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Regionalization, Activity Windows and Seasons

Discussion in 'Design Discussions' started by MWTaylor, Apr 9, 2018.

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  1. MWTaylor

    MWTaylor Community Manager
    Staff Member BPG Representative Game Designer

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    These topics are very important for how the Territory Control System (TCS) is going to impact the game. The following is an overview of these topics aimed to fulfill daily conquest objectives, a political environment encouraging allies and enemies to fight over resource faucets/territory and a fully dynamic building system to add some powerful sandbox tools. Regionalization and Activity Windows have been mostly designed but there are a lot of “devil in the details” we wanted to get feedback/input on from the community.

    Regionalization

    Regionalization is a necessary component of the TCS in order to drive regional and world politics. Clans will have control over rune travel in their territory and can use towers to capture tiles containing highly sought after materials. This will provide clans the ability try and control resources and force confrontation or trade to get them. The idea includes a few new rare resources as well as a redistribution and heavy regionalization of some key others.

    Enchanting Materials

    The plan is to regionalize the top two levels of enchanting materials - 9 specific enchant materials for each sub continent and 4 for the mainland - providing 40 enchanting materials spread across 5 continents. We may have a few scattered spawns for Q4 materials but there will be few and far between outside the regionalized zones for them. The sub continents will contain all the highest Q5 enchant materials while the mainland will only have Q1-3 and a few regionalized Q4s. Most Q4/Q5 materials will be gathered from the lawless sub continents.

    New and Existing Rare Materials

    Each specific region will have both a variety of dynamic rare resources and a variety of rare grade. We are planning 4 rare resource types with 5 grades of rarity/value:

    - Rare Ore: This is existing selentine, veilron, neithal, leenspar and theyril and will continue to be a heavily used material in a lot of crafts.
    - Rare Wood: This will be a new material used primarily in the making of both high-end staves and bows.
    - Rare Cloth: This material will be used in the making of new mastery level robes for more magic focused playstyles.
    - Rare Leather: This material will be used with new mastery level leather armors for more light-armored ranger-styled playstyles.

    We will also look to use the new rare materials in a few places that make sense but their primary purpose will be gear. We will place a lot less of the new rare materials on loot tables to start to ensure they do not flood the market.

    Rare Material Distribution

    The 4 rare materials listed above will all have 5 levels of rarity, similar to that of rare ores. They will all have unique names but will be similar in grading to the current selentine to theyril ore. When we place these rares among the 5 continents, each will only contain one grade of rare material. The main continent will be the source of all lower end grade 5 (selentine level) rare materials throughout all racial areas equally.

    For example on Rubaiyat we could have:
    • Grade 4 cloth
    • Grade 3 wood
    • Grade 2 leather
    • Grade 1 ore
    Each sub continent would have different grade/rare types of materials making every area different. Niflheim might give you the best grade 1 wood but may have mediocre grade 4 leather, whereas Yssam may have the best grade 1 cloth but only grade 2 ore (veilron). Altogether each sub continent will have a total of 9 unique enchant materials and 4 unique rare materials, making 13 rare regionalised resources per each. The mainland will have 4 unique enchant materials and 4 unique rare material grades for a total of 8 rare regionalized resources. This makes a grand total of 60 rare materials regionalized around the world for players to fight over.

    Supporting Regionalization: Loot Overhauls

    In order to support regionalization efforts we will need to adjust loot tables in several different areas including key chests, maps, sea towers and obelisks (formerly VCPs). The rare ores and enchant materials provided by these items defeats the need to actually farm these and go out in the world. We will be looking to revamp these loot tables as necessary to remove some of these rare/enchant material rewards in lieu of other resources. We are planning to add in a few different types of maps from different sources such as a Pirate Map, a Resource Cache Map or a Sunken Treasure Map, etc. They may still provide some rare/enchant material rewards but will be limited if they do so to prevent them from being a major faucet of these materials. There are some changes to key chests we plan to bring up later, obelisks will be getting a new TCS focused loot table and Sea Towers are something that will get attention too. Sea Towers themselves we plan to put more focus on but will do so at a later date.

    Dynamic Spawning Resource Nodes

    We will be adding in the new rare materials into dynamic spawning nodes, similar to how we have done with the Dynamic Ore Veins. Rare wood will be found on a dynamically spawning tree, cloth on an herb spawn and leather on a “slain animal” kind of spawn. All continents will have the 4 dynamic spawning resource nodes but with varying rarity on each. We will also have some of these rare resources available in the clan nodes players can build dynamically in the TCS.

