Dreams of Port Scion

As far as game play mechanics, Trion has most of the bases covered in Rift.  The PvE is fantastic, there are abundant dungeons and raids to conqueror, there are “battlegrounds” to PvP in, there are tons of quests and there is the over-arching Rifts and invasions that provide dynamic content.   Players from World of Warcraft, Aion, Lord of the Rings Online and Everquest 2 should feel right at home.  Their bases are covered.   The one thing that Rift lacks at the moment is some type of RvR content.  No keep sieging, no “Relic Raids”.  Nothing to appeal to the DAoC players.  At least at first glance.

However, there is the hope that is Port Scion.  In this post I intend to go over what Port Scion is, what it could be and what I hope it is.  Read on!

What We Know So Far

What we know so far is not a lot.  We do know that it was once the largest and grandest city of the Mathosian Empire.  From this article at Telarapedia:

This city was founded by those fleeing the Shade under Zareph, former prince of the Mathosian empire which was destroyed in the event.[1] Soon, the Bahmi would arrive and help raise the walls to great heights further strengthening the grand city. However, as the rifts began to open and the threats from the planes increased, the gates of this great city were sealed.

We also know that each faction (Guardian and Defiant) blames the other side for its loss.  There seems to be great bitterness from each side for the loss of Port Scion.  This has been borne out by the great war between the factions and will, eventually, extend into the city walls themselves as both factions enter to retake the great city.

Scott Hartsmann has mentioned in numerous interviews that Port Scion will be a warzone.  A great open PvP warzone.  We know that there is also an instanced War Front that takes place inside Port Scion, called “The Battle for Port Scion” but there has also been numerous mentions of something more, an open world PvP area.  Other than that, we have very little information.   But we do have hopes and here are mine.

Sometimes Bigger is Better

Looking at Warhammer Online, it is quite obvious that they made numerous mistakes in its design, not the least of which was the size of their “RvR Lakes”.  They were simply too small. Because of this, the zerg ruled all.  The maps were so small that the only way to fight was to join the zerg.  Small group combat was a rarity in WAR.  The size of the RvR areas prevented any real small group PvP.  The zergs simply consumed them as they ravaged through the zone.

The Gray Area in the Middle? Thats Port Scion

By contrast, DAoC had a lot of small group combat.  The size of the Frontiers allowed small groups to operate without worrying about running into the zerg.  Sure, there were zergs but small groups could avoid them and operate independently and be quite successful while doing it.

Port Scion is a fairly big zone but I believe it should be made even bigger for this exact reason.  Spread out the combat to allow smaller groups to function independently of the zerg.  DAoC had it correct, sometimes bigger is better.

The More the Merrier

On to the next major mistake made by Mythic with WAR.  The lack of a third faction.  Quoted by many as the single biggest reason that WAR crashed and burned.  The lack of a third faction made population balance between the two factions vitally important.  Of course, the factions were not balanced and Mythic was forced to implement artificial controls to attempt to strengthen the less populous side.

In addition to the balancing assist, having more factions added to the dynamics of combat.  You could assist one side and team up against the other.  You could attack both sides or find yourself being attacked by both sides.  You never knew what to expect and it added a wonderful dynamic element to RvR.  WAR really missed that and it suffered for it.

Rift, obviously, does not have a third player faction.  You have Guardians and you have Defiants and thats it.  However, what they do have are the Planes.  Matter of fact, they have six of them.  Aion had a similar approach with their PC controlled faction, the Balaur.  Unfortunately, it didn’t work so well there.  The Balaur were too static to really function as a third faction.

This is not the case with the Rifts and Invasions in Rift.  I believe the Planes can function as another faction.  Anyone who played during a major Rift event, especially on a PvP server, can attest to how dynamic the invasions can be.  I believe that, with the right toolset, Trion can certainly use the Planes as a balancing factor for RvR.  Imagine that the Defiant are outnumbering the Guardians.  Trion can simply enable the Planes to do more damage to Defiant characters or, perhaps, make them more likely to attack Defiant Keeps.  This would allow them to have some semblance of balance on the fly.

Urban Warfare is Where Its At!

When I think of Port Scion, I think of a large city with all that that entails.  Palaces, libraries, Merchant holds, Guard Barracks, City Parks.  I picture Port Scion as the ultimate fantasy City.  I also picture it burning.

Yes, Port Scion should be total medieval urban warfare.  Guardians, Defiant and the Planes should all be fighting over it and spread throughout the city streets.  The palaces and libraries, the city parks and landmarks?  Those should be the Keeps of DAoC.  Fortified for war, each landmark in the city should be something to fight over and should be the objectives that each faction wants to hold.

Designing Port Scion for urban warfare will also help to lessen the zerg.  There will be large plazas and wide city streets for the large fights but also claustrophobic alleyways and small house to house warfare for smaller groups.  All in an attempt to control the zone.

Rifts opening throughout the city and spawning Invasions to take objectives, will allow for the balancing factor.  If the Guardians are outnumbered the Invasions will tend to attack the Defiant outposts, if Defiant is outnumbered they will do the opposite.  If both sides are relatively balanced, they will simply go after the least fortified or strategically important objectives.

Rewards.  We Must Have Rewards!

