The City Scoop
April 13, 2010 22 Comments
Ahhh, my trip. It is definitely an experience that I will not forget anytime soon, if ever.
My day started off with a typical early rise to get to the airport. A bit of a wait after, and I was touching down in Dulles airport in D.C. If you were a good and attentive follower, you would have noticed Andy Beldford (hence-forth, known as Bandy Belfords) sending out tweets with our smiling mugs after arrival. Mykiel (aka Sweet Uncle Happy Pants) was the first to arrive for the tour-de-force of Blaaagher Invasion, Werit and myself shortly followed, with Gaarawar filling the last spot of the group and we proceeded to lunch before we interrogated talked with a members from the different development groups.
We arrive to a table at lunch, with seats already filled by Josh Drescher and CJ. Tastey food, and a conversation dominated by the bearded Reverend filled with stories of lizard people, moving woes, gaming references, and the overall terrible state of modern-day cinema led to a close and we made our trip to Mythic HQ. In there, is where the meat of this story begins. So, continue reading for the paraphrased question and answer session with the Mythic’s content team. Keep in mind, I’m shortening both the answers AND the questions to keep this from being 30 pages long. We need all the words we can get, but attention spans are only so big.
For this, I am (SW) and any answer from the Mythic Team is (MT). I played with the idea of naming them individually, but I’m unsure as to their level of comfort of having the community’s eyes focused on them and dissecting each statement, so I preserved their deniability/anonymity.
SW: What were some of the main goals that you wanted to make sure were in the new city system?
MT: The biggest was that the end game was RvR and not PvE. The first thing to be done was to make the king encounters inaccessible. Some aspects of those encounters were adapted to the new version.
SW: Do you think you guys will make it accessible at some later point?
MT: Yes. (This was followed by a laugh and me asking “How likely?”)
MT: It would be a shame to waste something like that, but the imperative was to make the city experience a cohessive RvR experience.
MT: First stage was just confusing, erratic, and not real end-game material.
SW: Do you think that by making the three stages cohesive and independent of other instances made the gameplay less of a hinderance to the enjoyment of the player base as a whole?
MT: Don’t know if it was a hinderance, just a different design. The old system would not have worked with new way we’re doing this, and didn’t really have any bearing on our new design.
MT: The nice thing is that the instances are no longer tied to each other.
SW: So I don’t need to rely on some PUGs getting trounced by a double premade anymore to progress.
MT: Victory points in the city are completely irrelevant now. They matter up to the city.
Some of the other bloggers asked questions about the changes to the size of the map, and inclusion of new portions of the city and the difficulties that arose there-in.
SW: With that in mind, why did you decide to drop it down to one warband on each side? Particularly while in The Inevitable City, you had a better chance of creating that wall of bodies and choke points with 48 people?
MT: At first it had to do with loot, we toyed with the idea of loot being on the bodies themselves. With more than one warband it becomes a giant hassle. Different loot ideas came up later on, but we stuck with the 24 players to make the individual contribution of the player more important, as well as for ease in communication and coordination.
SW: So the primary reason is just to have each player shine more and have a greater part in the victory or defeat of their battle?
MT: Yeah, absolutely.
Conversation lead to some specifics on mechanics numbers at this point.
SW: The primary way to stop the invading force from capturing points is to kill the sappers?
MT: Yeah, they’ll keep respawning though.
SW: Do they respawn at the entrance, or at the closest objective?
MT: They spawn at the entrance, until you capture the Emperor’s Circle or Emissary of Change, then they spawn from there. Where ever the sapper captain is the location they will spawn from.
SW: So, essentially the goal of the defenders is to keep killing the sapper over and over again to prevent the invading force from capturing the points.
MT: Correct, the defender’s win condition is the timer expiring, and the invader’s win condition is to breach the palace gates. The first stage is 15 minutes by default, and each captured point adds 5 minutes.
MT: The sappers don’t come into play until the attackers have widdled away the defender’s foothold already. Conceivably, you could hold out the entire time, and never divert attention to the NPC at all.
