Burning oil, oversized arrows, battering rams and of course, flying orcs. You all know what this means, Sieges! EA Mythic just released abundant information about them.
As you have no doubt seen in recent podcasts and newsletters, we've added Keeps and Siege to Warhammer Online! Now it is time to offer an in-depth explanation as to how these systems work and how they are integral to the Realm v Realm™ (RvR) experience.
Integrating keeps into WAR builds on the foundation and success of Dark Age of Camelot™. In that game, keeps were the epitome of land ownership and helped drive the sense of pride in RvR. In WAR, keeps are once again a focal point of pride for your Realm and worth the battle defend or capture them.
There is at least one keep per realm, per zone in all Tier pairings except for Tier 1.
" Tier 2 zones have one keep each (two per pairing)
" Tier 3 zones have one keep each (two per pairing) with fortified outer walls
" Tier 4 zones have two keeps each for a total of six keeps
The taking of a keep has three distinct stages:
1. Breach the exterior of the keep
2. Breach the keep's inner sanctum.
3. Defeat the Keep Lord.
Look and Feel
All keeps are artistically-themed to reflect the buildings of their original owners. In other words, an Empire keep looks like an Empire castle and a Chaos keep looks very chaotic. High Elf keeps are white with tall towers, and Dark Elf keeps have lots of spikes. You get the idea. When captured, these keeps take on the look and feel of the invading army.
When a keep is captured, its geometry will not change, but the look and feel of the keep will be altered to reflect the new owner. An Empire keep captured by Chaos, will still look like an Empire keep, only now it is defaced by symbols of Tzeentch, littered with bodies, belching fire and smoke, and sporting Chaos banners.
All keeps share a similar underlying structural layout with three different levels (ground level, 2nd floor and roof). Access to the interior of a keep is gained via a single breakable door on the ground level. Inside the core structure are ramps that lead upwards (no ladders) to the various levels which offer access to platforms for offensive and defensive weapons.
Tier 2 keeps consist of a single fortified tower structure with a single door to breach/defend. Tier 3 and 4 keeps are protected by an additional outer wall (aka Wall Walks for the castle definition fiends), thus adding another door to breach before the keep can be taken. These doors can be damaged using player abilities, but the use of siege weapons, such as rams and trebuchets, are highly recommended!
In addition to the breakable keep door (likely under heavy siege), keeps with an outer wall have two interactive (postern) doors that defenders can use to get in and out of the keep.
At the start of the game (or when the campaign resets), keep ownership is based on the zone in which they stand (i.e., the keep in Ostland is owned by the Empire and the two keeps in the Chaos Wastes are owned by Chaos). In the Tier 4 neutral zones, ownership of the two keeps is split with Order and Destruction each owning one.
Each keep is ruled by a Keep Lord and his retinue of 4 bodyguards. In order to successfully capture a keep for your Realm, the Keep Lord must be killed. This plays out as Public Quest™ and rewards are based on the PQ contribution system. When the Keep Lord is killed, all remaining guards are killed (despawned), and new Keep Lord (with retinue) of the appropriate Realm will spawn.
In addition to the Keep Lords retinue, keeps will have guards stationed in and around their walls. The fighting over Battlefield Objective will dictate how many guards are located in the keep. The more Battlefield Objectives you hold, the more guards you have at your keeps.
Guard levels are set to the maximum for the zone per standard RvR level caps (level 12 for Tier 1, level 23 for Tier 2, level 40 for Tiers 3 and 4).
Capturing an enemy keep will play heavily into RvR Zone Control. Once a keep is captured, the Zone Control meter will move significantly in favor of the victors.
Keeps and surrounding areas will have several pre-set locations where siege weapons can be deployed and used by players. Some siege weapons will simply work by interacting with them for a period of time to damage pre-determined targets (such as a door). Other siege weapons, such as the trebuchet, will give players a Ground Target Area Effect (GTAE) reticule which they can move to attack specific locations.
There are four types of siege weapons:
" Rams are can be used against keep doors or other pre-selected targets
" Ballistae can be used against individual players or other siege weapons
" Cannons, Catapults and Trebuchets can be aimed to fire at a selected location, doing splash damage to players or other siege weapons
" Boiling Oil can be used to rain down liquid death from keeps and walls
Siege weapons must be built on Siege Pads found in the world or on Keeps. They cannot be deployed anywhere else and the number of siege weapons used is limited by the number of pads. Furthermore, siege weapons cannot be moved once placed, although they can be rotated.
Siege weapons do not require a Trade-skill to build and can be deployed by anyone. They are purchased from War Camps or from an NPC inside the keeps. Once purchased, a siege weapon will take up a single inventory space. These items have no weight, and can be carried and traded by anyone. Players can carry as many siege weapons as they want, as long as they have space in their inventory. When a player deploys a siege weapon, the item will disappear from the player's inventory.
Siege weapons will increase in cost and power based on location/Tier purchased. (The exact cost of siege weaponry has yet to be determined.) A Siege weapon purchased in a higher Tier cannot be placed on a lower tier Siege Pad. Only one Siege Weapon can be on a pad at a time. Siege Weapons have a life span of 30 minutes and can be destroyed by the enemy before that time.
Siege Pads are pre-set locations on which Siege Weapons can be deployed. They are physically represented in the world as large slabs of concrete, slate, or otherwise engraved pads.
Keeps will have one Siege Pad per destructible door for placing Rams (for the attackers) and several pads for Ballista, Cannons/Trebuchets, and Boiling Oil on the Bastions (for the defenders). The surrounding area of a keep will have 4-8 locations on the frontal arc of keep for Ballista or Cannons/Trebuchets, and 1-3 locations per side arc of a keep.
To place a siege weapon on a Siege Pad, players simply right click on the pad to open an interface window. This window will display the siege weapons available to the player to be placed on the pad. Only one person can interact with the Siege Pad at a time.
Players have the ability to destroy and repair Siege Pads to add another level of strategy and depth to the siege mechanic. Siege Pads can only be destroyed by Ballista, Cannon/Trebuchet fire, or special demolition charges purchased from War Camps or keeps. A destroyed Siege Pad cannot be used to deploy siege weapons as the ground is littered with wood planks and metal bits. Siege Pads have very few hit points but repair themselves after several minutes.
Siege Weapon Operation
Siege weapons are under the control of the player that built them and only one player can operate them at a time (except for rams). However, control can be relinquished leaving them open for another player to assume control.
A very simple UI element will be used for Siege Weapons utilizing a three click "golf swing" meter. The more accurate your clicks on the meter, the more accurate your shots will be.
Rams are large siege engines used to batter down doors. Up to 4 players can be seated on a Ram at time and damage dealt is determined by the number of players present (one person does 25% damage, 3 people do 75% damage). Rams provide cover from attacks on high and player are shielded from 50% of all damage that rains down from above.
Ballistae (Direct Fire)
Ballistae are large bolt throwers used to skewer an enemy player or destroy siege weapons. They are mounted on rotating platforms on the Siege Pads to allow for precise aiming and inflict massive amounts of damage to a single target.
Catapults, Cannons, and Trebuchets (Indirect fire)
Catapults, Cannons, and Trebuchets use a combination of the three-click firing system and ground targeting to create an engaging siege mechanic reminiscent of the Warhammer table top game. They cannot shoot through solid structures such as buildings, roofs, or other man-made structures. As such, players inside a keep's gatehouse or inner sanctum are immune to this splash damage.
Deploy, dump, and burn. Repeat until attackers are deep fried.
You can see the article over at warhammer online