Author Topic: Rethinking the rules  (Read 863 times)

Chenier

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Rethinking the rules
« Topic Start: December 07, 2017, 07:37:50 PM »
To start of, I firmly believe that, as long as the rules stand, they ought to be applied. And that in general, the cases that bothered me the most were not when people were punished for breaking them, but when they were broken by people who weren't stupid enough to admit their reasons for their actions and thus weren't sanctioned, given how many of the rules are based on intent.

So we've just had an umpteenth case of someone blatantly breaking the rules, then being a sore loser about it, and then quitting with a bunch of his adepts. Should things have been handled differently? I have a hard time seeing how. But is this a phenomenon we need to keep, to allow to regularly return? I don't think so.

Many of the rules, like with some of the mechanical aspects of this game, were designed in what is nothing less than a different era. I'm not sure when the game launched, but for the wiki that's 2005... A lot of the players have since become parents, and it's plausible some of our current players were not even born yet when the game started.

In the early and middle days where most of the rules were made, the game had few continents, the realms had lots of nobles, and overall the culture of both online games in general and this one specifically were quite different than they are now. The game also had less built-in mechanics to guide/force players into acting a certain way. But when you compare realms of today with realms of back then, the contrast it stark. The social issues that were rampant back then are now isolated cases, the most damaging tools (OOC bans for example) have been removed, and overall inflicting lasting damage upon anything is much harder to achieve than it once way (ex: automatic half rations on starving regions instead of mass starvation). So all in all, there are few [email protected]#$%^&s, they are more universally shunned, their power to impose upon others is greatly diminished, and, none the less, people have abundant alternatives to just go find better people to play with (no automatic ban for quitting the realm, much more open realm cultures in general, etc.).

So maybe we should take a good long look at the social contract, the rules, and the policies, and think hard at what REALLY needs to be there.

If I'm to start the ball, I'd say the social contract is fine as it, doesn't need a touch up.

As for the IRs, I'm not so sure. I mean, who really cares for the unit types, what does it change? People are often looking for suggestions and guidance, and it's a hassle to address these questions when told not to touch the issue even with 10ft poles. It'd be nice if it were at least clarified/modified to allow people to issue recommendations (as long as sanctions for non-compliance aren't also used). The IRs in general are fine, though.

The core of the problems, in my opinion, lie in the "policies". They are based so much on intent, which cannot be verified, and with the game in its current shape, don't really offer much.
  • What does it matter how people use duels?
  • What's the big deal with strategic secessions? Most realms don't have enough nobles to split. And in most cases, splitting only makes the sum of the parts lesser than the original whole. Yes, the realms get numerical buffs. But the only cases where this is not offset by the human logistical aspects are when the realms were ripe to split anyways, and that this rule therefore only really regulates the context (ok to do so when there's no war, not ok during war). This rule doesn't contribute to anything anymore, we don't have the player counts for it to matter.
  • Why have OOC rules against strategic capital moves? For starters, moving capitals is very costly. Secondly, the distance from capital allowance was greatly reduced over the years. A realm that moves its capital to the front will have an advantage in terms of refit cycle, but a HUGE disadvantage to its economy, as region stats and tax tolerance will drop. Furthermore, many current capitals barely allow for any wars, if they don't make it outright suicide, so why not give people a bit more flexibility if it means that, as a whole, BM gets more war?
  • Why not just make realm mergers legal? This has caused so many scandals in the past, for no gain. What's equal footing? What's friendly? What's hostile? Why does it all even matter? And what's the logic in banning strategic secession if the opposite is also banned? Are small realms the threat or are big realms? Or are any at all? Mergers mean less titles to share around, lower tax tolerance, a lot of people being moved away from their traditional area. There are a LOT of costs to it. And we don't have a ruler who can OOC ban the whole realm to make it happen anymore, either. Players will not willingly give up their realm unless they have strong reasons to do so, why not respect these reasons without threatening sanctions over them?

Anaris

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #1: December 07, 2017, 08:26:56 PM »
  • What's the big deal with strategic secessions? Most realms don't have enough nobles to split. And in most cases, splitting only makes the sum of the parts lesser than the original whole. Yes, the realms get numerical buffs. But the only cases where this is not offset by the human logistical aspects are when the realms were ripe to split anyways, and that this rule therefore only really regulates the context (ok to do so when there's no war, not ok during war). This rule doesn't contribute to anything anymore, we don't have the player counts for it to matter.
  • Why have OOC rules against strategic capital moves? For starters, moving capitals is very costly. Secondly, the distance from capital allowance was greatly reduced over the years. A realm that moves its capital to the front will have an advantage in terms of refit cycle, but a HUGE disadvantage to its economy, as region stats and tax tolerance will drop. Furthermore, many current capitals barely allow for any wars, if they don't make it outright suicide, so why not give people a bit more flexibility if it means that, as a whole, BM gets more war?

