SKAAVVEEK

Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Characters
See Signature
Platform
PC
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Quick Disclaimer: I understand that the suggestions in this thread would require a massive overhaul and are well beyond the scope of a regular expansion. The point of this post is as a means to generate discussion, provide inspiration for related or entirely new ideas and point out several systems which I believe to be holding the game back. It is also made just for fun, since I enjoy writing these larger posts. Enjoy the read, and I'd love to hear feedback!

Villagers & Heroes is packed with content. Over 90 zones to explore alongside of powerful Elder bosses and challenging Dungeons. Players have plenty of activities to keep them busy, but there are some drawbacks to the current progression model and zone layout. This thread will go over some ideas I believe would improve upon the current structure.

This suggestion thread will focus on the following topics:
  1. Removal of the bounty grind and restructuring of the progression system
  2. Transforming V&H's segmented zone structure into a seamless open world
  3. Implementation of side content, dynamic activities and interesting encounters within the open world
Progression

Progression makes up the majority of any MMO. Players defeat enemies and complete quests in order to earn experience and level up. This allows them to equip better gear, which in turn enables them to enter higher level areas. Rinse and repeat, we all know the story.

Progression is a very intricate balancing act though, and well worth discussing. If players level too quickly they will find themselves out of content. This drought will lead them to search for entertainment elsewhere. On the other hand, if players feel like they're advancing as slow as molasses they will burn out. Grinding the same areas repeatedly can easily result in this. Players like seeing a steady pace of progress. They want to feel as if they're getting somewhere with all of the time and effort they put in. In games this usually translates to milestones. For example: New regions open up, a brand new quest-line begins or advanced mechanics are introduced. This rewards players for their work, and motivates them to trudge onward towards their next goal.

For MMOs it is important to control the rate of progression, to ensure that the available content lasts players a sufficient amount of time as new areas are being developed. This usually comes in the form of bottlenecks. We've seen some examples already, such as medallions, keys, daily quests or just a hard level requirement. While these methods do achieve their goal of slowing down the pacing, it can also lead to the side effect discussed above - excessive grinding and burn out. Players simply do not like to spend too much time in a single area. V&H has used various progression systems all throughout its realms, from medallions, required quest-lines, daily tasks and even nothing at all. This is very confusing for players, and really needs to be streamlined. Consistency is key for large scale systems such as these.

Replayability is another vital factor to consider. In most MMOs, including V&H, as soon as a player has out-leveled a zone, there is little to no reason to return there. At any given point in time players only have around 5 levels worth of content to explore. In some cases this may only equate to 2 or 3 zones. This is a waste of development, as people race through zones and quests in days when it could've taken weeks to create.

Now in order to build up a decent progression system, we must first tear the old version down. From this point onward, I want you to do me a favor. Forget the bounty system even exists. The following ideas do not fit within the limited scope of the bounty system. That is why it will be entirely gutted and replaced. The bounty system is a mechanic that has been around since the game's inception. We've all taken its existence for granted and it has flown under the radar when it comes to overhauls. We've never really considered how large of a contribution it is to the game's player retention issue. Do people actually enjoy killing bounties every day? What's the point of well-crafted zones like Bearhold Valley or Rackabone's Peak when players only run them once or never at all?

The problem with bounties is that they are a very repetitive task. Enemies are not interesting enough to keep the system fresh for 90 levels of content. Some players can probably run bounties all day without ever losing interest, kudos to them. But the majority of people will find it very monotonous, especially when the same formula is used for each and every zone. You have 20 or so enemies scattered around the map. They have a little more health and damage than regular foes. Kill them for XP and move on to the next. Rinse and repeat for 100 zones. It has had its time and place, but we truly need to phase it out if V&H is ever going to evolve. We need something new in its place. This brings us to the Open World.

Open World

Villagers and Heroes is full of vibrant and well-crafted zones. The more I think about it though, the more I've come to conclude that there is one key aspect that could truly change the entire atmosphere of the game. That is the introduction of an open world. Currently the game has a large quantity of individual areas to explore, but what we really need is an interconnected world. A seamless transition from one area to the next. Does anyone remember back when you could see Cronk Island from Dagmar and had to swim towards it before it loaded you into the zone? Imagine something of that scale but without the loading screen. It would feel like an actual world rather than just a series of zones we visit one at a time.

Here's an image from one of my favorite RPGs, the Witcher III:

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The Witcher III had less than a handful of 'zones', but they were so large and packed full of content that it took hours upon hours to complete each one. I would like to see something like this for V&H. Imagine if a single 'zone' consisted of Elk Meadow, Addict's Ascent, Oak Valley, Cook Cavern, Traders Path and the Sewers of Ardent. Instead of entering a portal to go from Elk Meadow to Trader's Path you would just continue along the road without any sort of transition. Loading screens break the immersion and should only be used for entirely unrelated content. Players would no longer wonder why everything feels so empty because you would see others running around these expansive areas completing their own activities. While it may seem infeasible to create areas this large, I would beg to differ. Fungal Caverns is currently the largest zone in the game and is likely big enough to fit all of the above mentioned zones within its borders.

Now obviously the entire game cannot fit into a single open world. First we have to collect a list of Realms, then we segment these realms into an assortment of regions. Each of these regions would be a single map, essentially a collection of our existing 'zones'. "What we're right back where we started!" No… I'm not talking about regions the size of Lady's Lake. I'm talking about massive areas the dimensions of fungal caverns of basido or even greater. Then these regions will be interconnected via portals.

Here's an image of what the Realms would look like:
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Once you click on a Realm, you would see all the regions within that Realm:
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Once you've selected a region, you'll see the zone map. All of the areas below are within a single 'zone':
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Here is an example breakdown of the different Realms and Regions and the different areas within that one zone:
  • Ardent (Realm)
    • Ethos Island (Region)
      • Cronk Island
      • Summer's Hollow
      • Dagmar Strand
      • Marigold Harbor
      • Gandymeade Grove
      • Briny Cavern
    • Burning Plains (Region)
      • Elk Meadow
      • Ardent City
      • Oak Valley
      • Cook Village
      • Trader's Path
      • Addict's Ascent
      • Sewers of Ardent
      • Lady's Lake
      • Memorial Pond
      • Moonglade
      • Bearhold Valley
    • Stormhold (Region)
      • Maiden
      • Shiverspine
      • Wizard Dorm & Lab
      • Badlands
      • Hogfish Mine
      • Crystal Quarry
      • Spider City
      • Rackabone's Peak
      • Rackabone's Cave
*Note that the italicized areas are all within a single Region or 'zone'. There is no loading screen when you traven from Badlands to Crystal Quarry for example.

Content

Now that we've gone over the open world system, what type of content will players pursue with the removal of bounties? Below is a list of the 5 content pillars in this new model:
  • Main Quest-line
  • Region Tasks
  • Raids
  • Campaigns
  • Heroics
We'll go through them in detail one by one:

Main Quest-line: The main quest-line is already an entertaining adventure through various lands. There isn't much that needs to be changed besides a few minor details. First, the purpose of the main quest will be two-fold: As a resource for experience and as a means to unlock content. Players will begin in the starter region and as they follow the main-quest they will unlock additional regions and eventually earn access to new Realms. This will continue until all of the available Realms and Regions have been unlocked and the quest ends. The main quest acts as a perfect mechanism for opening up access to new regions. Next, Elders will be removed from the main quest objectives. They will be the new Raid bosses.

Region Tasks: Before we go into the tasks, let's take a quick detour and discuss another important aspect of Regions. Each Region will contain a Hub. Hubs are monster free areas that are equipped with amenities such as vaults, crafting stations, village portals, and gathering nodes. They are sprawling havens where players congregate, engage in commerce and coordinate runs. These Hubs are relatively small areas within each Region. Imagine Summer's Hollow within Fungal Caverns of Basido for a sense of scale.

Each Realm also has a native species (like the Mara) and these species have faction vendors who reside within every hub. They will sell powerful boosts, appearance packs, house styles, gear, exclusive recipes and more. Each Realm has its own unique currency which can be spent on these vendors. This currency is earned by participating in Raids and Campaign Zones. Now that we've gone over the hubs, it is time to focus on the actual content within the regions.

It's important for these regions to be densely populated with activities. These are not zones which can be completed within 20 minutes before you never look at it again. These regions have enough content to keep players occupied for quite a while, and reasons to return even after they've discovered everything. This is also why all regions within this model will be scaled. Now I know that many of you are probably groaning at that idea, but hear me out. I understand that the drawback of scaling content is that players no longer feel any sense of growth when everything remains at a static difficulty. That is perfectly understandable, and there is a system in place to counteract that issue which will be explored later on. The reason I have chosen to scale regions is so that players never truly 'outgrow' content. If you love the Traven region you can continue to work on activities there even as your combat level increases. This addresses the issue I mentioned at the start of the thread, where players only run an area once or twice before forgetting it exists. There will also be reasons for players to return to older regions!

Friendly reminder! When I talk about a region please don't envision something like crystal spire or maiden. Those zones have been designed with the bounty system in mind. We're not taking that approach. Instead, think of Lady's Lake, Memorial Pond, Vinton, Bearhold Valley, Bearhold Crypt, Forgotten Reservoir and Mounds - But ALL encompassed within a SINGLE zone. Large open world areas full of activities rather than small zones. Refer to the image above to get a better understanding of what I mean.

"Wow it would be such a chore to run bounties through a zone that big!" Don't think about bounties! We're not doing bounty killing. We're going on an entirely different track. Exploration and dynamic events. This is going to be the true meat of V&H, and it will invest people into the world itself. Immersion, discovery and above all else - adventure. I want this game to have a feeling of adventure for people. Going on a fantastic mystical journey full of engaging battles, hidden treasures and rare resources.

OK, so without bounties to kill, how will players earn XP? Of course we still have the main quest-line which will now wind its way through each of these regions, but that's definitely not enough to supplement the loss of bounties. First of all, we need a diverse set of activities to prevent boredom. Second of all, we need reasons for players to invest more time within reach region and incentives to return to old regions as well.

Each region will have the following activities:
  • Repeatable Tasks
    • Contracts
    • Requisitions
    • Caravans
    • Monster Dens
    • Outposts
    • Challenges
  • Collectables
    • Landmarks
    • Zogs
    • Mythic Beasts
    • Shards
  • Campaigns
    • Labyrinth
    • Stronghold
    • Invasion
    • Tower
Each region has its own assortment of repeatable tasks which are marked on the map. These are simple activities which will increase the player's Faction Rating. As the player helps the natives of each region by doing these tasks their faction rating will rise, unlocking perks which apply to the region. The important point is that these repeatable tasks have a vital purpose in the overall progression scheme. Without a high enough faction rating, players will be unable to access many of the higher quality vendor items.

