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Planned for the beginning of 2023, the alliances redesign is a titanic endeavour on which our teams have worked for several months. In this devblog, we detail the new system.

Why We're Doing It 

Today, we're tackling a really big topic: alliances. The system is very permissive, with the intention being to leave you, as players, as free as possible to set your own rules and limits. It is clear that this approach has led to several problems such as:

  • Gigantic size (single or dominant alliance), removing any incentive to compete for territories
  • Monopolization of nuggets or certain archmonsters (conquest territories)
  • Strong ties to guilds, encouraging players to choose the guild they want to join based on the alliance it is in. As a result, small guilds/alliances have difficulty recruiting, and those that choose to go it alone are bound to fail
  • A lack of interest in AvA due to a sometimes slow King of the Hill phase where numbers are still the best option
  • The appearance of toxic anti-game, harassment and trafficking behavior of all kinds

We have postponed revamping this system many times, but this time, we're doing it!

Why Did You Take So Long?

The main reason we took so long to come up with this revamp is that it's a sprawling topic that affects many aspects of the game, both in terms of design and technical implementation, so it required a lot of consideration and resources. The second reason is that it is a central feature of the game for which players have high expectations. We preferred to take the time needed, even if it meant postponing the revamp several times, rather than taking the risk of coming up with a revamp that wouldn't satisfy you or us.

We divided the revamp work into three main periods:

  • Study the system: Read/watch your feedback and dissect the system to identify its problems and set goals.
  • Design: Design solutions to the problems while meeting the goals, and let these ideas mature to ensure their relevance or irrelevance.
  • Implement: This is the technical part – developing what has been designed, i.e., demolishing to rebuild! 

The introduction is already long enough, so how about getting down to it? Here are the primary goals that guided our vision:

  • Put an end to the gigantic sizes of alliances
  • Put PvP combat back at the heart of AvA
  • Let PvE players help their alliances
  • Regulate how experience and loot are generated
  • Destroy resources
  • Overhaul access to recycling
  • Reduce the impact of Perceptors

Main Changes

Important: The visuals and values shown in this devblog are work in progress and may change between now and when the update is released.

The "Alliance" Entity

The greatest change will probably be this one. From now on, an alliance is no longer a group of guilds, but a group of characters. We've decided to completely disassociate guilds and alliances. Actually, we have two different visions for both these social groups, as we thought leaving them so dependent on each other was too incompatible.
Work in progress...

We see the incentive to join a guild as mostly a social one. You look for people you get along with to progress in the game at your own pace and ideally help each other through the more difficult parts. The incentive to join an alliance is more economic and competitive, as it involves banding together to face other players. Both groups are obviously not exclusive, since you can find players from your guild in your alliance. With this clear separation, we wanted to ensure that alliances no longer overshadowed recruitment within guilds and vice versa.

As for how an alliance actually works, you will find a lot of similarities with guilds, especially when it comes to managing rights and ranks. However, there are no plans to add an alliance chest or a log. The directory has been overhauled, and just like for guilds, you can apply to or join an alliance through it.

Finally, alliances will be limited to 200 members, and you must be at level 50 or higher to create or join one.

Perceptors

Work in progress…

So, what about Perceptors? This is another major change. They had too great an impact in terms of generating resources, they could be an obstacle to changing guilds because of the gameplay advantage they represent, and finally, more seriously, they could be the cause of malicious deeds (buying/selling guilds, creating single-player guilds to multiply the number of Perceptors, Perceptor harassment, etc.). Perceptors have therefore been completely removed from guilds and will only be available through alliances. We might as well say it now: This comes with many rather substantial changes.

Combat

For starters, Perceptors are now level-200 entities that have set characteristics. There are no longer any points to distribute. All Perceptors, regardless of the alliance, are therefore identical.

In combat, the Perceptor takes the place of a defending character, so only up to four members can join in defending a Perceptor. In return, the Perceptor is now controllable (associated right to obtain priority control), and the fight does not end if it dies.

Customization

Just like you can now, you will be able to customize your Perceptors' spells. A list of spells will be available, so you will have to choose a limited number of them and thereby build your Perceptor's "spell deck" (a default deck will be made available). There are no more Perceptor spell deleveling potions, and the deck can be changed as often as you like (requires the associated right) and at no cost.

We are also adding new Perceptor-specific equipment that will let you improve their main characteristics (Chance, Strength, Intelligence, and Agility) or secondary characteristics (Pods, Prospecting, Parry, and Removal). Important: Equipped items will be destroyed if your Perceptor is defeated. The items will have to be crafted from new resources that can only be obtained using nuggets. The items will be retrieved when collected from the Perceptor.

