Station Siege Mechanics

Recatek

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#1
Hey! If you were linked to this thread, please remember this is just my suggestion. None of this is confirmed by Frozenbyte as a feature!

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This is a version of how many other PvP MMOs do station/city/base siege mechanics, adapted for Starbase. All numbers in [brackets] are rough suggestions.

Station Core
- The heart of a station is its station core, which generates a spherical safe zone enclosing the station and a small area beyond it
- The station core is heavy, expensive, and durable, and requires special station-only machinery to build
- A station core is towed to and anchored at the target location, where it creates a safe zone after a [3] hour delay
- Once anchored, the core becomes permanently immobile and can not be un-anchored
- While the safe zone is active, all friendly-owned ships and other objects in its radius are invulnerable

Siege Windows
- While anchoring a station core, the station owner picks a [3] hour siege window over a 24-hour span (say, 19:00-22:00 UTC)
- This window is public knowledge that anyone can look up regardless of faction hostility
- This window can only be changed [1] time per month and, once changed, takes [7] days for the new window to come into effect
- To attack a station, an attacker must activate that station's siege vulnerability window with an inhibitor

Inhibitors
- Inhibitors are heavy, expensive, durable, and require special station-only machinery to build
- Once built, the inhibitor is towed to the target station and anchored close to, but not inside, the safe zone
- Only one inhibitor may be anchored outside of a station at a time -- attempting to anchor a second will fail
- Once anchored, the inhibitor becomes permanently immobile and can not be un-anchored
- Once anchored, the inhibitor becomes invulnerable until the siege window activates
- Once anchored, the inhibitor is surrounded by a field that persistently damages anything within [25] meters of it
ᅠᅠᅠᅠ- This is to make it harder to build impenetrable shells around the inhibitor (they'd have to be quite big)

Siege Declaration
- Successfully anchoring an inhibitor outside of a station "declares" a siege
- The game picks the next siege window that is at least [36] hours from the time the inhibitor was anchored (so, 36-59 hours from now)
- A notification is posted publicly in-game and elsewhere to all interested players about the inhibitor and the upcoming siege time

The Siege Battle
- During the selected siege window both the station and the inhibitor lose their invulnerability
- If the station core is neutralized, the siege is won by the attackers, both the core and the inhibitor explode, and the safe zone disappears
- If the inhibitor is neutralized or the [3] hour siege window passes, the siege is won by the defenders and the inhibitor explodes
ᅠᅠᅠᅠ- After a defender victory, no inhibitor can be anchored at that station for [3] days

The goal of this system, as used in other games, is to reduce unnecessary downtime (i.e. nobody has to sit around and wait for a fight), eliminate overnight ninja raiding of something you may have spent weeks or months working on, and give both sides enough time to prepare for a big exciting fight without it dragging on and becoming a boring multi-day slog. The goal here is to make territory control interesting, proactive, and fun for PvP without making it a full time job or a drawn out "hurry up and wait" experience.

See this post for some "why" questions and answers explaining the motivation behind various points:
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/station-siege-mechanics.600/#post-5572
 
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CalenLoki

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#3
I like it. Simple, clear rules. Does the job.

I'm not sure if over-armouring of inhibitor/core will be any problem. With how easy it is to bore hole through layers and layers of armour, it doesn't really matter that much.

What should be stated is that inhibitor should be proportional in size/cost/effort to station size. Otherwise taking small stations would be overpriced, while taking big ones too cheap.


Also IMO both station core(s) and inhibitor should be invulnerable to gunfire, so you need to send infantry to capture them. Otherwise there is nothing you can do against artillery ship just annihilating them from max range.

So each core/inhibitor should have 10-15m radius sphere. If there are no enemies there for 5 minutes, it's yours. You can't destroy them until battle is over.
Siege is won when all the cores and inhibitors belong to the same side.
 

Recatek

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#4
Yeah, it would be nice if this encouraged landing and actually fighting on foot for a portion of the fight, since I think it would be a fun change of pace.

Agreed on scaling. Most other games do this as well, where bigger cities/stations also require bigger and more expensive inhibitor-type structues to attack them.
 
