My Feedback Regarding In-game Goals for Different Types of Players

First off, I really like this game, and I want to see it succeed. That’s why I wanted to give my thoughts on some weak areas in the game’s design. I’ll also preface it by saying I’m a player that enjoys all form of content the game has to offer; I do enjoy PvP, but I’m not speaking as a “PvP player” who gets his/her primary enjoyment in the game from the challenge of facing other players in combat and improving my skill in PvP combat. Excluding all of the bugs/exploits that we’ve all read a million times in forums like this, in my mind, there seems to be one singular overarching problem that affects players of all types (PvE, PvP, Crafters) that no one really seems to be mentioning. Put simply, there is no goal for PvP players to strive for in this game.

As it is now, there exists a cap of players on the server that is quite low compared to other MMOs. Combined with the fact that there are no cross-server PvP instances for these players to engage in, this effectively means there exists no form of skill-based matchmaking for PvP players. For example, let’s assume a server of 2000 active players exists. Of those 2000 players, there is likely 100-200 or so that are hellbent on being the best PvP players on the server and taking territory. I’ve seen it play out similar ways on numerous servers based on forum posts here: These ultra-PvP focused players are inevitably going to identify and recognize each other on the server. This eventually turns into “Hey dude, imagine if we were on the same side. We would be unstoppable.” Once a company has proclaimed they’re focused on PvP, are taking territories, and validated that to some measurable degree, all likeminded players begin to flock to that company. This creates a snowball effect where people start to see that all of the good players are either changing companies, changing factions (if necessary), or creating cross-color alliances with the described example company.

This is because of the next issue with the game’s design I see: ultra-PvP players determine everything that occurs on a given server, while only being a minority of the server’s player base. Once it’s clear the dominant PvP company is unbeatable in war, there’s really no coming back from it. Other types of players are either going to stop playing, or swap colors so that they aren’t completely shafted by not getting any sort of territory/faction bonuses that affect the parts of the game they do enjoy and put most of their focus on.

Getting back to my claim on the natural trajectory of every server, given enough time: As I said above, there exists no form of skill-based matchmaking for PvP players. So what do these players strive for then? Why are they playing? There are no leaderboards, no ranked ladders, no way to go online and brag “I am the Xth best PvP player in the game”. The answer is pretty simple. The main reoccurring “brag” I see online and in the game is “My company completely destroyed [insert server name] and made everyone there quit”. These people are giddy and laughing while telling people too. The only way to claim that you’ve “made it” as a PvP company or player in this game is to make it your goal to completely take over a server (with a hefty amount of toxicity thrown in), make everyone leave as a result, then brag about it. Then you can optionally swap servers to up your server kill count. No other type of player has this much influence over every aspect of the game, and it feels super bad to be forced to be along for the wild ride on the server. Not to mention getting flamed every time you speak out against the dominant company for literally any reason, since your opinions are invalid if you can’t 1v1 them or take their territory.

Again, I do personally enjoy PvP, and I don’t necessarily blame these players 100% for this natural server progression. There is no outlet for these players to flex their skills other than shoving regular players’ noses in the dirt after they’ve already won. There’s no goal for them to pursue other than server dominance to the point of ruining a server. At that point, because all skilled players have migrated to the same camp on most servers, they get angsty without any sort of real challenge. This leads to frustration from players of all types, and breeds rampant toxicity, causing even more players to leave.

On the other side of the coin, what goal should PvE players/crafters strive for in order to influence their server in any perceivable form? I can’t think of a single one. Perhaps clearing corruption, so that less invasions happen, so that less stuff is downgraded, so that they can continue to craft and make subpar profit compared to other games (another topic for another day), and take that profit to do… what exactly? War declaration cost doesn’t matter when the wars are a stomp every time. Hell, even running PvP missions to try to flip a territory is useless when the controlling company decides to completely ignore the push, since they were bored waiting for a war, and know it’s not a risk whatsoever to just let the territory go to war.

Overall, my main takeaways:

  • There HAS to be some skill-based matchmaking implemented in certain PvP activities, and likely new cross-server instance-based PvP activities created.
  • Player types other than PvP Players need some way to feel like they have control over the activities they enjoy doing. For example, nobody likes being forced to pay outrageous taxes to craft due to there being no low-tax alternative settlements, and there is no way to change that other than winning a war against a company that has focused on PvP since day one (and possibly abused various exploits throughout that time).
  • Honestly idk why changing factions is even allowed in this game. It egregiously speeds up the “whole map one color” process that much faster. There’s no reason to stay on the losing side once it’s obvious that actual competition on the server is dead.
  • There need to be underdog bonuses given to the weakest factions, per previous bullet point.

I’m confident a game with a foundation like this can cater to players of all types, but incentives for each player type to keep playing are just not what they should be right now. They’re either non-existent for PvE players/crafters, or they incentivize behavior that is objectively detrimental to the health of servers, which in turn determines longevity of the game and its player base.

Really hoping core game design can start to be revisited once all of the more urgent tasks are taken care of, but I’m just hoping it’s not too late by then /:

3 Likes

Thank you

Second this!

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