Siege PvP Scheduling and Vulnerability explained

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Funcom released an official article this morning (not just another IGN article!) explaining a few details about Siege PvP. This is something that I haven’t really spoken about yet because I was waiting for the information to come straight from the horse’s mouth. I want to quote Funcom directly:

“If your guild chooses to declare war on another guilds battlekeep, they will do this through the vulnerability window GUI. The Guild selects the city they wish to declare an attack on and they will be listed as a potential attacker for this battle. 24 hours prior to the fight starting the vulnerability window will be locked and an attacker is declared. At this time no changes to the attackers can be made.”

I have mixed feelings on this and I’m curious to see what others have to say. To me it feels like these Battle Keeps are really ‘removed’ from the world when they only have a vulnerability window every-so-often. Having to schedule an attack removes some of the spirit of the game for me. But on the other hand I understand that this stops the 3am raids and allows for the defending guild to do more than just sit in their keep all day. Overall I guess I am 60% for this and 40% against it. I have questions for Funcom:

– Can Battle Keeps be attacked for the sake of being attacked during their invulnerability period? (without the attackers having a chance of taking it)
– Are these Battle Keeps out in the open in the Border Kingdoms?

– Once all of the Battle Keeps are taken by the 8 “best” guilds… what happens then?  What if there are no other guilds on the server capable of taking a Battle Keep?  Will the 8 guilds who own a Battle Keep be out of the contention for sieging?  Could sieging potential die out?

I really hope they are in the open world of Border Kingdoms and I hope that players can hang out near them and attack passers-by. I hope that these keeps act as central hubs of activity and PvP. I want them to be more than instanced sieges between two guilds once every few days. I hope that they can be more.

Now this is something that has been slightly controversial lately. Funcom clarified how the attacking guild will be decided if there are multiple guilds wanting to schedule an attack:

“When there is a dispute between multiple guilds for the right to lay siege to a battlekeep, the Guild PvP points will be used to determine which guild should be allowed to conduct the attack.

These points will be generated for the guild by the individual players of that guild. There will be two ways that these points will be obtained. First it will be awarded to the guild if a guild member participates in a PvP minigame. Secondly, based on your feedback, we will give points when guild members gain PvP experience. The exact ratio between these two is not set, and I encourage you all to give feedback on this to help us balance the two.”

I’m glad to see that it is more than just mini-games. Having PvP exp contribute means that players who want to actively attack keeps need to be participating in ANY form of PvP as much as possible in order to accrue the points in this time period. Since you want Feedback Funcom, let me say that I hope the pvp exp gained outweighs the mini-game performance. I feel that PvP experience is all-encompassing and could even be enough on its own. This will encourage players to actively seek out PvP in the Border Kingdoms and fight over resources. You would be missing out on a great opportunity if you choose to lessen the importance of PvP exp.

Overall I think that Funcom is on the right track. Although I wish the keeps could be open to attack at any time by anyone, I still understand their decision to work off a schedule. 3am raids are annoying — I’ve had to defend against them and participate in attacks. And since they are working off a schedule and only 1 guild can attack it makes sense that the attackers be decided by their PvP efforts.

  • I have been trying to find a person or two that comments actively on this game without over hyping and actually seeing through the over positivness in articles made by ign and funcom.

    I found jackpot it seems.

    Your posts are logical and you bring up very good points!

    Keep it up!

  • The scheduling of when to assault is unfortunate, but basically required. There are other ways to simulate the scheduling (See Eve’s player-owned-stations and their fuel amounts), but what it comes down to is that people do not want to be idle on defense all day and all night.

    People want to (1) play the game, (2) participate in defense, and (3) not play capture-the-keep ping-pong where whoever got a group together when the other people weren’t online wins it for the day. (Until it happens to them.) For that matter, people attacking probably would appreciate a good fight more than waking up at 1 in the morning, attacking a building for 15 minutes, repeat ad infinitum.

    If you can come up with a system that’s fair to the attackers and defenders (and is fun to play), a lot of developers would be very, very interested.

