A systems based view and approach to feedback

  • A systems based view and approach to feedback

    This is a working document and open to editing and feedback as new or better information is provided to the OP. This will be a long read anyone who wishes to help me TL;DR this would be greatly appreciated.

    Before we begin I understand there is a Discord bot that tracks kills in game, if this bot pulls from the killboard I would ask any authors of the various bots contact me if it is possible to do a pull of the data not by guild/alliance but by territory and region and that can be dumped into a spreadsheet or imposed on any Albion MAP api’s that may exist in the wild. While this would be beneficial in providing raw data to better the validity of this feedback it could also be used to generate player driven content something I will discuss in a separate thread following this one.

    Additionally any crafter/gatherers out there that can provide profitability insights to current market economics would be greatly appreciated to validate some of my comments in this post.

    Overview TL;DR
    Small group/solo players are squeezed out of the game in a bidirectional manner, PVE player concentration and zerging them in the RC and Larger Alliance groups forcing them out in the BZ. This has left them no option but to consolidate into one of these two existing player groups or leave the game. The result of this is a runaway effect in which PVE players both on the combat side and economy side have been left unchecked to progress to areas of the game faster than the game was designed to permit them. This in turn has farther exacerbated what limited options for progression existed for small group/solo players as a function of Map design, Rep/flagging, Fame sources, economy sources. As PVE economy players progress they find themselves consolidating into the existing large group organizations to further their needs. As this occurs this farther concentrates players into larger and larger self-sufficient entities that lack interdependency with any external players groups for their needs; which I hypothesize will have future affects only now beginning to show for economy side players in Caerleon. This is a function of less PvP between larger and larger growing alliances and possibly trash rates which in turn results into the gank fest perception and portal camping complaints. As this trend continues larger groups will either fracture or more likely stop playing as competition becomes localized and repetitive which will then cause even greater positive feedback into this system forcing what may be a real or perceived death spiral. From a development standpoint this may very well be the intended design and previous test phases were not intended as a testing of final launch design but intended as snapshots of where the designers think the game will go over time. If so communicate that more effectively though I can respect not wanting to give away competitive market strategies in this industry climate where larger more well funded companies just copy and steal the ideas of others and beat them to the large market. If this is indeed working as intended then this feedback serves not as a fix for the current game state but a template of things to consider/revisit as the game matures and grows. Use the power of crowd sourcing to better achieve those goals. Simple things like problem sets for the community to discuss. @Korn does this pretty well imo asking a good mix of open and closed ended questions to extract player requests from players who may not effectively communicate their issues with the games design. Help us to better help you and I think you will find many who are happy to do so.

    PvP summary
    The current map design, reputation system/flagging system, meta balance due to GvG/HG design, IP capped vs uncapped play availability, combat mechanics, progression mechanics/pathways, income source rates, risk/reward design has had a compounding effect creating 2 main player pools the PVEers who supply the economy and the large guild/alliances that continuously consolidate the existing playerbase that consume the supply resulting in an uncontrollable power (fame) and economic snowball that has squeezed out many to most of the small guild/small group/solo players from the ecosystem removing a vital and necessary check on both groups and preventing any new or organic challenges to their existence. This in turn has created what I believe is a silo effect and a positive feedback loop. As player consolidation increases into these two groups any feedback on changes for the middle playstyle are ignored, shouted down, or deemed irrelevant to the games health, moreover it has contributed overall to the sense of an empty and dying game world.

