See what Korn has to say about this topic.

Posted by glokz 12 months ago

Hello Community, SBI,


Content of this post is basically summary of what i've already said in many topics/reddit comments. I've been forum fighting Alliances since August 2018 and this is one of the last bullets I have to help make the game a better product. As always this post will be long so make yourself a tea or something.

Background:


Going back in the time, when the Pre-Queen roadmap was published, I was stating that changing the map is unnecessary to solve current problems linked to mega alliances/power projection. While it's nice to have something fresh, the effort and possible complications(horse riding simulator) compared to alternative cost of development would be a big NO to me if I was a game director. However devs wanted to follow that path to see if I am right or wrong. Maybe this whole post is bullshit and there are no problems, but the only real problem is stupid people in the forum not understanding how to have fun with the game. If you think so, don't bother reading this post. But if you believe Post-Queen game does not feels like it should, please spend 10 minutes to read below.

Overall, I am glad about the direction SBI took in the past year, although the specific solutions delivered with Queen, do not solve named problems and seeing community-wide surveys asking what would people like to see to solve current situation, makes me think SBI had no backup plan when Queen wouldn't work as they promised. So that was background motivation behind this post. I am not a party of any alliance, I play in a guild that peaks with 8 players and I do not have any ambitions to play albion at highest competitive level again.

So the Queen goal was to diminish power of 5 people to control everything. However after the Queen this is achieved in a very similar matter by a single entity(alliance) but by having more numbers (The #1 argument that gvg players used to defend their eliteness and they were right). So small guilds that owned gvg teams lost possibility to stay underdogs as they used to be before, because numbers mean everything now so that's a negative effect of switching from gvg to zvz. And the best guilds that owned the best gvg players, now still remain at the top, concentrating just enough players around them.

Conclusion: The biggest problem with Pre-Queen seasons was that one guild/ally could own everything, with Queen this hasn't changed much. Due to the map size/power projection limitations there's only a little bit more space to share so few more mega alliances could emerge while small guilds lost everything, even though most of the gvg-less guilds haven't had anything before. So instead small guilds that refused to join mega alliances would have their home in Post-Queen game - they only have more 'banners' to chose while the idea and conditions remained the same. I know some small guilds that actually tried to establish hideouts and fight for territories outside of mega alliances and they failed hard. Now I don't want to talk anymore about the past, let's focus only on the current situation and the future.

1. What's the current situation

We can see, that the most of players join one of the 6 biggest alliances trying to fight for its own place. Many more exist but it's only a start of the Post-Queen season and as they already don't own much, few days after the territory reset - it's unlikely they will get something mid-season and IMO with the time they will possible merge into top6 or remain irrelevant to the season ranking, which is pretty bad.

In my view, this situation happens because of few simple reasons, that devs have very low impact on:

  1. Joining mega ally makes hardcore MMO rpg game easy(maximum profit, minimum risk)
  2. Possibility to take part in massive battles that overheat both servers and players PCs. Such large battles can be only succesfully shotcalled by few players in the world.
  3. If one mega ally exists - there is no other way but to try to fight it with another mega ally, this snowballs to the ultimate Red vs Blue model, which due to developers actions is now around 5-6 parties(map size), but it used to be 3-6 in the past seasons. In other words - if a guild wants to achieve something, it needs to join one of six pretending alliances, if one mega alliance can't fight another it needs to relocate to another place and dominate what it can or stop existing and merge into existing alliance.
  4. Some of the players prefer joining the biggest/strongest alliances just to feel strong/brag about it's wins, even that their impact on this is close to 0 as such army was already leader/strong pretender before they joined. So that would be least important reason to join mega ally by individuals, but many people do so having no other options and very small will to keep tryharding.


Besides above, there is currently no difference between Solo guild / mega alliance gameplay, except for one more thing - if majority follows above, all the other guilds who deny it, must satisfy themselves with leftovers, crumbs, no chance to compete for anything, even T5 terri. There is no small guild vs small guild content, because sharks swim in every sea and threat everyone without exception. More means bette. As players in alliances don't have much content outside of CTA's, whenever they see opportunity to bully someone for free - they will act like starving jaguars chasing every single person or a small blob (t1-t2) like mad mans, at the same time avoiding other mega alliances whenever they don't have proper numbers, shot caller etc. I have seen 30-40 people chasing one guy for couple maps failing to kill him instead of finding another group of 30-40 to have a proper fight. REALLY POE YOU DO THAT.

