Author Topic: The Next Big Step for M&F?  (Read 1657 times)

Andrew

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The Next Big Step for M&F?
« on: July 25, 2018, 11:13:37 PM »
Hello everyone,

I've been thinking for several days now what I want to work on next, as a "big project", for the game, and I've not really been able to reach a solid conclusion. A lot of that I think stems from not being certain where the game should end up. Is M&F a strategy game with a side of RPG and city-building, a city-sim with a helping of turn-based strategy and roleplay, or a role playing game with city building and military aspects in it's bag of holding?

Now, I do have plans for what I'll do next, namely taking another go at finishing Places, as well as implementing the GameRequest System in more places in the game, but past that, I need your help in understanding what you see Might & Fealty as. Maybe it's one of the three I listed above. Maybe it's something else entirely.

Please let me know, both what you see it as/use it as, as well as how I can make it a better experience for you.

Thank you.
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AlfaVita

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2018, 12:10:02 AM »
I think for a more minor thing how about when you march an army over a land you can choose whether you want them to eat from supplies or the land since it's kind of a pain going over a rather weak area with a large army and it becoming well.. worse off than it already was. You also mentioned land-range granting of estates, that'd be nice as well. I'd also say change the way contacts work, make it easier to get in touch with someone that isn't apart of your realm. There's also the fact horses consume food, food that humans eat, which is mostly untrue as most horses eat hay (unless you want to say said space was going to be used to make food for everyone else but the horses were there, but that's kind of dumb). That'd all be super helpful, but all of that isn't too major.


For major things? I don't exactly know, and with the game I take it as a roleplaying game with aspects of military and building.

Cipheron

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2018, 01:14:58 PM »
First up, horses eating food that humans eat is realistic, it's just abstracted. You can feed horses on pasture or hay (which is just dried pasture plants), but that pasture could also raise goats, sheep and cows. By feeding horses, you miss out on the raising of meat animals, or the planting of food crops - some food crops end up being used to feed animals too, when pasture is not sufficient. Keeping 100 horses means raising 100 less cows, or having 200 people's less worth of grain crops to eat directly.
~~~
As for big projects, I'd say the best way would be to focus on a goal for the game and see how the current game doesn't meet those goals, then adjust or build systems that support that goal using a multi-pronged approach.

Firstly, consider the concept that this is primarily a strategy game. That suggests the goal should be conquest. But a pure conquest focus isn't really compatible with the "persistent world" focus. Most conquest-oriented games run multiple servers and/or have periodic resets. That's because conquest-oriented games are focused on a particular "time period" - the planning and execution of military plans. However, Might and Fealty is a persistent world, so it needs fun things to do, in both peace time and war time. It thus, cannot just focus on the military/strategy side of things. It has to have cool things that happen in the peacetime as well as the wartime.


"Persistent World" is the key thing about Might and Fealty. So, when you do "Thing A" the focus always has to be on "what happens next".Say, I've got a paid account, and i take over a whole nation of 15 provinces due to other players slumbering. Now tell me "what happens next?". The cool things include:
- building up a large city using food trade from the other towns
- developing the towns as a whole
- builidng up troops in the region
Ok, so say I did those things? Then what happens next? I can recruit new knights, however giving away land means losing the big city I spent time and effort buiding up. Or, I could fight wars with my neighbors, but the only point of that is to accumulate more towns. That just feeds into a bigger army, a bigger capital, but I have the same issues as before, except now it's a little less efficient and more time-consuming.

~~~

Well, here's an idea on how to smooth over one or two of those issues - a trade system rework, that includes bi-lateral trade agreements and uses the system to implement taxation of resources by the new capitals system.


First idea is reciprocal trade routes. With that, you'd offer say "3 wood for 1 metal". The trade offer would go from one character to another, and could be altered and returned. As soon as both parties agree on the same terms, the trade agreement is established. Additionally, ever trade agreement (including unilateral ones) would have a "limit" on the amount of units. This would be specifiable either as a raw number, or a percentage, and would be separate from the actual agreement part. So in the wood for metal agreement, the wood side could independently decide "30 units of wood" as their limit, and the other side could say "10% of metal production" as their limit. However, both sides could view the limits the other had set - but for that percentages would be converted to a raw number.