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#5
the inhibitor could be a multi-structure where you have to hit a target number to be able to start the siege, how you would build a ship generator but much bigger with an interior.


also for a capturing mechanic maybe you would have to go on foot inside the core/inhibitor and you would have to hack the terminal, kinda like a capturing mechanic, that would drop its defenses once this is done it would no longer be invariable to damage
 

Eranok

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#6
vulnerability windows work in atlas because the windows are long (7 hours?) and most of the gameplay happens on the base, where you have endless things to do, so defending is not boring. I m not sure it fully applies to SB, too early to tell

The more i think about siege the more i vouch for a simpler solution:

- small safezone with base station core well outside safezone
- core is attacked normally and defended with powerful static turrets built and manned by players
- when core is down, fps phase like before
- you can delog your base if everyone offline
 
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#7
Suggestion for in-game lore for starbase's Safe zones

safe zones were first made out of a rare metal that can no longer be found for unknown reasons this caused the different faction to find new ways to make safe zones until they came to -metal- that makes a safe zone that is not as good but is less rare thus enable more safe zones.

a problem was quickly noticed with the -some kinda transmitter for the safe zone- and had to have daily maintenance that took about 3 hours because of this the safe zone's -some kinda transmitter for the safe zone- is vulnerable to a -emp like- attack that would knock it out and would only make the station it's self invulnerable allowing for the station to be boarded to hack and shut the station down

the inhibitor its self is a small Station kinda like a FOB that has a safe zone and an inhibitor module that takes a day to charge to start a siege due to the inhibitor module taking so much energy the station safe zone will not be active till the 1 hour cool down cycle before it discharges also while it charges and while its in its cooldown cycle it emits a high-frequency wave that can fry electronic including ships and endoskeletons around it for a short distance until it starts its discharge cycle which takes lots of energy once again making it impossible for the safe zone to be active but the inhibitor its self would invariable till its hacked to shut it down the discharge cycle would shut down the station safe zone

to reactive the station's safe zone, you would have to destroy the inhibitor then repair the station's safe zone

anything that has -message- is something that i could not come up with a proper name
 

Recatek

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#8
Some questions that have come up after discussing this on the discord:

Why complicate things with rules and systems?
Because territory-control PvP will be the game for a significant portion of the playerbase, and it needs robust systems for the game to support it and make it the most fun it can be. Strong systems can help bring out the best parts of the metagame (e.g. fighting players and developing your territory), and help remove the boring/uninteresting/frustrating parts (e.g. being bored waiting around for things to happen, or losing lots of work overnight with no chance to respond).

This isn't hardcore enough! I just want to PvP and blow things up!
Good PvP MMOs strike a balance between creation and destruction, so that wars have stakes and battles have periods of build-up that make the outcome more intense and meaningful. If you love knocking over sand castles (and really, who doesn't?), you'll want the game to encourage as many people as it can to build and sustain more of them. Rules like these incentivize creation because the game promises creators that they'll get at least something out of what they build -- either the station itself, or a fun fight when they eventually lose that station. A game with too much destruction and too little reason to create will starve for content, and you'll have fewer things to shoot at in the end.

Why safe zones at all?
Overnight ninja raiding makes sense in a game like Rust where building a base takes a few hours and the servers reset regularly. In Starbase, all indications are that building a station will take days or weeks, and could be there for years with no resets. It's a much bigger investment, and it should take a real fight against actual players to destroy. This should extend to all ships in the safe zone, as this serves as a faction's "home" for both online and offline players. Personally, I'm interested in PvP, not PvDoor.

Why the 36-59 hour advance notice?
Because stations are a big investment and a permanent asset, the defenders should be given the opportunity to defend it at full strength. This gives both defenders and attackers advance notice to schedule their IRL lives and also reorganize their in-game logistics to prepare for the showdown, without turning Starbase into a job or requiring around-the-clock rotating shift work.

