January AvA Updates

Hey folks! The Sunrise Phase was a great competition. It has been fantastic to see everyone exploring the new mechanics, diplomacy, and strategies. In this post, I’ll be reviewing some of the results from Sunrise and discussing updates we are making for the next phase.

Before I dive into those details, we have scheduled the next AvA Phase. Now that the sun is up on AvA, get ready for the High Noon Phase! High Noon will begin on Tuesday, January 19th at 11:00am EST (16:00 UTC) and run until Tuesday, January 26th at 11:00am EST (16:00 UTC).

Sunrise Success

Epic Battle Victory

We were very pleased with how the Sunrise Phase went. The Phase had higher engagement and more activity than any previous AvA Phase, despite an issue that disrupted approximately 9 hours on one day of the week-long phase.

We saw 1345 alliances place in Sunrise, with most regions seeing around 300 ranks filled. In terms of individual players, we saw incredible participation with more than 40% of all players beyond the tutorial participating, and more than 75% of mid- and high-level players participating. As AvA continues to improve, we certainly hope even more of you join in on the fun!

When it comes to the top ranks, there were 58 different alliances who earned a rank in the Top 10! Many very deserving alliances worked extremely hard to achieve this success.

Shout-out to A Thousand Eyes and One who had the most Top 10 ranks, in 7 different regions! They were followed by Kong’s Landing with 4 top 10 ranks, but unlike Eyes, they reached a 1st Place finish in the Riverlands.

Also congratulations to the Royal Executioners, the only Alliance with multiple 1st Place finishes, with wins in both The North and the Iron Islands!

One thing I thought players would find interesting is some data about the size of Alliances. For instance, only 10 alliances reached the 100-participant cap, with another 15 alliances between 80 and 99 participants. The average size of an Alliance that had a top-10 rank was 66 participants, including 7 alliances with fewer than 20 participants! Just in the top 3 ranks, we saw a range of alliance sizes including one with only 32 participants (nice hustle, Ghosts of Wynterfell!).

The High Noon Phase

High Noon Phase

With the High Noon Phase, we have added a suite of balance updates that will continue making AvA better and better. Many of these came directly from the fantastic feedback and insight provided by our players across the many social channels. As we have mentioned before, one of the great things about the new implementation of AvA is how easy it is for us to make adjustments.

Before I get into the deeper balance changes, I wanted to add some clarifications about the High Noon Phase that I’m sure you are all looking for.

As mentioned above, the High Noon Phase will be another week-long phase. We found that a week was a great length for a Phase, and many players agreed. That said, future phases may vary in length.

The camp upgrade recipes will be returned to the planned amounts, approximately twice what was seen in Sunrise.

High Noon Personal VP Rewards

In order to make Personal VP rewards a bit more exciting, we have swapped out a few of the rewards as well as added two new reward tiers.

  • 12,000 VP: Changed 2 Tansy —> 1 Peerless Black Gem
  • 30,000 VP: Changed 2 Rare Seals —> 1 Legendary Seal
  • 40,000 VP: Changed 10,000 Silver —> 1 Legendary Weapon
  • 60,000 VP: Changed 10,000 Silver —> 1 Peerless Black Gem
  • Added 80,000 VP Tier: 20,000 Silver & 2 Legendary Seals
  • 100,000 VP: Changed 1 Legendary Seal —> 1 Legendary Weapon
  • Added 1,500,000 VP Tier: 5 Smokeberry & 2 Legendary Seals

We have also doubled the Silver amounts at every threshold that includes Silver.

The Personal VP Rewards should be a nice bonus for activity, and especially should give players just getting into AvA a target to strive for even if their alliance struggles in the rankings. At the same time, we feel very strongly that the most exciting element of AvA is the competition between Alliances so we will keep the focus on the Alliance Leaderboard Rewards.

High Noon Camp Stats

There is an important balance to strike when it comes to the size of Camp Stats compared to the player’s character and sworn sword stats. Character and Sworn Sword should always play a significant role, but the existence of Camp Stats tied to the Silver Pool are a key strategic dynamic within new AvA. After reviewing recent AvA phases and listening to many players, we feel Camp Stats have ended up being too large a portion.

Our conclusion was that we could reduce Camp Stats by a full half, while still maintaining the very important role of the Silver Pool and camp upgrades. In the High Noon Phase, the base primary camp stat will be 1200 while the base secondary stats will be 900 for level 20 camps.

