Monster Coins, Dragons, and Node Destruction

BainikBainik Member, Alpha 1 Stress Test alpha-stress-tester
Let me start by saying I don't see this as a big problem, or a sign of P2W seeping in, but it is something that's got me thinking and I'd like to hear more people's opinions on it. I was asking some related questions in the discord earlier, but it started to get out of scope for the questions channel so I figured I'd move it here:

Throughout this post I'm going to talk about a dragon attack as a generic example of an epic event for the sake of having a concrete thing to talk about. The high level idea is that it seems like the monster coin system introduces some conflicting goals to the event system:
  1. A dragon attack should be a real threat to players goals, not just an opportunity for loot they may miss.
  2. You should not be able to turn monster coins into additional progress towards the destruction of a node. If such a path exists then they're always going to be an advantage to siegers (softening a node you're planning to siege later, finishing off a node after a siege ends, avoiding an actual siege all together, etc.)
  3. A player controlling the dragon should not lessen the threat of the event, and ideally should add a level of unpredictability and threat. Having your epic battle for survival turn into kicking a sad lizard because someone showed up with a coin would suck.
At first glance it seems like you can only reliably get 2 out of 3.
  • #1 + #2: Player controlled dragons must be at most as threatening as AI controlled ones, else you violate #2, but that violates #3 (unless they're equal, but that's going to be REALLY hard with variability in player skill)
  • #1 + #3: Player controlled dragons will be more likely to win because of #3, and dragon victory means progress to node destruction, thus we violate #2.
  • #2 + #3: Player controlled dragons will be more likely to win because of #3 again, and to not violate #2 that has to not contribute to the destruction of the node, so we don't have #1.
Maybe you can get all 3 if you can get player and AI controlled dragons to be the same level of threat consistently, but I don't think that's realistic at the very least because of unequal player skill levels. The other solution to win on all points would be to remove real money from it, since then you don't actually care about #2, but I don't think they're willing to go there, and it's probably not a big enough deal for that to be worth making a fuss over.

So that leads to the real topic here: Am I missing something, is there a clever way to get all 3 goals? If not, where should the compromise be made?

My personal opinion is that #3 is the correct thing to compromise on.
  • Giving up #1 means the big concern on your mind when a dragon descends on your home is "Oh, don't let the loot get away!" rather than "I have to protect my home!" which is just sad and must not happen no matter what.
  • Giving up #2 means you get siege-by-cash-shop in one way or another. Definitely can't compromise here.
  • Giving up #3 probably isn't all that bad most of the time. Sometimes nobody will take over the dragon (everything's fine), sometimes a good player will take over the dragon (everything's fine), and sometimes a bad player will get the dragon (this event will be largely non-threatening, but at least it's still unpredictable).

It seems like this is where they're going based on what little info we have, so that's good in my book. And if the top <5% of players are better than the AI at being the dragon or something else where it's technically violating #2 for those players, that's probably ok, too, as that'll rarely come up and is still rewarding player skill.

What do other people think? 

Comments

  • UnknownSystemErrorUnknownSystemError Member alpha-stress-tester
    A couple points that you may not be aware of. World boss attacks on a node may damage it, but will never delevel it. The only mechanic by which a node is deleveled is through the siege mechanic. The pvp royal mounts given to node mayors and pvp kings and queens will have a range and will be able to defend their respective areas, but just randomly attacking other nodes will be most likely not possible due to travel time and just plain logistics.

    The monster coin system also may damage a node, but will never delevel it. These events are random and players have no agency on when or where they spawn. Since players cannot target a specific node, then the whole using monster coins as a way to gain advantage during a siege becomes moot.

    They have not confirmed as a mechanic, but most likely a node that is in its declaration period leading up to a siege will not qualify for monster coin or world boss attacks. Once again, not confirmed.

    And finally the percentage of players with a royal mount, not counting possible timed 2-4 week epic egg drops on a full server is 0.001% of population. That is assuming all 5 metros active and they have opted to build a royal stable vs whatever the other option for that city is. Choice and consequence. Players may very well tell the mayor "Sorry, we would rather have the other great option for the city than the royal mount stable."
    http://aocwiki.net/Monster_Coins
  • Rune_RelicRune_Relic Member ✭✭✭✭
    ^^ what the man said.
    Monster coins are PvE events (not player instigated).
    The only player aspect is the monsters AI.

