- Prestige is XP for your build.
- Prestige isn’t about beauty, it’s about cost.
First of all thank you for sharing this bit. Knowing these design constraints greatly reduces the problem space so that everyone can communicate more productively.
You then claim that players are free to totally ignore prestige, which I disagree with. Prestige decides who gets to name the settlement, so even players who focus on pure creativity and aesthetics must surrender the naming of their artwork to those playing the prestige game. Imagine if the Mona Lisa was named Trash Can Nelly because it only took 40 hours to paint; and another artist, with a worse painting, which they hung across the street from the museum, but who spent 41 hours painting it got to choose the name? Oh and the author displayed to everyone who walks by isn’t Da Vinci, it’s DeezLutz. Contrived, but that’s Boundless. That’s how many players feel.
I think devs should reconcile their view of settlements with the players’. The key misunderstanding seems to be that the devs consider settlements an emergent property of what players are doing. And players see settlements as social structures.
I started as a yes vote on this initiative but after typing my thoughts out I’m changing to a no vote. I don’t think prestige calculation is the problem. The disconnect between what devs and players think settlements are is the problem. If you solved that problem, prestige could be poorly balanced and it wouldn’t be a big deal.
Ok now I’m going to commit a forum faux pas and recommend an alternative way forward. My goal will be to preserve the devs’ desire for settlements to be an emergent property of game actions, but address the heart of the prestige complaints players have.
Proposal: Settlements no longer have names. The game can designate a settlement by observing a clumping of player plots like it already does; but there’s no way to name it.
Proposal: Make beacon names more prominent as prestige grows. If I walk into someone’s beacon and they built a 200,000 prestige castle masterpiece, I want to see the name of it displayed prominently on my screen as well as the artist’s name. Since it’s their beacon, they will always retain naming rights of their build. It would be annoying to see this popping up every time you enter another beacon, which is why the prominence should scale with prestige.
Proposal: Update the UI upon entering a settlement to act as a guide. When I walk into a settlement the game should still tell me. Since there’s no longer a settlement name to show me, it should show me the names of the top 3 beacons (and owners) instead. I should get marks on my compass pointing those top 3 out to me, until I leave the settlement. If I pull up the settlement screen I should see any participating beacon over 10k prestige, and I should be able to click it to set my waypoint to it. Prestige fuels the guide, and the guide brings players to the good builds, and the good builds generate foot fall. What a nice feedback loop!
With all those in place we have stopped the zero-sum elements of settlement PVP so the players are happy. There is still a reason for players to compete for more prestige than their neighbors so the devs are happy.
After implementing this we would probably find that the settlement guide isn’t that accurate. It leads us to gleam towers and other prestige gimmicks. Then is the time to revisit prestige calculation. Also we would probably find that players desire some sort of in-game social structure. But I’ve read that devs are working on a guild system so maybe that will address that.
Thanks for your time, I know my posts are long.