The reason for both of these is the OOC restriction on recruitment in capitals.

Frankly, I'm interested in ways to remove that that will work well and not cause a raft of negative unintended consequences.

The most interesting simulationist approach I've come up with so far would be sort of a two-part thing:

  • First, have the recruits in recruitment centers actually be in those centers. That is, you can only recruit them if you're physically in the region. But...
  • Second, those recruits will be sent, over time, to a place that is designated as your realm's "Recruitment Fair" or something (yes, I think that's a dumb name, but I just came up with it ;D ). The default place for this would be in the capital, but it could be designated as any region in your realm. Any region but the capital would cost a significant upkeep, and the recruits would have to travel, from region to region, toward this Fair, during which time they would be vulnerable to disruption.

This would be able to piggyback on some other code I've got simmering on the back burner for nearly-fully-automated (but still manually manipulable, for perfectionists) trade.

It would also require getting an OK from Tom. Changes to any of these rules and policies would, actually.

Quote
  • Why not just make realm mergers legal? This has caused so many scandals in the past, for no gain. What's equal footing? What's friendly? What's hostile? Why does it all even matter? And what's the logic in banning strategic secession if the opposite is also banned? Are small realms the threat or are big realms? Or are any at all? Mergers mean less titles to share around, lower tax tolerance, a lot of people being moved away from their traditional area. There are a LOT of costs to it. And we don't have a ruler who can OOC ban the whole realm to make it happen anymore, either. Players will not willingly give up their realm unless they have strong reasons to do so, why not respect these reasons without threatening sanctions over them?

I dunno, I'm still a bit ambivalent about this. I do have a hard time with the idea of a King just cheerfully giving up his crown to make his entire Kingdom just a province of someone else's.

However, I also have a hard time with the fact that a realm that's got 2 regions and 3 nobles, and wants to join the realm with 10 regions and 30 nobles, has to pretend to go to war with them so they can "surrender"...and then still has to have the larger realm run takeovers on all their regions.

I think we can find a balance, but I'm not sure we'll ever do away entirely with the rule against the former type of merger.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Chenier

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #2: December 07, 2017, 08:39:39 PM »
For the merger thing, well, a king can't unilaterally destroy his realm. Destroying one's realm takes time and (foreign) resources. A ruler can't just click a button to delete the realm. And I'm not against the mechanic that prevents a realm's last city to switch out (go fix that bug, btw ;) ).

So if a ruler wants to destroy the realm in order to merge with another, you need to 1) declare war, 2) empty the capital of all militia and troops, and 3) have the other realm come take it over.

If the realm's nobles don't want to merge... it'll be hard to do so. The ruler has no power to sack militia, he needs the capital's lord or the general's support. And none of them have any power over the mobile forces. So every noble who opposes the fusion can recruit to the max and sit in the capital. With those lvl 5 walls (or greater), even without militia a mobile army is usually strong enough to repel an invader. And in the case of friendly takeovers, the assimilating realm usually isn't ready to accept heavy losses for the move. Not to mention that this gives plenty of time for dissenters to protest or rebel against the pro-merger government.

As for the recruitment fair idea, I don't really see it tied to the cited capital issues. Those are interesting mechanics idea, but it's on the whole mostly a tweak on the current system, where a capital on the border helps reduce the refit cycle but intentionally placing it there is against the rules.

Anaris

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #3: December 07, 2017, 08:43:23 PM »
As for the recruitment fair idea, I don't really see it tied to the cited capital issues. Those are interesting mechanics idea, but it's on the whole mostly a tweak on the current system, where a capital on the border helps reduce the refit cycle but intentionally placing it there is against the rules.

The point is that only being able to recruit in the capital is a gameplay balance decision, and as such, circumventing it by moving your capital (or seceding) specifically for that reason has no IC justification. It is purely an attempt to circumvent a deliberate balance decision.

If we change the decision on balance, then there's no longer a reason to restrict secessions and capital moves, because there's no longer a recruitment benefit to doing them.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Chenier

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #4: December 07, 2017, 09:05:58 PM »
The point is that only being able to recruit in the capital is a gameplay balance decision, and as such, circumventing it by moving your capital (or seceding) specifically for that reason has no IC justification. It is purely an attempt to circumvent a deliberate balance decision.

