Modes PvP Powerplay Powerplay: a focus on gameplay

Hello guys,
considering that there's been a lot of offtopic discussion in at least three different threads that basically were opened up to talk about different things, I decided to do a very stupid thing and open a thread especially dedicated to not what Powerplay is right now, not how to solve its intrinsic game mechanics flaws or anything else.

First of all I want to all people involved in discussion to please stay in topic and possibly consider that it doesn't exist just your way of playing the game, but multiple types of it, and to accept that, let's try to find a solution suitable to all the CMDRs, so there's no better or worse way of playing the game, just different needings; oh, and this is not a thread about botting or 5C or even instancing problems, because if you think about that CQC should have been botched from the beginning because of Elite Dangerous "particular" networking structure. Thank you guys, I hope we can stay civil and objective, at least for one time.

Let's talk about gameplay and for that I will express my opinions and my opinions only. :p

First things first, a little digression. Many other MMORPG games have a lot of different features, I've played (a little, to be honest) the elder scrolls online and the old republic, and I've noticed how PvE and PvP areas were present in those games, to make people have fun with different aspects of the game, being both interested in competition or just to spend a little relaxing time with their videogame they actually bought.

Such a thing is really difficult to accomplish in Elite Dangerous because of its nature: the Galaxy is one and paradoxally it isn't even enough inhabitated to justify the presence of a physical zone where people are exorted to play against each other as part of a game mechanic designed around competitive interaction between players and one designed around actions towards.

Even if we could identify Colonia (for example) as a "pve zone" and the old bubble as a "pvp zone", I don't think it's right to deny such great chunks of Galaxy to the amusement of one particular playstyle.

So, in some of the already mentioned gargantuan offotpic we all made everywhere else, Jockey79 had an idea I sincerly find intelligent (I hope you are reading this, because as you can see, I read what other people write and don't insult them when they express their opinions, especially when they can enrich the discussion): to make Powerplay a dedicated mode game, as much unrelated to the rest of the game as possible.

I say that this makes sense because if (and I repeat IF) an eventual Open Only Powerplay could become succesful enough to bring a lot of players in Open, we could have situations that interfere with the game experience of people that want to play in open but don't want to be bothered by Powerplay (I think about independent traders, pirates, bounty hunters, people playing the BGS etc).

So we'd have a Powerplay which should be somehow "disconnected" from the rest of the game, as much as it is possible of course.
First things first right now the BGS is a great part of Powerplay: it affects the fortification triggers and it brought conflicts between Powerplayers and people who were not involved in Powerplay. A first thing I think it should be done is to make the BGS not relevant to Powerplay: this would bring Powerplayers' attention somewhere else, and BGS players would be free to play their very own game in any mode they like as it should be).

Then another thing I'm not entirely sure about: right now Powers have some (indeed minor) effects over the exploited systems, like over black markets, security levels, demand/request of certain commodities etc, increase the effectivness of some superpower aligned minor factions (I can say it is very minor, considering my personal experience, I've been the "BGS guy" for my Power a long time), in some way they give much more variability to the Galaxy but it is still a direct effect that could be considered undesirable.

But most importantly: why even bothering to do all of this? My answer (and opinion about that) is to give people that enjoy another type of gameplay to play against each other, exactly how it already happens in CQC where there's no NPCs but just players, and all the ranking system is all considered by the interactions of the players engaged in the same game mechanic, with the difference that CQC is designed to make people only shoot each other, Powerplay would be the "whole game mechanics" in an environment where the possibilities to avoid player encounters are very limited.

This may be not for everybody's liking, but there's plenty of different game mechanics that people ignore because of that.
This may be considered too difficult and something that would exclude some players, but the very same thing happens with other parts of the game, like Thargoids, which are clearly an end-game challenging fighting-oriented game mechanic.

