Lessons Learned: Saga of Blood Retrospective

pvp
suggestion

#1

Hey all!

I think it’d be a great idea to have a retrospective in regards to Saga of Blood. Namely, what worked, what didn’t, what could be improved. I think the Saga of Blood had some great ideas, but many were mired down by other less-good decisions.

Some of these points are also pointed at the community, not just Funcom. There’s a lot that, as the player base, we can do to make future Sagas better as well.

Let’s start off with some pros!
Pros: PvP

  • It was great to return to some low level locations and have them active PvP zones. Notable examples are Khopshef province, noble district, and the classic: white sands! Nostalgia overload!
  • It was similarly great to experience snippets of each level bracket’s PvP. Really crazy how much the game changes between low and high level PvP.
  • In-game Shop PvP t2 armor DISCOUNT: This was a fantastic idea. For only 15$, you get your character to a state where gear is no longer an issue. If this had came out when the original Shrines of Bori did, I think AOC would be in a better state today. For 15$, thousands of hours of mindless rock-clicking is circumvented. Totally worth it for any character.
  • All skill levels were represented: Saga brought out a huge diversity of players- it was awesome to see new players being exposed to PvP at the same time as veterans duking it out with one another.
  • increased AA gain: It really improved the gameplay experience by getting double the AA points, and getting them all put into expertise rather than the whole mastery/prowess thing. This was probably the best gameplay improvement Saga highlighted
  • Constant PvP events: The constant PvP events really allowed for people to get pvpxp and their fill of world PvP and prowess simultaneously

Next, I’m going to move onto some criticisms: please remember that these criticisms are made with the explicit purpose of improving the game. I feel like there were a lot of very questionable design decisions made during this Saga, especially in the early stages
Criticisms: PvP

  • The Two Rings to Rule Them All By far, the biggest mistake of this Saga was the implementation of both the legendary loot crate rings. The issue with these rings was the explicit , tremendous advantage they gave at low levels. The stats on these rings are amazing at level 80, let alone at level 19. The stats on these rings needed to scale with player level, not remain static. As a community, I was a bit disgusted that people actually used these. One of the largest issues with these rings is that they not only totally imbalance the playing field, they scare off new players as well. I’m sure many new players saw these when the Saga was initially released, got their entire group bodied by 1 dude using two of them and the store bought armor, and then quit. It is simply unacceptable to use these rings before 80, let alone implement them. You can tell me, “well, funcom put them in the game, I’m going to use them!” until you’re blue in the face, but it’s still a choice. And when you make that choice, you’re actively making this game worse for everyone who doesn’t spend 5000$ on loot crates. I believe both the community and funcom are at fault here. Destroy it, Isildur!

  • Rewards: unlike the PvE Saga, the PvP one had an insanely easy quest to complete, and lost most its player base the week 80 was released. A multi-tiered quest should have been implemented to get players on weekly with some sort of challenge, rather than play 10 mini games and 10 duels total. Additionally, unlike the PvE Saga, the PvP saga’s rewards weren’t even comparable- a free piece of pvpt3 accessory is hardly motivational, especially considering how similar it is to pvpt2. Much more emphasis needed to be put on giving players a long-term goal to achieve.

  • Emphasis in Solo Play: one of my biggest complaints with this Saga is the emphasis on dueling and 1v1s. All I’m going to say is that dueling is not where this game shines. It would have been fantastic to see some sort of group PvP or minigame tournament organized. The rewards didn’t have to be huge, just something to get players to create teams and learn to play with one another consistently

  • Class diversity: Melee in this game is much harder to play at a competent level than ranged. It would have been great to see some incentives to play melee. Generally all I see now are demos, rangers, poms, ToS, and necro. Melee also need other melee to be effective on a team, so not having any other close quarters combatant with you really hurts your gameplay.

