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The Return of Max Influence

Azure_Zero
Bob
Azure_Zero
Simple put, have all settlements have a base support of 14, each hex of there core 6 gives one support level,
Any additional hexes mean jack all.
Are you looking to completely replace the upkeep system with this, or just to separate out Settlement (Support) Level as its own thing determined purely by hex quantity (up to 6)?

Sorry, I seemed to of missed this in all the posting

Pretty much it is a replacement of the support system and kinda like what we had during the War of Towers,
except it does require "the Core 6" to have additional support and not just any 6 hexes.

This removes the UN-FUN that is managing Bulk resources, and DI calculations which makes settlement management easier, maybe even easy enough to get some new players interested in claiming and running a settlement.
Azure_Zero
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.

I've looked over your numbers
And they do seem about right for a settlement, but I'd add a bit of a buffer to level 20 to figure out a reasonable cap.
I'd say a baseline of about 30 Holdings (since some settlements may have a hard time making the +4 holdings while still need the bulk and DI for level 20 and to be a buffer should they be attacked),
Now if the Main Company holds the 30, and a company was under there settlement's banner and then wanted their own settlement and aimed to take a one, and have it run well and get it setup quickly, I'd add to the baseline say about 50% of 15 holdings.
So we are now at 45 holdings, but what if two banner companies decided to do the same thing at the same time, we'd need to double the 15 to 30, and this additional 30 is a reasonable division number since that could give enough holdings among 6 banner companies aiming to take their own settlement and get them running with a reasonable starting level of about 15 provided they premade all the keeps for their new settlement to get the support they need.

Now to make it work well, I'd say the cap is broken into two halves; the Founding company has a Full 30 holdings or hexes it can claim, the remaining 30 holdings/hexes have to be divided among the settlement's banner companies.
This does make it harder for the founding company to feud and take more hexes since it is more costly to start the feud in the first place.

To make sure this works the support level of a settlement needs to be more tied to the Keep itself,
this means that the Keep sets the Max support a settlement can set.
I've seen dead settlements with a +1/+1 keep suddenly shot up to level 19 support, that is broken in they didn't invest in making the support like other active settlements have and it would help in making it more expensive in using a proxy settlement for expansion.
The setup should be the max being only +1 of what the keep should support so;
+0 Keep, level 11 Support max
+1 Keep, level 13 Support max
+2 Keep, level 15 Support max
+3 Keep, level 17 Support max
+4 Keep, level 19 Support max
+5 Keep, level 20 Support max

Now this adds something that will also impact settlement collectors in that they can't suddenly raise their support levels to defend their holdings, if they have not invested properly into upgrading their Keeps of each of their settlements in the collection.
Rynnik
So I have recently returned to PFO (thanks for the email letting me know you what you folks have been up to, Bob, it was enough to get me interested in coming in for a while and donating some cash to re-investigate this game) and was completely shocked when I got reoriented to the game and then started poking around the world. Its FULL. Not something I expected after a quick look at discord and the forums, a chat with some other ex-PFO folks, and a sense of chat after a few hours in game.

PFO has gone completely backwards to what I would have expected with my very thorough understanding of the games systems at the time that I left. What should have happened was there would be exactly enough super settlements with all the remaining players, providing training and upkeep for all of the skill options, forced to work together to maintain that. Ideally two such groups would exist so that conflict could breed and exist between those groups.

Instead, anyone who has stayed all these years has their own empty empire with zero need to actually interact with the other player base or actually be forced to work together to achieve 'max power' in the game. And having the nerve to bitch about it being 'un-fun' while doing that casually or solo. That I can come back to the current player base and discover everyone is running settlements at 20 and there isn't a hex on the map without a holding seems absolutely insane and a betrayal to the PFO design I was as invested as any of you in back in 2015.

Bob
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.
This nails it completely.

I returned with the mindset of resubbing to the game, working on my characters, finding familiar names if possible, and plunking down a holding or two as a fun way to get back into the game and give me all the prompts needed to remember bulk resources, how settlement management worked and all the higher end activities while gathering/adventuring as I chose in the low end activities on a few of my fun characters.

Instead I've returned to a full world where a new player group couldn't start a company and plunk down a holding in a hex as their START to becoming something bigger and a cog in the greater world of ongoing conflicts and players.

Taking the space for me to be able to achieve what I planned would require possible PvP against characters who have been passively soaking skills and building a bank forever, not an appealing prospect when I have a tier 2 pvp character and no crafting backbone in place as a returning subscriber. Something THAT IS COMPOUNDED MUCH GREATER FOR A NEW PLAYER COMING INTO PFO FOR THE FIRST TIME AND LOOKING AROUND.

The 'right response' for a new player should then be to join on of these pre-existing power bases, correct? Wrong. Joining the AFK kings of this game is difficult and who want's to tie their 'game discovering excitement phase' to a burned out casual vet declaring that the 'chores' are un-fun while simultaneously blocking access to those who might find it very fun indeed.

