I play strategy games feverishly for awhile, then at some point I realize how much time I've spent with nothing to show for it. Yes I enjoyed the play sessions themselves, but there is no long term accomplishment. Campaigns are good, but generally structured and frequently not relevant to sandbox.
Starcraft 2 for example, great campaign feature of earning upgrades and research bonuses. Non-linear, able to somewhat customize to playstyle...made the campaign more fun. Then you get to custom and multiplayer and... I've got some achievements, a logo and a pretty picture. Weak. But at least its something. I can play a ton and have something to show some level of progression (lame, yet something).
I also like metrics at the end of a game, with an aggregate score to compare previous efforts. How many units created, how many killed, spells cast, gold earned, dungeons pilfered, etc. Graphs are good too.
So, we have this dynasty system - that is a great idea, yet doesn't do much right now. I'm wondering if we could tie the dynasty feature into something a bit more on the meta scale. A system that tracks game results, # games played, and potentially playstyle and then possibly affect single player sandbox.
I buy the game, install it and kick it off.
I'm asked to play standard or dynasty mode. If standard, game plays as normal
If dynasty I'm asked to create a profile, then select a family name. i.e. Smith.
I then create a game, I choose faction first (Altar for example), and then a sovereign. Sovereigns choices are limited to the faction I've chosen as well as Custom. Indication that this will be the initial head of my family. Game then plays as normal. Possibly kill off that sovereign if defeated (have a separate window to look at defeated sov's? online cemetery ) Anyway.
Upon completion of the game there are metrics and a score, possibly even a rudimentary achievement system. Dragons killed = 1, awarded "dragon killer", etc.
Either based upon those metrics or even just the fact that a game was played and/or completed something is stored to the Smith/Altar profile.
I come back the next day and kick off the game again, I choose dynasty mode. I can pick my previous smith/altar family or create a new family name.
If I choose smith/altar I can see some metrics, as well as how many games played vs won, if won I see victory condition and score.
That piece should be easy to implement.
Next steps, so what if I want to play a different playstyle and choose a different Sov/custom sov. If in the same family, that new sovereign could be displayed in the family tree of the original head of family. Again, shouldn't be too hard, just tracking a couple different data fields for display.
Long term goal would be to have something where after X games played and/or won, or Y metric were met (1000 creatures killed) something happens - a reward is given to customize your family that can then be used in sandbox mode. Joe Smith, the patriarch of the Kingdom of Smith, has defeated 1000 critters. Joe gets a doodad/widget thiny. This could be a fixed achievement award or a selectable list. Something like all future games under the smith family, the altar faction gains a new trait (+1 damage versus creatures, 5% bonus loot, etc) or a unique sov only weapon, . With the idea that over the course of many games a specific family in a faction can be somewhat customized with special...stuff - ideally with playstyle in mind (sov combat/magic, city economy/production, troop combat/movement, defense vs offence, melee vs magic, etc). I find the vanilla factions boring and always play custom, but I'd still like someway to see a progression/reward for playing a bunch.
It would be really cool if your original head of family grows old/becomes unavailable and you could somehow show a family history/geneology and then tie it into the game. Maybe only the next generation gains the bonuses and they're cumulative. So, ol Joe smith earned a few bonuses and then became too old to campaign (after 10 games or so), the next generation (Gen 2) gets to choose a couple of those bonuses when they start playing (games 11-20), and the next generation (gen 3, games 21-30) can choose a couple from joes list and from gen 2's list), etc. Then a game setting could be "generation" and the AI can get a couple random bonuses as well based upon their faction list to keep it even.
Would either have to have the bonuses be limited in number (select 2 for a game) or cumulative, but very weak. Could be off the wall/very unique or could go from a standardized list and allow in multiplayer as well.
disclaimer: I'm still pretty annoyed that I can't have automated vespene refineries anywhere but in the SC2 campaign. Wish they'd just assigned a point value to them and a game setting could be X amount of customization points when setting up a game, then everyone spends their points prior to game start. Great functionality/customization, completely limited to the campaign.