  • The importance of AA: one thing that this Saga has really showed is just how ridiculously powerful AAs are. I think, in the future, players on PvP sagas need to gain a LOT of AA at 80, or give them some way to catch up. I would propose that the moment a character hits level 80, give them 400-500 AA points to get their character to at least a somewhat competitive level, even if these loaner AAs are only available in mini games.

  • Group finder for PvP, PvE: one of the big improvements for PvP for people without a big guild or lots of friends would be a group finder for both PvP and PvE. It would allow pub groups to organize for the PvP events and attempt to challenge pre-existing groups

  • Minigame matchmaking: mini games current matchmaking system does not work. Too many times in mini games, all the veterans are on one team and all the new players are against them. It is simply not fun for either side when this happens, unless you’re a wiener.

  • Community Criticism- big guilds: I think in the future big guilds need to split themselves up so they don’t just all stand around not attacking anyone 100v3. There were a couple examples of this on Saga.

  • Community Criticism- Kill trading and alt farming: unfortunately, while I was on a 8 year hiatus, it appears this has become the norm. People kill trade and farm their alt accounts all the time now. I’d like to see the community take a harder stance against such behavior. If you see an alt farmer, don’t group with them. Don’t help them. They’re ruining the Saga for everyone by actively avoiding what this Saga is about- PvP.

  • Community Criticism- PvP events: many people do not attack one another during PvP events and wait for someone to bring an alt to farm for kills. Really lame. An ffa is an ffa, not “let’s all farm X’s alt for kills and then none of our KD’s suffer!”

  • Community Criticism- Pad Farming: there are certain individuals on the Saga who prioritize their KD over actual good, fun PvP. Their activities consist primarily of picking up the flag and farming new players for 20 minutes and whining when someone caps the flag, and camping the Rez pad in prominent PvP locations. The big reason this is bad is that it drives new players away. When you’re new and doing your best, not everyone has the fortitude to keep playing the game when you cant even leave the pad. I think in mini games the Rez pad should have a barrier preventing people from entering and exiting. This would also help with the current capture the skull tactic of picking up the flag and running it to your Rez pad.

Anyway, these were the first ones to pop into my head. I’ll probably add more later. Please feel free to add your own as well. Let’s try to make future sagas a longer lasting, more fun experience!

And make no mistake; I think Saga was a huge success. It definitely reinvigorated my love for the combat systems and gameplay of AOC.


#2

Below are some of my thoughts on improvements that could be made to pvp and progression:

Community Criticism- Kill trading and alt farming:
The reasoning I’ve head from people that have traded kills or farmed alts (whether that is right or wrong) is that they do such things because they can not win the pvp events or minigames due to veteran players participating and thus are unable to progress in pvp. I think there is some truth to that and if you are forever stuck at pvp t1 with little to no AAs it will be very hard to compete and grow.

Things funcom can do to remedy this issue:

  1. Provide a substantial reward to the winners of these events and 50-70% of that reward to the losing side. So if a minigame win gives 2 minigame tokens give 1 token to the losing team. You would need to implement some system which verifies the players are actually participating (idle time in event/mini < 25% of time in zone or something).

  2. Have an actual matchmaking system with an MMR so that teams can be evenly matched and given enough player pool minigame tiers can exist. If there are enough tier 1 players on and queued the minigame will consist of entirely tier 1 players. This will promote participation and give players a fair playfield.

  3. I think if you have a proper MMR system in place for minigames you could apply the same concept to the open world pvp event. You have a preseason to determine MMR then in the regular season the pvp event would have several instances which given enough population (peak hours) players in tier 1 would be in an instance with other tier 1 players. All instances would be in sync for events and at the end of each event the system would decide based on the population on and in the pvp event whether it can have all the pvp instances open or not. If not, then the pvp instances would be merged for the next event seamlessly and as more people entered the zone at the end of the next event players would be split into their proper instances.

  4. I think with a proper MMR system you could allow players to queue up for minigames with a few friends. In 3v3 you could allow for a full team, in 6v6 you could allow a group of 3 to signup together, in 12v12 you could allow a group of 5-6 signup together.

