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Topics - Arx

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Rage Zone / Suicidal Knights
« on: November 17, 2016, 08:52:16 AM »
C'mon man, at least send me a message first. Even my cruelest, most hardbitten characters won't do anything unreasonable out-of-hand. Now I have to hike back to the estate and set up another offer, and I don't even know if there's something that's chasing people away from it!

Rage Zone / Considering Leaving
« on: March 07, 2016, 07:14:36 PM »
Over the last little while, I've been seriously wondering about continuing to play the game. There are a handful of reasons for this:

1. The majority of systems in the game are incomplete or do not work. I understand Tom has time limitations and all, and that's fine. It's just that what's currently there is not a complete game, or even close1. Like I said, that's okay5. It's just increasingly I'm no longer happy with working around them, waiting for fixes, and so on. Which is a me problem, not a Tom problem.

2. Things that seem to me to have been greatly touted are distinctly not living up to expectations. For instance, I have seen people raving about how fantastic and detailed the combat system is, but after reading most of what Tom's said about it it seems that it actually amounts to an RNG weighted by relatively few quantities. Similarly, settlement management strikes me as being a little like the 'spreadsheet simulator' genre of games (things like Aurora, and so on), but with only a handful of rows and columns.

'Just because you can build something, doesn't mean you should' is a sentiment I've seen expressed quite a bit, but actually it loks to me like that's not really true in the way it seems to be. It looks to me like there are three categories of buildings:

  • a) Those which yes, just because you can build them, you should. Like the Mill, the Market, and probably the Fairground. Also, those that you will build. Yeah, even if you don't want to. Tavern, inn, and so on.
  • b) Those which you should not build, except in certain unusual occasions2, because they amount to a net detriment. This includes, as far as I've seen, the temple, paved streets, and the armory3.
  • c) Those which are actually legitimately circumstantial, all of them military, and actually mainly the stable. By and large, there's not actually very much detriment to having as strong a military production ability in a settlement as your population can manage. The exception to this is the stable, which offers no non-military benefit, is auto-built, and consumes a large amount of food, and so could almost fit into the 'net detriment' column.

3. From a game design perspective, there's nothing to be said about the game's balance. It's not that it's imbalanced; it could be excellently balanced. I have no idea. Most of what happens is almost completely opaque. And maybe that's part of Tom's vision, and that's fine, but I guess it's just not my cup of tea. I want to be able to know that training archers is a pretty good choice. I want to actually be able to have some knowledge of things that whould be obvious to my characters - like how much good a shield actually does a footman in a melee. This knowledge is currently pretty much restricted to Hawks, which is cool and all, but not really something I'm a fan of.

4. This game has one of the worst communities I've ever played with. There are a few gems of players, but the recta tend to pass wind more loudly and so they get drowned out. The vitriolic accusations of trolling, mechanics abuse, and so on are starting to wear me down. I kind of hoped that after the circle of hell that was the Imperial Civil War we'd get people calming down and playing the damn game, but that hasn't happened. I've also seen flat-out insults fired behind people's backs, and stuff like that, which is something I'm not really inclined to put up with for the sake of playing a game I'm not sure I'm enjoying anyway.

5. The bounds on the sandbox are starting to get me down as well. I get that it's part of the design, but it feels like sometimes someone will be digging a trench in one direction and Tom will arbitrarily say that no, the sandbox actually ends there. But at the same time, I'm sometimes really struggling to tell where the sandbox ends and we're actually getting onto the roundabout.

The most significant example of this I've seen recently is realm claims on independent settlements. How does that actually work, anyway? I have no idea how to explain it IC, because it relies on the map and on some definitely very meta concepts like events.

6. The format of the game is a very, very hard one to get right. It requires activity to be fun, but because it's no fun without activity people tend to be inactive. I know I'm guilty of this, and the Black Road was until very recently4 my escape from this - I'd be active, dammit, even if the activity didn't necessarily make sense. That ended with Oclire dead, which admittedly is an acceptable outcome and probably makes the game great fun for Constantine (which is awesome, don't get me wrong), but kind of saps my motivation to keep playing. I could kind of try to back-seat drive the realm, but it's pretty hard to deal with being half the driving motivation of a realm and the only one that understands the backstory on a free account. Spawning in a 'successor' to replace Oclire wouldn't sit right with me.

I think that's everything. A lot of these are quite possibly just my vision of what I was hoping for the game to be conflicting with Tom's vision of what he's making, in which case more fool me and I should either suck it up or move on. I do think a lot of them are valid otherwise, though.

1 It seems to me that it is much easier to enumerate the number of complete systems than the incomplete ones.

2 If you are the ruler of a major realm, and control the realm capital, these can be useful to build the very high-level buildings.

