Author Topic: Let's bring up "passive" champions again  (Read 2216 times)

Offline chemical_art

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Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« on: March 28, 2014, 05:35:34 PM »
AI Wars is getting updates again. Yay!

Let's hatch an old chestnut.

Those who want the benefit of champion rewards without actually playing the nebula.

SO I'll start:

If selected via the lobby. The player champion upon entering a nebula will not be usable for X minutes. After X minutes, it will be usable again. It will gain Y levels automatically. It will get Z rewards from the nebula. The champion at this point can find another nebula and repeat the process. Any AI response from using too many nebula shall occur as normal.


[Place opinions here.]
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Offline orzelek

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2014, 06:22:16 PM »
There was this huge threadnaught about reinventing/redoing champions.
If there is a chance for that small changes can wait ;)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2014, 07:10:44 PM »
Reworking champions was the #2 on the big 8.0 poll.  After hacking.  Now that hacking is largely into the polish phase (in my opinion, at least), reworking champions is the next big item on my list.

Part of the challenge is that there's not so much a consensus on what needs to be done as at least two different camps who want very different things from champions.  Some want more direct-use abilities and in general more skill-based interaction.  Others want less of that, in the sense of just wanting big modular ships to throw around in an otherwise unchanged (or nearly so) game.

Or so I recall.  My memory isn't so good ;)

The concrete ideas that have come to mind (possibly through what others have said, it's been a while) for me, in no particular order and not particularly mutually-exclusive to one another:

a) Add more direct use abilities, like conical-aoe or travelling-aoe attacks that fire in the direction of the mouse cursor.  Possibly more buff/debuff abilities.  None of that is particularly quick to code so I'm not wild about it, but I suppose that is the can of worms I opened.

b) In most (possibly all) nebula scenarios, add beacons you can drop to help coordinate with your allies.  Like an "Attack" beacon that makes all spawns from the nearest ally base target the nearest enemy base, a "Defend" beacon that makes all spawns from the second-nearest ally base go after the stuff attacking the nearest ally base, and an "Escort" beacon that makes all spawns from the nearest ally base attack whatever's attacking the player (or the player is attacking, probably prioritizing within that joint set by what it's best at killing).

c) Add a lobby option that lets you have champions without nebulas of any kind, and they just gain xp by killing AI stuff.  Possibly that would be too grind-oriented, so perhaps they just gain xp when you gain AIP ;)  Possibly new hull/module unlocks come alongside new ship types from capturing or hacking ARS/AdvFact/Fab stuff.  If it's just an alternate mode I'd rather not add new types of things to go after for those purposes, but just focus on minimum-fiddliness.

Other ideas, and thoughts on these, are welcome as always :)
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Offline Wingflier

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2014, 07:26:35 PM »
What about making Champions something like what you would expect from an RPG or like any other large resource in the game:

I.e. If you lose them the AI goes absolutely insane trying to kill you while the Champion slowly respawns. It's just an idea I guess, maybe tie it to the "Hunter" plot. I'd use it anyway.
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Offline TheOverWhelming

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2014, 07:11:53 PM »
While I only have about 40-50 actual real-world playing time under my belt I feel like Champions should be more of a micro thing (so more abilities or choices)

Currently a 'Normal' player is about macro, building up, killing the AI (I haven't really done a 'stealthier' playthru yet) and controlling vast amount of ships without a ton of micro (in my current game I rally point to an enemy planet sometimes in case I lose ships).
Champion players are all about one ship with its 1-2 abilities and flying about making choices.. most of which are (for me): do i get lasers for the next nebulae or something else to counter the armor types there.. but it's so far so do i run a balanced champ.
Or.. do I deep strike by myself and place a shield over every wormhole I go into just in case of health-based weaponry in order to get a bunch of AIP reducers or assassinate that planet

Mind you, once you get Photon Lances in Nebulaes it becomes vastly easier to do all of them otherwise it can feel quite grindy on some nebulaes

Offline Furret

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 05:46:18 AM »
Part of the challenge is that there's not so much a consensus on what needs to be done as at least two different camps who want very different things from champions.  Some want more direct-use abilities and in general more skill-based interaction.  Others want less of that, in the sense of just wanting big modular ships to throw around in an otherwise unchanged (or nearly so) game.

