Monday, August 4, 2014

Warring Factions, The Text Based Game EVE Wishes It Was

Warring Factions is, as per the title, the text based game that is more EVE than EVE.

There's no hisec or lowsec or even NPC sov. The universe contains around 70 galaxies, 100000 starsystems, 400000 planets. There are wormholes that cross galaxies or travel to new ones. They are static though. There are up to 100 wormholes in some rounds.

You also have no safety net. No characters and thus no clones and skills. No unkillable stations. The game is run based on planetary colonies which can be totally conquered.

Warring Factions is different in that you control an empire per player, which group into empires and factions. This allows for a lot of things but you can get some of them with just EVE's system.

For one thing there is no teleporting. Each player has to deploy their combat assets strategically to protect their holdings. This is just a dream in EVE where you can cross a whole galaxy in a mere 20 minutes. In Warring Factions cross galactic adventures can take up to a month.

Warring Factions often relies on player gathered intel, a sort of super d-scan, to provide safety. Launching a surveyor net, or putting "sentry fleets" consisting of 2 probe ships will give intel on the location of enemy fleets. Many people failed to put their surveyor ships in a spherical formation allowing even the supposedly excessively protect homeworlds, the safest space in the game with tons of player defenses active, to be attacked by a special strategy. This was called a warpnet. Warpnets were probably originally a method to allow another way to bridge the void between galaxies and were often used that way. However sneak attacks were their major purpose. Creating a warpnet above the galactic plane, where people tended not to deploy surveyors, while at the same time deploying them all over hundreds of systems to block attacks where fleets traveled from planet to planet(ships had a max range before they had to refuel), allowed you to make a an attack with at most 16 hours notice with a massive fleet, although the highscores list would show what players and empires had large militaries.

In Warring Factions you had to deploy ships not only for attacks and intelligence, but to guard the homeworld in case you went afk for a few weeks or from a sneak attack. If you spammed a lot of colonies you needed colony defenses for fast carrier attacks, regional fleets at least for normal speed attacks on isolated areas and so forth. Each and every decision you made had corresponding costs.

Imagine if EVE operated on a system where wars actually involved clever strategies and tactics rather than massing the TIDI spawning blob at prearranged timers.

Warring factions had a ton of other unique features. Unlike games where research involved laser weapons 12 making your single type static layout battleships 10% better Warring Factions had a player invested research system with ideal formulas that players narrowed down over months or years. Research results had a small random factor and were determined by your science indexes where you chose to train your new scientists spawns in specific ways over the years to get a unique layout of skilled workers. You would get different gun counts, hull costs, research costs, and so forth and had over 70 base types of blueprints you could research for. These could also hybrid if your project scientist formula was relatively close to two separate blueprint types.

A player I played with once invented an incredible spacestation/corvette hybrid that traveled super fast, and had a large carrier bay for its speed, allowing incredible cross galactic warpnet attacks and huge speeds. It also had a large cargo bay that allowed shipping a large volume of resources for ship building to save on the massive costs and long mining time of producing them on site. Combat would swing back and forth as each side developed various new military tech, one side might cost on a powerful fighter hull until another got an incredible anti-fighter battleship hull. Or maybe one side developed a powerful shield. To make something clearer, attacking planets generally required fighters or bombers for gameplay reasons, hence the value of a large fast carrier capable hull.

Although you lacked the customizability of EVE, WF had limitless module variations and unlike other games of its kind, at least when creating a ship design allowed you to customize it as you liked. Factors such as mass allowed for gaining 20% more armor from a change in armor plat mass requirements and not just adding armor integrity.

Imagine EVE with this kind of incredible strategic depth where it was less of a target caller and more of actually commanding a fleet of other players, making brilliant deployment decisions, causing space warfare to be much more real. This would make a huge change in the ways coalitions are limited, cripple rental empires, and provide other desirable changes.

Now for the downsides:
Warring Factions allows for players to have more assets making losses less crippling. Since ships don't have to be piloted long travel timers are easier to implement without annoying people and you have plenty more to do while waiting for ships to travel. Its much harder for CCP to implement vastly larger space so that its harder to control the world.

I also doubt people would approve of randomized research. This would allow for the sort of tech/gear race that EVE tries to avoid. However with the politics of EVE it may be that such tech would be hard to keep out of player hands. Players might also sell modules but not prints to accrue a lot of money. It might be an interesting experiment to try but probably would be exploited in numerous ways.

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