    There’s a lot of ways to add spice to the battlekeep system, but it’s tough if that’s not the sole focus of the game. (i.e., people want to go away and do other things too.)

  • I’m going to wait to see this in action before I complain or cheer too much. I’ve been mulling some of your points over on my blog this week, and I’ll probably make a post about this as well later today.

    I’m still not sure I understand exactly how this works, which is why I’ll wait until it’s live to start offering critiques. Most of what I’m posting (and what I’ve seen from you as well) are more questions about how it’s going to work, rather than outright praise or criticism.

    I’m not sure scheduling a 24 hour window for attack will get rid of alarm clock raids. You can still attack at 4 am, but at least the defending guild knows it’s likely.

    I do wonder if giving the more powerful PvP guilds a greater chance of attacking a keep will lead to consolidation of guilds. I’ve been wishing that AoC had three factions, like DAoC, for the rock/paper/scissors back and forth we got on Percival, but maybe consolidation into large guilds is going to provide that faction-based element that worked so well in Dark Age.

    Might make it tough for small guilds to feel included. I’d like it if there was some way to have guild alliances hold keeps, so little guilds could exist as smaller components, but still have a larger loyalty to an alliance. Maybe there is a way to do that, I haven’t caught up on all my AoC reading. I was expecting to be playing WAR until it got pushed 🙂

  • Meh, give up on AoC. It is going to be a disappointment. Anyone that believes the guild sieging will be any good, without any mass testing before launch, is fooling themselves something stupid.

  • We have been pushing hard in the beta for these changes the made and I think they are the best if not a perfect solution. As of this moment there is mostly talk about how much world pvp and how much minigame should count towards the pvp experience. I think the minigames should only give around 25-50% of the normal world pvp experience but we will see what FC decides.

    And to answer your question these battlekeeps are indead NOT instanced but the guild cities are (they have to be since there will be tons of them). And NO attackers will NOT be able to do four in the morning attacks either hehe

  • Heartless:

    Both spellweaving and guild siege has ofc been tested 😉 I think spell weaving went through like 7-8 different versions of it in the early beta before funcom was happy with it.

  • Rick: I don’t think that there’s a 24 hour window. I think there’s a smaller window, but 24 hours before someone attacks, you stop being able to change it. So no defenders saying ‘nyeh-nyeh, we changed our window to 12 hours opposite of what you requested, good luck getting everyone there to attack!’

    I could be reading things wrong, but a 24 hour window would be a tad ridiculous, and I’d hope they’d change that.

  • ive alredy mentioned this in an earlier post but i feel that its a relevant response to many of the topics being spoken of here. the game is not out yet, you cannot be so critical and assume its going to suck. even if AoC is has troubles at first as many people have stated, there will be patches lol. think of all the mmos that have been released. they all have their difficulties but with work they can (hopefully) be smoothed out. wat counts is that AoC has the right idea, they just need to follow that idea and perfect it.

    i am concerned that they might make mini games like bgs in WoW, so that everyone spends all day grinding in the same arena over and over. i wuld enjoy running around rampaging the border areas and i think thats wat other people are looking for too. i envision this game’s pvp as epic battles, pillaging, killing parties and assassinations if they do it right. that would be amazing compared to the mindless grinding of so many mmos and a breath of fresh air to the entire gaming community.

  • Cant agree with you more Meathead.
    People are making way to many assumptions, we shall see when we get there ffs! ^_^

    Yeah hopefully they minimize the importance of the PvP instanced mini games (but with the guild sieging, it doesnt look that good).

    Hopefully they will encourage world wide pvp alot more.
    Huge Guild Versus Guild wars in the wide open would be a awesome thing to experience.

    And dont really like the idea of grinding a mini game so you can make your attempt to lay siege to a keep…makes not much sence.

