Making The Trust System More Interesting: Changes To Consider

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Alan Gunderson, Jun 7, 2017.

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  1. Alan Gunderson

    Alan Gunderson Here To Help

    "Frank Johnson would like to spend some time with you today."

    [What's The Deal With Airline Food?]

    This thread is a re-written version of an old idea I had for the first game. It was well received. With State of Decay turning over a new leaf, it is time for a change, and also time for that idea to be overhauled in the context of the new game.

    If you have anything worth adding to the idea, even criticism, by all means, post it.

    Alright. Step one. Real talk.

    I'm aware the release date may be too close by for this to be considered. However, I feel like I might as well say this now instead of gripe over the fact that I didn't say anything post-release.

    The trust and friendship system in State of Decay was lifeless and the mechanics surrounding it were almost non-existent as the game progressed. The ideas were there, but the implementation was spread too thin. Now, I understand that resources and XBLA policies really held the first game back from it's true potential (2gb) but now that this is an official sequel without those limitations my expectations for this system now are much, much higher.

    I felt the game really lacked in the fact that there were no missions or anything regarding doing anything to make friends with any of the survivors. There needs to be almost a complete overhaul of the system to make trust seem worthwhile and worth mentioning on the feature list.

    I'm talking about including new dialogue, different ways to interact with different personalities. You have a new side of the pillow here to work with so it goes without question that the previous system is no longer "just good enough" to handle this kind of thing.

    Spending a significant amount of time with the player should be requirement priority one. No more instant friends. That broke the whole point of the previous iteration of the mechanic because of how quick the friend status was achieved the last time around.

    TL;DR Friendship missions, dialogue and more, for everyone. Make friendship a journey and not just a free gift from the get-go.

    Changes To The Old Gameplay:
    • ALL Characters must go through with this before coming a friend. The change this will bring to the flow of the game will be welcome, as the reward is the playability of the character and the effort required to get there makes the experience more rewarding. Friendly interactions should be encouraged, not forced.
    • The rate of trust increasing would have to be severely reduced from the last time around. Leadership would have to have a nerf, assuming it uses a similar system this time around.
    • Survivors in enclaves should no longer be 'insta-friends' [i.e. put a cap on trust level for people while they are in enclaves]

    Desirable Changes In Tone This May Create:
    • The player will have more say in who becomes their friend.
    • Acquiring friendship will actually feel rewarding, especially if the status took a while to achieve
    • Flow of community development won't feel so rushed and forced
    • Immersive feel of growing a friendship
    • Difficult personalities could be harder to achieve friendship with, making dealing with authoritarian and jerk characters much more interesting.
    This Is Totally Necessary, I Swear:
    • The trust system pretty much had no effect whatsoever from mid-point onward as new community members were practically instant-friends (especially with leadership in the group) in the first game.
    • Gaining friendship did not feel rewarding.
    • A lot of random events, especially regarding survivor status, did not happen.

    The issue of balance:
    1. Proper consequences for denying people friendship
    2. Being able to "do the wrong thing" trying to win somebody over
    3. Actually making earning trust a proper obstacle in the game

    Now, some of you may defend the old system and deem this unnecessary. However, remember a few things before you decide that is your go-to response to this.

    1. State Of Decay 2 is the grand opportunity to do all of the fun stuff that was part of the plan for the first game but was scrapped due to space constrictions.
    2. The trust system is barely present in the mid-late game of the first game. It is so irrelevant that it is barely prevalent in most reviews, and early concept posts by the devs certainly indicate that the plan for trust and friendship was to be much more complex than it was in the final cut.

    Undead Labs, if you are reading this, this sequel is your golden opportunity to truly let your desires for State of Decay run wild. Not too wild, but you can at least make true on your "wants" for the friendship system.


    Alan "Alan" Gunderson

    As I mentioned above, a previous post about a similar idea for the first game occurred a long time ago, where some useful back-and-forth occured. If you are interested in how the conversation went, you can find it here:
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2017
  2. Nathan Endo

    Nathan Endo Got Your Back

    Well said. I agree with you. The community also had a Reputation score, though I don't know how or where it is tracked (for YOSE) nor how it worked with Influence. Reputation in SOD 2 would be tracked from the get go as it will open up or close off future survivors from joining the player's community. This acts as a sort of 'macro' relationship and affects whether or not other communities join, assist, or become hostile to us players. The 'micro' relationship you've hit out of the park.

    If SOD 2's campaign is a sort of mash between Breakdown and story mode SOD 1, I imagine building and maintaining/destroying relations could become a major driving force for the campaign story and the story we all make in our heads. For example, let's say Joe and Bill have become very close and are the scavenging A Team. Things go far south on a run and Joe leaves Bill behind. Let's say we, as Joe, could have saved Bill yet we chose to run off. Bill is 'missing,' when in actuality another enclave saves him (let's say this enclave is hostile), and Bill tells them all about Joe's base and all the goodies. This could lead to Joe having to move bases or maps as the hostile enclave (thus becoming an antagonist) begins to raid the base and exploit weaknesses that only Joe's community knows about. Joe, as mentioned, may flee or confront his old comrade which could lead to a redemption or execution or whatever else the player decides for Bill.

    The first time I really paid any attention to the friendship system in SOD was in Breakdown between Calliope and Sasquatch: both were pissed with the community members. Sasquatch was my 'leader,' and after I took Calliope out for her first anger management session Kelly reassured her that, 'she wasn't the only one who is sick of this shit.' After a few zed bashing anger management missions a "I'm glad you are here" message pinged in the journal and lo and behold Calliope and Kelly became my Richonne (yes they are still together and going strong). I'm hoping they use the relationship/friendship foundation from SOD 1 which has been polished and expanded upon.
  3. MatchesMalone

    MatchesMalone Got Your Back

    Whatever the system is, hopefully, it is clear and simple to understand and utilize as a player and not a black box of "magic" logic
  4. Righteous Ham

    Righteous Ham Here To Help

    It's good to see you reviving a revised version of your idea, Alan. I was a proponent for the original and had my own thoughts on the lackluster friend/influence/moral system in SoD. However, I was prone to giving SoD a lot of slack due to the known hardware and software limitation at the time. The sequel will not be given this same consideration and I'm expecting major improvements for all game systems.

    In regards to your idea, one thing worth considering is that perhaps not all potential community members should be able to befriend each other. After all, sometimes in life, people just don't get along. This could possibly add another strategic layer to community development. Imagine a scenario in which you've managed to cobble together a group that meshes fairly well but is missing some critical skill; later you find an individual that has said skill only they tend to rub one or two of your less useful people the wrong way.

    For the purposes of gameplay balance and real life emulation (in that order) this person will never get on well with these two members of your group. You, the player, are now faced with some interesting choices:
    • Get rid of the new guy and hope to find someone less abrasive with his skill-set.
    • Kick-out your two less useful but established members -- likely causing moral loss and tension.
    • Try to get everyone to work together knowing your one bad day away from the problem boiling over.
    Finding yourself in a situation where there is no singular perfect or correct choice would set SoD2 apart from many of its contemporaries. No doubt some gamers would find this annoying but I believe Undead Labs has already established themselves with this kind of philosophy.
  5. Furie

    Furie Here To Help

  6. shinigami

    shinigami Got Your Back

    Yep. Definitely needs more solid mechanics in SoD2.
    Nathan Endo and Alan Gunderson like this.
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