Having put a good 100-200 hours into Siptah, I think I’ve done enough player-driven surges to supply some input on the current way it’s done.
The overall grindiness of the maelstorm ??? and surges is tough but do-able once you learn the methods necessary to make it efficient. The one thing I think should be changed directly before anything else, however, is the mechanic that shows a player surge on the map. This makes it too easy for people to sit in their base and watch the map all day and just poach.
Let me put it this way: the person farming puts in an hour of work for prep + actual maelstrom farming including weapons, gear, setup, etc. Lets say best case scenario they get 100-200 maelstorm worth (5-10 greaters, 100 mediums, etc, you do the math). A tier 3 is 400 is 2-4 of these cycles, coming out to 2-4 hours of farming. If you want a T4, thats 5-10 hours of farming, most likely over a few days. So, all in all, they risk 5-10 hours of work, their eldarium (50-200 depending on how they decide to put in the knock-out levels, aka 1-4 dungeons), their gear, their horse, their thralls, and at this point, their sanity.
Then, on the other hand: You have a guy sitting in his base with his armor set, a horse, and some weapons. He is near the middle and probably has a couple dudes with him. He farms enough for those weapons and the armor and a horse. Pretty much minimal effort for a good player. He just has to sit there and press M until person A starts a surge. He rolls in on (probably overpowered) horseback while the farming group has 6-8 thralls on them per side and its an easy wipe and steal.
This forces you to either wait until 3am and hope your main enemies (on a player list you can’t identify anyone with) aren’t on or take major risks that you lose 2-3 days vs some guy who risks 30 minutes and some minimal farming. This will at least make the poachers have to scout (which is a quintessential part of Conan as a whole anyway) and make it much more organic overall.
TLDR; risk is lopsided in favor of poaching behavior and will ultimately make people quit. The one, first, suggestion I make is to at least not show when a player surge is being done on the map. Minimal change but big effect.
Thank you for reading.