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All posts created by Bob

In talking about how Auction House Upgrades should work, we got to talking a lot more about Auction Houses in general. A big concern was how problematic it is for a settlement to have no Auction House for loot and gathered mats, particularly given how central the experience of hauling your ill-or-otherwise-gotten gains back to town to sell them off is to Pathfinder. As we worked through our upgrade options, we kept turning back to that third slot for a large structure, and a plan began to form:

Allow settlements to place three large structures, as long as one of those structures is an Auction House.

This wouldn't guarantee that every player settlement would always have an Auction House, but a +0 is pretty cheap and worth taking advantage of the extra slot.

If allowing a third fully-upgraded large structure seems like too much, particularly if it makes those hoping to focus on creating a great market in their settlement feel like upgraded Auction Houses would just be too widespread, we could add a restriction that only 2 of the large structures can be upgraded.

On the flip side, if this gets everyone thinking that all settlements really need to have at least basic Auction House capability, then we could look at ways to give everyone something slightly less valuable than a +0 Auction House, perhaps a spot by the Tavern where only non-upgradable items can be bought or sold.

There are lots of ways to vary this idea up, but we'd like to hear from all of you before exploring any one direction deeply. Comments/questions/rants?
Auction House Upgrades is one of the last details we need to finish off before going to Zog. Here's what we're looking at implementing:

Non-upgradable items (generally meaning anything gathered or looted) can be sold at any Auction House, but upgradable items (generally meaning refined or crafted items) are restricted by tier and upgrade based on the Auction House's upgrade value:

+0: T2/+2
+1: T2/+3
+2: T2/+5
+3: T3/+1
+4: T3/+3
+5: T3/+5

The amount of time bids and offers last also increases as an Auction House is upgraded:

+0: 30 days
+1: 40 days
+2: 50 days
+3: 60 days
+4: 70 days
+5: 80 days


Edit 1: Edited the tier/upgrade numbers to correctly switch to T3 at +3.

I did in fact make this change for EE 15.
I made another quick edit to the rules for Leadership Challenges, clarifying that an inactive challenged leader who protests the challenge gives up the right to do any account reactivation options, not just the ability to block the demotion by logging in. It's not really a substantive change, since it was pretty clear the restriction was intended to say that going the inactive challenge route was risky and blocked other options. Still, better to be explicit in cases like this.
What I've seen in games like WoW is absent guild leaders replaced by any run of the mill member who went to customer service, and then could inherit an entire guild bank just for being the last man standing. While that isn't unfair in a healthy MMO, I think it would be unfair in the odd circumstances this game has found itself in. If you are ONLY talking about demoting leaders where there are other already appointed leaders to step in, that isn't nearly as concerning as the impression I had from some of the posts that gave me the impression that whoever had remained active would get leadership (which I mentioned in saying that people who hadn't been trusted with leadership roles shouldn't become leaders just as an outsized reward for staying active through the current difficulties. That kind of result would basically penalize company leaders for having given new unknown players a chance to prove themselves).

These kinds of worries are my biggest concerns with leadership challenges, so I took another look at the rules focusing on exactly these concerns. In the end, I'm convinced that there are enough safeguards in the system to provide as much protection as a player should expect, if not more. In a case where there aren't any remaining active leaders, the inactive leaders automatically win their protests, so they pretty much just have to respond to our emails to preserve their leadership. In addition, if the leadership does all wind up getting demoted, it's not necessarily the person making the challenge who will get promoted to leader. Instead, we'll work with the highest-ranked active members to set new leadership. That means that we're effectively going through the ranks, which is the closest thing we have in-game to a line of succession declared by the now-inactive leaders. For a company to go to an unknown player who was just given a chance to prove themselves, there would have to be no active members of higher rank interested in taking over. Since the original design called for charters that included succession rules, that seems like basically what players should expect to happen if they leave members behind.
I've posted the final rules for Leadership Challenges. The biggest changes made during a final editing pass were to explicitly state that leadership for founding companies is fully under the control of the settlement's owners and that an initial cleaning pass will be done on any challenged company to remove permanently banned leaders or deal with any other outstanding issues. Since the rules themselves include plenty of notifications and time for responses, I'm making these rules active immediately.
Bob, you gave a nice clear answer recently to how crafting figures into influence generation - every refining & crafting job completed gives exactly the same amount of influence regardless of Tier or amount produced. (please correct me if wrong here).

