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Goblinworks Blog: Put It in Writing


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Goblin Squad Member

Quandary wrote:
Ravening wrote:
My only real concern is how strict it will be to enter a non-aligned settlement if you want to trade, craft, rest or something similiar. If access is restricted then it could make it a challenge for merchants or craftsment who have a less clients that can buy their wares.

Well Ryan pretty much directly stated that this is up to how each Settlement wants to run things. If they want to kill Non-Citizens on sight, they can. If they want to kill people wearing red clothing on sight, they can. Or they can allow them in, that's their choice.

Since the Blogs have made a point of NPC towns persecuting CRIMINALS who are within their territory, it kind of implicitly means you can move and function within their territory just fine if you aren't a CRIMINAL... If they persecuted all non-citizens, the distinction of how they treat criminals would be irrelevant.

I thought the there wasn't going to be any NPC's visible, as it takes too much computer resources to populate a world full of them?

NPC's have been compared to invisible sims that are there in the background but not actually visible. This is why everything that is crafted or sold, will be done by the PC's. If this is the case how can the invisible intangible NPC's punish, attack or remove those who enter their settlement, that don't have a match alignment.

My preference is to make alignment a=solely a RP tool. However, this still raises certain issues with some organisations having an open door policy.

Personally I favour a reputation system and or taint system. Reputation can be used to see if someone is trustworthy (honours their sworn word and contracts, doesn't cheat or lie) and use taint to record if they have commited an evil act (which could include the casting of 'evil' spells'. Summoning nasty creatures, murdering innocents etc).

I don't like the idea that someone who wants to be CG must automatically be untrustworthy and must break contracts.

Goblin Squad Member

Ravening wrote:
I don't like the idea that someone who wants to be CG must automatically be untrustworthy and must break contracts.

I'm not sure GW said that. In the blog entry "Signed ... in Blood", they said: "Violating the terms of contracts is a fundamentally chaotic act. Doing so repeatedly will have effects on character's alignments." Which means that lawful and neutral characters that violate contracts will be shifted towards Chaotic. It suggests chaotics could violate contracts without an alignment hit. They haven't said that chaotic characters *must* break contracts. Some of us here have said that chaotics should be leery of entering into contracts, because they constrain freedom.

I expect GW to have restrictions on chaotics as well as lawful characters. Maybe not as many, but if the lawful characters have lots of restrictions and chaotics have almost none, then I'd expect GW to balance the alignments through other means, perhaps group and settlement buffs and penalties.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Chaotic defined as the "unlawful" alignment, but someone just didn't like the sound of "unlawful"?

If you break it into the "personal ethics axis" (good, neutral, evil) and the "social contract" axis (lawful, neutral, chaotic), you can clearly see law and chaos are opposing.

I think people see "chaotic" and associate it with their character's loose cannon personality. But that's not the case. Personality is a different thing.

EDIT: The point. I don't see a problem if the chaotics of PFO are outlaws and untrusted.


Andius wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Personally, I'm baffled why Ryan feels it is so necessary to 'promote' land-ownership to the point that that large groups who don't own land are barred by the game.
Hold on. Do we actually have confirmation on the limitation of a size of a chartered company?

Read Ryan's response to my post on the subject.

I asked Ryan "If there is a hard limit on CC size, those [landless mercenary/raider... or simply intermediary crafter/trader] groups are simply impossible without having SOME Settlement somewhere."
His response was "We want players to focus on the game of running Hexes, not the game of running around in Hexes."
While that doesn't tell us the exact hard limit they are planning, he didn't respond with whether or not there is a hard limit, and directly stated that the play style enabled by large CC groups (without land) was something they want to discourage.

Ravening wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Since the Blogs have made a point of NPC towns persecuting CRIMINALS who are within their territory, it kind of implicitly means you can move and function within their territory just fine if you aren't a CRIMINAL... If they persecuted all non-citizens, the distinction of how they treat criminals would be irrelevant.

I thought the there wasn't going to be any NPC's visible, as it takes too much computer resources to populate a world full of them?

NPC Towns = Fort Riverwatch, Fort Inevitable, and Thorn Keep.

Goblin Squad Member

Hudax wrote:


EDIT: The point. I don't see a problem if the chaotics of PFO are outlaws and untrusted.

I agree, many definitions of chaotic aren't simply "only follows orders when he wants to", quite a few people define chaotic as opposed to the idea of orders existing in the first place. To some extent I don't really see anything wrong with the idea of chaos being as opposed to law, as good is obviously opposed to evil. Both axis's are supposed to be equally far apart and equally likely to have conflict. Yet in general most peoples games see a chaotic good and a lawful good as 2 alignments with negligible disagreements. While 1 NE character would be viewed as unsuitable, even with a party of NN at most tables. Perhaps these differences are being drastically underplayed in most games.

That being said, the one thing I do have great concerns for, is if class/alignment ties exist. Can a barbarian turn ex barbarian for fulfilling contracts as requested.

In response to the counterpoint of "there's no guarantee that doing contracts will lean you towards lawful, only breaking them towards chaotic". That may be true, but obviously something has to lean you towards lawful, if the scale is purely 1 way, then the game will obviously have issues with over the years everyone slowly drifting to chaotic evil. If NPC quests are purely the way to go good/lawful than we negate any value of the system of being any judge of a persons character. Someone who always treats the NPCs like gold, and players like crap could be a regular issue. Even if he has to space his player interactions out due to some arbitrary limit on NPC earned alignment per day, someone who only takes 1 contract every 2 months, and cheats on it every time, should not wind up lawful, if he is, than the system has 0 value in terms of judging behavior.


Indeed, I would view someone who 'follows orders when they want to' as being Neutral. Chaotic certainly seems to err more towards 'screw the establishment'.

Goblin Squad Member

Onishi wrote:
In response to the counterpoint of "there's no guarantee that doing contracts will lean you towards lawful, only breaking them towards chaotic". That may be true, but obviously something has to lean you towards lawful, if the scale is purely 1 way, then the game will obviously have issues with over the years everyone slowly drifting to chaotic evil. If NPC quests are purely the way to go good/lawful than we negate any value of the system of being any judge of a persons character. Someone who always treats the NPCs like gold, and players like crap could be a regular issue. Even if he has to space his player interactions out due to some arbitrary limit on NPC earned alignment per day, someone who only takes 1 contract every 2 months, and cheats on it every time, should not wind up lawful, if he is, than the system has 0 value in terms of judging behavior.

