[Dev Blog] PvP, War, and Territory

Amazon Games Studio provides an update on the health, status and vision of PvP, War, and the territory control meta game.


A new dev log has been posted on the Official Forums.

Before we dive in I want to apologize for all the issues we’ve seen in War so far, and thank you for your patience as we work to resolve them. I know there have been some serious lag issues in War and a number of exploits (including the invulnerability exploits) that have marred your experience. We’ve made an initial set of changes to address some of the issues, and are working on some higher impact changes that need more testing. It is a top priority for the team to get war to a stable, performant state where the skill and coordination of the best team determines the outcome.

Let’s start by reiterating our high level vision. We want to create a game where PvE and PvP not only co-exist but support each other. We also want “wars not ganks”— meaning we want to support meaningful PvP in War and the open world conflict between the three Factions.

OPEN WORLD PvP
We feel open world PvP is in an okay position but has room to improve. The rewards for flagging while leveling up are good (the 10% XP bonus makes a difference), and the rewards for PvP kills are meaningful. At end game, however, the rewards for flagging are not good. There are two changes coming in the short term that should help. The first is that we are going to increase the luck of players when flagged. This should be an important and lasting benefit to flagging. Second we are going to reduce the durability damage to gear when flagged, this will reduce the risk of flagging a bit, especially in end game gear repair costs. In the medium term, we will also adjust the rewards for PvP kills at 60 so they can enhance players high watermark (HWM) more - check out our post on the HWM system to learn more. Longer term expect a new open world activity that flagged players can participate in that we hope spurs and rewards some smaller scale engagements across Aeternum.

In addition to rewards, we understand there are some gameplay issues with open world PvP. Currently it’s hard to know whether players in your faction are flagged or not. This can make it difficult to know whether or not you have back-up and assess whether you should engage or not. We are aware of this issue and working on fix. We also understand combat tactics can be difficult since the visuals for all area of effect spells are the same, so it’s difficult to know whether a spell is from an ally or enemy. Unfortunately, this is not a trivial fix, it will require a significant code update and numerous asset changes. While we agree this is an issue, this will take substantial work and investigation, and will not be resolved soon.

WAR
As stated above the lag and exploits in War have hurt the experience. With the patch coming out this week, most of the major issues should be resolved. There have been some complaints about War happening too often. There is a 24 hour cooldown between Wars, and with the War windows, that means War happens at most every 2 days per territory. Players can also delay that through the influence race, which is now much more viable since we fixed the escalating influence issue. Overall, we think a War every 2 days is a good cadence, but please continue to let us know what you think. We are seeing War fatigue from Factions which funnel a group of players into every War. While we love this cooperation, having one company (or one company’s worth of players) own multiple territories should be very hard and is not what we are balancing War cooldowns toward.

We’re also continuing to review balance within War. Defenders are winning more often than attackers which is what we want (currently defenders win around 80% win of wars). We want to reward defending companies that build up their ranks and upgrade their forts. But we will keep an eye on balance as we resolve the major exploits and make sure that both sides have a fighting chance.

We know that communication and coordination in War is not optimal at the moment. Its hard to know what roles participants in War have chosen so it makes coordination difficult. We will begin investigating ways of addressing these issues, but don’t have anything planned in the near term.

TERRITORY CONTROL
Overall we are seeing territories change hands with decent regularity (as stated above we want to favor the defender) and seeing a good spread between Factions on most servers. We do have two systems in place to help with Faction balance. We allow players to switch Factions, but don’t allow them to switch into the dominate Faction. We also increase the influence underdog factions earn for PvP faction missions to give them a better chance at earning the right to declare war., but we may need to do more. We are watching Faction balance on all the servers and if it becomes a general problem we have a few ideas to help resolve it in interesting ways.

We also are aware that some territories (I’m looking at you Everfall) produce a ton of tax income, while other towns can be much harder to support and upgrade. There is a change coming soon which will help distribute a main tax income stream to every territory. We want to review the impact of this change before we make further changes, but there are some other changes we could make in medium term if this is insufficient.

And a last bit of good news for all the territory flippers out there, there are some new PvP mission types coming to the game soon. These changes serve two purposes - adding some much need variety to the PvP missions, and helping to distribute the PvP action to multiple locations to spread out some of the large PvP zergs we’re seeing. Please let us know what you think about these changes when they go live soon.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to post any follow-up questions / concerns you might have and I’ll try to address the top issues in a follow up in a few days or a week’s time.
Zin_Ramu - New World Developer
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