Also, have trade links remember how much amount or percentage the player originally specified. It's a bit silly that if there's one bad harvest due to a population crash that the trade transport never recovers. The settlement should remember the actual orders you gave. Sure, there could a temporary reduction, but trade links should gradually recover to the original amounts if and when there's surplus production, so you'd need to store the current level and "goal" levels separately. Having to go back and remind the settlement leaders of your original orders isn't a good gameplay feature.


The second idea is Taxation. Say realm capitals can specify a taxation level of each resource towards the capital. And this taxation replaces the existing bonus-production built into the Local Seat building and the like. The taxation would be implemented as a set of automatically-generated trade links, so those paying the tax could view the details via the Trade screen. The goal of doing this would be to streamline management of realms/subrealm resource coordination, but also to make it more beneficial to have vassals. Those vassal lands will automatically generate some resources for the capital, meaning the Lord no longer needs to hoard so many settlements themself, but can still build a reasonable capital.

Similar to the reciprocal trade links above, a vassal knight could use the Trade screen to lower the % amount of some tax they're willing to pay to the capital. this would effectively be cheating on your taxes, and there could be a method for the Lord to work this out. However, the "tax cheat" amount should be adjusted along with the capital's tax rate. So, if the tax rate is 10%, then a knight could cheat and lower their payment to say, 6%. This is one reason the other party only sees 'amount' and not what % you set. If the tax was later raised to 12%, then the 6% should be raised proportionally to 7.2%, to allay suspicions of being a tax cheat (allow trade limits to have an option to be a "linked" amount that automatically changes proportionally to the other side's limit, and you turn this feature on for taxation). The Lord could in fact work it out if they arrive with a Prospector and work out that the local production levels don't match what's being paid in taxes.

