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Author Topic: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y  (Read 2739 times)

Sy

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Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« on: July 24, 2018, 10:39:51 AM »

this is mostly a continuation of the discussion in this blog thread, but i'm putting it here to stop bumping that thread with something that isn't actually about the blog.
the basic issue is this: many players seem to dislike the fact that it is very hard, and in future potentially completely impossible, to be on friendly terms with the pirate faction while playing as a pirate yourself.



maybe the issue of "i wanna be a pirate, so naturally i should be able to be on good terms with pirate NPCs" would be reduced if the latter weren't actually called *pirates*. because "i wanna be a pirate!" is something many players probably like the sound of, and will at least try at some point for variety.

how about changing the name of the current pirate faction to something else, like "outlaws", with a faction flag that looks less like the iconic skull-and-bones? functionally nothing would change, but it might better get the point across that they are conceptually not really a faction at all, and you playing as a pirate yourself should not make you friendly will any and all outlaws.

i think that would also better fit some of the actual 'pirate' factions in the lore. smugglers and rebels are outlaws, but they aren't necessarily in favor of killing and looting factionless merchant fleets for personal gains. the current faction description already clarifies that pirates are not really a unified faction, but maybe it could do a better job of pointing out just how different the goals and motivations of the various outlaw groups can be:
  • small-time smugglers just trying to make a living in an economy dominated by powerful military factions
  • rebels fighting guerilla wars to free themselves from oppressive governments
  • deserters who chose a life on the fringes over likely death in a faction battle
  • independent warlords with a thirst for power and the military resources (and political connections) to claim and rule their own little chunk of the sector
  • scavenger outfits trying to recuperate the losses of a few unprofitable exploration runs by turning to a bit of crime while away from the prying eyes of the big factions (and potentially taking out some competition in the progress)
  • and lastly really just random bandits who care about little else than preying on easy targets for quick loot


so in short, my suggestion is to rename the "pirate" faction to something that sounds less like something a player might want to be part of, and better highlighting why having a friendly relation with this 'faction' as a whole really doesn't make a lot of sense.
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SafariJohn

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2018, 11:01:41 AM »

Makes sense to me.
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Megas

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2018, 12:36:16 PM »

If "pirate" was renamed to "outlaw" and nothing else changes, there would be no difference other than a name change.  People would still want to join "Outlaws" because "Evil Is Cool" or they want to play with a handicap (pirates as a faction have junk).  Players who want to be pirates and have access to good toys to play with should accept a commission and get benefits on top of preying on their enemies.

It would be nice if independents and pirates were not monolithic.  As they are, they both feel like major factions.  Do to one, do to all.

As for the player's avatar, he will (probably) be the next up-and-coming major faction, too special to be lumped in with the rest of the faceless Independents or Pirates.

P.S.
Maybe one thing that could help, if pirates are permanently hostile, is pirates should offer missions or otherwise take help regardless of reputation (i.e., lower threshold from hostile to vengeful.)  They are so whacked out or insane that they do not care.  Pirates as a faction (should) seem like one angry stupid chaotic evil family.  They hate your guts (for no logical reason), and will kill on sight, but if you dock with their markets, they will unconditionally let you land and gladly trade or offer missions.  Or perhaps block docking if there are aggressive pirate fleets nearby ("Fight us first!") or meddling faction patrols nearby ("We don't want to be seen by the cops near you!")
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 12:59:36 PM by Megas »
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Sy

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2018, 02:45:05 PM »

If "pirate" was renamed to "outlaw" and nothing else changes, there would be no difference other than a name change.  People would still want to join "Outlaws" because "Evil Is Cool" or they want to play with a handicap (pirates as a faction have junk).
i'm sure there'd still be people wanting to join the outlaws, but perhaps fewer. pirates specifically are more than just random bad guys, they've become a pretty iconic thing in popular culture (which evidently did inspire their current starsector flag design).
plus, pirates are all about one thing: killing and/or robbing those who are weaker than them. "outlaws" would better fit the many different motivations and actions of many different outlaw groups (lorewise), with the only common thing being that they work to undermine or evade the laws of the major factions. so it might feel more natural to some people that they simply don't have a unified reputation you can improve at all.

this isn't at all about discouraging the pirate playstyle, to be clear. only about the disconnect that some players (me included, to a degree) feel in not being able to get a positive reputation with the game's pirates despite playing as a pirate.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 02:47:52 PM by Sy »
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Sutopia

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2018, 08:26:05 PM »

Why not just make it an invisible faction like REDACTED?
I would also suggest Independent be invisible faction, replace it with something like “hearsay reputation”, representing your overall reputation across the sector.

