Author Topic: How to improve the game without changing mechanics  (Read 3301 times)

Zakilevo

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I think they were trying to remove their ruler. The duel probably removed him from the throne.

GundamMerc

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I'm talking about the war that broke up Morek and got Astrum to found Westfold. Realistically all Luria could ever do was raid Astrum and Morek from time to time. There was no chance of conquering either realm in any meaningful way. Eventually Morek gave up and split apart more out of frustration then anything else. The same is true for Astrum ceding land for Westfold.

Actually it was the addition of Helyg Derwyddon that decided the war. Otherwise Astrum could have fought off the raids forever.

pcw27

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So to get back to the core topics I think a big thing to work on is what can best be described as "archetype balance".

Right now there are a few archetypes that show up most in Battle Master and they show up in great numbers. They're often played in a way that just doesn't work, so I'm setting out to identify these play styles and suggest ways to modify them to ad intrigue and complexity.

The Follower:

It seems to me that the most common archetype by far is what I'd refer to as "The Follower". They follow orders, don't get involved in realm politics, don't talk much and basically go with the flow. When it comes to conflicts, they are usually tacitly loyal to the crown. Admittedly its normal for there to be a few followers in a realm, but too many who are also too effete to do anything leads to stagnation. I understand that not everybody has the time or interest in creating an especially complex character, but at least think a bit about who you're really loyal to. If you're a warrior, maybe decide you back the general more then the king. If you're a courtier maybe it's the judge or the banker. Or maybe you're loyal most of all to your lord or duke. Mention this here and there. March into battle crying "For (insert thing you value)" and if that thing is in danger follow that instead of the realm.

If you're a lord or duke, you really have no place playing this archetype. You have too much power. It's too important for everyone else's fun that you do something interesting with it.

The Loyal and Honorable:

This is a bit like the follower but a little more involved. You're outspoken about the importance of duty and honor. You write heroic role-plays. You will never lie or cheat and you are fiercely loyal to the crown. This is fine if it makes up maybe a third of the realm, but any more then that and you've got a boring realm with no conflict. Like the follower you can shake things up by changing the focus of your honor and loyalty by making it first and foremost to someone other then the king. Another thing to consider is looking at the figure you're loyal too, say the king, as someone you need to compete for against your realm mates. You want to show him who's the best in battle. Or who makes his lands most prosperous. Naturally, this can lead you into conflicts with other members of your realm. No one likes being told they're an inferior warrior or an incompetent administrator. Now an important part here is that sometimes rulers will suppress these sort of conflicts because they're also wrapped up in being overly honorable and benevolent. I'd advise against this. Pretend for a minute that realm members are not disposable and you can't just punish them both. In this case unless their conflict threatens the whole realm you're better off letting them fight it out. If you're at war, why not ask them to suspend their feud until the conflict is over (this could actually make for more exciting peace time).

The Manipulator:

The problem with this archetype is mostly in the way it's played. Some players get a kick out of being the back stabbing power player. They want to be Iago, Little Finger, Grima Wormtongue, Jafar. Nothing wrong with that by itself, but if done wrong it makes everyone groan. The biggest problem that comes up with this archetype is people are often way too obvious about it. They lash out at people in big public ways, accusing every other notable figure of being "The real power hungry manipulator". More often then not people keep them around just for amusement. When they eventually get driven out of every realm and give up, they then make a new character and almost immediately get up to the same old tricks, which makes everyone groan all over again.

If you want to be the shifty advisor there is one thing you need subtlety, say it with me SUBTLETY. Public condemnations of anyone should be the LAST thing you do. You need to work in the shadows, with whispers, little exchanges. Pay attention to things and find ways to drive wedges between people. I don't mean wedges between one person and the entire realm, or two huge groups within the realm, I mean two individuals. Say someone didn't sell food when another region was starving. Sell the needy region that food and send a PM saying how sorry you are you couldn't make the trade sooner and how horrified you are that so and so didn't see fit to offer food at a fair price. A good manipulation requires lots of little grudges that can build into bigger grudges, allowing you to play one side against the other until there's no one to stand in your way.

