As we first began development on Eden, an important goal for us was to let players play the game as they want. From PvE and crafting, to solo content and fair fights, all the way to epic keep battles, we wanted to make sure players had a chance to experience this amazing game in the way they desired. With that being said, we were left with some incredibly difficult questions to try and solve to make this a reality such as: How do you help balance Realm population numbers? How can you support leveling in the battlegrounds later into a season?
As we are getting close to the start of beta, we wanted to introduce a new technology that we have been developing over the past year to help answer these questions.
Soldiers of the Realm
The Soldiers of the Realm are elite guards sent by the Kings of each realm to help assist their realm in battle. However, these soldiers are not just your regular game NPC or keep guard, they are much different. The Soldiers of the Realm will act and follow the same rules players do in RvR battles. They can be interrupted, mesmerized, and stunned! They will use attack styles, spells and move like players! They will buff their allies and even shear their enemies. They will also follow the same immunity rules as players and will receives tun/mez/root/nearsight immunities.
These soldiers are also not simply scripted encounters. They will actively respond to the environment and think. They will demez their allies, try and kite to gain an upper hand for positioning and much more. The realm soldiers will look and play like real enemies, but their names will be differentiated with their race and difficulty/tier. For example, you will see Half Ogre Elite Guard instead of Half Ogre Gryphon Knight.
These soldiers will arrive to support their realm mates in battles in many different ways that we will be employing throughout the beta and into launch.
Balancing the War
One of the first use cases for the soldiers will be to address realm imbalances. We felt that simply providing RP bonuses has proven ineffective over the years to truly address this issue. We also do not want to force people to “pick” another realm simply to have targets to fight in RvR combat. Additionally, we do not want for the less populated realm to feel they have no chance against a much larger force that is roaming the map.
An example of a use case for the Soldiers of the Realm would be the following:
– 80 Hibernians in a battlegroup stuck together
-- 16 Midgardians trying to reach an objective
The much larger Hibernian force encounters the Midgard force and a battle ensues. Obviously the battle odds are much in the favor of the Hibernian force. Neither side of the encounter would have an enjoyable experience given the unfair sizing of the encounter.
In order to balance this encounter, we can now create a force of Midgard Soldiers of the Realm that will come to assist their realm mates in need. With the technology we have developed, we can seamlessly spawn ~70 or more soldiers on demand into the game world and have them assist in the fight.
In our play testing and feedback sessions, we have found this to be an incredibly enjoyable experience! Massive battles spanning over 10+ minutes in length with a large emphasis on team tactics and helping your realm mates!
Deserters of the Realm
As the war has continued to rage over the years with no clear victor in sight, soldiers of their realms have grown disillusioned and began to desert their realms. Abandoning their moral compass, these deserters have turned to banditry and murder as they seek to stamp out an existence in these war torn lands with an allegiance to nobody but themselves.
Deserters will be a unique version of the Soldiers of the Realm that will be part of the Renegade realm. This essentially makes them killable by all factions and will also be aggressive to all types of players and themselves.
Deserters of the realm will roam in smaller groups (solo to 8man) and will potentially ambush players doing certain objectives related to quests in the frontier.
Plans for Battlegrounds
An important reason why this technology was developed was to ensure that battleground leveling was always an option no matter the population/time zone a player chooses to play. We never want a player to not venture to the battlegrounds in fear of having ‘nothing to fight’.
We absolutely love that feeling of Darkness Falls where you are always on guard for possible enemies coming to disrupt your mob hunting! Our first implementation for the battlegrounds will be adding an ambush mechanic to the current kill quests that were implemented last week to create a similar feeling.
While doing these quests, there will be the possibility of an appropriately scaled deserter group/small-man spawning and attacking you and your allies. This chance will be random but will always be present as we aim to have no completely ‘safe’ objectives in the battlegrounds.
Our second big implementation in the battlegrounds will be the idea of an on-going Realm war between the armies. This would consist of Realm Soldiers being spawned at certain intervals based on the population balance of the realms at the associated Portal Keeps. From here, the soldiers would march to setup a siege camp outside of the keep and use siege equipment to destroy the walls/doors.
Opposing forces would also spawn and attempt to destroy the siege encampment. The current owners of the CK could also have reinforcement come and sally forth to disrupt the siege and protect their keep.
This system will allow us to scale the encounters up to a minimum/maximum number of participants (let’s say 40v40) to provide an enjoyable experience for all.
All of these encounters are subject to testing/tuning as we test them throughout the rest of the Alpha and Beta.
We will initially start testing the Realm Soldiers in the battlegrounds next week,particularly Cathal Valley. As this is their first foray into a completely unpredictable environment, we will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they behave! We will continue to gather data as we watch their interaction with the environment and monitor as they deal with the millions of different things that can happen during hectic RvR!
After we are happy with their general reactions to all types of encounters and battles, we will begin to implement the ambush mechanic for the various BGs.
We are incredibly excited and proud to introduce these encounters to the community! Keep in mind this is a brand new system and will be quite buggy on initial release to the public.
We are hoping to introduce this mechanic for various encounters throughout Eden. One such example would be creating custom encounters for new players to learn the PvP aspect of the game without having the stress of participating for the first time in RvR. We are excited by the amount of brand new players who have shown interest in Eden and we are hoping to build out a fun and engaging new player experience for them to enjoy.
Additionally for those fellow tech nerds out there, we will be hooking up some basic Machine Learning/Reinforcement Learning algorithms to a set of the Soldiers down the line. From here, we will see if they are capable of learning the intricacies of combat and perhaps even come up with some fun strategies of their own! This will be a fun side project for some of our developers but no set date for this to start nor timeline on the project.
We are incredibly excited to share this feature with you all! Stay tuned for additional updates and we are looking forward to seeing you all on the battlefield!
- Eden Staff