What challenges should guild alliances face?


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    Alliances will exist in Fractured and apparently feature in-game UI options.

    Nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, but I wonder what challenges and obstacles the devs will put in place for guild alliances?

    In Albion Online, alliances are a major political component... but often chilled content. Mega-alliances dominate the land and there's no disadvantage associated with them.

    For example, alliances in AO lack friendly fire, so invasion day battles often become giant zerg fests for territory, since there's no challenge or difficulty in just throwing bodies at the enemy and spamming AOE attacks.

    Additionally, though AO advertises itself as a hardcore game of subterfuge and diplomacy, there's no effective way to betray alliances - no Red Wedding style assassinations can occur, since in order to pull it off you'd have to drop out of the alliance UI in the first place and telegraph your attack.

    This is, of course, an ongoing chain of thought from my other thread about guilds. I ardently believe Fractured should avoid AO's many, many pitfalls when it comes to guilds and alliances.

    So what obstacles/challenges should alliances be forced to face in Fractured?


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Alexian

    Logistics! 🙂 One thing Albion does do is force alliances to pick a realmgate to access the black zone, while also making certain areas more valuable than others. They also seem to be trying to make alts less effective at circumventing that restriction, by making more GvGs for territory take place at the same time.

    The effect seems to be that the top alliances compete for the best areas, leaving room for up and coming alliances to compete for the less valuable regions.

    "Room" is relative, of course; I think Fractured will have a lot more of it, and I'm hoping the logistics of covering that much space will make it difficult to project power.

    Incidentally, the way to betray an alliance in Albion is simply to feed an enemy information: locations and targets of zergs, for instance. That's why alliances won't reveal a zerg target to the zerg until you hit the realmgate (opsec!), and "spy questions" in discord are routinely laughed at. 🙂


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Roccandil said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    @Alexian

    Logistics! 🙂 One thing Albion does do is force alliances to pick a realmgate to access the black zone, while also making certain areas more valuable than others. They also seem to be trying to make alts less effective at circumventing that restriction, by making more GvGs for territory take place at the same time.

    AO's attempts to offer smaller alliances opportunity to rise through the ranks have been... honestly, quite lackluster. During my last run, which was April - June 2019, my guild was part of TBI, a newer alliance sponsored by SUN. We did extremely well... but mostly because of a hired mercenary GvG team. Once they left, we lost all 34 territories in the span of a week or two and the whole thing more or less unraveled.

    The effect seems to be that the top alliances compete for the best areas, leaving room for up and coming alliances to compete for the less valuable regions.

    The realmgate addition has certainly helped, but not very much. It's been my experience that it was a case of too little, too late. Outside of repelling mage raids for siphoned energy and showing up during territory reset, there's little maintenance involved in holding territory, so alliances are free to sweep the countryside with little to stop them. And in many case, many of the major alliances have nonaggression pacts so they don't have to try to compete with one another.

    "Room" is relative, of course; I think Fractured will have a lot more of it, and I'm hoping the logistics of covering that much space will make it difficult to project power.

    Yes, that's my hope as well! That logistics, maintenance, and geography will be far more daunting challenges in Fractured than AO.

    Incidentally, the way to betray an alliance in Albion is simply to feed an enemy information: locations and targets of zergs, for instance. That's why alliances won't reveal a zerg target to the zerg until you hit the realmgate (opsec!), and "spy questions" in discord are routinely laughed at. 🙂

    Sure, but that's a single and highly limited means of undermining enemy alliances.

    When there's relatively little effort and energy required to maintain an alliance and keep alliance territory, when game mechanics and UI protect alliance zergs from friendly fire and thus you can afford to spam AoE attacks against your enemy with impunity, and attempts to spy and undermine alliances from within are fairly ineffective... you risk chilling the game IMO.

    That's what AO's done, to the point that they've had to add increasing checks against alliances: realmgates, alt restrictions, planned hideouts in the BZ for smaller guilds to seize because taking territory is nigh-impossible for all but the biggest guilds and alliances, etc. And even then, it's not had a strong effect as far as I know to upset the boring status quo.

    Hopefully Fracture's alliance system has very little in common with AO's, because theirs is a bad one. 🙂


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Alexian said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    @Roccandil said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    @Alexian

    Logistics! 🙂 One thing Albion does do is force alliances to pick a realmgate to access the black zone, while also making certain areas more valuable than others. They also seem to be trying to make alts less effective at circumventing that restriction, by making more GvGs for territory take place at the same time.

