Ideas to make UC Downtown more valuable

SODANK

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So I explored UC Downtown for the first time now that it's live again.

And I gotta say the level is Incredibly impressive visually. I'd look forward to seeing the player base interact and take over this map.

Then again, I have concerns over the incentive to even go there. It's a giant map that's really void of any reason to go there and use the services, so why bother fighting for it or even plant a TC over any of the sectors? What's the point when other parts of the game are more practical to base out of like UC underground?

After running around and exploring for a fair bit and seeing what services each sector has to offer, I think I have some ideas to make UC downtown a bigger deal and add incentive to go there and populate this big and beautiful map



  1. Remove Market and ATM from Underground Mining.
-----------------------------------------------
Speaking as someone who bases out of Underground. It's now kinda dumb to think how Mining in underground has everything but Storage and Production (Which are about a full sprint away from mining) now that more of Earth is opened up the players.

Mining in Underground is already extremely valuable for having the mining service alone. It's gonna be fought over purely for that fact, the market, ATM and health station are just icing on the cake, the real dollar is in that mining service.

By removing Market and ATM from mining, there's incentive to go topside to Downtown bank and utilize the market and atm services there. Ontop of that it would also help make storage in Underground generate more income from people having to transfer their mined material and finished goods out of there, in turn making that service more profitable.


And just for the record, if you look at the mining sectors of other worlds, those territories only have a mining service with the exception of Aurora and Cliea who both have storage and travel, but that's understandable due to the sheer size of those maps.


  1. Add some PvE mobs in the alleyways and red light district.
------------------------------------------------
This will almost certainly give this level more purpose to live in, by having some variable PvE content. This in turn would give some functionality to the ATMs on the map for people needing to deposit looted cash. Also it would bring business to the various health stations across the map from people wounded by an NPC.

As for what kind of NPC, for now we can just recycle the malfunctioning drones from UC Underground. Or it could be something more thematic like muggers who lie and wait in the maps very quiet and dead alleyways waiting for you to come sprinting by and attack you with a knife or small arm.

These kind of enemies would also be common in the Red Light district to add to that setting of it being a ghetto slum of crime and add some element of danger of going there that isn't solely dependent on the playerbase.


  1. Remove storage from the Plaza territory.
    -----------------------------------------------





Or just remove plaza as a territory all together and just make it 'dead' space on the map between the actual territories.

So a quick story to give context of why I'm suggesting this. Back when GOTC and Syndicate had some beef running back on mars, I got to see some of the chemistry of the Map's design when I hear that GOTC were having to use Office on mars to access storage and gear up because the only other storage service was club inferno. This created this separation of the two competing factions and create this gap of contested ground between the two to fight on and each their own spot to base out of and gear up.

The awkwardly placed storage units in the Plaza territory are between Bank and Council, which both have their storage units already. I think these storage units should be removed to incentive people holding down and using the bank more, while making council that much more of a strategic location given that it could attack Bank from left or right. Also it just has natural fortifications to use in defence.

Financial district to the far right (if you're facing the Bank directly) of the Bank could keep it's storage facilities given that it's still a long walk. And the storage units in Council should be moved to be in more plain sight, I actually almost didn't even know Council had storage until I accidentally noticed them under the staircase.


---------------

These are about the only idea I got. Hopefully this thread can at least start a discussion to make downtown a popular destination to populate.
 

Banjo

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A market is really only valuable on an active colony. Thus adding a market to a low value colony will likely not increase its value.
Right now only production and mining terminals draws people in for obvious reasons.
 
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SODANK

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A market is really only valuable on an active colony. Thus adding a market to a low value colony will likely not increase its value.
Right now only production and mining terminals draws people in for obvious reasons.
We're not adding a market service. We're removing one.

Bank in downtown already has market terminals alongside atm and storage.

As for your point about markets only being useful on active colonies. I'm not disagreeing, but I will say earth is a unique case because unlike the other planets in the game, earth is multiple maps instead of just 1 like mars, ceres, Aurora and Cliea.

Earth is already an active colony. It's just underground is where people go because it's super compact and has all the services you'd need (Also because all of us have been using Underground because it was the only earth location for awhile) . So it begs the question of why you would even go to downtown at all when Underground is so optimal.


