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The 6th Anniversary Interview & Thoughts for the Future

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MMORPG.com: PvP is the center mechanic for Festival of Bloodshed. How can players get the carnage started? Also will this event be hosted on your PvE server, Crom?

Matthew Bennett: So these PvP events are a bit different in the way they function to most other PvP systems you’ll find. What we have done is follow on from our World Boss system and create a focused week once a month where the Picts and their Festival of Bloodshed will descend upon Hyboria.

By default this week commences on the third Wednesday of every month and runs for exactly one week. There are pros and cons to this setup, but the major pro is that it focuses the community on the events because they are not up and active all the time! This also means that some of the undesirable consequences of having permanent PvP events haven’t materialized such as guilds avoiding combat and swapping ownership. If the first festival event sets the precedence then combat has been pretty much non-stop and the beauty of open-world means these conflicts continue and develop between events.

To talk about the specifics the festival runs differently between our PvP and PvE servers. On Crom (the PvE server) we have kept it 100% consensual so the event rotates each month between our three dedicated PvP zones (Border Kingdoms: Cimmerian End, Border Kingdoms: Aquilonian End and the Border to Kush).  While over on Fury and Rage (the PvP servers) we are rotating the events between 6 iconic questing zones (including White Sands Isle on Tortage and Tarantia’s Common District) this allows the players to return to zones they have otherwise avoided and engage in completely uncontrolled open world PvP. Its worth mentioning that the guards (who normally limit PvP in certain parts of the zones) have bigger things to worry about during the Festival than scuffles between adventurers and hence will not protect players during the festival.

MMORPG.com: What types of matches will players take part in during the festival?

Matthew Bennett: The festival works by rotating between 4 different event types with a short downtime and warm-up period between each event. In all cases on screen messages and map waypoints will indicate the exact location within the zone of each event.

  • Fields of Slaughter (King of the Hill)

There are six potential locations for this event on every map.  When the event starts, one of these locations becomes active. After a point is first claimed, the holding team gains points every 30 or so seconds.  In order to keep combat ongoing right up until the end of the event, the team holding the location when the event expires is given a substantial point boost. At that point, the team with the most accumulated points are the victors.

In addition, to keep this event balanced and focused around 6 player combat, all teams of 6, regardless of guild membership, are hostile to one another while within the vicinity of the Field of Slaughter point. All these locations are open world and the players need to adapt to and make the most of their surroundings in order to maximize their potential for victory in each location.

  • Arenas of Death: Solo & Team

This event is split into two parts but the event format is more or less the same. Each zone has two distinct locations which can become solo or team death match arenas. Each location offers different gameplay, world design and emergent player behaviors. When either of these events starts, one of those two locations will become active.

In the case of the solo arena, the event is a complete free-for-all.  Group and guild members become hostile and the rewards go the players of each archetype tallying the most PvP kills inside the confines of the arena. The same conditions are used for the team arena but players are assigned to one of 3 sides and must score kills for their side to emerge victorious.

  • Chosen of Gullah

The final event is the Chosen of Gullah and this one is a little bit different. The premise is that players have the opportunity to become group bosses in their own right and attempt to rack up the most kills while under this effect.

This particular event has seen some more substantial improvements since the first festival week went live. Like the other events, there a number of locations within the festival zone that this event can take place in, (specifically 3 locations), and again one of those locations is chosen when the event starts. At that point, one of the players in the location is randomly chosen to become the Chosen of Gullah.  This puts a substantial buff on them, massively increasing their damage output and health but removing all opportunity to heal. This really makes the player feel like their own group or raid boss, able to cleave through even the toughest opponents with relative ease, but the effect is only temporary and the player must try to maximize their opportunity with as many kills as possible during that time.  A new random player in the location then inherits the Chosen of Gullah status, allowing everyone an equal opportunity of experiencing the enhanced gameplay. When the event ends the player totaling the most kills wins the event.

For most of the events, it’s of course beneficial to team up with friends and other players, (this is a MMO after all), but by no means, (and certainly from my own experience in the Border Kingdoms), is it a case of 'whoever has the most numbers' dominates.

On a side note, we are committed to seeing this open world initiative being a success and redelivering the PvP experiences which originally brought many people into Conan’s world. If that means expanding on these events and increasing the supplementary daily questing system, then, speaking for myself, that is something I will really push for to become reality.

MMORPG.com: How will questing work with this new event system?

Matthew Bennett: All of the festival events have a good number of supplementary quests to reward both victory and participation within the festival. The most important part of this is rewarding the participation so that as many players as possible feel like they can gain something from the events. A few examples are quests for harassing the owning team of the fields of slaughter point, accumulating kills within the arenas and simply becoming the Chosen of Gullah.

Again, as with the events themselves, the supplementary quests, (in particular those encouraging and rewarding participation), are something we are dedicated to improving and expanding upon as we find out more and more what the particular needs of the festival are / become. In addition to the festival quests, there are a number of daily open world PvP events which rotate daily on the PvP servers and are active during the festival week on the PvE server. These quests include a bounty quest to assassinate another player within the zone and intercepting supplies being delivered to the Picts by other players (which itself is its own quest).

MMORPG.com: What rewards can players expect to see from PvP?

Matthew Bennett: The Festival of Bloodshed and accompanying quests are itemized to greatly increase the rate of PvP progression, both by greatly increasing the amount of PvP XP available and significantly increasing the rate of token acquisition used primarily for higher levels of PvP gear.

Along with that all event ‘winners’ gain a new token type which used solely for new vanity items, such as new finisher abilities to use on dead foes, unique swift mammoth and rhino mounts and new social companions (which can for example taunt other players based on their number of deaths in PvP). The itemization of this part of this system intentionally offers fun rewards and proof of bragging rights that do not adversely affect any gear gap.

Our next tier of PvP gear is also in the works but we really need to see how the festival continues to play out and address the needs to the game using real data before this becomes accessible to the player base.

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Guest Writer