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sunsvortex

Serf System

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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.


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No the game will not play itself for you....serfs will never be able to match the QL or production levels a player can. Eve doesnt play itself for you..


Edited by sunsvortex

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Sounds like sunsvortex has been playing to much Sims4 :)


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I thought you were instead going to suggest a revamp to the skill system to be more like Eve's.


 


-1 to serfs.


 


They are already in the game anyway. Pay other players and equip them with tools to do work for you. There are countless people looking for work, available to do all the things you asked for serfs to do.


They are likely a whole lot cheaper than buying a serf from the store (I'd guess they would cost a lot) and maintaining them. (Probably raise your deed upkeep too)


 


Actually hiring other players ehances the Wurm experience a whole lot more than just paying an NPC to do it for you.


Edited by Outlaw

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No -  I want a way that will open the door to a wider demographic, address player retention issues and allow people to be away for a bit and come back to the game without having to nearly start from scratch. If this would require paying money..thats fine..doesnt matter. The point is to have a system that plays into the current one, addresses long standing issues and opens the door to a larger more stable playerbase.


And if this means that the current playerbase gets a bit bent out of shape over it..so be it. Id like to see WURM come out of the basement. In order to do this you have to make changes that wont be entirely popular with the current playerbase.


Edited by sunsvortex

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the crux of your argument for serfs revolves around a perceived need for constant maintenance that doesn't actually exist.


 


Bsbs store seeds, food and supplies with no ql decay and minimal quantity decay. Storing tools in a container (short term) or in inventory (long term) prevents them from decaying too badly. A deed will keep the house and fences from being damaged. Animals don't have to be groomed and 'cared for' animals will live as long as they have some source of food.


 


I left for two years and the following is what I had lost:


  • The well on my deed decayed.
  • About 50% of the mats in storage were lost. Oddly, all the meat.
  • My lantern in inventory poofed.
  • A few items left in a forge decayed rather badly.
  • A troll bashed one fence.
  • All but two of my horses died.

The advantages/disadvantages of having automation or not is a separate argument, but your given assumptions are wrong.


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I understand what you are looking for. I guess that would be a really huge improvement for the gameplay but i think the afford of that would be a wurm 2.0!

I really like the idea behind that and noone should bash it to the ground,instead think about how such a system wouldnt be gamebreaking.

Btw he didnt said anything about more interaction between players. I mean come on on realease for example are in the best hours less than 50 peope online and i dont know how many alts are there. Thats not a problem for me at all but i understand that a solution for empty deeds would be nice.

Oh and the part with playing the game on it self is silly. He didnt say anything about skillgain for your main or that they are getting you forward in any way. He is talking about that your nice home dont get trash when you cant spend time ingame!

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the crux of your argument for serfs revolves around a perceived need for constant maintenance that doesn't actually exist.

 

Bsbs store seeds, food and supplies with no ql decay and minimal quantity decay. Storing tools in a container (short term) or in inventory (long term) prevents them from decaying too badly. A deed will keep the house and fences from being damaged. Animals don't have to be groomed and 'cared for' animals will live as long as they have some source of food.

 

I left for two years and the following is what I had lost:

  • The well on my deed decayed.

About 50% of the mats in storage were lost. Oddly, all the meat.

My lantern in inventory poofed.

A few items left in a forge decayed rather badly.

A troll bashed one fence.

All but two of my horses died.

The advantages/disadvantages of having automation or not is a separate argument, but your given assumptions are wrong.

If you leave now for 2 years you will have nothing left when you come back. Things have changed dramatically. Disease has been cranked up, just recently and is back to causing issues..so yes you need to keep on top of grooming a lot more now than in the past. Decay rates on items are super high now compared to even 6 months ago. I have built houses with 70 ql stone walls...off for a month and came back to 80+ dmg on all walls as the deed fell becasue I forgot to put a bit in upkeep. Upon looking at what I had left in upkeep the deed had been down for about 2.5 weeks. So as soon as your deed goes down the decay rates get crazy.  And of course all the animals were dead due to packing the ground.The information you are using is dated and incorrect.

 

Having serfs would simply elimnate the worst of the consequenses for being gone. Still wont keep the deed from going down with no upkeep and Im not suggesting they do that, but if you have upkeep and you cut it cloose...IE within that last month where things start decaying..your sefs could keep it up for you.

 

And of course if people feel the game is not a job and is actually a game....it opens the door to a larger playerbase > more income>more stuff.

Edited by sunsvortex
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Having serfs to keep your deed in order for the last month is a whole lot more expensive than just putting an extra 5s into upkeep while you're still playing.