Production and mining are what people are attracted to. But markets is where you sell the stuff you produced off mined ore that you took to production. While Underground could monopolize that, Downtown should have the benefit of being the trade hub for earth.
 

Banjo

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We're not adding a market service. We're removing one.

Bank in downtown already has market terminals alongside atm and storage.

As for your point about markets only being useful on active colonies. I'm not disagreeing, but I will say earth is a unique case because unlike the other planets in the game, earth is multiple maps instead of just 1 like mars, ceres, Aurora and Cliea.

Earth is already an active colony. It's just underground is where people go because it's super compact and has all the services you'd need (Also because all of us have been using Underground because it was the only earth location for awhile) . So it begs the question of why you would even go to downtown at all when Underground is so optimal.


Production and mining are what people are attracted to. But markets is where you sell the stuff you produced off mined ore that you took to production. While Underground could monopolize that, Downtown should have the benefit of being the trade hub for earth.
As long as they are separated by a vort gate, they are effectively 2 different colonies like the rest, assuming the price for vorting and transportation between underground and Downtown isn't 0 or close to it.
 
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SODANK

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As long as they are separated by a vort gate, they are effectively 2 different colonies like the rest, assuming the price for vorting and transportation between underground and Downtown isn't 0 or close to it.
I was tempted to put in that maybe the ticket costs between Under/Downtown be 0. Didn't think that go over well.

Atm it costs the same as any other ticket to switch between the two locations.

But alright, If we're going to treat the two zones as different colonies, how would we make Downtown more active?
 

Banjo

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I was tempted to put in that maybe the ticket costs between Under/Downtown be 0. Didn't think that go over well.

Atm it costs the same as any other ticket to switch between the two locations.

But alright, If we're going to treat the two zones as different colonies, how would we make Downtown more active?
Well the 3 main activities is Eco, PvP and PvE. I'm intentionally ignoring RP as I doubt its ability to create an "active" colony.
Pvp is mainly structured at the moment around Duels and Territory takeover, which is mostly effected by Eco, meaning that Pvp is a side effect of Eco activities and can't with the current mechanics be artificially assigned to a colony without it.
So to make the colony active you would need either Eco or PvE activities there.
Eco, being mining and production, which is the highest activity generator as it has proven to be the predominant activity so far and also facilitates PvP content.
PvE content could potentially generate some activity given good loot, but to a lesser effect than Eco.

So in short to treat it like the other colonies.
But who knows, maybe the developers have other plans for the colony with mechanics we don't have right now.

Edit:
Also keep in mind that this is a pre-alpha, so the goal with the colony might be to simply test some stuff out and not to necessarily have an active colony/map. Which might be the reason why there are no Eco on it to avoid value creating content to be housed on a test bed.
 
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Tornadium

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While visually impressive in some areas I have serious problems with UC Downtown.

I can't really put my finger on exactly why but if pushed I'd say that the map has no real structure to it and that really doesn't translate to a good gameplay experience on the map.

It's too condensed, No real flow of direction in the map and beyond a few specific locations there is nothing to make landmarks stand out. The main market area for example is completely hidden in a corner of the map.
 
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SODANK

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So in short to treat it like the other colonies.
But who knows, maybe the developers have other plans for the colony with mechanics we don't have right now.

Edit:
Also keep in mind that this is a pre-alpha, so the goal with the colony might be to simply test some stuff out and not to necessarily have an active colony/map. Which might be the reason why there are no Eco on it to avoid value creating content to be housed on a test bed.
Fair enough with that edit at the bottom. Though I do wanna say there's still room to provide feedback on it to help refine it.

Though I do wanna say that downtown is suppose to be compatabile with vehicles, which I do recall being something that's in development, though something that's not a priority. But maybe having vehicles on it would make it a bit more interesting... Won't make it worth fighting for, but give the map some practicality and put the scale to use. Could even make a street racing scene!


While visually impressive in some areas I have serious problems with UC Downtown.

I can't really put my finger on exactly why but if pushed I'd say that the map has no real structure to it and that really doesn't translate to a good gameplay experience on the map.

