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Speaking of Options...

Maxen
An “auto-caravan” is intriguing and could be an option regardless of the population size. Some thoughts:

1) A company leader would start the auto-caravan (AC) and indicate which company-owned hexes it should visit; single hex or multiple.
2) The AC would follow the road to complete the circuit of hexes, in the most direct route possible.
3) The AC could be raided once per hex it visits. I think this should be a moving battle (no circling the wagons) to make it interesting. The “plus” of the AC would determine the strength of the AC guards, much like a holding. I’d propose no “capture” mechanic. Once the guards are defeated, the caravan is essentially “over run” and the attackers make off with their loot. 10% of the haul? 20? More?
4) The company-owner would be notified “magically” if their AC is under attack so they could react.

I think this idea offers several benefits and meaningful choices to company-owners and those who would enjoy some banditry.

1) The company-owner is trading convenience for risk. His AC may make the full circuit with no losses. Or he may lose a significant percent of his bulk to bandit activity depending on the length of the run.
2) The company-owner may choose to supplement his defenses by running along with the AC with his company-mates for some possible PvP action. Either way, it relieves the burden of making the the holding run himself. As the population grows, he may decide he’d rather assign holding management to specific company members and have it done manually and incur less risk.
3) Bandits have a new raiding opportunity, but it’s not easy. The caravan is constantly moving towards the next hex border. If they don’t manage to defeat the guards, it resets at the next hex and they have to begin their attack again. The benefit here is that they’d have multiple opportunities to raid. And, they’d have to have their own bulk transportation available, making themselves vulnerable to a counter attack.

I think this would be a great tool to add to the sandbox concept. It’s player-generated content (and player created AC equipment) that gives players something to do and also alleviates the chore of bulk management.
Azure_Zero
I think the Auto-caravan needs to be thought out more, and I agree that has one or two points that I agree with, the rest for me is a different setup.

Auto-Caravans have settings controlled at the company AND settlement level to avoid pulling cheap tricks at a company level.
The Auto-Caravans should be tied a good degree to the PVP settings of the settlement.
In that the Auto-Caravan uses the Start window time to launch the Mules and that the settlement chooses either a Day before PVP, or a Day After PVP for the Mule to run and that it is set for the Week.

Company Level will be whether it is On or Off (Default is on, so even dead companies can start pulling their weight again),
a Encumbrance control for those that want to increase mule Load sacking Mule speed when it hits over 100% encumbrance.(Default and Min is 100%, Max is 150%)
and a Graphical UI for Route Planning and the Plans are always locked in for the start of the Week.

Something I should put out there is that the Hex security setting controls the speed of the Mule, in that Higher Security means a Slower Mule, and Lower Security means a Faster the Mule.

The Mule itself has NO protection except when it is IN town or NEAR the Holding's own Guards, and the Mule CAN BE ATTACKED NO MATTER the Security of the Hex. The Reason for this setup is like that of the PVP windows and watching for Monster Raids on holdings.

Now I think it would be great to for there to be a Route Planner for the Auto-Caravan using a Graphical UI, and that the Number of Mules is equal to the Value of the Keep itself, so +0 Keep = 0 Mule(s), +5 Keep = 5 Mule(s) and or
the Mule's Tier is also tied to the Keep, with +0, +1, +2 Keeps sending T1 Mule(s), +3 and +4 Keeps sending T2 Mule(s) and +5 Keeps sending T3 Mule(s).
Now to make it harder for Raids and decrease the time for all the holdings to be emptied, a Mule(s) can spawn at Any Holding that is +2 or higher, and the number of mules is assigned via graphical UI.

Though for Companies of Less with holdings the planner is auto set to outer first, then inner.
Bringslite
Smitty
Not sure what to say
You want to turn 5 pounds of worthless junk into 1 pound of bulk ( and that worthless junk can be what ever you want it to be- )
- this way you can do everything to run a settlement in a high security ring - thereby removing even a remote possibility that you are engaged in a medium/low hex with a mule while moving bulk ..??

Totally wrong impression here except the bolded part. Not sure where you get your ideas.

