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Dev Blog: The Arrival of Influence

Edam
Tinkerton
So, to be clear, the backlog of influence is going to go through before the end of the War of the Towers, yeah?

If that is the case, someone is going to get screwed by it being in that order. The War of the Towers basically requires that large groups put everyone into a holding company for tower captures. Otherwise tower attacks and tower defences just turn into a clusterfuck. If influence is only backlogged once, then all of those people are going to miss out on their hard earned influence going to their preferred company.

I would strongly suggest that the developers have a good think about turning the WoT into a Settlement wide ownership if they are going to push players into breaking up the holding companies prematurely.

War of Towers has seriously messed with companies. The idea that independent companies could affiliate with a settlement pretty much got thrown out with war of towers.

If influence is an ephemeral thing that is easy to gain (lets all grab weps we have never used before and go kill goblins) there is no problem - but you have to ask why bother with influence at all in that case.

If influence is something meant to be a bit more challenging we possibly need some mechanism to preserve it in the case of companies temporarily dropping in size and potentially some of that influence being portable when people leave.
Thannon Forsworn
If the goal is to make it an incentive to recruit new people, but new people are not an exponential resource and switching companies 'destroys' already complete achievement influence (it leaves the system entirely) that can only be recuperated at a substantially reduced rate, new companies are going to be non-existent or trivial if they do exist. Why would a new person want to join a growing company where all their hard-work could evaporate easily? They can just join a big one that already has lots of influence (and the perks of using it) and can easily tolerate the loss of people both due to it's substantial cap and attractiveness to new players?

I like the general idea, but it feels really problematic to me as currently stated and springing it in such a short time-frame without anytime for us to analyze and give feedback before we have to reshuffle our company structure is bound to shatter parts of the community.

(I hope I'm completely wrong on all points)
Thannon Forsworn
Master of Trade
Canis Castrum
Thannon.Forsworn@gmail.com
Tuoweit
Thannon Forsworn
If the goal is to make it an incentive to recruit new people, but new people are not an exponential resource and switching companies 'destroys' already complete achievement influence (it leaves the system entirely) that can only be recuperated at a substantially reduced rate, new companies are going to be non-existent or trivial if they do exist. Why would a new person want to join a growing company where all their hard-work could evaporate easily? They can just join a big one that already has lots of influence (and the perks of using it) and can easily tolerate the loss of people both due to it's substantial cap and attractiveness to new players?

Because two companies of 50 have more total influence than one company of 100; multiple companies makes it harder to feud everyone in your settlement at once; and (speculating here) it may be significantly more expensive for a single massive company to feud 5 targets than it is for 5 moderately-sized companies to each feud an individual target.

All of these are incentives at the organizational level, rather than the individual level. That implies that in order to meet their organizational goals, companies may simply stop recruiting at a certain size and form "spin-off" companies to acquire new members. New players can't join companies that aren't accepting new recruits.
Hoffman PFU
Well get all of your Tork questions answered on Wednesday as he will be the star of the next PFU Keepside chat. Wednesday, 3/25, 8PM Est on the University Mumble. golarion.mumble.com port 3093.
Yrme
Edam
If influence is an ephemeral thing that is easy to gain (lets all grab weps we have never used before and go kill goblins) there is no problem - but you have to ask why bother with influence at all in that case.

If influence is something meant to be a bit more challenging we possibly need some mechanism to preserve it in the case of companies temporarily dropping in size and potentially some of that influence being portable when people leave.

Influence is only somewhat ephemeral. I think my character has earned about 85 influence to date, but I can't earn it at the same rate from the same sources in the future. I can dabble in something, once, for the fast gains.

Two companies of the same size will eventually have the same amount of Influence. How fast a company can get to max Influence, and how fast a company can recover lost Influence after losing a player and gaining another, will depend on player and character activity. Disbanding a company to dodge a feud, which I think was a common tactic in EvE with corps and wardecs, is a costly strategy.

Influence is also not an end all measure of a company. The number of active members, and their level of activity, will be important. A player might be able to field an 18-character company using multiple accounts and alts. But if he can only run one or two effectively, what that company can do is somewhat constrained. Likewise, it's fine to be able to use a 6-character company to take a holding and two outposts. But how fast you can build those outposts and holding, and how effectively you can harvest from that hex, may require more characters and more active characters.
At some point, crowdforging suggestions seem to be like fan fiction. Some good, some bad, some repetitious and predictable. But maybe there are some gems out there.
Tork Shaw
Eek. Ok. There's quite a lot going on here. I'd rather not get bogged down in the mathematics, so let me make a few statements that should reframe the discussion a bit.

1) Influence is not one of those systems that is about competition or frantic acquisition. Influence represents the reach of your organisation based on its membership. You are THIS BIG you can own/engage in THIS MUCH. You are not going to be fighting each other for influence, nor comparing influence scores ("Mine is bigger than yours."smile Influence is simply a method of regulating what a company can hold/do in order to prevent WEALTH being the primary metric that determines engagement in game systems.

