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Messages - Foxglove

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Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: The new 'Units' System
« on: September 12, 2018, 04:10:59 AM »
If you've an alternative for what Units can be called that fits better, it's not too hard to change ti at this point. In text anyways.

Company - widely used in the Middle Ages, although more commonly used to describe mercenary companies like the famous White Company.

Warband - As Cipheron pointed out, this could well be used to describe the smallish groups of soldiers of the early Middle Ages. If I remember correctly (and I'm pretty sure I do), the game is actually meant to represent an early Middle Ages society where nobles commanded small groups of soldiers.

Band - a variation on Warband.

Personal Guard - roughly describes the purpose of the typically fewer than 100 soldiers that each First Ones tends to lead most of the time.

Companions - a variation on Company.

Men-at-Arms - a reasonable description of a group of Middle Ages soldiers.

Yeomanry - same as above.

From that selection, I'd probably go with either Company or Warband. We know that people in the Middle Ages legitimately used Company to describe their groups of soldiers. Alternatively, Warband does describe pretty well the smallish numbers of soldiers that most First Ones command most of the time.

Conduct & Design Discussion / Re: The new 'Units' System
« on: September 06, 2018, 03:24:26 PM »
Yeah, its just one of my aesthetic bugbears. I've never liked groups of soldiers being called Units in Battlemaster either. Units always brings to might 20th century warfare for me (and beyond). I'm not even suggesting that we should consult historical sources to decide what's a better term. Just come up with one that sounds a bit less modern.

Conduct & Design Discussion / The new 'Units' System
« on: September 06, 2018, 02:25:50 PM »
From the manual:

"Supply is either drawn from a settlement under your command, or the settlement of the Unit's origin (TODO)"

Will the second part of this (supply from settlement of Unit's origin) be implemented before the new system goes live? Or will every First One in charge of a Unit need to also be a settlement owner? Implementing the new system without the TODO finished seems like it would be a bad idea (People left with characters unable to do anything military if they lose settlements).

Also, and this might seem a bit random, is there any chance we can call these groups of soldiers something other than a "Unit"? The reason I ask is because, as far as I know, the idea of soldiers being divided in to a Unit is a pretty modern idea that doesn't seem all that in keeping with the atmosphere of the game. The main alternative name I can think of is Warband, but anything more in keeping with the game world would do.

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

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

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

General Discussion / Re: A Discussion On The Value Of Characters
« on: April 05, 2018, 05:30:53 PM »
I've never been a fan in any game of the concept of putting characters semi-permanently in to a place where you can't play them unless someone else allows it (i.e. if you are captured you stay there until another player decides to release you). The game would effectively punish you for taking part in a battle by depriving you of use of the character if it gets captured. Not a good idea.

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.

There are basically two ways that games traditionally create player attachment to characters - on an emotional level (the character has or develops some story that makes the player attached to them); or by making the character more valuable as you progress through the game (new skills, etc) - or, of course, by some combination of the two.

My suggestion would be to allow characters to gain something as they go along (experience; abilities; skills; or some thing of that sort). When you create a new character it's a blank slate but becomes more valuable as you go along. Then players wouldn't consider characters to be so disposable and spamming new characters wouldn't be an easy option.

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. Possibly, you could also make it so that experience/skills degrade if they are not used for a time. That might somewhat guard against the creation of super-characters who become amazing at everything by being rotated through different duties so they max out experience in all areas.

Also, it would be a help if the trait system actually worked. Part of the reason it was introduced was to make characters different from each other, but it does no good unless fully implemented.

General Discussion / Re: A Discussion On Allowing Non-Human First Ones
« on: February 22, 2018, 11:34:09 PM »
I'm not against the idea, but I also don't really know that it would add anything. Although I'm not keen on us having elves, orcs, lizardmen, goblins, or what ever drawn from Tolkien, generic fantasy, Warhammer, etc. Let's at least have a go at being more original.

