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The Return of Max Influence

Bob
For reference, here are some estimates I came up with for the number of hexes required to meet a settlement's bulk resource needs back when DI and the current Settlement Upkeep system were introduced:

  • All +0 Structures (Settlement Level 10): 1 +0 hex
  • All +1 Structures (Settlement Level 12): 3 +0 hexes or 2 +1 hexes
  • All +2 Structures (Settlement Level 14): 4 +1 hexes or 3 +2 hexes
  • All +3 Structures (Settlement Level 16): 7 +2 hexes or 6 +3 hexes
  • All +4 Structures (Settlement Level 18): 11 +3 hexes or 10 +4 hexes
  • All +5 Structures (Settlement Level 20): 19 +4 hexes or 17 +5 hexes
  • All +5 Structures, including Support Structures (Settlement Level 20): 22 +4 hexes or 19 +5 hexes

These numbers assume something like 80% efficiency in overall resource production, so they allow some wiggle room for not being able to select the ideal hexes. They're also in the general ballpark of what's required for DI if a settlement has at least some infrastructure.
Maxen
I'll just kick the elephant in the room. I like the idea. The Day One players (of which I am one too) are concerned about losing what they've built. That's a natural reaction. But the bottom line is that this game will not grow unless new players can make a meaningful contribution to the game. Right now, that can't happen. Aside from the tutorial, what is there to do? New players get courted by settlements, but they are so outclassed by what veterans are doing that they quickly lose interest.

What hooked me when I started playing? Exploring a brand new world and working towards the goal of building a company, joining a settlement, and making a meaningful contribution. This is first and foremost a game of conquest. Currently, there is no chance for conquest. You have a handful of players who control the entire map. New players have no hope of staking their own claim.

This has already been said. Running a settlement by yourself is not fun. It's a chore. Not having a sufficient population to support the game is untenable. If Paizo believes one of the necessary steps to attracting players is to level the playing field by freeing up hexes and settlements, I’m all for it.
harneloot
You know, I was going to respond to all of this, but I don't actually care enough to write everything I am thinking. And, therein lies part of the problem - the game as it is is a huge drag. Wipe out 75% of the holdings and you know how many more New Players will be excited about staying? Same exact number as now: none.

Even Bringslite was moved to post, but Bob, you have never listened to anything he has said.

How can Bob possibly talk about %fun when he doesn't even play the game? How does he have any idea at all what makes the game fun???

Bob, "Until players are likely to return in large numbers"

This is 100% laughable! How's that goona work Bob? Unity Upgrade is just about our only hope. Leave the game alone to limp along until the upgrade is complete, and afterward work like a dog to add FUN features and only THEN worry about nerfing/removing/capping/degrading influence.

This game is living on the Nostalgia that BL mentioned. If I don't log in for a month because I need a break from the grind or just started a new job, or a new baby was born in my family, etc and then I finally do log back in and I have been penalized severely for that break it will just be another nail in the PFO coffin. If there were hundreds (I won't even dare dream and say thousands) of players actively playing then it wouldn't be that big deal. However, that is not the current stat of affairs, and, besides a few mass e-mails, I have seen zero evidence that GW/Paizo is doing anything at all to attract or retain new players.

I hate to say it, but once the Unity Upgrade is done a complete wipe of the board, of the vaults, of the achievements, of the settlements, of the characters is likely the only real path forward. Give everyone back their XP that they paid for, but make everyone start over. Without this, how on earth are you ever going to get enough new people to join up and stick around to make the game actually LIVE? You must be able to tell how many people log in on an average evening and the number must be below 50. Obviously, that is not going to make this game LIVE as we have all dreamed of, as it almost did those first 5 months or so.

Ah well, as Bringslite said….the pull of nostalgia.
Xyzzy - gatherer, yeoman archer, swamp monster.
NightmareSr
Well, Anyone want a half built settlement in the southwest of the map?
- Wandering gatherer (NightmareSr#2669 on discord)
– Cauchemar is a Greater Nightmare –
Bob
harneloot
Bob, "Until players are likely to return in large numbers"
To clarify, this quote was just in response to a point about companies with some players who find themselves having to stay away from the game for extended periods, for military deployments and the like, not about the larger issue of needing more players in the game. My point was just that companies knowing they were going to be less active for a while could bank up sufficient influence to cover the gap.
Bob
Maxen
If Paizo believes one of the necessary steps to attracting players is to level the playing field by freeing up hexes and settlements, I’m all for it.

We're not so much looking to free up many hexes or settlements, or really even slow the growth of any active settlements. The goal is just to balance out the advantages and disadvantages of expanding to make it a more meaningful choice, where right now we almost entirely incentivize expansion. It does seem likely that just about any system we came up with to achieve that would result in at least some groups pulling back a little bit, but we can scale the effect to minimize that.
Bob
I should also make clear that this is in the Crowdforging forum for a reason. At this point, this is a plan that we're looking for feedback on before moving forward, not something we've implemented and are looking to tweak. Not all players have the same concerns and we want to hear as many different voices as we can before making any final decisions.