Also if you've played the big obvious manipulator too many times, either play severable honorable upstanding characters, or find yourself a proxy, some naive young character you promise to help reach the top. The great thing about that is you can also sell them out in the end and convince people you really have given up your family's manipulative ways and turned over a new leaf.

Another thing that can ad some flavor here is motivations. Most manipulators in the game are not poisoning their way to the top to accomplish anything. Hey it's not a big deal now and then to just be plain power hungry, hell that's realistic, but ambitious manipulators are more interesting. It's exciting to see people that don't just want to reach the top for the fun of being on top but in fact want to reach the top so they can change their realm some how. I'm talking about people who want to advance their religeon or destroy another. Maybe they want the realm to be more warlike or more mercantile. Maybe they want to declare war on an old enemy or bring about peace. These are things to think about

GundamMerc

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So to get back to the core topics I think a big thing to work on is what can best be described as "archetype balance".

Right now there are a few archetypes that show up most in Battle Master and they show up in great numbers. They're often played in a way that just doesn't work, so I'm setting out to identify these play styles and suggest ways to modify them to ad intrigue and complexity.

The Follower:

It seems to me that the most common archetype by far is what I'd refer to as "The Follower". They follow orders, don't get involved in realm politics, don't talk much and basically go with the flow. When it comes to conflicts, they are usually tacitly loyal to the crown. Admittedly its normal for there to be a few followers in a realm, but too many who are also too effete to do anything leads to stagnation. I understand that not everybody has the time or interest in creating an especially complex character, but at least think a bit about who you're really loyal to. If you're a warrior, maybe decide you back the general more then the king. If you're a courtier maybe it's the judge or the banker. Or maybe you're loyal most of all to your lord or duke. Mention this here and there. March into battle crying "For (insert thing you value)" and if that thing is in danger follow that instead of the realm.

If you're a lord or duke, you really have no place playing this archetype. You have too much power. It's too important for everyone else's fun that you do something interesting with it.

The Loyal and Honorable:

This is a bit like the follower but a little more involved. You're outspoken about the importance of duty and honor. You write heroic role-plays. You will never lie or cheat and you are fiercely loyal to the crown. This is fine if it makes up maybe a third of the realm, but any more then that and you've got a boring realm with no conflict. Like the follower you can shake things up by changing the focus of your honor and loyalty by making it first and foremost to someone other then the king. Another thing to consider is looking at the figure you're loyal too, say the king, as someone you need to compete for against your realm mates. You want to show him who's the best in battle. Or who makes his lands most prosperous. Naturally, this can lead you into conflicts with other members of your realm. No one likes being told they're an inferior warrior or an incompetent administrator. Now an important part here is that sometimes rulers will suppress these sort of conflicts because they're also wrapped up in being overly honorable and benevolent. I'd advise against this. Pretend for a minute that realm members are not disposable and you can't just punish them both. In this case unless their conflict threatens the whole realm you're better off letting them fight it out. If you're at war, why not ask them to suspend their feud until the conflict is over (this could actually make for more exciting peace time).

The Manipulator:

The problem with this archetype is mostly in the way it's played. Some players get a kick out of being the back stabbing power player. They want to be Iago, Little Finger, Grima Wormtongue, Jafar. Nothing wrong with that by itself, but if done wrong it makes everyone groan. The biggest problem that comes up with this archetype is people are often way too obvious about it. They lash out at people in big public ways, accusing every other notable figure of being "The real power hungry manipulator". More often then not people keep them around just for amusement. When they eventually get driven out of every realm and give up, they then make a new character and almost immediately get up to the same old tricks, which makes everyone groan all over again.

