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evoex

Lords of the Dead <NA>

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Here are the full answer responses that I submitted on behalf of the Lords of the Dead (LotD) on last week's Crows and Crowns Podcast. 

 

Why do you participate in PvP?
 
PVP is the most competitive type of MMO combat available. Competing against other players adds an unpredictable, as well as strategical, element that monster AI simply cannot replicate. 
 
Do you prefer large scale PvP (10+ vs 10+) or small scale PvP?
 
I like large scale and small scale PVP when they are done right. A large scale PVP game, one based on sieges and castle ownership, and the game developers should make that component fun instead of also developing a small scale, arena format, to detract from it. Large scale PVP is a battle of generals, armies, strategy, and positioning, and it is more of a marathon rather than a sprint. You want to win battles, but your ultimate goal is to win the war. LotD has won its server and ranked at or near the top in North America in many large scale PVP games. 
 
Smaller scale PVP is a game of optimal team builds, min-max gearing, reaction time, and killing the most amount of people in the smallest amount of time. Arena games, such as Guild Wars 1, perfected small scale Guild vs Guild pvp format, and LotD was a top ranked GW1 guild when it played that game. 
Do you prefer open world, arena/BG, or both equally?
 
I like both formats, but with certain conditions. Arena/Battleground PVP must have a good mixture of terrain maps, a clear win condition, and a need to use character/team build theorycrafting to build a superior team. In Guild Wars 1, for example, we had to design our arena teams for balance, pressure, defense, or spike damage depending on where we ranked, out of 1,000 guilds on the ladder, at any given time on the PVP ladder. Then we had to know which guild map our opponents would use most often, and design a team to counter our opponent's greatest strengths. Lastly, we had to ensure that we could get into the enemy base, and kill their guild lord to win. I remember some matches that lasted hours. Some In short, Arena PVP, when it is good, is more than just running up a kill count, and achieving the maximum kill score. 
 
Open world PVP is only fun, over the long haul, when there are open world objectives to fight over. That could be a castle, keep, tower, a resource area, etc, but the resource is important enough to get players to fight one another over it. Open world PVP is simply a game mechanic allowing PVP to happen in a zone(s), and it has to be layered with another element to incentivizes the player or his or her guild to fight. In Shadowbane, for example, the ultimate prize was a player city. That city could be burned to the ground, surrendered, captured, or all three of those things could happen if treachery from the players was present. A guild had to be able to field an army to keep opponents away, destroy siege engines, kill players, and starve the enemy nation of vital resources. Open world played a role in all of that, but it was one layer of many.
 
 
Should PvP be balanced for 1v1 or XvX? Why? 
 
No. I was the Herald of War (Waylander) in Shadowbane, and afterwards I served for several years as the Shadowbane Lead Player Advocate. I had a team of people assigned to review feedback from players, prioritize it, and send it back to the development team. I do believe that an overpowered skill, piece of gear, or other ability should be revised if needed, but that is different than saying each class has to be balanced for 1 vs 1.
 
I have never believed that any PVP MMO should be balanced for 1 vs 1 because an MMO by nature is a team sport. It is up to the players and player guilds to figure out which combination of classes, gear, and abilities fits their play style, and it is up to them to figure out how to adapt and evolve to win. If you have a fighter, a healer, a caster, and something like a bard for crowd control (CC), there will never be a situation where any of those individual classes can be perfectly balanced against another. No one likes to lose a 1 vs 1, but you can't expect a healer to always have a counter for every other class that may be attacking him or her. 
 
What's the best way to get better at PvP in your opinion?
 
A player or their guild should do their homework on their class or team configurations, obtain the gear or resources needed to optimize their abilities, and then practice...practice..practice. 
 
A game should also provide enough opportunities, large or small scale, for PVP to happen as well. 
 
How do you balance out your PvP groups for maximum efficiency in open world, arena, etc?
 
You have to balance your PVP group based on your environment (open world, arena, or some combo), your team size, and your goals for the match up. I commanded 200 to 400 people across multiple raids in Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, and every army I fielded had multiple raids that had specific jobs. Raids that were there to siege a castle and protect siege engines were built for maximum defense and crowd control, and raids that were built to kill and maim would be built for maximum offense. In the end, as a general, you have to know when to deploy the right units, and be balanced enough where you can compensate for small errors, as well as a changing environment, without losing your battle. 
 
I already answered the arena based question in my previous responses so we'll move on to another question. 
 
How would you you improve the typical rock/paper/scissors type of PvP balancing most MMO's have?
 
I don't think you can balance rock/paper/scissors because that class balance system is designed so that each class has a hard counter. A skill based system, where players can pick and choose skill trees, can be used to allow players to customize themselves. A healer might look like a healer until you attack him, and then he whips out a giant 2 hander to whip your tail. However, common sense must prevail in design decisions, and I simply expect developers to give us a system that compliments their desired end game play. 
 
Knowing that the "zerg" has become a major problem in MMO's due to the massive influx of players over the last 10 years, what are the top three things developers could do to reduce zerg influence/power in games?
 