Agreed. The system needs to be set up so that it isn't easy to game, but so players still can perform acts to keep their character in the desired alignment. Most actions should be player interaction; NPC earned alignment should be rare, but maybe include long and difficult penance quests.

Generally, alignment affirming actions (one that give you points in your own alignment) should be harder than actions that would shift you out of alignment. It's easy to do wrong, and harder to do right.

I think that for each alignment affecting act, GW needs to assign values for each alignment or alignment band. As an example of an easy action, look at breaking a contract. For a lawful character, not fulfilling a contract is a slide towards chaos. For a neutral character, the same act is maybe .7 points of the slide to chaos. For a chaotic player, not fulfilling a contract is in alignment and maybe there's no effect at all. (I think contracts would be very easy to game as an agreement between a player and his alt. Fulfilling a contract might not affirm law and breaking a contract might not affirm chaos.)

For an example of an act that affirms good alignment, destroying structures held by evil companies or settlements could shift a marginally good character closer to good. A neutral character might shift some towards good, but not as much. And an evil character destroying another evil groups stuff? He's fine; it's in character, but doesn't move him closer to evil. (Or maybe destroying anything gives a small evil affirming shift to evil characters.) Clearing lairs or dungeons that are particularly evil could give similar bonuses.

Goblin Squad Member

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GrumpyMel wrote:

I'm honestly pretty skeptical about the role of the Alignment system in game as described so far.

I think anyone who is expecting an automated system to somehow be an accurate predictor of a players/characters real behavior are setting themselves up to be SORELY disappointed. Automated systems just aren't that smart/sophisticated. Players will EASLY figure out ways to game them to get the results that they want out of them....and worse, figure out ways to game them to push other players into results that they don't want...No system of arbitrarly enforced rules is going to be able to effectively control human player interaction in a game and sort those players into...

Grumpy, you're using a completely valid understanding of alignment (from tabletop), but it's the wrong one for this discussion. You have to completely reverse it:

Alignment in PFO isn't an automated way of interpreting human actions--it's an automated game logic for humans to interpret.

It's the opposite of what you're thinking--you don't do "something," and then the game decides, "Oh, that's evil." That's complex cultural work, and computers can't do complex cultural work, because it is infinitely contextual. You are quite right that any attempt to make an automated system that reads behavior culturally would be arbitrary and easily metagamed.

Instead, the idea here is to encode the game logic, and then let humans interpret it (humans rock at employing complex cultural knowledge).

Create Undead has a descriptor of evil, meaning the spell is an evil spell (just like a spell that can described as light, chaotic, sonic, fire, etc.). That lets us know how the spell interacts with the world--for example, a cleric of Iomede won't have access to this spell. A cleric of Orcus however would have access to that spell.

Under the tabletop framework you're using, casting "Create Undead," is problematic, because context comes in: "Is it really an evil act if I did it to save the village from the incoming horde of Xs?"

Under the game-logic model, it's easy: you can or can't cast the spell, you can or can't wield the sword, you can or can't join the group, etc. based on alignment. That encoding of game logic let's us run around and play within Golarion--a place with a certain logic, that includes alignment.

Goblin Squad Member

Quandary wrote:
Andius wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Personally, I'm baffled why Ryan feels it is so necessary to 'promote' land-ownership to the point that that large groups who don't own land are barred by the game.
Hold on. Do we actually have confirmation on the limitation of a size of a chartered company?

Read Ryan's response to my post on the subject.

I asked Ryan "If there is a hard limit on CC size, those [landless mercenary/raider... or simply intermediary crafter/trader] groups are simply impossible without having SOME Settlement somewhere."
His response was "We want players to focus on the game of running Hexes, not the game of running around in Hexes."
While that doesn't tell us the exact hard limit they are planning, he didn't respond with whether or not there is a hard limit, and directly stated that the play style enabled by large CC groups (without land) was something they want to discourage.

Ravening wrote:
Quandary wrote:

Since the Blogs have made a point of NPC towns persecuting CRIMINALS who are within their territory, it kind of implicitly means you can move and function within their territory just fine if you aren't a CRIMINAL... If they persecuted all non-citizens, the distinction of how they treat criminals would be irrelevant.

I thought the there wasn't going to be any NPC's visible, as it takes too much computer resources to populate a world full of them?
NPC Towns = Fort Riverwatch, Fort Inevitable, and Thorn Keep.

I took a pause of thought when I read that response. Think I am still digesting it tbh. I keep thinking of The Golden Company in George R.R. Martin's ASOIAF series when Chartered Company is mentioned, perhaps that's as good a line of enquiry as any? Eg in Westeros MOST Houses are identified as holding land as their identity. Now the Golden Company is in effect a mercenary army

Book Spoiler minor alert:
but with the purpose of the previous.

So, perhaps that sorta goes some way to understanding that odd answer? I think a mercenary Company for hire might be interesting in Golarion, but perhaps it's best if it's a rare thing eg expensive upkeep, no powerbase limits it's resources etc? More of a temporary arrangement? Perhaps could be funded after loosing a settlement by a another kingdom only to happy to pay for a war on the aggressor (their rival) eg?

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Pathfinder Online Design Document wrote:

Abandonment & Restoration

If the Fortress is destroyed, the Settlement is abandoned. Characters will remain members of the Settlement, but will cease Skill Training. If the Settlement still has 10 or more members, it can build a new Fortress in the Hex and if it meets the requirements for creating a Settlement, the Settlement can be restored.

If the Settlement has less than 10 members, it is dissolved. Characters will remain members of the Settlement, but will cease Skill Training. Buildings will be closed. If the Settlement recruits new members sufficient to reach 10 or more, and if it meets the requirements for creating a Settlement, the Settlement can be restored.

Settlement Accounts will still be accessible if the Settlement is abandoned or dissolved.

An abandoned or dissolved Settlement also loses Control of its Hex, and is removed from the Player Nation it is a member of (if any). The World Map will update to reflect these changes.

Characters from a destroyed or dissolved Settlement can seek to join an NPC Settlement to begin Skill Training again.

A Settlement

It's interesting that in order to train in skills you need to be part of a settlement. This will have an impact on those who were thinking of being freelance mercenaries. It adds another reason to join and defend your settlement.