A last idea would be that capital Seats store surplus wealth in them (they act as a treasury). This wealth would be used for a few of things: use wealth to pay transportation costs for different resources, give more use for wealth-generation buildings, and make it easier to collect wealth when needed.

~~~

A final idea, which is more of an additional possibility is that in the rework, leave open the possibility that manufactured resources can be traded. Then later, you do a rework on manufactured goods / town inventory/armory etc. e.g instead of the blacksmith making some generic "blacksmith stuff" you need to actually choose what it's making, and can possible say "make nothing" to minimize resource use. Then, axes, spears etc can be imported, exported, traded for, etc. This could lead to far higher levels of settlement-specialization, customization and flavor, while also setting up a player-driven market system. Another possibility would to have individual building upgrades/tiers, in such a way that it encourages towns to be more specialized.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2018, 07:55:35 PM by Cipheron »

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2018, 12:32:58 PM »
Alright, so I've been following Discord discussion and reading the replies here and thinking about this, and this is what I'm thinking.
Might & Fealty, at least from what I've encountered is mostly a platform for Role Playing. It's about the characters, who they are, where they're from, what they've done, etc. 

How can we improve role playing and make this a game that encourages cooperative storytelling (as such role playing is)?
  • Change how new players arrive to the game. How they're first welcomed into the IC world. Idea: "Gateway Cities". This would require Places, initially, and later Complexes (to be really good), but it would remove the automatic association of knight hood upon arrival. You would still be able to become part of a realm, possibly fairly quickly, but it'd be something the player initiates. Gateway Cities, as I'm calling them for lack of a better term, would mostly be capitals, but it's possible I'll run a neutral, GM one as well, where multiple realms or lords or guilds or whatever, could openly recruit as well as assist new players. Places, and especially player complexes, would allow you to very thoroughly immerse someone in the lore. We'll want a secondary, non-lore heavy way though as well, as an alternative, I think.
  • Add in support to conversations to properly add and remove people, as well as take a detailed look as to how it functions and document it somewhere (I've a pretty good idea in my head, but...)
  • Finish Places, setup dynamic conversations for you "locally" wherever you happen to be, so it's easier to have walk-in/walk-out roleplay awareness.
  • Add support for multi-user activities and have them take place at a Place or Room or City or Region or whatever.
  • Guilds, religions, associations, etc.
  • Finish publications. Add books and flyers. Tie publications to either a building or place (either is doable, as the game tracks every building built everywhere individually). Building a repository should be a thing.
However, M&F does have people who enjoy the military aspect of the game, but the general consensus is that it needs fixed. Here's my ideas for that.
  • Tweak the map to have more natural borders. If a river runs through the edge of a region, why doesn't the region stop at the river? Mountains should be dangerous and slow, if you're not on a road.
  • Add more map. Maybe add too much map. Add so much map that it's always an option to just go build an empire somewhere. (after we tweak how food supplies work anyways)
  • Require bridges to either need mutual consent from neighbors OR military action--Why ask, when you can just make your soldiers build one? If one is built by force, it should be something you hear about though.
  • No more First Ones leading soldiers. Directly anyways. Mortals can be commanded to go to a location, and you can plot their course, but there needs to be a way to have soldiers clashing while keeping it fun(ish) on both sides. At the least, it shouldn't feel like one side doesn't have an opportunity to respond.
  • Sieges. So very much sieges. It's too quick to take settlements now. A well fortified city should be a massive pain for an attacking army. It shouldn't just be an option to starve them out in a real life week. Rework how fortifications are factored when we have sieges though. A wall at 100% is, well, a wall. A wall at 90% might have a hole in it, with a lot of soldiers guarding it. But a wall at 50%? Pfft. It's half a pile of rubble at that point. They need to be investments though, and it should be a thing to only minimally damage a wall. Castles and fortresses are WAY too easy to build in M&F, and historically, could bankrupt entire kingdoms during their construction, which could last upwards of a decade. While I think 2.5 real years might be a bit much (by at least a few months :P), these should definitely be long-term things. Costly to build AND repair.
  • Home-field advantages. Soldiers, especially local soldiers, should be more effective overall. Not only do they know the land better, it's the land they're from. On the flipside, "away game" soldiers should take a noticeable hit at effectiveness. If it's more than a few regions away, what do they have to gain themselves?
  • Tie in Places. Bridges upgradeable with towers and gates? Smaller forts outside settlements?
  • Rework supply. Sure, you could steal from the countryside, but this shouldn't be the standard, and it should be something that pisses people off (rather than, "that's just how the game works"). Add military supply buildings, make them not contribute to the economy, but act as a means to allow soldiers of the realm or a sub realm or even specific lords to funnels supplies from them to it. I feel like supply line should be somewhat automatic, overall though.
Past that, the economy does need looked at.
  • Trade changes. It shouldn't be always instant, there should be both time and delay involved. And part of that also means we can make the map more interesting and lived in (one of it's biggest flaws, honestly). Trade with a region more than a region or two away should take time, and I'd like it to generate actual actors on the map. Caravans transporting the goods back and forth. This would also mean you'd need to have a route, and could be used to force the build up of port cities (as we could make that a transition that isn't automatic).
  • There should be some sort of ledger of what trade changed how when and when new trades are added, etc. Might just do this in a txt file the game writes to though, to be honest.
