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Colony Invasion Events: An Alternative To Raids


Exodess
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Colony Invasion Events proposal/brainstorming

 

Thank you my fellow Tenno (and any potential Devs) for your interest in this proposal. It is my hope to foster some ideas for future content even if they are not implemented in the form presented here, and to encourage discussion on the potential enthusiasm to see such content in the future. This proposal isn't complete or perfect, but I believe it paints the image of what I have in mind into a realistic and digestible framework open to expansion and critical review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

 

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What problems does this solve / Why do we need this?
I think this is the most important thing to cover first and I actually neglected to mention it in my first iteration of this post.
 
1) Something to test all of our big toys on.
I feel like a lot of the things we've done up til now have been to prepare us for gigantic battles or wars, as only a few of the obstacles we've faced thus far have proven daunting in the face of our hardware. This is because we need something that...
 
2) Challenges the player in a unique way.
It's a given by this stage that anyone who has stuck a few months into the game is a walking wasteland. Anything that directly confronts the player is going to lose, no doubt about it. The only way to challenge the players is to fight them indirectly and threaten something besides the player that they value and is itself not invulnerable.
 
3) Make players feel like they have something to lose.
Many players love to adopt things, as the Kubrow have shown. We feel a sense of purpose in protecting these things. We get upset when these things are threatened. In other words: players want something to care about. Giving us a friendly faction and territory management will foster this feeling and let us exercise our power over the environment to ensure it is defended.
 
4) Give players something to measure their power against.
As of right now, we don't have any NPC "peers" to measure our abilities against (current Invasion faction battles not withstanding). For a player to feel appropriately powerful, not only must we have enemies to face but allies to gauge our performance against. A friendly faction, in an environment that showcases their limitations, will give us a sense of scale on just how important the Tenno's presence is to those who benefit from their continued efforts of maintaining balance in the system.
 
5) Make the players feel like they can impact the world.
Currently, Invasions have the beginnings of this, but it doesn't feel like any progress is made since players don't really have anyone to root for. Dark Sectors are also restricted to specific clans, so most of us don't feel involved beyond the rewards. Giving us friendly factions and territories that demand our care give us a way to change the environment in a way that benefits us.
 
6) Give communities something to coordinate against.
I.E. -- Raid-like content, WITHOUT the flaws of raiding (closed content, strength requirements, loot pools, pattern memorization)
As of now, the game is very segmented and with few exceptions there is not a whole lot of commitment and involvement on a community scale. This proposal adds an enclosed event map which requires community members to jump around to different nodes to optimize defense/attack strategies alongside other random players. While attacking nodes at random is effective, organizing groups of players into different spots or having clusters of people "guard" certain nodes during the event will help to optimize the situation since they can securely fight in one spot without worring about moving through the node map to handle emergencies.
 

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Table of Contents

 

1) Concept Origins and Inspiration

2) Operation and Function

3) Mission Types

3) Special/Emergency Event Nodes

4) Tilesets

5) Models / NPCs

6) Rewards

7) Conclusion

 

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Concept Origins and Inspiration

 

I got to thinking this morning about 2 limitations to Warframe right now:

 

1) The lack of feeling "involved", which Invasions attempt to mitigate but fail to do so because the player really has nothing to protect as all factions involved go back to being bad news bears once the event ends.

2) The lack of surprises, as player knows what's going to happen before entering a mission since everything is neatly categorized by type and each mission is isolated from each other.

 

That said, with Red Veil teased during one of the limited events as a friendly faction, I've been anticipating not only actual NPC allies to uplift and support but territory and colonies (which the Dark Sectors appear to emulate). I started thinking about another two things based on this concept:

 

1) A Quest dedicated to introducing such content.

2) Invasion-like events that perpetuate this activity in the "open" game world.

 

That said, I considered the limitations of Warframe's current mission/lobby/Player Hub architecture and the benefits of the new player hub system that will be arriving a few updates from now. Looking at some past examples in other games, I considered the following:

 

Vanquish - Perpetuated mission simulation inside a colony, fighting alongside NPC allies who are considerably weaker than the player but support them with artillery or serve as a distraction, also limited in number and lending bonuses when they are actively defended. Their presence also gives the player something to measure themselves against, making them feel powerful. There are some very brief sequences where base camps are set up where the player can briefly wander before pressing on.

 

Phantasy Star Universe - Individually linked Mission and Player Hub/Lobby instances creating a sense of perpetuity between both. When you complete a mission, you aren't just booted back to the "main lobby" -- an individual lobby exists based on the theme of the previous mission and your mission options moving forward are changed, creating a sense of progress based along a path and movement through a map.

 

Phantasy Star Online 2 - Blitzkrieg-like, Time-limited "Emergency Quests" akin to Alerts but behaving more like Invasions with XP/drop bonuses and a notification some time before the event happens forewarning players ahead of time so they can prepare. Warframe incorporates most of these ideas with current Invasions, but the behavior and duration of Invasions fundamentally simple and far less adaptive and blitzkriegy and feel more grindy than anything, and their occurrences are more rare.

