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Messages - Chenier

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BM General Discussion / Re: Instant Revolt after TO
« on: August 10, 2017, 03:45:19 AM »
Persistent. :P

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 06, 2017, 01:30:54 PM »
Dwilight has a lot of sea regions, which can make travel quicker. But it also makes it a hellavalot more expensive. And riskier. But yea, otherwise, for the most part, it's terrible for this. Not to mention the sea zone through city chokepoints, the large deserts, and the many mountain ranges that make long distances ridiculously longer.

The problem with marching too far is not only the time spent doing so, but that farther we go the more morale penalties our units get. Mercenary settings can be used, making the unit much more expensive to maintain, but imo it doesn't reduce the penalty enough. Those distance issues used to be a good thing, to prevent the superpowers of old from enforcing their hegemony everywhere, but I find that benefit to no longer be very relevant.

BM General Discussion / Re: Armies moving toward each other
« on: August 05, 2017, 09:43:03 PM »
Hilarious army dodging.

I remember doing this with my raiding army, a long time ago. When the bigger army would come in to strike us, I'd sometimes order the move to their region, ignoring their army, killing their stragglers, and being deeper in their lands to loot.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 05, 2017, 04:00:52 AM »
I know... hell, I used it myself. No one likes to admit it, but when I lost Erik, my second character immediately became him... and I always considered myself a good roleplayer. Just referencing the Serpentis and people will immediately hate or love, although this I find useful in a more legitimate way: this was a legacy I built. However, it's easy to go right to the top because more than the characters, the players know me and know I can solve problems like, unh, take care of a region or a city or a great duchy, etc, so I don't need to work hard to get a position like years ago when no one knew me. My problem is not the elite in power... is the SILENT elite in power. They don't need to roleplay. They don't need to talk to the realm. They just need to give the orders and see the army working. How to keep new people around with this kind of mentality?

Well, there's really no way to make the game distinguish "good oligarchies" from "bad oligarchies". Players overthrowing the bad ones, or flocking to the good ones, are the only real driving force that has any chance to fight them. The dev team can only hold people's hands so much; if a realm allows itself to be ruled by a silent oligarchy, that's largely on them.

Killing off an oligarchy will just make a room for another one.

If it was real life, maybe. But that's not the case. We can all just make new characters to replace the dead ones the moment they die. And since the odds of the whole oligarchy dying at once are pretty close to zero, they'll just shuffle positions around between each other until the existing mechanical restrictions (minimum h/p for example) are overcome. Strong cliques are barely hindered at all by character mortality, those whom it harms the most are the unaffiliated who rise by merit and who live by roleplay.

I'm not against the oligarchies. Times ago it was funny to try to enter in one, stay in one, challenge one. I'm not against the character and players in places of power, I'm just frustraded withe the silence and "I don't need a campaign, I will won". It's not for me, an old player that experienced every option and position, but for new players it's terrible.

If I had to join the game for the first time theses days, I would leave in no time. I don't think we can solve this with game mechanics. Mortality is funnier when you decide it by yourself........ like the song said: "Let it go..."

As stated above. Though I would add that I find this less disturbing than I used to. As it is now, with the decreased player base, elections often end up with a single candidate running. And since you need to actively add yourself to the list for people to vote for you, that person knows there's no one else running. There's really little incentive to invest yourself in a long speech when it's your 50th election, nothing really changed since the last one, and no one's bothering to run against you. I do prefer the new referendum mechanic, but back then, people could silently campaign, and you'd occasionally see people win despite zero public campaigning. Sometimes to their own surprise! But in the end, the voters decide. If no one else cares to run... that's on the realm.

BM is a game you get what you put into. If you put more time into it and play it well, you will garner supports of other players in no time. Probably it is easier than ever with only 400 accounts around. People appreciate active characters and as long as you are loyal, you will eventually climb up to be a duke.

But yeah I agree with new players not wanting to stay. It is way too slow for most people. You need to build some form of bonds with people but it isn't something that happens overnight. People just aren't willing to stick around.

I think duke is a poor example, given how most realms have a mostly stable spread and that cities are only infrequently exchanged, but overall, yes, it takes much less to progress than it used to. Just sending letters irregularly has gotten somewhat impressive nowadays... which is kind of sad, to be honest.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 04, 2017, 07:11:35 PM »
I think I can, though it's not simple, and there is, of course, still no guarantee that it won't suffer from some of the same problems as the others. Note that all of this, while I have written (at least parts of) it down before, is still highly speculative and if it were to happen, it wouldn't be in the immediate future.

