Empires Update Dev Diary 4


#1

Hello everyone, and welcome to another Dev Diary. Today, I shall talk about useful information regarding roleplay. This will be providing some additional context in the form of setting and some standardization of units of measurement for the community. I shall also briefly talk a bit about how we as staff will be managing this part of the community going forward.

Firstly though, I would like to draw your attention to the Land Claims thread. This has been modified and is now where you will be setting out your intended plots and a bit about your faction, in preparation for Empire’s launch next weekend. Head on over to get it sorted as soon as possible, so you can get started on day 1.

Setting

With Empires V1, we operated off an “anything goes” system when it came to creating nations. This scenario created some issues, which many people are very aware of. Quite frankly, a number of players became borderline toxic in their behaviour and their arguments and it became a nearly daily problem for the community. This was fundamentally a concern of trust between players, but this manifested in a number of issues.

This time around, both to provide a different experience and to help mitigate this issue, we shall be creating a Setting. With this, we will be defining the general levels of technology, magic and other factors. We will be expecting players to stay roughly within the setting set, anything obviously outside the setting will be thrown out.Fundamentally, this is about being reasonable to each other in what we create. If you’re creation is wholly unreasonable, don’t do it. It’s a simple as that.

The setting will be a Medieval/Renaissance Fantasy. Think along the lines of series like the Witcher series, Dragon Age and Lord of the Rings. The world is still fundamentally mundane in the day to day events, but fantastical phenomena, like magic and dragons are widely known to exist.

Below, I have gone into a bit more details about major areas where players may wish for some additional information:

Technology

Technologically, the world is currently in what would be equivalent to the late medieval/early renaissance period of history. Gunpowder weaponry exists, but is still relatively primitive. Archers and crossbowmen are still widely used as viable troops. Full plate armour exists and is at the peak of its effectiveness and use.

The printing press has been developed, with new publishing houses springing up in the most developed cities. The blast furnace has allowed for the production of iron on an unprecedented level, lowering the price of steel notably.

Ocean going vessels have been developed, with new navigation routes around the continent being opened up for exploration. The compass has been created and mechanical clocks have been invented, though as expensive as important items to be looked after. Lenses have been refined, allowing for the creation of glasses and telescopes.

Magic

Magic is widely known to exist throughout the world, though its practice is reasonably rare. Only a small percentage of individuals have any ability to use magic, being around 1 in 100 people. Using magic puts physical strain on the individual casting, drawing on their energy reserves, the greater the scope of spell, the energy required and the more difficult it is to cast. If a caster tries a spell too strong for them, it will probably kill them in the process, if the spell works at all.

Low level magics, such as limited telekinesis, creating a small light source, is easy enough for a user to achieve, and perhaps might be achieved by accident by a child with magical talents.

The most difficult spells, such as opening a portal to demonic realms or creating a storm to stop a fleet, requires hundreds if not thousands of casters to work in unison, who will almost certainly give their lives to succeed in such an endeavour.

Alchemy and enchanting are other applications of magic known by the wider world, though are known to be notably rarer than mundane creations. Such items take portions of energy from the caster to create, being notably more taxing, as making a magical effect permanent is considerably more difficult than a one off event.

Custom/mythical creatures

Plenty of different species, plant and animal, roam the landscape. Both magical and mundane organisms can be found and interacted with. From the mighty dragon to the magical properties of wolfsbane.

Powerful mythical beasts are very rare, having been pushed back by the civilizing forces for centuries. Some are suspect to still exist, but you may well come across individuals who scoff at the idea of a unicorn being real. Such encounters will be quite the experience for individuals, memories they may carry for the rest of their lives.

For civilized races, aim to keep them roughly comparable to that of humans. If you make them more agile, make them weaker or quicker to tire. If you make them more inherently magical, make them frail. If you’re giving a species some sort of advantage, aim to balance it off with a disadvantage and not a “fake” disadvantage, something notable.

Measurements

Another area of contention was on matters such as how large the continents were and how long it would take armies to get around, etc. Now, between how the role play is done, and Minecraft itself, it doesn’t allow for a model 1:1 ratio for these sorts of things that can be applied universally. However, some areas we can provide additional information for, to allow for better reasoned choices. We’ve put together some additional information that will help here. Apply common sense first before using these.
These things can’t be fool proof. Don’t overly dissect them, they’re not built with that kind of precision in mind. (For example, don’t start measuring pixels, that’s just daft).

Distance

As mentioned above, this is one of those areas where an explicit X = 1 block rule can’t be applied universally. If countries are to have reasonable sizes, towns will end up being massive by the same scale.

1 block = 100 metres.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to things like hamlets or ships in working out length; else we would have ships that would be kilometers long. This measurement is to be used when working with larger distances, like walking the continent or the size of a nation.

