When we call the controllers the key, that is the basic truth and not only an analogy. Before you can do anything to an area you have found, and want to control, you need to unlock it - build your controller.
The controllers do not come in many versions like the Land Control Personal Towers. (These I will consider in later articles.) Their principal feature is really their Quality Level (QL). The QL of the controller is the definition of the controller. Let me briefly explain:
- The QL (of course) defines how many hit-points the controller has, and the extent of its defence.
- The QL defines what type of controller it is, and if you may actually own it.
- The QL defines in which area the controller may be placed.
- The QL defines how many quality levels of organisation advantages you may have.
- The QL defines who may attack them.
- The QL of the controller defines what QL Shield Disabler you must use to attack it.
Let me go through all of these one by one and explain them. It might seem overly complicated, but let me assure you that these rules are there to make it more enjoyable, not less. Many of the rules are there to let all player levels interact with Land Control (LC), not only the highest levels. Also, we have worked hard with avoiding the so-called griefing problems. Anyways - the QL and:
1) The QL defines how many hit-points the controller has, and the extent of its defence.
The controllers have about ten times as many hit-points as the normal guard or defence tower. There's only one of these babies in the whole area, and you want to keep it alive as long as possible. The controller's health at the maximum QL (300) can be several million hit-points. All your organisation's towers are instantly destroyed when the controller's destroyed. To avoid having people run straight through the rain of fire from the towers and only go for the controller, the controller's health will be boosted with a factor per additional tower in the LC area. In addition to that, the controller actually gains: a) A damage shield per tower and b) Higher health regeneration abilities. Thus, if you think you can attack the tower directly, without considering the surrounding towers, you are in for a nasty surprise. The maximum number of towers in an area is at the moment defined as 100. This may change, but it does force the attackers to do an indirect route to the controller, trying to take out as many support towers as possible first. (Especially since you get a 5 point reflect shield PER tower on the controller. 500 points of reflect damage is nasty.)
2) The QL defines what type of controller it is, and if you may actually own it.
Right now we have something we call ‘controller Type’ set in each controller. This is a sort of method to spread any particular organisation's focus through many quality levels. Even though you can have (today, we may change / tweak this!) five controllers per organisation, you cannot have more than one from each controller Type. This disables the organisation from having five controllers of QL 300. Instead they will have to spread it out to one at 300, one at 270, one at 240, and so on. This will force organisations to be more focused in where they build their controllers.
3) The QL defines in which are it may be placed.
No towers or controllers can be placed in an area outside the level range of that area. Every area in AO has always had a level range. This has been decisive in defining which monsters are created in the area and what auto content dungeons are assigned to what entrances. This level range will now become visible to everyone. It will be listed in the map view (the small map view will be visible in the big map window as well, btw). This level range defines what QL controller you can build there. So, no QL 300 controllers outside the newbie areas! These should be accessible to the lower level characters. This also ties in with point 5 below.
4) The QL defines how many quality levels of organisation advantages you may have.
Right now, for every area your organisation controls, you may add two organisation advantages (An organisation advantage is a skill bonus that stacks with any current skill bonus, and that is given to all organisation members!). The QL of the advantages you add cannot exceed the combined quality level of all your advantages. Let us examine an example: If your organisation has 2 controllers, one is QL 100, and one is QL 200. Then the maximum QL of any advantage your organisation adds cannot exceed 300 (300 is the maximum QL of an advantage). You can only add one advantage for each skill, but your organisation could - in theory - have 10 active advantages (in the case where the organisation owns five controllers). Oh, yeah, while I am on the topic of possibilities - let's talk quickly about the advantages:
The advantages use a new, special system that gives you skill improvements based on your level as compared with a character at level 200. Let me give you an example: A QL 100 advantage "buffs" health with 1000 points at level 200. Now, this advantage will give you 500 hits on level 100 and 505 on level 101 etc, etc. Now if the advantage buffing health was QL 300, it might buff health 5000 at level 200. This means that for each level you gained while a member of the organisation with the advantage, you would receive 25 additional hit-points! One note with this, though, only one advantage will buff any given skill. You cannot, for example add a QL 105 hit-point advantage and a QL 150 hit-point advantage. In that case, only the QL 150 hit-point advantage would be in effect. You will get feedback for all of these issues in the game, so hopefully you will be able to sort all the details out there as well...
5) The QL defines who may attack them.
Basically the PvP rules governing inter-player interaction are applied to the towers and controllers. This means that we limit the level of the player who can attack any given tower, specifically to prevent griefing, but also to unlock some play-areas especially for lower levels. This means that a level 200 character cannot attack the QL 15 tower you just put up. Only a level 22-23 can do that. You can of course attack any tower that is higher than your level, but then again, "/terminate" is quicker :p
6) The QL of the controller defines what QL Shield Disabler you must use to attack it.
The shield disabler is a new concept. Basically it is there to make attacking a controller an expensive manoeuvre. Think about it. Every time someone attacks your area (yeah, btw, a lot happens when you attack a tower! I will go through that later in this article!), you basically get told in chat. There is a special chat channel that receives this input - like "Tower here or there attacked by this or that name in any organisation." This could be a welcome pass-time for griefers. Wandering through the land they see an area prone for attack - with its suppression gas conveniently down. Throwing out a pot-shot at a tower, they quickly move outside attack range and watch the defenders spill out of the grid point. This is funny, of course, for the griefers. No investment, no risk, just pure grief. Besides, it would quickly lead to people stop defending their areas, and arbitrary losses of control as a consequence. Result = boring game-play.
The Shield Disabler is basically an item that any person who wants to attack an area has to use in that area. It makes you able to attack! It also should cost enough that it is something you only use when you really want to launch an attack on the controller. This shield disabler increases in price with QL, naturally, and must have at least the QL of the controller to make it work. Hopefully this will force people not to throw shots left, right and centre just to annoy others.
Consequences of attacking the controllers and towers.
Yeah, btw, let me tell you about the consequences of attacking an area controlled by someone else. If you are in an organisation with your own towers, these will enter a state of war! This means that they will instantly be attackable by anyone else on the other sides, or even within their own side - if that is what you tried yourselves! Well, this means that attacking someone is an investment that needs to be carefully considered. Now, if you are not in an organisation with towers, or outside an organisation altogether, you will be flagged with a PvP flag for 4 - yeah that's right, FOUR - hours! This means that anyone on the other side can attack you, no matter where you are. (You can hide in a Yalm 400 meters into the air, in the Grid or in your soloable mission dungeon! :p Get to love them :p) The name of the attacker will be flagged with a double "**" on each side. That sign actually says - "I'm a sitting duck". Anyone being attacked as PvP flagged can of course defend themselves...
Well, I think that covers the basics - and some of the advanced aspects of the controller interaction...