A Suggestion For Sieges

Thread starter #1
I heard that deciding how to balance sieges is still something very much on the table in this game and being debated among the community. I made a collection of my thoughts on some key mechanics I would implement if I ever built a sandbox MMO some time ago. One thing that got an article of its own was sieges. When reading this think "Star Wars Battlefront 2" or "Conqueror's Blade Field Battles", but much much longer. That's the idea this system is going for:

As a game with Open World PvP and territorial control, the ability to take territory from other players by force is essential. Unfortunately this generally leads to people building up their own areas over the course of weeks, months, or even years, then losing it all in a single 3 am surprise attack. Some games have solved this problem by making it so there is warning period after a siege is declared but the battle itself still lasts only 1-3 hours meaning that if you are too busy to be there for that battle, or that battle is happening when you are usually working or sleeping it's a matter of bending your life to work for the game or not being present.

I find this system to be crap. Territory that is built by many people putting forth considerable effort and resources over a long period of time should only be conquerable by people putting forth considerable effort and resources over a long period of time.

The problem with that is that players generally cannot hold a siege 24/7 for a long period of time. That's far too much commitment for a game to reasonably expect of its players.

For that reason, sieges will be fought between NPC armies with players acting as commanders and the heroes of their respective factions. When sieging major holdings the opposing force must commit troops from the standing armies of their holdings, weakening the defenses of their territory. These forces will set up siege camps at the location they are being commanded to assault. From there there there will be several hotspots that there will be almost constant conflict between NPCs of the attacker and defender. While statistically, the numbers of NPCs in these conflicts will probably number in the thousands there will likely only be dozens of NPCs represented by avatars on the fields at any given time for the sake of avoiding unnecessary lag.

Players can assist their factions by going and fighting at these hotspots. Controlling each hotspot gives various advantages to your team and or disadvantages to the enemy team. The primary purpose being that faction losing will bleed soldiers from their total number of forces faster and the attacking faction will either gain or lose victory points needed to successfully capture the settlement.

These sieges will be ongoing events meant to last days or even weeks, so the most useful way to help your side is to log on and fight over hotspots as you have time. Even if there is nobody on for your side during the early hours of the morning it will not allow the enemy to achieve victory if your side is usually the winning side for most of the day or if they have not committed enough resources and soldiers to defeat a settlement with the defenses and soldiers yours has.
Some more thoughts I'll add to this. Not all points of the day have to be even in terms of how fast points are earned/lost. You might have some points of day where it's more rewarding to participate and some points of day where it's less rewarding. So say, controlling all of the points in an off-hour means less than controlling them during prime time.

Also in terms of total troop supply, I wouldn't make it "both sides get equal troops". There should be ways to generate troops. Homeguard spawned by controlling territory and increased by investing certain resources or having certain buildings. Mercenaries hired in straight gold, etc. Your troops are something you invest in so taking and defending territory isn't free for either side.

If you want spies or saboteurs to be a thing, make it so they can take limited actions that hurt the home guard or other aspects of a settlement 24/7. And have some strong NPC sentries that can be invested in so even an uncontested raid isn't truly uncontested. Enough of these actions piled up together could seriously compromise a settlement's ability to defend itself. But a 3am siege shouldn't work against a city people have held and invested in for months or years.
Thread starter #2
One of the major criticisms I'm anticipating from this system is "How is a new group meant to take territory if holding territory generates troops?"

For that, the answer would be there should be strongholds and outposts. Strongholds would work on the systems described above. Outposts would be much easier to take and lose. They are resource gathering camps that are meant to be fought over constantly. New groups would get their start by taking and holding outposts until they have the resources to take a stronghold. Since outposts are easier to lose the resources gained by holding them should be able to be tied to guildhall in an NPC city for non-stronghold controlling groups. There would be downsides to this but it would allow an active and dedicated group to build up for and take a stronghold of their own from a more complacent veteran group eventually. Or build one if space is still available.

If older groups crush every new group aiming to take outposts they'll stretch their resources thin and lose a lot of troops needed to defend their own holdings. Small guilds may also target particularly hated old groups with constant sabotage actions further weakening them. Therefore this creates an incentive for older guilds to band together and mentor like-minded groups that are just starting up. Turning the threat they pose into a potential ally and allowing the newer group a powerful ally to help them establish a foothold.
Thread starter #5
Oh sorry, I forgot to specify this suggestion is for Mortal Online 2.