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There is nothing like running into the Brotherhood of Steel and an Enclave squad opening up on each other in full gear, or watching the Enclave wipe out lowly bandits. I think S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky did it better than any other game before though. The factions had the following characteristics, affected by innate, random, and player action factors:

 

1. Territory controlled - influenced their funding (could trade / be supplied better).

2. Funding - how well they could equip their squads, how well items were priced in their stores / if they had high end gear (also depended on your faction standing), etc.

3. Number of members - starting number + variable or set "respawn rate" and affected by equipment / territory controlled / number of people who recently died.

 

All factions also had different relationships with other factions. If these relationships could be affected by the player, all the better.

 

Factions made the world feel far more alive - lines constantly changed, fortresses and points were taken over by warring groups, and were either safe or not for you depending on which one you were aligned with / pissed off (you didn't have to join any at all, if you didn't want to). I imagine this would make every replay unique, especially if factions were present through out the game.

 

Oh, and for God's sake, if there is an elite vs elite battle and you walk in at level 1, make the winner keep you from looting all the gear. They can either pick it up, wait for back up, or detonate it.

 

Thoughts? (edit: Other than that I should making threads, this was the last one, I promise!)

 

edit 2: Have factions take over your stronghold and fight back and forth across it / destroy anything in it in the process while you can't defend it / they aren't aligned with you. Whereas if they are aligned with you, one faction can help you hold it when they enemy is clear. Would make a lot of players hilariously mad.

Edited by Solonik
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I like the idea about influencing factions relationships with other factions. I'm not entirely sure I'd want them to go so far to mini-game it where you could upgrade their weapons and give them funding and keep track of the territory they control and so forth. Not because I think it would be bad but because I think when you get in that in depth with this 1 aspect of the game I think story elements and overall content amount would suffer.

 

As far as staged encounters where you can stumble across a battle between factions I think these are always good. It just helps the world feel more realistic as not everything is about you. A simple flavor example is in open world games where you can find predators hunting prey animals or stumble across 2 different monsters fighting. It's a simple touch but it helps the world feel real.

 

When you add in factions battling it moves beyond just a bit of flavor. If you find an order of rangers battling a group of highway men who've set up on in the woods battling each other you get the the flavor of a living world in addition to extra player choices. You could rush in and help 1 side or the other, just leave and let them fight it out, rush in and kill everybody, wait it out and just finish off the winner. Something that helps both world feel more alive and changes up the random encounters in the game is a great thing. So yes, please add warring factions in at least this regard.


K is for Kid, a guy or gal just like you. Don't be in such a hurry to grow up, since there's nothin' a kid can't do.

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Like the premise of introducing randomness to plot branching. I would suggest when implementing something like this, make this a bit more of a "deterministic chaos" in the sense that the randomness is not a 50/50 toss up and that player action can influence the randomness. Using your example, if the human bait is not inside a fortification, the chance that the zombie would ignore it falls to 10%.

 

We have yet to see it. When carry to the extreme, I would like to see a game that have this sort of randomness in the overarching plot. eg. PC belongs to faction A. Faction A is at war with Faction B, C and D. Throughout the game, the player have opportunity to eliminate or form alliance with different faction with certain randomness involved. The ending would be a show down with the last remaining faction. So the "final boss" can be different characters depending on who is the last remaining faction.

 

Aldereth - I hope you are fine with me bringing your good points to this thread, as I think they are very on topic here / you mentioned it. But yea, that's exactly what I was thinking. Though I don't know about the boss / end game being affected - maybe in the sense of getting some assistance from the faction if you are "high enough / respected enough" by them. I do absolutely agree with two of your points - some randomness, and at least somewhat complex faction webs, not just A vs B.

 

@Pshaw:

 

I like the idea about influencing factions relationships with other factions. I'm not entirely sure I'd want them to go so far to mini-game it where you could upgrade their weapons and give them funding and keep track of the territory they control and so forth. Not because I think it would be bad but because I think when you get in that in depth with this 1 aspect of the game I think story elements and overall content amount would suffer.

 

You are absolutely right - it's not even that the story will necessary suffer, but when I was playing STALKER, I just stopped caring about the story and played the game for the faction war, because it was far more engaging. This was avoided until I joined a faction. As far as giving them weapons and funding - that's the beauty of it, you generally don't, unless you drop off gear for individual squads. The gear/funds are determined by territory controlled / random factors / innate faction characteristics / etc. You play no role in it, except in helping the faction seize land / killing other faction members.

 

As far as staged encounters where you can stumble across a battle between factions I think these are always good. It just helps the world feel more realistic as not everything is about you. A simple flavor example is in open world games where you can find predators hunting prey animals or stumble across 2 different monsters fighting. It's a simple touch but it helps the world feel real.

 

I think this is an absolute must and was done right in Fallout 2. Only a few encounters felt unnatural. Throw in three/four way battles in there and fun ensues.

