I receive a lot of worried reports about the imbalance of the war on wild. Word is that the Jenn Kellon greatly outnumber the HOTS and Mol Rehan kingdoms.
Being tired of the constant underdog position, old players of Mol Rehan change side and join the Jenn Kellon.
New players are left behind
The remaining players of Mol Rehan desperately and quite successfully manage to recruit new blood. However, due to old variations in skill speed gain and the odd exploit the old players have a lot higher body stats so new players feel discouraged.
Add to that the recent skillgain limitation on alt accounts and I can see that the Jenn Kellon kingdom may feel like a dragon poised to swallow you whole.
There is already the bonus for low populated kingdoms. If the difference is very large the players of that kingdom mainly receive a Combat Rating bonus of 2. This effects a few different things but when it comes to hitting the enemy this equals roughly 20 in overall fighting skill. So if you have 20 in fighting skill you fight as if you have 40. If the difference is lower this bonus is 1 CR instead.
.. is too high?
These last days I received two notes forwarded by the GM's. One player complains that he has been killed by people with far lower skill than he has. This is maybe because of the kingdom bonus I just mentioned. It could of course be a number of other things since skills are not the only thing involved in combat. Maybe they flanked him? In any case he was very upset about the kingdom bonuses.
.. is too low?
The other note I received was from a GM who was worried about these things and thought that the lower populated kingdoms were supposed to receive bonuses. He was upset that they didn't receive enough bonus.
On the hidden variables
I just want to comment on this and say that variables in Wurm are hidden for a reason. You are not supposed to easily calculate on whether you can beat an enemy. You will only be able to do certain assumptions given the equipment he is wearing and possibly his reputation.
To make a real world allegory you never know if someone is going to pull up a hidden knife in a fight. If all numbers are available people will make calculations and figure out which combinations are the best. The negative side of this apart from that there may be hidden bugs in the system is that people may decide to refrain from fighting at all. You should however get a feeling of whether you are competitive early on in a combat situation.
What should be done about the situation on the wild server then?
It is tempting to look at it from a long term perspective. In a year from now I expect that we will have a lot of new players while some old players have left so the problem will be thinned out. We will probably have motivated people to join the other kingdoms so the numbers are different as well. There will also be new features that may outweight the skill advantage in some unknown ways.
.. but we're loosing deeds
But that doesn't help the player who right now feels that he is hopelessly defending his deed on the wild server either against overwhelming numbers or foes that gain unfair kingdom bonuses. Deeds on wild are actually expected to fall now and then. If you fail to defend your deed you will have to retreat.
What did I expect?
I did expect Jenn Kellon to gain the upper hand. Especially since newbies joined Jenn Kellon initially for years. I thought that the people who switched to Mol Rehan were brave given that there was no natural influx of free playing newbies to their kingdom. I was hoping that enough experienced players would join so that they could compete. And they did. But because Jenn kept the newbie situation the Mol Rehan are now in a dire position. Kind of expected. I don't know if the Jenn have enough people to push them back all the way to Gold Coast though.
What do I want?
I want the kingdoms to be fairly equal. I want a front line where the battle rages. I want groups to move around wild in secrecy trying to ambush the enemy, go on siege, hunt for resources, or pursue certain goals that will forward the plot. I will assume that most of the wild players want the same.
Possible immediate actions
Increase skillgain for body stats and fighting skills. Reset fighting related skills. Nerf body stats. Do nothing. Give money to people joining Mol Rehan on wild. Let a plague hit Jenn Kellon. Buff MR and HOTS even more (HOTS will be buffed soon anyways). Increase the kingdom bonuses for low population. - These are just a few of the possibilites.
Selected immediate action
I will add some incitaments for joining Mol Rehan and reward the existing (premium) Mol Rehan players. I will also have to buff HOTS soon even though I was planning to do that while I look at religion primarily. I will refrain from nerfing existing skills for now. This should increase the amount of Mol Rehan players somewhat. Probably not nearly enough to compete with the Jenn Kellons but hopefully enough to at least stand their ground.
Don't feel cheated please
If you are a Jenn Kellon player (chances are high that you are!) and feel kind of cheated I would like for you to consider how fun it is to play tennis alone. You need an opponent. Try to be happy that we try to fix some for you. If you are a Mol Rehan player and wanted a skill nerf try to understand that it is not something we want to do again. Some old heroes will remain on both sides and that you can achieve the same stats given enough time. Their skills will decay or they will loose them to mob deaths.
Absurd tennis game allegory
Wurm is supposed to be a Wimbledon for MMO players, not merely a chat room. We need to get a working startup line. I count on your understanding!