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All posts created by Bob

They're unprotected because they neighbor an unallied settlement. We wanted to make sure that settlements couldn't be surrounded by protected hexes, and therefore be unable to fight their way out. In retrospect we could have thrown something on them similar to what we eventually did with siege engines, allowing settlements to break protection by feuding the owners of any neighboring hexes, but there's also something to be said for just making it awkward to hold territory right next to an unallied settlement.

We do have a bug filed for making the reason a hex is unprotected clearer, and I've added a note to that bug report that this is one of the reasons we need to be clear about.
Previous owners can't access secure vaults unless A: their co has access to the new holdings vaults(i.e. not blacklisted), or B: Retakes and rebuilds a company holding that they can access.

plz correct if I'm mistaken, Bob. smile

I believe you're correct on that for holdings. We were fine with that because you could always retake the hex to regain access. For settlements, we gave everyone at least Withdrawal Only access to any of their own vaults, on the grounds that those were too hard to reclaim (and basically impossible at the time we implemented those rules).
The original design does in fact call for destroying 25% of everything in the vaults and turning things over to the victors. There's also some mention of the same for taking over settlements, though there's no mention for settlements of 25% destruction. There's also mention of cancelling any crafting/refining projects.

In some cases, we just didn't quite make it to the related work, in others systems were implemented in ways that will require some rethinking on how to do things (particularly true for crafting/refining, where cancelling a project early in someone's queue gets weird if they have other projects queued up somewhere else). The entire concept also raises some interesting questions. Can holding owners loot personal vaults in their own holdings? If not, will owners occasionally purposefully let another company "defeat" them just to grab things from someone's vault? If things are too lootable, do we need to put some limits on Thornkeep and other NPC vaults to keep those from becoming the default place for everything of any value? Should invulnerable items remain in safe/secure vaults to be reclaimable?

This is definitely something we want to revisit and work on at some point, but it's going to take a fair amount of work, will likely require a little bit of redesign/crowdforging when we do get a chance to look at it more closely, and will probably have to include lots of warning for all the folks who left stuff all over the place back when it was completely safe to do so.
I know the T3 restriction part would be extra code, though In the beginning I don't mind if the holding allows T3 crafting, it'll just be that folks would need to remind themselves about the risk in crafting something in a holding for over a week or a month in that they might lose it if the holding gets destroyed or captured (this case would need some thinking about).

Interestingly, refining/crafting projects will still finish up even if the building handling them is destroyed, and the results will still be deposited in the appropriate vault. As long as you have Withdrawal privileges, or re-establish them later, you can retrieve the results.
I kinda liked it to see an intermediate construction graphic when you were putting down a new structure. I may be a bit nostalgic here since I was the first person to actually see it in game when I put up the first Holding ever. smile

You'd still see those initial construction graphics. However, instead of the construction graphics being up for an hour, you'd run through all the stages during the minute that the character is "placing" the building. It would be very similar to placing a Freehold, where you see the model run through a construction cycle that ends with a completed building at the same time the character stops animating. That part isn't as problematic, because the bulk of it was heavily re-used (same models for most buildings), and because the NPCs aren't there during construction. We also wanted to preserve the minute delay there because it provides time to change your mind, or for someone to smack you and prevent you from finishing construction. However, once the minute is over, nothing can stop the building from completing construction, so it doesn't really matter whether or not that requires an additional 59 minutes to complete.

On the other hand, you wouldn't see the scaffolding go up around buildings when they're being upgraded/downgraded, which would instead happen instantly. That part was tougher because the NPCs remain during the upgrade/downgrade, and because each stage had to have specialized models.

I assume these intermediate graphics are now taken out?

Those graphics would be removed from the game, which would have some technical advantages like saving some memory on both client and server, and reducing download sizes. However, the graphics would still be in our working inventory and would be relatively easy to add back in. That said, it has become clear that there's a lot of polish work remaining (both code and art) to make a lot of those upgrade/downgrade models function properly.

Imo they do serve a game-function which is adding to the immersion/make belief of a MMO. I am not a fan of taking out anything that helps this. The world is pretty generic as it is.

