Throne and Liberty: PvP Improvements in Producer’s Letter Part 9

TL’s producer, Jongok Ahn, published the 9th Producer Letter, about the changes on PVP content that will be implemented in future updates.

 You can find below the complete translation of the new producer’s letter, we apologize for any translation errors.

The siege has come to an end. There were fierce battles on all 10 servers, three servers succeeded in defending the castle, and seven servers saw the siege side win and change hands. We can’t wait to hear what everyone who participated has to say about it. We were very nervous to see what would happen after all we went through.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on how you’ve enjoyed TL’s Siege. We won’t let all of the negative comments go to waste, and we’ll use it as a foundation for even better content.

Today I’d like to talk to you about the new PvP content that will be coming out after the Siege, and the direction we’re taking with it. Since our last letter, where we talked about the direction we’re taking with PvE, we’ve been poring over the discussions amongst you. First of all, as you may have guessed, there will be a big change in the direction of future content creation in TL, but we promise you that it won’t be all about PvP. Before we can talk about PvP in the future, we need to talk about how we designed the content we have today and how we intend to change it.

Coexistence of PvE and PvP

Previously, PvE and PvP coexisted sharing the same content and areas. This was possible because TL’s unique rotation system allows the nature of areas and content to change over time, and we felt that giving users the option to play PvP or not while maintaining the unique characteristics of each area was a way to keep the open-field feel of the game alive.

However, this sharing of content between PvE and PvP seems to have pushed users into an unintended gray area: PvP players felt more restricted, while PvE players complained of unwanted competitive stress. In some cases, the difference in rewards between high-level dynamic events and bosses forced them to make unwanted content choices. To compensate for these mutual deficiencies, we’ve reversed our previous direction and are looking to overhaul our future content in a way that separates not only content, but also user behavior by disposition. If growth through PvE is essential, it’s important to keep PvP strictly a user and guild choice.

This is what we’ve been working on with the PvE content we mentioned in our last letter. Now that you’ve seen the improvements we’ve made to the new PvE content that separates it from the competition, let’s talk about how we’re going to shape PvP on TL in the future.

PvP experiences: Alliances, Guilds, and Parties

One of the biggest concerns with current PvP content is the influence of alliances. Even guild and party-centric PvP content is becoming more of a war between giant coalitions, which means that wins and losses in PvP content are based on the faction structure of the server, without creating any variables. Guilds that are part of an alliance but don’t have a lot of influence tend to die before they have enough resources to grow, and guilds that aren’t part of an alliance face high barriers to entry into content.

Of course, we recognize that the alliance structure of guilds is a big part of the appeal of PvP in TL. We will continue to focus on maintaining and developing large-scale PvP content such as sieges and tax collections that require diplomacy and unity between guilds. However, we realized that if we continue to wait for the current situation where all PvP content boils down to giant alliances, we may miss the golden opportunity to revitalize the content.

Leveling the playing field, Guild PvP

Guild-based PvP is getting a major overhaul centered around the Boonstones/Riftstones captures. The biggest change is that guilds will be limited to one defending and one attacking side. Previously, Boonstones/Riftstones would activate as a disputed zone at the same time, and anyone entering the zone would be able to participate in the war. The more guilds in a coalition, the better, as they could gain an advantage in difficult situations, or share airlift to make defenses easier. However, with the new “declaration method,” it will be a one-on-one battle between the guild that owns the Boonstones/Riftstones and the guild that declared war. It’s all about guild unity, with no alliance support.

With the new declaration method, guilds that don’t have a Boonstones/Riftstones will have to choose up to three (subject to change) to attack during the declaration period. If multiple guilds declare a Boonstones/Riftstones at the same time, the guild with the higher Guild Rank will be prioritized. Since this is a one-on-one matchup between guilds fighting under the same conditions, we’re looking forward to seeing more innovative and diverse strategies.

Of course, we’re still working out the details of the rules. We’re exploring all possibilities to finalize rules that are fair and prevent alliances from intervening in battles in non-combat ways, such as blocking, or colluding to maintain ownership without fighting each other, or allowing a single guild to monopolize a capstone. We’ll be sure to make further announcements about the finalized “declaration method” rules.

Another change is the introduction of the Interserver, a multi-server system that extends beyond your own server. Guilds can interact with Boonstones/Riftstones to enter the Interserver space. Here, guilds will meet up with guilds from other servers that have the same Boonstones/Riftstones, and they will play a conflict event with all of them as enemies. Boonstones host Guild Territory Events, and Riftstones host Field Boss Events.

