DrunkenGamer’s Omerta (June 2010)

So, I’ve been in charge for a while over at Omerta Deathmatch. Over that time I have been closely looking at the game’s features to see where I think it can be improved.

While the game does have a lot going for it, as a result of the way some features work it has become a little regimented. This is after all a game that has run for over five years, so it’s only natural that over time things would head that way.

So one of the first things I wanted to try and do was to add a little more of a random factor into the game. Not so much as to break the existing dynamic, but enough to add an element of surprise to Omerta.

I Recently thought of a potential change to one of the existing in-game features, Smuggling. This system has the users buying contraband in one city and shipping it to other cities for a profit. Once the players get to a certain rank they are only really trafficking cocaine, morphine, and whiskey, because they were most commonly at profitable rates in the same cities at the same time.

What I wanted to do was shake this up a little and add a bit more of a random factor to it. We had tried to do this once in the past by trying to unlink the drug and alcohol prices, so that they had to make more of a choice – do they go to Detroit to get the high booze or Chicago to get the high morphine? Unfortunately this did not go down too well among the player base, because there was too much randomisation for them to work with on a day to day basis. Smuggling needs a pattern to it, hell; even the real world drug trade has set routes (or..so I’m told *whistles*)

So how could I add a random factor to this without it being ‘too’ random?

The answer, in my mind, was not to impact on the system, but to randomly pick a specific contraband and affect the profit margins on that one alone. This way if the profit margin was good enough, the players could choose to change from their normal smuggling routes, but the key fact here was that the standard routes would remain largely unaffected.

Now I wanted to give this a trial, so I implemented it as one of the event weekends to get the players view on it. After the weekend ended I got the players opinions, which were for the most part positive, and have made changes to make it a permanent feature.

Their only issues with it turned out to be that they couldn’t clearly tell when the Oversupply, which alters the profits, was in effect and that they felt the windows of opportunity were too small. So taking their input into account, I will be trying the final version of this change shortly.

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