High Noon Silver Pool

A consistent sentiment was that AvA demanded massive amounts of silver to effectively compete, especially with contributions towards the Silver Pool. We set the maximum very high because we wanted to avoid the many silver-rich players being able to easily keep their Silver Pools at 100% all the time. In spite of this, silver-rich players could still afford the many contributions. Top alliances would constantly be draining each other’s Silver Pools, creating ever higher demands of Silver that became more frustrating than strategic. These high amounts also made AvA extremely difficult for smaller alliances and mid-level players.

To help address this, we have decided to cut the maximum Silver Pool size in half. A level 20 Camp will now max out at 1,020,000 silver. What does this do? First off, because contributions are based on a percentage of the Silver Pool it means the amount that can be donated at one time is slightly lower. Low-silver players can better afford meaningful contributions, and because of the contribution cooldown and size-limit high-silver players still need time and volume to keep their silver pool at a good level.

High Noon Action Balance

Action Balance

We have taken an extensive look at the balance between the actions and decided to make a few adjustments. There are three areas I want to discuss:

  1. The balance between “Silver” actions and “Health” actions.
  2. Differentiation between Fight and Harass
  3. The role of Intrigue actions

First off, let’s talk about the balance between “Silver Pool” actions and “Camp Health” actions. One of our biggest goals with new AvA was to make actions have more distinct roles compared to old AvA. The key tension is between Silver Pool affecting your win rate and Camp Health affecting the significantly increased Hourly VP Gain. We have seen a variety of strategies among top-performing alliances, with Hourly VP making up anywhere between 30% and 80% of their final VP total. That said, the Trade actions remain the focus of many strategies, with Swindle the most popular action among all Alliances (as well as when isolating only the top alliances). We don’t expect every action to be equally used, but we do want each action to feel worthwhile in its own role.  Going forward we’re looking at options to make Health have a more direct impact, but for now I do want to add some reasoning for where we’re at.

A big question is, what’s the value of targeting an opponent’s silver pool compared to targeting their health? Since they play very different roles, there’s not a direct equation to convert between them, and that’s a good thing! The best strategy is unlikely to be all-trade actions or all-battle actions, but some sort of mixture of the two that is going to depend on both your own alliance and who you’re up against. I won’t be putting together a full comparison for this post, but one area to consider is how much difference it makes when an opponent’s Silver Pool is reduced compared to when their Health is reduced. For instance, how much does a target’s win percentage change at 50% silver pool compared to how much VP they potentially lose from 50% health? We are continuing to discuss where the balance should properly sit and if Health needs an additional function beyond Hourly VP. For High Noon, we won’t be making an adjustment on the roles of Silver Pool compared to Camp Health.

High Noon Harass Action

One update we are making is to better differentiate Fight and Harass. As previously designed, the only difference was the amount of “risk”. Fight dealt high damage with a potential for high blowback on loss, while Harass dealt lower damage but with proportionally less blowback on loss. This isn’t the most exciting of choices, especially since if you have a lower win chance where Harass is a safer option, most players are unlikely to attempt that attack at all. We wanted to give Harass a more interesting role, so we’re giving it a new healing function, similar to how Swindle not only reduces your opponent’s silver but returns it to you.

Old Harass: On a win, deal 300 damage to your target. On a loss, you take 120 damage.

Updated Harass: On a win, deal 300 damage to your target and heal 120 damage. On a loss, you take 120 damage and your target heals 120 damage.

High Noon Intrigue Actions

The intended goal of Intrigue actions was to provide more functional variety, compared to the focused roles of Battle and Trade actions, and additionally be “safer” options for players wanting to make attacks at lower win chances. While the current actions do fit that goal, and we see many players taking advantage of them, they just ended up a bit under-powered compared to where we want them. As a result, we’re increasing the effects of Steal and Sabotage by around one third.

  • Old Sabotage: On a win, deal 160 damage and reduce target’s silver 600.
  • New Sabotage: On a win, deal 210 damage and reduce target’s silver 800.
  • Old Steal: On a win, reduce your target’s silver 600 while you gain 600 silver.
  • New Steal: On a win, reduce your target’s silver 800 while you gain 800 silver.

King in the North Tale Begins Tomorrow

Just a reminder that the next tale - The King in the North #4 - begins tomorrow, Wednesday January 6 at 11:00am Eastern (16:00 UTC) and runs until Sunday, January 10 at 6:00pm Eastern (23:00 UTC).

The King in the North