SW: So, using the map as an example (picture a giant, sexy HDTV to my side that I might have hugged just a little bit) the defenders come down the and capture these two points, but the defenders are able to hold them off here and here and prevent them from taking Emperor’s Circle, the sappers will never spawn?
MT: The sapper’s always spawn, they capture the point, but each location has siege equipment that needs to be taken out. If you can’t take that out, the sappers will never spawn. So, you can keep the siege equipment safe and prevent a location capture. The testing we plan on doing will be where we find out how difficult we need to make this.
SW: So, if you’re in a warband invading, you could split up your force into two groups of 12 and have them each hit a point, destroy the siege weapons, and then have a sapper spawn for each of them?
MT: Correct. Of course, that’s up to the warband to choose how to coordinate. The first two are vulnerable from the start, and capturing the circle makes the next three vulnerable. So you could focus and zerg one point, or split up.
MT: It’s a minimum of three points captured to breach the gates. Probably much harder to do, because of the lack of time gained from the others. That’s a lot of the strategy involved. Eventually, the number of points you control will affect you in stage 3.
Next conversation lead to give further details on the way the system will reward players.
SW: So what made you guys decide to, obviously when you’re designing things like this you’re faced with the decision of rewarding people may lose, and then reward them for their effort. What made you guys decide to go with a system like the insignia one. Don’t you think that some people might see that as minimizing the effort and success of the winners.
MT: It would a bit, I can see that perception, but it’s better than the alternative. If you’re getting curb-stomped over and over, and you risk the opposition stop playing and you have this cascading effect. I definitely see how that can be perceived though. You definitely get a lot less (for losing), but you will eventually hit the benchmark.
SW: Did you find you achieved a good balance, or is that something you guys are doing in testing. Obviously there’s a tenuous number you have to hit there as far as making sure people will still put effort into winning, as opposed to just going in and AFK’ing like in other games.
MT: The differences are pretty significant. If you are defending an instance where the invaders control all six points and the defenders just had the timer run out. The rewards are pretty close, but you might want to ask Sean about the percentages.
(this is where they brought me a laptop so I could cease my furious writing, and sadly, distracted me from making a note about my follow-up with Sean in the next group, foiled again!)
SW: I know their models are going to be huge, but are the champions getting buffs and bonuses outside of the ward check? Increased damage, hp/ap pools, things like that?
SW: (laughter) I keep forgetting to not end questions in a way you can just answer yes or no. Are there percentages, or can you enumerate that any more. Is it percentage, a strict number, is it something you’re still hammering out the details on?
MT: At the moment… it’s all subject to change. Champions will get a flat-value and then a percentage based on how many nodes their realm controls. That will apply to extra damage they can do, hitpoints, healing done to them BY champion healer, damage mitigation, and reduced healing from non-champions. If you are not a champion, you can ignore your own champions.
SW: So, my non-champion healer will heal my champions for less?
SW: So the intent is to have…
MT: You forgot the sweet ability.
MT: They get a temporary ability to plea the king for assistance.
SW: …you want the champions to fight each other. So what then is the intent for the other 20 people to do?
MT: Fight each other. You can still damage the champions, it’s just significantly less. If you have everyone focusing on one champion, it will be like a swarm of rats.
MT: Healer champion will get zerged down most likely.
There were a LOT of questions asked outside of these by my fellow bloggers, and me, being the damn decent guy I am, will not steal their thunder. There weren’t a lot of twitter questions throughout this for a couple of reasons. I think people weren’t really getting up and running to partake in this first Q&A (or to ask questions that were applicable) because they were lagging behind, or perhaps they just saw any change as a good one and instead, focused more on the things that affected them directly. When the careers people showed up, my twitter blew up like an atom bomb, so that last guess is probably a pretty good one.
Tomorrow, I will follow-up with the sit-downs we had with Bandy Belfords and with Carrie Gouskos.