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Land/node grab and solo/small group/latecomers gameplay

Hi, everyone.

Generaly, I want to discuss with you, broader community, some concerns I have about land-owning and node development system (after patient study of all videos, devlogs, faqs).

As I see it, there are 2 dimensions of potenial problem.

TIME AND GRAB

First of all, we have breaver of the worlds award with 2 days early access to live launch (with higher tiers awards its like 1500 players), its likely go up, when new big pledges will be introduced with same bonus. Dont get me wrong, I'm completly okay, that those people must be awarded for their generosity towards a game. Its more about consequences to overall picture. Anyway, we have all rights to assume, that this people activly try to grab (and this is absolutly logical) best places for themselves or their guilds. 

May be 2 days will be little time to realy "grab" much, but there comes 1st way all massed start crowd. Many of them again, will be concerned with aquiring as much "nice assets" as possible. Some of them will go to crazy things like non stop gaming marhapon (16-18-20 hours a day) to have "fist village", "first town", "first metropolis". And they indeed do it.

Employed lads and lasses, with families to spend time, like children and other "duties" in real life will, be lagging behind in this "time race" from beggining. And distance will be deepining every week.

While even rather slow players from original star will get something (may be even nice), what about players who will join to server after 3 m, 6, 1 year? They still can grab something inferior in hinterlands, if lucky. But what about 2-3 years + "newcomers/latecomers" who are essential for game online health in long perspective? What they can get? May be some some land will be recycled from "dead" players, but this mechanic is always far cry from actual demand. 

Indeed, its all depends on size of the world and "recycling" mechanics, but I not too optimistic. My experience in other "land-grabbing" MMOs tells me, that here it can be absolutly toxic subject.

CONTROL 

Ok, lets say some solo player or (more possible) group of more or less causal friends (like 3-4-5), or even small guild (10-12 members), got something good, really good. Like best houses in town and control to some extent development of new node. Node where small groups and independent people live and work.

What can possible protect them from agression (diplomatic or military) of super-hardcore-24/7/365 online mega-guild-alliance (which has x10/x100 more economic and militaty power), that decide to subjugate/dominate/destroy this town? Also some "grey area" solutions can be surely implemented, like usage of merc pk guild just to haraass "independent" people to no end, forcing them to submission for "protection". Or just buy off some critical numbers to vote for "right" president (if some kind om mock democracy will be really implemented in game mechanics).

I understand, that is absolutly logical for AoC game idea, that players form their own pseudonations with some kind of own social contract, but i fear that all thing will be pretty unkind to more casual/solo/small group players, who will be like pawns/spectators in play or "no-life" guilders.

---

Indeed this too dimensions connected and multiplay each other.

What do you think about? How this systems can be balanced to be more or less fair for all players in spectre of game time and arrival on server?

Comments

  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    May be 2 days will be little time to realy "grab" much, but there comes 1st way all massed start crowd. Many of them again, will be concerned with aquiring as much "nice assets" as possible. Some of them will go to crazy things like non stop gaming marhapon (16-18-20 hours a day) to have "fist village", "first town", "first metropolis". And they indeed do it.

    This won't be a concern because the nodes will be disabled for the first 2 days, so players cannot acquire Freeholds in nodes until the game is released for everyone.

    However, to address your concern for latecomers who come to the game months or years after it's been released, I could see the land grab issue being a valid concern. 

    If you go to the hinterlands, you would be less of a target for Metropolises, so you probably would have to go somewhere remote and underdeveloped if you wanted to reduce the chances that you will be dragged into conflict between Stage 5~6 nodes. 

    There will be powerful guilds and massively organized Discord armies of rival nodes, and you'd probably have to join them if you wanted land space in a particularly coveted node area. No risk, no reward.

    I think in order to ensure there's some stability, the devs would really need to put weight into diplomacy and alliances. If one Metropolis node has been terrorizing all other nodes, it would be difficult for them to find trading partners (other than an equally tyrannic Metropolis node). Also, a collective of smaller nodes could form an alliance to take down the tyrannic army, but I can't see how you would avoid joining an organized effort. 

    Even if you avoided Discord and guild-based organization, you would still need to coordinate through in-game chat/voice channels. I think it'll be possible to do your own thing with a small group of friends, but I also think you'd be missing out on a large portion of the game :neutral:

  • Right. Can't do any land grabs during the headstart.
    What people will likely do is travel to the nodes they hope to turn into cities and metropolises.

    Keep in mind that housing and freeholds open up at the Village stage (3).
    Which means players can continue to find space for freeholds for quite some time.
    Many people will go for the instanced apartments. 

    Sieges will happen. Villages and towns and cities will be destroyed. New ones will be built and land will open up for new freeholds to be placed. 
    That will continue to happen throughout the life of every server.
    Thereby giving new players opportunities to grab some land for themselves.

