HELP! Give us your opinion on protecting settlement identity?


#1

Hey Everyone.

One of the recurring issues and complaints that players hit is losing their Settlement identity. This is often a point of conflict in the game and can cause unhappiness for players who care about their community and associated identity.

This is not really solvable via community management intervention because the rules of the sandbox allow players to do things that others find frustrating. And often they aren’t really breaking any rules. It would be much better if the sandbox itself had better structure to reduce these points of conflict. (But we will always require community management around the edges.)

We have a number of things in the pipeline that we think will address the problems. I wanted to highlight them here to get collective feedback and make sure everyone is aware that we’re working on this issue gradually.

  1. Guilds will always retain their Settlement identity: In the coming Guild + Messaging update, players will be able to create a guild, join the guild, and then align their beacon with the guild. If all the aligned beacons in a settlement meet the thresholds for being a settlement then they will be a guild settlement. The guild will always be able to name their settlement and this will show on the compass, planets in the sky and when entering the settlement - as a standard settlement. This alone will allow players to protect and control their identity.

    This is equivalent to all the aligned beacons having a single owner of the guild. Hence it’s possible that the guild will also become the Warden of the entire settlement. The guild aligned beacons will have their own leaderboard for prestige within the guild settlement. The guild settlement will also show up in any bigger settlements that they might be a part of. It’s possible that the guild will then become a Viceroy of the planet.

  2. Switching to plot rather then chunk resolution: The Guild + Messaging update also switches the settlement evaluation from chunks (where you could be 3 plots away and still connect) to a pure plot resolution. This will hopefully make it much clearer for players to understand when they will and will not connect. (Reminder that it’ll actually be plot columns. We often talk about touching - but we really mean the columns touch, ie a plot in the sky can touch a plot underground as their associated columns touch.)

    This will make it much clearer about what it going on. The original chunk resolution was an optimisation to make sure that the settlement evaluation would be efficient. But it would have caused even more confusing when guild settlements mixed with non-guild aligned settlements. This was instantly hit on the Testing servers and so we concluded that we needed to do the work to switch to the plot resolution.

With both of these changes players will always be able to create and retain a Settlement identity. These are both coming in the next update.


So you can now keep your identity. But what about prestige and gleam towers?

The following changes are already in development and will be coming after the next update.

  1. Normalising the Prestige scores: Some of the block prestiges scores are inconsistent with their cost of creation. There are certain blocks than can be mass produced easily to generate significant prestige. We plan to renormalise all the block prestige scores so that their score is aligned with their costs of creation.

  2. Refactoring the Prestige calculation: We also want to iterate the prestige scoring system itself a little. We want to the scoring system to better reward variety in the beacons: material variety, chiseling variety, and value variety. We’re also going to present some more details about the prestige score into the beacon GUI to help all players understand where their score is coming from.

As this request for feedback returned an 80% approval we have proceed with the development.

These 2 items will significantly reduce the option for building refined gleam towers. Hence the process of gaining prestige will be better aligned with the effort you put into the collection, processing, crafting, building, chiseling and variety in your beacons.

The system still doesn’t claim to deal with aesthetics and still doesn’t include any player voting input.

When this is released all prestige scores will change and will be instantly recalculated. Wardens may change. Capitals many change. I imagine some will complain about losing prestige (whilst others will gain) but we think this is an important improvement for the structure and fairness of the sandbox.


Finally, players often complain about losing plots in or around their beacon. A plot becomes available and someone else snaps it up before they were able to. Players often think that there is a higher entitlement to plots near their current build. But currently the sandbox treats all plots neutrally. If it’s available then anyone can beacon and claim it. This is a neutral and hence fair system.

But players who have lovingly spent hours developing their build can often be left frustrated that there is plenty of other land that could be claimed - why build so close to them? Whilst the current system is neutral I don’t think it’s successful if it leaves players unhappy. It is true that there are huge amounts of plots available across all the worlds.

