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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

3 Faction Warfare

Posted by garrett Tuesday November 24 2009 at 4:08PM
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In looking at Star Wars: The Old Republic embargo break on the final two classes, it make me wonder about the finality of the announcements we have about the game.

As things stand now, it appears we have 2 factions to work with.

I never understood why an MMO did not make the leap to a 3 faction system after the success of Dark Age of Camelot's endgame? 

Now Star Wars has a very clear sense of good and evil. But how cool would it be to have a Hutt faction? A mercenary, gangster, take either side in the war faction. A faction that could go either way in a battle or simple fight for themselves. This idea is one of many.

For some reason after all these years, no one has gone back to that system of 3 factions fighting over objectives. Imagine if WoW took Cataclysm and had the Undead break from the Horde, and the Worgen join them, add another race and create a third faction for players to join. This would be a massive change to a game that already has a successful formula, but it would be epic if done well and players would talk about it for eternity.

Star Trek Online also has this option. To allow multiple factions and give players options on how they want to spend their end game. It seems like at this point the end game of MMOs is becoming more important than the actual leveling up process. This is where companies need to start loo for player retention. Multiple factions give players options at the end, something I think all of us would like to see more of.

In the end, it seems we won't see a game with a three faction system for some time. It is too bad, I think that giving players multiple faction choices in the end game is something that will keep players playing longer.

Something to think about for now :) 

Laughing-man writes:

Actually not to contradict you but in the Star Trek interview just before they announced the release date for the game (about a month prior I believe) they stated at release there would only be two factions.  However, they intended to add in the Romulans and they mentioned another faction as well later on.  So perhaps there will be a 4 faction game in the near future.

Tue Nov 24 2009 5:19PM Report
ghstwolf writes:

3 or more factions doesn't make sense from a design perspective.  That may sound strange, but consider the downsides within the "in vogue" model.  To keep their factions in believable conflict, things like objective and quest sharing need to be limited.  So for X factions, the content is roughly 1/X of what is made.  Let's say you have the resources to make 210 quests (chosen for easy math), that's 105 quests@2 factions and 70@3.

Now the other option is to add some common quests between the factions.  IMO this erodes the conflict, and should be handled carefully.

I suppose another reason is that it is much harder to create a uniform experience (highlight of themepark designs) with more than 2 factions.  Gamers kind of suck, usually going after easy wins.  In short order 1 faction will be weakened, and then drained as people move to get those easy wins.  Soon enough, 1 faction is so severely out matched that they are a non-factor and we're essentially back to the default 2 faction setup.

Tue Nov 24 2009 10:33PM Report
IronChu writes:

Pirates of the Burning Sea, anyone? Warfare in that game is based around 4 factions, and in a future update they plan to throw politics into the mix to capitalize on that even more.

The Matrix Online had 3 factions, although that didn't have any real bearing on the game world or mechanics so that "doesn't really count".

 

Tue Nov 24 2009 11:15PM Report
ericbelser writes:

Just one broken element among many hardly matters. There hasn't been a "well done" game launched in this entire generation of MMOs, so sticking a 3+ faction system on any of them wouldn't have helped an otherwise broken game. (PotBS proved that clearly)

Wed Nov 25 2009 12:47AM Report
Blazz writes:

See, this is why I want a Starcraft MMO...

Wed Nov 25 2009 4:53AM Report
MMO_REVIEWER writes:

guess he hasnt seen aion? 3 factions( though one is AI controlled) The AI seem to do a good job of holding their own. Especially when a dredgion shows up! = pwnage to everyone asmodian and elyos alike

Wed Nov 25 2009 5:18AM Report
Thorqemada writes:

Sith inquisitor and Jedi consular are the last two classes.

They are ranged force users...more like mages.

Its already in the SWTOR forums ;)

Wed Nov 25 2009 5:19AM Report
zymurgeist writes:

It's hard to balance three factions. One always seems to wind up with a lower population and become the underplayed faction. Heck it's hard not to have that happen with two factions.

Wed Nov 25 2009 6:58AM Report
Toquio3 writes:

Heres to hoping The Secret World does it right.

Wed Nov 25 2009 7:37AM Report
AutemOx writes:

Planetside had three factions, awesome <3  Wish more games would.


Wed Nov 25 2009 7:39AM Report
LexStriker writes:

Even though I stopped playing Aion after launch, I was interested in the 3rd Faction being AI, and actually acting as a balance between the two Player Factions. Having lost interest in Dark Ages of Camelot where my server continued to have the two biggest factions fighting over the weaker, I kind of lost interest in the 3+ Faction game design as well. However, how Aion implemented their 3rd faction kind of peaked my interest in a possible solution of faction imbalance. Anyone know how the Aion concept is working out?

 

Wed Nov 25 2009 7:39AM Report
Tanemund writes:

Another post that lauds DAoC as the very height of RvR.  I'm sorry but I believe your memory of the game is faulty.

