Warning: Long post.
Introduction - TLDR included below.
I would like the territory game to be more active. I want guilds to be actively fighting to maintain their ownership of their areas of the map. Natural warfronts should materialize when two or more guild territories collide. This will create more frequent pvp action and an overall feel of player impact outside of siege windows. It will also pressure larger guilds to disperse their forces wisely in order to maintain control of their territory, which will become increasingly difficult as guild sizes grow. Currently there are not enough real points of interest on the maps to create this environment, hence why I suggest outposts to have more impact.
The change making Conquest points determine the overall winner of a campaign is a good move to create skirmishes between the guilds vying for the Throne, but it means that only large guilds will be competitors for overall campaign victories. I am OK with that, however, small- and medium-sized guilds need to have an impact - they need to matter to the outcome of the campaign. This is critical to complete the strategic war loop of the game.
Currently, large forces can show up in full force for any event because there are few-to-no consequences of leaving the home "territory" unprotected. Guilds care little for the area outside the walls of keeps or forts that are on scheduled vulnerability windows. If small and medium guilds had more reason to not only capture but actively compete over outposts we should see more overall pvp incidences in the world and at a wider variety of magnitudes. Enticing smaller guilds to take outposts from larger guilds is thus key to completing the territory control game. Large guilds need to feel vulnerable to smaller forces pecking away at their territory when they try to own too much space, and be forced to be more strategic over what they own. Also, smaller forces should feel like their efforts are not just hurting an enemy, but helping themselves in some way (use selfish motives to drive your pvp loop). This will cause smaller forces to clash against one another, creating a nice pvp environment for those interested in smaller scale fights. Most importantly, by providing a wider variety of POI's to fight over, the smaller guilds will end up having more fun, stay in the game, and potentially grow into larger guilds that will continue to keep the game alive. With smaller forces being able to impact the outcomes of campaigns we will also see more politics and more... Throne Warfare.
TLDR of Main Points, etc.:
-Current territory control game is incomplete, but is needed to drive more pvp actions at all times and make the game feel alive.
-Individual players should feel an increased sense of Impact in the campaigns, use the territory war game to do this.
-Use existing outposts & "Tech" to drive territory control game [Note: I am making some generous assumptions about what is "existing" and I am not an expert on game dev].
-Large groups/guilds need to worry about smaller groups in order to keep the game alive via the strategic warfare game.
-Small groups/guilds need to have an impact in the game for it to sustain a population in the long term: guilds of all sizes need meaningful impact in the game to sustain their growth.
IDEAS FOR DISCUSSION AND SUGGESTED CHANGES:
Principles behind the Ideas:
-Create a more active territory control game where guilds, large and small, compete to own areas of maps.
-Create immediate (active) incentives to own outposts to create clashes between active players
-Create medium/long-term incentives to own specific outposts, on top of existing Conquest points, to foster a desire for territory ownership and prevent cap-and-back-cap loops where players are chasing each other instead of fighting.
-Incentives need to appeal to both large and small groups of players.
-Make taking some outposts a judgement call, rather than a "just take it" decision (add a strategic layer).
OK HERE ARE THE IDEAS/SUGGESTIONS:
1) Make outposts have quality tiers (using existing outpost designs).
EXAMPLE FOR DISCUSSION:
-Campfire Outpost: Rank 1 guards x 4, Green-quality loot chest tier, 5 individual resource nodes adjacent to outpost (build it into the outpost?).
-Watchtower Outpost: Rank 2 guards x 6, Blue Quality loot chests tier, 1 Motherlode and 5 small resource nodes adjacent to outpost.
-Double Watchtower Outpost: Rank 3 guards x 8 and a Captain, Blue Quality loot chest tier, 2 Motherlodes and 10 small resource nodes adjacent to outpost.
The idea here is to create various levels of value and difficulty of capture in the outposts, to incentivize fights between similiar sized forces. Economic gain that doesn't bypass the Crafting-Harvesting loop is important to keep that loop intact and use it to further incentivize pvp. Soloers will still be able to roam and do Campfire outposts, a group may do Watchtowers, 2 groups may be able to do Double Watchtowers, etc. Balance rewards and guard difficulties to accomodate different small force scales (1-5, 5-10, 10-15). A small outfit owning several Watchtowers nearby may find themselves in a lucrative position relative to their roster size, and can use their outposts for some light area defenses in lieu of owning a keep. Likewise, a large guild may be interested in the same group of watchtowers, but will it be worth their time to send a chunk of their forces to take it all, if they risk losing other valuable outposts elsewhere? I hope this will create a lot of medium-term territory ownership, which will make campaigns feel more dynamic.
2) Each outpost provides a parcel-wide buff to the owner and allied members (only while owned - similar to the Keep Well HP buff "tech")
-Buff to harvesting stats [Ex: Harvesting Protection %, Weak Spot Chance, Damage Bonus All, PH +1, CHA + 1, etc.]
-The strength of the buff is proportional to the quality of the outpost on the parcel.
The premise here is to incentivize ownership of outposts via the Harvesting-Crafting loop. The strength of the buff scales with the difficulty of obtaining the outpost.
3) Add more outposts, Outpost Guard and Capture modifications
-More outposts will create more visible "territories" on the map. I know we have more outposts before, if outposts had more purpose and were less of a chore, perhaps we could use more outposts again?
-Increase outpost guard HP overall [maybe about the same as the Ranger Elite Guards at the Res Outposts, but without the high damage?]
-Increase base rate of capture of outposts (decrease stand-in-circle time once guards are dead).
-Re-spawn guards <3> minutes after an outpost take (due to decreased stand-in-circle time). Don't make people stand and do nothing to d, but give enough time for an active battle to not immediately end once guards respawn).
The goal here is to use guard-killing-ability as the rate-limiting factor of capturing outposts, rather than the stand-in-the-circle (boring) time. Guards that don't fall over immediately become more useful in defending territory, even if the damage they deal is light. Currently they do very little except for the elite ranger guards on the resurrection statues (which was a nice change). Longer combat periods during outpost takes, combined with combat visual effects and sounds can help roaming parties to find fights, and also make the decision to take an outpost take a bit more consideration.
The above ideas are some things myself and a few others thought up and tried to make counterpoints to. We felt that these ideas met the outlined principles the best. I'd like to see what other ideas people have, or critiques/modifications to the above ideas.
Keep in mind that the key goals of this post:
-Make outposts into activity hubs for players at all hours by using them to enhance/create the territory warfare game in CF
-Incentivize all players (not just people doing conquest) to take outposts and thus incite fights
-Use existing systems in the game (parcel buffs, parcel debuffs, economic loop of harvesting + crafting, conquest game/DF cards, etc.) so that the time to implement, test, and balance out the concepts is minimized. Maybe some of these ideas will be adopted!
A topics have been posted in Suggestion Box previously: