Castle sieges

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Castle Sieges are intended to be massive events with hundreds of people involved in a single Siege. One of the reasons that Ashes of Creation Apocalypse exists is so we can address the challenges in ramping up the number of bodies that we can handle simultaneously. With our latest test hitting over 200 simultaneous players, we’re ready to push that number even further. Our goal is to have the largest organized PVP battles of any MMORPG.[1]

Guilds participate in Castle sieges in an effort to capture and occupy one of the five guild castles in Ashes of Creation.[3]

  • Sieges occur once a month.[3]
  • The minimum goal is for 250x250 players to be on a single battlefield. It is hoped that this can be increased to 500x500 over time.[4]

A guild that captures a castle will own that castle for a month before it is sieged again.[5]

  • In the first three weeks that a guild occupies a castle they will need to level up each of their castle nodes to Village stage through questing.[5]
  • The fourth week is declaration week, where other guilds have the opportunity to lay down their declaration flag or to sign up as a defender of the castle.[5]
  • Depending on how well the guild defends the castle nodes results in better defenses for the castle.[6]
  • Different siege weaponry will grant the attackers the ability to destroy walls, doors and sections of the castle in order to gain access to the inner keep area.[7]
  • When castles change hands (following a siege), some taxes stay with the castle and some stay with the guild.[8]

There will be benefits to attracting people... even if they're not in your guild or alliance – kind of a feudal like system, where you can attract other players who are just independent of this whole politic. They will have things to do there - benefits to receive - and there will be a reciprocal relationship between who you can attract, what they do for you; and how that benefits you and them.[5]Steven Sharif

Guild castles

With five Castles in the world, and each having been owned by different civilizations from the far-flung past of Verra, you can expect that each Castle has its own character. Different terrains and different layouts will result in each Castle having its own advantages and disadvantages. Just because you have managed to take one Castle will not mean that your strategies will pan out in the next. Commanders will have to take into consideration the lay of the land, time of day, weather, and even seasons into account when forming their battle plans.[1]

These Castles are occupied when players arrive on Verra, and their current inhabitants will have to be removed before any player can claim them. Castles will be dangerous and high-level raid zones until they can be cleared, and the first group of players to do so will gain the Castle as their reward.[1]

Five guild castles exist in Ashes of Creation.[3] Castles will initially be occupied by an NPC adversary. These are the primary antagonists in the storyline.[5]

  • Guilds have a period of time to level up in order to siege these castles.
  • These castles will be very difficult to take from the NPCs.
  • Castle nodes around NPC run castles will not be present.

Castle nodes

Should you be deft enough to take a Castle, you’ll now be responsible for managing it. Castles will have their own Nodes associated with them, and developing and defending those Nodes will determine the state of your Castle during the next siege. If you’ve done a good job managing your kingdom, then you’ll have more and better options available for deployment during the next siege. If you let your populace fall to ruin, you may have to rely solely on your own devices.[1]

Siege preparation.[9]

Guild castles have three adjacent nodes in close proximity.[3][7]

Castle nodes are leveled through questing by the owning guild or alliance guilds.[7]

  • Levelling castle nodes is a hastened process compared to regular nodes.[5]
  • Using caravans to move supplies during the weeks before a castle siege.[11]
  • Completing these quests unlocks services and functions that are useful to the occupying guild and its allies as well as boosting the defenses the castle.
  • Rival guilds will want to destroy supply caravans to prevent them from leveling up the castle and its dedicated nodes.

If they fail to to level up those nodes or complete those quests within the three prior weeks before the declaration week, then the castle will be at a disadvantage.[7]Steven Sharif

Being a member of the occupying guild automatically makes you a garrison of the castle nodes and castle itself.[3]

  • Only members of the occupying guild are citizens of these nodes.[6]
  • This citizenship is different to normal node citizenship. Castle nodes don't operate like normal nodes.

Declaring a castle siege

Guilds will be able to sign up to either siege or defend a castle.[7]

  • Players don't need to be in the guild that owns a castle in order to sign up for the defense of the castle.[7]
  • The guild leader that owns the castle is able to approve guilds that have applied to defend at the castle.[7]
  • Guilds that wish to siege the castle will be required utilize masters of each artisan class: Gathering, Processing and Crafting in order to create a declaration flag.[7]
  • Following declaration, the defender has a week grace period to approve defenders, hire mercenary NPCs and set up defensible positions.[7]

Announcements/Notifications

There will be global (server-wide) announcements/notifications of important events.[12]

Local node events, such as Caravans will not be announced. These will rely on player word-of-mouth.[12]