 


I don't see how having serfs look after your damaged stuff would increase the playerbase. When people quit wurm it isn't because their stuff was taking too much damage. If you log in once a week even it's barely even noticeable. Only once you're offline for months on end and your deed drops does it become an issue.


 


Maybe the issue is that people take too large a large a bite from the 'Wurm Pie'. An individual player wishing to run a farm, breed animals, work on building and making a deed and do everything themselves is going to require a lot more effort than someone who is just playing casually and focusing on 1 thing.


 


Rather than complaining Wurm takes too much time, join up with other people. Join a village instead of running one. Then you can play as much/little as you want and not worry about it being a job instead of a game. You can focus 100% on the things you enjoy rather than trying to do everything at once. (insert this into rant about lifting priest limitations because more people want to do everything solo with minimal effort)

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If you leave now for 2 years you will have nothing left when you come back. Things have changed dramatically. Disease has been cranked up, just recently and is back to causing issues..so yes you need to keep on top of grooming a lot more now than in the past. Decay rates on items are super high now compared to even 6 months ago. I have built houses with 70 ql stone walls...off for a month and came back to 80+ dmg on all walls as the deed fell becasue I forgot to put a bit in upkeep. Upon looking at what I had left in upkeep the deed had been down for about 2.5 weeks. So as soon as your deed goes down the decay rates get crazy.  And of course all the animals were dead due to packing the ground.The information you are using is dated and incorrect.

 

Having serfs would simply elimnate the worst of the consequenses for being gone. Still wont keep the deed from going down with no upkeep and Im not suggesting they do that, but if you have upkeep and you cut it cloose...IE within that last month where things start decaying..your sefs could keep it up for you.

 

And of course if people feel the game is not a job and is actually a game....it opens the door to a larger playerbase > more income>more stuff.

or.. just drop some extra upkeep before leaving and no damage will be done. You will also not have to deal with increased upkeep. Also if serfs die how can you guarantee that they will not die before you are back?

 

Proper layout of your animal pens can help you overcome any issues with disease, the only problem is that enchanted grass can be packed but I doubt that I lost more than 5 tiles after the update that destroyed a lot of them.

 

+1 for an NPC or any type of services offered by templars to repair some items (having a forge out of a house even on deed is like saying that you don't want it). For the rest you can be using both magic chests and keeping them in your inventory or your alt's inventory.

 

maybe +1 for a way to designate a food storage structure and have the NPCs feeding pigs, dogs chickens and similar animals which can die within a few weeks if the user can't log in

 

-1 for any NPC gathering resources. If you want low ql crops, planks, bricks buy them from a newbie after you return. And who knows, some of these newbies may end up sticking to the game after buying their first month of premium with that money.

Edited by Anothernoob

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If you leave now for 2 years you will have nothing left when you come back. The information you are using is dated and incorrect.

 

I've been back less than 3 months, so it's not dated. Yes, if you let a deed disband things decay rapidly. That's why you don't let it disband. In my situation, I actually did and a mate dropping me a message that it had disbanded was what brought me back. The damage to the deed was negligible from the 30 day window. A few fences were in bad shape and took 10 mins to fix.

 

The burden of maintenance is a myth; if you make the simplest precautions and stay within the norms of the game you don't have a problem. Try to be cheap about upkeep or make a deed bigger than your gaming budget, have junk off deed or leave low ql skiller tools out and you'll get bit by the decay beast. Pay for a deed, build only on it, keep a moderate sized herd with separate stalls, use bsbs etc and you'll be fine. 

 

Again, I'm not arguing for or against automation, just saying you need a better reason than the non-existent maintenance issues.

Edited by Othob Rithol

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Having serfs to keep your deed in order for the last month is a whole lot more expensive than just putting an extra 5s into upkeep while you're still playing.( You can, easy enough, but sometimes you forget or get tied up in something. And your missing the point, thats just one of the benifits. Items decay whether your playing or not and are not dependant on deed upkeep - running around fixing them is more of an annoyance than anything adding value to the game.)

 

I don't see how having serfs look after your damaged stuff would increase the playerbase.( In and of itself it will not, what increases the playerbase is allowing people to be gone for a while and come back right where they left off within a reasonable amount of time. Many people that like the game will not play or return becasue they have other responsibilities, such as work, school, life in general and these people represent a very large demographic, that generally have decent amounts of disposable income. When you change it so that they can come in and play on thier time frames, when they can and as they want, you open the door to them. Thats what increases the playerbase -adding in serfs is one of many steps needed to set this up.)

