Some thoughts on a workable capture system for PvP/Alliance War. This is something I've been hoping to see for a long while (see the original post from August 2014 below), and with the addition of Imperial City and upcoming changes to IC it might finally fit into the game. This concept includes a challenge that is optional and that features many of the newest game mechanics. It also offers a chance to connect to some classic moments from prior Elder Scrolls games and new activities such spying. Thanks for reading. Comments are helpful and appreciated.
No Long Confinement/Make It Optional
If done right in a limited way a capture system might work, but if it involves players capturing other players or being forced out of PvP for hours it would be a disaster. Players have different goals in Cyrodiil and many would find being forced to wait an hour or two for a rescue infuriating. I think now that Imperial City is in the game and in need of revamping, and if they do add the ability to capture districts in IC, then something could be worked out with a self-escape system. See below for details of how to make it optional as a part of IC.
Keep It Out of Cyrodiil proper
Don't have it on the main map, and make it something that is balanced in terms of time spent and reward, and let people have options. For example, if we are keeping it in IC, maybe after a district is captured any enemy player trespassing behind enemy lines (i.e. still in the district when it flips) is automatically captured if they die an Alliance War death before leaving that district. You end up in some newly revealed part of the sewers near the base of the relevant Alliance with abilities locked out until you pick the lock of your cell. You can then either sneak or fight your way out.
In this scenario, the question for adding some kind of rescue mission is: "Why?" There would need to be an incentive for a player to remain captive a while (maybe it takes a while to break out, maybe there are things to do/gain while escaping, etc) and for other players to stage a rescue. Thus the rescuing part is a bit weak without something really clever added in. It isn't needed, but it was part of my original idea and of later ideas other suggested, so I wanted to acknowledge it in case anyone has thoughts on making it work with this proposal.
Keep It Fun/Not Too Complicated
As you can see from original date of this thread, I've been promoting a capture idea for a long time, but I want it to be a fun addition, not a forced mechanic that will annoy many players. In the IC scenario proposed, you know what's coming if you choose to stay and gank behind enemy lines, so even if you do have to wait 10 or 20 minutes before attempting an escape (not something I would add!) it would be something you could have avoided. There could be other scenarios for capture as well, but again, they should have a "you know you are taking a risk by doing X" component. This makes it optional for players who want to run the detention area or who want to take bigger risks, but for those who don't it would be easily avoided.
Examples of other mechanics other than dying an Alliance War death in a district after it flips to enemy control:
- having a random chance that any Alliance War death in IC wll proc a capture (I don't like this one because it cannot be avoided)
- adding new areas to the sewers or districts where you can go to spy on another Alliance, which would mean adding spy missions to IC. Getting killed in such an area *or* suffering an Alliance War death while on your way back to turn in the spying quest would be a capture and place you in the appropriate detention area. (I prefer adding this one).
And Oh Yeah, Be A Spy
To give a reason/chance to be captured, as per the last section, I recommend adding spy quests. Two per day, once for each Alliance. Using mechanics and resources from the Thieve's Guild update, add even more to the area around the sewer HQs of each Alliance. This is separate from the main HQ area where enemy players are (with a door connecting them no players in any faction can open). The spy quest requires navigating to this area in the sewers and stealing intelligence documents. Additional random locations could also be added in the sewers for secret drop spots that you have to find in order to steal something important:
"An agent from the Ring of Daggers/Hidden Armigers/Eyes of the Queen has learned that a courier carrying sensitive information has gone missing in [named area of the sewers]. We need you to find that courier retrieve what they were carrying." [multiple possible spots appear as search circles on the map]
"Intelligence reports suggest that a secret drop site is being used in [named area of the sewers] by [other Alliance]. Check it out and return with whatever you find." [multiple possible spots appear as search circles on the map]
"Good to see you. We need someone for a dangerous mission. [Other Alliance] is planning something big, and we need you to break into their base and find out what it is. We have a lead on how to get you in, but I won't lie, you probably won't be coming back."
If you die while in the enemy base (if you get that quest) or after getting the quest item (whichever quest you get), you are automatically captured. Quest rewards include both XP and AP.
The Detention Areas/POW Camps
The IC sewer POW camp would not be some high security max detention center, but rather some crumbling re-purposed sections of old dungeons/prison cells for the worst of the worst, like the kind you were in at the start of both Arena
. Something fun to run through, but where you have those unkillable guards (using the lanterns from Thieve's Guild update) on regular patrols mixed in with regular Alliance guards. Maybe some of those new hiding spots, too. I would love to go back to a version of the sewers from the older games, and it would be a great nod to the fans of TES.
To be clear, this would not be the same as the official IC prison dungeon that is used for the instanced group runs, but auxillary holding areas re-purposed by the factions. It would be odd if there weren't old/unused areas, like old cells/prison areas that had been abandoned when new facilities were constructed.
When you get captured (either due to district flipping as per above or some other mechanic added) you would get an "Escape the Enemy" quest with a decent XP reward. You would have the challenge of escaping and the fun of exploring (talking to or even freeing NPCs, etc), which some people would actually see as rewards believe it or not. There would be things to loot as you go.
I was also thinking that talking to or freeing NPCs could also lead to new quests after you escape. And either exploring on your own or talking to fellow prisoners could lead to discovering and unlocking new areas of the sewer, maybe as part of an optional escape route or in an area far away. These new sections would be accessible once unlocked without being recaptured, but would not allow you back into the heart of the detention area (that *would* require being recaptured).
I am sure people could come up with additional rewards/rewarding experiences, but even what's listed above sounds really good to me.
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Original Post from August 2014
Just a little something different, like having some irregular/seasonal content additions to Cyrodiil
Typically, when you fight other players you expect to kill or be killed. I do not suggest taking that away.
But you also fight NPCs from other alliances. They will readily kill you as well, as those who like to suicide port from place to place on the map using forward camps know very well.
What if there some chance, X%, of being "captured" at a keep or resource when subdued by NPCs. This chance would only trigger if you were killed by the NPCs and they left combat. If your allies kill them this would not occur.
This could be one of those campaigns with special rules so that those who don't like the idea could avoid it. Also, it could be an ongoing feature or a one-off with a related quest and achievement that each character only does once.
If this were implemented, how would you like to see it work?
Options off of the top of my head:
1-You are bound and kept in a particular location outside of the enemy keep. Maybe at one of the resources. You have a chance every so often to complete some mini-game to escape, or, you can be freed at any time by an ally who kills/sneaks passed the guards and clicks the E for some prompt like "Free Prisoner".
2-You are bound and kept in a particular location inside of the nearest enemy keep. Maybe at one of the resources. You have a chance every so often to complete some mini-game to escape (which automatically places you just outside of the keep), or, you can be freed at any time by an ally when who kills/sneaks passed the guards and clicks the E for some prompt like "Free Prisoner" after your alliance breaches the outer wall of the keep.
3-You are bound and kept in a particular location deep inside enemy territory. You have a chance every so often to complete some mini-game to escape, or, you can be freed at any time by an ally who kills/sneaks passed the guards and clicks the E for some prompt like "Free Prisoner" if a squad from your alliance raids the POW camp. Unlike the other examples, everything you are carrying is seized and kept in a guarded facility at the camp. While you could escape on your own, you would be empty-handed (to prevent people abusing this mechanic to get a free ride while fully armed deep into enemy territory). Also, you would be debuffed to half your health, magicka, and stamina for the first 5 minutes after a successful escape. However, in this scenario you could free other captives and stage a prison break.
Again, these are just variations on one theme, and other themes for POWs are possible, so please share your own ideas as well. I'm just trying to stir people's imaginations for new directions/ideas.
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