|Shane Gifford of Fidelis Goblin Squad Member|
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Here it is. Good to see the new faces in the vlogs! (And I double-checked my name bolding this time. ;) )
Lee: I'm Lee Hammock, I'm the lead game designer, and today we're going to be talking about the War of Towers.
Mark: We were always a little concerned that our MVP plan were good - they had a good game cycle where you could fight monsters, and get gear, and do some crafting, and level up, and do a lot of the basic cycle for an MMO - but it didn't have enough of a focus on PvP and territory that really makes up Pathfinder Online.
Lee: So we've spent the last few weeks trying to figure out: how can we put a simplified version of settlement warfare [into the game] that we can get done in the time allotted, that will be fun for everybody and get the core of the system up and running, but not overly impact everything else we're trying to do?
Mark: But still, it reflects the core gameplay of Pathfinder Online. It has the territory control aspect, it has leveling up and making your settlement better and more effective for training and everything else, and it gives the players the immediate ability to do this basic PvP system.
Lee: So out of all this came the thing we're calling the War of the Towers. Day 1 of Early Enrollment there are going to be a number of towers spread out across the Early Enrollment game area. In a little bit we'll be showing you a map, and the map will be going up with the blog, so you'll be able to start strategizing immediately as to how this is going to work.
So now we're going to talk about some of the map, and the mechanics for the War of the Towers. Joining me in this is Tork Shaw, one of our designers. So first off, we've got the map, which anyone involved in the land rush will be very familiar with at this point. We've got the symbols for each of the different settlements that are claimed as of now, plus the overlay for their territory. You'll notice a lot of these black tower icons that have been added to the map. They surround the six hexes around every settlement, plus they are scattered amongst other hexes in what at first glance might look like a random pattern, but is not random.
Your tower territory does not have to be contiguous. If you're this settlement, and you want to capture that tower [on the opposite side of the map], knock yourself out, but defending that tower is going to be a little hard because that's a long way to go if somebody starts trouble up there.
Tork: So towers are actually held by companies rather than settlements. To capture a tower, a company has to go down to that location and spend a certain amount of time there in that area within the tower structure. The people who already own it can defend it by sending people into that and cutting people down or by holding people in that area themselves. Multiple companies can attack the same tower at once, but with the way the system works, the more people you have in the capture area for a longer period of time, the more points you score, and you end up with the tower at the end of that section.
Lee: What do towers do for settlements?
Tork: Once you've captured your towers, you use them to effectively upgrade your settlement. When you're building a settlement, or when you place your settlement, you select from a list of prebuilt settlements which will cover certain classes, or certain craft skills, or particular aspects of the game. They'll do it up to a certain level of training. Then when you capture a tower, or a company which captured a tower allies itself with you, that increases the level of training available in that settlement by a certain amount. So you'll need to capture enough towers to keep the training in your settlement at a level appropriate to the characters in your settlement.
Lee: There are going to be choices and tradeoffs. There's not a lot of the management you'll see in the final settlement system of, "We're going to upgrade this building, then upgrade this building, then upgrade this building." There's no resources involved, it's just tower control, but you do have the choice of what kind of settlement you want to have, and as you upgrade it'll get better at those things you selected.
Tork: Every tower and every settlement has a PvP window. Once a tower is affiliated with a settlement, it shares the PvP window with that settlement. A settlement's PvP window starts at nil, but for each tower your PvP window is opened slightly greater. So the more territory you own, the more vulnerable all of your territory is. But again, it is defended individually by the companies that run those particular towers, so the settlement members are not necessarily responsible for looking after all those towers at once during the entire PvP window.
When the PvP window is open, that tower can be taken again. It also means that when PvP happens in that hex it will be Reputation and consequence free, so you can kill anyone you like in that hex for the duration of the PvP window.