  • think that any guild should be abel to attack at any time? People have life..I mean..
    Sure it would be cool if all players could be online 24/7..but tahts not going to happend

  • i think that both the attacker and the defener should have a say of when the battle will take place. somthing like the defender picks 2 days/times (diffrent ones) and the attacker picks 1 of those 2. i dont however like the 24 hour notice, telling your guild if u have won the right to attack. i would like a 48 houre notice. it can be hard to get 96 people to clear their scheduals in 24 hours. i know bots are avalable but i would take a person over a bot anyday.

    @ meathead

    the problem with ppl being so negitev is that (I FEEL) they’re carebares. WOW, LotR, EQ2 all carebear “type” games. pvp games are diffrent. they are less about fantacy and role playing and more about compation between players. pvp means rules, and the rules need to be fair. look at any profetional sports. every so offen they put in a rule to try and make the sport more “accessible” or more “tv friendly” and it has a negative effect on the sport. next year they though that rule out. part of the reason im looking forward to AoC is they have started with a pvp game and built the “carebear” around the pvp. its going to be awesome to get both hardcore pvp and carebear fantasy (dont get me wrong, i like to carebear it up when im not PKing up some noobs) from the same game.

    o and i can garuntee AoC is not going to suck. is it going to be better than WoW? for my money yes. what im really looking forward to is when WAR comes out. then i get to play both and see who comes out of the cage death match alive. personaly i think AoC and WAR together will kill WoW and i would also submit that neither one will be “better” than the other. subscriptions will tell the tale but i think its clear at this stage, AoC and WAR both are going to be the best MMORPGs on the market. its a great time to be a gamer =)

  • “i think that both the attacker and the defender should have a say of when the battle will take place.”

    See, that’s even more carebear then I want. I liked the wide-open nature of DAoC RvR, and having to rally the troops when the reports of enemies on a keep began to broadcast over alliance channels 🙂 I didn’t care too much about alarm clock raids. It’d give us a goal when we logged back on the next day.

    That said, it seems AoC keeps are different than DAoC keeps, and I don’t think I’ll fully appreciate what Funcom is doing until I see the keeps in-game and experience their decisions in practice.

    Moon Monster, thanks for your explanation. Makes more sense than what I was imagining.

  • @rick

    well the system i described is used by TWL and CAL. TWL and CAL are FPS ladder leagues. how carebear is COD4 and BF2? the perpose of the schedualing system is so both teams can be there and a fight can happen. how tough are u if u take over an EMPTY keep? u do like pvp dont u? sure rallying the troops is fun, but in the end i want to fight my enemy and kick his ass head on. the great thing is that AoC still leaves room for hit and run speed tactics like ur talking about to, u just cant take a keep with hit and run tactics.

  • this system is “taken” from EvE online.
    And it is good system,you will like it.
    It is all about – defenders have rights to pick the time they like to defend. Within the 24 hours ultimatum.
    If you want to have this rights,you need to attack and win some keep first (when the defenders picked their time)
    so it is fair.
    Here comes the weak point -timezones.
    Lets say,defending guild from Russia,attacking guild from somewhere. Russians will always do some “spy” research on the attacking guild,and based on their timezone,set the timer right on the edge of their primetime,lets say 22:00 of our time,but 2:00 for them. Well writing about 4hours ,that is a lot,but 2 hours can make hell a lot difference,as not everyone can go and defend the base for 2 hours every day starting at midnight.

  • um,i mean,”not everyone can attack the base at the midnight”
    and if defending guild have the different primetime than the majority of the realm,what happens a lot,mailny for China,Russia and so on…

  • That’s why china and Russia or what ever get their own set of realms, same for europe and US and so on, so the time difference wouldn’t be too great to affect the game experience

  • @ jeff, regardless of that fact that this is a pvp game, this isnt football and its not halo or counterstrike. thats where you go for sports with exact rules and equipment. this is an mmo and therefore a component of the game will always be gaining eqipment and personalizing your character. if you dont like that then mmos are not for u.