Whether it be like a siege or a triggered event against a city or like a unique dungeon opportunity... those types of things are going to involve notifications. Especially to the citizens of the city; where you'll be informed of an impending event. Basically it will give you time.[13]Steven Sharif

Castle siege objectives

As a Siege rages on, there is a sense of territory and progression through the battle. These are represented through Control Points, and each side starts with a few already owned. Others are present, but neutral. As Control Points are captured by one side, that side gains a temporary buff and an increase to their spawn rate. The other side will find that their spawn rate has decreased and their ultimate victory condition has been pushed just a little bit further from their reach. The spawn areas also have a portal which will allow the side that owns it to teleport to any Control Point that side owns - perfect for backdoor shenanigans.[1]

  • Attackers capture waypoints in the castle's architecture to diminish their respawn timer and increase the respawn timer of the defenders.[7]
  • Defenders can counter-play by attacking the siege headquarters of the attackers to diminish their declaration flags and increase their respawn timers.[7]
  • Legendary NPCs will be present as commanders that act like mini raid bosses within the defending and attacking armies. Killing these provides added benefits, such as certain types of drops that grant battlefield benefits to either side.[7]
  • The ultimate objective for the defenders is to survive during the timed period of the siege, which is approximately 90 minutes in its first iteration.[7]
  • If the attackers reach the inner keep of the castle, a guild leader (or one other delegated officer) must cast a 3 to 5 minute cast to seal ownership of the castle.[7]
    • Casting time is diminished based on on the number of waypoints captured during the siege.[7]
    • There's an opportunity for any guild leader in the attacking alliance to capture the castle for themselves, despite what may have been agreed upon prior to the siege.[14]

There's an opportunity there for perhaps backstabbing in the throne room where one guild is like yeah you know we agreed to get to this area but we had a change of heart in the middle of the battle.[14]Steven Sharif

Siege alliances

When a siege begins, temporary alliances are formed among attackers and defenders.[15]

  • For node sieges, citizens of the node or provincial nodes being attacked are automatically registered as defenders.[16]
  • There are many reasons to participate as an ally in the attack or defence of other nodes.[17]
    • Titles.
    • Items.
    • Materials.
    • Money.
    • Social bonds.

Many incentives exist that can benefit your node and yourself personally by participating in the attack or defense of cities. These range from titles, to items, to materials, to money. Additionally, aiding others may help you strengthen bonds when your assets are threatened.[17]Steven Sharif

Siege mechanics

A siege occurs over several phases.[18]

  • Certain siege mechanics may be gated for specific size groups during sieges.[19]
  • There will not be a deserter debuff for leaving a siege before it is complete.[20]
  • More will be revealed in an upcoming blog entry.[18]

Siege weapons

It wouldn’t be a castle siege without siege weapons. These are massive machines of war that enable attackers to bring down the walls, and defenders to keep their keep safe. Crafters can bring their own powerful schematics to the battlefield, or you can order baseline siege weapons from your friendly neighborhood siege master NPC. The Castle’s defenders will be able to deploy their own defensive weapons and turrets based on how well they maintained and defended their own Nodes. The sky will be illuminated with fire and fury.[1]

Trebuchet siege weapon.[21]

Siege weapons are able to be crafted or purchased from NPCs.[22]

Siege equipment will require materials, recipes and craftsmanship.[23]

Part of this endeavor of sieging a player-held location (or non-player-held location) is time to prepare; and that includes gathering and crafting these mega weapons or collecting the resources: Whether it be gold or specific quest items to purchase from NPCs.[22]Steven Sharif

Anything that you want to bring into existence in the world is going to be built by players: Whether that is Ships, Siege engines, Weapons, Armor, etc.[24]Jeffrey Bard

Siege PvP

Sieges don't use the PvP flagging system.[25]

Siege NPCs

NPCs serve as defense points. Killing them allows the attackers to gain advantages during a siege.[26] NPCs are only killable during a siege and will respawn if the siege is unsuccessful.[27]

NPC guards are intended to be a significant presence but not the main line of defense in a siege.[28]

Dragons

Dragons are epic flying mounts with strong battle abilities, such as AoE breath attacks, swooping flyby attacks, and others.[29][30]

The dragon will have a lot of capability in PvP. It's primarily its purpose, because as it relates to Castles and the sieges they're in, or Nodes and the sieges they're in. We want dragons to have large scale ramifications against player raids.[30]Steven Sharif

