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I am sorry, but this is going to be a rather long post. However, I feel that for you to understand my suggestions I need to lay out those problems which I perceive and am trying to address, and I need to explain what assumptions I am making in addressing them. Let’s start at the beginning: There once was a little boy…Ok, maybe not that far back…Try again. Anyhow... RvR is my primary playstyle. I am a (de-facto) clan leader, diplomat, and occasional port-battle commander. So it is only natural that the conquest mechanics are among my chief concerns about this game, and it is the mechanic on which I try to come up with solutions to the problems that are discovered during testing. I have previously on several occasions offered thoughts and suggestions to that effect, most notably the following suggestion for regional conquest, which was the brainchild of a former clanmate and fellow danish captain, @Bartas11, and which I was given the opportunity to formulate in English and help develop: It is upon this idea, which has since been partially implemented, that I intend to expand and further develop below. But first: What conclusions can we draw from testing a few variations of RvR mechanics for the past year and a half? I will try to offer some suggestion as to what conclusions I have drawn, based on my own experiences, and talking to fellow players, clan-members, and RvR-players of other factions in-game. Players want conquest to be a daily activity: Most RvR-players that I talk to want conquest to be an accessible, low threshold, frequent occurrence in the game. A lot of the players who had been playing day in and day out since January of last year, left when conquest became dependent on days of grinding, hours of sailing to the other side of the map for some special region or resource far from ones own frontlines, and long (46h) preparation times. Many I know, missed the spontaneity of gathering 20-30 players sometime between 6 and 10 in the evening, buying a flag, and going for a port nearby, with all that it included: arguing about which port, anticipating enemy defences, screening with the flag, planting it, fighting and then sailing home-or never even getting there because while we were wasting time the enemy bought a flag for one of our regions and we decided to defend that instead. Now we have to plan our gaming 2 days ahead and try to get enough people together at the right spot and at the right time. It’s not spontaneous, it doesn’t feel player driven. It feels like a chore the game gives you, rather than an opportunity that you grab. A lot of players left, I believe because there was simply too much work, too much PvE-grinding, too much planning, and too much waiting around for each time you want to do something. Players want conquest to be flexible: On top of that, players-in my experience-want conquest to have a constant ebb and flow. Win and loose. That regions change hands, rather than stay static. It doesn’t have to be either, that regions change hands all the time, but that battles are won and lost with a little more variety. When the outcome is determined beforehand by wether you are defender or attacker, it looses some of its appeal. With the new system, attacking a port is a chore, and victory is a slim chance in most cases. Defenders only need to find a decent defence tactic for a port and stick to it, and the attacker has no chance. Add screening, getting delayed into the fight, and spawning far, far away, and you might end up doing a ton of work and not even getting a fight out of it. Port Battles have been well stocked with players on both sides for the past months, but still half the time port battles were over before the forces were even able to engage each other in the instance. We may have gotten rid of empty port battles, but I’m not sure we made port battles more fun. In my opinion, despite it’s flaws, it was much more fun when the map changed colours from day to day, and you lost one port (or three) one day, and regained it (and 5 more) the next day. There were more undefended Port Battles, more zerging, and more pointless pixel colours, but there was more action. Not all of those things were good, but ideally we could keep the positives and throw out the negatives. I’ll get back to how. But to be clear, to its credit, the 46 hour preparation time makes port battles slightly more fair now, at least once screening will be fixed and easy teleports removed. Players want RvR to be meaningful, but not a zero sum game: We as players, want to feel that we achieve something. That when we win we get rewarded and that we win *something*. When we win a port battle, we want to win the region/port. We are willing to work hard to see pixels change colour. It is in the nature of a RvR game. We also want to see the enemy suffer. But for most of us, who at one time or another have been on both sides of the win/loss, we don’t want that loss to be too great. We don’t want our enemy to quit because loosing is too punishing, and we know that one day the shoe might be on the other foot and we are the ones to loose. Ideally you want your enemy to loose to you one day, chalk it up to bad luck, and be back the next day ready to try again with the same spirit. If loosing is too punishing, many