3 The Armory is buildable at 1000 population. It does nothing good for you until you reach 4000 population.

4 Like, a matter of hours.

5 I went back to add this footnote because I thought it was important. I'm not blaming Tom at all for the slow speed of updates, especially not recently, because I know how it's been lately and I know how badly that can drain your motivation, and I know he's had to hotfix a ton of bugs.


The game seems to have lost 20% of the settlement population somewhere along the line. There are no roads/bridges/features under construction.

Apologies if I'm missing something obvious. It's been a long few days.

Conduct & Design Discussion / 'Participated in battle.location.sortie'
« on: February 10, 2016, 10:57:42 PM »
As per title. The name of the battle is misdisplayed.

Battle 13429, in settlement 950, by character 5947.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Bandit Troop Homes
« on: January 27, 2016, 07:11:51 AM »
I just started a bandit (5159), and found their log spammed with 'soldiers are complaining about being to far from home'. I checked the soldier's homes, and about a fifth of them are from settlements in the opposite corner of the map. The remainder are from nearby settlements, as I expected.

Obviously I can't satisfy both at once, and I'd never be able to get to the other settlements anyway. It's kind of irritating.

Currently, if a character with no real backstory dies (and there are many such, in pretty much every realm), if they didn't have many holdings then the player can replace them pretty much instantly. This means that in a war with throwaway characters, it is effectively impossible to thin their ranks and it is actually theoretically optimal to keep them captive to prevent your opponent using more.

I therefore propose that after the 'new player' timer expires, players should be prevented from making more than one living character per IRL day, or longer. There is little reason to be making so many new characters so fast except for the purpose of cheesing a war or starting a family, and the latter would most likely mainly be done by new players only.

Alternatively, implement a 'pool' of new characters players can create, which gains 'charges' at one per week or one every three days or whatever but caps at three or four, to facilitate the creation of families whole but still bottleneck cheesing.

I don't think this is a major issue right now, but just a thought. Apologies if it's already in, I basically don't create characters.

Realms Chat / The Bloods of the Black Road
« on: December 28, 2015, 07:29:12 PM »
Since the realm seems to have a footing now, I decided I may as well make a forum topic. Copied from the wiki:

The Gods have left the world. They do not act, they are not seen, and they have not been seen. It is clear. They are gone.

There is one God left, the Last God. He is the Hooded God of death, the only God still seen to act. He has knowledge of all that has been and all that shall come to pass, for all things must die - even worlds. However, through death comes life, and this is the crux of the Creed of the Black Road.

==The Origin and the Fisherwoman==

The Hooded God revealed himself to a Magvellian fisherwoman many years ago. He spoke with her at length, revealing many truths, including his omniscience. She is the mother of the Creed, although long since executed as a heretic. She began to spread the words she had heard, and soon had a large following in her region. The other churches tried to have her silenced, but the truth will rise to the surface and the Creed grew.

Finally, a war was waged against the Bloods and they were driven beyond the great darkness in the West. In that retreat were the Children of the Hundred, warrior elites, born.

The Bloods have grown and strengthened there ever since, and with the help of the first and greatest First of the Battle Inkallim Sirrhas Azali they carved out their lands from the surrounding petty nobles as fearless fighters.

==Fate and the Creed==

The Hooded God sees all and knows all, and so everything is only as it could only be: everything that happens, happens by Fate. This cannot be changed any more than the sea can be dried away. What the Hooded God has seen must come to pass, and he sees all, so all must come to pass as he sees it.

Thus can no man change his future, and from this the core of the Creed of the Black Road is derived. In the face of Fate, there can be no personal responsibility: no pride, but no shame. No success, but no failure, is decided by any man any more than the sea chooses to break upon the shore. We all walk the Black Road of Fate, but the followers of the Creed know it and embrace it.

This then is the mantra of the Black Road: "My feet are on the Road. I know not pride."

This forsaking of pride is the hardest part of walking the Black Road intentionally. However, it is also a releasing of shame and failure, and is as much a reward as a punishment.

==The Reforging of the World==

The Hooded God explained one last thing to the Fisherwoman: that he was going to reforge the world anew, with none of the mistakes the Gods made originally. However, he foresaw one thing that must happen first: all must accept the truth of the Black Road, and all must walk it intentionally.

From death there is life, and the Last God has seen every failing and foible of life and the world. As the forest grows from the ashes of the old forest, so the world will rise anew from its broken state, finer than ever before.

This is the ultimate goal of the Black Road, and the dream of all.

==The Children of the Hundred, or The Inkallim==

In the retreat of the Bloods of the Black Road, lead by the original Thane of Thanes of the Gyre blood, one hundred men of his army stayed to hold back the collected armies in pursuit of the Bloods. These hundred men and women held for long enough for the Bloods to escape in safety, and in their honour the elite assassins, loremasters, and warriors are called the Inkallim, or Children of the Hundred, and marked with a raven tattoo.