    PVE Feedback, no additional thoughts in feedback beyond this atm.
    Lack of unique or fresh PVE content has resulted in a stale point for PVE players. However this is also due to the inherent design of the game and its purpose as being “PvP” game. I will attempt to tie how PVE areas that aren’t meant for blue status PVEers have become defacto PVE areas due to the Red Zone mechanics resulting in players progressing to areas of the game they shouldn’t be in. Expanding PVE content in the safe zones could alleviate this and the alteration of risk/reward should be shifted from acquiring rewards to transporting the rewards through riskier areas to gain the maximal profitability/utility. A 2-4 player faction system could help. The current reputation system could be repurposed for a two faction system based on player activity creating a triangular check between Noble citizen, Criminals, and the newly created Player Alliance [COPS] that polices this balance. The current NPC mobs could be used a 4 faction system subdivided under Light and Dark themes with “special” powers based on faction loyalty. IE Resurrection in the Holy staff could heal the sick and good while it could be used for necromancy for the wicked and evil. I think the natural alliance would be Royals and Druids vs Morgana and Undead. With proper player tools don’t know what would be required a player created faction system could emerge. The Cops alliance is one of them so a thieves/criminal syndicate is the one to oppose them. From here Government, Econ, and Religious sect can form on their own.

    Much of this feedback is the result of player interaction both in game and through topic posts read and discussed on the boards. Some of this information may very well be anecdotal or biased based on my inherent views on gaming and preferred playstyle. This feedback will make an attempt to take a holistic approach of the games systems and mechanics as I know and understand them, it however isn’t intended nor can it possibly be fully exhaustive feedback I simply don’t have all the needed data and information to do it let alone the time and energy. It will largely be a primary focus on the Royal Continent with some additional but incomplete thoughts on BZ.

    I will begin this feedback first by establishing my play experience in this game and listing what I believe are my known or potential biases. Additionally I am posting on an alt account for the purposes of blinding the reader so that feedback can be better evaluated based on the merits of the arguments presented.

    I’m a launch day player who came from various Moba’s and FPS games w some light dabbling SP JRPG’s came to this game looking for a PvPcentric game that put emphasis on player mechanical skill over time, number or gear advantage within reasonable limits of course, I don’t expect to win past a ratio of 3:1 and even then depending on scaling 10v30 sure 1v3 not so much. Full loot and sandbox elements were an added bonus. Potential skill based combat in OW seeking nostalgic experiences of Planetside/Planetside 2 hoping to see this not become another Dust 514.

    I started as a solo and small group player mainly focused on building toward HG/GvG combat with desires to participate and experience all the methods of PvP combat with main focus around OW PvP. Initially I started in Thetford moved to Caerleon in about a week and then ventured towards dungeons in the Red and Yellow’s and the Blacks initially for silver chests and over time for dungeons and gathering. Gathering was not apart of my original gameplay approach it became a necessity to sustain myself before I finally linked up with a guild and over time gave in to the realities of the game’s design and recently linked up with a BZ alliance to further progress my goals.

    At this stage in the game I have a self-sustainable farming plot, gathering tool, crafting alt, and 1 character with most weapon lines to T4; All armor and offhands to T4 with a few at T5, 6 armor pieces to T7; 2 Weapons to T7; 1 weapon to T6 and about 3-5 weeks from getting both main and offspec to 100/100. I’m fortunate enough to have earned and invested enough in gold to have a 1 year sub. Playing the game in this manner can only be described as furiously rubbing my genitals against a cheese grater but I’m still here and have adapted to it but there are problems.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by GunnerNight ().

  • Definition of Terms/Player Philosophy/Biases
    For me a hardcore experience isn’t about putting in a lot of hours into a game per se its about giving me challenges and tools to overcome those challenges to look inward for the solutions not outwards for them. A competitive experience isn’t one that is necessarily “fair” or “equal” but one in which the outcome is dependent on what I do in the moment-to-moment action of combat and function of my combat skill and ability to learn from my mistakes. Additionally the purpose of PVE in this game is meant for generating PvP principally through providing the supply side of the economy; which is why dungeons are bland and boring and gear is generic. Gear in this game is meant to be functional and its variance is designed specifically as a visual indicator of power. Grinding is a chore but one that PvPers are accustomed to. The purpose of grinding isn’t necessarily to gain a power advantage but to remove power advantage from the outcome equation to bring the PvP to a more competitive experience. To me gameplay is the most important aspect of playing a video game.

