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Author Topic: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points  (Read 745 times)

Gothars

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An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« on: October 02, 2020, 02:54:03 PM »

Right, we know very little about story points, but I'll try a suggestion anyway:)

I remember that one of the ideas behind having deployment costs is to motivate players to deploy as little as possible to defeat an enemy, theoretically leading to more interesting battles even if the enemy is outnumbered. I practice, however, it is usually better to deploy enough ships to easily crush the opponent, as the danger of losing one of your own far outweighs the concern of increased deployment costs. Consciously deciding to make a battle more interesting and challenging yourself to hard battles is, in sum, punished by the game, not rewarded. 

One idea to change that is to reward players with story points if they win a pitched battle. The go to way to grant story points seems to be bonus experience, so maybe that should happen here as well. It seems a good way to give "partial" story points with something like 50% bonus experience.

A pitched battle could be either:

- a battle were you win against a far great DP deployment than you deployed yourself, or
- a battle were you suffered heavy losses and came close to losing, but didn't.

In the second case a generous helping of extra XP might keep you from just reloading.
Both cases should probably have a cooldown so it's less easy to abuse them for XP farming.

I think it could also be cool if pitched battles were noted down in the new story point log. With that, story points could be slight redefined to not only mean "points you spend to shape your story" but also "points you earn by shaping an interesting story".
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Alex

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 03:50:53 PM »

Hmm. First thought was "this is a cool idea!"

Second thought is, it'll get gamed pretty hard, won't it? "Find a pirate and beat it with a maximally abusive solo Tempest" or some such. Or, "bring clunkers and take intentional losses". A cooldown I don't think solves the problem - it just makes it worse since you'd probably feel like you need to do this as often as the cooldown ticks to be "optimal".

I'm not sure it's really possible to make this sort of thing work. Any sort of specific thing you can do to gain them will lead to gameplay that abuses it, and not in a "fun" way which this is meant to reward. It feels like very much a "water finds a crack" type of thing - crafting a set of rules that only gives SP for things that are actually fun, and doesn't for some degenerate use cases, seems pretty much impossible. XP is at least general enough that you gain it by just playing.
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Megas

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 03:58:47 PM »

Second thought is, it'll get gamed pretty hard, won't it? "Find a pirate and beat it with a maximally abusive solo Tempest" or some such. Or, "bring clunkers and take intentional losses". A cooldown I don't think solves the problem - it just makes it worse since you'd probably feel like you need to do this as often as the cooldown ticks to be "optimal".
I totally agree and I would so game it, just like during the later Starfarer days (with skills) when losing ships gave experience.  During those releases, I purposely killed my own ships and/or threw fodder ships to die to accelerate xp gain.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 04:00:24 PM by Megas »
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ubuntufreakdragon

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2020, 05:12:22 PM »

a formula like:
extra_xp = const * lost_ship_value / ( const player_money + player_fleet_value + player_colonies value )
may work, as it will only give you reasonable xp if you really notice the loses.
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Nick XR

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2020, 05:15:32 PM »

In the second case a generous helping of extra XP might keep you from just reloading.

I feel like this an important goal and worth keeping in mind. Maybe the only time we can safely do this without abuse is when the player fleet gets wiped or nearly wiped and has to retreat and the player actually "loses".  I can't imagine that ever being a desirable/profitable end state compared to winning, but getting some SP or XP for it would really make me think twice about reloading in the beginning at least.

Megas

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2020, 06:10:47 PM »

I feel like this an important goal and worth keeping in mind. Maybe the only time we can safely do this without abuse is when the player fleet gets wiped or nearly wiped and has to retreat and the player actually "loses".  I can't imagine that ever being a desirable/profitable end state compared to winning, but getting some SP or XP for it would really make me think twice about reloading in the beginning at least.
I can think of one.  Let the enemy wipe my fleet of clunkers, build new ships with Heavy Industry, then spend skill points adding two or three permamods per new ship on my shiny new pristine fleet of ships I built with Heavy Industry.

In the current release, late in the game, I can shrug off casualties because I can build new pristine ships and replace losses.