I pretty much agree with all De-Legro just wrote. If we're going to have something like this, there are existing cultures either in the game now, or within the history of the game, that could be fleshed out to create distinct strands of First Ones. The Rathgari had (I think) some belief that they were somehow descended from a bear (?). The Erstes Imperium was originally meant to be an ancient culture that was so bound up in its own bureaucracy that it was often ineffective (perhaps not entirely unlike elves in some versions of them). The Fading Isles have a longstanding culture of magic and mysticism in various forms. The Imperium, Rathgar, and the Isles were realms number one, number two, and number three when the game began and those could easily form the basis of racial or cultural blocks.

Beyond that, you then have the subdivisions. Using the Isles as an example, there are mainly three strands of First Ones - the Hawks; the Iunans; and the Mercians. Although I don't think any of us set out to do it, the three 'races' could be identified with different elements. Hawks has its cultural associations with air through its hawk (spirits?) entities. Mercia is strongly aligned with water and they see themselves as a sea people. Iunans, on the other hand, could probably said to be aligned with earth having a great belief in the mystical properties of the islands themselves. Within all that, there's already some strong culture that's unique to the game rather than having been imported from Tolkien, etc.

If we were to have races, I do believe they should be pre-defined ones that players can choose to join. I'm not so keen on it just being a free-for-all so we end up with all sorts of wild and wonderful creations that could never be sensibly fitted in to the existing lore of the game.

General Discussion / Talking Point - Character Relationships
« on: November 16, 2017, 03:38:24 PM »
How to make them more important within the game and why people often seem to choose to create entirely single player family trees? I think the answer to the last part of that is simply because it's easier.

This comes out of an idea I mentioned in another thread - how about if, after an initial set of characters you could create when you start playing, all other characters you can create would need to be created through a relationship between one of your characters and a character of another player? Perhaps the other player would even need to tick a box/select a drop down option that says something like, 'allow pregnancy'. What if this were to even be an active choice rather than a passive one? Your character's partner has to request the birth of a child and you must agree.

There are quite a few plus points to a character creation system like this. For a start, it has the potential to greatly reduce spamming the creation of characters by one player, because a second player would essentially have to agree to the creation of a new character either actively or passively depending on the system ("A new child, my dear? How wonderful!" Or, on the other hand, "Not another child, husband. Give me some peace!"). Of course, as with most game mechanics, it would have potential abuses like two players simply forming character relationships to allow creation at will.

A character creation system like this would also encourage players to interact. No longer could you just sit isolated and create all the characters you want. Also, with this system, we might also begin to see some more realistic uses of relationships - marriage alliances between realms; disputed inheritances; etc. Basically, introducing a lot more dynamics to the game.

The trait system was meant to do much the same sort of thing by being a soft push encouraging players to interact to give their characters traits they wanted (for those who don't know, a player gets a certain number of traits within their family/familes and the only way to introduce other traits to your family tree is through relationships with characters of other families). However, since traits have never (yet) been fully enabled they don't work fully as planned. Even fully enabled, I'm not sure they would work as well as this sort of character creation system either.

Thoughts? Good idea? Bad idea? Mediocre idea?

General Discussion / Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« on: October 26, 2017, 03:43:30 PM »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree. I lean toward thinking that the limit on settlements in free accounts is actually much more significant than the limit on characters. Although I do think the character limit for free accounts is too low as it stands.

General Discussion / Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« on: October 26, 2017, 01:39:42 PM »

That is only assuming that the tiers themselves improve the game

True enough, but I was trying to answer your questions as directly and briefly as possible without digressing. I didn't want this thread to get bogged down in side discussions again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

General Discussion / Re: Discussion - Subscription Levels
« on: October 26, 2017, 01:04:24 PM »
What I was canvassing was if the concept of removing character limits on free accounts, or alternatively having only a single tier sub account would be beneficial to the game.

It would probably be beneficial to remove character limits on free accounts or to increase the number of characters free players can have. However, if limits on the number of settlements a free player can control is still a thing, it might also be beneficial to remove or increase those limits as an 'and/or' with regard to character limits.