    Game Performance/UI
    There are issues in server performance and UI elements that make the gameplay feel clunky and unreliable. Basically the user experience of actual gameplay isn’t all that fun or engaging and many of its limitations are the result of lack of options listed below but are not a full accounting of the issues.

    Kay Patch seeks to address the performance issues in OW so we will just have to wait and see if it does. In the near term it may be fixable but with what appears to be a largely EU playerbase having a server stored in NA may result in a degraded experience for more players, I can’t complain about my 6-20ms server ping but in a game that is action oriented increasing pings results in an unenjoyable combat experience for a large percentage of the playerbase. While a 2 server strategy could fix this it would farther fracture a playerbase that is highly dependent on a single world design. Not sure if getting a host on Amazon cloud server is feasible or would solve the problem. But server performance is a top and absolute mandatory priority. Kay will thus be a milestone event for the remaining playerbase.

    Even if the issue of server performance solved OW PvP the game itself from an interaction standpoint is subpar. The lack of layout editor or inability to customize the games graphics with greater control let alone at the ini level (though understandable from an exploitation prevention stance) results in a poor user experience even on high end machines. Lack of additional hotkey options for healers limits healing to 5 party hotkey setups making healing in a 6+ setting a chore. Smart cast for healing is functionally broken with initial cast on hover applying and then locking to that target with subsequent hovers not applying new casts. Spell locations are poor and post Joseph the DB button has risen vertically with spells on right to an obtrusive location. The lack of click through option on spell buttons results in occasional misclicks and are redundant for a PC player.

    Combat Mechanics/Balancing
    While there are weapon and gear balance issues to deal with given the current nature of the meta there are a few underlying confounders in the system that I believe is affecting it. Focus fire, lack of proper standardization in the test server, stat scaling in capped vs uncapped areas are the main ones I can see. Gear set switching could add to the diversity of open world play if implemented properly.

    The issue with focus fire.This thread had a lot of discussion on focus fire and while there are good points on both sides I view it as still an issue in its implementation. The dev response was that it would create dramatically reduced TTK without it. The large groups said it would just result in AOE over melee and the small groups said it made killing in outnumbered fights implausible. From a small group perspective fighting large groups means coordinated focus fire working from nearest to farthest or forcing out of position targets. If the main issue was TTK then balance weapons and armor to achieve the desired TTK, not add an additional mechanic that creates another potentially confounding variable in the balancing equations. For every thread that argued nature healers were OP in OW setting an argument could have been made that it was due to the focus fire mechanics preventing a healer from dying in 1-3(4?)v1 situations and not healing itself being too strong, for every ganker that stated killing gathers was difficult would could again look to focus fire as a potential cause of the problem but I don’t think we ever bothered discussing it from that angle. On the flip side focus fire does indeed help those who want to avoid OW PvP so there is that but I would argue that it’s simply better to look at defensive spells/stats and adjusting them accordingly especially on gathering gear. Additionally I don’t advocate its removal with exception to instanced 5v5 combat and the BZ. I would highly advocate for its tuning and not use a one size fits all approach to the mechanic and standardize it based on the zones 3-5v1 being the upper end of the curve in RC, 10-20v1 in BZ before considering its removal entirely.

    Lack of proper test server make balancing feedback difficult as there is no way to standardize the testing. Since the server takes sync of live server information it prevent proper standardization of testing data. Test server should allow for the ability to manually level a player to any level and use any item in this game so that power curves can be assessed and balancing feedback can be provided based on any level of progress

    Capped vs uncapped areas add to this confusion and appear to confound balancing. At present uncapped areas appear to have far greater scaling in damage and CC than other stats this however could be a function of focus fire or raw stat balancing not yet addressed. Arena’s and YHG appear to show the best balance of various compositions because every stat has a capped value and we see better balance across all the composition setups. This is not a function of new players being less talented there were plenty of BZ A teams using YHG as a practice and theory crafting function pre-Joseph present, those were some of the best fights I had in the game, Arena’s being second facing Kingdom, @KingMoJo's new team, Fricks, and Exertion. In capped settings compositions that involved a double armor debuff or an energy drain kite poke backline trap strategy were viable, as were other non-meta compositions. It simply added so much variety of playstyle to the game and it is beyond fun. Again since these strategies involve single target focus fire it may again be the focus fire mechanics that make them not plausible instead of the capped vs uncapped values of stats. I’ll expand on this more in my HG/GvG section.