    AO's attempts to offer smaller alliances opportunity to rise through the ranks have been... honestly, quite lackluster. During my last run, which was April - June 2019, my guild was part of TBI, a newer alliance sponsored by SUN. We did extremely well... but mostly because of a hired mercenary GvG team. Once they left, we lost all 34 territories in the span of a week or two and the whole thing more or less unraveled.

    Ya, I was part of TBI when that happened. 🙂 Highlights how important GvG teams are versus zergs! A huge zerg won't do you any good unless you have a GvG team to back it up.

    The effect seems to be that the top alliances compete for the best areas, leaving room for up and coming alliances to compete for the less valuable regions.

    The realmgate addition has certainly helped, but not very much. It's been my experience that it was a case of too little, too late. Outside of repelling mage raids for siphoned energy and showing up during territory reset, there's little maintenance involved in holding territory, so alliances are free to sweep the countryside with little to stop them. And in many case, many of the major alliances have nonaggression pacts so they don't have to try to compete with one another.

    Hmm. That hasn't been experience since TBI, but my current alliance is in the newer area, and competition seems to be good there. (By good, I mean at least it exists between two alliances!)

    "Room" is relative, of course; I think Fractured will have a lot more of it, and I'm hoping the logistics of covering that much space will make it difficult to project power.

    Yes, that's my hope as well! That logistics, maintenance, and geography will be far more daunting challenges in Fractured than AO.

    Incidentally, the way to betray an alliance in Albion is simply to feed an enemy information: locations and targets of zergs, for instance. That's why alliances won't reveal a zerg target to the zerg until you hit the realmgate (opsec!), and "spy questions" in discord are routinely laughed at. 🙂

    Sure, but that's a single and highly limited means of undermining enemy alliances.

    When there's relatively little effort and energy required to maintain an alliance and keep alliance territory, when game mechanics and UI protect alliance zergs from friendly fire and thus you can afford to spam AoE attacks against your enemy with impunity, and attempts to spy and undermine alliances from within are fairly ineffective... you risk chilling the game IMO.

    Both sides, however, benefit from lack of friendly fire. Any shotcaller who thinks a zerg is simply throwing people at the enemy will be defeated quickly. 🙂 I can see a cadence and order to a well-called zerg battle, and I'm new to it.

    Also, enabling friendly fire enables a mass of griefing and exploitation that I think would be more costly than keeping it disabled. I don't like the idea of friendly fire.

    That's what AO's done, to the point that they've had to add increasing checks against alliances: realmgates, alt restrictions, planned hideouts in the BZ for smaller guilds to seize because taking territory is nigh-impossible for all but the biggest guilds and alliances, etc. And even then, it's not had a strong effect as far as I know to upset the boring status quo.

    Hideouts haven't been implemented yet, nor has the black zone rework. Also, in some cases, the changes are new enough that I think the effects haven't fully filtered into the meta.

    Hopefully Fracture's alliance system has very little in common with AO's, because theirs is a bad one. 🙂

    If I see a problem with the alliance system in AO, it's that it's unlimited without cost. On the other hand, that -does- allow newer guilds to get into alliances and experience the endgame content.

    If alliance expansion were costly, the big alliances would be much less likely to accept newer guilds and players, and the power gap might well be even bigger.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Roccandil said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    Ya, I was part of TBI when that happened. 🙂 Highlights how important GvG teams are versus zergs! A huge zerg won't do you any good unless you have a GvG team to back it up.

    Yes, but that's because each has two separate functions. GvG battles, should you actually make it to the war camp without dying at the hands of the defending zerg to issue a declaration in the first place, are decided by a 5v5 battle. Zergs can't serve that purpose.

    Hmm. That hasn't been experience since TBI, but my current alliance is in the newer area, and competition seems to be good there. (By good, I mean at least it exists between two alliances!)

    Do you mean your current alliance is in the expanded outlands? If so, that's actually a point in my favor: SBI had to expand territory precisely, in part, because the old territory was locked up with immovable alliances.

    If Fracture's alliance system is set up such that DynaMight has to double Syndesia's continents from 4 to 8 because it's impossible to challenge or root out current alliances, I'd argue that that system is deeply, deeply flawed.

    Both sides, however, benefit from lack of friendly fire. Any shotcaller who thinks a zerg is simply throwing people at the enemy will be defeated quickly. 🙂 I can see a cadence and order to a well-called zerg battle, and I'm new to it.

    Also, enabling friendly fire enables a mass of griefing and exploitation that I think would be more costly than keeping it disabled. I don't like the idea of friendly fire.

