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How will they ensure a balance between cities such that there could be sieges?

When I think of WoW, in the later days of distinct PvP and PvE servers only a handful of PvP realms had a balance of Alliance and Horde. In a sense, AoC will not have a faction balance problem because players come together in towns, not pre-committed factions. However, what rules might coax players to engage in battles between cities? Will there be a cap on how big any one city can be? It seems that the taxation system and other mayoral duties might lead players to follow one banner or another, but I don't see this leading to conflicts or pax serverium with any predictability.

"But, wait!" you say. "Unpredictable evolution is the point of this game!" True, to a degree, but if they're going to spend significant effort to design a system and weave it into the fabric of the game when it may or may not ever get used on some servers that seems like a very long shot unless they have some pretty important incentives, e.g. the late tier bosses for this patch only come out (or come out much faster) if there is war between cities. Otherwise players who sign up for the game to experience this sort of combat might find their experience with the game hit-or-miss, and probably miss.

Steven often explains the game in terms of risk and reward. Well, there is a risk in making the effort to create a system like this, especially one with what promise to be complex siege mechanics with carefully orchestrated rules to protect players from having their account essentially ransacked when they were on vacation skiing in Colorado. It is especially risky if many players will not even experience it in a consistent, let alone a balanced, manner.

All that said, is there anything outlining the plan for what I would do if I wanted to change my city allegiances? Do the devs expect my loyalty to be rooted in establishments like my freehold, the other players I raid with, my satisfaction with the tax code? In theory, I can ssee how this would cultivate a sense of belonging as well as willingness to participate in the growth as well as defense of one's city. However, I don't see this system really thriving among the legions of casual players that Intrepid Studios would need to pay their bills.

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    I don’t think they are after balance in the way you think. Distance and node progression have more to do with it; where the major nodes are in the world. They expect continuous expansion and destruction. I think they are also setting things up for a lot of conflict/rivalry within a node. Factions will form organically from the players, and if everyone ends up being in the same faction it’s because they don’t want conflict. Pretty sure once one faction appears to have the upper hand, the others will team up against them. Maybe over time it’s two primary factions or three or one for each metropolis. Don’t know. The lack of predictability is part of the fun.
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    Wait, I thought that city = node. Well, the node is the scaffold upon which one and only one city will be built. I also thought that within each camp / village / town / city / metropolis the players were expected to be allied and united under the same mayor. I'm not sure how the "kings" of each realm / region relate to the mayors of nodes--although I do read that various regions of the world will each contain multiple nodes, perhaps a dozen or so for riverlands / desert / tundra biomes (I assume those are the regions). I was envisoning multiple nodes within a region perhaps being united under different banners and thereby getting into fights.

    Have the devs talked about how many players they expect each expedition / camp / village / town / city / metropolis? (Hey, I guessed all of those names except expedition prior to encampment.) I can see the approximate time requirements (I assume this is based on some nominal level of player activity over that time), but how many players are they talking about doing this together? And, if there are a bunch of players just farming or questing in a node not knowing the others are there or not caring, does the node automatically sprout an exped / camp / village because people ave been picking flowers, killing pigs, and returning lost necklaces?
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Yes, that's approximately how that works.

    A node will advance without a specific full effort, just as trade cities and such did irl, back when this was a part of societal development.

    One of the less obvious reasons for fighting would be (and I hate to use this word) in-node corruption. Not game corruption, just more like a node being taken over or 'tainted' by bad actors or a guild one doesn't like.

    The rest, we're not sure of yet, the system design for the 'why' of certain things hasn't been fully revealed.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    Azherae wrote: »
    One of the less obvious reasons for fighting would be (and I hate to use this word) in-node corruption. Not game corruption, just more like a node being taken over or 'tainted' by bad actors or a guild one doesn't like.

    " War ... ... ... ... ... War never changes ... ... ... ... ... "
    jcildf8jglv5.png
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    OtrOtr Member
    Telandras wrote: »
    ... unless they have some pretty important incentives, e.g. the late tier bosses for this patch only come out (or come out much faster) if there is war between cities.

    The incentives will be the resource scarcity.
    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/World_manager
    "Economic systems require scarcity. And in a game, all scarcity is artificially created in an attempt to simulate supply/demand structures or as we would call them points of player friction."

