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Messages - Cipheron

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Helpline / Re: Cannot Remember My Account info
« on: November 30, 2018, 02:11:39 AM »

Slumbering characters don't show up in the message character selection either, so no it doesn't mean he is dead.
Ah you're right. I tested with a slumbered character nearby, but it appears they must have woken up very recently.

Helpline / Re: Cannot Remember My Account info
« on: November 30, 2018, 12:23:23 AM »
While I'm not an admin, Zodd doesn't come up on the character search thing in the game. That means he died while you were away. Recently they added a "retire" function which can safely store a character away for later play, but that wouldn't have existed when you were playing.

It's not possible to bring Zodd back, but if you get access to your account again then you can for example, create a character who is a descendant of Zodd.

Andrew on the forums is the main moderator for the game. You'd need to get him to change the email address associated with your account, so knowing the old email address is the main thing, however at a pinch a mod could probably look up your old character and work out the account details.

Rage Zone / Re: Players behind Ascalon - greed at its finest
« on: November 11, 2018, 10:39:09 AM »
A similar thing happened with Lowlands.

Ascalon recently declared war and carved a chunk of land out of the deLacy family, who have been playing a long, long time and are pretty quiet folk who have never gotten involved in any of the various wars to my knowledge. I can see knights from Tor Kortaur as having provoked Ascalon, but it's kinda crap to invade the peaceful and quiet Tor Dun in the process of some border-skirmish against Tor Kortaur knights. The problem is that taking out people who've had steady holdings for a long time just means that they won't bother logging in once they've lost them, and the Lowlanders do not have an equal chance of retaking those towns, so there's very little "game" about that: it's just a one-sided steamroller which drives people to quitting the game.

 This is not so much Ascalon's fault as it's a problem with how the game works. Consolidation into a small number of ever-bigger nations is killing the game.

Personally, I think that the devs should implement a hard-cap on the number of towns per character and/or per account, even for paying accounts. There's really no value in the idea that one person can have 100 settlements. That just turns the towns into an undifferentiated mass of feeder-towns and crowds smaller players out of the game. If there were strict limits then you can bet the opportunities for starting players would increase and the number of knight's offers would increase. Being able to take over unlimited additional towns yourself means there's next to no relative value in having vassal knights, and adds to the "sprawl" problem of large empires.

Sure, some people might quit because they can't have 50+ towns. But you know what? That's probably a good thing since they'll be replaced by a larger number of people content with a smaller number of towns each, adding more life to every nation and the the entire game.

General Discussion / Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« on: October 27, 2018, 03:18:38 AM »
Do you think implementing some catch-up mechanics so the newer players could gain stats a bit faster to a certain point would be a bad idea?

While a good point, this suggestion isn't really useful for the type of game this is at the moment. Characters do not have XP, stats or levels. A new character has the same physical abilities as one started from scratch. The current discussion is about whether adding some type of stats system would improve player retention. Since everyone would be starting from zero if that was the case, working out whether we need catch up systems is a little premature.

What sets old characters apart from new characters is the social connections they've made with other characters and their settlement holdings. So the game is all about building up alliances and becoming a trusted part of a coalition, not about grinding levels.

However, putting those ideas together, we can come up with new ideas which might be useful. Some sort of social progression system could be interesting. For example, organizations (knightly orders, guilds, realms) could define progression systems. Imagine a system of ranks, and the devs link the quest system into it, so that as you progress up the ranks of one organization, different tasks are set for you to achieve. This would fit with the game's ethos of a fully player-driven world, because unlike an arbitrary achievements system, both the achievements and ranks would all be defined by other players within the game.

the progression system would motivate people to maintain the realms/organizations they are members of (because they have more invested in the character, in terms of labor and time), as well as encouraging people to get more involved in the world. For example, say that a particular knightly order has a requirement that characters complete one dungeon mission as part of their tasks to advance past a certain level. That would encourage more players to take part in the dungeon questing part of the game.

Additionally, being able to set a task of clearing a dungeon might be a good way of screening out new vassal knights. It's too common to give a new knight a couple of towns but find that they instantly slumber. Having them clear a dungeon first before they get any towns might be a good way of vetting those more likely to contribute to the realm.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: The new 'Units' System
« on: September 06, 2018, 03:37:56 PM »
military unit = unitas militum

It's from Latin, not modern. Here's an example of it's use in context, in a book written in Latin. If you look at the start of the book, the publication date is MDCCXLII, or 1742. This shows that the term "unitas militum" as being the Latin for military unit was already attested over 250 years ago. Since Latin was an ancient venerated language that people were loathe to mess with, it's most likely to assume that this is a legitimate Roman-era Latin term.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: The new 'Units' System
« on: September 06, 2018, 03:17:03 PM »
if a unit is fed from a particular city, I'd definitely want it so that Units can be rehomed, and a way to stop someone who has an old unit that's homed to one of your cities from leeching resources. This needs to be thought out further to avoid exploits and unrealistic situation.

BTW, "Unit" is fine, it's a generic term. The use of orginized mitary units was already an ancient practice, with the Romans and later Byzantines making use of organized subdivisions of troops. It was only in the fractured early middle ages that the sort of rabble-like "warbands" were dominant. It doesn't make too much sense that an empire in the game such as Erstes Imperium would need to refer to their groupings as "warbands" to fit some narrow flavor-text definition of how the middle ages works. Sure, Western and Northern Europe had that sort of loose warband structure, that doesn't mean the contemporary Byzantines, Chinese, Arabs or Indians did, so "unit" is better since it's more neutral. In fact, baggage trains at all weren't common in the "warbands" period, so calling them "units" is the least of the problems with historicity.