Seems complicated, I'm not sure I grasp it correctly. I'd have to re-read later.

Not sure how I feel about war fatigue. Sounds weaponizable. "We won't actually fight them, but we'll use this war fatigue as attrition to help our other allies, closer to them, do the actual fighting against the penalized realm, while we'll focus on courtier work back home".

I seem to recall having had an idea relating to recruitment centers as well, back when it was decided to just scrap it all. I don't recall what it was. Maybe if recruitment centers got less costly, or gave better results, when built by realms that have lots of battles (victories or defeats, regardless)? That way even the losing realms get the boon. And realms that are often at war can gradually invest to have better centers overall than their more peaceful neighbors.

You'd have to factor in realm size in the bonus, though. Some realms can easily have lots of small battles without really being at war. At least, against rogues. Maybe just not consider battles with 3500 CS or less of rogues. Feels to me like huge battles with the rogues ought to count, but not the regular every day skirmishes with random little rogue units.

Perhaps give a higher bonus when the battle happens in your own realm's regions. Or based on distance from the capital. Just to make sure the mechanic doesn't make lopsided battles moreso.

Does feel to me like more militaristic realms should have better soldiers, but it often isn't the case, because the more militaristic realms must spend more on their mobile armies and thus have less funds to invest in better RCs, thus they just take whatever they first get.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 04, 2017, 07:01:43 PM »
As noted above, the thing with the most "obvious" solution is that most of them have already been experimented with, and if we don't have them today, it's because they didn't work as intended.

First of all, do you really think that killing off the ruling oligarchy will in any way prevent it from creating new characters to replace the dead one, re-instating the old status quo? There's absolutely no benefit with forcing players to replace King Bob Johnson with King Bob II Johnson. Heck, we gain nothing, while we lost a bit of history and culture, as that character is in itself somewhat remarkable for its persistence alone. I much rather dealing with an original character than trying to roleplay with what is a new character but what I mentally fully know is a perfect clone of the old character. Makes roleplay awkward and uninviting.

Secondly, the worst thing of mortality is its impacts on the lower strata of the player base. The established elites you mentioned will reinstate themselves no problem. But those players that don't belong to the cliques and somehow manage to grind their way up, with a lot of time, patience, and hard work, they aren't guaranteed to have it back. Might even lose what they got to a member of the establishment. Mortality doesn't diffuse power, it just makes it easier to concentrate it. From my experience, a lot of players who lose their favorite character will simply leave the game. They might make a new one at first, but often will give up, or will engage with much lowered activity. Take Enweil, for example, it used to be a super power on Beluaterra. At the end, it was a disgraceful hollow shell. What happened? In my opinion, the largest contributor to Enweil's demise was the temporary mortality that was brought during that invasion (though the blighting of key economic regions, Enweilieos and Ete in particular, comes close second). Enweil got hit, really hard (mortality rates were decreased afterwards, and then completely removed). It lost like, what, 16 nobles? I'd have to look back at archives for that. But I had played there since a long time, and continued there till its end, and I can tell you, it never recovered. Because of all the low to mid tier nobles that died there, barely any ever came back. And a few of them had only had characters there. And from then on, the player count just decayed into a spiral of death, until barely anyone was left.

Players don't typically like to lose their characters. If they did, they already have the option to become heroes. Forcing people to retire their characters, either by killing them or with age penalties, has been shown to be a false good idea. It doesn't help. It just makes things worse.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 04, 2017, 03:08:48 PM »
Why not reward those who go to war then? Boost production, morale, and control as your armies win more battles maybe?

Because that's the same problem applied in a reverse matter.

Giving bonuses to winners just makes losers lose more. Big realms bulling entire continents used to be a pretty big problem: "don't do anything, or we'll destroy you". Such mechanics, instead of preventing the small realms from waging efficient war, would have made it easier for the big realms to enforce their no-war policy. End result is the same: no war.

Superpowers are less of a thing now, though, but still. War is favored by a multiplicity of similarly-powered realms, and giving bonuses to victors tends to just make lopsided battles even more lopsided.

