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jtoddcoleman

Let's Talk About: Campaign Permanence

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So, I've read a fair number of posts about the temporal nature of Campaigns -- meaning, the fact that Campaigns don't last forever.  

 

It seems like some people are confused on the how/what/why, so I figured it is worth discussing.  

 

AND, after I lay the groundwork, I'll tell you a few ideas that I have to tackle this problem.  If they seem interesting to you -- or if someone is inspired by one of these ideas and comes up with something even better -- these could potentially make great stretch goals.

 

First off, let me address a quick point:

 

It's not that I hate the idea of permanent Campaigns.  To the contrary, actually, I love the idea.  I really, REALLY wanted to make it work for SB.  But I couldn't, because I think it is flawed.

 

Yes, this an opinion.  It's an opinion based over a decade as a creative director, and on watching one server after another go stagnant, due to lack of a restart mechanism... after which the concurrent player numbers would take a nose-dive until eventually it turns into a ghost town.  

 

(and yes, a few of the servers then lit back up again after some time -- but having everyone quit your game, to allow a few remaining survivors can rebuilt a new game out of the wreckage of the old one, is not a particular good restart mechanic.  it doesn't make for a sustainable game service.)

 

To be clear: this isn't a religious argument for me.  If I can find a way to make it work -- to make it sustainable -- of COURSE we will do it.  In a heartbeat.

 

So, here are a few ideas that I have for solving the "Uncle Bob" problem.  

 

SUDDEN DEATH

 

This idea TECHNICALLY could allow a Campaign World to last forever, though it's left up to the players to make it happen.  I'm going to create a VERY simple ruleset, as an example.  If we like the model, we'll come up with actual rules to replace these.

 

For illustrative purposes, let's say:

 

Campaign World A ends with Team 1 winning.  

Campaign World B ends with Team 2 winning.

 

The two campaigns are not related, but had similar rulesets and players populations.

 

Everyone on Each of these Worlds is given a chance to leave, and take their winnings with them (i.e. give them an optional exit point).

 

If enough players on World A and World B want to stick around, a new Campaign starts: SUDDEN DEATH between these worlds.

 

Portals can now be opened between the two Worlds.  Meaning: players can A can travel to B, and vice versa.

 

Some object (for fun, let's call it a Tree of Life) spawns on ONE of the two World.

 

The win condition is: someone has to plant the Tree of Life on their World and protect it for 1 week's time.

 

Whichever World does that, is given a 2 week stay of execution, before it is paired with another World © for another round of Sudden Death.

 

The implications of this system are: a Campaign World COULD last forever, but only if the team is good enough to defend it, forever.

 

 

OVERTIME

 

Here is another one, and it's even more simple.  This is basically the, "we don't believe you, Todd" ruleset, for players that don't believe my that server stagnation is an issue.  Fair enough, I could be wrong.  Let's test it.

 

We could allow Campaigns to go into overtime. The rule could be as simple as: 

 

The Campaigns stays in WINTER, and isn't destroyed, as long as the concurrent player population (average per week) stays above some threshold.

 

Basically, as long as people are still hanging out in this World -- presumably because they are having fun -- we don't close it down.

 

I'd be fine to try it, so long as:

 

- we allow the losing team members to leave (because it would suck to be locked to a Campaign forever when you know you are doomed, that's a rage quit moment) and

- we limit the exports when the Campaign eventually ends (otherwise, guilds would use this as a way to farm materials from a World without risk.)

 

If I'm wrong, and the populations stay high, that's fantastic.  I'd LOVE to be wrong on this one.

if I'm right, the Campaigns will come naturally to a close, and maybe we can stop debating it. ( yeah, I know, that's never going to happen. ;p )

 

I'm sure there are other ideas, as well, and happy to discuss them.  

 

A few notes for those who want to pitch ideas:

 

- Keep your tone reasonable and we're more likely to read it.  

- Try and be succinct; no one wants to wade through a 30 page idea that could be summarized in a few sentences, and

- Work within the architecture of the design as it currently exists.  This means: don't pitch things that would require us to dump the idea of Campaigns, or the EK, or import/export rules, or passive training.  We're not going to rip this game apart, but we ARE open to extending it, if we think the result will be more fun for everyone.