Azure_Zero
This removes the UN-FUN that is managing Bulk resources, and DI calculations which makes settlement management easier, maybe even easy enough to get some new players interested in claiming and running a settlement.
This perspective is so wrong I don't even know how to begin to start dealing with it. It shouldn't be UN-FUN. IT SHOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE (soft, not hard capped impossible) TO TREAD WATER WITH NO PLAYER BASE. That is why some new players are going to look at the world and chose not to claim and run a settlement. Not due to the time and interactions with game systems that makes settlement ownership 'big' responsibilities, but rather because of the AFK, maxed, rich playerbase sitting on absolutely every hex in the game with no disincentive to do so, and the ability to leverage the feud and pvp window system to make the burden of FIRST STEP EXPANSION an impossible mountain to climb for anyone coming into PFO and first trying to even understand how the game works.
Not a member, representative, or supporter of Brighthaven Alliance.
Flari-Merchant
@ Rynnik

I can totally agree that a very firm requirement to be active(and thus actually somewhat present) in the game world should be a must if you want to have your Holdings and Settlements to not crumble to dust.

Can't agree that hauling around bulk resources is not terribly boring, but your take on that is ok too. smile

Thanks for the perspective of an "Old Timer" coming back and looking around.
Azure_Zero
I can counter you on that Rynnik, we have had groups come in get a settlement with no work need along with it's core 6 and then leave within a MONTH once they realise the UN-FUN of running a settlement.

And if you read my post above yours, you'd see I've come up with a way that would pop open hexes for new players since a group would need to put in more work to control more hexes in a expensive way.
Rynnik
Flari-Merchant
Can't agree that hauling around bulk resources is not terribly boring, but your take on that is ok too. smile

A new group wouldn't be able to find out since there are no empty hexes to set up a holding and haul bulk resources from. smile

Azure_Zero
I can counter you on that Rynnik, we have had groups come in get a settlement with no work need along with it's core 6 and then leave within a MONTH once they realise the UN-FUN of running a settlement.
Bolded the important part. How does that establish ANY hooks for a group coming to PFO for the first time?

The game has a low player population. A shame but a fact. THAT NEEDS TO CORRELATE WITH AN EMPTY MAP. New games like Crowfall are trying to deal with this through resetting the game world, but at a 'un-fun' cost to MMO permanence (imo). The PFO solution was much more elegant and appealing to my mind but it hasn't worked out as evidenced by returning to the game and seeing the stagnation. The current player base should have left an empty world behind and concentrated its efforts in order to survive at 'max power'. Instead the game is 'booming' in that every settlement can support the absolutely highest power the game allows and has occupied every bit of holding space the map has unlocked and available but without the actual player base playing (and paying) that would unlock expansion of the map and space to support that player base and reveal new empty areas.

I really hope Bob implements a MEANINGFUL influence decay.
Not a member, representative, or supporter of Brighthaven Alliance.
Rynnik
The fact that 'settlement collectors' is even a phrase being thrown around in this discussion should be setting off alarm bells that there is a serious issue here.
Not a member, representative, or supporter of Brighthaven Alliance.
Azure_Zero
Rynnik
The fact that 'settlement collectors' is even a phrase being thrown around in this discussion should be setting off alarm bells that there is a serious issue here.

Well actually it is just one settlement collector in game at the moment and he is known to most of the groups as such,
but oddly he is stopped by the Aragon alliance from taking more settlements all thanks to their expansion of territory that this tax takes aim at, while the tax would be impacting him and his collection little.
Now I do say it's best to nip any that decide to follow him along with that known collector, but at the same time not nuke the casuals.
Flari-Merchant
A few things:

1. The fact that everyday play options are both lacking and less than truly varied is why you see such absentee, rich advanced players. They have been there and done that until it has gotten old and a bit stale. Or, Unfun anymore. Not to mention frustration about things like banking and combat bugs.

2. At least my point of view is that I wish Paizo resources were focused more on making general play fun. Rather than trying to keep tweeking a system of structure and settlement management that is clearly not very good for a low pop game or one that is very open/facilitating to new blood being able to stake a claim in the game.

3. Without an aggressive plan for structure degrading and collapsing, the world will continue to be full of Holdings. A new tax and limit on Influence doesn't address any real significant move toward freeing up those hexes. They will just make more companies filled with more "imaginary characters that earn Influence fast at lower power levels.
Paddy Fitzpatrick
Rynnik
The fact that 'settlement collectors' is even a phrase being thrown around in this discussion should be setting off alarm bells that there is a serious issue here.

Well there used to be more guys here from back when there were still more players and more factions. There was still enough people to contest land and alliances and whatnot kept shifting around, wheeling and dealing was happening and some of us even figures out how to do banditry smile

It was a different time when my boys from good old Fianna came in years back and Aragon was kind enough to let us in despite (or perhaps because of) the trouble we were causing with our antics at the time.

But we learned very fast that everything is tied to settlement support. It is the only way your character can play the game in any meaningful way at all.

With that came the issue of not being able to get support any other way. In my case if it wasn't for Aragon and their army backing us up my old guild never would have got off the ground and we definitely would not have taken Dun Baille much less build it up in any way. There is no other way to get territory if you are not given a chance by an existing group. The only way ANY changes that will allow new groups to build on their own and take hexes (empty or not) is to give an alternative way to get support for their character abilities. I've been saying that for years now.
Paddy Fitzpatrick - Rí Ruírec of Fianna, roaming bands of noble warriors!
Member of Aragon Alliance and home of bandits, privateers, and anyone looking to get away from the shackles of law.
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