 

When people quit wurm it isn't because their stuff was taking too much damage.( no one said it was, and the reasons they quit and dont come back are many and varied) If you log in once a week even it's barely even noticeable.(Not any more in a weeks time you will certainly notice disease, farm tiles withered away, and items taking quite abit of dmg) Only once you're offline for months on end and your deed drops does it become an issue.

 

Maybe the issue is that people take too large a large a bite from the 'Wurm Pie'. An individual player wishing to run a farm, breed animals, work on building and making a deed and do everything themselves is going to require a lot more effort than someone who is just playing casually and focusing on 1 thing.( I have never met anyone who has said...X is the only thing Ill ever do in WURM.......The "I left WURM because its too much like a job" is a common and recurring theme.  Very few people can support a playstyle such as this and as such ultimately go elsewhere. It cant be like a job and thier still be the expectation that were ever going to have a large and thriving playerbase. Life doesnt work like that. )

 

Rather than complaining Wurm takes too much time,( An observation is not a complaint - a dwindling player base for which no viable solution has ever been attempted is an observation....not a complaint.) join up with other people. Join a village instead of running one. Then you can play as much/little as you want and not worry about it being a job instead of a game. You can focus 100% on the things you enjoy rather than trying to do everything at once. (insert this into rant about lifting priest limitations because more people want to do everything solo with minimal effort) (there is no reason not to be able to do everything solo....adding in other players is its own bonus and doesnt need to be forced.)

 

Edited by sunsvortex

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-1


 




but... thats what you want... the ability to pay money so the game play it for you... :|



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Ok so it seems everyone is getting lost on the maintenance as the main reason for serfs...my bad...so let me reword here.....Item repair, deed repair, animal tending, farm tending...these are all the things that need to be taken care of while your away. To one degree or another everyone that plays does them to some extent everytime they log in. Its not at all the only reason to have them


 


SO that takes care of any issue needed while your away. Now (puts on flame retardant clothing) One could also expand on the idea and allow them to produce while your online/ offline....real products, of real value. Now before everyone explodes in a fit of rage -EVE Online does this...and its not game breaking.....its a well thought out mechanic. No one is auto playing, no one having factories do everything for them...its a tried and tested mechanic. One that could easily be imported to WURM.


 


The absolute main reason for a serf system is to allow people to play at thier liesure, on thier timeframes, at thier discretion, without loss, and maybe even a bit of progress. Its much easier for someone who may have had a lot of time to play initially but now has no time at all to play to come back because all thier stuff is still there, they maybe even have made some progress while they were away tending to the Real World.


 


So really no need to get all tied up into specifics..its a concept, an idea that has the potential to open the doors for a larger more stable playerbase, which ultimately positively affects everyone.


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Like I said, an easy way to do this is just to join a village if you don't have enough time to run one.


 


If you're part of a village you can just come and go as you please.


 


What I said about focusing on only 1 thing in wurm...It doesn't mean you can't do other things, but expecting to be the best at multiple skills isn't realistic. Even for people with a ton of time and sleep powders it isn't realistic.


Looking after a handful of animals and a small farm can be managed with just a few minutes every few days. Sure if you're sick for a few months you could lose all your animals and farm tiles...but they are easily replaced anyway. Your deed would have enough upkeep to keep all the buildings intact and teraforming doesn't revert, so the diffiult/time consuming parts remain for you.

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Like I said, an easy way to do this is just to join a village if you don't have enough time to run one.

 

If you're part of a village you can just come and go as you please.

 

What I said about focusing on only 1 thing in wurm...It doesn't mean you can't do other things, but expecting to be the best at multiple skills isn't realistic. Even for people with a ton of time and sleep powders it isn't realistic.

Looking after a handful of animals and a small farm can be managed with just a few minutes every few days. Sure if you're sick for a few months you could lose all your animals and farm tiles...but they are easily replaced anyway. Your deed would have enough upkeep to keep all the buildings intact and teraforming doesn't revert, so the diffiult/time consuming parts remain for you.

Edited by sunsvortex

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And the player count will drop even more, because you've forgotten the important fact that new players ARE our serfs, and will do these things for you if you pay them to


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Its amazing how much work a newb will do if you just treat them like humans... after the other three or four that up and vanished.


 


A close reader will notice I never specified using kindness. On that note we need whips in Wurm.


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Well worked out idea, but NO that is not the direction I want wurm to go.


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Maybe make a system where you can hire a person thru a village recruitment billboard? Like for example repairing walls? - 10i per wall and assigned bsb for it? Someones comes to your village, accepts the jobs. Gets the possibility to repair it gets paid directly to the bank? No idea how to make it ungriefable tho.. someone might just run off with the mats? :D


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for those money you should buy this, you can hire a caretaker (player) of your place instead 


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