 

 

When you add in factions battling it moves beyond just a bit of flavor. If you find an order of rangers battling a group of highway men who've set up on in the woods battling each other you get the the flavor of a living world in addition to extra player choices. You could rush in and help 1 side or the other, just leave and let them fight it out, rush in and kill everybody, wait it out and just finish off the winner. Something that helps both world feel more alive and changes up the random encounters in the game is a great thing. So yes, please add warring factions in at least this regard.

 

Rangers / highway men reminds me - these factions can really be a way to do side quests. You could have small factions on the outskirts of the map that really aren't related to the main cities / main storyline much. For example, you have a bandit forest - you can join either bandit questions fighting for control of the trade route. They have secret markings virtually no one outside of the forest recognizes. So really, your faction alignment only significantly affects what happens in that forest. Just for "flavor," as you refer to it, you could maybe run into a bandit boss living in a city that helps you out, or maybe run into the secret service type deal that recognizes you for a bandit and attacks you on sight.

 

Point is, there are various ways of doing it, and some don't have to be all that distracting from the main gameplay / can be totally optional (you just fight your way through the forest every time and ignore the faction wars).

 

Unrelated general notes:

 

1. Factions should probably vary in strength dramatically, but requirements / level of commitment required would vary too.

2. You should be able to lose face with a faction - like if you walk in on your friends getting slaughtered and run, if there is some realistic way for someone to relay the tale, you should lose face.

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I would like it to be so that everything you do isn't instantly known, so like if you are ambushing people in a forest and one gets away, then your rep can fall with another faction, not just be automatic

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I would like it to be so that everything you do isn't instantly known, so like if you are ambushing people in a forest and one gets away, then your rep can fall with another faction, not just be automatic

 

I think this one of the most important aspects to an RPG that is virtually never done right, period. Even if a faction system is not implemented, this should be given careful attention.

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Intelligent factions that you can see go at it in game and be effected by the games progress both story and player choice wise would be nice. Especially if the player can choose to get involved personally. Either way it is still one of those, if we got time, if we can make it work well sort of things. It isn't a make or break.

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Sorry for necroing this thread, but I just read it and think it is too important to get buried for good.

 

I would like it to be so that everything you do isn't instantly known, so like if you are ambushing people in a forest and one gets away, then your rep can fall with another faction, not just be automatic

 

I think this one of the most important aspects to an RPG that is virtually never done right, period. Even if a faction system is not implemented, this should be given careful attention.

 

Solonik's response to this idea rings very true, and it would be great if PE could make factions be more versatile and complex than they usually are. I mean, in Fallout New Vegas you had three major factions and a neat reputation/fame system, all of which I liked, and better yet, you could opt to disregard the factions too, but then you missed out on the content of those relations. Same in Skyrim, but there the four factions were all joinable, which made it all bland and gamey. I mean, the idea that you can join all factions is cool, but there should soon be big trouble for someone trying to pull that "scam" off. Unless you RPG greatly and have good charisma, intelligence or semething. it should be impossible and lead to extradiction, risk of violence, torture, peresecution and other violent consequences.

 

It would be nice if factions were something more than a binary sorting system in dialogue trees (1=friend, 0=enemy) and something more than a group you join for class-specific perks and purchases. I want factions that have over-arching purposes that make up the very fabric of the world and its driving economical and socio-political forces. And while it is nice to play out factions against each other, it would be nice to make the lonesome ranger approach or the sneaky two-timer approach more varied and valied options as far as the story goes. Not choosing should be an important choice as well. Religious conflicts and Machiavellian politics are ripe hotbeds for the complexity I'm after. How about you, good folks?

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*** "The words of someone who feels ever more the ent among saplings when playing CRPGs" ***

 

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Absolutely love this idea and excellently presented Solonik!

 

edit 2: Have factions take over your stronghold and fight back and forth across it / destroy anything in it in the process while you can't defend it / they aren't aligned with you. Whereas if they are aligned with you, one faction can help you hold it when they enemy is clear. Would make a lot of players hilariously mad.

 

This however... I like it but I am wondering.. what if my Batcave is hidden and secret?

 

Will there be several different places/locations to get a stronghold?

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I second the idea of faction wars but to a less extent as said here, sure i would like to stumble in to a quest when i can help fascion X or Y to influence and help to take control of town Z and depending on who took it the mini quest's there or items you can buy are different, but i would not like that the end boss is different because i helped facion X or Y i mean sure they could help me in some way and make the last encounter easy or help me in some way to get to places different or more in a easy way that normal, like for example. You need to go to a party, normally you would have to steal the invitation or sneak your way in but if you helped facion X,Y or Z they can hook you up there (get a normal legit invitation) in a easy matter and maybe you get some benefits also from that. But like i said i would not like to see a scenarion when i helped a side facion and mine story changes dramaticly for no good reason.

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I'd like to see some nice secondary effects on the gameworld as a result of faction conflicts. Example, faction A asks for your help in wiping out faction B. If you do it:

 

1. bandits or monsters move into the area (because faction B used to patrol it) making it much more dangerous.

