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The Outlands Faction Proposal

ErikGray

Seer
Counselor
#1
@Owyn always said to make thought-out proposals on the forum, so here goes...


The Outlands Faction Proposal


What is it?
A dynamic game mechanic that is primarily driven by Player actions with a focus on generating emergent gameplay. There is focus and emphasis on teamwork, kingdom-building, resource management, and strategy. Oh, and a whole lot of fighting, both PvP and PvM!

The history of Outlands itself lends itself greatly to the notion that this is a difficult world gripped by conflict and war. This can definitely be better represented in game (as indeed it is not represented at all except in visual vignettes within the map). With such a system in place, the devs would need to do little to nothing to move the game world’s story forward. The players would mostly do it themselves. On top of that, the majority of this system’s mechanics/structures already exist, so it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to implement.

Pic1.jpg

(The Outlands are a difficult and dangerous place, full of war and conflict)



The Four Factions
Each Kingdom is its own sovereign entity. An additional “Outlands” faction exists that represents the various tribes, outcasts, and other sort who do not live in the cities (orcs, bandits, pirates, rebels, etc).

Players can choose which of the four (Cambria, Andaria, Prevalia, Outlands) to join via some sort of Town Stone in the city they wish to join, if they wish to join at all. A Player can leave their Faction after a 24 hour period, but cannot join another Faction for a longer period of time. Each faction has unique NPCs associated with it, Andarian wizards for example, or Cambrian mercenaries, which reside within their borders. These NPCs would be hostile to players of opposing factions and any monsters, except the Outlands faction which would only be hostile towards opposing factions only.

Pic2.jpg

(The Cambrian Gate currently resides unoccupied and unused)




Strategic Points and Resources
Each Kingdom/Faction require resources to function. The overworld map is absolutely chock full of potential strategic locations that can provide resources. Lumber mills, quarries, outposts, forts, and many other areas would become “Strategic Points”.

Resources
A thriving city needs metal, wood, food, and other materials. Very often, cities themselves produce little of these things for themselves and instead rely on importing them from elsewhere. Here, it would be no different. Wood, metal, and food come primarily from Strategic Points. Certain thresholds for each resource would exist, and going above them would allow for certain actions to be taken by Players (more on that below). These resources, of course, are merely number variables for each Faction and do not exist in a physical sense. One special type of resource also would exist that represents the “Influence” of the Faction, which can ebb and wane depending on the actions of Players.


Pic3.jpg

(The Prevalian Quarry is an excellent source of metal resources. Controlling it would be a great boon to your Faction's metal supply)



Who Controls Strategic Points?
Each Faction can vie for control of a Strategic Point with a King of the Hill style mechanic (like current faction control). All Strategic Points would start as neutral upon launch of such a system. Each Strategic Point has a flag. If four or more players from the same Faction occupy the space around the flag for X amount of time, the Strategic Point falls under the control of that Faction. It cannot be captured by another Faction for X amount of time (an hour might be good, maybe longer). Gradually, over time, Strategic Points will revert slowly back to a neutral state if no players from that Faction are nearby, so it is important for players to check on their Faction’s Strategic Points periodically.


Pic4.jpg

(A Strategic Point such as this could provide Influence for your Faction)



What Happens When a Strategic Point Is Captured?
When a Faction captures a Strategic Point, two things happen.


1.) Certain resources get added to their Faction’s total resource pool and each Player within the faction gets a very small amount of Faction Currency in their bank. These resources get added to the sum total every X amount of time, so the longer that a Faction has control over a Strategic Point, the more resources they accumulate (another reason to keep these areas defended).

And 2.) Faction-specific NPCs appear at the Strategic Point which will assist with defending the area. The strength of these NPCs will vary based on factors that will be detailed below. These NPCs can be killed by rival Factions with no penalties, and if a non-Faction character kills one of these NPCs, it flags them criminal. These NPCs do respawn, albeit very slowly, and they carry no loot of consequence so farming them on a non-Faction character would be fairly pointless. Killing a rival Faction NPC will grant your Faction a small amount of Influence. Holding a Strategic Location will grant your Faction a moderate amount of Influence every X amount of time.

