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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  The Gaming Graveyard  |  Age of Conan  |  Topic: An interview on PvP 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: An interview on PvP  (Read 3668 times)
Falconeer
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Posts: 10132

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country


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on: October 14, 2009, 12:49:28 PM

http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm?page=1&game=191&bhcp=1&feature=3602


Quote

MMORPG.com:
First off, Tim, tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up being the dev behind the player versus player aspect of Age of Conan, and how long have you held the position? Also what are some contributions to the game you have made so far that players would be familiar with?
Tim Donks:
I am from the Netherlands and have been working for Funcom, here in Norway, for about a year and a half now. My main responsibility is the PvP in Age of Conan, and I do this as part of the live team. During the last 12 years, I have played all sorts of MMO titles. It started with Ultima Online, followed by EverQuest for quite some years - some slight detours to Anarchy Online, PlanetSide, and Dark Age of Camelot. Eventually, I ended up in World of Warcraft and Age of Conan. I actually enjoy PvP in quite a few different games; this can be in MMO games, but also in First Person Shooters, such as the Battlefield series.
I was actually following the development of Age of Conan as a fan, before I was hired by Funcom as an AI designer. When I started here at Funcom, I was put on the dynamics team. The primary responsibilities of this team involved resource gathering, tradeskills, player cities, and Massive PvP. Slowly, during the months after launch, my responsibilities shifted to a point where I was in charge of the minigames and eventually the rest of the PvP systems. Because of my previous responsibilities, most of the changes that the players are familiar with affected the sieges. An example of this is the introduction of the PvP resources. Other things that I contributed to was the reintroduction of resurrection point selection for PvP deaths, various changes done to the guards so that they are less disruptive, and the changes done to the PvP minigames. I ended up in the position late last year and hope to keep it for quite some time, as PvP is definitely one of the most interesting systems in Age of Conan!
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MMORPG.com:
To some, PvP is the highest selling point in Age of Conan, while to others the ganking and griefing that its open PvP system allows is a major turn off. In response, Funcom released the murder points system into open world PvP along with PvP levels that unlock special rewards for players who actively seek out "fair" fights that offer more PvP exp. This system has been given mixed reviews by the PvP community. What are your thoughts on it and do you think this system was/is successful, simply a step in the right direction or will it need to undergo changes the likes of the PvE changes seen in patch 1.05?
Tim Donks:
I would love to say that the PvP in Age of Conan is perfect, but honestly, no game is perfect. PvP has come a long way in our game since the launch, but there still is room for improvement. There were some issues during the introduction of the consequence system; there are still are some issues left with it to this day, but it is much better than it used it be during the introduction. It should be harder to accidentally gain murder points than it was when the system was introduced. The system does what it is supposed to do: discourage unwanted behavior, but not totally prevent it. Some players enjoy the thrills of getting hunted down, even if it is being done by higher players. We will keep observing how this system works and make tweaks based on player feedback.
The PvP advancement system, on the other hand, still has some issues; while it gave players some much needed advancement options, it also encouraged antisocial behavior. It is currently much more beneficial to jump and kill someone that is low on health than it is to help this person. There are also quite a few threads from players complaining about the effort required to get to PvP level 5. This, combined with the fact that it was easier to level at lower levels than it is at higher levels, leaves room for improvement. We might be able to improve the system and make it more fun for everyone. Having a system that allowed players to progress in PvP, on the other hand, was a big step in the right direction, and we should improve and build on top of this. Ideally, I would like to change this system, so that it is harder for players to stage arranged fights and level up quickly that way. This might be something that we should focus on in the future: make the progression come from the PvP minigames and PvP-related quests and objectives.
MMORPG.com:
PvP mini games are some of the most fun you can have in Age of Conan, but stacked to the sky pre-made teams, limited selection of maps, and a sometimes small pool of players can end the experience before it begins. Anything in the works to help smooth this over, such as a non-pre-made mode, more maps, or cross-server games?
Tim Donks:
We are continuously making improvements to the minigames. The latest additions are adjusting the level brackets for the improvements made to the Totem Torrent minigame, adding a PvP XP reward for participating in the minigames, and lately it has been tweaks to Capture the Skull to make the game more team oriented. We have also indentified an issue with classes not properly getting distributed between the teams in the queue. This fix will be part of one of the upcoming 1.05.x patches and should prevent problems like one of the teams having three healers while the other team has none. In the future, we will keep making changes to the minigames so they will be more fun and accessible to everyone. Players enjoy them, and they have a lot of potential to be even better.
MMORPG.com:
There have been a lot of suggestions on the forums that would help add variety to everyday PvP - a few of my favorites are: Arenas that allow you to duel guild members or an actual dueling system where the player is not killed at the end of the fight along with open zones with PvP objectives and daily PvP objectives. Your thoughts on these suggestions and any plans to implement something similar too them?
Tim Donks:

I greatly enjoy reading player feedback on this subject. We have a very dedicated fanbase that hopes their feedback will make a difference. I do read a lot of these threads, and some of them do provide inspiration for coming up with new game systems and mechanics. I highly encourage the players to keep providing us with this valuable feedback, even though at times they might feel their feedback gets ignored, because there is no official Funcom reply to the thread; it simply takes far less time to read posts than it takes to go over all of them and write a reply. I am guilty of this myself, although it is not always due to time constraints, but simply getting totally caught up implementing new content.
One of the interesting things that I have witnessed while playing on the live servers was players using the Caravanserai in Khopshef Province as an area to do player-organized tournaments. When I observed players announcing these tournaments in the chat channels, I went to Khopshef take a look for myself. It was actually a lot of fun to see the fights, and there were quite a few spectators. Unfortunately, every once in a while, one of the players would get killed by the guards. This made me decide we needed to adjust the guard patrols in the area. A few days after this tournament, I spend a few minutes after work adjusting the patrols of these guards to make sure they will not disrupt these tournaments in the future. The funny thing about this was when it was mentioned in the patch notes, some players were complaining about Funcom wasting time on useless changes like this, instead of fixing the big issues. This was just a quick and easy change to make some players happy. I think we should encourage this behavior, as it results in positive interaction between players.
As with any idea, it ultimately boils down to prioritizing what we like to add to the game first, and it does mean prioritizing that over other stuff. Currently, our focus is on improving the minigames and adding new, meaningful content to the Border Kingdoms. Hopefully, in the future, we can implement some of the ideas mentioned, as well as providing more ways for players to run their own events, as both of these appeal to different types of players. It is up to us to cater to as many different types of players as possible.

MMORPG.com:
There have been whispers of a new PvP tower system in an upcoming patch. Mind shedding some light on this new system?
Tim Donks:
Before the launch of the game, we brought up the idea of having capturable objectives in the Border Kingdoms. These objectives would scale from the high-end objectives, such Battlekeeps, to ones more obtainable by smaller groups, such as Towers. There were a few reasons why they were put on hold; the most important one being that the initial design was not interesting enough. I really do not think players were waiting for a scaled-down version of sieges, where you would have to shoot a single building with siege weapons. This would also mean the towers have their own vulnerability windows, thus the tower could only be captured every few days.

Feedback on the forums indicated that a lot of people prefer objectives that they can do at any time of the day and not be restricted by vulnerability windows. The second thing that was brought up by the players was that they enjoyed the PvP resources that were introduced as part of patch 1.04. Currently, these resources are only used in making building materials for the Battlekeeps; these resources were actually designed to be used for other PvP related content. Player feedback told us they really enjoyed the fighting over the resources when they were introduced, so expanding this feature is the obvious thing to do.
As part of patch 1.06, we will introduce towers to the Aquilonian End Border Kingdom. These towers can be captured and built by anyone who is part of a guild, and require PvP resources to build. The towers will be located around the center of the playfield, and there will be five in total. The one located in the center will be the most important one; this tower will be required to be able to upgrade any other tower. Each tower has three tiers that, just like the city and battlekeep buildings, progressively get more powerful and also give better rewards. Players can expect some sort of reward for building, destroying, and holding a tower. With the limited amount of towers and the requirement of having a specific one to upgrade the other towers, there is bound to be plenty of fighting over the towers.
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MMORPG.com:
If you were given full reign over the development of AoC: classes, PvE and everything, where would you take the PvP system, and in what ways would you improve it overall?
Tim Donks:
Ah, where to start? I truly believe that I am my biggest critic; there is always room left for improvement. The thing I actually look the most forward to improving in the future is the Massive PvP system. I mentioned at the start of this interview that I have been working on this system since I got hired by Funcom. Quite a bit of my time was spent on fixing bugs and other various issues, while the gameplay in general has been looked at very little. There are various ways to make sieges even more fun; I have been having so many ideas on how to improve the current system. Things such as movable siege weapons, selectable siege ammo, and different objectives/victory conditions. Another important thing to look into would be to give all the classes distinct roles during the sieges; this could also prevent players from trying to get as much ranged classes in their sieges as possible. I think the system has a lot of potential to grow and be more fun for everyone.
I think that one of the biggest misconceptions some of the players have is about why some players choose to play on a PvE server. For most players the reason for this is not because they hate PvP; it does have to do with the fact that they don't enjoy the side effects they will experience while playing on a PvP server. A lot of the players on a PvE server actually enjoy PvP from time to time, but only if they get to decide when they want to play PvP by participating in PvP content, such as the PvP minigames. Because of this, one of the areas I like to focus on is adding more ways to have consensual PvP that works on both the PvE and PvP servers. Adding objectives to the Border Kingdoms is a good example of this. This gives the player the ability to participate in this content when they choose to do so.
I think there is a large amount of possible additions to the game that players are interested in. They range from introducing new rewards, such as PvP tier 2 equipment and crafted PvP equipment, to things like changing existing mechanics or adding new ones. I have quite a few ideas for mechanics for world PvP or PvP minigames that I think our players will like. I hope the players enjoy playing this new content as much as I enjoy making the content. There is definitely plenty to do to make the game even better than it currently is.
Of course, there are lots of possible things we can do in the future. We just have to pick the ones that we think are best. What's great is that if the players enjoy a particular feature, we can always expand it in the future. We will look at player feedback to see where the PvP in Age of Conan should be taken next.
MMORPG.com:
Ganking and griefing are present in any MMO with an open ended PvP server, will Funcom be implementing any more anti-griefing measures, continue to support player enforced PvP or perhaps try a new approach?
Tim Donks:

We introduced the consequence system to deal with higher level players griefing lower level players which was present in the game after launch, thus greatly diminishing some of the ganking that was taking place. Of course, we do realize that this is something that cannot be totally eliminated, as it is actually one of the reasons why people create a character on a PvP server. This is why we have been experimenting with PvP item drops as part of the PvP resources in the Border Kingdom. Players can gank to their hearts' content and take some of the items that their victim was carrying! Some of the upcoming content in the Border Kingdoms will make it even more desirable to PvP in these areas, such as the PvP towers; this should make it easier for other players who are trying to adventure in the other playfields.
One of the things I have been looking into is finding ways to prevent players griefing players by attacking them while they are reading their quest dialogs. The only way for us to make it possible to add meaningful quest dialog to the game is if we can make sure the player has the ability to read the dialog without ending up dead. Having a system that prevents players from getting attacked while in dialog with a NPC will benefit both the live game and the Expansion, but it will be more important in the new quests that will be introduced to the game. This will definitely be one of my focus points for the near future.
We need to see how much of an impact the new PvP content has on players ganking and grieving other players. If appropriate, we could make additional changes to the consequence system further in the future. We could also look into ways to giving players more ways to deal with such matters, e.g., wanted posters for notorious criminals. There are numerous possibilities we can look into to keep discouraging this kind of behavior in the future, but of course, it is also important that we do not completely prevent it. Some players just love to live the hard life of an outlaw, and this should still be a possibility.
MMORPG.com:
Last question and I know you can't talk much on this but can you give us just a little taste of what we can expect out the PvP in the far off expansion? : )
Tim Donks:
One of the things about the Expansion that was announced during GamesCom was that most of the PvP additions will be included in the live updates. This is very important to us, as this allows us to ensure all PvP content is accessible for everyone.
One of the goals we had for the Expansion was to improve the way world design influences gameplay on PvP servers. In the past, we did not pay enough attention to the layout of the playfields; the layouts of playfields suited to PvE or PvP content are fundamentally different. One of the reasons players prefer to PvP in areas such as Kheshatta and the Tarantia Common District, is because they are the high level adventure playfields of Conan, and there are plenty of bottlenecks in the playfield design, i.e., there are plenty of areas very well suited to ambush other players. This is generally in narrow areas or areas where the players need to pass through in order to get to other places such as quest hubs. This is an issue for the players who are trying to adventure in these areas, as getting ambushed by other players can be very disruptive. The Expansion will be focusing on having large open areas with very few bottlenecks.
I am really looking forward to playing the Expansion. From what I have seen, it looks fantastic and I think the Expansion team is doing a great job. It will be fun to sneak up on someone while riding your tiger mount. It definitely has a lot of potential for interesting PvP encounters.


VainEldritch
Terracotta Army
Posts: 204


Reply #1 on: October 15, 2009, 08:58:59 AM

I like Didek. I like PvP. I like Aquilonia. I like PoM.