  • Rework trades to understand what percent of a resource was sent, and add fail conditions to them. So if you send 100 food of your original 1000 food to a place, the game realizes that if you have less than like 600 of it left, that it should drop it to 10% of whatever it has, rather than whatever it does now. And that if you have less than 300 people, pause it altogether.
  • I do kind of like Cipheron's tax idea. It keeps it within the control of hte players without forcing it on people. Hm.
  • Rework equipment to be specific items created rather than man hours stored. Allow people to tweak what is made. Add more items for variety, and enforce resource requirements. Like Cipheron says above, this would make these things directly tradeable. Very tempted to add a subtle, slight variation to things as well, as to how effective items are. Hm. I'd like to do that without a table that has a hundred million rows tracking every dagger in the game though. :\ Not that I think the server would care, just a personal preference for me. Hm.
Thoughts thus far? Comments? Concerns? Please share.
I'll probably work on Places next though, to see if I can finish them.
  • Realms in general need finished. The entire law system, while existing, does nothing and can't be interacted with.
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Foxglove

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2018, 03:33:05 AM »
It might be a good thing to decide once and for all whether we want this game to primarily be about relationships between characters, storytelling and such. Or whether we want it to be a strategy wargame. I've increasingly come to believe that it can't be both at the same time (at least, not in its present form).

The problem is that if we have both aspects running alongside each other, we get the strongly motivated wargamers effectively dominating the way the world develops and occupying the upper level positions of power. While the players that aren't really interested in the military aspects just have to roll with the punches. We've seen this time after time with the various strong military powers that have risen and fallen during the life of the game. It's them who control which realms live and die. Faced with the wargamers, the other types of players effectively become vassals to them or just get bored/disillusioned and leave the game.

As I've said many times in the past, when Tom was developing the game it increasingly seemed to become very focused on the strategy game aspect at the expense of everything else. Pretty much to the point that it became a full-on strategy game. Which was a million miles away from the way he originally pitched the game way back when on the Battlemaster forum when he suggested he was more interested in creating a game where politics was the most important aspect, rather than a game that was essentially an evolution of Battlemaster.

 If we're going to move to soldiers not being directly led by First Ones, it feels like we're trying to fundamentally change the wargame aspect so that this becomes a much less intense experience (in terms of demands on playing time to fight wars). If so, then:
  • Slow the pace of war down very significantly so that it gives everyone a chance to participate, whether they're checking in once a day or 6 times a day. Perhaps make it so that armies move at a pace of one or two regions per real life day. By making it so you can fight a war effectively with a slow-ish playing speed it makes it accessible to greater numbers of players, including the casuals.
  • Scrap the supply lines completely. Seriously, what fun do they actual add to the game? How much fun is it to need to have characters run supplies of food followers out to keep armies in the field? Who actually enjoys running a logistics supply chain?
  • This is really radical - probably too radical - but scrap trading completely. How many players have ever got much out of trading? If you step back from the fact that constant supply trading was a key concept of the game development, what is it actually adding to the game? Nothing, I'd say. How many new players have you ever encountered who, when it's explained to them that they'll need to convince other players to send them resources to build up their settlements (or told them that they have to send some of their resources to others) have ever responded enthusiastically? Constant supply trading exists only for two reasons: constructing higher level buildings and training better equipped soldiers. If war is becoming a bit less intense, a bit more abstract, then we don't need the trading. The fun aspects of the game are the building up of settlements, the training of different types of troops, and sending them out to fight. Constant supply trading isn't fun and very little trading between players actually takes place. In the place of trading we could just make realms have something like abstracted supply tokens (based on the amount of territory they own) that can be assigned to specific settlements within the realm to create different sizes of settlements. Then it would become more about players politicking their way in to ruling the key settlements within a realm. More about building relationships, less about messing about with supply chains.
Alongside this, if we're serious about making Might & Fealty more about roleplaying and co-operative storytelling, the game desperately needs activities for characters to participate in that are supported by mechanics. It needs a way to help people tell smaller stories. We need dueling. We need tournaments. We need ways to hold social events like feasts, hunting parties, weddings, actual questing that has some purpose to it. Basically, we need ways to tell the stories of everyday life. It won't do to say that people can write this stuff themselves without mechanics. Most people come to a game expecting things to be supported by game mechanics to a certain extent.


While we're at it, if we are making the wargaming aspect less significant and demanding on playing time, we should look at all of those things that are in the game purposely to make it more difficult and time consuming for powergamers (e.g. that you have to individually select the equipment load for each soldier). If we're trying to create a more level playing field where everyone has a reasonable chance in wars, we shouldn't need those aspects of the game to do it. It should be the nature of the war fighting itself that's changed so that there are no advantages to logging in more than - let's say - once a day to fight your wars.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2018, 03:43:27 AM by Foxglove »
