Localized banking is something DarkFall originally had on its list of features, but at some point this was changed and now banking is global. On a recent preview of the October patch, the idea of localized banking was mentioned, and has since caused some debate among players about its functionality and purpose.
First let’s try and define the different banking systems. Global banking means any bank you go to contains your entire bank contents in it, and you can freely deposit and withdraw anything you want. Most themepark games like WoW or WAR use such a system, and currently that’s how banks work in DarkFall. I can go into an enemy player city and use their bank to pull out a cannon to help with a siege on that very city. Local banking, which is what EVE has, means each bank location is its own account, and you must travel to each location if you wish to use its content. For DarkFall, this would mean that if you go to an enemy city and kill some players, you would also have to either travel back to your bank to deposit the items, or you would make the deposit locally but at a later point have to travel and retrieve them.
Some of the drawbacks to local banking are reduced convenience, increased micro-management (which bank did I put that sword in again?), and increased hassle when relocating. Anyone that has ever switched locations in EVE knows all too well how painful it is to fly from station to station picking up all your stuff, especially if you don’t have access to a mass-hauling ship. Localized banking adds another layer of complexity to anyone new to such a game, especially those coming from global banking systems, and it’s easy to envision a scenario were a new player goes to access a bank for some gear only to realize he has to travel 20 minutes to get it from his local bank. If you know the system you can plan ahead, but it’s another step on the learning curve for a new player.
The benefits of local banking are a little more difficult to quantify. For starters, local banking means players will spend more time traveling from one bank to another just to get all their stuff organized. At face value, that sounds like a bad thing, as you would rather be fighting mobs or players instead of traveling from point A to point B. But if we dig deeper, more traveling players means more PvP targets for PKs, more regional activity as you watch traders ride around to deliver goods, and more risk/reward during a siege. With local banking a clan will no longer be able to pull out the needed hammers, cannons, warhulks, and/or ships from their enemies’ bank. If you think you are going to need something for a siege, you need to take it out of your local bank, carry it to the siege location, and deploy it. Defenders can now try to intercept such deliveries, killing a warhulk driver/carrier before he arrives. Attacking players will also not be able to fully loot defenders and immediately bank the loot. As in a true battlefield, the winners will be free to pick among the bodies, but they won’t be hauling away every scrap of armor. In addition, gone will be the silly tactic of FIXING an enemy bank so your attacking force can re-supply, and instead the attackers will be encouraged to take out the local bank in order to cut off the defenders from resupplying. Localized banking opens up more tactical decisions for all players, and such strategic depth is what makes an impact PvP game so much fun.
Another benefit of local banking is that it makes things, well, more local. Currently in DarkFall you can head out to a far-away mob spawn, and as long as it has a bank nearby you can farm away and bank whenever you need. You then return home and bam, all your loot is right there. With local banking, location will play a much bigger factor in the value of real-estate. If a city has great mob camps nearby, that makes it much easier to farm and bank than a more isolated location. Sure you can still travel to that far-away location and farm, but if you bank near that location, then at some point you have to travel back and retrieve it or not bank as often and become a bigger/richer PvP target. Also cities or hamlets located in far-away spots force the owners to gear up and travel further to reach their destination, rather then the current norm of traveling naked and pulling out gear once you arrive. The more people traveling around fully geared, the more active the world feels, and the more motivation for others to also head out and look for a fight.
I’m sure this topic will come up again once more details are revealed, especially once we know how player-run vendors will work (also coming in this expansion) and how they will related to the banking change. Also mentioned are caravans for transporting goods, so clearly Aventurine has some extensive plans brewing for all this rather than just adding a feature for the sake of adding it.