Mineral walking / Fat walking

Banjo

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There are already some related topics on ecoing, I think it's best to start a new topic for my post though, as to not necro along with being a bit more focused on one aspect.

I saw the recording of the last dev stream, and got a bit sad when I saw that you are taking one of my most hated aspects of FoTD ecoing, that being mineral walking. I spent a great time dealing with ecoing as I was the main producer for FDC, so I have a fair amount of experience with the topic. I also want to point out that arguing that the theory is just speculatory is invalid, since the mechanic in question is very close to that of the FoTD/FOM experience. Even the context in which the mechanic is imbedded is very much like what have been previously experienced.
Walking from mining terminals to storage was a boring time sink that didn’t give players any interesting content nor an adrenaline rush.
Now let’s look at the FOTD miniral walking problems:
  1. Not a good source of content
    1. One of the main reasons for this was the low population numbers(which should also be expected for MR).
    2. Mining areas were mostly abandoned either by choice of terminal placement or because the world was not visited often.
    3. Retaliation was mostly not worth it as grouping up for a small amount of personal ore was not worth it for the faction.
  2. Boring
    1. It’s a frequently repeated task that doesn’t require a lot of attention.
    2. A seemingly pointless task, which does not generate content for the ecoer.

Ecoing did of course generate some content, although not from mineral transportation. The next section is a look on what kind of hostile actually got generated directly from the eco mechanics. None of the examples are related to mineral walking which shows that it was not a source of content. The uninterested reader can skip to the conclusion.
Ninja hacking was very common, but mostly didn’t have people interact directly with each other and was mostly just a sour feeling for the ecoer, as it was not worth to protect mining terminals because of low value to time spent ratio contra how fast and stealthy they could be hacked, making the most used protecting tactic that of hiding the terminals. Mining terminal hacking will not be in MR, so I will leave this short.
Terminal destruction is related to ninja hacking in many aspects, as they are both hostile activities that takes a short amount of time for the attacker to perform with the defender having to stand guard for a long duration to engage in a 5min PVP interaction. EC had great player organisation and constructed a big mining camp that effectively protected many members mining terminals with only a few on guard duty. This lessens the con of “time spent”/”true content duration”. Similar mining camps didn’t happen all that often, I only remember a few smaller mining camps on Titan station, Mars and necars, but It was not of same scale as the EC operation and was often shared by multiple factions and without organised guard duty. I believe that the low population and peoples general lack of interest in ecoing caused these mining camps not to be a major part of the daily content. With a few main ecoers opting for their own stealthy mining farms.
There was the occasional gank while mineral walking, but it was from my experience not a common nor a rich experience. Mainly consisting of a one sided quick fight, and a down time waiting for the ganker to find something else to do.


With this I want to open for a discussion to solve the design problems, as we can conclude that mineral walking as presented does not generate the desired content, and is an activity that players did not like, as proved from the lack of engagement with the mechanic and with player feedback.
 

Banjo

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Here is just a quick mindstorm to spark discussion and idea generation:

  • Have terminals be able to store a lot of ore before moving it, in conjunction with transportation vehicles(ex. handtruck) to carry a lot of materials: Could eliminate the low value and frequent task problem
  • Faction transportation infrastructure, maybe a pipeline or teleport service, which could be contestable and destroyable similar to FBs/take overs with lock down timers and cooldowns.
  • Removing mineral walking altogether and put content generation efforts elsewhere.
  • Transportation is a faction perk, and other factions have to pay, or walk.
 
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John White

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Was about to suggest increasing stored content as I was reading only to see you posted it yourself.
I think I mentioned something like this on previous discussions, but what if we use two systems.
Mining terminals in well developed areas which will have low yield/cost ration but will be automaticity transported to the storages without requiring much input from the player.
And the other mining rigs, that take some time, give huge ore returns, but will require transport, thus, hopefully, forcing players to see this as a cooperative ecoing option. Problem with this can be low population and not enough interaction during the whole process, so maybe we can add PVE element to this, where aliens who are disturbed by the mining rig will try to destroy it and players will have to defend it. This will require some balancing, as not only are you adding personnel cost, but also equipment costs to the equation so return from using mining rig should be fairly high to not only cover all the costs but also prove a more lucrative alternative to the terminals.


In addition I think I also mentioned idea about mining rigs not be deployable but stationary objects within the world that have no owner and can be used by anyone. Not only this will be easier to implement and code events to, it will create conflict between ecoers as there will be limited number of rigs.
 

Banjo

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Was about to suggest increasing stored content as I was reading only to see you posted it yourself.
I think I mentioned something like this on previous discussions, but what if we use two systems.
Mining terminals in well developed areas which will have low yield/cost ration but will be automaticity transported to the storages without requiring much input from the player.
And the other mining rigs, that take some time, give huge ore returns, but will require transport, thus, hopefully, forcing players to see this as a cooperative ecoing option. Problem with this can be low population and not enough interaction during the whole process, so maybe we can add PVE element to this, where aliens who are disturbed by the mining rig will try to destroy it and players will have to defend it. This will require some balancing, as not only are you adding personnel cost, but also equipment costs to the equation so return from using mining rig should be fairly high to not only cover all the costs but also prove a more lucrative alternative to the terminals.


