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Anyone notice lately the population? Its taken a dramatic overnight nosedive in the last couple weeks. School started back up, colleges have classes running, and to cap it off there is a much anticipated and long awaited psuedo sandbox going live this Tuesday...Archeage. So the expectation is to see yet another decline. Not to mention WURM historicly has always had issues with player retention and one could list for days the reasons why this is, but thats not what this is about. Looking at, hands down the most successful sandbox ever, EVE online, you see that they have all age groups playing from 13 to 80. While they do have ebb and flow of players from time to time...it stays pretty consistent most of the time. IMO one of the reasons that the player base stays so consistent is that even though your offline, your still playing the game. Your qued skills are still going and your factories are still running. You can come in when you have time and binge play as you like. For the most part just because your offline...say...going to school or working, or even mowing the yard...your still playing, you can be offline for a week if needed, and when you get back, you have still made progress in the game. This to me was always an incintive to come back and keep going in the game, but i also knew i could take breaks as needed and play according to my RL schedule. In WURM..this is nearly imposiible. While you dont loose skills, your equipment degrades, your house degrades, animals die, farms turn to weeds and wither away ect ect ect. Now while all this is fine from a certain perspective, it seriously limits the demographic that can actually play the game. It literally enforces a low playerbase and lets face it, who really has the time to effectively play this game to its full potential. Its built in "forced player attrition". Unless you have no job, have no responsibilities, and plan on that being your life for the forseeable future, as a player, your going to be transient at best. Now this keeping the playerbase small makes the natural ebb and flow of players much more dramatic and its effects can be felt by nearly all players and its rarely a good thing. So maybe now its time to start looking at ways to address it, and the one that immediately jumps out to me is the inclusion of serfs. Serfs fall directly in with the theme of the game and can provide a multitude of services for the deed owner. Now before anyone goes batshit nuts over someone suggesting NPC's, what i am going to suggest is not your normal decorative NPC. They will have uses and IMO go a long ways in addressing the issues I described above. SO -On with the suggestion - Who hasnt , at one time thought to themselves " Id like to build a bustling city" and then built it. Monstrous as you may have built it, well planned and thought it it may have been...its not long till its a ghost town if it ever had more than a handfull in it to begin with. Either from natural player attrition or people going off to start thier own deed or for any other myriad of reasons. Serfs Basic Ruleset (Examples) 1. They are purchased from traders or even on the store....doesnt matter as long as they are purchased. 2. Deed size limits the number of them that can be placed. 3. They can be bred/ made into a family unit to auto breed, but do so based on available resources (see #4) 4. They require housing, food, religious facilities, armor, tools, beds. 5. They age and die 6. They are locked to deed tasks only and do not work on off deed areas. 7. They can and will be attacked by mobs 8. Skills are limited to 50% of that of the mayor/placer. Basic Tasks (Examples) 1. Farming 2. Cooking 3. Fence/Wall Repair 4. Animal feeding/grooming 5. Repair /Improve items Ill just go with those for now, but the possibility for tasks they could perform is extensive. Now for a walkthrough. I have bought 4 serfs, 2 males, 2 females. Going to have them marry so they autobreed and create a family. So each has to have a house, and lets say that a family needs at least a 3x3 to get started. So I build them a couple houses at the minimum size reqs. They are also going to need a church, so I build them one and place an altar and deco it up nicely. Church can be any building it just needs an altar in it. Now I need to figure out what I want them doing...So the females im going to get them to do the traditional cooking and farming tasks and let the males do the traditional mending/fixing things. So for the males they will need tool sets and supplies to take care of things, planks, nails, stone, brick ect ect ect. So i set in and make sure I have adequate supplies for them and make each a set of tools they will need in order to complete thier tasks..they also each need a bed and associated furniture, clothing,food and water. So I make a well available and build whatever container I need to hold water in each of thier houses. So now after building /making/storing