When you place a Perceptor, its spells will be those of the default deck. You will then be able to customize each Perceptor individually (right needed) by talking to it or selecting it directly in the alliance interface to change its spells (if the default deck doesn't suit you) or to add/remove pieces of equipment from it.  Important: If your Perceptor is attacked, you will only be able to change its spells and equipment when the fight has ended.

Placement Rules

There is no limit to the number of Perceptors an alliance can place, but new placement rules are being introduced. First, Perceptor potions will be varied to match a territory level bracket. The recipes for these potions will match their levels. You will only be able to place a Perceptor using a potion with the appropriate level. This means you can't place a Perceptor on a level-200 territory map with a level-60 potion and vice versa. Secondly, you will only be able to place a single Perceptor per territory. The dungeon and its sub-area(s) will be linked. So, if you place a Perceptor in the Bandit Territory, neither you nor any member of your alliance will be able to place a Perceptor in that same territory or in the Blacksmith Dungeon.

Small Bonus

From now on, a Perceptor can have either a male or female appearance. The appearance will be randomly determined when the Perceptor is placed.
 

Territory Capture

Prisms

Prisms will also undergo their share of changes. It is our intention for it to be harder for a single alliance to control all the territories and for controlling a territory to be more strategic. To do this, we are making the triggering of AvA fights harder to predict.

This includes removing sabotage, but also vulnerability times. When a prism is destroyed, the territory will immediately enter the King of the Hill phase. A prism can be destroyed in two ways:

  • Direct attack: There is little change here; you can attack an enemy prism in 5v5. The prism will nonetheless be invulnerable and will not cast any spells if it is defended. It loses its invulnerability and can cast spells as soon as it is the last survivor.
  • Durability: Prisms now have durability stats. Each time the prism is used to generate nuggets through recycling, its durability decreases. The prism is deemed destroyed when its durability drops to zero. If a prism survives a direct attack, it regains the durability value it had before the attack. You cannot repair a prism to increase its durability. 

Recycling

The notion of durability entails a major change: access to recycling.

Prisms can be used by any character at level 50 or higher, whether or not they are in an alliance. Some of the nuggets will be given to the character; the rest will stay with the alliance prism. All prisms can recycle by default. You no longer need to add a module to them. The recycling values are obviously advantageous for the alliance. There are several ways to get bonuses for generating nuggets by recycling:

  • recycle with a prism that your alliance owns
  • recycle with a prism in the territory where your resources come from
  • be in an alliance that controls one or more territories next to the prism you are using
Work in progress...

Bonuses can stack. So, it will become worthwhile to target precisely the territories that your alliance will conquer to optimize your nugget generation. 

Nugget Distribution

It is hard to mention recycling without talking about nugget distribution. From now on, nuggets will no longer be distributed among the monsters in the territory at the end of the King of the Hill (hereafter "KOTH") phase. They will be sent to a nugget pot, available in the alliance interface. A specific right will let members who have it distribute the nuggets in it to members of the alliance. You will be free to choose whatever distribution you like! For example, you can give them all to one member, distribute them evenly among members, or only give nuggets to members who took part in the KOTH.

Please note:

At the end of the KOTH, a small portion of the prism's nuggets will be permanently lost. This measure aims to limit arrangements between alliances that would exchange territories (which could give the impression of gigantic size). The rest will be shared between the alliance that was defending the territory and the one that was the majority attacker. Actually, since a prism can be destroyed by recycling, we think it's important for the alliance that owned the territory to be able to keep some of the nuggets.

So, the distribution will be as follows:

  • 10% total loss no matter what happens
  • If the Defender loses the AvA fight, they keep 15% of the nuggets stored in the prism, which are placed in their pot
    • the majority Attacker wins the AvA fight, so they win 75% of the nuggets stored in the prism, which are placed in their pot
  • If the Defender wins the AvA fight, they keep 75% of the nuggets stored in the prism, which are placed in their pot
    • the majority Attacker loses the AvA fight, but they still win 15% of the nuggets stored in the prism, which are placed in their pot

Prism Items

The recycling and teleportation modules are still available. Nonetheless, you will have to make a choice once again, since you will only be able to equip one module at a time. Either the prism can be used as a teleportation point, or its recycling rates can be improved.

Work in progress...

Two new consumables are also being introduced to let your protect your prisms for a limited time. The pacifier crystal will prevent directs attacks, and the inhibitor crystal will prevent players outside your alliance from using the prism to recycle their items. These crystals work for a set time and cannot be used at the same time. Furthermore, you can only use up to four crystals per prism. This will ensure that your hard-earned prism is protected for a little while. Using a crystal will cause the prism to enter the corresponding state. The prism's various states will be visible.