players don’t bother to continue playing until they get enough experience to be able to win. Players don’t want defenders to be able to wait out the battle by simply kiting and running till the battle is over: Before we got land in port battles, one of the main complaints about port battles was that since the attacker needed to kill the defenders, while the defenders only needed the battle to be over, a viable tactic for defenders was trying to run the entire match and kite the enemy to prevent them from being able to catch up and engage a battle. You could defend, simply by drawing out the time and avoid a fight. Since the circles we got with land in Port Battles, this particular thing is no longer an issue. How can we address these requirements?: Players want daily conquest activity: Ideally the promised raids could be the daily, large-group, RvR-tied, clan-centered/organised activity that RvR-players can do and enjoy every evening, on short notice and spontaneous organisation. It needs to be tied in with RvR-as working towards port battles somehow, so that it is not just an inconsequential activity that players have to weigh their time doing against doing activities that would gain RvR. If we get raids, that work, but with no tie-in with Port Battles, then raids will either be DOA, or kill RvR. We need a balance. Players want conquest to be flexible: With the flags and individual port capture, RvR was too flexible. Frontlines were shifting back and forth every day, but too many ports would change hands each day, and it was all about taking more ports in a night than the opponent could take back the next day. Way too many ports were exchanged without any opposition. There was a lot of sitting around shooting towers, and not enough shooting each other. The new system, however, has made conquest too inflexible, yet at the same time too fleeting. First, winning as an attacker is hardly possible due to the mechanics and the port defences. Second, if you win a battle, through a stroke of luck or moment of brilliant inspiration, that single battle makes a whole region of several ports change hands. It makes little sense to me that a single battle should make as much as 7 ports change nation in an evening. It also makes little sense to me that attacking should be so punishingly hard and unforgiving that it is demotivating. And if you mess up one evening and loose a port, that port will be almost impossible to get back. Players want RvR to be meaningful, but not a zero-sum game: You need to get rewarded for conquest, but conquest also needs to be reversible. If you loose an important region, you should be able to get it back if you just put enough effort into it. A defeated nation needs to be able to get back on their feet. You also want it to take more than just one single battle to win or loose a region. Conquesting a region should take several days, but you want it to involve action every one of those days. The grind to get port battles, and the 46 hour wait, are both toxic. Yet without preparation time you will have more empty port battles and difficulty for the defender to be where they need to be. To the point of making it meaningless. Players don’t want defenders to be able to wait out the battle by simply kiting and running: The capture point circle system that we got with land in port battles fixed this. Yet I never liked the 3 circles. It took port battles from being about sinking each other to being about artificial points and number of ships. Most of all I strongly dislike that there is now very little viability in fighting when outnumbered. If you didn’t get 25 people together, or one ship dropped out (or god-forbid was blocked out by a devious exploiting alt) you are now at a huge disadvantage, whatever the skill comparison. This might improve with the structure system making ships sink quicker, but with the unlimited repairs it might just as well magnify the problem tenfold. Instead of the 3 circles and the capture points, I wanted the old single circle of the tower maps just to be reduced in size and tweaked just enough to make kiting less viable as you would run into the edge of the circle sooner, and with land in port battles added to that, the number of directions you could run in would be severely lessened as well. Instead of loosing armour after 5 minutes by going outside the circle, and instead of the circle shrinking, you would get a penalty of some sort for staying outside the circle too long, even loosing by having a certain percentage of your fleet outside the circle for a given number of minutes. I think that with land in port battles and a slightly lesser radius on the port battle circle, we remove or reduce the issue of kiting defenders. I have 2 proposals for reworking the conquest system below. I believe that with the current mechanics that are already in the game, neither of these proposals will require prohibitive amounts of work to implement, and that both will constitute significant improvements over the current conquest system which we have. I leave judgement of the latter to my fellow testers and to the devs. Conquest system A: Raids, the new Port battles Make raids the new «port battles». Make raids the activity that clans and organised groups, but also just unorganized spontanous gatherings of players, can do every night, in and out, spontaneous and with little preparation. Specifically, raids need to be viable gameplay for groups of 15/20+ players working together. Give it meaning and make tactics a part of it, not just a blob of cheap ships shooting at another. To allow smaller groups to do raids as well, you can assign different tier raids to different ports, so some can be attacked with small groups of 6 players, while others require 20 players to work together. Bring back the old flag system for raids. 