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The Return of Max Influence

Bob
Flari-Merchant
Well I think that we all added(back in the day) to the pressure to encourage characters to polarize to established settlements.
The game design certainly intended to encourage characters to join established settlements first, but then have balancing factors that encouraged them to break away, seeking to be a big fish in a small pond instead of a small fish in a big pond. The latter factors had a lower implementation priority while everyone was building the initial settlements up, but become more important now that several groups are fully built up. Limiting influence was supposed to be one of those factors, since it meant characters were better off joining a smaller company where they could still contribute to influence gain rather than a larger company that was constantly at Max Influence. On its own, it only really encouraged settlements to be made of multiple companies rather than one big company, but it was ready to be built on by reducing the marginal benefits (or increasing the marginal costs) of each additional company in a settlement.
Bob
harneloot
Why would *players* NOT choose to post their ideas, concerns, suggestions, musings here?
Introverts vs. extroverts, groups that don't want to give away tactical information, all kinds of reasons. It might seem odd that someone would play an MMO and not be super social, after all why not play a single-player game. However, MMOs do offer a way to get some of the feeling of interacting with others purely through the game mechanics, just because your actions and the actions of others change the game world. Many players desire just that level of interaction, and no more. We welcome all preferences, at least those that can find a place within the core game design principles.
Bob
Azure_Zero
As Crowdforging is like voting, you don't vote (in this case in public), you can't b**** about the result.
Crowdforging is an opportunity for us hear from the largest possible variety of voices to make the game better. We do put a certain premium on the opinions of active players, and we offer more opportunities to participate (e.g. forum posting privileges, access to test builds) to players than we do to just people interested in the game, but we don't treat feedback more or less seriously based on how it's sent in.
Azure_Zero
Bob, we have 5 settlement Leaders who have voiced their there vote publicly and ALL against the tax.
Azure_Zero
Bob, I came up with a simple way to do this with NO influence tax that can hinder expansion.

Right now your just looking at the influence, but what about the holdings?

As currently settlements can have infinite holdings, what if instead you capped the number of holdings a settlement can have?
Then that means if a settlement aims to expand, they'd need a proxy settlement to allow expansion, BUT to get the support level to have strength for taking more holdings, they'd need to spend resources increasing the proxy settlement's level.
Bob
Flari-Merchant
I get the impression that there isn't actually a problem yet. Without asking you to divulge info for "Fog of War" and security reasons, are there certain multiple groups that are having a hard time being able to lay down enough Holdings to get where they need to?

In short, can you better explain what the current significant issues of unlimited Influence are without "outing" those who have contacted you?
I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that it has been very difficult, if not impossible, to find an unclaimed hex for quite some time now. If all those hexes are being put to good use, whether for bulk resource production or strategic reasons or whatever, that's great. Players can always PvP to take those hexes for themselves. That said, it sets a pretty high bar for claiming territory, so it would be nice to have just enough of a disincentive to ensure that all claimed hexes are serving a reasonably important purpose, if only to keep it from feeling like the only reason PvP was necessary was to claim something the owners aren't using but just didn't bother to tear down.

The larger problem is related, in that any group that is reasonably successful at PvP is currently incentivized to spread as far as it can. The upfront investment in holdings and outposts is minimal, the PvP may or may not churn some gear, the outposts can generally produce enough bulk resources to keep the holding from falling down, they can probably deal with any feuds fairly easily, there are few if any ongoing costs to holding the territory, and any tiny benefit (even just the added security of some buffer DI) of holding the territory is multiplied by the amount of time spent holding it, which is likely indefinite. The unlimited influence has to go somewhere and the calculation virtually always favors expansion. With few (or no) unclaimed hexes, that expansion inevitably eats into the territory of other settlements, reducing their ability to support themselves.

Again, all of that is fine if there are mechanics ensuring that expansion is more than just a "why not" calculation. It's not our goal to protect everyone from meaningful PvP, but we do want to protect people from PvP if it's only happening because we didn't provide balanced advantages and disadvantages. The best we've currently got is that expansion increases the number of unprotected hexes, but not 1-for-1, and the degree of coordination necessary to take advantage of that is fairly high, and favors the group that already proved itself by taking the territory in the first place.

