Author Topic: Discussion - Subscription Levels  (Read 2916 times)

De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #30 on: October 26, 2017, 01:52:21 PM »
True enough, but I was trying to answer your questions as directly and briefly as possible without digressing. I didn't want this thread to get bogged down in side discussions again.

But, to move on to waffling a bit about the subject, I think there are ways in which multiple numbers of characters can benefit a game:

Although higher numbers of characters might reduce emotional attachment to individual characters, it may also encourage people to rage less when they lose a character. They can always have back-ups. This could make the game a healthier playing environment. From what I've observed (over a long time of playing now), the thing that really pushes the anger button with players is losing a lot of land rather than having characters killed. Perhaps the fact that characters are relatively easy to replace is a good thing for the tolerance level of players?

The game probably requires a reasonable number of playable characters to make the family system work properly (however, whether it does work properly is another question). It's pretty important that players can craft a dynasty of parents, children, grandparents, or whatever, to allow the concept of multiple generations to work. It's also important for having the marriage/liason system work as it was intended.

Being able to control many characters means that players can have fresh starts under different names. You can have a family of troublemakers and malcontents, while also maintaining a good and loyal family. Personally speaking, I know I've used this aspect to do controversial things with 'black sheep' offspring of my dynasty.

And there are other positives I can think of too, but I won't ramble too far off the track.

I'm not claiming that it's all roses with being able to control large numbers of characters, but my feeling is that there are positives as well as negatives. In the past, it certainly has been a problem that we've had (a minority?) of players who use large numbers of characters to move armies in perfect unison and dominate and bully others. But my impression was that we don't really have that type of player any more, and then when we did have them they didn't tend to stay in the game for the long haul (conquered as much as satisfied them, felt they'd done the game, got bored and wandered off to their next playing grounds).


So we cushion the blow by ensuring actually relevant characters need never risk themselves due to a horde of faceless drones you can send out instead? Likewise if you are running a family system containing only your own characters, you are in the vision of Tom doing it wrong. Recall that was one of the reasons to have the trait system, to foster more links between characters. Indeed you have named the main reason large character numbers are detrimental, because they encourage people to go it alone and forgo actual player interaction in favour of the efficiency and reliability of doing it yourself.


And no, take it from one of the few players that purposely engages in warfare, for the most part wars are still won by those that have plenty of mindless perfectly coordinated characters. We might not have the complete extreme of entire empire sized realms having a single player military, but the most military accomplished realms tend to still have perhaps 2-3 actual players run the bulk of the army.


You are correct that all things have their positive as well as their negative, but I would suggest that the net effect in this case is largely negative. This is particularly so given Andrews statistics on just how few players avail themselves of higher tiers, yet just how much impact and resentment their is across the game world against it. I would argue the player anonymity from not forcing character to belong to the same family has likewise been used for poor play more often then not, but that is another topic.
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Cipheron

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #31 on: October 26, 2017, 03:33:41 PM »
It would probably be beneficial to remove character limits on free accounts or to increase the number of characters free players can have. However, if limits on the number of settlements a free player can control is still a thing, it might also be beneficial to remove or increase those limits as an 'and/or' with regard to character limits.

Yeah this would be a good first step that could be taken while still debating on what other changes to make, just remove the 3-settlement limit per character and make it 12 per free account and let that settle for a bit. The trick is not to make huge changes all at once without really thinking through how that's going to affect the viability of the game.

The main effect of removing "per character" town limits on the free account would be to reduce the pressure to spawn more characters so you can get your town limit. A free player currently has to make all their knights into landowners to get their 12 towns. If that was changed, then it might become more attractive to have only 1-2 landowners and have the other 2-3 knights working for other people. Since 2/3rds of accounts are free accounts, that would free up a lot of knights that people might be willing to play as pure knights or mercenaries instead of landholders.

« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 04:00:01 PM by Cipheron »

Foxglove

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #32 on: October 26, 2017, 03:43:30 PM »

if you are running a family system containing only your own characters, you are in the vision of Tom doing it wrong. Recall that was one of the reasons to have the trait system, to foster more links between characters.