Goblin Squad Member

I'd imagine characters start off belonging to one of the three NPC settlements. (Otherwise, we won't be able to train any skills until settlements are implemented after some months.) But yes, I'd expect that when a settlement collapses, its citizens abruptly lose their training grounds.

I'd think the freelancers will either maintain citizenship in the starter towns, or some enterprising settlements might be pretty free with the sponsorship. For a fee, of course.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Quandary wrote:
If there is a hard limit on CC size, those groups are simply impossible without having SOME Settlement somewhere.

We want players to focus on the game of running Hexes, not the game of running around in Hexes.

RyanD

:-) Not sure what to make of this statement. I sincerly hope there'll be room for both types of runners. :-)

Goblin Squad Member

bilbothebaggins wrote:
Ryan Dancey wrote:
We want players to focus on the game of running Hexes, not the game of running around in Hexes.
:-) Not sure what to make of this statement. I sincerly hope there'll be room for both types of runners. :-)

Yeah, this one kinda threw me too.

I wasn't thinking of PFO as a glorified version of Risk; I was thinking of it as a world that people could explore and conquer both at the micro and macro level.

Goblin Squad Member

@bilbothebaggins @gbonehead - its really hard to imagine a mercenary company large enough to be meaningful that doesn't also control a Settlement somewhere. That would be true regardless of other mechanical considerations, just because once you have enough organization you might as well take and hold some territory to give yourself a redoubt in case of a disaster.

There will be mechanical reasons to have one as well - you won't be able to access the full range of buildings in an NPC Settlement, which means you won't be able to access the full range of skills to be trained, or processing/crafting to be done, etc.

A mercenary entity on a smaller scale can operate just fine as a Charted Company and doesn't need to bother - but they'll also be so small that they probably won't get much business either.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan, we specifically at the Seventh Veil are trying to consider how all of this effects us. Alignment issues aside, do you have any guess what you foresee as the upper size limit of a Chartered Company? To explain, we are already 30+ people large and still steadily growing. I think you mentioned at one point an upper size limit of a few dozen.

Also, do you foresee settlements being an option at release? If so, that gives us the option to just set out with that goal...bypassing the whole Chartered Company stage.

Goblin Squad Member

Forencith wrote:

Ryan, we specifically at the Seventh Veil are trying to consider how all of this effects us. Alignment issues aside, do you have any guess what you foresee as the upper size limit of a Chartered Company? To explain, we are already 30+ people large and still steadily growing. I think you mentioned at one point an upper size limit of a few dozen.

Also, do you foresee settlements being an option at release? If so, that gives us the option to just set out with that goal...bypassing the whole Chartered Company stage.

I think GL will be taking that option too if available. Which may complicate things as I know there was a lot of talk of a GL/7th Veil shared settlement but given this system I don't see either one of us being content as chartered companies nor do I think either of us wish for a merger.


Why not just have both Companies in the same settlement? Run it as an oligarchy with members of both the 7th and GL sitting in power? Sure, one Company might need to act as 'guardian' by owning the settlement but from what I've read, there is no suggestion that Companies can't share a settlement.

Goblin Squad Member

Hey...we have a whole military wing you are welcome to fight Solemor for the leadership of!

Goblin Squad Member

Lictor Fedryn Mannorac wrote:
Why not just have both Companies in the same settlement? Run it as an oligarchy with members of both the 7th and GL sitting in power? Sure, one Company might need to act as 'guardian' by owning the settlement but from what I've read, there is no suggestion that Companies can't share a settlement.

Should we run this settlement as Neutral Good, or True Neutral? Who should we, and should we not sponsor in the way of Chartered Companies?

I have a feeling both GL and 7th Veil would give you very different answers.

Our alliance comes from the fact GL loves knowledge and believes in the goals of the 7th Veil, and I know the Veil appreciates some of our goals as well. But I think if limited by hard game mechanics we will have quite different ideas on how to run a settlement. Likely if the current proposed system goes into game in it's current form well end up with two separate settlements as close together as possible.

Both companies should be large by release date. And both are probably looking to expand beyond one settlement.


Well in that case, I don't think a shared settlement would have ever worked. Your best plan of action appears to be to go ahead with separate settlements and either form an alliance or in-game nation.

Goblin Squad Member

The two companies have different goals and values. But settlements are created by people, not by companies.

There seems nothing wrong with people from both companies looking at where their values are in agreement and making chartering a settlement based on that melding of the two value sets. The settlement can serve as the sponsor for both companies and possibly other small companies that share that melded/core value set. It can also have citizens that belong to none of the companies, if you want that.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan, do you see it being reasonable for a single large guild to run several Settlements? If so, do you see them immediately forming a Player Nation as an umbrella organization for those Settlements?

I'm very curious how a "Guild" is going to map to PFO social structures. Considering what we know so far, it strikes me that:

1. Small Guilds might fit entirely inside a Chartered Company.
2. Most Guilds will want to found their own Settlement.
3. A new player joining the Settlement will be equivalent to that player joining the Guild.
4. Large Guilds may want to found multiple Settlements, if nothing else to situate themselves near key resources.
5. If your guild has multiple Settlements, there's no reason not to form your own Player Nation.

What will be the closest equivalent to guild chat? Will it be Company/Settlement/Nation chat depending on the size of the Guild?

If a single Guild has founded three Settlements, and forms a Player Nation that admits two additional allied Settlements, will there be any in-game Guild Chat equivalent that will be limited to the Guild? Or will they be forced to use either Settlement or Nation chat?

Goblin Squad Member

Forencith wrote:
do you have any guess what you foresee as the upper size limit of a Chartered Company?

My gut instinct is something like 2 dozen characters.

Goblin Squad Member

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Nihimon wrote:
Ryan, do you see it being reasonable for a single large guild to run several Settlements?

Actually I think the exception will be very rare. Virtually every Player Nation will be comprised of Settlements with some metagame connection with each other. It's the only form I've seen that is both stable and effective over the long run. Otherwise you get too much infighting and eventually the thing falls apart.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:


I'm very curious how a "Guild" is going to map to PFO social structures.

Well, let's be on the same page. Most "Guilds" are in theme park games.

Most "Guilds" are a dozen people. They're effectively what we'd call a Chartered Company. They exist for the purpose of letting a group of folks adventure together without having to re-form a party every time they log on.

