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Introduction to Diplomacy

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Overview Edit

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The third "sphere" of Vanguard, Diplomacy, allows a player to influence their faction and to gain benefits for themselves or other players by means other than simply killing large numbers of enemies. As well as obtaining faction, gear and money, one major reward of Diplomacy is Civic Benefits, which are usually in the form of city-wide buffs triggered by city diplomats for the benefit of the crafting, adventuring or harvesting spheres. Diplomats are also expected to play a primary role in Player City Management at a later stage of Vanguard's development.

Diplomacy borrows some elements from collectible card games. A player gradually increases their total reservoir of cards as they advance in level and complete quests. A player must also choose a five card "deck" customized to the needs of each individual "parley".

The Diplomacy encounter is known as a parley. At the beginning of a parley, both players start with a pool of Dialogue Points (the number depending on the encounter difficulty and the player's diplomatic skill). The goal of a parley is to use Statements to influence the diplomacy marker. Every turn the diplomacy marker is on one side of the board, that player's dialogue point total decreases by one. The first to zero dialogue points wins the parley. As the player progresses toward this goal, sentences appear indicating the conversation that is taking place, tying the mechanics of the card game back to role-playing.

Players use this parley mechanism in all the fields of diplomacy, which include Early Diplomacy, Civic Diplomacy, and Missions (Quests).

As a character advances through diplomacy he or she earns titles that can be displayed front of the character name, e.g. 'Messenger' or 'Ambassador'. These titles represent skill levels, not classes. Diplomacy "classes", or areas of specialization, have been mentioned as a possible future design element but are not currently part of the game or planned for the near future.

In addition to skill level, which is gained by performing any Parley, Diplomats must also manage Presence. Presence represents the character's status in a community (called a 'Station') such as Crafters, Outsiders, or Academics. Status accrues slowly by parleying with people of the appropriate station, but the majority of Presence gains come from clothing -- a Diplomat might wear a ragged shirt to raise Outsider Presence or Silk Pants to raise Noble presence.

Performing Parleys usually results in a reward of "information", such as "Rumor of Blackmail" or "Evidence of Trends". When enough of these items have been collected, they can be turned in to Informant NPCs to receive cash, clothing, or items. It should be noted that, at present, no actual information is gained, merely a token in inventory with an appropriate name. That is, receiving a "Rumor of Arcana" will not reveal to the player any additional information about the game world.

As of this time, there is no PVP (Player versus player) element to Diplomacy, but it has been stated that the system was designed with players being able to 'duel' diplomatically with each other. What, if any, benefits or consequences this will have is unknown.


Guide Edit

Source: Vanguard Forums

Diplomacy Paths Edit

Short Form: Guided Play-through Edit

Go to the Abilities Book (or press “P”) and select the Diplomacy tab. At the bottom, press the button marked "Strategy."

This will open a group of five boxes to hold your Statements (cards).

Open up your ability book and go to the Diplomacy tab. From there select the Comment, Evaluation, and the two Assertions that are the same color as the Evaluation. For instance, if you are a Goblin, your primary Expression is Reason, which is green.

The final slot is for you to place an Assertion of another Expression type (color). Knowing what your opponent is playing will help you determine which Assertion to place here. If you have no information about your opponent, choose an Assertion that catches your eye.

Hail the NPC, choose the parley option.

On the right is the gameboard while on the left is the Dialogue Window. Your Strategy window is normally in the lower left. Take a moment to position them such that you can see your opponent and your own character.

In parley, up is your opponent, and down is you. Each Statement has a cost in Expression (or zero cost), and the amount they add or subtract Expression from your opponent and yourself. Also, there is a refresh timer range, and a wax seal in the upper right of the Statement which represents Influence, or damage.

Play your Comment Statement by selecting it and then pressing the "Speak" button. Notice several things happened. First, some dots of Expression appeared on your opponent's side of the gameboard. Also, the marker on the right side of the gameboard moved to 1. The number at the bottom next to the speech bubble went down by one. A line of dialogue appeared in the Dialogue Window. Finally, the Statement's icon has been replaced to say "X rounds remaining."

