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All posts created by Bob

Paddy Fitzpatrick
Would it be feasible to decrease the range and/or give star slinger a cooldown?

Both are feasible. The tradeoff is that star slinger would probably get a small damage boost to balance out the change. However, if those changes remove a capability that feels like it takes undue advantage of the current state of the game, then that's the way to go. A relatively short cooldown like 6 seconds (we usually like to set cooldowns in 6-second rounds, though there are some exceptions) seems like the most promising change to me, and would only result in a small damage increase to offset it.
We still need to have some more internal discussions (which we have started up) before we'll be able to say much about our thoughts on the rest of the roadmap, at least beyond our immediate plans for social features and enchanting.
Nations are certainly possible, but they require a new system for creating them and managing their membership, so they're not a trivial addition. We also have a lot of long-term plans for them, so there'd be some research and design work involved to make sure that any partial implementation sets us up for the additional things we'd want to get to later. Worth considering, but potentially more of a full feature to be scheduled on its own.

New players is a bit easier to define with existing data, though there are some issues with identifying alts vs. truly new players (specifically, even if we know which they are, we can't tell you). Overall though, taxes should be a pretty minimal portion of a new player's expenses, particularly since the early ranks for most feats are coin free and therefore don't involve taxes at all. I'm not sure new players will really notice the savings, and we do want to be careful not to add complications to the system if they won't lead to noticeable differences. However, if settlements being able to offer discounts to new players or other specific categories feels like a real driver for getting those players to visit or join those settlements, it could be worthwhile. If it's really just something where folks feel like new players need even more of a break, then maybe we should just look at ways to reduce costs for some of the lower-end stuff.
#3 A category between "Allied" and "Member" or a category between "Allied" and "Unaffiliated". I would also argue that it IS a social feature because it affects all players on a social level.

Those categories are all defined by existing social links. Members means any member of that settlement, Allied means any member of an allied settlement, and Unaffiliated just means everyone else. Is there an existing social construct you'd want added as a category (e.g. member of the settlement's founding company, member of a company not affiliated with a settlement, not a member of a company at all), or another social construct you'd like created that could be reflected as a category (e.g. VIP)?
You are a Troll
I think the whole *applying to belong to a social company* thing is kinda silly and redundant with a Friends list. I just need to know/remember who the friendly people I met were (as a new player) and when my non-settlement friends are in game (as an established player). Another whole layer of potentially confusing company affiliations is totally unnecessary.

There's definitely some redundancy between friends lists and social companies, but there are things we could do with social companies that we can't do with friends lists, or at least not easily. For example, if A is friends with B, and B is friends with C, then A isn't necessarily friends with C. As a result, if we tried to do something like a Friends chat channel, each person would see a different set of messages and there wouldn't be clear lines of conversation to follow like there are in your Settlement channel. However, if we made it possible to open up a channel for a specific social company, then every member of the social company would see the same messages in that channel and could easily follow the flow of conversation.

It's similar to the differences between what we've currently implemented for Alliances and our longer-term plans to create Nations. Alliances are reciprocal between two settlements, but there's no requirement that allies of allies are also allies. As a result, we can't really implement anything that feels like nation vs. nation mechanics, because the possible webs of alliances are too complicated.
Of all the things mentioned so far, by me or by others, what's the one thing that each of you would most like to have working soon?
Harad Navar
1) How do you envision leadership and applying/rejecting/kicking/promoting members? E.g., would there be a </createsocialcompany, name> command with the creator as "leader"?

Pretty much.

Harad Navar
2) Do you envision social company mechanics as the predecessor to factions?

Not really. Factions are about relationships with NPC organizations, so players won't be in control of their membership rolls. It's certainly possible that some features we'd work on for social companies would be useful for factions as well, particularly anything making it easier for them to interact with each other, but the two concepts fill very different needs.

Harad Navar
3) Possible game mechanical benefits to social companies - I remember an example from a very early blog post of a company of crafters/refiners hiring out to a settlement to provide services. An non-settlement company for this purpose might be too restrictive to be an attractive play option. A social company made of weaponsmiths (for example) might be a real draw to players as a non-PvE/non-PvP way to play the game if there was a game mechanic to add a sense of identity. Basically a social company as a guild. Could there be a modified crafter studios accessible to the social company rather than an individual character that would allow a guild member to sell items with the guild taking a percent as a guild tax. These could be either store items or GM generated opportunities in TK or other starter settlements.

There are definitely some possibles for features that help social companies work together. The tricky part is that the initial idea around social companies was to focus purely on the social aspects and to keep them out of the territorial aspects of the game. They're meant so that a group of players who like to play together, but may be in completely different companies/settlements/alliances for purposes of territorial competition, still have a way to easily organize for regular gameplay sessions together. They wouldn't be subject to feuds or any of the other mechanics that potentially regulate venture company membership, so members could come and go as they pleased. That means we'd have to put other meaningful restrictions on any asset that can be utilized by all members of a social company.

Harad Navar
4) What about a social company of bandits?
5) What about a social company of law keepers?

