PvP against NPCs

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    WB Gamer
    Greetings Kawaru,

    Thank you for your post. I really like the ideas you have brought up here, especially about the NPC Keeps that play by PC rules. I think these could add to the game and get people more interested. I will be happy to send this post to the Development team and I hope to see these ideas in-game.

    If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share!
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    WB Gamer

    Thanks, . I do think it's equally important to get lower level keeps into the PvP game. Right now, with the high stakes of PvP against other players there simply isn't any place for them. Having rallies with just T7s, for example, against the typical defending mix of mostly T9s means you'll face really heavy losses against the people who least equipped to deal with them. And, similarly, the combination of the lower march size and lower stats means their inclusion with higher level players means those higher level players will take more losses. Yes, you can rotate people, but that means more people to coordinate with, find places for them to port and worry about their marches not making it in time. These factors all combine to make PvP simply easier and better with as few people as possible, which tends to exclude anyone not at the top of the food chain. 

     

    That all combined means that a good introduction to it all is against less risky opponents, read NPCs. And to prevent them from being just another bit of content targetted at pay-to-win players there needs to be a method for people who don't spend teleports like water to get engaged. If that means Advanced Teleports for all, great! But a more limited form, either time limited or maybe distance limited, I think would be a wonderful addition. Something that wouldn't take too much away from Advanced Teleports but help form a spectrum of utility. So Random Teleports to change your place permanently but in an unknown way, for when you need to find different level creatures; Assault Teleports to change your place temporarily -- maybe 30 minutes and within 300 leagues? -- to join people in PvP; and Advanced Teleports with no restrictions.

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    WB Gamer
    Greetings Kawaru.

    You're right, PvP for lower level Keeps can be daunting. One of the reasons I would advise people to join a "good" alliance is that they will help get the lower Keeps involved and in so doing, train them up on different strategies and tips for attacking. I can understand how difficult it can be to co-ordinate different players to attack on time, without having to take in the different level of the Keeps and march sizes/troop levels. If NPCs Keeps were added with different combinations and levels of troops, then it would get more people involved and help them with their tactics against real players. Perhaps lower level Keeps could rally with the NPC?

    Your idea for Assault Teleports is a really clever idea and would be great for a smash and grab in an area. I have passed this post to the Development team also. As always, if you have any further ideas, please feel free to share!
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    WB Gamer

    It's not so much the coordination, though that can be problematic since very few will have significantly more troops than the number of marches they have. The biggest problem is that they simply aren't able to move to where the action is happening. Yes, you can schedule a rally to happen in an hour, but this is a real-time game. Making it so someone is watching that for an hour without being able to do anything else means it isn't likely to happen. In addition it's so far removed from how combat plays out as to be relatively useless. Unless NPC keeps are as widespread as normal creatures, which I think would make things really crowded there's a good chance that they won't be within a 5 minute march of one. It would be an exagerated version of the rally creatures, which appear to be so disused that they haven't been included in the last couple of creature events.

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    WB Gamer

    I think it would be a little weird to have that many keeps floating around. Not to mention the fact that keeps, at least player ones, take up more space on the map than creatures so you're somewhat limited in the geography they can occupy. But that could be a reasonable compromise. Another option could be an item that "summons" a keep, a sort of quest-type thing that can be used on-demand. As far as randomizing I can see a couple of issues with that. The first is that nothing else in the game works that way so dealing with player expectations becomes more difficult. Not to say it's impossible since every new mechanic has that to some extent. The second one is that you then have the potential for indeterminate load on the system since you can't predict how many people will be scouting/attacking in any given timeframe. It appears a lot of attention has been paid to wringing out as much uncertainty as possible and the stuff that's left, specifically marches/rallies, still cause problems.

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    WB Gamer
    I like the idea of NPC keep.

    In order to balance the reward vs loss, I suggest that the amount of ressources these keeps have should increase over time in a linear and predictable way.

    Therefore, at high level in particular, there would be a strategic element in the decision making of when to attack the keep before our opponents, but at a moment where the ressources worth it.

    Also, there should maybe be a possibility for any player to send reinforcements to these keeps up to a limit (same as regular keep).
    It would have two advantages :
    1- Provide an option for the noobs who want to hide their troops.
    2- Add an option for people to counter their enemies who attack NpC keep.
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    WB Gamer

    I hadn't considered the reinforcing idea, , but that definitely brings an interesting wrinkle by including it in the PvP world. 