Your Comment moved the indicator one down (your direction) due to its 1 Influence. This earned you a Dialogue Point, which is the measure of how close you are to victory. You got a line of dialogue. You gave your opponent fuel to fight back against you.

Your opponent may play a Comment back at you to move the indicator back to zero, or he may play an Evaluation to build up Expression for an Assertion on you.

Whatever your opponent decides, it's time to gain Expression yourself! Choose your Evaluation and press "Speak."

You've gained two Expression in the color your Assertions can use. It's time to take the fight to your opponent!

If your opponent played a Comment on his first turn, he likely played another Comment or an Evaluation on his second turn. If he played an Evaluation on his first turn, then you likely just got hit by an Assertion, and the tide has turned in his favor!

Parley is a tug-of-war. You need to pull the indicator back to your side of the line, and you'll do it now by playing your 2-cost Assertion. You're back in command of the board!

Play your Evaluations to build up Expression to play Assertions. Use a Comment for a quick gain when you can. If you chose an Assertion in a type of Expression your opponent gives you through his actions, play those as well! Don't forget to Listen (pass your turn) if you are ahead or if you have nothing you can play this turn.

Later, your Repertoire of Statements will have Repeals and Rebuts, which gives you more flexibility to build new Strategies and take on tougher opponents.


High Level Overview Edit

The goal of the enhanced parley system is to count your Parley Progress down to 0 before your opponent does. In order to achieve this goal, you must move the Parley Indicator to your side of the playfield (downward) using diplomacy abilities called Statements. Many Statements cost Expression, which serves as fuel, while others provide Expression for later use.

Most Statements, in addition to helping yourself, also provide some benefit to your opponent in the form of Expression, Progress, or both.


Getting Started With Parley Edit

Parley consists of a dialogue window, a gameplay board, and your Strategy (which you can think of as your hand of cards).

Parley requires some preparation before you begin. Talking to the initial trainer will net you some abilities (seven) and (eventually) a special shirt.

All abilities in Diplomacy, called Statements, are categorized in 2 ways. First is the type of Expression, second is the Type of Statement.

Expression represents the four ways in which you can influence someone. They are each keyed to a color.

  • Demand = Red
  • Reason = Green
  • Inspire = Blue
  • Flattery = Yellow

Expression is a fuel that you spend to activate some abilities. Much of parley is building up your Expression to play Assertions or other Statements that cost Expression to win the parley.

Assertions are one of the five Types of Statement. Each Type represents a different way of interacting with an opponent:

  • Comments - low powered Statements that move the parley progress in your favor, but nearly always give Expression to the opponent. They are almost always free to play.
  • Assertions - high powered Statements that move the parley progress quite a bit in your favor. They are expensive to play in terms of Expression, and also generally give Expression for the opponent to use.
  • Evaluations - Statements that give Expression to you for use in Assertions, Repeals, and Rebuts. They come in two broad varieties.
  • Repeals - Statements that take a type of Expression from you, and give you a large amount of another type of Expression in return.
  • Rebuts - Statements that steal an opponent's Expression (if it is present).

Building a Strategy Edit

After you have begun your initial Diplomacy training, you will begin with 7 Diplomacy Statements, which vary depending on your initial Race and Adventuring Class. Your set of Statements, known as your Repertoire, will contain 5 Assertions, 1 Comment, and 1 Evaluation. Your Repertoire will grow rapidly as you continue play.

Opening your Strategy window, you will see five slots in which you can drag one of your Statements from your Ability Book. As you progress in Diplomacy, you will gain more Strategy slots

An initial Strategy should contain a Comment, an Evaluation, at least one Assertion of the same Expression Type as the Evaluation.

As you progress in Diplomacy, you will need to formulate specialized Strategies for individual opponents, and Strategies that are flexible enough to allow you to choose your own style of play.

An interesting strategy was recently posted in the player forums.

Diplomacy Guide - Five Cards for (almost certain) Victory!