I don't know how much DAoC you guys played or when you played it, but I played DAoC for a long time.  DAoC circa 2001 - SI was Realm v. Realm combat.  People in the game fought for a realm and realm pride.  That is the DAoC you are lauding here, but It was a brief and fair time in the history of the game.  In fact it barely survived the first expansion, Shrouded Isles.

After SI, with the advent of spell crafting, the Min/Max-ers surfaced and the three realms were all split in half.  After that it became Dark Age of Realm Points.  There weren't three realms anymore.  There were only two.  The game split between the so called "8 man" crowd and the so called "Zerger" crowd. 

Once that happened it didn't matter if you were a Hib, a Mid or an Alb.  The game broke down along those lines and the two sides, while professing to hate each other, enjoyed a kind of symbiotic relationship.  Without the Zergers the 8 Mans couldn't get quick and easy RPs and without the 8 mans the Zergers wouldn't have gotten RP incentives for taking keeps etc.  They were all strangers living in the same house and there was no "for the realm" anymore.  Thus the idea that two realms could ban together to prevent the third from dominating was obsolete.

DAoC is a game from a different era.  Gamers were different back then and had different goals and expectations of games.  Three realms worked for them because on line gaming was about forming a community.  Now it's about getting your name on top of the list of arena points.  It doesn't matter how many realms are made.  People will accumulate in the realm that gives them the best chance to be on the top of the list.

Wed Nov 25 2009 7:55AM Report
StuBidasoe writes:

6 factions in Fallen Earth.

Wed Nov 25 2009 10:40PM Report
Jetrpg writes:

Despite some critics of daoc's 3 fations never encountered massive side inbalences. Sure certain sides had more population. And i feel some people felt they were outpopulated (thats most likely do to the fact that they unsuccessfully attempted to 8-man and got rolled by zergs ). See I actually migrated to lower pop sides, why? Because you have the most targets. People will always whin, dam they do it in dota/hon/lol todayt and every battles starts 5v5. Most mmos cannot handle 3 factiosn and pointign otu it requires more contant is a good reason but another is that you need to have massive cc to make it work. Daoc's AOE mezzes made 8 man vs 20 work mad 20 vs 50 work, and while zergs are always effective in doac skill defined the winners more than numbers. And that is what made it the best mmo ever released, that it was skill not numbers or hours spent wiping on some boss, that won at the end of the day. Besides its good that mids and hibs grouped up to fight off albs , becuase when the hibs were domminating the mids and albs  teamed up to fight them. Thats a self regulating system. You cannot let the hibs do to well as an alb or a mid becuase then they get the realm relics and the buffs that go along with them, etc.

A interesting mmo comign out is global agenda (its a quasi-mmo) but the focus there is that the sides are what you make them, and so is eve but they are attempting to charge that (for whatever reason). But i like this , but feel it puts to many requirements of casual players.

PS aion has 2 factions. You cannot count ai imho.

Thu Nov 26 2009 12:28AM Report
Xenrathe writes:

I agree that 3 factions is much more dynamic, but I also agree that it can increase the work substantially.

 

I played DAoC at release, and in my faction/server (Albion - Morgan le Fay), we were seriously lacking in skilled guild organization.  The Hibs and Mids had exclusive highly organized guilds that took down the keeps, while I remember organizing these massive lines of zergs.  We managed to do well and so did the hibs / albs.  The population / organization disparities were nothing that couldn't be overcome by tactics and, yknow, making friends / community building.

 

Besides I'm not convinced that the sides have to be balanced.  If developers are upfront about it saying, for example, this side is an underdog and has considerably less outposts, and weaker NPCs, and etc. than Big Huge Empire, then I think complaints would be less.  Or even, as garrett suggested, simply have two in direct conflict (the Sith v. the Jedi) and have a third mercenary side that can go either way.

 

Two factions = linear and unchangeable.  Three factions = dynamic.

Thu Nov 26 2009 6:36PM Report
TreadLight writes:

 

 

The idea of 3+ factions can only work out if that becomes one of the game's development priorities. It is a somewhat fresh idea because the type of MMORPG-ing these days no longer relies on utilizing a balanced community, but on some form of individuality. It may have worked in the past, but those that attempted it had failed (making it have much less appeal) and a whole new generation of MMORPG-ing took over the market. By this idea becoming a priority, it can probably be done

Fri Nov 27 2009 12:16AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has 3

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has 3 factions

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has 3 factions but

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has 3 factions but it

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report
gotha writes:

i think this is one of those things developers are blinding themselves too.  They fear the lack of control in letting the 3 faction system balance itself.  Even though it balances itself?out extremely well.  2 factions i am sure is the main thing which did in War.  Aions 3 faction AI controled one is an interesting concept and something good for keeping the battles raging.

Darkfall?also has 3 factions but it was

Fri Nov 27 2009 2:43AM Report

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