Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Manchester, NH
Some interesting tidbits were dropped a couple days ago by Shadowbane Lead Designer Damion 'Ubiq' Schubert in a retrospective post in the Shadowbane Designer Diary
. His new vision for the game is to tackle several seige issues and modify them. It's an interesting read whether you play the game or not.
After a long and hard first year of Shadowbane's existence, the entire team welcomed the Christmas break, and a chance to pause and reflect on the past year of the game.
But that's not going to stop us from trying.<!--break-->
So over the last month, we have been trying to fix some immediate issues affecting sieges the most - some fixes you might have already seen, such as wall improvements, more protection slots, and overall stability. We have even more fixes on the way.
We also have some higher level goals, which we will begin acting on with new systems over the course of this year. And you will begin to see the results of these initiatives in the next few patches.
Here are some of our goals, in order of priority:
1.) Increase overall client stability, and performance of both the client and the server .
Performance and Stability have both improved greatly since the early days of Shadowbane's launch, but players are still experiencing degradation in large-population siege situations. This is not surprising - the sheer amount of computation that has to happen in these situations is staggering - but it is an issue we need to continue to address to meet our goal of being the number one siege game. This is our number one priority.
2.) Make it easier to rebuild after a lost war.
Right now, a vanquished nation finds it too hard to get back into the game, and as a result, they too often quit. We need to find a way to lessen the pain of losing a war, without making victories a hollow experience. Yes, this does include lowering overall city maintenance costs and upgrade times.
3.) Ensure that a siege event is about the right duration.
Some have complained about siege events being too long... they start at later hours, and can only be completed by those who don't have real lives (work/school/family etc) or whatever the next day. A few others have complained that siege events can be too short - most notably when a well-orchestrated zerg-strike takes out the bane.
There has to be things that we can do to ensure that more players can take advantage of, and enjoy, the full city sieging experience. We are going to be working on ways to improve this process for all concerned.
4.) Make trebuchets and other siege equipment more important to sieging.
When I started at Wolfpack, these puppies were a big factor in me taking the job. Huge wooden arms throwing balls of flaming pitch was just plain cool. Unfortunately, as things are in today's Shadowbane, they are too inefficient to use, compared to zerging with handheld weapons. Some Shadowbane players we have run into don't even know that trebuchets exist! The design team wants these weapons to be the PREFERRED way to take down a city.
5.) Make walls more effective and cooler.
You will see some more improvements in this vein in the next patch, and we have even more plans beyond that. The upcoming siege spires (which I'll discuss in more detail in the next diary entry) should be a big step in that direction - guilds will be able to build siege spires which forbid flight and translocation inside of their city grid. More details will come soon, so stay tuned.
6.) Reduce tree camping.
Some may disagree with me, but I think that Tree Camping is among the lamest things to ever be called a 'tactic' in Shadowbane. Tragically, in Sieges this tactic results in players sieging from the 'inside out' - the attackers are inside the city walls. We will be looking at ways to improve this development.
7.) Spread people out.
This is for two reasons - first, when large groups are close to each other, it directly affects server performance. But more significantly, when goals can just be 'zerged' by the whole of an army, it dramatically reduces the strategic and tactical aspects of sieging. If we can find ways to ensure that both attackers and defenders have multiple goals, we can go a long way towards making sieges more interesting (and fun) to take part in.
8.) Improve guards.
Guards are tougher and a little smarter, but they can still be fooled. We will be doing more with Guards in the future.
9.) Improve accountability.
We want to get rid of situations where players can bane other cities and guilds, without being properly identified. We also want to eliminate situations where defeated guilds can deny the conquerers their just rewards.
10.) Get rid of Player Stacking.
Yet another cheeseball tactic we need to find the programming time to kill once and for all.
11.) Improve city management.
Overall, make it less tedious to manage city assets, especially walls. We will have more information on how this will be done in the near future.
12.) Improve the siege atmosphere.
We can do some pretty simple stuff that will make sieging feel cooler and more epic. Obvious choices would be the creation of 'siege skies' and changing the music. These are pretty easy changes, but since they are mostly cosmetic, this option stays at the bottom of the list.
At any rate, this is the rough direction of our thinking right now. But we would really like to hear back from all of you. So take a look at these questions and answer them in the following forum thread. We really do read your posts, and value your opinions, so please tell us what you think.
Here are some questions we need your feedback on:
(1) Do you agree with the problems that we've listed? What haven't we thought of?
(2) Do you agree with the priority of these issues? What needs to be moved up or down?
(3) What specific solutions to some of these problems would you like to see? For example, how would YOU handle the tree camping issue?
We welcome your feedback. As always, please try to keep discussions constructive and positive, as it is always easier for the development team to weed through ideas when there is more signal to noise in a thread.
Thank you again for helping the development team accomplish our goal - to make the best city-sieging MMP that we can.