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Thoughts on Siege Ladders/Towers

posted in Guild Wars 2

I know what you're thinking... What unholy hour is this!? I've never been the greatest sleeper but awake at this time no longer has any perks at all, however this time needs to be passed! So here's my thoughts on a topic I've seen raised many times about Guild Wars 2 and sieges, enjoy!

The Question: Why do we need to break the walls/gate?
This is the question that is being thrown around quite a lot and to an extent I can agree with it. If an objective is completely undefended why would you spend time cracking the fortifications when you could just climb over the wall and get yourself a nice intact keep! The idea of siege ladders/towers also gives melee focused players such as myself something to do other than twiddle your thumbs or tickle a gate. So all in all, it adds other attack points, tactical options and diversity to sieges! Plus, let's be honest, many would argue right now the defenders have it damn easy so this idea is a nice one... but it's certainly not without it's downsides.

Problems, problems and more problems.
I like to compare the Guild Wars 2 sieges to the historical sieges that occurred (certainly in wet old England) of castles and keeps! It was always better to capture a castle intact than to destroy sections of it (makes it harder to counter attack after all) and with all the arrow slits, ramparts and other defensive advantages a castle offered you really needed to get inside it as quick as you could! So, siege ladders and towers were a great way to make this happen. Just look at Lord of the Rings - Helms Deep and Minas Tirith employed such things to great effect.

The issue with this is that real castles weren't just staging grounds or safe havens for a quick breather, they were cities. They were homes for many many people and there was ALWAYS someone present inside it, not to mention things like moats to further the defence. Therein lies one of the major issues of the Guild Wars 2 having siege towers, and to a much much larger degree ladders... empty objectives are gone in seconds.

I guess it's only fair, you didn't defend you lose it! But no one is going to enjoy just standing around a keep on the off chance, and as it's a game it's meant to be fun! Now let's say you put in siege ladders and the empty keep problem isn't an issue for some reason, you hit the next problem. All it takes is to get one person inside, and you now have a mesmer portal and an army there.

The final HUGE drawback to such things is that they would majorly affect the current siege engines. Why make a flame ram or trebuchet to bash your way in, when you can just climb over the wall in a few seconds?

Solutions...?
I really enjoy the sieges at the moment and would love to be able to diversify them further and add more tactical options, so rather than looking at this list of problems and thinking "No..." I'm going to try suggest potential ways to make them work.

Siege Towers!

  • Size - They're too large to move through a gate, so for larger keeps they are only going to serve for the outer wall! It also makes them very easy to see coming. Too big to teleport as well.
  • High supply cost - This is a tricky balance, too much and no one will bother, too little and they are a no-brainer. 200 I think is the limit, it will likely restrict their use to only large and organised attack forces who intend to use them for multiple objectives. That's double a siege golem, but given the instant bypass it provides potentially worth it.
  • Speed - Just like a real tower I'd like to see them need pushing, with 2 people minimum and say 8 maximum. The higher the number, the faster they move - to golem movement speed but with the added bonus of the might boon speeding you up (to around regular speed) instead of the swiftness one.
  • Give them a marker within distance of objective - Trebuchets have a marker on the map, towers are equally large engines. This combined with the speed goes partially towards the empty tower problem as people can check for them approaching - but it should only become visible within a certain distance of an objective to prevent people having a huge warning.
  • Hitpoints - Given their investment of supply, and the blatant target they present (unlike a trebuchet they are close in) they need a large number of hitpoints, and I would suggest take damage along the lines of a gate with siege engines being the main counter and players doing very little.
I'm weary of 200 supply being too much, as they would be less desirable for empty objectives than simply building a ram at each one. For well defended objectives they become more appealing due to the capability to rapidly get a potentially unlimited force inside, with their high hitpoints (and protection they offer) making them better suited than taking out the gate with a ram and simply rushing in. Other than to siege several objectives, a trebuchet remains the king however. As you can see, balancing them would be incredibly hard.

Siege Ladders!
  • Crafted Blueprints - This is a maybe on my list of idea's. I actually quite like the idea of a WvW specific crafting profession, and making ladders for people to use (consumed on use of course) I think would also serve to help the economy.
  • Use Limit - Have them break after X people have climbed them. If crafted you could have different qualities of ladder providing a larger use capacity using the rarer woods. Mesmer's however, break this entirely which is an issue.
  • Environmental Weapon - You can move them, but it replaces all your current abilities.
  • Very low HP - Opposite to the tower, these would have incredibly low hit points so that you had to try and be sneakier with your placement, also forcing defenders to be more attentive to the back areas of the wall not just the gate.
I've not so many ideas for the siege ladders and how to prevent the empty objective issue. One thought was to have an upgrade preventing ladders from being placeable, so you could leave it empty if you put some time into it.

Final Thoughts
I don't see the ladders as something that can be balanced due to the empty keep problem, but siege towers I think are potentially doable. The speed and cost drawbacks would make flame rams the weapon of choice for small to no defence due to their ease of deployment and being probably faster than wheeling a tower up. If the game were to ever introduce them, I would like to see there being an added change of walls/gates destroyed in the process of capture needing repair once claimed. This would create a choice for heavily defended objectives of wheeling up a slow moving tower, or taking the long range option with trebuchets.

Comments [2]

Comments

Shifty @ 10/07/2012 14:02
One thing i would like to see given the talk of seige ladders would be "rocks/boulders" for the defenders that can be thrown down doing cone dmage to the ladder and everyone on it. plus an element f fall dmage for anyone on the ladder when it br


Crimson @ 10/07/2012 18:13
I can't see ladders ever being balanced due to the empty keep issue, and more importantly - Mesmers. Even with a potential use limit all it takes is one to make it up the wall and place a portal. A reasonably slow climb speed would help but still be an issue for empty keeps.

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