The following is the faction rating breakdown for each region:
  • Stranger - 0 Faction Rating
    • Access to the Region
  • Acquaintance - 5 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the first Raid
    • Unlocks Campaign Quest
    • +1 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +1 level higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1
    • Map Activities Marked
    • Unlocks access to Tier 1 Merchant goods
  • 2 - Supporter - 15 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the second Raid
    • +2 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +2 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.25
    • Resource Nodes Marked
    • Unlocks access to Tier 2 Merchant goods
  • 3 - Ally - 30 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the third Raid
    • +3 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +3 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.5
    • +20% Resource Gathering speed
    • Unlocks access to Tier 3 Merchant goods
  • 4 - Trusted - 50 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks Heroic Difficulty
    • +4 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +4 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.75
    • 0.5% chance to acquire 'rare' resources while gathering
    • +10% Loot Drops
    • Unlocks access to Tier 4 Merchant goods
  • 5 - Guardian - 100 Faction Rating
    • +Loot Rarity Chance
    • +5 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +5 levels higher than the Region's enemies, no enemy aggro
    • Campaign multiplier set to 2
    • +15% Movement speed
    • Unlocks access to Tier 5 Merchant goods
We'll go into the Campaign multiplier later. For wow let's get into these repeatable tasks themselves. These are on a global cooldown, resetting for everyone on the server at the same time. This is so it feels like a shared world rather than an individual one. The task locations are selected randomly from a pool, however, everyone will always share the same task - so that players can work together if they desire. These are all completely solo'able though. As players complete tasks they will earn XP and the tasks will be marked as completed on the map for that day.

Repeatable Tasks

Contracts: The shadow of the bounty system is still alive in the contracts task. I didn't want to get rid of them entirely but now they definitely only have a very minor role in progression. This is at it should be. Bounties should not be 85% of progression. Contracts will highlight 5 high profile enemies on the map for players to kill. These foes will usually be guarded by grunts so it's not a quick 5 minute hack and slash. Players will have to work their way to the bounties in order to slay them.

Requisition: Requisitions are projects which players can donate to. It is actually a server-wide project, but the task is for the player to donate a small quantity of items to it. (We'll get into the server-wide project itself later on). These projects will ask for a variety of items ranging from gathered and crafted materials, monster loot and collectable items from around the map. Players will have to explore the region to obtain these items and donate them to the project.

Caravans: Merchant caravans will need an escort through dangerous areas. Players can approach the marked caravan leader out in the wild and initiate the escort. Once begun, the player will no longer be able to ride their mount. If the player strays too far away from the caravan they will fail and will have to start over. The caravan will automatically travel from point A to point B. This is around a 10 to 15 minute trek at their pace. As they travel, monsters and bandits will spawn and attack the cargo. Players must defend the merchants and their goods from being destroyed. If the player fails, the caravan will despawn. Once the caravan reaches safety the escort concludes.

Monster Den: A dangerous beast has moved into the Region! It's up to the player to slay the beast for the safety of its citizens. This will be no easy task though. Monster dens are short wave based areas. Once a player enters the marked territory, enemy grunts will begin spawning. Additional waves of enemies will continue to spawn over time. After players have defeated three waves of enemies, then the beast they were tasked to slay will appear. This will be a tough fight. It is recommended to team up with at least one other individual but it should still be possible to solo if the player prepares beforehand.

Outpost: One of the friendly faction outposts have been overrun! It's the player's task to reclaim it. These outposts can be recaptured via stealth, or full on combat. Enemies will walk around in patrols and if the player is careful they can eliminate them without alerting the watchman. If the watchman is alerted he will sound the alarm and enemy reinforcements will spawn in. The goal of the player is to defeat all of the enemies and retake the base. Watch out for traps though! These will trigger effects such as additional troop spawns or player debuffs.

Challenges: These are optional objectives which are attached to the repeatable tasks. If players successfully complete a challenge, they will earn more points towards their faction rating. These challenges vary from task to task. For example, a Caravan challenge might be to escort the caravan without the cargo taking any damage. A contract challenge could be to defeat the marked enemies within a certain time-frame. An outpost challenge could be to retake the outpost without triggering the alarm. These are completely optional though but do add some variety and a way for players to progress through their ratings faster.

Collectables

Collectables will also be scattered throughout each Region. Unlike repeatable tasks, these are a one and done type deal. These are not required nor do they have any great benefits. They are mostly for the completionist type players. Collectables include the following:

Landmarks: Landmarks are basically the new travel pad. Once a player has visited a landmark within a region they will be able to fast travel to and from said landmark.

Zogs: Most regions have a few unique types of enemies. These enemies have a chance to drop Zogs when defeated. Once collected and redeemed at the Exotic Goods merchant, the player will unlock some lore text in their monster codex. These are mostly interesting background tidbits but in some cases it may even provide strategies on how to effectively beat or counter their abilities.

Mythic Beasts: The new 'Zingara', these Mythic Beasts are a lot more rare in comparison. There are 3 of these per region. Each has a chance to drop a rare fragment, and when combined with the other 2 fragments, they will produce an exclusive gear item or artifact.

Shards: Realm Shards are hidden items scattered around each Region. Players who find them can exchange them for Realm Currency at the exotic goods merchant.

So now we've gone over the open world and the various region activities. When you look at it all though, it may seem kind of lacking in comparison to the bounty system. Fear not though, because that's just a smidgen of content. We have much more in store. Let's move on to the next major form of combat progression: Raids

Raids

I was leading a group through Crystal Quarry the other day and I thought to myself: "You know, I actually really enjoy this linear type zone, with a colorful setting and interesting enemies. Too bad it's trivial for a group of 6 and will only last us a good 7 minutes." Don't get me wrong, I enjoy dungeons, but I feel they focus too much on time which makes it hard to appreciate the mechanics. Raids are the evolution of the current dungeon system, and best of all, they come in varying shapes and sizes - so yes, they can be solo'd as well.

So as we've covered above, as a player progresses through Realm tiers they will begin to unlock Raids. These Raids will provide not only decent XP and loot, but they also reward the currency which is used at the Realm's faction vendors. A Raid is a linear instanced zone. There's no way to design a complex puzzle-based zone if different groups of players are all running there simultaneously in different parts - so yes, instancing is necessary. Each Raid will have 3 stages. On lower difficulties if a player reaches a new stage they earn a checkpoint, so if they die in that instance they'll respawn at the checkpoint.

Each Stage has its own set of tasks that players must complete before they're able to advance to the next stage. These tasks are fairly straightforward. Kill X, Y, Z bosses, obtain drops from specific enemies, collect some hidden loot in the area and more. Raids will also involve some puzzle mechanics though, such as passwords that must be deciphered, hidden keys or levers, objects which must be destroyed etc. Once players make it to the end of the final stage, they face down a challenging boss and defeat it for victory. Players will earn loot, XP and currency for whichever Realm that raid resides in.

There are 3 Raid difficulties:

Exploration - Requires between 1 and 6 players
Expedition - Requires between 6 and 12 players
Heroic - Requires between 6 and 12 players

When a player unlocks a raid, they automatically have access to exploration level difficulty, which is the default. This is the easiest mode which can be solo'd. Players can also team up if they desire, and as the number of players increase from 1 to 6, enemies will automatically scale just as they do in the live dungeons. All else would remain the same though in terms of structure. It is important to note that exploration difficulty instances cap at 6 players. The reason that we have player caps is so Raids can be designed with an actual participation count in mind, and it doesn't need to worry about players overpowering the mechanics through sheer numbers. Overall, exploration mode is for solo players, and lower level PUGs who just want a bit of fun.

Expedition difficulty is designed to be done in groups. Players will have access to this difficulty right off the bat as well. Between 6 and 12 players can participate within a single instance. This mode will add new mechanics, such as chambers which must be captured, cooperative tasks like levers and splitting up, fewer checkpoints as well as more powerful bosses. Expedition difficulty dungeons will end with a full-fledged raid boss rather than a mini-boss like in exploration mode. Expedition difficulty will provide a larger quantity of XP, a higher quality loot table, a greater amount of realm currency, and a chance for the final boss to drop a rare artifact.

The final difficulty tier, Heroic, is only for those who have earned Trusted status in their realm's faction rating. This difficulty also requires between 6 and 12 players. Heroic difficulty will have the same mechanics as Expedition, but everything will be amped up to maximum challenge. More enemies per group, extremely punishing boss mechanics, no checkpoints and random zone modifiers such as lightning strikes, poison smog and more. Heroic difficulty is not for the faint of heart. Those who complete a raid on heroic difficulty will earn a greater quantity of XP, a higher quality loot table, a greater amount of realm currency, a higher chance for the final boss to drop a rare artifact and the addition of leaderboards. Leaderboards will keep track of the fastest time players have completed heroic modes, DPS outage, healing, threat output and more. This is to scratch the itch of competitive players.

That is an overview of Raids. They act as both solo and group content and serve as a replacement from the traditional bounty runs. They are more mechanic heavy, less grindy, and provide much greater rewards. I'm now going to provide a step by step example of a Raid:

Heroic Crystal Quarry

Heroic Crystal Quarry takes place in a complex mineshaft underground. Glistening crystals litter the caverns, from red to orange to blue. Since this is Heroic Difficulty, there are modifiers which increase the difficulty. Random rocks will plummet from the ceiling and drop on unaware players for example.

There is a team of 10 in this instance. Each team is split into 2 parties of 5.

Team 1 consists of: Earth Shaman, Holy Priest, Nature Hunter, Marksman Hunter, Fire Wizard
Team 2 consists of: Lightning Warrior, Water Shaman, Shadow Priest, Fury Warrior, Nature Hunter

Both teams are working together in the same instance. They are on Stage 1. Stage 1 requires that the teams complete a list of objectives before making their way to the gate that leads to Stage 2. They must:
  • Defeat 20 quarry elementals
  • Defeat 15 panicked miners and retrieve their material pouches
  • Locate and gather 50 stormhold crystals
  • Rescue the 3 mining troops who are scattered around stage 1
    • Involves a wave based encounter for each
  • Defeat the 4 quarry generals and loot their key fragments
    • Combine the 4 fragments into a single key
  • Defeat Vulker the Overseer by the Stage 2 gate
The teams split up to begin these tasks. Since they are all in the same instance, their kills will count for each other, even if they're in completely separate parts of the map. Once completed, they head over to Vulker and initiate the mini-boss fight. Vulker spawns in elementals and triggers earthquakes which causes rocks to plummet from the ceiling of the cavern. Players must be on their toes to avoid impact!

