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All posts created by Bob

Bob
I updated the original post with the following changes to take into account the recent discussions:

  • Moved deadline to March 15.
  • Added an optional free teardown for each winner to facilitate exchanges.
  • Allowed bids in Blessings to be reduced to coins if there are no competing bids in Blessings for a particular hex.
  • Made clearer that players can use multiple active characters/companies/settlements to make multiple bids.
  • Added link to map.
  • Added template for submitting bids.
  • Cleaned things up a bit in general.

I'm hoping to make this official on Monday to give everyone three weeks for bidding, so let me know if you spot anything problematic or even just confusing.
Bob
Azure_Zero
I figure PFO doesn't have steps 2 or 3, which made character switching in PFO have issues as there was not a complete disconnect.

It's possible that more steps would make it easier for us to disconnect cleanly, but we'll have to dig into the code and logs to see what the best solution is. If we're lucky, we're just forgetting to fully delete/reset some data on the way out, in which case we just need to track that down and handle it properly. If not, bigger architectural changes might be needed.
Bob
NightmareSr
So this "bidding" idea has gotten much more complicated than I thought at first. If bidding on multiple hexes then I still can only win one hex, regardless of the amount bid for all 2-3 hexes?

Correct, since there are only 10 hexes becoming claimable, and plenty of groups that would like more territory, the auction rules were set up to make it as likely as possible that they'd get evenly distributed between interested parties, with higher bids really just getting you your preferred location. In essence, each group is really only allowed to bid for a single hex, you're just telling us which hex you'd like to bid for next if you're outbid on your preferred one.

The rules do allow you to put in multiple bids if you have multiple active characters leading multiple companies, but that forces you to split your resources up between those bids. So, if you have 6 Blessings available, you could have three characters/companies each bid 2 Blessings for 3 different hexes, and potentially win all 3. However, if 3 other groups each bid 3 Blessings for each of those hexes, you'd get nothing. Alternatively, you could have one company bid 6 Blessings for your favorite hex and the other 2 companies could make coin bids for the other 2 hexes. You still might win all 3 if nobody else bids much for them, but at least you'd still wind up winning 1 hex even if other groups bid 3 Blessings for each of those hexes.

NightmareSr
Starting to sound like I should just not bid and wait a week for someone else to claim the hexes and then hire as many mercenaries and friends I can to feud the "winners" and take the hexes I want. Seems a lot more simple and easier that way to me. smile

Absolutely, we'd only be auctioning off first-week building rights. They're only worth bidding for if you think that's the cheapest way to claim them, and if you think you can hold them afterward.
Bob
Azure_Zero
Yes, I do recall that issue when we could do switching, but I think the issue was that it was not a complete server disconnect. You can see in PSO2 you start going to the game screen it starts a talk with the 4 servers getting a status update from them, and then select and connect to the ship/server logging into it, and then on that server you log in with the character, this extra screen might be hinting at the key needed to fix the issue. As all PSO2 exit options log you out of the ship. Now I think the first screen is the Main server log in (where Username/password is), the screen between connecting to the Main server and logging into the server where the character is, is the buffer that helps clean up any mess when switching characters.

It's possible that we need a more complete disconnect, but I think we were attempting to get you back to the point where you were just barely connected enough not to have to retype your username and password. Maybe we tried to hold onto a little more to make reconnecting quicker, could certainly look into it next time we're looking at that chunk of code.
Bob
Azure_Zero
The thing I really like in that video is it shows a possible solution PFO could use for character switching without need to close the client.

Sadly, I believe we even allowed that at one point, but it caused some bugs that we weren't able to track down easily enough so we had to pull that feature. It's conceivable that a newer engine will help with that, but it's just as likely that the issues have to do with unloading and reloading data specific to our game. To be honest, situations like this, or switching between levels, are notorious for causing similar problems in games.

The impressive thing is that we've been able to handle switching between hex servers as seamlessly as we have, which has similar issues, but it took a lot of work to track down all the related bugs. However, that was central to our game design, so the we just had to dig in and do the work. Being able to switch characters is less central, so we've unfortunately had to lower the priority on those bug fixes.
Bob
You are a Troll
The very last hexes available on the map and instead of holding onto them you are giving them away to the already overbloated overlords of the River Kingdoms.

Ultimately, this is really why I wanted to re-introduce Max Influence, though I understand why some are opposed to the idea no matter how low we set the workload on it. We've been throwing around some other ideas that might incentivize the larger groups to cut back on their holdings a bit, possibilities that feel less chore-like than having to continuously generate influence, but they're still a bit half-baked and may require more code work than the relatively simple Max Influence idea did. Or maybe not, so we'll see if we can find time to explore them soon.

Meanwhile, I'd really rather not leave those hexes unclaimable, since they make the map weird and confuse people, and it won't really change the dynamics much if some larger groups wind up with one more hex out of this. The rules should still make it likely that at least some smaller groups wind up with hexes, though whether they can hold those hexes afterward is another question. There's definitely an argument to be made that the groups able to put together decent bids are the most likely to be able to hold more territory, and their willingness to make those high bids is a good measure of their confidence.
Bob
Edam
Ok, so to be clear the proposed early exchange for the 10 hexes for other unwanted hexes is cancelled and we are now required to bid for one of the 10 hexes and can then transfer those to a different settlement if we want ?

That's what I'm leaning towards very strongly, with the tweaks added to make that easier and perhaps with the wording changed to make that more obvious/recommended.

Also, bidders must be Settlement Owners who can only win one hex? So we are limited, with exceptions like Cauchemar with two owners, to one hex per settlement ?