Beyond the normal Prestige gained in PvP, there must be some further rewards for Port Scion.  We need something besides pure carnage to get us to head there, right?  In DAoC there were “Relic Raids” and I envision something similar in Rift.  What are Relics?  From the DAoC support site:

Here are the basics of the relics. Go out and get them =)

Each realm has two relics at this time. One adds a bonus to melee damage potential, one adds a bonus to magical damage potential. Each of your relics, while safely nestled in its shrine, grants a 10% bonus to damage in player vs. player combat (the default). If you control an enemy relic, it will grant a 10% bonus to damage for PVP and PVE.

Unless you control your own relic, you cannot go steal an enemy’s relic of that type. That is to say, if you don’t have your melee relic, you must first steal it back before you go after your enemy’s melee relic.

You cannot ever move a relic (either yours or your enemy’s) from your homeland’s relic shrine. You can only pick up a relic (both yours and your enemy’s) from an enemy relic shrine. Once you have stolen an enemy’s relic, it needs to go to the corresponding shrine in your own frontier. That is, a stolen magic relic must go to your magic relic shrine.

Relic is really starting to look mispelled here.

A relic of any kind cannot be banked or sold. It can be traded (handed off to another player in a relay), and it can be dropped. It will automatically drop to the ground if you die or lose connection while holding it. If a relic is away from a shrine for more than two real life hours, it will magically teleport back to the place it was last kept, be it the keep of friend or foe. A dropped relic can be picked up by anyone.

Relic keeps cannot be taken over in the sense that the border keeps can be, although all their NPCs can be killed in a raid.

That’s the system at this time – in the future, we are planning to integrate the amount of territory controlled with the relic keep’s defenses, but that’s awhile in the future. We are also discussing a way that the carrier of the relic can be detected, possibly through the use of a “detect relic” sort of spell. No firm plans.

Substitute Source Stone for Relics and you have what I would like to see in Rift.  Source Stone Relics could be housed in various places in Port Scion and fought over.  Whichever side owns them, gets the buffs.  This includes the Planes.  If the Plane of Fire owns one, then their Rifts and invasions, throughout Telara, are more powerful.  Same goes for any other plane or either faction.  This will help the controlling faction for not only PvP but PvE as well as the buff works for both types of game play.  Trying to down a hard Raid boss?  Go take a Source Stone Relic first to make it easier.

Another idea that I had for Port Scion rewards is that of recognition.  Guilds should be able to take and hold major Objectives in Port Scion.  Wouldn’t it be nice to say that your Guild owns Port Scion Palace?

Finally, everyone has seen the walls of Port Scion.  It is the biggest, most impressive landmark you see as you leave the tutorial and enter Freemarch or Silverwood:

The Walls of Port Scion

 

See the Death “tentacles” coming out of it?  How about we use the walls as an indicator of who currently owns the zone?  If Defiant currently controls the majority of the zone, then Defiant flags are hung from the wall.  If Guardians own it, then its Guardian flags.  If the Plane of Water controls it, then you have tentacles coming out of the walls and if its Fire then the walls are on Fire.

That would be something to be proud of and something to bring Realm Pride back into the MMO world.  Something that has been lost since DAoC.

Its a Dream but a Good One

Well, those are my thoughts on Port Scion.  I didn’t go in depth into mechanics and stuff like siege engines and the like but thats not what this post was about.  It is about my hopes for Port Scion.  I hope Trion can make some of this a reality.  I think there are a lot of WAR and DAoC players just looking for the MMO that can nail that old DAoC feeling.  Rift has nailed it in every other aspect of game play, why not DAoCs?

6 Responses

  1. Port Scion is quite the mystery atm. I have hopes for it, however I have a horrid feeling that it may not be in game at release due to the lack of info we have on it at this very late stage in development.

    • Your feeling is true. Port Scion, the open world area at least, will not be in by release. I am hoping that it is the first major content patch post-release.

  2. Don’t know if you’ve seen this one yet but Trion just released an official PVP trailer.

    http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/01/20/rift-planes-of-telara-pvp-trailer

    Port Scion sounds like it will be their version of Alterac Valley circa 2005.

    • There is a Port Scion instance and it is very much like early Alterac Valley, however it has also been stated that there was an open world area for Port Scion as well.

  3. You mention no RVR type stuff, but I beg to differ what I’ve seen.

    You know the quest hubs that NPCs take over and kill the ward stone and take over.. Well Players can do that and the hub becomes a Defiant or guardian spot. Ward stones are upgradeable as well.

    So each spot with a wardstone becomes a “keep” or “battlefield objective” that can be “upgraded”.

    Also it was noted that Scarlet Gorge is the first zone like the way zones were in WAR where both zones start on either side and then they both join in the middle. So you will have this big contested zone in the middle of the zone. Unlike the current zones so far, you can walk from guardian to defiant and vice versa.

    I dont think we’ve seen the beginning of world faction pvp on a pvp server..

  4. @alchemda
    Actually, You can’t take over opposing side wardstones. Occasionally… Opposing faction “invasions” can but they’re only out of the way places. “Summoning” items at wardstones will bring friendly NPC’s but they can’t actually claim the wardstone, they’re just temporary help until they die or disappear. If you’ve ever gone to PvP in opposing zones and tested this you’d find that out.

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