    Gear set switching idea: Predefined gear sets switching only out of combat so that you don’t suffer a 3s timer for each individual piece changed as QoL change. In combat switching with a longer timer before spell availability 5-6s? to allow diversity in combat without allowing for easy and broken combo switching, as any gear switched would still maintain the proportional cooldown period it currently does, If you switch from a 30s CD ability that you just used to a 60s CD ability gear the CD timer still functions as if you used a 60s CD that is currently in the game coding. Higher risk for carrying all that gear rewards would be a function of if the outcomes improve a player combat result.

    The post was edited 5 times, last by GunnerNight ().

  • Map Design
    The centralized map design has compressed a playerbase that is too large for it. This in turn has shifted populations into areas that simply weren’t meant for them and the next issue in the compounding effects within the system as players have reacted to them, this in turn has also created gaps in areas that should be populated but currently aren’t because it has concentrated players into a handful of areas deemed useful or efficient for the players needs within the map. This has in turn created predictable areas of travel that have become heavily camped. In essence there is a lot of map terrain but only a handful of useful tiles for the population. Additionally the addition of instanced content has made travelling the world less of a priority. Dangers exist for PVE players travelling the world give them more and higher tier progression mechanics within the safe areas and remove instance portals from Caerleon. Shifting priority back to the safe cities and giving PVE players the ability to progress entirely through the safe areas. This will then allow for them to progress without risking anything. Move the risk not from acquisition but transport and trade adding another level of interdependency. Look into biome specific rewards and drops beyond just raw gathering materials.

    There is a valid argument to be made that the current map design while not large enough for the launch day population has now a good fit for the current population of remaining players. However the map is oddly somehow both too small and too large at the same time. In the beginning stages of the game the map was active in virtually every tile but over time it has compressed itself around Caerleon. With Caerleon as the main trading hub as players progressed out of the starter areas their need has become functionally obsolete with less players moving to and from the starter cities and the safety of those zones to and from them have become nearly ubiquitous to blue zones. With fewer to no red players patrolling the red zone areas as a function of the rep system and player progress has additionally contributed to this. At time of this writing Fort Sterling has been reverted to the original single instance design with 50-60 players present. This has created a largely empty OW experience in much of the Royal Continent allowing for the easy flow of goods and players to and from safe zones. With only 2 T6 Dungeons and 2 T7 Dungeons (1 solo, 1 group). The bulk of the RC playerbase can be found here. While there are 2 OW farming areas these are consistently zerged by player groups greater than 20 at any moment they are scouted and determined to have a player flag count of 10 or less. This in turn results in bringing even larger numbers to the zones to manage the risk of this occurrence reducing overall fame efficiency and due to server issues results in outcomes outside of the players control. As players get pushed out of the RC they find a similar issue in the BZ with most to all farming spots under near 24/7 lockdown by the established guilds/alliances. There are gaps in this coverage and there are times when it is feasible to get into those places but not for long and the fame efficiency dramatically reduces. Fame efficiency from my perspective is being able to maintain a rate of 150-200K/hour; it is a known fact that fame efficiency at the top end truly is 300k/hour that is not an exaggeration. Fame efficiency typically drops to <100K/hour with Fames of <50K/hour common in dungeons due to player congestion. This I suspect was the chief reason many players were Expo farming because the fame efficiency was consistent and viable for them to achieve what others could achieve through risk management of large group organization, (0-neglible, risk being a member of large group in dungeons with large player reach and territory to call for support).