 

What do you think?  Good stretch goals?  Bad stretch goals?

 

Let us know your thoughts!

 

Todd

ACE

 

 

EDIT: if I didn't make it clear -- this is a discussion about FUTURE stretch goals!  We won't consider doing any of this stuff until AFTER we have fulfilled the base vision of the game, as explained in the KS video and page.


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

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Bad early Stretch goals. 

 

I'll elaborate a bit in an edit.

 

Adding stuff that is too experimental as an early stretch goal would be detrimental - in my personal opinion. Keep the experimental stuff for stretchgoal 4-5+, I know I'm advocating a "safe" manuever here but theres already a lot of risk associated with this project. I do think it would be highly interesting to get a campaign like the two you talked about above, but making them a big focus of your team/kickstarter and then they don't pan out with little you can salvage from them aside from "lessons" would be counter productive in my opinion.

 

As for an actual suggestion: There could be a "King of The Hill" world. Basically, it would be a 4 week cycle campaign. Each of 3 or more factions would achieve a goal after 3 weeks, and everyone but the winning faction are kicked off the world for a weekend or a week. The winning Faction is now the "Title Holder"/"Defender" of that world. After the kick off time, which the title holder spends striking a balance between exports and fortifying their lands, the flood gates open and the other factions are dumped into the world with no holdings with a common enemy the "Defender". Each "Assault phase" would last 3 weeks or so[as an example] and whoever had the most of whatever the objective was becomes the defender.

 

The point is that there would be ruined fortresses dotting the lands, which would be neat.

Edited by PotatoMcWhiskey

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I think that would be a lot of fun.  What would the export rules be like during overtime, though?  Is it a money train or do they taper off?


"Darken the moon and conceal the stars; our Light will never be extinguished." - The Tome of the First Flame

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The Lantern Watch - A Crowfall-first guild. Welcome Home. Join us @ http://crowfall.shivtr.com

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We cannot properly evaluate how long a campaign should last until we totally understand what the victory means.

 

If the materials exported off of a campaign world have little to no effect on future campaigns, than the worlds should last as long as possible.

 

This is why there are a million threads about making the Eternal Kingdoms more meaningful. (I won't list the ideas as there are many floating around)

 

We were promised more information on what exactly the Eternal Kingdoms are... To me, this conversation should occur after that conversation.

 

However, I imagine after we run through a few campaigns in Alpha, we will have a better handle on how long campaigns should last.

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Adding stuff that is too experimental as an early stretch goal would be detrimental - in my personal opinion. Keep the experimental stuff for stretchgoal 4-5+, I know I'm advocating a "safe" manuever here but theres already a lot of risk associated with this project. I do think it would be highly interesting to get a campaign like the two you talked about above, but making them a big focus of your team/kickstarter and then they don't pan out with little you can salvage from them aside from "lessons" would be counter productive in my opinion.

 

EEK, yes, of course -- these are later stretch goals.  Editing the post to make that clear.    

 

Todd

ACE


J Todd Coleman

ArtCraft Entertainment, Inc.

Follow us on Twitter @CrowfallGame | Like us on Facebook

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I am all for testing any theory. There would be no progress without experimentation and our entire system is so experiment friendly. But what appealed to me was the original premise of someone winning and then the world restarting. As long as the other campaign rulesets on the kickstarter still take priority in the stretch goals over these then I am all for trying to experiment and please the people who want a more permanent home

Edited by oberon

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I believe your opinion on permanent campaigns is correct. Servers will eventually stagnate when people get bored and lose interest. That being said, ideas like your SUDDEN DEATH ruleset could inspire people to try harder and stick around.

 

Personally, I feel like the temporary nature of campaigns as they are now is the best solution to stagnation that anyone has come up with so far. We are still early in development and you have the advantage of being able to change rulesets as you see fit. There will be much testing and experimentation, but I'm confident we'll be able to come up with ideas that will satisfy the vast majority of players.