If you want to be the shifty advisor there is one thing you need subtlety, say it with me SUBTLETY. Public condemnations of anyone should be the LAST thing you do. You need to work in the shadows, with whispers, little exchanges. Pay attention to things and find ways to drive wedges between people. I don't mean wedges between one person and the entire realm, or two huge groups within the realm, I mean two individuals. Say someone didn't sell food when another region was starving. Sell the needy region that food and send a PM saying how sorry you are you couldn't make the trade sooner and how horrified you are that so and so didn't see fit to offer food at a fair price. A good manipulation requires lots of little grudges that can build into bigger grudges, allowing you to play one side against the other until there's no one to stand in your way.

Also if you've played the big obvious manipulator too many times, either play severable honorable upstanding characters, or find yourself a proxy, some naive young character you promise to help reach the top. The great thing about that is you can also sell them out in the end and convince people you really have given up your family's manipulative ways and turned over a new leaf.

Another thing that can ad some flavor here is motivations. Most manipulators in the game are not poisoning their way to the top to accomplish anything. Hey it's not a big deal now and then to just be plain power hungry, hell that's realistic, but ambitious manipulators are more interesting. It's exciting to see people that don't just want to reach the top for the fun of being on top but in fact want to reach the top so they can change their realm some how. I'm talking about people who want to advance their religeon or destroy another. Maybe they want the realm to be more warlike or more mercantile. Maybe they want to declare war on an old enemy or bring about peace. These are things to think about

You're assuming too much with the Manipulator one, and making it an umbrella for a lot of characters it doesn't apply to. Specifically regarding myself, I've only played one character that could be regarded as that, and that's Zhukov. Yes, I was impatient with him, which is why he's pretty much in despair right now as all that he's tried to work towards falls into pieces around him.

Ketchum

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I have one type to add on.

The Quiet Manipulator/Pacifist:
I had one character who had time and again managed to defend the wall, stock it with enough militia to defend against no less than 2-3 realms attacks. Then one day poof! The wall is destroyed by the attacking realms and she showed how horror the war could be. Behind the background IC, I played her as a Peaceful character who disliked war. True enough when the realm faced war that the realm could bring to an end with just a signature on that treaty, she acted in her own way. This is despite she having her brother who was Ruler of the realm and her brother is much honorable character who could do no wrong in many realm nobles eyes.

If you're a lord or duke, you really have no place playing this archetype. You have too much power. It's too important for everyone else's fun that you do something interesting with it.
Many of my characters who are leaders try to distribute powers, grant them lordship, dukeship what-not to other characters. The difficult part is when other characters are not qualified for the ranks and titles promotions, they have lack of honor and prestige to do so. Then we send them off to fight monsters and undead, but then too much CS force fighting rogue won't get you many Honor and Prestige. That bring my characters who are leaders to try to create some conflicts and fun for everyone. But then too many peaceful realms around my characters realms and with many hostile realms being far distance away... I found out that when warring with hostile realms far away, the routine follow the military orders, result in nobles disinterests pretty much quickly. Unless I gave them a fighting against all odds like those nobles joining Oligarch fighting against many other realms for survival, make their backs against the wall, the nobles are disinterested. I have tried many ways to make them interested. Newcomers are welcome with messages, friendly ones, to ask them to ask questions if they have one. Roleplays is another way I tried out but the results are not impressive to say the least. The routine click button and travel, as with follow military orders maybe one of the many factors. I do encourage difference in opinions, I even encourage secession by Dukes. Maybe I should turn many of my characters into "Quiet Manipulator/Pacifist" instead ???
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pcw27

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You're assuming too much with the Manipulator one, and making it an umbrella for a lot of characters it doesn't apply to. Specifically regarding myself, I've only played one character that could be regarded as that, and that's Zhukov. Yes, I was impatient with him, which is why he's pretty much in despair right now as all that he's tried to work towards falls into pieces around him.

I actually hadn't considered Zhukov at all. I was thinking of Jonsu (an extreme example), Alison and Alison mark II, people like that.

I have one type to add on.

The Quiet Manipulator/Pacifist:
I had one character who had time and again managed to defend the wall, stock it with enough militia to defend against no less than 2-3 realms attacks. Then one day poof! The wall is destroyed by the attacking realms and she showed how horror the war could be. Behind the background IC, I played her as a Peaceful character who disliked war. True enough when the realm faced war that the realm could bring to an end with just a signature on that treaty, she acted in her own way. This is despite she having her brother who was Ruler of the realm and her brother is much honorable character who could do no wrong in many realm nobles eyes.