Next release, I cannot do that without spending a lot of story points adding permamods to new ships (assuming new ships do not get permamods).  If player gets extra story points for getting wiped, I would gladly sacrifice my old fleet of clunkers for more story points so I can spend them on the new fleet I want to build.  Of course, that assumes Restoration still costs an arm-and-a-leg to use.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2020, 06:14:08 PM by Megas »
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Histidine

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2020, 07:43:57 PM »

It might be easier to address the problem from the other direction, by making losses less painful. Maybe make restoration a bit cheaper, make insurance payments for ships recovered/lost, that sort of thing.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2020, 08:44:02 PM »

I think there are two related considerations: making risky fights more desirable/interesting, and making loses less painful (to discourage save scumming I guess). I generally prefer adding additional rewards rather than reducing risk, it just makes for more interesting choices IMO. On some level, you're just skewing the risk/reward balance to make the choice (to fight) more desirable, but reducing risk feels like watering down the choice (it can't go that bad, so why not), while adding rewards feels like spicing up the choice (it could go really well so maybe it's worth the risk). Save scumming does kinda mess up that whole balance though.

I think loses should be painful, otherwise the game just becomes too easy. I think maybe some bonus xp for loses could work, but it would be kinda strange if that bonus was more valuable than the measly sales value of ships (better to fly the ship to its death than sell it). Maybe that's a comment on the sales prices being too low though :P.

In terms of incentivizing risk taking, I think bonus rewards based on relative fleet size rather than relative deployment would work quite a bit better. You end up might incentivizing flying around with a small elite fleet rather than maxing out the fleet cap, but that doesn't even sound like bad gameplay to me. There's going to be a trade off between limiting the strongest fleets you can fight and increasing bonus xp from your small fleet size, so I don't even see that being a dominant strategy either.
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Apfelkuchenbemme

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2020, 12:32:34 PM »

Bonus EXP doesn't sound like a very enticing reward, especially if the player lvl is capped; when I installed the SkilledUp mod, I jumped straight to lvl 126. Expanding on the descriptions of custom ships of the IBB bosses added in the Ships and Weapons Pack, I'd like to be able to customize ships myself:

E.g. I once defended my Starfortress against some Ordos and hadn't realized just how many joined the battle. I fought with a battle size of 200, and deploying a Victory Capital Ship instantly brought me down to -45 or so DP. When the thing reached single-digit CR and had like 5k integrity left, the REDACTED deployed their last Solar Capital Ship. My Starfortress was at ~40% integrity and only had its citadel and the two modules on either side of it left, I was tired and just wanted this to be over, so I increased battle size to 500 and deployed my three Paragons.

Afterwards, I realized I had destroyed 139 REDACTED ships in the battle, 9 of which were Capitals and I think about 130 or so saw their end when the only thing I had deployed was my Victory. What I'd like to do here is slap the title of "Defender of <colony-name>" onto that Victory, give it a paintjob, increase its OP and maaaybe increase the size of two weapon mounts. You could do a similar thing to the AI ships, where a Pirate Atlas Mk. II, that has participated in three successful attacks on Orbital Stations, becomes something like the "Scourge of Askonia" or wherever the attacks took place.

To add a disadvantage, if you have several ships with the title "Defender of <Hegemony-Colony/System>" in your fleet and the faction of the system you jump into is currently hostile with the Hegemony, you could be denied access to the port of a planet. Plus if your fleet is made up of several custom ships that have seen dozens of battles and all carry distinguishing names, it'd of course be harder to hide your identity with your transponder turned off. To expand on the "Contacts", destroying a unique ship - even if it is a Pirate - could anger other captains because they have fought besides the captain of the destroyed ship in the past.


Something else I wouldn't mind seeing is "actually designated crew". At the moment, if you place a few ships in storage because you want to screw around, you may run into the problem that you have to "put some crew / marines into storage", too. I guess you could split "crew" into "normal workers", which are used to e.g. colonize a planet, and "ship crew", which is obviously used on ships. If you put a ship into storage, you'd then either leave the crew of that ship on it, or you'd get those guys and gals back into the available pool of crew for your ships.

