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Of Wolves and Sheep

Printed From: Illyriad
Category: The World
Forum Name: Broken Lands
Forum Description: For everything related to the Broken Lands Continent
URL: http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/forum_posts.asp?TID=7336
Printed Date: 23 Jul 2018 at 01:04
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 11.10 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Of Wolves and Sheep
Posted By: Mafro
Subject: Of Wolves and Sheep
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 08:30
Imagine a grand strategy war game where military alliances battle over claims of land and resources (and not just out of boredom). Where merchants and craftsmen ply their trade, seeking to amass the greatest wealth (without fear of getting wiped out by those with a greater military focus). Thieves and villains lie in wait, seeking to steal easy coin or secretly tip the scales in huge conflicts. A vast world where numerous interactions amidst countless contenders awaits!

This is what Illyriad could have been...and still could be!

What's Wrong
Military players are bored and seeking greater challenges. However, there aren't really any true military challenges to be had, as a clear majority of the true military alliances appear to be confederated with one another. There's no reason for them not to be, as there's little in-game reason for war amongst them (or anyone else), and so the game has evolved to the current natural, yet largely unsatisfying, situation where the strongly militaristic are targeting the less militaristic for lack of something more fun to do.

What's Also Wrong
At the same time, recent changes in attitude by a few players, the leaders of military alliances, are https://forum.illyriad.co.uk/saving-illyriad-for-all_topic7335_post98900.html#98900" rel="nofollow - driving non-military players away from the game entirely . Specifically, some alliances have chosen to purge huge swaths of land of any players that aren't members of their alliance or a confed. This action has already driven away a number of players, and threatens to further shrink the player base, ultimately reducing the income the game generates for Illyriad Games, Ltd. and its overall viability.

How is this Different
In the past, most land claims allowed existing players to remain in the area. This prevented players from simply abandoning the game and allowed them to potentially contribute to the alliance in other ways, as an outsider.

What I Propose
I propose that the cities of non-military players be viewed as sheep by military players. Yes, you heard right, sheep. Sheep are valuable and should not be killed or driven away. Instead, they should be gathered, cared for, and properly shorn at regular intervals.

Specifically, each alliance bold enough to make a land claim should assign a single city to which tribute can be sent from non-aligned cities within the land claim. They should make sure that city is clear on their alliance page (presumably with a link to send resources to it) and they should make clear what tribute is required for non-aligned cities within their claim.

It should be fairly simple - perhaps 100k gold per city per month, with caravans to be sent before the 1st of the month. One or more alliance members - the evil, geeky, spreadsheety, tax collectory types - could be made responsible for tracking this and making sure all tributes are paid, or the consequences dealt out. Or not, as the alliance chooses. Ultimately, perhaps the devs would code the automation for this tax collecting into the game itself, with a UI allowing players to choose who to pay what taxes to and when.

The Result
These funds can be donated to the alliance bank itself or distributed amongst alliance members as the leadership sees fit. The point is that there is now an in-game reason to keep non-military players around, and in fact those players can help fund the military efforts of the alliance. Instead of purging an area of unaligned cities, alliances would seek to control areas with the most unaligned cities.

Military alliances may find themselves actually competing with each other in order to control more land and resources (including, and especially, the non-military players). More alliances will make land claims and the land claims will actually have meaning, other than simply notifying everyone about where they intend to settle (which frankly is a lame use for a land claim). In short order, all available land would be claimed, with ongoing contests amongst those with competing claims.

Military alliance leaders will enjoy deciding how heavy a burden to place on those under their control. Too high and the sheep...er...citizens...may exodus away, or even attempt armed revolt. Too low and they may find other competing alliances with more heavily funded armies.

Some sheep will seek to join the alliance to avoid being taxed. Military alliances that spread the wealth amongst their members may find it beneficial to avoid or even remove non-military members, purifying the military nature of the alliance, both in order to get more taxes as well as to have as few people as possible among which to distribute them.

Wars will break out as alliances seek to control more land, possibly offering lower taxes to current residents of a rival claim in order to get their support.

In Conclusion
What I described above can be done right now with the game as it is. It requires no development, no change in fundamentals, just a change in attitude from those with the power to do so. And it seems like a heck of a lot more fun than what is currently taking place, purging players from the towns they've built. Most importantly, it would give a true in-game reason for wars - to control tax revenues!