Once complete, the teams move into Stage 2. The path to Stage 3's doorway is blocked, so the teams must collect the necessary materials to clear out the wreckage. Their Raid quest will now update with a list of new tasks:
  • Find 10 dynamite packs from miner corpses
  • Locate and mine 100 blazing ore from the western cavern
    • These ores are guarded by a constant stream of spawning enemies, teams will have to protect those who are mining
  • Open the waterwell which will douse the flames engulfing the chamber where the Stage 3 entrance is
    • This requires the teams split up and pull 2 levers simultaneously at opposite ends
    • Enemies will spawn and protect the levers!
  • Locate and defeat Lira the Elementalist and retrieve her map
    • This map leads to the key for Stage 3
Once the teams have completed the first 3 tasks they should look for Lira the Elementalist. She moves locations every few minutes so teams should split up into smaller groups. Once found and engaged she begins her fight scripts. Lira is a fire based enemy who will spawn fire runes underneath players. These cause burning damage if the player doesn't move. Lira also heals by standing near the furnaces. Target and destroy the furnaces to prevent her from regaining health! Finally, Lira sends out an AoE fire ripple which will afflict any player it hits with 'panic'. This prevents them from using any abilities until the effect wears off. Players can jump over this ripple and avoid the effect with proper timing.

Upon defeat, Lira will drop a map. Players need to follow the clues to locate the key. Once found they move on to Stage 3.

Stage 3 is the final stage. It ends with the Raid boss, but first players have to reach the end! The team's tasks update yet again:
  • Recapture the Western Cave
  • Recapture the Eastern Cave
  • Summon Fire Lord
Players have to capture the caves at the same time, otherwise they will not have access to the other cave if they all decide to go to one. In order to capture a cave the teams must fend off waves of enemies while standing inside the designated borders. A capture meter will fill up over time until eventually they have reclaimed the territory. Once both caves have been retaken, the teams must summon the Fire Lord. This involves a puzzle where they have to light 5 bonfires in a specific sequence. If they do the wrong sequence then a pack of enemies will spawn in.

Eventually, they will get the correct sequence and the Fire Lord will spawn. This is a challenging boss who will set players on fire. If players are too close to each other they can set each other aflame. The boss must be lured to traps across the chamber in order to become temporarily incapacitated. When he is in this state he is vulnerable to damage. When he breaks out of the trap he will spawn fire demons, who will explode upon defeat, harming nearby players. Once the Fire Lord dies, the players will all earn a rare fragment. He also has a chance to grant each player a special artifact as well. Since the teams played on Heroic difficulty, they earn a lot of XP and Realm currency, and their names are now listed in the leaderboards.

That covers the basic idea of Raids. Let's move on to the next aspect of this new open world model - Campaigns.

Campaigns

So what happens once a player has achieved Guardian Status in a realm and collected everything there was to be collected in all of its regions? The player has effectively exhausted all of the Realm's content and we are back to square one where they have run out of things to do! That is where Campaigns come into play. These are dynamic, server-wide quests that will tie everything together and bring the world to life.

Each Realm has its own Campaign quest which players can participate in once their faction rating hits Acquaintance level. This is so players can begin to contribute relatively early on. These Campaigns are community quests, where the actions of those who participate will affect the outcome. All sorts of players, from adventurers, explorers, villagers and veterans will have an important role in this narrative.

Campaigns have 3 components:
  • Quest
  • Requisition Board
  • Raids
Quest: Each Realm has its own Campaign quest. These are separate from the game's main story quest-line, and they do not intertwine in any way. These quests will contribute to the overall Campaign, so it is valuable for players to do them. The quest structure is the same for every Realm, however the tasks will vary slightly. Essentially, each quest will ask the player with completing various regional tasks across the Realm. This could be destroying X monster dens, recapturing X outposts, protecting X caravans and so on. It doesn't matter which Region the player decides to do these activities in, it will all count towards the Realm's overall Campaign. Once the player has completed these objectives, they return to the faction quest-giver and are given 4 choices. The faction is ready to dedicate resources towards a particular Campaign zone. There are 4 of these Campaign zones for each Realm. The quest-giver asks you which path you believe the faction should focus on? You have the following options:
  • Exploration
  • Expansion
  • Security
  • Discovery
Each of these options are linked to a respective Campaign zone. When a player chooses one of these options, the faction will "donate" resources to that zone's Requisition tab. Essentially it will just add points to the bar like a village project. These Campaign quests will reset every week for each Realm, so all players can continue to do them. You may recall from earlier when we discussed the faction rating perks, there was a perk which read "Campaign multiplier set to X". When a player finishes this weekly quest and selects the path they wish to focus on, the points which the faction donates will be multiplied by the player's Campaign multiplier. This means that players with a higher faction rating will contribute more.

Requisition Board: The Requisition board is basically a server-wide project board located within each Realm. This is the heart of the Campaign system. Every Region's hub has a copy of the Realm's Requisition board. Players can donate materials to these boards similar to how village projects work. There are 4 tabs within the board, one for each of the paths (Exploration, Expansion, Security, Discovery). Remember, each of these paths is linked to a Campaign zone which we'll go over next. Each tab has a grid of materials that players can donate to. As players donate items to a particular tab, that path's project will earn points. The number of points will be multiplied based on the player's multiplier. Just like the Campaign quests, these boards will refresh every week. The points that have been filled throughout the week are dumped into their respective projects, and the board will now rotate to a new set of materials.

The materials that the board asks for vary based on rotation and Realm, but the general type of items are:
  • Monster Drops
  • Gathered Materials
  • Crafted Materials
  • Farming Produce
  • Ranching Produce
  • Raid Shards
The first 5 items are pretty straightforward. The board will ask for materials that are available in its particular Realm. So the Ardent board will not ask for drops which are only available from Greenhaven monsters for example. Raid Shards are special items which will drop from certain raids. Every week a few raids within each Realm are highlighted as "special". This means that enemies and bosses from that Raid will drop shards as loot which players can donate to the board. So players will want to farm these Raids specifically for that week. The point of this is so that no raids are abandoned. They all have their time to shine as the special raids will rotate weekly as well.

Alright so we've covered quite a lot but we still haven't gotten to the point of all this. Why bother doing the weekly quest or donating to the requisition board? What are the rewards?

This is the best part! As I mentioned earlier, each of the paths (Exploration, Expansion, Security, Discovery) is linked to a particular Campaign zone. As players donate materials to a specific path, or complete the quest and direct the faction to boost a particular path, it will add points into that path's project. As this project earns points from these 2 avenues, it will begin to fill up. Once a project is completed, then a persistent change will occur within the Realm. Then, that path's project will move on to the next tier. Think of how village projects work. You and your town donate materials to the board, and as the board earns points over the course of days / weeks, it will eventually max out. This will then earn the entire town a persistent effect, like a new crafting station or vault tab - and then the project will move on to the next tier. This is the same exact concept, just on a broader scale. Instead of individual towns, it is the entire server which can participate in each Realm's Campaign. These are no easy tasks, and it will likely take each server at least 2 -3 weeks to complete a single project tier. There are 4 different projects tabs for each Realm, each with 5 tiers, so plenty to keep players occupied. Once the 5th tier of a project has been completed, then a repeatable project like the Wellspring will allow players to continue to donate for extra perks. Now let's move on to the rewards
  • Exploration
    • Tier 1 - Exploration Squad - Unlocks the Labyrinth Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Labyrinth.
    • Tier 2 - Mining Crew - Unlocks the Labyrinth Left Wing
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 3 - Mining Legion - Unlocks the Labyrinth Right Wing
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 4 - The Drill - Unlocks the Labyrinth Core
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 5 - Enhanced Drill - Unlocks the Labyrinth Dungeon
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Excavation Team - Unlocks Labyrinth modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Labyrinth
  • Expansion
    • Tier 1 - Patrols - Unlocks the Stronghold Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Stronghold
    • Tier 2 - Entrenchment - Unlocks the Stronghold Castle phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 3 - Assault Team - Unlocks the Stronghold Courtyard phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 4 - Reinforcements - Unlocks the Stronghold Inner Courtyard phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 5 - Final Charge - Unlocks the Stronghold Throne-Room phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Skirmish - Unlocks Stronghold modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Stronghold
  • Security
    • Tier 1 - Scouts - Unlocks the Invasion Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Invasion
    • Tier 2 - Fortifications - Unlocks the Eastern barricade
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 3 - Tactical Retreat - Unlocks the Western courtyard
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 4 - Vantage Point - Unlocks the Central Tower
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 5 - Last Stand - Unlocks the Hidden Sanctum
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Regroup - Unlocks Invasion modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Invasion
  • Discovery
    • Tier 1 - Adventurers - Unlocks the 1st Tower Boss
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Tower
    • Tier 2 - Investigation - Unlocks the 2nd Tower Boss
      • The 2nd Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 3 - Equipment Upgrade- Unlocks the 3rd Tower Boss
      • The 3rd Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 4 - Magical Deduction - Unlocks the 4th Tower Boss
      • The 4th Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 5 - Conclusion - Unlocks the 5th Tower Boss
      • The 5th Tower boss is unlocked
    • Repeatable Project - Curiosity - Unlocks Tower modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Tower
Alright so let's go a bit more into detail. You'll notice that the first tier of every path opens up a new zone on completion. The portals for these zones are located within every hub of that Realm. As players continue to upgrade the project, that zone will unlock new areas or phases. Think of it like the village district projects we used to have. When the project is completed, a new district opens up. Same idea. Now I'll explain the mechanics of each of these zones. All of the following zones are scaled and instanced, and each of them has an available Heroic Difficulty for those who want the toughest group experience. Think of these zones as persistent event zones.

Labyrinth: The Labyrinth is a deadly place for brave adventurers seeking fortune! Designed similar to the Tomb, the Labyrinth has NO map. The goal of the Labyrinth is to locate rare treasures, defeat deadly foes, and escape with your prizes. Here is the kicker - if you die in the Labyrinth, you will lose everything you have acquired in that session. This means that not only will players have to explore, but be able to find their way back. This is a tension filled area, full of chests, traps and potentially dangerous enemies right around the corner. Locate chests for rare items and vanquish monsters for Realm currency. Different sections of the Labyrinth have their own difficulty. The entry, left and right wing are all solo'able areas. The core and dungeon sections, which are deeper within the zone, are much harder and will require groups. The potential for rewards will scale proportionally. Modifiers include different enemy types, zone-wide effects, loot table changes and more. Heroic Difficulty Labyrinth is entirely group-based, and has more mini bosses with special perks and attributes. Heroic Difficulty has a greater number of traps, which are more punishing, and also has greater rewards.

Stronghold: Stronghold is a scaled zone that represents an all out war / castle assault. The goal is for players to breach and capture the enemy's base. Players start outside of the fortress and have to unlock the next phases of the Stronghold via the requisition project. Players can complete each phase by capturing certain points, king of the hill style. Players must defeat enemies while standing within a certain area as it slowly transitions from enemy territory, to ally territory. Teams must also destroy enemy fortifications such as barricades, traps, catapults etc. by attacking them or destroying them via puzzles / animations. They do this for several phases, moving further within the Stronghold each phase where this process repeats against harder enemies. Eventually they will make it to the throne-room where they must slay the final boss. The first 2 phases are entirely solo'able whereas the final 3 require teams to complete. Heroic Difficulty is group-focused, has more capture points, harder bosses and a greater number of objectives to destroy.