everything they need I look to the females needs. The females will also need some items and tools so I go about making frying pans, pots, a stove, and FSB and layout a really nice kitchen. Then I make a few tools and a loom for them as they will also mend/make clothing for the family (family only). Now they need the grooming and farming tools so I make those. Now that everyone has what they need for the tasks at hand we manage the serfs and put them on a task list. Example - Several dropdown lists to choose from and in order 1. Farm and Harvest ( serf will go to farm plot, rake it, if ready, harvest it, replant that plot) 2. Farm Only (Serf will rake all plots on deed) 3. Repair Items (Serf will go around the farm and look for large chests (for example) and any item in the large chest it will repair and imp the item as far as it can go (50% of placer skill) 4. Groom and Feed (Serf will gett food from FSB and attempt to feed all the animals and groom them) These are only examples just so everyone gets the idea behind them. Ultimately when you wander upon a place one should see these serfs moving around on deed performing tasks that help keep the deed up to snuff. If you need to take a break you can, just make sure you have adequate resources available for the serfs to work with and when you come back your deed should be nearly the same as you left it. Variations on this theme could include Guards to defend against mobs attacking the serfs, Serfs that can be trained to have higher skills than 50% of placer, really the possibilities are endless, but the main thing is that we now have a way to open the doors to a much wider and stable demographic. We also have a reason to build those cities and populate them further enhancing the WURM experience.
I have a small deed, 61x21, maybe 70-100 tiles of farmland. I keep cows, breed horses, and am looking into the viability of chickens (of which I have 6-8). To maintain this, a semi-daily routine must be followed. 1. Tend crops for the horses. This can be done by either tending all fields, harvesting ready crops, and replanting. But can be done quicker by tending ready crops, and harvesting, then replanting. But this doesn't yield much usable harvest beyond replanting, only sustains the fields for the horses. 2. Tend cow pens and milk the cows for milk and cheese. I currently have 5 cows, a bull, and a breeding pen. The cows are in 2x1 pens, the bull is in a 3x2 breeding pen. Calves are moved to the breeding pen with the bull until they fatten, at which point they are slaughtered in the barn for meat, hide, and animal products. Calves are occasionally allowed to mature if I need to replace a milk cow. Cows are milked at leisure and the milk either consumed, stored, or made into cheese. The 16 farm tiles in the pens are tended and replanted as needed. 3. Tend horse stalls Beyond the 4 horse pastures, I have a Stable with 9 2x1 horse stalls. These stalls house riding horses, draught horses for carts, as well as horses maturing for either of those uses that don't need to be in the breeding pastures. The stalls are partially indoors, so there are only 9 farm tiles that need tending. 4. Feed chickens Inside the barn, there are about 7 hens and a rooster. Since they do not graze, I cut 100 wild grass and drop it in a few tiles. I also collect the eggs. Right now, it doesn't seem like hens are very productive so this might need to be switched to other non grazing animals like pigs, at which point I would need to build a pig sty. All this is done to maintain a regular flow of food for myself, and all the animals. This allows me to breed horses. My problem is the amount of time it takes to do all the farm tasks leaves me little time to hunt, explore, work on my fighting and smithing skills, or continue construction of the deed. Also, I'm very paranoid about my stuff and my land. I don't have anyone else on the deed right now because I'm paranoid they'll wreck my deed, take my things, or kill my horses. So, my question is, what is the liklihood of finding someone willing to basically play as a Serf on my land? They would be restricted from attacking non-citizens, restricted from terraforming, possibly restricted from leading, and possibly locked out of my buildings. I would also want them to regularly perform the farming tasks. In exchange, they would have sole access to a home I would construct for them, all crop harvests not used for replanting, all milk from the cows, all newborn calves to do with as they see fit, well bred horses as my stock allows, all unwanted foals, access to their own on-deed mine so long as we agree on its design, protection of the templars, as well as anything else I can provide for that doesn't harm me or my land. I feel like I would do this if I was a free player or player without a deed of my own, if I had the time. Are my terms out of line? Would anyone ever accept this? Does anyone currently have people on their deed in this sort of capacity?