Not saying that the entire concept was completely unworkable, but it's hard to think of a perfect code that will be perfectly fair. If I remember correctly, one of the last nails in that mechanic's coffin was when it started applying to small realms that were already at war with a bunch of nations and under siege from the daimons, "too much peace" was hitting what might have been the most militaristic realm on the continent of the time. But the thing is, the more you code the mechanic so that no innocents are hit, the easier you make it bypassable, and a mechanic that is too easy to bypass does no good whatsoever.

So it boils down to this: can you think of a mechanic that doesn't harm people in a way to dissuade them from waging war, doesn't overpower the strongest in a way that would dissuade others from war, and is not easily bypassable by gimmicky false wars and the like, and does not penalize people during a normal peace cycle after (or before) an important war? Because as it is, the most straightforward answer to "too much peace" is the grassroot one: players that are bored from too much peace should replace their leaders with others that will give them less peace. The Dev team can only do so much hand holding. And a lot of players are quite content with doing absolutely nothing year-round.

I think what has more potential is not looking at mechanics that regulate wars, but more indirect matters. For example, making militia far less effective, siege engines far more effective, travel times lower, salaries lower, penalties from distance from the realm lower, and such things. "Just fight someone closer" used to be the automatic response to those saying fighting realms far away is too difficult, and there's a lot of truth in that. But the declining player base has changed the continental dynamics some. Many realms have no immediate neighbors that would make sense to fight. Take Fissoa and Madina, for example... Adjacent cities are utterly stupid for this, I must insist. Neither realm would ever want to aggress the other, because both of them have their capital adjacent to the other's. As soon as one realm turns on the other, both will never be able to have their army leave their capital, out of fear of a surprise sneak siege that would destroy their realm. They have zero choice but to be friends, or just about. But then who else could they fight? They are so far from everyone else, especially Madina, that even if they did magically grow a pair, they'd never be able to even scratch their next neighbor. Another point I've made many times is the impact of lowered player counts on the feasibility of sieges; we now have people leading way, way more men than before. Instead of 20 units of 25 men with 1 siege engine each, we have 5 units of 100 men with 5 siege engines each. Though the number of men the army has is the same, the CS is much lower, and the travel times much higher. While in the defending realm, the city will still have a ton of militia units without size penalties, and since all realms have less nobles, the wealth is usually concentrated more into the lords and dukes, who in turn tend to invest much more readily into lots of militia for their cities. So you've got weaker and slower units marching against better defended cities than back when BM had its highest player count. Wars are therefore harder to wage than before, simply by player demographics, and adjusting the mechanics to bring things back in balance would seem appropriate to me. We should be favoring player vs player battles, not player vs militia battles. If militia units gradually decreased to about 50% morale (after say 10 days of being made militias), maybe we wouldn't have quite as much of them, and players would have more gold, and mobile armies would be more potent. Or maybe increasing their decay so that every month half of the men are gone. Of course, we need to make it so that militia isn't so weakened so that realms are afraid of having their armies leave their capital, but as it is, realms don't leave their capital because their armies are too weak to accomplish anything anyways.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 04, 2017, 02:48:00 AM »
I like the idea of a "Noob" Island with an actual coherent storyline.

Make it a PVE island or something, have a storyline, let people get invested in the game, and then make a transition over to a PVP island.

Also, I honestly feel that monsters and demons detract from the game more than they aid.

Sure I understand on Dwilight the player base was too fractured, wanted to push them all together, but at a certain point all you're doing is making it so the realms are too busy fighting monsters than they are interacting with one another.

Make the eastern part of Dwilight just be swamped with them, and let the western part fight each other.

Belu has the same issue as well, right now we're trying to deal with a storyline of demons and rooting out demon worshippers, but most of the realms are too busy defending against 15k CS of undead and monsters to actually be able to leave.

Teleporting also sucks, get rid of that.

This game is old. A lot of its problems existed way back, even if not quite as they are now, and pretty much all of the obvious things have already been at least considered, if not outright tried.

