Disclaimer: I've been away from the game for quite some time, and have only been participating in conflict for the past few weeks, so I won't take it personally if you point out some factor I didn't consider. I am just trying to state my observations, and get a discussion going so I can see whether this opinion holds any water. Anyway, here goes.
My initial impression of inter-org conflict so far is that many revolts, domoth claims, and time quakes simply boil down to seeing who's in the area, and determining if your alliance has more players around than the other group. If it's close, you'll go fight it out. Otherwise, people often don't bother. The problem is, this means that despite all the regularly occurring events that are designed to encourage us to fight each other, people would rather concede most of the time, often after looking at numbers as a proxy measure for the chance of success.
The past two wildnodes scores have been wildly disproportionate (Hallifax won 2837 to Gaudi's 191 this time, and I believe Magnagora swept the one before that one). As far as I can tell, the anomalies in a time quake also seem to get claimed entirely by one alliance or the other. Domoth claims are similar, with the lockout mechanic also nudging the domoths towards a relatively even split. All of this contributes to an unfortunate situation, where there are theoretically plenty of mechanisms in place to create regular conflict, but a combination of game mechanics and the attitude of the playerbase mean that these 'conflicts' do not actually result in a lot of action.
Finally, somewhat tangentially, even when both sides are willing to try, combat is incredibly spammy, and it feels absolutely insane to try to keep track of what is happening, to the point where it is difficult to learn anything from the experience.
As a player who's interested in learning more about the PvP side of this game, it kind of bums me out that there are so few opportunities to practice, especially against org enemies. I can spar people from my side I suppose, but if I want to get better at fighting the 15 classes that are on the other side of the aisle, I have very few chances to do so, outside of the large, chaotic brawls of time quakes, village revolts, or wildnodes.
Conclusions & suggestions:
- I think this state of affairs is unhealthy, since the balance of power is extremely sensitive to fluctuations in the login activity of the players on either side. (question for people who've been active here for a long time: what has the effect been when big names retire their characters?). I'd argue it's not healthy for the financial outlook of the game either. Players are far less incentivized to pay for combat artifacts when they don't actually get to use them that often. Being able to fight other players on relatively equal footing is also a big driver in pushing competitive players to want to get better. When 80% of combat comes down to being around, or being able to summon more allies on Discord more quickly than the other side, it feels a lot like being on call, which can feel very stressful. To be clear, I'm not pushing for a state where one megawhale player can fight an entire invasion force to a standstill, but perhaps some mechanics can be tweaked to make these events feel less all-or-nothing?
- Prioritize a project to make combat less spammy. Improving the approachability of combat will open up the top of the funnel, and get more fresh blood into the system.
- Add events that encourage more competitive conflict where the participants are on equal footing. Ranked arena combat with interesting rewards, culminating in an annual Seal of War type tournament for culture/power? Something like that would get more people to come out and play.
Thanks for reading.