The Types of Strategic Points
Some areas produce resources that other areas do not. Some areas will certainly be more desirable than others. Major Strategic Points would be the towns of Terran and Outpost (game history-wise, these are just satellite towns to the larger cities anyway). Terran would provide a large amount of the wood resource to its controlling Faction, and Outpost would provide a large amount of the metal resource. Regular Strategic Points would grant varying amounts of wood, metal, food, and/or Influence.

Pic5.jpg

(Outpost produces a great deal of metal resources for its controlling Faction)



The Role of the Players and Governance

Each Faction would require leadership. After all, who is to decide what to do with these resources? Granted, each of these Factions have in-game rulers (Kings/Queens/Regents for the Kingdoms, arguably Luka the Cruel for the Outlands tribes), so the role that Players would place in governance would be the “City Council” (or perhaps “Tribal Council” for the Outlands Faction).

What Are the Council Positions and Who Picks Who to Lead?
The goal of the Council positions is to give the Players the power to influence the game world in a more meaningful way. Each Council Position will have a small amount of power and is designed to encourage cooperation and teamwork amongst the Council members in order to effectively lead the Faction. To become a Council member, a Player would submit themselves as candidate for one of the specific Council positions via the Town Stone before the next election cycle (every 2 weeks? Once a month?), and during the election cycle (24 hour period? 48? More?) Players that belong to that Faction can vote for who they wish to lead for the various positions.

*Ideally, only one candidate per account (or IP or whatever) can submit, and ideally characters belonging to that Player can’t cast votes during any election cycle in which they have a character running for a Council position.

What Do the Council Members Do?
Once elected, the newly appointed Council member will gain access to certain menus within the Town Stone that applies to their position. Here are some suggestions/ideas for Council roles and their limited powers:


Captain of the Guard: Utilizes food resource to hire NPCs to guard the main Faction city. By increasing the amount of food the Faction has access to, the Captain can increase the total spawn of the NPC guards in town up to a certain limit. The larger the quantity of guards, the higher the drain on the food resource would be. The Captain does NOT control the NPCs that spawn at Strategic Points. The Captain can utilize wood and metal resources to increase the effectiveness of the NPC guards up to a certain point. The amount of wood and metal drained from the Faction’s total resources is determined by the quantity of guards and the desired level of upgrade (the Captain might need to make choices such as deciding if having more weaker guards is better or having a few tougher guards is better). All upgrades and increases to NPC quantity also require spending a certain amount of Influence.

Pic6.jpg

(The Prevalian Barracks, currently unused and unoccupied, mostly unseen)


Strategist: Similar to the Captain of the Guard, except for Strategic Points. The Strategist utilizes the food resource to hire NPCs that spawn at Strategic Points, and utilizes wood and metal resources for upgrades. All upgrades and increases to NPC quantity require spending Influence. The Strategist will need to determine which Strategic Points are most important to defend, as there most likely will not be enough resources to thoroughly guard them all at the highest level. Obviously, the more Strategic Points that a Faction has control over, the more resources it would take to man and guard them, thus making expanding a Kingdom into an Empire extremely difficult.

Treasurer: The Treasurer determines how many resources each of the other Council members have access to in order to avoid any single one from monopolizing all resources. All Council members should have access to some percentage of the total sum of resources, but the Treasurer can increase that amount so that resources can be accessed by those who are in need of them the most (at the expense of other Council members, but no matter what, every Council member will have some baseline percentage they can always access). This would obviously require some coordination and communication amongst the Council members to determine where the resources are best utilized.

Mayor: The Mayor utilizes the wood and metal resources primarily for visual upgrades to the town that last for as long as the resources exist to support the accumulative drain or until the Mayor removes them (items like statues, fountains, banners, etc). Certain more prestigious upgrades (like grand statues perhaps) can grant Players belonging to the faction a Morale buff while inside the town (useful when fighting against rival Faction players on home turf). Certainly other buffs could be explored as well.