    Some zerg battles in AO are more organized than others and some shot-callers are more competent than others, that's true. The last TBI zerg battle I was involved with, which was commanded by a guy from FRICKS, was an exceptionally well executed zerg. And for the most part, we steamrolled through the enemy zerg in large part due to greater numbers.

    Hideouts haven't been implemented yet, nor has the black zone rework. Also, in some cases, the changes are new enough that I think the effects haven't fully filtered into the meta.

    And it's possible that when hideouts are fully implemented, the alliance system will be sufficiently reworked such that many of my concerns are no longer valid. But I suppose my point is that the fact that SBI have implemented or are planning on implementing so many changes is proof that the system they had is extremely flawed.

    If I see a problem with the alliance system in AO, it's that it's unlimited without cost. On the other hand, that -does- allow newer guilds to get into alliances and experience the endgame content.

    If alliance expansion were costly, the big alliances would be much less likely to accept newer guilds and players, and the power gap might well be even bigger.

    One of the things that drew me to Fractured is the fact that it distinguishes conquest from governance. It's one of the few games to actually make a point of that. Building and keeping a town, for example, will require a number of highly involved bureaucratic tasks that require hands-on management from the towns' Governors. That's brilliant because it should hopefully make an ambitious leader think twice before taking on a second town that they will then have to build, upgrade, defend, and manage.

    Conquering and maintaining territories in AO for large guilds and alliances is relatively very easy. Should that type of system be implemented in Fractured, I'd argue it would be a betrayal of the entire premise. As is the case in the real world, empires and mega-alliances are uniquely powerful... but they also face unique challenges. It's generally far more difficult to govern a city than it is to govern a town. Problems scale. That should also be the case in Fractured and it really isn't in AO. 🙂


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    challenges... like another alliance wanting your property and waging war over it!?

    i'm not sure the Beastkin planet will have that but I assume it may have it.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Alexian said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    Alliances will exist in Fractured and apparently feature in-game UI options.

    Nothing necessarily wrong with that, of course, but I wonder what challenges and obstacles the devs will put in place for guild alliances?

    I'll disagree here with one exception: I think it is fine for the UI to list whomever you have written into your Alliance. For a truly hardcore game, however, that should mean about diddly squat when it comes to invisible advantages/forced mechanics.

    For example, alliances in AO lack friendly fire, so invasion day battles often become giant zerg fests for territory, since there's no challenge or difficulty in just throwing bodies at the enemy and spamming AOE attacks.

    This is why magic doesn't necessarily lend itself very well to hardcore games, and why skills and abilities that are TOO high fantasy become boring in them.

    Additionally, though AO advertises itself as a hardcore game of subterfuge and diplomacy, there's no effective way to betray alliances - no Red Wedding style assassinations can occur, since in order to pull it off you'd have to drop out of the alliance UI in the first place and telegraph your attack.

    I agree here. Alliances should be in name only. I should be able to show up to the battlefield, yawn as you charge, then walk through your flank like a knife through butter. The political consequences of alliances should be left to the player, and the in game consequences, in this case, should be created by the players not left to mechanics that force a certain mechanic into the game.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Alexian

    Looks like owning territory requires town claims. Since town houses count as claims (and each account only gets one per planet), guilds may have a hard time claiming free house plots outside town territories, since they'll need to focus on the towns.

    Controlling the territory is another thing entirely: I rather expect small claims next to a major guild city to be subject to the guild's wishes (except on Arboreus), since they'll be able to send out squads to harass claim owners.

    Also, I don't expect towns to change ownership easily in Fractured, unlike Albion.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    We heard speculations about friendly fire being included. Perhaps members of the same guild will be immune to friendly fire, but members of alliance will not, so 2 (or more) different guilds playing together will have to coordinate their attack well to not shoot on each other.

    The only concern is good aligned folks being immune to friendly fire all together, gaining huge advantage over evil aligned characters.

    I myself (if friendly fire is included) would turn it on, on Syndesia and Tartaros for EVERYONE, including good aligned folks, and on Arboreus it could be turned off for everyone, including evil aligned folks.

    This way alignment balance could be achieved, and Arboreus can be preserved as a "PvE planet".

    Also zergs on Syndesia and Arboreus could have hard time due to friendly fire, regardless of which alignment is zerging.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Gothix said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    We heard speculations about friendly fire being included. Perhaps members of the same guild will be immune to friendly fire, but members of alliance will not, so 2 (or more) different guilds playing together will have to coordinate their attack well to not shoot on each other.