1 hour to plant the flag, and the flag can only be bought in a national port, and allied ports if and when alliances are brought back. We can bring back 2 hour defence timers for raids, or we can have open, 24-hour timers (for EU-server limited to within conquest window). A limited number of raids can be organised each day, but the limit could be something like 6 raids, or even more. You could conceivably organise within a nation to raid every port in an enemy nation’s region at the same time. In order to counter abuse, zerging and exploits, make raids prohibitively costly, and give diminishing returns for consecutive raids directed at the same region. Meaning that flags are purchased for PvP marks in addition to gold/war supplies to craft the flag. Since all or most ports in a region can be raided, buying the flag for one with an alt to block it, means nothing since all the other ports in the region can be attacked instead. Other exploits are also less viable to players, since no regions actually change hands directly from raids. Exploiting the flag system will be prohibitively expensive and gain you almost nothing. A successful raid limits owning nation’s production in that port for one day and gives raiding party produced resources as loot to bring home with traders. Say that production is halved in the specific port for one day by a successful raid, or by 75%, or maybe even halted completely. To prevent spamming and zerging the same region day after day by attackers, implement diminishing returns. A port/region that was recently raided needs time to recover before it will pay anything to successful raiders again. They can raid it again and again, but they won’t receive any rewards. To limit the off-hour raids to avoid defenders, scale rewards during the day relative to defending nation’s active population (or server population as a whole to make it simpler). Much higher reward for raiding in prime time could encourage raiding when there are enemies around to defend. Also, with the flag system, defenders have up to an hour warning to get to the port to defend against the raid or even intercept the raiders. The most likely defenders against a raid will be those players who have an outpost there because they have production there, so that they can go to a national port when they see that a raiding flag is bought, and teleport to their outpost to defend. Other players with outposts in the same region can teleport to their outpost and sail there to defend. Thus better rewards and better defences in a port the more people own production buildings there. Raids will be variable, have a decent chance of success, therefore being motivating, and yet a good chance that defence will involve players and not just AI. If raids are successfully implemented to be the go-to activity for larger scale group play and satisfy RvR and port battle fleets, then we can make the actual port battles even rarer than they are today. Keep port battles mostly as they are today (with improvements), with 46 hour preparation (or rather 22 hours if I had my wish), and increase the time between them. Make them weekly or bi-weekly for each nation for instance. That a nation can manage to set up and go through up to 2 port battles per week. Maybe only during weekends. Regions change hands rarely, and the map and conquest is fairly stable. The tides of war and conquest are slow, but not stagnant. Conquest system B: The removal of Port Battles (this is my preference) After thinking long and hard on how to improve conquest mechanics, the following is what I came up with. This proposal is not dependent on the implementation or progress of development of the raid mechanics that we are waiting for. Yet raids could easily be tied in with this mechanic to contribute towards RvR, or implemented alongside it without affecting RvR. In developing this idea, I tried to rethink my position on RvR completely, and pay some heed to those players who say that «port battles» in their setup are detrimental to the game and to the open world gameplay. They are a remnant of this game’s past. Some even say that conquest should be removed from the game. I love port battles, and I know a lot of players who play this game mostly or only because of them. So the removal of RvR is to me not an option. Yet we as RvR players could perhaps do well to scrap our current ideas about RvR and look at it with fresh eyes to come up with a system that is more integrated with the Open World and the rest of Naval Action gameplay. In developing this idea, I also relied heavily on my previous conquest mechanic suggestion, written in cooperation with @Bartas11, back before we had regions in the game. It is on his idea of Open World «Trafalgar» battles and controlling sea zones that I base my new approach. We now have in-game the regions