New Devlog: The state of PvP
Player versus Player conflict is one of the cornerstones of Pirates of the Burning Sea, and the primary avenue for that is our Conquest system. We’re in the process of making some fairly major changes to the Conquest system. We wanted to take a moment and explain those changes, and the reasoning behind them. There are a handful of major areas I want to address: port defense, increased PvP zones, and PvP rewards.
The first issue I want to talk about is port defense. Port defense is not supposed to be easy. While it is not supposed to be impossible (thus all the issues with economic ‘bombing’), defense is supposed to be harder than offense. The natural progression of the game world should not be towards stasis, but towards conflict. You’re supposed to be able to defend ports that are important to you, but a ‘perfect defense’ where none of your ports enter contention, should be nigh on impossible. Defending your ports should, most of the time, mean showing up for the port battle and kicking some ass, not stopping the battle from ever happening.
That said, there have been two major things making port defense by unrest removal completely nonviable. First the aforementioned economic turn in missions. I’m sure you’re all familiar with the issue there, and we’ve got the short term fix in place. In the longer term we want to make the economic turn in missions a slow burn of unrest, rather than a bomb. This is not a change we’re going to be able to make immediately, it requires some serious work to make happen, but it will happen. The system to do so is also somewhat complicated, and really deserving of its own devlog.
Second, there are a number of ports where there are simply insufficient numbers of NPCs of the appropriate nations to manipulate unrest at that port. This is a problem, and one we intend to fix. Shortly (patch 1.3), we will be making a change that will cause ships to spawn much closer to their destination port. This will ameliorate the issue, but will not solve it. We will be putting additional resources into making sure that every port has a reasonable selection of spawns available. There will always be some ports that are easier to attack or defend, but it should be possible, assuming no hostile player action, to manipulate all of them in a reasonable manner and time frame. I expect this work to be done in patch 1.3 as well.
In addition to adjusting the spawn tables and locations, we are also planning to create unrest generating missions. These will be group ship combat missions that can be completed once per day, and they will be available in every contestable port. Completing the mission generates unrest for your nation, in the port the mission is located in. If your nation owns the port, then it will reduce all hostile nations unrest by the same value. We’re hoping to get these missions into 1.2, but they’re a lot of work, and it may get pushed back to 1.3.
We will also be modifying the existing Blockade and Patrol missions to make them a bit more attractive. First, we’re reducing their cooldown from 24 hours to 20 hours, to make it a bit easier for players who play at the same time each day. Second, we’re adding a small doubloon reward for completing them (in the neighborhood of 500 doubloons). Third, we’re setting them to be active all the way until the port enters contention. We think these three changes will make these missions a bit more useful to you. Additionally, the fact that these missions will be available in all pre-contention unrest states should provide a small help to the insufficient open sea NPC spawn issue.
While port defense by unrest removal has been impossible in the face of the economic turn in situation, we still are not seeing the number of PvP zones we want. In order to increase the number of contention zones, we are removing unrest decay from ports outside of the new player areas, and increasing the unrest generated by sinking ships by about 20%. We expect those changes to go live Friday morning, so by the time you read this, they will likely have already happened. The goal of these changes is simple: create more PvP zones more of the time. We will be closely monitoring PvP zone creation, and unrest generation following these changes, and may adjust those values again soon.
That brings us to PvP rewards. There is a lot of risk to PvP in Pirates of the Burning Sea, and we want to create some more interesting rewards for that risk. In the immediate future we’re creating a turn in mission that will allow you to exchange Marks of Victory for faction improvements with the various nation trade factions. But, you say, I’m a hard core PvPer, why do I care about trade faction? You don’t, but the merchants who build your ships do. Our hope is that you will be able to sell your surplus Marks to help fund your PvP activities.
In addition to Marks of Victory, we want to increase the individual rewards for helping your nation fight for control of the Caribbean. While reduced tax rates are nice, many PvP players are not merchants. Rewards for server victory are good, but that process is long. We want to build out some direct rewards for the players out there fighting the war. Toward that end, we are working on building some direct rewards into port battles.
On top of all that, we want to create some more interesting, and varied, direct PvP rewards. We have not settled exactly how we are going to do this yet, it might mean additional Mark of Victory turn ins, it might mean PvP loot drops, it might mean something else entirely. It’s a broad, general goal. We want to give you more neat stuff from PvP. We have big plans to add cool PvE rewards for some of the new missions we’re creating, and we’re going to create equally cool PvP rewards. Initially these will probably be obtained by turning in Marks of Victory, purely because that’s the quickest way to get them to you, but we want to create other, interesting avenues for PvP rewards.
That, as it stands now, is our plan for PvP. Increase the amount of unrest in the world, add new and interesting ways of generating that unrest, and add more incentives for conquest. In a perfect world we’d have all these changes out to you ASAP, but, unfortunately, all of these things take time to implement and test. We will get them out to you as soon as we’re able to.
We’d love to hear what you think of these planned changes, and any suggestion you might have for making the PvP experience better. We do read the forums on a daily basis, and while we do not have time to respond to each and every thread, your input is being heard, and appreciated. Thanks for your time, and remember, there’s no crying in the red circle.