Hello. I’d like to share some thoughts and concerns about the current state of the game and strange tendencies in the ‘recent’ changes which in a strange way conflict with the activity of admins on official servers.
This is going to be a pretty long post, but I urge you to read it fully and to take the presented suggestions into consideration.
First of all, I need to point out that I’m speaking from a position of a player who prefers to play on Official PvP servers only. I’ll not touch such subjects as PvE, RP (Although, I want speech bubbles back and the ability to emote while walk is toggled. I mean… come on), modding and server admin rights/possibilities.
I, as many other players like me, prefer to play the game in its purest form, without any sliders and stats being altered. Also the charm of official servers lies in the simple fact that no particular players (admin and their friends) have access to unfair advantages and can’t directly decide the fate the server (wipes, shut-downs).
The overall state of the game. The good.
Since the rework on Siptah and to this day there have been a great number of positive changes, additions and balancing. The highly needed nerf to mounted combat, which for a very long time made PvP painfully unfun, finally brought it to a tolerable level.
The decreased damage done by thralls and pets to players is also a highly praised change.
Performance of the official servers has also vastly improved, with exception of some strange FPS drops in certain areas after the latest patch (Which I’m pretty sure you’re already aware of and working on).
But perhaps the most fascinating undocumented change (Maybe I simply miss it somehow) for last several months is the increased activity of admins who punish cheaters and excessive land-claimers. If before it could take weeks for blatant rule-breakers to roam free and to ruin the game for everyone on the server, now punishments are implemented within days and even hours after reports are submitted. Laws and rules mean nothing if there is nobody to enforce them, and I salute you with respect for finally beginning to do that.
However… there are some issues that need to be addressed.
Overall state – Changes that affect PvP in a negative way.
For the last several months there was a number of changes that seem to be great on paper, but in their implementation cause direct harm to PvP. I’m talking of course, about the visible health bars and pick-able building pieces.
The ability to pick building pieces created a meta (as everyone predicted of course) of door-less bases. Basically, this system encourages players to hide their belongings within walls and floors, inaccessible via any doors or hatches. Why bother create such vulnerable and noticeable access points if you can simply pick up a wall, dig through your chests and then simply place the wall back? This is an unhealthy and frustrating system which came from a good intent but which doesn’t belong on PvP servers, where destruction of buildings and smart base layout play the most active role.
Not to mention that this system does not apply to buildings which actually need it the most – animal pens and altars. These two buildings are notoriously difficult to place correctly, and often require several attempts to get right.
As a solution, please, either completely disable this feature on PvP official servers, or at least add a time (like a minute or two) when the piece is pick-able after placement. After the timer runs out it should become solid.
Visible health bars is an even worse problem, which utterly destroys several highly enjoyable and important elements of PvP.
Attention to the choice of armor and dyes, so they would make your character blend into surrounding and remain unnoticed.
Stealth gameplay, when you sneak into enemy base, hide in plain sight and even pose as a thrall.
Getting away from stronger, aggressive opponents by using terrain and environment.
Construction of bases in a maze-like manner, where it’s possible to play cat’n’mouse with the opponents.
All of these elements of gameplay are outright killed by this change. Whenever someone is raiding a base, they can see health bars through many layers of walls and throughout any environment. This change makes sense for tracking hp bars of your clan-mates and thralls, it is true. But I don’t understand why does it also affects hostile NPC and enemy players.
It doesn’t just damage PvP, but PvE as well (yes I know, I promised not to touch this theme, but still), buried skeletons’ hp bars are visible from huge distance, completely breaking the immersion and ‘spookiness’ of such places as cellar and Unnamed city.
Of all recent changes this is easily one of the most damaging and hated. Nobody wants it, please, remove it or at least fix, so that it only works for owned thralls and clan-mates. Or if this is too difficult to do, simply disable the visible HP bars on official PvP servers by default. Please.
Decay timers and player list
The decision to make names in player list hidden always seemed bizarre to me. It is supposed to prevent offline raiding, yet all it does is damages the social aspect of the game, as people choose not to speak in global and local in fear of losing the precious anonymity. It also damages the ability to track offenders and cheaters, as without knowing their name, especially if they use foreign letters, it’s increasingly more difficult to report them.
Not to mention that all of the above pointless limitations are easily bypassed by visiting server-tracking sites, which show player names to those who choose to use them.
In other words, please make names in the player list visible again at all times.
Another issue related to this, is the decay timers. If this change to player list was supposed to help against the offline raiding, why do decay timers still show the exact number of seconds left? Don’t you realize that such precise counters help cowardly raiders to choose targets simply by checking the decay timers on buildings?
This issue persisted since the very creation of the game and for some reason hasn’t been fixed. And the solution is so simple – simply don’t show the exact number of seconds and minutes on decay timers. Only show the number of hours, and only after they pass for example half of the total timer. Done. Fixed.
Admin punishments and unclear building rules
So… while I previously praised the growing activity of admins in punishing cheaters and excessive land-claimers, there already have been a number of cases when punishments have been applied unfairly and undeservingly.
Just recently a large clan’s base on my server has been deleted for its size. Even though it didn’t cause any lag, it didn’t have any foundation spam around it, it simply took over one of the aqueduct bridges. The issue here lies in the conflict between the unclear rules of what is considered an excessively large base and the ‘economy update’ game design. The economy update spawned a number of work benches which are so needlessly large and require so much space, that building larger bases becomes a simple necessity for a clan that wants to house them all.
Why for example a simple dye station is 2 foundations high and takes 2 by 3 foundations of horizontal space? Why is it so needlessly large? If you don’t want people to build too large bases – don’t make your numerous crafting stations take so much space. Or if you wish to stick to the philosophy of the new economy update, then don’t punish people for building larger than expected bases.
This issue becomes even worse (and the reason why I even decided to make this post) with the recent announcements on 2.8 testlive patch, that it will no longer be possible to foundation stack. Foundation stacking is the core, most important PvP mechanic for proper, compact base defense. If you wish to get rid of it – fine, but take into consideration that this will force people to build even larger bases.
Any PvP base requires several layers of defense, considering how little it takes to blast through t3 building pieces. After this change every PvP-viable base will increase in size at least 3-4 times. It is inevitable because it is necessary.
So every PvPer’s biggest question right now is this – are we going to be punished for building large bases which admins deem ‘too large’ simply because the game design forces us to do so?
All of these questions wouldn’t stand if either the rules of building were more clear or if there was an actual limit of building pieces per player/clan. Please, take into consideration the consequences of the foundation-stacking removal and let know better how we’re allowed to build on official servers and how not.