    Elder and Young

    “Elder” and “Young” will be new modifiers that will be in place on mobs depending on the region they are in. If a mob is designed to be regionalized to Cairn but it is found on the mainland it will have a “Young” modifier on most of those spawns not on Cairn, with the chance of “standard” mob versions of that monster spawning. Vice versa for the same mob spawn, on the subcontinent of Cairn it will spawn standard mobs with a chance of an “Elder” spawn occuring.

    Young spawns will be weaker and have less loot as well as less enchanting materials they are typically prized for. Elders will be the opposite, being stronger than a regular mob and having better loot tables.

    Activity Windows

    Activity Windows will be a crucial element to the conquest portion of the game. They will make sure the buildings within your territory will not be taken advantage of by players with lots of time on their hands during set times your clan decides. They will not only be an addition of a “siege window” but will have a variety of other benefits as well.

    Setting a Window

    Players will be able to set a window that they expect to be most active in. Setting a window will be a free clan option initially and once set can only be changed every so often. We are currently thinking allowing once a week at maximum with a moderate gold cost required to change it. We plan the window to be 8 hours of Active Time with 16 hours of Protected Off-Window Time.

    Siege Protection

    One of the primary functions of the Activity Windows is to protect holdings and territories from being sieged during a time your clan/group is not regularly available. This has always been VERY frustrating and is a longtime complaint of conquest/political players throughout the franchise history.

    We do not like the idea of a hard siege protection and as such are opting for more of a cost/benefits approach to encourage on-activity window sieges. Clans will be able to lay siege to an enemy holding either during their period of Active Time or during the Protected Off-Window Time. Sieging in the off-window time would provide defensive benefits to the clan being sieged such as increased tower damage, increased clanstone/tower/structure health, and increased clan buff magnitudes. Sieging in the off-window time would also increase the siege costs for the attacking clan to the tune of 2-4x the normal gold cost.

    We encourage you to post your feedback and ideas on this topic, especially on things we may have not yet considered!

    Active Window Benefits

    There are incentives for attacking clans to attack during their enemy’s active window. For the defending clan however, there are also other benefits/incentives to active windows we plan to provide. First of all, clan nodes will produce more resources during the activity window and less during the off-times. Towers could do more damage and clan buffs could be made only active during this time. To prevent griefing, your structures will only be able to be damaged during your active window when your group is most online.

    Cost of Activity Windows

    We want all clans to enjoy the ability to play comfortably in their own playtime so we plan to make Activity Windows rather cheap in upkeep. There will be a cost and a large cooldown to changing your activity window once is it set! Cost will be tied to the new power system and/or made into a gold amount.

    TCS Scoring and Seasons

    This is one of the most important and potentially controversial topics related to the TCS and affects the final design of it.

    There are issues we see with conquest style of play in many full loot online games that can cause it to become stale or unfun, especially for those who start losing and facing an increasingly uphill battle. For this reason we see a “reset” mechanic to be very important, not only to prevent clan burnout but to keep the political landscape fresh and exciting. There are reasons that survival games typically see a massive resurgence of activity when they wipe the map or do a full restart as it gives players a fresh start to get back in at the ground floor. This break and reset idea is one we feel will be very beneficial to the TCS planned and is a topic we wanted to discuss with our community.

    Leaderboards and Scoring

    In order to keep players engaged and trying to achieve victory outside of just winning resources and taking holdings, we want to implement a leaderboard which tracks a variety of statistics and calculates points from 4 different sources. To us it is important to ensure that all walks of life, from clans that focus on just building to even those that solely focus on raiding, have forms of points they can earn.

    We currently plan for the following 4 categories of points to be available to earn by those participating in TCS:
    • Building - Earned from building structures, losing some of the points when buildings are destroyed.
    • Destruction - Earned from destroying structures and buildings in sieges. Destruction can be earned by any clan regardless if they own territory or not.
    • Economic - Earned from gaining resources from clan nodes and factories, gathering/farming in your tiles and adding to your resource caches, etc.
    • Conquest - Earned hourly or daily by the amount of territories currently controlled and the level of the towers within them.
    We will track the scores individually as well as cumulatively and show the top clans in each category as well as overall score. This will give "Morale victories" for clans who may have not won overall but were the top scorers in a category.

    MvP Awards and Stats

    We will track as many stats as possible for all the various aspect of TCS. These stats will be displayed to users in a big page showing their own stats and those of clans. Players and clans will be able to achieve MvP awards and recognition on specific scoring categories or awards. We are considering a small bonus for each MvP award that users can get in each scoring category and potentially others. This could include, for example, bonuses relevant to the type of award for a week or two at the start of the new round.

