Legends of Aria is overhauling its PvP system once again

    
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Remember this past summer when Citadel Studios announced that it was finally launching Legends of Aria on Steam with a huge overhaul patch that would shake up the game’s ruleset, essentially making it easier for new players to join and avoid being ganked? The studio’s post today suggests that it wasn’t a total winner for the game.

“As Steam approached, we became caught in the moment and made some bad choices. Legends of Aria needs a healthy population to succeed, and we believed that making the game more accessible would solve the population problem,” Citadel writes. “Certain changes were put in place because we truly believed the game – and the genre – was ready to be brought to a wider audience. But it wasn’t. This has been a talking shop within our team for months, coming to a crescendo in recent weeks about where we go from here. Legends of Aria has many futures ahead of it, but we simply must pursue the one which speaks to us, its developers, the core playerbase, and speaks to why we made this game in the first place.”

So now, the game is testing a new plan, with new rule tweaks for PvP that look a lot like yet another version of Ultima Online (probably for good reason).

– Guard Protected areas are limited exclusively to Towns and Cities.
– Long and short term murder counts are being added.
– The criminal flag is being added.
– Severe risks for player killers are being deployed.
– New skills: Stealing & Snooping.

Everyone playing on the official server right now is going to need to choose between the new Ethereal Moon server and the Amber Moon server too. The next big release is also expected to include the macro system, martial abilities, an overhaul for crafting orders, and plenty of new content.

“We’ve made the decision to look crazy while making a game we actually want to be making,” Citadel concludes. “We hope it ends up being the game you want to be playing.”

Source: Official site. Thanks, Squid!

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KatsPurr

I’m a PvE and old UO player from way back before the Trammel days. I -loved- how UO was back then. Even though I didn’t engage in PvP myself, I still got a huge kick out of outsmarting and escaping PKs. In UO, we PvE players had an actual chance to take action (like hide/go invisible/run/recall etc) if we saw a red name appearing on the side of the screen. In addition, UO never had chokepoints through which we needed to enter and exit guarded areas. Thus, PKs couldn’t camp and wait for prey.

When I started playing Aria last December, I was expecting to see something similar to “the good old days of UO”, but was very disappointed to find out: 1) No incoming names on the edges of the screen 2) Chokepoint entry points between PvP and PvE areas. Going into a PvP area, I didn’t stand a chance. PKs just flew in and ganked me instantly.

So, I packed my things up and moved to a community PvE server (Aria Europe PVE) and have happily been playing there ever since and still to this day enjoy the game on a daily basis.

With the possible changes they are testing now, it does seem like they are moving in a direction closer to how I was hoping the game would still be, back to “old UO”. The only thing missing now really is being able to see those incoming names on the edges of the client. If they ever implement that, there is a good chance I’d actually come back to the official servers.

As for all the back and forth, I have to admit that these huge swings make me feel uneasy and insecure in the game. I understand that sometimes in game development radical changes have to be made, but unfortunately Citadel has been doing a bit too many of those in a short time. It’s scary for the players.

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lucas daush

Wait, there’s pvp in this game ? I spent about 40+ hours spread between the two u.s. servers and ran into three other people … How’s this game even alive at this point is hilarious …

shibby523
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shibby523

With their flip flop on the rule set again, people will be losing their land plots. This is another slap in the face to their players on top of the rule set change.

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Roger Christie

All these PVP sand boxes being built, then come out, then fail miserably. Possibly because not that many people are hardcore PVPers, and the ones that are have to divide their attention across a dozen multiplayer FPS games as well.

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Arktouros

They fail because they’re bad games. No one is going to put up with a bad game. PvE players won’t put up with a bad game. PvP players won’t put up with a bad game.

Aria embodies this sentiment on multiple levels. It was a bad PvP game that failed to implement any of the kind of meaningful consequences they talked about during interviews. This predictably lead to mindless slaughter as there was no deterrent to doing so. Instead of addressing that issue, they decided they would instead give up on their vision of being a sandbox and force consensual PvP on everyone. This also predictably led to no one PvPing and everyone just quickly consuming their game content until there was nothing left to do but quit because it was a bad PvE game. Instead of addressing that issue and working on better PvE content they decided they’re going to switch back to PvP.

This is the norm for PvP game developers over the last 20 years from Shadowbane to Darkfall to any other modern title today. They’re almost always short sighted, unaware of what goes into making a good PvP game, and incredibly naive on how players will actually interact with their systems. I would say I’m disappointed, but this is more just yet another in a long list of failures that have simply become the norm over the last 20 years.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

I don’t think the problem is really whether people can be ganked and their stuff taken or not – it’s about publicity, reaching potential audience whatever path taken on that front and they simply don’t have advertised and probably can’t advertise the game heavily.

And when you mainly have to trust on ‘word of mouth’ and articles in gaming media to get information of your game to potential players, like they have had to do, the end result can look like a politician governing based on most recent polls.

So, I don’t think becoming a gankbox will make the game a success; perhaps it saves it, but if people are unaware of your game, they can’t come to it – and a huge majority of self-described gamers never end up visiting sites like Massively or rest of the gaming media.