Smitty
Yes mules suck - yes moving bulk sucks - but mules carry a decent amount 12k easily for T2 .. AND you are going to spend far less in one way mules resources- than you would have to spend to make bulk for a week -

Or you can ask for folks to import it for you – some newer folks could think running a mule is fun! At least till they hit a bridge - or a blade of grass..

Explore the caravan thing - but keep in mind I want to rob those things .

.The conversion seems like a bad idea - even though , I like you would much rather run gushers around my town and build influence with alts standing around me - rather than running a mule across 20 hexes for bulk ..
This other quoted stuff is great and constructive! Thanks for the advice stuff. smile
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Bringslite
@ Maxen and Azure

Wow! You guys have some pretty detailed ideas about "AC"s! Hehe, I haven't thought much about what I can describe as the "super components" (you two posted) of any such feature.

For me, the basic idea would start something like this.
-AC's could be spawned at settlements and eligible holdings only and have to be spawned by a Co leader or officer(via permission access)
-AC's have to be manually loaded but auto unload at destination and into the destination's secure company vaults
-Need a "click on destination" interface.
-They do track the shortest route to the destination via road. Mainly to lessen problems with "blades of grass" but also to be easier to find by any Banditos which want to invest time in looking for them. Probably need code laid into the road graphics.
-No guards for the first iteration. Players can choose to run along to defend if they wish or to "sneak their load by". Unless adding guards is not very difficult. The idea does make it more "cool" smile
-AC's are vulnerable to attack anywhere but in "High or Medium Security" they do impinge reputation penalty. I would suggest less penalty if it is just a player vs. mule encounter. No need for PVP window complications.

Edit: -Let's say that a mule or AC gets stuck and times out. It should be coded that in such a case the cargo is "auto delivered" to the destination. 4hrs is plenty of time to be found if anyone is out hunting such things. This will make it more practical to even use them in the first place, considering all of the other dangers…

That's about all I have for a quick run down of ideas on this. There are probably flaws but that is why I share it. As things progress and population grows, there could be more available time and money to improve something basic like this. These are just ideas for the simplest form I can quickly list.
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Bob
We have indeed had some discussions about possible "auto-caravans," but it's likely that any short-term implementation of this would be more akin to the way that we simulate "moving" bulk resources from the Outposts to the Holdings each day. One possibility we've considered would be a system for specifying where excess bulk resources at a particular holding should be sent, then putting limited amounts of those resources in an escrow vault every PvP day (perhaps you'd set your own intervals, since likely this would have to break hex protection in order to open every delivery to possible theft). If the holding is successfully raided that day, then everything in the vault would go in the husk like that day's Outpost deliveries and 5% of the upkeep vault's bulk resources. If not, then the resources would be delivered to their destination during the next Daily Maintenance (it's simpler and safer for us to transfer items between hexes only during Daily Maintenance).

Basically, the idea would be to simulate the caravans, rather than to implement actual caravans, but still capture the important balance aspects. Specifically, we'd still want the transported bulk to be at risk, and we'd still want there to be significant advantages to transporting the bulk yourself instead (more timing choices, easier to adjust amounts on the fly, move more stuff at once). The very rough design above was just the first semi-feasible idea that occurred to us in our original discussions, and perhaps other methods would be better and/or more feasible. I only present it here as an example of one way to simulate caravans, and even this version would requiring scheduling a fair amount of work. Just not nearly as much as actual auto-caravans, which we could switch to later when other systems are in place to make implementing it easier (e.g. actual road systems that the game recognizes and can keep the caravans on).
Bringslite
@ Bob
Still a thrill to see that you guys read this stuff and that it is under consideration. Nice to see these threads/forum active with Dev posts and player posts. smile

I can see that would be far more easy a project, for such a feature, than what we have been suggesting. More in the abstract than in the "tactile". More in the "realistically accomplishable under current circumstances" category.

May I suggest that "contiguous hexes" play some part of any such plans? Right now everyone's holdings are everywhere. Might be a sound idea to make incentives (but not requirements) to build things in more of a territorial mindset.

