So, I've been brainstorming for Champions of Vargacet off and on for a couple months now and have a lot of good stuff planned out. But there's still one thing that bothers me.

For the uninitiated, Champions is a turn-based strategy battle game. You assemble a party of 4 characters using various combinations of classes, skills, and equipment, then issue challenges and go to town on each other. Given the fantasy theme you might expect that you get "XPs" for winning fights and get more and more powerful, except you don't, because really putting that sort of thing into a competitive strategy game is all sorts of retarded. What's the point of introducing strategic choices if battles are going to be largely decided by who's been playing longer and has more powerful, higher-level characters?

Still, the game was never wholly without a small element of stat-building. See, there's one thing that bothers me about simply giving players unfettered freedom to choose from anything, anytime, and change it all on a whim. Some strategies/combos tend to "beat" other strategies, natch. If you can rearrange your party whenever you like, it becomes tempting to custom-tailor your party to meet each encounter; you know (or at least can guess) what a familiar opponent is going to throw at you, so you can select all the appropriate countermeasures. They know what countermeasures they're likely to face, so they select counter-countermeasures, and so on. Eventually everything devolves into a big Rock-Paper-Scissors game: guess what your opponent is going to bring out, and bring out the appropriate specialized beat squad.

This may be all well and good for some people, but it's not really what I consider ideal. The whole idea behind the party building system is to be an exercise in inventory management (where the "inventory" extends to class and skill choices)--you have a limited number of skills and items your party can carry, and you have to try to pack enough into those limited slots to take on a wide variety of possible challenges. It's like The Oregon Trail, except you don't randomly die of dysentery (which is to say, it's not anything like The Oregon Trail).

My original solution to this problem was a gold-based shop system; you got so much gold for winning a fight (and about half as much for playing a fight through and losing), and you had to pay for each piece of equipment you bought. If you wanted to change from, say, an all-wizard party to an all-knight party (woo!) you would have to shell out for four full sets of wizard gear. This put a practical limit on your ability to make changes on the fly, since radical changes in your party roster would cost 5-6 fights' worth of winnings to reequip; it was more optimal to settle on a fairly steady configuration with all the "best" equipment and possibly make minor tweaks from battle to battle than to try to rearrange your entire party to match each opponent, since drastic changes would blow through your savings and leave you stuck with underequipped characters.

The system worked after a fashion, but unfortunately it proved to be annoyingly restrictive if you were just experimenting with different setups--a huge problem for new teams, which was a big part of why I didn't want to just have a leveling-up system in the first place. Also, although I had hoped it would be a sop to the inevitable "Why can't I just level up my guys so I can win more often without having to figure out how to play better?" crowd (I may be editorializing slightly here), I think mostly it just whet their appetites. (Looking back, it is somewhat embarassing how frequently I've made this exact mistake.)

So... the quandary. I want to implement some sort of system that would encourage players to try to stick with a broad-based team concept and refine it bit by bit rather than building teams for one specific battle at a time. At the same time I don't want to penalize new players or limit experimentation.

Any ideas on how this might be accomplished?
I'm not sure how this would work, but what about allowing people that haven't seen more than perhaps 3 battles, recreate their team free of charge(Like a full key do-over). That way if someone tries a team they don't like, they can change it without being penalized, and if they create a team that they've been using for a little while, they can't just jump up and create a new team on the fly. Giving people that haven't really played a chance to make themselves a new team if they butcher the first.
I like Mikau's idea.

I was just thinking about how to fix something like this in single-player Surreal Dreams since I don't want to force pre-selection, and I agree with the "don't let players switch drastically on the fly" method.
That would work as a band-aid, but still wouldn't help a player who just wants to try out something new.

I wonder if it might be better to aim my efforts at the system of issuing challenges for battles, and move more towards a matchmaking pool system--if you don't know for sure who you're going to be fighting, it makes it kind of pointless to try to make a specialized one-shot team. You would probably still be able to issue specific challenges, but the emphasis would be on blind matchmaking.
*cough* Impossible!*cough* Not on BYOND my dear comrade. If you try to get the best of best worlds, no one will play. And if that's the case, then just don't make it at all >_<. It might be possible, but I just can't see it happening.
Booya. That settles it, then. The idea stands!
You're welcome?
What's so bad about more or less locked in teams? Without huge advancement, starting over to try something new doesn't really hurt you too much....
Here's a thought; let people create more then one team. Every player could have a primary team, in addition to an experimentation team. The experimentation team would not be penalized for recreating, but would only be usable if a challenge specified the option.