Zergs

For every play, there should be a counterplay. We often see Castle Sieges turn into zerg-fests, which really doesn’t capture the epic, back-and-forth battles we wish to see in Ashes of Creation. One of our key pillars is that Choice Matters[31], and that applies to tactics and strategy as well. A well-formulated battle plan should win out over stat sheets and bodies. Zergs will generally be difficult to pull off, and will be eminently counterable through siege weapons, traps, and other battlefield tricks.[1]

Zergs are empowered by fast-travel. Meaningful travel times are intended to prevent zerg play from being so much of an influence.[32]

Encounters are designed to have meaning in terms of how boss skills and abilities relate to group compositions, tactics and strategies. Zerging is not experiencing content.[33]

  • Raid and dungeon bosses have specific mechanics that players need to learn and react to. Zergs that are not aware of these mechanics or react to them appropriately will be wiped.
  • There is a give-and-take for guilds that want to see a larger number of members as opposed to a more focused group that may be a part of an alliance.[34]

We're very cognizant of the fact that we don't want to see zerging be a mechanic that's utilized by guilds to accomplish content or just to steamroll over sieges... There are specific mechanics that we are working on that will be seen through the testing phases that relate to a degree of understanding of certain systems that can't just be overrun with numbers.[34]Steven Sharif

Mechanics that encourage political intrigue will play a role in destabilizing zergs.[14]

The best way that I found in games I played previously to take down a zerg is to cause drama from within... It's that conflict inside of the politicking that happens in that big organization. If we provide opportunities for division to occur then it also provides stability to keep a server healthy away from that zerg mentality also... If we approach the castle siege and we've destroyed the walls and we're in the throne room and we're about to cast on the penultimate thing and I at this time am just so excited from what's happening that I'm like "screw it I'm gonna go for it". It's gonna be mine. I'm gonna take the taxes for the next month. I'm gonna take all the gear from the castle. I'm gonna take everything... We kind of want that political intrigue to be present in the game.[14]Steven Sharif

Having objectives in gameplay make helps to balance the zerg mentality.[35]

I always feel that if you balance based on groups that in your balance focus is to incorporate features that play well from a player versus player perspective as well as a player versus environment perspective: Having support classes, having DPS and tanks that can obstruct movement and/or create you know bottlenecks on the field and stuff like that. I think a well-rounded raid it will perform better against a non well-rounded raid, however then you incorporate the second aspect of numbers; and that's where again mobility, organization, leadership tactics. Having objectives in gameplay that make those important helps to balance the zerg mentality that a lot of guilds can tend to have.[35]Steven Sharif

Siege abilities

Eight players of the same primary archetype can band together to create monumental effects during a siege.[36]

These are the types of systems that we want to put in place where groups of a single primary archetype can come together to summon these types of effects that play off of what the identity of that archetype is.[36]Steven Sharif

Summoner

Summoners can collaborate to summon larger summons, such as Golems.[37]

  • A siege summon will have an incremental size based on the number of summoners participating in that summon activity, with a maximum of eight.[38]
  • The number of summoners participating in the summon will determine its overall size.[38]
  • All summoners must be in the same party and the party leader must be a summoner.[39]
    • The party leader initiates the summon and then takes control of it.
    • Once summoned, the party leader cannot be changed.
    • If the party disbands, the summon ends. There will be a grace period to handle disconnects.
    • The party may also contain non-Summoners.

It doesn't have to be just summoners, but it has to be a party led by a summoner with other summoners in it.[39]Steven Sharif

Tank

If eight Tank archetypes each use one of their summon wall abilities it might construct a larger wall that can divide two raids in a moment; and would require damage and block skills and abilities for a momentary lapse of battle between those two raids.[36]Steven Sharif

Siege aftermath

We’re working on a destruction engine that should help us to make a Castle Siege that feels cinematic and visceral. Having shards of the walls tumble to the ground after a trebuchet scores a hit will feel satisfying in a way no other Castle Siege has been able to offer in an MMORPG like this. Maybe you don’t need to take down the whole wall, maybe if you blow open a big enough hole, that’ll be enough to turn the tides.[1]

Rubble will be visible for a period of time following a successful castle siege. This will likely persist until the incumbent guild develops the first defensive node.[41]

Destructible environments

Destructible environments will be a core element of how players interact with the world, in both Ashes of Creation Apocalypse and Ashes of Creation the MMORPG.[42]

Not just in APOC where we want a completely destructible environment, but also in the MMORPG when it comes to Dungeons and traversing certain areas. We want destruction to be a very core element of how players make their way through the world.[42]Steven Sharif

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges are an Ashes of Creation Apocalypse testing mode that aims to test castle siege mechanics.[45]

