Designing the perfect space exploration MMO – Cooperation in deep space

In this post Ill talk abit about cooperation with of course the obvious starting point being clans/guilds/organizations. Pretty much every MMO to date has had a guild system, its a very straightforward way to cluster players together for cooperation or separate them for conflict. I feel a straight up guild system isnt appropriate here so I decided to come up with a more realistic solution.

Taking my own life as an example its not to hard to see where the graph Im about to show you comes from. I am a student and I reside within multiple groupings that provide different levels of cooperation.

I work within a University, that university is part of a larger grouping of university’s which itself is part of a larger grouping of public facilities provided by the government. Within the University I am part of the School of Computing and Mathematics as well as several clubs and societies. Completely separate from all of this is my allegiance to the BCS(British Computing Society).

After the break is my proposed multi-layered guild system which I will explain in detail.

CorpHierachy copy

Just to be clear the Grey represent players, below Ill talk about each of the named groupings and potentially powers they will have.

Syndicate

Pretty Straight forward really, a Syndicate is simply a collection of multiple corporations. They cannot be grouped further and corporations can only be part of one. Without this rule corporations with multiple allegiances might create confusion in conflict between said allegiances or provide unbalanced help to one in-particular (such as ship positions). A syndicate has no figurehead, no corporation is seen as above others, any trading rates established are universal. A syndicate is created by one or more members of separate guilds with syndicate creation privileges (At high cost).

For the moment here are my proposed Syndicate perks: (all of which are highly optional)

  • Special Trading rates for corp to corp transactions.
  • Ship vision
  • Lenient conflict constraints

Corporation

This is essentially the standard form of guild and is where I would expect most of the perks to be. A player must join a corporation to be part of the system, You do not join at any other level (with the exception of Unions). Hostility is expected to occur mostly on this level.

Here are my proposed Corporation perks:

  • Dividends and Taxes for players
  • Shared Storage space
  • Item tagging (CorpBound)
  • Ship vision
  • Strict conflict constraints
  • Employee discounts

A corporation is founded by either an individual or group and is thereafter controlled by a specific task-force.

Task-force

You may think this is a form of party but it is much more. For starters all players in a corporation must be assigned 1 or more task-forces  upon founding a corporation a non-removable free-lance task-force is created (this is where all new members go when they are recruited). Although Hostility occurs on a corporation level we can expect combat to occur on this level, you will see why below. So what we will end up with hopefully is a corporation with multiple specialized task-forces with their own unique responsibilities and privileges.

Here is my proposed list of perks on the task-force level:

  • Task-force allocation
  • Shared Storage
  • Item tagging (TFBound)
  • Ship Vision
  • Shared Ship control (in certain ships)
  • Cooperative mining
  • Cooperative construction
  • Combat Awareness

So really from these alone we already have the possibility of some very interesting corporations structures. A task force has no leader, but because of the way they are created they allow for a single leader corporation structure.

Union

A Union is the odd one out of these groupings, mainly because it isnt bound it anything. So often I play MMOs and am forced into separate guilds to my friends, guilds are often focused on goals over grouping people together. To combat this a union simply allows people to group themselves regardless of syndicate or corporation alignment.

Here are some the perks a Union may provide:

  • Dividends and Taxes
  • Ship vision
  • Better communication
  • Lenient combat restraints

By better communication I simply mean the environment of a union will be much more fitted to facilitating social interaction and community. How we do this really depends on what we decide we want to implement, anything from message-boards to  news-feeds. Keep in mind in our universe communication is considered difficult so unions will play an essential role. A union is lead by an individual or group of people, everyone in the union benefits equally from whatever service the union provides. Any taxes the union takes in will only be spendable on things that are mutually beneficial.

So thats the basic structure, any further structuring can be done manually by players so it works for an infinite population. The next logical thing to talk about is how this fits in with travel and communication so discuss that.

How are travel and communication effected?

So we talked about how travel and communication can be locked or tolled for profit, how are we going to work this into are groupings. Put simply, let the players handle it. If a player owns a construct he can share ownership with others, anyone with ownership can grant access to that structure on any level (including public).

E.g. Player x controls a wormhole travel station and he sets the following rules.

  • Players of no allegiance to player x are restricted access.
  • Players of syndicate allegiance are granted access at x cost.
  • Players of corporation allegiance are granted access at x/2 cost.
  • Players of task-force and Union allegiance are granted access at no cost.
  • Player y is granted access at no cost.
  • Player z is restricted access regardless of allegiance.

They set their own rules and when people dont like them let conflict begin.

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