Pirates are, as far as I know, mechanically unorganized, hostile NPCs.
They can even fight each other from time to time, and they actually should.
In such case I’m perfectly fine if they’re set to fix -50 rep, as Alex said in that thread, to make it both conceptually and mechanically right.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2018, 09:06:52 PM »

I agree that you shouldn't have a universal rep with all pirates, but I also agree that you should be able to make friends with specific pirates. My solution:
If there is a pirate base in a system, your rep with pirate fleets is tied to your rep with the station commander so you can bribe/trade to make friends, otherwise, if there are no pirate bases in system, you are automatically hostile.

I would like a similar system for all relationships where your relationship with patrols is based on the local station commander but there is still a overall faction relationship that the commander relationships decay to and that random fleets have with you. I suggested this a while ago and I know there was concern that this was too convoluted/difficult to display to the player but I think it wouldn't be very difficult. Just have a layer in the map that overlays a colored circle around each system. If the local commanders are all friendly, make it green (with shade corresponding to how friendly), all hostile is red, neutral is grey and yellow indicates some hostile and some friendly commanders in system. EV Nova had a similar system, and although I didn't know numerically how my actions were changing relationships, I had a good understanding of how my actions affected my relationships in a practical sense. It's much more nuanced and interesting than 'oops I mis-clicked on a friendly patrol and now I am hostile with the whole faction'.
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Deshara

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 10:12:23 PM »

rename pirates "outlaws", make the pirate relations with the player be tracked on a system-by-system basis.
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Sy

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 06:21:28 AM »

i'd be in favor of a system-by-system reputation with pirates/outlaws as well, if not for other factions. it would 'make sense', and be more interesting than all outlaw factions being locked to hostile (maybe the rebels on Umbra quite like me, after i've brought much-needed supplies to their besieged world, blasting my way through Diktat patrols on the way in.. but Kanta wouldn't care about any of that).

my suggestion was just about a small conceptual change in case mechanical changes are unwanted.
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Sutopia

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2018, 07:37:53 AM »

i'd be in favor of a system-by-system reputation with pirates/outlaws as well, if not for other factions. it would 'make sense', and be more interesting than all outlaw factions being locked to hostile (maybe the rebels on Umbra quite like me, after i've brought much-needed supplies to their besieged world, blasting my way through Diktat patrols on the way in.. but Kanta wouldn't care about any of that).

my suggestion was just about a small conceptual change in case mechanical changes are unwanted.
Outlaw is a status, not a faction.
When you go out, turn off transponder and rob someone (especially those already got faction commission), you're technically an outlaw.
When you sneak to hostile black market to trade, you're technically an outlaw.
Just as scavengers can suddenly go hostile and try to kill you, when you turn off transponder to engage, you're technically doing identical thing.

I'd say just remove pirate and replace it with something else.

My previous reply about my thoughts

or just
Spoiler
Idea: remove general "pirate" from game. Change it into a hidden faction that is perfectly fine with fixed rep at -50.
General random piracy will be done by independent guys just like how it acts now in .81 in far-far-far away areas.
When a so-called "pirate" appears, it's secretly funded by a market's opponent to reduce accessibility of competitors.
It then perfectly explains how all the weapons and maybe even the blueprints get to those pirate stations: it's secretly funded.
It can be one part of the underground economy exercise: a raided colony's product and/or an intercepted trade fleet's goods will get more likely appearing in black market for a few months after such operation went successful.

I'm not sure how Alex will making the crime and underground activities in player's colony managing, but what I'm imagining is you'll need to spend some money to suppress crimes; or let loose and eventually your stability drop and organized crime appears. Players can also spend additional money to try "make friends" with mafia boss, take control of both light and dark side of your colony. Although it might cause somehow reduced stability since organized crime is prerequirement, you'll then be able to actually "fund them to set a pirate base" to reduce your competitors' accessibility without heavy reputation punishment. It's an option for player trying to act like a "very clever badass".

I'm not sure if it'll go over-complicated if making it possible to trace back to pirate's funder and ask for some kind of ransom or reparation, but under assumption of all pirates are funded by competitor, it's perfectly fine setting them at hostile (rep -50).

