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All posts created by Bob

Bob
Paddy Fitzpatrick
Still think the settlement should remain open and vulnerable until all buildings are repaired though so that the previous defenders can then go on the offensive and it shifts the burden to the conquerors to get the settlement back up and running and forces them to invest in it.

That's part of the purpose of requiring the attackers to build holdings around the settlement to actually claim it, so the defenders have another opportunity to prevent the complete takeover. I'll give some additional thought to whether more could be done here to make the post-victory period more interesting.
Bob
Vakiri
It sounds to me like this is going to get implemented, no matter what is said here about the possible down sides.

I suggest that any changes along these lines be available on the test server first so that the effects can be investigated there before any of the changes are made to the live server. I suggest that include using a back
up copy of the data from the live server on the test server so that any player currently active would have the
same resources, stats, levels, etc.

If that can't be done, then restoring the game from a back up after a severe data or disk loss isn't feasible, so it
would be a good test of that as well.

The update will definitely be put up on the test server first, and we're always prepared to use our standard backup and restoration capabilities.

The update itself will actually be less risky than most previous updates. In essence, most of the big changes come from the GM-adjudicated rule changes, with the update focused on adding just enough content and functionality to support the siege rules. The actual changes to the build are also all very low risk, touching systems that are both well understood and easily tested.
Bob
Zax
Midnight
I really like Bob's writing. Even when I'd prefer a different answer, I always feel like I've gotten a well thought out response. That's not just in reference to this thread, but many threads.

+1

Many thanks. Good to know all the efforts from my long-suffering editors and teachers wasn't in vain. smile
Bob
Duffy Swiftshadow
Except buildings you don't need are a waste of resources, especially for defense. If you need the extra defense you've already lost the battle which means either the building you built goes boom or if their is a change to the victory conditions they get a chance to keep the nice building you just made. Since the ability to craft a building requires winning the recipe lottery in large amounts by endlessly farming escalations (ideally low T1 to T2) your encouraging a boring grind just to add defense that doesn't really help you.

Settlement structures will provide different defensive advantages at different stages of settlement warfare, though it is a bit of a catch-22 that they'll also act as part of the incentive to attack in the first place (destroying some of the buildings, combined with making sieges relatively expensive, will help balance that out).

Even before a siege starts, having more structures will force the attackers to prepare higher upgrades of Siege Engines and Camps, otherwise they won't be able to damage the settlement at all. This delays the attack and makes it more expensive.

Once the siege engines are in place, the settlement's structures and settlement level will act as defenses, lowering the amount of bulk goods destroyed each day.

Once the bulk goods are gone, the structures will contribute to the total amount of structural damage that needs to be done before the settlement is overrun.

I do share your concern that we don't want the balance to feel like victory is inevitable once an enemy manages to place all six siege engines. The situation is somewhat helped by the fact that the attacker now has 6 spots to defend every day, and may have to defend them for quite some time. In fact, all the defending settlement needs to do with the current rules is overrun a single outpost in any of the neighboring hexes to block 1/6 of the incoming damage for the next day. There may be some other simple rule changes we can make that will slightly increase the difficulty for attackers as the siege continues, giving the defenders more hope of turning things around. I'll definitely give that some thought.
Bob
Bringslite of Staalgard
Holdings: If you want to encourage Holdings to be built and "plussed up" specifically, you will have to better balance the cost to maintain them with more tangible rewards. It has been proven that PVP tactics can easily overcome a high "plussed" Holding or outpost. Edit: Even with a less than 2 attacker to 1 defender advantage and "tactically" we have not even gotten started. Just not worth the effort/cost otherwise.

That's an interesting point. I'll take a look at beefing up the guards a bit for holdings as they get upgraded, think I can do something there pretty easily without going overboard.

Bringslite of Staalgard
Settlement Buildings: While we can roam about and train wherever we please, the high cost/effort to construct more buildings inside more settlements and the low population will be a "lame duck" venture. Every group alliance already has at least one spot that is pretty much maxed out for those training needs.