Invasion: The goal of Siege is for players to defend a relic located at the heart of the zone from waves of enemies. Enemies will travel via multiple lanes that will lead to this relic and attempt to destroy it. (Think of a MOBA). Players need to set up fortifications by crafting, gathering and collecting items scattered throughout the zone and dumping them into pre-set project boards. Once the boards are filled, they will activate a fortification such as a trap or barricade to slow enemies down. Every few waves a boss will also appear, who is very challenging! Players can unlock new sections via the Requisition board which will open up new enemy pathways but also provide players with additional fortifications and vantage points. The first few waves are solo'able but things begin ramping up over time so players will have to fall back into their keep as the enemies begin taking over parts of the castle. Players will need a team if they wish to survive the entire assault because if the enemies destroy the relic, then the players lose. Heroic Difficulty increases enemy speed, difficulty and number. Player barricades will exhaust faster before needing to be replenished and zone-wide effects such as lightning strikes will make things even harder. Heroic Difficulty also has no respawns. So if a player dies, they are eliminated.

Tower: A Tower is series of bosses, each within its own chamber. Players start at the first boss, and upon its defeat, they are teleported to the 2nd. This continues for each boss that has been unlocked so far. (Total of 5). This process continues until either all of the bosses have been defeated, or the players have been wiped out. Each subsequent boss is also more challenging than the previous. The further players make it up the Tower, the more rewards they will earn. Heroic Difficulty will increase the difficulty of each boss, and players have no breaks in-between each conflict.

Endgame

I imagine that endgame would build off of the foundation of the systems explained above. The developers could work on new Realms or Regions, each with tasks, its own Campaigns and Raids. This formula would result in content for all types of players. Villagers would have new crafting recipes to acquire and resources to discover. Solo players could work on Campaign quests, Exploration Raids and Regional Tasks casually. Group players could enjoy Expedition Raids and Campaign zones. Hardcore players could pursue higher tier faction ratings so they could challenge themselves in Heroic Raids and Campaign zones. There is something for everyone to enjoy within each content drop. Not just high levels since everything is scaled.
 

IoOvOo

Wizard
Characters
loOvOo
Platform
iOS, PC
WOW! Many of these are what I want but my language limited me from writing them down. Thanks!
 

Dawnfire

Great Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Characters
Athon Stormborne
Platform
Android, PC
Good stuff SKAAVVEEK. I'll add some of my thoughts to this.

1) Scaling content. It's good, really. If anyone played Elder Scrolls online, their whole world (gathering nodes included) are scaled to your level/crafting level. Basically you could level up anywhere you want to, it's your choice. And that game is growing bigger each year, so yea I'm sure it would work with quite a lot of people. I for one definitely don't enjoy one shotting everything, but like the challenge, and especially the chance to revisit old content.

2) Server wide progression is something I'd love to see in some form. Your idea is great, but honestly I'd take any form as of now. Seeing how helpful we generally are, it just feels like the most fitting content, where we work towards the good of all.

3) As you mentioned, the scope of this is way too big. It would basically require a new game, that's how big this overhaul is. We just keep the lore and the main quests. I don't see much chance for this, unless some big investors stand behind the Otters, but who knows, maybe slowly we can take steps towards this.

4) You add so much new ways to play, it's great. One caveat for me is the realm unlocked activities. Invasion/Siege/Stronghold feels very similar to me. Not to mention this much content would surely mean fragmenting us a lot. In a game with a huge playerbase this might work, but I don't think it would be that simple here. One possible solution to fragmenting is that if this kind of content is time gated. Siege every Monday, Stronghold every Tuesday etc..

5) When can we expect your own mmorpg? Seriously I want to be an alpha tester for you ;)

Overall good read, great suggestions, love majority of it. Thank you for taking your time to write this all down!
 
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Kookaburra

Bog Frog
Characters
Kookaburra, Kooky
Platform
PC
Lots of food for thought in here.

I especially like your Heroic Crystal Quarry scheme. I love the idea of teams working together to solve puzzles and quest-like objectives to achieve something. It would be fun if the specific requirements varied from visit to visit (although obviously within the bounds of the zone you are in).

I also like the zone projects that the whole citizenry could contribute towards. This is a good extension to the village projects and could reward the entire server with something new and exciting when achieved. You could even have something like the Wellspring project where a temporary buff or other benefit is given to everyone for 3 days or a week while in that zone.

While many of the other ideas would require reworking the game from the ground up, I believe either of these ideas (as well as some of the others) could be implemented within the current game framework, adding to the options high level players have to keep going when they have maxed everything.

You have a creative mind Skaavveek, plus a tendency to extraordinarily long posts!
 
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SKAAVVEEK

Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Characters
See Signature
Platform
PC
WOW! Many of these are what I want but my language limited me from writing them down. Thanks!
Thank you very much!

1) Scaling content. It's good, really. If anyone played Elder Scrolls online, their whole world (gathering nodes included) are scaled to your level/crafting level. Basically you could level up anywhere you want to, it's your choice. And that game is growing bigger each year, so yea I'm sure it would work with quite a lot of people. I for one definitely don't enjoy one shotting everything, but like the challenge, and especially the chance to revisit old content.
I really do think scaling is the way to go! I hate to see amazing zones like Maiden completely abandoned because players only visit there once or twice before outgrowing it. It seems such a waste of development. I've noticed that the developers seem to share this line of thought, as the new high level content is all going to be scaled according to the reveal website.

2) Server wide progression is something I'd love to see in some form. Your idea is great, but honestly I'd take any form as of now. Seeing how helpful we generally are, it just feels like the most fitting content, where we work towards the good of all.
For sure! V&H is always touted as being one of the best community MMOs, and I agree with that description. We need some more cooperative content to emphasize this though.

3) As you mentioned, the scope of this is way too big. It would basically require a new game, that's how big this overhaul is. We just keep the lore and the main quests. I don't see much chance for this, unless some big investors stand behind the Otters, but who knows, maybe slowly we can take steps towards this.
Yep it probably isn't in the cards but my hope is it gives them some ideas to consider for the future.

4) You add so much new ways to play, it's great. One caveat for me is the realm unlocked activities. Invasion/Siege/Stronghold feels very similar to me. Not to mention this much content would surely mean fragmenting us a lot. In a game with a huge playerbase this might work, but I don't think it would be that simple here. One possible solution to fragmenting is that if this kind of content is time gated. Siege every Monday, Stronghold every Tuesday etc..
I've looked back and I agree with this. I've removed Invasion and renamed Siege to Invasion since I liked that name better. Now there are only 4 Campaign zones. I might make other revisions later when I have more time to consider

5) When can we expect your own mmorpg? Seriously I want to be an alpha tester for you ;)
Haha I hope to one day, but it is a very risky venture so it will likely be very far down the road. I appreciate it!

I especially like your Heroic Crystal Quarry scheme. I love the idea of teams working together to solve puzzles and quest-like objectives to achieve something. It would be fun if the specific requirements varied from visit to visit (although obviously within the bounds of the zone you are in).
Cooperative puzzles are awesome! Glad you liked it :D

While many of the other ideas would require reworking the game from the ground up, I believe either of these ideas (as well as some of the others) could be implemented within the current game framework, adding to the options high level players have to keep going when they have maxed everything.
I agree, I think some of the ideas would be possible without too much legwork. For example the Raids are actually quite similar to the Dungeons in structure except they don't have a timer and are instanced. The developers have stated they have plans to introduce instancing down the road too!

You have a creative mind Skaavveek, plus a tendency to extraordinarily long posts!
Guilty as charged :p

Impressive! this would be a tremendous undertaking but one well worth the effort.
Thanks very much for reading and the feedback!:D
 
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Tiffa, CyberElf
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Android, PC
Quick Disclaimer: I understand that the suggestions in this thread would require a massive overhaul and are well beyond the scope of a regular expansion. The point of this post is as a means to generate discussion, provide inspiration for related or entirely new ideas and point out several systems which I believe to be holding the game back. It is also made just for fun, since I enjoy writing these larger posts. Enjoy the read, and I'd love to hear feedback!

Villagers & Heroes is packed with content. Over 90 zones to explore alongside of powerful Elder bosses and challenging Dungeons. Players have plenty of activities to keep them busy, but there are some drawbacks to the current progression model and zone layout. This thread will go over some ideas I believe would improve upon the current structure.

This suggestion thread will focus on the following topics:
  1. Removal of the bounty grind and restructuring of the progression system
  2. Transforming V&H's segmented zone structure into a seamless open world
  3. Implementation of side content, dynamic activities and interesting encounters within the open world
Progression

Progression makes up the majority of any MMO. Players defeat enemies and complete quests in order to earn experience and level up. This allows them to equip better gear, which in turn enables them to enter higher level areas. Rinse and repeat, we all know the story.

Progression is a very intricate balancing act though, and well worth discussing. If players level too quickly they will find themselves out of content. This drought will lead them to search for entertainment elsewhere. On the other hand, if players feel like they're advancing as slow as molasses they will burn out. Grinding the same areas repeatedly can easily result in this. Players like seeing a steady pace of progress. They want to feel as if they're getting somewhere with all of the time and effort they put in. In games this usually translates to milestones. For example: New regions open up, a brand new quest-line begins or advanced mechanics are introduced. This rewards players for their work, and motivates them to trudge onward towards their next goal.

For MMOs it is important to control the rate of progression, to ensure that the available content lasts players a sufficient amount of time as new areas are being developed. This usually comes in the form of bottlenecks. We've seen some examples already, such as medallions, keys, daily quests or just a hard level requirement. While these methods do achieve their goal of slowing down the pacing, it can also lead to the side effect discussed above - excessive grinding and burn out. Players simply do not like to spend too much time in a single area. V&H has used various progression systems all throughout its realms, from medallions, required quest-lines, daily tasks and even nothing at all. This is very confusing for players, and really needs to be streamlined. Consistency is key for large scale systems such as these.

Replayability is another vital factor to consider. In most MMOs, including V&H, as soon as a player has out-leveled a zone, there is little to no reason to return there. At any given point in time players only have around 5 levels worth of content to explore. In some cases this may only equate to 2 or 3 zones. This is a waste of development, as people race through zones and quests in days when it could've taken weeks to create.

