GnM is an online blog that chronicles my experiences through whatever it is that is catching my attention at the moment. Expect shifts between PC gaming news and commentary, to absolute nerding out about the new MG Exia Gundam kit. My brain is full of random esoteric crap, and I'll be spewing it out here. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Keep Upgrades and a PQ Proposal.

If you don’t check the Herald obsessively like I do, you might have missed some juicy news bits that Mythic has released over the past few days. Namely, first details on a Keep Upgrade system and while not on the Herald, Adam Gershowitz posted in the official forums regarding a planned change to the GTAoE spell system. These changes have potentially game-changing ramifications. Let’s start with the official word:
For the full release, here is the Herald link. 
One of the first new things will be the addition of a Guild Broker, who is the Upgrade Merchant. 
Here is the Upgrade window. As you can see, you can upgrade Keep Doors, spawn new NPC’s and access more amenities for your keep. the quick list and explanation is below:

 • Door Hit-Point Increase: Hit Points are upgraded 20% per upgrade Rank, up to 5 Ranks.
Door Repair Merchant: An NPC that sells door-repair wood.
Guard Numbers: More guards for your Keep by 2 guards per Rank, up to 5 Ranks.
Patrol Guards Upgrade: Upgrades all patrolling guards to Champion-level guards.
Static Guards Upgrade: Upgrades all stationary guards to Champion-level guards.
Standard Merchant: An NPC that sells guild standards.
Siege Weapon Merchant: An NPC that sells Siege Weapons.
Healer: An NPC that cures death penalties.
Banker: An NPC that allows players to access their Personal Vault.
Guild Vault Keeper: An NPC that allows players to access their Guild Vault.

Skimming through the list, you can already see some tasty upgrades. The Door HP upgrade is staggering; up to 100% more HP! Combined with some other upgrades, this alone can be a huge factor in a keep defense. The Guard upgrade is nice, but warbands tear down champs pretty quickly, so the effectiveness may be debatable. However, if a smaller wb tries to attack what appears to be an undefended keep, the Champion Guards would probably slow them down enough for defense to arrive. YMMV, of course, this is just theoryhammering.
Some of these new NPC’s seem a bit dubious, though. Adding a Healer NPC that cures death penalties sounds odd. To my knowledge, in a Keep siege, when someone is resurrected by a player they don’t suffer any death penalties as is, so having an NPC to do this sounds extraneous at best. Also, you can purchase Ritualist NPC’s that will heal or lifetap, to aid in ground-floor defenses. I’m also mildly confused as to having bankers in the keeps. It’s a convenience, sure, but using a guild recall scroll and running 10 seconds to the bank isn’t that much of an inconvenience. More interesting is the Guild Bind NPC, who allows guild members to re-spawn inside the keep. This would definitely help on the defensive side, especially if in the middle of battle your healers are too busy keeping tanks up to rez you. This would save you the run back through potentially hostile territory.
While the bulk of the upgrades seem to be geared towards the defense, Mythic is also adding a resource called Ordinance that can be used by the offense. This resource is collected and traded in for items including:
  • Rams that have double the Hit-points of standard Rams.
  • Ballista that do twice the amount of standard Ballista damage.
  • Self-only Oil Immunity potions that last 30, 60, or 90 seconds.
  • Caltrops which place a small PBAoE Snare/DoT field on the ground.
  • Dynamite that is a direct-target DD plus a knockback, which can be used against players or siege weapons (deals double damage versus siege weapons).
Some nice stuff there, I especially like the Caltrops, which I would use to catch stragglers sneaking into the defense through the postern doors. Quite often, unless you have a large group camping the posterns, it’s hard to kill someone before they can make the sprint to safety, unless you outnumber them 5-1 and can insta-gib them on sight. As a melee class, I really like the potential of this.
So far, the new content seems skewed towards defense, which arguably is already in the superior situation. Many players argue that trying to take a well-defended keep is an exercise in futility, that it only feeds the defenders free renown. I hope that we will see more news down the road that will make things slightly better for the offense. An idea I read was to implement a “tunneling PQ” for the offense. This would actually be great if implemented properly. Here’s how I see it:
   • At designated locations on the outer wall, there will be an damaged or broken Dwarf/Greenskin earthmover. Which is surrounded, either by large groups of defending mobs, or smaller groups with Champion defenders. The offense is tasked with acquiring Ordinance and using it on the broken machine, while fending off the mobs, who respawn at a regular rate.
  • The machine has to be receive a certain amount of Ordinance in a certain time limit, or else the PQ resets. The goal is to keep the mobs busy while others gather the resource and use it to “repair” the machine. Once fully repaired, the machine will tunnel for 10 seconds and when finished, the mobs despawn and there will be a clickable tunnel or cave graphic. Players can then click on the tunnel and spawn on the other side of the wall, similar to using a postern door. 
The advantage of this design is that Mythic doesn’t have to redesign terrain or anything like that. They just add the broken siege engine, spawn in some mobs, and code the PQ. Afterwards, you can have a basic cave graphic to click on. Failing that, just spawn a clickable pile of rocks and earth in place of the siege engine and on the opposite side of the wall and there you have it!
I think I’m going to write up a separate article on the AoE changes, as this is in danger of being a bit too long. In any case, what do you think about the upcoming changes?

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