2. the cost of widget X increases in the region (because fewer traders come into the area)

3. some faction B refugees get together and stalk the party, ambushing them sometime later in the game

4. some faction B refugees flee to another town, causing crime and problems for the other town

5. some unique items become available in a faction A shop

6. Faction A asks for your help in wiping out faction C

7. Faction D takes advantage of Faction A's weakness and suprise attacks while you are still there

 

so depending on whom you support and the actions you take, you get different safe areas, wandering monsters, quests, items, prices and faction territories. It doesnt have to impact the main storyline quests at all, just what is going on in the background as you play the game.

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I would like to meet squadrons on their way to battle, getting caught into it or waiting a bit (hiding) until they have passed. Or talking your way out of it. Maybe even getting caught up in the middle of a "bandit camp area", bandits have been triggered because you were close by, and now gather in ambush (positioning etc. etc.). Perhaps even there is two factions battling it out, and you can stay and wait it out, or take a route around it.

 

Can you mess with two factions into fighting each other? Can you become your own Faction (Suikoden-styled)? Could it be possible to "place objects" in P:E? Kind of how Warcraft 3 begun to do (see the mesh before placing etc. etc.). Would you then order craftsmen to build your fortress in your own way at whatever location marked by a "Flag" item that you placed. Sorry, de-railing topic. Making a new topic.

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Oh yeah, there have to be very interesting factions in the game, that are also at war or battle with each other. This is what makes a game a lot more interesting. :)

 

But knowing Sawyer, there will be factions in the game and they will also battle with each other. I do believe he mentioned this somewhere.


Pillars of Eternity Josh Sawyer's Quest: The Quest for Quests - an isometric fantasy stealth RPG with optional combat and no pesky XP rewards for combat, skill usage or exploration.


PoE is supposed to be a spiritual successor to Baldur's GateJosh Sawyer doesn't like the Baldur's Gate series (more) - PoE is supposed to reward us for our achievements


~~~~~~~~~~~


"Josh Sawyer created an RPG where always avoiding combat and never picking locks makes you a powerful warrior and a master lockpicker." -Helm, very critcal and super awesome RPG fan


"I like XP for things other than just objectives. When there is no rewards for combat or other activities, I think it lessens the reward for being successful at them." -Feargus Urquhart, OE CEO


"Didn’t like the fact that I don’t get XP for combat [...] the lack of rewards for killing creatures [in PoE] makes me want to avoid combat (the core activity of the game)" -George Ziets, Game Dev.

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I'd like to see some nice secondary effects on the game-world as a result of faction conflicts. Example, faction A asks for your help in wiping out faction B. If you do it:

 

1. bandits or monsters move into the area (because faction B used to patrol it) making it much more dangerous.

2. the cost of widget X increases in the region (because fewer traders come into the area)

3. some faction B refugees get together and stalk the party, ambushing them sometime later in the game

4. some faction B refugees flee to another town, causing crime and problems for the other town

5. some unique items become available in a faction A shop

6. Faction A asks for your help in wiping out faction C

7. Faction D takes advantage of Faction A's weakness and surprise attacks while you are still there

 

so depending on whom you support and the actions you take, you get different safe areas, wandering monsters, quests, items, prices and faction territories. It doesn't have to impact the main storyline quests at all, just what is going on in the background as you play the game.

 

I am very much behind this sort of reasoning when it comes to faction combat. To a certain extent I would like my faction standing to have some part to play in the plot without dominating the story entirely, similarly to the civil war in Skyrim. Decisions to aid one group or another should have a slight butterfly effect on the rest of the world. Even righteous deeds done for homeland and glory can yield ruinous effects for others.

 

Given that it's been stated in the stretch goals and a great number of times elsewhere that we'll be given a house and a keep, we know the player will control land. I forget the interview, but someone at Obsidian stated that your house might become the keep through carpentry and mason-work. In the sort of Post-Dark-Age pre-Rennisance setting of PE it would be out of place for someone with a rather large holding of lands and a keep to not be connected to the area's politics one way or another. To have a keep is to be connected to factional politics. What interests me is if the player will be able to start his or her own faction with variable goals, interests, abilities and aesthetics.

 

What happens after a territory has been cleared of any direct enemy's influence but you are unable to hold the position for yourself? Would the next group or faction to reside in that spot be just as repugnant? How much effort does it take to turn an area from hostile to neutral or even friendly? Using your keep to be an anchor in the deep wilderness from which your faction could grow would be really interesting game-play and different than the typical "big stone walls and plenty of heads on pikes" design.

 

It'd be nice if morale played a part in these larger political conflicts. When you're fighting with all you've got against a dragon so you aren't someone's dinner is one sort of basic primal motivation, but dying for some arrogant bastard noble to replace another heartless coward as the king of the land is a very different motivation. If the player, or another faction, is able to properly destroy certain capabilities for another faction, that faction might functionally cease to exist. Sure there may be a new faction born from the ashes of the dead, but they will be of greatly diminished resources. If I clear necromantic cultists out of a large underground ruin I might want to make sure that no other group ever uses that particular Necromantic Magic Node for fowl deeds again (or so long as the PC lives.) Or perhaps I want to claim the magical site as my own.

 

More depth in politics and factions will only mean greater replayability. Give me a ton of factions to play with.

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