I’m also pleased to announce that we have a rough community discussion draft ready for the new World Systems rules.
If you’re interested, please come take a look and give us some feedback. Below, I’ve copied and pasted the current “executive summary” of the new draft.
This is an executive summary of the basic points of the system.
World Systems—which, by the way, could probably use a new name—are meant to accomplish a few key objectives:
- Unpredictability. World Systems throw some curveballs into the stories, both by allowing factions to make odd choices and by providing a “realistic” level of randomness. Sometimes, sneaking around the Floating Pyramids unleashes Nefara.
- Immersion. World Systems provide some depth to the setting, and allow those Summoners who wish to take part to have some say in what their factions do.
- Subplots. World Systems allow us to explore subplots that are smaller than subjects of the arcs themselves, but still interesting. This also gives factions that are having trouble with the competition in an arc the opportunity to pursue a separate story, like Bandle City flying to the moon or Bilgewater saving the Marai.
In the past, one purpose of World Systems has been to reward factions that win lots of matches. That’s still somewhat true, in that there are ways to cash in match-power for story-power (e.g. risking a Champion going MIA from matches in order to boost the odds of succeeding at a World Systems roll), but for the most part we’re decoupling the two. Why? Well, mostly because World Systems has proven especially valuable as a way to allow Summoners from factions that are having a rough time on the Fields to still have some involvement in the arc. In that spirit, there are also some ways to use World Systems to gain advantages in matches.
Factions have six stats that define different aspects of their power off the Fields.
- Military. Sometimes, the League fails to keep the peace; quite often, it only succeeds in setting boundaries and enforcing certain laws of war. In such times, a faction’s military might is crucial. Military is also helpful in certain side-quests and special events. In short, Military is most useful when things go wrong.
- Example. Ionia and Noxus battle for control of one of Ionia’s southern islands. The Military stat represents the strength of their armies at the start of the conflict, divided up into units which can be lost in battle.
- Note. Military is an unusual stat in that factions do not generally “roll Military”. Instead, their Military strength is broken up into discrete units.
- Insight. This represents the faction’s magical and technological prowess. This is especially important for advancing side plots (Quests) that further a faction’s story outside of the central dispute of the arc.
- Example. Bilgewater seeks a new Moonstone for the Marai. Insight is rolled to advance along this Quest line; the higher its Insight, the faster it progresses.
- Production. Often a rough proxy for population, this measures a faction’s agricultural and industrial capacity and organization. It is helpful in completing some Quests, and it can be diverted to gain some extra Wealth (see: Commerce), but perhaps its most important function is to serve as a measure of the faction’s overall resilience. This includes its ability to rebound from disasters, whether by replenishing lost military units or rebuilding ruined cities; it also includes its resistance to such events.
- Example. Zaun sets off an explosion in Piltover. First, Zaun rolls against Piltover’s Production to see how much damage is done; the more Production it has, the less catastrophic the damage is likely to be. Next, Piltover will be rolling Production to try to rebuild; the more Production it has, the sooner it will get back on its feet.
- Commerce. Commerce is a flexible resource based on the faction’s ability to develop profitable products, control trade, and rake in the gold. It offers a way to indirectly influence Valoran’s culture and society, while developing connections to other factions. War is banned by the League, but trade is actively encouraged, and corporations can be more valuable than armies in spreading “soft” influence. Commerce generates Wealth, which can be spent on-demand to give the faction some extra help where it needs it most.
- Example. Noxus is having trouble rebuilding its armies after some recent Military defeats. It extorts some cash out of Bilgewater, and uses it to accelerate the process, buffing the Production rolls by buying equipment, offering higher salaries to recruit more soldiers, and so on.
- Espionage. Cloak-and-dagger missions of espionage are important in modern Valoran, given the high cost imposed on active armed hostility. Espionage is primarily used in biweekly events in which factions can spy on each other, commit acts of sabotage, or even take Champions out of action for a limited time.
- Example. Bandle City knows a battle is coming in Shurima. It rigs explosives to Zaun’s warpgates, taking them offline for the first phase of the battle and delaying the deployment of reinforcements.
- Diplomacy. The League of Legends provides a forum in which factions can use political know-how to advance their causes through the Council. There are biweekly opportunities to petition the League; if a faction can secure enough votes from the League’s member-states and other institutional entities, it can benefit itself and its allies, or hinder its adversaries. Diplomatic talent is, of course, also useful in other scenarios, and sometimes comes up in Quests. It is a somewhat flexible stat, with a special propensity for granting advantages in matches, and it’s particularly valuable as a way to make friends with other factions, by defending them from hostile petitions and supporting their own petitions.