Current Minigame System

  1. There is no balance whatsoever in minigames currently. One game you can be on a team with 4 great players absolutely stomping the other team then the next you could be on a team with 4 new players getting pad camped. Rarely are there ever balanced minigames. To solve this you NEED to implement a proper MMR system to balance out teams and ideally create leagues so players of equivalent skill are all playing together.

  2. Currently you sign up for a particular minigame map and you can see how many players are queued up. I think this is very bad as when you login and see 0/12 or 1/12 you feel like is it even worth my time to sit here and wait for people to sign up.

I propose you do away with the separate queues and completely remove the option to see how many players are signed up. Have a 3v3, 6v6, 12v12 queue which will use random maps or have a vote at the beginning of the minigame to determine the map played. If a user signs up for a minigame, I think it would be nice if you give them the option to be teleported to the currently active pvp zone so they can participate in pvp while they wait for the minigame to pop.

New Minigame modes
I know people want to see new minigame maps but what I would love to see is some new modes. I will outline a few I think would work great in aoc below:

  1. 3v3 Round Based - This mode would be a 3v3 best of 7 or 9 where in each round you get 1 life. To win the round you must eliminate all of the opposing teams players. I think it would be cool to use the entrance of whitesands as the map. The boundary would be the beach by the boat to the area behind the respad. Players cannot enter the water.

  2. 4v4v4v4 King of the hill - This mode would be a standard king of the hill but with 4 teams of 4. The score would be determined by time on the hill and kills on players in the hill. Entering the hill puts a buff on you which remains for 15 seconds after leaving the hill to prevent players from jumping out of the hill before dying. If both players have the hill buff then the player that gets the kill earns 2 points for his team. If the player that gets a kill on a hill buffed player does not have the hill buff then they earn 1 point for their team. The game will last 15 minutes and you are rewarded 1 point for every minute within the hill (not including the time spent with the buff outside of the hill). I think a cool map for something like that would be Kheshetta city by the respad area. For the map you would put the king of the hill location at the top of the stairs where the respad currently resides. Then create 2 separate respads throughout the city.

  3. Blood Ravine should change to a 12 v 12. I think the map is too big for 6v6 and usually turns into 1 team camping with the flag inside their spawn.


#3

Guild PvP Suggestions
Guild vs Guild vs Guild vs Guild:
This will be an instanced Guild based pvp event. Guilds can sign up for this event with up to 18 players. Individual players can sign up as mercenaries. Guilds that do not have 18 players can offer mercenaries a spot on the battlefield. In the event 4 guilds fight for control of a moving territory. The map would take place in Khopshef and the three territories would be Bubshur, Caravan and Pyramid of the Ancients. Every 15 minutes the zone will rotate randomly to one of the locations (not including the current location). The event will last 1 hour and the guild with the most points will be rewarded. The event remains active for an hour. Players can leave and comeback at any point. If a guild does not have the maximum number of players at any point in the event they can offer mercenaries a place on the battlefield. Mercenaries will be rewarded in the same manner as any other participating member.

Breakdown of rewards:

  1. Base participation reward given to all players
  2. Individual Score based reward
  3. Group Based Score reward -
    100 points with 18 players = 100 points
    100 points with 12 players = 133.33 points
    Each player is worth 5.5% so if you have 6 less players than the maximum you receive 133.33% points.
  4. Winning guild bonus reward

Participating in the event with less people will increase your reward. This will incentives veteran players to play with smaller numbers.

One suggestion to solve the problem of one pro guild dominating the event would be to allow for guild alliances in the event when a particular guild is dominating the event.


Devs....PLEASE, just implement this and be done with it! It will fix the PvP/population issues! :(
#4

From my perspective and as the advocate of the acknowledged 70% of the saga population of mostly new players, pvers and pvprs my pros:

We had a blast. We peeked at 150 online and thousands of members who clearly didn’t stay because of the accused ninja invite. They generated enough activity to build a t3 city renown 12 and t3 bk. Just as in the last saga…same people. Not randoms as accused.

