So since the current war system has been disabled for some time (Also was terribad), and I know that it makes city vs city conflict localized to either flinging yourself at guards or lessers, with no real...reward to it, a working war system would be rather nice.
Pack Challenges have two avenues, PvP or PvE, where kills against the opposing pack count towards points in PvP, and number of kills in PvE is your points. Though they aren't used -often-, the idea behind it isn't terrible and a combination of the two would actually bring in more traditional non-coms involved.
Each party involved in the war would have certain requisites:
War Coffers - This is a fund that can be donated into, but not withdrawn from. This goes towards 'reparations', either to pay to repair damaged components of the city from the battle, pay soldiers, or in the event of losing the war, to pay out a tithe to the conquering city (10%-15%). In order for war to be initiated by a city, they must have full coffers (Max at 300,000 gold, and 5,000 of each commodity)
Protected/Controlled Mob Areas - Each city would be assigned 2 villages (or 3 if there's enough surrounding) that would have certain number of soldiers positioned there, each city would have X number of soldiers that can be reinforced, and a village can be 'conquered' once that number is severely depleted. Once the war is initiated, those troops will be activated and will automatically aggro against enemy militia and react similar to city guards within that village space. Kills by non-enemy militia would not detract from the reinforcement pool. (Meaning no jump in when I feel like it combatants, or another city not involved 'helping')
Siege Wars - In order to fully 'conquer' the city proper, the outlying villages must first be conquered, this effectively cuts off the 'supply lines' of food, and commodities to the city, forcing their soldiers to hole up, eat their boots and various wandering vermin. Once a city has conquered the pre-requisite villages, siege wars would ensue, each city would have their own unique siege weapons.
Enorian: Catapults - Can hurl large boulders into the city, when aimed at certain 'quadrants' has the chance to take out X number of soldiers in a large space, very slow and can only be fired once every other day. Spinesreach: Trebuchets: Quick firing slings - Can be fired once a day to take out targets, does less damage than catapults. Duiran: Ballistas Massive well..giant crossbow things - Can be fired twice a day, but can eliminates fewer targets, BUT can affect two quadrants at the same time (front and back) as it fires in a straight line. Bloodloch: Mangonel: Trebuchet of sorts that hurls a large spread of smaller rocks (shotgun-style) at the aimed quadrant. Can be fired once a day if aimed at one quadrant, or every other day if in full 'spread' which distributes the attack across 3 quadrants, for significantly less damage.
Each city would have 4 Quadrants (quad=four), to be reinforced with X number of soldiers. Prior to the Siege Wars initiating, Militia leaders can position the number of soldiers in each quadrant however they wish, similar to battleship. If the attacking Siege weapons strike a hit, they'll be notified how many kills they received by: 'The harsh screams of what sounds like X soldiers is abruptly cut short by the slam of your large projectile.'
In this way the attacking city could still strategize on where to aim, and know when to move on, because each city can only have X total soldiers in their city. Once no more cries are heard in Quadrant 1, move on to Quadrant 2 and so forth. If the defending city never set-up their quadrants by the time Siege wars are initiated, then a default configuration will be set.
Final Push: Once the Quadrants have been eliminated, the attacking city will initiate the BATTERING RAM to break into the city proper. Once 5 successful batters have been performed (Requires 4 people, and can only be done once every 15 minutes) then the city is lost, and the invading forces lay claim to their rewards. (Big game-wide message of the invading city rushing in to plant their flag)
Conquering vs Defending: Just as in the Middle Ages and sieges then, the attacking city can still lose, if the Siege is not completed fast enough, or enough failed attacks compound with this, they'll lose morale, and soldiers will leave the attacking party. In this way the defending city still has a chance, not to mention that they don't have to idly sit by, the players themselves can still push the fight against the other city in the same way, attacking their villages and moving onto the Siege stage. One way or the other someone -will- be Conquered unless an agreed upon cease-fire is declared by the ruling members of each city.
The Defenders will: Have to pay reparations to the conquering city, as well as to pay for rebuilding their own city and their outlying villages. Forcibly unenemy all members of the winning city for a period of 10 years. Another war cannot be initiated by that attacking city against this one for another 30 years.
The Conquerors will: No longer be able to hunt down/harass the militia members of the conquered city (war's over), and will pay any reparations they need to repair their city and protected villages. (The tithe can be used towards this). They will not be able to initiate another war against the conquered city for 30 years, and not be able to declare war against any OTHER city for another 15. Their soldiers and villagers need time to rebuild and get back to their lives.** ** However if a war is initiated against -them-, they can most certainly defend and move on from there.
The process in a nutshell
1) Enorian declares war on Bloodloch, because Ellenia said Dato was a smelly butt face. 2) Troops are distributed to their villages (requires 1 Aetolian Month of preparation, no 'surprise wars' in the middle of the night for unfair advantage) 3) The PvP portion begins, and militia auras are given to indicate their involvement (Blue Aura) 'An aura of resolute pride surrounds Saybre' 4) The PvE portion begins, and militias can defend their own villages against attack, or attack the other city's villages to gain the same advantage. 5) To prevent 'war is over in 5 minutes' Each village would have say 25 troops at one time, with a reinforcement level of 150, once a troop is killed, they'll be reinforced within 1 Aetolian day. 6) Protected villages are eliminated, or enough enemy militia members have been killed that morale has depleted the reinforcement level of the villages. (Mazzion has been killed 45 times, so 80 troops go 'screw this, they took out the Ankyrean!') Higher ranking Militia members are worth more, etc. 7) Siege War is initiated against Bloodloch by Enorian, Bloodloch continues fighting against Enorian's villages. 8) Enorian takes out Quadrants 1 & 3 of Bloodloch (the boulders bring down the cavern), Bloodloch finally manages to get to Siege Level. 9) Enorian finishes off Quadrants 2 & 4 and Initiates the BATTERING RAM 10) Enorian successfully breaks through, while Bloodloch just managed to eliminate Enorian Quadrants 2 & 3. 11) Enorian invades the city and wins the war, Bloodloch stands down. 12) Bloodloch pays reparation tithe to Enorian, unenemies their militia members for 10 years, and the war is over. 13) Enorian goes back home with winning goodies and fixes up their losses.
This is just a cursory idea, and the example cities were just to make a clear cut point of how it would work. This would be able to allow normal non-comms to contribute in the militia by running the siege weapons (they can just run if enemy soldiers show up), or attack the villages, etc. It would actually entice some real city vs city conflict, that lessers just scream 'blugh, they bring 10 people, what's the point'. Since high-ranking militia members would be worth more (more kills, successful siege usage = promotion), the higher ranked fighters may be less apt to go in by themselves and get destroyed.
Feedback, angry 'oh nobody got time for that' and whatever else is of course appreciated. The siege weapon ideas are just to give some flavor. (Duiran's ballista could still pierce into Loch's cavern ceiling to make stuff fall down and kill)