Perhaps add in a few more radically different module types?

For example: A control module.

Your options are:
Complex Manual Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install more 'skillshot'  modules like aoe damage projectiles, or delayed explosions
- Assuming the player controlled their champion correctly, this module would allow for the most dps
- Most or all of these abilities would not be able to be used without explicit instruction from the player, so unless handled properly, this type of champion would be relatively ineffective

Simple Manual Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install some of the micro-intensive modules such as force-fields or instant damage/repair
- This module would require the player to control their champion to reap the full rewards of this module, but most of the abilities/weapons wouldn't require deep thought or planning
- The abilities/weapons would be equally effective in most or all circumstances, but would still require player control to be fully effective

Simple Automatic Control Module
- Installing this module would allow your ship to install the basic weaponry currently allotted to champions
- This module would not require any player control as all of the modular weapon systems would use the game's current targeting code
- The weapons would be slightly less effective than a well controlled Manual Control champion, but would be more effective than a poorly controlled Manual Control Champion


I actually haven't played too much with champions because I get too caught up in microing them so I may be totally missing something already implemented.

Lastly, an idea for an ability: A massive magnet.  It would work similarly to tractor beams, except allowing other AOE damage to be much more effective since enemy ships would be clustered around the unit using the magnet.

Offline doctorfrog

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2014, 02:40:14 PM »
This might be off the wall, but what about an indirectly-controlled champion, that you partly "program" by selecting its upgrade path, or parts? Like, it could self-select which enemies it wants to fight against based on the weapon mounts (it probably already does this), but also based on this, it can go on fairly unsophisticated "missions" that you pick from a simple menu.

The idea is that it would be less of a direct-control unit that you have to choose to either practically abandon the rest of the game to control, or just another starship, and more of a dark horse or special ops kind of unit. Or an excitable pet, even.

For example:
1. The champ sits idle on your home planet. You click on it, or otherwise activate it.
2. You are presented with a simple menu of available "missions" based on what the champ knows about on the map. Maybe it's "Engage a Special Forces base on Murdoch," or "Explore nearest wormhole and engage as needed." You don't pick the missions, it does. The last mission is just "Play a Support Role in My Largest Fleetball."
3. There's an option where you can let it pick its own supplementary forces. "How much support can I bring?"
4. This time, let's have it Engage a Special Forces Base (never mind at the moment if that's a terrible idea or not, let's pretend it's a great idea), and let it take along 300 other ships of its own choosing.
5. As it goes along its business, you send in your own fleetball to take care of other business on the planet.
6. As the champ gets close to dying, it flees with the remainder of its fleet back to the closest friendly planet. It prefers not to die and warp back.

This is just an example, and not a terribly well-thought-out one, but I want to stimulate some thought around making the champion an indirect-control unit. You see, I have been playing Majesty HD lately...

Offline Chthon

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2014, 03:05:55 PM »
This might be off the wall, but what about an indirectly-controlled champion, that you partly "program" by selecting its upgrade path, or parts? Like, it could self-select which enemies it wants to fight against based on the weapon mounts (it probably already does this), but also based on this, it can go on fairly unsophisticated "missions" that you pick from a simple menu.

The idea is that it would be less of a direct-control unit that you have to choose to either practically abandon the rest of the game to control, or just another starship, and more of a dark horse or special ops kind of unit. Or an excitable pet, even.

For example:
1. The champ sits idle on your home planet. You click on it, or otherwise activate it.
2. You are presented with a simple menu of available "missions" based on what the champ knows about on the map. Maybe it's "Engage a Special Forces base on Murdoch," or "Explore nearest wormhole and engage as needed." You don't pick the missions, it does. The last mission is just "Play a Support Role in My Largest Fleetball."
3. There's an option where you can let it pick its own supplementary forces. "How much support can I bring?"
4. This time, let's have it Engage a Special Forces Base (never mind at the moment if that's a terrible idea or not, let's pretend it's a great idea), and let it take along 300 other ships of its own choosing.
5. As it goes along its business, you send in your own fleetball to take care of other business on the planet.
6. As the champ gets close to dying, it flees with the remainder of its fleet back to the closest friendly planet. It prefers not to die and warp back.