The daimons on BT, it's a love-hate relationship, really. They've been back and forth there for about a decade now, around 8-10 years off the top of my head. Anyone who sends a character to Beluaterra knows about them, it's in the continent's description. If they were such a deal breaker, then why was BT, historically at least, one of the most populous and dynamic continents? NPCs popping back and forth to kick down peoples' sandcastles had a large role in it. Of course, there are always people who complain, too. Sometimes justified, sometimes not so much. But there are a lot of players on BT, and knowledge is not shared universally, so some people aren't getting all the fun they could be having because of other players. Are the GMs to blame for this? Too much hand holding makes it less real and fun. The perfect balance of how hard to make the invasions, how much to spread the lore, how long to make it last, and so on, is ultimately arbitrary and everyone will have their own opinions on it. I don't think invasions have ever generated enduring consensus. Some parts of some invasions were more largely appreciated, others were more resented, but in the end the devs aren't omniscient and can't really predict what actions will always have the best outcomes, and even if they were the players themselves wouldn't agree on what's "best". I think it's a common trend to have these invasions linger on too long, but it was also rather underwhelming when at least one was abruptly ended.

Dwilight... the continent itself does not lend itself to conflict, much. Only the North-East has a respectable spread/density that has allowed for many conflicts over the years. But for the rest? Very few wars were had. Take Madina for example: can they afford to go fight another realm now, with all those monsters that were unleashed? No. But were they doing it before the monsters were unleashed? No. They weren't. Basically the only realm in the east that is now able to wage wars despite the monsters is also basically the only realm that was doing so before the monsters. Morek, HD, and Westfold (in particular) get some credit for what they did in the recent past, but I don't think the monsters had really anything to do with they current states. Maybe, MAYBE Luria could have intervened had it not been for the rogues... but that's a huge maybe, and as the saying goes, "you snooze, you lose". They didn't really have anything stopping them from getting involved well before the monsters came. Nothing that wouldn't still exist, anyways. So really, if you remove all of the rogues on Dwilight, you won't see more fighting. In fact, what you'll see is just realms spreading eternally, and propping up micro-realm colonies, until the whole continent is populated by 25 realms that each have only 4 nobles and no financial means to fight each other. The monsters, in this sense, are a needed stick to beat out the urge of eternally expanding into the wild, and instead looking at neighbors.

All in all, PvE  elements have often been criticized, but the continents that featured them the most have also been, historically, the most dynamic. Perhaps for the simple reason that in PvE, you can't sue for peace, while continents without any often devolved into alliance blocks that either united everyone on the same side or split them into factions unwilling to risk fighting each other.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: August 03, 2017, 03:08:19 PM »
Yea, the game can totally be byzantine. Some of it is to avoid abuses (doing 8x1 hour so that it rounds up 8 times to give more benefit than 1x8 hour, for example), some of it for less blatant reasons.

It's a game that was developed slowly over a very large time span, by different people at different times. I think Anaris has been on board since pretty early on, maybe the start? But Tom stopped being visible a few years back. And I know some coders from when I started, like  Handkor, are no longer around. I think a game developped in such a way that would not be byzantine would be the exception more than the rule.

I'm not sure for the 1/day suggestion, though. Always felt like there was not enough going on to keep people interested, rather than the opposite. But different players look for different levels of engagement I guess. I can't see anything wrong with telling newbies "there's also a 1 turn per day continent, should the pace of the other continents leave you overwhelmed" though.

My experience with Colonies has been rather underwhelming. Far too little happens. It's not that there's just 1 turn per day, but it's that there's only 8 hours per day, and that the travel times are ridiculous due to the regions being far larger than what is commonly found elsewhere. Feel free to correct me if my memory is off. Colonies would seem far more playable, to me, if it got at least 12 hours per day and more normal travel times (also lots of mountains in the way all the time). Because as it is, it's not just that it lets people log in once per day, but that it takes forever to accomplish anything, and missed turns are even more hurtful for it. Not to mention that units get half as many hours per day and have twice the travel distances to cover per region, while still requiring the exact same pay as elsewhere.

Beluaterra / Re: Sacred Obia'Syela
« on: July 31, 2017, 11:09:40 PM »
They feed on broken hope.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: July 28, 2017, 04:40:29 PM »
BM is increasingly niche. And honestly I think a lot of its appeal is legacy, all that history that was developed over the years that people who've been here for a certain amount of time can appreciate, while others who are just joining now either don't get it or feel it overwhelming. It's like starting to watch a popular series renown for its twists, but only joining in on season 7, it's easy to feel left out all the time.

