Never have I been so excited to pen one of these producer’s letters. It’s finally time to talk about what we have been working on the past few months and I think you will like it. I have been getting a lot of questions about what our focus is now that the New User Journey has been out for a while, and my answer has always been RvR and the veteran players, but what does that mean? Ever since the New User Journey went live, we have been eyeing the Frontiers as our next system du jour. We have noticed that the Relic game in particular is in need of some work as it is an old system that is both central to RvR gameplay, and quite convoluted and obtuse even to veterans. So we went to the whiteboard and put pen to white plastic coating and came up with some goals for the Relic system.
The first goal can be summed up in a few words: complex, not complicated. Although the current system can be seen as fitting this mantra, the truth is, it is not the same. We have learned over the years that being complex and being complicated are two very different things. If players can’t immediately grasp the situation and understand what is needed of them, then there is room for improvement. This does not mean “make a simple and shallow system to replace the old one”, but rather take out the confusing bits and find ways of creating or maintaining the depth that keeps the system exciting and engaging.
To this end we are doing away with the Relic Temples and the Relic Mile Gates. No longer will players have to take a static list of keeps to open up the door leading to the prize. To be specific, we are moving the Relics to the innermost keeps and making those keeps permanent Relic Keeps. In a throw-back to Old Frontiers, we are also scaling the difficulty of the Relic Keeps based on two factors: how many keeps a realm holds in their home territory, and how many Relics that realm controls. The more keeps a realm has, the more “elite guards” a Relic Keep will have to defend its prize. These guards are called Envoy Guards and are named for the keep that they hail from. This gives players the choice to go straight for the Relic Keep to try to take the relic quickly, or to take the other keeps in the realm to lower the defenses of the Relic Keep before pushing in for goal. In addition, the more Relics a realm holds, the weaker the standard guards will be at the Relic Keep. So a realm that has all six relics will rely more on player response than the Relic Keep guards to keep things safe.
The second goal for the new system is making sure the Relic Raid is exciting and dynamic. Currently, a Relic Run boils down to a time sink without the bonus of conflict, strategy, or tension. Although the system allows for choices (do we take the relic through PoC, do we run it over land, or do we use a boat) the truth is, no matter which way the players choose, the chance that another realm will find and engage them is minimal. So when all is said and done, the choice is rather moot and the chances of finding the relic holder, resulting in exciting gameplay, are like finding a needle in a haystack. In the end, it’s just a bunch of people following the one guy with the “ball”, while he runs at a slower pace through the miles and miles of landmass.
To achieve the goal of an exciting and dynamic Relic Raid, we are cutting off access to PoC and scout boats while holding the Relic. In addition, the player carrying the Relic will have an effect alerting all players in range as to who has the ball. All in all the aim is to reduce the needle in a haystack situation we currently have with the Relic Capture system.
Now we understand that these can seem like daunting changes to a system that has been running for years, and we don’t take these adjustments lightly. To test this updated system in a live-like environment, we will be holding a public test on Pendragon. Our goal is to get as many people doing Relic Raids as possible and collecting as much feedback as we can on the changes. The test will take place on Wednesday, April 11th with more details forthcoming, but we ask that people refrain from providing feedback until they have actually run through the system on Pendragon. So for now, read the patch notes, discuss and play around with the relics on Pendragon and then join us in the raid tests on Wednesday.
Until then, keep up the good fight, and we’ll see you in the Frontiers.
Producer - Dark Age of Camelot