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The more militant orders will gravitate out of the neutral cities anyway out of either disgust with the neutrality, or to avoid bringing conflict to people with no interest in it. Probably the former.
I think the ideal solution would be for raiding groups to seek out interesting fights over guaranteed win ones (like 80% of Ashtan's raids)But that's really unlikely to happen.
Honourable, knight eternal,
Darkly evil, cruel infernal.
Dance with death forever more.
Hirst said:1. Further reduce guard cap -and- limit the number of guards between rooms to prevent people from placing guards everywhere to defend every area 10 rooms in from city gates.2. Reduce the strength of guards. Their differing abilities is fine but they do a lot of damage. Guards should be a supplement to defense, not the defense itself.
Lots of fun and exciting things you could come up with for cities that refuse to fight like a tax on gold moving in/out of the city accounts, a negative experience modifier for citizens, reduced guard strength/count, reduced health/mana sipping. Deactivation of city improvements (that were supposed to be destructable but that part of the system was never added). Whatever. A war grace period after a loss/refusal would be an easy enough way to prevent abuse.
War Points:A new tally system that acts as an end-goal for mutual hostilities, more details interspersed throughout the proposalWhen hostile relations are declared, the first city to declare will specify a war point goal as well as a gold bounty/wager for the war. The second city will then either accept or decline and a different wager can be set.The bounty/wager is then held in escrow for both cities, and granted to the victor upon reaching the war point goal.War points are accumulated in the following ways:Killing enemy soldiers.Destroying enemy rooms.(Potentially) Sanctioned raid time.Foiling a sanctioned raid - dismantling/capturing an enemy tank.City Destruction:Tanks become a new form of resource available to cities, they're checked out by an appropriately ranked citizen.There is a limit of (5) tanks at any one time still, but this can be supplemented by capturing enemy tanks in sanctioned raids (up to a maximum of (3).The tanks would regenerate (up to the maximum) every Achaean year.Instead of summoning a spark, a tank is placed in the room with the raiders, it feeds of the hostile energy to charge the tank.Each defender death in the city causes the tank to charge up, with three cumulative levels of effectiveness:Level 1: Destroys the current roomLevel 2: Destroys the current room and one room in each direction.Level 3: Destroys the current room and all rooms in line-of-sight from the current room.There would need to be some slow buildup on it's own to provide reason for the defending forces to want to defend.Tanks need to be manually detonated by the attacking forces (an instant ability)Victory experience scales based on the number of rooms destroyed.Defending forces can route the attackers by clearing them out of the room, either by killing them or forcing them to move. Once they control the room with the tank, they can:Dismantle the tank, granting a similar experience bonus as attackers do upon destroying a room.Capture the tank, granting a smaller/no experience bonus, but adding an additional tank to the defending city's arsenal.Manual city room repairs are removed.Rooms are repaired at the rate of one every (3) Achaean months, at a fixed cost to the city.Empowered fonts:Potentially new powers added to the font arsenal:Something to speed up the decay of enemy room effects inside the city.Something to provide a city-wide "indoor" protection for a very limited duration.
They could also work to take control of their City to push it in a more beneficial direction.
They could also leave neutral Cities and participate in conflict without hiding behind said Cities.
Look, I know why it seems like I'm attacking neutrality (because I am). I just don't think you should be able to have your cake, and eat it too. Continuing to protect people under the aegis of neutrality waters down conflict, bogs down the development of interesting, unique perspectives and identities, and perpetuates a status quo that is, for the most part, pretty stale. I see no downside to making people take conflict more seriously, to having neutral Cities have to make hard choices where that neutrality is concerned, and driving a wedge between organizations that are happy to accept a City's protection when it's convenient, and lash out from behind that City at their enemies with impunity. Maybe it's a good thing to explore, that difference between City leadership and Orders. Conflict is fodder for progress, after all.
However, although this is a discussion about physical military mechanics in the game, the sociopolitical elements are still intimately related and should be considered as well. I hear a lot of complaining about neutral cities leaning on others for their military strength. This is the basis for political intrigue, if Hashan is friendly with Ashtan and you don't like it, too bad. There is nothing wrong with Hashan having good relations with another city, even if it is not to your benefit.
I know the game has moved towards more individually delineated factionalization, and while I agreed this is a good thing overall for the game, it does create significant disadvantages for cities that are left in the middle of the spectrum. Factional classes have been essentially removed from the rosters of neutral cities, dramatically reducing the pool of classes they can draw from and hampering player recruitment in that aspect, there are other more serious impediments that those cities do have control over. However, one tool neutral cities do have which the more factionalized cities do not is the ability to politic. It is obvious, official alliances are out of vogue in today's Achaea, and we have not seen them come into play in recent times, but again, Hashan and Ashtan being friendly(probably not so much anymore) is perfectly legitimate, as is Cyrene and Targossas.
These relationship have both necessitated political balancing acts to keep them in each other's good graces. As Seneschal much of my time was considering how can I position Hashan so that if x faction becomes aggressive towards us, I can move us out of the line of fire. Perhaps that is by pursuing a treaty, perhaps it is by making friends with that city's common enemy. Steering a city away from war takes considerable skill and usually far more time and effort than a full on military confrontation. I made the mistake of trying that towards the end of my career in hopes that Hashan would rise up, but that obviously did not happen.