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Cipheron

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2018, 08:37:33 AM »
ework equipment to be specific items created rather than man hours stored. Allow people to tweak what is made. Add more items for variety, and enforce resource requirements. Like Cipheron says above, this would make these things directly tradeable. Very tempted to add a subtle, slight variation to things as well, as to how effective items are. Hm. I'd like to do that without a table that has a hundred million rows tracking every dagger in the game though.

Avoid "subtle" variations. There's no point to them, because they have 0% impact on how people play. Rather than intricate, obscure tables of information, top-class game design focuses onlarge, granular abstractions that are clearly communicated to the player, and are affected by, and affect, choices the player makes.

For example, a much more cool way to vary weapons would be to implement types of metal: bronze, iron and steel varieties. The most abstract way to implement this would be to have three types of minable deposits: coal, iron and copper (just abstracting the tin needed for bronze away completely). To make the top-level material Steel, you'd need to combine a source of Coal with Iron, forcing trade if people want the best material in the game.

Then you'd have real meaningful decisions to make. you could have troops with iron chainmail, wooden shields and bronze-tipped spears, to try and make the best of the resources you have available. You might not even need a different database field to fit this in, use some bits from the item type field to be the material.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2018, 08:47:27 AM by Cipheron »

Andrew

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2018, 03:33:39 PM »
Variations in metal was something I talked with Weaver about a long time ago as something to possibly add. Along with changing how items were made. Making it more interesting. I don't know how I feel about it anymore, but I'm not going to remove it as a concept. My main concern is the mixing of resources bit. If anything, I'd say we go a step towards fantasy metals that appear very rarely. Some ideas are here: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FantasyMetals We could always just make up our own, too. Weavium, anyone?

I'm not against adding fuels as a resource, with the option to build a charcoal burner in order to convert wood to fuel, though.

The main problem with the economy system is that it's straight up something you can just ignore. Which I'm not saying you should be forced to be intimate, but if we want to push towards politics, we need things to create political strife.

If it's an idea we like, I can figure out the database part of it later. I'm pretty good at figuring that stuff out, normally.

That said, I'm feeling something for adding activities in. So, question: which one should I add first when I do add them? Don't worry about the extra work for them, I just want to know what people think the first one needs to be.

Lastly, if there was to be a GM event or faction or something, what would you have it be? Feel free to be as wild as you want, I'm looking for some world-event to generate activity and interaction.
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cred

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2018, 12:29:18 AM »
Gear wise, well it depends if you want to add new slots. I think swords should become backup weapons similar to short swords and maybe add an extra slot equipable with either horses or shields.

I have no problem with adding fuel as a resource neither tbh. Either from charcoal or coal mine. Maybe even replace the Goods with  since that resource is useless.

As for different metals, you can just simply have the steel and fantasy version of the weapons and armor represented in the production of the settlement.



Foxglove

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2018, 04:53:50 AM »
That said, I'm feeling something for adding activities in. So, question: which one should I add first when I do add them? Don't worry about the extra work for them, I just want to know what people think the first one needs to be.
If we're looking at what activity would be best for the life of the game, it's going to be tournaments, isn't it? It hits a lot of points - a reason for people to interact; a reason to draw people together in groups; an element of competition/conflict; and potential for variety (in terms of different types of competitions within a tournament framework).

That being said, we wouldn't necessarily have to slavishly follow the form of historical tournaments. This is meant to be a (low) fantasy world, so there's no reason why we couldn't come up with a event that's some melting pot of a medieval tournament, the ancient olympics games, roman chariot racing, and middle eastern horse racing (just as examples).
Lastly, if there was to be a GM event or faction or something, what would you have it be? Feel free to be as wild as you want, I'm looking for some world-event to generate activity and interaction.
I'd go with something a bit more imaginative than some military threat from an NPC faction (or a GM controlled faction). Bringing bandits back could achieve that sort of thing.

In terms of what the something more imaginative would be, I'll need to think about that for a while and come back with ideas. But one possibility for a world event would be to create a new land mass (maybe have it rise from the seas) that's on a timer before it disappears (sinks back under the seas). This land mass could have several ancient magical 'power nodes' on it that realms could compete to control. The realm that controls the most nodes before the land mass sinks then gets some form of bonus or gifts of the ancients for a while afterwards. The catch could be that any characters still on the land mass when it disappears die, introducing a risk and reward threat. This would allow for fighting that wouldn't lead to realms being destroyed as the fighting could just be confined to the land mass (if the realms agree it).
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 04:56:18 AM by Foxglove »
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Cipheron

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2018, 11:33:57 AM »
I'm looking for some world-event to generate activity and interaction.