-5,800 block ocean voyage = 580km
-1,500 by 650 block nation = 9750kmsq (approx. Cyprus)
-20k by 14k map size = 2800000kmsq (approx. Argentina)

NB: For those who work find working in miles is easier, the conversion rate is 1.6km to 1 mile (British and American miles are the same).

This will hopefully allow for better scaling of the map. Don’t forget that people don’t just travel in a straight line from one place to the other, so account of the map’s geography when working this stuff out.

Time

This is another area where things could get weird in the RP. In one such scenario, we had a situation where an RP episode moved the entire community forward a few years so that a war could be started. This can make things difficult for players to follow and if two or more players write time dependent episodes, it creates issues over what happened in what order.

Again, an exact ratio won’t hold very well, due to the nature of writing. Players may spend a real week having a conversation that would last an hour, or 10 minutes explaining they are travelling for a few weeks to the next door nation. With that in mind:

1 RP year = 2 IRL months.

This is to say that the next year will commence, in 2 months’ time, rather than 6 RP months = 1 IRL month. This is aimed to prevent time skips to “fast forward” events to what they want to achieve, leaving everyone else to scramble, but allowing flexibility for those writing longer stories and enable for an easier understanding of the chronology.

The turn of the year will be at the end of the month, starting from End of July/start of August.

Player Conduct and Staff Responses.

As mentioned above, there were issues with player behaviour in the previous Empires. Both on our discord/server and in other locations (yes, we are aware that some quite vile things were said to other players away from our eyes). Some of you are still carrying grudges about what happened.

With Empires requiring application, we will be holding the player’s involved to a higher standard of conduct than those playing on the other parts of the server. You represent a core element of our community and one of the main areas of play here. In order for this to work, it requires civil discourse, not hurling insults at each other in OOC.

This is not a “play to win” scenario and power gamers need not apply here, that is not the game we are trying to create. This is a ROLEPLAY gamemode.

If we feel you are being disruptive, disrespectful or in any other form uncooperative to the game mode, players or staff, we will simply kick you out of Empires and the RP. It’s our home and we will not tolerate others trashing it when they don’t behave themselves.

Q: Then can you fix the chat block on the server so I don’t need to see [player X]’s stuff?
A: No, because it was never designed to function like that across our servers. It’s not a thing we can do.

Okay, that is it for today. I am expecting people will have questions about what is written here. If so, please leave them in this thread, so I can make sure to reply to them directly (I have a chance of missing stuff on the discord).

Next week, will be the final dev diary, which I will discuss the war system, and talk about what our plans are regarding how we will be working with lore going forward. See you all then!


#2

I’ve a question. Would it be possible for a nation to compensate for a lesser technological base with stronger magic or monstrous creatures? Or, the other way around, have stronger technology in exchange for no magic or monsters?

We could do something similar as with the national focus thing, give people a certain number of points to divide over the three categories. It could look like the following:
Tier 1:
Tech: Bronze age
Magic: No magic
Monsters: Normal animals

Tier 2:
Tech: Iron age
Magic: Rare
Monsters: Occasional

Tier 3:
Tech: Late medieval
Magic: Limited
Monsters: Widespread

Tech 4:
Tech: Early modern
Magic: Common, magocracy
Monsters: Cthulhu pets

Give players six points to spread over the categories according to their preferences, and keep them strictly to that limit. An example like you addressed in the dev diary would have tier 3 tech (late medieval), tier 2 magic (few mages), and tier 1 monsters. Another might have 16th century tech, such as muskets and pikemen, but no magic or monsters to talk off. Other nations might have very rudimentary technology but compensate for it with beasts (jungle goblin tribes or some such), or ancient magics.


#3

Technological development is not stagnant. If your neighbor has muskets and you don’t, its only a matter of time before you catch on. What? Do you have both muskets and magic then? Unless the magic they have is equally effective than muskets. So lightning/fire/whatever spells that are as effective and accurate as them so the magical society has no reason to develop these weapons at all? If its going to work like that, then we cant have points, because everything must be on par with everything else for balance. If a player who invested points in to both magic and monsters faced a player who put all his points in to tech, his guns could dispatch the 1st player’s monsters and weakling mages both fairly easily.


#4

You might as well argue the monsters might migrate across borders, or that the genes that enable magic might diffuse to other populations. I fail to see your point.

A player who has, for lore reasons, decided to not use magic or monsters is currently at a decisive disadvantage when facing one who has. Likewise, a player who does not want to play a nation as advanced as the late medieval period but rather an earlier nation (say, the dark ages or some such) will also, purely for lore reasons, be weaker than one who’s throwing around knights in full plate.

I thought that the whole point of this reset was to not make players either stronger or weaker than others because of their lore. A system like I propose, by trading off advantages in different areas, helps keep this balance.