I started this as a reply in another thread, but I think it’s distinct enough to separate this conversation from the original topic in that thread.
I would like to see a better reward system for builders, but it’s a difficult proposition. For the game to intrinsically reward builders the same way it does hunters/gatherers/explorers, it would need to be able to evaluate the quality of a build. Furthermore, it would need to take into account more than just size and material composition, otherwise a player would get the same reward for making a magnificent work of art as another player gets for building a twelve story phallus. Just based on that alone, I think it’s unrealistic to completely divorce the reward mechanism from player interaction.
I think the answer is for player structures to provide practical benefits to visitors. These can be divided into two main types: incentives and functions.
Incentives would be small bonuses to encourage players to seek out other player builds. For example:
- A one-time experience bonus the first time a player discovers a new build.
- Temporary buffs for every player that visits (the builder could determine the type of buff either via selection or some building criteria).
- Reverse footfall: players earn a (very) small amount of coin for granting others footfall. The amount could increase for less visited locations and decrease (down to zero) for already popular locations.
- Daily landmark: players receive a marker to a random beacon at the beginning of each day. If they travel to that location (on foot) by the end of the day, they get a small chunk of exp and coin.
The point behind these incentives would be to increase traffic in order to make any player derived rewards more frequent and reliable.
Functions would be practical benefits or services provided by the structure itself. These would make the structure useful instead of merely aesthetic, giving players a reason to return to certain builds over and over again. Examples:
- An inn that increases health regeneration for players that rest inside.
- A warp platform that offers decreased warp costs when creating warps from on top of it.
- A storage bank that offers visitors a safe place away from home to store excess items.
- A train for travel to other locations on the same world.
- A workshop with public access machinery players can use if theirs is too far away, or if they haven’t unlocked that skill yet (or don’t plan to).
- A hangar for one-time-use gliders that let players jump off the structure and safely glide some distance away.
- A shop (obviously these exist, and it’s currently the only example of this kind of functional build).
- A fish farm where players can fish for food.
- A farm that grows produce players can harvest for food.
…and many more, I’m sure. What other kinds of useful buildings and services could exist in Boundless?
An interesting debate would be whether more than one of these functions would be allowed within a single beacon. My personal thought is no because I’d rather any settlements containing several of these useful structures to be built and maintained by multiple players instead of just one. However, there’s not much to prevent a player from just creating another build right next to their first one, leaving a one plot gap between them. Maybe players can only build one on each planet? It might end up being more trouble than it’s worth to try and stop determined players from making their own personal city.
What does everyone else think? What other kinds of rewards and incentives could be offered to encourage builders?