Man, I hate those "Why did you kill me?" questions. Generally, these people have played the game longer then I have and still have little-to-zero awareness about the world their characters inhabit. I generally ignore and let them issue me. I then lawyer them into oblivion. Except the time I got leafy.
@Jeremy: Thanks for inviting us to be part of this conversation.
I have quite a few more thoughts but nothing resembling coherence. I do want to say a few quick things:
@Etienne, I don't disagree with the gist of your post. I do note, however, that your post is written as someone who is purely a defender. An improved raiding system could and should be passably engaging, or at least not-onerous, for someone who isn't a PVPer to engage in as an attacker.
@others: re: splitting/staging of raids - the specific implementation is best left to the administration, as they best understand the code-base. It is easy for us to spitball ideas, but each idea can add in another layer of coding/recoding complexity. The key point I was trying to raise was to smoothen out the risk/reward yield, and to decrease the aftertaste of defeat.
finally, one other critical idea/thought: Etienne mentions gagging CT messages, and the driving force behind such a decision would be (relative) permanency. Permanent defeat will make me write that trigger.
If these messages/events/flags/conditions/defeats/wins were made quasi-temporary, in the sense that they would lapse after a finite amount of time and be unavailable for a sufficiently long period after, it would reduce the sense of irritation. It is perhaps critical to include in the design because it means that no organisation can simply exist, indefinitely, without interacting with the 'outside' world.
This is what one should call 'a hook' for novices. It gives meaning to the existence of the organisation, not solely by self-reference ("we are devoted to the idea of such and such"), but in relation to other entities (guilds, organisations, what have you) and gives new players the chance to contextualise the group that they now belong to.
many other thoughts include increasing the relevance of shops, guildhalls, houses by removing them from the raid equation altogether, but i don't have the time to write concisely.
potential solution three stages; low risk-reward, medium risk-reward, high risk-reward with intermediate rewards for both attacking and defending see below benefits (multiple) for breaking up raid into stages...
potential problem disgruntled defenders, unilateral wins
potential solution points for fending off raids; see staging to smoothen out gain/loss for each side (aka, a defending side can lose the raid but win stages and gain some points - incentivised!)
potential problem not enough defenders
potential solution see staging for risk-reward yield allow city ruling seats to offer tribute as a way to prematurely terminate a raid the raid leader has the opportunity to refuse or accept the tribute cost is ranged for each stage and the city-leader can choose how much in that range if the raid leader accepts, the raiders gain points (less than for completion) based on stage completion if the raid leader refuses, then see TD mechanic; increased bonus to defender NPCs based on the need to defend their home broadcast this interaction to the cities involved low ongoing gold cost to tributes make sure this is reflected in the help files HELP STAVENN: - stuff - Stavenn is a current tribute of Kinsarmar since 78 AD. Stavenn currently is paid tribute by Celidon since 101 AD.
potential problem fustercluck of room standing and ranged ****
potential solution disable ranged abilities for raids, no class other than maybe monk loses significant in-room-combat potency but monk is also probably the biggest offender here the time pressure is good
potential problem fustercluck of 300 attackers vs 4 defenders, want a more organic fight in the sense that it's a fight rather than a slaughterfest
potential solution see staging for weighting of this: outnumbering defenders by x ratio causes n defender mobiles to enter the room every t seconds, think TD type upgrading as a potential gold sink. these NPCs will be easy to kill but have reasonably high damage output to provide a solution for #1: detracting the attackers from the defender by being a legitimate threat of death, #2: not detract from the importance of the defender's ability to fight by being easily killable - if these NPCs were extremely tanky, they would reduce the importance of the actual defender. Think Legolas NPC jumping down from the roof-tops to give old Mr. X a hand in fighting off Kryss. the solution for raiders would be to split and MATCH the size of the defender group(s) to reduce the availability (and thus threat) of these NPCs; therefore the onus for group sizing will be shifted to the defenders (home ground advantage). if the defenders bunch up, they lose the benefit of home ground by losing access or reducing rate of NPCs. if they are outnumbered, they gain the benefit of home ground. if they are equally numbered but split up, they increase the odds of triggering NPCs.