Pic7.jpg

(Decorative elements [some of which can add small buffs perhaps] can be applied by the Mayor)



Constable: The Constable utilizes food, wood, and metal resources to hire and upgrade special NPCs within the Faction’s main city. These special NPCs will have special abilities depending on which are hired and upgraded. Some possibilities include NPCs that automatically reveal in an area around them. Others can include making traps that are only triggered by rival Factions. The Constable can also adjust certain anti-thief dynamics which will consume more or less Influence and other resources as necessary. I have no idea if that part is possible or easy to implement or not, but it would be pretty interesting! Some interesting things could play out. The Constable could be paid off by local thieves to implement rules that are laxer for them. Or perhaps the Faction is doing very well and resources are pouring in and the Constable can increase the rules against thieves to better protect the citizens. It’s possible the Faction is doing poorly in its wars and resources are low so the Constable has no choice but to implement somewhat lax anti-thief measures in order to free up Influence and resources to be utilized elsewhere.

Trade Minister: Somewhat related to the Treasurer, the Trade Minister can convert a portion of one resource into another. For example, say the Faction has a ton of wood resource coming in, but little to no metal. The Trade Minister can convert a small percentage of the incoming wood resource into metal resource. Not enough to fully make up for the deficit of metal overall, but perhaps enough to keep some other areas of the governance functioning. The Trade Minister can also utilize Influence and the food resource to hire Exotic Wares NPCs within the Faction’s main city (in the currently unused Bazaars). These NPCs would sell rare decorative items for large sums of a Faction-based currency (and maybe some might sell for large sums of gold).


Pic8.jpg

(The woefully unused Bazaar in Prevalia. Every city has a Bazaar already, all of them empty)

Vicar (High Priest? Something similar): The Vicar primarily utilizes Influence and the food resource to hire specialty NPCs within the Faction’s main city and also at Strategic Points. These NPCs are not directly combat oriented, but include NPCs like Healers. There could be multiple types of Healer NPCs, not just the ones that automatically resurrect dead Players. Some could randomly cast healing spells on nearby hurt Players that belong to the same Faction. The Vicar can also utilize Influence and the food resource to hire special quest giver NPCs – for as long as they are funded, these NPCs will grant society-esque quests to players belonging to that Faction (perhaps oriented towards killing X NPCs of Y rival Faction).


Ambassador: The Ambassador is responsible for the foreign policy with the other Factions. For enough resources, temporary truces can be called if Ambassadors from both Factions agree to it and its cost in resources. The length of truce can be variable, but shouldn't be able to last indefinitely. The Ambassador can also consume resources to increase Influence (to represent trading material goods).

General: Utilizes all resources to create siege camps during times of Siege (more on that below) or additional defenses if besieged. Outside of Sieges the General operates similarly to the Captain of the Guard by hiring and upgrading NPCs within the confines of the Faction’s city. However, these NPCs will only appear when the city is besieged or raided and these NPCs are generally tougher than the Captain of the Guard’s NPCs.


Spymaster: The Spymaster can spend resources to inflict debuffs on rival Faction NPCs only. These debuffs can be temporary, and the potency of their effects can depend on the amount of resources spent on purchasing them. Further, the Spymaster can purchase NPCs during a Siege that reveal enemy Faction Players and also serve as poison casters. Additional debuffs can be utilized by the Spymaster that decreases the amount of Faction currency enemy Faction Players receive when they kill members of your Faction.

I am sure other positions could be thought up that have limited power but help influence parts of the game world.


Non-Governing Players
Clearly not all Players can be in charge of something. The rest of the Players of a Faction should be taking new Strategic Points or defending current ones from attack. Players can contribute in other ways as well, such as donating items to increase resources. Donating ingots or boards will increase the metal and wood supply respectively. Crafted items will increase the resources more than turning in an equal amount of the raw materials. Exceptionally crafted items even more. Player contributions like this can help offset shortfalls of resources in various areas. Faction currency can be rewarded (on a small scale) for turning in a certain amount of resources/items.