    The monster is supposed to do damage...but apparently they attack the modules rather than the whole town. Delevelling could be an indirect consequence if you damage the ability of the node to maintain itself.
  • BainikBainik Member, Alpha 1 Stress Test alpha-stress-tester
    A couple points that you may not be aware of. World boss attacks on a node may damage it, but will never delevel it. The only mechanic by which a node is deleveled is through the siege mechanic. The pvp royal mounts given to node mayors and pvp kings and queens will have a range and will be able to defend their respective areas, but just randomly attacking other nodes will be most likely not possible due to travel time and just plain logistics.

    The monster coin system also may damage a node, but will never delevel it. These events are random and players have no agency on when or where they spawn. Since players cannot target a specific node, then the whole using monster coins as a way to gain advantage during a siege becomes moot.

    They have not confirmed as a mechanic, but most likely a node that is in its declaration period leading up to a siege will not qualify for monster coin or world boss attacks. Once again, not confirmed.

    And finally the percentage of players with a royal mount, not counting possible timed 2-4 week epic egg drops on a full server is 0.001% of population. That is assuming all 5 metros active and they have opted to build a royal stable vs whatever the other option for that city is. Choice and consequence. Players may very well tell the mayor "Sorry, we would rather have the other great option for the city than the royal mount stable."
    http://aocwiki.net/Monster_Coins
    The stuff about royal mounts is cool, but not really relevant to anything I was talking about, unless I'm missing something. Are royal mounts somehow tied to coin events? That could be kinda interesting.

    The no-deleveling thing is a bit disappointing as that's exactly the sort of thing I was talking about as a violation of #1. It's a valid solution, but it means you rule out entire classes of interaction with the world. I really want to see the first time players get too greedy and trigger bigger events than they can reliably handle and end up getting kicked back to the stone age (or camp as it may be) Or a guild over mobilizes for a siege and their home node gets raised to the ground due to insufficient population to defend it.

    If the node can't actually be knocked down outside of a siege then nothing is actually threatening and events are just loot with the failure case of missing some loot. That's fine, but it's basically just FATEs from FFXIV or events in GW2 rather than an actually meaningful interaction with the world.

    The exclusion of coin events from the times around siege is a good point as far as safeguards against balance issues goes. I thought we had confirmation that was how it was going to work, too?

    ^^ what the man said.
    Monster coins are PvE events (not player instigated).
    The only player aspect is the monsters AI.

    The monster is supposed to do damage...but apparently they attack the modules rather than the whole town. Delevelling could be an indirect consequence if you damage the ability of the node to maintain itself.
    Sure, but being the AI of a monster is exactly what playing a character is. This is just another form of PvP, though it is quite a novel one.

  • UnknownSystemErrorUnknownSystemError Member alpha-stress-tester
    We have confirmation that the caravan and trade system will be suspended during siege declaration. Nothing confirmed on server events like monster coins. I threw the pvp royal mounts into the original response because I figured that would be the next point brought up about deleveling a node and how player controlled monsters would be out of balance.
  • BainikBainik Member, Alpha 1 Stress Test alpha-stress-tester
    We have confirmation that the caravan and trade system will be suspended during siege declaration. Nothing confirmed on server events like monster coins. I threw the pvp royal mounts into the original response because I figured that would be the next point brought up about deleveling a node and how player controlled monsters would be out of balance.
    Found what I was thinking of: monster siegespng

    Makes sense, but I don't think royal mounts have any of the same design concerns. They're a reward for player investment within the game so #2 isn't relevant, they don't modify existing events so #3 isn't relevant, and they both don't provide loot at represent at least the threat of a normal player so #1 isn't a concern. 

    They represent a balancing decision, but a far less interesting one since  there's no fundamental design tradeoffs. Whereas monster tokens seem to have a fundamental limitation in that you have to pick 2 of the properties I mentioned and (hopefully) try to mitigate the loss of the third somehow.
  • UnknownSystemErrorUnknownSystemError Member alpha-stress-tester
    @Bainik Sweet. Nice find on the quote. I will make sure it gets thrown in the quotebin so we have that for future discussions.
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