I won't speak to how much this is actually happening, in part because it would be difficult to know whether any given expansion would be considered meaningful or not by most players. I'll just say that some territory has changed hands in recent times, and the current game mechanics incentivize more of the same without the checks and balances that make such PvP feel meaningful. There are certainly other options for providing those checks and balances (Spreading Escalations would have been a start), but this is the quickest option we've come up with so far.
Kenton Stone
Azure_Zero
Bob, I came up with a simple way to do this with NO influence tax that can hinder expansion.

Right now your just looking at the influence, but what about the holdings?

As currently settlements can have infinite holdings, what if instead you capped the number of holdings a settlement can have?
Then that means if a settlement aims to expand, they'd need a proxy settlement to allow expansion, BUT to get the support level to have strength for taking more holdings, they'd need to spend resources increasing the proxy settlement's level.
Azure you know as well as anyone Companies own holdings not Settlements you would just limit a companies ability to join a settlement if they had too many holdings for the settlement…Blah Blah Blah
This would not work with the current structure of the game
Bob
Azure_Zero
Bob, we have 5 settlement Leaders who have voiced their there vote publicly and ALL against the tax.
True, and if we can't find ways to tweak the plan in ways that mitigate the quite-reasonable concerns those leaders raised, or maybe just better ways to explain aspects of it, then we'll likely drop it. And of course we'll also drop it if these discussions lead to a different but better solution. For the moment, we still think there's a possible version of this plan that could work, even if we haven't quite gotten to that version yet, so we're still discussing it.
Bob
Azure_Zero
As currently settlements can have infinite holdings, what if instead you capped the number of holdings a settlement can have?
In a way, we already have one soft cap on the number of holdings in any given settlement, in the form of decreasing DI from each additional holding. Beyond the holdings needed to provide a settlement's required DI, it's far better to transfer a holding to another settlement, at least in DI terms.

A harder cap, perhaps set at a very high number, could potentially add another hurdle to expansion, requiring that alliances grab another settlement whenever their limit for their current settlements is reached. Actually grabbing another settlement is a fairly big deal, and even just keeping a minimal settlement active involves a certain amount of effort, so that could provide some of the disincentives we're looking for.

As Kenton points out, holdings are really owned by companies, and there are definitely some issues with making a cap work. From an implementation standpoint, we'd have to block member-companies from placing new holdings if the settlement is at the cap, and block new companies from joining if they'd put the settlement over the cap. We generally lean toward mechanics that make each additional member less valuable rather than just completely blocking them, but at times hard caps are necessary.

All that said, this does make me wonder if there's some solution that's more about adding incentives for matching the number of holdings a settlement has to that settlement's needs. Just spitballing here, but if we gave some kind of bonus for having X-or-less holdings for any given Banked DI, settlements would have a meaningful incentive to build up their structures somewhat in line with their territorial expansion, and to shift their expansion to another settlement whenever they could no longer take advantage of that bonus. Of course, they'd still get the extra bulk resource output, but a good enough incentive would make that only worthwhile if the settlement could truly take advantage of it. Gonna put some more thought into that, try to turn it into a cohesive idea and make sure it doesn't create more problems than it fixes. For example, this may just overly increase the incentives to attack other settlements, but there are probably ways around that. And, of course, I have no idea how difficult anything along these lines would be to implement once this was fully thought through, have to wait until it's developed enough to get an accurate estimate.
Kenton Stone
I really didn't want to have to wade in on this but it is significant enough to warrant my input.

I think most of this is a slight overreaction to Bob’s original Post
Bob Wrote:
The daily decrease would be based on the number of holdings a company owns (perhaps .5 per holding), so each company's ability to retain influence banked in holdings would be limited by its ability to earn new influence regularly. Over time, companies would reach a point of equilibrium, earning roughly the same amount of influence each day as is lost from their holdings.
His initial value of (.5/holding)/day was a doctor saying I am going to test your reflexes and then pulling out a sledge hammer and taking aim at your knee cap. My reflex is to freak out, jump off the table, grab a large object and pummel you to death with it.
That is effectively what happened, I actually feel sorry for Bob if he had suggested a .14 loss per day I don’t think the reaction would have been nearly so severe.

He is not incorrect, inactive companies should begin to lose influence but 1 point per holding per week is way more reasonable than 1 point every other day.
Examples:
100 holdings at .5 would mean the loss of 50 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 350 influence.
100 holdings at .14 would mean the loss of 14 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 98 influence.
100 holdings at .08 would mean the loss of 8 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 56 influence.
100 holdings at .05 would mean the loss of 5 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 35 influence.