    GvG’s in Yellow are locked behind red zone with the exceptions of Lewsdon Hill, Parchthroat Plain, and Cairn Darg, with limited ingresses of attack into the Yellow GvG system it became possible for a single 7 player core team (Kingdom, they were really good btw) to control large areas of a map because there simply weren’t enough places to launch external attacks from without securing territory through Red zone as a result large group fights that always wanted to practice their tactics had only 3 areas to do them.

    While decentralizing Caerleon could help I think changing the design so that removing or reducing 6% enchantment from Royal; conversely adjusting the enchant rates of BZ area and adding higher tier zones in blue and yellow could help it. The shift should be one that allows for higher tier PVE oriented progression in those areas but the risks/reward philosophy changed from acquisition to transport. I know there were other map designs players speak of from previous testing phases, look into seeing if any of those make sense or better help to solve this. Add more siege camps in the yellow zones or allow for some zones to be attacked directly without a siege camp. Add more dungeons or more OW world mob only tiles to increase source of fame without adjusting rate of fame. Remove portal instances from Caerleon make Caerleon a true bridge hub between the minor dangers of the outlying territories on the RC and the major dangers in BZ. Look to increase the number of solo dungeons in RZ and add more dungeons on this continent overall, this should help with the current bottlenecking and spillover into the BZ but there is more things to consider.

    Reputation System/Flagging.
    Rep system create content lockout in areas that shouldn’t be creating content lockout but have done so as a function of the previous issues causing lockout to occur much sooner than likely anticipated and desired by players. Additionally the wolves vs sheep analogy is a poor one, plenty of prey in the wild have lethal defense mechanisms no need to treat players like sheep.

    Reputation lockout should be a simple way of keeping KOS players out of the Red Zone and push them into black, in theory it is working but it is too restrictive given the rate at which it occurs mainly because the number of criminals have declined over time and the number of honorable and glorious players have increased. The value of each rep hit is too strong on a per kill basis; additionally player behavior in response to this system has exacerbated the problem for both honorable and criminal players. As more and more blue players entered into the red zones to progress they simply decided the presence of any red was a threat and began zerging on them any player who tried killing them took multiple hits to reputation just for attacking let alone getting any kills which were few or limited due to the focus fire mechanics working against them. PvP tried to adapt to this by self selecting themselves out by playing within the boundaries of the unrestricted zones which just resulted in even more blue players surrounding them and zerging them out or going in to take loot because corpse looting isn’t considered a negative reputation act I guess. As time went on players who still saw reds decided to band together and create a Police alliance to deal with it (finally a sandbox solution to player behavior and a good one, we should support it). With no space for red players to fight or have their fun they were pushed into the BZ where at the beginning of the game there was no space for them and over time hasn’t improved much but has a little but that is due to decreased player activity and even then has concentrated around portals specifically in Mercia that has resulted in the “gank fest” that blue players now pushing into those areas solo and unescorted are complaining about.

    Tweak the current formula for rep gain/loss or remove it as part of the lockout mechanics and simply use it as a player decision pathway and then provide tools for players to self police like supporting the Police Alliance as an official faction revert back to the old knockdown/execution mechanics so that on knockdown players can detain/ransom, and detained players can pay bond for release. Supporting the police alliance with Island plan this implementation would allow them to setup multiple “police stations” and possibly even a lost or stolen goods department. If the killboard data also tracked where deaths took place it would allow for the issuance of police reports and verifiable claims for lost/stolen items.

    The post was edited 7 times, last by GunnerNight ().

  • Progression Mechanics/Pathways
    Adding more dungeons doesn’t deal with the core bottleneck and issues of grinding. Grinding itself is boring to the point of kill me already and not at all enjoyable. Beyond this, lack of PvP kill fame doesn’t make any sense exploitation is and should be a manageable issue and it needn’t the main or even the most efficient way for PvP leveling just give a sense of doing PvP in OW and other areas of the game is worth more than just getting some loot I don’t need.