Probably 90% of all "Guilds" area few dozen people or less. There's little value in having more because once you're large enough to have a party that can raid nightly in the largest instance adding more members just makes things more complex without adding much value.

Then there's a very small number of really large "Guilds" which are really extended communities which happen to play MMOs together. They exist external to most games and have their own identity separate from the games they play in. These entities can be really large, but are more diffuse with many members relatively inactive (or inactive on the MMO side even if they are message board active).

EVE is really the only sandbox MMO with enough scale to show community sizes. Corporations in EVE look a lot like the Guilds in theme park games. But the Alliances in EVE do not. They are for the most part an order of magnitude bigger, and they scale up to sizes that none of the theme park "Guilds" ever really reach.

I think there will be many more people who want to run a Settlement than there will be Settlements. The difference will be which of those people are good enough social engineers to put together a large enough group that is cohesive enough to take and hold territory.

I think there will be more Player Nations per capita than in EVE but they will be smaller. EVE has a game mechanic which creates an incentive for an Alliance to grow as large as it can - taking territory is denying it to your rivals, and the longer your frontier becomes the more people you need to police it - unless you can find a choke point that collapses the size of the frontier. In Pathfinder Online there won't be (hopefully) whole areas of the map that are effectively unpopulated, surrounded by a thin shell of frontier and a few choke points.

EVE also has a degenerate game mechanic whereby once you have built all the infrastructure to produce the largest and most powerful ships (Titans) the incremental cost to produce more is a fraction of the investment you've made to build the infrastructure. Thus we see the numbers of these ships growing rapidly and the more you have the more you're likely to have in the future - the big get bigger faster. (The solution to this is to impose a scalar upkeep on production so that eventually you find that adding another Titan to your Alliance is cost-prohibitive, but it's unlikely CCP will implement such a mechanic.)

Quote:
What will be the closest equivalent to guild chat? Will it be Company/Settlement/Nation chat depending on the size of the Guild?

Yes.

Quote:
If a single Guild has founded three Settlements, and forms a Player Nation that admits two additional allied Settlements, will there be any in-game Guild Chat equivalent that will be limited to the Guild? Or will they be forced to use either Settlement or Nation chat?

At the size you're talking about, general "chat" becomes meaningless (it will scroll so fast nobody could have a conversation). Instead you'll see comms moved to 3rd party tools or to invite-only chats.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan, thanks very much for the replies.

Ryan Dancey wrote:
Nihimon wrote:
Ryan, do you see it being reasonable for a single large guild to run several Settlements?
Actually I think the exception will be very rare. Virtually every Player Nation will be comprised of Settlements with some metagame connection with each other. It's the only form I've seen that is both stable and effective over the long run. Otherwise you get too much infighting and eventually the thing falls apart.

Am I correct to read this as saying that you expect most Player Nations will be single communities, such as large guilds? It sounds like you're saying that creating a single Player Nation based on allied Settlements will likely prove difficult, and that we'll more likely form alliances of Settlements or Player Nations rather than officially combining under a common government.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
It sounds like you're saying that creating a single Player Nation based on allied Settlements will likely prove difficult, and that we'll more likely form alliances of Settlements or Player Nations rather than officially combining under a common government.

In EVE it became obvious that Alliances comprised of many different corporations with different leaders were fragile. Eventually there would be arguments about who was really "in charge" or disputes over diplomatic or economic policy ("Why does HE get a Titan and not me?"). These Alliances were also targeted by agents provocateur, and they were more effective at splitting apart independently minded corporations than they were at breaking up monolithic Alliances.

We may see a different dynamic in Pathfinder Online, and the situation in EVE took many years to evolve so it will likely change rapidly after launch. But long term, the most stable and effective structure seems to be a Player Nation/Alliance comprised of sub-units who all share a common allegiance and leadership.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan, thanks again. I have a very deep and sincere appreciation of your willingness to engage the community in general, and to respond to my questions in particular.

Goblin Squad Member

These sorts of discussions are making me very excited for PFO! I wish I had some meaningful to add, but my mind is racing with the possibilities!

Goblin Squad Member

I have to say I'm even a little more confused after reading Ryan's latest posts....

Maybe it's just my anecdotal experience but a "Guild" of 1 or 2 dozen characters is TINY compared to what I've experienced in most of the PVE games, I've played. Typicaly what I've seen is at least 50 players for even a relatively small guild after it's been established for more then a couple months. That's important because typicaly (again my anecdotal experience) you don't have more then 10% or your membership logged in at any given time. That means you would generaly only have around 5 players from your "Guild" logged in when you are...not even enough to fill a full adventuring party for most PVE games, let alone a raid.

I can't imagine how a Chartered Company with a maximum size of 2 dozen could potential function. Assuming the same dynamics that would mean you'd be lucky to find 1 other player from your company logged in at any given time when you were on. Unless there is something wrong with my assumptions about typical player particitpation and most players essentialy live logged in 24/7/365, that doesn't seem very conduscive to social interactions as a company. It also would seem to make it VERY difficult for casual players to join a company....since that essentialy makes it a "wasted slot" to allow someone that can only login for 2 nights a week for 2-4 hours each...if there is that tight a limitation on slots.

I honestly was expecting something more like a couple hundred members per company.

With that dynamic it seems like the "Settlement" may be the base representation of player organizations in game....or maybe most player organizations/Guilds won't actualy have a formal, in game, representation.... they'll be entirely formed by out of game bonds...possibly some sort of lose amalgimation of different chartered companies, settlements, etc.... which strikes me as an odd dynamic given how many of the games systems mechanicaly seem to key off settlement/company membership (war's, territory control, resources, training, etc). Looks like my assumptions have been completely thrown awry :)


I echo your experience, Mel. Having played Everquest 2 for a while, I've seen most guilds that stick around for a while are those that are several dozen large in membership. Sure, they have inactive membership but it's just a game and the game should be friendly with real world lives and circumstances. The effect is that a guilds active membership seems to go through seasons with a small core set of players on year round.

I also see the same as my wife is in a top 10 world wide raiding guild and those guilds often have a crazy number of members to accommodate alts and such with unique player accounts numbering somewhere in the 30-40 range. Again, in these you have the regular raid force but you also have those that wax and wane from the game as life allows, some get sat from a raid one night because of the fights, etc so there's a lot of fluctuation of currently active people from a larger number of those available.