States

Normal

Weakened

Vulnerable

Pacified

Inhibited

Condition Durability >10% and no AvA fight in progress Durability <10% and no AvA fight in progress

AvA fight in progress (Durability = 0 or PvP)

Pacifier crystal effect in progress & Durability >10% Inhibitor crystal effect in progress & Durability >10%
Appearance

 
King of the Hill Phase

The basic principle of this fight phase remains the same: Your alliance must dominate the others in terms of points for 30 minutes. However, new ways of earning – and losing – points are being added. For starters, a win earns you points, whereas a loss loses you points. Because of this, when a fight is started in an AvA area, you will no longer be able to join the fight of a player who is part of another alliance.

The prism itself is now also a capture point. The alliance that captures it earns points every minute.

New roles are being introduced:

  •  New role: Champion
    • The Champion earns many more points for their team for each win
    • The Champion loses many more points for their team in the event of a loss
    • There can only be a single AvA champion per alliance
    • However, an alliance may have several members with the Champion role in its ranks so they can be replaced if they fall in combat
  •  New role: Scout
    • The player accumulates points in a temporary stock while they stay alive: 5 points a minute
    • Their temporary stock cannot exceed 50 points, because beyond that, its counter is frozen
    • To transform their temporary stock into points for their alliance, the Scout must interact with the prism
    • In the event of a win, the Scout does not earn points
    • In the event of a loss, the Scout loses half the points rounded up from their temporary stock for the team, and their temporary stock of points drops to zero
  •  New role: Seer
    • The Seer can see the opponents' roles at all times

Miscellaneous Changes

Some of your feedback involves conquest villages and especially access to the monsters in them. From now on, there will only be two conquest villages – those that enable access to specific means of transportation. All conquest villages with archmonsters have turned into classic territories.

As mentioned earlier, conquering a specific territory has an impact on generating nuggets during recycling. So, there will be a bonus when recycling resources that come from the territory where the prism is. As a result, the loot bonus in controlled territories has been removed.

Finally, we must admit that there's a third way to trigger an AvA fight: placing a prism in neutral territory. From now on, being the first person to arrive in a new area won't be enough – you'll have to capture it properly.
 

Schedule

That's all great, but when's it going to be here?

To be completely open with you, the revamp was originally slated for the December update. However, if we maintained this date, we would have been forced to cut the features in half, reserving the directory and recruitment for the following update. Delivering features in two parts gave us the feeling they would be "kit-type" features that wouldn't satisfy us. We should also note that during the last two weeks of the year, we avoid making changes to the game through maintenance cycles. We don't want to take the risk of a major bug in the features going on for several weeks without being able to fix it, and we want to make the revamp available in a period that is more favorable to our (great!) teams' responsiveness. Finally, the new class and the new archipelago will take up a great many internal testers and will be the focus of most players on the Beta servers. So, we are much more likely to miss a critical bug if we add a feature revamp like this to the mix.

We have therefore decided to delay the release of the revamp to the first update in 2023! However, it would be a shame not to use this setback to further improve the revamp! Now you know everything we're planning, we will be listening carefully to your feedback. We will have more time to clarify the points you find unclear and to follow your discussions so as to make changes, if necessary.

As you can imagine, the revamp will bring major changes, and it won't be possible to keep the current alliances. You still have a few months before this happens, but keep in mind that when the December update Alliance redesign during the first update of 2023* is rolled out, all alliances, prisms, and Perceptors will be destroyed. Perceptors' contents will be transferred to their owners' banks, but nuggets that have not been recovered from prisms will be permanently lost, so make sure you collect them. To limit the inconvenience, you will no longer be able to place prisms in the days leading up to the update. We will get back to you with the exact timeframe.

Conclusion

In summary, how did we meet our goals?

  • Put an end to the gigantic sizes of alliances:
    • disassociated guilds and alliances,
    • added a limit to the number of members,
    • and added new restrictions on placing Perceptors.
  • Put PvP combat back at the heart of AvA:
    • changed fights between Perceptors,
    • added roles for the King of the Hill phase,
    • and changed the points earned and lost during the King of the Hill phase.
  • Let PvE players help their alliances:
    • added prism and Perceptor recipes,
    • created items of equipment for Perceptors,
    • created consumables for prisms,
    • and added non-combat-oriented roles (KOTH phase).
  • Regulate how experience and loot are generated/reduce the impact of Perceptors:
    • added new limitations for Perceptors,
    • removed the loot bonus for conquered territories,
    • and added recycling bonuses.
  • Destroy resources/overhaul access to recycling:
    • added the possibility to recycle with any prism without any other restrictions than level,
    • added Perceptor equipment created from nuggets,
    • and added new recipes.

All your comments are welcome! Take the opportunity to give us your impressions!

* ERRATUM 08/11/2022
An error has found its way in the devblog published on November 7, 2022. All the alliances, the prisms and the perceptors will be destroyed during the Alliance redesign in the first update of 2023, and not during the December update.
Category: Game design