    Basically we don’t have enough dungeons for fame, adding more might help but really dungeon grinding is a chore and bore. Much has already been said about this aspects no need to rehash it here. I would state however this is what leads to the stretching risk/reward tactics engage to get their higher efficiency fame rates (HG’s w <5 for 10m farm, expo speed run, 2 man dungeon runs for 1-1200k/mob fame etc). While creative it gives the sense of backward progression to move forward and it creates a psychological perception of tread milling and never moving forward in the game world, i.e. moving toward BZ content.

    But two things that do seem to get lost is clearing dungeons in the reds isn’t a viable tactic like it should be as a function of the prior problems listed the only reason Shift Shadow isn’t as packed as it could be is because of the flagging mechanics and greifers (special shout out to James315, most people hate him but he’s a hero to anyone that wants to clear out the large blue zergs that go in with 10+ people to FF so we don’t have to deal with the rep hits and lockouts). Yes I know there are other dungeons same issues persist they are crowded beyond belief or completely empty during off-peak hours you basically have to play during times that are out of sync with the current populations peak hours.

    The other is lack of PvP kill fame. I’ve searched and searched for why the specific exploitation issue that led to it being scrapped. While I don’t know the exact reason of exploitation my assumption is that PvP kill fame was directly related to the killboard fame one receives, which of course is a bad idea given how easy it would be to power level someone with huge spike in fame coming from it. I think Normalizing a standard PvP Fame table based on the player’s mob fame level or as a function of their IP would be a good way to approach this.

    Specifically I would set it so that at various IP ranges a player is treated to the equivalent of an NPC mob of that level. I would also further subcategorize players based on type. Gatherers should be worth 0-little fame as a baseline defining a gatherer in full gather gear so they are in effect player silver chests, which is how PvPers treat them anyway. From there it should be HealersàTanksàEverything else. Since tanks and healers are fairly easily defined in the game but support and dps aren’t. But even if we don’t define it that way just making gatherers not worth PvP fame should at least be a decent compromise. Managing exploitation should be focused on using existing kill data and determine a natural player generated kill pattern and from there map outliers and ban them. The other way to do it is the way CCP handled active player gains in Dust 514 just put a weekly cap on it with premium affording a slightly higher cap level or not so it doesn’t draw P2W criticism.

    From here we can really have some fun with the mechanics and even introduce the concept of player raid boss or HVT. This however would be very tricky to prevent exploiting but it would be nice if a player can become a bountied or HVT target based on how much killing they accomplish before death (suicide doesn’t count) with increasing levels of fame generated for killing that player. That player could get the gold circle treatment that NPC bosses get and perhaps even get buffs in OW but its difficult to balance and prevent abuse.

    Misc side note- I would also like to see the zerg indicators change in color to indicate IP or Fame value if this system is implemented ranging from Blue-Black and Black w Gold circle. I think you could also create map indicators for HVT in OW regardless of their size into this so a solo player who kills a lot gets a map indicator on himself or herself and now the hunter becomes the hunted. But even just a Black market or other NPC generated bounty value (loot/silver) could be a good way of encouraging more OW PvP.

    If implemented properly it gives a new way for player progression that actually encourages more people to go out and hunt for PvP and move people away from the dungeons as the only way to get fame and start actively hunting in the OW without having to actually add more dungeons into the game at this time.

    Economic Sources
    No real problems here kill people take their stuff and get money, can’t kill people go do PVE stuff. But silver chest nerfs did have a larger impact on OW than people realize or want to admit. The introduction of silver zones hasn’t really done much to improve it. @MasterZedX could probably shed more light on this, however with the Kay Patch raiding may help this across both continents since there are plenty of unpatrolled guild territories in RC for small groups to raid and possibly creating a contractionary player size or quite possibly lead to even more consolidation to manage all the territories, time will tell what happens.