Why the 3 hour siege window?
Because that's a decently long play session for a lot of players, and it's more than enough time to decide the outcome of a siege without it dragging on and becoming boring/repetitive. It also puts pressure on the attackers to act decisively and use their time wisely, rather than "camping"/"turtling", being passive, and drawing out the fight forever until they win by sheer boredom.

Why not just a weekly or daily siege window?
If your station is vulnerable every day or every week at a given time, that means you need to sit there and guard it for that duration even if nobody is going to show up. With so many stations out there, chances are your daily or weekly window will be a boring no-show with no fights. A declared siege system means you can count on there being someone to fight, so you aren't bored waiting for probably nothing. It's guaranteed action for both sides without wasting anybody's time -- so they can instead go off trading, exploring, fighting, and doing other interesting things rather than being chained to station.

Why not a 24-48 hour capture point system?
My concern with long capture point type mechanics is that I expect most of that time you're sitting there will be uncontested and boring. Generally speaking, PvP doesn't happen continuously over a 24- or 48-hour period, but rather in shorter bursts with recovery time in-between. You're probably looking at fights going on for minutes or a few hours at most -- certainly not two whole days. I certainly don't want to have to stay at a capture point with nothing to do while nobody attacks me during those recovery periods. I think it's better to concentrate all of the fighting into one big 3-hour showdown, get the fun out of it, and move on to other things.

Why require an inhibitor?
Making a siege require an inhibitor forces the attackers to "ante up" something expensive of their own in order to attack a station. Stations represent a huge time and resource investment, and the burden is entirely on the defenders since they have everything to lose. By requiring an inhibitor, this forces the attackers to have to decide "is this worth it?" as well, and makes sieging a more nuanced and interesting decision than "why not, it's free". If attackers have something to lose too, they're more invested and more likely to show up to give the defenders a better fight.

Why is the inhibitor destructible during the siege?
PvP is fun when players get to be proactive, take initiative, and push for something. Giving both sides a goal (attackers: station core, defenders: inhibitor) creates a push-pull effect where both sides are trying to outmatch each other. I believe this is more interesting than the defenders just sitting around waiting for the attackers to make their moves. Additionally, if the attackers are terribly outmatched and stand no chance, neutralizing the inhibitor allows the defenders to quickly close the siege window rather than having to wait around for the full three hours that their station is vulnerable (reducing "troll" sieges).

How do you "neutralize" a core or inhibitor?
That would have to be designed. It could be a multi-stage process that requires breaking an outer shell, entering the object "on foot", and then capturing or destroying something within (like Battlefield 2142's titans). Either way it should take some time (maybe 10-15 minutes) to prevent the fight from ending too early. Since both objects are anchored and stationary, they would be vulnerable to long-range artillery-type weapons, so destroying one should require getting up close in some way to prevent abuse/cheese.

Why is the core destroyed? Why can't I capture it instead?
If the core could be captured without destroying it, you could have a friend come in and end the fight early by capturing your station and keeping it in your alliance's control. Core destruction is something the defenders want to prevent no matter what, so it's harder to abuse/exploit. After the core is destroyed, if the rest of the station is intact enough to salvage, you could consider cleaning up the wreckage and anchoring a new core in the place of the old one, but this would be expensive and it would need to be defended during the process.

Why does the inhibitor require a station to build?
Requiring the inhibitor to be built at a station is needed to create the first phase of the siege (towing the inhibitor to the target station), which can create interesting gameplay. Maybe the defenders manage to intercept the inhibitor-towing attacker fleet and have a battle in open space instead? It also contributes to the idea that a siege is investment, and that if you want to conduct a siege as an attacker, you have to prepare and coordinate for it.

Why should it require specialized machinery?
If not every station is capable of producing an inhibitor, it makes certain stations more valuable targets than others. If you know that an enemy faction has a station nearby with machinery capable of producing an inhibitor, that's a big threat that you need to deal with sooner rather than later. It makes the strategic landscape of station placement more interesting and varied, and starts assigning strategic roles to the stations different factions built around the universe.