Some of this comes down to players wanting some control over who claims and builds around them. At the moment it’s a claim-first-argue-later system. The following proposal attempted to resolve this:

  1. Protected buffer zones around beacons: This would give all beacons a limited buffer zone around their beacon. The zone would disallow other players claiming any plots within their buffer without prior agreement and permission. This would change the system from claim-first-argue-later to agree-first-claim-later. The buffer zones would likely be small 1, 2 or 3 plots. When buffer zones overlap then neither party would be able to claim plots without prior permission. So this is mainly a limiting system. It doesn’t beat simply claiming plots ahead of time and securing the land you want.

This proposal also received an 80% approval and so we will likely proceed with it.

This system doesn’t claim to resolve issues of beacons being boxed in. This will still be protected by the CoC and happens rarely.


In conclusion:

  1. Guilds allow players to protect the identity of their Settlements by aligning their beacons with the guild.
  2. Plot resolution settlement evaluation will make it clearer when settlements are touching.
  3. All block prestige scores will be normalised against their cost of production.
  4. Prestige scoring will better reward and encourage variation.
  5. Beacon protection zones will give players control over who claims plots next to their beacons.

We hope that these changes will make players feel more comfortable and in control of their environements. But also allow players to continue competing for the title of Warden, the rank of Capital and the ultimate honour of Viceroy.

The first step will come with the release of Guilds.


Let us know what you think.


The "Los Mancos" situation on Arie
Person being rude + preventing people from expanding
Explaining Beacons and Settlements post Release 211
#2

#3

I’m all for it. I patiently await the prestige change. That’s one I’m really looking forward to.


#4

I think all of these changes are good for the game. I do have a clarification question.

Do touching protection zones merge the settlements? I am hoping that only actually claimed plots touching will create a merge, but want to understand your thinking.


#5

Nope.

Settlements are only connect when evaluating claimed plots.

The protection buffer will simply disallow claiming if within (say) 2 plots. It’s a pretty simple system. The hardest part is adding a new permission for claiming with the protection buffer.


#6

And now that you meantion plot columns would it at all be possible to let us use a beacon in our column but not actually connected to the main part as to make it so we don’t waste plots on empty land.


#7

Love the sound of it, but my only questions are

If a player merges 2 seperate settlements owned by 2 seperate guilds, what would happen? Would they merge? If they didn’t, which settlement would the player’s portal be connected to?

Also, is there anything to stop players from ploping a beacon near an unallined settlement and essentially taking it over by making it part of their guild 's beacon?

Additionally, what about in the situation where once its released, certain towns get taken over by a different guild before the original owners get a chance to allign it to their own guilds?

On paper it all seems simple, but there’s multiple problems that I think need solving first


#8

Terrific, I think this will go a long way towards eliminating some of the ongoing forced merge issues that continue to crop up on the forums. All players have to do is maintain a protection zone around their settlement and they can prevent merges.

Thank you for your quick response.


#9

If there are 2 guilds that have settlements and they touch, then you would end up with 3 settlements:

  • Guild James’ Settlement
  • Guild Vansten’s Settlement, as before and
  • A new epic settlement that includes everything touching.

The identity within the new epic settlement with the most prestige will be the Warden with naming permissions. If it was Guild Vansten, then they would also be able to name the epic settlement.

I think of this a little like: Los Angeles, which includes Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Marina del Rey.

This allows larger settlements already in the game to divide up into guilds and regions if they want.

All the places will show up on the compass and planet markers.

But importantly everyone keeps their personal identity.

Beacons will only join a guild if the owner: 1. joins the guild and 2. aligns their beacon with it.

The buffer zone would also stop touching.

Settlements are constantly re-evaluated. So the Warden can change as prestige and alignments change.

I don’t doubt that new issues and exploits will be discovered as players push the boundaries of the updated systems. This should be expected. It’s a sandbox. But hopefully we’re moving in the right direction.


Explaining Beacons and Settlements post Release 211
#10

Against people who consider the game as a PvP experience where they HAVE to expand and they HAVE to absorb other settlements, the guild feature itself should solve a lot of problems indeed. It can’t come out soon enough.

The prestige tweaks would also be a good thing, so would the buffer zone system.
+1 to all of that!

I would however be more concerned as to how the game will decide who owns a guild.
Currently, the Warden system makes it possible to lose the ‘ownership’ of a settlement you made.
Can someone with more Prestige take the lead position of a guild in any way? Or can we decide once and for all “this person is the guild leader until he or she gives up the role”?