Now in order to build up a decent progression system, we must first tear the old version down. From this point onward, I want you to do me a favor. Forget the bounty system even exists. The following ideas do not fit within the limited scope of the bounty system. That is why it will be entirely gutted and replaced. The bounty system is a mechanic that has been around since the game's inception. We've all taken its existence for granted and it has flown under the radar when it comes to overhauls. We've never really considered how large of a contribution it is to the game's player retention issue. Do people actually enjoy killing bounties every day? What's the point of well-crafted zones like Bearhold Valley or Rackabone's Peak when players only run them once or never at all?

The problem with bounties is that they are a very repetitive task. Enemies are not interesting enough to keep the system fresh for 90 levels of content. Some players can probably run bounties all day without ever losing interest, kudos to them. But the majority of people will find it very monotonous, especially when the same formula is used for each and every zone. You have 20 or so enemies scattered around the map. They have a little more health and damage than regular foes. Kill them for XP and move on to the next. Rinse and repeat for 100 zones. It has had its time and place, but we truly need to phase it out if V&H is ever going to evolve. We need something new in its place. This brings us to the Open World.

Open World

Villagers and Heroes is full of vibrant and well-crafted zones. The more I think about it though, the more I've come to conclude that there is one key aspect that could truly change the entire atmosphere of the game. That is the introduction of an open world. Currently the game has a large quantity of individual areas to explore, but what we really need is an interconnected world. A seamless transition from one area to the next. Does anyone remember back when you could see Cronk Island from Dagmar and had to swim towards it before it loaded you into the zone? Imagine something of that scale but without the loading screen. It would feel like an actual world rather than just a series of zones we visit one at a time.

Here's an image from one of my favorite RPGs, the Witcher III:

View attachment 3299

The Witcher III had less than a handful of 'zones', but they were so large and packed full of content that it took hours upon hours to complete each one. I would like to see something like this for V&H. Imagine if a single 'zone' consisted of Elk Meadow, Addict's Ascent, Oak Valley, Cook Cavern, Traders Path and the Sewers of Ardent. Instead of entering a portal to go from Elk Meadow to Trader's Path you would just continue along the road without any sort of transition. Loading screens break the immersion and should only be used for entirely unrelated content. Players would no longer wonder why everything feels so empty because you would see others running around these expansive areas completing their own activities. While it may seem infeasible to create areas this large, I would beg to differ. Fungal Caverns is currently the largest zone in the game and is likely big enough to fit all of the above mentioned zones within its borders.

Now obviously the entire game cannot fit into a single open world. First we have to collect a list of Realms, then we segment these realms into an assortment of regions. Each of these regions would be a single map, essentially a collection of our existing 'zones'. "What we're right back where we started!" No… I'm not talking about regions the size of Lady's Lake. I'm talking about massive areas the dimensions of fungal caverns of basido or even greater. Then these regions will be interconnected via portals.

Here's an image of what the Realms would look like:
View attachment 3300
Once you click on a Realm, you would see all the regions within that Realm:
View attachment 3301
Once you've selected a region, you'll see the zone map. All of the areas below are within a single 'zone':
View attachment 3302

Here is an example breakdown of the different Realms and Regions and the different areas within that one zone:
  • Ardent (Realm)
    • Ethos Island (Region)
      • Cronk Island
      • Summer's Hollow
      • Dagmar Strand
      • Marigold Harbor
      • Gandymeade Grove
      • Briny Cavern
    • Burning Plains (Region)
      • Elk Meadow
      • Ardent City
      • Oak Valley
      • Cook Village
      • Trader's Path
      • Addict's Ascent
      • Sewers of Ardent
      • Lady's Lake
      • Memorial Pond
      • Moonglade
      • Bearhold Valley
    • Stormhold (Region)
      • Maiden
      • Shiverspine
      • Wizard Dorm & Lab
      • Badlands
      • Hogfish Mine
      • Crystal Quarry
      • Spider City
      • Rackabone's Peak
      • Rackabone's Cave
*Note that the italicized areas are all within a single Region or 'zone'. There is no loading screen when you traven from Badlands to Crystal Quarry for example.

Content

Now that we've gone over the open world system, what type of content will players pursue with the removal of bounties? Below is a list of the 5 content pillars in this new model:
  • Main Quest-line
  • Region Tasks
  • Raids
  • Campaigns
  • Heroics
We'll go through them in detail one by one:

Main Quest-line: The main quest-line is already an entertaining adventure through various lands. There isn't much that needs to be changed besides a few minor details. First, the purpose of the main quest will be two-fold: As a resource for experience and as a means to unlock content. Players will begin in the starter region and as they follow the main-quest they will unlock additional regions and eventually earn access to new Realms. This will continue until all of the available Realms and Regions have been unlocked and the quest ends. The main quest acts as a perfect mechanism for opening up access to new regions. Next, Elders will be removed from the main quest objectives. They will be the new Raid bosses.

Region Tasks: Before we go into the tasks, let's take a quick detour and discuss another important aspect of Regions. Each Region will contain a Hub. Hubs are monster free areas that are equipped with amenities such as vaults, crafting stations, village portals, and gathering nodes. They are sprawling havens where players congregate, engage in commerce and coordinate runs. These Hubs are relatively small areas within each Region. Imagine Summer's Hollow within Fungal Caverns of Basido for a sense of scale.

Each Realm also has a native species (like the Mara) and these species have faction vendors who reside within every hub. They will sell powerful boosts, appearance packs, house styles, gear, exclusive recipes and more. Each Realm has its own unique currency which can be spent on these vendors. This currency is earned by participating in Raids and Campaign Zones. Now that we've gone over the hubs, it is time to focus on the actual content within the regions.

It's important for these regions to be densely populated with activities. These are not zones which can be completed within 20 minutes before you never look at it again. These regions have enough content to keep players occupied for quite a while, and reasons to return even after they've discovered everything. This is also why all regions within this model will be scaled. Now I know that many of you are probably groaning at that idea, but hear me out. I understand that the drawback of scaling content is that players no longer feel any sense of growth when everything remains at a static difficulty. That is perfectly understandable, and there is a system in place to counteract that issue which will be explored later on. The reason I have chosen to scale regions is so that players never truly 'outgrow' content. If you love the Traven region you can continue to work on activities there even as your combat level increases. This addresses the issue I mentioned at the start of the thread, where players only run an area once or twice before forgetting it exists. There will also be reasons for players to return to older regions!

Friendly reminder! When I talk about a region please don't envision something like crystal spire or maiden. Those zones have been designed with the bounty system in mind. We're not taking that approach. Instead, think of Lady's Lake, Memorial Pond, Vinton, Bearhold Valley, Bearhold Crypt, Forgotten Reservoir and Mounds - But ALL encompassed within a SINGLE zone. Large open world areas full of activities rather than small zones. Refer to the image above to get a better understanding of what I mean.

"Wow it would be such a chore to run bounties through a zone that big!" Don't think about bounties! We're not doing bounty killing. We're going on an entirely different track. Exploration and dynamic events. This is going to be the true meat of V&H, and it will invest people into the world itself. Immersion, discovery and above all else - adventure. I want this game to have a feeling of adventure for people. Going on a fantastic mystical journey full of engaging battles, hidden treasures and rare resources.

OK, so without bounties to kill, how will players earn XP? Of course we still have the main quest-line which will now wind its way through each of these regions, but that's definitely not enough to supplement the loss of bounties. First of all, we need a diverse set of activities to prevent boredom. Second of all, we need reasons for players to invest more time within reach region and incentives to return to old regions as well.

Each region will have the following activities:
  • Repeatable Tasks
    • Contracts
    • Requisitions
    • Caravans
    • Monster Dens
    • Outposts
    • Challenges
  • Collectables
    • Landmarks
    • Zogs
    • Mythic Beasts
    • Shards
  • Campaigns
    • Labyrinth
    • Stronghold
    • Invasion
    • Tower
Each region has its own assortment of repeatable tasks which are marked on the map. These are simple activities which will increase the player's Faction Rating. As the player helps the natives of each region by doing these tasks their faction rating will rise, unlocking perks which apply to the region. The important point is that these repeatable tasks have a vital purpose in the overall progression scheme. Without a high enough faction rating, players will be unable to access many of the higher quality vendor items.

The following is the faction rating breakdown for each region:
  • Stranger - 0 Faction Rating
    • Access to the Region
  • Acquaintance - 5 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the first Raid
    • Unlocks Campaign Quest
    • +1 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +1 level higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1
    • Map Activities Marked
    • Unlocks access to Tier 1 Merchant goods
  • 2 - Supporter - 15 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the second Raid
    • +2 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +2 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.25
    • Resource Nodes Marked
    • Unlocks access to Tier 2 Merchant goods
  • 3 - Ally - 30 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks the third Raid
    • +3 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +3 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.5
    • +20% Resource Gathering speed
    • Unlocks access to Tier 3 Merchant goods
  • 4 - Trusted - 50 Faction Rating
    • Unlocks Heroic Difficulty
    • +4 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +4 levels higher than the Region's enemies
    • Campaign multiplier set to 1.75
    • 0.5% chance to acquire 'rare' resources while gathering
    • +10% Loot Drops
    • Unlocks access to Tier 4 Merchant goods
  • 5 - Guardian - 100 Faction Rating
    • +Loot Rarity Chance
    • +5 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +5 levels higher than the Region's enemies, no enemy aggro
    • Campaign multiplier set to 2
    • +15% Movement speed
    • Unlocks access to Tier 5 Merchant goods
We'll go into the Campaign multiplier later. For wow let's get into these repeatable tasks themselves. These are on a global cooldown, resetting for everyone on the server at the same time. This is so it feels like a shared world rather than an individual one. The task locations are selected randomly from a pool, however, everyone will always share the same task - so that players can work together if they desire. These are all completely solo'able though. As players complete tasks they will earn XP and the tasks will be marked as completed on the map for that day.

Repeatable Tasks

Contracts: The shadow of the bounty system is still alive in the contracts task. I didn't want to get rid of them entirely but now they definitely only have a very minor role in progression. This is at it should be. Bounties should not be 85% of progression. Contracts will highlight 5 high profile enemies on the map for players to kill. These foes will usually be guarded by grunts so it's not a quick 5 minute hack and slash. Players will have to work their way to the bounties in order to slay them.

Requisition: Requisitions are projects which players can donate to. It is actually a server-wide project, but the task is for the player to donate a small quantity of items to it. (We'll get into the server-wide project itself later on). These projects will ask for a variety of items ranging from gathered and crafted materials, monster loot and collectable items from around the map. Players will have to explore the region to obtain these items and donate them to the project.

Caravans: Merchant caravans will need an escort through dangerous areas. Players can approach the marked caravan leader out in the wild and initiate the escort. Once begun, the player will no longer be able to ride their mount. If the player strays too far away from the caravan they will fail and will have to start over. The caravan will automatically travel from point A to point B. This is around a 10 to 15 minute trek at their pace. As they travel, monsters and bandits will spawn and attack the cargo. Players must defend the merchants and their goods from being destroyed. If the player fails, the caravan will despawn. Once the caravan reaches safety the escort concludes.

