The problems we want to resolve:
•There is not much feedback from the diplomacy system.
- Things change at friendly, aligned and allied - but nothing is explained to the player.
•Faction research is accessed in one big dump on reaching allied status.
•The faction research dump is presented as research but is in fact free.
- The player just clicks on each one in turn with no meaningful decisions involved.
•There is often a point in the mid-game where the player doesn’t have any meaningful research choices.
- Usually at the point where new research is unlocked through capturing live aliens or through the Phoenix story.
•Faction missions to unlock the next diplomacy level are not directly connected.
- It’s possible to complete the faction mission but not actually achieve the next diplomacy level which requires a specific diplomacy value.
Our broad solution:
•Explain clearly what benefits the player gets when a new diplomacy level is reached.
- We should have a special player information feedback dialogue to explain game mechanics.
•If the player gains a diplomacy bonus, but it is blocked due to faction mission not being completed, explain this to the player.
•Give the player access to faction research progressively.
- Link each research item to a diplomacy level e.g. at 25, 35, 45, 50, 65.
- More progressive and frequent rewards provide a more satisfying feedback loop for the player.
- Explain to the player when new research is unlocked, and what it is.
•Faction research items still have research cost.
- Proportional, based on diplomacy level e.g. 50% at friendly, 25% at aligned, 0% at allied.
•When the next diplomacy level is unlocked, but not actually reached.
- Give some feedback - e.g. ‘we are prepared to share more with you, but you have more to prove’.