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I did have an idea recently, relating to this topic.

I think the world resets are a very cool new feature for MMO's.   We all know how popular a server is in its early days, during the 'gold rush' stages.  Often when people recall their fond memories of their old favourite games, they specify the earliest weeks/months of its launch.

 

I've been going over it in my mind, how I think the EK and dying worlds will play out.  I think it's actually going to work and the whole nature of the EK will actually have appeal to those who have voiced otherwise.


The idea I had for a world basically revolved around letting the players choose when to end it.

Allow the leader of a guild/alliance to basically flip the switch to implode the world, but obviously only allow him to do it when a certain goal is met.  
So lets say, control 100% of whatever objectives, then you have the option to destroy the world and finally 'check out' all your loot.  Incentive could be given by adding a multiplier for being the ones to do this. Which means you get your victory export values but multiplied by a fixed number or some number determined by some other objectives, perhaps.

If at any time the world felt stagnant and the community of players werent enjoying it, they could also agree to let some clan continue dominance and end it on purpose.

I think conflict would always be a guaranteed by-product of this system, boosting natural activity of the players.  But overall I think it would give a more permanent feel to a world, as opposed to a fixed timer or attached victory conditions.  (So what I mean is that you could have some lore based component that allows the ruler to destroy the world when he wants, so long as he has certain elements in his control)


One concern I had though was a possible exploit of sorts. 
Whats to stop uncle bob from taking 99% of the server and then just stacking resources for as long as he sees fit, while the rest of the server has basically quit. He can then cash out whenever hes bored and reap massive rewards.

 

I've had to ideas for possible solutions to this:

1.
Allow all of the other guilds to declare fealty (or something similar) which basically triggers the victory for Bob, stopping him stockpiling.

2.
Perhaps have some sort of diminishing returns on the bonus multiplier based on how long the server has been running.


Or perhaps some merge of both solutions.



Edit -
Uhh..  I didn't really address stretch goals did I?  Sorry.   
Also I realise that you've just suggested something pretty much the same:

The implications of this system are: a Campaign World COULD last forever, but only if the team is good enough to defend it, forever.

 

Edited by KoKane

It's called Crowfall because calling it "The Hunger Game of Thrones" would have raised too many issues.

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The thing about your stretch goals is that they don't really explicitly say what they're doing.  When I saw the 1 million stretch goal I was like, what, particle effects? Huh.

 

But then when I read it, it came out as "extra artist so the game would finish faster."  So then I was like ok that makes sense.

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EEK, yes, of course -- these are later stretch goals.  Editing the post to make that clear.    

 

Todd

ACE

 

Good to hear! I elaborated a bit in my post further, hopefully even if you don't use the idea it sparks a new one. I think the ideas are great - but keep em in the back pocket! :)

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We cannot properly evaluate how long a campaign should last until we totally understand what the victory means.

 

If the materials exported off of a campaign world have little to no effect on future campaigns, than the worlds should last as long as possible.

 

This is why there are a million threads about making the Eternal Kingdoms more meaningful. (I won't list the ideas as there are many floating around)

 

We were promised more information on what exactly the Eternal Kingdoms are... To me, this conversation should occur after that conversation.

 

However, I imagine after we run through a few campaigns in Alpha, we will have a better handle on how long campaigns should last.

 

Everything this guy said. We can worry about the campaigns, about their length and permanence and rewards and all the finer bits after we get the EK's tacked down. Right now, the campaigns are solid; They're concrete, there's a clear vision of what they should be, there's a clear purpose on what they do.

 

There's this tie to the Eternal Kingdoms; Campaigns ship resources off to the EKs, but that's about it. The rest, well, see for yourself. The bundle of threads we've got all point to the same premise; a lot of the EK stuff is still in this 'nebulous fun thing' stage. We need to tack down what EKs do before we decide the finer points of how campaigns interact with them.

Edited by Psyentific

Hardcore gamer & tabletop enthusiast. Enjoys roleplaying, pretending to be stupid, and one-sided fun.

