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Thread: Collusion Piracy and More

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1
    Sandro Sammarco is offline
    Lead Designer- Elite: Dangerous
    Frontier Employee

    Collusion Piracy and More

    Hello Commanders!

    There's been quite a lot of interesting discussion about "collusion piracy", and I'd just like to throw some more thoughts into the pot.

    For clarity, collusion piracy is when Commanders intentionally let fortification commodities be taken by opposing powers in order to undermine their own power: sabotage, often called "fifth column" activities.

    Collusion piracy is only available between powers that share the same superpower, because only in such cases is piracy an option to undermine.

    There are two sides, as far as I see, to collusion piracy:

    1) It's a great way to undermine
    2) It's a great way to shed poor performing control systems (sometimes gained as the result of sabotage)

    Paradox? Just maybe.

    Anyway, here's my perspective at the moment.

    I really don't like collusion piracy (or fifth column activities as they stand). However, I understand how it is currently a very useful tool.

    So should we introduce effects to degrade collusion piracy, we will try to make sure that at the same time we introduce changes to help Commanders counter the other methods of sabotage.

    The choices we're currently looking at regarding sabotage are:

    1) Creating a voting system to allow Commanders, by the act of majority will, to withdraw from poor control systems, ensuring mechanisms are in place to prevent profitable systems from being voted out.

    2) Utilising an UP / DOWN vote feature, which would exist primarily to be a channel of communication within the game for pledged Commanders) to also provide veto functionality at the preparation stage, allowing, by the act of majority will, poor control system candidates from being purchased as expansion targets.

    3) Introducing a combo mechanism for fortification allotments, limiting the purchase of rushed allotments based on successful deliveries - the more you deliver the more you can pay to rush - whilst adding temporary fortification disbarring for losing fortification commodities.

    It should be noted that none of these features would be able to completely prevent sabotage. However, taken in unison the effect could potentially be significant.

    If you get the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on these concepts.

    And since I'm in the mood for pulling hand grenades , here's another thing to chew on: I'm currently rather taken by the concept of a success multiplier for Commanders in Open Play. this modifier would not improve personal gains from power play activities, but it would magnify the effectiveness of a power's actions (expand, oppose, fortify, undermine). And the effect would probably be significant.

    My thinking for this? At the moment, any way I slice it, I can't come to any conclusion other than Commanders in Open Play have a tougher time than those in Private Groups or Solo. So the playing field is basically uneven as it stands and in this case, maybe change could make things better.

    Now, one final Caveat. *As it stands currently*, we have time allotted in season two to work on Powerplay. These suggestions are just a part of that work - there is other stuff as well. However, I can't commit to the Unbreakable Vow, because it's very possible that in the fluid world of development, things might change!

    I just wanted to set these ideas free and see how well they settle, so, comments welcome!

  2. #2
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    Hello Commanders!

    And since I'm in the mood for pulling hand grenades , here's another thing to chew on: I'm currently rather taken by the concept of a success multiplier for Commanders in Open Play. this modifier would not improve personal gains from power play activities, but it would magnify the effectiveness of a power's actions (expand, oppose, fortify, undermine). And the effect would probably be significant.

    My thinking for this? At the moment, any way I slice it, I can't come to any conclusion other than Commanders in Open Play have a tougher time than those in Private Groups or Solo. So the playing field is basically uneven as it stands and in this case, maybe change could make things better.

    Now, one final Caveat. *As it stands currently*, we have time allotted in season two to work on Powerplay. These suggestions are just a part of that work - there is other stuff as well. However, I can't commit to the Unbreakable Vow, because it's very possible that in the fluid world of development, things might change!

    I just wanted to set these ideas free and see how well they settle, so, comments welcome!


    I support you sandro, Im sure many of my comrades do as well.

    Hopefully this can link into the Freedom Fighter idea.

    ToC - In-game Lore Researcher
    Flying and Fighting By my Own

  3. #3
    I welcome everything you've said Sandro, let's hope this type of move with open play multipliers moves into other areas of the game other than just power play!

  4. #4
    Anything that goes towards improving open multi-player mode play over the private mode play in a mmo is a good thing.

    12mths in you think the players cmdrs are willing to actually play a game that has human challenges ?

    making 2 billion in solo is like making 1 billion in open, loads easier..not sure why i would fire up elite if it was a mainly a single player experience.

    cmdr dM

    somewhere near suri gateway..on the run..

    ++end transmission++

  5. #5
    Wow, an unexpected and very welcome dev insight on Powerplay updates to come! For starters, let me say thanks for taking the time for letting us know we're not forgotten and sharing some of your plans before they're implemented (or not).