Each settlement or company would be able to put in one bid, regardless of the number of leaders, and each bid could include offers for some or all of the hexes. Each bid would also need to come from a unique active character who is a leader/owner of that settlement/company. So Cauchemar could technically put in one bid for the settlement and another bid for each company in the settlement, assuming enough unique active characters in those roles to cover each bid.

The downside of spreading those bids out too much though would be needing to escrow enough Blessings/Coins in unique vaults to cover each bid. If Cauchemar was fairly certain that nobody else would bid on A-C, they could theoretically split their resources into three equal bids. However, they might be better off making one large bid for their favorite, then making small bids for the others in hopes of getting at least one if somebody does put in decent bids for them. Alternatively, they could put in one large bid themselves with all their resources, then arrange with two other large groups to bid for the other ones with the intention of making an exchange.

It's also important to remember that winners get removed from contention for later hexes. So if a settlement put in high bids for D and A, in that priority order, and wound up winning D, then their high bid for A wouldn't do anything to lock that down. If a settlement really wanted to obtain A on Cauchemar's behalf, then they should make a high bid for A with A at the top of the priority list, and have Cauchemar bid little or nothing for A as a backup. That wouldn't guarantee they'd get A, but they'd have good odds at getting it for a low price if everyone really did agree that A-C should go to Cauchemar, or even if all the others who put in bids for A played it safe and put other hexes more distant from settlements in as higher priorities.

Also, there's nothing stopping groups that currently don't have many companies to work with from starting new companies, as long as they have active characters to use as leaders. The real limiting factor here is active characters, not companies or settlements.
Bob
I've only had a chance to look at the login/comms video so far, but you make lots of good points. Some are things we've talked about doing, and in some cases we've even started doing the work. For example, switching to per-character subscriptions was a necessary step toward handling more than three characters per account, but switching the UI around to handling more than three characters is doable but will involve a fair amount of work.

Others involve design choices that we made for reasons specific to the game we envisioned, like requiring that each character display name be unique. For a game where we saw other players/characters as the main content/challenge of the world, we felt a much stronger need to make sure that other players were easily/permanently identifiable than some other MMOs might. There are of course other options, like attaching an ID number at the end of each name, but we were really shooting for an immersiveness to even the names, so we chose not to go that route. Maybe we could consider something like Nicknames as a future feature, with no requirement that they be unique. We could display each character as just Nickname most of the time, but show them as Nickname (UniqueName) on tooltips and wherever the UI had loads of room. That might not be too hard to add

The biggest trick with all the ideas is, as usual, what we're able to do with limited coding work. One thing that stood out to me as potentially involving the least code work would be repeatable quests. I think there might be a way to do add that which wouldn't involve too much work, depending on exactly how we designed it to work. If we could do that, then adding more quests is mostly just content work. And yes, I could potentially spread new quest givers around the world, and maybe even put down some interesting landmarks at some of those locations.
Bob
As a sidenote, I've been sorely tempted to add in a separate "hex exchange" phase before the auction, but that would really complicate things. In particular, it would require locking the exchanged hexes right away so they couldn't change hands even before the update. It's already going to be a little weird having GM-enforcement protect those 10 hexes for up to a week, so I'd really rather not have to do the same for a bunch of other already-claimed hexes weeks in advance. I'd much prefer a solution that limits the lockdowns to just those 10 hexes, which are already locked down until the update anyway, and then for as short a period as possible after the update.

Bob
Reaching some kind of consensus on the forums for granting hexes (or hex exchanges) to specific groups without offering the same to all groups would be difficult enough, but trying to do so while including the voices of those who'd rather not state their preferences publicly seems unlikely.

That said, my assumption was always that these specific hexes wouldn't necessarily be claimed directly by the winners, but would instead be exchanged for other hexes they'd prefer, for other political favors, or in some cases even just given away. I wouldn't tear down holdings built by someone other than the winner unless the winner asked me to, so exchanges would be just fine.

If everyone agrees that certain parties should wind up with certain hexes, then it should be fairly easy to agree on bidding strategies to make that happen. Just to throw out a completely random hypothetical, if everyone agreed that Settlement 1 should wind up with A, B and C, but should have to trade away X and Y in exchange, then Settlement 1 could bid 1 Silver for A, Settlement 2 the same for B, and Settlement 3 the same for C. If everyone else either doesn't bid for those, or bids just 1 Copper to make sure there's at least one bid, then the hexes would get sold for just 1-2 Copper and then Settlements 2 and 3 could trade B and C to Settlement 1 for hexes elsewhere.

Of course, just in case there's not as much agreement out there as some might think, then it would be best for 1, 2 and 3 to place higher bids to fend off possible competitors. If someone really feels that strongly about those hexes, then they could possibly win them, or at least force the winners to pay higher prices.

One issue with the current rules is that I was only going to reduce bids in Blessings down to 1 Blessing at minimum, but I could change that and allow winners the option of paying the least amount of coins necessary, up to some maximum they set. Then if nobody else bids in Blessings for a particular hex, the winner could pay very little if everyone really agrees they should have that hex.

To make the exchanges go more smoothly, I'd also be open to throwing in one "free" holding/outpost teardown for each winner. The teardowns would have to all be in a single hex owned by the same company that would actually be claiming the auctioned hex, with all buildings torn down, kits returned to that company, and any lost influence replaced. I could also arrange to time that teardown when the winning group could place a holding immediately, rather than needing to wait for the next Daily Maintenance and risk somebody else placing the holding first.

I think those changes would give the community the opportunity to distribute some or all of the hexes as they see fit at almost no cost, while still giving those who would prefer a different distribution a fair shot at their own preferences.