Just adding in world events isn't going to help much at all. The problems with the game are the difficulty with contacting people, getting replies, getting them to set up permissions so you can visit towns. This, added to the time it takes to actually go anywhere makes the whole process hardly worth it. How are most people going to hear about these world events and actually go and interact in any sort of timely manner?


For example, if you turn up to almost all towns in the game and want to get in to interact, then it's such a rigmarole to get permissions organized that it's just not worth asking at most places on the map, so hardly anyone even bothers.

The permissions system is really broken, and it's a major PITA to do anything with it. Maybe the default permissions shouldn't be to disallow everyone from doing everything, since many new players won't set any permissions, therefore most towns are locked down by default unless you can get your vassals to follow complex instructions.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 11:51:16 AM by Cipheron »

The Vintroth

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2018, 11:47:56 AM »
It might be a good thing to decide once and for all whether we want this game to primarily be about relationships between characters, storytelling and such. Or whether we want it to be a strategy wargame. I've increasingly come to believe that it can't be both at the same time (at least, not in its present form).

The problem is that if we have both aspects running alongside each other, we get the strongly motivated wargamers effectively dominating the way the world develops and occupying the upper level positions of power. While the players that aren't really interested in the military aspects just have to roll with the punches. We've seen this time after time with the various strong military powers that have risen and fallen during the life of the game. It's them who control which realms live and die. Faced with the wargamers, the other types of players effectively become vassals to them or just get bored/disillusioned and leave the game.

As I've said many times in the past, when Tom was developing the game it increasingly seemed to become very focused on the strategy game aspect at the expense of everything else. Pretty much to the point that it became a full-on strategy game. Which was a million miles away from the way he originally pitched the game way back when on the Battlemaster forum when he suggested he was more interested in creating a game where politics was the most important aspect, rather than a game that was essentially an evolution of Battlemaster.

 If we're going to move to soldiers not being directly led by First Ones, it feels like we're trying to fundamentally change the wargame aspect so that this becomes a much less intense experience (in terms of demands on playing time to fight wars). If so, then:
  • Slow the pace of war down very significantly so that it gives everyone a chance to participate, whether they're checking in once a day or 6 times a day. Perhaps make it so that armies move at a pace of one or two regions per real life day. By making it so you can fight a war effectively with a slow-ish playing speed it makes it accessible to greater numbers of players, including the casuals.
  • Scrap the supply lines completely. Seriously, what fun do they actual add to the game? How much fun is it to need to have characters run supplies of food followers out to keep armies in the field? Who actually enjoys running a logistics supply chain?
  • This is really radical - probably too radical - but scrap trading completely. How many players have ever got much out of trading? If you step back from the fact that constant supply trading was a key concept of the game development, what is it actually adding to the game? Nothing, I'd say. How many new players have you ever encountered who, when it's explained to them that they'll need to convince other players to send them resources to build up their settlements (or told them that they have to send some of their resources to others) have ever responded enthusiastically? Constant supply trading exists only for two reasons: constructing higher level buildings and training better equipped soldiers. If war is becoming a bit less intense, a bit more abstract, then we don't need the trading. The fun aspects of the game are the building up of settlements, the training of different types of troops, and sending them out to fight. Constant supply trading isn't fun and very little trading between players actually takes place. In the place of trading we could just make realms have something like abstracted supply tokens (based on the amount of territory they own) that can be assigned to specific settlements within the realm to create different sizes of settlements. Then it would become more about players politicking their way in to ruling the key settlements within a realm. More about building relationships, less about messing about with supply chains.
Alongside this, if we're serious about making Might & Fealty more about roleplaying and co-operative storytelling, the game desperately needs activities for characters to participate in that are supported by mechanics. It needs a way to help people tell smaller stories. We need dueling. We need tournaments. We need ways to hold social events like feasts, hunting parties, weddings, actual questing that has some purpose to it. Basically, we need ways to tell the stories of everyday life. It won't do to say that people can write this stuff themselves without mechanics. Most people come to a game expecting things to be supported by game mechanics to a certain extent.


While we're at it, if we are making the wargaming aspect less significant and demanding on playing time, we should look at all of those things that are in the game purposely to make it more difficult and time consuming for powergamers (e.g. that you have to individually select the equipment load for each soldier). If we're trying to create a more level playing field where everyone has a reasonable chance in wars, we shouldn't need those aspects of the game to do it. It should be the nature of the war fighting itself that's changed so that there are no advantages to logging in more than - let's say - once a day to fight your wars.

To say something, I'll simply say that I like the above. Liked it even more the second time I read it. Even the somewhat radical idea of scrapping trade. I have always found that this game should be about the relations between characters, not the amount of heavies you can train and manage effectively.

Cipheron

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2018, 01:40:07 PM »
Quote
feasts, hunting parties, weddings, actual questing that has some purpose to it. Basically, we need ways to tell the stories of everyday life.