    I think it's clear to everyone that collusion piracy is a very "gamey" method that doesn't feel in the spirit of Powerplay. However, I'm very glad that you'd consider implementing changes to make up for the fact that it does (currently) have a usage that is otherwise very hard to achieve through normal in-game mechanisms. I hope this holistic approach to balance changes can be reflected in future considerations.

    1) Creating a voting system to allow Commanders, by the act of majority will, to withdraw from poor control systems, ensuring mechanisms are in place to prevent profitable systems from being voted out.
    A system like this would be incredibly welcome. The current system of losing unwanted systems seems extremely convoluted and difficult, especially for powers with either extremely high (Archon Delaine) or low (Aisling) starting balances. It is also extremely vulnerable to 5th column activity. A voting system to withdraw from unwanted systems voluntarily would mean that powers could "progress" rather than slump for weeks on end, as seen for the likes of Sirius, Torval, Aisling, and for a time Archon and Patreus. This might make players more motivated (the ability to actively help your power week on week is currently a bit lost between 45-55 control systems as expansion only results in a poorer starting balance). One thing to consider is that powers would have their starting balances grow considerably over time: though perhaps less of an emphasis on fortification would be a good thing, maybe fortification triggers would need to rise in response?

    Still, an excellent suggestion and one I would personally love.

    2) Utilising an UP / DOWN vote feature, which would exist primarily to be a channel of communication within the game for pledged Commanders) to also provide veto functionality at the preparation stage, allowing, by the act of majority will, poor control system candidates from being purchased as expansion targets.
    I love this. One of the most frequent complaints about powerplay, especially amongst newer players who don't use out-of-game communication channels, is how difficult it is to know what actually helps your power. This system would clear up that confusion, as well as preventing 5th column activity from being MORE effective than legitimate, (especially for prep, where each prep point in an unwanted system must be countered by 1-10 prep points in wanted systems!)

    3) Introducing a combo mechanism for fortification allotments, limiting the purchase of rushed allotments based on successful deliveries - the more you deliver the more you can pay to rush - whilst adding temporary fortification disbarring for losing fortification commodities.
    This seems like a sensible suggestion that would prevent collusion piracy becoming as absurdly powerful as it is now.

    And since I'm in the mood for pulling hand grenades , here's another thing to chew on: I'm currently rather taken by the concept of a success multiplier for Commanders in Open Play. this modifier would not improve personal gains from power play activities, but it would magnify the effectiveness of a power's actions (expand, oppose, fortify, undermine). And the effect would probably be significant.

    My thinking for this? At the moment, any way I slice it, I can't come to any conclusion other than Commanders in Open Play have a tougher time than those in Private Groups or Solo. So the playing field is basically uneven as it stands and in this case, maybe change could make things better.
    Well that is a provocative statement! I understand it is controversial, but personally I feel like for those who are dedicated to powerplay, this would be perhaps the most impactful change on the list. The potential for emergent gameplay, group operations, planning, PvP, escorts, blockades, blockade running...

    I can see a lot of people revitalising their interest in Powerplay if direct interaction with other players becomes actually meaningful and not seeming like simply punishing those charitable enough to forgo the advantages of Solo or Private Group.

    I think that having the benefits affect only the power, rather than you personally, would be a wise choice: those who are just out to make their weekly salary would be the least likely to want to open themselves up to the possibility of disruptive PvP, and the hardcore Powerplayers who value their Power's success over their own personal progression would likely be the most excited by the possibilities such a system would entail.

    Considering that powerplay is a fundamentally multiplayer competitive system, this change would make a great deal of sense.

    Now, one final Caveat. *As it stands currently*, we have time allotted in season two to work on Powerplay. These suggestions are just a part of that work - there is other stuff as well. However, I can't commit to the Unbreakable Vow, because it's very possible that in the fluid world of development, things might change!
    I will try to constrain my expectations and hype, but I don't know if I'll be successful...

  6. #6
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    My thinking for this? At the moment, any way I slice it, I can't come to any conclusion other than Commanders in Open Play have a tougher time than those in Private Groups or Solo. So the playing field is basically uneven as it stands and in this case, maybe change could make things better.
    Hello Sandro.

