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[Proposal]New group agent missions (reward collective gameplay)

Author
Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#1 - 2014-06-05 23:33:56 UTC  |  Edited by: Ray Kyonhe
Ссылка на копию этого треда на русскоязычном форуме: https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=4680435

In my proposal of new designs for corporation and tax systems here I was saying, that those measures alone won't achieve much success without addition of some PvE content to highsecs requiring cooperation between players and rewarding these additional efforts (especially given the fact that current most ubiquitous PvE content here - lv 4 agent missions - on the contrary inclines player to approach it in solo; the only exception from that is Incursions). Thats how this concept of new group agent missions was born.

The problem.

1) Running 4lv agents' missions by fully clearing all the mission's pockets can be acknowledged as most ubiquitous form of highsecs' PvE activity. It is easly solo doable by even an "inexperienced" capsuleer (and should be left this way, at least for now)

2) For someone aiming for more fun and profit than that - but without resorting to extreme values of "isk/reward" curve, like moving to low/null/wh space - the logical solution seems to be to get some friends (probably by joining some ingame community, like corporation) and try to do them in group, while compensating the fact that rewards and other profits will be shared amongst all gang members with many times faster and much easier mission's completion.

But in reality this isn't even close like that. For the first, you will face an increase in risk factor. As you are in corp now - especially true for large ones - you are a target for awoxers and often find yourself slowed down and threatened by wardecers. For the second, if you would have try to run those missions in a group, you wouldn't see any tangible rise of income at all. There isn't any noticable positive corellation between a size of your gang and size of profits in terms of isk/hour per each its participant while running agent missions. But what you defenetly would have seen is that time you are able to save by killing mobs faster is neglected by slow movements inside the mission site and between those sites, and by time spent on inevitable organization expenses. That leads to the unhealthy tendency when cooperation are limited to shared command ships on spot in a system, and to introducing a couple of dedicated roles, like a wrek salvager etc.

Proposed solution:

1) Redesign the standard agent missions using a pattern seen in "Capital escalation" mechanics of WH complexes (when on entering such plex as a member of capital fleet you are facing a massive additional mob spawn to counter your firepower)
a) after gang/fleet warps into the mission's grid its size and composition are evaluated and mission difficulty are scaled depending on results of this evaluation, including rise in mob's EHP, level of their AI, their EWAR effectivness and quantity, and also a bounties on them as well as loot quality (to the level it can even be a fractional sometimes), and final reward in isk and LPs from agent.
b) depending on size of the fleet some "forks" can be added to the mission which force the group to devide its ranks and achieve some objectives simultaneously while separated by significant distance (within one pocket or/and even acting in different pockets of mission complex) - to counter multiboxing to some extent; in case fleet exceeded some size threshold, even several different mission complexes, which would had to be beaten simultaneously, could be created for it; aforementioned "forks" implemented through the appointment of some similar task to each group in each pocket/complex while pressing them by some narrow time frame (for example, all groups have to destroy first wave of mobs in firts 5 mins of timeframe, then in next 3 mins they have to interact with some set of objects (preferebly not shown in overview at all)/solve some minigame (which could even require some sinhronized actions from different players) etc) which should make sequential approach (like, destroy first wave in one window, then ALT+TAB to another and destroy first wave there) pretty much unfeasible
c) thoroughly randomize these missions' environment; mob groups' composition, numbers and spawn zones, objects' types and dislocations, new waves' triggers have to vary widely; EWAR shouldn't be strictly associated with selected set of mobs' types, there should be a slight chance that any other NPC ship will be equiped with some EWAR capabilities; faction of mobs shouldn't be strictly homogeneous too, so, for example, if the main mobs' faction is Caldari, ther is a slight chance some small guristas element will show up to assist them.
d) exact numbers of profit increasing per each participant should be left to discretion of dev team, something around "as if this was done solo + 20 to 50% to isk/hour" would be a wild guess.
e) those missions could be based to some extent on already well known old templates being used now.
f) missions with these new mechanics are offered only in case if gang/fleet leader deliberately will choose so while interacting with his agent, so this proposal does not remove old, solo-oriented agent missions; there is no other differences in this regard
g) profits from such missions must scale only proportionally to number of gang's/fleet's members which are in the same corp as that who took the mission from agent, but difficulty should scale proportionally to the whole number of group members, so it's much more profitable to form group with corpmates only to run this kind of missions.

Note: THESE NEW MISSIONS ARE NOT INSTANCES IN ANY POSSIBLE WAY, THEY ARE AS EASLY SCANABLE AND - AFTER THEY WERE GENERATED BY THOSE WHO RECEIVED IT FROM AGENT - UNIVERSALLY ACCESSIBLE FOR ALL WHO CARE AS ANY CURRENT AGENT MISSION COMPLEX!