The active player density is so low per settlement that implementing formal events probably won't help that much. If the game only consisted of free account players with their maximum 12 towns each that would be a density of one active player per 12 towns. Which is laughably low for any sort of location-based roleplaying.

Right now "There are only 0 knight offers open at this time" which underlies one of the main issues. The game is very not-full but not one single active player can see a reason to try and attract new people.


The cost/benefit of getting new vassals vs centralizing obviously needs to be improved. (obviously, because nobody wants more vassals at the moment). That's what my capitals/taxation idea was addressing: it reduces the incentive to hoard settlements under one player, while also integrating the new Seats feature into the game better.

it's also important to focus on quality over quantity: more active players, not more active characters. A player with 20 characters is going to roleplay each one particularly poorly, perhaps only focusing on one or two. Removing situations where a player is lead to think "I need to create a new character because" of some game mechanic is clearly a problem. For example, a free player thinks "I need to create a new character because I want more towns", so they create 4 characters with 3 towns each, not for any roleplaying relevant reason but because the game requires them to do so to gain their full complement of 12 towns. Making it a limit of "12 towns per free account" rather than per-character would remove the perverse incentive to spam extraneous characters, while creating more choice: play between 1 to 4 characters, with more thought put into why they want to create additional ones.

However, i think it's important to heavily increase the active-player density on the map to boostrap any serious amount of roleplaying. Having 12 settlements to one active player doesn't leave much room for people being in the same location to actually RP meaningfully. One idea is to replace the free account character and settlement limits with a "command points" idea, and you need to make a trade off between what those points are used for. Split of "armies" as a concept semi-separate to characters. A character could lead an army, but it counts as one command point, as does controlling a city, fortress or making another character.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 02:37:01 PM by Cipheron »

Foxglove

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 03:52:33 PM »
Just adding in world events isn't going to help much at all. The problems with the game are the difficulty with contacting people, getting replies, getting them to set up permissions so you can visit towns.
Oh yeah, very much so. The message system is awful. It's always been awful from the day it was designed. All that was really needed for this game was a simple reworking of an email system (i.e. the Battlemaster message system for those who get the reference, which is mostly perfect for this type of game). Something that's been tried, tested, and proved to work.

Added in to this, the message system actually discourages mass communication, because if you send out a message realm-wide or across your whole contacts list (for example) and a player has 10 characters in one realm or within your contact list they receive the message at each of those characters and need to click multiple times to dismiss it from all characters after reading it once. That's insane. I remember very well that several realms earlier in the game's life actively instructed players never to send a message realm-wide exactly because of this issue. All that's ever been needed to solve this problem is a simple 'mark this message as read for all my characters' button in the same way there's that to dismiss information about an event.

This problem with the message system is part of the reason why it's so hard for anyone to know what's going on world wide. If you could send out mass communication messages without spamming people across multiple characters, I bet people would be much more inclined to spread news.
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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2018, 05:16:09 PM »
Gear wise, well it depends if you want to add new slots. I think swords should become backup weapons similar to short swords and maybe add an extra slot equipable with either horses or shields.
If I do change it, I'm doing a full gear system tracking several body parts and what is in each hand plus what gear you may be carrying.

I have no problem with adding fuel as a resource neither tbh. Either from charcoal or coal mine. Maybe even replace the Goods with  since that resource is useless.

I doubt I'll remove Goods. They just appear useless because they don't really have a building that uses them, mostly because once something is built it's basically free to maintain. If anything, I'd be more likely to make buildings actually require resource upkeep, meaning Goods will become valuable due to being needed by not only some higher end fortifications, but also resource producers like the mine and straight military equipment makers.

If we're looking at what activity would be best for the life of the game, it's going to be tournaments, isn't it? It hits a lot of points - a reason for people to interact; a reason to draw people together in groups; an element of competition/conflict; and potential for variety (in terms of different types of competitions within a tournament framework).
I kind of figured as much, to be honest. It'll need the gear overhaul, skills, and activities to be functional in a way that isn't just RNG. Probably not soon.

That being said, we wouldn't necessarily have to slavishly follow the form of historical tournaments. This is meant to be a (low) fantasy world, so there's no reason why we couldn't come up with a event that's some melting pot of a medieval tournament, the ancient olympics games, roman chariot racing, and middle eastern horse racing (just as examples).I'd go with something a bit more imaginative than some military threat from an NPC faction (or a GM controlled faction). Bringing bandits back could achieve that sort of thing.
If you've ideas on what sort of events to include in a tournament, have at. I'm listening (reading).
As for a military threat from an NPC faction, well, they'd probably only be threatening if you threaten them. I don't know though. Part of why Beluaterra on BM was fun was because you knew the monsters or undead or whatever would come eventually. It was understood. Which is probably why they'd never seriously threaten the core area of the game we have now, because I don't feel like that's something that should be forced on players. If anything, I'd probably setup a new continent that the new faction inhabits, with some specific rules on how they work.

