[MUD-Dev] DGN: Lords, Vassals, Serfs and the Clergy

cruise cruise at casual-tempest.net
Thu May 19 21:51:21 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Jaycen Rigger spake thusly...

> I considered the "boredom" aspect, but then I consider crafter
> classes as the most boring thing you could possibly do.  I'm an
> adventurer, and if we aren't out killing stuff or solving a puzzle
> in a quest, there'd better be some high-tension role-playing going
> on or I'm wandering off to solo a cemetary or something.

> I think that you will find people who are quite happy to have to
> spend extra time hanging out in their castles.  This is a natural
> for socializers.  Finally, they can do what they love to do, and
> people have to deal with them.

Oh, indeed - as long as there is sufficient game to keep them
involved. I agree on crafting as it has been implemented so far -
but that is why it is boring, not the actual concept. Sure, there
are some people who will just craft no matter how repetitive it is,
same as there will be some people who just rule, no matter how
shallow. But naturally, the more interesting an aspect of gameplay,
the more people will play it.

>> While I understand the reason for the reminder, a message
>> informing them the taxes have been taken has much the same effect
>> without lots of activity on the part of the player, which would
>> get irritating. Having to log-out/log-in would be particularly
>> frustrating.

> Nah, it's not that bad.  They don't HAVE to log in and out, if
> they keep a good amount of gold on them all the time.

Well, I know /I'd/ get pretty peeved at that system :P

> Beyond that, I'm allowing Thief class characters to steal
> non-personal items from your pack (gold, gems, spell components,
> resources, etc).  If I allow you to pay automatically from the
> Bank, you'll never carry gold and Thieves won't be able to support
> themselves in a way that's contextually satisfying (to me.)

Hrm. I see the point...I guess it's just the UI I'm quibbling with
at this point.

>> Perhaps an interesting variation would be tax a small amount for
>> each day the player is logged in. ie. If I can only play
>> weekends, I only pay two copper pieces (or whatever). Someone
>> with more time to play everyday pays 7. Now you'd be hard pressed
>> to not make 1 copper in a play session, and so doesn't hinder
>> anyone, but means those most using the cities facilities, and
>> getting the most benefit, pay the most. Scaling the tax per
>> player level (if you have levels) is likely a good idea too.

> No on both counts, and I'll tell you why.  First, it's going to be
> hard enough to collect the gold to get the improvements bought and
> maintained without having to scrape for every piece of gold.  If
> players don't log for a few weeks, that will have a small impact
> on the economy, but by ensuring I have the same amount of gold
> from every player for a given time period, it makes calculations
> easier for the Ruler to kind of fly the system.  If he never knows
> how much gold he can expect from week to week, how can he rule his
> city?

While each individual player may be on varying amounts, I suspect
the statistics of large numbers will be on your side, and the total
won't fluctuate by too much. And it would make life a little bit
more "interesting"...much like the disasters in SimCity 4. Having a
crisis to deal with occasionally is actually a good thing.

> Scaling per level isn't what I'm after.  This game server has
> problems when item count gets too high.  Everything that exists
> sucks a tiny bit of RAM.  Our machine has 2G which gives us quite
> a bit of breathing room, but I really want to NOT encourage
> hoarding.  That is, I don't want to "discourage" it, but I want to
> encourage behaviours that make the player look for a way to pay
> for something.  One easy way is to sell off all the junk in your
> containers.

It depends on your economy, but surely players become richer as they
play the game? Having a tax that keeps pace with their income is a
/good/ way to keep players from accumulating too much.

>> Jail is bad (there was a thread about it a while back). A similar
>> system to your city tax shortfall recovery might work better,
>> where the most expensive items within the property are reclaimed
>> first. Though the little-but-often approach above should mean
>> that no one could ever not afford their taxes.

> I wish I'd seen that thread.  If someone has it, please forward it
> to me.

> I've given this a great deal of thought.  I originally hated this
> concept....  I need a CONCRETE way to show a Ruler's authority
> over his lands and people.  Besides, there are some
> considerations:

>   1.  The maximum jail sentance will probably be 6 hours of real
>   time (1 real day is roughly equal to 4 game days).

>   2. Players on my server can create up to 5 players on 1 account
>   (UO shard).  While one character is jailed, the player could
>   spend some time developing that odd character he always thought
>   of trying out.

>   3. Since this is a contextual jail system, we aren't talking
>   about GM powers to teleport a player and force them into
>   confinement.  The Ruler must have Knights whom he can deputize
>   to arrest offending players.  Those Knights would actually have
>   to "catch" the offending characters.  I've got a great script
>   for the shackles graphic.

But it's six hours of being unable to play that character. Players
will hate it.

Players moan over 30sec mezzes where they lose control. After 6
hours, you won't have a player anymore. As a brief summary, the idea
was if you want to have some kind of in game punishment system, a
"community service" model is better - fighters compete in the arena
(another city upgrade), crafters provide equipment for the city
militia, etc.

>> The main trouble with this is the cities with the most players
>> become the cities with the best bonuses and therefore more
>> players join them - you would eventually end up with maybe one or
>> two mega-opolises. And no one would ever bother to found another
>> city, because why would anyone want to join it?

> I don't think so.  Nature abhors a vacuum, and a power vacuum is
> the worst kind.  If the oportunity to rule exists, some sub-group
> is going to break off and make it happen.