If we change the decision on balance, then there's no longer a reason to restrict secessions and capital moves, because there's no longer a recruitment benefit to doing them.

Well, you mentioned that having the recruitment fair anywhere else than the capital would be very costly in upkeep, so the incentive to move the capital to the front would remain the same.

Strategic secessions and strategic capital moves are both risky for their own reasons.

I consider the secession of Iato to form IVF to have greatly precipitated Enweil's death, despite being a friendly secession. In theory, both realms had higher tax tolerance, had two capitals to recruit from, and thus were better off. But Enweil was at that point as almost all realms are now: devoid of enough both capable and active players to run two realms efficiently, if it even has enough for one.

Let's just think of generals and marshals here, since it's the most blatant example. How many realms have enough competent people to run multiple armies efficiently? Barely any. Heck, I'm sure we can all think of a ton of realms that can't even run a single army efficiently. So what happens if you split them up? They'd crumble. Two poorly run splinter realms would have no clue as to what the other is doing or enduring, would not react in a timely fashion to any invasion, would not be ableto coordinate joint attacks, would have much longer refit cycles, etc.

In almost all cases, strategic secessions are an unstrategic option.

But what about the few that would be strategic... so what? Wars have become too rare for many parts of the game world. Are colony takeovers even a thing anymore? Do they still exist? What's the difference between a normal takeover of an enemy city and then seceding it to form a new realm at the front, and a colony takeover? They both allow to continue a war where distance might have otherwise rendered it impossible to continue, or would have caused extremely long and boring refit cycles.

Anaris

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #5: December 07, 2017, 09:14:14 PM »
Well, you mentioned that having the recruitment fair anywhere else than the capital would be very costly in upkeep, so the incentive to move the capital to the front would remain the same.

Eh, details. That sort of thing can easily be adjusted to achieve the desired effect, once the basic mechanic is in place.

As to the rest...I dunno, I'd like to see colony TOs return, but I think they might need some reworking to make a bit more sense. And if you're suggesting that we shouldn't allow secessions when the realm is below a certain nobles:regions ratio...well, I might well be persuadable that that should be a thing.  ;)
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Chenier

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #6: December 07, 2017, 09:29:03 PM »
Eh, details. That sort of thing can easily be adjusted to achieve the desired effect, once the basic mechanic is in place.

As to the rest...I dunno, I'd like to see colony TOs return, but I think they might need some reworking to make a bit more sense. And if you're suggesting that we shouldn't allow secessions when the realm is below a certain nobles:regions ratio...well, I might well be persuadable that that should be a thing.  ;)

Takeover and secede honestly seems like the best way to simulate the old colony takeover. Secessions create a ton of penalties across the realm, so they aren't free. Gives the invading realm the time it needs to organize the colony, too.

As for a ratio, I don't really think it's *needed*, and noble count alone can't really guarantee how many of those people are capable leaders. A noble:realm ratio could be used to restrict the creation of new realms, but it kinda seems pointless and seems to me like it could have unforseen consequences. If we want to mechanically disfavor small empty realms, imo we'd be better off focusing on granting realms the means to field a mobile army more comparable to what they used to have back in the days with the old tax system.

Zakky

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #7: December 08, 2017, 01:12:49 AM »
Here is my two cents.

1) Strategic capital move.
-people can somewhat [email protected]#$ their way and pretend they are doing it for historic reasons before a couple months before a major war.
-to prevent stuff like this, you can provide incentives or disincentives of having a capital in somewhere. To be honest having a capital in the center of your realm probably makes more sense.
-also historically, countries did move their capital around to shorten their  frontline. Of course no country moved it right next to the frontline but some countries did move their capital few hundred kilometers to closer for various - not just for shortening the frontline - reasons.
-can provide incentives to move capitals more frequently. Maybe having the capital in the same region for longer than 1 RL time when you can have your capital elsewhere can cause corruption that builds up overtime?
-Allow realms to put a capital in a non-city region. Don't need to change the region type. Just allow them to build Lv5 walls maybe. Maybe put a little crown mark on dynamic map or something.

