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All posts created by Flari-Merchant

A few things:

1. The fact that everyday play options are both lacking and less than truly varied is why you see such absentee, rich advanced players. They have been there and done that until it has gotten old and a bit stale. Or, Unfun anymore. Not to mention frustration about things like banking and combat bugs.

2. At least my point of view is that I wish Paizo resources were focused more on making general play fun. Rather than trying to keep tweeking a system of structure and settlement management that is clearly not very good for a low pop game or one that is very open/facilitating to new blood being able to stake a claim in the game.

3. Without an aggressive plan for structure degrading and collapsing, the world will continue to be full of Holdings. A new tax and limit on Influence doesn't address any real significant move toward freeing up those hexes. They will just make more companies filled with more "imaginary characters that earn Influence fast at lower power levels.
@ Rynnik

I can totally agree that a very firm requirement to be active(and thus actually somewhat present) in the game world should be a must if you want to have your Holdings and Settlements to not crumble to dust.

Can't agree that hauling around bulk resources is not terribly boring, but your take on that is ok too. smile

Thanks for the perspective of an "Old Timer" coming back and looking around.
How difficult would it be to turn "Bag of Holding" into an actual object/container that holds things so it could be traded and or banked with items within? Rather than just an encumbrance bonus.
The easy answers to this are more NPC doled out Quests that are available either at only NPC settlements or allowed at both player(by player permission) and NPC settlements.

Make some of them varied such as message delivery (contact this NPC in this place).

Keep and add some Kill #X number of these mobs, add "bear this message/package" but also make many of them repeatable after server reset.

Make them related to the NPCs that are located at related structures, i.e. Temple NPC wants X skeletons killed, reward is a Divine scroll. Blacksmith wants message or package delivered to X blacksmith a ways away, reward is some appropriate refined materials.

Get creative.

Make a lot of them. This will add function and a little "life" to various NPCs.

I know that "Dailies" are usually looked at with scorn but that is usually because they are required to maximize accumulation of faction points or credits. This could be just about reward and busy work for now. Not required but something to do for tangible gain.
What you appear(to me) to have now is kinda of a large convoluted machine that "supposedly" works great but seems to rely on a large or at least medium numerous active population. No real evidence that it will work well at any scale except that it seems VERY chore-like and burdensome/tedious(fun killing) on small populations of players.

You also have a huge glut of holdings held by a very few groups that far outshines what they need to run their organizations. It is human nature to grab and collect and have more than we really need, for whatever reasons and by whatever means. The current system fully allows for that to happen. Also no one wants to role play a peasant and VERY FEW want to RP a vassal.

A flawed direction, in my humble opinion, is staying the course to keep on looking for small fixes to the large conglomerate mechanism to try and make it work right. At least while the population is so low that it really can't work well at all in a fun way.

While you have such a small population, it should just be shut off. Everything but the most essential functions, if there really are any.

Set a hard limit to holdings. Collapse those that are unattended. Having to attend to settlements and holdings will bring balance back. Make the hard choices that lead to the better game.

Edit to Add: Otherwise what you have is players or groups of players that come into your world, build things, move on perhaps to come back again (and perhaps not) and thus clutter up your world and the opportunities of the players that are actually active in your world.
I get the impression that there isn't actually a problem yet. Without asking you to divulge info for "Fog of War" and security reasons, are there certain multiple groups that are having a hard time being able to lay down enough Holdings to get where they need to?

In short, can you better explain what the current significant issues of unlimited Influence are without "outing" those who have contacted you?
I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that it has been very difficult, if not impossible, to find an unclaimed hex for quite some time now. If all those hexes are being put to good use, whether for bulk resource production or strategic reasons or whatever, that's great. Players can always PvP to take those hexes for themselves. That said, it sets a pretty high bar for claiming territory, so it would be nice to have just enough of a disincentive to ensure that all claimed hexes are serving a reasonably important purpose, if only to keep it from feeling like the only reason PvP was necessary was to claim something the owners aren't using but just didn't bother to tear down.