    Misc. Side Note: With fewer opportunities for income generation most people resort to portal camp ganking of gatherers. It’s the simplest and fastest way to earn silver. Moreover friendly advice to gatherers not apart of a large guild alliance with BZ territory. STOP USING OXES. If I see an ox I’m going to attack it I don’t care it’s a giant money maker and you are telling me you are carrying a lot of stuff. Hire escorts, I don’t even know if this is functional but maybe start looking to use this albiononline2d.com/en/transport as a way of setting it up. Otherwise do more small focused runs using a high tier non carrying capacity mount with a higher tier bag.

    The post was edited 5 times, last by GunnerNight ().

  • GvG/HG design/IP capped combat availability.
    The GvG/HG design results in a very specific meta that at present is forcing larger groups to demand players build in those directions so that they can maintain larger spheres of territorial influence. Because GvG’s and HG’s are uncapped starting at Red zones less people are doing them. They aren’t able to progress efficiently due to prior reasons, they get demotivated and quit or join the groups that are still recruiting which fewer and fewer are and this results in less people striving to play for this content.

    GvG/HG design and possibly as a function of focus fire and its affects on weapon balancing has led to a meta that revolves around mostly range cleave and melee bruiser. I think this is in large part due to map design, which in GvGs function as a KOTH mode and these are the two best ways of defending and attacking that mode. As this is the main method of territory and resource control it forces players to play the meta or be locked out. This forces groups to demand certain builds in order to further their aims. If you don’t opt in you lose out on content due to large territorial influence already present. If you do you get stuck into a very narrow grind path that creates issues when meta changes. This is a choice players make however because of the previous bottlenecks its one that they can’t adjust their play behavior around. It has created a massive bottleneck in the game and I don’t blame or hold anything against big groups that function this way, ultimately they are functioning as a risk management strategy to the games risk/reward system. I think however capping the GvG system across the board and shifting the gear advantage metrics to OW as suggested by @FuS are a good way to begin. Personally I would add that all instanced PvP content be capped with various cap thresholds based on zone. BZ capping may be worth leaving alone but there is good arguments on both sides about capping and uncapping content with respect to BZ. Additionally I would see GvG template altered so not all GvG’s are 5v5 but ranged based on tier of the tile so that it goes from 5v5, 10v10 and 20v20. Home plots being 20v20 or outland cities that mirror the royal cities template becoming the place to do so. Then making the lockout mechanism apply to one of each type of fight and adjust the lockout exceptions of perfect defense to various degrees of defense to allow for more playtime within the system. HG middle ground option like that being discussed here Full Loot IP capped HG would also help in providing a good outlet for players. I would add to this creating additional HG portals or dungeon portals within the existing tiles that template off the 2v2 blue zone HG design such that there are two types of HG demons in every HG map but that would probably create large amounts of empty instances. But ultimately the design needs to shift priority from GvG/HG and back to OW. At present OW isn’t viable because of performance issue but it is what most if not all of us came here for. Make OW the thing and not the thing that gets you to the thing. Shift balance toward fighting and controlling the OW and give tools for all player group sizes and types to fight in it.

    Of course there is some counter arguments to address first, namely what happens when all the l33t pro’s leave the game and the gear grinders are left with a capped instanced content that doesn’t reward them for their grind. I would say l33t pro’s don’t need to leave if the grind is softened in the previous mentioned methods and instead of gatekeeping progression through “tiericide” gatekeeping by limiting how wide a player can go. I think 5 weapons/character is a good place to start but ultimately it should be a number that would be calculated based on the time it would take the highest level of grinding efficiency to reach full specialization across multiple lines within a 1-2 year timeline. Additionally for the hardcore player who grind down a path content is generated by not going farther down a profession but going wider after reaching cap down a line. Content expansion can come over time through additional spells and new weapon/armor sets. Of course the most hardcore will just run multiple accounts and character to bypass such caps but it’s their money and time let them do so. In the meantime players would be able to enjoy fresh content by going wider and giving themselves more ways to play the game. From here if a learning cap is placed learning new weapon lines can be learned by “unlearning” other ones there has been discussion on how to do this Unlearing

    Moreover gear progression gatekeeping is not a good or fun way to balance a game it simply creates an artificial progression timeline for player who otherwise burn through content. Meaningful content expansion (new weapons, new spells, new stuff in general) is the way to address their concerns and needs not keeping them at bay from finishing the race too quickly.

