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How large a group of players has to be to be called zerg is widely subjective. Some players say it's groups larger than 5, others say it's 20 or more.

Albion Online Closing the power gap between small and large groups in PvP

1. Friendly Fire?
Some people have suggested that we could further weaken larger groups by introducing friendly fire. We do not believe that this is the case.

Friendly fire does not hurt larger groups more than it hurts smaller groups. It's very easy to verify this by viewing various PvP videos - you will notice that the two groups fighting are usually well apart from each other
Friendly fire makes melee classes unviable in larger fights. But precisely smart melee play is needed to punish zergs to the maximum effect, and on top of that, Melee DPS roles are curerntly under-powered in group fights, which is something we plan to address soon.

Albion Online Closing the power gap between small and large groups in PvP


2. Reducing the member cap on guilds/alliances?
It is often suggested that we should reduce the member cap on guilds and alliances to reduce zerging. Here is why this would not work:

The group sizes that people tend to call zergs (usually, groups of 15-20 players) are too small to be captured by any reasonable guild member cap. As a territory holding guilds needs multiple different professions, and given the fact that not everybody is online all the time, the lowest thinkable guild cap would probably be around 100 players. This would not catch any of the group sizes we are seeing in Albion.
The main impact of not being in the same guild or alliance would be friendly fire. However, friendly fire is not effective at weakening larger groups.
Even if there was an effective cap, it would be very easily played around. You can always set up alt guilds under the control of the main guild, circumventing any artificial restrictions set up. It's very likely that people who are asking for a cap on guild size would then be equally upset about guilds working around that cap.

3. What is a zerg?
How large a group of players has to be to be called zerg is widely subjective. Some players say it's groups larger than 5, others say it's 20 or more. Some people jokingly say that every group bigger than yours is a zerg. In reality, the largest groups we tend to see currently are around 20 players. On special occassions, we have seen battles with up to 70 or 80 players per side. Most groups in Albion, however, are usually in the 5-10 player range.

4. Anti-Zerg Mechanics
These are our mechanics to close the power gap between small and large groups. They work: with the right preparation and skill, it is possible to win group fights even if outnumbered 3 to 1.

Focus Fire Protection: if you get damaged by multiple players at once, you will get a % damage reduction that increases the more people are damaging you
Healing Sickness: if you are being healed by multiple healers at the same time, you will get a % healing reduction
Escalating AOE damage: if you hit multiple players, beyond a certain base number, at the same time with an AOE-Spell, the power of that spell will increase.
Crime System: in yellow and red zones, groups of people committing a crime all get the full crime penalty - it's not split up evenly.

5. Fight or Flight
Currently (31. August 2016), the fight or flight balance in Albion Online is not ideal. In general, if you notice an enemy group, it can be too hard to avoid the fight by running away. This of course does not mean that avoiding combat should be easy, however, it should be easier than it is right now. Once we have a better overall balance here, heavily outnumbered groups will be able to pick their fights more carefully, and we will see less instances of accidentially running into a situation where you cannot win, without any chance of avoiding the fight.

6. Encouraging Smaller Groups
We have various mechanics in the game that encourage people to split up into smaller groups. These are:

Hell Gates and Gateway Dungeons being limited to 5 players
Different treasure chests spawning at the same time, thus, encouraging larger groups to split up
GvG fights being 5v5 by design
Our fame bonus for playing in a group: it caps out at 5 players, so you get maximum efficiency in a group of 5
Upcoming: Mobs in Dungeons will get a focus fire protection if they are being hit by more than 5 players. (10 players in raid dungeons)

7. Different Zone Types
In open world sandbox MMORPGs, zones without restrictions on player interaction will always provide some advantage to larger groups. Therefore, we have designed our yellow and red zones in such a way that they are optimized for small group play.

Crime and reputation system heavily discourages zerging due to fully shared reputation losses
Lack of home territories means that larger guilds cannot have a base nearby. If they stick to the city, they can get locked out if their reputation drops too low
As a result of this, we are not seeing any zerging in the red or yellow zones right now
 

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