It's too condensed, No real flow of direction in the map and beyond a few specific locations there is nothing to make landmarks stand out. The main market area for example is completely hidden in a corner of the map.

Good point on the market being too far back in bank. Maybe bring it up closer to the entrance so it's eaiser to see and you don't gotta run all the way to the very back just to access it.
 

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So I had been thinking about this for awhile but debated on posting it. Maybe this proposed change of direction is better suited for a brand new map or maybe its a way to re-do downtown, I don't know but I'd rather pen it than not.

What if downtown wasn't so based heavily on the structure of all the other maps, in which there are services scattered into different territories for people to claim. Rather, what if downtown was designed to be a pseudo-social hub with no safezone elements.

Meaning that the layout would be lots of closely connected buildings, of which a number of them are bars, clubs, restauraunts, and various businesses etc and a number of which have modelled interiors for them. There should be methods to get on some of the rooftops as well (vertical combat). Throw in some of those non-instanced apartment blocks that already exist in Downtown (you know, the ones with the doors we always hack). You could optionally tuck that gritty CPC interior somewhere as well, even if CPC don't actually use it and it's rather abandoned and the gangs/civilians use it. Have roads around separating different blocks

Then make the territory boundaries actually rather small, at most 1 territory = 1 city block if not even smaller (down to the level of a territory consisting of 1-3 buildings/businesses.

I feel like this would make downtown more viable than currently. Because while downtown is very pretty, it lacks any depth. All the structures are rather non-descript and lifeless and even if you were to throw in some interiors and what not, I don't think it'll wind up the same because it feels like the map is trying to be "everything you could possibly see in a city" versus a slice of a city. I don't see real use to many of the areas in downtown, with or without services attached to them.

One of the benefits of this proposed map idea I think is that it addresses a concern I see with planets. As it stands, even the two largest planets available only have 3-4 territories. For those maps it's okay and makes sense from a design and tactics perspective, but when you consider that there are going to be 3 factions in which territory is the only thing they can hold, and each of those factions are going to be split into smaller groups competing for territory, you're going to need a lot of territories to make our de-centralized faction structures work.

Thus by making a map like this and splitting it into a lot of territories, you've got a lot of room for these gangs/sects/cells to take pieces for themselves. They can fight each other for these slices of turf. The overall lack of services doesn't make this map incredibly good from a profit standpoint just by owning them, but if you own the turf and you use what geographical features it has mixed with the other benefits owning them gives, it could still be beneficial. This also makes the map have potential for the civi faction (but best for another thread I suppose).

Naturally, you may have a nice dynamic where two groups (maybe even 2 SYN gangs) are fighting each other in the streets of downtown over a street corner in an urban warfare kind of thing. If you design it to have verticals with access to rooftops and it's a bunch of street blocks, you've got a rather different end of combat. Where battles can be across different heights (shooters on rooftops firing down at raiders in the streets), people in the streets shooting at each other from across streets and across city blocks, to CQB conflicts inside interiors. I could imagine some interesting strategies if CPC/TDC were to try to deploy martial law/clean up this area with force due to its design.


Anyway, just trying to spit ball some thoughts for a map design because I think it'd benefit the game and the clans + civi faction and address a concern therein, despite it not following the usual planet formula/structure to territories. Maybe better as a new map than a re-do of downtown but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
 
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So I had been thinking about this for awhile but debated on posting it. Maybe this proposed change of direction is better suited for a brand new map or maybe its a way to re-do downtown, I don't know but I'd rather pen it than not.

What if downtown wasn't so based heavily on the structure of all the other maps, in which there are services scattered into different territories for people to claim. Rather, what if downtown was designed to be a pseudo-social hub with no safezone elements.

Meaning that the layout would be lots of closely connected buildings, of which a number of them are bars, clubs, restauraunts, and various businesses etc and a number of which have modelled interiors for them. There should be methods to get on some of the rooftops as well (vertical combat). Throw in some of those non-instanced apartment blocks that already exist in Downtown (you know, the ones with the doors we always hack). You could optionally tuck that gritty CPC interior somewhere as well, even if CPC don't actually use it and it's rather abandoned and the gangs/civilians use it. Have roads around separating different blocks

Then make the territory boundaries actually rather small, at most 1 territory = 1 city block if not even smaller (down to the level of a territory consisting of 1-3 buildings/businesses.