The Castle Siege mode is another example of a playable slice of the MMORPG that Apocalypse is providing early testing for. While it’s a somewhat smaller scale experience than the one you’ll have in the MMO, the overall flow of taking and defending a castle will remain similar. There’s some additional systems you’ll see in the final product, like the influence of Nodes over the available defensive emplacements, the crafting and deploying of custom siege weapons, and the summoning of siege monsters. These are all things that we’ll be adding on top of this mode upon our release of Ashes of Creation.[47]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle siege maps

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges take place on a 1km2 (one square kilometer) map.[47]

Five castles are intended for the Ashes of Creation MMORPG. It's likely that eventually there will also be five castle maps on Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges.[52]

On January 11, 2019, we showcased our sneak peek of two siege map designs coming to Ashes of Creation Apocalypse soon - Castle Korgan previously owned by the Aelan humans and Castle Milnar constructed by the great Dünzenkell dwarves. These great castles of Verra were the cornerstone of defense for the Empires that owned them. Once home to legendary battles that turned the tides of power and influence on Verra. Now abandoned by the great powers that have fled Verra through the Divine Gateways, these great pillars of civilization are battlefields in the Apocalypse.[47]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle siege mechanics

Dünzenkell Dwarven and Alean Human objective torches.[54]
Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle siege objective torch. The bowl fills with flames colored to match the team that captures the objective.[54]
Reliquary concept art.[55]

The Attacking Team’s victory condition is to take the Defending Team’s Relic which is the final Control Point in the castle.They will also have several Control Points located in their camp to encourage Defenders to skirmish outside the castle walls. These will also act as spawn locations for the Attacking Team.[47]Margaret Krohn

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse castle sieges will be objective-based.[45]

A player elects to be either an attacker or defender.[52][47]

  • The matchmaker will attempt to assign a player their selected side (referred to as role in the article) but it may allocate another side so as to shorten queue times.[47]
  • Once in the match, a player's side will not change.[47]

Players select one of the six classes prior to battle.[52]

  • Players can see the numbers of players in their raid who have selected each class.[56]
  • Players will have a limited amount of time to lock in their class choice. If they miss the window, the least selected class choice will be automatically chosen for them.[47]
  • There is no limit to the number of a specific class that may be on a team, however the developers note that composition will be important from a strategic perspective.[47]
  • Classes cannot be swapped during a match, but this may change based on testing.[47]

There will be a timeframe for preparation where attackers and defenders take positions and prepare weaponry.[52]

  • Siege weaponry will include ballistas, trebuchets, battering rams and potentially traps and "powder keg" type weapons.[52]

When you join into the castle siege in Apocalypse you're going to be able to select one of six classes. Right and upon selecting those classes then you're going to be placed on your starting side, whether it be the attacker or defenders; and then you're going to be able to start preparations. It's gonna be a little bit of a loading time where you have selected those classes. You're going to take positions perhaps and whatnot; and there are siege weaponry that's going to be present there as you see here some ballistas, some trebuchets, a battering ram and maybe some traps and some powder keg kind of stuff available to destroy some things.[52]Steven Sharif

Attacking team

In the first phase of battle the attackers attempt to penetrate the walls and gates to gain access to the inside of the castle.[52][57]

  • Siege weapons available to the attacking side include Trebuchets and Battering Rams.[47]

There will be a variety of siege weapons available to the Attacking side including Trebuchets and Battering Rams. Trebuchets’ range will be long enough to reach the enemy ballistas from their initial placement points. These placement points will be out of player character’s weapon range from the castle walls, but within ballista range, and scattered on the battlefield.[47]Margaret Krohn

Once inside the castle, the attackers need to hold objectives.[52]

  • There are objectives within the castle, such as killing guard captains.[45]
  • Attackers must destroy key strategic objectives to swing the battle in their favor.[46]
  • Defenders must protect key strategic objectives to maintain advantage.[46]
  • Holding capture points increase or decrease the duration of the map, change the opposing side's respawn times and give buffs to the side that holds them.[52][45]
    • Players can also respawn on capture points that they hold.[52]

The ultimate objective of the attackers is to reach the center keep of the castle to channel on the final relic that's present in order to achieve victory.[57]

Defending team

The defenders are attempting to hold out as long as possible, but they can also rush the field to the enemy encampment or headquarters to attempt to damage their ability to siege.[57]

  • Attempt to take out attacker's siege weapons.[57]
  • Attempt to capture attacker's control points to increase their spawn time and decrease the total match time.[57]