Very much so. However, I think we're dealing with many things that interact in complex ways here, rather than it simply being the case that being able to play large numbers of characters is the reason for the family system not working as intended. After all, why wouldn't you create a family that also includes the characters of other players? There are no practical downsides to it. You can still create characters as you want (assuming sex is enabled). You can still name one of your own characters as your rightful successor. Marriage should be used much more than it is to secure alliances between realms too. There are no real reasons not to include the characters of other players in marriages and your family tree. Therefore, I argue that it's more to do with other aspects of gameplay. Such as the crap message system that discourages interaction and the difficulties with even tracking down other players to get them on your contacts list, to name but two. I once had one of my characters with the Ancient Blood trait put out an open call for a marriage partner with the same trait so that the Ancient Blood line could be propagated. Zero replies or offers. Why? You tell me. But I doubt it had anything to do other players wanting to maintain control. If I had my way, I'd make it so the only way that you could create any new character beyond your start up characters would be through a marriage between one of your characters and a character of another player. That would compel people to interact and eliminate single-player family trees. Mind you, consortiums of players could just make convenience marriages with no meaning just to create characters. It's a difficult nut to crack.

Indeed you have named the main reason large character numbers are detrimental, because they encourage people to go it alone and forgo actual player interaction in favour of the efficiency and reliability of doing it yourself.

You're absolutely right that it's detrimental for people to go it alone and not interact. But, as someone who's always played in realms that contain other players, I've got to say that at times you might as well be sitting in an empty room for all the players in the same realms interact. Of course, I'm not saying it's like that all the time. But realms with multiple players can shun interaction as much as those single-player realms. Again, I think other aspects of gameplay come into play. People often seem to find it difficult to find things to do and talk about.

And no, take it from one of the few players that purposely engages in warfare, for the most part wars are still won by those that have plenty of mindless perfectly coordinated characters. We might not have the complete extreme of entire empire sized realms having a single player military, but the most military accomplished realms tend to still have perhaps 2-3 actual players run the bulk of the army.

That doesn't surprise me. Taken as a whole, I don't think the bulk of players in this game are very interested in large scale warfare. From Day 1 (before Day 1, for that matter) players could be crudely split in to two groups - the builders/managers and the warriors/conquerors. The builders/managers have always outnumbered the warriors/conquerors. As you say, you're one of the few players who willlingly engages in warfare. Considering most players don't appear to be interested in war it doesn't bother me so much that armies run by 2-3 players tend to win wars, as much as it does what they do with that ability to win wars. Are they using it to dominate other players and control what others can and cannot do? Are they using it as an ego trip to say they're the best and they'll kick anyone who disagrees? Are they actively avoiding war with the other players (or groups) that are as good as them at war in favour of going after weaker targets? If yes to any of those, that's a negative.

You are correct that all things have their positive as well as their negative, but I would suggest that the net effect in this case is largely negative.

I'm much more ambivalent about it. Originally, as you know, the game was designed for players to have unlimited characters. I'm not convinced it would work in its current form if we gave everyone a character limit of - let's say - 4 characters without massive overhauls to gameplay.

Yeah this would be a good first step that could be taken while still debating on what other changes to make, just remove the 3-settlement limit per character and make it 12 per free account and let that settle for a bit. The trick is not to make huge changes all at once without really thinking through how that's going to affect the viability of the game.

The main effect of removing "per character" town limits on the free account would be to reduce the pressure to spawn more characters so you can get your town limit. A free player currently has to make all their knights into landowners to get their 12 towns. If that was changed, then it might become more attractive to have only 1-2 landowners and have the other 2-3 knights working for other people. Since 2/3rds of accounts are free accounts, that would free up a lot of knights that people might be willing to play as pure knights or mercenaries instead of landholders.

I agree. I lean toward thinking that the limit on settlements in free accounts is actually much more significant than the limit on characters. Although I do think the character limit for free accounts is too low as it stands.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 03:46:25 PM by Foxglove »
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Cipheron

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #33 on: October 26, 2017, 04:02:21 PM »
Ahh, but I just thought of a very real problem that could arise from the "per account" town thing. if you had 1 character with 12 towns then your other characters couldn't take any towns and if you then got them to take knight's offers and the Lord wanted you to takeover towns with them, you'd have to tell them that you can't do it.

Right now any hiring lord can rely on the fact that any knight can take at least three towns. So if we switched to a per-account towns quota then there would have to be some mechanisms to prevent those "can't take a town at all" knights from being an issue for knight's offers.  Perhaps it wouldn't be an issue very often but there is still a risk.

Quote
Although I do think the character limit for free accounts is too low as it stands.

