Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bottle-necks in Age of Conan

I was reading an article over on Saylah's blog over at Mystic Worlds when it dawned on me (I know I'm slow)... with FFA PvP servers in Funcom's Age of Conan PvP will be enabled everywhere except inside of towns and city hubs. In cities and towns, it'll be a safe haven from the harsher wilds of Hyboria. Now this isn't exactly lore appropriate, but it does help PvP players have a safe place to go and enact trades, check their mail and go AFK.

My only concern with this is what can best be described as bottle-necks. Now assuming that Funcom doesn't already have a solution to this problem (the NDA is still up after all for General and Technical Beta tests), what I'm referring to are those choke points that will be created by the Safe-Zones and their exits into the greater FFA zones that will be the rest of Hyboria.

If left without some sort of solution, these areas could become havens for gankers and it will wind up being the kind of game where smacktards sit outside of a city jumping around like numbnuts and waiting for some poor schmuck to leave the safety of the city or town. Somehow though, I don't think Funcom would let this problem slip by.

This is just an educated guess, but I'm thinking that the "safe zones" that are Cities and Towns will be real "zones", as in you'll have to load in and out of them as you might do in EQ2. If this is the case, the developers can simply place a temporay invulnerability buff on players who have recently zoned, giving them time to get acclimated to their surroundings before they get raped by a bunch of rabid PvP fanatics out for a cheap thrill near the newbie towns.

Out of the two scenarios, I'm inclined to believe that the latter is the way things will work come launch. Even in an Open PvP environment, there must be some measure of policy in place in order to fit in the greater contexts of the game (like auctions, trading, crafting, etc). The former example of bottle-necks seems too conducive to rampant griefing and ultimately unhappy players, while the latter example of zoning and invulnerability buffs makes more sense for the greater purpose of a FFA PvP server. At least in my version of the rules it does.

My only worry is what if the invulnerability buff breaks and some lucky guy winds up running around Hyboria unable to die and reigning terror on anyone whose path he crosses? If that happens... I hope it's to me. Then again, I suppose Funcom can make this impossible by simply making the buff also remove the buffed player's ability to do damage for the duration as well.

Bah, this is all theory-crafting. We'll see how it works soon enough. Open beta and presumably an NDA lift is next week.


brenda said...

A note in beta leaks said that this was exactly what happened: You stepped out of the safe zone and were killed by packs of hungry PKs.

Bildo said...

Really? Well maybe things have *wink* changed *wink*.


Melmoth said...


Wink Police! Freeze!

We've had reports of unsolicited winking of a highly suggestive nature on this blog. Possibly these winks are related to beta information about various MMOs still in the development stages.

If you see any winks, please don't acknowledge them as they fund terrorism. And under no circumstances whatsoever should you respond by waggling your eyebrows up and down and saying "I don't know what you could possibly mean", otherwise could find yourself looking at a long stretch in the clink.

Move along.

Anonymous said...

Zoning from your home realm to the frontiers in Dark Age of Camelot was handled by the zone-in area being policed by NPC guards. Might be tougher in Conan, since it's not factionalized, but maybe they could make a NPC-policed no-combat zone that would at least give players a running head start. That was always one of my favorite parts of DAoC, crossing the invisible line beyond where the guards would respond, running into ever-increasing vulnerability. Game on!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I think Blogger chose to jettison my comment out into internet space.

I mentioned that I hadn't even thought about the issue, but I do think your solution is a good one. I do have to say that I hope they don't add too many loading screens, though. That was one of my nitpicks about EQ2 (and PotBS took the loading-screen thing to a whole new level!).