Poop socking, cock blocking, call it what you will: any time you talk about a game that has open zones without instancing, you run into issues with players at the top tiers of the game who will attempt to block other players from achieving that same content. And while the Saga of Lucimia is an open world without private instances, we are completely against blocking other players from accessing content. Which means we have to be creative in how we approach the mechanics of blending open access with equal access.
One thing we really enjoyed from Vanguard: Saga of Heroes was the concept of encounter-flagged mobs that spawned in the open world. Basically, if you were on the quest and arrived at the destination, you did something to trigger the mob encounter, and once that mob spawned your group, and only your group, was able to claim that content for the sake of progression.
Other parties could help you complete the encounter after you engaged it, but otherwise that mob was “locked” and other players couldn’t attack or interact with it. And we fully plan on utilizing this system for progression-based encounters that are related to quests and flagging for dungeons and raid zones.
That being said, there will still be contested mobs in the game, which aren’t related to quest progression or flagging. The vast majority of the game content will be these types of NPCs; overland mobs for general skill-ups and adventuring, as well as boss mobs in dungeons and roaming, random raid mobs which aren’t related to progression but are simply there for the fun of taking down.
While we won’t know until we get there to see how the population will work, we also plan on using overflow instancing for those zones that have too many players within them to support the content, similar to how EverQuest and EverQuest II operate. You don’t get to choose a private version of a zone for you and your group, but if a zone or dungeon has too many players, the system will trigger another instance to open up, allowing overflow players to move over.
Every zone and dungeon will have a different trigger point based on size and the type of content within, but it’s one way we can ensure that there aren’t any issues with overcrowding, and that everyone has a fair chance at consuming the content of the game without being blocked by other players pursuing the same content at the same time.
That being said, the whole point of an open world is so that players interact with each other, work together to accomplish content, and join together as part of a community. We don’t feel that competition for progression-based content falls in line with working together; instead, the whole concept of locking mobs down and blocking other players from accessing the content is ANTI community.
So while the vast majority of the world will be open, non-instanced, and players will need to cooperate and work together + play nice with other as far as respecting camps goes, any mobs related to actual progression of quest content and flagging will be reserved for the group/raid who is actually ON that questline and needs the content, thus keeping any sort of clock blocking from happening.