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#2 - 2014-06-05 23:34:50 UTC  |  Edited by: Ray Kyonhe
2) Add new, more interactive type of missions to the game, with following features:
a) should be offered after completion of a few typical missions based on new mechanics described in 1) (they could become some sort of "fleet storyline missions" with, perhaps, equivalent frequency of appearing; moreover, it, or its derivatives could be used in final pockets of high level combat sites or WH complexes)
b) can't be possibly completed singlehandedly ("in one window")
c) highly resistable to multiboxing, botting and legitimate scripts' using due to higher level of interactivity they offer and due to the necessity to perform large number of different operations in different "windows" simultaneously; so it requires cooperation of several human players
d) offer significant level of challenge accompained by substantional increase in rewards per participant.
e) profits from such missions must scale only proportionally to number of gang's/fleet's members which are in the same corp as that who took the mission from agent, but difficulty should scale proportionally to the whole number of group members, so it's much more profitable to form group with corpmates only to run this kind of missions.

Appendix: why we need something like that while there are already Incursions in the game.
1) Incursions are still a high end PvE content; moreover, to participate in it currently you don't have to be a member of any corp at all. While proposed new mission type designed specifically with corporation activity in mind (it will offer additional income only to groups consisting of members of the same corp), what should serve as incentive to create long-living social groups even in highsecs (Incursions don't do the trick, you could sometimes take a part in it without saying more than a couple of words)
2) Profits from those new missions still somehow lesser. But they always readily available from your agent and more familiar to those accustomed to old-fashioned mission-runing.
3) Offer new, unique, challenging content due to introduction of new interactive "fleet storyline missions"
4) Many people just run missions, lets just take it for given. They provide the game's economy with influx of fresh isks and full the market with LP store gear. They often are forced to run them solo due to substantional drop in profits in terms of isk/hour and additional risks coming with running them in group/while being a member of player owned corp. This impoverishs their game experience and could be one of the reason why many new players drop the game on first months of playing.
5) Some variety and ability to choose have never hurt anybody. In case of forms of group PvE activities in highsecs there is no such thing currently: it's either Incursions or soloing.

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#3 - 2014-06-05 23:35:39 UTC  |  Edited by: Ray Kyonhe
Further I'll outline several schematic and quite crude examples of such "new interactive fleet storyline missions", simply to convey approach to their design I want to propose. As before, suggestons on other similar mission types, as well as argumented criticism, are welcomed.

1) "Hostile takeover"

On warping into mission grid the first phase begins, in which a bunch of slowly moving assault barges must be protected at any cost. The main source of danger to them are "cloacked" turrets/bombing vessels (they are just spawn randomly around barges), which have enough EHP to hold even focused fire of a group and able quickly wreck a havoc with barges; so the best approach would be first jam them or supress their locking range, and only after destroy them. But there is one peculiarity with those turrets/vessels - they won't appear in overview at all. Some hint to their whereabouts displayed in form of arrow pointing to the closest border of the game's screen, and player must rotate camera to find a very noticeable marker in space designating it, then lock onto it using this marker. Some voice notification about new threat appearing would be useful too.

At the same time endless waves of tackling vessels warp into close range to barges and try to slow down their advance, EWAR vessels try to deny you ability to protect barges, and damagers meantime try do destroy them .

If assault party made it in one piece, they switch off station's protection field and second phase begin. You have to split your team in 2(3, 4 and more, this could scale up depending of real number of participants) and each team must follow to their designated destination and try to stop a swarm of little unarmed fast moving vessels, intending to crash onto station to demolish it. The distances between said spots chosen so wisely, that they all can't be covered by fleet of sniper BS at once from certain position no matter what, so splitting up a team is a must. Moreover, it's very hard to hit those vessels from a distance and best approach would be to webify them and deal with them in close. If you won't stop at less several vessels at each spot, you will fail the mission for certain. Even if you'll cover all spots, you still have to stop most of incoming threats to complete it. Each one you won't be able to stop will reduce mission rewards.

2) "Artillery bombardment with a spotter"

To complete it you'll need one to many BS/BC fitted for long range sniping, and coverig group. Covering group protects arty group from endless waves of EWAR vessels and damage dealers, and keeps some undestructable EWAR structures constantly jammed/damped to prevent all this threats from interfering with BSs/BSs mission. Said EWAR structures keep switching off and on alternately and can be locked on to only while powered up. They also won't appear in overview exaclty how it was described for similar threats in previous model.

Arty group granted with instalock ability (like, they are assisted by designated spotter), and some region of space wide enough assigned to them. This location can't be reached by any other means (separated by clouds of overheated plasma and/or mine fields and/or threat of certain death resulting from enemy's opportunity fire (scripted events etc)) and it's swarmed with different objects, including moving ones. Any of this object at any time can be designeted as a target by a spotter (randomly chosen by a game engine).

Targets are assigned to each BS/BC individually (aside from times when coordinated fire mission on sequence of targets is requested and all group must hit them with least possible delays between shots, simultaneously) by combination of huge rectangular frame, encircling some group of objects large enough, and a text message, concretizing the actual target "by landmarks". Text should be as much various as possible (so, the same object could be specified as "fast moving dull coloured vessel", or "frigate moving to 3 hours from the abandoned laboratory", or "unknown vessel between asteroid and drednought's remains"). Moreover, those targets can appear simultaneously and be of different types (designated by said frame's colour), differing by their priority. Some will require immideate attention, other will wait, and some of them will be able to introduce a change into the waves of attackers on spot if left unattended. Those targets won't appear in overview as well. Most of them require a single accurate shot.