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My suggestion for a permanent world:

 

Have a world where there is no "Win-Condition" at all. Instead, make it a world where the story of Crowfall takes place. I am not saying make a PvE world. You can still have it as an open PvP world. However, there is no win-condition. You just "quest" so to speak (not kill x rats, gather y herbs), but quest to advance in the World Story. You can still have all the drop loot on death, item decays, risk of other players killing you, etc. Limit the resources on this planet or have no resources at all. This will force players to eventually go to core rulesets since your items will eventually break or looted upon death. They will need the resources from the Dregs, for example, to replace their gear. I think this idea will satisfy the PvP players who still like story and it won't leave the wonderful lore already written as just a "backstory". Also, after completing "quests", there shouldn't be any rewards. Just story progression. That way, it is completely optional for players who strictly want to murder Guinea pigs.

 

Obviously, this is just a brief generalization of the concept I had in my head. I also would rather have the core vision and concepts from the devs finished and implemented first. But, this would be a cool way to have a "permanent world".

 

Note: When I mean quests, I mean like "go explore this cave that this God used to reside in" or go kill this "boss-dude" who has taken over this "god's" kingdom. I don't mean direct linear quests that we see in WoW. Just quests/missions that help us understand the direct lore/story that has already been provided and advance on that.

Edited by gravagio

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I'm just looking for a larger sense of context and meaning.  Play2Crush, right?!  That's how you got us early adapters here in the first place.  The campaigns are great.  I can get behind any number of variations on rulesets, shorter or longer durations, single character lockouts, perma death... whatever.  Try it and if it is fun, people will come back.  Be bold.

 

But what does it all mean?  Other than having fun in these matches, which is certainly of value in itself.  Right now the persistent name of the game just feels lacking in the "crowfall" nature of picking the campaign worlds clean.  Why are we doing that?  What is the larger struggle?

 

So while this question is poised at permanent campaigns, I get the sense it is more about the current vision of EKs falling short.  Should there be persistent campaigns that are open to accepting all manner of resource input to function as the ultimate battleground? Or do the EKs need to be reimagined

 

In any case, thanks for starting the conversation.

Edited by ren

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- Try and be succinct; no one wants to wade through a 30 page idea that could be summarized in a few sentences

 

Unfortunately, that destroys the definition of why the idea is good or bad.  Examples being Ren's EK thread or my thoughts on crafting.  Saying a few sentences on how the EK's might work well or how crafting can be tackled is barely enough to discuss why, let alone how.  

 

That being said, here's a succinct summary of thoughts on campaign permanence-

 

Campaigns that last a long time (even 1 month) will annoy winners and losers if they cannot leave prematurely.  If one faction in a God's War campaign gets crushed in the first week, making it nearly impossible to come back (which happens in games like SB/GW2/etc), the next 3 weeks will be miserable.  Campaigns thus need winning/losing conditions that can be expedited.  

 

To make campaigns last a long time, you need to make it worth the effort.  Our lack of knowledge on import/export rules- especially since Dreg is the only firm ruleset we have atm- hinders this as people don't want to be in a campaign that lasts 6 months if they don't get 6 months worth of winnings/glory.  The only way to tackle this issue is to first more solidly define the EK's, their purpose, how they work with each other, how they work with the campaigns, and what the "endgame" is.  We don't know if winning a campaign yields us the 100 ore we found or if it divides resources evenly amongst all winning participants or what.  Thus a lot of this is speculation.  Longer more permanent campaigns could work if the risk/reward was there.  We are "locking" a character into that campaign after all.  

Edited by gaunsaku

Gaunsaku

Elder, Lords of the Dead

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I really like the idea of having a "we don't believe you" server, especially on guild vs guild servers.

 

Perhaps you could incorporate further rule-sets where individual guilds can only have x% of land owned by them or x% of cities, x% of players etc. some way of keeping large guides from becoming a zerg so that although they can still outplay other guilds in form of skill/team set-ups, they can't out-zerg them to win, this way they still get the majority of materials & mines, but it gives a chance for smaller single nation/guilds a fighting chance to not get wiped off the map because the zerg nation wanted ANOTHER city to add to their already dominant line-up.

