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Falconeer
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on: July 24, 2009, 12:38:57 PM

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Letter from the Game Director - July 2009

As the summer months, here in Norway, bring with them a short period of rest and recuperation for the development team, I wanted to take the opportunity with this month’s letter to both thank people for all their support this year, and to start to lift the veil on the changes for the next update cycle that we have only teased about so far!

Coming Back to Hyboria

Firstly, I want to say thank you to veteran players and returning players alike, who have been playing during this re-evaluation period.

While we, of course, still have work ahead of us and are doing our best to continue to refine and improve the game even further and add even more great new content, we are very pleased to see so many people enjoying the game, and continuing their adventures in Hyboria. It has been the culmination of lots of effort on behalf of the development team to get to the point where we could give people a good impression of what the game is and where we are taking it in the future.

Veteran Rewards Incoming

On the subject of veteran players, I can also confirm that we will be introducing new veteran rewards in the near future. As part of the next major update cycle, a new veteran reward system will be introduced that gives veteran players access to special vendors who will offer them a host of veteran benefits ranging from social status items to special items that will provide extra convenience items to veteran players. As an example of the latter, exp potions and similar bonuses, while not increasing the power of your characters, will provide veteran players with great time-saving rewards and options not available to new players. There should be something for everyone!

Guild Renown

Now we get to the good stuff!

We have talked for a little while now about the fact that guild gameplay would be a focus for the upcoming update cycle. Today, I wanted to give you the first look at what shape those changes are going to take. The main feature of this area in the update will be the addition of the new Guild Renown system.

So what is Guild Renown?

Guild Renown is a system whereby the actions of any individual player count towards their guild’s reputation. Collectively, guild members can level up their guild in three distinct categories to gain access to new guild rewards and bonuses. The system has two primary components, the Renown level, and also Renown rankings which place guilds against each other and measure your successes against those of other guilds on your server.

Let’s take a look at the Renown levels first, before moving on to the rankings. Renown levels act much like the levels for your character, i.e., as you accrue Renown points through your actions in game, you will in effect ‘level up’ your guild.

Almost every action in the game will earn some form of Renown points for your guild. There are three categories of Renown points that contribute to your overall Renown level:
Valor points: Earned from PVE gameplay, killing mobs, doing quests, beating bosses and raids.
Glory points: Earned from PVP activities like winning mini-games.
Artisan points: Earned through crafting actions.

Your Renown level is a combination of all three of these totals, which allows you to level up your Renown level in any way you choose. You do not have to do all of the categories if you do not want to. It will be perfectly possible to try and level up your Renown level with any combination of the above actions.

This will add another dimension to your everyday gameplay, and even a short ten minute session will be contributing towards your guild’s Renown pool and put them closer to the next reward tier! For example, getting a team together for a dungeon run, or doing a raid will both have the extra benefit of contributing towards your Guild’s Renown level.

As your Renown level grows, you will earn new rewards for you and your guild and access new features for your guild cities, like new pet or mount vendors, and even another new building type for your city, among other amenities. Some of these new rewards will benefit every member directly, and some will be for the guild as a whole. You will get more details on the rewards themselves when the update goes to the test servers.

So that is the Renown level. What about the Renown ranking system I mentioned earlier?

Renown rankings are where the competitive element comes in. People like to claim bragging rights, and the Renown ranking system will allow players to see how their guild has compared to others both on the overall Renown earned and also in each individual category. You will be able to see which guild has accrued the most Valor, Glory, or Artisan points in any given period.

The rankings will reset after each ranking period (currently planned to be weekly, but that may be adjusted during testing), and everyone starts on equal footing.

One area we have considered here is that we don’t want to have players feel ‘forced’ into merging guilds to compete for ranking placement. Thus, we will be making the ranking calculations only count the top X contributions from members in the ranking period (the value of X to be determined during testing). So let’s say we decide the contributing cap will be 50, then the top 50 contributors within the guild will be the ones whose efforts are counted for ranking purposes, even if you have 100 members. Please note that we plan for all members to be able to contribute to the Renown level, so larger guilds may level up quicker, but they won’t necessarily do better in the rankings - they might - but it is important that success in the rankings is down to effort, not just due to overwhelming numbers. With this, we hope that even small and medium-sized guilds will be able to make appearances in the rankings.

Likewise, by having ranking for all three of the categories, we hope to able to give those guilds that choose to focus their gameplay a chance to shine. So, even if your guild focuses only on PVP, and might not gain enough Renown in the overall rankings, you will be able to push up the Glory leader-board, if you are truly successful at PVP.

With the rankings being reset regularly, we hope to avoid guilds being able to ‘bank’ and constantly top the rankings. These rankings should reflect your current status as a guild, and your current dedication to your chosen causes!

The rankings will confer status bonuses to the winning guild - mainly cosmetic items or bonuses for bragging rights. Gold, Silver, and Bronze positions, for example, will be visible in your character’s guild tag.

The rankings are not something we intend to be about bestowing extra power on the winning guilds - they are meant to be an additional part of the system that allows players to prove that their guild is up there with the best on the server, either in their chosen area of expertise, or in all areas!

In Closing

So there you have it, a little bit of insight into what is coming up in the near future for Age of Conan. Of course, there are also a couple of other significant additions coming in the next update cycle, namely new zones in the form of House of Crom and Thoth-Amon’s Stronghold, as well as new Tower-based PVP objectives in the Border Kingdoms, but those will be the subject for future letters!
__________________
Craig 'Silirrion' Morrison
Game Director


Falconeer
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a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


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Reply #1 on: July 24, 2009, 12:48:40 PM

If only this stuff wouldn't take 6 to 12 months to go live...

Especially:

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as well as new Tower-based PVP objectives in the Border Kingdoms


Announced months before launch, two years ago. The main reason my very large ex-daoc guild of friends signed up on day one, and the main reason 90% of them quit after two months.

Sky
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Reply #2 on: July 24, 2009, 02:01:15 PM

Rule #1 of any software: do not buy on proposed features.

I just said that at a meeting an hour ago. It applies everywhere.

Also, guild stuff, blah.

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