It All Comes Together
So now you have Players in the temporary (but democratically elected) leadership roles of governance at the head of their Factions. Players are capturing Strategic Points, defending them, utilizing resources to upgrade their Faction city and NPCs, buying new wares, etc. But what now? What about a true conflict?

So now that the Players have cut out a swath for their respective Factions, perhaps clashed swords a few times with rival Factions, they might be ready for what comes next. They might be ready for something bigger.

If a Faction has enough resources (a large amount of accumulated Influence, food, wood, and metal), the Faction’s Council can vote on starting a Siege on a rival Faction’s city. This vote can be brought up only by the General initially and only if a certain resource quota is met. Once the vote is brought up in the Town Stone, all Council members can vote on it, and a majority of “Yes” votes will then trigger a Siege against the chosen rival Faction.

What Happens During a Siege?
When a Siege is declared, it will exist for a maximum of up to 24 hours (more? Less?) For the instigators of the Siege, Siege camps spawn on the outskirts of the attacked city (akin to the spawnable Orc camps perhaps) and these Siege camps contain Faction NPCs. Inside the besieged city, whatever NPCs that city’s General hired will appear and defend against the attackers (alongside the other NPCs that might have been hired by the other Council members). It might be interesting if recall/gate was disabled for the area during the time of the Siege (so any outside help would need to break through the Siege lines, and you can’t just gate into the city and sack it instantly).


Pic9.jpg

(A potential Siege camp outside the walls of a city)



Winning a Siege as the Attacker
For the attackers, to win the Siege they must successfully capture the rival’s throne room. Each kingdom already has a prominent throne room. The Outlands Faction cannot instigate Sieges or be besieged. In order to capture the throne room, a minimum of 8 Players need to remain within a certain radius of the throne for X amount of time (similar to a Strategic Point). In addition, a boss mob needs to be killed that resides within the throne room (a Champion NPC of some sort for the Faction).

To successfully repel a Siege as the defender, the besieged Faction has to retain control of their throne room for the duration of the Siege.

What Are the Rewards?
If the attacking force is successful in their Siege, they successfully sack the city and steal the resources of the rival Faction. A large percentage of all resources of the rival Faction are transferred to the attacking Faction. In addition, perhaps a temporary statue or other monument appears in the attacking Faction’s city which grants a unique buff to Players of that Faction while inside that city (Conquering Heroes, or some such).

*Note: It would be very cool if the statue had the name of the Player who did the most damage or had the most enemy kills or something - let's commemorate those Players!)


Pic10.jpg

(Monuments of heroes of past battles adorn Cambria)

In addition, the defending city loses any and all of its decorations and upgrades/buffs, but can’t be besieged again by the same Faction for X amount of a time (a week? More?)

If the defenders are successful in repelling the Siegers, they steal a sizeable portion of the attacker Faction’s Influence, and a monument appears in the defending city (would be very cool if this statue had the name of the Player who did the most damage or inflicted the most casualties on the enemy). The city cannot be besieged by the same Faction again for X amount of time, and the attacking city cannot call for any Sieges for X amount of time (but can be besieged still).

Raids
The Outlands Faction cannot Siege or be Sieged in return, but instead they can do “Raids”. To conduct a Raid, a Tribal Council member needs to propose one via the Town Stone (and have an appropriate amount of resources) – they designate a target which can be any of the rival Faction cities. The Outlands Players would then vote on it, and if a minimum of 10 Players vote “Yes” to the Raid, then the Raid is underway immediately and a time window of 4 hours begins (more or less?) in which the Raid can be concluded.

When a Raid is commenced, the Town Criers for the targeted city will warn the players and any NPCs that the city’s General hired will appear and defend the city alongside whatever other NPCs were hired on by the other Council members. Members of the Outlands Faction cannot recall or gate into the targeted city.