But the crucial thing in all of this "new Powerplay" is that we're talking about a different, parallel game that could be easily ignored by people who are not interested in dealing with other players, as CQC can be avoided the same way, or Thargoids for example. People who are interested but can't simply complete the tasks that this new Powerplay offers would be no different than the ones that attack a Thargoid Interceptor without the right amount of skills or the right outfitting: a risk taken facing possible disaster.

It should be no different than BGS for example, offering missions and a great variety of activities, only beneficial to the Power itself and not the minor factions that inhabit the different systems.

This could be "divisive" for somebody, but if you think about it is the kind of "PvE-zone/PvP-zone" some people ask for since always.

So to be the most schematic I can:

  • Powerplay actions engaged into the same game mode, if a player change mode with a task on hold, that task fails immediately
  • no effects from the Powerplay mode to the BGS, only Powerplay in that mode
  • Powerplay missions and scenarios
  • no BGS effect to Powerplay
  • BONUS: minor effects from Powerplay to the game as it is today or now? I'm talking about effects over Black Markets, Security Levels etc
Again: let's discuss this by a gameplay point of view ONLY. If you even mention botting or 5C you're bad people. Just gameplay. Let's discuss.
 
I was going to post this as a suggestion, but I'll pop it here first:

Powerplay once had a nifty PvP piracy mechanic that was taken out due to collusion (where two players from separate powers could make a lot of merits and cash).

My idea is to bring it back, but with the following:

The game has a heatmap of Powerplay systems based on pledges with armed ships (by adding the DPS of held weapons) in that system in a 24 hour period.

Power materials pirated are very valuable- opal levels of valuable. They are worth credits but cannot be redeemed for merits. This is your power placing a bounty on these items. Naturally only powers pay this so you must be pledged to redeem them with contacts.

PP NPCs no longer carry materials.

Haulers who lose cargo have the corresponding merits deducted from their own count. When they have no more merits, they cannot get allocations for a set amount of time. This is to stop collusion, taking one set of cargo from another or anothers account. Its a bit like tea clipper insurance in that you are placing your merits down as a bond.

When you accept a load of fort materials, the game treats that as a mission load, and offers you one of 3 mission like rewards. One is straight merits (as it is now), one is cash (amount is extra to what you paid to make it worthwhile but not free), and the other engineering material. The differing rewards stop the situation of players doing lots of work but wind up with 50,000 merits which is useless (since 10,000 is the working limit to benefit a rank 5 bonus). This could also scale to the size of the haul, with small amounts giving G1 and large amounts G5 materials, and also be based on how hostile the area you are flying through is. So, if you are flying through a reported hot zone, your bonus goes up. If you are in a cool backwater, the bonus is low.

Since this is a mission hybrid, you could inject bonus objectives, or objectives that make botting difficult by breaking routine. For example, you might have to go to system X to get information from Ship Y ("follow my wake").

Fort materials act like irate passengers in that if the ship carrying them gets damaged, they become damaged. Sustain too much hull damage and the haul is spoiled and worthless. So absolute ship destruction is not required to make a difference and might (?) mitigate combat logging and make piracy be more than brute force.

So, in this system the fortifier can make a lot of cash and materials- the risks are high, but even after a losing streak you can gain enough merits to make it pay because by betting on a decent return. This would hopefully create a food chain to sustain pirates, push people to take more risks to get that money and make deliveries less certain (which makes fortification harder).

In my brief thought experiments you can't really game the system hauling- if you chose loads of hotspots in your route you still put yourself in danger as these areas had potentially dangerous players in them.

The other is a power gives a lower cash reward for ship destruction and half normal merits, so that if you want to kill, its not a total loss.
 
Well I like this thing but it's more like a detailed proposal for a part of the game mechanic. I wish we could stay more "generic" to understand if we could find a place for "whatever dedicated mode" Powerplay.
 