    The only concern is good aligned folks being immune to friendly fire all together, gaining huge advantage over evil aligned characters.

    I myself (if friendly fire is included) would turn it on, on Syndesia and Tartaros for EVERYONE, including good aligned folks, and on Arboreus it could be turned off for everyone, including evil aligned folks.

    This way alignment balance could be achieved, and Arboreus can be preserved as a "PvE planet".

    Also zergs on Syndesia and Arboreus could have hard time due to friendly fire, regardless of which alignment is zerging.

    I agree with your sentiment and would go on to say zergs SHOULD have a hard time because it SHOULD have them think about how they should utilize their numbers and terrain, rather than following one guy in a charge and dropping aoe bombs everywhere. I'm all for Alliances having to position, skirmish, and only all out brawl when absolutely necessary.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Bardikens

    Enabling friendly fire on Tartaros makes sense, since it's supposed to be the free-for-all planet, but due to the griefing possibilities it represents, I'd be much more leery of enabling it on Syndesia.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    Actually, what if friendly fire were up to the players? That is, you could have AoE stances: wild versus controlled. Wild AoE would do more damage, but damage everything, whereas controlled would do less damage, but only damage enemies.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Roccandil said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    Enabling friendly fire on Tartaros makes sense, since it's supposed to be the free-for-all planet, but due to the griefing possibilities it represents, I'd be much more leery of enabling it on Syndesia.

    Which griefing possibilities are you referring to here? If someone is just sitting back and attacking your men over and over, he's either not trained, in which case you train him, or he's sabotaging, and you deal with him or his guild as necessary. The punishment for sabotaging is to remove someone from your alliance and thus not have to worry about thinking they are your friend anymore.

    There is a difference between sabotaging and griefing.

    A better example of griefing would be someone camping new player areas and just murdering them over and over again until they quit, or in the case of unfettered building, someone building a wall of something to trap players.

    Of course, there will always be some trolls who live only to make people's lives miserable, but in these types of games, their names should be noted, blacklisted, and they shouldn't surprise anyone at that point (at least that's what we used to do).

    Actually, what if friendly fire were up to the players? That is, you could have AoE stances: wild versus controlled. Wild AoE would do more damage, but damage everything, whereas controlled would do less damage, but only damage enemies.

    Please note that I'm talking intra-alliance here. I'm perfectly willing to let guilds be immune to other guildies. I just don't think that alliances should be anything more than what the members inside make them with the exception of client-state and vassals, whom I think should be able to be charged taxes systematically.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Bardikens

    AoE griefing is a kind of double bind:

    1. If there is no penalty for hitting friendlies with AoE damage, you can deliberately kill/damage otherwise protected players without penalty.

    2. If there is a penalty, you can stack penalties on innocent players by deliberately entering their AoEs to take damage.

    I also suspect that any serious penalty effects would be bypassable by creating temporary griefing alts (and that may be especially easy in Fractured).


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    Having said all that, I'm against friendly fire, and I think it's a superficial solution to a deeper issue.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Roccandil said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    @Bardikens

    AoE griefing is a kind of double bind:

    1. If there is no penalty for hitting friendlies with AoE damage, you can deliberately kill/damage otherwise protected players without penalty.

    Making a war declaration could perhaps make both guilds aggressive parties while the declaration is active, making no one take penalties when fighting an opposing guild. Alliances could trigger options to bring in allies to war depending on the type of alliance they have, whether they are vassals or equals in said alliance.

    1. If there is a penalty, you can stack penalties on innocent players by deliberately entering their AoEs to take damage.

    This could be avoided by the above. There are no karmic penalties to attacking aggressive players. Bystanders trying to cash in would also have an equal opportunity and why not? They would be aggressive too, and it would lead to some interesting battles. You wouldn't be able to hit guild members, so I see no problem with this.

    Admittedly, the difficulty lies in how you make bystanders become aggressive, whether it be distance to a battle or participation in a battle (both have their advantages and disadvantages). The outcome should be that there should truly be no innocents harmed, or if there were, they were marked aggressive long before they every saw the battle.

    I also suspect that any serious penalty effects would be bypassable by creating temporary griefing alts (and that may be especially easy in Fractured).

    Alts are a strong problem in hardcore games and should be HEAVILY discouraged. I agree there is the potential for some exploitation, but hopefully through the processes mentioned above it would be minimized.

    Having said all that, I'm against friendly fire, and I think it's a superficial solution to a deeper issue.