Conversation Types Edit

When you hail an NPC, any conversations will be identified as one of five types. These types represent the ways in which you would interact with an NPC.

These Conversation Types limit the types of Expression that can be used in a Parley.

  • Interview - Demand, Flatter, Inspire, and Reason
  • Convince - Demand, Flatter, and Reason
  • Gossip - Demand, Flatter, and Inspire
  • Incite - Demand, Inspire, and Reason
  • Entertain - Flatter, Inspire, and Reason

If you have a Strategy that uses mostly Reason, for instance, it would not be smart to take part in an Interview parley, as you will not be able to use your Statements!

A clever diplomat will choose instead to use the limitations of the Conversation Types to their advantage, selecting Statements that give the opponent Expression that they cannot use.

Dissecting the Statement card Edit

The Statement card packs a large amount of information in a small space.

  • A - The Name of the Statement
  • B - Influence: The amount the Statement moves the Parley Indicator in your favor (can be negative). The color of the wax seal indicates the Expression it belongs to (in this case, Flattery)
  • C - An icon indicating the Type and Expression for the Statement.
  • D - The cost for you to play this Statement. This Statement costs 2 Flattery to play.
  • E - The benefits and penalties your opponent receives when you use this Statement (in addition to the wax seal). This Statement GIVES two Reason to the opponent when played. [note: the visual representation of this has recently changed, you can see actual gameplay Statements in the screenshot below.]
  • F - The benefits and penalties you receive when you use this Statement (in addition to its cost). This Statement has no further costs or benefits.
  • G - The Refresh Timer for this Statement. The primary means in which randomness is injected into parley. This amount is rolled when the Statement is played, and ticks down at the end of your turn (starting the turn after you play this Statement).

The Gameboard Edit

The gameboard for parley consists of several distinct sections that affect one another.

At the top, the board indicates the Conversation Type - in this case an Incite, which means Demand, Reason, and Inspire are in play, and Flattery is not allowed.

In the upper-left is the space where the opponent plays their Statements. Their Statements will remain in this space until the next one is played so you can refer to their abilities as you plan your next move.

At the lower-left is the space where you play your Statements. To play a Statement, you click on it in your Strategy and it will appear in that space (if you meet the requirements to play it!).

At the bottom of the gameboard are two buttons, Speak and Listen. When you are ready to play a Statement, press Speak to play it. If you cannot play any Statements (or choose not to, a very important strategy!), then you press Listen, which effectively passes your turn and ticks down all your Refresh Timers.

In the middle of the board is the Expression Field. The top section is for your opponent (you can see your opponent's name at the top), and the bottom section is for you (your name is at the bottom of your section). In between are four color-coded symbols for the four Expression types. When an Expression type is disabled due to Conversation Type, it will be grayed out (in this case, Flattery).

As you build up Expression, colored dots corresponding to the color of the Expression Type fill the space below the four symbols. As your opponent gains Expression, they appear as colored dots above the symbols.

On the far right is the Parley Indicator section. At the top is a speech bubble with a number. This is the number of dialogue points remaining for the opponent to reach before they win. Likewise, your points to victory are shown at the bottom of the Indicator section.

In between is the tug-of-war of the Parley Indicator. A line indicates the zero-point. When the Indicator is at this space (most parleys start this way), neither side gains a dialogue point.

When you play Assertions, they pull Indicator down to the bottom (and a number appears showing how many spaces from the center it is). As long as the Indicator is anywhere on your side of the line, you gain a Dialogue Point and a line of Dialogue in the Dialogue Window!

As the opponent pulls the Indicator to their side of the Indicator (the top), they gain Dialogue Points.

The first player to zero wins!


Flow of Discussion Edit

Thus, the flow of a typical parley is:

Play Statements to build Expression in the Expression Field that fuel Statements that pull the Indicator to your side of the line. Hold it there as long as possible, and pull it back when the opponent pushes it back up. Every turn it is on your side of the line (for your opponent OR yourself) you get a Dialogue Point.

Entertains now restrict Demand. Gossips now restrict Reason Interviews now restrict nothing. Race/Class Starting Expressions

PresenceEdit

Players will generally require a certain presence before diplomatic quest NPC's will even talk to you. Presence is generally obtained through the acquisition of good gear.

Players can improve their base presence points with the various stations through consecutive successful parleys.

Aasha summarized this dynamic on the forums quite well.

"The slowest that base presence points can be gained is 1 point per 12 winning conversations with a particular station. The fastest is 1 point per every 5 conversations. If a player maintains 5 parleys, with a particular station type (ie. soldiers, crafters, domestics, etc.) with the Dialogue Point Marker at 0 or on the player's side of the parley for the duration of the parleys then their base presence points gained will be 1 point each 5 parleys. Should the player allow the Dialogue Point Marker move to the opponent's side one turn during each parley completed then after 6 parleys the player will gain one base presence point. This continues to losing control for two turns each parley awarding 1 base presence point per 7 parleys, to the maximum of 12 winning conversations completed with one station type to gain one base presence point for that station. (These counters are independent of each station type, so a player's counters will maintain their values based upon each station independently and it is not necessary to complete said parleys consecutively - in other words, you do not have to grind out soldiers without speaking to a crafter in the middle of the soldier conversations for this mechanic to work.)"

Newbie Info Edit

The open areas are currently:

  • Bordinar's Cleft (Demand)
  • Rindol Field (Flattery)
  • Leth Nurae (Reason)
  • Hathor Zhi (Inspire)
  • [Need to edit other open areas into this post...]

The races of Vanguard favor the following Expressions:

Demand Races

  • Dwarf
  • Vulmane
  • Varanthari
  • Wood Elf
  • Orc
  • Mordebi

Reason Races

  • High Elf
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Kojani Human

Inspire Races

  • Thestran Human
  • Varanjar
  • Lesser Giant
  • Dark Elf

Flattery Races

  • Halfling
  • Qaliathari Human
  • Kurashasa
  • Half Elf
  • Raki

Your starting race gives you your 6-point Assertion and your Evaluation.

Your starting class determines which Comment you receive. The classes each favor an Expression as well:

Demand Classes

  • Warrior
  • Dread Knight
  • Inquisitor
  • Necromancer

Reason Classes

  • Ranger
  • Monk
  • Sorcerer
  • Disciple

Inspire Classes

  • Paladin
  • Druid
  • Cleric
  • Shaman

Flattery Classes

  • Rogue
  • Bard
  • Psionicist
  • Blood Mage

You also automatically receive a 4-point Assertion from each Expression.

Thus an example of an initial Repertoires is:

Thestran Warrior: Inspire/Demand -

  • Demand Comment
  • Inspire 6-Point Assertion
  • Inspire Evaluation
  • Inspire 4-point Assertion
  • Reason 4-point Assertion
  • Demand 4-point Assertion
  • Flattery 4-point Assertion

In future patches, the newbie experience will provide you with your choice of another Comment from the Expression of your choice:

  • Demand Comment
  • Inspire Comment
  • Flattery Comment
  • Reason Comment

Also, the Thestran Warrior will get a Repeal and Rebut based on their starting area. Let's say he plays in Bordinar's Cleft, he will get a Demand Repeal and a Demand Rebut, as well as his choice of one Repeal and Rebut from another Expression.

At the end of the newbie experience, our Thestran Warrior will have the following potential Repertoire:

  • Demand Comment
  • Inspire 6-Point Assertion
  • Inspire Evaluation
  • Inspire 4-point Assertion
  • Reason 4-point Assertion
  • Demand 4-point Assertion
  • Flattery 4-point Assertion
  • Inspire Comment (or Demand, Reason, Flattery)
  • Demand Repeal
  • Inspire Repeal (or Reason, Flattery)
  • Demand Rebut
  • Inspire Rebut (or Reason, Flattery)
Thus, our Warrior will be entering the world of Diplomacy with a total of 12 Statements in their Repertoire.
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