  • @meathead
    ok…. i didn’t really say anthing about gear, and my coment on FPS games (u won’t ever catch me playing CS or Halo btw) was about a rule set for setting up matches between clans. that rule set in not in ANY FPS. it is a rule set used by FPS leagues. i fail to see ur point. but i will agree with u on one thing, mmos do involve getting better gear and improving ur toon. yes, i think we can stipulate that.
    /rude on
    (rolls eyes)<— u got that for telling me not to play games. sry
    /rude off

  • sry if u thot i was being a jerk jeff, i admit i was hasty in replying to ur post, but none of it was meant to insult u. i was just saying thats how these games r lol. my point is that mmos need to hav character development, fairness, work for gear, and so forth in balance rather than just leaning towards one thing such as complete fairness to old, new, hardcore or casual players. if uve been playing for a while or just play a LOT u shuld earn an upper hand on those who havnt worked as hard for it. does that make sense? if not i understand because i ramble on like an idiot sometimes and forget wat i was trying to say in the first place but i hope this clarifies my point. another problem i think is that i at first failed to understand wat u were trying to say but i see it more clearly now.

  • I think the siege system can be fun if implemented correctly. I also think that alot of guilds will be able to lay siege to the keeps.

    They may not get to lead them as often, but they should be able to pick a fight every now and then.

    With the guild point ratings for 8 of the attackers dropping to zero every week, it would only be a matter of time for some smaller guilds to accumulate enough points to lead a battle.

    The one question I would have is do the guilds which own battlekeeps still accumulate guild points? Whether they do or not could have a lot of impact on gameplay. For example do guilds controlling keeps have any incentive to attacking other keeps?

    Is there any info out there about how long the defense window will be? 2 hours perhaps..

  • can guilds hav more than 1 keep? if not i dont believe guilds will hav any reason to attack other keeps but if they can there shuld be plenty of keep vs keep warfare. the only result i can see for this is one guild eventually getting all the keeps and being unstoppable tho.

  • Guilds can only have 1 battle keep which raises a great point meathead. Once the top guilds have a battle keep they will be out of contention for another. That means when all 8 of the top guilds have their Battle keeps… what’s left? Hopefully there will be more than 8 guilds per server out there capable of taking keeps. I hadn’t even thought of that… Great insight Meathead. 🙂 In fact it’s so great I’m adding it to my list of siege pvp questions that hopefully someone at Funcom will answer.

  • With regards to another posting on the official forums,

    I say we do have a very good compromise to propose. The simple idea is to allow a vulnerability window that allows for open pvp at the battlekeep, and after that window closes, the guild that won the ticket can start sieging and capture the keep.

  • @Keen actually this form of Battle set-up which funny enough is just like Ryzom does not stop thoughs 3AM attacks… it just gives you notice that you’ll be getting up at 3AM or loosing your keep if you dont… if anything like Ryzom the timer starts when the war is declaired. One interesting situation that occurs with this form of set up is when One guild decides they want a different location and they try to turn their exsisting keep over to an allied guild by basically throwing in the towel when the declaired war time arrives. Alot of politics can be used to twist this game mechanic.

  • Well, its not my idea though, and I think I misread a little too 🙂

    In fact, this allows anyone to be able to attack the keep, and even to be able to attack the attacking guild while they are escorting their siege weapons to the keep. So sieging might possibly occur during the vulnerability window, except that the keep may not be capturable if the window is still up.

    A semi-open/close solution, so not completely closed, nor completely open. It will benefit all I suppose.

  • @Keljii:That’s true. But hopefully the probability of a 3am attack being set up is much smaller. Politics coming into play is great because it really brings the servers closer. When the dirty politics start… that’s when things get interesting. 😉

    @Horpse: That sounds even better to me! Having the attackers be vulnerable to attack themselves would be fantastic fun. The less regimented and open ended these things are the better. Since I think we’re absolutely stuck with the scheduling system… making the most out of it by allowing more than just the one guild into the battlefield could really be a great idea.

