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Dark Sector Conflict Mechanics


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I don’t personally care to get into the details of unbalanced weapons and frames, bugs, and exploits, as there are plenty of other discussions for that, but I am interested in the overarching mechanics between defenders and attackers.


To start this off, I’m going to make some assumptions:

1. Only attackers can initialize battle, so the defending team is limited to the size of the attacking team.

2. Damage dealt to the defender’s rail is fixed based on either the number of victorious attacking missions or victorious attacking players.

3. There is no way to attack the attacker’s solar rail.

4. There is no way to repair the defender’s solar rail during the conflict.



As far as I can see, there are four properties which affect the outcomes of these conflicts:

1. Allotted Conflict Time

Strictly controlled by DE.

2. Average Time Per Map

May as well be strictly controlled by DE due to the attacker’s revive limits.

3. Average Defender Win Rate

Composite of (ignoring any imbalances, exploits, bugs, or discrepancies) any inherent advantage defenders get over attackers and the average differences between defender and attacker skill level.

4. Average Number of Attackers (or total attackers over the course of the conflict)

How much potential damage could be caused to the defender’s solar rail. The actual damage dealt over time is a factor of both this and the average defender win rate.



Something that should be obvious from this is that the defender’s ability to win matches (regardless of their numbers) has clear limits (what are the odds of defenders having a 90% win rate? 95%? 99%?) while the potential number of attackers (and matches) is unlimited (barring server load).


Both defenders and attackers can incentivize people to join them with battle pay, but this usually only benefits the attackers. For defenders, battle pay can incentivize less skilled, more poorly equipped Tenno to fight for them and reduce their average win rate (provided that the defender has enough skilled/equipped alliance members to counter the attacker’s numbers). As the defenders have no way to recover solar rail health during conflicts, and they can no longer attack the attacker’s solar rail, any increase to the number of attackers (regardless of defenders) is a decrease to the survivability of the defender’s solar rail.


In essence, as the number of attackers increase, the defender’s average win rate must increase if the defender’s solar rail has any hopes for survival. As recent events have shown, attacking in large enough numbers through incentivized battle pay (regardless of the attacker’s skill level and equipment) will result in a quick and timely victory for the attacking clan or alliance.



1. Any server instability will typically benefit the defending clan or alliance more than the attacking clan or alliance, and DE should enact measures to offset this (dedicated servers, etc.).

2. If a defender is unable to find opponents to defend against, it should launch a mission where they counter-attack the attacker’s solar rail. The next Tenno to join the attackers will become defenders for this mission. Alternatively, allow Tenno to decide whether to defend their solar rail or attack the opponent’s solar rail, if both options are available. As it was before, if neither solar rail reaches 0%, the solar rail with the highest health at the end of the conflict is the victor.

3. Successfully defending your solar rail in a mission should provide your engineers time to repair your solar rail (for balance reasons, this should be sufficiently less than the damage dealt in a failed defense mission). This would prevent highly skilled defenders from losing due to a massive zerg of unskilled opponents (if defenders have a >90% win rate, they shouldn’t lose to the attackers).



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The system is obviously skewed in favour of attackers, and probably intentionally so.


Also add to that that defenders joining later will be at level disadvantage which can make the game unwinnable. 

Edited by Monolake
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