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Do We Need A PvP Scene?

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eowan the short View Drop Down
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    Posted: 20 Jun 2021 at 14:45
NOTE:
This is not about whether Illyriad needs pvp. As a mechanic, it's incredibly useful. This is about whether there needs to be a pvp scene, that is a group of alliances who are dedicated pvpers and fight wars constantly. 

In a number of recent arguments, I have seen the pvp scene called essential to the game. However, I'm not sure whether this is true.

All other things being equal, a pvp scene is a good thing. More viable playstyles means the game has more players, which in turn means that it gets more funding. However, this does not mean that it is a necessary to the game. I'm going to break down the necessity of a pvp scene into two parts; the necessity in funding the game, and the necessity in maintain gameplay.


When it comes to funding the game, I do not have the required information to make a judgement call either way. Only the devs have access to logs of who is buying and using prestige. However, I do believe that the non-pvp sector of the game are significant purchasers and consumers of prestige. 

The largest consumers of prestige in the game are probably the builders, such as Thirion, dittobite, and Quentin The Miffed, who use vast amounts of prestige to get their population high enough for their next towns. I've seen the figure of 900 prestige used as an estimate to fully build a town, therefore it would take around 54,000 prestige to rebuild a 60 town account after the final pop push. Using this amount of prestige will either require the builders to be pvp purchasers themselves, or to significantly increase demand for prestige. Increasing demand increases prices, which in turn incentivises people to purchase more prestige. 

As for whether the rest of the non-pvp sector purchases a significant amount of prestige, I would say with the seasonal tournaments, the use of prestige to fund the regular creation and mass kill off of troops is going to become more and more common place. The tournament's shifting the consumption habits of non-pvpers towards that of the pvpers means that their presence in prestige markets is no longer without substitutes.


When it comes to markets, the one area where pvpers supposedly contribute positively to the non-pvpers gameplay is their role as consumers of goods. The logic being that the production of troops for pvp is the main driver of demand in the markets. However, this does not hold up for two reasons; tournaments, and stalemates.

The tournaments mean that now a large portion of the non-pvp playerbase now regularly consume troop building resources in order to create armies, which are then expended in tournaments. The influence of the non-pvpers on the markets has been enough to finally make leather armour economically viable to produce, something that years of wars hadn't achieved. 

Part of the reason for the lack of effect on the market from wars is that in recent years they have entered a stalemate. The huge defensive advantage given by tight clustering, landclaims, and an all plains strategy makes large active alliance clusters almost impregnable via conventional means. This means that fewer troops are actually killed in wars, as sieges are costly with a slim chance of success.


Given that non-pvpers are likely the largest consumers of prestige and equipment, this does draw into question the necessity of a pvp scene. Without concrete prestige consumption/purchasing figures, this is largely speculative, and I doubt the devs would ever release that. However, I do feel that these arguments against the necessity of a pvp scene do hold merit. 

This is the thread that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some person started it, not knowing what it was, and we'll continue posting on it forever just because...
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lorre View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lorre Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2021 at 18:15
I agree with everything you said, unfortunatly for concrete numbers only the devs have the answer.
I wonder if they openend a 2nd server made it pve only so an excact copy of  the current map and gave everyone to option to transfer their cities to the excact same coords, same layout, same resource tile underneath in that 2nd server. How empty or full would the first one remain? 

I suppose an ingame poll on the herald or via ingame mail, asking if you want opt in pvp or not or are undecided would give a simular picture.
The battlefield is a scene of constant chaos. The winner will be the one who controls that chaos, both his own and the enemies.
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eowan the short View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote eowan the short Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Jun 2021 at 18:35
The devs have spoken about a second server in the past and felt that it would likely lead to the first server dying as new players would only play on the new  server where they weren't at such a disadvantage.

I don't think mechanically banning or limiting pvp is a good idea. Even for non-pvp players, pvp mechanics have a vital role in inactive recycling, settling minor disputes, and enforcing trade deals, as well as many other things.

However, I do think the current pvp scene is unhealthy, with the domination of pvp by a few large alliances who either recruit or destroy smaller ones. Large pvp alliances need to nurture the pvp scene and recognise their role in its stagnation. I'll put my thoughts together on what could be done by players in order to breathe new life into the pvp scene and put them into a forum post at some point.


Edited by eowan the short - 20 Jun 2021 at 18:36
This is the thread that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friend. Some person started it, not knowing what it was, and we'll continue posting on it forever just because...
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Rill View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Rill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2021 at 04:30
We have some insight into what the developers believe drives income in an interview given by Illyriad production manager and invisible developer Kevin Hassall: 

He is discussing player engagement, and in that discussion he makes it clear that player engagement is one of the fundamental measures Illyriad uses to develop its product, the game. 

He says, "Meanwhile, the much more straight forward Anniversary Tournament was moderately positive in every single way. It didn't have the huge uplift in Alliance communications that Bloodthirst did, it didn't win us the praise of vocal players as the Undead Hordes did, but every metric was positive. New player referrals, Prestige purchases, In Game Mail, Chat, rebuilds of mature cities, everything.

There is strong evidence that tournaments can increase player engagement, and that the design of the tournament will influence how players behave. These aren't statistical blips. For example, the Anniversary tournament trebled In Game Mails, and increased military participation six-fold on some measures."

He doesn't address the way that wars increase player engagement, which they can, at least on a short-term basis. However, wars may also lead to a reduction in the player base as defeated players choose or are forced to abandon.

He goes on to say, "What tournaments can do, which is vital for us, is to bring people together. Statistically, the players who interact with other players (whether conspiring in Alliances, or sending care-packages to new players, or just chatting) stay in the game longer. And if they stay longer, that means, indirectly, more referrals and more income. For tournaments to increase cooperative forms of engagement is vital. Cooperative engagement means that the players are having fun, in a way that is very healthy for the game. This explanation is long-winded, but as a result, we have a very simple objective when we design a tournament: 'Give players challenges that they can enjoy together.' It is as simple as that."

War in Illy can be a lot of fun, usually when you are winning. Losing is less fun, sometimes a lot less fun. War is certainly one mechanism for engaging a lot of people.

I don't know if Illy needs PvP (or how much it needs). What seems clear is that, at least from the perspective of the developers, to the extent that Illy has PvP, it needs to be fun. I think that's an important thing to consider. Perhaps the best question is not "should Illy have PvP?" but rather "what can be done to make PvP more fun?" I see efforts toward that with player-run factions, but I think the answer to that question is still elusive.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (2) Thanks(2)   Quote Jejune Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Jun 2021 at 16:34
I think what makes siege warfare so polarizing is that invariably players who want no part of risking their cities are forced to make a hard choice: stay in their alliance and risk being a siege target, or leave their alliance and have their gaming experience diminished by not being able to play with their in-game friends. For some players, their cities are everything for them in Illyriad, and there is no scenario where they would be willing to risk losing even one of them.

What we've done in Faction Play is twofold: 1) require all players in the gaming circuit to opt in (an idea that was suggested very smartly by Grom in the early days of Faction Play), and 2) set limits on military rules of engagement in Faction Play so that cities are not at risk and players only risk the troops that they are willing to risk in a battle. People can check the Faction Play opt-in roster in our Slack server, which is open to the public, or checked on players’ profiles.

Maybe this system could be similarly used in the larger game? It might be helpful to have a list of players and accounts who are open to PvP versus to players who are not. Maybe there is also some kind of field in creating a profile where players can check off “PvP,” “Tournament,” and “Other,” with a custom space for adding something like Faction Play. This way, players could clearly signal the gaming circuits they play within.

It wouldn’t be a “silver bullet” solution, but it could help.

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