Power materials pirated are very valuable- opal levels of valuable. They are worth credits but cannot be redeemed for merits. This is your powers bounty placed on these items. Naturally only powers pay this so you must be pledged to redeem them with contacts.
This is great IMO, maybe not necessarily a opal level but really valuable, it indirectly add non-PP players to PP that is not bad in itself. As of mine never posted idea to make PP cargo work same way like a commodity, no more allotment, you buy it on market, and you sell it in power play control system, price is affected by level of fortification. similar mechanic could be applied to all PP cargo, but that responsible for fortification is easiest. You would lose credits by overfortyfing control systems.
 
This is great IMO, maybe not naceserrily a opal level but really valueble, it indirectly add non-PP players to PP that is not bad in itself. As of mine never posted idea to make PP cargo work same way like a commodity, no more allotment, you buy it on market, and you sell it in power play control system, price is affected by level of fortification. similar mechanic could be applied to all PP cargo, but that responsible for fortification is easiest. You would lose credits by overfortyfing control systems.
That's really interesting as an approach, and could even work with competitive triggers!
 
This is great IMO, maybe not necessarily a opal level but really valuable, it indirectly add non-PP players to PP that is not bad in itself. As of mine never posted idea to make PP cargo work same way like a commodity, no more allotment, you buy it on market, and you sell it in power play control system, price is affected by level of fortification. similar mechanic could be applied to all PP cargo, but that responsible for fortification is easiest. You would lose credits by overfortyfing control systems.
Great idea, and really elegant!
 
Thanks for the mention Voronwe and I must say, I'd not considered the NPCs when I thought about a Power Play Mode.
Removing them is a nice touch and it echos back to Sandro saying Power Play is for PvP so it fits with that really well.

I like that commodity idea and if it worked like the Rare Commodities do now, on a refresh cycle. Then it would Open up more choices for cargo runners to make.
Do they grab a cargo Cutter and move it all ASAP? but then do it so fast they have to wait for it to cycle more. Do they have a smaller cargo capacity and actually fit defences to the ship? or even use a cheaper / smaller ship in case the "worst" happens, so they don't end up out of pocket and do more runs (which in turns makes them a more visible target to those looking to stop them)
 
One interesting thing that got touched on in the other thread was this: if you get rid of fort or UM triggers (and have a straight fight) you get rid for the need of BGS manipulation and consolidation bonuses altogether. It would make all fortification 'flat' in that every system would be subject to the same amounts, and Powerplay would no longer touch the BGS at all.
 
This is something extremly interesting and with the weighted personal awards considering the request could be a fantastic incentive to move around all the systems making the game more engaging.
 
Well of course there should be a ratio of effectiveness considering how far is a system to the HQs, but it shouldn't be theoretically impossible (as it is right now) even to exploit Maia or Colonia, just extremly difficult to maintain.
 
Crazy idea- in fact the craziest idea I've ever had:

Another idea based on what Ramius said- what if you got rid of expansions / prep altogether? Imagine each system has every power contact available simultaneously:

Instead, you haul your powers fortification material from any system like cargo and the highest amount hauled 'wins' that system? You could freely pirate others or blow them up then like normal traffic. You could also PP flavour other missions to support too.

It would be 5C proof, and it would organically produce hotspots of commander activity.

You would win by being in control of the most systems.

In fact, you could do away with pledging altogether, and simply support the power you like for that system. So you could have the bonuses you like where you like, and synergistically boost the BGS by working in parallel with it. It also reflects a more political aspect, as it then becomes a genuine popularity contest, depending on what the characters are like and what they say in Galnet.
 
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Well I wouldn't get rid of NPCs completely, but I would probably make Powerplay NPCs the majority in a dedicated Powerplay mode, to make them disappear (or extremly rare) into other modes. That's more because of the very limited number of NPCs spawned in supercruise.
 
The NPCs do need to actually be your friends for sure. They treat you like dirt, even though you keep their boss in work.
Ahahah yeah, especially when you're undermining somewhere and they scan you and insult you. This kind of details should be done far better for sure.
 
One suggestion I had was to make PP NPCs jump in like security ships if another power NPC starts on you. They might call for help too, and create a spontaneous gangland fight.
 
