Atlas Proposal: Crusades

This Crusades proposal arose from feedback we received on Supremacy Fortnights, as well as suggestions like Conflict Bonus.

Table of Contents

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Introduction

Community Discussion Takeaways (from the Supremacy proposal)

The number one takeaway from our Supremacy discussion was that our open Atlas world is an irreplaceable part of the War Dragons experience. We heard loud and clear that we needed to keep hunting for better ways to address the stagnation and other irksome issues that currently accompany this otherwise well-liked open world experience. A related takeaway is that automatic matchmaking (as with Supremacy’s Shrines) is too rigid and inorganic.

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Goals

The goals we sought to address with Supremacy remain the same, but Crusades takes a very different approach. Let’s first recap our (unchanged) belief that stagnation is the primary issue to tackle and what it largely arises from:

  1. Motivation to Fight - Atlas prizes don’t motivate / justify serious conflict
  2. Accessibility - it’s hard to attack some enemies (largely due to castle depth)
  3. Mega Alliances - teams far beyond the scale of 5TAs collaborate in massive blocs, sometimes under coercion. This curtails the opportunity for enjoyable combat between closely-matched adversaries.
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Approach

Crusades seeks to comprehensively tackle stagnation via improvements to:

  1. Rewards - close-matched fights should be more rewarding and better than boring swaps
  2. Map Layout - tackled by another short-term proposal: Seasonal Land Shuffle
  3. Conflict - the current conflict mechanics foster too many degenerate cases; it needs a rework
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Crusades

Short Overview

  • Team can declare a Crusade against an enemy castle (from a preselected list of reasonable enemies)
  • Each 5TA fights to control the castle to earn VP during a 24hr combat phase with bonus glory
    • Others cannot fight at this castle during the combat phase
  • The winning side gets infrastructure upgrades and massive Crusade Aura buffs (and vice versa)
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Crusade Aura

  • Grants up to 6x tribute and 2x gold to the 5TA
    • Each team contributes up to 20% of this to their 5TA
    • The max you can earn is based on infrastructure (3x for maxed level 3 castles, etc.)
    • The number one team’s buff is multiplied by 1.5x as long as they won their most recent Crusade

Starting a Crusade

  • Team chooses to start a Crusade
    • Cannot start another crusade until the previous one you started ends
  • Choose an enemy castle to fight from a limited list offered by the game
    • If you don’t choose, then one is selected at random
    • Bigger rewards for choosing:
      • Castles owned by stronger teams
      • Castles which haven’t been defeated in a Crusade recently
    • The castle owner is not shown at this time (but will not be in your 5TA)
      • Note: This anonymization allows teams to choose a target based solely on its merits (reward value, relative difficulty of the opponent, etc.) and not be impeded by the politics or mega-alliances of the broader world. A choice must be made in a short time window (e.g., 5min) and on informative but general info (rewards & difficulty = high, medium or low … that’s it). Make it impossible to know who you’re attacking; just pick the castle without the politics.
      • Note: The castles offered to attack will be chosen so that no one team is inundated with overly many simultaneous crusades (but the stronger your team, the more you may have to fight).
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Preparation Phase

  • 24hr period after a Crusade opponent is chosen
  • During this time, teams in each 5TA may choose to join. When a team joins:
    • they become eligible for a share of the rewards
    • they also take on risk: if their side loses, they’ll share in the loss
    • the opposing side’s rewards pool increases
  • Only teams that were in the 5TA when the Crusade was declared may join

Combat Phase

  • Lasts 23 hours (after the preparation phase ends)
    • There are three, one-hour battle windows; they are separated by 10hr peace windows
      • VP is only generated during the battle window
      • Peace shield is up during the peace window
  • Crusade Shield envelops the chosen castle
    • The normal castle shield cannot activate during this time
    • 150% glory earnings (no penalty based on player level or team rank)
    • Uninvolved teams cannot attack or be attacked here
    • Involved teams’ Primarchs cannot leave the Crusade castle once there
      • Troops on Primarchs die when the Crusade ends (their owners earn glory)
      • Troops on Primarchs at the Crusade can be turned into Guards on the Crusade castle
        • this frees your Primarch in case you need it to go fight elsewhere
        • can only be done if your Primarch is not under attack
    • Crusader Bonus: Bonus attack & HP for your 5TA (varies based on the opponent; may be zero)
  • Primarchs from both sides can direct fly to the Crusade Shield castle
  • Attacker may send guards from their castle(s) to kill the defender’s castle guards
  • The Castle generates up to 1,000 VP/sec + steals 20% of the opponent’s VP/hr
    • VP generation scales based on how many troops the controlling side has
      • Max VP earned when controlling army size >= 50% max guards
    • Army Size = Castle Guards + Primarch Troops from your side present
      • Note: Only teams which are involved in the Crusade count
    • Defender earns VP as long as they have a sizeable army present:
      • at least 10% of the attacker’s troops present, OR
      • at least 50% of the max castle guards possible
    • Otherwise the attacker earns VP
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Outcome

  • The winner is the side with more VP at the end of the Combat Phase
  • The winning side gets Nails and Crusade Aura Points
  • The losing side loses Infrastructure level(s) and Crusade Aura Points

Infrastructure Changes

  • Upgrades no longer require gold or time; just Nails
  • Max castle level raised to 6 (and max infrastructure level raised to 18)
  • Castle conquering and surrendering are removed
  • Teams with fewer than 25 castles can cheaply buy a level 2 castle with no infrastructure (yet) for nails, if all of their other castles (if any) are level 3 or higher
    • Clarification: A team with no castles can buy a level 2 castle for nails
  • Castle level now automatically upgrades (or downgrades) based on infrastructure level
    • A level 2 castle may be destroyed when a team loses a Crusade

Please discuss in the discussion thread here.

Updates since posting

Some changes have already been made to the proposal based on player feedback! Here are the changes so you can quickly get up to speed if you read the original text:

  1. Added: Combat Phase Lasts 24 hours (after the preparation phase ends)
  2. Added: Troops on Primarchs at the Crusade can be turned into Guards on the Crusade castle (this frees your Primarch in case you need it to go fight elsewhere). Can only be done if your Primarch is not under attack.
  3. Added: A level 2 castle may be destroyed when a team loses a Crusade
  4. Added: Only teams that were in the 5TA when the Crusade was declared may join
  5. Changed: “Attacker Bonus” is now “Crusader Bonus” and can apply to either the Attacker or Defender, as necessary to even up the match (the opposing side gets better rewards, while the side with the bonus will have a better shot at winning than they would’ve without the bonus).
  6. Changed: Combat phase is now split into short 1hr battle windows and long 7hr peace windows, and lasts just shy of 24hr total. Makes it more fair across time zones, and less draining (no long period with continuous battling).
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