Alliance vs. Alliance: The End of One Phase, The Beginning of Another

Happy end of October, everybody! It has been quite busy here at Disruptor Beam, with the first phase of AvA concluding, and our ongoing work on iOS and Android platforms. With the ending of AvA this evening, we wanted to talk about our thoughts on the end of the first phase.

When we posted our AvA blog at the beginning of October, we said the following:

Lastly, Alliance vs. Alliance combat is meant to be an evolving system. At the very least, each month will bring different rewards, different goals, and potentially different ways to earn victory. We fully expect to make tweaks to the system, but we will make every effort to have the changes occur between phases, so each phase may remain unchanged from beginning to end.

With that in mind, we are making some changes to how the second phase of AvA will work.

Here is what is changing for Phase Two:

-- Regional Rewards: We are implementing region-specific rewards for Phase 2 of AvA. These regional rewards will reward Alliances that excel in a specific region of AvA. There will be three rewards for each region: a first, a second, and a special reward for the region. With the six regions, that means we’re adding 18 new rewards to AvA. Alongside this, we’re removing the Third, Fourth, and Fifth overall rewards for overall AvA victory points accumulation. In total, there will now be 25 rewards that Alliances may win in AvA.
-- New titles as rewards: We’ll be adding new, region-specific titles to victors in each region.
-- New seals as rewards: We’ll be implementing very different and intriguing seals as rewards. Look for more info soon!
-- General improvements to AvA over the next few months, including things like filtering out AvA activity out of chat, searching and sorting of Alliances on the War Map, adding additional benefits to AvA attacks, granting benefits to Adventures that happen in regions where you have a camp, and other improvements.

And here is a FAQ on how Phase One will end, and how Phase Two will begin:

When will the Owl Phase end?

The Owl Phase will end at 10/30/13 7:00pm EDT (11:00pm UTC).

What happens when the Owl Phase ends?

No more AvA actions will be possible for that phase. No more camp upgrades or repairs will be possible for that phase. AvA actions and camp upgrades that were started before the end of the phase will complete as normal.

What about rewards?

Rewards are given out once the second phase - the Harvesting phase - begins. You’ll see a popup when you log in that tells you what you won.

If I reincarnate, will I receive my rewards?

As long as you do not leave your Alliance, you’ll receive your rewards. Reincarnating does NOT change your Alliance affiliation. Alliance membership is stored on the account level, not the character level, precisely to deal with this sort of issue.

And where do we see the victors?

You’ll see the victors in the same place you view your power or an Alliance’s power: the Throne button on the top-right of your screen. A new tab will appear, showing the winners for our first phase of AvA. As more phases complete, those winners will be added to the list.

Our smaller Alliance didn’t get a chance to win many rewards in the Owl phase. What changes in the Harvesting phase?

For Owl, we had a total of 10 rewards for Alliances: First through Fifth, and some superlative rewards. With Harvesting, we’re increasing the total number of rewards to 25. The new regional rewards will let smaller Alliances specialize in a specific region and become victorious there.

Won’t that just mean the large Alliances win more rewards?

Nope. Each Alliance can only win one reward for each phase of AvA. The rewards are ranked so that an Alliance will receive the highest reward they qualify for, leaving the other rewards for other Alliances.

How long do we have before the new phase begins?

The Harvesting phase will begin at 7:00pm EDT on Friday, 11/1/13.

What happens when the new phase begins?

All camps are reset to 0. All victory points are reset to 0. All war participants are reset. Spoils switch from Owl Spoils to Harvesting Spoils. Alliance Challenges switch to require Harvesting spoils, but Owl Spoils that have already been contributed will remain in the challenge. New recipes will be added in the Alchemist’s Guild to convert Owl Spoils into Harvesting Spoils, though it will be at a heavy loss.

48 hours seems too short for a break. Why not longer?

We listened to our players and heard some different opinions on how long a break should be, but ultimately we decided on a 48 hour break for this phase so that we could get changes in and distribute rewards sooner rather than later. We will be watching closely and are considering a longer break between the Harvesting phase and the third phase. Remember that you have an entire month to build the camps back up!

Our thoughts on how AvA went in the first phase:

When we launched AvA, we knew that we were doing something few game companies have done, and even fewer in the browser / social game space. Making monthly seasons or phases requires a lot of logic and balance, and it is something we wanted to try. As we expected, we found some bugs in the first phase, and we managed to fix the nastier ones within a few days. We also learned a lot about what our players like and don't like about the feature.

Overall, we are pleased that so many of our players participated in AvA. We were worried that the system would launch and everyone would play it for a few days, then drop it. Instead, our players did the exact opposite: you took it and ran with it, and AvA activity actually increased every week. Especially this last week, where our players have been smashing into each other’s camps faster and faster.

However, that doesn’t mean that AvA is “done.” It will most likely never be “done,” since we’ll always be working on it. Some of our first improvements are offering more rewards and some functionality changes for people participating in AvA. For the third phase, we hope to add some rewards at different thresholds, and extend the benefits of camps across the game. And beyond the third phase, who knows? As we have said before, that is the joy and the curse of an online game. The joy is seeing your players play through the content you have created, and the curse is knowing that you’ll never be done.

We want to give a huge thanks to our players for sticking with us through the development of AvA. We quite literally could not have done it without your patience, passion, and understanding. We have been swapping stories and stats from AvA throughout the office as you have explored the features, and we have been watching the climb up the leaderboards with (almost) as much excitement as watching the Red Sox reach the World Series.. We hope to bring more features and changes to the game in the upcoming weeks and months, including batching for sworn swords, more AvA improvements, more content, and perhaps some mobile versions of the game as well.

Thanks again for your support,

The Disruptor Beam Team