    Players will try to protect the metropolises which are the source of PvE and high level crafting benches.
    And will fight the nodes of other metropolises.

    un7c0c65sh43.png
    Telandras wrote: »
    Well, there is a risk in making the effort to create a system like this, especially one with what promise to be complex siege mechanics with carefully orchestrated rules to protect players from having their account essentially ransacked when they were on vacation skiing in Colorado.
    If the entire node goes skiing in Colorado at the same time... Steven will do nothing to prevent the node being besieged.
    If only one player goes in vacation and that causes the fall of the node, then that node was really weak anyway.
    Players will not lose gold, only resources which will be continuously collected to repair gear and build defenses. If you don't play, you don't need resources.
    Telandras wrote: »
    All that said, is there anything outlining the plan for what I would do if I wanted to change my city allegiances? Do the devs expect my loyalty to be rooted in establishments like my freehold, the other players I raid with, my satisfaction with the tax code? In theory, I can ssee how this would cultivate a sense of belonging as well as willingness to participate in the growth as well as defense of one's city. However, I don't see this system really thriving among the legions of casual players that Intrepid Studios would need to pay their bills.
    I think casuals will be more loyal and try to avoid complications caused by politics.
    But you do what you want.
    If you want to be a guild leader but you hate politics and you want PvP, you can attack all caravans or be a pirate.
    Just don't get too attached to a node. The nodes do not belong to players even though we like calling them "our nodes".

    nhcnumy9v8z5.png
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    TelandrasTelandras Member
    edited March 18
    Haha, this reminds me of a conversation that a graduate student in my old lab had with the sysadmin many years ago.

    Student: "Who is root, and why are they always running jobs on my computer?" (This young lady was very sensitive about "her" property even though she owned none of it.)
    Admin: "Root is the computer."

    So, in AoC, the nodes are owned by root. Got it.
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    AzheraeAzherae Member, Alpha One, Adventurer
    Telandras wrote: »
    Haha, this reminds me of a conversation that a graduate student in my old lab had with the sysadmin many years ago.

    Student: "Who is root, and why are they always running jobs on my computer?" (This young lady was very sensitive about "her" property even though she owned none of it.)
    Admin: "Root is the computer."

    So, in AoC, the nodes are owned by root. Got it.

    And, much like that, we need to remember something specific about the node structure relative to ZoI placement.

    The 'shortest possible distance' between two Town level nodes isn't that big. The 'shortest distance' between two Cities isn't huge either. This is related to exactly which nodes lock out which others.

    This technically means that if you rush to raise a single node to 'Town' without making sure to raise the Adjacent nodes in a way that locks out the 'next Adjacent node', 'strange' situations can occur where you end up fighting for the territory 'between' them.

    "Encampment (stage 2) and Expedition (stage 1) nodes are technically not vassal nodes as they do not support citizenships. If their parent Village (stage 3) node is destroyed by a node siege, these nodes are also destroyed."

    "Due to the way the progression algorithm calculates territorial (ZOI) expansion during node advancement, there is a small possibility that two nodes of the same stage end up being close to each other."

    There's a video with a node simulation that some people have 'reverse engineered' (it's old and surely no longer relevant, but the important part is that the function clearly shows that the above can happen).

    And similarly, overlapping Zones of Influence also create large complexities in this matter. It's quite common, honestly, even when there's no real incentive to bring down the City.

    There are probably many configurations in the World Manager where it is possible for there to be a City within the ZOI of a Metropolis that is not a Vassal of that Metropolis. It's important to not get the two things confused when thinking about nodes, even if the scenario is rare.

    I don't know if this will lead to 'Contested' Nodes (in the system, the way it does in Elite) or not, but it will probably lead to 'Contested' nodes in the minds of players.
    Sorry, my native language is Erlang.
    
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    KilionKilion Member
    Telandras wrote: »
    All that said, is there anything outlining the plan for what I would do if I wanted to change my city allegiances? Do the devs expect my loyalty to be rooted in establishments like my freehold, the other players I raid with, my satisfaction with the tax code? In theory, I can ssee how this would cultivate a sense of belonging as well as willingness to participate in the growth as well as defense of one's city. However, I don't see this system really thriving among the legions of casual players that Intrepid Studios would need to pay their bills.

    Yes, you can simple terminate your citizenship. Why you would to that: Taxes in your Node became to high, the mayors in the Node are missaligned with what you want, there is a Node which offers better gameplay options that align more with what you want, you and some friends decided to simply see a different part of the world, your Node might be in decline because other players are moving out or the Node has been standing for so long that you have seen everything you were interested in and therefore are moving to experience new content. These might not even be ALL the reasons there are to terminate your citizenship with your current Node.

    Regarding the "legions of casual players": I'm not sure what exactly makes a player a "casual", but whether someone plays casual or not doesn't really matter for the benefits associated with citizenship (see here). Even casual players have lots to gain from becoming a citizen and defending the Node they are currently a citizen of.

    And regarding your question in the title: In my opinion it is absolutely NOT the goal to balance those, at least not directly. Instead the goal for Intrepid seems to be that mayors have tools that should make defending a Node worthwhile for the players who are citizens of that Node and to provide services exclusive to citizens, which in turn aim to recruit new citizens. If that balance is disrupted from in or outside, the side with the advantage should feel encouraged to take out a weaker competing Node without Intrepid stepping in and trying to prevent that.