See this is an example of a good complex character with unique motivations. I'm not sure if I see where manipulation comes in though.

Many of my characters who are leaders try to distribute powers, grant them lordship, dukeship what-not to other characters. The difficult part is when other characters are not qualified for the ranks and titles promotions, they have lack of honor and prestige to do so.

Is this happening in a smaller realm? I've seen lots of large realms with plenty of high honor and prestige characters who also have do nothing dukes.

Victor C

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Interesting look on this. Tell me where exactly you received such data to generalize the entire community?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2016, 08:11:40 AM by victor c »
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Ketchum

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Is this happening in a smaller realm? I've seen lots of large realms with plenty of high honor and prestige characters who also have do nothing dukes.
This happens in a big size realm with low number of nobles to high number of regions ratio. Either our army has reached its limit size and then many nobles with high honor and prestige paused or left.

I have been thinking of solutions. Do my character need to force the duke to secede? If the duke secede, do that duke has enough nobles number to populate its government members ranks, region lordships? Do other characters need to be send to battles against monsters, undead or war to raise up their honor and prestige? You know that we all facing players number problem currently, and if we do not promote new characters to lordships as encouraged, then we are going to be left with only old players by that time.

The only changing mechanics thought I have in mind, is to lower down honor, prestige requirements for the characters to hold the government members ranks, or region lords. Or have their new characters to gain honor, prestige easily fighting monsters and undead on their own. It is a little frustrating when you know you have region lordships to give away but the available candidates are so few and none available due to honor, prestige issues.

I even Roleplay my characters but of course roleplays alone is never fun unless other characters join in. That said, been giving them incentive to take even poor region lordship, my character says will fund their unit and all. But lack of honor and prestige stand in the way still. These days if you want us to join in war given our lack number of nobles, that can be "suicide" against other high number of nobles realms. As realm leaders, I have to think of players fun, realms interests and so on. Of course reasons to justify war are part of my characters leaders reasoning for war. That probably bring me to my next point: Should we get more pacifist character type like my earlier post so that they fight to protect the peace? Have them Roleplay IC, send them to do something that they not normally do. This change can happen, we can justify due to they see many dead bodies on battlefields, I feel there is potential for our characters to change 180 degrees midway through their life. I have plan for an infiltrator class character, something I never try out before in this game. Other than trader of course ;)
Werewolf Games: Villager (6) Wolf (4) Seer (3); Lynched as Villager(1). Lost as Villager(1), Lost as Wolf(1) due to Parity. Hunted as Villager(1). Lynched as Seer(2).
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Gabanus family

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You don't have to do it all, you just have to do one or two of them well. Oligarch doesn't have lordships to give out and the government members are active and do a good job so dificult to replace (even those which are elected). All we give them is a fun war and roleplaying.

Something I have been pushing a lot though, which I think especially council members should do to make the game more fun, is to share almost everything public. We're discussing military plans in public, we're discussing conversations with foreign rulers etc in public, we try to get people involved, or simply spout some bull!@#$ on our enemies saying we'll crush them blablabla. Way too many realms do many of these things in special councils, which made sense 10 years ago. First off you had so many nobles and so many messages a day, receiving 20 more a day would be annoying to some. Also with all those chars you had far more spies, which you hardly see anymore these days with 2 char limit removed. Now you see realms where most knights and sometimes even Lords receive maybe one real message a day, but there is a whole lively discussion in the realm's council, the military council or whatever.

You can make almost everything public in your realm as council member, it won't harm your realm so much. When in doubt? Just share it!
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Vita

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You don't have to do it all, you just have to do one or two of them well. Oligarch doesn't have lordships to give out and the government members are active and do a good job so dificult to replace (even those which are elected). All we give them is a fun war and roleplaying.