Looking for more? Here's my response to some concerns about the proposed system:
https://forum.starbasegame.com/threads/station-siege-mechanics.600/page-2#post-5654
 
Last edited:

Burnside

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#9
I'm seeing a gaming flaw here, I can have "Buddy X" form an enemy company, deploy an inhibitor on my station, and let me destroy it for a free five-day window of immunity to sieges. It doesn't matter that the tactic is expensive, this is my company's frontline station in a long-term war with a rival company and Buddy X is helping me create a permanent stationhead in my opponent's territory.

ED: Actually, it's technically more than five days because an opponent company can't besiege me while Buddy X has his own inhibitor up, which is invulnerable until siege start, and it doesn't matter if a saboteur helps Buddy X seize my station because Buddy X is technically on my payroll anyways. so that's 8-10 days of immunity to sieges for each inhibitor.
 

Recatek

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#10
I'm seeing a gaming flaw here, I can have "Buddy X" form an enemy company, deploy an inhibitor on my station, and let me destroy it for a free five-day window of immunity to sieges. It doesn't matter that the tactic is expensive, this is my company's frontline station in a long-term war with a rival company and Buddy X is helping me create a permanent stationhead in my opponent's territory.
What's to stop your real enemy from coming in during that siege window set by "Buddy X" and attacking you for free? Your buddy just saved them the trouble of building and towing the inhibitor. Sieges are public information broadcast loud and clear for everyone to see, and nothing limits aggression to the faction placing the inhibitor. Once the inhibitor is active, your station is vulnerable to everyone.

That said, 5 days is probably a little generous. Maybe 2-3 days of immunity, given the 36-59 hour exclusion window for the next siege. I've updated the bullet points in the OP.
 
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Burnside

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#11
Okay, so they have a short window between siege-start and the planned destruction of an inhibitor. If you give the inhibitor super health, then attackers have a ridiculous advantage. What you're saying is the risk is an enemy company is going to have a fleet on standby to destroy parts of the station during the siege window, but then it's just a regular siege the third party can't "win" by taking the station with the added complication of they had only 36-59 hours to plan the raid, whereas Company A and Buddy X have been planning the operation since before the inhibitor was anchored. On top of that, you can use the meta-response to this tactic to draw an enemy fleet into a fight it doesn't want to have (at this point in time).

Problem: It can be Gamed
Your Response: Play the Metagame More

It sits unwell with me.
 

Recatek

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#12
Generally in these systems the attackers show up shortly before the beginning of the siege window, and are already skirmishing by the time the vulnerability starts for both the core and inhibitor. The defenders always have a desire to destroy the inhibitor no matter who set it, and it's always up to the attackers to carve out space around the inhibitor to protect it when the siege begins. That's a given for all sieges, regardless of situation.

Once the siege window starts, the core is a valid target for any and all factions aside from the faction that owns the station. The inhibitor is indeed strong, and takes effort to destroy/neutralize, possibly requiring someone to land and control it on foot. So too, however, is the the station core. Both can be balanced with lessons learned from testing and gameplay, but their general toughness prevents fights from ending prematurely. In the inhibitor case, this also accounts for what you mentioned, that the attackers need to resecure the inhibitor on arrival -- that's business as usual.

In the "Buddy X" example, the attackers have the full 36-59 hour window to prepare just as the defenders do, with the added advantage that they didn't need to do anything to produce and tow out the inhibitor. This does assume some level of general combat readiness on all sides, but I don't think that's an unreasonable expectation in a territory PvP game. I don't really see it as being too different from simply calling Buddy X to come help you defend when the siege starts. The inhibitor isn't particularly "loyal" to a given side. It could just as easily be appropriated by any enemy faction during the siege duration. In fact, there are numerous examples where an opportunistic third party has come into a siege and significantly changed the outcome, and I think that's interesting.

It's a valid point though, and "keep trading" is an issue in other games, but I think the risk of another faction swooping in and interrupting your self-siege would mostly keep it in check.
 
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Recatek

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#14
Inhibitors have no ownership. When the inhibitor is active, the station core and its safe zone are vulnerable until either the inhibitor is neutralized (no easy feat, if it's protected by attackers) or the three hour window expires. The inhibitor itself has no allegiance to anyone, it just drops the station core's protection for up to three hours and then explodes.
 