#11

I see a immediate problem with this, especially when it comes to guilds competing for the naming rights of the epic settlement… the winning guild will just name the epic settlement as their own guild - essentially making the other guild almost seem like a sub faction of their own.

It would just become :-

  • Guild James’ Settlement
  • Guild Vansten’s Settlement
  • Guild Vansten’s Epic Settlement

I can’t think of a way around that though, unless the epic settlement doesn’t exist and is just a standard settlement in it’s own right without the 2 guilds prestige added to it :man_shrugging:


#12

Correct this could happen. But surly it is still an improvement on the current system.

Old system:

  • Guild Vansten’s Settlement

New system:

  • Guild James’ Settlement
  • Guild Vansten’s Settlement
  • Guild Vansten’s Epic Settlement

And James has retained their identity.


#13

A Guild is owned by the Director or Directors.

This can only be given up by the Director themselves.

This is an opt-in system that players have often requested for Settlements.

Nope.

Settlements and Settlement Titles are about Prestige.
Guilds are about roles which are controlled by the guild directors.


#14

Don’t get me wrong, it’s most definitely an improvement on the current system and will hopefully cut down on the forced merge threads on the forums and discord! I was only concerned that the less prestigious guild would somehow have their identity diminished by being in the greater prestigious guilds epic settlement - it might be a complete non-issue though.


#15

An extension of this, I believe the any beacons wtihn the city that are allinged to a guild should could.

So in the above example
Settlement has
Person A, aligned to Guild A, Has 50k prestige
Person B, aligned to Guild B, has 35k prestige
Person C, aligned to Guild B, has 20k prestige

Where Guild B would be able to rename the town as they have the highest total prestige, with person B being the one able to do so

This would also help reduce the likelyhood guild towns being taken over as the person would have to out prestige the entire town as opposed to 1 person. Not impossible, but harder


#16

Yep - this is definitely a concern. But we’ve worked hard to try and minimise it.

For example - the original plan was to calling these sub-settlements “districts” so that the difference would be clear. But I championed against this because I believed that players would be frustrated to lose their “settlement” label when becoming a “district”. Their identity would have changed.

So we reworked it so that everything would be a settlement.


#17

The Guild Directors control the guild and act as the collective owner of the prestige for their members.

So in this example, it’s the director of Guild B who would name the settlement.


#18

Excited for this update. I think most of it will solve alot of existing problems… specially the plot protection and the gleam tower issue. Is there a date on when the update is going to go live?


#19

Looks good! I really hope you scale prestige better. Most of my medieval town is Wood, Planks, Stone and Ice. Some don’t even give Prestige afaik. Really hard to build up prestige without having to build some hidden prestige places, which I don’t really wanna do much of.


#20

This seems mostly good. Prestige changes are a slam dunk. The complexity of the whole settlement system is going way up with guilds and buffers so I think there should be one more pass to attempt to simplify the concepts. We don’t just need something that’s functionally correct, we need something that’s easy to teach as well. I think false reports will still be elevated since the behavior is non-obvious. Predicting plot interactions is easy on graph paper and hard in the voxel world.

Also can you take a glance at quests related to land ownership? How does the viceroy quest work if a guild identity is the viceroy? How do joining a settlement quests work if every settlement is buffered? Both these quests already confuse players so this is a good time to take another look at them.

That’s all my top level concerns. Going to get into the weeds on simplifying settlement system for the rest of this post.

The most obvious simplification I see is to remove the concept of settlement name. Currently players and devs disagree on settlement definition. Players want ownership and devs want emergent grouping. Guilds give players exactly the control they wanted. This frees up settlements to work how the devs wanted. However settlements still require a name, which misleads players into thinking settlements are something to own. Really they are just something you’re in, like a region or a planet.

I think in all cases players will want to see the guild’s name wherever they see settlement name now. At the top of the screen (a13o’s Guild - Foresta Dellanen - Gellis), and in the overlay when first entering. Settlements are useful constructs for organizing UI screens and encouraging friendly prestige battles but they don’t need a name to do either of those things. Devs have a million things they could add to incentivize the behavior they want to see inside settlements without confusing players by asking us to name them.