Assuming they remain purely social, then there's no reason any group of like-minded players couldn't get together and form a social company.
With EE 15 deployed and functioning fairly smoothly, our plan is to spend some time working on social features, then move on to Enchanting so that we can get you all some additional crafter/refiner bonuses before the +4/5 structures become essential.

We'd like to work on social features first for a few reasons. A central reason is that social features have always been so highly requested, in a variety of different forms, and we'd really like to find ways to meet some of that demand as soon as possible.

Also, with EE 15 being such a large and complex update, we anticipate the need to release one or more 15.x updates to iterate on all the different systems it added. While Enchanting is likely to be a large feature that we'll need to stay focused on during both design and implementation, we see social features as more of a mix of smaller features that we can mix in with other changes, any number of which could be released separately as part of a smaller update.

Finally, for various business and gameplay reasons, we need to do some work on our email system, and there's some potential for that to be relevant to social features. For example, one of the things we didn't quite get into EE 15 was email notification to settlement leaders when their settlements were going to shut down, and we'd still like to get that into a 15.x. Assuming we do, we could also look at letting players opt-in to receive company/settlement emails.

We anticipate that we'll be working on social features and 15.x releases for the next 6-8 weeks or so, which gives us plenty of time to talk through multiple possibilities and do a fair amount of work on social systems. To kick off some discussion, here are a few possibilities we've been thinking about:

Social Companies: These are what we originally planned as part of the road map. They'd take advantage of the systems for handling company membership, but wouldn't be involved in influence or PvP. You'd still only be able to join one standard company for influence purposes, but you could join a social company (or hopefully more than one) as well. There wouldn't be many (if any) mechanical benefits to social companies, the focus instead would be on making it easier to manage groups of friends who like to play/interact with each other regularly, whether or not they're on the same side in other aspects of the game.

Friend Lists: I'd originally worried about these because of the hassles of having to manage friend lists for multiple characters on multiple accounts. However, they're a well-understood mechanic that new players regularly ask about, and could be implemented as a stepping stone to social companies. There are also some relatively simple things we could do to make it easier to handle friend lists across multiple characters, like export/import functions (similar to keybinds). On the downside, they may be a little redundant with social companies.

Online Status: The ability to quickly see which of your friends (or company-mates or whatever) are online. This would presumably also call for the ability to block your own online status from showing, or possibly to say which categories of people can see your status (friends, company mates, settlement mates, allies).

Daily Messages: Allow companies and/or settlements to set messages that are shown to all members on login (or immediately if they're already logged in).

Also Plays As: For those who regularly play as multiple characters, and aren't trying to hide that fact, it could be useful to verifiably mark those characters as all belonging to the same person. In particular, this could be handy for showing online status, since we could show that even though a particular character isn't on, that person is on as a different character.

Company/Settlement Emails: As mentioned above, we could let players opt-in to receive emails from company/settlement leaders.

Web Site Direct Messages: A very popular request. Can't guarantee we could actually add these to our web site in a reasonable amount of time, but we could take some time to look into it and figure out what would be involved.

In-Game Direct Messages: The ability to send messages to characters while they're not logged in and have them see the messages when they next log in.

Email Notifications: There are several things that can happen in-game while a player is logged out that they might want to know about so that they can log in and deal with it. For example, settlement leaders would want to know about upkeep or DI issues, company leaders would want to know about incoming feuds or characters applying for membership, and players would want to know if their housing is running low on upkeep and about to be torn down.

Improved Company Applications UI: Make it easier to apply, view the state of your application, cancel your application, etc…

Chat Improvements: The chat system could certain use some polish. Some very simple improvements have been suggested over the years, such as pressing / to open the message field with a / pre-entered, and I suspect there are other improvements both small and large that would make chatting better. On the other hand, while there are probably some easy fixes we could look at, I'm not sure that chat issues are really the sticking point for improving the overall social situation.

Let us know which of these you'd find most useful, thoughts on how they should be implemented, other social features you'd like to see, or anything else you think we should keep in mind while picking and choosing between these features and designing their actual implementations.
You are a Troll
Hopefully the Artifact keyword will require some very expensive enchanting…..being at ARTIFACT and all…

Yes, whatever we do in this regard, the Artifact keyword will need to be earned.
It may be possible to put a 'counter' on Star Slinger to simulate a bandoleer concept if one truly wants to preserve the flavor of the Star Slinger mechanics. Fire off a small number of shots and then a very long cool down timer kicks in - (1 minute? 5 minutes?) where Star Slinger is greyed out and can't be used. No special ammo type to be programmed and it will address some of the worst abuses of Star Slinger users (and there is considerable abuses) while retaining the Star Slinger flavor. Just a thought. Or just apply a one second or two second slow on each attack. Probably the easiest and quickest solution.

There are definitely some interesting things we could do along those lines for throwing weapons, but we'd need new code to pull them off. Not as hard to do as the full ammo system, but still involves a subset of the same work that would need to be adapted.