This is just an example, and not a terribly well-thought-out one, but I want to stimulate some thought around making the champion an indirect-control unit. You see, I have been playing Majesty HD lately...
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Offline LintMan

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2014, 03:13:43 PM »
As I see it, right now there isn't enough involvement/interaction/"stuff" to make champion-only play very interesting, but at the same time, the nebulas are way too fiddly for normal+champion.  I'm not sure that can be balanced to be equally fun/interesting for both cases.

I usually stick to normal+champion and find the main game grinds to a halt as it is while I do the nebula stuff.   I'd generally prefer spending less time in the nebulas, especially since I usually feel like I get my butt kicked in them.   

A more micro-intensive champion would likely mean a more powerful champion - at least for those with the time and the skill to do the micro management.   Then the micro-ers find it too easy and want more challenge.  Things then get made tougher, and the non-micro-ers have a harder time.

A "passive" champion sounds appealing in some ways, but I do like the nebula missions; I'd just prefer they were shorter and less intense.  I'm guessing that if a totally "passive" option existed to get the nebula rewards without actually doing it yourself, people would expect to get better rewards for doing it themselves or worse rewards for those who passively did it.  And then I'd feel obligated to do them to get the better rewards, since they already feel somewhat meager.

Of the options Keith mentions, a and b aren't appealing to me at all.  Option c might be interesting if it could avoid the grindyness he mentions.

Overall, though, the only thing I really think needs fixing for champions is the tech/leveling curve: it leaves you subject to the whims of the RNG as far as which techs you get early (or at all) and you get too few points to give you any flexibility, locking you in to early choices.


Offline Vinraith

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2014, 03:39:13 PM »
Of the options Keith mentioned, I think option c is the only one I might actually play with.

Offline Labfiend

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2014, 03:54:53 PM »
I concur on option C.  That sounds up my alley.

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2014, 07:49:48 PM »
I like C
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2014, 08:16:17 PM »
Here is an extremely cynical, negative option.

How about scrapping all champion stuff all together, all features related to that (AI response to champions, etc), and give everyone who bought the 4th expansion a PARTIAL refund (partial as the features that were non champion related would remain), and reprice and re-describe the 4th expansion as a "mini-expansion" like the children of neinzul.

I would not like this, as I actually do like the champions. But honestly, with how much trouble they have been to get it to a state that both new and veteran players like, it almost seems like it is not worth it wasting time trying to tweak them anymore.

Then again, I'm feeling really uncharacteristically negative and angry right now, so, maybe I shouldn't be posting right now...


EDIT: I would like to point out that I don't seriously think this is a viable option.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 08:52:33 PM by TechSY730 »

Offline Coppermantis

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2014, 10:07:41 PM »
Yeah, that doesn't really make sense, since, if people don't like the champions they can, you know, not play with them.

In terms of what Keith proposed, I'm supportive of a and b, though if a proves too troublesome I wouldn't mind dropping it. I'm actually fond of Champions in their current state, but the allied AI in nebulae has proven frustrating. Letting them be directed opens up new tactical options and would make the nebulae an overall less painful experience.

c seems like a good option in terms of ease of implementation and satisfying the people who object to Champions' current state, but I'd also like to see b, at least.
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Offline Chthon

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Re: Let's bring up "passive" champions again
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2014, 03:19:42 AM »
Yeah, that doesn't really make sense, since, if people don't like the champions they can, you know, not play with them.

In terms of what Keith proposed, I'm supportive of a and b, though if a proves too troublesome I wouldn't mind dropping it. I'm actually fond of Champions in their current state, but the allied AI in nebulae has proven frustrating. Letting them be directed opens up new tactical options and would make the nebulae an overall less painful experience.

c seems like a good option in terms of ease of implementation and satisfying the people who object to Champions' current state, but I'd also like to see b, at least.
C is kinda demoting the champions to just super strong ships that you can keep rebuilding instantly.  I just wish they meshed with the main game better.  When they are in the game, the main story gets kinda easy on offense due to them as you are never afraid to lose them.  If there were more risk involved, and the AI were more proactive at countering them, without throwing said counters against areas without the champions, I think they'd be more interesting overall.  Right now there's just little outside of nebula they need to worry about.  Even dire guardians don't hold a candle to more than 2 of them.