If a Defender captures an Attacker’s Control Point, the total match time decreases, the Attacker Teams’ respawn time increases, and it also provides a temporary morale buff to the entire Defender’s side. Defenders will also be able to teleport to any Control Points that have been taken.[47]Margaret Krohn

Siege weapons available to the defending side include Ballistas and Traps.[47]

Ballistas will have fixed positions on castle towers. Traps will be placeable items that the Defending Team can use to damage and crowd control their enemies. Note that these items are destructible by the Attacking Team.[47]Margaret Krohn

Respawning

Players have infinite lives in castle siege mode.[47]

  • Upon death, players join a respawn queue shared with their teammates.[47]

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse siege equipment

Ashes of Creation Apocalypse siege equipment includes ballistas, trebuchets, battering rams and potentially traps and "powder keg" type weapons.[52]

  • Siege weapons available to the attacking side include Trebuchets and Battering Rams.[47]
  • Siege weapons available to the defending side include Ballistas and Traps.[47]
  • Siege weapons are deployable and piloted by players.[46]

With regards to alpha one phase one however in the castle siege system... what will happen is static siege equipment that's placed in the map for the attackers to utilize that will present at focal points of PvP in the match where defenders will know where to target a specific area on the field in order to attack. [23]Steven Sharif

Artwork

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Blog: 10 facts about castle sieges in the MMORPG.
  2. Livestream, 4 June 2018 (58:19).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 castle nodes.png
  4. castle-siege-scale.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 Podcast, 23 April 2018 (21:55).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Livestream, 23 August 2017 (23:00).
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 Podcast, 23 April 2018 (15:14).
  8. castle-taxes5.png
  9. Video, 20 April 2017 (8:20).
  10. castle-systems.png
  11. castle-node-caravans.png
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Livestream, 4 May 2018 (48:14).
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Interview, 17 August 2018 (24:48).
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Interview, 11 May 2018 (44:20).
  15. siege alliances.png
  16. siege auto defenders.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 Official Livestream - May 4th @ 3 PM PST - Q&A
  18. 18.0 18.1 siege more info.png
  19. siege mechanics.png
  20. Livestream, 24 May 2017 (37:05).
  21. Video, 31 May 2017 (2:27).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Livestream, 18 January 2018 (37:05).
  23. 23.0 23.1 Interview, 8 August 2018 (20:49).
  24. Livestream, 24 May 2017 (17:08).
  25. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (45:14).
  26. siege success.png
  27. siege npcs killable.png
  28. Livestream, 28 July 2017 (36:51).
  29. dragon abilities.png
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 Livestream, 8 April 2018 (PM) (51:49).
  31. pillars-confusion.png
  32. Livestream, 5 May 2017 (23:26).
  33. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (25:18).
  34. 34.0 34.1 Livestream, 22 May 2017 (57:37).
  35. 35.0 35.1 Interview, 8 August 2018 (11:52).
  36. 36.0 36.1 36.2 36.3 Podcast, 11 May 2018 (49:20).
  37. Livestream, 19 May 2017 (10:06).
  38. 38.0 38.1 Livestream, 8 April 2018 (AM) (28:01).
  39. 39.0 39.1 Interview, 17 August 2018 (14:59).
  40. steven-a1-leak-1.png
  41. Livestream, 9 July 2018 (42:48).
  42. 42.0 42.1 42.2 Livestream, 28 June 2019 (31:15).
  43. Video, 8 March 2019 (0:00).
  44. steven-a1-leak-3.png
  45. 45.0 45.1 45.2 45.3 45.4 Livestream, 17 August 2018 (30:29).
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 46.4 Livestream, 1 September 2018 (54:06).
  47. 47.00 47.01 47.02 47.03 47.04 47.05 47.06 47.07 47.08 47.09 47.10 47.11 47.12 47.13 47.14 47.15 47.16 47.17 47.18 47.19 47.20 47.21 47.22 Castle Siege Overview.
  48. Interview, 24 August 2018 (13:17).
  49. Interview, 17 August 2018 (8:16).
  50. Interview, 6 December 2018 (38:10).
  51. Video, 11 January 2019 (0:00).
  52. 52.00 52.01 52.02 52.03 52.04 52.05 52.06 52.07 52.08 52.09 52.10 52.11 Livestream, 11 January 2019 (35:44).
  53. 53.0 53.1 Livestream, 11 January 2019 (34:26).
  54. 54.0 54.1 objective-torch.png
  55. reliquary-concept.png
  56. Livestream, 11 January 2019 (56:11).
  57. 57.0 57.1 57.2 57.3 57.4 Livestream, 11 January 2019 (37:45).