that we suggested. We don’t however have the multi-stage conquest of a region. There is one Port battle, and then the region either changes hands or doesn’t. I’m proposing that we scrap «Port Battles». Why do I say this, being an admitted port-battle player first and foremost myself? And why do I say that when devs have spent so much effort and time giving us land in port battles and towers and the capture point mechanics? We waited so long for these features to be developed before the port-wipe, and we spent so much time refining them. Well. I’m not saying we should scrap the land in port battles features completely. These ports, towers and so on should be used for the upcoming raid mechanics. Here is my proposal for conquest mechanics port battles are scrapped: -When you wish to capture a region, you buy a flag in any nationally owned port. This flag is crafted with X amount of Conquest marks, X amounts of Gold and X amounts of War supplies - war supplies being the main ingredient. For instance 5 conquest marks, 200k gold and 50 war supplies. -This flag lasts for 5 hours from the time it is crafted and you buy it for a specific region. Say that you want to attack Santo Domingo region. You would craft the flag in Ponce or Areceibo probably, if coming from the east. -When you craft the flag, you need to form a group. This group can hold up to 25 players, and to avoid abuse the group has to have 20 players in it before you can properly craft the flag. -Upon crafting the flag, a message is sent to the entire server, alerting of the fact. Just like previously with the flag system. -The crafting of the flag also spawns a circle in the open world at the region capital of the region that is under attack. This circle has its focal point on the capital city. The radius of the circle is roughly equal to the viewing distance in OW in clear weather. -Whoever crafts the flag, becomes the flag-bearer (flag-carrier). -The flag can be transferred between players in port(?). -If the flag-bearer logs off from the game for more than 5 minutes, the flag disappears and the group is dissolved. -The composition of the group can be changed by adding or removing players from the group. But the group can not have more than 25 members in it. -The point now, is for the flag-carrier and his group to bring the flag and themselves to the region they are attacking. -The attackers are now to get their fleet to the OW circle outside the region capital. They need to be inside the circle. Once inside that circle, if the flagcarrier leaves it, the flag expires immediately. Thus you cannot hover at the edge of the circle and go in and out of it like people do in the PvP-events. -Conquest depends on a «meter». That meter rises for every hour that the aggressors' flag stays inside the circle. -In order to flip a region’s ownership the attacking faction has to have the flag inside the region for a cumulative 12 or 24 hours (number to be determined by testing). Meaning conquest will not happen in one day, but may take several days or even weeks to generate enough points towards the meter. With a 5 hour flag expiry, you can maximum contribute 5 hours minus travel time towards conquest in one day. But then you would have to sit inside the circle for an entire five hours consecutively and the enemy would have 5 hours to mobilise a defence. -While the goal of the attacker will be to stay inside the circle for as long as possible to generate points towards the conquest of the region, the owners of the region that are under attack will have the goal to try and chase or force the attackers out of the area, or sink the attacking fleet. -Once an alert is out to the server that a nation crafted a flag against a region, the current owner of the region will have to mobilise a defensive fleet of their own to sail there and defeat the intruders. Once there, they will observe the invading fleet and engage it in a large open world battle. The position of the invaders in OW will determine the spot of the battle, and it could happen close to shore or at the farthest end of the circle far from any land. Forts will not really be a factor, unless the invader sails all the way up to a town, but why would they? There were no forts at Trafalgar either. -When in battle instance, the timer still counts towards conquest for the invaders. If they stay one hour in battle, that is one hour towards conquest just like if they sat in OW. To avoid that invaders just tag a small fleet or single ship to hide in battle instance from defenders, anyone belonging to the group carrying the flag cannot do a tag on any other ship, player or npc, while inside the conquest circle. In other words, invaders cannot initiate a battle while inside the circle. -The defenders however will have to attack the invaders in order to halt their conquest. To avoid that invaders use alts or trick noobs into engaging a fight with them that allows them to hide in battle instance, the new BR rules should apply. Only a comparable force can engage the invaders. If they have 25 Victories, only a force of 20+ 1st rates or so can drag them into battle. -Once the defenders engage the invaders, making a battle of 25 vs 25 players, the following can happen: The battle stays open for the entire duration of the fight incase either or both sides do not have 25 