    Although I am generally in favor of bonuses for players risking the open play experience (and not just limited to powerplay, but that's beside the point!), it should also be kept in mind that some users on this forums openly advertise the fact they are using their router's settings to make sure they only ever meet a few selected players, in open. Now given the current state of the mechanics this is rather inconsequential, but if an efficiency multiplier is added to the actions of players taking part in Powerplay in open, this would have to be addressed first I feel, or else it would simply encourage solo and group players to switch to open play to get the benefits of it while at the same time tampering with their router to avoid the extra risks the bonus is supposed to be comensating for. This also raises the question of the in-game Block feature which is supposed to, at least to some extent, affect the matchmaking system. This is supposed to be a way to alleviate unwanted interractions with players you don't want to interract with, since ED it is geared towards cooperative play.. but obviously that goes against the nature of Powerplay which is very much an adversarial system.

  7. #7
    Hello Commander Sandro Sammarco!

    Those changes sound awesome. I am firmly against unbalanced personal gains in the different play modes, at least until there is a properly weighted crime and punishment system. But I love the idea of PP success modifiers for Open play. I think that would add so much excitement back to the game, and make things much more alive and fair in power play. Want to undermine in secrecy? Well it won't be nearly as effective as the commander fortifying in open, with wingmates for protection. I mean, this could lead to actual space battles.
    AEDC CMDR Szyslak22 - Elite | Tycoon | Elite - Background sim pain management

  8. #8
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)

    And since I'm in the mood for pulling hand grenades , here's another thing to chew on: I'm currently rather taken by the concept of a success multiplier for Commanders in Open Play. this modifier would not improve personal gains from power play activities, but it would magnify the effectiveness of a power's actions (expand, oppose, fortify, undermine). And the effect would probably be significant.
    Yes, this, please. Would be amazing.


    Some excellent ideas here Sandro, I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.
    "I don't carry cargo; I carry guns"

    Drink Slurm!

  9. #9
    Originally Posted by Sandro Sammarco View Post (Source)
    3) Introducing a combo mechanism for fortification allotments, limiting the purchase of rushed allotments based on successful deliveries - the more you deliver the more you can pay to rush - whilst adding temporary fortification disbarring for losing fortification commodities.

    Could this be clarified a tad? You mean the more we deliver the more we have to pay? You realise some of us fortify nearly 20,000 packages a cycle just to keep our powers working? This seems like punishment for working hard.

    The fortification disbarring for losing commodities is very much a good diea but I'm a bit more curious about the second one.

  10. #10
    Aigaion is offline
    This user was unable to follow the forum rules and ended up banned or suspended! :(
    Aigaion's Avatar
    Looks like someone never heard about "infiltration" or "covert agents". Looks like a valid way to play the game for me, just make pledging more selective, but again, you chose the easy way to stop a bad mechanic from being used by other powers to their advantage, that's really poor.
    "Other than me, there is no other unstoppable man in the galaxy."
    "Make Piracy Great Again"

    -CMDR Logan Aigaion. Smuggler and Pirate

    [URL="http://inara.cz/cmdr/4701"][URL=http://inara.cz/cmdr/4701][SIGPIC][/SIGPIC][/URL][/URL]

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by Enef View Post (Source)
    Could this be clarified a tad? You mean the more we deliver the more we have to pay? You realise some of us fortify nearly 20,000 packages a cycle just to keep our powers working? This seems like punishment for working hard.

    The fortification disbarring for losing commodities is very much a good diea but I'm a bit more curious about the second one.
    The way I read it, the more you actually deliver, the more you can fast track. But if you are just getting them to lose them to another commander on purpose, your allocation dries up.

    Somehow, people will still find a way to exploit it, but I like the idea.
    AEDC CMDR Szyslak22 - Elite | Tycoon | Elite - Background sim pain management

  12. #12
    A significant bonus to Open play would be a huge improvement to power play.
    I'm a little fuzzy on how this would impact fortification and preparation. Would collection and delivery both need to be done in open play for a bonus to be incurred? How would a commander be prevented from switching from one to another in the safety of a hanger to get access to the bonus?

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Szyslak22 View Post (Source)
    The way I read it, the more you actually deliver, the more you can fast track. But if you are just getting them to lose them to another commander on purpose, your allocation dries up.

    Somehow, people will still find a way to exploit it, but I like the idea.
    Ah but we can fast track as much as we want anyway already surely as long as we have the money?

  14. #14
    Yes please. Anything that will make an end to the 5C we are facing in Aisling.

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by Enef View Post (Source)
    Could this be clarified a tad? You mean the more we deliver the more we have to pay? You realise some of us fortify nearly 20,000 packages a cycle just to keep our powers working? This seems like punishment for working hard....
    The opposite I think. The more you successfully deliver the more you are allowed to buy. Deliver just a few and you can only buy a few.

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