Welcome back. Today I will turn my attention to balancing and the limitation of unit types and equipment that are not common on a battlefield.
I will again take my beloved Space Marines as examples. But the same mechanics will also work for other armies. So what is our basic unit type? Tactical Space Marine with power armor and bolter. For close combat either equipped with a bayonet or a combat knife. If you start the (imaginary) game and choose Space Marines as your army you will be able to instantly jump into the action with this equipment. If you die, you get another one. If you run out of ammo, go back to base and resupply. But what if there is a Chaos Land Raider on the battlefield blasting you and your comrades apart? Shooting your bolter at this monstrosity or hacking at it with your knife will do no good. So you would like to grab a lascannon and show the crew why they should have stayed in the Eye of Terror. Taking a closer look you might want to use that lascannon against other enemies too. Such a Chaos Marine might well take some bolter rounds until he's defeated. But struck by a lascannon ... he would be gone more quickly. So most likely everyone would want such a lascannon. First balancing step would be to introduce some kind of drawback. Looking at the TT and DoW this is quite easy: if you want to fire a heavy weapon you have to remain stationary and brace yourself for the recoil. But if you and your 10 friends all got lascannons, you would just form a firing line and that drawback wouldn't be that bad. If we take another look at the TT we will soon find out that heavy and special weapons have a cap per squad. The standard tactical Marine squad only allows one special and one heavy weapon. And they cost additional points! As far as we are with (the imagination of) the game, there are no squads. I will introduce a scheme to encourage squads later on in other entries, but nobody will be forced to be in a squad. So what is left as a possibility? Cost. If you want to have more than standard equipment it will cost you.
But it will not only cost you. If you want a lascannon you have to gather or buy the materials needed for it. And you have to construct it. Or find someone to do it for you. But that's not enough. If you have it, you have to maintain it. Which will also cost you. And that's not nearly all. If you die while carrying that fancy lascannon of yours around, it will be destroyed. If you are lucky and don't get killed, but take some hits, your precious lascannon will be damaged. Even if you don't get hit but fire that baby at the evil Chaos Land Raider, it will take a bit of damage. And guess what? The repair will cost you. In addition to maintenance. If you don't repair it, it will be destroyed at some time. Oh and did I mention that lascannon energy packs will have to be reloaded at additional (low) cost?
So what is the aim of all this? Limiting. There shouldn't be large numbers of people running around with rare equipment. Special equipment should only be used if necessary. In fact the costs should be high enough that only guilds would be able to field a larger number of special equipment. With the price for each piece of special equipment, balancing like in the TT could be achieved.
In fact guilds will be necessary for everyone. From the start on everybody will be in a guild. First in a NPC-run guild. Guilds will run depots for special equipment and will be able to set access rights for their members. If you want to enter combat with special equipment, you have to access your guilds depot and equip yourself there if possible. Guilds will be able to maintain a certain number of each special equipment type (depending on the size of the guild) with a reduction in cost. If they want to have more in reserve, it will be more and more expensive.
But who will build the equipment? Players will be able to train crafting skills. With these, they will be able to create special equipment. As there will be a large variety of different ways to skill, every account should contain 2 or 3 character slots which will all be able to train skills at the same time. This would ensure that everybody can follow a path for fighting and at the same time be able to supply his guild with new equipment.
That leaves one open question: what do you need as resources to construct something? Well, I'm not sure yet. Maybe one could stick with an abstract 'resource-point' model. These points would be awarded for killing enemies, for completing 'special operations' (some kind of semi PvE I will introduce later) and for overall performance. Overall performance would be calculated once per week and would take into account everything that has happened - for your whole faction. Like: how many Space Marines were killed last week, how many enemies were killed by Space Marines, how many planets/battlefield objectives/etc... were lost/destroyed/claimed/etc... Based on the overall performance, the Space Marines would be awarded a pool of points that would be split among all players according to their personal performance during the week. If real resources (metals, gases, and so on) would be used, these awarded points would be some kind of credits. But real resources would require for someone to collect them. Obviously, Space Marines are no miners. 'Normal' humans (or other species) would have to be included as civilians. Maybe I will further address this issue in a later post.
That's it for today.