 

 

This way zerg nations and high skill nations would still have the upper hand without kicking smaller guilds and solo players off the server, as even the small guilds and solo players all still have the chance to slowly get their endgame gear/mats on a still highly populated server.

 

There are lots of us that want to play to gank/farm/experiment with character builds rather than "win"/take over the world.

 

It's the players that take over the world that cause the other solo players and small guilds to eventually leave, as there becomes a point at where these smaller groups can't actually play anymore. Not that there's anything wrong with this, and I think your server reset mechanic will provide the perfect solution for Play to Crush guilds and players, but a server where smaller guilds / solo players could really thrive without the risk of the server becoming zerged out would be awesome and a % based limit on guild/player/land/cities size could fix this as then it bcomes more about position than numbers, the large guide might sacrifice one city in favor for another with more materials near by, that way there's still a city open for the old guild, it's just in a worse location.

 

 

TL:DR

Potential fix to stagnating servers:

Percentage based limitations on permanent servers where guilds can only have a limited number of members, a limited number of cities etc based on a % of the servers population meaning the servers never get zerged out, and guilds could drop old cities for new ones in better locations, meaning cities are less valuable and location in king.

This gives smaller guilds and solo players a fighting chance + they never get kicked/zerged off the server 

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I personally love the idea of "dying" worlds, and think it fits much better with the game in terms of lore and whatnot.

I'm kind of resistant to worlds that are permanent simply because i think the dying aspect encourages people to move on and face new opponents.

However I could live with the "sudden death" ideas, but the question I have there is: "If a team wins 5+ sudden deaths - do they get extra rewards when they do finally export?"

 

Long story short - i prefer dying worlds. It allows for breathers and gives the chance to meet and face new people. 

Like any PvP match - there has to be an end otherwise it can grow stale....


Only those who ask questions have all the answers. Thus only the foolish remain silent.

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I feel like we're missing an obvious one here; what about a campaign where the goal is to end the world before someone else does?  If there are multi factions then it drags out the game considerably since you have to be bigger than everyone else combined, but until it's stupidly unbalanced it'd be more or less even b/c people have to backstab everyone all the time.

 

 

My suggestion for a permanent world:

 

Have a world where there is no "Win-Condition" at all. Instead, make it a world where the story of Crowfall takes place. I am not saying make a PvE world. You can still have it as an open PvP world. However, there is no win-condition. You just "quest" so to speak (not kill x rats, gather y herbs), but quest to advance in the World Story. You can still have all the drop loot on death, item decays, risk of other players killing you, etc. Limit the resources on this planet or have no resources at all. This will force players to eventually go to core rulesets since your items will eventually break or looted upon death. They will need the resources from the Dregs, for example, to replace their gear. I think this idea will satisfy the PvP players who still like story and it won't leave the wonderful lore already written as just a "backstory". Also, after completing quests, there shouldn't be any rewards. Just story progression. That way, it is completely optional for players who strictly want to murder Guinea pigs.

 

Obviously, this is just a brief generalization of the concept I had in my head. I also would rather have the core vision and concepts from the devs finished and implemented first. But, this would be a cool way to have a "permanent world".

 

This reminds me of a server mode that (I think) was in everquest, where the players had a fresh server and had to unlock each expansion by progressing the story.  Then when it got to the end they did it again.

Edited by Zoel

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Having played EVE Online for 6 years I have seen what a massive player base can do to a game. Please, do not allow monopolistic opportunities in the campaigns. Permanent inhabiting of a campaign world will occur, because naturally the rewards are significant. 

I rather fancy the "get in, get it done, and get out before the world dies" approach you have.

 

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Any campaign permanence relies on two things:

1) Player interaction in any given day being high and interesting. I.e. you don't sit around waiting for something to happen.

2) Player interaction is NOT intense every single day where you feel bad if you take a break. I.e. the 24H cover cycle of games like GW2 and ESO.

 

If you can create a system of activities that can balance between those two things, you will win. Really the devil is in the details.


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