players initially. However either side can have a maximum of 25 players enter. Neither side can get a 26th or 27th ship in even if there are less than 50 ships total in the instance. The battle may have 3 outcomes. Invader wins, defender wins, or a draw. The invader wins by getting to 2 times the BR of the defender (just like old times). The defender wins by either getting to 2 times the BR of the invader, or by sinking the invader’s flagcarrier. A battle ends in a draw if by the end of 90 minutes neither side has gained 2 times the BR and the flag is still afloat. If the battle ends in a draw, then the time that was spent inside the battle is added to the conquest meter in favour of the invader. If the invader wins the battle, then they get 2 times or 3 times the number of points. So they get credited for twice or three times the time they spent inside the battle. If the defender wins, that sets back the clock for the invader by about the same amount of time as they would have moved forward if they won. To explain this better I will use points: You need 24 points (for instance) to flip a region. For every full hour spent inside the region with the flag, you get 1 point. If the defender engages and you defeat them, you get maybe 4 points from the battle, if the battle is a draw you get 1 point from the time you spent inside the battle, but no bonus. If the invader looses the battle they are subtracted 4 points. There is a bonus to the defender for sinking the flagcarrier, which subtracts another 1 point in that case. -If the defender sinks the flag 3 times before the invader can flip the port, then the conquest is reset and a cooldown of a few day is applied before the flag can be crafted again for that region. -The flag for any one specific region can only be crafted once per day per nation. -More than one nation can have conquest going against the same region simultaneously. They will then be competing about getting 24 points first. -If the defender does not have players near the region when you first attack it. There is a chance that they might not get there the first day to engage the invaders, if invaders turn around and go home after sitting in the circle for 2 hours unopposed. However, the owning nation then knows that the region is under attack, and a flag will most likely be crafted the subsequent days, and must therefore station ships in the region and an outpost to be able to respond in time the next day. -If attackers do not face resistance the first day of conquest, they are guaranteed to face it the next day, as defenders set up base there to be ready. Defences will be gradually increasing as the conquest progresses and defending nation sends more players there. -How to avoid that either side just kites to get a draw? Well. If the defender does not engage and try to sink the flagcarrier, then they will be helping the invader who then gets points for staying in the region by surviving the battle. -To avoid that the invader tries kiting the defenders to draw out the battle, the following mechanic applies: The ship of the player carrying the flag will get a 25% HP bonus as long as he is carrying the flag. However, in battle instances that are initiated inside the circle, the flagcarrying ship will also have a 15 or 20 percent reduction in top speed. If the invading fleet tries to kite the defenders they will therefore be leaving behind their flagcarrier, leaving him exposed to be sunk by the defenders and winning the defenders the battle. -Looting the hold of a sunk flagcarrier yields some war supplies which the defenders can take back home to their own port and use to craft flags themselves. -Players in the invading party, the group formed by the flagcarrier, cannot initiate tags of their own as long as they are inside the circle, but they can also not be dragged into separate battles unless they are too far away from the flagcarrier (the diameter of the ROE large tagging circle). They are bound to the flag-carrier. They cannot be dragged into separate battles, either by allied screeners or enemy screeners. The invading fleet cannot be separated into multiple instances. -To avoid that the defending fleet accidentally drag some of their screeners instead of their big ships into battle against the invading fleet, putting them at a disadvantage BR-wise, defenders should possibly also be able to make 25-player conquest groups that prioritise them into the same battle as players from their own group doing a tag. -Players will be encouraged to take part in screening. Players who show up in the circle to screen, but are not part of the invading force’s conquest group or the defenders’ engagement with the invading fleet will get larger rewards from any PvP they do while the flag and the circle is still active. Any battles that do not involve the flag-carrying fleet will not however count either positively or negatively towards the conquest points to flip the port. -The invaders can get reinforcements and exchange members of the conquest group while inside the circle. -Once the invasion is over for the evening, either because flag expires after 5 hours, or because the invading fleet sails out of the circle, the flag disappears and the effects that apply with it disappears as well, like flagcarrier having more HP or giving off war supplies when