War of Towers

What happens when Mark and Lee start talking about making Settlement activities more interesting and persistent in Early Enrollment?  For a game with territorial control as a central design principle, our Minimum Viable Product had a noticeable lack of territorial conflict.

This week, we're remedying that, and we think it is going to have a huge impact on the Land Rush as well!

Before I turn the blog over to Lee to describe the War of Towers we need to handle some general news and updates.

Pledge Manager is Closed

The Pledge Manager has been closed.  From here on out, Goblinworks is going to be your primary point of contact for handling issues related to the Kickstarter and your Rewards.  Shipments of physical products have already started.  Normally when you get the notice from Paizo that something is scheduled for shipment it goes out within 48 hours, but in this case that's not accurate.  To streamline matters all the Kickstarter shipments except those going to Paizo subscribers are going to be batched up and shipped a few days later than normal.  We expect that most people will have received their Rewards before the end of the month but of course some people (especially those overseas) will take a bit longer.

We are still working on the issue of folks who wanted to add the Print Pack Add-On but were unable to do so because of the sellout of the Leatherette Emerald Spire books.  This is a top-of-priority item for us and we expect to be offering options to the affected Backers by next week.  If you are one of the people affected and you have not yet contacted us, please do so immediately by emailing customer.support@goblinworks.com about the Print Pack Add-On.

In the future our customer support team will have the ability to do some work within the Pledge Manager behind the scenes.  We are still working on a handful of cases that require special handling, and if you are one of the people affected, please know that we're working on those issues continuously.

Alpha Testing is Underway

We have begun our internal "Friends & Family" Alpha test period.  The team worked on creating stable builds with some important bug fixes this week and we were playing as a group for a few hours on Wednesday.  Thursday should bring us a stable build that we'll make available to Paizo staff and we'll be doing some joint testing for the rest of the week.  

An announcement about when our Alpha Backers from the Kickstarters will get their Alpha invitations will be coming shortly!  When they go out we'll post a brief blog update and make a forum post to keep everyone in the loop.  So don't worry that you've missed anything until you see those notices.

A Tale of More than 300 Towers

AN UPDATE (16:30 Thursday the 19th)

We've decided that it would be best to begin the War of Towers after a week of Early Enrollment so that players have a chance to get the software configured and learn basics about how the game works before having to worry about Tower control.

AN UPDATE (12:00 Friday the 20th)

We've decided that we will begin Early Enrollment with the rule that characters can only join one Company.  This will simplify the War of Towers substantially.  Over time we'll be moving towards the design of being able to have a character in 3 companies, one sponsored by a Settlement but we'll begin with just a single membership option. 

Lee Hammock, Lead Designer, writes:

This week we're unveiling the new wrinkle we're adding to the land rush and the Early Enrollment experience: the War of Towers.

When we looked at the minimum viable product plan for Early Enrollment we found it wasn't really the core of what Pathfinder Online is going to be.  Also we were worried the various groups that come out of the Land Rush with settlements wouldn't feel very victorious since settlement management wasn't scheduled to come online until many months of iteration.  Thus we've switched things around to bring a simplified settlement control and warfare system into the game at day one of Early Enrollment (with the more complex system coming in later).  We're calling this system the War of Towers.  

As you can see the Towers are scatted across the Early Enrollment area.  They are placed according to several formulas to make sure settlements have roughly equal access to Towers.  Towers are captured by companies, which swear allegiance to Settlements.  

At the beginning of Early Enrollment the 33 winners of the Land Rush will be asked to choose a focus for their Settlement from a pre-made list of role and crafting specialities.  Each of these settlement templates will advance along a predetermined path based on the number of Towers controlled by companies with allegiance to the Settlement.  

The more Towers a Settlement indirectly controls the more training the Settlement can offer its members.  So control of Towers dictates how powerful characters can become and loss of Towers can reduce the power level of characters.

For those who skip the video, here's a quick summary of the mechanics involved:

  • Towers have a PvP window.  When the window is open, the Hex the Tower is in does not inflict Reputation penalties for PvP. While the window is open there is a capture area near the tower, probably outlined by a wall or similar structure. Standing in that area gives your company points towards controlling the tower; the first company to cross a certain threshold gains control of the tower. If you are defending a tower you control, you lower everyone elses points for each person in the control area.  
  • All the Towers indirectly controlled by a Settlement share the same PvP window.  Each Tower hex must be attacked and defended individually but they all open and close their PvP windows at the same time.
  • Settlements will chose when their PvP windows open.  The more Towers a Settlement indirectly controls the longer the PvP window will be.
  • Uncontrolled Towers are effectively always open to PvP.  
  • There is no geographical relationship between Towers and Settlements.  Companies aligned with a Settlement could control Towers halfway across the map.  Companies aligned with some other Settlement might control the towers in Hexes adjacent to a given Settlement.  The only thing that matters is number of Towers indirectly controlled, not their location.

This feature is so new its still in diapers and needs lots of naps.  We fully expect to tweak the rules and mechanics based on your feedback and the experience we have in Alpha Testing with various game systems.

We know that this new feature is bound to generate tremendous curiosity.  We'll be monitoring this thread on the forums and providing some answers to questions the community has.

Because this new feature may affect the choices that the winners of Phase I of the Land Rush made about siting their Settlements, we've extended the option to them to relinquish their pre-selected locations and enter the Leaderboard like all the other Guilds.  If any choose to accept that offer, we'll let everyone know immediately.