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    WB Gamer
    Thanks everyone for commenting! This is a great discussion on how to make PVP more engaging. A while back we got a lot of feedback that inactive keeps kept the map looking cluttered. However, what if we had them linger a bit longer than they currently do? Even inactive, you would still be attacking another player. Adding NPC Keeps still "feels" more PVE, in my opinion. Let me know your thoughts!
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    WB Gamer

    Unfortunately most of these keeps are going to be low level and empty. So attacking them won't actually do anything and provide no resources so there would be no benefit to do so. In addition, even for those keeps that would provide a challenge once they were attacked successfully they would just join the roster of useless keeps. I think what's necessary is an ongoing set of keeps that provide a challenge and spawn / despawn as creatures do. I think the reinforcing idea would definitely need some thinking because of the opportunity for exploitation. For example I know it recently was changed to not allow you to reinforce a Seat of Power and then attack your own reinforcements since people were using that to get points for the PvP event. Allowing people to reinforce NPCs brings the specter of that back. And potentially other things since people are wonderfully creative. My original thought is that it would be essentially PvE except for requiring you to be unshielded and applying the combat rules from PvP and that having to be unshielded during it would be enough of a risk.

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    WB Gamer


    The main issue is that the Keep vs keep is based exclusively on exploiting other player's poor shield game , arrogance or lack of shield.

    Overtime, the natural selection remove the players who have a poor shield game and are too arrogant to shield. It also remove the players that are to weak. The consequence of that is that the pool of available and challenging targets reduce itself constantly.

    In order to provide more challenge, you need to add other challenging combat mechanics. Combat vs creatures isnt challenging, because the results are very easy to predict and the consequences of losing or winning a fight are very small.

    Adding NPC keeps of varyous strenght would be great for the game. Three elements could make those battles more challenging :
    - The risk of being attacked by other players (apply only to small)
    - The risk of having our enemies show up to collect the ressources in the end, after we suffered lost to take out the troops of the NPC keep.
    - The risk of having our enemies reinforce the NPC keep.

    I believe that these NPC keeps should have power going from maybe 500 000 to 40 000 000. some of them should be a very huge challenge and need major preparation.

    On the other hand, since these are NPC keeps and not enemies, players will not want to suffer a net loss by attacking those NPC keeps. Therefore, the ressources should potentially outweight the cost.

    In my opinion, a good way to balance the ressources is by following the law of demand and supply. The ressources that these NPC keeps own should increase over time in a linear and predictable way. When players judge that the reqard is good enough, they would attack the keep. The competition factor should be enough to limit any abusive increase in the ressources given by the NPC keep.
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    WB Gamer

    I'd quibble with some of those specifics, but that's a great response, . I'd add there you'd probably need some sort of limiting factor to prevent farming of lower level keeps by higher level players. Whether teleports are sufficient to fulfill that is going to depend on how common they are and what the rewards are link. You could make the battles less deterministic by randomizing some of the stats as well as the troop distribution. It doesn't need to be something like your classic MMO boss fight where you have a good chance of wiping, but to encourage people to plan and react.

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    WB Gamer
    this is similar to why the game was originally so much fun in the early months last year... when the Northern Seats of power opened and were non-player controlled they were extremely difficult to take and often were a race of rallies against the seat... now obviously in most kingdoms all SOPs are occupied (and in my opinion SOP's are too easy to take now when they are NPC now... solo a paramount??? why) so the idea of keeps on the map that can be attacked is great... BUT i think must be done hand in hand with making all seats of power harder to take... i think next time the kingdoms merge (which will happen eventually) that all seats should require at least one rally to take over. and as for keeps there could be different levels of attackable keeps so that all players can participate and rss levels should vary depending on the level... for instance a low level keep with lower resources will not inspire a high level player to attack as the rss reward will not be worth the time.... i've seen something similar in terms of attackable npc's in iron throne.
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    WB Gamer

    It's interesting, , I kind of have the opposite experience with Seats of Power. They can be easy to take, but it requires a much larger attacking force than defending. For example we had a 3.5 star taken in basically one set of attacks, but it involved 50+ people on the attackers compared with 8 or 9 on the defense. With smaller numbers of players, especially when you have T10s defending, it becomes extremely difficult to take 3.5+ Seats without expending a lot more resources than is generally considered worthwhile. I've noticed that this encourages people to join and stay in large allegiances or alliances of allegiances because otherwise they're sort of blocked out of doing much beyond taking the occasional 1 or 1.5 star Seats.

