This is another one of those instances, where this started off as a relatively simple comment or two on another blog and went onto blossom into a full blown post here, as I got more into the subject matter. The original comments were over at Keen & Graevs, but I have expanded it into a bit of a wall of text here.
It appears that a number of people (Keen included) have concerns that Mythic will be able to handle the flipping of the control for the LotD, in a relatively even handed manner. Now there are both the design and technical considerations to this problem, but for now lets ignore the technical side.
Mythic have stated in some interview or other, that they would like control of the LotD to flip twice per realm per evening, and I would assume at roughly the same rate throughout the rest of the day, maybe with a slightly longer time period between flips for the off peak hours.
Obviously each server has the potential for population imbalances and also varying population levels throughout each day, which need to be compensated for in any solution. I mean you wouldn’t want the resourcing levels that are required to flip control of Lotd in prime time, to be carried through into the next day. What may take 2 hours in evening, could end up taking 7 hours Monday to Friday daytime, which could provide the other realm an undesirably long window of exploration/exploitation.
Without control flipping in a relatively metronomic way, you wouldn’t be having those same feelings of pressure that the shorter time periods will hopefully provide. It also wouldn’t generate the necessary levels of conflict that I imagine have been envisaged. So as soon as a control flips, you resource target levels need to set to what the server believes to be appropriate for that time of day, to keep things ticking over nicely.
One thing I hope Mythic sort out from the very beginning, is to set resources levels based upon each servers current population. Ideally loading the servers with realistic resourcing requirements from the start. Nothing would be worse, than to roll out this new dungeon/zone and find that the resource learning system, takes 5 days to learn, how high the resource levels are going to need to be set to, to provide Mythics ideal control flipping rate. Imagine the scene, one realm finds that the other realm is getting the LotD back in 40 mins (for example), because they have a 3 to 1 advantage, simply because the game hasn’t adapted to their population levels. You can hear the whine even now.
As you may have already realised, the LotD control flip rate is going to need to be able to adapt to population changes, otherwise we may find that the required resource levels to flip control, will be out of kilter with the size and distribution of the player base on a server. Those, we’re not winning player migrations can be deadly you know.
Now I am not sure what currently qualifies as being a resource, but it has to be viable for situations where there are no people around to murdah and can contributed to by the various tiers in the game. Ideally the same proportion, regardless of player level.
Personally I would use the same framework that is used to decide if a zone flips or not. There we have a structure which tracks scenario wins, kills, ORvR, BO’s etc etc, I would just bolt in the resource point accumulator into that. So if your realm was going about its normal business outside of being in the LotD, you would be accumulating resource. Now I would one add zone flips into the resource pool accumulator, since I would still want zone flips to carry on, while working towards LotD control. This could provide the opposing realm with a bit of a dilemma, whether to come back to defend or just stuff the realm and carry on with LotD.
One of the advantages of slotting the resource points into a pre-existing framework, is it should cut down on the coding and any visits from Captain Cockup. It can also be slotted into the pre-exisiting game before the release of LotD, so that Mythic and GOA can monitor probable zone flipping rates and tweak the resource accumulation as necessary. It would also mean the resource level profiles would have been based on each real world server. That way any resource level learning can have be undertaken while we are all playing pre LotD Warhammer, and as long as resources for a server aren’t displayed as a number, just a bar, then the player base doesn’t have the opportunity to get uppity about, Realm X needing 4 million more points than Realm Y.
This is a bloody big release for Mythic, make no bones about it. They need this to do well, to allow them time to work on that steaming turd which is City seiges. As players of Warhammer, we also need this to do well, for this games future viability.
Lets hope that Mythic can cover all the bases on this rollout and deliver a near flawless addon.