In fact, not only would it be more fun for the non-military players, but I suggest it would also be more fun - and more challenging - for the military players. The different game play styles would actually complement each other, instead of the current trend towards military players wiping out non-military players. We could return to a healthy competition amongst military alliances and land claims would finally - FINALLY! - mean something real and impactful.

So, what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Could the idea use some tweaks? Share your thoughts!



Replies:
Posted By: Rarknar
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 16:53
This could actually be really fun. Maybe it is time to put a "king" in Kingsland?

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veni vidi vici


Posted By: Ten Kulch
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 18:53
I appreciate that you took the time to make a well considered proposal.

That being said, I find your generalizations to be a huge stretch. There are 4000 active accounts in Illyriad. Having a few of them come into conflict does not mean that the sky is falling, even if a handful of players abandon. People have been predicting the Illyriad apocalypse for five years, but by most measures the game currently has the same level of accounts as before the Steam integration. While the current plight of some alliances is unfortunate, I think it's silly to suggest that a few aggressive players have endangered the financial viability of Illyriad, Ltd.

Plenty of military challenges remain for military players. The establishment of countries, the consolidation of cartels, and traditional wars with various opponents, just to name a few. Most of the wars being fought are between opponents with similarly sized armies.

The empire idea is one that 300 has explored. Unfortunately, the in-game taxation mechanisms are bewildering and somewhat useless. Taxing muggles by voluntary caravans would require a lot of accounting and enforcement, which makes the game seem more like work than fun. If we could set a tax rate of 20% on a holding alliance and have the revenue follow a predictable pattern, then it might be feasible. Regardless, allowing strangers into your land claim defeats the purpose of creating a high security zone. People seem clueless about that. I've been body slammed by close range ambushes, and we ourselves have frequently projected force into 100 city enemy clusters using 1 weaponized city. I'm quite comfortable with the idea that all non-allied accounts must remain at least a days siege march from my cities.

If you could somehow address the concerns over security and the reliable automation of tribute payments, then we might have more interest in such a system.

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Check out my blog, http://illywarmonger.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow - Warmongering in Illyriad for self-defense techniques, military city construction, and PvP strategies.


Posted By: Hucbold
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 20:31
Originally posted by Ten Kulch Ten Kulch wrote:

I appreciate that you took the time to make a well considered proposal.

That being said, I find your generalizations to be a huge stretch. There are 4000 active accounts in Illyriad. Having a few of them come into conflict does not mean that the sky is falling, even if a handful of players abandon. People have been predicting the Illyriad apocalypse for five years, but by most measures the game currently has the same level of accounts as before the Steam integration. While the current plight of some alliances is unfortunate, I think it's silly to suggest that a few aggressive players have endangered the financial viability of Illyriad, Ltd.

Plenty of military challenges remain for military players. The establishment of countries, the consolidation of cartels, and traditional wars with various opponents, just to name a few. Most of the wars being fought are between opponents with similarly sized armies.

The empire idea is one that 300 has explored. Unfortunately, the in-game taxation mechanisms are bewildering and somewhat useless. Taxing muggles by voluntary caravans would require a lot of accounting and enforcement, which makes the game seem more like work than fun. If we could set a tax rate of 20% on a holding alliance and have the revenue follow a predictable pattern, then it might be feasible. Regardless, allowing strangers into your land claim defeats the purpose of creating a high security zone. People seem clueless about that. I've been body slammed by close range ambushes, and we ourselves have frequently projected force into 100 city enemy clusters using 1 weaponized city. I'm quite comfortable with the idea that all non-allied accounts must remain at least a days siege march from my cities.

If you could somehow address the concerns over security and the reliable automation of tribute payments, then we might have more interest in such a system.

The security question is simple - 'Guests' are not allowed scouts or runes - so a single scout can see what's in the city. Already suggested elsewhere.


Posted By: Ten Kulch
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 21:06
Again, that puts the burden of policing the accounts onto the warriors. Very tedious.

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Check out my blog, http://illywarmonger.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow - Warmongering in Illyriad for self-defense techniques, military city construction, and PvP strategies.


Posted By: eowan the short
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 22:38
The warriors could employ those willing to do this kind of work for them for a portion of the revenue. I for one would be willing to manage and collect land taxes from alliances on claimed land if I got a decent % of it. 