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    WB Gamer

     yes... defending is easier... two alliances tried to take Harrenhal for two hours last weekend and with i belive 6/7 defending it was impossible even with the t10's and going up against t9/t8/t7.

     

    what i was refering to is that when the seats first open i think the excitement and action of the opening was spoiled by the fact that basically even on a paramount a t10 could solo it.

     

    Seats of Power are the ultimate aim of the game... i believe they should be much harder for an alliance to get in the first place.

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    WB Gamer

    Yeah, seeing the Winterfell get taken in less than a minute was ... disheartening. We had planned, prepared, gotten close spots and held them for a long period at the expense of not doing much else. Same with the performance issues around King's Landing causing it to be a real crapshoot as to who would get it. And to have those turn around and be hugely expensive to take is problematic. Extrapolating what I've seen from various Paramount seats I think taking King's Landing would take 10 rally teams and would likely cost north of 2M power per person. Even if the politics aligned to get 60+ with enough troops and power aligned against the person holding it the rewards for holding it aren't really worth it from a reward perspective. That's why I think there needs to be some sort of "PvP-like" activity to complement the Seats of Power. Something that allows smaller allegiances and smaller players to participate. 

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    WB Gamer

    100% agree... BUT the game is getting stale... only reason i'm still here is the people i've met and the money i have invested... certainly not for the game.... which is a shame because the game is what fetched me here in the first place.

     

     

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    WB Gamer
    Yeah, we find there's generally less and less to do. We'll hit lower level people we find unbubbled rally the very occasional 7-18m person we find, hit Seats of Power when there are a few reinforcements or primarily lower level ones. Maybe once every couple of weeks team up with another allegiance to attack a more strongly reinforced Seat. But it seems a lot slower of late.
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    WB Gamer

    devs actually dont seem to care... we've been telling them the issues for months and months but no changes.

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    WB Gamer

    I really think some sort of NPC driven quest/expedition is crucial to the games livelihood. how many times do we boot into the game and have nothing to do? It'd be nice if there were NPC controlled mobs or camps to rally on with some decent rewards to offset the costs in taking the NPCs down.

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    WB Gamer

    I don't know if I'd go that far, . The people who are active here represent a very small subset of the player base. While there are some low- or non-spenders I suspect it tilts heavily towards people who have spent a fair amount of money. In addition to the time spent, which is probably considerably more from folks here than the median player. I think the individual people on the team care very much about the game. Speaking as developer you tend to get very attached to your work, it's something that you helped make from just an idea. But, fundamentally, the development is driven by the design of the game. That design is primarily oriented towards fulfilling certain business goals that you can boil down in some fashion to "make more money," taking into account the effect that changes may have on whether people will buy packs as well as the opportunity cost of making a change compared to other changes they could make.

     

    Now, what no-one outside WBI/Turbine knows is how successful the game is now relative to their expectations. Are we following the original design? I'm sure things have changed, but what those specific things were and why is pure speculation. I think we can say that advanced materials were originally intended to be drops, based on what was seen in beta and then removed. I can speculate that adding caravans for bricks, pine, fragments and steel was a reaction to how people in public launch were getting stalled. Likewise the Port, Shrine, Rookery and Great Hall were all part of the original design but were deemed not critical for launch. But the Seat of Power changes or the gear? No clue. 

     

    So I guess this all boils down to is that we can tell them, shout, scream until we're blue in the face here, in tickets, in comments on the app stores, Twitter, blogs, wherever and it won't matter unless what we're saying is either 1) in-line with their current design and already on their road map; or 2) works with changes that they believe are necessary based on the data they have. What I'm hoping for this thread is that the team also sees that there is a downward trend in engagement and that this is a way of addressing that without requiring wholesale changes to the PvP system. 

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    WB Gamer

    To address the game imbalance and player boredom issue. Short term solution, would be to spawn virtual enemies for players to attack, full of troops and no bubbles. With leader board rewards for alliance to compete with. These 'faction' leader boards could be across all servers , so that you can compete with different alliance in different kingdoms for points. Kingdoms may have to unite against a common enemy.

     

    Mod Edit: Merged threads.

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    WB Gamer
    Great idea
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    WB Gamer
    Kingdom Wars
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    WB Gamer

    I heartily agree. There's been some good discussion on the mechanics at https://community.wbgames.com/t5/Bugs-and-Feedback/PvP-against-NPCs/m-p/1909637#M11023.

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    WB Gamer
    Great ideas to engage lower level keeps and get a taste of the action, rather then just defending and healing.
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