 

Mass Effect 3 DLC Omega - This example captures a single-player scripted variant of the overall proposal in a much more condensed format, especially because that game suffers from many of the same Player Hub/lobby/mission limitations as Warframe.

 

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Operation and Function

 

Coupling these properties with territory control, I came up with the this proposal for Colony Invasion events.

 

A) Unlike standard Invasions, when an attack is launched on a civilian colony the player does not follow the standard mission system. Instead there are separate missions based on what the player has done previously.

 

--> The introductory mission is the player fighting through the enemy invasion's blockade to get into the colony, either using Archwing or by infiltrating and hijacking an enemy vessel to slip past and get inside the colony. This introductory mission has minimal impact on the progression bar for the event and rewards, so as to prevent players from farming it.

 

--> After this, the player arrives inside the ship and is brought into a temporary defense camp established by the colonists or Red Veil. 

 

--> The Colony itself is its own separate map from the system map with its own nodes strewn about. You cannot simply choose any node either, but must either stay or move towards neighboring nodes to get to other areas.

 

--> The missions available to a player at this point are restricted to those themed for the event itself until they leave the invasion event/lobby/Player Hub. Furthermore, these missions are somewhat randomized in their objective contents based on the "section" the player is in or moved towards. If a player leaves the event, they must play the introductory mission again to get back inside the colony.

 

--> Once the player engages on a mission for the event, after its completion they will enter another Player Hub/lobby/camp themed after that location within the colony (changing based on whether they stayed on the same node tile or moved to another one), where their options are further limited by what is in that surrounding node area. To get "back" to the main base camp (ordinarily in the Urban Settlement), they actually have to go through other mission nodes that lead back towards the base camp node.

 

--> To encourage players to spread out to different parts of the colony and play various missions, there are separate "health bars" for different parts of the colony indicating where the player's help is most needed. There is also a separate health bar representing the enemy fleet's remaining forces and/or morale.

 

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Mission Types

 

At present, I propose the following mission types for each block:

 

Defensive Sections:

Fighting and moving through these parts of the event path will have less of an impact on enemy force health/morale, but will increase the health of different parts of the colony. Once the health in one of these sections is maxed out, the players are encouraged to fight in Offensive-based Sections of the event map until some of these sections start taking severe damage again.

 

All of these missions have Exterminate and Limited-Wave Defense types randomly assigned when played along with any other options listed specifically within each map/section type, and Lotus can initiate a "change of plans" during the course of these missions.

 

* Control Deck: Used to maintain colony orbit. This is the "head" of the colony, and alongside the Shelters if this dies the players fail the event. If the enemy captures it, this leads to the invading faction attempting to crash the colony or transport it away from the defense line which results in failure of the event if the players do not make enough progress to retake the deck in a period of time.

----Missions: Exterminate, Limited-Wave Defense, Hijack

 

* Shelters: Where civilians who have already been evacuated are hiding. This is a "heart" of the colony, and alongside the Control Deck if this dies the players fail the event. If the enemy captures it, all the Shelters have been invaded and the majority of the civilian population has either died or been captured and carried off which renders the defense of the colony pointless.

----Missions: Exterminate with a time limit (as the invading force will execute/take away the civilians after a period of time) or with a "civilians remaining" counter representing a sort of mission health bar, Limited-Wave Defense

 

* Engineering Deck: Used to maintain life support and power systems. If the enemy captures it, colonists and defense forces will begin to die, causing some other sections to rapidly lose health and hindering players in those mission types by resulting in a secondary objective requiring the maintenance of local life support. 

----Missions: Exterminate, Limited-Wave Defense, Time-limited Survival (represents off-site hackers locking the facility down or reallocating resources so invaders can't take control of it)

 

* Barracks: Used to store weapons, troops and artillery.  If the enemy captures it, NPC support and artillery in other missions will be reduced and the health of some sections will drop more quickly due to reduced defenses. 

----Missions: Exterminate, Limited-Wave Defense, Mobile Defense

 

* Urban Settlement: The main city or residential areas and the "main Player Hub" area that players arrive at after the introductory mission. While losing this section will result in enemies having far easier access to other sections increasing their activity their (faster health drop and stronger enemies with intermittent reinforcements THAT COME WITH NO DROPS). The more health this section has, the more reward bonuses players have for fighting in all Sections throughout the event.

----Missions: Exterminate, Limited-Wave Defense, Excavation (Cryonic Front)-like objectives (though wave-limited, representing all the NPCs in the area escaping) where players have to change defense points to cover the escape of local NPCs or to secure checkpoints. 

 

* Shipyard / Docks: Where the NPC evacuation / attack ships are stored and how players gain access to the Offensive Sections. Losing this section will prohibit players from crossing into different parts of the event or allowing players entering the event to get inside the colony (setting the main Player Hub in the Shipyard section itself rather than the Urban Settlement until reclaimed) and reduces NPC support in the Offensive Sections and decreases the impact/points earned by Tenno fighting in those areas.