In addition I think I also mentioned idea about mining rigs not be deployable but stationary objects within the world that have no owner and can be used by anyone. Not only this will be easier to implement and code events to, it will create conflict between ecoers as there will be limited number of rigs.
Your PVE suggestion sparks memories of when I played an MMO called Silkroad online, where moving trade goods from one vilage to the next was the main PVP content. It was actually very fun and had high risk adrenaline rush and fun gameplay. You would buy NPC items from one vilage which would be sold to an NPC of another village, you would travel through the open world with a pack animal carrying your expensive treasure, and anyone playing a theif could attack you. While walking NPC mobs would spawn in relation to how valuable your load was, giving you some light content. The payoff for a trade run was pretty good to massive depending on how far away you transported the Items. This is a very different game and some redesign would have to be done to make it applicaple to MR, but I think your general Idea of PVE integration is interesting.
 

Cadonez

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I think a deployable teleporter to storage usable by faction/department would fix this nicely.
 

BioXide

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I've implemented the ability to transfer raw materials to your storage, although it comes with a 10% fee of the base cost of the raw material, it will be available during the playtest
 

Banjo

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I've implemented the ability to transfer raw materials to your storage, although it comes with a 10% fee of the base cost of the raw material, it will be available during the playtest
Just to make the reasoning transparent; the design goal for this mechanic would be an opt in cash sink on wealthy players while keeping the time sink for others?
 

Hari Seldon

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I'm not a fan of large stacks of materials being in inventory tbh to start with. Anything you are going to be manually transporting above what could reasonably fit in a back pack could go into a hand cart (that too should have a maximum capacity) that by default is produced and loaded by the mining terminal when you are ready to "check out" with its internal storage. That you can then temporarily abandon your cargo to respond to a threat (at your normal combat level whatever that might be) helps with the lack of interesting interaction in ganking as you would then have to consider the quasi-mobile point defence vs the cost of what is on you, a decision you are constantly evaluating rather than having to make your best guess of when you are starting the journey.

More developed material transport systems could be a matter of the owning factions investment in both in terms of production and maintenance with avenues to pursue with their own varied costs in up-front vs long term and automation vs manned and as they are essentially a service/business they owner gets to set their price for which players that goes into the calculation of how to get X amount of material from point A to B. As much as mines will then have value as a function of what materials are exclusive to them you could then attribute value to them based on the convenience of getting a material common to more than one mine as well. Do you get your iron from Map 1 with the comparatively expensive but convenient and secure transportation or from Map 2 where transport is cheaper but you will need to spend an hour pushing carts or keeping an eye on the convoy that is carrying it? Probably depends on how much you are planning to get and how likely you think you are to run into a faction you are beefing right now.

Management of mines with exclusive resources would also become a move nuanced interaction between factions.

Developments options largely parroting what has already been said could be: Hand cart that move automatically based on your proximity (like overwatch) based on RFID tickets that can be looted from your body, Drones to push the carts for you while you go to the bar, large ponderous cargo mules that you can rent or that the mine owner runs as a service for bulk transport, a timetabled cargo rail system increasing the chances that more people will come to mining locations at given times, teleportation (deloyable or permanent) with pre-determined battery lives based on duration or weight moved or energy running costs, convener belt pipelines that can have sections destroyed and looted, a material banking system with cheques issued based on the energy the player paid in to run the mining equipment for the period <- this could also have a silly mini-game of having an option to pick a "seam" to explore allowing the terminal owner to offer basically loot boxes ;)

I assume there is already something in place to keep vehicles where they are intended to be so someone wouldn't be able to sit somewhere annoying in their not-a-John-Deere.
 

JeffDillinger

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Your PVE suggestion sparks memories of when I played an MMO called Silkroad online, where moving trade goods from one vilage to the next was the main PVP content. It was actually very fun and had high risk adrenaline rush and fun gameplay. You would buy NPC items from one vilage which would be sold to an NPC of another village, you would travel through the open world with a pack animal carrying your expensive treasure, and anyone playing a theif could attack you. While walking NPC mobs would spawn in relation to how valuable your load was, giving you some light content. The payoff for a trade run was pretty good to massive depending on how far away you transported the Items. This is a very different game and some redesign would have to be done to make it applicaple to MR, but I think your general Idea of PVE integration is interesting.
I used to love SRO. I think what could be fun for the future is, stealing from the hand cart idea, having an automated system that transports resources from location to location, be that a system of carts that move around the colony or transport terminals. These options can either be raided or hacked, so there is still some incentive to defend it but it doesn't require walking at snail pace across the colony which is neither fun nor dangerous if well played nor exciting.
 

BioXide

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Just to make the reasoning transparent; the design goal for this mechanic would be an opt in cash sink on wealthy players while keeping the time sink for others?
It's a convenience cost for not having to manually transport the minerals. In the future we'll have a transportation system, but for now this will do
 

Banjo

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I used to love SRO. I think what could be fun for the future is, stealing from the hand cart idea, having an automated system that transports resources from location to location, be that a system of carts that move around the colony or transport terminals. These options can either be raided or hacked, so there is still some incentive to defend it but it doesn't require walking at snail pace across the colony which is neither fun nor dangerous if well played nor exciting.
A key factor for this is also the high risk/high reward relation, so the transported goods have to be either of high value or high quantity. I guess it could be made so people can still transport small quantities to make a single PP7 if they are not into ecoing and just want something quickly, but ecoers would want to bulk up for the transport discount.
 

JeffDillinger

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A key factor for this is also the high risk/high reward relation, so the transported goods have to be either of high value or high quantity. I guess it could be made so people can still transport small quantities to make a single PP7 if they are not into ecoing and just want something quickly, but ecoers would want to bulk up for the transport discount.
Or you could make it that the more "stops" they do in between,the transport takes longer but it is also significantly cheaper. If you transport it directly if you need something quickly it is more expensive. If you are just ecoing for the market it'll take longer, is more easily hacked but it gives you a bigger discount so you can undercut the marketprice.