When SWTOR went F2P there were people who identified as gamers claiming they were unware of it’s existence and that gane was advertised widely, including with a flash mob of Jedi, Sith and Republic troopers on Times Square!

So what chance has a game which is (as much it is) advertised basically just on gaming sites?

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Arktouros

A lot of the PvP discords I am on were pretty aware of the title before they bait and switched their game to PvE game 2 weeks before launch. After that most people just wrote it off and went back to playing their other PvP games or got ready for WOW Classic. Any players that did play ended up going to LOU, which already has this rule set implemented.

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Raimo Kangasniemi

Most people who buy games never use those – when you are reaching mostly niche audiences like that, you are in trouble; and in that case, the niche audience was aware, but was it intending to play?

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Arktouros

I don’t know exactly how you would play in a sandbox PvP environment without a community. It’s basically Thomas Hobbes State of Nature in action, most people band together for basic protection if nothing else. A few don’t, but they are always in the extreme minority and not the majority.

That doesn’t mean there’s some PvP bat signal and we arrange a meeting of clans and guilds to form some sort of summary judgement but rather when you see a few PvP communities dismissing a title that’s usually a pretty good indicator of where other similar minded individuals are at.

The thing people need to realize is there’s nothing but niche communities at this point. The “majority” of PvE players that people like to go on about? They have their Worlds of Warcraft, Final Fantasies and Elder Scrolls. They aren’t looking for new games to get into, they’re simply a market that is unavailable. Even when they do play other games, it’s often times temporary and they return to their main games with the next content release. What you instead have are the PvE players who are uninterested in those titles and looking for a different kind of game/experience and that’s no large crowd.

You also have PvP players who occasionally get developers who come along and beat their chest and say all the right things (who remembers “I don’t play games to bake bread, I play them to crush!”) but invariably so far end up disappointing. Most of the long time PvP veterans who have been at this for 20 years basically have gone from PvP valhalla to scraps, pandering and outright lies. Simply put there’s only so many times you can invest into alphas, betas and such then watch all the features you were excited or happy with be changed or removed before release. Why waste our time?

So intention to play has given way to caution to make sure they actually release a game that we would enjoy playing.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Well, I refuse to make a steam account, so I can’t even give it a try. But I don’t care for PvP games anyway…

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PanagiotisLial1

What about to those that Bought the game based on the new ruleset?

Isnt that bait and switch?

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Arktouros

Yes it is.

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Kickstarter Donor
squid

They also sold 1-year subs like two weeks before this.

kjempff
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kjempff

Back to being a gankbox? Hmm, shame.. I put this game back on my toplay list when they announced the last changes. Guess it just went of the list again. It has interesting game mechanics from a pve perspective, and it has thatoldschool vibe while also being fun…too bad it had to goback to gankbox.

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BGZD

full loot pvp has never been my cup of tea.. there are always trolls who will gank you for no reason at all to make you waste time and log off and never play again…

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Ashley Bau

I’m seeing a few people talking about a bait and switch here (and every other article about this game) and I just don’t get it. I’ve been watching this game since its initial kickstarter and it really did not start off advertising itself to be pvp centric or UO 2.0. In fact, at that time it really was much more about player made worlds and general sandbox features.

As someone who was always interested in THOSE stated features and having seen the game slowly shift from that into “we need to focus on the main sandbox game” I feel like pvpers 1. created the environment of promised features themselves largely (the devs leaned into it a bit but almost all of the mentions of UO I saw were directly from players or from outside media articles) and 2. Pushed for the original promised features to be ignored so really don’t have much right to be upset.

I don’t think this move is going to help much and may even hurt. I really want them to just focus on getting modding tools out to players and secure their future (prepare NOW for implementation that allows community servers to keep running if the game can’t be supported, even if you don’t actually implement these changes til you know the game will go under).

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Dane Ford

I mean, I kind of agree. When it went from Shards Online to Aria, it started to morph into something different than what I had backed initially. I also kind of disagree (on one point) though, even on the Kickstarter they leaned into the UO connection.

They didn’t necessarily say it was going to be a remake, but it mentions the game quite a few times. Combined with the overall aesthetic and mechanics, I can’t begrudge someone for tacitly assuming the base shard is going to be UO-Like.

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Arktouros

This is a really long, but good interview from the developers that talks about all those topics from them accepting PCGamer calling them “UO’s Successor” (having heavily based the game on UO) to their transition from server/mod tools to focusing on the game title post kickstarter as the majority of people were looking for “a really killer game.”

As for PvP players creating the promised features, this is a direct quote from that interview from the kind of things the developers were saying in regards to the design of their game:

“I think that is one of the major differences between this game and quote unquote sandbox MMOs we’ll never put restrictions on you that are absolutely silly like you can’t swing your sword at something if you want to, right? We have some invulnerable NPCs, and that’s about the furthest we’re willing to go in terms of like, ya know, breaking the sandbox when it comes to just like what you can and can’t do in terms of attacking things. Uh, we try to make your consequences make sense in game, rather than just say you can’t attack that.”

This is exactly what I think of every time I use the term bait and switch, because they absolutely reneged on this aspect of their game two weeks before game launch.

They are solely and entirely responsible for their situation.