2) Gaining influence is not meant to be onerous. An 'average' company can reach their max influence in about 6 months just doing stuff they would regularly do. They can get there MUCH faster if they want to. The delay, rather than just granting influence on company creation, is to ensure ONGOING engagement with game systems. You must keep playing to keep playing. It also introduces a mild mechanical pressure for players to make their company work. A mechanical pressure that will hopefully be replaced by social pressures in time.

3) The 'bootstrapping' of influence at the end of war of the towers is not watertight science… Yes, some people are going to do better than others. We already know what each company's influence would look like if we ran the calculation and its all over the shop. Some tiny wee companies have bananas influence totals. Some larger ones are surprisingly low. The translation is going to be a bit scrappy, but in (I'd guess) 2 - 3 months after that everyone who currently has a company of 6 members or more will be at max influence (if they are not there on day 1).

That said - if you are in a massive company because of the screwy mathematics of War of Towers I'd suggest you look closely at the date of conversion and make sure to split up just before then. Fair warning.

4) We have a strong vision for companies and it is one that we have stated pretty clearly. Companies are MEANT to be between 6 (absolute minimum) and 50 (absolute maximum) members. The sweet spot for the next year or so will be about 15-20 players. In the distant future that will look more like 25-30 members. Yes, you can go to 50 and you will not SUFFER for it, but you will not be as efficient as you could be.

A bonus point I shall call 5) Influence is a soft control system. The numbers will shift as gameplay shifts and companies will lose and gain influence as a result. The core of the system is fairness and the access - it is designed to prevent the stockpiling of power that is common in other PvP MMOs. That is already taken care of in the item economy.

Keep these things in mind:
a) Keep your companies lean. Bloated companies are less efficient. Once you get much bigger than 30+ players you might want to consider starting a new one.
b) Dont worry about earning influence - it will happen naturally over time and you will barely notice. The gate on earning is designed to prevent the shenanigans of abandoning companies for immediate exploiting of feuds and such, not to force farming.
c) Game it if you like. There may be exploits you can think of to earn influence faster. There will be 'ideal' numbers of players you want to keep in 'ideal' numbers of allied companies because that is the sweet spot. The thing to remember is that that doesnt really matter too much. You will never be able to exceed your reach and you dont have to worry about your enemies exceeding theirs.
Tork Shaw
Yrme
Influence is also not an end all measure of a company. The number of active members, and their level of activity, will be important. A player might be able to field an 18-character company using multiple accounts and alts. But if he can only run one or two effectively, what that company can do is somewhat constrained. Likewise, it's fine to be able to use a 6-character company to take a holding and two outposts. But how fast you can build those outposts and holding, and how effectively you can harvest from that hex, may require more characters and more active characters.

*thumbs up emoji*!!
Its hard not to look at influence in a vacuum and see it as a sort of XP score for your company. In a sense it is, but as Yrme points out - just as your characters XP is NOT an absolute measure of its deadliness/power, neither is your influence score a measure of your company's power. Its a measure of your reach - but you still have to hold onto whatever you grab hold of.
Tork Shaw
Tork Shaw
4) We have a strong vision for companies and it is one that we have stated pretty clearly. Companies are MEANT to be between 6 (absolute minimum) and 50 (absolute maximum) members. The sweet spot for the next year or so will be about 15-20 players. In the distant future that will look more like 25-30 members. Yes, you can go to 50 and you will not SUFFER for it, but you will not be as efficient as you could be.
Stephen just pointed out that my language is too extreme here - there is no HARD cap on company size - but I really, really dont suggest going above 50. Totes pointless, innit.
markelphoenix
Tork Shaw
Tork Shaw
4) We have a strong vision for companies and it is one that we have stated pretty clearly. Companies are MEANT to be between 6 (absolute minimum) and 50 (absolute maximum) members. The sweet spot for the next year or so will be about 15-20 players. In the distant future that will look more like 25-30 members. Yes, you can go to 50 and you will not SUFFER for it, but you will not be as efficient as you could be.
Stephen just pointed out that my language is too extreme here - there is no HARD cap on company size - but I really, really dont suggest going above 50. Totes pointless, innit.

You're spunky. I like you.
Thannon Forsworn
My concerns are not in the totals themselves but the mechanisms for how it goes up and down. It seems to strongly discourages company movement, it makes veterans almost not worth recruiting unless you are already fairly well along the way to maxed, and it requires you to plan very much ahead in terms of splitting up groups (though the stated formulas do not currently enforce this) and their is no drawback to not limiting unless your saying that their will definitely be.

We all know it's just gonna be a meta manipulation for anyone that grows big enough anyways, the nuances don't matter to them, so it's going to come down to how it affects the groups in the 'proper' range.

Is there any particular reason you didn't simply attach someone's influence to their character and have it follow them around? It's still an incentive to get new folks in for quicker gains, but it doesn't make folding companies or jumping ship potentially devastating, and it still affects your total allowed and usable at any given time. The potential to completely destroy Influence seems like a problem area as you can't guarantee reasonable replacement without a fresh recruit which is only going to make the recruitment efforts even more cutthroat.
Thannon Forsworn
Master of Trade
Canis Castrum
Thannon.Forsworn@gmail.com
 
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