Battlekeeps versus player towns Edit
One important clarification before we get into the details on the Battlekeep system is that the keeps are a separate system from the normal player built towns, although they use the same building system, so in learning one you will know the other (we will cover the PvE player towns in more detail in a future article), so player controlled land comes in two distinct types.
The resource building playfields that will house normal player towns will not be PVP areas, and will be fully instanced, meaning if your guild has the power and resources to maintain a town, it will always be able to do so. These are the areas where the RTS style NPC AI will build opposing camps and towns and threaten player towns. So whilst the normal player towns will still need defending and not be totally safe, they wont be prey to the most dangerous of opponents – other players! That is where the Battlekeeps come in!
We felt this was important so that players who wished to own towns and engage in battles with the NPC towns can do so without having to get involved in PvP if they don’t want to. However Battlekeeps will provide the worthy guilds with the skill and tenacity to survive the harsh world of PVP combat with another totally separate avenue for gathering even greater resource rewards!
Battlekeep Zones Edit
These border Kingdoms are a dangerous and usually lethal environment. The rivers that coarse through their valleys, or the rolling grass plains that stretch between the mountains are more likely to be stained with the blood of fallen warriors, as they are anything else.
Each zone will be home to a number of pre-defined locations where a Keep may be built, but unlike the PVE player towns there will be a limited number of zones on each server, blood will have to be spilt to hold these most coveted of locations.
These zones will also be fully PVP enabled, you had best have your weapon at the ready if you dare to venture there as the Battlekeeps will not be the only reason to seek out bloody conflict in the border kingdoms. Each of the Border Kingdoms will be home to a series of other objectives as well, all offering the chance for the skilled to demonstrate their death dealing talents.
The Battlekeeps Edit
Each keep will function as a hardened bastion for their owners. Hard won iron, stone and wood erected to stand as a mark of their standing in the Border Kingdoms, and a reminder to their enemies of the bloody conflict taken to earn and maintain it.
Like their PVE counterparts guilds will be able to populate the insides of their keep with a number of buildings and other amenities.
Players will be able to build structures like stables to provide cavalry, forges for constructing siege weapons, sentry towers that provide essential respawn points, as well as farms and other resource buildings. These will in turn provide other useful benefits, like perhaps a vendor that will sell items to those who visit the keeps, or some NPC guards.
The difference with a battlekeep is that guilds will have to remember that there will be others out to destroy their hard work, so the investment in the keep will not come without risk!
Laying Siege to a Keep Edit
Battlekeeps will have periods when they are open to challenges. A period of time when another guild can declare their intent to try and take the keep! We realise its not fun or practical to force players to be on alert twenty four hours a day so this system ensures that you will be given the chance to prove your are worthy of holding the keep by smiting those who would have the audacity to challenge your right to own the keep!
Would be attackers can declare their intention to issue just such a challenge by building a war tent outside the keep in question. This is performed by those with the Lord prestige class and will require resources to complete. It is important that it isn’t something a single player can do on a whim!
The defenders then have a period to arrange their defense and the attackers to muster their forces! Then the bloody zeal of combat commences and you are thrust into an epic battle for control of the keep, stone and fire will rain down from above as walls are torn down and buildings razed to the ground around the frenzied combat between your troops as the attackers try and bring the keep to its proverbial knees!
As already mentioned though, the keeps are not the only reason to venture into the border kingdoms!
The Resource Areas Edit
These areas that are also rich in resources scattered around the zone will provide collectible resources for those who control them. Mines for iron, lumber mills for wood, prospecting stations along the river where gold can be dredged up and quarries for stone.
At any given time one or more of these locations will be active for players who control them to collect resources from. Whoever controls the flag for the resource point will earn resources for as long as they manage to hold the flag.
Looking out across the battle scarred environs of the border kingdoms stand several large stone built towers. These are almost like mini-keeps, holding them will provide some bonuses to your guild, but nothing like those of a full keep. You also can’t build anything around a tower.
These locations do though provide something that smaller guilds can still take and hold even if they perhaps don’t have the manpower or resource to hold a Battlekeep! Like the keeps, these towers will have periods when they are open for attack. This means those precious bonuses they provide will have to be defended through force of arms!
In Closing... Edit
Crushing the skulls of your foes is fun, but in the border kingdoms the blood spilled, and enemies cast aside will truly have a purpose. A purpose that we hope will provide PVP players with a dangerous and challenging environment. Striving for the rewards and honor that can only be won in bloody conflict upon these fields of death will be the most rewarding of ways to prove your worth against the most skilled of opponents – your fellow players!
These border kingdoms will also be the only place where players can train PVP feats and spend the earnings they have gained from the corpses of their fellow players through our PVP Blood money system…oh wait…we haven’t mentioned Blood money before now have we! That’s definitely a subject for another update though.