    I think you raise some good points, but without friendly fire what's to stop these battles from just becoming Albion Online battles?
    Albion Online's version of fighting with an Alliance is a good example of the wrong way to go about doing it. While it is choreographed to some extent and positioning is still important, it will, in 99% of the cases, almost always be the vastly larger alliance that wins the battle and the actual fight is a 15fps mishmash of nonsense due to the screen full of AoEs splashing everywhere. At least with friendly fire, there would be a way to either minimize the number of people participating in a particular battle, or AoEs would not be thrown around nonchalantly without thought to how or when to use them without hurting people.

    I think friendly fire is the only choice in sandbox hardcore games. The deeper problem lies with the fact that AoE exists in the game outside of siege weapons. This is the fault of magic and skills that are often put into these games for the cool factor, but also trap developers into situations where making decisions like these are difficult.

    Ultimately, there are a million games out there that already utilize that sort of thing. I think it would be in poor taste to see the exact same type of battle copied and pasted here without at least considering the alternative.

    -Note that I'm just engaging in a friendly debate here and ultimately our discussions are healthy and bring perspective to the developers, so please don't think I'm attacking your opinion or anything. I just happen to be on the more hardcore side of the debate with these things.-


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Bardikens said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    Alts are a strong problem in hardcore games and should be HEAVILY discouraged. I agree there is the potential for some exploitation, but hopefully through the processes mentioned above it would be minimized.

    From what I've heard so far, Fractured encourages alternate toons:

    1. With the right starter pack, I believe you can have up to nine on a single account
    2. The attribute/knowledge system is designed for a new toon to be powerful out of the box

    Alternate accounts may be discouraged, but that's of limited help here, I suspect.

    I think you raise some good points, but without friendly fire what's to stop these battles from just becoming Albion Online battles?

    To answer this question, I would hypothetically remove AoE from the equation in Albion. Say you've only got direct fire attacks/buffs/heals/debuffs. Does that automatically remove the enormous benefit of getting there firstest with the mostest?

    I think the answer is obviously no. 🙂 So, if there is a problem with alliances in AO, it isn't AoE. The real problem would be the ease of massing players.

    But in all fairness, it's not that easy to mass a zerg in AO. An alliance is merely a wide net from which you might get a small percentage of people showing up with the right gear. The logistics of equipping a zerg day after day isn't easy, either.

    (Zerg tactics are more than just laying down AoE, as well: the approach to the objective matters; do you come in a visible blob, or do you try to sneak parties in separated, and hide them in a dungeon? What terrain do you set up on? How do you organize information flow between your different parties (since party size is maxed at 20)? Do your zerg members have a properly scattered battle formation so the effect of AoEs will be diminished?)

    All that is to say, logistics is my answer to balancing the power of hegemonic alliances:

    • Difficulty of travel is one logistical problem: the harder it is to travel, the harder it is to project power.
    • Supply is a historical problem: an army travels on its stomach. Not an issue in Albion; possibly an issue in Fractured, we'll see.
    • Another historical problem is information: it's hard to coordinate across an entire planet (much less multiple planets). Since we're playing on the internet with effective light-speed comms, this can only be abstracted as a cost of making and maintaining an alliance.
    • For much of history, fortifications made the cost of assault too high, which led to lengthy sieges. MMOs seem to want sieges to be relatively easy, however, which I think is a mistake. The higher the effective defenses of a city, the harder it will be to project power, and the more options smaller guilds will have, since they won't need to be in a massive alliance simply to survive.

    And those are just some examples. 🙂

    -Note that I'm just engaging in a friendly debate here and ultimately our discussions are healthy and bring perspective to the developers, so please don't think I'm attacking your opinion or anything. I just happen to be on the more hardcore side of the debate with these things.-

    Roger that. 🙂


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    i could have sworn FF was talked about in one of the Q&A videos.


  • TF#1 - WHISPERER

    @Jetah said in What challenges should guild alliances face?:

    i could have sworn FF was talked about in one of the Q&A videos.

    If you remember which one, let me know; I'm deeply interested in reading what the devs think.

    @Roccandil - you raise some good points about the considerations a zerg might make before the fight starts, but that doesn't quite refute @Bardikens' point that when the battle actually commences, it usually becomes a numbers and AOE game.


  • TF#10 - CONSUL

    @Alexian

    not a video but here's some comments on it;
    https://forum.fracturedmmo.com/post/49262

    from last year, answer by Prometheus https://forum.fracturedmmo.com/post/26697


 

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