[Discussion] Uniformity of the world

  • SUN

    One of the downsides of a uniform world is that no location matters much. Most rooms very much like each other. There is not much of a reason to fight over any given location, nor to try and settle in a given spot.

    I'd like to start a discussion on how we can bring points of interest into screeps. All objects of importance are very transient right now, the power banks, caravans and portals appearing and disappearing at random. Rather, I'd think screeps could benefit from special locations, places for players to fight over and defend, with some reward or goal for holding them.

    Any example would be powerful and rare neutral objects called Relics. Relics cannot be moved and do not change location in any short timeframe (potentially after millions of ticks). Relics are maintained the same way that a controller is maintained, by reserving it. They would spawn in crossroad/highway rooms. Example relics implementations could be:

    • Relic of Power: a relic that give the owner power credit every x ticks.
    • Relic of Space: a user can create a portal next to the relic within some distance.
    • Relic of Time: the user gains 10cpu while in possession of it, potentially exceeding the cap.

    And potentially a leaderboard for relic possession time.

    There would only be a few relics per shard, and their spawning would be a big event. They offer significant advantages, important shard locations, and meaningful positions to fight over. With longlasting locations, it gives older players a reason to move great distances and create challenges between players.

    What do people think? Is it worth trying to solve the universal sameness of the world? Are there other ideas people are interested in? The relics are an option, but far from the only one.


  • Without addressing your idea about relics, I just want to say that location does matter to me.

    • I want to be near the centre axes so there are double rows of power banks.

    • I want to have access to certain minerals more than others, which rules out some sectors

    • I don't want to be near the edges of the map because you can access fewer power banks and convoys.

    • I want to be close to a variety of corner and centre portals so that I'm able to send creeps to a variety of locations on the same shard and on other shards.

    • I want to have bases in areas where there are a high density of 2-source rooms which rules out some sectors

    So different parts of the map are differently appealing to me. If we had some kind of MapVisual I would be able to do cool things like rate parts of each sector.

    With that said, there is plenty of scope for features that distinguish areas of the map further, such as your relic idea.

  • SUN

    @wtfrank I wholeheartedly agree that not every room is equal. And it is true that the center of the map affords some advantages. It used to give huge advantages due to how the market worked, but now the world wraps. There are some variations from sector to sector, from mineral/source locations to how the terrain generation played out to.

    The issue is more that the difference between them is not much. A given room might have an extra 2 energy remote, or an X, or a good dead end region. But chances are you can find something almost exactly the same the next sector over. It just doesn't matter much, and no one else really cares if you make a big play for E45S19 because its just another room.

    The only time people really care is when its huge alliances going to war, and that doesn't happen very frequently because why bother? There isn't much to be gained when each location is roughly equivalent to each other.

    Personally, I think it would be healthy and interesting for there to be focal points on maps. Places that other players fight over, and that people can watch with interest. To be honest they don't need to be THAT impressive in terms of value, they could be as simple as Xel'Naga towers (https://liquipedia.net/starcraft2/Xel'Naga_Tower) and just provide vision around them.

    It's more the rarity and prestige of the locations, something that makes them inherently special. Right now when you look at the map you can scroll left, then right, up and down, and everything looks pretty much the same.

  • SUN

    Another approach to consider: new resources, potentially shard driven.

    I think the most fluid way to introduce regional differences is to have resources that are only (easily) accessible in certain regions. This would foster trade and incentivize outposts etc, giving players challenges and reasons to explore.

    Our current resources are too core to the game to be broken up, but a sort of newgame+ resources be created to support it. Some random examples below of powerful but unnecessary elements.

    • Portalite: a rare minable resource that lets you interact with portals (opening/closing/retargeting them).
    • Genesis: Allows renewing creeps without destroying creep boosts. Or possibly a boost that grants creeps extra TTL beyond its lifespan.
    • Potentially something that allows you to boost buildings/generate buffs.

    The actual implementation is not that important, but the big difference is a regionality to their spawns. If we have the equivalent of power banks with other types of resources that only spawn in certain regions or even only certain shards I think it would be interesting. Having players adapt their playstyles to use an abundance of a particular resource could be a great way to incentivize certain strategies. Making war easier/more profitable in a region, or changing balance.

    Anyone have other suggestions? Most of the others I can think of would be difficult to implement without impacting current players. One options is doing something with strongholds to make invaders different in regions, since that hasn't been added.

  • But what happens when you control all three? Can you get the power to snap your fingers and wipe half of enemy creeps out at random?

  • SUN

    You'd need to wipe out half of all creeps. Fair, impartial... Balanced.

    Another option for special high-priority locations is some form of permanent portal...

    Abyssal Shard A small shard that is only accessible through special portals. Something with high resources but no controllers, so you can't build rooms in it. To access it you have to control the region near the specific portals. Inside is plentiful minerals (potentially even compounds) and power banks.

    Add on significant risk, perhaps enormous invasions or very powerful roaming enemies (Caravans of DOOM) and you have an interesting challenge for top tier players to compete and an interesting spectator sport, for both control of the portals and surviving in the Abyss.

  • SUN

    Anyone else have any ideas or comments? I think it would be nice for something to differentiate locations/shards besides server performance.