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The Return of Max Influence

Azure_Zero
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.

Right on the Money.
Bob
Flari-Merchant
Take us to the moon, Bob!
Our twin moon shots at this point are the cloud and Unity upgrades, which are both huge undertakings that will monopolize Cole's time for the rest of the year, and possibly beyond. It's unfortunate that they're not focused so much on making the game more fun as they are on keeping it running, but the latter has become a priority at this point. It's also unfortunate that they keep us from tackling other large tasks that require significant code work. I'm looking at trying to help out with some of the coding where I can, but I'm far more likely to be useful in helping Cole get through those upgrades more quickly than in tackling actual feature work. Meanwhile, I'll be trying to do what I can through spreadsheet and low-level art changes, and we can certainly debate about which of those would have the most immediate impact in terms of making the game more fun on a day-to-day, minute-to-minute basis.
Flari-Merchant
Thanks, Bob! I am excited to see how that works out.

There was mention, some time ago, about maybe being able to leverage art assets from developments in parallel game systems based on Paizo IPs like KingMaker. Is that still an option that could help in some way?
Nails
Instead of changing how influence works, is there any opportunity to create additional new player quests? Something that can expand on their knowledge and enjoyment of the game? how about a newbie gusher, that produces 100 max and only gets to 4 or 5 incoming monsters? More quests that are geared towards cleric, wizard, rogue, & fighter, helping them learn about different attacks, etc, that gives them a decent reward but is still something the day 1 players aren't interested in.

Nails
Bob
Azure_Zero
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.

This proposed change would indeed limit settlements based on the activity level of their characters, but that doesn't necessarily mean that many (or any) existing settlements would find their settlement levels reduced. It all depends on the exact numbers. As an extreme example, if we set the Max Influence reduction to .001 per Holding per day, a settlement could have 30 holdings and only need to generate 11 influence per year to keep that running.

Admittedly, a number that low probably wouldn't have a significant impact on the overall balance, since the additional influence needed per holding would basically be .365 per year. Then again, groups considering having 30 underutilized holdings might at least think twice before increasing their influence needs by 11 per year to do so, unless holding them serves other important strategic purposes.

Our goal is to find a number low enough not to put an undue burden on more casual groups will still being noticeable for more active groups. The originally proposed reduction of .5 per day was probably too high, and very well might have pushed the more casual settlements down to something like level 14 or 16, depends a lot on what one means by casual. We still think there's a number in there somewhere that hits the right balance, or perhaps a slight tweak to the calculations/rules that does the trick, but if not, then we'll look for a different solution.

harneloot
Good ideas Nails.

Heck, bring back the Starter Goblins and put them right outside TK for new players to bash away at and get use to the mechanics and attack combos while dropping all sorts of salvage or T1 gear. Make the gear low durability if you worry about its effect on the economy.
Xyzzy - gatherer, yeoman archer, swamp monster.
Bob
Flari-Merchant
There was mention, some time ago, about maybe being able to leverage art assets from developments in parallel game systems based on Paizo IPs like KingMaker. Is that still an option that could help in some way?
That's still a possibility, but will likely require a fair amount of Cole's time combined with the help of an artist. On the positive side, it will likely become much easier after the Unity upgrade, since part of the difficulty was downgrading assets to work with our current version of Unity.
Bob
harneloot
Heck, bring back the Starter Goblins and put them right outside TK for new players to bash away at and get use to the mechanics and attack combos while dropping all sorts of salvage or T1 gear. Make the gear low durability if you worry about its effect on the economy.
I could look into some more satisfying early mobs around Thornkeep. We've already made sure the closest mobs are pretty easy to handle. Since they never launch in large groups, and no longer launch repeatedly in the same locations, there's a limited ability to farm them. That means I could probably make them a little more rewarding without unbalancing things too much. I do worry about dropping gear just because I don't like to train new players to expect to get their gear from drops only to take that away from them, but more interesting/varied drops doesn't necessarily have the same issues. I could also consider making the gathering around Thornkeep more varied, with very small chances of getting raw materials you'd otherwise have to travel pretty far to get. That could help with the difficulty of crafting certain items in Thornkeep while there's not a lot of raw materials getting brought in for sale, and just generally make the Auction House offers more interesting. Worth considering anyway, haven't thought any of this through completely.
Bob
Nails
Instead of changing how influence works, is there any opportunity to create additional new player quests? Something that can expand on their knowledge and enjoyment of the game? how about a newbie gusher, that produces 100 max and only gets to 4 or 5 incoming monsters? More quests that are geared towards cleric, wizard, rogue, & fighter, helping them learn about different attacks, etc, that gives them a decent reward but is still something the day 1 players aren't interested in.
New quests is something I can largely do without new code, though things like a newbie harvesting kit might take a little code help. They do take a fair amount of time to create and test, but not an unreasonable amount. The one I want to focus on first is the Combat Alchemist tutorial, but I could look at some others after that. As always, it's a question of what to prioritize first.
Bob
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.
The Settlement Support system serves multiple purposes in the design, and limiting the ability of "Bad Actors" is certainly one of them. It's also an important part of the value proposition settlements offer to get players to join them. As with many aspects of the design, it's part of a web of interdependent features, and tugging on any part of that web requires careful thought. That said, we have already started making changes here with the switch to half-support, so that learned ranks aren't just lost all at once, and we do plan on making further changes over time. We've talked about other ways of providing support, as well as other mechanics that could work together to fill all the roles the Settlement Support system currently does. It's a complicated issue, and will likely require significant amounts of code work once we sort it all through, but we agree that the current system doesn't quite feel right.
 
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