Well switching to the per-account towns limit would free up characters. Right now the need for more characters is closely linked with getting your 12 towns. I'd solve that problem and see how things go before flooding the world with excess characters.

But like I said above, the risk is that you end up with knights who have taken knight's offers but cannot fulfill what their lord asks them to do. However, I think it's worth taking the risk and implementing the change, and if it causes big enough problems to want to reverse it, then the 3-towns-per-knight quota can be reinstated alongside the 12-towns-per-account limit, but players keep whatever towns they currently own without penalty.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 04:25:24 PM by Cipheron »

DemivarsVagina

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2017, 10:27:37 PM »
I'm a little new here, so I will likely be commenting in at least partial ignorance. Brace yourselves.


I come from Renaissance Kingdoms, where we had 1 character per account (and having multiple accounts was worth a ban). One of the key things there was that roleplay was heavily encouraged, partially because it had very few actual mechanics, but also because most people had only one main character (aside from "cheaters"). The characters required investment, you had to keep them fed to keep their stats up, you had to buy swords which could break, same with shields and spears (staves) and you could own 2 plots of farmland with 1 shop/business.


So I would argue that what we're really facing here is a lack of value placed on the individual characters, mainly because they all start out as knights/kings/etc. We're focusing on the nobility, when a player who we want to appreciate their character should come in as a peasant and work their way up. Because there is little progression placed on a character and you can have so many, it's only natural that the player's perspective on these characters (especially new players coming in from the modern era of online gaming) is going to be diluted.

With that said, this seems to be a multi-faceted issue. Part of this is the issue of coming in as at least a knight, part of it is the lack of anything to do unless you own land and soldiers (which eventually translates to war with little personal risk). So we have a lot of problems to fix before we really look at subscription levels, in my humble opinion. I have more I can say on this but I feel it's probably for a different post.


Side Note: Maybe we can make a subscription level to turn off these damnable CAPTCHAs on every post!

De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2017, 10:40:49 PM »
I'm a little new here, so I will likely be commenting in at least partial ignorance. Brace yourselves.


I come from Renaissance Kingdoms, where we had 1 character per account (and having multiple accounts was worth a ban). One of the key things there was that roleplay was heavily encouraged, partially because it had very few actual mechanics, but also because most people had only one main character (aside from "cheaters"). The characters required investment, you had to keep them fed to keep their stats up, you had to buy swords which could break, same with shields and spears (staves) and you could own 2 plots of farmland with 1 shop/business.


So I would argue that what we're really facing here is a lack of value placed on the individual characters, mainly because they all start out as knights/kings/etc. We're focusing on the nobility, when a player who we want to appreciate their character should come in as a peasant and work their way up. Because there is little progression placed on a character and you can have so many, it's only natural that the player's perspective on these characters (especially new players coming in from the modern era of online gaming) is going to be diluted.

With that said, this seems to be a multi-faceted issue. Part of this is the issue of coming in as at least a knight, part of it is the lack of anything to do unless you own land and soldiers (which eventually translates to war with little personal risk). So we have a lot of problems to fix before we really look at subscription levels, in my humble opinion. I have more I can say on this but I feel it's probably for a different post.


Side Note: Maybe we can make a subscription level to turn off these damnable CAPTCHAs on every post!

No just no. Read the Lore. Player character are a completely different species to the peasantry they lord over, a species in decline that must now rely on the inferior mortals to maintain the remanents of their civilisation. Knights simply shouldn't exist in this game in my opinion. They do because they did in BM, which is the game Tom made before M&F. In BM knights have a role, there is a recruitment system devised around their existence etc. Also BM has real character limits and very limited land.

The idea of progression is not a bad thing but I don't believe it needs to start at peasantry. Besides doing so would promote a upwardly mobile social hierarchy that seems to be the antithesis of medieval society.
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DemivarsVagina

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #36 on: November 23, 2017, 07:32:39 AM »
No just no. Read the Lore. Player character are a completely different species to the peasantry they lord over, a species in decline that must now rely on the inferior mortals to maintain the remanents of their civilisation. Knights simply shouldn't exist in this game in my opinion. They do because they did in BM, which is the game Tom made before M&F. In BM knights have a role, there is a recruitment system devised around their existence etc. Also BM has real character limits and very limited land.

The idea of progression is not a bad thing but I don't believe it needs to start at peasantry. Besides doing so would promote a upwardly mobile social hierarchy that seems to be the antithesis of medieval society.