In order for a Raid to be considered successful, a specific item within the city must be taken (like standard faction mechanics) and brought back to the Outlands Town Stone. If this happens, then a small percentage of all resources from the targeted Faction are then transferred to the Outlands Faction and an appropriate amount of Faction currency is added to the participating Player’s banks. Only one Raid can be carried out every X hours (12 hours? 24?)


Pic11.jpg

(Raiders sacking a building)



Faction Currency
The primary use of this currency would be to utilize on Exotic Wares NPCs and perhaps some other cool but not overtly game-altering items (and maybe some cool new Faction-specific spell effects and such, house upgrades, really you can just get as creative with its uses as you want). Whatever the things Players can buy, they should be worth it and be relatively unique to this system.

Currency can be obtained in small amounts by capturing Strategic Points and killing rival Faction Players. The most currency can be obtained via a successful Siege. If the attacking Siegers are successful in capturing their rival’s throne room, each participating Player should get X amount of currency deposited into their bank.



Balance
Naturally, one Faction or another will end up with more Players (I would guess Prevalia, but who knows). One idea to help balance things out for Factions with fewer Players versus Factions with more would be to give some sort of buff in accordance to the disparity in Player numbers to the lower populated Faction. This buff would basically give additional damage against the rival Faction’s NPCs (and a small boost against Players), perhaps some minor damage mitigation from rival Faction NPCs and Players.

Example: Prevalia has 200 Players. Andaria has 100 Players. Cambria has 150 Players.

An Andarian Player will get a 5% damage bonus/damage resist against Cambrians (numbers can be whatever, and some sort of max cap would be highly recommended) and a 10% bonus against Prevalians. Cambrians would get no bonus against Andarians, but a 5% bonus against Prevalians. Prevalians would get no bonuses against either. Outlands Faction would not get bonuses against anyone, nor any bonuses would be utilized against them. These bonuses should also extend to the Faction’s NPCs (perhaps even larger buffs for them).


Further buffs could be given during Sieges if the besieged Faction is smaller than the attacking Faction.



Non-Faction Players
Undoubtedly there will be plenty of players who do not wish to engage in such a Faction scheme at all. Any Player who does not join a Faction can still utilize all of the normal NPCs in any of the towns (but not any Faction-specific NPCs) and are still protected by the existing guard zone mechanics. During times of Siege, and I am not sure how favorable this idea might be, but perhaps the guard zones are disabled at this time (it is a time of war and chaos after all). Any non-Faction Players may find themselves being attacked by other Players (murderer rules apply here still) during these times.

Horseshoe Bay
Historically, Horseshoe Bay mostly stayed out of the conflicts that raged on around them amongst the large kingdoms. Here, it can remain as a neutral place that cannot be taken control of by any of the Factions. This town would operate as towns do now. Non-Faction Players can still hang out in their favorite towns, but might prefer to head to Horseshoe Bay if a Siege is approaching.


Pic12.jpg

(Historically-neutral Horseshoe Bay)



Final Thoughts
When the components of this meta-mechanic are broken down, most of it is actually pretty easy to implement as it is all based on systems that already exist (most of which are not terribly complex). These existing systems are just redirected/tweaked in a way that gives Players more power and freedom to make impressions on the game world, and also make the world feel much more alive and dynamic. The emergent stories that would take place would be full of conflict and strife, heroism and political intrigue. All driven by the Players.

Thank you for reading all of this! Have a great weekend! :)
 

Sir.

Journeyman
#2
Great write up here my friend. I would suggest maybe having a more consolidated list of Council members as, from experience, working in large groups where many varying opinions take time to discuss does not always lend itself to RL time schedules that might vary/change on the fly for each council member making up the factions leadership. Having a council of 3 or 5 members (odd numbers are good for voting matters) that oversee the Factions management on a cyclical re-election type system should give those with leadership qualities a good chance to put them to use and make names for themselves if they do well. On the contrary, should a smaller council be more vulnerable to exploitation and extortion in currently unforeseeable ways, I could see larger council necessary.


