I feel the raiding in survival games like Rust, Arc and so far Conan end up too shallow.
It's just a game of grinding explosives to blast walls, or walls to protect against explosives.
Building design creativity is crippled in favor of having more wall layers.
Raiding skill is replaced with the time to collect raiding materials.
I propose a subtle shift to transform Conan from a game of Players versus Walls, towards being a game of PVPVE.
Make the challenge of raiding and raid defense MORE about battling strong & intelligent thralls, instead of grinding for walls and explosives.
How would this work?
Once inside someone's base you should be faced with navigating what is essentially a player-made dungeon containing intelligently placed mobs of various types.
What about offline raiding?
Then even if players are offline, their thralls strength can be boosted to an appropriate level so that raiders would always have to contend with some form of interactive defense.
When players are offline their thralls should also respawn if they die, after some reasonable time. This ensures that raiders can't simply chip away at thralls over the course of hours but instead need actual strategy, gear, skill, and materials like healing items to execute their heist.
But what if I want to explode someone's base!?
Sure! I think it's fine if you want to just grind enough explosives to blast your way through any walls and head straight to wherever it is you think the good loot rooms are. Except you'd still be attracting the attention of thralls in the new rooms, so you'd might want to deal with the archer tower shooting at your back before pressing too deep.
Ugh! Now raiding is too hard!
To compensate the increased defensive power granted to bases via thralls, I would weaken doors. Weaker doors means that the real challenge of raiding is again not in grinding loads of materials to blast through doors, but to cautiously fight your way through each room or segment of a base. After all, rushing through 3 doors and running right for the chests could be equivalently dangerous to walking through through the entire North-East NPC village with a small army following you, and then stopping to be pummeled.
How would siege weapons factor into this?
Perfectly fine. We've been told siege weapons would be expensive to build and slow to transport. They are more about demolishing large sections of a base anyhow. General raiding is about breaking in, battling enemies, and stealing their loot. Siege weapons are about domination and destruction of that pesky castle blocking the mountain pass.
So tell me-
Does this sound like a suitable way to reduce the grindy of raiding+building that seems inherent in PVP/survival/crafting games? Would this allow players to be more creative with base designs other than building layers and layers of walls