second potential solution would be to allow for multiple objectives (limit 2-3) this allows for splitting of teams (and possible benefit of doing so, but will require timers for objectives; again, see risk-reward system)
potential problem stupid city layouts
potential solution see: risk-reward yield, by three-staging it, you can even out the raid allow certain sections of the city to be raidable during any given raid instance you can shift these sections if you find them to be heavily favouring one side or another
potential problem other missed opportunities
potential solution quest xp, quest xp, quest xp make this shiftable during the raid - defenders gain quest xp on defending objectives/stages - attackers gain (lots of) quest xp on killing TD NPC defenders - attackers can LOSE quest xp on dying to TD NPC defenders (see risk-reward)
shards, shards, shards only useable during the initiation phase of the raid the raid leader can sacrifice shards to increase the range of tribute required that the defenders will have access to - zero-sum game for the whole game, but another point of contestation for the raiders/defenders
potential problem what are the roleplay opportunities to arise from this
potential solution ???
potential problem raiding for the sake of raiding...
potential solution ???
potential problem in the grand scheme of things...
Reflecting on it, I feel that that sense of urgency and excitement was due to a few reasons, ranked in terms of how my perception of their relevance: - Imperian combat was new to me at the time - I was much less artifacted than I am now, so getting PK kills in shardfalls were a good part of building PK experience - I had a visceral hate for Septus and AM because they kept beating us; I wanted to win (i-l-u-2 bb) - I felt the compulsion to help the people on my side, because I liked them - Shardfalls mattered, because investing in the shard skill-tree would yield benefits, both non-combat and combat related - I liked killing people
When I inspect those reasons now, all the reasons are no longer valid. Somewhere along the line, I had lost my appetite for combat; there was no primary reason, nor triggering event.
I have played this game for about 3 years now, which is relatively short compared to some of the other players before they retired. I've never been through a cycle where a mechanic has been exhausted and the game lies in a state of quiescence, and it was quite frustrating for me. I had spent all this time and money learning about this game so I could carry a connection to the same people no matter where my employer(s) sent me.
Backtracking, I feel now that although Imperian combat has aged on me a little, it still is, in my opinion, a lot of fun.
I also feel that, while I no longer hate Septus & co with the same intensity that I used to, I no longer have someone or some people that I would consider 'opposition'. This highlights the indispensable role of combat leaders, people who are willing and capable enough to lead fights, and willing enough to be hated for it (hopefully by the other side(s) only). There's a fine line between being a nuisance, a disruptive force, a fight-trigger and then someone who people loathe and snub/reject/kick out.
I no longer feel the compulsion to help my fellow city-mates. Why? To place this in context, I used to care enough to write, package and service combat systems for Demonic. I did this for about three to six months before I threw a tantrum and stopped. That is another discussion in itself. So why do I no longer feel the compulsion to help city-mates? I suspect it's because the city has about as much relevance to me as 'thanks for the shard-skills, laterzzzzzzz'.
I no longer feel much satisfaction in killing people. Class mastery is also a magnitude less relevant when placed in the context of prolonged imbalanced design.
Finally, the one thing in that list that the admin -can- control directly: shardfall relevance.
I don't have any good ideas. All I will say is that when winning shardfalls had -direct- impact on access to skillsets for the city and circle, they were a whole lot more interesting. Once Antimagick had completed their tree, and Demonic's attempts petered out, it became irrelevant. Much like how Juran sees Obelisks as fights that used to matter, I agree that there should be an attempt to recreate things-that-matter-to-groups. Does that mean renewing and undoing the efforts of those who have invested time and energy into the existing system? Possibly. Does it mean designing a system that will have periodic renewals and draw from a pool of variable rewards to keep it fresh? Possibly. Does it mean designing rewards that are staggered so that no one ends up feeling like a 100% loser? Probably. Does it mean designing a system that limits the competitive period to generate that intense pressure to win, then lapses into a sustained benefit phase, and subsequently goes through a rebirth to allow other people to take another shot? Probably.