Realm Merger:
-Should probably be allowed. When small realms merge to form a bigger realm, think of castile and aragon.
-When a small realm and a big realm merge, think of it as the small realm becoming a duke of a larger kingdom. Big countries did forcefully vassalize a smaller country historically. There were cases where a smaller dying kingdom eventually surrendered due to their incapability to maintain their country due to civil wars or other disasters.
-There just aren't enough incentives to merge for two large realms to form an even bigger realm due to various penalties so I doubt you need to worry about that too much. In most cases, I am guessing smaller realms will try to form a bigger one which should be fine since small realms these days are miserably small in many cases. Not much you can do with less than 10 people honestly.
-For now at least, you should probably be encouraging larger realms. Too many smaller realms don't really work. Some people think 10 realms with 10 people each will be ideal but it is not. Half of those realms will die or become too boring. It is heathier to have 5 realms with 20 nobles each instead. I think there is a critical number of people you need in a realm to make it work since it is very hard to talk to your neighbours in this game unless you travel or be in the same guild. If joining a guild was easier maybe that would help people communicate better.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2017, 01:14:55 AM by Lapallanch »

Chenier

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #8: February 06, 2019, 07:23:34 PM »
The events on the South Island has reminded me of this rules issue... I don't play on the South Island (thank god), but it seems like, yet again, players who mean no harm, and do no harm, got smitted for using the wrong keywords in their arguments.

That the rules focus so much on intent is really a source of great injustice, because those who know the letter of the rules well, and some precedent, can weasel their way into bypassing most of them. No friendly merger? No problem, they'll sling a few insults around for pretense, and then make amends. Can't punish for activity? No problem, they'll make something else up, and cover it up. And so on. Meanwhile, players who aren't as rules-savvy try to do the same thing, and often think they are doing the exact same thing, but, "whoops", they used the wrong keyword. And thus get divine fury for what another would have quite easily gotten away with.

So there's this guy, who would get appointed to lordships, patch up the new regions, and then step down for the next challenge. And he got punished for it, basically called a bad player.

But who did he harm? Did anyone ask for a chance to build up a region, only to get told "oh no, only the designated fixer upper can get new regions"? If that's the case, an argument could be made, though I'd still disagree with it. Fixing up a region is not a fundamental right, after all. More to the point, most people don't like that kind of duty. You get forced to do maintenance work. You get no income. It screws with your unit. It takes you out of commission. Very few people like patching up regions, and since the "new" estate system, it's really a huge, huge burden.

And that's not even what the placeholder rule was about. Taking titles seriously is an SMA thing, the placeholder rule was about stopping players from circumventing things that temporarily denied a player X his title, back when the game was much different than it is now. Say ruler Bob got wounded, lost his title. BAM, instant election (remember, no referendum mechanics back then), George is now ruler. People are upset, the moment Bob is healed, they demand Bob gets reinstated. THIS was common, and THIS is what brought the rule. The other similar issue was "X needs a lord now, we want to give it to Y, but Y isn't available right now. So we'll give it to Z, but as soon as Y is available, we'll force Z to step down."

The placeholder problem was always a situation that benefited one person specifically, and usually revolving coercion to take out someone the game had placed there or buy time for admissibility to change (ex: ruler deleting his old character, creating a new one, letting a placeholder in place until the new character is eligible).

Someone shifting lordships to be a serial region fixer could certainly be an SMA violation, but that only applies to Dwilight. It certainly doesn't fit the type problem the rule was meant to prevent.

Now, I've got zero stakes in this issue, I don't even have a character on the island at all, not do I even remember who the player sanctioned was.

But I heard that the realm is once again plunged into drama, and it's gotta be asked "was it worth it? what was gained?" Are the rules beneficial to the game? Or harmful? And I don't mean the idea of rules in general, I mean the specific rules that the game currently has. Rules are supposed to help keep things fun for everyone. I'm not sure this guy was harming anyone's fun, I'd think it more likely he was doing everyone a favor.

Zakky

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #9: February 06, 2019, 09:30:36 PM »
I hate SMA. Ever since it got implemented, it started to spread and affect all other islands.

What happened to the game that was more casual in atmosphere?

Anaris

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #10: February 06, 2019, 09:41:58 PM »
The placeholder rule has nothing to do with SMA. It is as much a part of the entire game's intended atmosphere as the restriction on realm mergers or the tournament IR.

All of these things are expressly intended to maintain aspects of the game's medieval setting, and all of them are game-wide, not limited to Dwilight.

Yes, when SMA came in, it did start to affect other islands. But that was in things like discouraging people from having stupid names (like alittlehopeforhopelesstimes, or xXxSlayerDragon69xXx).

If a realm does not have enough people to be permanent lords of all its regions, then it should not be trying to maintain all those regions. (If a realm on the War Island doesn't have enough interested, active people to be Lords, then it's probably going to lose very soon anyway.) When the Hinterland system comes, Soon™, there will be a clear option for realms that have more regions than they have nobles to properly handle them.

But it is not now nor will it ever be acceptable to have a small number of players who keep characters rotating through regions to maintain them.