Goblin Squad Member

@GrumpyMel, I think most Theme Park game Guilds usually have right around the number of players required to fill up a group for the types of raids they like to run. At least, in my relatively limited experience, that's what I've seen in WoW raiding guilds from casual to hardcore. And, generally, most if not all of those players would have the same primary play time.

Otherwise, I agree with your analysis that Settlements will be the way most larger guilds map themselves into PFO, with the very largest guilds mapping themselves to Player Nations.

Goblin Squad Member

Ryan Dancey wrote:
@bilbothebaggins @gbonehead - its really hard to imagine a mercenary company large enough to be meaningful that doesn't also control a Settlement somewhere.

Oh, I think you misunderstood me. I am all for founding/controlling settlements, etc. It's just that I got the impression that there would be no support for individual adventuring; that was based on the following:

Ryan Dancey wrote:
We want players to focus on the game of running Hexes, not the game of running around in Hexes.

I'm all for running hexes, I loved that part of Kingmaker. Just not at the expense of me doing things other than running the kingdom.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

@GrumpyMel, I think most Theme Park game Guilds usually have right around the number of players required to fill up a group for the types of raids they like to run. At least, in my relatively limited experience, that's what I've seen in WoW raiding guilds from casual to hardcore. And, generally, most if not all of those players would have the same primary play time.

Otherwise, I agree with your analysis that Settlements will be the way most larger guilds map themselves into PFO, with the very largest guilds mapping themselves to Player Nations.

Well at least in my experience in WoW (note that was quite a long time ago, back in vanilla WoW, all 40 man days). If I remember right, the guild I was in had roughly 450ish members, which they actually had to use sign ups etc... to join a raid.

Of course I don't really see why 6 ish is out of the question. A typical party run through a dungeon, should be plausible with 5-6 members. Raids, if they exist, sound to be the realm of settlements and kingdoms, and honestly I can't see them as good for the game anyway. Balancing content for 20-40 people using random generated enemies, just dosn't sound plausible, and designing raid instances that are scripted, eliminates anything remotely resembling persistence in a sandbox. Nothing seemed dumber to me than in WoW, when the NPCs cheer and buff the town in celebration of Onyxia being killed, the third time that day.

Goblin Squad Member

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Onishi wrote:
If I remember right, the guild I was in had roughly 450ish members...

Yeah, there are definitely huge guilds out there. I was in Gaiscioch on Rift and saw several hundred players online at the same time.

But that's not even close to the "normal" guild.

I've been in a couple of guilds that had right around 10 players, and generally tried to do 10-man raids.

I've been in several guilds that had right around 20 players, and they generally ran 20-man raids.

And I've seen a great many more that I never joined that were in that situation as well.

I've also seen a fair number of guilds that didn't have enough members to form a full 5-man group.

Goblin Squad Member

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Onishi wrote:
Nihimon wrote:

@GrumpyMel, I think most Theme Park game Guilds usually have right around the number of players required to fill up a group for the types of raids they like to run. At least, in my relatively limited experience, that's what I've seen in WoW raiding guilds from casual to hardcore. And, generally, most if not all of those players would have the same primary play time.

Otherwise, I agree with your analysis that Settlements will be the way most larger guilds map themselves into PFO, with the very largest guilds mapping themselves to Player Nations.

Well at least in my experience in WoW (note that was quite a long time ago, back in vanilla WoW, all 40 man days). If I remember right, the guild I was in had roughly 450ish members, which they actually had to use sign ups etc... to join a raid.

Of course I don't really see why 6 ish is out of the question. A typical party run through a dungeon, should be plausible with 5-6 members. Raids, if they exist, sound to be the realm of settlements and kingdoms, and honestly I can't see them as good for the game anyway. Balancing content for 20-40 people using random generated enemies, just dosn't sound plausible, and designing raid instances that are scripted, eliminates anything remotely resembling persistence in a sandbox. Nothing seemed dumber to me than in WoW, when the NPCs cheer and buff the town in celebration of Onyxia being killed, the third time that day.

Again, from my experience, typicaly MOST of the guild isn't online at the same time. Generaly speaking, even during "Prime Time" you'd only see about 10% of the membership online at any time. Which means if you want to get a 6 person party from your Guild to go out adventuring with, you need a membership of 60 or so. Maybe that's because the guilds I've always been associated with have been welcoming of casuals.

The reality is if you want to support people who have lives and families and careers outside of gaming then you can't expect people to commit to more then 2 nights a week on a regular basis (and more then a few hours each night)...and you can't neccesarly expect that people will always be able to coordinate schedules.

The problem I see here is that you have tight restrictions on the MAXIMUM number of players in a Chartered Company then you are pretty much cutting casuals out of membership in Chartered Companies, as Companies are going to be pressured not to "waste" thier limited slots on people that can't be there all the time. It also means that Companies will only have a reliable presence in game on certain predictable nights (assuming that people DO tightly coordinate thier schedules)....both of those seem highly problematic to me.

Now, I had previously assumed, from some of the descriptions of mechanics involved that chartered companies were filling the roles that "Guilds" typicaly did in other games. I believe it's really important that "Guilds" NOT have hard-coded maximum membership limits. That allows the Guild to be welcoming of players that have varying degrees of time commitment available and varying schedules. It means the Guild doesn't have to turn someone away just because they can only play one night a week, because it doesn't have to worry about how many slots it's using up. Now obviously a Guild might want to insure that people who have been given positions of responsibility meet certain minimum time commitments and that's fine...but if they don't have a limitation on slots, they can be accepting of people in the general membership that have differing degrees of participation. In a system with no membership limits...if you're only able to show up every 2 weeks....no big deal....you're still fun to hang out with and you participate/contribute WHEN you do show up. In a limited membership scenerio, giving a slot to someone who can only show up every 2 weeks means that slot is no longer availble to someone who will show up every night. That's a really bad dynamic for a Guild IMO.

Now I know there are some "hardcore raiding guilds" that have stringent time commitment requirements from members....but in my experience 99% of the player base in the games I've played have no interest in joining such Guilds....because the game is supposed to be a fun hobby....not a second job. No loss for the players of those games, as there are always other Guilds to join. In the dynamic described here...it seems like PFO is forcing ALL Chartered Companies into the "hardcore raiding guild" mentality.