I feel like this would make downtown more viable than currently. Because while downtown is very pretty, it lacks any depth. All the structures are rather non-descript and lifeless and even if you were to throw in some interiors and what not, I don't think it'll wind up the same because it feels like the map is trying to be "everything you could possibly see in a city" versus a slice of a city. I don't see real use to many of the areas in downtown, with or without services attached to them.

One of the benefits of this proposed map idea I think is that it addresses a concern I see with planets. As it stands, even the two largest planets available only have 3-4 territories. For those maps it's okay and makes sense from a design and tactics perspective, but when you consider that there are going to be 3 factions in which territory is the only thing they can hold, and each of those factions are going to be split into smaller groups competing for territory, you're going to need a lot of territories to make our de-centralized faction structures work.

Thus by making a map like this and splitting it into a lot of territories, you've got a lot of room for these gangs/sects/cells to take pieces for themselves. They can fight each other for these slices of turf. The overall lack of services doesn't make this map incredibly good from a profit standpoint just by owning them, but if you own the turf and you use what geographical features it has mixed with the other benefits owning them gives, it could still be beneficial. This also makes the map have potential for the civi faction (but best for another thread I suppose).

Naturally, you may have a nice dynamic where two groups (maybe even 2 SYN gangs) are fighting each other in the streets of downtown over a street corner in an urban warfare kind of thing. If you design it to have verticals with access to rooftops and it's a bunch of street blocks, you've got a rather different end of combat. Where battles can be across different heights (shooters on rooftops firing down at raiders in the streets), people in the streets shooting at each other from across streets and across city blocks, to CQB conflicts inside interiors. I could imagine some interesting strategies if CPC/TDC were to try to deploy martial law/clean up this area with force due to its design.


Anyway, just trying to spit ball some thoughts for a map design because I think it'd benefit the game and the clans + civi faction and address a concern therein, despite it not following the usual planet formula/structure to territories. Maybe better as a new map than a re-do of downtown but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Some nice points, downtown is due for some big adjustments to the layout, we already have industrial coming which will be the main UC hub, for now, downtown will likely get vaulted after that since it doesn't serve much of a purpose.
 

Banjo

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So I had been thinking about this for awhile but debated on posting it. Maybe this proposed change of direction is better suited for a brand new map or maybe its a way to re-do downtown, I don't know but I'd rather pen it than not.

What if downtown wasn't so based heavily on the structure of all the other maps, in which there are services scattered into different territories for people to claim. Rather, what if downtown was designed to be a pseudo-social hub with no safezone elements.

Meaning that the layout would be lots of closely connected buildings, of which a number of them are bars, clubs, restauraunts, and various businesses etc and a number of which have modelled interiors for them. There should be methods to get on some of the rooftops as well (vertical combat). Throw in some of those non-instanced apartment blocks that already exist in Downtown (you know, the ones with the doors we always hack). You could optionally tuck that gritty CPC interior somewhere as well, even if CPC don't actually use it and it's rather abandoned and the gangs/civilians use it. Have roads around separating different blocks

Then make the territory boundaries actually rather small, at most 1 territory = 1 city block if not even smaller (down to the level of a territory consisting of 1-3 buildings/businesses.

I feel like this would make downtown more viable than currently. Because while downtown is very pretty, it lacks any depth. All the structures are rather non-descript and lifeless and even if you were to throw in some interiors and what not, I don't think it'll wind up the same because it feels like the map is trying to be "everything you could possibly see in a city" versus a slice of a city. I don't see real use to many of the areas in downtown, with or without services attached to them.

One of the benefits of this proposed map idea I think is that it addresses a concern I see with planets. As it stands, even the two largest planets available only have 3-4 territories. For those maps it's okay and makes sense from a design and tactics perspective, but when you consider that there are going to be 3 factions in which territory is the only thing they can hold, and each of those factions are going to be split into smaller groups competing for territory, you're going to need a lot of territories to make our de-centralized faction structures work.