Missed (or incorrectly guessed) targets will reduce mission rewards and can lead to its failure.

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#4 - 2014-06-05 23:36:24 UTC  |  Edited by: Ray Kyonhe
3) "Assault of automatic line of defence"

You'll need at leat 2 BS/BC fitted as snipers.

It's a dead space pocket and so MWDs aren't available. On warping in you find yourself in the middle of a passage going through higly hazardous cloud (plasma, energy radiation, mine fields etc), intersected with rows of defense drones at each 120-150km. You see first row at around 120km ahead, and its control node much further away (can't be even locked on from here, or even if it can be, you won't be able to break its tank from that distance; additionally, it's protected from rush tactics by overpowered light missiles' launcher arrays). Protection field generators are scattered along the passage at about 20-30km from each other (some defensive turrets were dislocated there before, but now they are powered off), and you have access to them already.

The moment you reach the closest of those fields, first row of defense becomes active. All control systems have been already breached and shuted down, so it reverted to primitive emergency logics. It chooses its targets simply: a) initial one will be chosen randomly and fired upon untill it destructed (drones will prefer targets unprotected by fields, though) b) if fired upon, defense will return fire to last attacker untill his destruction. Those fields effectively stop drones' fire, but accumulate damage over time and will switch off eventually. You still can engage them from under the field without damaging it (much like ship's shield works)

The focused alfa and dps of those lines are so enormous, that it will obliterate even most hardened hulls/fits that can be granted access to the mission by a couple of hits.

Drones those lines are composed of won't appear in overwiew, either. Moreover, different drones could represent targets of different priorities (some will unlish devastating rain of fire if not handled quick, others will be grouped together and will trigger massive drone spawn if not taken out all at once by coordinated fire, and some may even shift their fire to moving party after some time), to make sniping part of gameplay more exciting.

You have 2 main tasks: a) engage drones with your covering sniper group, striving to reduce their numbers to lessen DPS been poured into protection field (new will indefinetly warp in to substitute for destroyed ones, but there is a delay to their appearance) b) send part of you group (which must contain at least one sniper BS/BC too) ahead to the next field while other part are drawing to itself and trying to reduce incoming fire, while staying under the field (has to be mentioned, that moving party can't help covering one with their task - the moment they engage the line of defense it will switch to its new attacker and definetly will blow him up to shreds). Upon reaching next field, moving party becomes covering one and waits until group reunites again; then the sequence will repeat itself. If field is breached before it happens, covering party will perish for certain.

All the time both parties are staying under attack of inceasing swarms of EWAR equiped small/medium vessels, warping in close range to them, which try to jam/dampen/slow them down and need help of those who can deal with such threats.

After you advanced close enough to the line, you finally will be able to target and/or destroy its control node, switching all the systems at once. But several of such lines can still wait ahead, each harder than previous one.

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#5 - 2014-06-05 23:37:10 UTC
Reserved

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Ray Kyonhe
Aliastra
Gallente Federation
#6 - 2014-06-08 01:01:19 UTC  |  Edited by: Ray Kyonhe
Well, as this topic fails to attract interest of english-speaking community (for what I probably have to blame, inter alia, my crude language skills, and I'm very sorry for that Smile), I'll at least will do my best to translate snippets of ongoing discussion on russian speaking boards for those who will [may be] read it later.

What this proposal actually pursuits is a creation of generic PvE framework, which will be able to dynamically ("on the fly") create mission the moment you receive it from an agent or warp to the complex's gate, based on some initial parameters, like "power index" and composition of your fleet, proportion between your overall numbers and numbers of those belonging to the same corp as that who received it from the agent, mobs' npc faction, type of space mission complex are in, name of mission (so "Worlds collide" will have some distinguishing features, while within their bounds it will be randomized each time you will receive it) - like it is done in many roguelike games out there, where world/dungeon is created anew each time you start new game session.

Comparing to implementing and supporting a huge amount of static PvE content (like it's being done currently, and like it's being done in WoW and other similar them-park mmos), this is (as it appears to me) a significantly less tedious approach, and still it will offer very diverse, fun and challenging PvE content to game's playerbase.

Some missions could be more static than others, to make them offer somewhat more unique experience - like "Fleet story missions" proposed above. But even those can benefit from randomization to some extent.

The question remains is that possible for dev team to create such framework in the first place, of course.

Survey/voting system inbuilt to the game client: link_Reforming corp and taxation system: link_New PvE content (reward collective gameplay): link

Dark Drifter
Sardaukar Merc Guild
General Tso's Alliance
#7 - 2014-07-24 16:52:11 UTC
grp content: i want to see (in the vein that you are sugesting)

multiple objectives in a given mission (minim OBJ completion requirement):

you must compleat XYZ in a mission
each OBJ gives a seperate reward when compleate (handed to agent)
obj could be to :
-hack X/Y/Z
-kill XXX NPC
-mine XXX ore in pocket to deny mats to hostile entity
-kill various overseers

rewards range from isk & LP to faction cosmos items (depending of various factors)