2 months ago - Korn - Direct link
Hi all,

following up on our recent dev talk about the upcoming Into the Fray expansion, we would like to provide you with more information about the so-called “Journey Back” Ability that will be added to mounts.

Design Goals & Constraints

The main reason why we are introducing this change is to combat zone camping. This is a strategy used by gank groups who camp at a static location near the portals in order to catch solo or small group players when they return from the Outlands to the Royal Continent.

Ganking is an integral part of the Outland gameplay, but we much prefer it to happen dynamically, in the open world, and not at static camp spots. This will give rise to more encounters, encourage gankers to play in smaller groups and lead to more balanced encounters overall.

A key design constraint is the fact that Albion’s player driven economy is local. That means that transportation between different locations - and the time investment and risk that this comes with - is a key part of the game and should not be compromised.

Implemetation

The easiest way to prevent people getting zone camped on the way back to the Royals is by introducing a teleport feature as it exists in almost all MMORPGs. The reason that Albion never had this in the past was that it would undermine the transport economy. You could in theory easily use it to safely transport resources and materials between hideouts and cities, for example.

When we revisited the zone camping issue, we asked ourselves whether it’s possible to come up with a design for a teleport feature that manages to deal with zone camping while leaving the transport economy intact. We have found such a solution, and it works like this:

  • On your mount, there is a “Journey Back” ability that you can use
  • It will take you back to the last city or hideout that you have entered - nowhere else.
  • It will be disabled entirely if you pick up items from a bank chest or trade with another player


The above restrictions mean that you absolutely cannot use the ability to transport goods from city/hideout A to city/hideout B. All the supply lines that you run you will still have to run manually, as before, and they are subject to camping just as before.

In addition to that, it was rightfully pointed out that such an ability might have an impact on large scale zerg vs zerg fights, as it gives additional options when it comes to positioning your force. It will probably not be possible for us to stop these unintended uses of the “Journey Back” feature altogether, but we will try to restrict them as much as possible, through the following means:

  • You cannot use it if you are in a faction trading mission
  • You cannot use the Journey Back ability if you have the Outlaw debuff
  • You cannot use it if you have more than 100% load capacity
  • You cannot use it if you are in a Zerg bubble (red bubble on the minimap)
  • Depending on how the feature plays out, additional restrictions might be added to make the feature less useful in Zerg vs Zerg situations, such as: cannot use it when in a party of more than X players, cannot use it when subject to Disarray, etc.
Finally, using the ability also has a moderate silver cost attached to it. This is not to prevent the feature from being useful, but rather as a reward for those players who decide to take the risk of going manually even if they could have used journey back instead.

Impact on the Outlands

Since our Lands Awakened up, our core goal has been to increase and encourage open world activity, in particular in the Outlands.

The “Journey Back” ability makes it far more attractive for solo and small scale players, and for newer players, to venture into there. At the same time, it encourages gank groups to dynamically roam the map as opposed to camping static locations.

To cover more ground in a roaming scenario, it makes sense for gankers to split up into smaller groups. Hence, we believe that this feature will give rise to a significant increase in Outland activity, with more PvP encounters happening overall.