==Thanes and Bloods==

The political unit of the Black Road is the Blood, led by a Thane. The Bloods are not a kingdom: the Thane of Thanes is comparable to a king, but their power is not absolute and they must take the counsel of the other Thanes.

Thaneship is passed on to the firstborn son or a chosen heir, referred to as the Bloodheir.

War between Bloods is rare, as all serve the same Creed, but it has happened before.

The Inkallim are outside of the Bloods. The Thane of Thanes is expected to listen to their advice closely, as they provide a perspective that is, if not politically unmotivated, politically differently motivated.

==Meta: Acknowledgment==

The Black Road is heavily cribbed from Brian Ruckley's ''Godless World'' series of novels. Anyone who wants a total understanding of how it works should go read them - a thousand pages of novels' worth of background is hard to compress well.

I figured there was space in the game for a serious religious fanatic realm (the Cult of the Void being a lot more RP than crunch), and the backstory from the novels fits quite nicely into M&F.

Helpline / Bug: Error: Function name must be a string
« on: December 19, 2015, 11:10:21 AM »
Fatal error:  Function name must be a string in /home/maf/symfony/src/BM2/SiteBundle/Service/ActionResolution.php on line 468

Occurs with characters 5947, 4884, 5414, 5277, 2884 on clicking 'Play'. It leads to a screen displaying the error in the subject line.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Battle Resolution Time
« on: December 12, 2015, 05:29:54 PM »
I realise there are severe hardware constraints, but until they're resolved somehow can you add a warning to the combat timer that it will take a good while to finish? For instance, the battle between #2884 (bandit) and #5986 (player) is taking over 45 minutes to finish, and it didn't have that many troops involved (117).

I've learnt from bitter experience not to try to time things down to a hair, but new players may not.

Again, not pressuring for an immediate fix, because I know optimisation is a royal pain in the posterior, just a warning.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Redundant Alert Emails
« on: November 28, 2015, 01:22:16 PM »
Occasionally, I get a notification saying something like:

Important event at the settlement Example, owned by your character Example Character:

 The settlement is being looted by Example Character.


Important event for your character Example Character:

 Has sworn an oath of fealty to Other Example Character.

They don't tell me anything new - there's no way my character could have sworn an oath without me clicking the button myself, and the same goes for looting my own settlement. The 'has appeared at Example' message is in the same bracket. There are other cases, but they're a bit subtler, like the notification system  sending two emails when you create a new character with dead parents.

The problem with this is that it detracts from the urgency of the mail warning system. I use it as an 'ohcrap that shady character is launching another takeover' (or similar, like incoming battles or whatever) warning system, which makes it kind of annoying when it's actually something I already know about, having ordered it myself.

The simple cases should fairly simple to check - if the action is being undertaken by a character of the same player (or go simpler, if the settlement is being looted by the owner), and if the event is an instant one that couldn't occur without my intervention. For instance, it's fine that it emails me when a takeover completes. That's something I'd like to be told, since I usually only ballpark the finishing time. It's not if it emails me because I clicked a button.

The subtler cases are understandable, but it'd be nice to see the simple ones patched.

Helpline / Battle Failure to Occur (Case Closed)
« on: November 26, 2015, 04:17:19 PM »
I just got this event on one of my characters:

"the battle failed to happen."

Is this a bug, a consequence of evasion, or something else? The battle initiation screen does say that once initated, preparations cannot be canceled.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Subscription Level Transparency
« on: November 25, 2015, 07:43:57 PM »
This is something that's been bothering me for a while. It's nowhere apparent that a casual account is unable to create a realm or to hold more than three estates per character, which runs directly counter to the stated goal of transparency and strongly implicitly counter to this:

Our goal of transparency is accomplished by having a simple and easy to understand structure. You essentially need to remember only two things: There are a few levels of membership, and they mainly depend on the number of characters you want to be able to play in parallel (so you can have as many dead ancestors as you want, they are free).

I wouldn't say the things I mentioned above are minor.

I have no real objection to the concept of trial accounts in principle, I just think that the stated goal of transparency needs work. At the moment, there is as far as I know (and as I've said before, if I couldn't find it it's freaking hard to find) no way for new players to work out that they have a limited estate count and no realm creation capability up until the point where they want to and it suddenly hits them in the face. I've already watched one player get stonewalled out of the game by this.

So yeah, I don't think the system needs changing, but the description desperately, desperately needs work. It is currently not transparent, since it's heavily implied that the only difference between trial accounts and paid accounts is the character count.

Apologies if this isn't the board for this.

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