Hello Bannermen! Whew, it has been quite a week for performance and Stage 1 of World Events. Performance problems, lag, and bugs combined to give World Events a rocky start.
Let’s talk about Stage 1 first:
Stage 1 - Three Days In
It has been three days since Stage 1 of World Events kicked off. Our description for this phase was “Preparation,” but it has been a tough week for our Alliances to prepare. We ran into several bugs that prevented some players from fully contributing in Stage 1: Quests were not bestowing, incrementing or showing after completion, static VP showed on the world map, Sworn Sword actions were not counting for the quests, and the final version of the system differed from our blog post. We also spent the weekend and week adding new servers to the game, more than tripling our app servers to deal with the enormous success of our iPhone and Android launch.
Stage 1 has begun, and camps are being built, players are gathering spoils, and quests are being completed. Our Support team is assisting players who cannot acquire the Stage 1 quests, and camp creation and upgrades are gathering speed. We expect our first level 10 camps in the next few days.
Broken down by tier, larger Alliances have been able to create both higher-level camps and more of them. This was expected - they have more members and more resources - but we’ll be watching to see if constructing level 10 camps is something smaller Alliances can do. If not, that is something we will adjust in the next cycle. Our goal, as we said in the earlier blog post, is for 10 participants to be able to build a level 10 camp in this first week, and 25 participants to be able to build 2 level 10 camps. We’ll be keeping an eye on camp levels and Alliance size throughout Stage 1. Smaller Alliances, we’re thinking of you - we want AvA to be exciting for you as well!
How are we evaluating Stage 1? The key metrics are how many players and Alliances participated in Stage 1, and how many players enjoyed in Stage 1. Both unique players and unique Alliances increased compared to the start of the Bat phase, but in terms of player satisfaction and fun, there is a lot of work ahead of us. We’ll be sitting down and closely examining what went poorly, and you can expect some serious changes to Stage 1 for the beginning of the next cycle. We’ll be reworking Stage 1 to be closer to our vision of a fun, interesting break between the end of one cycle and beginning of another. Your input and feedback on the forums and Facebook has been important, and we’ll be discussing changes on the forums in more depth.
On to Stage 2!
Stage 1 was only the first part of a five-week cycle. Stage 2 kicks off Monday at 12:00pm EDT (16:00 UTC), and starts the new phase of AvA: the Iron Bank phase! Camp upgrades will be unlocked to level 20, AvA attacks will begin, new challenges will arrive, and new items may be won. First up are the two new challenges: Evading the Iron Bank and Pirates on the Coast!
These new challenges take the rare drops from our Braavosi adventures and let you unlock new Alliance challenges. These challenges both give power and drop new legendary items for your Alliance participants. The first challenge, Evading the Iron Bank, takes 60 adventure items, grants 300 Alliance power on completion, and has a chance to drop two legendary Braavosi items. The Top 3 prizes for Evading the Iron Bank are:
- 1st Place: Intent Moneylender (0/25/0, +5% to Barter when attacking or defending)
- 2nd Place: Grand Pewter Chain (0/20/0, +10% to Barter when defending)
- 3rd Place: Dark Diamond Ring (0/18/0)
The Intent Moneylender is a new, unique unit you can only get from completing the Braavosi adventures, or winning this challenge. It also gives you a choice: do you use it for your Sworn Swords, or do you keep it around for the start of Stage 3? The Intent Moneylender is one of the items that can unlock the Stage 3 World Event.
The second challenge, Pirates on the Coast, requires a few more items: 35 of each rare Braavosi adventure drop, for 105 total items. This challenge gives 1,000 Alliance power and also has a chance of winning new legendary Braavosi items. The Top 3 prizes for Pirates on the Coast are:
- 1st Place: Braavosi Pirate Ship (0/0/25, +5% to Sabotage when attacking or defending)
- 2nd Place: Grand Tailored Tunic (0/0/20, +10% to Sabotage when defending)
- 3rd Place: Expert Crossbowman (0/0/18)
Sailing into the challenge is the legendary Braavosi Pirate Ship, a simple ship with a simple captain who make sure that all merchants pay their taxes to the Braavosi. Like the Intent Moneylender, players will need to decide whether they should donate their pirate ships to unlock Stage 3 of the World Event - or keep them, and hope others unlock the final World Event.
After you open the challenge, it will proceed like any other Alliance challenge. Members will join the challenge, complete the objectives, and receive the rewards. The #1 member in the challenge will always receive one of the legendary rewards, while everyone else will have a chance at receiving the legendary items. Other than the new challenges and new items, the AvA system and rules itself are unchanged. Alliances will continue to fight for dominance across Westeros for 21 days, with the victors being showered with flowers, honeycakes, bloody sacrifices, seals, and, of course, the coveted Grand Titan title. The AvA batching system remains, and has been extended to our Android and iOS players. No matter what device you play on, you’ll be able to take part in AvA.
AvA rewards remain the same with one exception. This change has been in place since the beginning of Stage 1. We looked at the Diplomatic Victory reward and have removed it from this phase. We’re reworking the Diplomatic Victory reward, and turning it into something new and more exciting than simply friending all the Alliances you can. The previous Diplomatic Victory award wasn’t nearly as interesting as fighting for the top, or concentrating on a specific region, so there will be a new reward taking its place after the Iron Bank cycle.
Preparing for Stage 3
After Stage 2 comes the end of the cycle and the World Event proper: Invasion on the Narrow Sea! Players will work together to unlock the World Event, then cooperate with their Alliance to win the final stage of the World Event cycle. To unlock the World Event, the design is for several items from Stage 2 to be used:
- Intent Moneylenders: These units, acquired through adventures or challenges, can be contributed to unlock the World Event.
- Braavosi Pirate Ships: These units, acquired through challenges, can be contributed to unlock the World Event.
- Iron Bank Stage 2 Spoils: The excess spoils you pick up in Stage 2 of the Iron Bank cycle can be used to unlock the World Event. Instead of keeping them for the next phase, you can use them to unlock the World Event instead of your legendary units.
More information about Stage 3 of the World Event will be released as we get closer to the start.