Post by King Richard on Aug 18, 2016 12:54:54 GMT -6
So, a conversation has been started in SL chat about whether or not there are enough incentives for people to be Shadow. Suggestions so far have included, shadow cities not being destroyed, and more titles for shadow related characters. (Let's face it, Sevane would just own those too.)
I propose we have a meeting of the minds to discuss this issue.
Post by King Richard on Aug 18, 2016 22:12:38 GMT -6
So, this is an idea I've been thinking about for a few ages now. It's mostly a cosmetic change though, and I never got around to suggesting it. If the Shadow wins an age, the next wouldn't just be a reset with no consequence for the world. Instead, things would be different. A couple of the things I thought of:
Cities that got destroyed, would have been rebuilt, but would be a shadow version. Maybe like a name change, with a bloody and torn banner. Meaner looker shopkeeps. That kind of stuff. Could be applied to all cities, but I think it would be cool if just the ones destroyed from the previous age were fully changed. Maybe bloody/dark themed banners for the destroyed ones, and torn/worn banners for the ones that held out. Like they've been holding back the Shadow for years and are losing hope.
Another idea we toyed with recently in SL chat was instead of horses pulling our carts, they could be slaves. Backpack carried by a "Worthless Slave" named Elayne. Wagons pulled by a "Family of Tinkers." Merchant's Wagon pulled by a team of Ogier. That type of stuff.
Bordering Wilderness areas could be blighted somehow. Maybe just a twisted version of the same picture, or fewer estates available there, but otherwise unchanged in function.
The more I think about it, the less I really like it, cause it's not true to the books as much as the implied full turn of the Wheel to repeat the same age over and over, which is why nothing is changed and always starts the same.
Seems like a lot of work considering the no one would ever see it since the Shadow never manages to win.
I HAVE been considering making different themes for the game (color schemes, MINOR graphics tweaks) beyond "Normal" and "Lite". In theory, the display changes made a few versions back should make it pretty easy to add some option. First two I planned to make would be Light and Shadow. Something as simple as whichever side wins is the default theme for the next Age, though players would still have the option to switch.
The problem I see with this idea though is that other than maybe tempting some players who normally would play Light to play Shadow one Age just to trigger this, it doesn't seem like a long term solution in balancing the draws between Light and Shadow. It'd just be a novelty to try once, then go back to your normal play-style.
I think the problem is the things that move your alignment positive are typically the same things benefit your clan. I did not TRY to be Light with Alcar this age, but he's full Light (even after attacking a certain army a bunch). NVS ended up Lean Light with no special effort to do so. It's just the way I play in bolstering my cities and defending them from Hordes. It's hard to be a clan-centric player AND Shadow. Since a lot of the game activity is heavy in clans, I think that's why Shadow is under represented. Players become Light naturally. Shadow players have work to be that way.
I don't think there's a quick fix for that though. Would take either adding some new mechanics for Shadow players (without breaking balance) or reworking some of the existing mechanics to make it more enticing to make choices that add negative alignment.
Oh. Last point: Don't hold your breathe for much to happen on this for next age. If I try to add something like this in at this point, we'll push the next age out another month.
"Hordes" that attack cities controlled by Shadow clans could count as Armies for the purpose of Alignment. "Similarly, Armies" that defend Shadow-clan cities count as "Hordes". For the purpose of immersion and clarity, this might require some text changes and some additional gameplay changes (tweak NPC type distribution etc), and especially the latter might complicate things if you want to retain the classic even distribution and NPC stat predictability etc, but the core of the idea is relatively simple. Maybe even consider moving away from the default Horde vs Army name distinction, and just call it Shadow Army or Light Army. Note that this Horde/Army alignment would be based on the alignment of the city involved, but would apply to anyone fighting either the Horde or the Army. Depending on how extreme the clan alignment is (neutral/lean/full), the Horde or Army could similarly be neutral/lean/full. If you don't want neutral, maybe go lean/full/full, with a bias for the group attacking the city to be Shadow and the group defending the city to be Light.
I don't know how Horde-like Horde quests are exactly, or if they can be Shadow-aligned currently, but they could also be balanced across Light and Shadow in the same way.
Cities no longer get destroyed during the LB, instead they get Shadow-ified, which significantly reduces their use for the Light (similar to Businesses working slower when a Horde is en route, but much bigger and applying to almost all aspects). They possibly also get slightly more useful for Shadow (but this effect would be less extensive than the corresponding suckage for Light I guess). After the LB, if Shadow wins, a similar (but probably somewhat smaller) effect gets applied to any cities not yet affected. If Light wins, the fully affected "destroyed" cities possibly get reduced to the milder version to reflect Light driving out Shadow. Something similar could be applied to estates.
Post by King Richard on Aug 19, 2016 13:44:09 GMT -6
I kinda like the idea. If a city gets Shadow-ified, maybe any business/estates there owned by a Light aligned character get confiscated. Ie destroyed. Conversely, if a city makes it through the LB, the same happens to the ones owned by Shadow players.
I would consider fighting for the Shadow to save my money titles.
I think these ideas have some merit. If there was something to reward the Shadow players for helping the hordes, and if they had some skin in the game too, it would probably make for better alignment balance in the player base.
Yeah, something like that could be (part of) a way to implement that
I think the Horde/Army stuff, or pre-LB stuff in general, is more important though. In my mind, the post-LB part of the game is mainly there to keep us entertained until the test-world kicks off. So it's not entirely irrelevant, but the pre-LB part matters more. If Shadow-play isn't sufficiently attractive in the pre-LB part (e.g. because it's still at odds with defending your cities etc), then any post-LB Shadow changes that do get implemented may not even get triggered for a few ages
As I was doing the dishes I also remembered some possible examples to support the the generic Army concept I mentioned, as opposed to the current "attacking Shadow Horde" vs "defending Light Army" : Seanchan invasion is neutral attacking neutral. Some counter-attacks could be considered Light attacking neutral. More examples of neutral vs neutral are the Aiel invasion after Laman's Sin, the Whitecloak's wars/scheming a few years/decades before the main story. Shaido is (Lean) Shadow attacking neutral. Lan gathering the remnants of Malkier and attacking the Blight is Light attacking Shadow. Masema attacking Ghaeldan is a bit of a stretch, but could be considered misguided Light attacking neutral. I'm sure more can be found The general idea though would be to make what's currently Hordes, into something that's fully balanced for both alignments. Note : in order to preserve the current availability of Alignment from Horde/Army fights even in the presence of many neutral wars, it might be best to also occasionally have "full" Light/Shadow groups to fight, instead of the current "lean"-only (prior to LB)