The placeholder rule is and always has been about taking titles seriously. This is not an SMA thing, that's true—it is a BattleMaster thing. Just like having kings and dukes and roleplaying about our characters, their servants, and their doings, rather than just calling them Guy In Charge and Middle Manager and playing this as an abstract strategy game, are BattleMaster things.

The placeholder rule is not forcing everyone to play SMA. It's just insisting that everyone actually play BattleMaster.
Timothy Collett

"The only thing you can't trade for your heart's desire...is your heart." "You are what you do.  Choose again, and change." "One of these days, someone's gonna plug you, and you're going to die saying, 'What did I say? What did I say?'"  ~ Miles Naismith Vorkosigan

Zakky

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #11: February 07, 2019, 12:05:42 AM »
Can you put what you wrote somewhere in the rule book? Sounds like a good explanation of what placeholder is for.

What I don't get about placeholder not really intertwined with SMA is why do you need to take lordship seriously outside of Dwilight? Or any title for that matter? People took lordships seriously during medieval period because it was going to be passed down to their descendants. BM doesn't have that system since you don't really pass your title down to your family members often. Do you want people to take it seriously to prevent them from making it too gamey which might ruin some people from immersing themselves in SMA? Can't you just give up your lordship so you can get a better one? I am having a hardtime seeing a solid argument on placeholder except when people use it to maintain their unmaintainable realm size. When would you say you can leave your lordship for somewhere else?

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #12: February 07, 2019, 01:04:29 AM »
Don't know to me this is common sense. Nobility traded up in titles, generally trying to keep what they had in the process but upward movement in titles and or holdings was obviously a desired thing. Taking on titles and dumping them without holding to that noble mentality, well it might not be "hurting" anyone but it sure doesn't seem like it is doing great things for the intended atmosphere.

The worse thing about SMA was not that it existed or that it tricked onto other continents. The worse thing is it gave people the idea that the other continents didn't have a medieval atmosphere that was also expected to be maintained.
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Gildre

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #13: February 07, 2019, 01:53:39 AM »
I think there are a lot of people playing Battle Master right now that are getting caught up on mechanics.

If you look at all the rules with the mentality of "if I was a medieval knight/lord/king, what would I do?" I think they make a lot more sense.

Merge realms? Heck no. I, as king, have either fought tooth and nail to gain rulership, or to keep it. Even if it made economic/politic/diplomatic sense, odds are pretty low that I would simply let my realm be absorbed by another.

Lordships? If I get appointed as Baron of X, there is no way I am going to fix the place up and be like "man, feels good to flip this region, someone else can take it now!". Nope. I am Baron. This is MY region, that I fixed up with my own power. I is a representation of my power. Can you get tired of being in charge and abdicate? Sure, it happens in a real world sense. But you shouldn't be looking for another title in two weeks. Can you have ambition? Heck yes. I am Baron of X, but City Y now needs a lord. Screw this dirt pile, I am moving to the bustling metropolis of Y!!

Move the Capital? Ugh, I hate this one. In my mind, the only reason you should move a capital is if your historic capital was lost and you got it back, or relocating a capital to a namesake region. There is a reason we recruit in the capital and don't move them. Armies need to plan for how much they will need for gold and food, how long refits will take, how long they can stay in the field, etc. It adds elements. You know what would be REALLY dumb and boring? Realm X and Realm Y moving their capitals to within a couple regions of each other and slugging it out like two Homer Simpsons in a boxing ring. No one is moving, they just stand there and punch each other in the face until one of them falls down.

There has been a lot of mentality of a "gamer" in this game, but it is in no way a traditional game. It is a political simulator, a role playing game, a diplomatic sandbox.

My two cents. I dunno. Maybe I smoke a hobo's share of crack, but I feel like we have lost a lot of that stuff in the game, and people talk more and more about "mechanics this" and "rules that".
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Zakky

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Re: Rethinking the rules
« Reply #14: February 07, 2019, 01:57:06 AM »
Don't know to me this is common sense. Nobility traded up in titles, generally trying to keep what they had in the process but upward movement in titles and or holdings was obviously a desired thing. Taking on titles and dumping them without holding to that noble mentality, well it might not be "hurting" anyone but it sure doesn't seem like it is doing great things for the intended atmosphere.

The worse thing about SMA was not that it existed or that it tricked onto other continents. The worse thing is it gave people the idea that the other continents didn't have a medieval atmosphere that was also expected to be maintained.

You are forgetting the fact the game doesn't allow you to hold on to multiple holdings. If this game allowed people to hold multiple lordships, I doubt people would be 'dumping' their titles as you put them.