    -MvP clan for destroying structures will get a small damage bonus against structures
    -MvP clan for building will get cheaper structures
    -MvP clan for territory size/control will get lower upkeeps

    These are only a few ideas of possible bonuses but we would love to hear your thoughts on what you may have in mind as well!

    Seasons

    In order to prevent stale politics and clan burnout, we believe the best course of action for Territory Control is to have seasons. There are many ways to accomplish this but we are looking at a set time with a winner determined by a combined points score of all 4 types of points. There are several factors here that we would like feedback from the community on to help shape final implementation:

    • Length of seasons - We believe roughly 3 months is a good time for a season to last. A couple months of build up with political lines drawn with a final month of large battles and deciding fights leading to the finale. This would allow, we feel, enough time for territories to be won/lost but for it to not get stale and become the same fights over and over.

    • End of season resets - This is a big one as we cannot have everything kept season-to-season as winners will get an obvious big advantage. Wiping absolutely every TCS resource as well seems like a bit too much as your entire round of work is wiped away. Additionally there is the concern clans will “give up” long before the end of a season because they will feel there will be nothing in it for them anymore. We are thinking to carry over a percentage of certain resources into the next season, or at least allowing clans to keep their capital cities at the end of it. The other question is do we reset all holdings or not? Fully wipe everything down to a clanstone/bank and let clans rebuild from the ground up or keep cities at the level they were at when the season ended? We have been back and forth on this but are leaning towards leaving cities alone and removing ownership to just the capital city at the start of the next season.

    • Warm-up / cooldown period - To ensure that players can all relax for a bit before starting another intense round of conquest, we think it would be good to have a short cooldown period in-between seasons. We plan for roughly 2 weeks so people can start planning and choosing where to begin for the next season. During this time we could disable the TCS towers system so users would not be able to control territory and the whole world could be reachable again by runes. Players could also dabble in other content during this time that maybe they did not enjoy due to the territory control aspects they were focused on during the season.

    • What involves seasons - We feel we should limit seasons to only the TCS specific resources and structures, to allow other aspects of the game to exist outside of the conquest mechanics. All banks and housing will remain unaffected by the season mechanics, and only control towers, clan nodes and territory specific structures we envision will be reset.
    Lore Aspect of Seasons

    We do not want the aspect of seasons to be jarring and not fit into the world and as such we would plan to tie it into the lore. This would be achieved with 4 deities as the ones controlling this mortal game of conquest, vying to discover who is the strongest. They pit the nations of the world of Agon against one another, each believing their specialty key to victory (destruction, expansion, building or economics).

    Each deity will have a specific personality/association that will tie into the 4 types of points clans can earn during a season. The deities will each crown a champion (MvP) at the end of a round based on the highest clan score in a specific category.
     
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  2. Zeb

    Zeb Infernal
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    4 months.
     
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  3. Rhulvir

    Rhulvir Goblin Shaman

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    I cant quite explain it, but i also feel that 4 months would be better. 3 season per year, with enough time to enjoy your dominance after a good conquest.

    I also feel that you should publish perk notes soon, as a lot of your success will depend on how much you can shake up the current meta, but that may just be me. :)
     
  4. Isaac Clarke

    Isaac Clarke Chosen of Khamset
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    I don't want seasons in any shape or form. I will play PoE if I want to regrind every 3 months.
     
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  5. Goretusk

    Goretusk Goblin Shaman
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    fix alchemy & mixing: no more potion drops from mobs, and let us use combined q5's in crafting.
     
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  6. ijharb

    ijharb Celestial
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    It all seems good. Except adding more rare mats, that seems bad
     
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  7. Lord Zanuul

    Lord Zanuul Spellgazer
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    I am not a fan of Seasons
     
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  8. Wes Furtive

    Wes Furtive Obsidian Golem
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    Love the new mats and regionalization.

    New ore veins already have people out roaming the world. If there are 4x that many rare mats to pick up on the continents there's gonna be so much roaming pvp! :)
     
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  9. Andrew

    Andrew Obsidian Golem
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    What do you not like about seasons? Losing progression? What if instead of a length there was a win condition and a reset? This could be more organic.
     
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  10. Isaac Clarke

    Isaac Clarke Chosen of Khamset
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    No one wants to lose progress in any MMO. The thought of retaking cities 3-4 times a year just sounds tedious. I've personally never enjoyed seasons in any RPG, I hate the thought of regrinding for things I've already achieved. Especially if it's multiple times a year.

