Rarely do I ever say that a game needs battlegrounds. I’m usually on the front lines protesting that instancing content is bad and all that stuff. But I’m in the interesting position of finding myself looking at PotBS from a different perspective. The game, by design, automatically creates instances for each individual pvp encounter. From this perspective, creating battlegrounds for PotBS could actually solve many problems and add to the overall fun of the game.
Why add Battlegrounds?
As I’ve said, pvp is already instanced. This raises many problems that I seem to have beaten to death over the past week. Without going in to much depth on those I just want to briefly bring up the downside to instancing pvp encounters within the ‘open world’ and add a few ideas of how BG’s could solve them.
- Allowing entire groups to be whisked away by a single fast ship allows for griefing. It’s been called “tactics” when used to hinder one nation from adding contention to a port. I see it as exploiting a broken gameplay mechanic but however you look at it there are fewer people who like it than there are those who despise it.
- People who do not want to fight will simply run away. Valid use of running away, however it’s frustrating for both the attacker and victim to be placed into an instance for 2 minutes when neither will reap any benefit. Only time is lost here.
- Battlegrounds would create a location for consensual PvP. There are players out there who want to engage in ship battles simply because it’s the best part of the game. I’m one of them.
- Battlegrounds are a great way to justify the claimed over-use of instancing in the game. FLS says that instances allow them to do more. Instancing has always been justified by devs saying that they can do more for the player’s experience in the instance. This time I agree.
What type of Battlegrounds?
Here is the best part! There are so many options available. In a sense players already experience a “battleground” form of play when a port conquest battle occurs. That’s already one type of battleground that could essentially be used. What other types of battlegrounds could there be? Here are a few ideas I had:
- Attacking a port / Defending a port
- Team Death Match, in other words all nations have a presence and battle to the death.
- Swashbuckling – Have an entire battleground be a fortress that has to be sieged by players. Pistols firing, swords clanging, a grand time it would be!
- Protect the convoy!
- Zone Control – think Arathi Basin
- CTF – Overdone but it could have merit.
Risk vs. Reward
Obviously these battlegrounds must force the same risk upon the player as he/she would find in the open sea. Losing your ship, fittings, expending ammo, and all other downsides to participating in combat would be there. Battlegrounds would create a focal point of fun for those who enjoy the PvP side of the game. Right now on many servers the PvP scene is looking dismal. There are few if any contended ports and players are becoming bored. Offering these exciting battlegrounds could make PvP thrive.
As for the rewards, well, here’s the tough part. Right now on the open sea the reward for killing someone is a mark of victory and whatever lootable goods they have on them. I think the same rewards should be available in the battleground because this plays hand in hand with the risk. It would be up to FLS whether or not they want to add additional rewards for participating in these battlegrounds. Perhaps instead of Marks of Victory the players dropped some other form of Mark. These marks would be “lesser” forms of Marks of Victory; “Signets of Battle” perhaps. Maybe it takes 5 of these battleground marks to make a mark of victory. Bottom line: we want people to be encouraged to participate in the risk but not overly reap the rewards. Over rewarding BG play could hurt the open sea gameplay. We don’t want that.
The location of the battlegrounds wouldn’t have to matter. The element of instancing and teleporting players from one location to another without explanation already exists. Play upon that and you have justification for simply adding an office or NPC in Tortuga, Pitre, Port Royal, and San Juan that would act as a “sign up” of sorts. You tell the NPC you want to participate in the battle and you enter. The limits of each battleground is based on FLS’ servers but we already know that 48 players can be in one instance at a time. No one likes queues but if they are needed perhaps we could use them to an advantage. Going back to what I was saying with rewards, we want players to still participate in the open sea. How do we encourage Open Sea play when introducing BG’s? Personal Contention Points. These already exist! They determine who gets to participate in the Port Conquest battles; why not have them also determine who has priority in the BG’s? It could work!
I do not see how battlegrounds could possibly hurt Pirates of the Burning Sea. Right now I only see the many good things they would bring. From stimulating the economy by introducing a greater attrition of expendable goods to satisfying the large player base that simply wants something to do, Battlegrounds could be a wonderful addition to the game. I have plenty more that I could add to the ‘details’ but for now I’m interested in what everyone thinks. Those of you playing PotBS – would you like to see Battlegrounds?