Dozens of battles for me went on between 8-12 hours…no food no water.

There was so much energy and fun.

I wouldn’t change the population of my guild at all. Any less we would not have been as victorious as we were. Some might argue that even with the numbers we were not.

Cons

Obviously when level 80 hit we got locked out. However this was largely because we (including myself) we clueless. The AA stacking …Halloween candies…PvP event…pots…who would have known??? Only the pros.

People walking around at level 18 with PvP 10?

I played more saga then anyone pre 80. No one can argue with that.

Most of the PvP events were alt farms.

PvP event engagements were few and ended quickly. USB usually preferred to engage a soft EOS target and get kills rather then compete against peers like khopshef and nightwatch. BLR?

There was almost NOTHING for the pro players…no content for them to sink their teeth into. This is why they all quit at 80 and it became a toon farm.

My big suggestion would require funcom work…

Weekly events!!

Is it so hard to conceive of an RP environment with unique rewards for combatants?

Example:

This Friday a lotus shipment from purple lotus swamp to cimmerian battlekeep. Destroy the caravan or protect it and receive world boss like rewards.

PvP events and AAs locked out the new players. It wasn’t fun even. When we pulled out it flopped.


#5

I love all of your Pros and Cons for the server. All are very valid points and I would like to think that Funcom would pay some attention to what you have passionately placed in this forum.

I know for myself and most others in BLR end game on Saga (level 80) offered nothing for us (pre 80 was a blast). It was get your few quests done and get out. We all have many full pvp 10’s on Crom with full AA’s with raid gear so why farm when you can time train a class you probably already have on Crom with full AA’s and raid gear. I wish they would’ve done more for level 80 but as it was it was a why bother and stay.

If they were to continue the Saga server the way it is (no Raid Finder or World Boss) the server with its PvP could be awesome. I’d like see them enable having 2 characters per account for this server so we could get some tanks and be able to also raid (nothing better than killing souls traveling to a raid).

Just a few thoughts from A PvE Nab that enjoys PvP but absolutely hates Raid Finder and World Boss. The 2 things for me on Crom that killed raiding and 6 mans.


#6

I agree saga offered little for experienced players. Even I had a full PvP 10 tos.

However I had alot of fun.

Sleves was super cool. He managed to summon a team to continually match us. He never gave up. I learned alot fighting him.

Nightwatch was super fun to fight. Nice people.

Khopshef was super helpful and welcoming.

Fighting BLR was a blast…

I would add that I would love to have a film option…some of these fights should have been casted by more then spreadicus.

I think that’s my number 1 pro…I made alot of friends and the environment was super friendly. Given that it was pvp…it was impressive.


#7

Saga offered a TON to experienced pvp’rs. It offered actual world PvP.

For a lot of us, it’s not about getting the AAs or getting pvp10 or any of that crap. It’s more about just having the opportunity to fight each other in AOC


#8

I agree with all the points stated. They should’ve added more incentives to do open world pvp. Open world pvp is one of the best yet most overlooked parts of aoc.

The game shines in group play particularly in small scale engagements. Having all the rewards solely given to solo players was a major letdown. Especially since we got classes that are weak in solo play, but are juggernauts in group pvp. The entire game itself plays poorly in a 1v1 scenario. The departure of so many veteran pvpers over the years has made Funcom forgetful of that fact.


#9

“I’d like see them enable having 2 characters per account for this server so we could get some tanks and be able to also raid (nothing better than killing souls traveling to a raid).”

A shame really. Playing in saga has showed me that a lot of players don’t know how to play soldiers in pvp, forgetting how powerful they can be in pvp, so they went for braindead range classes, only to be less of a credit to the team than they would’ve been as a flagbot.


#10

I would not call the pictue starhunterceo paints a success, if roughly 215 people were online at the peak - 70% of them in one guild. He overestemates by a huge amount how many toons were NOT in his ninja inviting guild (I do not accuse, I witnessed).