They'll try and make it happen. But the megaopolis next door will
turn round and stomp on them as soon as the city is founded.

> There are a bunch of papers on community size and societal
> behaviours related to the size of the society on Raph's site and
> on some of the links from his.  Once you get to a certain size,
> groups of humans naturally break off to do their own thing.  The
> numbers in the real world apparently match the numbers in on-line
> communities.  I guess it's an ego thing.

Today's cities aren't communities, but a heck of a lot of people
live in them. People play games to "win", whatever that means (or
they want it to mean). If living in a big city gives better bonuses
than a small one, they'll live there, whether they know anyone in it
or not.

>> As a suggestion, have upkeep for improvements scale faster than
>> tax money as population increases (more people, higher running
>> and maintenance costs). This neatly provides an upper-cap on city
>> size, unless the player increases the tax-rate (at which point
>> the appeal of the city decreases), or they start putting their
>> own funds into the upkeep.

> I thought about scaling the system by number of Subjects, but I
> was concerned that I'm punishing them for grouping up in a direct
> way.  Instead, I thought I'd build in some class warfare and say
> that as the coffers grow, that means that the population has
> become more affluent and therefore afford to pay more.  I also
> considered that since you are drawing in a lot of gold, you
> probably also have more people using more of the services.  Even
> if you don't, you probably have characters accrueing more wealth,
> and they can afford to pay...if the coffers drop below that same
> threshold for a period of time, then I bump the rate back down and
> ease up on the peasants.

> I've considered it critical from the beginning that the coffers
> not be accessible by any player in any way that is direct.
> Otherwise, you'll get Super Cities where 5 mega-rich characters go
> in and just stomp all over everyone else.  I really want to reward
> players for forming a society.

Think of the city building as it's own game, self-contained. Any
game starts easy and gets harder, ramping up the difficulty to
provide a constant challenge. By slowly increasing the upkeep with
population, that is effectively what you are doing. As the "ruler"
advances through the game, by building a more successful city, the
difficulty scales too. If a city is large, you can bet it has a damn
good ruler in charge.

>> Additionally, the more people in a city, the less chance each one
>> has to take advantage of the facilities - so slowly reducing the
>> bonuses given for upgrades as the population rises provides a
>> motive for players to join smaller cities - they get a greater
>> benefit. Hopefully this would at least go some way to
>> counteracting the so called "zerging" that games such as
>> Shadowlands suffered from.

> I think that what you say makes logical sense, but it falls under
> my "don't make it too real or you might start sucking out fun"
> category.  I really want the rewards to follow the behaviour of
> creating a social structure.  I think they'll break off anyway, so
> I just don't think it will be a problem for me to fill up my
> cities.

> I'm not familiar with the "zerging" thing.

I'm not suggesting it because it's real life, I'm suggesting it for
gameplay reasons, and providing the in-game explanation for the
behaviour too :P

"Zerging" comes from Starcraft, where the Zerg faction can produce
an overwhelming number of the basic troops to flood an
opponent. It's been co-opted in MMO's that have large-scale
guild.vs.guild battles, where the biggest guild wins. Everyone joins
the winning guild, and so it gets ever bigger, and so wins more,
etc. etc.

I'm not saying don't increase the strength of a city as it gets
larger, but at least have some kind of reason to join a smaller
settlement to prevent this run away feedback loop.

>> A "fighter" can join the King's knights. They get better
>> equipment and skills, but they now have to follow his orders or
>> lose the benefits. A Knight can become a Paladin if his chosen
>> religion approves. He gets additional, God-given abilities. But
>> now he has to follow the precepts of his order in addition to
>> those of the king.

> Just to clarify, a Knight is a Paladin.  Sorry for the confusion.
> The Paladin ties the Ruler's might to that of the Church.  Only a
> Ruler can turn a fighter into a Paladin (through the knighting
> process) but only a group of Priests can strip a Paladin of his
> ablities and turn him back into a fighter.

> A Paladin is basically a fighter with minor healing abilities,
> some authority to execute arrest warrants issued by the Ruler and
> low-level Clerical spell ability.  Oh, and a cool title.

Yeah, I understood what you meant. I was suggesting a variant :P By
having the two stage process: fighter->Knight->Paladin you allow for
more interaction between state and religion.

>> Additional interesting social complexity could be gained by
>> granting the nobility command of some of the knights - then a
>> noble could try and bargain with the religious groups to assist
>> in any coup d'etat.

> Another good idea....I'll have to consider how we'd actually
> implement that.  I wanted to do more with the Hierarchy, but I
> couldn't think of something that made sense and didn't overbalance
> them.

Maybe have it connected with your idea of court positions. The ruler
can assign someone from the top-tier as a General. If that player is
given detailed enough control for organising and commanding troops,
you've also just added an RTS-minigame :P

Note, I'm allowing for more than one General. Why? Because giving a
player who's next inline to the throne complete control of the army
is damned risky. Splitting control could lower the efficiency of
your fighting force if the Generals disagree. Choices, again.

Each General can appoint nobles from the tier below as Captains, and
so on down the hierarchy. Probably there should be allowances for
Knights who prove themselves to be promoted up, too, to provide
alternative means of advancement.

--
[ cruise / casual-tempest.net / transference.org ]
   "quantam sufficit"
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