Monster Den: A dangerous beast has moved into the Region! It's up to the player to slay the beast for the safety of its citizens. This will be no easy task though. Monster dens are short wave based areas. Once a player enters the marked territory, enemy grunts will begin spawning. Additional waves of enemies will continue to spawn over time. After players have defeated three waves of enemies, then the beast they were tasked to slay will appear. This will be a tough fight. It is recommended to team up with at least one other individual but it should still be possible to solo if the player prepares beforehand.

Outpost: One of the friendly faction outposts have been overrun! It's the player's task to reclaim it. These outposts can be recaptured via stealth, or full on combat. Enemies will walk around in patrols and if the player is careful they can eliminate them without alerting the watchman. If the watchman is alerted he will sound the alarm and enemy reinforcements will spawn in. The goal of the player is to defeat all of the enemies and retake the base. Watch out for traps though! These will trigger effects such as additional troop spawns or player debuffs.

Challenges: These are optional objectives which are attached to the repeatable tasks. If players successfully complete a challenge, they will earn more points towards their faction rating. These challenges vary from task to task. For example, a Caravan challenge might be to escort the caravan without the cargo taking any damage. A contract challenge could be to defeat the marked enemies within a certain time-frame. An outpost challenge could be to retake the outpost without triggering the alarm. These are completely optional though but do add some variety and a way for players to progress through their ratings faster.

Collectables

Collectables will also be scattered throughout each Region. Unlike repeatable tasks, these are a one and done type deal. These are not required nor do they have any great benefits. They are mostly for the completionist type players. Collectables include the following:

Landmarks: Landmarks are basically the new travel pad. Once a player has visited a landmark within a region they will be able to fast travel to and from said landmark.

Zogs: Most regions have a few unique types of enemies. These enemies have a chance to drop Zogs when defeated. Once collected and redeemed at the Exotic Goods merchant, the player will unlock some lore text in their monster codex. These are mostly interesting background tidbits but in some cases it may even provide strategies on how to effectively beat or counter their abilities.

Mythic Beasts: The new 'Zingara', these Mythic Beasts are a lot more rare in comparison. There are 3 of these per region. Each has a chance to drop a rare fragment, and when combined with the other 2 fragments, they will produce an exclusive gear item or artifact.

Shards: Realm Shards are hidden items scattered around each Region. Players who find them can exchange them for Realm Currency at the exotic goods merchant.

So now we've gone over the open world and the various region activities. When you look at it all though, it may seem kind of lacking in comparison to the bounty system. Fear not though, because that's just a smidgen of content. We have much more in store. Let's move on to the next major form of combat progression: Raids

Raids

I was leading a group through Crystal Quarry the other day and I thought to myself: "You know, I actually really enjoy this linear type zone, with a colorful setting and interesting enemies. Too bad it's trivial for a group of 6 and will only last us a good 7 minutes." Don't get me wrong, I enjoy dungeons, but I feel they focus too much on time which makes it hard to appreciate the mechanics. Raids are the evolution of the current dungeon system, and best of all, they come in varying shapes and sizes - so yes, they can be solo'd as well.

So as we've covered above, as a player progresses through Realm tiers they will begin to unlock Raids. These Raids will provide not only decent XP and loot, but they also reward the currency which is used at the Realm's faction vendors. A Raid is a linear instanced zone. There's no way to design a complex puzzle-based zone if different groups of players are all running there simultaneously in different parts - so yes, instancing is necessary. Each Raid will have 3 stages. On lower difficulties if a player reaches a new stage they earn a checkpoint, so if they die in that instance they'll respawn at the checkpoint.

Each Stage has its own set of tasks that players must complete before they're able to advance to the next stage. These tasks are fairly straightforward. Kill X, Y, Z bosses, obtain drops from specific enemies, collect some hidden loot in the area and more. Raids will also involve some puzzle mechanics though, such as passwords that must be deciphered, hidden keys or levers, objects which must be destroyed etc. Once players make it to the end of the final stage, they face down a challenging boss and defeat it for victory. Players will earn loot, XP and currency for whichever Realm that raid resides in.

There are 3 Raid difficulties:

Exploration - Requires between 1 and 6 players
Expedition - Requires between 6 and 12 players
Heroic - Requires between 6 and 12 players

When a player unlocks a raid, they automatically have access to exploration level difficulty, which is the default. This is the easiest mode which can be solo'd. Players can also team up if they desire, and as the number of players increase from 1 to 6, enemies will automatically scale just as they do in the live dungeons. All else would remain the same though in terms of structure. It is important to note that exploration difficulty instances cap at 6 players. The reason that we have player caps is so Raids can be designed with an actual participation count in mind, and it doesn't need to worry about players overpowering the mechanics through sheer numbers. Overall, exploration mode is for solo players, and lower level PUGs who just want a bit of fun.

Expedition difficulty is designed to be done in groups. Players will have access to this difficulty right off the bat as well. Between 6 and 12 players can participate within a single instance. This mode will add new mechanics, such as chambers which must be captured, cooperative tasks like levers and splitting up, fewer checkpoints as well as more powerful bosses. Expedition difficulty dungeons will end with a full-fledged raid boss rather than a mini-boss like in exploration mode. Expedition difficulty will provide a larger quantity of XP, a higher quality loot table, a greater amount of realm currency, and a chance for the final boss to drop a rare artifact.

The final difficulty tier, Heroic, is only for those who have earned Trusted status in their realm's faction rating. This difficulty also requires between 6 and 12 players. Heroic difficulty will have the same mechanics as Expedition, but everything will be amped up to maximum challenge. More enemies per group, extremely punishing boss mechanics, no checkpoints and random zone modifiers such as lightning strikes, poison smog and more. Heroic difficulty is not for the faint of heart. Those who complete a raid on heroic difficulty will earn a greater quantity of XP, a higher quality loot table, a greater amount of realm currency, a higher chance for the final boss to drop a rare artifact and the addition of leaderboards. Leaderboards will keep track of the fastest time players have completed heroic modes, DPS outage, healing, threat output and more. This is to scratch the itch of competitive players.

That is an overview of Raids. They act as both solo and group content and serve as a replacement from the traditional bounty runs. They are more mechanic heavy, less grindy, and provide much greater rewards. I'm now going to provide a step by step example of a Raid:

Heroic Crystal Quarry

Heroic Crystal Quarry takes place in a complex mineshaft underground. Glistening crystals litter the caverns, from red to orange to blue. Since this is Heroic Difficulty, there are modifiers which increase the difficulty. Random rocks will plummet from the ceiling and drop on unaware players for example.

There is a team of 10 in this instance. Each team is split into 2 parties of 5.

Team 1 consists of: Earth Shaman, Holy Priest, Nature Hunter, Marksman Hunter, Fire Wizard
Team 2 consists of: Lightning Warrior, Water Shaman, Shadow Priest, Fury Warrior, Nature Hunter

Both teams are working together in the same instance. They are on Stage 1. Stage 1 requires that the teams complete a list of objectives before making their way to the gate that leads to Stage 2. They must:
  • Defeat 20 quarry elementals
  • Defeat 15 panicked miners and retrieve their material pouches
  • Locate and gather 50 stormhold crystals
  • Rescue the 3 mining troops who are scattered around stage 1
    • Involves a wave based encounter for each
  • Defeat the 4 quarry generals and loot their key fragments
    • Combine the 4 fragments into a single key
  • Defeat Vulker the Overseer by the Stage 2 gate
The teams split up to begin these tasks. Since they are all in the same instance, their kills will count for each other, even if they're in completely separate parts of the map. Once completed, they head over to Vulker and initiate the mini-boss fight. Vulker spawns in elementals and triggers earthquakes which causes rocks to plummet from the ceiling of the cavern. Players must be on their toes to avoid impact!

Once complete, the teams move into Stage 2. The path to Stage 3's doorway is blocked, so the teams must collect the necessary materials to clear out the wreckage. Their Raid quest will now update with a list of new tasks:
  • Find 10 dynamite packs from miner corpses
  • Locate and mine 100 blazing ore from the western cavern
    • These ores are guarded by a constant stream of spawning enemies, teams will have to protect those who are mining
  • Open the waterwell which will douse the flames engulfing the chamber where the Stage 3 entrance is
    • This requires the teams split up and pull 2 levers simultaneously at opposite ends
    • Enemies will spawn and protect the levers!
  • Locate and defeat Lira the Elementalist and retrieve her map
    • This map leads to the key for Stage 3
Once the teams have completed the first 3 tasks they should look for Lira the Elementalist. She moves locations every few minutes so teams should split up into smaller groups. Once found and engaged she begins her fight scripts. Lira is a fire based enemy who will spawn fire runes underneath players. These cause burning damage if the player doesn't move. Lira also heals by standing near the furnaces. Target and destroy the furnaces to prevent her from regaining health! Finally, Lira sends out an AoE fire ripple which will afflict any player it hits with 'panic'. This prevents them from using any abilities until the effect wears off. Players can jump over this ripple and avoid the effect with proper timing.

Upon defeat, Lira will drop a map. Players need to follow the clues to locate the key. Once found they move on to Stage 3.

Stage 3 is the final stage. It ends with the Raid boss, but first players have to reach the end! The team's tasks update yet again:
  • Recapture the Western Cave
  • Recapture the Eastern Cave
  • Summon Fire Lord
Players have to capture the caves at the same time, otherwise they will not have access to the other cave if they all decide to go to one. In order to capture a cave the teams must fend off waves of enemies while standing inside the designated borders. A capture meter will fill up over time until eventually they have reclaimed the territory. Once both caves have been retaken, the teams must summon the Fire Lord. This involves a puzzle where they have to light 5 bonfires in a specific sequence. If they do the wrong sequence then a pack of enemies will spawn in.

Eventually, they will get the correct sequence and the Fire Lord will spawn. This is a challenging boss who will set players on fire. If players are too close to each other they can set each other aflame. The boss must be lured to traps across the chamber in order to become temporarily incapacitated. When he is in this state he is vulnerable to damage. When he breaks out of the trap he will spawn fire demons, who will explode upon defeat, harming nearby players. Once the Fire Lord dies, the players will all earn a rare fragment. He also has a chance to grant each player a special artifact as well. Since the teams played on Heroic difficulty, they earn a lot of XP and Realm currency, and their names are now listed in the leaderboards.

That covers the basic idea of Raids. Let's move on to the next aspect of this new open world model - Campaigns.

Campaigns

So what happens once a player has achieved Guardian Status in a realm and collected everything there was to be collected in all of its regions? The player has effectively exhausted all of the Realm's content and we are back to square one where they have run out of things to do! That is where Campaigns come into play. These are dynamic, server-wide quests that will tie everything together and bring the world to life.

