Author Topic: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.  (Read 3954 times)

Offline x4000

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An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« on: January 29, 2013, 01:49:45 PM »
So, obviously, one thing I'm considering is equipment renovations: http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,12366.0.html

However, I want to make sure and at least consider all options with regard to improving or replacing what is probably the game's weakest mechanic at present.  One idea has occurred to me that I like so much that I think that it's worth its own thread.

No More Equipment
It's been stated in the other thread that the removal of equipment would be a mistake, because collecting powerups is part of the fun of a platformer.  And the latter is definitely true -- and the former may be as well, it's hard to say.  But the general reasons why I'd remove equipment are, in no particular order:

- They were something that I added not out of a personal desire to actually have this mechanic, but to make the game more attractive to more people.
- The equipment is pretty opaque to new players in particular, and we could really do with less of that where it's avoidable.
- I don't think that people really get that much satisfaction out of the equipment in general, as they would in Diablo or something.  So it's probably not really serving its purpose.
- The focus of the game is on improvements of your character via perks and feats, and improvements of the world via your actions in the strategic game.  There's already a ton of progression here, whereas equipment is just a temporary bonus.

In other words, I think that equipment is redundant with other things that are already done better in the game, and as the weaker cousin it should therefore be allowed to die out.  THAT said, we really do need some little something that you can pick up in the spots where merc coins and treasure chests used to be, because collecting that sort of thing by going off the beaten path a little bit really is fun and part of platforming, I agree.  And so...

Merc Coins Again!?
That's right, bringing merc coins back.  But not mercenary hotlines or the mercenaries that follow you around in side view.  And merc coins would not be individual for each player, nor would they show on your HUD all the time.  They would go into a global stockpile shown in the upper left on the strategic map, like other resources.  HOWEVER, these would in no way actually help the strategic game, because letting you grind coins in the side view to help in the strategic view is very much not something we ever want to do.

Instead, when you had at least... say, perhaps 5? merc coins, then there would be a new Interact With Region menu option whenever you go to an unpurified region.  It would say something like "Hire Mercenaries to Purify (Cost: 5)."  If you select this option, then after a brief prompt it would purify the tile you're standing on without you having to go in on foot and do the wind shelter yourself.

Things I like about this:
- It keeps something to collect in the side view as you explore little nooks and crannies, which is something I really agree is a hugely fun thing.  Otherwise little side nooks have no point.
- The reward is actually really exciting, because it lets you make more quick progress in the overworld, and/or skip a tile that you're finding too hard or unpleasant.  Don't like certain regions much?  Merc coins!  Don't have the cold dispersal tower yet, but want to go into the ice age areas a little ways?  Merc coins!
- The reward is clear and central to all players, not something that takes a lot of explanation to get or that can result in any ninja loot stealing in MP.
- It adds something positive to the game, while mainly just letting the rest of the game get on with itself.
- Oh, and it speeds up the game slightly without shrinking the map, which is cool.


This is where I am strongly leaning at the moment.  Any objections or counterpoints?  madcow in particular?
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 01:59:39 PM »
Seconded. Sounds like an interesting idea, and it sounds like it would fit well both with the game and with players.  :)

-T



Offline x4000

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 02:03:21 PM »
Cool. :)
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Offline madcow

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 02:05:47 PM »
Hmm, I would need to think on this! On one hand, the satisfaction of for instance finding the invinsibility star in Mario is pretty fun. On the other hand, the combo system will somewhat render it obsolete.  I'll post back later after mulling on it abit.

If this went through I would suggest the harder tiles having a higher cost though.

It's a good idea but there is just something satisfying about finding buffs to play with and toss away just as quickly, I'll have more later!

Offline x4000

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 02:07:13 PM »
Fair enough!
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Offline Panopticon

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 02:07:27 PM »
This sounds really great. I like this a lot. I generally just skip equipment because of the possible detrimental effects, fragility and general unknown quantity that they represent.

Maybe an additional use could be spending some merc coins on a tile with a high danger value can bring it down for a turn or even a few turns. This way you could prepare a high danger area for operations by the resistance. It could offer some strategic flexibility and create some interesting choices on how you spend the coins.

Offline x4000

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 02:13:01 PM »
Giving any bonuses to the strategic side of the game -- including affecting things like danger level -- is definitely Right Out, because that encourages grinding for optimal play.  We never want a point where players are going to be running around scavenging for merc coins to meet some goal in the strategy game, and if there are any strategic benefits whatsoever then advanced players will be doing that.  The free-purification thing only gives you a side-view advantage because you don't have to go through the level on foot yourself, so it saves you time and effort.  That's doubly helping to avoid grind because you'd spend more effort grinding out merc coins than you would just playing the tile in most cases.

I think that having a flat cost for all tile types is probably preferable, just because players are going to be saving these up for the more dangerous tiles anyhow, and that's what I would encourage in the first place.
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Offline Panopticon

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 02:18:04 PM »
That makes a lot of sense. I wouldn't want to turn the game into a grind for Merc Coins either, and yeah that's the path my suggestion beats down without a doubt.