Yeah, my hope here is just to get some settlements that still have open spaces to consider a few additional buildings (including the smallest types) in order to add to the settlement's total defenses against sieges. Every building will increase the amount of structure damage that needs to be done before the settlement falls, and will lower the amount of bulk goods damage done each day during the earlier phase. You may be able to go train somewhere else, but buildings in your allied settlements don't count toward your own defenses. Gives structures a little more value and purpose than they have now, particularly the tiniest structures that are currently just decorative.

Bringslite of Staalgard
Incentive: Yes some groups do likely have(no logistical details yet) the capability to conduct a siege, though none most likely have an active player for each siege camp or holding, lol. What is the reward though? A ruined, flat, parking lot and a very pissed off group of players that can return the favor? A group that could, because "sloppy unfinished mechanics" disperse to 10 different settlements for support and still be a focused active group after it all? Seems less than useless measured against the cost and repercussions ingame and metagame. <–Company hopping in less than a few minutes, universal support everywhere as long as a player starved settlement will take you, excessive dead account influence problems here maybe? Build in some immediate tangible rewards for successful sieging. They could be bank looting. They SHOULD be capturing some valuable buildings, at the minimum. They could be a number of things but they have to be there.

I'm leaning very strongly toward letting a decent percentage of the buildings remain after a siege, or cost a bit of coin to repair/keep, and I'll just generally put some more thought into the whole incentives issue on each side. I do prefer carrots, but there's got to be enough stick involved here to keep settlement warfare from being profitable overall, and therefore gameable.
Bob
Mistwalker
Is this a sneaky way to reduce company hopping?

Hmm, what happens if the "leader" of a company leaves the company/settlement for a bit of PvP (or other reasons), do they still retain the leadership? If not, what happens?

Nah, there won't be any crackdowns on that kind of thing. Ownership will remain with the characters no matter where they go after the initial setup (as long as they remain or quickly regain active status), though obviously characters that can't get back into the original leadership spot on their own (i.e. doesn't have an alt ready to accept and promote) could run into issues waiting until a GM is available to put them back.
Bob
Tyncale
Thanks for the heads up, Bob. Callambea leadership account just changed hands, I will notify the owner to make sure the account is active.

I'll also be giving owners plenty of time to work things out, but I appreciate everyone's efforts to be prepared.
Bob
Tyncale
Bob, every time you explain why Settlement warfare is a good thing you seem to carefully tread around my argument that this game currently has no players.

Many effects that you describe above like "we are also hoping that settlements will build more structures" and "We also hope to see more Holdings and Outposts around settlements" will not happen because those settlements lack the players to do so.

What you write sounds logical, but you need a population for that. The few settlements that have a few people playing will not be Sieging one another, and they might not even bother with the abandoned settlements. There is no fun to be had because there are no participants.

The small player population is certainly a problem in many ways, and you're right that it limits the ability of many existing settlements to place much by way of defenses. That said, I'm always amazed at what the existing player base can do when it puts its minds to it. For example, I was pleasantly surprised when the penultimate 9 Gatherings were taken down in time. Admittedly, there are some pretty powerful positive incentives just to take down a Gathering in the first place, and I don't expect settlement warfare to cause the sudden flurry of activity that the Gathering challenge did. However, I also know there's a lot of effort being put into the game by multiple players on a daily basis, and even a small portion of that effort getting redirected (combined with some of the stockpiles that effort has already built up) should result in at least some additional holdings and outposts (or just upgrades to them). Maybe the holdings around some vulnerable settlements won't come from the settlements themselves, just from interested parties who don't want to see those settlements fall too easily. Maybe some structures could be provided in return for defensive treaties. The effort for these improvements doesn't necessarily need to come from the settlements most challenged by low population.