Agreed, and that's a large part of why we'd like to revisit this later when we have more time. However, the current state of the code and art forces us to make a lot of compromises to make the upgrade/downgrade models work. In particular, without some code changes, it often forces us to place NPCs in boring positions that are safely away from any parts of the model that change during the upgrade or upon completion. One of the nice fixes you'll see in EE 15 is that we've fixed the camera to work better on raised models (no more staring at your feet when climbing stairs), and that allows us to do things like put NPCs up on various platforms and hills for these dynamic buildings, instead of all standing at the entrance. Making this change will allow us to put the NPCs in more interesting and appropriate locations for each building upgrade. Since buildings spend a lot more time in their completed state than in their construction/upgrade/downgrade states, it's better for overall immersion to focus our attention on making those states look good than on making the less-often-seen stages look acceptable. Later, when we can do it right, we won't have to make those compromises.
Father Bronin
Is this a short term solution/experiment or expected to be a permanent feature?

Kind of a medium/long term solution that would get revisited when we have the time and resources to make Construction a balanced, polished, and most importantly fun feature. It's one of those concepts that has a lot of potential promise, but where partial implementations are problematic, so we'd like to simplify things and remove it until we're able to focus on it properly.
As we've been working our way through all the structure upgrades, we ran into some technical issues with the way the upgrade process moves through various construction models. It's all solvable, but the more we talked about it, the more we started to wonder if the best answer was just to allow "instant" upgrades and downgrades, avoiding the problems altogether. We actually have multiple systems in place now (DI, Influence, Upkeep) that dis-incentivize quickly upgrading and downgrading very often, and there's not really anything interesting going on gameplay-wise during the construction delays. The longer delays don't seem as necessary as they once did, at least not unless we eventually add some kind of gameplay aspect to longer construction processes, at which point we could sort through the issues and put them back in.

So, I've tried an experiment with cutting upgrade/downgrade times down to 1 second (practically "instant"smile and reducing the construction times down to 1 minute (which matches the building animation time, like it does for placing Freeholds, Cottages and Studios). So far everything works just fine, and it certainly makes placing multiple buildings and upgrading them multiple times a lot more convenient. If any of you can think of ways this could be gamed, or interesting gameplay situations this would remove from the game, let's talk about them here or through If it sounds good, it will ship as part of EE 15.
I've been thinking about adding at least a couple more holdings sometime after EE 15, particularly the Manor and Hermitage since we have nearly-done art for those. The only thing tricky in the descriptions above would be any kind of T3 restriction, since that would require some new code work. There's also a potential design issue since holdings have been restricted to refining projects up until now, so we'd have to think it through to make sure crafting projects were really appropriate. The more we can re-use art, the more it's possible for us to quickly create additional outposts and holdings, as long as their core functionality is similar to existing outposts and holdings. In other words, it's pretty easy to have a new outpost produce a different mix of bulk goods, or use a different mix for holding upkeep, or provide a different trainer, or offer a different crafting/refining facility. Not trivial, but reasonable in terms of bang for the buck. Just a question of where it fits in priority-wise.
We've been too swamped with EE 15 to think about this much, but agree that we should do something. We'll start putting some thought into it when we're closer to getting EE 15 out the door.
Isn't the +0 Keep already in place? Several of us thought that we would be receiving the +1 Keep. Has that changed? Thanks for clarifying.

The Keeps currently in all the player settlements are effectively +0 Keeps, but they're static (like the Bank or Tavern) and therefore can't be upgraded. In switching them to dynamic structures, we have to replace the static Keeps with a slot for placing a Keep. We could have done a bunch of extra coding work to automatically place each settlement's initial dynamic +0 Keep, but that would have been quite a bit of work that would only have been useful this one time. Instead, since I'm already handing structure kits out to nearly all the settlements anyway, it was easier to just give everyone a Keep Structure Kit +0 as part of that distribution. All settlements that got the standard structure kit distribution for EE 11 will also get a Keep Structure Kit +1 as part of this follow-up distribution. Those that didn't get the EE 11 distribution won't get a +1 Keep for free, but they will get the +0 for free to replace their current static Keep.