An another note, anyone having particular comments or questions that they'd prefer not to air in public, send email to customer.support@pathfinderonline.com and we can talk through it.
Flari-Merchant
Bob
Maxen
If Paizo believes one of the necessary steps to attracting players is to level the playing field by freeing up hexes and settlements, I’m all for it.

We're not so much looking to free up many hexes or settlements, or really even slow the growth of any active settlements. The goal is just to balance out the advantages and disadvantages of expanding to make it a more meaningful choice, where right now we almost entirely incentivize expansion. It does seem likely that just about any system we came up with to achieve that would result in at least some groups pulling back a little bit, but we can scale the effect to minimize that.

Because territorial expansion of the huge player base is a serious concern, right now, overshadowing "Fun Play Factors" or "Quality of Play Factors with things like banking or armor color palates" or "aggravating combat bugs"?

THIS is a great example of a frustration and a concern and a well meaning shot but aimed at the wrong target. You might do better to work on "The Fun Play Stuff" or at least get it into discussion to encourage those hanging on and those waiting. Reading that those things are more hard to do does not help much…

I think that those commenting here, mostly, would like to see news of work on improving fun factors and player retention strategies and actual bug addressing or Quality of Play improvements rather than abstract mechanical balance issues that are not even problems yet. Even if those things are more difficult, will take longer and even require your team to have to learn how to do them.

Instead, as well meaning and probably as long range important as it is, you are telling us about work on more Player Chore Mechanics. You probably need a game that is really fun to play FIRST and a well balanced Territorial play experience secondly.

As always, just an opinion at this point. I do recognize that you inherited a real mess and are trying to make the best of it.

Not trying to assume that I absolutely know why anyone hangs on and plays the game still (except possibly nostalgia and reluctance to release "strong footholds"smile, but I can take a fairly experienced stab at why new players do not stick around. The concepts of the game are GREAT but, sadly put, The Game Is Pretty Boring and often (this is an enjoyment killer) FRUSTRATING. Many of the boxes that players want can be checked, in concept, yet they are just not implemented well or they are lacking or incomplete.

You ask for Crowdforging and those still interested have given their opinions, as few as they are. Not likely to be a ton more until you have more players that care.

Make everyday play fun now for best immediate results or work on long range endgame mechanics which, frankly, do nothing for new curious players that might stumble by to give the game a chance.

In the end it is your show to direct.

JFK- “We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things (accomplishments and aspirations), not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

Take us to the moon, Bob!
Azure_Zero
I've done some math based on numbers and responses.

This tax gets put in, I expect somewhere between a loss of 5-15 players (directly and or indirectly with in the first few months)
and if we have say 30-40 players, that would be a player loss of between 8% to 50%.

I'd also be predicting that only these settlements would remain:
Aragon,
Oakknoll,
Carpe,
Ozems,
Alderwag,
Keepers
Hammerfall(likely the first on this list to fall next)

The two I figure that will be the last two standing will be Oakknoll and Carpe.

——————————-
Now on to WHY there will be this player loss

This new tax effectively sets settlement level to the activity of a settlement, this means that if a settlement was running at level 20 and had nothing, but casual players, it would nuke the players to say low teens, and the players would Hate this and leave.

Here is a chain of events
Influence/activity tax put in,
Settlements start losing stuff and support for levels they have
Players Leave since they are no longer support at levels they want but can't give more time to raise it
This leads to points; A, B, and C

Point A
settlement leaders leave
a players take leader role
new leader find out how UNFUN it is to run a settlement
New leader leaves
Leads to point C

Point B
Settlements empty and become claimable
New players see the number of empty settlements and ask some question
sees the work needed for settlement and how UNFUN it is
new players leave
re-enforcing the 0 new player retention.

Point C
Players leave, less Money
Less Money, less income for Goblinworks
and since GW has some fixed expenses you can start seeing where something will need to give.
Flari-Merchant
Totally off topic but the entire Settlement Support for character level maintenance needs a real hard looking at. The concept, if I remember correctly, was originally an ideal to place a check on "Bad Actors" in game play. It has morphed to something much more invasive towards overall game enjoyment, or it would if there were enough players for it to even matter.

Taking(even temporarily reducing) player POWER was never going to work out favorably in gen public realization… Notice I call it "Realization" rather than knee jerk "Opinion".

This is one of (and as Azure is trying to point out, I think) part of the many "frustrations" that playing the game so sweetly delivers in a negative snowball accumulative way.

Messing with, what people see rightly as, earned power potential has probably grown into a badly implemented mechanic. It can still work but needs real revamping and original goal re implementation.
 
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