looted. -An invasion fleet can be intercepted and engaged before they enter the circle. If the flag carrier is sunk, the invasion is ended for that day before it even started. -The flag has to be crafted over again each day to continue the assault. Thus, the longer it takes to finish capture the region, the more expensive the invasion will be. -Each nation can have up to 3 invasions going on at the same time against different regions. -Not buying a flag for a region one day, does not reset progress on that conquest. A conquest can be halted to focus on another or on a defence. -Flags should not be so expensive that they cannot be bought each day. But they should be expensive enough to feel costly. -Most regions that are invaded, will in most cases eventually flip. Unless the defender sinks the invading fleet’s flag 3 times, the conquest can go on for a long time if slowed down by defenders. But eventually they will probably reach 24 points. That way a small and hard pressed nation can always eventually regain important territory that they lost. No regions are unassailable or impossible to a determined attacker. However a skilled defender will still be rewarded by the invader being forced to spend more resources and time on the conquest, and the previous owner can try to take the region back again after a couple of days cooldown. Advantages of this system: Brings action to OW. Counteracts the segregation between OW and port battles which has happened. Forces RvR-players into OW. To conquer regions you have to spend time in OW. Brings spontaneity back to RvR. Prolongs the conquest of a region. Means that several battles will have to be fought to conquer a region, not just one. Increases variety in RvR battles. Screening is relevant but not OP. No kiting. Gives defenders warning and time to respond to invasions. Battles are no longer set to start at (example) 18:23 and you have to be there at that time. RvR-battles start when both the attacker and defender are present. Removes PvE-grind from RvR. Involves trading and crafting with RvR (for making war supplies) Regions will always be changing hands, but much more slowly and less abruptly. We will have a frontline conquest system limited by sailing distances as you will always have to sail out from a port that you own with the flag. However there is a possibility for conquest over longer distances than an hour for instance, but it will be more costly and more time-consuming as the time you spend sailing there takes away from the time that you have to sit in the region to gain points towards conquest. You could also adapt the above by having most regions be attackable by 3-hour flags (leaving 1 hour travel + 2 hour camping/fighting), while some special regions were accessible with longer lasting and more expensive flags. That would force front-lines more, but still allow jumping the map to certain hubs. There would be no advantage to not showing up and avoiding PvP. Defenders would have to defend, if not the first day, then the second day. I believe this system will suit those players who used to camp their fleets outside capitals - typically - KPR, to bait players into coming out and attacking them. Now these fleets can get involved in RvR. One of the advantages I see of this system is that it leans in favour of the attackers, but still balances. Realistically someone would only invade a region if they had a significant force and a good chance of conquering. In this system, unless the defender repeatedly beats back the invader and sinks the flag (or win the battle, if being able to sink the flag to win would be too easy), a determined attacker will always eventually flip the region. This makes for a dynamic RvR world where regions change hands every week. You will loose regions and have to take them back, rather than just sit on what you have and fend off attackers. The system forces nations to act aggressively in RvR. Otherwise, in the current RvR-system which very much punishes invasion attempts with total loss, nations that start out with much territory are incentivised by the system to not act aggressively, and only defend as many as possible of the regions they start with, at much less risk than those nations that have to go out and attack something. Because defenders would still affect how fast a region would switch hands, this dynamic conquest system would let nations conquer territory no matter their RvR-fleets' relative skill, but would favour as the most successful and expanding ones the nations that have more skilled fleets and therefore more effectively can halt and slow down enemies attacking their regions, while quickly completing their own conquests. A nation would expand not by always winning offensive and defensive conquest, but by being twice as fast at capturing their neighbour's territory as their neighbour was at capturing theirs. Sorry for the long post (5 400 words!)
scuttling. a feature i think many would like. were a ship to scuttle itself, maybe have it like an option on the ESC menu, then the crew would maybe setup a line of powder of a fuse in the magazine, and call all hands overbaord, the sails stay down at their cuurent percent (battle, Slow, etc.) and after the fuse bruns out, *boom*. I cant give any references where this was used back in the time, but I'm sure it was done.