  • @bigredjeff – Yep, I like PvP. I said I didn’t care about alarm clock raids because it gave me something to do when I logged into Dark Age; go take the keeps back. I wasn’t running alarm clock raids 🙂 That’s Dark Age, though, and it leads to another point about how much keep ownership might matter in AoC. I suspect it might mean more than it did in DAoC, and with that in mind, I understand the scheduling concept, I think.

    Keeps turned over all the time in DAoC, and it didn’t really cost that much (except maybe reparing relic keep doors). If there are 20 good guilds on a server, I think you’re going to fight tooth and nail to defend a keep. Well, if the benefits of having a keep claimed are high enough, that is.

    What’s the incentive for claiming a keep?

  • I agree with you on this one Keen, in WoW as much as the cross server increased amounts of BG’s happening it completely destroyed the PVP community of single servers. I remember when you knew all the teams you were fighting and who was best and what not. Then that also increased world PVP to a degree knowing the opposing faction more and getting into skirmishes based on having known who they were from BG’s.

    I really hope AoC doesn’t go cross server for the minigames and so forth. I remember in the original Everquest when they did the cross server tournaments for PVP, they would have a Tournament on each server, then the servers best teams would compete in the finals. I guess WoW had too many servers to do that so the battlegroup system sufficed, but I would only like to see that in an “Arena” style system and preserve as much server community and politics as possible.

  • Oh, and @Keen; you’re absolutely right. I’d love to see the attackers of a keep also vulnerable to attack, but maybe that’s a leftover Dark Age idea too. I imagine that I’d be frustrated by a guild-on-guild-only instanced keep siege, but I’ll have to see it in practice before I know for sure.

  • @ bigredjeff
    even with this set time system hit and run tactics can be used.Lets call it being fashionbly late> trick your enemy into thinking that you arent going to show for the fight, as their numbers get impatient, start to dwindle.. BOOM! you strike with full fun stuff. There really is alot of tactical uses with this type of pvp battle… and its perfect for the mercenary aspect.

  • Hmm… aren’t the attackers vulnerable? Everything I read talked about how the defenders can’t just hide behind walls, they have to sally forth and break up siege machines and interfere with their construction and whatnot.

    Then again maybe that was all in a dream. 🙂

  • One other thing I remember from Ryzom> Holding a keep meant being the guild with a praticular accsess to resourses, crafting resourses… making weapons that require holding that keep or you dont have accsess. hmmmm how much are we going to see a mirror image here?
    Yay! for dirty back stabbing political intrigue, or how ever thats spelled lol

  • k sorry i f this was asked i dont know and right now im feeling a little lazy so i didnt read the previous comments. reading your post tho keed what are your takes on the sieges not being instanced? i mean think about i: im guild A youre guild B, we coordinate it so we arent vulnrable at the same time. you back me up when im attacked and vice versa. we swoop in from behind take out the siegers. good game. there may very well be a quick monopoly on the keeps if they arent instanced

  • I believe they are instanced. The attackers schedule an attack and the defenders show up to defend. I think it’s completely instanced and only those two guild (and any mercenaries they hire) are allowed to show up and participate. That’s why a lot of us have been saying that it shouldn’t be instanced and instead allow for lots of participants in the battlefield.

  • I’d prefer the system to be more “EVE” like, like this:

    The declaring guild _pays_ PVP points to declare an attack.
    Other guilds can also pay PVP points to declare an attack (or add in defence), but the cost gets more expensive for each added guild (to help avoid blobbing).

    A system like that would open up a whole new level to the game in the form of politics…

  • ya some form of political system would form if they are not instanced… i can garuntee guilds will have allegiences to protect their keeps. what other type of politcs would there be? i think it should be implemented in the game sorta too.

  • i dunno i can see it now…. guilds A and B have their keeps guild C sieges A and B tramples them from behind and good game. no keep will ever be lost

    in terms of politics maybe some form of position in each city? a mayor? banker? things like that?