    Darkfall has always been about power and it doesn't take a player city reset for a shift in that power to happen. It just takes a few players to create enough conflict/content and take it for themselves.
     
  11. GoodDoggie

    GoodDoggie Earth Elemental

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    Seasons in an MMO sounds a bit iffy, although I could see them working as long as there are end of season rewards based on territory size or something, as otherwise the end of the season will be a very inactive time, as you dont really have time to benefit normally from any sieges done then.
    That and seasons being relatively long like atleast 6months

    I think the main reason DFROA has had little conflict is because there has been no scarcity, the map is too big for the playerbase, theres little reason to fight over resources, and cities are worthless as they dont have portal chambers anymore, and scarcity of means of transportation has been removed entirely by rune books anyway.

    A win condition, a short cooldown period after someone wins, rewards for winning, and reset.

    I just had an idea which could make wonders worth having, what if the win condition was something like;
    Wonders require a wonder city, and a certain amount of territory to build.
    once a wonder is built it starts a countdown(2 weeks?) at the end of which the clan that built it wins
    the wonder can only be destroyed and will be destroyed, by succesfully sieging the city.

    this is very original idea I have never played AoE2
    this could make areas with no wonder cities less valuable tho idk.

    ignore this I'm stupid
     
    #11 GoodDoggie, Apr 9, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
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  12. The Red King

    The Red King Black Knight
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    Looks pretty solid. What’s the realistic time line 1 year from now?
     
  13. Goretusk

    Goretusk Goblin Shaman
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    just a thought: at the end of season clans should keep 1 holding. The land grab will still be there, the conflict will be there. As the season comes to an end activity will ramp up. Also Clans will be rewarded for their hard fought defense.

    (after i wrote this i realized people will just solo clan to abuse this, but IDK maybe clans of 75+ get to craft a "save bindstone" item for a healthy cost?)
     
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  14. Andrew

    Andrew Obsidian Golem
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    A solo clan wouldn't be able to siege a holding though they would need to have the required minimum number of players.
     
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  15. BeatIt

    BeatIt Obsidian Golem
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    losing progression is bad in a game like DF

    everything sounds ok but season wipe... it got to be something else
     
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  16. Kras Treetall

    Kras Treetall Akathar
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    I am not wild about this reset idea. I like upping taxes or cost of holding territory as your territory expands as long as hard work can make it happen as well as being a great pvp'er capturing villages.

    I think that if they make the taxes or upkeep costs go up as the clans territory expands, make it so that hard work is needed along with village captures(warriors are great but if they can't eat then the farmers/fishermen become stronger than them), and put in some measures so alt clans can't take neighboring areas to restart the low tax rate then the territory control would work well.

    Too much cost, time, and effort into expanding to not get to keep it long enough to reap the benefits.

    Huge inactive clans could not support much territory.

    Small active clans can gain a small foothold if big inactive clans have more territory than they can support.
     
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  17. Hagzz

    Hagzz Goblin Scout

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    I like the season idea, although maybe 4 months would be better than 3.

    I don’t see a problem with resets as long as it is holding and not character resets. I don’t think it is too tedious building up holdings.
     
  18. kilrain

    kilrain Shadow Knight
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    It wouldn't be characters at all, just territories linked through the new mechanics. Also something to consider is if we were to go this route we would adjust the construction costs and time to match the length of the season. There shorter the seasons, the easier it is to build up... And destroy. Food for thought.
     
  19. WithoutShame

    WithoutShame Infernal
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    I love the idea of seasons, but not with this whole temporary resources/wipe some stuff, reset holdings thing. Too complicated in my opinion, and not really necessary.

    I think to make seasons work you should copy the idea of crowfall, and have a separate season server.

    1.Make everything start fresh on that server
    2. Restrict the size of the map to one island because of the current population. Each season be a starting area with a portal to one of the islands?
    3. Keep the idea of holdings being the main goal, but I love the separate side goals you put in so everyone can find a niche.
    4. Make it a three month season. The first month, everyone can play for free, the second 2 months you need subscription.
    5. Once the season is over let people take back to the main server their character and bank if they want.
    6. Permanent rewards to give people an incentive to win. Winning clan gets a statue in the npc city of the island of their supreme general, and 5 smaller statues of their generals on the main server. Letting people make their mark on the game world might make people care, and limiting the rewards to only a few people should make it so the best players split up hopefully.
     
  20. Lord Zanuul

    Lord Zanuul Spellgazer
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    I would not mind a win condition as long as the territory control mechanisms require an upkeep design to make the win condition rather challenging ... in other words the win condition should be something amazing it shouldn't be easy for a clan to be able to do
     
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