Jokes aside - This Saga was over for me the second I saw the P2W crap. 15€ PER CHARACTER is not a valid salespoint, but just greedy. On top of that things we already paid for where not accessable, again, and we were pushed to pay for them again…again.
The op rings are just ridiculous, being oneshotted by P2W characters is not fun but just frustrating and making people to leave the game instantly.

Without doubt PVE Saga was a much higher success, financially, for the individual players and for the playerbase.


#11

15$ a character is incredibly reasonable for a f2p game lol


#12

Yeah funcom have to make guild pop caps for nex time becouse some players like Ptah ninja inviting all server by spam. Also guilds would be more balanced to play competive. I seen many of good leaders on Saga but most of new players crippled Ptah.


#13

This is not a F2P game…lol.


#14

If that were the case most of the pros wouldn’t have quit at 80.

Nightwatch evaporated
BLR evaporated
Somalis evaporated

Your guild was an exception. Mainly cause you all maintain the true spirit of PvP. Sadly most were not interested in that. If I’m wrong explain why they all left


#15

Somalis appeared to me to be a botter guild with multiple people with KDs over 100. It’s likely that after some got removed from leaderboards, why continue to bot?

Night Watch is still present, but it is a multi faceted guild where many emphasize PvE over PvP. Those players returned to crom.

BLR is a straight PvE guild, and their PvP officers joined us after a scuffle involving a ganked vistrix raid. The rest returned to crom.

Make no mistake; I agree that more rewards and more involved requirements to get to said reward are necessary. But the PvP that did occur on this server was excellent. My comment was meant to explain that to players that love PvP, all the PvP that happened on this server was a reward in itself.


#16

greetings, sorry for my bad english I’m using the google translator for this, I really enjoyed the server and being part of the aoc community, and I agree with styga on almost every point.

My main criticism is for the Spanish-speaking community that demonstrated once again that it can not work together and preferred the easy way to join very strong guilds.

Ya en español me parecio una pesima actitud que todos estuvieran en gremios diferentes en vez de intentar crear otro bando que hiciera el server mas divertido, son unos miedosos y sin ganas de aprender a jugar, hasta les da miedo que sepan que hablan español .


#17

Well I assume you are talking about my guild senor. EoS is neither strong nor English speaking. One of our main leaders is from Spain. I don’t believe separation on linguistic grounds will solve the problems of the world. Probably just lead to more morons demanding walls!

I wonder how long this post will stay up!


#18

more groups = more fun, it is not difficult to understand


#19

Now that I think about it. They missed a chance with sieging. Should’ve incorporated that into the Saga questline. It’s suppose to be endgame pvp anyway.


#20

It was OK in general, cant say i didn’t have fun but it only lasted a couple of months and that was only because i re-experienced lowbie PvP after many years. After 80 there was nothing left for me to do here.

Suppose i had the wrong impression of what this server would be about, probably because i somehow in my brain connected the recent siege revamp with the launch of Saga of Blood. Was expecting guilds to grab battlekeeps and fight over them weekly, was expecting non stop premades with a ladder, and many open world fights between guilds especially over events. Nothing of that happened to the extend that i wanted them to happen so i lost interest completely.

All i got was some very nice fights vs Lurvi’s group (Ivory Tower) and some vs Dead Man’s Shore, but not even close to enough and those guys also stopped playing after reaching 80. USB was a completely non factor guild that did nothing else than farming EoS for kills all day long for months and they never premaded either. EoS was fun to fight too sometimes, especially that day they brought over 50 people in Tesso where we defended the lighthouse with our 2 groups and they even sieged us twice while we were still playing…but like i said not enough for me.

NightWatch core players have always been team oriented, seems that this server wasn’t meant to be for people like us after all so we quit en masse. It’s quite sad to realize what pug minis have done to the player base of this game. Wish more people would have Stygga’s crew mindset, shame we have such a huge time difference with you guys.