- Example. Ionia decides it’s had enough of Miss Fortune lately. It files a petition seeking to disqualify from an upcoming Tournament on the grounds that she caused serious collateral damage to Institute assets while pursuing a bounty through Council waters. It rolls Diplomacy to get the ban, and Bilgewater rolls Diplomacy to try to block the petition.
Stats are generally scored from 0 to 20, with 10 being a baseline that gives a faction a roughly even chance of success on an ordinary roll. (Military is unusual in that it is not often “rolled” as such, and will often go above 20 for the largest factions.)
Factions can gain (or lose) stat points through Tournaments and arc victories, as well as Quests. There are three tiers—Minor Power, Great Power, and Superpower—with different stat point totals associated with each. (To keep things fair, Minor Powers get some special buffs, and Superpowers get some disadvantages.)
The most important World Systems events are as follows.
- Quests. These replace the old “Research Projects”. Completing a Quest requires succeeding at three challenges of various types (e.g. Insight or Military). Factions get to roll once per week to make some progress on their Quest. They can assign Champions to accelerate progress, but doing so risks a MIA.
- Diplomacy. Every first and third week, alternating with Espionage, factions can petition the League to grant them advantages or hinder their adversaries. (We also have monthly events during which factions are encouraged to talk among themselves to negotiate alliances or other deals.)
- Espionage. Every second and fourth week, alternating with Diplomacy, factions get an opportunity to engage in missions of espionage against one another or the League.
- Commerce. Factions can spend Wealth to amp up their rolls, or to secure other temporary benefits, like hiring a Champion to fight for them for a set of Featured Matches or a Tournament. They also get a weekly roll that can yield random benefits.
- Research. Factions get to roll Insight weekly, and can score some random benefits in this way.
- Battles. Factions may end up in combat with each other or with other entities, such as on a Quest.
We consolidate these decisions into weekly polls. The major decisions are made by the factions’ Summoners. Factions also have appointed delegates who will carry out the decisions of the faction as a whole, and make any follow-up decisions that may be required. (This reduces the need to bombard people with lots of polls, or get into minutiae.)
In addition to the above, there is some chance each week that a faction will get a random event, positive or negative. This allows us to weave in some exciting sideplots.
Here are some key differences from prior versions of World Systems:
- Delegation. We had some serious problems due to a complete reliance on voting. If something unexpected happened that would prompt new decisions, we’d often have to either make a call ourselves (obviously problematic) or hold a follow-up poll, sometimes with a very short time-window. This was not only a logistical hassle, and a recipe for fairness problems, but also I think sapped World Systems of its excitement; votes were less dramatic, and at times even tedious. In the new version, we have a formal system by which factions appoint delegates from their ranks to make follow-up decisions and advise staff as to how the faction will implement the plan it voted for. This should also help make factions a little less volatile and develop more cohesive strategies, because there’s someone at the wheel.
- Quests. Perhaps the biggest part of World Systems so far has been “Research”, by which factions can advance their own storylines. This made sense as a pure “research” system in Hextech Revolution, an arc focused on science. Going forward, though, we’ll use a more versatile “Quest” system that incorporates not only research (“Insight”) challenges but also battles, espionage missions, and other tasks.
- Champions. There will no longer be any means by which Champions may be recruited through World Systems. (Partial exception: there will be a mechanism for hiring Champions as mercenaries for specific tournaments and featured matches.) We’re moving to a completely “flat” pickup model. World Systems can, however, expand a faction’s range of Tertiary Champions for an arc, giving them more choices to pick from.
A Note on Champions
We’ve experimented with many different ways to connect Champions to World Systems. After much discussion, we’re changing to a flat pickup system. It will no longer be possible to use World Systems to actually add Champions to your roster. (There are partial exceptions, e.g., the ability to hire a Champion as a mercenary for a particular Tournament.) It will be possible to use World Systems to add Champions to the list from which you can recruit, expanding your options (but not your total number of pickups).
Champions are recruited on a flat basis. Every two weeks, each faction gets to recruit a Champion. (If a Tertiary Champion, i.e. a Champion with very tenuous ties to the faction, is recruited, this also consumes the next pick-up opportunity.)