If the crew is deployed in a battle, they'd gain experience and a more experience crew raises certain stats of the ship. However thinking about things like "crew becoming experts on a ship when they're employed on there for a long time", makes me think tracking several thousand crew members' deployment history may go a bit overboard. However coming back to that point of making risky fights more desireable, you could make it harder and harder for a crew to gain exp, to the point they'd have to destroy half the opposing fleet by themselves in a battle, effectively making the player think of deploying another ship as "deploying kill stealers".

Plus with "designated crew", losing a ship in a battle would actually hurt. At the moment, you lose a ship in battle and say "Eh, I have like 5 more of those back at base" or you can just buy another one over at that station. Well OK thinking about that I guess people would be more likely to just deploy as many ships as possible so they don't lose that one ship which has a veteran crew and three titles from previous endeavours, but hey it's a singleplayer game and you can just reload.
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Tartiflette

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2020, 02:15:37 PM »

To avoid exploits, there is a simple solution: instead of letting the player pick fights they can cheese, those "pitched battles" could be specific battles... like any mission/bounty battle, or maybe a new specific type of mission battle. And only winning those while at a fleet-wide disadvantage would yield a story point.
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intrinsic_parity

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2020, 02:22:54 PM »

@Apfelkuchenbemme
If you aren't familiar, in the next release, XP will contribute towards obtaining story points which will allow the player to do stuff (add free hull mods to ships, escape fights, etc.) and the player will be able to continue getting story points from XP after they have reached max level. That's why people are suggesting XP as a reward.
https://fractalsoftworks.com/2019/07/08/skills-and-story-points/

RE Special ships: I think the free hull mods from story points are sort of along those lines while being slightly more balanced :P.

RE designated crew: The game used to be like this. There were different levels of crew and the level of crew on each ship gave in-combat bonuses. It was decided (by alex) that the amount of complexity on the back end (keeping track of which crew go with what ship and what happens when ships are transferred, ordered differently in fleets etc.) as well as the amount of complexity with the UI (communicating to the player what crew are going with what ships, and allowing the player to change those things) were not worth the benefits to gameplay.
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Megas

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2020, 03:48:51 PM »

I think loses should be painful, otherwise the game just becomes too easy. I think maybe some bonus xp for loses could work, but it would be kinda strange if that bonus was more valuable than the measly sales value of ships (better to fly the ship to its death than sell it). Maybe that's a comment on the sales prices being too low though :P.
Losses cannot be too painful.  If it is faster to reload game and try again for a better outcome than it is to play normally, you bet some will reload.  Same reasoning in early versions of Angband where it was faster to suicide a character scrambled by nexus attack and build a new character up than to grind at stat-depth for a long time hoping for stat potions to drop and fix stats to save the old character.

Old Starfarer releases when skills were first introduced had bonus xp for losses.  I sent disposable ships to die in battle for more experience.  A few times, I took my Odyssey and purposefully gunned down my own ships with plasma cannons for more xp.  (That was before I abused auto-resolve.)
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Alex

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2020, 04:03:49 PM »

To avoid exploits, there is a simple solution: instead of letting the player pick fights they can cheese, those "pitched battles" could be specific battles... like any mission/bounty battle, or maybe a new specific type of mission battle. And only winning those while at a fleet-wide disadvantage would yield a story point.

Hmm, yeah, that makes sense. Also limiting by total deployment points... hmm. That does get a bit weird - you might have situations where, say, if you scuttle a Dram (or a frigate, whatever) you'd get into "extra SP" territory, but wouldn't without that. I mean, could have it be more flexible - building up progress towards an extra story point - but, ahh... that's already XP, isn't it?

You know, this may really boil down to just granting a bunch of extra XP for challenging fights, simply based on the starting fleet/officer/etc ratios. Let me make a note to take a look!
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SonnaBanana

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Re: An incentive to fight pitched battles - earning story points
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2020, 08:17:14 PM »


You know, this may really boil down to just granting a bunch of extra XP for challenging fights, simply based on the starting fleet/officer/etc ratios. Let me make a note to take a look!
This would be the best.
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