Thus by making a map like this and splitting it into a lot of territories, you've got a lot of room for these gangs/sects/cells to take pieces for themselves. They can fight each other for these slices of turf. The overall lack of services doesn't make this map incredibly good from a profit standpoint just by owning them, but if you own the turf and you use what geographical features it has mixed with the other benefits owning them gives, it could still be beneficial. This also makes the map have potential for the civi faction (but best for another thread I suppose).

Naturally, you may have a nice dynamic where two groups (maybe even 2 SYN gangs) are fighting each other in the streets of downtown over a street corner in an urban warfare kind of thing. If you design it to have verticals with access to rooftops and it's a bunch of street blocks, you've got a rather different end of combat. Where battles can be across different heights (shooters on rooftops firing down at raiders in the streets), people in the streets shooting at each other from across streets and across city blocks, to CQB conflicts inside interiors. I could imagine some interesting strategies if CPC/TDC were to try to deploy martial law/clean up this area with force due to its design.


Anyway, just trying to spit ball some thoughts for a map design because I think it'd benefit the game and the clans + civi faction and address a concern therein, despite it not following the usual planet formula/structure to territories. Maybe better as a new map than a re-do of downtown but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
For this to work new income-generating mechanics or content for territories needs to be added. Without services or PVE the colony will offer no content for players. Having it be a "social hub" is useless as any colony can act as a social hub. Berlin flunked hard when it was re-introduced to FOM in like 11 or 12 as a free for all map with no terminals or take-over. Sadly no one really used Berlin that much other than if they wanted to be alone or to find the hidden rooms. Only occasionally was it used for Duels. Having a colony with no content is a waste of level design, as players will not use it.
 

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For this to work new income-generating mechanics or content for territories needs to be added. Without services or PVE the colony will offer no content for players. Having it be a "social hub" is useless as any colony can act as a social hub. Berlin flunked hard when it was re-introduced to FOM in like 11 or 12 as a free for all map with no terminals or take-over. Sadly no one really used Berlin that much other than if they wanted to be alone or to find the hidden rooms. Only occasionally was it used for Duels. Having a colony with no content is a waste of level design, as players will not use it.

You've got some good points, however some things:

BoS valued Berlin and used it the most out of any other faction, and for much of FoMs life we were known to hold it. Knowing that, you are correct, Berlin was under-utilized egregiously. But I don't think it was because of the services it had or didn't have, or how profitable the planet was. I think there were other factors that contributed to it being a weaker map.

First, it was 1 of the what, 6 or 7 Earth maps. That's a lot of maps based around 1 planet for a game with the population we had. Equally, Paris was dead, half of Tokyo was useless, Ground Zero was hardly used. It was mostly Brooklyn and Manhatten. There was definitely an oversaturation of Earth maps, + obviously every other planet out there. And rather than BoS trying to get Manhatten or Brooklyn, we settled with CD and Berlin. And nobody was going to oppose us having Berlin when they wanted the other maps and Berlin literally had our faction HQ in it.

Certain factions favored certain maps. We favored Berlin, our HQ was there. GoM favored Tokyo at times (heh Nami). LED/FDC favored Manhatten/Brooklyn. There were pretty much enough Earth maps that almost every faction could have one, and not a high enough game population to support all the maps decently.

Second, Berlin did have services, but from a design standpoint it was still a weak map with nothing for people there. It was a dark map with a shitty confusing layout in which any players on the map were already going to be scattered out on it such that you'd probably not have an idea there were people on the map anyway. Even when they put our drug labs in our HQ there, it still didn't breathe much life there because those labs only mattered to 1 sub-section of the game, our faction.

And it's not all mechanical. It's also based purely on design and layout. Berlin's geographical locations were either poorly done or not super useful.

  • A soccer field for a sport you can't play.
  • Empty destroyed buildings.
  • A poorly lit park that people only used to set up assassinations and ERP.
  • Our HQ that only mattered to our faction.
  • Hidden rooms that had nothing of value to them unless you were trying to hide on a planet there wasn't reason to be on anyway.
  • A metro station that concealed our HQ but had no further importance.
  • A cafe that didn't even have anything relevant to it, just tables, chairs and maybe a storage.