I am all for the mechanics you have laid out for them and I find the idea exciting. It's a nice way for the sidescrolling game to feed into the strategic game and vice versa. I really like that sort of thing a lot.

Offline madcow

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 02:19:37 PM »
I think I could live just fine with either option to be honest. The more I think about it, the more merc coins seem viable.

While I know there's strong items out there, I've not really found hem enough to fully know the impact my equipment is having.  Which is one of points that's winning me over here.  Either more transparency in equipment or this would be fine.

On the topic of removing the grind for coins. They should only appear in corrupted zones maybe, that way you don't have people grinding a million caves for coins (which is silly but we all know somebody would do it)

Offline x4000

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 02:23:41 PM »
Cool stuff -- if even madcow has been won over, then this is probably the way to go. ;)

I'm not too worried about people grinding for merc coins just based on the benefit style of them as designed, honestly; generally my approach to grinding is to reduce the incentive, not to make it harder to actually do the grinding.  If we made it just corrupted tiles, then people would complain even more that there's nothing worth getting in the uncorrupted tiles, and caves and level up towers would NEVER have rewards (since they auto-purify when adjacent to purified land).

Plus we'd get people going through and playing through corrupted tiles but not actually destroying the windshelter in order to get around that restriction, etc.  That's why I've learned to go for the incentive, heh -- players are so darn inventive!
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Offline nas1m

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 02:47:00 PM »
As mentioned in the other thread concerning equipment I am quite fond of the "Mario 3" like equipment-handling idea tossed into the ring by madcow. This would rise and fall with a way to visualize equipment along with its stats, though.

I was quite disinterested into equipment more or the less the whole time playing the Alpha and Beta up until now. Why I care? Because the increased amount of equipment to be found since the merc coin swap actually change something, as it actually led to myself finding out what equipment *could* do - the moment I found this piece granting multiple shots I was hooked - I am not ashamed to confess ; ).

This was the time equipment was actually fun for the first time! This combined with madcows approach to be able to keep equipment for later, e.g. to buff yourself up before entering a hard zone or level up tower sounds really quite intriguing to me...

I would be sad for equipment to make its leave now that I grew fond of it =  /...
Just my 2 cents...

Cheers,
nasim

Edited for typos.

EDIT 2:
This is not to say I don't like your mercenary purification idea (which sounds interesting as well) - why not do both ; ) (aside from the obvious time constraints naturally).
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 02:53:43 PM by nas1m »
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 02:57:54 PM »
Looking forward to the changes! 

p.s. don't know if you have decided to put rebuilding tiles back in, as per the other thread, but all of this seems to me to point to a lot of things for the player to do, and stay alive, :) and not get boxed into hopeless situations. All of these changes seem to 'fit together' in the sense that it gives players choices, without dumbing down the game for pro players, or making the game unwinnable for the new players.

Just my perspective, maybe i'm not seeing this perfectly right, but i like the direction i 'think' the changes are going and how it makes the game play for all the players.

:)

-T

p.s.  looking at the other thread it looks like the re-build tiles isn't coming back, but that is probably a good thing in the march to oblivion that the game really encompasses. Anyway, still good ideas!  Looking forward to the changes and how they play out in the game.


« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:18:37 PM by Teal_Blue »

Offline x4000

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 03:04:56 PM »
Well, storing up items and using them from the world map is really a lot of complexity and something I'm not sure keen on for the following reasons:
-It encourages grinding to have a good store of them.
-It encourages backtracking to the world map if you lose your equipment partway through a level and want to go back for more.
-It takes a minor temporary buff and instead makes it something that you can use at any time you want, which makes it a more key part of the balance rather than a little something extra.

Among other issues, really.  We're still then left with the problems of showing these to the player and explaining them, in the midst of a game that is already pretty deep in terms of the tactical sideview combat and the strategic portion, which are the meat and potatoes of the game.  So very many people complain about just skipping the equipment all together that I don't know how salvage-able this is.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 03:21:21 PM »
These are all valid points (most of which I had not thought about). The grinding aspect at least might be kept in check by only allowing the player to collect a fixed number of equipment items (maybe 5 or 10?) - just enough to give you that boost once in a while to make your life easier.

But this does not mitigate the remaining issues you brought up.

How about keeping the current equipment mechanic in and simply providing more info on what it does in the escape menu or, preferably, somewhere in the HUD? This, maybe combined with a slight durability boost or changing over to e.g. an approach allowing the use of a single equipment item until the next time the player dies or disposes of the item (this would have to be implemented first, though) would make the equipment feature transparent and enjoyable - at least for me - without causing too much trouble...
« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:23:44 PM by nas1m »
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: An alternative to equipment: Mercenary Purification.
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 03:26:12 PM »
Please don't skip equipment. Take it slow, look at it with your own people and make changes if you have to, but don't scrap it.

-T

p.s.  even with that said, if you feel the mercenary purification is a better mechanic, then do it.  :)  I'm trying to be flexible here without ruining the game.


« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 03:28:08 PM by Teal_Blue »