Nonetheless, I don't expect holdings and outposts and structures to start popping up like crazy, but I do think it's reasonable to think that some fairly empty settlements and surroundings will see at least some building go on. I also don't expect to see a ton of sieging, but I do believe that more than one settlement is both capable of a siege and will seriously consider one. If nothing else, at least the frustration for some settlements of always feeling like there's absolutely nothing they can do about whatever settlement is bothering them for whatever reason will be gone. Doing something about that settlement won't be a trivial effort, but at least the option will be available.


Bob
In terms of what we do after this update, for which many of the possibilities raised here have been very much on our minds for some time, we want to hold off on discussing that until the agency Lisa mentioned gets back to us with their findings and we have some time to discuss the possibilities with them. Those discussions could significantly affect where we need to focus our resources, so we don't want to have a separate speculative conversation here without all that information. As Lisa said in her blog post, we're hoping that will be happening quite soon.
Bob
Settlement warfare, even just the possibility of it, should bring several things to the game that have been missing for some time. Yes, there's a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, in that there are lots of missing or incomplete systems without which settlement warfare won't be perfect. However, there are also multiple systems in the game where one of the main reasons those systems don't feel right is that settlements ultimately can't be taken away from even a minimally active owner. We don't want its introduction to be too disruptive, but its absence has been felt throughout the game for far longer than we'd originally anticipated.

In particular, part of the underlying value in placing holdings/outposts, in keeping your settlement level high, in having lots of structures, even in having allies or just paid mercenaries, is in the defensive value of those things. If at the end of the day you know you're safe just because your settlement meets some minimal technical specs, then all those things are somewhat disposable.

We did consider just raising the requirements for being considered active, but that wasn't very satisfying. Many of the things we were tempted to raise (requiring holdings, needing a higher settlement level) ultimately just created settlement warfare on their own (essentially, take away someone's holdings and they can't meet those requirements). More importantly, any requirements we set just felt like they were forcing settlements down particular paths, and past a very minimum set of requirements, we never wanted to tell settlements what to do. Want to try to get by without holdings? If you can find a way to keep your settlement without them, more power to you. Want to shelter bandits? Tread carefully. Settlements can do whatever they want, pursue whatever path they want, as long as they can either defend the settlement or keep it from being attacked in the first place. Some choices would make it significantly harder to do so, nudging players toward certain choices, but only rarely forcing one choice over another.

That's one of the other really big things we'll get out of adding settlement warfare, which is better aligning player/settlement choices with the original intent of the game. Expanding an empire isn't supposed to be a simple question of providing a minimal stream of resources to it, but a much larger question of how that expansion fits in diplomatically, how it splits your alliance's attentions, and specifically whether or not that expansion makes it easier or harder to hold onto the empire. Even individual choices, like whether or not to rob that overloaded merchant, are supposed to take into account whether or not that action could threaten a settlement's existence, and can't until settlement warfare is at least a possibility.

There are also some more specific behavioral/economic changes that we should see once settlement warfare is in. For one, we're hoping that settlements in general will run at a higher settlement level, since that will be an important part of a settlement's defense. Raising the settlement level after a siege begins won't count toward the defenses, so it will be important to pick an appropriate level and stay there. For similar reasons, we're also hoping that settlements will build more structures, since that will be an important part of the defenses. Admittedly, if the structures can be claimed by a victor, then structures also create some incentive for aggressive neighbors to attack, but we'll balance the costs and benefits there to keep attacks from being constant.

We also hope to see more holdings and outposts around settlements, and for them to be higher upgrades (particularly the holdings), to slow down potential sieges from even getting started.

In turn, all of this should raise the general value of bulk goods, and should provide added incentive to craft more holdings, outposts and structures. It also provides entirely new items (Siege Engines and Camps) for companies/settlements to be gathering, refining and crafting toward, and even requires crafting some higher-tier saddlebags. Aggressive and mercenary companies will want to have siege equipment so they can attack when they find a target, while more defensive settlements may want it as a credible deterrent.

That's not an exhaustive list of all the advantages we've talked about internally or that have been brought up here, but the important point is that we do think the advantages will spread to multiple areas of the game and will impact what people see around the map on a day-to-day basis.