The reality is, Berlin in FoM wasn't a great map but it wasn't because of the services it had or didn't have. Brooklyn/Manhatten were easily better maps in most ways. But despite it being one of the weaker maps, it was still valuable to a group of people even then. Because there was value in the location despite its lack of service and profitability.


The reason why I think a map as I've described has a better chance in MR lies in the design of it and understanding of how MR intends to be different than FoM. 3 of the 8 factions in the game are going to only be able to take territory, and they're all going to be split into sub-groups. Furthermore, there's the possibility that they will not be able to take territories with certain services in them (i.e unable to take eco territories). They have a need for territories like these. For instance, in SYN alone we have 5 families already and each of our families are going to want at least 1 territory. What's going to happen on release, and when the 2 other similarly built factions are looking for territory as well?

There's also the intent that owning territory isn't intended to be the primary way for these groups to make income. It'll be passive income, but missions and engaging in your particular faction's gameplay loop (i.e doing crim shit as SYN) is how bulk of the money is where it should be made. Instead, you're going to need to make use of the perks/features of your faction, as well as other ways to make your territory valuable. If you own a club or a gambling den, you can implement a societal structure to generate income from that territory.

You have the opportunity of using a restaurant as a legal front to sell legal consumables, with the underside of selling illegal items. Your territory is a place where you can be found to recruit others to your group, or as a place to group up and organize for conflicts, have meetings for business or politics, organize deals or do trading.

By no means do I think that a map like this is going to become the most important or valuable map of the game. There will be maps with other territories more beneficial. But I think a map with this structure can benefit half of the factions in the game. With how different these factions are going to be in MR, I think a map like this would be even more valuable than Berlin was despite the overall lack of services, because at least by design it would offer more than a map like Berlin did.

And compared to downtown now, which has services and is dead, this is another way to potentially address revamping the map to make it at least have some sort of purpose. And I should also further clarify that I don't think the map should have no services, but rather just not such an importance that every territory in the map has a useful service attached to it just to try to make the territory worthwhile. For this map, the value of the territory should be less about the services it may have and more about how the territory is utilized by it's owner.

Finally, I think more people need to get away from the idea that territories exist to generate your group a boatload of cash so you can finance your other activities. The bulk of income should come from the actual gameplay loop your faction is rooted in, and the opportunities you create by working towards them. Not that you captured a territory and your flag is raised on it. Especially as the territory system is going to be a lot of skirmish-type battles where territory ownership may change frequently.

Territory should aid in your efforts to generate income for your group, but it shouldn't be the primary provider of that income passively. That said, there's an angle there where we may be able to brainstorm mechanics for territory owners to modify these service-dry territories so that they are a little more useful in their goals. I believe it was discussed before but if SYN could disable the crime point network in territories they own via their territory controller so that normal automatic crime point generation doesn't work, that is one example of making a territory more viable for a SYN owner.
 
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i propose to increase the trash spawn by 200% to really attract players, both old and new, to the area
 
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The reason why I think a map as I've described has a better chance in MR lies in the design of it and understanding of how MR intends to be different than FoM. 3 of the 8 factions in the game are going to only be able to take territory, and they're all going to be split into sub-groups. Furthermore, there's the possibility that they will not be able to take territories with certain services in them (i.e unable to take eco territories). They have a need for territories like these. For instance, in SYN alone we have 5 families already and each of our families are going to want at least 1 territory. What's going to happen on release, and when the 2 other similarly built factions are looking for territory as well?

With the current mechanics, there is no "need" for SYN clans to own territory with no services, unless your HC arbitrarily have it as a requirement for the group to exist. If cliea had no services would you ever go there? The colonies I go to is for 1) income which requires services/pve currently, 2) for beef, which usually is a duel or fight over income aka a colony with services, or 3) to meet people which is more likely in trafficked areas which means going to places where people eco or fight a lot. Without content on the colony, it will not be used. Currently, territories don't provide content without services.
Which is why I'm pointing out that expanded mechanics is needed to attract people to a colony without services or PVE. Of course, level design is a key factor as well, as you point out Paris was not a trafficked colony despite it being a colony fought for, simply because it was to complex to navigate.