One other thing that I think would go GREAT with this/any faction system to help document the historic events driven by players and emergent gameplay would be some sort of "Auto-story-recording mechanism" in place that records the sieges, raids, battles, etc (and the players who did the most dmg/points etc as Erik stated) in a timestamped manner that was posted somewhere each time an event occurred and triggered the recording mechanism (discord maybe? can you make a bot to work with the server like that? or the forums?)... Say, for example, a discord channel that was read-only for the sake of viewing the records:

April 19th, 2019 at 4:09pm
The town of Andaria is under siege. Cambrian forces attack Andaria.

April 19th, 2019 at 8:34pm
Raiders from Prevalia attack Cambria led by "Player X".

April 19th, 2019 at 12:34am
The raid on Cambria was a success for Prevalia.

April 20th, 2019 at 4:09pm
The town of Andaria was successfully defended.
Andaria honors the cities greatest defender and champion, "So-and-so" and a statue of their great victory has been erected in "X area".



And I'm not sure about the difficulty in achieving this, but... It would be super awesome of there was a live-map of the world showing each factions areas of influence that updated as the above records were made in some similar manner.

That's all I can add to this fine piece of literature! Well done and well thought out, Erik! Huzzah!!
 
#4
I loved this idea, and at the time I read it, I'd meant to come back and comment on it, Sir I think nailed the key points that I was concerned off, too many council positions, or some positions not filled, but then if you didn't have one filled, then you couldn't get some aspect of the gameplay for your team, so maybe there's a good strategic point to keeping it wider..

I also think those council members should have a title above their head stating their positions and making them targets in some way or another..
 
#5
This would be a great system. Reminds me a lot of of Shadowbane.

The Strategic Points (Shadowbane mines) could be opened every 24hours for a short period of time, and they could rotate open windows. Maybe have 8 capture points that are open for 1 hour each, every 2 hours. That would keep action going over a 24 hour period and allow people of different playtimes to participate. Maybe each week the points rotate their time window so each primetime gets a chance with all the resources, or have 2 of each resource and they open at opposite times. I would say you need 4 resources so it creates a need for it. If you had only 2 each faction could take 1 point for each resource and no one needs to fight.

3am, 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm, 9pm, midnight

The sieges are cool and could take some systems from Shadowbane city sieges. Shadowbane had player run cities, that other players would siege, but you could hire city guards (killable but powerful) and put up buff/debuff (damage buff, resistance debuff, no hidings, etc) spires to help you defend. There were whole professions based around getting into the city (sapper, saboteur, etc). I could see these being a great mix of PvP and a bit of PvM.
 
#7
Imo the whole game should be made from the ground up with shadowbane city rulesets. Houses should be able to be destroyed unless under a tree of life's protection.. murder counts given out for destroying a house.

Guilds would compete for society jobs related to controlling the world.

Just like in shadowbane they would compete for citizens of their cities.. because citizens bring wealth And power.

resources could be used as ingredients in different crafted gear, and said resources could be controlled by cities. So maybe a city that wants lot of archers would control most of the special wood resources.. while a city that wants mages would control regent or special spell book resources


Shadowbane lacked in depth for pvm and crafting... But lay it's empire building political game on top of UO and youve got a game that creates it's own interesting intrigues and conflicts
 

ErikGray

Seer
Counselor
#8
The idea behind having a larger number of council positions with smaller amounts of power is to avoid specific players wielding too much control over of the faction, and also give opportunities to more players to engage with the world in a meaningful way. This also helps reduce the likelihood of a single guild monopolizing the council positions since more players can get involved. If some positions go unfilled - that is not going to severely hurt the faction - it would put them at a disadvantage, but not necessarily make them unable to participate and fight. Sometimes it can be a strategic choice - do we need a captain of the guard or a treasurer more? I would think the only "must have" is a General for sieges.

As for having strategic points open every X hours, it is a bit too much like the current Faction Struggles system. There is just something not particularly exciting about a dinner bell going "ding ding ding! PvP time for 30 minutes!" - It is waaaay better to have a system that allows for and encourages spontaneous PvP all over the place. You can find it by taking strategic points from enemies, you can find it by defending your own strategic points. You can find a ton of it on either side of a siege or raid.