Each Realm has its own Campaign quest which players can participate in once their faction rating hits Acquaintance level. This is so players can begin to contribute relatively early on. These Campaigns are community quests, where the actions of those who participate will affect the outcome. All sorts of players, from adventurers, explorers, villagers and veterans will have an important role in this narrative.

Campaigns have 3 components:
  • Quest
  • Requisition Board
  • Raids
Quest: Each Realm has its own Campaign quest. These are separate from the game's main story quest-line, and they do not intertwine in any way. These quests will contribute to the overall Campaign, so it is valuable for players to do them. The quest structure is the same for every Realm, however the tasks will vary slightly. Essentially, each quest will ask the player with completing various regional tasks across the Realm. This could be destroying X monster dens, recapturing X outposts, protecting X caravans and so on. It doesn't matter which Region the player decides to do these activities in, it will all count towards the Realm's overall Campaign. Once the player has completed these objectives, they return to the faction quest-giver and are given 4 choices. The faction is ready to dedicate resources towards a particular Campaign zone. There are 4 of these Campaign zones for each Realm. The quest-giver asks you which path you believe the faction should focus on? You have the following options:
  • Exploration
  • Expansion
  • Security
  • Discovery
Each of these options are linked to a respective Campaign zone. When a player chooses one of these options, the faction will "donate" resources to that zone's Requisition tab. Essentially it will just add points to the bar like a village project. These Campaign quests will reset every week for each Realm, so all players can continue to do them. You may recall from earlier when we discussed the faction rating perks, there was a perk which read "Campaign multiplier set to X". When a player finishes this weekly quest and selects the path they wish to focus on, the points which the faction donates will be multiplied by the player's Campaign multiplier. This means that players with a higher faction rating will contribute more.

Requisition Board: The Requisition board is basically a server-wide project board located within each Realm. This is the heart of the Campaign system. Every Region's hub has a copy of the Realm's Requisition board. Players can donate materials to these boards similar to how village projects work. There are 4 tabs within the board, one for each of the paths (Exploration, Expansion, Security, Discovery). Remember, each of these paths is linked to a Campaign zone which we'll go over next. Each tab has a grid of materials that players can donate to. As players donate items to a particular tab, that path's project will earn points. The number of points will be multiplied based on the player's multiplier. Just like the Campaign quests, these boards will refresh every week. The points that have been filled throughout the week are dumped into their respective projects, and the board will now rotate to a new set of materials.

The materials that the board asks for vary based on rotation and Realm, but the general type of items are:
  • Monster Drops
  • Gathered Materials
  • Crafted Materials
  • Farming Produce
  • Ranching Produce
  • Raid Shards
The first 5 items are pretty straightforward. The board will ask for materials that are available in its particular Realm. So the Ardent board will not ask for drops which are only available from Greenhaven monsters for example. Raid Shards are special items which will drop from certain raids. Every week a few raids within each Realm are highlighted as "special". This means that enemies and bosses from that Raid will drop shards as loot which players can donate to the board. So players will want to farm these Raids specifically for that week. The point of this is so that no raids are abandoned. They all have their time to shine as the special raids will rotate weekly as well.

Alright so we've covered quite a lot but we still haven't gotten to the point of all this. Why bother doing the weekly quest or donating to the requisition board? What are the rewards?

This is the best part! As I mentioned earlier, each of the paths (Exploration, Expansion, Security, Discovery) is linked to a particular Campaign zone. As players donate materials to a specific path, or complete the quest and direct the faction to boost a particular path, it will add points into that path's project. As this project earns points from these 2 avenues, it will begin to fill up. Once a project is completed, then a persistent change will occur within the Realm. Then, that path's project will move on to the next tier. Think of how village projects work. You and your town donate materials to the board, and as the board earns points over the course of days / weeks, it will eventually max out. This will then earn the entire town a persistent effect, like a new crafting station or vault tab - and then the project will move on to the next tier. This is the same exact concept, just on a broader scale. Instead of individual towns, it is the entire server which can participate in each Realm's Campaign. These are no easy tasks, and it will likely take each server at least 2 -3 weeks to complete a single project tier. There are 4 different projects tabs for each Realm, each with 5 tiers, so plenty to keep players occupied. Once the 5th tier of a project has been completed, then a repeatable project like the Wellspring will allow players to continue to donate for extra perks. Now let's move on to the rewards
  • Exploration
    • Tier 1 - Exploration Squad - Unlocks the Labyrinth Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Labyrinth.
    • Tier 2 - Mining Crew - Unlocks the Labyrinth Left Wing
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 3 - Mining Legion - Unlocks the Labyrinth Right Wing
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 4 - The Drill - Unlocks the Labyrinth Core
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Tier 5 - Enhanced Drill - Unlocks the Labyrinth Dungeon
      • A new section of the Labyrinth opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Excavation Team - Unlocks Labyrinth modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Labyrinth
  • Expansion
    • Tier 1 - Patrols - Unlocks the Stronghold Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Stronghold
    • Tier 2 - Entrenchment - Unlocks the Stronghold Castle phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 3 - Assault Team - Unlocks the Stronghold Courtyard phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 4 - Reinforcements - Unlocks the Stronghold Inner Courtyard phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Tier 5 - Final Charge - Unlocks the Stronghold Throne-Room phase
      • A new section of the Stronghold opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Skirmish - Unlocks Stronghold modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Stronghold
  • Security
    • Tier 1 - Scouts - Unlocks the Invasion Zone
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Invasion
    • Tier 2 - Fortifications - Unlocks the Eastern barricade
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 3 - Tactical Retreat - Unlocks the Western courtyard
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 4 - Vantage Point - Unlocks the Central Tower
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Tier 5 - Last Stand - Unlocks the Hidden Sanctum
      • A new section of the Invasion map opens up
    • Repeatable Project - Regroup - Unlocks Invasion modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Invasion
  • Discovery
    • Tier 1 - Adventurers - Unlocks the 1st Tower Boss
      • A new zone opens up within the Realm. It is called the Tower
    • Tier 2 - Investigation - Unlocks the 2nd Tower Boss
      • The 2nd Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 3 - Equipment Upgrade- Unlocks the 3rd Tower Boss
      • The 3rd Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 4 - Magical Deduction - Unlocks the 4th Tower Boss
      • The 4th Tower boss is unlocked
    • Tier 5 - Conclusion - Unlocks the 5th Tower Boss
      • The 5th Tower boss is unlocked
    • Repeatable Project - Curiosity - Unlocks Tower modifiers
      • Special weekly modifiers within the Tower
Alright so let's go a bit more into detail. You'll notice that the first tier of every path opens up a new zone on completion. The portals for these zones are located within every hub of that Realm. As players continue to upgrade the project, that zone will unlock new areas or phases. Think of it like the village district projects we used to have. When the project is completed, a new district opens up. Same idea. Now I'll explain the mechanics of each of these zones. All of the following zones are scaled and instanced, and each of them has an available Heroic Difficulty for those who want the toughest group experience. Think of these zones as persistent event zones.

Labyrinth: The Labyrinth is a deadly place for brave adventurers seeking fortune! Designed similar to the Tomb, the Labyrinth has NO map. The goal of the Labyrinth is to locate rare treasures, defeat deadly foes, and escape with your prizes. Here is the kicker - if you die in the Labyrinth, you will lose everything you have acquired in that session. This means that not only will players have to explore, but be able to find their way back. This is a tension filled area, full of chests, traps and potentially dangerous enemies right around the corner. Locate chests for rare items and vanquish monsters for Realm currency. Different sections of the Labyrinth have their own difficulty. The entry, left and right wing are all solo'able areas. The core and dungeon sections, which are deeper within the zone, are much harder and will require groups. The potential for rewards will scale proportionally. Modifiers include different enemy types, zone-wide effects, loot table changes and more. Heroic Difficulty Labyrinth is entirely group-based, and has more mini bosses with special perks and attributes. Heroic Difficulty has a greater number of traps, which are more punishing, and also has greater rewards.

Stronghold: Stronghold is a scaled zone that represents an all out war / castle assault. The goal is for players to breach and capture the enemy's base. Players start outside of the fortress and have to unlock the next phases of the Stronghold via the requisition project. Players can complete each phase by capturing certain points, king of the hill style. Players must defeat enemies while standing within a certain area as it slowly transitions from enemy territory, to ally territory. Teams must also destroy enemy fortifications such as barricades, traps, catapults etc. by attacking them or destroying them via puzzles / animations. They do this for several phases, moving further within the Stronghold each phase where this process repeats against harder enemies. Eventually they will make it to the throne-room where they must slay the final boss. The first 2 phases are entirely solo'able whereas the final 3 require teams to complete. Heroic Difficulty is group-focused, has more capture points, harder bosses and a greater number of objectives to destroy.

Invasion: The goal of Siege is for players to defend a relic located at the heart of the zone from waves of enemies. Enemies will travel via multiple lanes that will lead to this relic and attempt to destroy it. (Think of a MOBA). Players need to set up fortifications by crafting, gathering and collecting items scattered throughout the zone and dumping them into pre-set project boards. Once the boards are filled, they will activate a fortification such as a trap or barricade to slow enemies down. Every few waves a boss will also appear, who is very challenging! Players can unlock new sections via the Requisition board which will open up new enemy pathways but also provide players with additional fortifications and vantage points. The first few waves are solo'able but things begin ramping up over time so players will have to fall back into their keep as the enemies begin taking over parts of the castle. Players will need a team if they wish to survive the entire assault because if the enemies destroy the relic, then the players lose. Heroic Difficulty increases enemy speed, difficulty and number. Player barricades will exhaust faster before needing to be replenished and zone-wide effects such as lightning strikes will make things even harder. Heroic Difficulty also has no respawns. So if a player dies, they are eliminated.

Tower: A Tower is series of bosses, each within its own chamber. Players start at the first boss, and upon its defeat, they are teleported to the 2nd. This continues for each boss that has been unlocked so far. (Total of 5). This process continues until either all of the bosses have been defeated, or the players have been wiped out. Each subsequent boss is also more challenging than the previous. The further players make it up the Tower, the more rewards they will earn. Heroic Difficulty will increase the difficulty of each boss, and players have no breaks in-between each conflict.

Endgame

I imagine that endgame would build off of the foundation of the systems explained above. The developers could work on new Realms or Regions, each with tasks, its own Campaigns and Raids. This formula would result in content for all types of players. Villagers would have new crafting recipes to acquire and resources to discover. Solo players could work on Campaign quests, Exploration Raids and Regional Tasks casually. Group players could enjoy Expedition Raids and Campaign zones. Hardcore players could pursue higher tier faction ratings so they could challenge themselves in Heroic Raids and Campaign zones. There is something for everyone to enjoy within each content drop. Not just high levels since everything is scaled.
While I like most of your ideas, you are changing the game a little to much for me, but I think it could be doable for the game. My suggestion would be to leave and integrate the elder bosses with in the zones and the quest. Also having a world currency (gold) and the regional currency being able to used with in the zones. Gold for common items and regional for region specific items.
 