General Discussion / Re: Conversations 2.0: What is the ideal setup?
« on: August 14, 2018, 02:35:53 AM »
I'd suggest streamlining it in ways that take into account how normal messaging systems work.

For example when you currently send a 1:1 message to someone it creates a new "conversation" so you can have multiple "conversations" between you and a particular other person. Ideally, sending a message to one other person should be streamlined, and the resultant conversation should all be in a single log. Streamlining the way that characters initially get in touch with each other would be good too. Perhaps a global mail system, but with a time delay to make the initial connection based on geographic distance.

It would also be really good to separate the concept of personal messages from group conversations. Perhaps, if there were separate sections for message board activity vs personal messaging, then people would be more responsive when you need to talk to them. Currently there's one single indicator for personally-addressed messages and realm-wide spam.

This could be an existing design flaw. The message notification system should be tailored/customizable to make sure that the player sees relevant unread messages notifications for each character. If someone logs in after a whle and sees "you have 3 new messages" but knows they're relevant messages actually for them, rather than "you have 133 new messages" but knows most of them will be irrelevant realm-wide chatter, they'd be more likely to seek out and read the actual messages.

There could be a system where there's one general "message thread" for each in-game entity. Characters of each entity could choose to turn on/off "notifications" for each conversation. That would determine whether that particular conversation ends up on your "unread messages" counter or not. So players logging in could choose which things get reports as unread for which characters. Personal messages would always count as a notification, unless you put that person on the ignore list.

General Discussion / Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« on: August 08, 2018, 01:40:07 PM »
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.

General Discussion / Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« 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.

General Discussion / Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« 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.

General Discussion / Re: The Next Big Step for M&F?
« 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.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: Burn ships!
« on: May 07, 2018, 11:37:57 AM »
This wouldn't be hard to do or implement, as far as stealing and burning ships.

Making rivers navigable would be.... tricky, due to how the game handles the land/sea logic, and how it handles you coming ashore. I'd like to do this, and I think it's sorta on my TODO list already, but it's nowhere near as easy.

A quick fix for the river thing would be to treat travel near a river the same as travel by road, e.g. you get a speed boost by following the course of a river but still aren't able to cross it unless it's at a bridge. This would allow effectively the same benefits as trying to work in a river-travel system but without the coding headaches, and having to place docks on rivers.

An alternate solution would be to edit the map, and make major rivers wider and just treat them the same as ocean spaces, and allow docks on adjoining provinces. That way, the code shouldn't need to be touched, the map would just need editing.

Also, there are lakes in the game which you can't cross. It would be nice if docks were allowed there, so sea travel could short-cut settlements on each side, would that just be a matter of editing some database settings for the adjoining settlements?

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: M&F Changelog
« on: April 08, 2018, 03:29:11 PM »
If there are going to be "places" could you also include improved means of managing existing structures? e.g. removing unwanted roads and features would be a nice thing to have if the role of places external to the cities is going to be increased.

Also, i'd suggest that the updates should be generalized, e.g. towers and docks should become garrisonable / buildable locations that can have troops stationed there.

General Discussion / Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« on: April 06, 2018, 01:10:01 AM »
I think there's often a vision in game design that a problem can be solved by a big stick rather than a carrot - punish a player to encourage them to behave in certain ways, rather than offer them some incentive to behave in a certain way.

That's right. Richard Bartle, the creator of the original MUDs also talks about this as a common stumbling block when creating online games. Devs often believe they can dis-incentivize a behavior and that players therefore must switch to the "preferred" behavior. But they can easily switch to the behavior of playing a completely different game or activity. When trying to shift players from Choice A to Choice B, you should take into account the risk of Choice C, which represents "play something else".

I'd suggest things like giving characters a bonus to settlement production; a bonus in battle; and so on depending on their past actions - i.e. charcters actually have to do something to earn experience (in the form of players clicking options while playing them). They wouldn't gain experience just passively. That may mean that people who really focus on development of a few characters might then actually gain advantages over players who just spam large numbers of disposable characters.

I don't think if that would help tip the balance in this particular scenario. Consider a players with a 10-character account, they've trained up their core characters, then during a war, they bump up to a higher-tier account and spam additional commanders. They're still getting the benefit of the high-focus training on their core leaders, but that in no way dis-incentivizes them from spamming disposable grunts. This is not a criticism of the idea, but we need to think through real-life examples to see if the policy would actually affect behavior in the way that's claimed.

The thing is, there's a huge disconnected between how many troops an account can have in their settlements, vs how many troops you can effectively mobilize. It's this imbalance that creates the scenario in which massive character spam is a winning strategy in warfare. So while putting a dampener on character creation could slow this down, it's only hiding the exploit below an extra level of paperwork, not removing the core issue of game balance.

Off-topic Chat / Re: Helllo! newbie on the forum!
« on: February 26, 2018, 12:10:36 AM »
Hi People!
Not long joined up! I hope "<board name>" is ok to post in, saw a few posts by <frequent poster name> and thought i could contribute here :)
I tried to reply to <thread by frequent poster> but it popped up an error, is it because i'm new? (i assume it is lol)
I'm currently watching stranger things! > <spam payload link> < mine is ALL of em lol :)
Best Regards

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