I did actually read the lore sir. I'm discussing gameplay mechanics and how things look to new players who have barriers to entry and likely don't get a chance to really see the lore. We need to think about the process a player goes through that lasts about 3 minutes tops: Discovery, Registration, 1st attempt, Log-Off, Forget.

It's crucial to keeping players, and until we fix that, we're not going to fix the subscription model. You can quote lore to me all you want, but you're essentially shouting in a vacuum because the only people that actually need that information are not here.

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De-Legro

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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #37 on: November 23, 2017, 08:57:35 AM »
Thats great, so devise a system that works within the actual game world. Look I will be frank, the forum is a great place to come and see the same complaints rehashed again and again and again. Which is mostly pointless since Andrew and I were some of the first people to bring up the same short comings years ago when the game launched. Identifying the core issues is not what is lacking. Concrete implementable solutions, remembering that they need to be implemented by two devs that have full time jobs in addition to this game, are what is lacking.
« Last Edit: November 23, 2017, 09:41:49 AM by Andrew »
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Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« Reply #38 on: November 23, 2017, 10:28:02 AM »
I'm a little new here, so I will likely be commenting in at least partial ignorance. Brace yourselves.

I come from Renaissance Kingdoms, where we had 1 character per account (and having multiple accounts was worth a ban). One of the key things there was that roleplay was heavily encouraged, partially because it had very few actual mechanics, but also because most people had only one main character (aside from "cheaters"). The characters required investment, you had to keep them fed to keep their stats up, you had to buy swords which could break, same with shields and spears (staves) and you could own 2 plots of farmland with 1 shop/business.

So I would argue that what we're really facing here is a lack of value placed on the individual characters, mainly because they all start out as knights/kings/etc. We're focusing on the nobility, when a player who we want to appreciate their character should come in as a peasant and work their way up. Because there is little progression placed on a character and you can have so many, it's only natural that the player's perspective on these characters (especially new players coming in from the modern era of online gaming) is going to be diluted.

With that said, this seems to be a multi-faceted issue. Part of this is the issue of coming in as at least a knight, part of it is the lack of anything to do unless you own land and soldiers (which eventually translates to war with little personal risk). So we have a lot of problems to fix before we really look at subscription levels, in my humble opinion. I have more I can say on this but I feel it's probably for a different post.

Side Note: Maybe we can make a subscription level to turn off these damnable CAPTCHAs on every post!

Yes, characters aren't worth much right now, especially when you've just made them. There's no attachement to them yet, because they're only known to you and have no history.

You are correct, there isn't much to do if you're not a lord. This is why the first thing that happens when you join a realm is usually that you're given a settlement to manage, which will hopefully keep you interested long enough to get into the political side of the realm.

If anything, I'd say M&F suffers from paralysis of choice and the lack of a helping hand to guide people. Redoing the entire new arrival system for characters is on my todo list, but I'm not sure when that'll happen.

No just no. Read the Lore. Player character are a completely different species to the peasantry they lord over, a species in decline that must now rely on the inferior mortals to maintain the remanents of their civilisation. Knights simply shouldn't exist in this game in my opinion. They do because they did in BM, which is the game Tom made before M&F. In BM knights have a role, there is a recruitment system devised around their existence etc. Also BM has real character limits and very limited land.

The idea of progression is not a bad thing but I don't believe it needs to start at peasantry. Besides doing so would promote a upwardly mobile social hierarchy that seems to be the antithesis of medieval society.
Thats great, so devise a system that works within the actual game world. Look I will be frank, the forum is a great place to come and see the same complaints rehashed again and again and again. Which is mostly pointless since Andrew and I were some of the first people to bring up the same short comings years ago when the game launched. Identifying the core issues is not what is lacking. Concrete implementable solutions, remembering that they need to be implemented by two devs that have full time jobs in addition to this game, are what is lacking.

De-Legro, relax. Not everyone reads every page of a game when they start, and the fact that you're not the same as the people you rule over in this game is something that should be made more apparent when you create a character, especially your first few.

Also, the joys of this not being set on earth mean that "society" in game is whatever we make the game be.

All he's saying is that some obvious progression system or clear direction in what to do would be a good thing to add to the game. I agree. We can't expect a new player to know the best way to do that though, nor can we expect them to know how to implement it. That's up to us to figure out.

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