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In our previous devblog article, we gave details about the new guild wars and alliances system and how it works. Today, we’ll address the specific modifications to the Heroic Server.

The Heroic server has been experiencing several malfunctions (mostly related to the alignment system) or has game mechanics that are not adapted enough to the specific rules of permanent death. While working on the new system of guild wars and alliances, we wanted to take the opportunity to correct most problems linked to the alignment and to globally improve the function of this special server.
We’d like to remind you that the Heroic server is an alternative to the “classic” server mode and that we can’t change all of the gameplay rules on the Heroic server without impacting classical servers. This means that when it comes to the Heroic server, we have to find the best compromise to certain problems on a regular basis so that these two types of servers share as much common code as possible, while maintaining game mechanics adapted each server’s particular type.

Some of the changes in version 2.13 will make the Heroic server even more dangerous and hostile, while other changes will make it more accessible and (a little) less dangerous. We think that overall, this change in the overall function of the Heroic Servers will become way more interesting for players.
 

AvA Mode on the Heroic Server (alliances versus alliances)

We’ve decided to profoundly change some of this server’s rules, so that the AvA system becomes essential. The system will play a central role and as a Heroic character levels, this system will eventually become unavoidable for players who want to invest in playing on this server in the long term.

We’ve chosen to change aggression rules: alignment will no longer allow characters to aggress other characters, but alliance attacks will be possible all the time and in all conquerable zones. This means that a character will be able to attack any other character that is not within their alliance.

The concept of alignment balance used to detect the presence of intruders in a zone will no longer be available.
Alliances will thus play a major role in the life of the Heroic Server, since your choice of alliance will determine which characters will be able to attack you and who your potential targets will be.

Very large alliances will benefit from greater protection (there will be fewer characters to attack them), but they will also have fewer targets. The choices that guilds and alliances make about who to recruit will become even more difficult!

 

More conquerable zones

We’ve also given a conquerable status to numerous zones that were not before: the cities of Bonta and Brakmar, their sewers, the Fungus Cave, Astrub Rocky Inlet, Amakna Castle, etc. all the game’s zones (apart from zones in Incarnam and the beginner zones and dungeons of Astrub) can be  claimed by an alliance.
This means that it will be possible to breed safely in any zone that has paddocks if your alliance controls the zone. But it will no longer be possible to breed safely in Amakna Castle for example, without having gained this right by controlling the zone.
 

Search scrolls

We consider current search scrolls a bit too powerful and effective. Their ability to give precise location of a target is fine, but what’s not fine is how easily they can be created.
Blank search scrolls will therefore have a cooldown (incantation time) of 5 seconds; a character must be at least level 50 to use them; and their price will rise.

It's the belief of the development team that these scrolls are good at creating player skirmishes; they allow players to hunt targets and they can generate the types of wild PvP confrontations that are expected with the Heroic server’s dynamics. That’s why we didn’t want to remove them, even though they sometimes cause problems being too effective.
Thanks to the 5-second incantation delay, if you are careful and attentive (we recommend you not go AFK at a zaap) you’ll be able to prevent other characters from creating search scrolls in your name, and they’ll still be very effective!

 

Destruction!


In order to offer Heroic Server players a healthier and more dynamic economy, during a battle, we’ve decided not to transfer all the items from the defeated character to the winning group of monsters. 50% of the items (equipment and other resources or items within the player’s inventory) of a defeated character will be destroyed forever in order to ensure the destruction of wealth to compensate for the increased amount of item generation on the Heroic Server.

This modification has no direct impact on the loser who would have lost all of their equipment anyway. Winners will feel the results of this change, but we think that obtaining 50% of an enemy’s equipment and items is still an exceptional and quite satisfying reward.

Regarding defeats against monsters, we’ve noticed that it was a little too simple to send another character beat the group of monsters that own the items of the defeated character.  And so this functioning is about to evolve, and the items of characters defeated by monsters will now be spread over all the monsters of the zone.
This modification makes losing to a group of monsters even more of a punishment (it was not much of an obstacle to well-organized players) and offer way more opportunities for other players to obtain interesting items from monsters. Of course, it will still be possible to get back the items lost during a battle against monsters, but it will require more commitment and organization.

 

Perceptors


Our friends the Perceptors are no longer welcome in zones where aggressions are prevented (Incarnam, and some Astrub zones) in order to avoid beginners attacking them by mistake, without understanding that they’ll have to fight against real and well-trained, well-organized players and in order to limit the number of traps placed by a few immoral villains from the heroic server!
Additionally, characters will need to be  level 50 or higher to attack a Perceptor in order to limit the number of battles started by “disposable” players.
 

