I should state that I mostly skimmed this article before bed, so my comments may be a bit misguided, but:It sounds like an interesting and fun system, albeit the kind of thing I might expect an EVE player to come up with.A few points worth considering: As I understand things (both from canon and from what little PGI has said about CW), the idea is that Merc corps will be contesting for territory on behalf of the Great Houses (factions), not on their own account. They aren't supposed to take and hold any territory they like, they are supposed to take planets for their employers, and hold them in their name. So the corp-vs-corp and empire building described here wouldn't really make sense. You could attack another corp if they were holding a world on behalf of Kurita and Davion paid you to take it from them, but presumably that would lose you Kurita loyalty and gain you Davion loyalty.I'm also not sure about MC being currency used by corps for developing worlds and materiel. I'd only be happy with that if there was no way to transfer paid-for MC into a corp bank - so you can't just buy yourself an awesome corporation. I don't see a problem with the corp paying it's soldiers an "MC Salary" though - it'd be a good way to allow people to buy a suitable "uniform" for their mechs, for one thing.I do like the idea of needing multiple battles to claim a world. One idea I had was to have something a little like repair&rearm for a planet-control fight. Say taking a planet requires three victories in a row, as you described for a fortified world. Then the invading force should be able to bring a certain number of mechs and/or pilots, say up to 24 (or up to 1200 tonnes). If a mech gets damaged or destroyed in the first match, it either has to be replaced with a different mech, or it can be *partially* repaired. By the third match, both teams will likely be fighting in battered mechs (although the defenders would probably have an advantage.) You could develop this more by adding things like supply lines or support personnel/facilities (you could have NPC techs who level up and can repair things more efficiently, perhaps.)
A Blank Slate
MWO is in an interesting position. Its "end game" content, community warfare, is the reason why many people have decided to invest their time and money into the game. Yet nothing is actually confirmed about community warfare. For almost a year people have been playing with nothing but promises and a vague description to pin their hopes on. The developers have been playing their cards close to the vest, with many people - including myself - suspecting that the policy is simply a result of the fact that they don’t know either.
There’s a lot of reasons to be skeptical as well. Community warfare is really, really, really hard to implement correctly. You have to balance out a multitude of factors to get just that perfect mix of elements necessary to achieve greatness. World of Tanks' Clan Wars system has become the gold standard for team based games, while EVE Online has the gold standard system for the sandbox genre. Each genre has its own strengths and weaknesses, and MechWarrior Online has promised to try to take the best from each. The devil, as always, is in the details.
The Goldilocks Challenge
World of Tanks did a good job providing regular combat every night with clan wars, but years after it was introduced the system remains flat and limited. You can’t develop your land, you can’t trade with neighbors, you can’t do any diplomacy in game, and you can’t hire mercenaries. Meanwhile, EVE Online has the best metagame of anything out there, and while improving markedly in recent years it still has a weak point of not being friendly to casual players and not making it easy to find actual combat.
When you are looking at the highest levels of competition in community warfare, it can be rather awe-inspiring. People dedicate their time, talent, and treasure to build something with hundreds or thousands of others. I shudder to think what cost it would take to replicate something like Goonswarm if some hypothetical government organization was given a budget and told to copy everything, from the forum infrastructure to leadership decisions to hiring people to fly in fleets.
When you have so many people working together against similar groups, they are going to do whatever is most effective to win. Given a chance, people will (and have) develop mega alliances that choke out all challengers, despite how bad that is for providing fun for members. Then, victims of their own success, players of the mega alliance will rightfully move on as they no longer have a reason to play. This is just one of the challenges facing the development of any community warfare system worthy of the name. It has to be balanced so that the optimal way is still fun.
A Sample System
Let me paint a picture of what my version of MechWarrior Online Community Warfare system might look like. I’m not going to take the time to go through the exact specifications of everything needed, as this is meant for entertaining and not intended as a technical document. That said, PGI: If you like what you see, hit me up and I’ll have my people talk to your people.
First, we have to look at what they have already said. The first developer blog has been the source of most information on community warfare. Basically, they are going to use a star map and have a system sort of like highsec, lowsec and nullsec in EVE. Highsec will be the core worlds, and nothing will really affect them. Low sec will be faction wars, where loyalty points that have been earned by players pledged to a faction are used to determine which factions take planets in a war of attrition. Nullsec will be Border Worlds where planets are won by mercenary corps bidding on contracts. Loyalty points are earned by actions benefitting your faction, so the only example given is earning points for killing enemy faction players in matchmaking.
Now this is a good starting point, but large questions remain unanswered.
- How do the contracts get awarded for planetary occupation?
- What mechanics will be used to determine attacking and defending?
- What rewards will be given?
- To what degree will you be able to develop your planets?
- What mechanics if any will be in place to support diplomacy?
- Where do new corporations start off?
- Will different sections of space provide different levels of rewards?
- How will the times of fights be determined?
I think the best way to show how I would implement it would be to do the walkthrough from the view of a new corp freshly made entering community warfare several months post-D-Day. I won’t be able to cover all of the topics, but it should give you a good sense of how it should all fit together.
This should be considered a thought experiment on what community warfare might look like a few years from now fully developed. PGI might decide to go in an entire other direction, and Community Warfare will probably be light on features to start.