Plus, BM is increasingly post-colonial. We used to have so many nobles, that realm creations and destructions were fairly common, and more importantly, fairly feasible. Now, most realms are so spread thin that it's unthinkable to split them further to create new entities. I know it was largely appealing, when I joined, that if we worked hard enough, we'd have good chances of changing history, making new and original projects come true. I'm not saying it can't happen at all anymore, but it used to be possible just about anywhere (assuming one could convince the oligarchies of elite player clubs to pitch in, and barring some continents that were peace-locked for some periods of time). Back then? If you had 5 buddies, each with 2 characters, you already had a base of 12 characters to work with, stack on top the total realm count of say 50, you'd probably get a handful of others join you, either because they were de facto part of your duchy or they didn't feel compelled to switch back, so you could end up with a nice core of 20 nobles when seceding (or doing a colony takeover, or whatever), and end up with two viable realms to pursue your projects. Now, it's like the realm has 15 nobles on average, most of your friends left the game so you've got maybe 3 buddies, and each can only contribute one character, so you end up with a 5 noble worthless realm and a 10 noble crippled host realm. When Dwi was colonized, the host realms didn't really suffer at all from all that noble losses. Many colonist groups formed themselves and had their chance at trying things out. And even earlier than that, on BT, geopolitics were shifty enough in between invasions, and invasions helped clear huge swaths of land for new entities all the time. New realms popped up here and there and I don't ever remember people saying "oh no, we won't have enough nobles left if you leave!" until very late (by the time Enweil died it had become an issue though).

Opportunities for newbies to leave their mark, in my opinion, has greatly waned. Had I only discovered BM in 2017, I don't think I would have stayed long. Nostalgia has largely replaced thrill and opportunity. I'm still having fun, but I'm no longer staying up 'till midnight to get live turn change reports and writing 40 IG messages per day to push the agenda of the day. Partly because I don't have that kind of time and energy anymore, but also largely because I don't feel like there's any potential return on investment anymore. I'm proud of what I did on BT and Dwi, but even if I were to become a responsibility-free teenager again, I don't think I could pull much of that off anymore.

Helpline / Digging In
« on: July 26, 2017, 10:40:39 PM »
How does digging in work in relation to fortifications?

You can't dig in in cities or strongholds, even if they don't have any fortifications.

But you can dig in in, for example, townslands, even if they do have fortifications.

So if you dig in in a region that has a palisade, for example, do the bonuses stack?

Wouldn't it make more sense for digging in to be restricted to regions without fortifications, even cities and strongholds?

East Island / Re: Switching to another realm to spy for a few days
« on: July 26, 2017, 02:51:01 PM »
Yea, I'm not sure how I feel about the issue. I think the change was positive overall, but it did increase vulnerability to such shenanigans.

East Island / Re: Switching to another realm to spy for a few days
« on: July 26, 2017, 02:51:43 AM »
In the days, changing realms automatically resulted in a ban from one's old realm.

BM General Discussion / Re: New Player Experience
« on: July 25, 2017, 03:32:12 PM »
I've been sending a big OOC introduction message to every new player (in BM) that joins one of the realm I am, for a while now. I must say that not a lot of them actually reply.

I've been getting the feeling that many, as already said, log in a few times to get a feel of the game and then just never return.

A more convenient way to get all relevant data new players need in their first day or week is exactly what we need. And that's exactly what this topic was created for:,7627.0.html

We have Tutorials (2 actually), but they are horribly outdated. Gildre did an amazing job in starting with spoken video tutorials, but since he does not have the time for BM right now, that project is stopped. Actually, I've been thinking about what kind of other format we could use to update the tutorials.. Click through? Topic based? ..? Feel free to chime in.

I've also been looking at the wiki (the Manual: ). But it's just one big mess/chaos and I don't know how to start structuring it. It's text based, so always difficult to visualize things. But if you have an idea how to sort these topics better, make it more attractive to people, please let us know (or just do it? Not sure who has access to edit those pages).

It's a great initiative, JeVondair. There's only a handful of new players that actually stayed and now turn out to be loving the game. I understand that it's not for everyone, but we can surely help improve the means to learn the game in a more enjoyable way.

Feel free to discuss, give feedback, whatever. I'm more than willing to invest on this.

Indeed, many people, myself included, have made it a point to contact every newbie, whether IC or OOC or both, for at least some period of time. It might help, but to me, it didn't really feel like it had much of an effect on retention.

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