If, for example, a city like Mhaldor is resigned to playing the bad guy, then unfortunately the political option is closed to them; they have the ability to try to be political if they want but their theme seems to be antagonize everyone, and that is fine. However, If they feel these relationships are so threatening they should endeavour to find a way to break them up in game. Building political relationships is a means that all cities have to enlarge their powerbase, and it is a bit silly to try to dictate that neutral cities like Cyrene and Hashan should not be able to take advantage of them because it might tip the scales out of your favour. There is no reason every city-state must hate every other city-state. This would eliminate any positive intercity interatctions and only leave room for mafia style protection extortion.
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The ways people thought to limit those concerns were:
Establish a minimum amount of defenders that you can sanction against.
Limit the time a sanctioned raid can last.
Make it so that tiny adventurers don't count as much towards tanks as big ones, in an effort to not just let it be an exercise in newb-ganking to meet a quota.
If I missed something, my bad, but I think those are the three most important things listed.
But that's really unlikely to happen.
Cascades of quicksilver light streak across the firmament as the celestial voice of Ourania intones, "Oh Jarrod..."
Honourable, knight eternal,
Darkly evil, cruel infernal.Necromanctic to the core,
Dance with death forever more.
There are those that love combat, those that like to get involved, and those that like to explore other avenues of Achaea. Sure the combat system is really indepth but it's not the only thing that people log in for.
You won't just see more journaling, shipping, and going to other continents. It can push people into wanting to be less involved, contribute less, and potentionally drive players away.
I understand the War system needs work and all, but the idea of logging in for two hours after work and getting drawn into conflict that I don't want to be a part of, as someone who actually has plenty other things to do not only sounds like a waste of my own time, but it doesn't sound like fun.
At least joining your city military and being a soldier gives a solid indication of those people that do want to be involved regardless of skill (Yes, I know Mhaldor is an exception).
And for what it's worth, I've probably spent an equal amount of money on credits for housing and housing upgrades as I have on artifacts which could be used in combat. People spend credits on pets for ambience and as a roleplaying tool as well, not just to have another ent throwing out afflictions.
I really would suggest giving people an opportunity to bow out of conflict if they don't want to be a part out it.
1. Further reduce guard cap -and- limit the number of guards between rooms to prevent people from placing guards everywhere to defend every area 10 rooms in from city gates. For instance, five guards in one room prevents guards in rooms nearby or three in one only allows two total between the adjacent rooms. In hand with that, limit the number of mobile guards who can respond to a call for help to help encourage more thoughtful placement of guards, having to balance mobile guards, stationary guards, and the distance between them.
2. Reduce the strength of guards. Their differing abilities is fine but they do a lot of damage. Guards should be a supplement to defense, not the defense itself. One person being able to break up a raid by eyeing themself out of phase or such and calling for help seems unfair to assembled raiders. Too many cities rely on guards for their defense instead of their citizens.
3. No XP loss for normal city deaths but have XP loss for defender/aggressor deaths during sanctioned raids. I know this can be a touchy subject because people are way too preoccupied with their precious XP. Maybe don't have defenders lose as much but there should still be some penalty. No XP loss encourages people to use stupid tactics with no fear of consequence. It also encourages people to turtle up and either ignore raiders or not care because there is no penalty if they die. If XP loss is not restored, double or even triple the time it takes to pray when embracing and prevent all forms of resurrection (priest, forestal, alchemist, etc) during these sanctioned raids. Again, there needs to be some consequence of death. Or you could make it that so being a soldier initiates XP loss in city whether you are Mark or not. This will allow people who don't want to be drawn into conflicts the freedom to abstain but serve as encouragement to soldiers to be smart defenders. To discourage these non-soldiers from participating in city defense but without the worry of XP loss, make them have no XP gain for any kills on aggressors.
4. Make more forms of forced entry into a city auto-enemy the citizen. Currently, methods such as Empress tarot, whips, and boomerangs enemy the user. This is fine to prevent too much abuse but other methods of entry don't do similar, namely Priest and Apostate beckon. They should risk dying to their own guards for forced entry as well to prevent solely relying on beckon and city guards to defend.
5. Make totems only implantable in cities. This removes the infamous "defendable" totems and any totems along entry routes to cities. This prevents defenders from using methods of forced movement from gaining the advantage of having a totem but no risk from auto-enemying themselves such as empressing or beckoning into a "defendable" totem.
6. This is probably going to be handled sooner or later down the road but shrines need some major adjustments. Solutions include reducing the strength of worldburn, adding a cooldown to worldburn such as once per day per Order, and limiting the number of shrines in an area. It is no secret that most cities have shrines covering almost every room inside the city and those close outside, preventing any form of raid. Better yet, delete worldburn entirely. One person from the comfort of a safe temple can make their city completely impervious by looping worldburn given its damage, length, lack of cooldown, and shrine density. Or leave worldburn as it is but only shrines inside a god's temple will cause damage. Worldburn is meant to protect shrines and temples, not become a crutch for city defense.
Current system can be and is fun but right now the mechanics encourage too much turtling and acting without consequence for defenders with little gain for the aggressors.
Turning cities into a "Safe haven" might be a good idea for some cities but this game is supposed to be loosely based in a realish environment, not to mention a PvP environment. There are those who don't like PvP and want to just sit around do non-combat stuff but people attack cities because it will force the defenders to do something about it. I know some people do get angry about it but maybe you should use your non-combat time to complain about it to your city leaders so they do something about the city raiding you instead of trying to force a change on the system which allows it to happen.
Also increasing Icon, Shrine, and other types of conflict is good although I see a lot of shrine conflict going on already anyway.
(╯° _°）╯︵ ┻━┻ Just my thoughts disagree and WTF all you like :P