Turns out I oversimplified a little bit when talking about crafting, but that's largely correct. To explain that oversimplification, let me start by giving a quick overview of influence generation.

Actions that potentially count toward achievements (killing something, entering a special location, finishing a crafting/refining job) are first checked to see which achievements they match up with. Actions can match up with multiple achievements, like when killing a mob counts toward both kills of that specific kind of mob and kills with a particular type of weapon. Those achievements are then checked to see whether they generate influence Always or Once (there's a column in the public spreadsheet listing this for each achievement). In general, crafting, killing and interaction/event achievements generate influence Always while location and role achievements generate influence Once. One exception is the tutorial event achievement, which only generates influence once, since we didn't want that farmed for influence.

If the achievement generates influence Once, then it generates .33 influence when the achievement is earned. You can never earn influence for that achievement again.

If the achievement generates influence Always, then the amount of influence generated drops based on the level you're currently working toward (current level + 1, with current level possibly having gone up already since influence is calculated right after achievements are rewarded), or the maximum level for that achievement if you've already maxed out. The amount generated is 0.033 / (level^1.5). Higher levels in an achievement generate less influence, so new characters tend to generate influence faster for similar actions, but everyone generates at least some influence, even if they're maxed on the related achievements.

So, crafting/refining jobs don't grant any specific bonuses based on the amount or tier produced. The complication there is that tier technically can affect the amount of influence generated, but only because it decides (along with rarity) which crafting achievement the job counts against, and you may have achieved different levels for each tier/rarity achievement. For crafting/refining achievements, each plus is considered to be another level of that tier/rarity achievement, so the Weaver (Tier 1, Uncommon +3) achievement is really level 4 of the Weaver (Tier 1, Uncommon) achievement. As a result, the amount of influence generated for each crafting job tends to drop as you become more experienced, since you probably pick up those higher levels along the way.

Firstly, is it just killing mobs (and crafting) that generate influence or do other things that you *do* in the game also generate influence (like earning achievements for various things, completing escalation events, selling or buying things in the AH, gathering from nodes, etc)?

Only things connected to achievements generate influence, so most of the things you listed do generate influence, with the exception that buying/selling doesn't do so.

For any of these activities, is the influence generation as simple and straightforward as crafting, or is it more complicated with diminishing returns etc? (like less influence for the 988th goblin killed than the 8th goblin killed).

As mentioned above, there are diminishing returns, even for crafting, based on achievement levels.
Cole got Chitterwood up and running, and I just finished putting it through our standard smoke test to make sure all the basic functionality is working. Now to start putting all the changes through their paces on a real server!
We put together an official build for testing on our internal servers (known as Chitterwood), then ran into a bit of snag when we discovered that Chitterwood's main hard drive had joined the server invisible. We've replaced the drive and started the process of installing everything onto the new drive, but that's been a slow process. If we're not able to get it going soon, we may decide to take the build straight to Zog, with a temporary block on public access until we're sure it's in a good state for public review. We'd rather not do that, but we don't want to delay wider testing much longer, so we'll make a decision on that over the next few days if Chitterwood's not back up and running.

Fortunately, we were able to use this time to finish up the NPC placement and test to make sure it was working properly, fixing a few related bugs along the way. I've also passed out more of the structure kits, and we're roughly on schedule to get all of those passed out before EE 15 goes Live.
Stilachio Thrax
In fact, there are many things you buy with XP that do not do a very good job of explaining what they do- I'm thinking expendables primarily. Unless you hunt down the expendable on Goblinary, you have no idea what they really do before you spend XP on them. For vets, this is inconvenient, but it is a bigger issue for new players who may not know to look before they buy.

Agreed. Descriptions and tooltips are an area that's ripe for polish, and we've got several bugs filed in that regard.