Incantation delay

As we explained in our previous article, teleportation items will now have a short incantation delay before they take effect.
This modification will be very important on the Heroic server, since it will no longer be possible to escape aggression instantly by using these potions.

We’re aware that other alternatives for those who want to flee instantly from the battlefield and we’re still looking for solutions, but those are problems will require much more development time to solve.
 

Trade

Astrub Auction Houses will now allow selling and buying items from level 1 to 60, and up to 40 items. We want to ease the trade on the Heroic server for beginners or for new characters that need to get equipment quickly in order to be efficient.
However, we’re not planning on making all auction houses accessible from Astrub or a totally secure zone. The Heroic server offers more dangerous battles, in PvP and in PvM; this is a server where the smallest mistake can cause the loss of a character and it seems interesting to us to make commerce activities more risky as well, and to make stockpiling, exchanges with other players, etc. necessary.
Offering a commerce system in which everything would be accessible at no risk could also be a viable solution, but we have decided not to go in that direction for now.
 

The future

There will still be numerous points to improve on the Heroic server, such as leaving a chaotic battle, problems of automated aggressions, characters hidden in Perceptor battles and infinite battles for example. We haven’t found solutions that would be technically viable for these problems yet, but we’ll keep searching in order to improve game conditions on the heroic server and on the classical servers as well.

We think that with version 2.13, the Heroic server will benefit from a boost in interest by placing players, guilds and their alliances at the heart of the conflicts by giving them necessary tools to reach the most heroic goals possible.
 

Questions and Answers

What will be the purpose of alliance battle roles on the heroic server?
Only one role will be available on the heroic server: the Sentinel (automatic aggression of characters from another alliance who come within a certain distance) since it won’t be possible to resurrect a dead character of course (Healer’s role) and not very useful to force the release of souls (Undertaker’s role). Unlike classical servers, where the Sentinel’s role is only available in area of conflicts, on the Heroic server, this role will be available in all conquerable zones.
Isn’t it possible that the most powerful guilds will become allies and dominate the whole server?
The most powerful guilds don’t necessary have an interest in becoming allies, because if they band together, they lose their chance to attack the most powerful characters on the server (highest levels and best-equipped for example). The alliance that stays at a reasonable size rather than allying with every other powerful guild will have a wide choice of different targets, giving them the chance to win better items from PvP. We think that this mechanic will prevent powerful guilds from forming a single static bloc. 
What do you plan on doing against DOS attacks against players?
We can’t protect or secure the players’ internet connection and consequently we can’t protect them from a DOS attack. Each user must take their responsibilities, properly configure their modem, router, firewall, and avoid as much as possible communicating their IP address to any untrustworthy people. We’re aware that is it regrettable having to protect against such acts for a simple game, but we’re technically not capable of protecting the players from them.
What do you plan on doing against automatic aggression programs?
It is almost impossible for us to fight effectively against client programs that automate some actions to be quicker than conventional players. However, we’re studying the possibility of modifying some game mechanics so that this type of programs doesn’t give a cheating player as many advantages.
What do you plan on doing about disconnections at the end of a battle or the inability escape from enemies?
We must find a game mechanic that prevents players from escaping too easily (by disconnecting) but also allows a character to escape an attack every once in a while by using game mechanics. Changing the way that disconnecting works requires a lot of development and we’re not currently capable of going further on this problem, but we’re still trying to find a solution.
 
How do you plan on managing infinite battles (666 rounds)?
We haven’t found a viable solution yet. We studied the possibility of changing the terrain as the battle drags on (a map that shrinks after a few rounds for instance) but that would involves modifying our gaming system too much; we’re going to look for simpler solutions.
How do you plan on managing the battles against Perceptors that allow characters to hide on a map?
With this update, the alignment balance display will no longer be available and it will no longer be possible to attack the Perceptors under level 50, which should limit the use of this technique. In the long term, we’d like Perceptors to be obliged to have an effective offensive spell in order to ensure that a long battle against a Perceptor won’t be without the risk of losing a character. 
How can we limit the number of non-consensual battles against Perceptors?
The minimum level to start a battle against a Perceptor and the inability to place Perceptors in the Astrub zone should limit the number of non-consensual Perceptor battles until we find a more sustainable solution.
How do you plan on managing infinite battles against Prisms?
The new alliance Prisms (used for conquest zones and villages) will be capable of defending themselves, thanks to an offensive spell which they can be use every round with no limitations. This means it won’t be possible to make the battle last too long against Prisms.
Will it be possible to use the shields on the Heroic server?
On the Heroic server it will no longer be possible to resort to shields, which use honor points criteria, because the PvP mode cannot be activated (the AvA mode will be permanently activated by default). It will be necessary to wait for a rebalancing and reformatting of equipment conditions for shields so that they can be used on the Heroic server.
Category: Game design