    I also expect new servers to become available.
  • Exactly as @Dygz has mentioned. :3 it will pretty much be impossible for the land grab. If your worried about the headstart I believe there will be headstart servers only then on release the other servers will open so any world influence that has happened won't impact new players from the beginning - unless you choose to go on the headstart server.
    The team have also mentioned that they are doing their best to prevent Zerg guilds and ensure that equal opportunity for success is available to all guilds :D so hopefully that will mean if your the 'top' guild it's because you're the best or the best at making political allies ^^
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Yep, it isn't "Lets get 100 people and march over and kill this node for shits and giggles" Large groups doing large actions will take large amounts of resources. Said resources are then not available to keep their own node in repair. We don't know how long the gap between declared war and actual combat will be, but they stated it won't be lets just get everyone together on Saturday and burn group X's shizz down. It will take lots of planning and coordination, and the other people will be aware that something is going on. Also stated that there isn't some insta-port to guildies function, so if people want to attack a node that is miles away, they're going to have to fight their way there.
  • There's going to be more then just running in and grabbing the high end real estate property.  There is the long struggle of setting the foundations through hard work, gathering and building.  It will take time for the village to grow. And like all good home owners proper maintenance is needed which takes more time and effort.  Not all resources will be readily available.
    Your town will need protection. 
    Ashes won't be a game anywhere near the likes of games such as Ark where solo or new players don't have a chance in Hades to survive.


  • I believe the developers have mentioned that given the amount of effort and time required to establish and grow nodes, players having an early start on the game will make very little impact on the overall progression of a server. 

    In regards to the reality of hardcore players/guilds that have a vast amount of time to dedicate towards playing AoC, the reality is that these players will always have an advantage over those of us that have only very limited time for gaming due to real world commitments. I think the complexity of the political and military system in AoC means that this advantage would be minimised as much is realistically possible in an MMORPG. 

    On the OPs other point and one which I am quite interested to hear more discussion about either on the forums here or hopefully in one of the Q and As, is how the game will look or be relevant for new players coming onto a server once the 1st, 2nd or potentially 3rd metropolis has been established... Thoughts?
  • Another thing to keep in mind about the headstart is that there will be NO node development during this stage.  Yes headstarters will be able to explore and look for places to start developing when the game goes live for everyone.  If you are not a head starter you could still be the 1st person in game to get a freehold down. 
  • Yeah, this isn't a concern at all. The dev team seems very very strict about their non-P2W stance. Which is quite refreshing.
  • Another thing to keep in mind about the headstart is that there will be NO node development during this stage.  Yes headstarters will be able to explore and look for places to start developing when the game goes live for everyone.
    This.  Headstart players will start on normal servers, but node development will be turned off for that time.  All they can do is scout for the node they want to try and push, then start leveling their character.

    Instanced apartments will be an easy "in town" home that many will take advantage of, though their freehold may be out in the middle of nowhere.  That's always not a bad thing, though.  If someone is wandering around leveling, or just adventuring, and they want a tavern food buff or armor repair, the freeholds closest to wilderness will be the most visited.  This is especially true with the lack of fast travel.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Well, thank you guys, a lot of nice points and info that I dont get mysef from dev. side. You answered most of my concerns : ) 

    Still I wondering how "anti-zerg" mechanics/concepts will be implemented. 

    And not only "zergs". Because game systems definitly need some counterwheights to very-big-organized guilds power. After some point they can be very abusive towards solo and small group people, if left uncheked.
  • I share your concerns but I feel that Intrepid has made sure to keep unfair advantages to a minimum as explained by other people.

    I've had this stance for a long time, even after I had a full time job and other obligations in my life and that's that MMOs are and should have rewards based on time put into the game. All the "pay for convenience" models are a very slippery slope into P2W which Intrepid has taken a strong stance against. Although it sucks for us with jobs and real life commitment, I feel this is the only truly fair way to run an online game. 

  • Well, thank you guys, a lot of nice points and info that I dont get mysef from dev. side. You answered most of my concerns : ) 

    Still I wondering how "anti-zerg" mechanics/concepts will be implemented. 

    And not only "zergs". Because game systems definitly need some counterwheights to very-big-organized guilds power. After some point they can be very abusive towards solo and small group people, if left uncheked.
    Can't really zerg land grab because you have to have citizenship in order to obtain a freehold. And a character can only have one freehold.
    Each player will probably be earning citizenship at different rates - even those belonging to the same guild.

  • Also don't forget that real estate can be bought and sold,  So there's always that avenue too.
  • ArchivedUserArchivedUser Guest
    edited June 2017
    Hi, everyone.