    Additionally Dev response to tackling GvG design Feedback from Fus about changing or looking into arena format for GvG is worth considering however arena is a functionally different mode that isn’t based on team fighting but rotational strategies. The tents are far too close to each other allowing for easy resets without concern. If the working discussion is about changing point capture from channel to arena style that may be a good and worthwhile change. Changing to the arena map style however is not imo the way to go. My specific thoughts on arena mode itself found here Arena Tourney

    Many of the issues that persist in the RC are simply the same things that occur in the BZ but on a larger group scale. There has been good discussion on this already but from my perspective having more standardization across the 3 regions would help create incentive to move in and out of other parts of the territory instead of localizing all conflict into one part of the BZ. I’d like to see Home plots converted or additional ones added as Port/Trade cities that are controlled by players. Shifting the balance of RC and BZ requires a look at map design of BZ as there are areas within the BZ that yield rewards less than in the RC, T5 dungeons in BZ with T7 dungeons on RC that are safer at present than the T5 dungeons in BZ. Resource yield and tiers need to be reworked and rethought in contrast to the RC.

    Additional mechanics in BZ and OW in general over long view development I think would be fun are the ability to destroy player made structures and enhancing the crafting lines to be able to build those structures. I think we are way too early to be talking about physical building profession to fortify defenses lets pin this as Soon™ Thievery mechanics would also be nice such as lockpicking.

    The other issue with BZ is player concentration into larger and larger groups and consolidation. This consolidation was the result of the games systems and no alliance cap. While putting a cap now would be bad it may be worth visiting when a territorial reset occurs. If players want to create non-aggression pacts beyond alliance cap size they will need to do so with diplomacy but they wouldn’t have the benefit of the combat mechanics (no FF) and alliance benefit mechanics(safe borders and cross guild defending) to allow them to grow to unlimited size. The other option is to of course just enable FF.

    With this consolidation we see now a period of self sufficiency appearing in the BZ. Alliances have grown so large and so wealthy that they simply have no need to interact with anyone else. As this economic snowball continues there are no other current means of containing it. This creates market stagnation in the rest of the economy, again possibly by design so that the BZ content is flesh out first and then the game can begin to iterate and develop the rest of the game’s zones and play styles.

    However if previous mechanics are addressed then we might not need to do anything with the BZ groups to break them up forcibly and the games conditions will allow for it to happen through new and emerging conflicts. At present however we appear to be reaching a “blue donut” not sure if that’s proper in this context or not but I think it is.

    The post was edited 5 times, last by GunnerNight ().

  • Final Thoughts/Comments
    Wewlad you read this whole thing, game’s ded lul. Just kidding. As I’ve said it may be an intentional design decision to get this game to this state at this stage of your development cycle and from here push it to previous beta designs over time. Cool I hope it works but it certainly feels that the game is dying and perception becomes reality, as less people login the game feels less and less alive and it becomes a loop that trends toward death. Yes there may be a lot of people still logging in but it’s their activity when they login that matters. The OW feels empty and abandoned as more instanced options take people away from moving and travelling the world. The players that remain seem to be in a perpetual holding pattern waiting for something to kick the game loose and move people in and out of the maps. I hope we get that content soon and or some changes that I’ve discussed to bring people back or get them going out into the world again.

    At the end of the day a sandbox game is a function of its players actions, we need more tools to create more content for ourselves but for now lets discuss working with what we have, in my Player Generated Content Thread.

    The post was edited 4 times, last by GunnerNight ().