In terms of what the something more imaginative would be, I'll need to think about that for a while and come back with ideas. But one possibility for a world event would be to create a new land mass (maybe have it rise from the seas) that's on a timer before it disappears (sinks back under the seas). This land mass could have several ancient magical 'power nodes' on it that realms could compete to control. The realm that controls the most nodes before the land mass sinks then gets some form of bonus or gifts of the ancients for a while afterwards. The catch could be that any characters still on the land mass when it disappears die, introducing a risk and reward threat. This would allow for fighting that wouldn't lead to realms being destroyed as the fighting could just be confined to the land mass (if the realms agree it).
Disappearing and reappearing islands would be a pain in the ass to code, to be honest. Also, the gamey concept of that sorta conflicts with the concept of M&F and how everything has meaning and every mark left can be found later.

Just adding in world events isn't going to help much at all. The problems with the game are the difficulty with contacting people, getting replies, getting them to set up permissions so you can visit towns. This, added to the time it takes to actually go anywhere makes the whole process hardly worth it. How are most people going to hear about these world events and actually go and interact in any sort of timely manner?
I don't know how to make people talk back. As for getting around, well, I have ideas.

For example, if you turn up to almost all towns in the game and want to get in to interact, then it's such a rigmarole to get permissions organized that it's just not worth asking at most places on the map, so hardly anyone even bothers.
The GameRequest system can solve this. It could be setup to allow temporary permissions or even permanent ones, but permanent ones are why the permissions system is a thing. It'd just need someone to code it up and tie it in. We could also finish the permissions system as well. You can also use the same GameRequest system to support invites, or pre-approved access to people. It was designed, to a small degree, with that kind of stuff in mind.

The permissions system is really broken, and it's a major PITA to do anything with it. Maybe the default permissions shouldn't be to disallow everyone from doing everything, since many new players won't set any permissions, therefore most towns are locked down by default unless you can get your vassals to follow complex instructions.
Might be worth having permission templates. You could make one for a realm that says specific lists grant entry, other lists can manage buildings, etc., and the player just needs to go to the permission screen, select a template, and hit apply. Hm, that's actually an idea I like, and haven't thought of before.
Oh yeah, very much so. The message system is awful. It's always been awful from the day it was designed. All that was really needed for this game was a simple reworking of an email system (i.e. the Battlemaster message system for those who get the reference, which is mostly perfect for this type of game). Something that's been tried, tested, and proved to work.

Added in to this, the message system actually discourages mass communication, because if you send out a message realm-wide or across your whole contacts list (for example) and a player has 10 characters in one realm or within your contact list they receive the message at each of those characters and need to click multiple times to dismiss it from all characters after reading it once. That's insane. I remember very well that several realms earlier in the game's life actively instructed players never to send a message realm-wide exactly because of this issue. All that's ever been needed to solve this problem is a simple 'mark this message as read for all my characters' button in the same way there's that to dismiss information about an event.

This problem with the message system is part of the reason why it's so hard for anyone to know what's going on world wide. If you could send out mass communication messages without spamming people across multiple characters, I bet people would be much more inclined to spread news.
Pretty sure I fixed that. It's up to players to enable it though. Hm. Could setup a toggle to enable it on character gen though. Ideas. Doing it as a "mark this as read for all my chars" button I didn't implement because it's not as easy as it sounds.

I had some other stuff here about the message system, but looking at the code for it now that I can sorta say I know what the heck PHP is, let me get back to you. I may be updating it next, now that I look at it. We'll see. Depends how intensive I think this'll be.

I do have a question, when being added to a conversation, should you get the last few messages, or not? Maybe only those from the last turn? Also, would notifications (as system messages) be preferred when people are added/removed? Input requested.

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Andrew

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Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2018, 12:14:56 PM »
Okay, yeah, as is evident by the other topic I made, I'm redoing the message system. It'll still look similar to what we have, but it'll be a lot less confusing for me to work on and upkeep. Not sure if I'll do the in-line replies, like we have now, but I might support it down the line. Might even be possible to do something similar to what the BM view is, after the switch, if people want it. If you want to add to the discussion on that, I ask everyone do it in the other topic.

Anyways, I want that because it seems like leaving a fundamental part of the game broke while adding yet another thing would be a bad move. I might even do a stripped down version of it for an in-game message board between users, but that's down the line.

After that, Activities and Places. Possibly at the same time. Activities will be the branch-point for a bunch of inter-character events, from duels, balls, tournaments, etc. If you all have ideas what you'd like added, please let me know.
Standing for the creation of interesting things since Year 1, Week 5, Day 4.
Favorite cold beverage: Strawberry Shake
My hobbies: Fixing computers, video games, anime, manga, some other stuff, sleep (in no particular order)