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Topic ClosedIs war the sandbox endgame?

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Brandmeister View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Is war the sandbox endgame?
    Posted: 10 Nov 2013 at 19:54
Moved from a wartime thread where it didn't belong:

Originally posted by Epidemic Epidemic wrote:

Those of us who are true war gamers consider Illyriad as retirement and want to explore the social, lore and mystery part of the game.

So here's the thing. Illyriad is fundamentally a PvP sandbox. It's an empire game that is part city builder, part trade, and half military. It's got some bolt-on modules for hunting, gathering and crafting as well, but those are minor. The main gist is building troops--all your main city buildings either produce units, reduce the cost of units, or produce items to build units. You can use sovereignty to boost the speed of producing units, or boost the speed of producing items required for building units. There is some nuance in the variety of military and diplomatic units and their interplay with defenses and terrain, but basically this game is about units.

Tournaments provide a temporary release for the pressure that builds in many alliances. End game players have tons of units, and basically nothing challenging to do with those units. It isn't a PvE system. Blasting NPCs is super simple and unrewarding after the first few tries. So players dump their units into tournaments, but let's be honest, the single-square King of the Mountain format is pretty boring. The only real dimension of skill is in tuning your cities for extra unit production--apart from that tournaments are just a bulk battle without any subtlety or strategy.

The warfare aspect of Illyriad is, however, fairly developed. It is simple to learn but provides lots of room for strategy. I believe that all the units laying around are basically dry tinder. The tournaments are an attempt at a controlled burn, but they don't always work. Sooner or later, the huge stockpiles of items and units will intersect with a clash of personalities (including ego, revenge, boredom, gaming approach, or whatever), sparks are thrown onto the dry tinder, and wars will erupt. I think it's the natural cycle in a sandbox game where ultimately there is really nothing else meaningful to do but construct units for battle.

Maybe factions will change that by providing robust PvE for individuals and alliances. Maybe not. Some people will probably still crave the challenge and excitement of PvP. Broken Lands will have the Care Bear Forest for non-PvP players, but ultimately, I don't think you can turn a game of empires into a 100% PvE system. If nothing else, that would require constant releases of fresh story content, which implies a significant ongoing development budget. Slow as Illyriad might be, I find it curious that many influential players hold a fervent belief that everyone else on the server is going to adopt PvE and tournament PvP as the only methods of entertainment in an otherwise fairly militarized game.

Added:

I should be clear, I'm not taking a pro-war or anti-war stance. I'm just saying that I think it's inevitable given the sandbox setup. I don't believe there's a permanent equilibrium point where everyone just lives in peace. The variety of quests is highly limited, and there is no player authoring in the sandbox, so once tournaments fail to satisfy the interest of endgame players, conflict (in its various forms) is pretty much all they've got left for entertainment.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2013 at 20:46
Good analysis. As I see it, since it's perpetual, the only possible storyline is: start, grow, get bored, quit. What you do between grow and get bored is the thing. What else is there but war? Seriously, someone tell me. What else is there?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2013 at 20:55
City building. Tournaments. If you are interested in one of the sidelines: crafting, trade, hunting, gathering. But having explored all four of those, they get stale after a while. I chased the crafting mystery for quite some time, but that got boring, too. There are many interesting things promised by the faction descriptions and map locations, but AI is tough to write and quests take a considerable time investment to author correctly.

The Illyriad endgame is unfortunately not very engaging to many people (hence a proliferation of large permasat accounts).
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Nov 2013 at 21:39
The only thing that kept this game going for such a long time is imho the outstanding newbie friendly community and the generally pleasant GC for the people that enjoy that sort of stuff.

That, combined with the alliance system, were the engines that powered the game ... but, as a wise quote says "with boredom, even the gods fight in vain" and the DEVs never did participate much in that fight.

No real fantasy in their tournaments, meaningless quest system, too late to implement what they set to create, nothing to do when you reached at the top of your city building, nothing to do between tournaments and so forth ... if not for the community creating fun in GC and in the alliances, most of us would have packed up and gone loooooong ago ...

There could have been many things to do and/or implement, but I do not see the point of discussing those anymore ...  Ermm

The way I see it the same people will inhabit BL and it will be another Elgea + a non-PVP area ... which means that the game is sadly probably not going to make it, war or no war ... Cry
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 04:51
I have to agree that the warfare aspect of this game is far more detailed than most non-stop war games out there. If the builds and researches were at seconds and minutes instead of hours and days I wouldn't care about wars.

The extremely long build/research times is the #1 reason why this is no wargame. This is a sandbox social game with a complex warfare system.

I'm hoping that the factions and story arcs will keep everyone entertained for good.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 05:17
I call it world diplomacy game.   Warfare is a part of it.  Land grab/res grab is a part of it.  Although pretty small.  Trade is a part of it.  You could call nation building a part of it as well.

I think what would be really interesting to see is what would happen if alliances could claim huge swaths of territory and actually gain something from it.  
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 10:07
This is not the END..

OPTIONS are floating all over the place.. and up for grabs..

Note: PRIDE will not make you fat, you can eat it anytime. :D
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 13:44
it would be a lot more fun if trade would be made more competitive other than getting gold..also we need pathfinding or zones of control..the game needs purpose otherwise its doom to be a chat game...the devs totally control whats becomes of this..it never has been a sandbox
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 15:03
This war is in no way an "endgame" in my opinion and the motivations for war are varied just like our player base.

If anyone who feels this is the end of the game is actually involved in the war (and why would you feel that way if you are not), then why are you involved in it?  No-one is forcing anyone to fight, other than perhaps some extremist alliance leaders.

If you are part of an alliance involved in the war and you dont want to be involved then let your leaders know, if they order you to fight, then leave their alliance, it really is that simple.  There are many neutral alliances in the game and you can always form your own alliance as a number of players have done since it began.

Many people have posted on the forums with the rather ignorant opinion that the cause for wars in Elgea is simple boredom or frustration at this games slow progression, this I believe is a major falsity.  People are involved in the war for various reasons, I for one am happy to be involved as it may result in the ability to play this game as a sand-box game (as it is intended),  rather than  having to play it according to the rules and morality of a few dominant players who have laid down their law with an iron fist for so long.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Nov 2013 at 17:47
If you all keep talking about the war it will seem there's nothing else to do in Elgea. If you just ignore the war you'll see there are lots of fun things to do in the game. And if you don't think these things are fun, and you also don't like the war, just play somewhere else. Meanwhile I just stay around and enjoy the game. Maybe if you all leave I can go to 1st rank.

And if you think the devs should continuously bring out new stuffs to keep you a happy player... think again. There are zillion options in this game allready, if you don't like most of them, you probably won't like much else the devs come up with. Quit whining, start playing.   

Edited by Binky the Berserker - 11 Nov 2013 at 17:49
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