.

I understand and anticipate that this beta will not be over quickly, which is great but at the moment unless there are some fairly fundamental additions on the table I see this game as a clone that has an identity crises. I don't mean this in a mean way, its just the first thing that came to mind. The game from what I've read over the past months during interviews and descriptions is intended to focus on a very diverse space and faction simulation. Not ideal description but nonetheless placing the player in a position to be able to nudge and guide interstellar politics and development in a number of ways while always having to balance personal safety, strength and allies/enemies to continue either just surviving or potentially thriving (I guess best case being managing faction and coming out of that round of gameplay far more wealthy and gaining much in ship equipment).

So with that description I was quite excited and my imagination was highly enticed with the possibilities. Currently what I find while playing Drox is the sense that I'm playing DoP without the diversity of enemies and encounter types. Less variability in engagement, build and strategy options:

- No squad members that allowed me to hunt for and chose the different and fun skill focused allies. I fly around alone unless I engage enemies with allies.

- Combat currently seems factored down to range of attack, homing and click-on autotarget attacks, mines and autoattacking drones. In many ways I guess comparing the combat experiences and mechanics between DoP and Drox is apples and oranges except I think what draws people to DoP and Dins is the replay enjoyment given by those games enabling of deep specialized build focusing. Something that I understand is intended for Drox (various viable build types) but currently what the means is that Drox specializing will entail dumping LvL points into one or two stats with the specialization coming from benefits that you can only attain deep down one stat or the other. I can assume this due to the fact that there are no Skills or Abilities in this game. Just items.
This on its own removes a whole facet of what drew people to those other games. Not the end of the world but it helps to keep that in mind. Further the fact that the difference (as mentioned in other threads) between races is one level worth of stats. Potentially some racial faction advantages, Shop cost/sale price advantages, the ability to hire wingmen from X faction? There are possibilities but as of yet few seem of any real use as far as making This Round of Drox any different from the last except for what my ship is going to look like.

Another issue is that I feel less freedom in this game. I cannot get stronger and simply fight off my encroaching aggressive neighbors. I can to an extent but if they are the last or allied with some of the last factions alive I have to placate them with my services or money Or I have to take the risk that my stirring up malcontent with that race among the rest will in fact come back to end my game, therein losing my ship. I know that quest mobility is being worked on as are likely some related topics. I guess what part of the problem for me is that I am a DROX OPERATIVE (hear how its said in intro movie). I'm supposed to be a bad ass remnant of the most powerful force in the galaxy. Yet playing as one I am given fewer options than the races inhabiting the sector with me. They can apply all the same "deft" political subterfuge that I can (at least to my perception) AND they get armadas of ships and planets and, and, and... Meanwhile I have one ship that I have to develop at the cost of not sucking up to the races like some remora (fish that sticks to sharks) of the galaxy. Am I powerful? Maybe, if I dance for the other races long enough to be able to get equipment. Can I enact changes to the power structure in the galaxy? Ya, but less so than the other races. Heaven forbid you like to play sectors that are established. At that point you have faaaar less use in the galaxy. Your role unless you create an established sector where you have a level advantage or gear advantage, is to just suck up to X, Y and maybe Z.

Why bother making a cool ship when the primary goal of the game is not at all linked to combat but to coercing others to like you. Again:

"The win condition is getting all remaining races to ally with one another and you."
- Shadow

The only reason you need a weapon is for the couple random ship faction encounters and to defend yourself as your run errands back and forth across the galaxy just to get by. Seemingly in this game currently your reward for getting ahead in a sector is that you can afford time to explore a less varied environment than in DoP or Din's while also being able to specialize your character dramatically less.

This can of course change to create a far more rewarding in game experience but it will require a fair bit of work.

I don't mean to come off overly negative. I'm critical by nature. I love your games. In parting for now here's something that might help that just came to me.

Instead of Races declaring outright war on you when faction gets low have them send forces to hunt for you for X amount of time. Could be hard to code but the upside to doing so is quite large. Have them send a patrol to the system you were last in or something that will patrol said system for however long. If you are seen by that same faction in another system have that patrol spawn within that system while still drawing upon same X time. After all you are but one ship and it is more appropriate that a race would send ships to track you down and kill you rather than declaring war on your ship. Further it will give players another loophole to exploit vs the current ungainly victory condition the game has. Status while being hunted can be changed from At War to either a bounty type scenario or Wanted. Upon Xtime expiration they retract the patrols as a faction would because they need forces elsewhere or whatever, (in explanation more than actual in game resource need) reverting your relation lvl with that race to low. From there either you anger them sufficiently for them to again try and destroy you/apprehend you or you start climbing the every so enjoyable relation ladder. Something like this would make the game seem more interactive and personal and less like playing a UPS simulation/relation grind game. This way it can still be possible to come out with a hard won victory once you are far behind in faction and at war etc. Anyway just a thought.