All Interserver PvP will be guild-only, with no alliances, just like Capture the Flag on each server, and the matchups between servers will rotate between periods. Content will occur once per week, and we expect the first Interserver PvP to be available in March.

Additionally, we’re expanding Interserver PvP beyond guilds to coalitions. Within the first half of the year, you’ll be able to experience the largest cross-server sieges, including up to four friendly guilds and even mercenaries handpicked from your server.

We believe that in order to prevent guild-scale competition from becoming stagnant, we need to open up the battlefield beyond the server. We hope you’ll look forward to seeing new battles that are different from the long, drawn-out, intra-server battles that we’re used to, and that will bring the tension and fun of single-player battles.

Casual, competitive, party/solo PvP

While guild-driven PvP content can help level the playing field and increase the tension and frequency of competition by expanding the battlefield, the direction of existing Field PvP is a low huddle. With Interserver providing guilds with new PvP goals and motivations, we plan to revamp Field PvP in a way that keeps the fun of partying and soloing alive.

First up: Conflict Dynamic Events. We’re planning a major overhaul of conflict Dynamic Events to get back to the heart of the content, which is PvP on an individual basis. The main direction of the overhaul is the move to faction warfare.

We’re hoping that the change to faction warfare will create more variability within dynamic events and allow weaker guilds and soloers to enjoy PvP content without feeling overwhelmed. We still have a few details to iron out, such as communication between factions and how parties are matched, but we’re working hard on them. At the rate we’re going, you’ll be seeing the new Conflict Zone event in April.

We’re also launching an Arena. TL’s arena is an equalized deathmatch arena, and we’re planning a variety of modes, including 2v2, 3v3, and 6v6. We’ll be offering Deathmatch first, but we’re leaving the door open for more formats. We’re targeting June for our first public release. That’s a long way off, but we’re working hard to improve the underlying systems. We’ll be back with more details as development moves closer.

Since our last letter, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about why Field Bosses don’t all instantiate, and whether Peace Mode is easier to get rewards from. We’re going to keep Conflict Field Bosses the way they are now, but we’re going to increase their drop rate and number of items reasonably. Basically, we’re going to keep the current balance of slightly higher rewards for PvP than PvE for the same content. This is not to say that we’re encouraging PvP, we just think it’s a much harder and more challenging difficulty level than PvE on an objective basis. However, for PvP-only content in areas that are inaccessible or segregated from PvE users, we’re going to remove direct growth factors from rewards, such as honor or tax-related rewards, in the interest of equity.

TL’s plans for the first half of the year

With these two long letters, I’ve laid out our development direction and challenges going forward. I’d love to hear how you’ve received them and what you think. Please leave your comments in the community, on the Ask a TL board, or any other channel you’re comfortable with, and I’ll look forward to reading them.

I’d like to share some of my current concerns along with the direction I’ve been taking.

TL has been a project with a lot of inflection points. Immediately after CBT, we had a major overhaul of the game’s fundamental systems. Of course, we had a lot of work to do, so we were able to make quick adjustments, but we also had a lot of problems along the way. This isn’t to deny that the game has improved, but rather to talk about my reflections on the process of becoming a better game. As we raced against a tight schedule, we made mistakes, both big and small, some of which you may not understand.

It’s our policy and goal to continue to respond and improve quickly. However, we’re realizing that we need to find a compromise between speed and quality in order to keep your gaming experience enjoyable. That’s not to say that we’re going to stop updating because we need to do maintenance. We’ll continue to work on the content tweaks and additions that we’ve talked about in the last two letters to keep your experience fresh, and we’re working on them. We also have some longer term things in the works. We’re looking for opportunities to talk about those as well in the near future.

However, we’d like to focus on improving the foundational content of the game first to ensure that the bad mechanics of the past isn’t repeated in new content, new areas, and new challenges. As a result, we’re pushing back the opening of the new areas we originally announced a bit, so that we can bring them to you sometime in the summer. I hope you’ll forgive me for my determination not to make the mistake of adding more content without defining the core fun of the game. We apologize for the unpleasant news.
We will continue to pack content into Laslan and Stoneguard that you will enjoy, and we will do our best to keep TL moving forward.

It’s been two months since our launch. We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to all the users who were (and still are) part of TL’s beginnings. We look forward to living up to your expectations.

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