I personally would be fine with it for the current future if you guys are unwilling to simply "ramp down" all around bulk production and maintenance costs (across the board) until there is a population in the game that can make things less demanding on we few that are still playing. You did not make it easy to build and maintain a level 20 society, which is as it should be, but there is barely the population to maintain it playing the game. If the game loses more players (before it seriously can gain) it is only going to get more and more difficult to keep these societies going. Less players to do the work. Less players able to maintain the levels they feel they have earned. Big loss of interest in logging in… Blah, blah, blah…. In essence, without a big OE push at this time, I think that the ramp up to "full-busy played game" costs for your infrastructure features/mechanics are implemented too soon. It's simply too soon and isn't fun at this point. IMO, anyway. smile

As you mentioned though, eventually it would be really a big improvement when these things are "physical/playable" game functions. It will really add to the enjoyment. Like REAL "sieges/storm the castle" and "auto-caravans" that players can help defend type stuff, but I know that you see that too. I know that stuff is a ways off to be realistic.
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
Edam
I am not 100% sure making it even easier for one person to run an entire settlement solo is actually a good thing but … if that is the way the powers that be want to swing it so be it.
You are a Troll
+1 Edam.

As people are fond of saying - we are not developing this game around or for the 60 people still playing it, right?
Maxen
You are a Troll
+1 Edam.

As people are fond of saying - we are not developing this game around or for the 60 people still playing it, right?

That is true and I say it often. However, something has to give. We don’t have the population to play the game as intended. People who have recently subbed unsub just as quickly because there is nothing to do. There is no settlement warefare. There is no PvP. New players are not invested in the game. Literally. Most of us log in and run gushers or whittle down an escalation. Veterans stick around because we are either stubborn, dedicated to our investment, or extremely patient, but even that has its limits and we’re down to the population you see today.

I fully believe that any mechanic/enhancement suggestion needs to be applicable long term. My suggestion about ACs added content and convenience versus risk for bulk management. It also added an opportunity for more player crafted equipment. It’s not intended to allow a single person to run a settlement, although right now it would certainly help us maintain the level of support we need to continue to enjoy playing the game.

Yes, I know. We could all band together under two or three settlements with the population we have and provide the needed support. But after all this time, do you really think that’s going to happen, short of Bob actually shutting down all settlements save two or three? Maybe that’s what needs to happen. Force us all back into Ossians Crossing, Marchmont, and Kindleburn and provide support to those. But that would be no fun at all.
Bringslite
Edam
I am not 100% sure making it even easier for one person to run an entire settlement solo is actually a good thing but … if that is the way the powers that be want to swing it so be it.

You are a Troll
+1 Edam.

As people are fond of saying - we are not developing this game around or for the 60 people still playing it, right?

Not a bad point guys and full kudos to you if you find it "fun enough" to pull Bulk that it does not wear on your ability to enjoy the game. Not everyone agrees with you, but the dwindling population that does… well I hope that you guys can stick it out for the long haul.

I am simply trying to point out that it isn't fun for everyone under the sun and I think that a partial or total suspension of "Support" would not be a bad idea while there is hardly anyone playing right now. At the current player level, it isn't critical OR needed that we COULD be able to take over other settlements. Probably more complicated than I know to set all settlement requirements to zero, for the time being, but I think that it might be a good idea. It's more about offering ideas to turn "playing the game" from LESS FUN ways right now, until MORE FUN ways to play the game are available. Balance of playing experiences vs. chore experiences. I know that, given time, the game will get there but it isn't even going to be within the next year that point is reached.

Yeah, I get that some time back many, probably including me, were doing another presentation called "OMG! The sky is falling! These large groups have way too much bulk stored up and will be unassailable to ANYONE!" So what are the Devs supposed to do? Well I guess we had no idea that the player participation was going to continue dropping so steeply. If you look at siege math and how depletion rates of Bulk ramp up over several weeks, you will see that it really won't be an issue to a determined enemy to have large stores of Bulk to dig through.

Under current conditions, chores like Settlement Support are a burden to the game rather than an enjoyable experience. It is like being forced to be at mobilization level 100% ALL THE TIME even though there is no war threat.
Virtute et Armis
-Unknown
 
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