Keep up the good work.

06-23-2012, 03:52 PM
The downside of creating fantastic games is that your future works are inevitably compared to them. =)

06-23-2012, 04:18 PM
Another possible way of adding depth within the existing mechanics of the engine and its prior uses could be in the addition of Agents or... underlings of a sort.

Spies and agents etc will often have networks of informants, suppliers and specialists that they utilize. Having the ability to hire or enlist ships of a varying equipment builds (random like prior ability sets) with which you can give better loadouts withing specialization, that fly about the systems doing something useful for you.

Exploring systems, looting and or earning credits for you, attacking enemies of enemy races or boosting your rate of relation gain within factions you are working with. There are many options here and if ships = chars in prior games, it shouldn't be much of a stretch in programming.

EDIT: Or hire them until they get destroyed, or for X time or Y mission. This way its temporary and more in line with your seeming interest in Drox operatives being alone amidst.

This would both reduce some of the chore of relation farming and maintenance, it would add a sense of having more influence and power as well as enabling the player to getting back some of that ability to make THIS sector or play through different from the last. Aka what kind of ships do I hire, do I want them exploring and looting (like the DoP inter-faction item trade screen), do I want them focusing on only attacking and harassing a particular Race's ships and planets etc.

Yes I understand that this sort of drags Drox closer to the other games in mechanics which may be something you are trying to avoid. On the other hand when you re-use already used mechanics but apply them in new ways you can still end up with a deeper and more interactive and rewarding experience. You have some great abilities existing within the system, layering them to allow more control might be key to making more with a lot of the same.

If I am totally barking up the wrong tree or missing something in the existing gameplay I would love to hear it so as to avoid me making useless observations and suggestions.

Just trying to help. I don't want to be perceived as a negative influence. After mulling the game over this afternoon while doing other things I can see a number of ways of working within my (perhaps naive) understanding of the engine and perhaps existing code. Again, I am excited at the potential of this game.

06-23-2012, 05:24 PM
To expand on the OP's point, one problem is there are no stats, points, or items you can use to improve your diplomacy...and "diplomacy" (win by alliance) is how you win the game.

You can't fight someone into alliance, but all your skills and items are for fighting.

This means there's nothing you can do to be more effective at improving faction, hence grind, grind, grind.

Perhaps larger ship sizes could multiply faction impact? That would also incentivize people to put points into "Command".

06-23-2012, 05:47 PM
I find I'm highly encouraged to buy into Command as it is. Despite adding mass it is one of the only ways to increase the number of "skills" and options for interaction within the world. Mov speed is only needed in comparison to Relation management over time.

Having so few equipment slots is not an option for me. I read others having no problem with so few. Borefactor 9 for me tho.

06-23-2012, 05:57 PM
Based on what I've read of the game and the concepts that I see as being untouchable, there seems to still be room to add another skillset or ability available to Drox Operatives.

Conceivably it would be possible still to add some facet of options to Operatives while maintaining Title description and backstory. Having been the facilitating force of what was not that long ago the dominant and most powerful race in the galaxy, there remains a lot of room for providing additional reasons the Drox Operatives were the linchpin of power in the galaxy for so long. Was it an advanced technology that the Drox gave to their operatives that gave them too much power? Or...

In lieu of class system and prior ability pages allow investment of credits into furthering crew or ship advances. Yes sure its essentially the same but depending on how much time you envision for beta you could add a layer of development to the game that can not only make it easier for people to conquer the parts of the game causing them trouble (diplomacy, combat, money/trading, exploration etc) but also add all those other things you know add to a game. Doesn't have to be credits... as the game is tied so tightly to the diplomacy dance you could allocate a version of experience gain unique to manipulating factions. Further encouraging people to get into what you envisioned this game to be about while also providing at the same time what many people will be looking for in the game, added levels of customization in a game that is meant to be played repeatedly.

Again not trying to spam but I'm enjoying a pleasant day off and Drox is staying on my mind and so I mull.