  • Ryzom’s system was not instanced, though it sounds identical.. both waring guilds + their allies/ mercenarys were flagged to eachother… if a noncombatant were to stumble on to the battle field the message *you are in a battle area* would show on his or her screan. You could only join the fight if you were accepted by either side to join as an Ally. Course the defending side had Npc’s that spawned in waves… this kept a non opposed seige from ever happening, the Npc’s werent too tough lol

  • I liked Horpse’s idea or how i misinterpreted it atleast
    basically i thought it functioned in two stages.

    1. Prior to the siege any1 who wants to seige the keep sends as many people as possible to an area (probably an empty field outside the keep) These people then fight inside this area to obtain tickets, either by holding an object or killing others for majority in the area. This occurs maybe a day (during prime time) before the vulnerability window. After maybe an hour of this the guild with the most tickets for the siege gets to siege the keep the next day. (THIS IS THE HUGE OPEN BATTLEFIELD FREE FOR ALL THAT MANY PEOPLE DESIRE FOR SIEGES)

    2. The next day after the guild that won the right to siege has alerted and gathered its guild they end up gathering outside the keep (probably in the same area where they won the right to fight the day before). From this zone they set up and assault the keep (this stage would be viewable by other characters if possible however they would not be able to fight in the siege unless they were hired as a mercenary or a guild member.

    Comments? Suggestions? Improvements? please?

  • The Battlekeeps are NOT instanced. They are placed in the borderlands a massive endgame pvp area (quite big) and yes there will be a lot of politics I´m sure involved.

    But taking out a fully siege ready guild with allies/mercenaries will take some major balls 😉

    Oh and to answer your question Keen a guild who is in control of a BK still gets a chance to siege like anyone else (used to be this way anyway) but they can only keep one BK.

  • Has anyone else noticed, that this is beginning to seem a lot like WoW raiding now? You have to be in any case at specific time at your server and to have the numbers to defend your keep? You have to choose between making dinner and other activities or playing AoC to defend your battlekeep.
    Slackers will obviously be kicked from any decent guild 🙂

  • Well a siege battle for a keep lasts a maximum of 90minutes so they are rather short and intensive fights. So for those who are good enough to defend a BK it might be 2x90min per week or so and that is not the 3-6 days per week of 3-4hours long raids exactly.

  • yes, we should all sit back and whate for the actual game because all we are doing now is making assumptions of how good or bad it may or may not be and just throwing us and some people off playing the game 🙂

    PS: The Ranger Wasn’t over powered in the pvp beta it was the rangers bow that was over powered the class its self was not.

  • I don’t see why they couldn’t do it like a WSG or AB battleground where you have one guild queued up for a fight but they can only attack battlekeeps of other guilds who are also queued up in the defense one. You could either make it so you cant choose if your attacking or defending or better you make it so you can choose but the rewards are big and different for defending successfully (cuz your stuff is getting blown up) than attacking. This solves the “wait until 2p.m.” sillyness. You fight when you want and you fight around the battlekeep, either for or against it.

  • @thallian – i would assume that guilds would just not que up for defense and some people want to pick who they attack… like if two guilds want to be at war with each other.

    the window siege system is being used becuase it levels the field between core and casual gamers.

    I am a core gamer… i live at my PC, but i favor casual gamer content becuase i dont think anyone should have to “WORK” for anything in a “GAME”
    work =/= fun.

    i want rewards based on doing/completeing fun things not how many hours of grinding “random content” i can clock in.
    core gamers still get an advantage becuase they have more time to somplete this content, but the casual gamer isnt left out in the cold.
    a game should strive to be fun for every one.

    the problem i always see though is core gamers get mad when a casual gamer eventualy gets the same gear he has. Core gamers put alot of effort into getting stuff and it seems to piss them off if some one else is able to get it easier.. even if it takes them 10 times longer.

    simply becuase it kills the personal achievement, it kills that feeling of pride or glory.. for that reason i think there should be pockets of content to allow the core gamer to agian stand out if he wants. just make it something thAT isnt going to cuase balance issues.

    things like cosmetic upgrades, titles, etc…

    who knows maybe even some casual gamer pockets as well.