Now what Ryan has just posted here almost makes me think that Charted Companies aren't filling the role that I believe Guilds fill in most other games....he seems to be describing them more as permanent parties...but frankly I don't see much utility in that.

This issue has me more concerned about PFO then anything else I've read so far.

Let me be clear. I WANT to be a member of an organization and to have fun role-playing and socializing with others. I WANT to contribute to whatever organization I join in some meaningfull fashion. I want to participate to some degree in the territorial control, etc aspect of the game. However, I have a family and a career and friends and hobbies outside gaming....and there is no way in heck I'm playing more then a couple nights a week....and I certainly don't want playing to become more like a job then a fun hobby. I can totaly accept that may mean not being "the hero" or being the highest level or having the best gear or doing the most difficult dungeon. That's all fine, I've never been bothered by that sort of stuff before.

But this thread seems to be a complete reversal of the impression I've gotten from PFO so far....Up until now, I've had the impression that players like me were completely welcome. This thread seems to be implying that there is no room for me....because I'll simply be wasting a slot in a Chartered Company that could better go to someone else.....and so much of the game seems tied to Chartered Company Membership that it loses 75% of it's appeal if you aren't able to participate in that aspect to some degree. YMMV.

Goblin Squad Member

What I don't understand is what the reason for the limit is. Ryan has stated that major companies will need to control territory in order to be very successful which does make some sense but if a company has 200 people I don't understand what that hurts. It might be because the company is very casual and 195 of those people are barely active/alts. Maybe it's a mercenary/trading company who is being sponsored by a very supportive and trusted settlement who gives them all the things they would seek from their own settlement.

I mean I agree, most of the time it's going to be a bad idea but I don't see what the real benefits are in having a hard restriction. People should decide for themselves when their company is too big and needs to become a settlement.

I'm not one of those people who believe "arbitrary restrictions" is a dirty word but I do believe that if you put one in place it needs to be clear how it will benefit the game, or how the lack of having it will lead to a problem.

Goblin Squad Member

@Andius, I believe part of the equation is the technical limitations. I've played in a number of MMOs where there was a hard limit of 500 members in a Guild. The devs obviously put that limit in for a reason, and I would imagine that same reason applies in this case.

I'm much more interested in finding out if there is going to be a hard limit on the number of characters in a Settlement or a Player Nation, or if there will be a hard limit on the number of Settlements in a Player Nation.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

@Andius, I believe part of the equation is the technical limitations. I've played in a number of MMOs where there was a hard limit of 500 members in a Guild. The devs obviously put that limit in for a reason, and I would imagine that same reason applies in this case.

I'm much more interested in finding out if there is going to be a hard limit on the number of characters in a Settlement or a Player Nation, or if there will be a hard limit on the number of Settlements in a Player Nation.

I don't see how it would be more technically limiting to have over 24 players in a company than it would to have them in a settlement or kingdom.

Your questions are good too but I think there are a lot of people on these forums upset by chartered company limitation and I would like to here Ryan answer why a hard limitation is needed to force people to follow something that is generally in their best interest.

GL and 7th Veil both plan to control territory as far as I am aware but just because it isn't a big deal to us, doesn't mean it isn't a big deal.

Goblin Squad Member

I was under the impression that Chartered Companies were intended to function like expanded versions of the TTRPG "Party", and were primarily designed to have utility for casual players who want to focus on adventuring / dungeon exploration. As such, their limited size ensures that they won't grow to be political entities, yet the cap of ~24 ensures that players with similar schedules should expect to be able to go carousing with a handful of their fellows several nights a week or more.

Casual players who want to focus on the social engineering, city-building, crafting, or other aspects of the game should have no problem finding a settlement to join that suits their preferred flavor. I'm a little unclear as to why so many people are so against the idea of their character having a home in a particular settlement. Even adventurers who travel afar must have come from somewhere; most of them probably have a bed waiting for them in their hometown, either with their relatives or friends.

Finally, organizations such as the Seventh Veil, who want to start out large before settlements are introduced, may be able to work around the limitation with metagame tools like messageboards and guild websites. You could even found several chartered companies representing the choruses of your organization, e.g. "7thV Creation" or "Creation Scholars of 7th Veil".

EDIT: Fixed the names in the last paragraph to match the 7V chorus names rather than random crap I made up.

Goblin Squad Member

Finn The Human wrote:
... the Seventh Veil... could even found several chartered companies representing the choruses of your organization...

This is exactly the kind of thing we're considering.

And this is also why I was pestering Ryan about what we'd likely use as a proxy for the "Guild Chat" that we're used to having in other MMOs.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:

@Andius, I believe part of the equation is the technical limitations. I've played in a number of MMOs where there was a hard limit of 500 members in a Guild. The devs obviously put that limit in for a reason, and I would imagine that same reason applies in this case.

I'm much more interested in finding out if there is going to be a hard limit on the number of characters in a Settlement or a Player Nation, or if there will be a hard limit on the number of Settlements in a Player Nation.

Obviously we can't really know what is driven by technical limitations and what is driven by functional consideration. That falls under what the "stuff for GW" category. But obviously limitations are going have functional effects in how things can/can not work. For example if a particular activity takes 200 players to accomplish, but a Chartered Company is limited to 24 members....that activity really isn't going to work as a Company centered activity.

I think the problem here is that MOST of us that have participated in the forums so far have been under the impression from what we've read of the mechanics so far that Companies were one type of organization (i.e. essentialy "Guilds") and were going to function in a certain way....when it turns out they may be something else entirely.

That's ok IF the role we've been assuming companies would play in the game and how we interpreted them was off....and those sort of roles/functions are actualy being fullfilled by something else. However, I think alot of us are trying to still wrap our heads around what's been presented and what it actualy implies in regards the mechanics that have been presented so far.

Here are what MY assumptions were up until this thread:

1) Companies essentialy what other games would consider "Guilds".

2) Companies were organizations of players with a common goal/interest in the game world. That goal/interest MIGHT be territorial in nature (i.e. Rule X Fiefdom) or it MIGHT be something else (i.e. Spread worship of X diety).

3) Settlements were either 1 or a number of companies that organized themselves to control a specific territory.

4) Kingdoms were a formal alliance of settlements.