Posted By: Mafro
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 23:18
Originally posted by Ten Kulch Ten Kulch wrote:

I find your generalizations to be a huge stretch. There are 4000 active accounts in Illyriad. Having a few of them come into conflict does not mean that the sky is falling...I think it's silly to suggest that a few aggressive players have endangered the financial viability of Illyriad, Ltd.

To be clear, I don't believe the sky is falling and my words weren't intended to convey that.

That said, there has been a sea change in the game. The old order where the sheep oppressed the wolves has at long last fallen, at least in the BL, and it remains to be seen what order will replace it.

I see two options.

The Wolves Kill the Sheep
Military players purge large swaths of land of everyone who isn't part of their confed. Perhaps this is the "countries" you spoke of creating. This appears to already be underway.

In many ways this fits under "turnabout is fair play". The sheep prevented the wolves from playing the way they wanted to, at least in Elgea (which is why I moved to the BL), and now the wolves will prevent the sheep from playing the way they want to, at least in the BL (initially).

However, the end result is that this will reduce the number of players, as non-military players won't be willing to build and grow towns just to have them razed or reduced by being forced into exodus. The more successful the wolves are, the more sheep will pack up and abandon...and I believe the wolves will be very successful. What we've seen so far is just the very tip of the iceberg and over the next year or three the wolves will be completely successful, purging not only the BL but Elgea too.

While it could be argued that new wolves will join the game to replace the sheep who abandon, I don't believe we have to bet the farm on that. Instead, I believe there's a solution out there that allows the most fun for all of us, both sheep and wolves.

The Wolves Shear the Sheep
Like feudal peasants living on the lord's manor, I believe the sheep won't mind a little shearing in exchange for protection and the ability to play the game the way they want to play it. I also think it strengthens a weak part of the military game, as war in Illyriad is kind of crappy when it comes to the spoils and controlling resources. Instead of having to track down and control rare mines or whatever, every military player can claim lordship over sheepish peasants and seize tribute for their proven might.

Originally posted by Ten Kulch Ten Kulch wrote:

If you could somehow address the concerns over security and the reliable automation of tribute payments, then we might have more interest in such a system.

I believe this highlights the difference between the warrior and the ruler. For the pure warrior these are utter tedium, obstacles that cannot be overcome. However, for one born to rule, they are a delight to solve.

Allow whoever takes on the role of Head of Internal Security (or whatever title you give) to keep some portion of the tribute they collect and my guess is someone will be willing to take on the challenge. Of course, it's not much of a challenge...just send a scout to each tributary city of size within your land claim once a month and you should avoid any surprise attacks. Check the trade notices on the 1st of the month against a list of tributaries and that's done too...probably less than an hour a month for a spreadsheet jockey to do both jobs. Anyone who doesn't pay has their names handed to the warriors. ;)

And if the devs see this in motion, who knows...maybe they'll be motivated to automate one or both tasks. Lord knows this game could use some automation....

Ultimately, this mode of game play may not be for all military types. However, those that apply it effectively will gain an advantage in gold over those that don't, perhaps enough to tip the scales in their favor. 

All it takes is for some brave soul with a land claim to also claim the right of tribute...glory and gold just waiting to be seized....


Posted By: Ten Kulch
Date Posted: 16 Oct 2017 at 23:44
Many players already have passive accounts to provide them with income. They're called gold farms, and they provide 100% of their gold and supplies with 0% the drama of conquered players. Trying to rule people sounds like a desire to dominate them.

You are still speaking very broadly. There are more categories than sheep and wolves. Not everyone with an army in Illyriad is a warrior. Not all warriors want to rule a bureaucracy. Not all sheep want to be ruled. Who really wants to log in every day to be a peasant? That sounds so humiliating that even being the ruler of peasants seems a little degrading.

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Check out my blog, http://illywarmonger.blogspot.com" rel="nofollow - Warmongering in Illyriad for self-defense techniques, military city construction, and PvP strategies.


Posted By: Rarknar
Date Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 03:20
Some players would probably rather pay tribute once a month then having to almost restart when all their city's are either forced to exo or razed.

