Last week the Vanarchs were elected and everyone is beginning to feel the repercussions of what the elections can bring to you. Specialty stores and brokers are closed in certain areas, taxes are high and you are wondering what did you do!? We got a chance to ask a few questions of En Masse’s Game Analyst, Scott James Magner, and what they had to say about the Vanarch system. Keep reading to find out what we learned about TERA’s political system and their Vanarchs.
The political system is something unique in the MMORPG space. What do you expect and hope to see from the political system as it plays out down the future?
Great question! We’re hoping that players will “seize the reins” of their play experience, making each server a unique environment. We’ve already seen different methods of campaigning across the servers, and the culture of the game should change markedly when the first elected vanarchs start making policy decisions for their provinces.
Since the game has released, we’ve had access to specialty stores, trainers and healers in all of the provinces. Is there anything that we haven’t seen that Vanarchs will have access to turn on and off? If the answer is no, do you think you have limited Vanarchs power since all he or she can do is take things away? As we know in real life, taking away perks is political suicide!
A vanarch’s power isn’t limited by what services are turned on or off in their province, but instead by their own involvement in the process. While it’s true that many features normally administered by vanarchs have been in place for a while, the free ride days are definitely coming to a close. In order to keep all those “businesses” running, vanarchs and their guilds will have to be very active to earn as many policy points and Catharnach awards as possible. It may be that vanarchs make some hard calls regarding their province and what services are really important to the characters passing through.
One thing you haven’t seen yet is that vanarchs on PvP servers have the ability to disable open world PvP in their province. They might do this to offer a refuge for gathering and questing, or to provide a place to host a PvP tournament without potential interference from more antagonistic guilds. Vanarchs can also adjust the tax rates of the stores (specialty or otherwise) in their province, which can drastically affect their fortunes in the next election cycle!
Do you have any plans to create tools to help players campaign in-game outside daily messages? Purchasing in game messages and advertisement similar to guild logos?
We are always thinking of creative ways to increase player participation, but one thing we’ve found is that players are always finding new and exciting ways to campaign that we would never have thought of.
Do you have any plans to interject PVP into the Vanarch elections? Challenging a reigning Vanarch to a duel for his place?
We’re currently working on ways to enhance and improve the political system. I can’t go into what this will look like for the players, but no one sees the knife until it’s too late…
On the technical side of things, are there any systems in place for players to petition a current Vanarch other than in-game mail and the forums?
Those are excellent ways to get someone’s attention, as would be open calls to other members of their guild. Vanarchs are (and should be) among the more active players on a server, and if you have something to say, they’ll probably listen.
If a Vanarch is elected and immediately makes things miserable for players and also quits the game (Vanarch-griefing?), are there any mechanisms in place to prevent this, or do we just have to wait until the next election?
While anything is possible, the odds of a player leading a high-profile guild, spending 3,000 gold and a hefty pile of Catharnach awards to gain high office, then just walking away from things are pretty low. Also, the vanarch election cycles are set close together, so if there is a bum in office, it will be a quick turnaround for a new vanarch to get elected and make some good changes.
Are the taxes a Vanarch raises obvious when you purchase an item? Or are they baked into the price of the item on vendor. Is there a system in place where we can see which province is over taxes, and which one isn’t?
You’ll see prices fluctuate between provinces on a lot of transactions, but to get a clear view of what any vanarch has (or has not) done for their province, you can check out all their decisions in the Activities menu.
Are there any plans on allowing Vanarch’s to trigger events in game like festivals or pvp tournaments for cash prizes?
The door is always open for new things, but at this time any special events in a vanarch’s province are up to them.