5) The game would have some other organization that filled the role that most other games call parties. That is an ad-hoc group of players formed to achieve 1 specific task at 1 specific time (i.e. Go explore X dungeon, fight as a Unit in X battle/raid/event). Membership would be divorced from Companies and Settlements...i.e. you MIGHT have people from 4 different Companies and 4 different Settlments who go out to cooperatively explore a Dungeon or fight in 1 particular battle. The party/group would not persist past the immediate task it was trying to achieve.

......................................................................
What I'm having trouble understanding is what functional role Companies now are intented to play in the game....and what mechanism fills each one of the functional slots above.

- I don't believe companies can realisticaly be expected to fill #5, because I don't think it's realistic to expect people to pre-arrange thier schedules to do the sorts of things described in #5..... and it also leaves me questioning how the game will allow for #5. Can you form an ad-hoc group to go off and do a dungeon or fight in a battle with people who aren't in your company/settlement....I would hope that you could.

- I don't believe that an organization mechanicaly limited to 24 members will be able to achieve #1 or #2 in practical terms. It's possible that Settlements might fill such a role. That's ok.....but it pretty much implies that EVERY organization is going to have to be territorialy based to have some representation in the games designs...even if such an organizations goals don't logicaly involve anything that would neccessitate control of a settlement. It also means that settlments are going to be much less hetergenious then I expected...thus reducing RP possibilities. Furthermore it implies that players are going to have to do a SIGNIFICANT amount of organization without support of the games systems....since it was implied that it takes a significant amount of time/effort to CREATE a settlement....yet the settlement SEEMS now to be the basic unit of organization the game provides for supporting significant number of players. It strikes me as creating a bit of chicken and egg scenerio.....How can you create a settlement without having the organizational structure provided by a settlement? Plus you can't have Chartered Companies without sponsorship of a settlement, meaning you have to build the settlement first before you can build them.

At this point, I don't really understand the utility of Chartered Companies in the game. Settlements seem to be the prime unit of organization, but it doesn't look like the game offers any organizational mechanisms to support thier CREATION....and the organizational tools/structure to do that is going to have to come entirerly OUTSIDE of game to do that...at least that's what I'm taking away from the discussion at this point. I could be wrong....but all in all I find it very confusing.

Goblin Squad Member

My impression of Ryan's comments were not that he was presenting a hard coded limit, but rather what his expectations are for the likely maximum size, post stabilization (month 4-6 maybe). Now, this is likely because I read his comments with a grain of salt, and not as canon, but YMMV.

As to the consideration for an actual hardlimit on Chartered Co. size; If the max size overlapped easily and intuitively with the min size of player organization that is required to build a settlement, then the only case where this causes concerns are in the casual realm of large mostly empty companies. I've been in those, and if one were to cull 70% of the population of alts, abandoned characters, and rarely plays, no one would probably even notice. Out of a typical guild of "200" characters, I'd be surprised if there were actually 50 actively used characters, and many of those would be alts.

Really what I think we're running into is a new paradigm being to restrictively applied to the old method. I've had my concerns around management of such large groups of people, but I'm willing to assume my concerns are far too grounded in what I've experienced, and not what's going to come down the pipe from PFO. I'm hoping there is a smooth curve between solo play, to NPC City Sponsored Chartered Co, to Char. Co. transitioning to its own settlement, to Hex mastery, to Nation Building. I'm not sure what tools and mechanics are even on the table for such a curve, but I like what I see from the blogs and discussions so far.

@Nihimon, I suspect ad hoc channels could fulfill the role of g-chat for larger than Chartered Co. size. Also, maybe officer controlled "news or alerts" channels. And the ubiquitous private "whisper" chat for direct concerns. There's enough stuff out there to follow without reinventing wheels.

Goblin Squad Member

GrumpyMel wrote:
I think the problem here is that MOST of us that have participated in the forums so far have been under the impression from what we've read of the mechanics so far that Companies were one type of organization (i.e. essentialy "Guilds") and were going to function in a certain way....when it turns out they may be something else entirely.

I think this is accurate, but it's important to realize that it's our own fault, not Ryan's. Ryan was very clear from the first moment we ever heard the term "Chartered Company" that it would be sized "on the order of several dozen characters (exact sizes have yet to be determined)".

GrumpyMel wrote:
What I'm having trouble understanding is what functional role Companies now are intented to play in the game...

The easy answer is that Chartered Companies really are essentially the same as Guilds, but they will be quite limited in size. In essence, they are that group of friends from which you most often draw your group mates.

Probably the best answer is that Companies, Settlements, and Player Nations will all be essentially the same as Guilds, but at different scales.

GrumpyMel wrote:
How can you create a settlement without having the organizational structure provided by a settlement?

It sounds to me like Ryan is expecting you to have some level of organization to exist outside of the game if you're going to be trying to build a Settlement or a Player Nation. I don't see a problem with that. There are a lot of tools available in Forums that would just be a redundant waste of time for Goblinworks to try to incorporate into the game. Much better for them to focus on systems that actually impact gameplay.

GrumpyMel wrote:
Plus you can't have Chartered Companies without sponsorship of a settlement, meaning you have to build the settlement first before you can build them.

I believe this is exactly why Ryan explicitly stated that "Parties will also be able to earn the right to have an NPC settlement sponsor them".

GrumpyMel wrote:
At this point, I don't really understand the utility of Chartered Companies in the game. Settlements seem to be the prime unit of organization...

I expect there will be a great many "small, casual guilds" that fit nicely into a Chartered Company and never really try to grow beyond that size.

Goblin Squad Member

Another purpose I see for Chartered Companies is that if you want to break off and form your own settlement, you still need an organizational structure to build upon. You could even be an offshoot from an existing settlement that is looking to eventually expand into a player nation.

It could also be as simple as an organizational tool for the settlement itself. They could have a chartered company that was its own internal crafters guild which it could put out contracts to. That would mean that only the settlement crafter's guild would be able to access those instead of any random citizen of the settlement. Also, funds could be allocated specifically for that subsection of the organization in possibly a more efficient manner than what would normally be available to the settlement.

In comparison to other MMO guilds, once you reach a certain size, you start to form teams and such within the guild to keep things organized. Your officers and lieutenants are generally put in charge of these teams and organize everything pertaining to that subsection.

Goblin Squad Member

One VERY minor concern I would like to bring up that I think is still worth discussion.