Allison Wonderland

Priestess
Royal Guardian
Platform
PC
Rome wasn't built in a day. Important work takes time, one day at a time. Be patient my friends. Otters do read the forum and do play the game (incognito I understand on all servers). The do keep in touch with the timbre of the game. Perhaps they agree. perhaps not but we all wish them success with their endeavors. It would be a lonely reality world without imaginative virtual play.

But I could really get into a game that has so many different ways to play. Growing old (or older) with the game would make my day.
 

Neia

Warrior
Characters
Neia
Platform
PC
Wow, that's a biiig post! I will try to discuss some points. My apologies if some of you doesn't understand what I mean, I have problems to communicate.

About seamless world:
- Even if I'll like to have a seamless world, I think there's a limitation with the engine. You take as example the Fungal Cavern which is big, but there's only a few things to render there (a tower in the center, some 3d mushrooms, 4 colors of the same 2d mushrooms, ground, water and skydome). Maybe it can be done with the same trick they used in Summer's Hollow, but with that you need a narrow path between the 2 zones (to cut the view).
- Most of the maps have to be modified.
- How do you link the Crystal Spear to the Drom??? (I was always wondering how it work... you climb a mountain, jump in a hole in the middle of it, and find yourself at the bottom of a tower? What?)
- What happen when you have to take a boat (Marigold Harbor, Kingsport), how do you reach Maiden?

The labyrinth:
-I think of a zone with a random path, like portals sending your group to unknowns rooms. Else, someone can easily draw a map of this "uncharted" zone.
(Note 1: rooms don't have to be generated, it can be a dozen of rooms waiting somewhere in the map (like the Ladder, you don't see these rooms from the outside)
Note 2: To be able to return trough the same path, everyone in the group will receive a buff (when you start the mission/kill the first boss/go through the 1st portal) The game will randomly choose a path and save it inside this buff, which is a sort of key. As player you have no idea to where it lead. (I think it's the easiest way to bring big group through a random content))
Example:
Start → random zone → random zone → random zone ↓
↑ same zone ← same zone ← same zone ← Treasure
Or:
Start → random zone → random zone → random zone ↓
↑ random zone ← random zone ← random zone ← Treasure
 
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Arjuna

Grand Priest
Characters
Arjuna
Platform
Android
Great post, it's unfortunate that if these ideas are implemented it will be so far down the road that perhaps a newer better game will be introduced in the meantime.

I might be the only player that actually dislikes scaled content. I really do not enjoy seeing level 20 characters hanging toe-to-toe with level 90s. It feels cheap somehow.
 
Characters
Tiffa, CyberElf
Platform
Android, PC
Great post, it's unfortunate that if these ideas are implemented it will be so far down the road that perhaps a newer better game will be introduced in the meantime.

I might be the only player that actually dislikes scaled content. I really do not enjoy seeing level 20 characters hanging toe-to-toe with level 90s. It feels cheap somehow.
Your not the only one who dislikes Scaled Content as it is now, but I prefer to have higher level players scaled down to zone level it make the zones always a little difficult for the players. (level 90 player in a level 20 zone would temperaly loose their higher powers that they would not normally have at level 20 but still retain their reenforcement runes and their equipment power rating would be lowered by a proper amount precentage wise while in the zone (Upper end of zone level)
 
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Chiarale

Bog Frog
Royal Guardian
Characters
Chiarale
Platform
iOS, PC
I might be the only player that actually dislikes scaled content. I really do not enjoy seeing level 20 characters hanging toe-to-toe with level 90s. It feels cheap somehow.
How often do you see level 20s matching you? I would be surprised if you have more than a handful of such encounters. When you do, keep in mind that those low levels have to work pretty hard to be where they are - lots of crafting to get the specific runes they need, plus sockets probably - all that effort for gear that they will outgrow within a few hours.
 

Myst

Squirrel
Characters
Mystic Fox
Platform
PC
I dislike scaled content as suggested because I would ALWAYS be only one level above mobs. This idea presupposes that everyone loves combat but I for one loathe it. I am quite content to run zones 3 or 4 levels below my toon's level where I don't have to battle everything in sight.
 

Arjuna

Grand Priest
Characters
Arjuna
Platform
Android
How often do you see level 20s matching you?
They may not match, but they hang in there.

It's equivalent to having a white belt in karate fight next to Bruce Lee, against the kind of opponents Lee would fight, and yet hold their own. It's BS, it's a joke!
 

Adricade

Great Adventurer
Characters
Ralthobel, Ralther
Platform
Android, PC
I agree with you 100% but I am more concerned about the engine capabilities. The Labyrinth idea is something that I enjoyed. I discussed a similar idea in one of my videos and swapped the camera on top of my character imagining like you are in a maze of sorts and the reason why I did that is because I took note that the engine won't be able to handle something bigger. Something with higher proportions, much like your ideas above! I absolutely would love to see all this in the game but I doubt that we will ever see that and even if we do these are implementations that will take years and resources to develop.

The way you generated your ideas is amazing because in a sense it loops the progression of everyone and removes the drought for content. Players can easily wait for new expansion without jumping on a new title after they are done with the main storyline. But I can't shake the feeling that these ideas needs a bigger team otherwise they can take quite a lot of time to develop.

We can dream though... Fingers crossed we see that eventually! Great post!
 

Leizong

Legendary Hero
Platform
Android, PC
奥创战纪这款游戏,有一种同步的功能,将所有玩家的能力匹配为和目前地图等级相匹配,对任何人都适应,我觉得这是最容易实现的,很赞同你的所有想法,或许水獭可以参考,不会全做,因为耗费的财力和时间得不到想要的。
 

Chiarale

Bog Frog
Royal Guardian
Characters
Chiarale
Platform
iOS, PC
They may not match, but they hang in there.

It's equivalent to having a white belt in karate fight next to Bruce Lee, against the kind of opponents Lee would fight, and yet hold their own. It's BS, it's a joke!
If they’re crafting meticulously and socketing gear, they deserve to keep up with you in a scaled zone.
 

SKAAVVEEK

Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Characters
See Signature
Platform
PC
Last edited
My suggestion would be to leave and integrate the elder bosses with in the zones and the quest. Also having a world currency (gold) and the regional currency being able to used with in the zones. Gold for common items and regional for region specific items.
The Elder Bosses would essentially become the new Raid bosses so they are not wasted. They wouldn't be required for the main story quest any longer though. Gold will still be as useful as always, no worries about that. The Realm currency is only used specifically for the Realm faction vendor. Think about it like how medallions are used for specific keys.

Well written. One can dream.
Thank you!

Rome wasn't built in a day. Important work takes time, one day at a time. Be patient my friends. Otters do read the forum and do play the game (incognito I understand on all servers). The do keep in touch with the timbre of the game. Perhaps they agree. perhaps not but we all wish them success with their endeavors. It would be a lonely reality world without imaginative virtual play.

But I could really get into a game that has so many different ways to play. Growing old (or older) with the game would make my day.
Thanks, I agree :)

- How do you link the Crystal Spear to the Drom??? (I was always wondering how it work... you climb a mountain, jump in a hole in the middle of it, and find yourself at the bottom of a tower? What?)
- What happen when you have to take a boat (Marigold Harbor, Kingsport), how do you reach Maiden?
I imagine for places like Maiden / Kingsport there would be a quest NPC or a teleporter NPC who would send you to that part of the world. Areas like Drom are surely a challenge, but the majority of the zones are not like Drom.

The labyrinth:
-I think of a zone with a random path, like portals sending your group to unknowns rooms. Else, someone can easily draw a map of this "uncharted" zone.
(Note 1: rooms don't have to be generated, it can be a dozen of rooms waiting somewhere in the map (like the Ladder, you don't see these rooms from the outside)
Note 2: To be able to return trough the same path, everyone in the group will receive a buff (when you start the mission/kill the first boss/go through the 1st portal) The game will randomly choose a path and save it inside this buff, which is a sort of key. As player you have no idea to where it lead. (I think it's the easiest way to bring big group through a random content))
Example:
Start → random zone → random zone → random zone ↓
↑ same zone ← same zone ← same zone ← Treasure
Or:
Start → random zone → random zone → random zone ↓
↑ random zone ← random zone ← random zone ← Treasure
That's a great idea!

I might be the only player that actually dislikes scaled content. I really do not enjoy seeing level 20 characters hanging toe-to-toe with level 90s. It feels cheap somehow.
The benefits of scaled content outweigh any drawbacks in my opinion. Not only does it allow players a broader swath of content to pursue, but it also enables friends to play together regardless of level. Now, I don't think that level 20s should be on par with level 90s in these situations. There are remedies for that. Normally the gear system will attach new mechanics and systems over time. For example a level 50 may have access to gear sets, a level 75 would have special modifiers, and a level 90 would have some form of item leveling system which earns them perks. This ensures that higher levels still have a bit of an edge.

I dislike scaled content as suggested because I would ALWAYS be only one level above mobs. This idea presupposes that everyone loves combat but I for one loathe it. I am quite content to run zones 3 or 4 levels below my toon's level where I don't have to battle everything in sight.
Hmm I'm not sure where you read that you would always be only level above mobs? In fact I specifically mentioned a system which would allow players to grow up to 5 levels above their region's scaling so that they would not aggro the enemies. That is the faction rating system.
  • 5 - Guardian - 100 Faction Rating
    • +5 Level Scaling
      • The player is now +5 levels higher than the Region's enemies, no enemy aggro
This idea does revolve mostly around combat. I'm not sure it would be a good idea create a combat progression system which does not involve combat whatsoever. There are plenty of other activities sprinkled in though such as puzzles, collectables and smaller combat-based tasks which may be more to your flavor. If anything I believe this would require less combat to level up than the current bounty system while offering more options for different types of players. But ultimately, someone who loathes combat will have some difficulty in this genre.

I agree with you 100% but I am more concerned about the engine capabilities. The Labyrinth idea is something that I enjoyed. I discussed a similar idea in one of my videos and swapped the camera on top of my character imagining like you are in a maze of sorts and the reason why I did that is because I took note that the engine won't be able to handle something bigger. Something with higher proportions, much like your ideas above! I absolutely would love to see all this in the game but I doubt that we will ever see that and even if we do these are implementations that will take years and resources to develop.

The way you generated your ideas is amazing because in a sense it loops the progression of everyone and removes the drought for content. Players can easily wait for new expansion without jumping on a new title after they are done with the main storyline. But I can't shake the feeling that these ideas needs a bigger team otherwise they can take quite a lot of time to develop.

We can dream though... Fingers crossed we see that eventually! Great post!
Thanks very much for the feedback!
 
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