One of the often mentioned issues with space is that it doesn't do a good job of incorporating other aspects of gameplay, like ground combat and hacking. I've enjoyed seeing how IRE has been working towards integrating these systems, and I had an idea for blending all three, inspired by pirate refineries and hacking missions. Pirate refineries are neat except that they essentially require a cruiser or battleship and they reward commodities only, which are of interest only to people engaged in incursions, making some marks, or CP raids.
Remember that quest that involves attacking a defense platform that spawns fighters? Destroy the fighters, then disable the platform, then dock and advance. What if we had dungeons that combined that mechanic, incursion difficulty ratings, hacking, and ground-based, 2+ player dungeons that scale with level (like how New Dikamazi scales from 50-75)? Before I go on, here's what I mean by incursion difficulty ratings combined with level scaling:
- Easy difficulty would spawn ships of similar difficulty to Easy incursions, would scale in level with a minimum scaling level of 20, and, if applicable, would have hacking terminals at level 4.
- Medium difficulty would spawn ships of similar difficulty to Medium incursions, would scale in level with a minimum scaling level of 40, and, if applicable, would have hacking terminals at level 8.
- Hard difficulty would spawn ships of similar difficulty to Hard incursions, would scale in level with a minimum scaling level of 60, and, if applicable, would have hacking terminals at level 12.
So, where we are now is that a player approaches the defense platform, engages it, and the platform deploys some fighters to defend itself. We blow up all the stuff and dock with it, and then there's mobs that scale with level.
Here's where it gets thematic. I'd love to see there be a variety of these space dungeons.
Imagine you find a Loroi slave den on an asteroid. You want to shoot the slaver scum and free the slaves, so you open fire on the asteroid's defenses. The Loroi smell an opportunity for more slaves, so they attack you. Foolish slavers! They're ranked Easy, and you've shot their ships to bits a million times before. You blast their ships out of the sky, fire a few shots at a ground-based turret, and dock. It's time for the raid.
You get on foot and your quest begins in earnest. (Sound like hacking quests? Yeah, that's the idea.) You raid the slaver den, slaughtering all the Loroi. You free the slaves, who thank you profusely -- quest complete; they ask to hitch a ride with you back to whatever backwater station you call home, and you, Hero, assent. But while you're walking back to your ship, you notice a locker with a big, juicy lock on it. Naturally, you walk on over, inspect the lock, and hack it. Bingo! You find a weapon cache and some money. Mission accomplished. Time to take these freed souls wherever; surely they'll tell tales of your heroism.
There could be a lot of versions of this. Here are a few ideas:
- A corporate factory's bots have gone berserk, and you've got to set things straight. But they'll pay you better if you don't destroy all the equipment; they just want you to get in and reboot the systems. But hey, bots are terrible, and, knowing this, they pay you handsomely. Would they notice if you hacked another terminal and stole some corporate secrets while you're at it?
- Binaries, trinaries, what have you -- they're odd. Ata's NPC twin sees that you're in the vicinity of one such cluster of these weird things, and, now that you're blowing things up, he contacts you and asks you to do some "research" on them.
- Some bored Sahakren have taken up a hobby of pitting drugged up Bushraki against each other in pit fights, tinkering with them between competitions. The Bushraki aren't happy with the arrangement. Do you help the Sahakren, who offer to pay you handsomely to preempt rebellion by finding and killing Spartacus? Or do you help the Bushraki kill their captors?
As for hacking, I'd want most of the hacking options to be either alternative means of completion (maybe a safe pathway) or means of getting more loot (chests). Making hacking a requirement for completion of a quest for one such dungeon would be fine, but making them all complete with hacking would gate people out too much.
I'd want generous experience rewards, generous marks rewards (in the form of marks, equipment, or both), and maybe some commodities, too. I'd also really like to have different, known floor plans, a la hacking dungeons. But probably bigger.
Bonus: Very Hard difficulty. Hard (or very hard? please?) ships plus generators, deadly monsters intended for 75+ (meaning talents), hacking level 16 or higher. Appropriately grand theme, like Ishvana or a HETE facility gone rogue.