No, having a single tier of subscription account wouldn't be beneficial to the game. The current multiple levels allow players to change tiers as either time or money are available to them. Having flexibility in subscription levels to suit personal resources of time and cash is beneficial to any game with subscriptions. 

General Discussion / Re: What is an Artifact worth? (In Credits)
« on: October 25, 2017, 01:43:51 PM »
I wasn't intending it to be a "you must subscribe to have this" for things being a subscriber reward, more that I want to reward people for subscribing for X amount of days. Like you get the first one for subscribing for a month, then the second for 4 months, the fourth for a year, so on. Even if you stop subscribing, you keep your artifacts. If you restart later, you pick up where you left off.

That's a pretty good idea. I particularly like that people could keep the rewards even if they stop subscribing. It has a chance of increasing subscriptions to the game, given the way many people who play games like to collect things (whether it be in-game items or things like achievements). Perhaps it could also be extended to other things, either as well as or instead of artifacts, so there would be other options aside from an ever increasing number of artifacts in the world. For example, the ability of create family retainers (e.g. a master of hawks; master of hounds; cup bearer; etc) who can be given a written description and then assigned to a player character like we do with artifacts. I suppose, if you could create such servants, the issue would be that they'd have to have a set lifespan if they were mortal to be in keeping with the game setting. Unless the First Ones have some magical way of extending the life of favourite servants. Anything is possible.

I don't know. But I think there's definitely scope to expand subscriber rewards to other stuff in addition to artifacts.

Realms Chat / Re: Major Cultures of the Game
« on: October 20, 2017, 03:56:33 PM »
Roran properly played a dynasty of other characters and at various junctures attempted to expand those playing in the family. It’s also worth noting that Richard of Arescod is still the King of Ascalon, and in terms of a family name, I’d certainly say that the House of Arescod is very well known.

Yeah, I'd been reconsidering Arescod since I wrote the first post. The House of Arescod would stand as a famous family. There are also a few that were around earlier in the game. The Aerinia (I've probably spelt that wrong) family springs to mind.

Believe it or not, there is also a strange “Eastern” side of the map which doesn’t touch the Isles, yet have still done many things throughout history. At this stage House Plantagenet should be well known, and there are many members of the House.

Yeah, exactly so. That's what I meant about some families being well-known in some spheres and unknown in others. My characters in the Isles have never heard of anyone on the eastern mainland. However, that wasn't always the case as some of my characters who are still alive now travelled widely early in the history of the game, and one of Aldric's daughters was engaged to a member of the ruling House of the Erstes Imperium. In turn, I think very few families from the eastern half of the map have travelled as far as the Isles. Again, Aerinia is the main one that springs to mind.

Realms Chat / Re: Major Cultures of the Game
« on: October 20, 2017, 02:25:28 PM »
had Lasar asked, Andrew would've helped him kick Mercia's nobles off his retreat. No idea bout Vanessa though.

Had Jason Lasar returned to the isles (and been able to prove his credentials as the true Lasar), Aldric would probably have just given the old retreat back to him. Aldric always had mixed feelings about the rebellion and would rather have had the High King retain a role as ceremonial ruler. Aldric rebelled against the increasingly irrational demands of Jason Lasar (as Aldric saw them), not against the birthright of Lasar to be High King of the Fading Isles.

I was looking at the Legendary Families section of the wiki and I've seen there aren't any. Who could be?
o be honest, I'd put Stonedman there even if he was a twat. Eirenikos, Symmachus, Calinus, Arescod, Lasar maybe. Lasar is an almost mythological name to some people. Like he never really existed.

That depends on how you're defining legendary and also whether you're talking about an actual family, or just a character from a family. Jason Lasar would definitely be a legendary character, but would the family name be legendary? I'm not so sure. Same for Alexios Eirenikos, Tacitis Symmachus, and Roran of Arescod. I'd say the same about my Fox family. It's Aldric people have heard of and not the other members. Also, there are families that are famous within certain spheres of influence, but unknown in others.

In terms of an actual famous family (i.e. more than one generation) the main one I can think of is Calinus.

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