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veni vidi vici


Posted By: Mr. Ubiquitous Feral
Date Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 05:22
So, is the idea to give land claiming alliances so much bureaucracy to handle that they don't have time to take care of business? At one time, long ago, Illy was made up of Middle Kingdom. Like our own world history, people ventured out and found new lands. They eventually found The Broken Lands. When they got there, they started to claim areas and develop countries. This is not unlike what has been going on in Elgea for the entire life of Illy and it is not unlike our own timeline. I think it is fascinating and completely normal to expect. If they want to allow people into their areas for a fee, let them. If they don't, they won't. Why don't you try it and let us know how it works for you?

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I am a Machine.


Posted By: eowan the short
Date Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 05:47
*puts on a shirt and tie*
Always happy to help with the progress of bureaucracy. Boring sh*t is what I do best

*runs off to file some paperwork*


Posted By: Tink XX
Date Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 18:08
Huh, players identifying with sheep - is that a thing? You're truly setting this up for the proverbial metaphor though, something about trusting wolves with security. And taxes Handshake



Posted By: eowan the short
Date Posted: 17 Oct 2017 at 20:00
*throws a carrot* I'm not a sheep!


Posted By: Princess Botchface
Date Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 04:03
There are a few people who relish using their armies or the concept that they have armies to enact control over others and I think they are a very small minority. I have a gold farm that provides millions per week in passive income and since I'm not one of those people who derives pleasure from simply controlling a bunch of randos through coercion, there's no profit in your proposal for me given the sheer amount of work it'd be. 

Props for trying to think outside the box though. <3


Posted By: Lotharblack
Date Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 09:03
I dont think that the Mafro's proposal has anything to do with actual desire to control people. I believe it has to do with conquest and chalenges. Since this is a game in a fantasy game it makes more sense the setting to be feudalistic system than anything else. Take example some great strategy games (Total war , Europa Universalis etc. ) You conquest lands and you exert control in order to gain more resources and be able to conquest bigger opponents. That produces conflict , struggle and chalenge which are the essential elements to keep you intersted and occupied. 

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Lord Loth


Posted By: Celebrant
Date Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 10:40

WARNING

This game, with all your effort, can not satisfy your sexual needs.


Posted By: eowan the short
Date Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 11:52
idk... some of the elves are pretty hot...


Posted By: Mafro
Date Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 18:55
Originally posted by Lotharblack Lotharblack wrote:

I dont think that the Mafro's proposal has anything to do with actual desire to control people. I believe it has to do with conquest and chalenges. Since this is a game in a fantasy game it makes more sense the setting to be feudalistic system than anything else.

Yeah, you got to the heart of my views. Personally, I'd love to see an area of the map where players and alliances form lord/vassal relationships. It has nothing to do with humiliating or controlling others. I just think it's a fun way to recognize a key in-game reality - that some players are militarily stronger than others - in a way that doesn't simply wipe out the weaker party and potentially drive them from the game.

To me, it would add an element of fun if we players participated in a feudal hierarchy of sorts. New players end up being approached, fought over, and ultimately protected by more powerful players: lords. As they themselves grow they may find themselves extending their protection over newer or weaker players, becoming lords themselves. Some lords may be benign protectors, earning the loyalty of those they protect...others may be harsh tyrants, seeking to wring as much gold from their vassals as possible.

Perhaps as lords gain certain numbers of vassals and subvassals we recognize them with earned titles such as Baron, Earl, Duke, or even King (as opposed to the current use of vanity titles in some names). Of course, if the devs added code to formalize feudal relationships and/or titles as an alternative to the guild/alliance system, even better...but it's not required. Simply put a line in your profile stating who your lord is, and in turn have them add a section listing their vassals.

Now some of you will hate and scoff at this idea. To you, I say this is a sandbox game and as such open to many different interpretations and a huge spectrum in terms of the styles of game play (the wolf and sheep analogy was a simplification of this spectrum). I'm personally relieved that the world-spanning Carebear Tyranny is over (thank you SIN!). I'd like to see different areas of the map experiment with different styles of game play, so that we attract and keep as many different players as possible, and offer as many different shades of fun as possible too. Unless your main source of fun is to deprive others of their own fun, why not?

That said, if there are players that think creating and participating in such a feudal system might be fun, hit me up in game...perhaps there's a little corner of the map where we could make it happen....

Best to All,

Mafro



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