This week at Wonderstruck towers we've been discussing the question of how permanent beacons are, and we would love to know your thoughts.
Up until now I have considered beacons to be permanent, which would allow players to return to the game after a long time away and all their possessions would be exactly as they left them. There is something nice about that, but there are also issues, mainly that over time areas will become ghost towns if people stop playing the game, and there could be a large amount of old and poor builds stuck in the worlds overshadowing some of the cool builds. If your next door neighbours stop playing the game, would you rather their stuff remained hoping for them to come back, or would you rather someone else (or you) could use that space?
The big questions are:
Having put a beacon down in the game, should it be there permanently, or should it disappear under some circumstances?
We are moving towards thinking that they should eventually disappear – what do you think?
If beacons are to disappear, under which circumstances should that be?
We've come up with three ideas:
1. It's based on last log-in time which is simple, and clear, and allows people to keep their stuff just by logging in every so often.
2. It's based on amount of recent time played – similar to the above, but prevents people keeping their stuff just by logging on, they have to actually play.
3. It's based on gathering / crafting some kind of "beacon fuel" and putting that into the beacon every so often, which would force players to engage with the game and visit their beacons to keep them maintained.
When a beacon is flagged as due to disappear what should happen to the contents?
We have two ideas:
1. Initially the beacon remains, but the contents start to slowly regenerate back to the initial world state, once that process has finished the beacon disappears and the land can be claimed by someone else.
2. The beacon disappears, and the normal world regeneration process starts reverting the contents back to the initial world state.
Option 1 gives the owning player more chance to come back and rescue their possessions, and means that other players cannot claim them, whereas option 2 allows other players to claim all the contents of someone else's beacon (if they're quick enough).
If there is a time element to beacons disappearing, how long after a player stops playing should this happen?
We've not got a firm idea on this yet.
Comments / thoughts / ideas gratefully received.