I know you have a lot
of work ahead of you, but I believe this is paramount to a future in which city vs city conflict is the main focus. I understand a new 'war' system will be brought out soon, but unless it changes the current guard system here is my post:
The guard system we currently have is broken.
As a result of the way guards can be placed throughout the city and their cost to the city, city's are forced to lockdown and effectively remove entire sections. These are entire pieces of game content being ignored and unused. Some examples are a large building in the northwest section of Duiran, the prisons in Bloodloch, and I'm sure Enorian and Spinesreach has a few places too. These locked off areas only shrink the world as a whole and deprive new players of potential experiences and fun.
I don't claim to know all the reasons as to why this happens, but I want to stress that I don't need to know. Something is causing this to happen to the four major communities of the game and it needs to be addressed. I have my ideas and I'm sure others have as well, which I'm hoping people will read and post on this thread.
(I'm also sure that there's a group who just don't care and their response will be 'So what? Move on.' To them I ask kindly - take a back seat here. If the attitude towards cutting content from the game is apathetic, that's a completely different issue and should be addressed in another thread.)
Just another reason why I believe guards do not serve their intended purpose: If their purpose is to kill enemies, that is a fundamentally flawed purpose. Death is currently meaningless. There is a gray area where people are unsure if the mirror is considered an in-game lore item or if death should be treated with a level of fear as we do in real life. If the mirror is considered in character, then death is meaningless - you know you will be given a new body. If it is not, then choosing to die should be considered suicide and an in character trait. Likewise, dying repeatedly while trying to kill guards and players should be considered an OOC or Metagaming action. Your character does not know they will return, so purposely jumping into a lose situation repeatedly is blatantly ooc. Here's an example:
Someone wishing for some conflict will perhaps attack a city in a raid to try and kill guards or defenders. If they decide that the level of response isn't to their liking, there is no way to stop them or counter if they decide to throw themselves at guards endlessly in an attempt to widdle them down one at a time. A raider who is choosing to die to nuke down guards has taken your only form of defense from you - killing them. This gives them the ability to effectively grief an entire city with no real response.
Guards are designed to offer sanctuary to players so they may operate without fear of constant attack. While the idea of providing a safe place that negates conflict seems counter-intuitive to the nature of the game, it's necessary. Without this place to conduct roleplay, design work, shop, or relax. Many would either choose to seldom play the game or gravitate towards the safest place they could find (Which would turn into a city hidden room with sparring or some other highly fortified single room structure).
The only barrier towards abuse right now is admin opinion of a situation. In the recent past, this has failed us. What's worse still, the entire situation had no real relevance on the organization (Duiran) as they turned around and just citizened one of the griefers like it was all for nothing. That sends a lot of confusing signals to players when it comes to conflict. Is it all just meaningless fun? Should we approach raiding and any form of city-wide conflict as non-canon unless presented by the Admin?
I'm going to throw out some ideas so this post is a bit more constructive. I would love to hear other ideas from other people. I think I'm always right, but that's until I hear someone who is more right than me.
1) Change how death affects living:
Right now, death for living takes about 2 minutes (or 1 minute with spirit anchor) or you are revived instantly. (Minipoint: This needs to not happen during focis or vamp husks need to be revivable.)
Instead, when you die you can only be revived by a player. If your body is not revived within 1 minute(30 Seconds for Spirit Anchor), it decays and begins to reform at the nearest shrine of the Patron of your city with some flavor text (then you get dumped into the living portal room), which takes 1 min (or 30 seconds). Likewise, if the body is destroyed (beheaded, destroyed outright via insta-death like vivisection) it will start the reforming process right away(which means a quicker respawn). This is effectively a lore change as you can still decapitate or offer the kill within the time limit.
2) Change how guards deal with intruders:
Right now, they kill them and each do it slightly differently and require usually a handful to succeed on high level or artifact people. As mentioned above, they'll be back in 1-2 minutes if they really want to be there.
Instead, balance guards around a system where if the intruder is forced to stop moving for a period of time (say 15 seconds) and is prone, bound, and low on health (say 25%) they are moved to a city prison. Each city would have their own version, Spinesreach already has one, Bloodloch has one. This room would be the 'holding cell' and it will be a non-violence room for say 5 minutes, before they are transferred out of city and escape (it'd be a big flavor emote, perhaps with rotating reasons) and end up at the living or undead portal room (the one you end up after dying)
Put a cap on the number of guards per room, lower their cost, have them be squishier, and encourage the raider to run from them.
---- That's it for now, this is a long post.