I do not like the lack of open work PvP incentive.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
Redgiant
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Posts: 304


Reply #2 on: October 19, 2009, 01:48:46 PM

I got to 80 PoM with a mere handful of groups along the way, not much ongoing interaction or friend-making at all. And once I got to 80...what exactly is there to do, and where do I even learn what these are? You can't blame it on the game being out a year; in every other game I have played, no matter how long it has been out or how established existing characters are used to things already, it has always been obvious what next to do to get into the "end game".

Not so in AoC. What is the "end game"?

Where is the true "Border" where you go in the open world? Jesus christ, did no one learn anything from DAoC? Stop calling it a Border if all it is is some instanced b.s. that has no ongoing repercussions to anything I do there. If all I wanted was a throwaway, compartmentalized thrill I'd play an arcade game for 10 minutes. Has every developer forgotten why an MMO is supposed to feel and be different?

A FUCKING COMPANY IS AT STEAK
Von Douchemore
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Posts: 39


Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 09:42:06 AM

Not sure about now, when I got to 80 all you could do was farm basalt and other crappy resources (getting attacked doing so by retarded NPCs every 5 seconds) or do completely broken instances that made WAR's Bastion of Fail look like Ulduar.

Aren't Battlekeeps fixed now? Still, what is the significance of controlling a battlekeep?

This game sucked balls, I usually don't regret buying an MMO and even if it was awful at release I contemplate coming back later. Not with AoC, no sir, this game was such a failure that Funcom will have to literally send some Nordic supermodel to suck my dick for me to even think about resubbing.

PS: tl;dr
Redgiant
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Posts: 304


Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 03:07:13 PM

I have found your musewhy so serious?

A FUCKING COMPANY IS AT STEAK
Sky
Terracotta Army
Posts: 29386

I love my TV an' hug my TV an' call it 'George'.


WWW
Reply #5 on: November 03, 2009, 12:10:04 PM

Not sure about now, when I got to 80 all you could do was farm basalt and other crappy resources (getting attacked doing so by retarded NPCs every 5 seconds) or do completely broken instances that made WAR's Bastion of Fail look like Ulduar.

Aren't Battlekeeps fixed now? Still, what is the significance of controlling a battlekeep?

This game sucked balls, I usually don't regret buying an MMO and even if it was awful at release I contemplate coming back later. Not with AoC, no sir, this game was such a failure that Funcom will have to literally send some Nordic supermodel to suck my dick for me to even think about resubbing.

PS: tl;dr
I hate this game but I'll post in a thread about news I didn't read just to reiterate how much I hate this game and would never play it again.

Morfiend
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Posts: 6009

wants a greif tittle


Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 02:22:02 PM

Not sure about now, when I got to 80 all you could do was farm basalt and other crappy resources (getting attacked doing so by retarded NPCs every 5 seconds) or do completely broken instances that made WAR's Bastion of Fail look like Ulduar.

Aren't Battlekeeps fixed now? Still, what is the significance of controlling a battlekeep?

This game sucked balls, I usually don't regret buying an MMO and even if it was awful at release I contemplate coming back later. Not with AoC, no sir, this game was such a failure that Funcom will have to literally send some Nordic supermodel to suck my dick for me to even think about resubbing.

PS: tl;dr

Way to channel DLRiley. Dont be that guy.

*Edit*
DLRiley
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Posts: 1982


Reply #7 on: November 04, 2009, 01:23:42 PM

WAR thread.

Poster 1; "Big WAR update"
Poster 2; "Does war still suck?"
Poster 3; "Yep" *list all the things he still hates about WAR*
Poster 4; "The patch was buggy"
Poster 2; "So war still sucks..."

Glad to see AoC gets more respect than WAR.
Sky
Terracotta Army
Posts: 29386

I love my TV an' hug my TV an' call it 'George'.


WWW
Reply #8 on: November 04, 2009, 02:18:44 PM

Way to channel summon DLRiley. Dont be that guy.

Von Douchemore
Terracotta Army
Posts: 39


Reply #9 on: November 05, 2009, 10:31:55 AM

I hate this game but I'll post in a thread about news I didn't read just to reiterate how much I hate this game and would never play it again but love to watch as it spirals downwards.

On topic: Hi mom.  why so serious?
Morfiend
Terracotta Army
Posts: 6009

wants a greif tittle


Reply #10 on: November 05, 2009, 01:24:57 PM

Way to channel summon DLRiley. Dont be that guy.
I hate this game but I'll post in a thread about news I didn't read just to reiterate how much I hate this game and would never play it again but love to watch as it spirals downwards.

On topic: Hi mom.  why so serious?

Should we have Schild just den it now?
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