    TIME AND GRAB

    First of all, we have breaver of the worlds award with 2 days early access to live launch (with higher tiers awards its like 1500 players), its likely go up, when new big pledges will be introduced with same bonus. Dont get me wrong, I'm completly okay, that those people must be awarded for their generosity towards a game. Its more about consequences to overall picture. Anyway, we have all rights to assume, that this people activly try to grab (and this is absolutly logical) best places for themselves or their guilds. 

    May be 2 days will be little time to realy "grab" much, but there comes 1st way all massed start crowd. Many of them again, will be concerned with aquiring as much "nice assets" as possible. Some of them will go to crazy things like non stop gaming marhapon (16-18-20 hours a day) to have "fist village", "first town", "first metropolis". And they indeed do it.

    Employed lads and lasses, with families to spend time, like children and other "duties" in real life will, be lagging behind in this "time race" from beggining. And distance will be deepining every week.
    While i agree people with early access will be able to grab all the geographically good spots, you also have to consider competition. After all, good nodes with exclusive, say world bosses, will be highly contested. Let's say the following,

    There is this certain alliance whose composed of 300 players. Let's call that alliance "Alliance A". Most players in Alliance A can play the early access, and are willing to play 16, 18, or even 20 hours a day to grab the best nodes that have the highest strategical, or geographical advantage. Meaning a node with high farming potential, or a node that has a special world boss(es) appear at later stages of development that drop(s) unique items found nowhere else in the sever. Alliance A successfully grabs that node without any competition during early access. Now what do you expect to happen once other players gain access to the game, the none founders or backers? Do you think other players in the server will let Alliance A keep that spot and enjoy it as much as they can, or do you think once others, potentially stronger alliances, join the server, they will try to overthrow Alliance A to get that nice spot? I think the second option is far more likely. You see, grabbing a nice spot is easy if you can play early access, but keeping that spot with it's exclusivity will be much harder from other HC guilds that didn't have access to early access. Therefore, the notion that someone can grab a nice spot and keep it forever, while could occur, is absurd. There will always be competition present trying to overthrow Alliance A's forces, and take that nice node for themselves. Hope that made sense.
  • The folks that initially raise the level of a node may or may not remain in control of it for lots of reasons.  Supposedly each node type will have different means of determining who controls the node government.

    From part 2 of the node blog
    Along with those benefits, node type also determines the type of government that a Node has. The most traditional government comes from the Scientific node, which allows the citizens to come together and choose their leaders. The Divine type, allocates its leaders through service oriented quests, quests that directly help others and their Node, quests that prove their faith and dedication to the node. Economic type governments are run by an Elite Oligarchy. These positions can be bought and sold, so if you want to rule an Economic type Node, make sure your coin purse is heavier than your competition. Finally, the Militaristic type is rule by combat. Whoever are the last ones standing have proven their worth to lead, by iron fist and sharpened blade. These warriors can only be removed from office by citizens who are better and more bloodthirsty than they.

    Ultimately unless the developers are uniquely creative I don't see how a massive group of organized players can be stopped from in the short term controlling what they want, where they want, when they want.   Look at what the Red Army and similar mega zerg guild alliances are doing in Albion's development.  BOB back in the day in EvE.  Sure those kind of alliances never last, but it's rather a pointless distinction that the zerg running you over isn't the same zerg it was a few weeks ago.

    Small groups will either have to work together to be big groups when push comes to shove or learn to not be heartbroken about moving your small group to another node when one barbarian horde or another decides your node is the conquest of the moment.  

    From the developers comments it appears it's not a massive loss when your Freehold is conquered, all your contents and belongings are put into virtual storage to be unpacked when you put down a new Freehold - the apartments and houses may work the same way when the node is captured.  In this game personally I think getting too attached to what you consider 'yours' will lead to players having a very bad time and moving on to a less PvP oriented game.

  • While even rather slow players from original star will get something (may be even nice), what about players who will join to server after 3 m, 6, 1 year? They still can grab something inferior in hinterlands, if lucky. But what about 2-3 years + "newcomers/latecomers" who are essential for game online health in long perspective? What they can get? May be some some land will be recycled from "dead" players, but this mechanic is always far cry from actual demand. 

    One doesn't have to find fresh, empty land to carve out their destiny.  A latecomer could certainly declare citizenship at an existing town or city, participate in daily life in the community there, and over time as they become known, they could potentially work their way up in the local government.  Perhaps even manage to rally enough supporters to become the mayor/governor of the city.  Much like real life, they are only truly limited by their own choices and aspirations.
  • Employed lads and lasses, with families to spend time, like children and other "duties" in real life will, be lagging behind in this "time race" from beggining. And distance will be deepining every week.

    This is potentially going to be me, however this is unavoidable therefore there's no point worrying about it imo. I suspect this game will run in cycles where all good things come to an end spawning new opportunities for old and new. They could introduce an artificial timer which could bring about an end to metropolises but I don't think that would be a popular move.
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