One thing I really like about the names for player factions in this game is that they didn't go with the word "guilds" or even "clans" because most "guilds" or "clans" do not fit the definition of a guild or clan.

I think Chartered Company will encompass every Chartered Company well, and I think Kingdom will encompass Kingdoms pretty well with the exception that not all of them may be ruled by a monarch,and better fitting words like "state", "country", or "nation" just seem too modern.

I think settlement is misleading, and fairly poor name for a settlement. A "settlement" sort of conveys that this is a town, and everything focuses around the town, with that town being the main thing that binds them all together.

This may not be the case. I imagine many settlements may be merchant or mercenary companies with their settlement being sort of being a headquarters for their operation which may be very widespread and not even have all of their members returning to it. Especially with confirmation we can have inns, watchtowers, etc. outside our main settlement. Infact I know my "settlement" will be run this way. With more focus on influencing politics and bringing peace to the starter area from a series of forts and watchtowers with the largest being our settlement, than holing up inside our walls and focusing on the development of our capitol for most members.

I would propose a new name that encompasses either a settlement being ran as a single settlement, or a much more widespread operation with a single central settlement. I think Fiefdom AKA Fief is perfect, as it correlates with what a settlement really will be as well as kingdom correlates with what a kingdom really will be. Plus they fit a common theme.

Fiefdoms under the Kingdoms. This is how the actual feudal system ran. Lords under Kings. Of course not everyone will be running the feudal system but these are the River Kingdoms and there is the definition:

Quote:
An organization that is controlled by a dominant person or group.

For the sake of a clearer term, and just a cooler sounding/ more RPish word, I would give fiefdom some consideration.

Goblin Squad Member

Nihimon wrote:
GrumpyMel wrote:
What I'm having trouble understanding is what functional role Companies now are intented to play in the game...
The easy answer is that Chartered Companies really are essentially the same as Guilds, but they will be quite limited in size. In essence, they are that group of friends from which you most often draw your group mates.

This is essentially what I was saying in my last post. Companies are sort of like a TTRPG campaign with 10 players, not all of whom always show up to each session. Now, I've never played any MMO games before, since I didn't know about EVE and theme park games bore me. So I recognize that my perspective on the whole "guild" thing is a bit uninformed. However, it seems to me that things like ad hoc party chat are just basic common sense; I am quite certain we can expect to see a functional equivalent in PFO. I don't get the impression that Chartered Companies are intended to replace the ability to form temporary bands of half a dozen explorers or what have you. Rather, they're a way to tie the reputation of a group of PCs to the reputation of a Settlement.

For instance, let's say I post a contract that says I want some hired muscle for a caravan, because I need to move goods from Settlement A to Settlement B. I might get any number of responses, and if I don't already have an established business relationship with some toughs, I'll have my hands full trying to figure out who's right for the job. A sponsored Company is easy to vet: I just ask their sponsor governing body (which I've heard of before) to give me some details. An ad hoc group of single PCs each taking an individual contract is much more of a headache for me. Sure, I could draw up six identical contracts with six unrelated mercenaries; but you know what I'll choose. I don't think anyone has a problem with what I'm describing so far.

What is a big area of concern is the functional details of mercenary groups who exceed the size of a Chartered Company, such as Onishi's Pocket Ace (although I think they actually intend to run a settlement already). I've heard people saying that, for roving mercenaries and nomads, it's realistic to be an organization but not a settlement. I'm personally of the opinion that such nomadic groups would lack the strong centralized organizational structure of groups with an HQ. Conversely, groups with an HQ correspond neatly to Companies sponsored by Settlements, or even the members of Settlements themselves. But what about large groups who don't mind an HQ, but don't want to run it themselves? They're too big for a Company, too small or unmotivated for a Government; this is the biggest concern I've seen that makes sense to me. My thoughts are as follows.

First of all, such a group wouldn't realistically sign a mass contract to wage war, which is probably the most complex and involved mercenary activity available in the game. The reason they would not wage war is that such things, in the real-world-style economy of PFO, will require massive resources and tight supply chains. That level of resource management is clearly on the level of a Settlement, and a group willing to do it is surely a group willing to run their own HQ city themselves. It's just too much of a presumption to expect a sponsor to take on that kind of a logistical nightmare on your behalf.

That being established, we come to my second point. If a large mercenary organization (say 200) gets regular contract work, but not on the scale of warfare, then what kind of jobs might they do? I expect it would range from guarding (sizable) caravans to neutralizing emergent hobgoblin camps, and even perhaps a retributive strike by one Company against another. How many soldiers do those jobs require? Obviously, we can't be sure, but I'm betting it's not the full set (the aforementioned 200) for every job. Thus, we get Job X is handled by Subset X, and Job Y is handled by Subset Y.

Third, given that we'll have the frequent formation of Subsets to handle Jobs, I don't think it's unrealistic to expect that Friend A and Friend B, who are both in the organization, will try to get on the same Subset on any given night. Thus, an ad hoc Subset is likely to contain one or more group of IRL/online Friends.

Finally, given all this, why not just form permanent Subsets, thereby dividing the organization into a hierarchical structure composed of Companies and managed by metagame tools? If the same people want to be in the same Subset most of the time, make it official.

Of course, this leaves the problem of managing pooled money for the organization, etc. But if that concerns you, then you probably want a Settlement anyway--all that good stuff is built right in!

Goblin Squad Member

Andius wrote:
I would propose a new name that encompasses either a settlement being ran as a single settlement, or a much more widespread operation with a single central settlement. I think Fiefdom AKA Fief is perfect, as it correlates with what a settlement really will be as well as kingdom correlates with what a kingdom really will be. Plus they fit a common theme.

This is a great idea! I believe you're absolutely right in saying that much of our community's misunderstandings stem from the connotations of the name Settlement. I'd rather join an official-sounding "fiefdom" than a backwoods village of pilgrims.


What tag is going over our heads? Our company name or our settlement name? Will settlements even have names?

Goblin Squad Member

Hudax wrote:
What tag is going over our heads? Our company name or our settlement name? Will settlements even have names?

Will something even go above our heads? I'm pretty sure that all you'll see is a name and if you're in colorblind mode, it will say something like "hostile", "friendly", or "unknown".

However, going into the user details will probably reveal companies, settlements, and nations.

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