So playing in a guild outside of top6 alliances wanting a territory, hidehout, fame farm, try small scale pvp or gather is tremendously hard, fairly to say it's tryharding the game. This can last for some time but sooner or later it won't work in a longer run. What do I mean by tryharding? Playing the game against the meta, not in a way that everyone else do, just to prove you can still succeed. Very often people only have motiviation to tryhard for a limited time (RIP KFC), after which they join mega ally or quit the game.

Conclusion: After Queen release - instead of 5 men owning everything, one ally owns everything in their area of influence and the only content is chosing one of mega alliances and help them grow endlesly and control everything they can (even t5 territories). There is no limit to the size or limit to what a single alliance can own - and this is currently #1 problem that kills the game. I apologize all the dictators that this post aims to take their effortless machines down.


2. What are the DEVS afraid of ?

So basically, what always stopped devs from solving alliance-related problems? It's simple - they are afraid, that strongest players will abuse any possible alliance limitations and still get what they have now, however not letting smaller guilds to be able to find their own piece of content.

In other words, using examples - CIR would have a NAP with Scoiataels, they would not attack each other, cooperate to control what they can and dealing with all the tryharders together. So many smaller guilds wouldn't be able to NAP and cooperate with each other and they would have to satisfy with leftovers and crumbs. So in other words - hard capping alliances downside is current reality, isn't that crazy? They are afraid of David vs Goliath model, while it's already happening!

Also it's like, they tried to balance the META based on lowest players tier existing (bronze8 in league of legends). Is that a good way to ensure both top tiers like challenger and medium tiers like gold have fun and good time by playing the game ?
If the game doesn't work in challenger, people won't bother to go through the elo hell, mid tiers to get into challenger themselves one day. This is not how player progerssion works.

We need to ensure late-game balance is fine and ask everyone else to adapt and try to get there, regardless of how hard it's in the beginning. When game is too easy or loses it's shine - they will get bored and quit, I can bet that. SBI can't be afraid to balance the late-game and force early-game players to adapt. They will manage to do it, this is hardcore mmorpg genre, people who play it will adapt to whatever the conditions are, it's like every other game - if yuo survive elo hell there's heaven above. Want to go back to elo hell to tryhard the game? Make a smurf acc..


Conclusion: Don't hesitate to put hard limits to clear the situation of the top tier guilds, be determined to make late-game satisfying and fair while giving a space for newcomers/pretenders. All the other tiers will adapt and pursue to get into that tier sooner or later. Don't look at the small fishes in the sea, as long as sharks are busy fighting each other everyone else will be just fine!

Posted by Korn 12 months ago (Source)

Hey there and thanks for the excellent and detailed posts!

Before entering into a deeper discussion, there is one critical assumption that you make that sits at the core of the entire "alliance feature" discussion.

It's this:

glokz wrote:

We have 300 maps, let every alliance own 6 territories. That leaves us with 50 alliances at minimum. Wouldn't that be perfect to see a soup of 50 different hostile armies fighting for their ranking, their own brand, having many-sides fights? Possibly there would be unclaimed territories (T5), so people who just got into the game could get them without any effort, but as they want to get something more valuable they would need to fight for it. Guilds wouldn't upkeep the territories they don't need on alt accounts, because territories cost silver and need maintaining.

Our view here is that there is an absolute key difference between the "alliance feature" as it is currently in the game and the "de facto alliances" that players in sandbox MMORPGs tend to form.

The main thing that the "alliance feature" does is to give players a shared alliance color and turn of friendly fire.

That's is pretty much it. Would you believe that if we removed those two aspects from the game that players would stop playing together in large groups, i.e. would not still form de facto alliances?

We think it's absolutely certain that they still would. Hence, we could remove the entire alliance system from the game and it would not change much with regards the power blocks. Alliances would still exist outside of the in-game alliance feature. In fact, they might become even more powerful due to the fact that more casual guilds will be less effective at creating alliances out of the game than the more hardcore guilds are.

In our view, the correct way to tackle the alliance situation is through a multitude of features, such as:
  • the new Outland map, offering lots of space that the top power blocks are simply not interested in
  • the fact that territories are hard to defend against mage raids / ninja gathering
  • the circular layout of the Outlands, meaning that if you occupy the center, you are susceptible to attacks from all sides
  • the fact that taking out hideouts is a lot of effort
  • the disarray debuff (which will see another balance revamp soon)
  • our other anti-zerg mechanics (focus fire protection, aoe excalation)
  • we might also reconsider the layout of the central part of the Outlands, such that it's less connected than right now
Please also keep in mind that the new season has just started. It's too early to say how it will play out. It remains to be seen how the alliance that currently dominates the center is going to fare. We'll also closely watch how gameplay in the out regions of the Outlands plays out.

Based on all of that, we'll constantly make improvements and adjustments as required.

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