The goal of watchtowers is to give clans a tool to tax areas of the map and represent their territory.
Watchtowers will be structures that players can craft or buy from NPCs and place in the world.
They will come in several sizes with increasing prices:
- Wooden Watchtower: Just a simple tower to climb up and look around. Its base will be its foundation.
- Stone Watchtower: A stone tower with more protected windows and a wooden door. Its base will be within.
- Fort: A more complex structure with doors and some protected positions equivalent to the size of a player village keep. Its base will be within.
The size of a watchtower structure determines the area of influence it casts but also its endurance in case of an attack. There will be placement fees and each consecutive watchtower will increase the fee by about 20% multiplicatively. This means for example : 10 000g, 12 000g, 14 400g, 17 280g and so on.
The first watchtower can be placed anywhere, like inside an allied clan holding or in a player village.
Additional watchtowers can only be placed if their area would overlap with the area of an existing Clan watchtower. If a watchtower overlaps with an harbor, a watchtower can be placed next to a single other free harbor in the world. A price increase will occur depending on the water travel distance between the two harbors.
There will be some other placement rules like not be too close to NPC cities or not overlap with non allied watchtowers.
The idea here is that in order to cover a large territory, a clan will be facing increasing costs. It will be harder for a huge empire to maintain its territory, and using a feudal system with each holdings placed under different clan would ease up the logistics.
The basic feature of a watchtower is to represent territory around holdings and extend their “system” detection range and the area where clan buffs are in effect. If the clan has set their holdings to behave like racial territory, the watchtowers areas also become racial territory and will provide the corresponding buffs. Players will be able to name those watchtowers and get warnings such as: “North West watchtower spotted a band of 5 enemies of the clan R0xx0rz.”.
Watchtowers can have other structures placed in its area and attached to it, with each providing either decoration, protection or specific abilities. The type of watchtower will also determine the potency of upgrades attached to it, larger being better.
An early list of what upgrades will be:
- Tax collector: 5-15% of any loot dropped in the watchtower’s area will end up in its vault.
- Land manager: 5-15% more loot dropped by mobs/nodes in the watchtower’s area.
- Local Bank: The watchtower will be able to serve as a close by bank.
- Supplier: A merchant that sells basic foods, reagents and ammunition.
- Walls and gates: To create an enclosed area.
- Banners and other decorative elements.
These upgrades should allow players to create base of operations close to nodes or monster spawns withing their territory. In essence, improve the value of their lands.
For stackable things such as reagents, arrows, gold or skinning / harvesting results, the tax collector will take a percentage of it but not the whole stack. For objects like weapons/ armors / etc, it will have a percentage of chance to keep the object.
When an item is taken away by the tax collector, it is shown in grayed out in the gravestone or is indicated in the harvesting log. We want players to understand that they are being taxed and what exactly was taken away from them.
The land manager buff will have a reverse effect for stackable items, improving the drop amount. For objects, it will increase the drop rates (ex: from 10% to 11.5%)
The buff will apply first, then the tax will apply separately: 100g -> 115g -> 97g.
Each tax collector will be in one or more of these modes:
- Tax all (default).
- Do not tax Clan members.
- Do not tax Clan friends (list of individual players in clan management).
- Do not tax Clan Alliance members.
- Do not tax blue Race members.
- Do not tax blue Racial Alliance members.
- Do not tax Patriotic Racial Alliance members.
- Do not tax anyone.
There is a limit to the weight possible on a tax collector. Once reached, the collector will stop taxing but double the buffs of Land managers. This double effect is also applied when “no tax” mode is activated.
This should give a variety of ways for clans to manage their territory, attract friendly players and earn a living. This adds onto our “landlord” approach to holdings management.
Players, clanned or unclanned, will be able to siege a watchtower for a wager equivalent to 2500g + 5g per kg in the Collector. The current weight in the vault is always visible when hovering on the tax collector.
The idea is that players may not know what is in the collectors vault and make a bet regarding its content, or they just saw what was dropped and want to get it back.
We also need to have a price in place to avoid “trolling” sieges with no intention to fight.
If the attackers are at war with the owners, then their wager will be divided by two.
If a watchtower is overlapping a currently sieged watchtower’s influence area, then it’s siege cost is drastically increased. Aside from that there are no limitation to how many watchtowers can be sieged at the same time.
This is to once again make large empire harder to defend and encourage players to maintain wars towards each other rather than attack without warnings.
We will be adding an optional immunity window of 6h where watchtowers cannot be sieged. This will either involve a cost in gold or simply shutdown buffs/taxation. This will be up to the owners.
Once a tax Collector is sieged:
- The clan gets a warning, a map marker and a count down.
- The Collector is frozen and can no longer be emptied. It also stops collecting taxes.
- 15 minutes later, the structures go vulnerable.
It is only 15 minutes to force clans to choose wisely were to place their watchtowers. They’ll need to react and regroup fast.
Once the time is up:
- The watchtower and its upgrades goes vulnerable for 30 minutes.
- Everyone except owners, their friends and allies go rogue in the watchtower’s area.
- End of the battle is decided by timeout or explosion of the watchtower’s base.
If the watchtower’s base is destroyed, any one can loot whatever the tax collector’s vault and the local bank contained. Just like a strongbox.
Every upgrade attached to that watchtower except walls will be deleted from the world instantly. Walls, gates and decoration will remain with a timer of 3h until deletion and a watchtower ruin will be spawned in place of the old watchtower. If a watchtower is built in the place of the previous one before the 3 hours timer runs down, remaining upgrades will automatically be attached to it.
The clan that has lost the watchtower will not be able to place another watchtower on this ruin for 15 minutes. Anyone else will be able to as soon as they want to.
This gives them a chance to keep fighting and regain their territory and a window of time where attackers have a chance to take over territory despite enemy overlapping rules.
All friendly watchtowers with an overlapping area with the destroyed watchtower will receive a siege invulnerability for 30 mins.
This is to permit a front line to progress in leaps but not constantly. There will be any number of concurrent sieges, but it stops for a time to give defenders and attackers a chance to regroup.
If the watchtower is defended, the wager is added to the tax collector’s loot and it becomes invulnerable for 15 minutes. This is to avoid chain sieging while keeping fights frequent. The Collector is unfrozen and resume collecting resources and can be emptied.
We believe that this system will add a great way to improve a clan’s territory while providing daily PvP activities in the form of border skirmishes. In an indirect way, it makes actual holdings more secure while guaranteeing that meaningful fights occur.
A war should be a campaign rather than a one time effort that comes out of nowhere.