Here is a refined version of that concept I had:

Powerplay

Expansions / prep / CC / bubbles removed and each system has every power contact available simultaneously.

You do not 'pledge'. Power weapons and modules available from Power capitals only, but are freely available to buy.

Powers bonuses are adjusted accordingly, offering one system BGS bonus and one personal bonus. These bonuses are active for that system only as long as that power is in control (see later).

Bonuses (rough ideas)

Archon Delaine: Personal bonus- Pirate Fear: all traders instantly drop cargo when interdicted. System Bonus - Crimewave: System security halved, no bounties or fines issued
Pranav Antal: Personal bonus- TechnoGenius: Tech broker requirements for human and alien tech halved. System Bonus- The Path: All BGS activity has 50% more influence.
LYR: Personal bonus- Dealmaker: all trade transactions worth x20%. System Bonus- MegaDiscount- systems sell ship prices discount scaling to economy slider.
Denton Patreus: Personal bonus- War Bond: Systems in war make Patreus missions and cargo x50% more valuable System Bonus- Lord of War: all weapons and restocking -15% cost
Aisling Duval: Personal bonus- Media Savvy: Positive BGS work has 50% more influence. System Bonus- Media Savvy: increases happiness in present factions- civil liberty state makes slaves illegal
ALD: Personal Bonus- Purge: any player with notoriety >1 is attacked by security, Bounties earn 150% extra System Bonus- Imperial Tradition: all Imperial ships -10% cost, Civil liberty state removes Rank requirement
Zemina Torval: Personal bonus- Responsible Care: Imperial slaves x100% extra. System Bonus- Gold Digger: Mining profits x50%
Edmund Mahon: Personal bonus- Strength in Numbers: Trade profit scaled to total number of Mahon influenced systems. System Bonus- Efficient Production: System economies have double stocks of trade cargo when in boom state.
Felicia Winters: Personal bonus- FedAid: All food, medicine and humanitarian goods are x300% more profitable. System Bonus- Liberty: Civil liberty state in Winters influenced systems decreases Winters cargo cost and increases Winters mission profits.
Zachary Hudson: Personal bonus- Responsible Repuplican: War bonds and bounty hunting System Bonus- Democratic Hawk: all Federal ships -10% cost, Civil liberty state removes Rank requirement
Yuri Grom: Personal bonus- Surveillance State: all system, crashed ship, intel packages (all superpowers and independent) worth x 200%. System Bonus- Benevolent Dictator: Security acts like high security level

Instead, you haul your powers fortification material from any system like cargo and the highest amount hauled 'wins' that system. You freely pirate others or blow them up then like normal traffic and sell it back to other powers for profit.

Power tabs also have Powerplay missions to sabotage other powers present in that system (these would be similar to the offensive missions we currently have).

At the end of each daily tick the amount of power cargo hauled to a powers capital (as they are now, Polevnic, Harma etc) is counted, and whoever has the most in that system will control it. Control in this context means influence: that powers bonuses act alongside the BGS. Players may wish to have LYR control high tech shipyards, the Feds fed systems, and so on.

Powers win by being in control/ influencing the most systems and are ranked as such.

Powerplay NPCs act like proxy security once in charge. If they see you helping their power, they will protect you. If you are fighting against them or carry other cargo they are hostile.
If one power is in charge and you support another power, you must 'use smuggling tactics to get past them. You can kill powers freely as long as no system security from the ruling faction is in the area. This is to reinforce the idea that Powerplay is a clandestine battle for influence 'behind the scenes'.

Advantages:

This system opens the whole galaxy to Powerplay, with each system being important.

It also is self sustaining, with powers being able to crush other powers back to their capital like minor factions can.

It allows FD to insert more Powerplay Tier 1 characters easily.

It also reflects a more political aspect, as it then becomes a genuine popularity contest, depending on what the characters are like and what they say in Galnet.

It would be 5C proof, and it would organically produce hotspots of commander activity.
 
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