The primary team would encourage more fixed play, with higher costs for making changes.

What would be necessary, though, is an incentive to play the primary team. Perhaps some extra room for unit growth, or only gaining rating when playing with the primary team.
Ooooh! Ok, I think Bdjewkes wins the thread. Multiple teams is an option I've definitely wanted but always shied away from--my basic assumption had always been one of giving players the freedom to choose which team to use for every battle, which would have likely led to even more formalized rock-paper-scissors play. The closest I'd ever come to breaking myself out of this mindset was a brief dalliance with the idea of having multiple team size categories and giving players one team per category, where the teams used would be dictated by the form of the battle. But that was never a very suitable solution to the problem of giving players room to experiment, so I never pursued the idea.

I think there should be suitable incentive included for players to participate in primary-team battling (then again, I'd consider participating in that form of battling to be incentive enough all by itself, but of course that's just me), as I am planning on including the unmentioned-for-simplicity's-sake rune collection system as a feature of primary team battles but not experimental battles. Not unit growth per se, since the runes are theoretically equal, but certainly a bit of unit optimization is possible there. And, of course, plenty of collectability.
god damn bring back lode wars >.< it pwned it needs finished give it to spike hes capable of making it better and fixing all known bugs...
I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
Do both; its the only way to move on.
Tac9588 wrote:
god damn bring back lode wars >.< it pwned it needs finished give it to spike hes capable of making it better and fixing all known bugs...

Um, dude he needs help with Champions. He dosen't need people complaining about a totally unrelated topic. Now for my input,
as for your system, you will have to accept that one side will need to cut losses. I personally think a currency system will do nicely as since people would need to buythe unit and have to actually participate in battles. However you could take somewhat of a Surreal Dreams approach and simply allow them to buy units right before the match which could also help to add a bit of a supprise element, Also to help with balance of the one group overpowering the other. You can allow the environment to have more of an influence on the game. For instance, lets say one group has a party focusing mainly on magic while another has some unit with a good resistance to that certian magic. (We will choose lightning as an example.) the mage could use the magic as a sort of trigger to influence the environment to do the damage for him. Like say the highly resistant unit moves next to a tree, the mage could strike the tree causing a good amount of damage that is not related to the lightning element. Thus doing resonably more damage, or say if that particular unit gets wet somehow then their natural resistances would be ignored to a degree. Alternatively you could get the same effect even if the environment does not work in your favor. There are no trees so you have a druid make one then cause an explosion. No water? Simply use a water spell then follow it up. That's all I can really think up for now i'll edit this if I get more ideas. So wadda ya think?
I think the comment is about 3 months late ;-) It is also pre-runes.

Just to chime in another idea while I'm here, though. How about team/synergy bonuses for teams that stick together longer? Nothing major, but it reflects the increasing cooperation of the team. The actual bonus would probably be based on class, and perhaps selectable from a few options. Maybe it even varies based on runes collected....
Jmurph wrote:
I think the comment is about 3 months late ;-)

Alright, thanks Leftley, the one to whom the question was directed. Nice idea though. However I feel as though I might need to add something. Instead of simply adding a bonus for it, why not simply have a 4-player mode which is what I'm sure is what was suggested earlier. It could either go free for all or team-based combat, you could also throw in some capture the flag and defend the base modes for fun.

(Also, I've been told that Leftley is a bot that's been coded into BYOND somehow but of course that's total rubbish isn't it? Amusing story in it's own right though yes?)
Oh,I thought he was an android "atrallect".
Leftley!11! When is the next version of Lode Wars coming out?

(Sorry- couldn't think of anything more creative with which to continue this thread...)
August,23,2008 Leftley Lode wars is my fav game please lemme host if ur done hsting i would kill (seriously i woudld) to host.

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