    Lastly: From what I have roughly calculated Intrepid can achieve a solid profit margin with "just" 500'000 players which is not too much when comparing these numbers to the active player numbers of other MMOs. Additionally, how well the systems work will be fully visible during the Alpha 2, so I think if it turns out that parts of the system indeed are not working well, we will see them changed based on the feedback coming back in.
    The answer is probably >>> HERE <<<
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    OtrOtr Member
    edited March 19
    I want to apologize for the picture I posted above.
    That picture is based on the assumption that a vassal can be located at a greater distance from it's parent when the parent node level is higher. I shown these distances as circles.
    But I found no such statement on wiki so I am not sure about that.

    Also the colored circles should not be interpreted as the Zones of Influence. Maybe could represent how the players of a certain node with large population will spread around to gather resources.

    Even though wiki says that:
    Node ZOIs are fluid and change their area based on the progression of the node and its neighbors.[2]
    

    The ZoI shape is predefined and fixed because it has to cover the entire land (not sure about the deep ocean)
    Every node is given purview over a predefined geographic area called a Zone of influence (ZOI).
    
    Zones of influence connect fully across the world without any gaps.[5]
    There is not a space where you will move in to do something and no node will get that experience.[5]
     – Steven Sharif
    

    The way how the ZoI grows is by being shared by vassals with their parent nodes:
    As Nodes advance in stages of growth they will lock out neighboring Nodes from progressing, 
    and will absorb their zones of influence.[2]
    

    This was said in 2018:
    Up to one fifth of the world will be encompassed within the ZOI of a Metropolis.
    

    All nodes were supposed to become vassals of a metropolis hence each metropolis would control up to 20% of the map.
    Meanwhile the metropolis vassals count was limited to 12.
    20 nodes will live outside the metropolis vassal structure.
    So the metropolises lost some influence - they cannot control up to 20% of the map anymore.

    The castle ZoI still cover 20% and will overlap with the Node ZoI
    Castle regions, Economic regions, and Node ZOI (Zones of Influence) can overlap.[6]
    
    Very old discord statements mention these "Economic regions" but is not clear what they are. Might be the "Zones of Influence" bound through the vassal system.
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    OtrOtr Member
    Telandras wrote: »
    Steven often explains the game in terms of risk and reward. Well, there is a risk in making the effort to create a system like this, especially one with what promise to be complex siege mechanics with carefully orchestrated rules to protect players from having their account essentially ransacked when they were on vacation skiing in Colorado. It is especially risky if many players will not even experience it in a consistent, let alone a balanced, manner.

    It was a time when the rules said that freeholds cannot be sold.
    The way I understood them was that you had to be a citizen to be able to own a freehold.
    And you could not change citizenship to save your freehold from destruction.
    Players that renounce their citizenship during a node siege declaration period may incur penalties.[19]
    
    If a siege is successful, then the Node is brought down to Level 0, and anyone who was a citizen of that Node is no longer a citizen. Freeholds within the Zone of Influence are subject to a period of vulnerability. These Freeholds can be destroyed by other players during a period of roughly 2 hours after a successful siege.
    

    Now the rules say that
    Gaining citizenship through player housing is not automatic. It must be claimed.[3]
    
    Deeds may only be used to place a freehold if the deed holder successfully wins 
    a freehold auction for an estate.[4][41]
    Citizens and non-citizens can bid on estates.[42]
    
    A deed holder who has won an estate auction may then claim the estate from within 
    a barony in that (deed) node's ZOI, including the ZOI of any of its vassal nodes.
    
    Bidding on an Estate is done through an auction system. Nodes have a limited number 
    of Freehold Deeds available based on that node’s level.
    
    Player housing that is destroyed during a node siege can no longer be sold.[163]
    

    So if you own a freehold in a node (not necessarily the one where you are citizen) and that node gets under siege while you are in vacation, your only hope is to sell it using the app, if such a feature will be implemented
    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Companion_app
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    Otr wrote: »
    So if you own a freehold in a node (not necessarily the one where you are citizen) and that node gets under siege while you are in vacation, your only hope is to sell it using the app, if such a feature will be implemented
    https://ashesofcreation.wiki/Companion_app

    Ohhh, that is actually a good Reason to have an APP or any other kind of Possibility to sell your Freehold while You are on a Vacation in Reallife.

    But Please mark my Words - sometimes Misfortune just hits the fan. And when Misfortune strikes, it usually doesn't strike only once. The great Kiryuu from the Manga Tough also knew that. 😁
    jcildf8jglv5.png
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