Recatek

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#16
I've updated the OP to make it more clear, but there isn't a capture. You destroy the core. That's to prevent keep-trading. If the rest of the station is intact enough to save, the attackers could consider placing a new core, but that's not cheap and it would need protection to come online. If the core was capturable you could abuse the system to have an ally come in and end the fight early by capturing it, thus keeping the station on your "side".
 
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Burnside

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#17
So... you're just overcomplicating 'take the station by force, blow up the core, and replace it' and eliminating any way a station could be actually captured, including by stealth, and made station capture a doubly expensive endeavor by requiring:
1) have a superior military
2) have enough funds to produce an inhibitor
3) have enough funds to replace every station's core you want to capture

I really, really don't like this, it only makes big factions more powerful by cutting out what smaller ones can do and doesn't really penalize big factions for having a gated activity.
 

Recatek

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#18
I don't see a straightforward way for a station to be captured by stealth that doesn't involve a faction losing weeks or months of work without a reasonable means to respond, and that isn't susceptible to keep-trading mechanics. In fact, I've never seen that in a PvP MMO where cities/stations are long-term investments, short of corporate espionage in EVE (which could be an option here as well). You have weekly castle sieges in Lineage and the like, but those aren't something you build from the ground up and sink weeks/months of work into. Bottom line is that if you want to take weeks of my faction's work (hundreds or thousands of man-hours), we should be able to defend it at full strength and give it our best shot to stop you.

Replacing a core with your own is an option, not an expectation. If you have a serviceable station of your own nearby you don't necessarily need to take this one, you'd just be kicking it out of your space. As for the superior military requirement, isn't that a given? Of course you need to be better than the enemy side to beat them and take their stuff.

I don't see this as an exclusive benefit to large factions. It's a trade-off. In a free-for-all system, large factions would be the ones with the means to babysit their stations around the clock, with people recruited from different time zones to do so. A siege declaration system allows small factions to show up in full strength at exactly when they need to. Yes, building an inhibitor should not be a cheap, throwaway thing, but the point is to make sure both sides have stakes in the fight and to rate-limit how often these big fights happen to keep them exciting.

Yes, it's a little complicated, but MMOs are complicated. Most of this would be dealt with by faction leaders, so that their members can focus on the fun parts -- building and fighting.
 
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Eranok

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#19
Yes, it's a little complicated, but MMOs are complicated. Most of this would be dealt with by faction leaders, so that their members can focus on the fun parts -- building and fighting.
This game has been intuitive and rules-less from the start. Better keep it that way as much as possible.

Imagine a very strong laser turret that can is balanced to fit stations more than ships. Imagine bases tank very well. Imagine 'base armor' that resist more when it takes more burst damage.

If there is a way to make sieges good with 'balance' and basic 'gameplay elements' instead of a 'new system', it will align better with the game.

Another bad side effect of scheduling, it breaks immersion. You see a base "cool lets attack!". Nah, you must first get rich, then make a device then wait then fight. Its makes much more sense to be able to take your chance, see that the base laser turrets dig holes in your ship, that you do little damage. Then you LEARN intuitively that you need more firepower.
 

CalenLoki

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#20
This game has been intuitive and rules-less from the start. Better keep it that way as much as possible.

Imagine a very strong laser turret that can is balanced to fit stations more than ships. Imagine bases tank very well. Imagine 'base armor' that resist more when it takes more burst damage.

If there is a way to make sieges good with 'balance' and basic 'gameplay elements' instead of a 'new system', it will align better with the game.

Another bad side effect of scheduling, it breaks immersion. You see a base "cool lets attack!". Nah, you must first get rich, then make a device then wait then fight. Its makes much more sense to be able to take your chance, see that the base laser turrets dig holes in your ship, that you do little damage. Then you LEARN intuitively that you need more firepower.
So you basically want to fight overpowered beyond physical rules AI, rather than real players?
And do so at night, when they have no way to defend their possession.

Cool.
 
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