----Missions: Exterminate, Limited-Wave Defense, Mobile Defense, Hijack, 

 

Offensive Sections

These sections do not have as much of an impact on the health of the Colony but have a more noticeable impact on enemy Health/Morale. Objectives are also more straightforward, but the further out you fight the less NPC support you have, the stronger the enemies get, and the harder it is to fight your way back towards the Colony to help fight missions there that will replenish health to its various sections. I imagine these missions as some exchange of Archwing and Infiltration (standard) mission types, with Player Hubs taking place inside friendly ships or in hijacked enemy vessels.

 

* Space Battlefront: The space combat zone right outside the colony. While this section slowly regains health over time, it still contributes to overall damage against the enemy forces considerably more than fighting inside the colony. However, keeping the health bar below certain percentages reduces enemy strength / health loss to Defensive Sections. 

 

* Space Defense Line: The main health bar of the enemy invasion force. Attacking here has the most impact on invading enemy health/morale, but does not contribute to other sections or bonuses. It is wisest for players to focus on this area once the rest of the Defensive sections and Space Battlefront areas are largely under control.

 

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Special / Emergency Event Nodes

 

During an Invasion, sometimes special mission nodes will pop up. A concentrated player effort must be made to take these out quickly to either add bonuses to the Defensive Sections or weaken Offensive Sections.

 

* Entrenched: Enemies have established a position to more easily attack certain nodes. As long as these exist, neighboring nodes will lose health more quickly.

 

* Reinforcements: Allies have been rallied or arrived from outside the colony. This node does not regenerate but is time-limited, and the more health it has left when time is up the more bonus health that is recovered across all Defensive Sections. When players run missions here, they are actually reducing its health drain rate (this rate will eventually flatline, with a color change or some other indicator that the node is now "locked"). The global health reward also allows any other section section to go over maximum health (serving as a buffer, and eliminating the need for players to participate there until it goes under 100% again).

 

* Rally Point: Special points that crop up randomly in the Offensive Sections outside the colony. If not destroyed within a limited time, enemy health/morale will be partially healed.

 

* Celebration: Following the defeat of the Enemy health/morale, other nodes will stop losing health and maintain their current health levels. Players must actively engage in these nodes to "mop up" remaining enemies. Once all these are done, a Celebration Player Hub will be opened for a period of time in which players can access all of their standard planetary missions from but receive rewards bonuses while doing so from the Celebration Player Hub for however long this Player Hub lasts (3-4 hours).

 

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Tilesets

 

So mission programming, Player Hubs, and map set are already being stressed by this idea. Now we have to discuss tilesets on top of it.

 

The good news is that the Offensive Sections use existing tilesets alongside whatever is coming out for U15 Archwing. The colony will require new tile designs however. The good news is that since the colony/urban tilesets theoretically include a hybrid of interior and exterior components that these can be interchanged (with certain sections restricted to suit certain "environments") to represent most sections. 

 

* Urban (Exterior+ Interior tiles) -- Urban Settlement, Control Deck

* Corridor -- Engineering Deck, Shelters

* Garage -- Shipyard/Docks, Barracks

 

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Models / NPCs

 

I personally believe this type of event would be perfect for showcasing the Turrets that have been discussed for some time, while having moving vehicles/ships (we've already seen these in action in some Corpus tilesets) as a bonus to represent forces moving/arriving in the battlefield. Stationary vehicles with turrets or having Grineer tanks like those we see in certain tilesets actually move and attack would be interesting as well. The idea is largely to repurpose most existing assets, though the creation of new civilian models would probably prove the most frustrating endeavor for the Devs.

 

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Rewards

 

The problem with the complexity of this event is that most of us Tenno have got this game down to a science and tend to lean most strongly towards what farms the best rewards, and we can be a tad -- if you'll forgive the harshness of the word -- spoiled by expediency and convenience. The most effective way around this problem is to introduce a currency or reward that is only available through these events.

 

I propose that we tie this to clan/housing extensions that can only be earned by participating in these events (thus having housing resources provided by colonists representing a thank you to the players). This also creates incentive for Clans to work together on wide-scale events, as such goals are highly beneficial to organizing and maintaining large communities.

 

Alternatively, Warframe runs on something of a Gashapon reward system (rewards are largely doled out randomly). I believe introducing complicated events like this which offer a currency to get exactly what you want as opposed to farming for hours/days/weeks would be a most welcome change. For example, introducing a unique currency for purchasing certain mods (common and uncommon types, Warframe powers, etc) or categories like Aura types directly could also be introduced at the event's end based on player participation.

 

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Conclusion

 

If this proposal garners enough interest, I plan to do some editing for clarity and improve the presentation. As it stands, I've spent 3 hours on this already and I don't really want to risk putting more into something that'll likely get buried by tomorrow. :) 

I sincerely look forward to thoughts and amendments regarding this idea. Thank you again for your time!

Edited by Exodess
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