As I see it, the fundamental problem with Conquest is that the structure heavily favors the status-quo to the extent that a large number of factions are effectively blocked from participating.
1) Conquest rewards are obtained only by passively controling tiles.
2) Geometric limitations make center tiles immune to attack by the overwhelming majority of opponents. Level capping and associated exploits exascerbate this issue.
3) Conquest rewards feed directly into the ability to stustain large conquest areas in a non-scaling fashion.
4) Reward caps reduce the impetus for established factions to continue conquest.
1) Change the exchange rate of conquest tokens. Make them more common, (like gold rather than components), to allow finer grain control. I would say that one existing conquest token should equal about 300 of these new tokens.
2) Remove both level caps (in all forms) and reward caps.
3) Restructure conquest rewards to reward both retaining tiles and attacking them, even unsuccessfully. Suggested math:
For retaining tiles, each member can obtain a daily alotment of tokens equal to T*(200-X) where T is the number of tiles the faction controls and X is the number of that faction’s deck slots defeated by attackers in the last 24 hours.
For attacking, each slot defeated by the attacking faction gives each member in that faction a number of tokens equal to the defender’s number of tiles, whether the whole tile is taken or not. These tokens can be obtained for 24 hours after the end of conquest.
For example, say Faction A has 5 tiles. Normally each member can get 1000 tokens daily. Faction B invades Faction A and destroys 10 slots but ultimately fails. Each member of Faction B still can collect 10*5 = 50 tokens at the end of the conquest. Each member of Faction A collecting in the next 24 hours only gets 190*5 = 950 tokens.
4) Make faction items scale down in effectiveness with more tiles. Suggested math:
Make warbond upgrades worth 1 item, and non warbond upgrades worth 1/10 item.
First level upgrade requires 5 items per tile. Second level requires 20 items per tile. Third level requires 50 items per tile.
For example, Faction controls 5 tiles and has 80 WB items. Since they have 80/4 = 20 items/tile, they have the second level attack upgrade. If Faction attacks and wins another tile, they only have 80/5 = 16 items/tile, so they only get the first level upgrade. If they continue expanding without buying more items, they will lose their first level upgrade once they conquer their 17th tile.
5) Add an additional method of attack: air drop. This allows a faction to attack a non-adjacent tile, but grants each enemy defense deck +30 health.
My Analysis of Effects:
Attacks (i.e. participation) should be much more common, since even failed attacks can gain rewards.
Holding a large number of tiles and successfully defending them will be far more difficult because 1) tiles can no longer be geographically isolated 2) item effectiveness decreases with more tiles and 3) factions with large numbers of tiles will be disproportionately targeted for raids since gains will be higher.
Gaining a single tile will be somewhat easier because 1) concentrating defense on a minority of tiles by large factions will not be possible due to air drop attacks 2) item effectiveness increases with fewer tiles and 3) there will be no level caps.
Successfully holding a large number of tiles will give greater rewards than it does currently, commensurate with the greater difficulty in doing so.
Lower level factions will not likely be able to gain their own tiles (just like now), but they will be able to participate in conquest by raiding established factions.
Wars will be fought much less often as conquests are fought more often; better rewards for higher level factions might offset this.
Alt faction exploits will be less blatant since gains by one faction are offset by losses from the defender. Using a number of strongly itemized alt factions controling single tiles and farming them by attacking with the main would be possible, but the effort to reward here will be pretty low and the 1 attack/faction/day limit will leave these alts vulnerable to other raiders.
My hope is that this is an attractive solution for members of low level factions (who have a chance to participate without artificially limiting their level) mid level factions (who can actually gain tiles if they don’t already have them) high level factions (who stand to gain more, uncapped rewards with smart, well organized play) and the devs (who will likely sell more WB items).