@Sir. That is a really great idea, and I am certain it is possible (i've seen similar things before elsewhere). It would be an automated log of the history of events in Outlands, how cool would that be?


I am tickled that Luthius gave a thumbs up! :)
 
#9
I still eagerly anticipate the next round of factions content to be released.. i wish it would be something like this suggestion, but obviously this would be a longer term idea, or maybe they can implement some ideas from this into it.. In the absence of true meaningful factions content, getting players out there to faction (because just PvP has shown it's not enough), I'll take the dinner bell that gets me PvP action nightly, all day long, but if there was something meaningful in place.

I always felt something like the faction struggle, as much fun as an arcade was, shouldn't be something set in stone, but something that is trigged from world PvP. Either Faction PvP, or both faction PvP and red/blue PvP - when the killing gets to be too much, a faction struggle is activated, as the result. Perhaps not a well thought out idea, but the idea that player interaction in the world, triggers events, and effects what we do throughout our play sessions is something I think many would like to see.
 
#10
The problem with having them always open and tied to resources is that people aren't on 24/7. You have many different people with different play times. You could spend time capturing a point, and then as soon as you log off some other faction comes and takes it. You theoretically get nothing for your effort. On the flip side, if one guild or group gets a good group from every timezone they could potentially lock down every point 24/7. Having multiple windows allows different groups to at least have a chance at a point, and allows them to collect the reward in a meaningful amount.
 

ErikGray

Seer
Counselor
#11
@AreYouKidden - I agree with ya! Player interactions in the world should absolutely trigger events. Otherwise, everything players do is more or less meaningless (outside of personal amusement) since they can't have any actual impact on the world. We have a sandbox... let the players move the sand around!

@Ace Mason - I see what you're saying. My initial thought was when a strategic point is taken, it can't be re-captured for a short period of time. I am thinking that my initial assumption that an hour would be enough might be flawed, and perhaps the strategic point can't be re-taken for multiple hours (but it shouldn't be a very long time - maybe 3 or 4 hours? Perhaps the length of time can be boosted by one of the council positions). There's no real need to make these on a schedule, though. The whole system basically runs non-stop 24/7 so people of all different time zones can hop in whenever and engage with it.

It is an interesting point though about maybe one large guild/group trying to keep everything on lockdown. A system to help counter/balance that wouldn't be too hard to implement. After all, it should be almost impossible for one team to completely dominate (otherwise we just have regular ol' Factions again where everyone joins the winning team and nobody joins the other teams). One idea might be to make the number of needed players to take a strategic point multiplicative of the number of strategic points their team already controls. It can also take more time to capture points the more points a faction already controls. For example...

Andaria controls 1 point. To gain control of a 2nd point, they would need at least 3 players to stay within X radius of the strategic point for 10 minutes to take control of it. If they wish to take a 3rd point, they would need 5 players for a length of 20 minutes. For each point, it requires a stronger cooperative player presence (and this lengthens the window of opportunity for other factions to attack or defend this area). The numbers are just an example, they could easily be changed to better fit the active player base and what feels like a reasonable amount of time. These could also be augmented by upgrades through the counsel positions.

A weaker faction will be able to take back points quicker and with fewer people (kind of like guerilla warfare against a more numerous enemy). Also, the points will automatically go neutral after so long if nobody checks in on it for X amount of time, so the system really is that of cooperation among the players of the faction.

Capturing a strategic point is never pointless or useless - your faction will gain the resources from that point for X amount of time at a minimum (however many hours until it can be recaptured by another faction), and the player(s) involved in capturing it would gain a certain amount of faction currency for their activity. So even if they capture the point, go to bed, and when they come back the next day and the point belongs to another faction, they already got rewarded for their efforts the night previous (and their faction benefited from the additional resources while the strategic point was in their control). They can endeavor to recapture it (and maybe convince other members of their faction to guard it better, or have the Strategist put additional guards there).