I'm returning to Achaea after many years, and it's hard to wrap my head around all the changes. I can now choose to play one of two characters, none of whom are really powerful, but they are focused on dofferent game aspects. I can always focus on exploration, questing and commerce - that's a safe bet. But I was also considering re-awakening my Runie and finally learning PvP, but here comes my questions: what role does PvP play in the game now, apart from pure joy of outsmarting/outscripting the enemy? This alone is not nearly appealing to me, but on the other hand, if player combat has real stakes now, it's a different story. So how serious damage can a city raid do - is it really something to celebrate or will the defendants rebuild withing a day? Can I take a party of friends to Meropis, raid a couple of mines and seriously impede the raw materials available to the enemy, or will it just be a nuisance without impact?
To use examples from other games: I never really liked 'battleground' type PvP, as it was meaningless. On the other hand, I was literally addicted to the castle capturing mechanics in the old Ragnarok Online, when a battle decided ownership of lands and resources for days to come.
So how it it now in Achaea? Do battles shift the balance of power and resources, or is this more like a theme park without much impact?
There are sometimes events where there is a more noticeable impact, however. We had a war in the Underworld where the winning faction got new spectre guards for winning or something.
Targossas and Mhaldor recently had a war where they agreed the losing faction would reduce its tank reserves for a period of 5 IG years. That was by player agreement, though, not game mechanics.
As part of that same war, the gods also made a bargain which would have resulted in even larger consequences. Unfortunately, it led to combat avoidance in the war so it was revoked. I don't think anything like that would really happen again without a major change of mechanics to make combat avoidance not an option.
There's a war system in the works that might change this, I think, but there's no ETA on that. I don't think it's soon.
Combat has a lot of impact in other ways, mind you. Morale, etc. Cities with a lot of combatants tend to thrive more than cities without them. Most people don't like constantly being raided and decimated.
Really, the only tangible, long-term effects of PvP are massive amounts of PvPers shifting from one faction to another because they want to PvP more. But that's no reason not to PvP. If it's something you enjoy, go ahead.
Having decent PvPers also makes the lives of non-coms easier. You can preach and proselytize all you want, but if Mhaldor can just show up and smash your faces in and walk away, it really takes away from your standing as a faction (in the eyes of most people, anyway).
1. How does your chosen class actually fight? Several classes on Achaea don't function in PvP the way you would imagine they do reading their descriptions.
2. Did you chose a class that /needs/ certain artefacts to function competitively? People will tell you that artefacts are never absolutely necessary for any class, but sometimes the battle is so uphill to make a class function without them, that it is not remotely fun. A master can do it I'm sure, but us mere beginners have a VERY rough time of it.
3. Some classes are faction specific. If you are returning after many years, you might not be aware of the ways that the "Renaissance" has changed Achaea and its House system. If you want to play an Eleusis specific class for example, be sure you actually want to play there, and be sure you actually want to play in one of their Houses because that is going to be a requirement as well. You won't have a choice. You can go be a Rogue of course, but that would be counter to your goal of meaningful PvP.
I'm still reading like crazy to catch up with all the changes, and one things seems a bit promising: isn't the mining mechanic exactly what I've been searching for - fighting to control the access to raw materials? This seems like a textbook example of meaningful combat. Or is it?