Edit:
I think I forgot about pirate distress calls? The already-existed independent scavenger can do the job.
As player can make real and fake distress calls, why can't everyone else do same?
Some greedy NPC might just do the same and try ambush you if they think they can take you; or they pretend they pressed the wrong button and give you some fuel/supply in return for the false call if they eventually find you too big to fight against.
[close]
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Sy

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2018, 09:19:31 AM »

Outlaw is a status, not a faction.
that's my point, yeah. you breaking the law doesn't seem like it should automatically get you on good terms with everyone else who also routinely breaks or evades the law in any manner.

technically being a pirate may also at some point have been just a status, but they've effectively become a group or a specific way of life in popular culture. hence it feels like a player choosing to be a pirate should be able to join the pirate 'faction', even if the background lore (not to mention gameplay) disagrees with that.

there are various "outlaw" factions in popular culture as well, but much fewer, and usually even less unified or organized than pirates.
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Megas

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2018, 03:52:53 PM »

there are various "outlaw" factions in popular culture as well, but much fewer, and usually even less unified or organized than pirates.
For pop-culture, what do people think of we think read or hear "pirate" or "outlaw"?

As for me...

"Pirate" is a dirty and treasure obsessed sailor often screaming "Arrr!" and "Walk the plank!".  Tends to have a peg-leg, hook, eyepatch, and/or a pet parrot.  Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean was a big thing somewhat recently.  For anime and manga fans, there is One Piece, despite involving superpowers and Looney Tunes-like silliness.

"Outlaw" is a wild west bandit wearing a cowboy hat and a hanky over his nose and mouth.  Often sticks up bank tellers and stagecoach drivers.  Might try to hijack a chu-chu train.  Sometimes liquors up and/or plays card games in the saloon and gets into quick draw duels with other gunslingers.  John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns probably had their heyday decades ago.  I cannot think of any recent and hugely successful wild west franchises.

On the other hand, if outlaws include organized crime or lowlife thrill-seekers getting in trouble with the mob and/or the authorities, there may be various franchises out there.
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Sutopia

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2018, 06:37:08 PM »

there are various "outlaw" factions in popular culture as well, but much fewer, and usually even less unified or organized than pirates.
For pop-culture, what do people think of we think read or hear "pirate" or "outlaw"?

"Pirate" is a dirty and treasure obsessed sailor often screaming "Arrr!" and "Walk the plank!".  Tends to have a peg-leg, hook, eyepatch, and/or a pet parrot.  Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Caribbean was a big thing somewhat recently.  For anime and manga fans, there is One Piece, despite involving superpowers and Looney Tunes-like silliness.


Hold on ...
I'm having culture shock right now.
I thought pirates were the mafia on speedboats with AK-47 to hijack ships and ask for ransom?
I don't really have impression of the "old fashioned, mid-age, for kid story" ones since there were quite a few ships getting hijacked when I was young and they were all over the news.
Also that kind of pirate feel "weird, hilarious and somehow shallow" to fit in any space game, at least to me.

I'm just really tired of products everywhere keep repeating  the stereotypes for certain characters, almost as bored as "making an old game an HD version".
You can easily predict what he'll do next since it's bound in the stereotype.
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Megas

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2018, 07:52:09 PM »

Quote
I'm just really tired of products everywhere keep repeating  the stereotypes for certain characters, almost as bored as "making an old game an HD version".
Some stereotypes are classic and/or entertaining, even if cliched or overused.

Pop culture or fiction does not always agree with reality.  For example, fictional female warriors may be long-haired buxom beauties who wear high-heels and show gratuitous cleavage.

Also, the giant razor posing as a big sword like Guts' Dragonslayer from Berserk is ubiquitous in fiction.  In some, one is not enough, and the character wields two (or more if it gets very silly).
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Unreal_One

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2018, 07:53:34 PM »

Image search "Pirate" and you get an absolute ton of Age of Sail Jack Sparrows; you don't get speedboats and AKs unless you add in "modern". Add "Space" instead and you get Space is an ocean types and Metroid characters. Pirate has a specific connotation, separate from its general definition of criminal of the sea, that brings to mind in most people the bicorne wearing skull and crossbones flying golden age of piracy.
You can fight the stereotyping by just using pirate to mean "space baddy", or try to avoid it by changing the faction, but the archetype of Pirate=Swashbuckler on a boat is extremely strong in modern pop culture.
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Megas

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Re: Rename the Pirate 'Faction' to something less Pirate-y
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2018, 08:01:52 PM »

Even if you put space pirate, you could still have squid or bug Jack Sparrow (wearing classic pirate attire) with a robot parrot in a spaceship pushing people out the airlock.

No matter when and where you are in fiction, Jack Sparrow or other Age of Sail pirate will reskin themselves to fit.  You could be in the ocean during the Stone Age, and caveman pirate wearing his eyepatch would be out there screaming "ARRR!" while riding his Flintstones-style boat.
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