For more reasonable Examples:
20 holdings at .5 would mean the loss of 10 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 70 influence.
20 holdings at .14 would mean the loss of 2.8 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 19.6 influence.
20 holdings at .08 would mean the loss of 1.6 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 11.2 influence.
20 holdings at .05 would mean the loss of 1 influence a day, a week's vacation would cost you 7 influence.

So to begin let's drop the concept of Max Influence.
Bob Wrote:
The basic idea is that Max Influence would increase as a company earns influence, but would decrease a little bit each day during Daily Maintenance.
Really means {The basic idea is that Influence would increase as a company earns it, but would decrease a little bit each day during Daily Maintenance. If the “Max Influence '' increases it's not a Max it's just your current Influence.

Next
Bob Wrote:
Companies would start out with Max Influence set to Banked Influence plus Available Influence plus a buffer amount (perhaps 25), meaning new companies would start out with Max Influence set to just that buffer amount (since Banked plus Available would equal zero for a new company). There would also be plenty of warning beforehand so that companies can start building up their Available Influence and figuring out where their equilibrium point might be.
So a company's influence would be its influence +25.
Why would a new company need an influence buffer? They couldn't have any holdings so no daily loss.

Now to the nuts and bolts.
Blog Post :Saturday, July 18, 2015
Territory Warfare Is Here!
With the next patch to the game, players will be able to vie for control of hexes in the River Kingdoms. There are currently 603 claimable hexes in the game; as of the writing of this blog, 219 of them have been claimed by someone by putting down a holding and some outposts. Holdings and outposts produce the bulk goods that settlements will need to grow and thrive once that system starts to come online in a month or so. For the last few months, settlements have been putting down the holdings in anticipation of this. But until now, those holdings were impervious to attack.

In EE10.1, a company will be able to feud the owning company of a holding and then try to seize control of that holding's hex during the controlling company's PvP window, which that company sets. This will be a multiple-day affair. First, the invader will need to capture the hex's outposts. NPC guards will attempt to fight off the interlopers and will give the hex's current owner time to arrive in force to prevent the seizure. The more you upgrade your holdings and outpost, the better and more numerous the guards will be, giving you more time to arrive on the scene and beat back the attackers.

If the attacker is able to take all the outposts in the hex by killing all the guards and then accumulating enough capture points at the holding, the next day they will be able to try to do the same thing to that hex's holding. If they are successful, the attacker will take over ownership of those structures. Ownership of the holding gives ownership over the hex. This is the way that countries, kingdoms and empires will be built, hex by hex. And it all starts in a few days!
I play this game like I play any game - to Win! In this game the only winning move is … Not to Play. Sorry I had to throw that in there.
As the game stands right now everyone(Yes I know not everyone) is T3 can make all the same T3 stuff as everyone else it all looks the same it all functions the same etc etc etc.

The only way to differentiate success is by how many Hexes you claim and hold. As stated most hexes have been claimed with the exception of the ring of hexes around Fort Inevitable that Bob has never gotten around to adding pads for holdings and outposts.smile

As things stand, the Argon Alliance controls around 165 Hexes I am building my Country, Kingdom and Hopefully Empire one hex at a time. I will not be stopped! I will be coming for your hexes, Surrender or be destroyed.

Right now nothing but your resistance can stop me but (Resistance is futile). The only thing stopping me from doing that right now is Influence and the rate we can generate it.

I hated that actual Max Influence we used to have but I can’t say I like the 1,000,000 cap which is no cap.
Like a mob boss who does not send his goons out to intimidate the locals in the area he controls, people soon forget about you and your influence over the area erodes.

In my opinion Influence erosion needs to occur, just at a more reasonable rate than was first suggested. Does it need to occur now, probably not. As I see lots of priorities higher on the list than this but I am not opposed to it.

All that said(and yes I know it was a lot.)

For the Love of GOD Bob, make this game more fun to play, give people a reason to log in every day and play, not just check queues.

For my last slightly off topic point, Give me a way to reassign a Hex(Holdings and Outposts and influence intact) to another company so distribution of Hexes among companies can be achieved, Make them a marketable commodity. Right now the cost to move a hex to a new company is Hideous and therefore almost never happens.

So remember Submit to the might of my Empire or you will be Obliterated.smile Happy Father's Day
 
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