Population Caps - Per Siege
There has to be limits in place because hardware technology simply cannot support hundreds of players in a single area at the same time. Dark Age of Camelot, Shadowbane, Age of Conan, Warhammer Online, AION, and others all had serious performance issues in the parts of their game that did not impose some type of population cap. I do think that developers can make that cap issue more interesting by adding a main combat area, and then tying in some supplemental areas, also in contention, that have a meaningful contribution to the overall outcome. 
 
Split the Zerg by Design
For example, say we siege an enemy city and we win it, but we lose outlining areas that impact gold generation, resource production, etc. Unless we, along with friends, planned carefully and won the city and all its surrounding areas, we would take over a city that would have to overcome some disadvantages before its next scheduled siege. Or , if the enemy captured the outlying areas, the victors could find themselves in a state of siege or contention almost immediately. 
 
Build Your Own Zerg
Lastly, sometimes it takes a zerg to beat a zerg. A good system where a nation can actively recruit and obtain mercs for hire is essential. There are thousands of years of history where city states were sieged or planning to siege someone else, and they hired out mercs to boost their forces. 
 
 
Knowing that gear grinds have also become a norm in MMO's, what do you think developers could do to reduce the influence of gear grinds/PvE on PvP? 
 
I know, over 20 years of PVP gaming, that full looting is simply not popular in a mainstream MMO. I have played on servers with full looting, and they suffered from the same player exodus, although a little slower, that people used to attribute to "carebears" when they lose their stuff.
 
I have long advocated for players to be treated like mobs so that they generate experience and loot when they are killed. Obviously there has to be some limits in a game to prevent Player 1 and Player 2 from just killing each other for a week straight to hit max level, but a PVP game should have mechanics in place so that all systems ultimately reinforce and reward participation in the game's PVP. High ranked players should have a change to drop great loot, great crafting stuff, decent money, and decent exp. Member of high ranked guilds, to encourage guild vs guild, should also be designed along that same line of thought. 
 
 
What are the three most important aspects of PvP that any game needs in order for it to be worth your time?
 
It has to be fun.
It has to have a good mix of action and strategy
It has to have a solid set of rewards vs time investment
 
Lord Hades, Guildmaster
Lord of the Dead
www.lotd.org

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Guildmaster, LotD

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Alright, a quick update on the podcast.  After studying what we know about Archetypes, we'll be covering the follow topics:
 

1. Newly announced skill system

2. PvP Mechanics

3. Rock/Paper/Scissors balance between melee/range/magic

 

See ya'll tonight at 8:30pm EST @ twitch.tv/crownsandcrows

Edited by valor

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- About trade caravans: I see it as essential in the core game play in campaigns, because it add so many additional strategies related to POI on the map. That's the core of resource management in campaigns when you harvest, and you need to guard the trade caravan.

 

It depends how they implement mounts in Crowfall - it could be more than simply fluff though.

I doubt the campaigns have many portals with fast travel; so mounts will probably increase your travel time speed which is great.

Interesting podcast! :)

Edited by Mythx

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Crowfall Game Client: https://www.crowfall.com/en/client/

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Honestly Mythx,

I don't expect any fast travel in the Campaigns.  That would bypass too much of the purpose of campaigns and take away some of the risk of transporting your stuff across the map.  I think the way they implement mounts will be along the lines of what many games have where you can pull out a mount to attempt an escape but any decent group of ranged players will either kill you or your mount before you get away.

Caravans however will be instrumental to their core mechanics, which is why I'm sure they put them in as their stretch goal as they'll need to implement them sooner rather than later.

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If there are no mounts in the game then Caravans will have to move painfully slow to allow foot traffic a chance at catching it.  It would be painfully boring to have to set up an ambush in an area that someone may or may not use and wait.  It would also make scouts a bit pointless.  "Oh look I found a caravan!  Oh wait, it doesn't matter we cant catch it."  With mounts you can send out scouts and look for raiding opportunities that your mounted squad can be ready to jump on.  

 

I suspect the mounts will be Darkfall like, inventory item you use to summon and then have to pack it back up when you dismount.  I suspect they will be fairly squishy if they offer much of a speed bonus.  They probably won't offer much of a combat advantage if any.   

 

In the end all that matters is Caravans really.  It adds so much to the game when you will be forced to move food and supplies to the front lines.  Even moving stone around to build outposts will create opportunities for mercs or others willing to fight. 

Edited by Belaz

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If there are no mounts in the game then Caravans will have to move painfully slow to allow foot traffic a chance at catching it.  It would be painfully boring to have to set up an ambush in an area that someone may or may not use and wait.  It would also make scouts a bit pointless.  "Oh look I found a caravan!  Oh wait, it doesn't matter we cant catch it."  With mounts you can send out scouts and look for raiding opportunities that your mounted squad can be ready to jump on.  

 

I suspect the mounts will be Darkfall like, inventory item you use to summon and then have to pack it back up when you dismount.  I suspect they will be fairly squishy if they offer much of a speed bonus.  They probably won't offer much of a combat advantage if any.   

 

In the end all that matters is Caravans really.  It adds so much to the game when you will be forced to move food and supplies to the front lines.  Even moving stone around to build outposts will create opportunities for mercs or others willing to fight. 

I don't know if they'll allow you to hold multiple ones, but I'd not considered that players would have to use their mounts for a caravan.  That makes for an interesting concept in fights.

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