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Harebrained Schemes has penned the third and fourth updates to their BattleTech Kickstarter campaign, which primarily highlight the stretch goals that have already been unlocked - including full voice acting - as the game edges close to a $1.5 million funding amount in its debut week. Additionally, they have given us a taste of what to expect from the "Expanded Mercenary Campaign" if the project hits the $1.85 million stretch goal:
One of the more treacherous elements that we'd like to include in the Stage 3 Expanded Mercenary Campaign is negotiating contracts with potential employers - who can be anyone from the leader of a local farming cooperative, to the crown prince of a Great House.
We are currently thinking that mercenary contracts will contain a variety of clauses or terms that can be negotiated. For example, you might trade a higher initial downpayment for increased salvage rights on a given mission. Or, insist that the client provide some of their own military support for a particularly dicey operation, in exchange for a reduction in fees for completing a mission objective.
Their negotiations complete, a Davion liaison officer briefs a merc outfit on their mission. Their negotiations complete, a Davion liaison officer briefs a merc outfit on their mission. You may decide to negotiate and try to improve a specific clause in your contract, but remember - it's a negotiation, so improving the terms in one area may cause the employer to worsen the terms in another. Ideally, different employers will have different contract terms they're prepared to negotiate and (hot button) issues that may result in negative reactions if pressed too hard. We like the idea that over time you might learn the negotiating style of a particular representative, and thus improve your negotiating success rate with them.
In BATTLETECH, an employer's agenda isn't always what it seems. Don't be surprised if the minor noble from House Marik who's assigned to negotiate with you slips a little something for herself into your mission objectives. Going out of your way to accomplish that objective might earn you more favorable terms on future contracts, but at what cost?
One of our design goals in the Stage 3 Expanded Mercenary Campaign is make both how you negotiate and execute on contracts with a given employer affect your reputation with *that employer.* Likewise, the Noble Houses and Periphery Kings who are targets of those contracts will remember your combat actions against them. The sum of these actions determines your reputation with each faction in the game - and your reputation determines the contracts and terms they offer.
If we hit Funding Stage 3, over the course of development we will explore the fun of these design concepts and determine how deep each of these systems should be. We're excited to bring the contract negotiation aspect of mercenary life to the game, and to use it as a vehicle to illustrate the political intrigue of the Inner Sphere.