I agree - and have said this right off the start of the new struggles - while the teams are more balanced numbers wise, they aren't always balanced template / skill wise, which is where the underdog bonus should come in, to help make it semi-competitive all the way through.
There is a mechanic in place that allows you to catch up, a kill against the currently winning side, can net big scores in a landslide, but they are never going to turn the tide of that battle, without being able to get into the match 30 seconds sooner, or using above gm weapons/armor. I don't really want to see the late arrival come back, just because people used that mechanic to unbalance the matches, by losing on purpose to get more people in, then winning in come back style.
Also - make the minimum points scored for a kill, 5 points - it's ridiculous coming out of the gate, getting a kill, and scoring .3 points..
Yah the latecomers bonus could be exploited as you stated. I have messaged staff and left messages in the suggestions section but never recieved a reply. Which is a shame as the population is already dwindling. So it would seem that nothing is going to be done about it in the short term or the long term. Perhaps the staff here only listen to certain individuals...
The staff listen, and more than to just certain individuals - but things don't change overnight, they are constantly at work on many different things, and you need to make sure each thing doesn't affect another, so they go through the different ideas, they get them on a development page for themselves, to then prioritize... Ironically all these different PvP events are what hte PvP'rs wanted... they listened to the populace... and how's the participation?
The participation beyond Town Struggles has been high in general, and the rivalries in general seem to be picking up. Now that pets are more balanced, PvPers seem to be returning to Outlands, and as the hype from WoW dies down, we are seeing groups return from their UO hiatus.
The general consensus about Town Stuggles is that they're zero risk/consequence and all reward, but the majority of players don't enjoy this kind of PvP, and prefer the more organic interactions that occur in various other outlets. Since players have nothing to lose from participating still and we increased the rewards on them. I'm not sure what more we need to incentivize players to take part. I think less players are just showing up because they have more options now or are burning out on doing events every hour.
The underdog bonuses never really helped a team ever get back into things from what I saw. It looked good on paper, but if a team was losing by 200 points, they were still getting stomped no matter what. I don't know if we should go back to where players would just log off if they were losing by a bunch.
One main issue is that players join and idle, which causes an imbalance. While this has always been happening, they are now punished by not getting any points, but I would like to take this one step further by jailing the player for 24hrs so they get the message. We need to make this happen automatically, as policing every PvP event is too much for the staff to take on.
Either way, it's on our radar. Thanks for your concerns.