Just as ESO went live, AV released a major update to Darkfall: Unholy Wars that included a new Area of Influence (AoI) system and a levy system. I’ve talked about the current flaws in the AoI system, but even flawed its better than the nothing we had before, and activity in-game reflects this, with clans sieging and realigning to create beneficial kingdoms.
The levy system works like this: whenever you kill a mob or harvest a resource in a holding’s AoI (yours or anyone else’s), the item/resource has a chance to be copied into the local levy container. The higher the value of the item, the higher the chance it is copied. Once the levy container is full, anyone can go empty it using a special item plus ‘ammo’. The levy container and how close to full it is is visible on the world map.
What’s great about levy is the depth and details of the system. For instance, it has made higher-tier mobs more valuable because their loot has a better chance of making it into the levy container compared to lesser mobs with lower-value drops. Killing the red dragon can fill a levy almost 10%, because he really only drops top-quality loot, while an activity like harvesting a regular iron node fills the levy very slowly due to very low chance of iron and rust making it into levy.
It’s also a great motivational tool for players. Say a group goes out to farm mobs for prowess/wealth in their AoI, and towards the end of their normal farming time they see that the local levy is 85% full. Prior to levy, they would be done farming. With levy, they will very likely farm a bit more to fill the levy to 100% and then go claim it. PvP might happen, it might not. The levy might have copied multiple great drops like a large treasure map, maybe it didn’t copy any. The unknown is part of the fun, and makes the entire thing far less formulaic.
Another example: You log in to see a nearby enemy levy is at 90%. If you see it ticks up to 91%, you know someone is farming something in that AoI. Go PvP if you want. If you don’t see it tick up, odds are good that someone left it like that; go do some quick farming in the AoI and collect the levy. PvP might find you; the 90% might also be a trap to lure you in.
The levy system is a good example of a sandbox system. It has its direct, obvious purpose (loot), but it also introduces more player-based, emergent gameplay as well. More stuff like this AV.