August 5, 2010

Intrusion system preview

As the development continues, we’re constantly adding new features to the game. One of the most awaited features will be the ability to build your own settlements and terraform the area around them.
We’re not quite there yet, but to enable our players some form of territory control we’re introducing a new system where they will be able to take control of certain outposts. This system is called Intrusion.

So what’s it all about?

The idea is that under the right circumstances, player corporations can claim ownership of certain buildings. (Namely the outposts on the beta islands in the free PvP zone)
To achieve this, they will have to compete with other corporations for the ownership of the property by completing objectives at certain times.

From time to time each base will have a maintenance session, when extra parts of its structure will become visible for the players to interact with. Native Nians used these Service Access Points (SAPs) to perform regular maintenance on an outpost's systems, however these vulnerable points can also be used to bring down the main defenses of it. These events will be what we call Intrusion.
Each SAP requires players to perform some action to take control of it during the Intrusion event. If any one corporation has control over all of the access points associated with a certain outpost they gain ownership of the outpost. At the moment there are four different access point types:

Destruction: Destroy the access point. The corporation dealing the most damage takes ownership.
Specimen processing: Be the first to bring certain specific items to the access point.
Active hacking: Be the first to hack the access point (requires a unique hacking module)
Passive hacking: Hold the surroundings of the access point.

When the required objective of an access point is achieved it closes until the next event and ownership is transferred to the winning corporation. Of course things brings up the possibility that access points associated with an outpost are owned by different corporations.
If at the end of the Intrusion event not all of the access points are controlled by the same corporation the owner does not change, however the individual access points retain their controlling corporations for the next Intrusion event.

At the beginning of the event corporation A holds the outpost. This means, that sometime in the past they captured all access points claiming ownership of the base. It's however entirely possible that in the meanwhile other corporations took control of some of the access points for that base.
To make sure that corporation A doesn't lose ownership of their property the only thing they need to do is to prevent any one corporation from taking over each access point.
This can be done by completing access point objectives before others or simply preventing other groups from completing objectives.Meaning that capturing an outpost requires good teamwork and precise timing.

Corporations are required to register for Intrusion events at least 12 hours before the event begins. If a corporations wins an event by taking control of all access points they get the registration fee back.

The rewards of controlling an outpost are high: from each transaction that happens on their outpost the controlling corporation gets a share. This share varies with the type of the transactions. This in effect means that the controlling corporation can use the base facilities at a much reduced price and everyone passing through will generate money for them.

However winning an Intrusion event doesn’t automatically transfer control of the base to the winning corporation. The corporation does become the new owner, but the base still needs to be claimed by them. Each base has a large pool of money with a fixed maximum. Each time a corporation wins an Intrusion event or when they successfully defend a base they get a portion of this pool transferred to them. To gain control over the base the corporation needs to fill this pool to its maximum first, otherwise they won’t get a percentage from the transactions flowing through the base.

This opens up the possibility for groups to make some cash in the Intrusion events without paying the high fee of taking control of the outpost. Also the chances of someone taking over an outpost whose owner just recently changed are greater as the pool will be filled up and as a result claiming the base will cost less. This makes controlling a base a risky business.

As the timing of Intrusion events will be randomly determined on the server it’s possible that an event occurs at a time when the owning corporation is unable to defend it. To counter this problem the system has a feature called Intrusion Protection. This system will allow the owner of a base to skip an Intrusion event completely, but this option is of course limited: after every third successful defense of a base the owning corporation will get a protection token. This token can be used to skip an Intrusion event at any base the corporation currently owns. The tokens accumulate but their number may never exceed the number of bases under the control of the corporation.