The larger problem is related, in that any group that is reasonably successful at PvP is currently incentivized to spread as far as it can. The upfront investment in holdings and outposts is minimal, the PvP may or may not churn some gear, the outposts can generally produce enough bulk resources to keep the holding from falling down, they can probably deal with any feuds fairly easily, there are few if any ongoing costs to holding the territory, and any tiny benefit (even just the added security of some buffer DI) of holding the territory is multiplied by the amount of time spent holding it, which is likely indefinite. The unlimited influence has to go somewhere and the calculation virtually always favors expansion. With few (or no) unclaimed hexes, that expansion inevitably eats into the territory of other settlements, reducing their ability to support themselves.

Again, all of that is fine if there are mechanics ensuring that expansion is more than just a "why not" calculation. It's not our goal to protect everyone from meaningful PvP, but we do want to protect people from PvP if it's only happening because we didn't provide balanced advantages and disadvantages. The best we've currently got is that expansion increases the number of unprotected hexes, but not 1-for-1, and the degree of coordination necessary to take advantage of that is fairly high, and favors the group that already proved itself by taking the territory in the first place.

I won't speak to how much this is actually happening, in part because it would be difficult to know whether any given expansion would be considered meaningful or not by most players. I'll just say that some territory has changed hands in recent times, and the current game mechanics incentivize more of the same without the checks and balances that make such PvP feel meaningful. There are certainly other options for providing those checks and balances (Spreading Escalations would have been a start), but this is the quickest option we've come up with so far.
Sorry for quoting such a long post.

Seems to me that all of these issues stem back to how complex the entire system has gotten coupled with how easy it is to create "imaginary" bodies to fill an unlimited number of Charter Companies.

Again, all about unchecked "creation of resources". Imaginary Characters are another "resource" that is easy to create. Once set up, it is quite easy to set them up generating real usable resource types in the game. Without any real checks on this natural evolution of behavior.

That is where your real problems are and until that is addressed nothing will work right or balance whether real populations are large or small.
Not trying to be contentious here but just trying to understand the current issue better. Even that there may be one where until now I did not think there really was one.

When you write:
"We're not so much looking to free up many hexes or settlements, or really even slow the growth of any active settlements. The goal is just to balance out the advantages and disadvantages of expanding to make it a more meaningful choice, where right now we almost entirely incentivize expansion. It does seem likely that just about any system we came up with to achieve that would result in at least some groups pulling back a little bit, but we can scale the effect to minimize that."
I get the impression that there isn't actually a problem yet. Without asking you to divulge info for "Fog of War" and security reasons, are there certain multiple groups that are having a hard time being able to lay down enough Holdings to get where they need to?

In short, can you better explain what the current significant issues of unlimited Influence are without "outing" those who have contacted you?
You don't need as dynamic a system and as UNFUN taxing as you think you need.
I propose something that WON'T cheese off settlement leaders and players while keeping "Bad Actors" in a weaker state.
Simple put, have all settlements have a base support of 14, each hex of there core 6 gives one support level,
Any additional hexes mean jack all.
Bad actors tend to be kicked from a settlement so they would auto drop to the support of level 8.

It would also remove the UNFUN of bulk resources.

I like this elegant solution, to a situation that is just too mechanically heavy now to be justified by the current pop levels. Especially seeing as larger pop levels look like they will be real world years away in reality.
Well I think that we all added(back in the day) to the pressure to encourage characters to polarize to established settlements.

I also think that it has proven to be a penny wise, pound foolish angst since there are not any masses of homeless characters.

Something that again, feels like it would make sense if the world was crowded but(with the world empty) turned out to be very burdensome, bothersome and unnecessary.

Until such a time as the world does become crowded, I feel like this system will heavily contribute to the factors that slowly kill the game off.

When I played the game, I went from an important co leader of a single settlement, to sole leader of a settlement, to sole leader/player of multiple settlements… That just got too annoying to bother with.
Thanks, Bob! I am excited to see how that works out.

There was mention, some time ago, about maybe being able to leverage art assets from developments in parallel game systems based on Paizo IPs like KingMaker. Is that still an option that could help in some way?