Something I have been pushing a lot though, which I think especially council members should do to make the game more fun, is to share almost everything public. We're discussing military plans in public, we're discussing conversations with foreign rulers etc in public, we try to get people involved, or simply spout some bull!@#$ on our enemies saying we'll crush them blablabla. Way too many realms do many of these things in special councils, which made sense 10 years ago. First off you had so many nobles and so many messages a day, receiving 20 more a day would be annoying to some. Also with all those chars you had far more spies, which you hardly see anymore these days with 2 char limit removed. Now you see realms where most knights and sometimes even Lords receive maybe one real message a day, but there is a whole lively discussion in the realm's council, the military council or whatever.

You can make almost everything public in your realm as council member, it won't harm your realm so much. When in doubt? Just share it!
This. A thousand times, this. ^

Ketchum

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You don't have to do it all, you just have to do one or two of them well. Oligarch doesn't have lordships to give out and the government members are active and do a good job so dificult to replace (even those which are elected). All we give them is a fun war and roleplaying.

Something I have been pushing a lot though, which I think especially council members should do to make the game more fun, is to share almost everything public. We're discussing military plans in public, we're discussing conversations with foreign rulers etc in public, we try to get people involved, or simply spout some bull!@#$ on our enemies saying we'll crush them blablabla. Way too many realms do many of these things in special councils, which made sense 10 years ago. First off you had so many nobles and so many messages a day, receiving 20 more a day would be annoying to some. Also with all those chars you had far more spies, which you hardly see anymore these days with 2 char limit removed. Now you see realms where most knights and sometimes even Lords receive maybe one real message a day, but there is a whole lively discussion in the realm's council, the military council or whatever.

You can make almost everything public in your realm as council member, it won't harm your realm so much. When in doubt? Just share it!
Tried this even before you suggest. Does not work with your sample result :'(
Werewolf Games: Villager (6) Wolf (4) Seer (3); Lynched as Villager(1). Lost as Villager(1), Lost as Wolf(1) due to Parity. Hunted as Villager(1). Lynched as Seer(2).
Won as Villager(3). Won as Seer(1). Won as Wolf(3).
BM Characters: East Continent(Brock), Colonies(Ash), Dwilight(Gary)

Gabanus family

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Tried this even before you suggest. Does not work with your sample result :'(

It's not a one off thing, nor the only thing, but definately important in my view. Some people try this for a month, see no success and stop doing it. In my opinion this is a crucial part of keeping the realm lively, although it can never be the only part obviously :)

In the end you'll have to see what kind of nobles you have, who you have and adjust to that and get them involved somehow. Which realm are you talking about atm? I can't imagine for instance that it's Nivemus cause that should be pretty active I'd imagine?
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pcw27

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You don't have to do it all, you just have to do one or two of them well. Oligarch doesn't have lordships to give out and the government members are active and do a good job so dificult to replace (even those which are elected). All we give them is a fun war and roleplaying.

Something I have been pushing a lot though, which I think especially council members should do to make the game more fun, is to share almost everything public. We're discussing military plans in public, we're discussing conversations with foreign rulers etc in public, we try to get people involved, or simply spout some bull!@#$ on our enemies saying we'll crush them blablabla. Way too many realms do many of these things in special councils, which made sense 10 years ago. First off you had so many nobles and so many messages a day, receiving 20 more a day would be annoying to some. Also with all those chars you had far more spies, which you hardly see anymore these days with 2 char limit removed. Now you see realms where most knights and sometimes even Lords receive maybe one real message a day, but there is a whole lively discussion in the realm's council, the military council or whatever.

You can make almost everything public in your realm as council member, it won't harm your realm so much. When in doubt? Just share it!

This is a very good point. As the realm grows you can then break things up into new message groups to keep down message traffic.

Vita

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I don't think there's any realm that should be worried about keeping down message traffic, at this point.

Gabanus family

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I don't think there's any realm that should be worried about keeping down message traffic, at this point.

Except Fontan anno 2005 or so, I mean seriously guys 120 messages per turn?
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